Critical Thinking and Learning Site

June 2017 readings


This section is a review of the books I read every month and an effort to present a summary of each book and what is interesting and beneficial to the reader and what’s not. I will start this section with the books I read in June and the next summer months will follow accordingly.

Ultimate Guide to Stretching and Flexibility (Brad Walker)

A healthy body is not a body with muscular mass only. Among other characteristics, a sturdy physique requires and/or equals strength, power, endurance, speed, and flexibility. I figured out that I really lacked the latter, so I decided to do a little “flexibility 101” research before I begin improving it. Ultimate Guide to Stretching and Flexibility by Brad Walker was my first source. An effective beginner’s tool that starts by explaining what flexibility and stretching are, then lists their advantages and goes as far to suggest some really interesting exercises, depending on what kind of exercise you are doing and what you are aiming to do with your body. The really enjoyable part for me was the part where you do some flexibility testing to check your level and whether you are capable of achieving a split (spoiler alert: most of us have a proper body to accomplish it).

Architectural Photography (Adrian Shulz)

About two years ago, photography first caught my interest. After experimenting for some time with a DSLR, I discovered that I particularly liked to photograph religious places and temples. So, I got Architectural Photography by Adrian Shultz, in order to get an inside on architectural photography (i.e. photoshooting of buildings). Although it may seem pretty easy to take a picture of a building, it can actually be really challenging. For example, a building can be too big to fit in a single shot (enlarging your frame by stepping further back isn’t always an option), using wide lens can distort the photo, and other similar issues. In Architectural Photography, Adrian Shulz goes over some basics about photography, like the technology that cameras use, the types of cameras and the equipment available in the market, some basic techniques of general photography, and of course provides a thorough guide to architectural photography and techniques in specific.

Trust Me, I’m Lying (Ryan Holiday)

Ryan Holiday gives us a fascinating journey to the “profession” of being a ”media manipulator”. In this book, he explains how internet news work, how publishers work and how advertisements function.  He presents his experiences in trying to manipulate media, promoting what he wants to promote, while introducing to us a challenging, dark side of the web -that other people can spread fake and unfounded news and information through Internet,. The book can help you figure out how to avoid falling a victim of the bandwagon effect, a bias those manipulators are fully aware of and constantly use in order to do their “job”.

Crossing the Chasm (Geoffrey Moore)

This book is about how to introduce a new product to the market, and how a new product can be led from the first few curious buyers to purchase of the masses. It comes a time in the product’s life when it can go from the limited sales and the “early adopters”, as the author Geoffrey Moore aptly states, to the “early majority”. Between these two groups, there is the chasm that most products fail to cross. This book is about how to achieve this transition. All in all, a fascinating book on marketing.

Antifragile (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

This book presents an exciting approach of Nassim Nicholas Taleb on “durability”. According to the author, the opposite of fragility can’t be robustness. In simple terms, when something is fragile and a certain amount of power is applied to it, the physical properties of the object change -it can break and the situation gets worse. When something is robust, it means its physical properties do not alter. So the opposite of fragile should be something that, upon applying pressure on, its physical properties evolve to a new, improved form. But Taleb is not referring to physical objects, but instead to everyday life. His theory’s applications vary from how business and economy work to our eating habits and diet. The whole book is really challenging, and offers an interesting perspective of what risk-taking entails. A second (and a third or maybe more) read will come, and a proper (or maybe two, three or more) articles will get out of this.

Animal Farm  (George Orwell)

I guess most of you know or at least have heard of the Animal Farm. It’s one of the most famous works of the author -George Orwell. The animals in a farm decide to rebel and take matters into their own hands (or feet, or wings or whatever) by overthrowing their farmer, Mr. Jones. Overly, it is a poignant satire of totalitarianism and a classic book providing some serious food for thought.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)

This is a popular book about how to become more effective in both your personal and professional life. Author Stephen Covey presents seven habits that you should develop to overcome the challenges you face in your life and become more successful. Although it is a bit lengthy, this book generates a lot of interest. Small teaser! The seven habits listed: 1. Be proactive. 2. Begin with the end in mind. 3. Put first things first. 4. Think win-win. 5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. 6. Synergize. 7. Sharpen the saw. These are not just slogans; there is real value behind them. Excellent read for someone who wants to put their life and business in order.

Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion (Emile Coué)

I came across this book while researching on how to achieve things, and how to become more efficient and overcome obstacles. Despite being almost a century old (initially published in 1920), it has some interesting and valid points on how autosuggestion can work. It is a very good initial read if you are interested in the matter as a whole and you want to see how the idea of autosuggestion has developed through time.

That’s all for now! If you enjoyed reading this article please leave your comments bellow and of course your suggestions on what to read next!

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