2021 Reading Journal

Jan. 8, 2021 · Matt
  1. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant - Eric Jorgenson
  2. Zikora - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  3. The Great Mental Models Volume 1 - Shane Parrish
  4. Of Goats And Poisoned Oranges - Ciku Kimeria
  5. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
  6. Money - Yuval Noah Harari
  7. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun - Sarah Ladipo Manyika
  8. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics - Carlo Rovelli
  9. Weight of Whispers - Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

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Gems, gems and more gems on life.

A collection of thoughts by a deep thinker. I learnt a lot about my own ignorance going through this book. I made a collection of maxims I picked up from Naval, I would boil it down to finding yourself, knowing yourself, being yourself and excelling at it.

Zikora

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A short story with such intensity and depth!

A poignant tale of a moment in time of a progressive African lady and the snippets of her life that gave the moment its meaning. It reminded how birth is such a bittersweet moment, how down to earth and bare (animalistic) it is and yet such a powerful moment as it defines destinies.

It is so moving that's it's at this moment Zikora goes through the people in her life. The women - mother, step mother, cousin and her younger self; and the men - her father and her now absent baby daddy. She brings up social issues of culture and tradition, friendship and commitments, and work and career ambitions.

Such an amazing story.

The Great Mental Models Volume 1

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A succinct collection of great ways to go about thinking and reasoning. Grounded in science and philosophy and leaning on real life examples, it really does provide a toolbox for actively living life, whether be it career and business decisions or relationships and life decisions.

It reaffirmed some mental models I already new and also lead me to discover new models and new ways of interpretations. I made notes of nuggets I picked up.

Of Goats And Poisoned Oranges

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An amazing Kenyan story, with such an intricate and surprising plot that kept me hooked. It was a pleasant experience for Ciku to mix both Kikuyu and English in her storytelling and still be captivating. I found the story very authentic, juxtaposing not only languages but also the characters and their lifestyles.

Highly recommended.

Tuesdays with Morrie

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An amazing guide on living based on Morrie's life's work and especially his last years. It made me reflect on my own mortality, values and principles and what I consider meaningful in life.

Someone very close to me had me read it, and I will be eternally grateful to them. It has made such an impression on me and provided guidance on better living. Love wins, so pursue it in all you do. Always see the good in things, optimistic to the end. Value family and having close friends. Beware how the current society misleads, seek a meaningful life.

Money

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A deep dive into the essence of money.

From what it is, it's history, current form and its future/implications.

Trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted.

Yuval explains the philosophical grounds on which money stands - a system of mutual trust. He traces the evolution of money, starting with the Sumerians, through the Romans and eventually to the modern capitalist creed. He goes a long way explaining how the idea of credit has transformed the world. Finally he touches on the future of the world economy and the emergence of the useless class.

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

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I read this as a recommendation from reading Zikora.

It's a well written story, I was amazed how vivid it felt. I felt like I was there with Morayo, experiencing her world, her thoughts, her body.

I loved how Morayo's life seemed fulfilled. She had had so many experiences that shaped her being, she did not seem lacking in some aspect. Well, having kids maybe. And yes her growing old does come with challenges but reflecting on a life well lived gives value to the moment.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

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A great collection on great meaningful physics lessons for the general reader.

I liked the how Rovelli presents deep and difficult physics theories and discoveries in a concise, easy to grasp manner. It helped me appreciate great contributions in Physics and their implications and the existing struggle to re-unify general relativity with quantum physics.

I will definitely be re-reading this regularly, it provides a good basis for discussions on Physics and the world around us.

Weight of Whispers

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Quite a story this one is! I struggled reading through during my first reading session and had to pause and gather myself before resuming the next day; that's how difficult the story is.

Written in a few pages on a small book is a big story, a story of war, a story of family, of friends..and a story of how the ground shifts beneath us and we are left on shaky foundations. The music of our lives stops, and we are left half-stepping through it, not understanding the new rhythm of our existence.