We are back this month with a recap of August's reads; fewer books than July but a few notables in the stack.
1) Adam Alter's Irresistible
Adam's book is a deep dive into the world of technology, behavioural addiction, and the convergence of two worlds. A great read that takes a deeper look at the psychological aspects of technology addiction than most of the other books I've read. In certain parts, it felt like I was reading Johann Hari's Lost Connection given the disconnection many people feel that draws them to technology. An important read for those studying the impacts of technology on our society and one I recommend. Other notable books in the category would be Zucked, The Filter Bubble, and Digital Minimalism.
2) Rich Roll's Finding Ultra
From alcoholic to ultramarathon runner, Rich's book is an amazing story of transformation and perseverance as a middle-aged man deep in the battle with alcoholism finds a way to build a life around veganism, spirituality and running. It should make anyone reading it feel inspired to rethink where they are in life and consider that you are never too old to start again. As the book shifted to Rich's running, it again raised the definition of what it takes to keep going and finding that energy that exists deep within is that many of us aren't even aware of. Highly recommend this one!
3) Laurence Gonzales' Deep Survival
Another highly recommend, Laurence Gonzales' book Deep Survival focuses on the types of people who survive in critical situations. Not only the types of people but the mindset behind survival in general. Preparation, not taking anything for granted, a will to live and generally optimistic about one's abilities. Part historical recount, the book covers many disasters where people lived and where they didn't and offers reasons for why. It also goes into the philosophy of survival and how human beings react to difficult situations while also considering the nature of taking a risk. Humans seem to live at the edge of risk-taking and perhaps recognizing that before we take the wrong type of risk is one of the keys to survival. This book came to light from a podcast with Sebastian Junger who highly recommended this book.
4) Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum
I wanted to love this book. The intellectual version of The DaVinci Code, it seemed like this would be an interesting and exciting read. Through the first third of the book, I was right there with it. The story was developing with lots of character back story to keep things interesting. And then it hit a wall. The wall of backstory and history in the form of hundreds of pages of unnecessary filler. It became so much at certain points that I found myself wanting to just skip ahead to find the next section that had the story in it. Unfortunately, by the end, I found myself just wanting the book to be over and not caring about what happened. Some people seemed to love this one so I'd suggest you find a copy and flip through it before pulling the trigger.
5) Tim S. Grover's Relentless
Couldn't find myself enjoying this one at all. This book reads more like a motivational speech than anything and it became repetitive and difficult to take anything from it. Perhaps the audiobook would be more beneficial as a way to pump yourself up but I prefer books that provide motivate with something substantial to support it. This one felt one dimensional. On the other hand, his YouTube videos are much more interesting. Again, hearing the words vs. reading them for me would have been more beneficial.
6) John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America
What an interesting read. Beautiful writing in certain parts as John travels across America attempting to wrestle with his own need to perhaps find himself. There was a lot that a reader can relate too and feel nostalgic about for sure. John's simple writing about the people he met and his dog Charley could often put a smile on your face. The ending was odd, to say the least as John found himself caught up in segregation in the deep south. It felt like the wrong place to end the book and created a disconnected ending from 90% of the rest of the book. A strange decision in my opinion but did capture an important aspect of America at the time.
Beer Pairing: Collective Arts Brewing's Peak of Fluorescence, an 8.1% Double IPA brewed with Germany's Fuerst Wiacek brewery. Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops come to the table for a tropical fruit aroma and some nice piney notes in the taste.