What I'm Reading This Year
Let's talk a little about books. Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with learning. I remember being a kid telling my mom and dad that I was interested in "genetics" before I even got to high school, thinking that I'd one day be conducting research to make this world a lot healthier. I haven't quite gone down that path, but I won't write it off just yet. Needless to say, I studied a lot in high school, decided to pursue engineering in college, and now here I am back in school. All throughout my previous years in school, I'd always be caught up studying the textbooks, feeling guilty if I ever took the time to read something unrelated to my studies. I wish someone would have told me that that was the wrong way to think. I also wish I could tell you that I'm now perfectly comfortable spending time on things unrelated to my immediate goals, but I haven't quite mastered it yet. That's why I'm writing this.
I could probably go off on a tangent about how it's beneficial to do things out of context of what you're trying to achieve because you never know what you might discover, who you might meet, etc.. but I'll keep this topic to reading. Through my academic life, I've always associated reading with work, like it was a chore. If I ever took breaks from problem sets or projects, I certainly wasn't picking up a book. When I got into the "working world" as an engineer, I spent countless hours behind my cubicle with three monitors staring at colorful screens, excel sheets, and code. There were plenty of times where I'd have a great conversation with someone about a book they were reading and I'd go through a phase of ordering the book online along with somewhere around five other books that popped up in the recommendations queue. I'd read one, start another, and another, and never actually finish all of them. My excuse was that there was always something more important for me to be focusing on instead. It's not that I disliked reading, it's just that I felt it was a waste of time if there wasn't something to be learned from the book.
Now that I'm back in school again, I've still had the same excuse, but this year I'm devoting time to change it. Together CJ and I have managed to somehow hoard a collection of books - partly my doing and partly CJ's. His recent reading habits have definitely prompted me to want to start finding some time to read a couple pages each day. He'll read 5-10 pages each morning with his tea, and he's always trying to convince me that those consistent efforts add up to big wins in the end. He's right.
I've decided to spend 20 minutes at minimum before bed each night reading a book. My mind may be swamped with b-school PDFs and random assignments looming, but I know reading a little will help distract my mind and help inspire some new thoughts or challenge my current ways of thinking. I'm determined to read and re-read, in some cases, several of the books that I already have in my collection. I'm one to prefer non-fiction-- anything in the science, psychology, business, self-improvement realm is okay with me, so I'll stick to that for now.
Here are a few on my list:
- Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg - one I've started, but haven't yet finished
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - another one started, but not yet finished
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- The Art of Uncertainty by Dennis Merritt Jones
- Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem - read years ago, need to read again
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron
- Food Matters by Mark Bittman
- Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
I'm always open to recommendations, so please send me a message or drop a comment if there's a must-read on your list!