Notes

When I read a book, I take notes then publish them online. I do this for a handful of reasons:
This is not an original idea; the inspiration to do this arrived via Derek Sivers and Nat Eliason. I also can't say I have any particular end-goal in mind by publishing them. It just strikes me as a generally good idea.

All book notes

Book cover art.
Part autobiography, part philosophy, part psychology, part prayer - this book is an incredibly human exploration of an inhumane and brutal time about how, even within the cruellest of suffering, can meaning and salvation be found. Its message today is just and relevant as when it was first published in the years following the second world war.
Book cover art.
Eye opening exploration of ideas and (believe it or not) how they are formed and come to be. Fascinating perspective on how innovation truly works and it busts a lot of myths and misconceptions along the way. Strong recommend.
Book cover art.
This is the number one book I wished I had read ten years ago, ideally before I started university. Describes a system for the managing of ones own thoughts and ideas, and does it in plain English. Turned me onto the importance of understanding metalearning/metacognition.
Book cover art.
I had tentatively started to read the Tao Te Ching before realising that I needed something to warm me up beforehand. This book was that warm up, and more. It explains Taoism through the lens of Winnie the Pooh who is, according to Hoff, a Taoist. I think he's right. Just a wonderful read, I finished it in a single day.
Book cover art.
Extraordinarily enlightening for such a compact volume. A broad survey of history through the lenses of government, war, religion, economics and more. Astonishing for its breadth and depth as it is its brevity.
Book cover art.
A short, powerful read from one of the world wide web's original entrepreneurs about, quite simply, how to do business. Provides an enormous amount of insight and common sense in a very short volume. Has the most value per page of any book I think I've ever read. I listened to the audiobook version, which the author also recommends.
Book cover art.
A resounding rallying cry of a book. Gives a name to the enemy of our creative work, 'The Resistance'. Defines what it is, how we must defeat and how to move past it. Pick it up in the morning and you'll be done by the afternoon.
Book cover art.
This is a powerfully good read for anyone who has any interest in doing anything creative, especially if it's on the internet. An instruction manual of sorts, but presented in ang approachable and relatable way to make the most of what you have to give to the world. If you have even the hint of a creative bone in your body, you're going to want to read this book immediately.
Book cover art.
Zinsser lays down the law. Although I'm sure there is some debate on the finer points in more academically-minded circles, this was a reassuring starting point for understanding the fundamental elements of writing quality non-fiction prose.
Book cover art.
Many of the anecdotes are dated, he was perhaps something of a misogynistic playboy, and it's obvious that he was a pain in the ass to many people. Yet here is the most brilliant collection of anecdotes that show you the mind of an extraordinary man, unafraid of what people thought of him and utterly obsessed with scientific truth and curious to the end. Funny, irreverent, well-observed and honest.
Book cover art.
Uncommonly unusual and remarkable. Talks largely about the ethics of how we decide to think and what must mean for us as we go through our lives. Originally written as a commencement address at Kenyon College. More of an essay than a book, but a book it is nonetheless.
Book cover art.
A really interesting book from one of my favourite authors and marketers. Successfully explains the realities of brand-driven marketing in the 21st century. Repetitive at times, could be shorter but luckily it's not too long either way.
Book cover art.
An incredibly interesting insight into Martin's early career, one I was not familiar with until reading this book (I had only known of him from a handful of movies). Interesting insights into the creative process, originality and consistently working at your craft. Enjoyable to read, too - I read it in a single day.
Book cover art.
A philosophical out-of-body experience that will subvert the way you understand the world. A short book, but not one that you will want to try and read quickly - it is remarkably dense and highly abstract, so go slow. Brilliant at the beginning and in the middle, but tapers off into obscurity and convolution towards the end.
Book cover art.
An exhaustively detailed and thoroughly researched handbook for improving yourself, one step at a time, through the introduction, optimisation or removal of the many habits that riddle our lives. While a little dry and repetitive at times, it's still incredibly practical and useful.
Book cover art.
An exploration of the meaning of life as told through the story of a boy, who becomes a man, who grows old and, finally, reaches the wisdom of enlightenment in his old age. Told as a series of dialogues between Siddhartha and the people who pass through his life.
Book cover art.
A collection of articles, essays, speeches, book reviews and other miscellanea by the singular David Foster Wallace. A book suffused with deep sadness and humour at the same time. Regarding any of his pieces that touch on politics, he was either prescient or writing about timeless truths. In any event, the work of an astonishingly sharp and interested mind.
Book cover art.
There is a process for coming up with ideas that any of us are able to replicate. It takes work but can be depended upon if the process itself is trusted. A brief, 80 year old volume that enjoys a special place in the history of writing about ideas.
Book cover art.
Although it shows its age - with executives only ever being referred to as men, and dated references to the industries of old (and all the old men that ran them...) - it contains some of the best writing on personal productivity, time management and decision making I've yet come across. Everything else now feels derivative, in retrospect. Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly dry and staid in places and became an uphill push to finish for this reason.
Book cover art.
Originally an article in the FT, it probably had more value as a single short essay than an entire book; it felt like I was reading the same point over and over again. I quit this book with about 25% left to go. Worth a good read of the first few chapters, but only a skim from there.
Book cover art.
A portrait of a fascinating life well-lived, and it's comforting to know that 'life hacks' are not just the preserve of the internet age. Reasonably troubling and/or dull when writing about building forts and displacing indigenous peoples, but still perhaps worth a look regardless.