Good Reads: ‘The Passion Paradox’

This is probably not a book that I would have chosen to read on my own. B reads a ton of these self mastery type of books because of their relevance to her line of work. She recommended it to me because one of the authors was a competitive runner. The crux of this book, “The Passion Paradox,” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, is unpacking what catchphrases like “finding your passion” and “living a balanced life” really mean. Further, the book uses historical real world examples of how applying such ideas in one’s life does not always yield the intended consequences (i.e. long term success, happiness, fulfillment, etc.). I normally find these types of books cheesy and only marginally (if at all) scientific. But I really did enjoy this read, and it caused me to scrutinize some personal traits with a new perspective after having digested the text. Worth checking out, in my opinion.

Good Reads: ‘Team of Rivals’

I have been reading this book on and off for a couple of years. I normally read on the go, and lugging a 700+ pager around with me is not something that I have really done since law school. I finally finished it a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m kind of sad that it’s over. “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin is an extremely well written (obviously, since she’s got a Pulitzer), chronological account of Lincoln’s life. The focus of the book is on Lincoln’s political career, but it is obvious that his professional demeanor was shaped by certain aspects of Lincoln’s humble upbringing, also covered in this text. Before reading this book, I didn’t know the full extent of Lincoln’s true genius (not in the hyperbole way that people have used to dumb down this word) and strength of character. It is unlikely that the US will ever see another person of Lincoln’s caliber occupying its highest office. I highly recommend this book.

Good Reads: ‘Say Nothing’

It has been a while since I was so captivated by a story that I couldn’t tear myself away from it. I read this book in a weekend.  “Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe, tells the true story of a widowed mother of 10 taken from her family in 1970s Belfast by the IRA and “disappeared.” I was both fascinated and disgusted by the factual basis of what I was reading. My mind was blown learning accounts of neighbors killing neighbors, and tenement houses turned war zones. Further, it all takes place in recent history/current day, in a supposedly developed western nation. In addition to telling an otherworldly story, the book helped me make sense of many U2 and Sinead O’Connor lyrics that I learned growing up. Everything from Bloody Sunday to Margaret Thatcher’s stance on the North Ireland conflict are covered in this text. The book was randomly recommended to me by none other than my barber. I was sitting in the chair getting my hairs did when he asked me “do you read?”. Apparently his reaction to this book was similar to mine. He strongly suggested that I check it out. Having now read it myself, I also highly recommend it.

Good Reads: ‘When’

I randomly grabbed this book at an airport newsstand recently. I didn’t know much about the author, and had not previously heard of this book. ‘When’ by Daniel Pink is a relatively quick read, at ~200 pages. The premise of the book gives credence to the old idiom “timing is everything.” I found the text fascinating. It was very satisfying to learn that there is some science behind that mid-afternoon intellectual slump that experience on a daily basis. I really enjoy any book that teaches me something about myself. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Good Reads: Anthony Kiedis’ ‘Scar Tissue’

This was another book that I got in my Christmas stocking. Thanks, B. I had actually asked for this one. One of my colleagues mentioned that his wife was reading it and enjoyed. Since I was a massive RHCP fan growing up, I felt like I needed to get in on this action.

By way of background, I was extremely passionate about music in the early 90s. Listening to and playing music were two of my main hobbies. I won’t say that Red Hot Chili Peppers was my favorite band. But they were definitely in heavy rotation on my CD player. And as a bass player, Flea was definitely my favorite (Les Claypool was a close second). Reading this book was almost enough inspiration for me to break the bass out of storage and give it a slap. Alas, my bass guitar is still collecting dust in the closet.

The book reeled me in right away. I had no idea that AK was from Michigan. Anthony’s way of story telling is very matter of fact and easily conjures visuals, occasionally too vivid. His voice in the beginning of the book is very humble and to the point. I wish that he would have been able to sustain that voice through the entirety of the book. Unfortunately that is not the case. Nonetheless, I did find the story fascinating. I especially loved reading about RHCP’s interactions with other personalities from that era that I was really into, i.e. Kurt Cobain.

Some takeaways from the book:

  1. Anthony Kiedis is an addict
  2. Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s was a free-for-all
  3. Anthony Kiedis is not a musician (at all), despite being in a band
  4. Apparently speedball is like coke, but the high lasts longer
  5. Aside from the drugee lingo, this book may have actually diminished my vocabulary except for the word “accoutrement,” a word that no one actually uses in real life, yet inexplicably appears on multiple occasions in this text
  6. Anthony Kiedis dated Sinead O’Connor, and was dumped by her
  7. AK is still pissed about being dumped by Sinead
  8. Black tar heroin is most easily sourced in Mexico

If you read at my pace it will take multiple sittings to finish (~460 pages). If you read at Angela Libby’s pace, you will finish it in 1.5 hours. If you can look past all of the humble (and not so humble) bragging, the blatant retorts to negative media, etc., there is a lot of wacky entertaining stuff in this text. Overall, I’d say it is worth the read.