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Recent Reads

This page is comprised of a list of BookChanging's recently read books, along with the book I'm currently reading. This page will make it easy for those of you who like to read along with me. It also allows me to express my thoughts and opinions on recently read books. 

Originals by Adam Grant

I just finished Originals on Monday, April 16th.

I really enjoyed this one!

It was a pretty dense book in my opinion, covering a wide variety of different ways to cultivate originality in one's life. Grant gives multiple examples of successful people who had an incredible impact on the world due to their decision to go against the grain. He gives the examples of people like Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Ray Dalio, all people who propelled this world forward with their decision to be different.

I thought this was a fascinating topic to dive in to, and would highly suggest this book to those looking to challenge the status quo!

Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday

I just finished Trust Me Im Lying on Monday, April 9th.

Overall, I thought it was a solid book, but not a great book.

The first half of the book is dedicated to 9 different tactics made to manipulate blogs that Holiday had a lot of success with working as a marketer for several companies, including American Apparel.

The second half of the book breaks down the interworking of blogs and points out why they aren’t reliable sources of information. As well as why it's so easy to manipulate them.

I believe these tactics will be of value to those who wish to use them, but I don’t see myself using many of them. For this reason I wouldn’t suggest this book to most readers. Just those looking to use bloggers for their advantage in advertising, or those who wish to learn more about blogs as a media platform.

Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday

I just finished Conspiracy on April 2nd.

Conspiracy is a story of how Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, and multiple other figures conspired against Gawker and came out triumphant. Holiday defines conspiracy as determined, coordinated action, done in secret, that aims to disrupt the status quo or accomplish some aim.

This definition is very different from the typical thought about conspiracy and it's one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much.

Throughout the book Holiday gives the details to an insane story of the trial Hogan v. Gawker. Through this story he lays out the different steps to a successful conspiracy. 

The idea of silently plotting and scheming over a long period of time to achieve some big goal is extremely inspiring to me. Knowing that if you share your plans they would no longer work and would lose the element of surprise. And that’s exactly what a proper conspiracy is. 

Overall, I thought this was an extremely interesting read. If any of this information in my review is interesting to you, I'd suggest you pick this one up!

Mastery by Robert Greene

I finished Mastery on Monday, March 27.

This is now the third book I've read by Greene and I would rank it as my favorite. I’m sure many of you have heard of/read 48 Laws of Power, which I found to be similar in that both are incredibly dense with knowledge. Reading Robert Greene is a mix of incredible historical knowledge with easy applicability. 

The book has 6 main parts: 1 Find Your Life Task, 2 The Apprenticeship Phase, 3 Absorb The Masters Power, 4 See People as They Are, 5 Awaken the Dimentional Mind, and 6 Fuse the Intuitive with the Rational: Mastery. These 6 steps are filled with practical steps that Greene believes every master had to endure. 

Overall, I loved the book! I think everyone could greatly benefit from this book. 

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

I just finished Man's Search for Meaning on Monday, March 19th and I loved it! The book is written by a psychologist who survived a concentration camp. Viktor Frankl breaks down exactly how people were able to find meaning even in the most undesirable circumstance. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "Everything can be taken from a man except for one thing: the choice of attitude in any given set of circumstances." 

I found Man's Search for Meaning to be extremely inspiring and it also made me appreciate my freedom. If you're looking for an inspiring short read, I'd highly suggest this one! 

Rise and Grind by Daymond John

I finished reading Rise and Grind on Tuesday, March 12th. My first impressions of the book were a little underwhelming. The beginning of the book was a bit too cliche, it seemed like the "typical" motivational book. However, it started to get more interesting towards the ending chapters. It got better because thats when Daymond wrote about his day to day life and what his rise and grind looks like, which I found to be very motivating. There were also several interviews Daymond held with several different successes, Grant Cardone and Joel Olsteen were my favorites.

Overall opinion, I liked it. I didn’t think it was a great book. But it has motivated me to work harder and use my time more efficiently. 

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

I just finished 12 Rules for Life on Tuesday, March 6th. This book has quickly become one of my favorites and I plan on revisiting it multiple times in the years to come! It is almost hard for me to express my thoughts in two short paragraphs considering how dense the book is.  If you've listened to or read anything by Peterson in the past and enjoyed it, then I can guarantee you will like this book. 

The main premise behind the 12 rules is to aid readers in finding a balance between chaos and order. Peterson uses his rules to describe how one can take control of certain parts of his or her life and create order, while coming to terms with the chaotic parts one cannot change. I found all 12 rules to be extremely practical and inspiring. And they are certainly rules I aspire to live up to.

I have so many thoughts about this book, I cannot possibly share them all, but in short, I cannot suggest this book enough! Do your future self a favor and buy it! 

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

I just finished Outliers on Sunday, February 25th. My overall thoughts about the book are positive, however I don't think this book offers any life changing knowledge. The main premise of the book discusses the difference between opportunities and natural talent as they relate to success. I found most of the factual evidence and stories Gladwell provides throughout the book to be extremely interesting and I think many people would enjoy them as well.

I'd recommend this book to more experienced readers looking for a book with an interesting premise. I thought it was a good book with valuable information. However, I'd recommend the newer readers to start with something else from my recent reads, considering this specific topic may not interesting to most.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

I just finished The Obstacle is the Way on February 19th and absolutely loved it! This is my third book I've read by Ryan Holiday and as I've said before he has become one of my favorite authors. His books always seem to provide me with calming, inspiring, and assuring feelings associated with how to live life. In The Obstacle is the Way he uses his familiar writing style of including stories of historic figures like Marcus Aurelius, Odysseus, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. His inclusion of these incredible historic tales is fascinating in my opinion. And he uses these stories to give examples of people who have taken less than desirable situations and made the best of them.

I would HIGHLY recommend you read this book and any of Holiday's other books as well. I feel that this book will help anyone deal with and embrace all obstacles in life, no matter how big or how small. 

Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill

I finished Outwitting the Devil on February 12th. This is my third book I've read by Napoleon Hill an I've come to admire the wisdom he offers on the subject of success. I would rank this as my second favorite book by Hill, I still feel Think and Grow Rich is his best work.

The main premise of the book is based upon an interview Hill has with the Devil. He allows the reader to decide whether the interview was literally with the Devil or if it was merely Hill's imagination. This interview then sets up the question and answer format of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Through Hill's questioning of the Devil he outlines the difference between people who are drifters "unsuccessful" and people who are non-drifters "successful". I found the tips resulting from the interview to be very valuable which resulted in me taking intense notes while reading. For this reason, I think many of you would find value in Outwitting the Devil and I would suggest it to those looking for a book that discusses success principles.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 

I just finished Meditations on February 4th and I absolutely loved it! After reading it I can finally see why this book has been in circulation for nearly 2,000 years. As a result of the old age of Meditations, there are many different translations of it. I read the version translated by Gregory Hays and found his introduction to be very informative with a lot of context. I would like to read multiple other translations and see what the differences are between them.

My favorite take away from Meditations is the point that Aurelius mentions over and over; to live life according to your own standards. Aurelius has inspired me to stop looking at the ways other people live and instead to look at what God or "Nature" has put me on Earth to do. He mentions this multiple times throughout the book and it truly has inspired me to re-evaluate the way I'm living and my motivations for doing so. This is a book that I plan to read multiple times throughout my life and I'll say it is a MUST READ! 

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

I just finished How to Talk to Anyone on Saturday, January 27th. This is one of the first books that I really didn't enjoy. I will say that there were some valuable tips in the book that will help anyone in different social situations. But, I personally found the book boring and somewhat irrelevant to my life situation. The reason being is that this book was written for social environments related to corporate parties and business relationships, which are not situations I find myself in. 

If you want to see an overview of these 92 tricks, id suggest just searching google for a pdf of the book and skimming through it. I would not recommend you purchase this book!

The Magic Ladder to Success by Napoleon Hill

I just finished this book on Sunday, January 21st. Overall, I thought it was a good book, but not a great book. I found that I enjoyed the beginning and ending chapters more than any other chapters. Most of the chapters were only around 3 pages and were a bit too brief. In my opinion, Think and Grow Rich is a better and more detailed version of this book. 

So, if you're looking for a quick introduction to Napoleon Hill then I think you'd enjoy this book. But, if you've already read other works by Hill, I think this will seem pretty repetitive. 

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

I just finished Perennial Seller on Sunday, January 14th. My overall opinion of this book is a bit underwhelming. On one hand, I did enjoy and find value in the main premise of the book which spoke of creating art and businesses that are timeless. I also found the book a bit difficult to read through.

Unlike the work I have previously read by Holiday including Ego is the Enemy and The Daily Stoic, Perennial Seller did not draw me in and make me want to read it. Like I previously stated, I still did find this book to be valuable and plan to take some lessons from it and implement them. If you aspire to create great art or a great and lasting business, then I think you should check this one out.


Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

I finished Tuesdays With Morrie on Thursday, January 4th and I absolutely loved it! After finishing it, I would say it has easily become one of the best books I've ever read. The conversation between the two main characters of the book, Mitch and Morrie, had me on the brink of crying multiple times. Which was a very different reading experience for me.

This book contains the dialogue former student, Mitch Albom, and his former professor, Morrie. Without spoiling the book, Mitch decides to write about his amazing conversations with Morrie as he approaches his death. These insightful conversations include topics such as death, fear, greed, and forgiveness to name a few. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those looking for a heartfelt story with valuable principles. READ THIS BOOK! 

Iron John by Robert Bly

I just finished Iron John on Sunday, Dec. 31st. As you can see from the title, this is a book about men. More specifically, this is a book about the transition from boyhood to manhood and everything the process entails.

Robert Bly uses an ancient story named "Iron John" to represent the process of becoming a man. Through this mythological story Bly breaks down what young boys need in order to become men who live fulfilled lives. I absolutely loved this book and definitely recommend it to any man, I honestly believe this book should be read by every single man at least once.  Iron John will be a book that I revisit many times throughout my life. 

The Prince by Nicole Machiavelli

Happy Holidays to you all! I've just finished The Prince and wanted to share my final thoughts with you. I felt that the book was definitely an interesting read and is certainly different than what I usually read. I'd encourage you to do some research on this book because there is a lot of background info that makes this book very intriguing. In short, the book was a letter written in the 1500's to Lorenzo de' Medici, the governor of Florence at the time.

The book is an analysis provided by Niccolo Machiavelli of the pros and cons of rulers of the past. Through these examples Machiavelli provides advice to this new prince on how he can successfully govern his people. My biggest takeaway is that most of this advice is directly correlated to success in any field, not just for government officials. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book but it wouldn't be my first recommendation. As you can assume the writing of Machiavelli is a bit complicated and dry, which made the book somewhat hard to comprehend. 

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

I just finished High Performance Habits on December 18th. My final impressions of this book are a bit indifferent. While I enjoyed the six habits that Burchard presents throughout the book, I found that I had to force myself to sit down and read it. I found the habits to be empowering and most certainly beneficial to anyone who implements them, but I personally didn't enjoy the writing style of this book. For this reason I'd recommend a few of the other recently read books over this one, I also enjoyed Burchard's previous book The Motivation Manifesto much more than this one.

Relentless by Tim S. Grover

I just finished relentless and what a great book it was. Let me first start off by saying, this book is not for everyone. The author is a personal trainer who has experience with some of the greatest players the NBA has seen including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade.

The author describes the mentality it takes to reach a level of excellence that these individuals have. He describes these relentless people as "cleaners". The ones who get the job done no matter what. Grover describes exactly what sets apart the cleaners from the average person and how we can achieve excellence in whatever we desire. He is very straightforward throughout the book, and claims excellence requires a level of sacrifice that not many are willing to make. If greatness is something you aspire to achieve, I'd highly recommend this book.

The Mount of Olives by Michael Ivanov

I just finished The Mount of Olives on Friday, December 1st.  The book is about a fictional story of a young boy that goes on a journey to achieve his dream. In a similar way to The Alchemist, the boy goes through more transformation that he could have ever imagined and through this transformation the boy writes 11 declarations to an extraordinary life.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, especially the ending. The journey of the young boy is extremely relatable and incredibly inspiring. The book beat all my expectations I had for it, and the ending almost brought me to tears. I can't recommend you read this book enough!

The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

I finished The Hero With A Thousand Faces on Saturday, November 25th.

This is my first time reading any of Joseph Campbell's work and it was a bit different than what I usually read. Campbell has a very profound way of depicting what he calls The Hero's Journey in this book. The Hero's Journey is the journey of a boy/girl who must go through different steps in order to become a true man or woman/hero. The Hero's Journey is going into the unknown in order to achieve your life goal/purpose. Campbell breaks down the Hero's Journey with three steps including Separation/Departure, Trials and Victories/Initiation, and finally the Return/ Reintegration with society. 

Overall I absolutely loved this book and I also enjoyed learning about the Hero's Journey. It was a bit difficult for me to comprehend the examples of mythology included within the book, but I would still highly recommend this book for you!