2021 Reading Log – Part Two

The Bitcoin Standard – Saifedean Ammous
This is one of the “must read” Bitcoin books that I had somewhat ignored for maybe a little too long. I really enjoyed the details explained in this book and the explanation of the reasons why Bitcoin is as important and unique as it is. Additionally, a majority of the book covers existing and past currencies, their positives and negatives, and a crash course on modern economics. That majority was more educational for me, with some prior interest in and understanding of Bitcoin. I would recommend this book, and already have, to anyone with a slight interest in cryptocurrency.

Toil, Taxes, and Trouble – Vivian Kellems
I don’t recall where I initially heard about this book or the author, but after reading her Wikipedia page, I was pretty interested in this story. My impression after reading this is that Vivian Kellems was a badass and, from what I read, she was a pretty good person. The book details her stance on taxes and how she fought for what she felt was right, in opposition to the laws in place. Without getting too much into the details, the law she opposed in this book was the one effectively requiring employers to withhold income tax. Her stance being, “employees can pay that themselves, I don’t need to do it for them.” (not verbatim) While business owners get a lot of flack these days, a lot of it rightfully so, she did everything she could to minimize the impact of her choices on her employees while standing by her principles. That is something you hardly see today. I really enjoyed reading this and being reminded how awesome people can be.

Talking to Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell
Another I have had on my list for quite a while. I’m glad I finally got to it. I was NOT expecting the way this was written, which isn’t a bad thing. Real-life example after real-life example of failures of communication. This was written before the insanity the last few years have been (this being written in 2021), but you can imagine multiple events in recent history fitting right in among these chapters. This book isn’t another self help book or even a “feel good” read.

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
I read this based on Joe Rogan constantly recommending it. It is a very short short and quick read. Not to sound too harsh, after reading Jordan Peterson’s two “Rules” books, this feels like a much softer and maybe easier to digest sample of those books. It’s a little too woo-woo for me. I’m going to say, read Jordan Peterson’s work for better and more of what this book is trying to provide.

Pattern Recognition – William Gibson
Another fun read from William Gibson. I knew I would enjoy it before starting it and loved it the whole way though. A bit of a strange twist at the end. Almost deus ex machina. I believe this is the first in another series, however, I’m not sure that I want to get sucked into another series right now. Maybe someday I’ll finish it.

The Book of Five Rings – Miyamoto Musashi
First off, I think the wikipedia about this book is longer than the book itself. However, it was an enjoyable read. A major theme in this seems to be self discipline and practice, which I think is pretty obvious a way to be better at something, in this case swordsmanship. There is also a theme of learning the thought process and “fundamentals” over using tools that may give you an advantage in specific situations. Each of these being pretty applicable to many things in life, not just being a badass with a sword.

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