7 Worthwhile Books You Should Read This Fall

Ah yes, The Coffee-Fueled Adventures of an Avid Reader. That would make a really weird movie.

As they say: the hustle is real. Fall is already upon us and the evenings are getting longer. Every show-runner knows that filling the extra air-time is never an easy task.

So. I’m here to help.

Here are seven books that will make your upcoming evenings more creative and beautiful.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

I think that it’s beautiful, too.

If you look at the back of an original Ritter Sport chocolate bar you see a line that always cracks me up. It goes: “Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut.”

Square, practical, good.

Since there’s “nothing new under the sun” I think I’ll re-use that chocolate quote as my words of recommendation for Austin Kleon’s book. It’s square. It’s practical. And it’s very, very good.

I’ve heard about this book from: Austin Kleon himself. You should follow him on Twitter. The guy’s an artist 24/7/365, no days off.

(It’s 24/7/366 when it’s a leap year, you know.)

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Honoré de Balzac was the real deal, just so you know.

“The Greats” share a lot of commonalities. Actually, it can be a bit overwhelming when you start to learn how much they really have in common.

It ranges from their mindsets and worldviews to complete trivialities like when they used to wake up or how they used to spend the first minutes of their days.

If you try to balance your daily routine — grab a copy of Daily Rituals. Learning from the best is always productive. This time, however, you can look “inside” their everyday life as well. And this is a rare opportunity truly worth exploring.

I’ve heard about this book from: reddit.com. The quality of book recommendations you can find on /r/books or similar subreddits is crazy.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman. Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman

You can also find his physics lectures on YouTube. I had no idea I would understand them, either.

Richard P. Feynman is one of the few people I’d love to have an opportunity to chat with, even briefly, over a cup of coffee. It’s a fantasy I like to think about from time to time.

This little book consists of his thoughts, experiences and findings on playing a triangle in an orchestra, redesigning a school system, fixing broken calculators, drawing people and being a part of the team that built the atomic bomb. And a lot of other things, too.

It’s a well-written compendium of inspirations and insights that can lead a person to her or his personal mastery. I think I’ve already read it five times. I hope this means I’m at least en route.

I’ve heard about this book from: the Internet. It’s mentioned almost everywhere when you search for “mental models” or “problem solving”, and rightfully so.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Also, did you know that Kahneman is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics partially because there is no Nobel Prize in Psychology?

Human brain is a very interesting system. Humanity has been studying it for thousands of years and we now know a lot about how it works and why some parts do this and others do that. But the truth is the more we know, the more we get how what we know amounts to almost nothing.

Thinking Fast and Slow is one of those very rare, truly important things that make the almost. That separate humanity from nothing.

If you want to know more about why & how you think about different things in life — read it. It’s a masterpiece.

I’ve heard about this book from: a professor who taught the Business Psychology course on the University of Social Sciences and Humanities SWPS in Warsaw, Poland. He’s a personal colleague of Daniel Kahneman.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

It’s one of those books you start to read “line by line” on a rainy afternoon and, a couple of minutes later, you just can’t explain why it’s already 3:04AM.

People generally tend to know a good book when they see one. Bird by Bird is one of the pillars of that generalization.

It’s an intimate, delicate, very subtle and slow-paced book that looks like an intimate, delicate, very subtle and slow-paced book. Also, the people who recommend reading it are using almost the same words, too.

It’s a must-read for creative human beings. It gives you courage and tells you not to worry too much. It’s a little bit like an understanding friend that will always be there for you, on the shelf, right next to your favourite novels.

I’ve heard about this book from: Tim Ferriss. He mentioned it at least 10 times before he sent me a copy in his Quarterly box. Guy’s got a good taste.

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan

Money is serious and losing money is even more serious but the book turned out to be very easy to read.

I always thought that it’s very important to know how to win. Jim Paul’s experience changed what I thought.

This is the book that teaches you how to find the most common obstacles in any given field of interest or workplace and how to protect the most common downsides. It also shows what happens when you ignore the obstacles and don’t think about the downside.

This is the book that teaches you how not to lose.

Understanding this dichotomy is a real game-changer.

I’ve heard about this book from: Tim Ferriss, again. This time he hadn’t mentioned it even once, it just happened to be in another one of his Quarterly boxes. It was a very well-aimed gift. Thank you, Tim!

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Another person I’d love to have a chat with over a cup of coffee. She helped me (through her Twitter feed and the book) with some problems that I had since forever. Thank you, Amanda!

The last book on this list. And, in some instances, the most important one. The reason is very simple, yet increasingly hard to find in the modern literature.

I know that Amanda did edit almost an entire book so it could read better and faster, but she didn’t edit the life described.

She’s wearing her intimacy and vulnerability as her external suit of armor and this is something I respect and admire about her.

I’ve heard about this book from: AMFP, as she is known since today (congrats!). I’ve been following her for a couple of years now and she never ceases to be awesome. At least follow her Twitter. She may be the source of some of your deepest-level interactions with other human beings, be it with her following or be it with her.

All right. This was the list of seven worthwhile books you can read in the following months and feel that it was truly a time well-spent.

Thank you for your time!

-Andrzej Tucholski, September 21st, 2015.

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