5 Books You Should Have Read In October

by Steve Rushing

This article first appeared on my private email list.

This past month has been incredible. First off, the email list doubled in size thanks in large part to you. Signing up and sharing the emails with friends and family has been incredibly humbling. But seeing them follow suit and sign up too? Wow. Just know I won’t let you down.

Second, the problem I’ve had this past month isn’t in finding books worthy of recommending. No, it’s debating for hours how to pick only five worthy of your time. Perhaps in the future I’ll add a section into these articles including blasts from the past. But for now, just know what I’m recommending from October are just THAT good.

Now, onto the good stuff:


→Daily Rituals: How Artists Work←

by Mason Currey

I admit it. I sometimes wish some successful person like Bill Gates would just give me a road map to life. Instead of trying to figure it all out myself, they’d put me under their wing and do all the hard work.

Perhaps that’s why I found this book so intriguing. It’s chock full of the gritty details on how the most successful people in history lived. Whether they woke up early and wrote, had a daily nude bath in the Potomac River to refresh the mind, or fasted for days while painting.

Drawn from hundreds of sources, the author didn’t bother with any fluff. Instead, he gives 1–2 page profiles that make for a perfect morning ritual of my own making. Waking up every morning, taking the dog for a quick walk, and reading a quick chapter.

To say I was sad that I finished it is an understatement.

A Night To Remember

by Walter Lord

If you’ve only seen the movie, you’ve missed out on learning the full story of the Titanic’s sinking. Because it’s thrilling, harrowing, and an absolute shocker.

Written with the help of actual survivors, Lord spins a narrative tale detailing the who, what, where, and when of the events on board. But the incredible color he gives to the facts makes it a true page turner. From the first hand account of the lookout’s sighting of the iceberg, to the true facts surrounding the captain’s death.

Plus, if you have seen the movie, you’ll recognize countless individuals. Not to mention have a better understanding why the writers of the day considered it the end of an era. If written today, it’d be a #1 NYTimes Bestseller in an instant. Read it.

In The Heart Of The Sea

by Nathaniel Philbrick

Did you know Herman Melville based Moby Dick on a true story? Or even that no man, woman, or child during the 19th century hadn’t heard of it? Me neither.

That’s why I’m so happy I read the special introduction to A Night To Remember by Nathaniel Philbrick. There I learned all about him and this stunning story which included a homicidal a sperm whale, adrift survivors at sea, and cannibalism.

Exponentially better than Melville’s story, this had the added benefit of being true. Which for someone like myself who prefers to read non-fiction generally, gives me the chance to feel the rush of good old fiction. Between this and the story of the Titanic, I’d start with the former. This one’s for dessert.

Civil War Stories

by Ambrose Bierce

If nothing else, included in this collection is what Kurt Vonnegut considered the best short story of all-time. Titled “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Ambrose wrote the story after actually serving under Sherman.

Because of his experience, the soul-crushing images conveyed by this story and its siblings come through in alarming fashion. But more astonishing, his hatred and love of war make it real like few things ever can.

When you can feel a gun shot in your gut, or feel the tears roll down your face, I know I’ve found something special.

Flash Boys

by Michael Lewis

I’ve never read any of Michael’s books. There, I admit it. Whew. I’d like to pretend it’s because I’ve been saving them up, waiting to devour them back to back. But that’s a lie. Instead it’s a bit like hiding in plain sight. Because I’m always searching to uncover non-obvious gems, I always seem to overlook his work.

No more though. Cracking open this fast paced story of how Wall Street actually works today has me hooked. Starting on the first page, his story of how computers have taken over the industry handcuffed me to my chair. Forcing me to debate the merits of eating or finishing the book. Eating (and showering) won out, but it wasn’t long before I dove back into the underbelly of the financial industry.

Strung along by stories of back room ponzi schemes, stock prices driven by the the science behind the speed of light, and prosecutorial misconduct. The bottom line, the game’s rigged, and we’re all along for the ride. If you have any interest in stocks, day trading, or retiring one day, this is scary stuff.


Extra Tidbits From October

Not a book, but an essay, I read something this past month that changed me for life. Losing the War by Lee Sandlin chronicles the overall picture of World War II for the reader who grew up knowing nothing about it. Though I fancied myself a general scholar of the major events, I found the narrative interweaving the author’s personal relationship with his stoic WWII Vet/Father enlightening and astonishing. What is lost in the academic books and History Channel TV specials (i.e. how the war actually felt) is perfectly captured here. It should be required reading of anyone in high school first being exposed to the second great conflict. Best of all, the essay is free.


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