Paperbacks I’m Reading Nowadays (Day In and Day Out) that Will Somehow Benefit You
By Byron M. Vidal
- Great Coffee: The Coffee Lover’s Guide by Kevin Sinnott
- A takeaway from the book that I think will somehow surprise you: What Do Coffee Bubbles Mean? Bubbles appear to form in the center when weather will be fair. If they form at the sides, it means rain. If they scatter all over, the weather will change. Strangely, meteorologists appear to confirm this. The science is attributed to the way air pressure affects coffee’s surface tension. Betcha didn’t know that your cup of coffee is also a weather vane. Be sure to use a cup of strong coffee. Weak or instant coffee doesn’t work.
- The Obstacle Is The Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday
- A takeaway from the book that I think will somehow benefit you: Our understanding of the world of business is all mixed up with storytelling and mythology. Which is funny because we’re missing the real story by focusing on individuals. In fact, half the companies in the Fortune 500 were started during a bear market or recession. Half. The point is that most people start from disadvantage (often with no idea they are doing so) and do just fine. It’s not unfair, it’s universal. Those who survive it, survive because they took things day by day—-THAT’S THE REAL SECRET. Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead. The implications of our obstacle are theoretical—-they exist in the past and the future. We live in the moment. And the more we embrace that, the easier the obstacle will be to face and move.
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
- A takeaway from the book that I think you already know or didn’t know: Everything you consume online has been “optimized” to make you dependent on it. Content is engineered to be clicked, glanced at, or found—-like a trap designed to bait, distract, and capture you. Blogs are out to game you—-to steal your time from you and sell it to advertisers—-and they do this every day. The idea that the web is empowering is just a bunch of rattling, chattering talk. YOU SIT DOWN TO YOUR COMPUTER TO WORK. FIVE minutes later you’re on your fifth YouTube video of talking babies. What happened? Do you just not have any self-control? Sorry, but self-control has got nothing to do with it. Not when the clip was deliberately made more attractive by subliminally embedded images guaranteed to catch your attention. Not when the length of the video was calibrated to be precisely as long as average viewers are statistically most likely to watch. Would you also be surprised to hear that the content of the video was designed around popular search terms? And that the title went through multiple iterations to see which got the most clicks? And what if the video you watch after this one (and the one after that and after that) had been recommended and optimized by YouTube with the deliberate intention of making online video take up as much time in your life as television does? No wonder you can’t get any work done. They won’t let you. The key, as megawatt liberal blogger Matt Yglesias advised when interviewed for the book Making It in the Political Blogosphere, is to keep readers addicted: “The idea is to discourage people from drifting away. If you give them a break, they might find that there’s something else that’s just as good, and they might go away.” We once naively believed that blogs would be a boon to democracy. Unlike TV, the web wasn’t about passive consumption. Blogs were about engagement and citizen activism. Blogs looked like they would free us from a crummy media world of bias, conflict, manipulation, and sensationalism. But as James Fennimore Cooper presciently observed in the nineteenth century, “If newspapers are useful in overthrowing tyrants, it is only to establish a tyranny of their own.” Tyranny is an understatement for the media today. Those between the ages of eight and eighteen are online roughly eight hours a day, a figure that does not include texting or television. America spends more than fifty billion minutes a day on Facebook, and nearly a quarter of all Internet browsing time is spent on social media sites and blogs. In a given month, blogs stream something like 150 million video streams to their users. So of course there is mass submission and apathy—-everyone is distracted, deliberately so.
- Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday
- A takeaway from the book that I think will somehow remind you: Growth hacking had made “marketing” irrelevant, or at the very least it had completely rewritten its best practices. Instead, we will focus on the mindset—-it’s far and away the most important part.
“I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance. We pursue knowledge the way a pig pursues truffles.” —-David Ogilvy