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Nutrition For The Mind: Reading List

It is as if not more important to feed the brain good information as it is to provide proper nutrients to the body.

There are tens of thousands of books written each year, and every reader’s tastes differ. Here are some books I read in 2016 that might be of interest to you as you pursue the all-important quest of making your mind strong, vibrant and supple. As Bruce Lee said, “…it is not enough to know, you must act.” In the same vein, it is not enough to read, you must retain and apply. Thus consider quality over quantity, and take your time absorbing the ideas contained in the books. The goal is to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and that takes time & effort. You don’t win a contest by virtue of reading the most books; it is the process of learning and growing that counts.

Some of My Favorite Reads From This Past Year

  • On The Shortness of Life, Seneca (a brief work on how to get the most out of life and not waste the few precious heartbeats we are each endowed with).

  • The Art of Happiness, The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler (a really interesting perspective on life, happiness and peace).

  • The Road Less Traveled, Scott Peck (a profound classic on all aspects of love, relationships).

  • How Not to Be Wrong. The Power of Mathematical Thinking, Jordan Ellenberg (a dense but interesting look at how statistical information can be used to manipulate and lead to erroneous conclusions).

  • Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn (a good primer on mediation and living in the moment).

  • How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Gelb (an excellent work for those interested in nurturing their creative sides. I revisit this book every few years).

  • The Work of Byron Katie (the four questions alone are worth checking out this short read).

  • Elon Musk. Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance (a well done biography on a fascinating innovator).

  • The Magic of Math, Arthur Benjamin (I had the opportunity to get to speak with Dr. Benjamin who makes complex math interesting and accessible).

  • Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (a classic work by one of the great ancient philosophers).

  • The Inner Game of Tennis, Timothy Gallwey (I read this book as a kid and enjoyed it as much the second time around. Great insights on the power of visualization in performance).

  • The Secret of Your Immortal Self, Guy Finley (a well done examination of the mind and how we can manage our thoughts and feelings in constructive ways).

  • The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz (a short but powerful read on how to reduce suffering that affects us all).

  • Anti-Cancer. A New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber (an in-depth look at sources of cancer and how to prevent via stress reduction, improved diet, lifestyle, etc).

  • The Smartest Kids in the World, Amanda Ripley (a well-constructed examination of the US education system with prescriptions for improvement. A must read for any parent concerned about our faltering education system).

  • The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes (I have not read this yet but heard it creates a compelling case for the dangers of excess sugar consumption).

  • Principles, Ray Dalio (famed hedge fund manager Dalio outlines his principles to business and life. You may not agree with everything he says, but this essay forces you to examine your own guiding life principles).

  • Change Your Brain Change Your Life, Daniel G. Amen (this was the first book I read in 2016 and had a powerful impact on me…and likely contributed to why I read more books in 2016 than any year since University. Makes a compelling case for changing specific habits to improve the most important part of the body: the brain).

I’d love to hear what books had a positive impact on you in 2016 and what is on your reading list for 2017.

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