The Book a Day Challenge!

My amazon order for books will end up taking a bit longer than expected. They are usually pretty consistent with delivery times so I failed to notice that this one was going to be shipped a lot later than usual. So, despite its small size, I decided to go our public library.

The librarian told me that I could rent out as many as eight books at a time. Immediately I began to wonder how long it would take me to read eight books if I put a little effort into it. Usually I read at a relaxed pace, taking about a book per week, sometimes two. I wonder whether or not it would be possible to read eight books in eight days.

In my own typical style I decided to make a goal out of it. So I proceeded to rent my limit of eight books which I intend to read over the next eight days. A book per day.

I’ve read entire books in one day before. Usually it is based on how much time I have and how well the author writes, rather than the number of pages. I finished both Blink and The Tipping point in a day each, which says something about Gladwell’s ability to write. But reading one book per day for eight days is a bit more of a challenge.

I don’t think this kind of habit would be sustainable in the long run seeing as there are many days when other commitments would only leave me with a half hour of reading. Still, I think it would be an interesting challenge to pursue over the next week. I’ll make a post when I’m done next Sunday cataloging what I thought of each book and my difficulties with the challenge.

So here are the books I picked out after a quick scan at the library:

How to Practice
– Dalai Lama

I had read the current Dalai Lama’s other book, The Art of Happiness, previously and found it to be very interesting read. What I found most surprising about the Dalai Lama was how humble he was. When asked a question he would give it serious thought, and when he couldn’t find an answer he would admit it. The Dalai Lama’s principle towards achieving happiness is to remove negative and destructive emotions and to focus on positive emotions. I personally find his approach to be more of a beginning of happiness rather than the encompassing view of it, but it was still a very enlightening read.

Darwin’s Ghost
– Steve Jones

This books is supposedly an updated version of Darwin’s original Origin of the Species. I have read several books on genetics, heredity and evolution. The history of life on this planet is one of the most remarkable tales I have ever heard. I personally believe in evolution primarily because I like the simple elegance of its mechanics. Unlike messy and complex philosophies involving a higher deity or greater intelligence, the evolution is so basic and simple. Despite such a basic driving force it is remarkably complex in its results.

The Advent of the Algorithm
– David Berlinski

Creating software and programming is a passion of mine. I have always loved using computers to create something. I use algorithms every day and I find that particular aspect of programming to be particularly fascinating. This should be a very interesting read from a more mathematical rather than computers perspective regarding a tool I use all the time.

Manifest Your Destiny
– Wayne W. Dyer

Wayne W. Dyer is an excellent personal development author. His focus is mostly on the ideas of peace, spirituality and thought. I personally find this style of personal development to be an interesting contrast to the more typical personal development focused on ambition, achievement and success.

Jump Start Your Brain – Doug Hall

Creativity is a hugely important part of my life. While some people like to solve problems with analysis and strategy, I’ve always found that the biggest improvements have come by creative thinking. This books is supposed to be about how you can increase your own creativity. Hopefully I can learn a few techniques to add to my own arsenal of creativity tools.

If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over? – Jeffrey J. Mayer

This is a short time-management book. I have become increasingly focused on learning more personal productivity and time-management techniques to use in my own life. Earlier I spent most of my time researching goal setting to create clarity and purpose for my life. Now that I have a lot more focus and clarity, I’ve spent more time focusing on time-management and personal productivity. Even one solid time management idea makes reading an entire book worth its value.

Time Management from the Inside Out – Julie Morgenstern

Another time management book. Once again, I hope reading this book can give me a few ideas to increase my productivity and give me a greater sense of efficiency and effectiveness.

The Google Story – David A. Vise

I love Google. Everyone loves Google. Besides, how can you not read up on the fastest growing company in history?

So I’ve got my work cut out for me. A quick tally reveals over 2,100 pages to be read over the course of these eight days. I’ll write another blog entry when I’m done to give a quick review of each book and the challenge itself. At the very least this should be a very enlightening week.


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