- Scott H Young - https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog -

Book A Day Challenge Complete!

For those of you who missed my initial post [1], I had previously decided to take on a temporary “Book A Day” challenge. I had borrowed eight books from my local library with the intention to read them all in eight days. The books totaled over 2100 pages of print. Well, it only took me seven days to finish them, so I exceeded my expectation!

The title of this challenge might be considered to be a bit of a misnomer. There were two books I needed an extra day to read and there were others that I managed to finish two in one day. I averaged more than a book per day, but I was not able to strictly keep to a one book per day schedule with some of the more dense books I borrowed.

So, here are the books I read:

How To Practice by The Dalai Lama

This was an interesting book. This was very similar to the other book by the Dalai Lama I read titled “The Art of Happiness”. The book contains various techniques for self-reflection and achieving inner peace and harmony. The Dalai Lama places emphasis that the cultivation of positive emotions such as compassion and love and the removal of negative emotions like anger and hatred, are the key to achieving peace and happiness.

Darwin’s Ghost by Steve Jones

If you haven’t read any books on the theory of evolution then this book should be very interesting. Having read several books on evolution myself, most of the ideas are pretty familiar to myself. Jones uses some modern examples of evolution to use as evidence that evolution isn’t just a theory, but fact.

I remember my high school biology teacher explaining to us why it was called the theory of evolution and not the law of evolution. In scientific terms, a law is something that gives us predictive powers. For example, I can use Newton’s laws to predict where a moving ball will roll after colliding with a wall. Theories, on the other hand only provide explanatory powers. This means I couldn’t use the theory of evolution to predict what life forms will inhabit earth in a million years, but it can explain the diversity we see today.

Many opponents of the theory of evolution state that it is “only a theory”. However, as you can see from my explanation above, scientific insights are classified as laws and theories not because of the evidence supporting them. Therefore, even if we proved the theory of evolution, it would still remain a “theory” and not become a “law”.

Advent of the Algorithm by David Berlinski

For anyone who isn’t both well-educated and fascinated in the fields of mathematics and computer science, I would strongly avoid this book. While Berlinski does provide some interesting stories of various mathematicians and their discoveries into the fields of calculus and algorithms, he is almost impossible to read. Berlinski has a very pretentious style of writing that seems like it is trying to make everything seem more profound and complex than it really is. Using the word juxtapose twice within nine words seems a little much. 🙁

Manifest Your Destiny by Wayne W. Dyer

This was an excellent book about how to manifest your goals and objectives. The essence of the book teaches important lessons about philosophies that will bring success. Gratitude, altruism and an abundance mentality are the cornerstones explained in the book. Dyer discusses personal development from a far more spiritual tone than others, so he might be a little off-putting to those of us who are more grounded in scientific reality. However, the essence of his teachings are excellent no matter your spiritual beliefs.

Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall

A fabulous book with tons of ideas for, well, creating ideas! Hall’s basic formula for creativity is to mix things up. Have fun, be spontaneous and try new things. Hall then goes into detail to describe a series of techniques to do this. It is quite a large book, so it doesn’t skimp on details.

If you haven’t got the time to do it right when will you find the time to do it over? by Jeffery J. Mayer and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

These were both excellent books in the field of time management. Both offer some great techniques for helping to organize your time. Mayer’s approach focuses more on slowing down to emphasize quality over quantity. Morgenstern’s approach focuses more on organizing time through processes of sorting.

The Google Story by David A. Vice

This was an excellent book. Google’s corporate philosophy and vision are an inspiration. Google’s attitude of help first, monetize later is an excellent one that runs counter to the conventional “pay-me-first” attitude so prevalent in today’s society. This was my favorite book out of the eight, and I think it is worth a read, regardless of your affinity to business or high-tech.

Well, its been an enlightening week. I don’t think I’ll be able to maintain the pace I’ve kept up this week indefinitely, but I’m thinking of trying three books a week. This should allow me to spend a bit more time in some books. It wasn’t as difficult as I had previously thought, but I had an unusually empty schedule this week to allow for it.

Whether or not you can read a book a week, I hope this has inspired some of you to increase the amount you read. Being well educated is critical for being able to solve problems in our lives. Read for your own personal growth.