January 2021 Book Review

I am going to try something new. January 2021 Book Review coming through…

This year I’ve been consuming books at a staggering pace which I am sure I won’t be able to maintain.

I’ve read books about cryptocurrency, income inequality, mass movements and minimalism. I’ve taken it easy on fiction which of course means I am due for a heavy dose of fiction in the coming weeks. I can’t keep it real for too long.

Fiction is a beautiful escape — especially during these turbulent times.

Here’s a rundown of some of the books I’ve read in the past two weeks.

Lincoln in the Bardo

⭐⭐⭐ meh

I couldn’t keep up but the concept was so innovative and compelling that I had to give the book 3 stars. The book chronicles the death of great Abe Lincoln’s son Willie. His son spends his time in Bardo (a place between life and death) with a bunch of other dead people. They all are in limbo between life and death and narrate the visitations of Abe to the crypt. If you’re not compelled to read this I don’t blame you I am doing a horrible job explaining the book because…

I’ll be honest I was confused half the time but whenever I came to I was impressed with the prose. I’m a sucker for historical fiction which is why I found it palatable.

The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ super

I found this book immensely fascinating. If you’re not a sociopath you’ll likely agree that inequality, income inequality in particular, affects almost every facet of our lives. From how we eat, to how we view ourselves to how we socialize.

This read was poignant in that it mirrors a lot of the issues we as a society are facing today. From Covid-19 health outcomes to an individual’s proclivity towards joining a mass movement because they “have nothing to lose.”

There’s no better time to read this book than now!

The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ super

I couldn’t put this book down!

One of my best friends is a hedge fund manager so it goes without saying that I get a lot of sage advice when it comes to investing my money. A few months ago he mentioned I should diversify my portfolio and consider crypto — specifically Ethereum. Sooo obviously I took his advice and invested.

Any investment into the unknown always makes me feel uneasy so I decided to do some research and BOY was this book eye opening.

Fast-forward to now and the phrases crypto, bitcoin and ethereum are dominating investment chatter on the web. I have a greater understanding of blockchain technology and the concept of smart contracts due in large part to reading this book. So if you’re interested in crypto (which you should be) I’d pick up this book pronto!

The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ super

Call me a soothe-sayer because all of the books I have read this month that have somehow mirrored current events to a T.

A day after finishing this book the terrorist attack on the Capitol took place. I saw a rag tag mass of Trump supporters do the unthinkable and without pause I understood how and why this happened because I read this book written by a longshoreman in the 1940s.

This book chronicles the rise of Nazi Germany and many other mass movements and comes to the conclusion that income inequality, an inglorious leader creating a scapegoat and war/pandemic lend themselves perfectly to ugly mass movements.

It’s a quick read thats eerily prescient.

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

⭐⭐⭐⭐ cool

I’ll keep this review short because, you know… minimalism.

I think this book is great for anyone who isn’t familiar with the phrase or the movement.

I was bored at times by the writer’s constant glorification of Steve Jobs and his constant references to Tyler Durden quotes – but the message was great. Throw old shit away  (material and immaterial)

This is a must skim book. I read every word until about page 200 then just skimmed through the rest of the book.

p.s. for a book that suggests you throw all your books away after reading them the author/publishing company spent a lot of time making the book feel and look nice. It’s a hard goodbye!

Goodbye, January 2021 Book Review 👋


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