Like most humans, I’m not ashamed to say I’m prone to snap-surface-level judgments when it comes to people I don’t know. There’s no better example than my infatuation with American filmmaker, writer, actor, and artist John Waters who just so happens to love legendary Japenese fashion label Comme des Garçons (please read his immense tribute to Rei Kawakubo here it’s a fascinating read) as much as I do! And the other day I happened to stumbled across this video on YouTube below from a talk he did at ‘Talks at Google’ to help promote his new book Mr. Know-It-All so I decided to pick up and add it to my list of books I’m going to read during the coronavirus lockdown here in London.
And lastly, I’m still mulling over whether I should try my hand at standup comedy. In the hopes of pushing me over the edge, I also picked up a copy of I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics by Ritch Shydner and Mark Schiff.
I have to be honest with you, I’ve slacked off from reading the last few weeks. My usual routine consisted of 1 hour of reading a day, which allowed me to finish around 3-4 books per month, not bad. But as with most hobbies, I let things slip by the wayside and I’ve only managed to finish 2 books in the last couple of months, not good enough for me. But redemption comes in different forms and seeing as we’re going through a difficult time in the world right now with the coronavirus pandemic (COVID 19) it feels like there’s no better time to pick up reading again during the self-isolation period. If you’re interested I’m going to share some of the books I intended to read over the next few months. This will include a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, coffee table books and audiobooks. First, on the list, I have Margrave of the Marshes by Alexandra Ravenscroft and John Peel and Made In Cassina by Giampiero Bosoni.
I recently finished reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a short but confusing read and I’m not sure I entirely understood everything, maybe that’s a good thing. But it also got me thinking about the TV series Westworld. A lot of the criticism aimed at that show came down to people not understanding what was going, but after reading this book I think that’s quite refreshing. In a world where things get dumbed down and presented in an overly simplistic manner, I like having to wrestle with stuff. Not knowing what to make of something and meditating on it a bit isn’t a bad thing and I actually got more from this through this experience.
I’m no fan of New Years resolutions, I find the idea of suddenly changing your ways on an arbitrary date a bit pointless and ultimately not conducive to actual IRL change. That being said the last time I did it was back in 2012 and one of my New Years goals was to read more books. Even though I hated school and got voted “class clown” 3 years in a row (big up Royal Docks Community!) I always found reading quite pleasurable, but like many others post-University the last thing I wanted to do was read another book for enjoyment purposes, that experience burned me out.
Everything changed when I randomly stumbled upon ‘The 4 Hour Week’ by @timferriss – Cringe title aside that book made me realise time is our only non-renewable resource and spending all of it glued to social media wasn’t the best use of it. I used to spend days on end scrolling through feed after feed frantically looking for something I couldn’t find. To remedy the situation I decided to commit to reading at least 2 books per month for 1 hour a day. To make things easy I scheduled my reading time around my commute to work or during my lunch breaks.
And every year since then I’ve upped the ante book by book and I’m proud to say in 2018 I managed to read a TOTAL OF 32 books and 4 audiobooks! I wasn’t sure about posting blogging about it, I didn’t want give the impression that I’m gloating or that I think I’m better than anyone, that’s not what I’m about. But my hope is this serves as motivation for the people out there who complain about the amount time they spend on their smartphones glued to social media, there is a solution. For some you reading isn’t an option, whether its going for a walk for 30-60 minutes with your phone on airplane model, whatever it is try and find something that takes you away from your screen for a designated period time I promise you your life and mental health will be better off for it.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy” – so if you’re want make one resolution this year I implore you to unplug from the internet, at least for an hour a day.
Another month, another collection of books I’m aiming to read in the month of March. Crushing It! was an obvious choice, I consume a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk’s content and some of his tips on social media and personal branding have really helped me, so the best way to pay it forward is to buy a book! The other choices are mix between things I’ve had on my Amazon Wish List for a while and a couple of titles I was reminded about through random podcasts. If you’re interested to find out more, please find a list of the books below…
Every year I try to read as many books as I can, it’s a habit I’ve only developed over the last few years, but it’s greatly effected my life in ways I couldn’t imagine and for a serial loner such as myself, reading brings me a lot comfort, escapism and amusement which allows me get out of my own head for a couple hours a day, which is great mental clarity. More often than not it’s a lot easier said then done, there’s so many books out there it’s safe to you will NEVER get around to reading them all, and when you suffer from an acute sense of FOMO, you always feel as if you should be reading something else when you should be concentrating on what’s in-front of you. So my goal for reading in 2017 centred on “extreme focus” – which meant focusing my entire attention on the books I had in-front of me.
I’m happy to report that I managed to read a total of 23 books in 2017 from start to finish, some took longer than others, but overall I think gained a lot by being able to focus intently on the books in-front of me. With that being said I dd fall short of my overall goal for 2017, I set out to read four books a month but only managed an average two for various reasons. On the bright side, I’ve got something to aim in 2018, so the new goal for this year will be read a total of 48 books which averages four books per month, which is entirely doable if I make some slights adjustments here and there, which include limiting my overall screen (laptop and smartphone) and increasing my daily reading time from 1 hour to about 2-2.5 hours 7 days a week. Sometimes I get so hell-bent on finishing books that I often forget the point of reading; which is to gain knowledge and perspective from mentors dead or alive and apply it to your everyday life, in some shape or form.
Another month, another reading list. I’am upping the ante and aiming to read six books during the month of the December. It’s a bit of a stretch I know, but seeing as we’re winding down the year I thought it best to end on a high note. Sometime before the end of the year I’m going to collate all the books I’ve read this year, a couple months here and there I didn’t read much for whatever reason but it’ll be interesting to see how many books I managed to get through this year, but more importantly I’m curious to see the range of books read.
Anyways, without further ado please find below titles and links for my December reading list and if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email here.
‘Tribe of Mentors’ by Timothy Ferriss
‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce
‘Pour Me: A Life’ by A.A. Gill
‘Pablo Escobar: My Father’ by Juan Pablo Escobar
‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday
‘Managing Oneself’ by Peter Drucker