Books I’ve Been Reading Lately – Part 2

Here are some mini-reviews of some books I’ve read lately. As always, I read one non-fiction book and one fiction book at a time. The non-fiction book is usually a business book, but I will often read books on history and man-woman relationships. The fiction book is almost always fantasy, with the occasional sci-fi, business thriller, or novel from history.

Traction by Gino Wickman

Fantastic business book and perhaps the best business book I’ve read in several years, which is high praise. It’s written by a very experienced business consultant who has designed a detailed plan on maximizing a company’s performance based on his experience working with many companies over the years.

Not all of the ideas apply to Alpha 2.0 businesses, but a lot do, and I implemented some of his techniques immediately after reading it.

Highly recommend this book.

F.U. Money by Dan Lok

Dan Lok’s overly-corny marketing turns a lot of people off, as does his delivery style, and I agree it’s hard to get through sometimes. However, if you can ignore that stuff and focus on his content, much of his ideas are very good and are very effective. Since breaking through to a new income level in the last few years, I’ve been reading more about super-high-income guys like Dan to get more insights on both this kind of thinking and this kind of financial management.

F.U. Money is mostly a motivational book with the standard success stuff you’ve read before if you’ve already read a lot of success books like I have, but there are still a few standout chapters that helped me. I recommend this book if you don’t mind wading through some hype and some already-repeated success tropes.

The Black Company by Glen Cook

This fantasy series came highly recommended by a lot of people, and looked super interesting and entertaining. The problem is that, sadly, it bored me to death and I couldn’t even finish the book.

There’s nothing wrong with the writing per se, it’s just not interesting or exciting. I can’t recommend it. If you want to read a good fantasy series that features badass characters, read the Joe Abercrombe’s First Law series, or, if you can handle it (and most people can’t), Steven Erikson’s Malazan series.

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen

Brain health has been something on my radar lately, since I believe the key to longevity is not only how healthy your body is, but how healthy your brain is. This is because as time goes on, technology will be able to replace or rebuild your body parts, but they can’t replace your brain since that’s where your consciousness resides.

If 50 or 80 years from now I’m still alive and they have the technology to put my brain into a young body (biological or technological) that will live on for hundreds of years, I want to make sure my brain is healthy enough to do this and survive healthfully until technology can make this happen (if indeed it will happen, but I think the odds are good).

Dr. Amen is, I believe, the foremost expert on brain health who actually writes books for normal people. This book was very interesting but I don’t think most people will care about the topic enough to read the entire thing. It also contains all the standard stuff about exercising, eating right, not stressing too much and so on, which gets repetitive when you read a lot of health books like I do.

Mild recommendation.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Holy crap, what an amazing book. I was riveted. I love those old authors from a bygone era. (My favorite is The Count of Monte Cristo, a book with similar themes).

I love one-man-against-nature stories and concepts, though in this book, he also goes up against other men.

Strongly recommend this book. A great Alpha Male tale of rugged independence.

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  • Dandy Dude
    Posted at 01:27 pm, 2nd December 2018

    Thank you for bringing back this series, Caleb. Putting Traction on my reading list right now.

  • American
    Posted at 07:08 pm, 2nd December 2018

    Great topic Caleb.  thanks for the rec’s

  • Alexander Romanov
    Posted at 08:32 pm, 2nd December 2018

    I find it funny how I had the exact same reaction to the Black Company book as you did. Being young and hopeful, I tried it again later, yet was still bored to near death. Much thanks for recommendations!

  • London Walker
    Posted at 06:58 am, 3rd December 2018

    Love the book reviews, and agree on the First Law trilogy.


    Have you read Abercrombie’s standalone books?


    The Heroes is amazing, and Best Served Cold is almost amazing but I thought was let down by his female hero constantly beating the shit out of men twice her size. Still very enjoyable though!

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 10:38 am, 3rd December 2018

    Have you read Abercrombie’s standalone books?

    Oh yes, all of them (minus the YA ones).

    Best Severed Cold – Fantastic, minus the badass female you mentioned, though honestly, there isn’t really that much of that in the story; she doesn’t actually do much beating up of men; she just acts tough.

    Heroes – Fine, but sort of bland, probably his worst book in my opinion.

    Red Country – Interesting and good, but not as good as his other books. I got the feeling he was running out of ideas.

    The First Law trilogy, though, is a masterpiece. One of the greatest fantasy series ever.

  • Freevoulous
    Posted at 12:52 am, 4th December 2018

    Absolutely agree on Robinson Crusoe!

    Man vs Wild are probably the best books to put a man into Alpha Male mindset.

    I always had this mental mantra: “live your life like you are Crusoe and the world is your island”

    BTW, I highly recommend “Hatchet” as well, both for adult men, and young kids. Its probably the best book to introduce a young boy to the idea of Alpha self-reliance, personal responsibility, emotional self-sufficiency, and rationality.

    On related topic, Caleb, have you ever tried survivalism as a hobby? I always felt the AM2.0 lifestyle You promote could very well use a bit of rugged man vs nature kind of hobby as part of the “Spiritual Aspect of Life”.

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 08:32 am, 4th December 2018

    Caleb, have you ever tried survivalism as a hobby?

    Not yet, but on my to-do list is to do a one-week desert survival course and a one-week forest survival course. So yeah, it’s on the agenda and I agree its meshes perfectly with Alpha 2.0.

  • Eric C Smith
    Posted at 03:31 pm, 6th December 2018

    This is very helpful.

  • Antekirtt
    Posted at 08:28 pm, 7th December 2018

    The annoying part in Robinson Crusoe is the very frequent religious preaching. Good book nonetheless. The Mysterious Island is in the same vein but possibly better.

    Do you intend to/ have you read ‘hard’ scifi? Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, etc.

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 08:35 pm, 7th December 2018

    The annoying part in Robinson Crusoe is the very frequent religious preaching.

    Strange; I barely noticed that.

    Do you intend to/ have you read ‘hard’ scifi?

    No. It’s cool but I’d rather read fantasy. My real life is already “hard” (as in “real”).

  • epiphoney
    Posted at 09:27 am, 8th December 2018

    Peter F. Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star/Judas Unchained is classic hard sf.  But it’s long.  He doesn’t shy away from the sex either.

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