An excellent introduction to the global cocaine trade — production, distribution, logistics, and financing are all covered. The history and evolution of the cartels & mafias in Columbia, Mexico, Italy and Russia was fascinating, even the bits I already knew.
I was hoping for more details on the Italian/European organisations, beyond the ‘Ndragheta. The occasional diversions into reflections, poetry and minor characters added to the bulk. (I completely understand Roberto’s need for that reflection—his books have cost him a free life.)
A good book with lots of insights into the evolution, current state, and best practices of design and UX. The book loses a fair bit by just being too verbose, and often winding around minor characters and unrelated developments. The book would’ve been much improved by chopping 100 pages off the length.
A really good book about Poker, and a trained psychologist’s journey to learning it while interviewing some of the best players in the business. I thoroughly enjoyed the book’s weaving of Maria’s poker journey, the intro to Poker, and the exploration of behavioural and psychological aspects of the game.
A memoir written as a letter to the mother. It’s beautifully written, though disjoint as times, as our thoughts often are.
I loved the sections of experiences with mom and grandmom, of finding love, of loss (twice), and of addiction. The short section of friends lost to drug addiction was simple yet moving. The prose sometimes, written as thoughts flow, often made comprehension hard. It was a bit hard to read, to stay interested in. Yet, there are many moments from the book, both beautiful and sad, which have stayed vividly in memory.
A very interesting set of notes/memoirs/thoughts from a left leaning British Jew. This book can evoke contrasting responses from people depending on where they lay on the politico-social-populist divides.
Many chapters are informative (God, family, comedy, security), others were confirmatory for me (Israel, race). The two that stood out were the ones on the internet and Poland.
The former was a bit all over the place—it has several important messages but could’ve been massively improved by skipping some bits (this chapter will also trigger a lot of people on all sides of the political landscape. The latter chapter was tremendously moving, even for anyone who thinks they know all about the Holocaust.
The book is slow to start. It is also hard comprehend initially—is a book length dialog with interspersed timelines and characters, and few names. Yet, by the time the key characters start getting drink, so did I start getting hooked on the slow, bubbling conversation.
The book is nothing special. It’s just two nearly 60yo men spending an evening drinking and talking, jumping back and forth over 30 years. Still, if there wasn’t a pandemic around, I’d inviting friends over for a catch-up in Dublin tomorrow.
My favourite Backman book of them all. Wish I could go and live with Elsa and her granny and the wurse in that land of almost awake
Quenton Cassidy settling into the life of a successful lawyer in South Florida. Quenton Cassidy returning to running training for one last shot at glory. It’s a book of two halves. I read it for the latter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t know or care much about the first, which is written OK but too long for its relevance.
Books like this one are so rare that I’m sad that it’s over, sad that I took so long to discover it, sad that I’m not a young white athlete living in the Dooby hall in the 70s.
Training, banter, training, friendships, training, pain, obsession, demons, racing, training, loneliness, training…. success. Need a few years of running and struggles to appreciate this book. Not for everyone. And possibly the greatest book for those for whom it is…”
Moving, honest story of friendship, life, mental disability, and hard decisions.
On motivation, intrinsic motivation.
A not very faithful married couple, two young women, lots of conversations, lots of sleeping around. A ménage-à-quatre of heads and bodies. Sadly, it was too slow, so I eventually quit sometime after the halfway mark.
A lovely, slightly caricaturised, lightly humoured recollection of an Englishman’s year in Provence. Includes food, Provençal customs, wine, Provençal driving, normalmente, food, wine, English visitors, and a lot more.
I also enjoyed pronouncing and learning all the French words used, handy while I’m attempting to learn some French.
Is the limit in the body’s physiology or in the mind, or in a combination of the two? (Mine is surely in the mind, I haven’t gone close to limits of my body for running, swimming or cycling.) An exploration of research on limits of endurance performance and how to stretch them. I really enjoyed the middle and last section of the book—covering various physiological elements affecting the body, and the research on identifying and stimulating areas of the brain to stretch performance.
Brave, sometimes smart; married to the sea, between Cuba and Florida keys; slowly sinking into poverty and despair. Life of a down-on-luck hard man in hard times in pre-revolution Cuba and Florida.
A funny, poingnant, deep, breathless, touching travail of life of a Junior Doctor in the NHS. Left me with a lot of appreciation that the NHS staff does, and things they deal with. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Support the NHS. Support the people in it.
Heart warming, involuntary smile causing, tear creating tale of Ove, Parvaneh, the cat, Sonja, Rune and Saab. It’d been a few years since I read it, so read it again. Glad I did :)
A simple tale of a boy’s year on a farm—of learning some good and some bitter faces of life.
Passion vs crafting. The craftsman mindset builds career capital by focusing on what value you’re offering to the world.
Invest the career capital to gain control over how you work and what you work on. Traps: 1> Going for control before earning enough career capital. 2> Once you have career capital, you are valuable so the employers don’t want you to have more control. Also law of financial viability: unless people are willing to pay you, it’s not an idea to go after.
Importance of mission. Exploring the adjacent possible for missions. Using little bets to explore specific projects within mission area. The law of remarkability to market the mission.
A tale of Hemingway’s early days in Paris. Features his first marriage, poverty, gambling, writing struggles, Jill Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald (and Zelda), La closerie des lilas, the route to take when you are hungry and penniless in Paris, skiing in Austrian alps, tips on writing (or working)… and more.
Yep, I enjoyed it.
Another good book by Christopher—combines my love of animals with running. Covers… life in Amish country, burro racing, key characters in burro racing, mental health benefits of working with animals, impact on mental health of regular exercise (good and bad), Sherman, Flower and Matilda, training and working with donkeys.
I enjoyed it a lot.
A good collection of thoughts on living a calmer yet productive life in a time of distractions and hyperactivity. Brought together several ideas from many books I’ve read in last two years. The sections on mind and body were familiar, but useful to revisit. The section on spirit was, and is, unfamiliar and hard for me. I need to learn to accept a higher power.
Sometimes a long blog post, or two, may be better than a short book. This was one of them. It has one interesting insight repeated over and over, diced and sliced and mixed in with anecdotes plenty. I’m not even gonna write what is the insight. Read Seth’s Tribes or Chris’s Long tail for the actual insight.