Book review: How a simple concept can be a game changer

“Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential” by Carol Dweck

If I had to assemble 10 books to serve as the manual to create a superhuman, this book would be one of them. I wasn’t aware before that how the simple concept of fixed mindset vs growth mindset could explain a lot about someone’s character and behaviour. And how relatively straight forward it is to change them, for better and for worse. An absolute vital book to read.

Book review: Everything is f*cked, and it’s a good thing

“Everything is F*cked: A book about hope” by Mark Manson

This book is just f*cking awesome. It’s fresh, brutally honest, a wee bit insane, but with serious points perfectly made through humor and shenanigans. It’s like learning (a lot) from South Park episodes all over again.

So what’s this book really about? It covers all the modern day problems that we now face as a global society, everything from ideological polarizations to freakin rise of Artificial Intelligence to hyper sensitive political correctness. Heck, he even teaches us how to start a religious cult. From scratch. And (of course) for a good reason.

Everything is f*cked, he says. But after I finish reading this book, holy crap this is apparently a good thing.

Book review: What we can learn from the education system around the world

“The Smartest Kids in the World: And how they got that way” by Amanda Ripley

Came for yet another parenting book, only to found out that this is not that kind of book, but stayed for the comparative study of education system in different parts of the world.

It becomes very obviously clear after reading this book that why Finland has the best education in the world, why South Korean nation behave the way they behave, and why America is lagging behind.

The template and the analogies can also be applied in many other countries like why Taiwan is advancing, why many Singaporeans are burning out like in South Korea, and why the poorest countries stay poor.

And funnily enough, from all the lessons discovered from this book, I got to learn how to best teach my kids afterall.

Book review: Back to basics

“The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be calm in a busy world” by Haemin Sunim

There’s arguably no better book to read right now, in this age of stay at home lockdown 2020, than this book. It refreshes us of all the simple values and good principles that may have been lost in the hectic world, which could serve us as the soothing basis for our calmness and sanity in this pandemic scare. It’s very heartwarming and powerful at the same time.

Book review: What a beautifully written book

“The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A true story” by Joel Ben Izzy

Every once in a while there comes a book that is totally differrent from the rest. A book that will leave a profound impression on you and that can change your perspectives on life. This is one of those books.

I first heard about this book when Maria Sharapova mentions it as her most favourite. And I can immediately see why, from the moment I read the first few pages.

It is so beautifully written, with so many fascinating stories from around the globe serve as the context that fits the main narrative of the writer’s unbelievable story.

All the shock, anger, serenity, inner struggle, relationship difficulties are all very real, very human and honest, while the way he experiences lost love and how he copes with deaths, in particular, are very moving and sobering.

But the icying on the cake for me is the way he stitch up all of these stories into one exciting journey. The book is filled with so much emotional roller coasters and out-of-the-world antics, that if this is a movie it would be akin to Big Fish or Forrest Gump.

It easily becomes one of my favourites too.

Book review: All you need to know about running

“Run Fast: How to beat your best time, every time” by Hal Higdon

The best book on running that I’ve read so far. It cuts to the chase, packed with vital understanding and actionable information, and with world class training guides straight from the running legend himself. It’s not an exaggeration to say that after reading this book, I upgraded more than twice my previous running abilities. An absolute must read for every runners.

Book review: Scary sobering

“Spillover: Animal infections and the next human pandemic” by David Quammen

If this book doesn’t make you a germophobe, I don’t know what will. An absolutely timely book to read in the time of Coronavirus pandemic 2020, which shows how complex and challenging the science are behind all the media headlines. I have so much more respect for the scientists, the doctors and nurses, and all the people in the frontline, after reading this essential book.

Book review: My head hurts

“Superintelligence: Paths, dangers, strategies” by Nick Bostrom

This is a very important book for the future of humankind, albeit a difficult one to read.

The book makes a terrifyingly compelling argument on why the Artificial Intelligence (AI), if managed wrongly, would potentially be bad for humanity. It covers the fascinating history of artificial intelligence development, from its simple beginning to the complicated web we’re in right now.

It’s very clever and highly technical (heck, I only grasp like 40% of the concepts), which I’m pretty sure can guide us to build our own AI from scratch to superintelligence level. Maybe. I dunno. In fact the book is so advanced-level, that after reading 30% of the book I thought, you know what? I believe him.

I expect nothing less from Elon Musk’s no. 1 favourite book. My head hurts.

Book review: Wisdom from one of the darkest places in history

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

This is one of the most depressing books that I’ve ever read, but at the same time one that provides a tremendous amount of life lessons. It is written in 1946 by a brilliant neurologist and psychiatrist who lost his entire life’s work when he was sent to Nazi concentration camps, a brutal experience that he wrote in detail in the 1st half of the book.

With his life’s work destroyed, Viktor Frankl was forced to memorize them all by heart, got to implement them directly in the camps that contributed to his survivorship, and later on able to re-write everything down with the addition of his own experience that form the basis of his Logotherapy, which becomes the 2nd half of the book.

True to his experience and knowledge, Logotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that believes that mental health issues is caused by the lack of meaning in one’s life (hence, the title of the book). And what Frankl does in this book is to attempt to help people find their meaning in life through pretty much every situation imaginable, including in one of the darkest places in history.

The book is so depressing but also very touching, it’s unbelievably dark but truly enlightening at the same time, it’s a relatively thin book but with an immense amount of wisdom that justifies the classic stature that it has since earned.

No wonder that this book is seemingly recommended by almost everyone that I look up to. It also effortlessly becomes one of my top 10 favourite books.