LIFELINE OF COINCIDENCE


blog by Anton Katunin

How to lie with statistics

by Darrell Huff

You might say this is a classic book as it was written in 1954 and got wide popularity and recognition. 50 years later it is just as relevant. This book was referenced by How Charts Lie book and they go well together.

After reading this book I'm pretty convinced that more than 90% of statistics are wrong. That really changes your perspective when you hear a new statistic claim. Advertising industry and politics are built on misrepresenting information and luckily for them there are many ways to do so while appearing legitimate.

Read those books to see many ways to do that. My lesson is don't trust and question every statistic and research you hear about.




Mating in Captivity

by Esther Perel

Great book about sexuality, eroticism, attraction, and intimacy in relationships. I found it very valuable and see how it could benefit every relationship out there. The book helped me understand and separate intimacy from sexuality and eroticism. Once they are separate the next part is to balance them. I definitely recommend this book to everybody older than 25yo.




Animal Farm

by George Orwell

This is such a good book. Written in 1945 it didn't age a bit. It's short, full of meaning and satire. No surprises that it's on the list of best novels. I recommend it to everybody.




King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

I like the idea but found it very hard to consume. The language felt dated or my English wasn't good enough for it. Although book reviews agree with me on it being dated.

The book talks about men archetypes. It's one of those books that are based on authors' opinions rather than research. I found archetype descriptions interesting but archetypes overall to be limiting.

I want to read a similar book by Rod Boothroyd, which claims to be updated for the 21st century and which has higher user ratings.

As for this book, my opinion is - meh, overrated.




Breath - The New Science of a Lost Art

by James Nestor

My friend recommended this book and to be honest it wasn't high on my reading list. What's there to know about breathing? Half of me was right and half was wrong.

I was surprised to discover the importance of breath mechanics and effects it could have on our body. The author doesn't offer insights himself but references doctors and researches. Turns out there are people who dedicated their lives to breath research.

However I was right, the book is overblown by unnecessary author's stories. It's funny because it seems that's the only authors content contribution to the book. When removed, the book can be cut by at least half and it will be much better at the end. Hence 2 stars. Not for the topic but for the book itself.

I had to rush it for bookclub, so I finished whole book in 24 hours. I found book interesting and can recommend it. It goes well as audiobook. If you are reading it, skip/skim author's story telling to save you time.




About time (2013)

It's a very touching movie.




She Comes First

by Ian Kerner

This book was a recommendation by a vlogger I follow. It caught my attention because it's about sex education, has a good rating and I was looking for something easy to read.

While reading this book I realised that I never got decent sex education so it was useful to fill the knowledge gaps. My impression is that most people are the same.

The book has a good balance between theory and practical advice. I'd recommend it to all guys. Perhaps delay the read until you have a partner to practise it with, as the techniques require practice.




Who Am I

by Steven Reiss

This is old (20 years) and not a popular book. It's written by a psychologist and lacks the usual appeal you get from mainstream authors. However the content is solid.

The book talks about our core psychological desires. Unlike many personality profiling tools, this one is actually useful. The book also discusses how it compares to other research and what it means in daily life.

If the model holds strong, it's a game changer as it can be used to predict people's choices in the future. Think of choosing your life-time partner based on core desires and predicting possible friction in the future.

I'd recommend this book to everyone. It helped me to better understand myself and I think it will help you too.




The Millionaire Fastlane

by MJ De Marco

This book is rock solid. I wish it had a more appealing title to ease its way into popularity. Forget popular picks like 4 Hour Work Week and Rich Dad Poor Dad. This book offers much more.

This book is for people who want to be rich and who are looking for ways to get there. No bullshit, no big promises, and core principles - that's how I'd summarise it. I like it especially because it gives the right mindset unlike many popular alternatives.

This book is not for everyone, but rather for people who want a better lifestyle than employment can offer.




Essential reads for a team

Recently I was asked to quickly up-skill a team and prepare for software development. These are my 4 must read recommendations:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an essential read for any team. It demonstrates how trust and honesty leads to better results.

Non-violent Communication Workshop teaches how to get through disagreements in a productive way.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. This is a novel about working in IT, it's the closest written description of my experience working in the industry. It's engaging and easy to follow.

Shape Up is software development process used in Basecamp company. I recommend it not because I fully agree with the methodology, which is hard to get right. However it explains the core software development principles well, which is more important than the process itself.




The Richest Man in Babylon

by George S. Clason

This is one of the old classics, written in 1926. I can't tell if I didn't get the book or I already live the principles in the book so they don't stand out to me. I listened the audiobook and I found it hard to follow due to old english. If you were to read this book try to find updated version of the book with modern language. I think you will enjoy it much more.

I can't recommend it, but it's a story driven, so it should be easy to follow and a bit entertaining. Read highlights on Wikipedia.




Leadership and the One Minute Manager

by Ken Blanchard

This is a short and story driven book about how people need different management styles at work. In addition management styles need to change as we grow in our roles.

The book's principles correlate with ShuHaRi concept which I'm a big fan of for employee onboarding. I also found similarities in ways to influence teammates from the Resilient Management book. There are four: mentoring, coaching, sponsoring, and delivering feedback.

This book is a must read for everybody - managers and subordinates. Working effectively together is a shared responsibility, not just managers'.




488 Rules for Life

by Kitty Flanagan

That's a half funny and half option book with a few useful bits in between. I particularly enjoyed the audiobook narration by the author. I think the rules book genre has a big potential if the rules are useful. So if you know a similar book, send it my way.

This book would be a good gift to anybody or a good fit for a beach book.




Powerful

by Patty McCord

Powerful is a fairly short book (4 hours) which is a longer version of Culture Deck slides. The book is easy to read and very well structured.

Patty describes her work at Netflix as a head of HR. She explains why she made certain choices. Patty provides good reasoning and practical advice. I  mostly agree with her points. Most companies, in my experience, are suffering from excessive positivity and family vibes which hurt productivity. Instead of firing underperformers, they are transferred to another team. I'm yet to see a company which has a culture of timely constructive feedback. That's some of the points that Patty touches on.

However it's important to remember the context surrounding her experience. Netflix is a public company which grew at a stunning rate. The challenges they faced are quite different from what any small or large company would. So her advice should be taken with caution.

I'd recommend this book to managers and higher (like cofounders and HR). Just like Nine Lies About Work book, it will help you question industry status quo and think of alternatives.




Running the Room

by Tom Bennett

This book is about the classroom but I found half of it is relevant for my daily work when dealing with adults. The main idea is that we need to teach good behaviour explicitly. I fully agree with the author. Social and work rules and norms are usually implicit and unclear. In multicultural society it's even harder as people dilute the norms with their cultural flavour.

The book reminded me of The Art of Gathering. Especially the part of setting explicit rules, protecting the group from bad behaviour and utilising your power.

Some chapters touch on habits buliding. They only cover the surface, and if you want to go deeper, have a look at Atomic Habits book.

I found the book very repetitive with poorly set emphasis in text. A bit disappointing to see that from a teacher. I guess teaching is not writing.

Overall it's a good read and worth it if you want to understand and deal with people's behaviour, good or bad.




The Way of the Superior Man

by David Deida

This book was recommended by my friend who said it changed her life. The book offers few models of what men and women are, and what roles they should play in life and relationships. The author doesn't bother explaining or backing up any of it, so as a reader you can only take it at face value.

Author uses sexual language a lot. For example "penetrate" is used 31 times. The book is written in a beautiful metaphorical language which is open to different interpretations. I'm yet to understand what "penetrate the world" means.

Like a popular saying "All models are wrong, but some are useful", some of the book's models can be useful. Some definitely resonated with my experience. The problem is the offered models are on a high level. Think of them as symptoms. It's easy to observe the symptoms and think you understand a disease. However it's not. If you don't know what a bacteria is, you will think "bad spirits" are the cause.

I think advice like "men should do X" with a "just because" reason is dangerous even if it's correct. For each one valid model, there are ten invalid ones.

Overall it's an interesting read. I'd like this book to be rewritten with more substance.




The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

I wish all books were like this one. Great story, practical, short and to the point. I love it. It's a must read for all people who work in a team or in other words all people.

In my experience most teams are all about a positive vibe and avoid any conflict even if it's essential for better results. As a result people don't understand that the lack of conflict is detrimental to work. If you don't know what I mean by "conflict", great, read the book.

I'm a bit surprised that it's only now that the book came on my radar, it should be a part of an essentials pack for everybody.




Modern Software Engineering

by David Farley

It's a really good book that talks about software development fundumentals. It didn't change my mind, as I already knew most of it. However I found it useful to reiterate the argument why those fundumentals are important. I did find the book a bit repetitive at times, but not enough to be distracting.

The book is well structured and easy to follow. The book suggest two main parts which we should optimise for: learning and complexity.

“Optimize for Learning,” looks at how we organize our work to allow us to make progress in small steps. How do we evaluate if we are making good progress or merely creating tomorrow’s legacy system today?

“Optimize for Managing Complexity,” explores the principles and techniques necessary for managing complexity. This explores each of these principles in more depth and their meaning and applicability in the creation of high-quality software, whatever its nature.

The book also covers important topics like: What is software engineering? Is it a craft or engineering? How to measure software? How to evaluate external tools? and more.

I would recommend this book to all software devevelopers, senior or junior.




Basic Economics

by Thomas Sowell

What a book! As dry as it sounds, this book is an infinite source of knowledge. I think this book should be studied by everybody at school. Only now after learning more about economics I understand how clueless most people are, including politicians. If only all of us were educated on that topic, we'd stop creating so much damage while we are trying to improve things.

This book changed my opinion multiple times. It's very extensive and provides good arguments. I only wish it was a bit shorter to appeal to more people. As much as I loved every single chapter I was over it closer to the end. It's very comprehensive, which is another beauty of it. Read it.




The High 5 Habit

by Mel Robbins

This is a very easy to consume book. It's inspirational and story driven. The book talks about Growth mindset without naming it like that. It encourages to love yourself and put yourself first. It's a simple but very enabling idea.

There is little practical advice to make it somewhat useful. There are few tips on building habits, but for a deeper understanding I'd recommend Atomic Habits book. For the deeper dive into mindsets have a look at Mindset book.

I'd recommend this book if you'd like more confidence, motivation and inspiration. Mel narrates the audiobook herself. She definitely brings a lot of energy and emotions into it. I like this trend when authors narrate their own books.




A More Beautiful Question

by Warren Berger

It's an interesting book. I like the premise and don't like the delivery. The main suggestion is to start questioning the world as a way to creative thinking. The author doesn't offer much himself, but has a couple of good references to other people's work.

The majority of the book is a collection of cherry picked success stories from history. It's a typical over simplification of reality twisted to fit the book's narative. It's fun and inspiring to read but has no practical value.




New Zealand snowboarding trip




How Charts Lie

by Alberto Cairo

This is an insightful read. I've built many charts and graphs myself in the past and rate my chart skills above a majority. However I still learned something new.

I have two highlights. Any chart is a simplification of reality, and it reveals as much as it hides. You can present any information in both positive and negative light on the chart. Which leads to the second highlight: a chart shows only what it shows and therefore, we must strive not to read too much into it.

The book is short and easy to read as it has a lot of graphs to look at. I'd recommend it to everybody as it gives basic graphical literacy or graphicacy how the author puts it.




Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

This is another amazing piece of art that I saw this week. Movies like this demonstrate how skills are more important than budget. The movie has an interesting story, great acting, visuals, intrigue and lessons.

After watching the movie, I recommend to watch analysis of Waymond Wang.




What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

This is a low budget and not very popular movie from one of my favourite directors Taika Waititi. I love how creative, unusual and funny this movie is.




Preventing the Collapse of Civilization

by Jonathan Blow

So turns out I'm not the only one who thinks that and see no progress in software.




Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

by Seth Godin

The audiobook is 3 hours long, which is relatively short, and yet I think it could be 30 minutes. The main idea of the book - (as a business) stand out from the crowd. Give people a reason to talk about you and as a result they'll do free marketing for you. That's it.

The book is a little inspirational. It has many examples and is easy to listen to.




The Art of War

by Sun Tzu

I found this old book quite interesting as it dives deep into combat, human nature and social structure. There are multiple additions, extensions and explanations which I didn't touch, but might in the future. Personally I'm interested in the ideas, but since it's so old historic knowledge is required for the full understanding.




The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

by Vishen Lakhiani

10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms

It's amazing how this book is good and off-putting at the same time. This book is for people who want to take control of their lives, live true to themselves and be happy. I really like the author's ideas and suggestions. They are easy to understand and practical.

If not the endless self promotion and name dropping littered all over the book, that book would go to my best list. The book would be much better if those parts were simply removed.

I recommend this book as long as you can focus on the good parts.




Models: Attract Women Through Honesty

by Mark Manson

This is the first book by Mark Manson which gave him an initial boost of popularity. You probably know Mark by his second book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck".

The book tells how to attract women. To summarise the book: be good looking, smart, interesting, communicate well, confident, flirtatious and more. Book's advice is to be everything, but I bet you already knew that. So yeah, not that useful. The author provides some practical advice but it's quite shallow.

Models book presents good intentions on how to be an attractive partner. I like that the book critiques the famous pickup artist culture popularised by "The Game" book. However the book is still about pickup games but only with a slightly different mindset.

I found the book useful to read about other dating experiences and like few ideas.

In short the book had great potential but the author failed to execute on it leaving it as an average read.




Tools of Titans

by Tim Ferriss

This book is a compilation of interviews of famous people. Overall the book expanded my knowledge on a variety of topics. I like the small chapters and found it great for short read sessions.

The book is mostly an aggregation of raw answers and offers very little on top of that. If you are interested in interviews, I would recommend it in audiobook, as it's long and has low content density.




Thinking in Systems

by Donella H. Meadows

I wanted to read this book for a few years now. I'm glad this book didn't disappoint. The book gives a solid foundation for Systems Thinking. This is a must know concept for everybody. System Thinking applies to absolutely everything. There is nothing revolutionary, but it's important to have the awareness of the concept and basic understanding. Personally, until now I couldn't articulate my thoughts about cause and effect well.

The book is just right. It has good structure, is not too long and not too short, and has plenty of real examples to understand the concepts. It's rare to see such well written book.

The book has many diagrams, and I wouldn't recommend it in audiobook format.




How to live

by Derek Sivers

This is a short book based on author's opinon, which mostly aligns with mine. I found that many principles from the books are based on Stoicism philosophy.

The book contradicts itself few times, but I still had a good time listening to it. I found it a bit inspirational to be reminded of those things.




Staff Engineer

by Will Larson

Software engineer titles are a mess. Senior Software Engineer title got deflated over the years. It's not uncommon to see people with 3 years of experience with it. As a result technical career path becomes problematic as there is none. As an obvious solution new titles started appearing. Company started to create their own titles, which doesn't tranfer or communicate much outside the company. The most common title above the Senior in Australia is Lead Developer, but that's pretty much it.

Recently I've discovered a new title taxonomy called Staff Engineering. It is still loosely defined. This book is based on aggregation of opinions and defines the next technical levels above Senior.

The book has lower quality than I'd expect from books. It feels like a collection of blog posts. However it's still useful to read to get the authors opinion.




Ray Dalio Youtube

I found Ray Dalio youtube channel has interesting high quality videos which are worth watching for everybody.






The Art of Gathering

by Priya Parker

You probably wouldn't think much what there is to a gathering. This book goes into details what makes gatherings good or bad. The book is not prescriptive and gives a good high level guide to different aspects.

I think everybody could benefit from this book, but probably not many people will find it interesting. I've read this book twice in a row, as the second round was for the book club.




Edgar Wright

Edgar is a talented filmmaker, whose work I admire. I saw his movie Baby Driver in the past and it didn't resonate with me. It's fun and entertaining but I didn't think much of it. It's only after I've learnt how to watch his work that it finally clicked. I opened a new world of art to myself. Unless you know what you are looking for you will miss it as well.

You can start with

One of the biggest discoveries last year was the realisation that we need to educate ourselves to better understand art forms like movies.

I can recommend these two youtube channels to start learning about movies:

My favourite Edgar's movies:

To give you an example this is a good analysis of the movie and how subtle the details are (Spoilers).




Jojo Rabbit (2019)

This is a great satire movie. It's warm, funny and educational. And yet that's not all. It has many famous actors, great acting and beautiful style. It's hard not to love it. It reminded me of Life Is Beautiful (1997) movie.




How to not die alone

by Logan Ury

I enjoyed this book. It's about preparing for dating, dating and growing relationships. The content is very broad and doesn't have much depth. It has just enough to make a point, but if you are looking for strong evidence to back it up, it's not for you.

This book reminded me of the Defining Decade book. Both of them are very practical and easy to read.

If you haven't found a long-term partner yet, I think you'll also find this book interesting and it might help you with dating.

Another review on youtube.




1917 (2019)

OMG, the cinematography in this movie is just a masterpiece. Such movies should be displayed in the museums to admire the work and the beauty.