I write book reviews to better remember and make connections between what I read. Enjoy.
Since you’re here, please tell me what to read! Say hi at kastanday (at) gmail (dot) com.
“In the long run the secret of study resides in our ability to bathe our thought, our task, our lesson in the stream of interest.”Francis Lockwood from The Freshman and His College (1913)
Kastan’s Book awards
Find what to read next with my highly prestigious book awards!
Intoxicatingly fascinating. Best of the best. For only those works that I could never put down, and have never stopped thinking about.
Quick read, good value per word. For short, approachable books that leave a lasting impact. 1 million percent worth the time.
Authors worth understanding.
Oliver Sacks; Vaclav Smil; Fyodor Dostoevsky; Malcom Gladwell; Michael Pollen; Toni Morrison.
I could use some help..
Please buy a book for me! That would be so fun and kind of you. Just pick anything off my reading list here:
The value in buying me a book is spreading information in the world, and the satisfaction of reading my review of any book you choose.
Words worth reading.
🥇 5/5 Principles for Dealing with The Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail (Ray Dalio)
“Long-term thinking explained quickly. A crucial addition to the history of industry before the inventiveness of the 1800s.”
🥇 5/5 A Thousand Brains: a New Theory of Intelligence (Jeff Hawkins)
“The Thousand Brains theory of intelligence is the most compelling I’ve seen. It’s deeply explanatory and grounded in experimental rigor. Jeff’s last book, clear and inspiring as it was, singularly inspired my college major in cognitive neuroscience, for which I’m grateful.”
🥇 5/5 How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (Bill Gates)
“Mandatory to get to zero carbon world by 2050 (29 years), and always ask yourself: how expensive is the ‘green premium’ using existing zero-carbon tools.”
🥈 4/5 Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)
“Engrossing insight into wildness and the controversial, suicidal quests of several such explorers attempting to live off the land.”
🥈 4/5 The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves (Stephen Grosz)
“Psychoanalysis for those too afraid to do it in person.”
🥇 5/5 Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Richard Feynman)
“Feynman reimagined physics while still enjoying the diversity of experience, from music to travel to love, that life offers.”
🥇 5/5 Where Good Ideas Come From (Steven Johnson)
“Brilliance starts ugly; it requires connections to other people or ideas to blossom. Focus on connecting ideas together; just like my knowledge management system in Notion.”
🥈 4/5 A Man’s Search for Meaning (Victor Frankl)
“Fundamental sources of meaning: accomplishment, experience of goodness or people, and how one handles unavoidable suffering.”
🥇 5/5 Jonathan Livingston Seagull
“A gorgeous fiction about a seagull, the bird kind, who dares to find excellence in his craft. A tale that transcends species.“
⭐⭐⭐ 6 out of 5: Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
“Like ‘Who’s on First’ extended into a WW2 novel; one of my favorite of all time.”
🥉 3/5 Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
“Don’t push away those you love because of how it will effect them (by lowering their status, for example), let them make that choice themselves.”
🥇 4.5/5 Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
“The original bible of AI and recommended reading for haughty techno-intellectuals. Points deducted for overconfidence.”
🥇 5/5 The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus Into Your Life
🥈 4/5 The Great Mental Models: Vol 1 & 2
🥇 5/5 Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
🥉 3/5 Stoner – the novel by John Williams
🥈 4/5 The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
🥉 3/5 Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood
🤦♂️ 2/5 Stoicism: A Very Short Introduction
🥈 4/5 Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know
🥇 5/5 Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
🥉 3/5 Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions
🥉 3/5 Migration: A Very Short Introduction
🥇 5/5 Consciousness: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
🥇 5/5 The New Jim Crow
🥈 4/5 Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
🥇 5/5 Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think