Book Notes

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
A list of practices from a clinical psychologist to help understand our responsibilities. He connects the ideas to biblical archetypes and Disney movies so it is all over the place.  I didn't think it was particularly well written but most of the advice and explanations were spot on.

A Philosophy of Walking
This was an interesting take on what happens when we go for walks.  It included many examples from various philosophies. I like going for walks.

A Short History of Progress
An objective look at what happens to civilizations when they reach particular milestones. This helped to point out certain aspects of our current Western lifestyle and how they are actually part of a pattern that hasn't changed over time.

Be Here Now
The classic text that started the West on the journey inward. Many great stories about being in India. It also breaks down Eastern spirituality in an understandable way for readers who are having first contact with these ideas.

Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
from the creator of ISHMAEL, this is a collection of small essays exploring some of the biggest ideas you'll ever encounter.

Big Magic
Thoughts on creativity: where it comes from, how it works and what it thinks about.

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe 
Amazing book explaining new concepts of what we see and experience in the world.  It took a long time to finish because of how many times I had to stop and consider the truth behind it all.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Some ideas about creativity and how it fits into our lives.  

Children Who are Not Yet Peaceful
Principles and implementation for working with elementary aged children who struggle with social dynamics.

Consolations : The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
Notes from the mind of a poet about the words we regularly use.  Short little essays that had in depth explanations of secondary and even tertiary meanings of which we are not acutely aware. Read one, think, then move on to another.

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day
Tips for productivity and giving your ideas fresh air, releasing them to the world.

Education and Peace
SO INSPIRING! This book reads more like a spiritual text for parents than an education manual. It is the first one I recommend If you have ever been curious about Maria Montessori or the philosophy of her teaching method.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Similar ideas to minimalism. It details how to assess the necessary from the tedious. 

Ethics for the New Millennium
A comforting collection of ideas from HH.  He lays out his rational as to why things can be changed, and what it means for the rest of humanity.

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
Straightforward and practical tips for learning another language.

Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
A short read that packs a punch. 4 simple rules to help shape your life in a positive direction.

Four Planes of Education
Straightforward explanation and takeaways regarding what is happening during each phase of development. Bullet points that are covered in more details within her other books.

From Childhood to Adolescence
The most important part of adolescent education is teaching an understanding of interconnection- of all subjects, and all people.
God's Debris
From the creative mind behind 'Dilbert.' Interesting perspectives about life and our patterns that will make you think, all centered around one specific and INCREDIBLE 'thought experiment.' (I did not include the 'thought' itself as I don't want to spoil the book for anyone.)

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
This one makes a strong case, through examples from history and different cultures, that we are better off without ideologies of any kind.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
Part biography, part advice. Lots of great ideas regarding growth and what direction you're going. I also laughed out loud many times.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: 7 Steps to Genius Every Day
Part biography, part list of things to add to your daily routine. Very interesting ideas.

Human Tendencies and Montessori Education
A perspective from Mario, who was Maria's son, about universal tendencies of all humans and the ways the Montessori approach works with them.

Loserthink: How Untrained Minds are Ruining America
Great ideas about our patterns of thinking. Not as great as other books on the same subject, but a new take on some of it.

Man's Search for Meaning
The first section details life within the concentration camps. The second is thoughts on a different kind of therapeutic analysis.  So many wonderful lessons and important things to remember about life and the strength of the human spirit.

Great ideas for how to deal with day to day behaviors of yourself and others.
My Life After Death: A Memoir from Heaven
A book written by a dead guy, telling the interesting story of his death and experiences afterward.

On Writing Well
This had so much advice to share that I may not ever need to read another book about writing. 

Outliers: The Story of Success
Theories that explain what might contribute to the success of great people. 

Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior
Explanations of the different consciousness levels and their effects on our behavior. In Depth study of the finite and infinite ways we interact.
Raising Cain - Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
Probably a must read for anyone who grew up as a boy, or is a parent to a boy.  I gained so many insights from the language that the authors used to explain things I remember struggling with as a child.  If only I could have read this while I was growing up.  As a parent with a son, it is truly helpful.

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Pretty good insights regarding the effects of social media on young people.  Lots of anecdotal evidence based on surveys but I enjoyed it for the most part.

Show Your Work
A great collection of advice about how to work and create. It also gives suggestions about making yourself available to be 'found out' in this digital age.  I read it twice in a row because there is so much packed into it.

Steal Like and Artist
This is a cool book and one of my favorites I've read since starting this website. It gives permission and recommendations about forming a creative habit. Topics include: inspiration, implementation and what to do when you don't know what to do. 

The Absorbent Mind
In depth scientific analysis and explanation about what is happening to the brain of the child during the first three years. Theory and philosophy also included throughout. 

The Child in the Family
Montessori talks about the family dynamic and how the parent is the adult who becomes the example of all adults.

The Child, Society and the World
A collection of unpublished speeches about peace, education and the future of our civilization.

The Dip
Sometimes winners DO quit.  And they quit because they can see the future. It's not about being complacent and lazy.  It's about looking at the big picture and making decisions. I read it twice!

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
A fascinating take on hidden agendas behind everyday behaviors. I love books like this.

The 5 Love Languages of Children
An impressive look into how your child shows love, how you can show it back, and how to use each 'language' in a productive way.  So much good advice and something every parent should check out.  It shed light on my own children in ways I couldn't have expected.

The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way
A fascinating history of the origins of words, their form, usages and quirky trivia about the way we speak.  His enthusiasm comes across as person who likes to learn about things.

The One Sentence Persuasion Course: 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding
Whoa, so much knowledge about how we think and the ways to be persuasive. I can't believe there was so much good advice in such a short read.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results 
Ideas on optimization and clear focus for achieving goals and making progress. 

The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World
A thought provoking perspective, from the author’s experience as a psychiatrist and counselor, on how we relate to technology and what it is doing to us as human beings. Several points hit very close to home for me and required personal introspection. It also provides a framework for a 30 day technology ‘detox.’

The Shape of Design
We are all designers. The principles are the same across most fields. This one was not just about the creation of physical items, but of ideas and feelings too.

The Six Perfections - by Geshe Sonam Rinchen
Classic Buddhist text regarding the six sacred areas of focus.

The Straight-A Conspiracy: Your Secret guide to Ending the Stress of School...and Totally Ruling the World
Thoughts about thinking and learning, written for high school students.  I wish I had read this book when I was a teenager. It would have given me a much needed perspective on the work I was doing.

The War on Art
It is an actual war. But the enemy is not what you'd expect. A sensitive look into the inner drive to create, contribute and collaborate.

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

Thinking Fast and Slow
A MASSIVE resource that explains the different ways we think. Lots of interesting experiments and data to back up the scientific claims. Very cool.

To Educate the Human Potential
An amazing use of the history of the world relating to the evolution of species and the coming of human beings. Stressing the point that humans have progressed because of their innate need to explore their own cognitive capacities.

Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
An interesting retelling of the 2016 Presidential race in the U.S.  It also had some very useful information about how we think and how to break our own mental habits.  I also laughed out loud a few times.

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People
Fun and interesting information about what our body is saying, regardless of what our mouth is saying.  I knew some of this stuff, but after reading I've been able to pick up on a lot of things I've never noticed before.

What You Should Know About Your Child
Dr. Montessori examines the physical and mental development of the child in its early years and discusses what she considers to be the basic truths underlying the child's nature, growth and development.