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  • Writer's pictureSophie

What I'm reading

I've been in a real non-fiction trend lately. My favourite genres for non-fiction tend to be self-improvement, time management/productivity, memoir or biography, and for fiction I really like fantasy (particularly urban fantasy), but also enjoy a good murder mystery or romance novel. I tend to read most days, however, how quickly I read depends a lot on how compelling the book is, and if I can't get into a book I won't hesitate to move on to something else (sometimes I'll also have a few books "on the go" at once).

In February I read:

My rating: 4/5

This was a very long but interesting, thought provoking read. I have a science background and it was fairly dense even for me, so I'm not sure how someone with less science/medical knowledge would go with this book, but I did appreciate that they (I say they because there are two authors although it is written from Peter's perspective) included both scientific evidence and anecdotal evidence for their suggestions and advice. Peter basically provides a blueprint of how to increase your odds of living a healthy and functional life into your 90s and beyond, and although what he suggests is quite compelling and makes a lot of sense, unfortunately I think it is somewhat unrealistic for the "average" person - which is the category I would place myself in. I'm particularly thinking of the exercise advice - some of this, such as engaging in moderate-intensity (or "Zone 2") exercise regularly is doable, other advice relating to strength training, balance/core work and basically being in the 90th percentile for fitness for your age group may not be realistic for those of us who are more likely currently middle of the range. I did find his diet chapters very helpful, particularly his discussions about macros and the need for more protein, so this book is definitely a good read for those interested in this topic. One criticism, however, is that the vast majority of his examples of experts, researchers, leaders in the field were all men. When it comes to health and medical research, there are many excellent women contributing to the field, and think it is a shame that the authors didn't go to more effort to include their voices.

Rating: 3.5/5

In complete contrast to Outlive, this book is a light, easy read definitely designed to be palatable for everyone, no matter what their background. If you have no experience of the self-improvement genre, this would be a great introduction. It discusses important strategies to improve wellbeing like reframing negative thoughts, practicing gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive people, the importance of humour. For me however, having read a lot of this genre before, I did find myself skipping certain sections. One really interesting section in the work chapters, however, was regarding different career paths. They speak about how the "linear" career trajectory is not for everyone, and others are drawn towards alternative trajectories, including "steady-state", "transitionary", and "spiral". The spiral career resonated with me - this is a series of smaller careers, where people "make a pretty dramatic career shift every decade or so... [but] are using their skills and knowledge in one field and applying to another, while getting a variety of experiences for their own fulfilment". This is what I've done in the past both in my studies and work roles, and I guess I've always felt a little flighty because I've never been drawn to the linear career where you stay in one profession your whole life and simply "climb the ladder". However, this section made me feel seen and realise there are many like me. Overall, it was a enjoyable read with a few takeaways, although not as many as perhaps I was hoping for.

Currently reading:

I needed some courage to start this because I know (as we all do) how this story ultimately ends. I'm only a few chapters into this one, but already it is compelling, funny, heart-breaking and intense just like I thought it might be. I'm so glad I'm reading this. Matthew was very brave to share so honestly his experiences in his life and his thoughts, and its not only a beautiful memoir so far, but also deeply informative about the inner world of someone struggling so deeply with addiction. I will give my final thoughts once at the end of the month.

Next up will be:

Slow Productivity by Cal Newport - excited for this one! I find value in pretty much everything Cal puts out so hopefully this will be no exception.

Your turn. Has anyone read these books? Interested in others' thoughts. Any other really good reads to share? Always interested in finding out about new reads.

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2 comentários

12 de mar.

I haven't read any of these, but I've heard of all of them. I heard Arthur Brooks interviewed on Rich Roll's podcast. It does sound like his book contains a lot of things I've heard many times before- but as you've pointed out, there's always something new and interesting in there.

I read mostly fiction, and I'm on a huge murder mystery kick right now. Currently re-reading an Agatha Christie (I read every single one of her books in my youth) and I've recently discovered Ann Cleeves- I have the next one in the series waiting for me.

12 de mar.
Respondendo a

I read so many Agatha Christie too as a kid, how fun to do a re-read. And will have to check out Ann Cleaves, hadnt heard of her. I think I’m ready for a fiction binge after a few months of mostly non-fiction.

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