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Book Reco: The Age of Spiritual Machines, by Ray Kurzweil

What is consciousness? What makes something real? What are feelings? If I can think, therefore I am. If a machine can think, are they real?

These are some of the deep philosophical and ethical issues we will have to face in the coming decades.

In the book, Kurzweil masterfully presents these issues and more while creating a vision for what the future of humanity will look like with artificial intelligence.

I highly recommend the book and you can buy a copy HERE or request a FREE one from your local library.


Book Reco: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson

This is another gem I read a long time ago (maybe two decades), but it has stuck with me for that length of time.

In brief, the things we worry about day to day in the grand scheme of life are really small things.

We worry about what’s for supper tonight (continues to be a ongoing deal at my house). We worry about what someone said about us or what someone might think about us. We worry about a bill coming due.

All that worry really messes with your quality of life NOW. Mindfulness is a movement for a reason. All we have is RIGHT NOW, this moment. The future is uncertain. Yesterday is gone.

Stop worrying. Start living. This book will help.

Don’t forget, you can get a FREE copy from your local library or purchase a USED copy (cheaper) HERE (they have copies for $0.94 at the time of this writing).

Book Reco: The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason

This was probably the first book my parents gave me on personal finance and it’s one of the best I’ve ever read.

The reason is how Clason presents these pearl of wisdom that are as applicable today as they were in antiquity.

The brief tenets of the book include:

  1. Saving
  2. Control your expenses
  3. Invest
  4. Protect your investments from loss
  5. Invest in your home
  6. Plan for future income
  7. Increase your ability to earn

I highly recommend this book and this should be at the top of your list for a library loan, or you can purchase a copy HERE (remember to buy a used copy to save money. Put it in your piggy bank for a rainy day).

Book Reco: The Price of Tomorrow: Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future, by Jeff Booth

“Technology is extremely deflationary.” – Jeff Booth

In business school we spend a significant amount of time talking about inflation. By comparison, we spend very little time talking about deflation.

The reason is simple: inflation is starring us in the face every day.

We hear about it in the news. We see it in the supermarket. We feel it when we pay our bills or go to make the large purchase we have been saving toward.

Rising prices have been a norm for all of our lives. I was taught basically this:

“A little inflation = good. Any amount of deflation = BAD!!!”

Technology is a lever that allows for good and services to be produced more cheaply and efficiently. This SHOULD lower the cost of goods and services, not raise it. We live in a system that is actively fighting against the deflationary power of technology and in the book Jeff discusses how it’s not a sustainable model for the long-term.

It’s a brilliant book and should be read by any serious student of business (or any human being that cares about living and thriving in a modern economy).

The book can be found for FREE through your local library (if they don’t have it, they can get it for you through a library loan) or you can purchase a copy here (buy a used copy = save money). Jeff Booth can be found on Twitter @JeffBooth.

The Price of Tomorrow, by Jeff Booth

Book Reco: What to do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn), by Seth Godin

I love this book. I’ve had it for several years now and I think I’m on my third or fourth copy because I keep giving it away to people to read.

It’s a very easy read and I think I read the whole thing in 1-2 hours on an afternoon.

It’s about not waiting for someone to validate you. It’s about not waiting to be picked. You pick yourself. You validate yourself. Don’t wait for permission. Get moving!

I can’t say enough good things about this book and I will post future recommendations from Seth because I have read many of his works and highly recommend.

If you want a copy you can always check for a FREE copy from your local library, or you can buy one HERE, which I always recommend buying a used one.

What to do When it’s Your Turn (2014), Seth Godin

Book Reco: Anthem, by Ayn Rand

I stumbled across this work by Rand a few years ago now. It’s a short read, but shares an important message; the importance and power of individualism and logical, scientific thinking.

Science is the pursuit of truth. Anthem is a story of an individual who knows the there is something wrong with the world and does not give up until the truth is revealed.

This is a modern day allegory about personal enlightenment. You are an individual. You have thoughts, ideas, and feelings that are unique to you. That should be celebrated. It should be carved in stone, which is what the main character does.

What is carved? You’ll have to read to find out.

In the Cascade Mountains (1931), Edward Bruce

Book Reco: Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Okay, I’m old enough now to start using the expression, “I’m dating myself,” and being a Seinfeld fan from the 90’s does that a bit (at least it does to my children who consider the 90’s the “olden days”).

Seinfeld has always struck me as a comic who can present his craft through observational humor of the minutia of life.

“Have you ever noticed?”
“Have you ever realized?”
“Have you ever thought?”
“Have you ever been standing somewhere, and…”

I picked this book up a while back and from time to time will just flip through it and land on some of the jokes and instantly start to smile.

This compilation is hilarious and I think you might enjoy it as well (especially the last entry on Flex Seal). If you are interested you can read a sample here and if you do decide to buy a copy, consider getting a used one on the same site for as little as $2.40 at the time of this writing. Paying full-price for books is great for authors and publishers, but bargain prices are good for readers. Also, consider getting a FREE copy from your local library.

Book Reco: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, by Dan Ariely

“Honesty is the best policy.” I tell my students that your integrity is extremely valuable. Once you lose it, people will never forget that you compromised it.

They may forgive you, but there will always be this shadow of doubt… “that one time, he lied to me, and although I trust this guys… I don’t really trust him 100%.”

Your word is your bond. It’s how we build the social order. If we can’t trust each other, we cannot have a functioning society. In fact, credit comes from the latin, credo, meaning “I believe,” or “I trust.”

If you have a high credit score, you more than likely have demonstrated your ability to be trustworthy and creditors indicate to other creditors you can be trusted with their money.

In the book, Dan talks about how even the most honest among us have instance where we tell untruths. We may tell a child, “good job,” in order to reinforce the effort instead of being critical and crushing their confidence.

More specifically, the book cites how in his own study, Dan found that people would lie more frequently IF the outcome of which was beneficial to others. As an example, a study participant may be willing to lie about a result because in doing so, some third party in need would benefit.

It’s a fascinating book that is honest about how we conduct ourselves regarding dishonesty. I highly recommend and hope you check it out (honest).

Remember, you can read this for FREE from a library, or if you want to own it I recommend buying a USED copy from Amazon or eBay to save money (I did).

Book Reco: The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, by Dr. Steven Novella

This is a great book for someone who wants to help sort through information from a scientific, fact-based approach.

We have a real problem with misinformation being shared and going viral on social media. Any time you see some information, question it’s origin.

“Is this real, or was this created to garner a click and/or to go viral.”

There is a seemingly infinite amount of content online and one way to get your attention is to present it as being shocking or outrageous. Don’t fall for it.

A few of the great topics in the book include:

  1. The Dunning-Kruger Effect
  2. Pyramid Schemes
  3. The Singularity (artificial intelligence)
  4. The Warrens and Ghost Hunting
  5. Fake News

This is a big book, but an easy read and you can go through and cherry pick the topics you are most interested in.

Be thoughtful. Be deliberate. Be skeptical.

Book Reco: Factfulness by Has Rosling

A few years ago I participated in a reader series that focused on the book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Has Rosling.

In the book, Rosling presents real data that illustrates how our perceptions of the state of the world are very different from the reality in which it exists.

For example, most people around the world have their base needs met on a daily basis. In the past 100 years, enormous progress has been made in a number of areas: access to healthcare, women’s rights, access to education, life expectancy, and many other indicators that improve the standard of living and quality of life for people around the world.

I highly recommend this book and hope you will check it out. It’s about more than the facts presented within; it’s about how we can largely be wrong as large groups of people and how we should be open to new information.

Remember, libraries are your friend and you can get this book for FREE from one of them.