Book notes

This page is a collection of notes from book I read. I read between 200-400 books after graduation but do not note many of them. I wish I did. I find taking book note makes me a better reader. I try to digitalize book notes I took in the past as well as new book I read from now on.


Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (10/10): One of the most influential books I have read in the last few years written by a Nobel Laureate. It completely changes my perception on the flow of life and the perspective of happiness. Very short yet powerful book on the chaotic growth of human mind.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (9.5/10): This is a great book for me even I am not an artist. The observations in this book not only apply for artists but also for entrepreneurs since both of them do not like rules and yearn for creative thinking. This book is easy to read with dedicated practices at the end of each chapter.

The author explains root cause of psychological and emotional feeling in each artists (actually in each of us). These feelings turn out to be myth and it creates lots of anxiety and stress on our mind which prevent us from taking actions. What blocks artists (also entrepreneurs) are fear, censor and condition from surrounding environments.

Traction: how any startup can achieve explosive customer growth (9/10): a comprehensive guide on how to acquire new customers for startup. The author is the founder of duckduckgo, a search engine to compete with Google, outlines 19 common users acquisition strategies that he used himself or learnt from others. If you are start-up founder, you are recommended to read through this list to find the best method that works for your company.

Stillness is the key by Ryan Holiday (9/10): A good to read for an evening in solitude. Ryan Holidays brings some core concepts of all major philosophy schools and explain it to layman with stories from established figures.

The key ideas is to be present and make your mind empty. You need to conserve your energy for important tasks & decision in life. Having an empty mind is key to deep work and happy life.

Atomic Habits by James Clear (9/10): A really great book that goes deep into the psychology of human behavior. The book looks at our behaviors with different angles and provides step-by-step guide to build good habits. The biggest takeaway from the book is removing bad habits or building good habits is not about self-discipline. Self-discipline is overrated. They key point is to make things easy to build your desired habits.

7 Days startup by Dan Norris (9/10): A good book for first time entrepreneurs who start their companies without raising funding. The main theme is "You don't learn until you launch" and hence you should try to launch as fast as possible.

I can relate many mistakes I made mentioned in the book. I still sometimes struggle with overthinking but I am getting better every day.

The ends of jobs by Taylor Pearson (8.5/10): a great book that explains why entrepreneurship is a better choice than conventional job. The author argues that in this new world where knowledge is abundant and credentials become less important, the ability to deal with complex situation (a skillset earnt through entrepreneurship) makes one valuable. I would give it more rating if the author spent more time to explain how to become an successful entrepreneur (though he did mention it) rather than why you should become an entrepreneur.

$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (8/10): a decent book for anyone who wants to start a lifestyle entrepreneurship. This book covers lots of examples of people who start companies with very little capital.

Deep Work by Cal Newport (8/10): The author is a professor in computer science and has an undergraduate degree in CS from MIT. His career is surrounded by highly intellectual individuals and this book is a reflection of why deep work is crucial from his experience. I think it is true for anyone who wants to stand out in this knowledge economy where automation and outsourcing can replace white-collar workers.

The examples in the book are highly bias toward academic careers. One thing this book does not address is that most jobs in the market do not require a level of deep work. It is very difficult for a person to do deep work when the job does not require deep work at all. And doing personal project or research during work time is discouraged.

The book still deserves your attention if you want to do meaningful work or change to a career that has meaningful work since it's the way for you to stand out.

Simple Numbers, Straight Talks, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree (7/10): A decent book to read for small business owner. There are a few misunderstanding that SMB should be aware of when they build their business. Each chapter comes with plenty of examples for analysis.

I couldn't give it a higher rating as it does not tell the common way to increase bigger margin or profit for a business. Might be a question out of the scope of the book since each business is different from others. This book corrects our understanding of cashflow & net income in a business instead of how to get more of them.