Sunil Jain

December 28, 2022

Books I found interesting and noteworthy from the ones read in 2022

Based on feedback from last year, I am also providing a summary (at the end) about each book. 

Not all of these I endorse. Nor agree with everything that is mentioned in these. Found these interesting and something to learn from.  I read these regardless to broaden my horizon. These are listed in no particular order.


  • Molecule of More by Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long 

  • Lion Trackers Guide To Life by Boyd Varty

  • The Genius Zone by Gay Hendircks

  • Adrift  by Scott Gallowgay

  • Thought is Your Enemy by UG Krishnamurti

  • The Practice by Seth Godin

  • Brain Energy by Chris Palmer 

  • Conscious by Annika Harris

  • The Myth Of Normal by Gabor Mate

  • Losing Our Selves by Jay Garfield

  • As If Principle by  Richard Wiseman

  • 15  Commitments  of Conscious Leadership by Dianna Chapmen

  • The Great CEO within by  Matt Mochary

  • Weekend Language by Andy Craig  & Dave Yewman

  • The Art of Agile Development by James Shore and Diana Larsen 

  • Agile Web Development with Rails by Sam Ruby, David B. Copeland, Dave Thomas 

  • Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez

  • Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin

  • The Stack and Tilt Swing by  Michael Bennet & Andy Plummer

  • 101 Mistakes All Golfers Make & Four Fundamentals Of Golf by Jon Sherman


Tim Ferris:
  • Boyd Varty 
  • Steven Pressfield
  • Seth Godin
  • Bill Burr
  • John List
  • Michael Gervais
  • Dr Michio Kaku

Lex Friedman:
  • Tim Urban(Wait But Why)
  • Elon Musk
  • David Buss
  • Stephen Kotin
  • Oliver Stone
  • Donald Hoffman
  • Richard Haier
  • Annika Harris
  • John Vervaek
  • Balaji Srinivasan
  • Jim Collins

People I mostly Admire:
  • Michael Lewis 
  • Dan Gilbert
  • Self Help for Data Nerds
  • Yuval Nova Harari

Joe Rogan:
  • Michael Osterholm
  • Antonio Garcia Martinez
  • Dr Gabor Mate
  • Niel deGrassTyson
  • Michael Shermer
  • Andrew Huberman
  • Marc Adressan
  • Bill Maher

Summary Of Books


Molecule of More by Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long : 
Fascinating account of role dopamine plays in our lives.  Explains with good narrative  how dopamine  conditions us to live in future. And possible solutions to wean us away from it.

Lion Trackers Guide To Life by Boyd Varty :  
So many memorable quotes in one book.. "I don't know where I am going but I  know how to get there".  Beautiful exploration of life's journey using  track in jungle as a metaphor.  Very well written. Here is another good one: "Don’t try to be someone, rather find the thing that is so engaging that it makes you forget yourself."

15  Commitments  of Conscious Leadership by Dianna Chapmen : 
One of the best leadership books I've read in recent years.  This is a repeat read from last year. It lays out the concept of above and below the line for leaders. Focus is more on self awareness, openness and a learning attitude, instead of being right and defensive.

The Great CEO within by  Matt Mochary :  
Is a great encapsulation of time tested, as well some new leadership tools. Even though it is geared towards startup CEOs and leaders, it covers pretty much all aspects of running a medium sized company.  Whether it is from Commitments Of Conscious leadership or  Get Things Done, it borrows good leadership practices from the best and puts in one place. Someone who does not have time to read lot of leadership books, this is a pretty good compilation - all in one book.

Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez :   
Explains in very simple terms how online identifies are merged with offline identities to run marketing campaigns. High level view of  how targeted marketing actually works. Written by early Facebook PM, it has fascinating account of role other companies play in advertising business(credit score agencies, as well as data brokers). Marketing is one area I am least knowledgeable about and I read this book to understand this space better. Towards the end,  it also highlights the dangers of  social media and smart phone excessive usage, solutions are not easy.

Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin :  
Learned how to swim freestyle this year using this unique method.  Companion web site has great videos. Swim faster and smoother with less effort. Elegantly. Using body rotation and keeping body in water and streamlined most of the time. Watching champions swim using total immersion is poetry in motion - they move so fast, with very little water movement on surface.  It decouples swimming and breathing, so you can learn one at a time. Learning to swim as adult (by myself) is one of the most difficult things I have done lately.  Very satisfying. Still working on improving breathing rhythm  and moving without disturbing water much.

Weekend Language by Andy Craig  & Dave Yewman :   Great advice on how to prepare and do effective presentations.  All about the story and flow. Single book worth many trainings on this topic.

The Genius Zone by Gay Hendricks :  
Reread from last year. Short concise book. This quote in book sums up the book well: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Adrift  by Scott Gallowgay :  
Short concise book with eye popping statistics. Here is one example : "Nearly half of the science and economics prizes have gone to luminaries associated with U.S. institutions—which speaks much to the strength of those institutions. One more thing  . . . more than a third of U.S.-affiliated Nobel laureates in the past decade have been immigrants.". It lays out solutions around higher education, tax code and nuclear.. but most interesting aspects are the stats presented on different topics.

Thought is Your Enemy by UG Krishnamurti : 
One of my favorite books of all time, reread every year, for many years.  Here is an excerpt: It is thought that has invented the idea of cause and effect. There may not be any such thing as a cause at all. Every event is an individual and independent event. We link up all these events and try to create a story of our lives. But actually every event is an independent event. If we accept the fact that every event is an independent event in our lives, it creates a tremendous problem of maintaining what we call identity. And identity is the most important factor in our lives. We are able to maintain this identity through the constant use of memory, which is also thought. This constant use of memory or identity, or whatever you call it, is consuming a tremendous amount of energy, and it leaves us with no energy to deal with the problems of our living. Is there is any way that we can free ourselves from the identity? As I said, thought can only create problems; it cannot help us to solve them. Through dialectical thinking about thinking itself we are only sharpening that instrument. All philosophies help us only to sharpen this instrument. Thought is very essential for us to survive in this world. But it cannot help us in achieving the goals that we have placed before ourselves. The goals are unachievable through the help of thought. The quest for happiness, as you mentioned, is impossible because there is no such thing as permanent happiness. There are moments of happiness, and there are moments of unhappiness. But the demand to be in a permanent state of happiness is the enemy of this body. 

The Practice by Seth Godin :  
Being such a good writer, this one also has many memorable quotes, as always. He defines creativity and art a bit differently. Here are some excerpts: We become what we do. Flow is a symptom of the work we are doing, not the cause of it. Effective goals aren’t based on the end result: they are commitments to the process. That commitment is completely under your control, even if the end result can’t be. If you do something creative each day, you’re now a creative person. Not a blocked person, not a striving person, not an untalented person. A creative person. Because creative people create. Do the work, become the artist. Instead of planning, simply become. Acting as if is how we acquire identity. Writing is a universal solvent for creatives. Painters, entrepreneurs, therapists, circus acts—each of us can write our story down, a permanent record of how we see the world and how we will change the world.

Brain Energy by Chris Palmer : 
I have been doing one meal a day diet for at least 7+ years now. And have seen the difference it made in my energy levels as well as physical/mental health. When I came across this new book this year on metabolism and mental health, I was fascinated by the topic. The brain energy theory offers a new model of mental health. It’s about much more than just brain function; it’s about metabolism and mitochondria, which impact almost all aspects of human health, aging, and longevity. It introduces the idea that mental disorders are no longer just syndromes but metabolic disorders of the brain. Concept is to restore brain energy by normalizing metabolism and the function of mitochondria.  It does not replace current methods but offers alternate mechanisms.

Conscious by Annika Harris : 
It delves into mechanism of how thoughts appear and how we become conscious about subjective experiences. Here is excerpt from the book highlighting this:  A highly complicated convergence of factors and past events—including our genes, our personal life history, our immediate environment, and the state of our brain—is responsible for each next thought. Did you decide to remember your high school band when that song started playing on the radio? Did I decide to write this book? In some sense, the answer is yes, but the “I” in question is not my conscious experience. In actuality, my brain, in conjunction with its history and the outside world, decided. I (my consciousness) simply witness decisions unfolding.
This is a good companion book of How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Friedman, which read few times past years. 

The Myth Of Normal by Gabor Mate :  
It highlights dangers of  psychological  damage done during childhood following  generally prevalent parenting advice, all with good intentions. These are not just restricted to childhood though. It posits that chronic illness—mental or physical—is to a large extent a function or feature of the way things are and not a glitch; a consequence of how we live, not a mysterious aberration.  Our social and economic culture generates chronic stressors that undermine well-being in the most serious of ways, as they have done with increasing force over the past several decades. It focus on what he defines 4 As for the healing process: Authenticity, Agency, Anger and Acceptance.

The Art of Agile Development by James Shore and Diana Larsen : 
It brings us back to the original purpose for which Agile methodology was created. Focus is on teams and not individuals. Teams that are cross-functional, fully dedicated, collaborative and long-lived. Besides guidelines on how to create such teams, it has great tips on balanced approach to delegation based management(aka not-micro-management), measurement, when metrics are required and team autonomy.

Losing Our Selves by Jay Garfield : 
I have been deeply interested in philosophy since my teenage years, both eastern and western. Going thru various books and texts on these thru my adulthood, I came to really like and appreciate the Buddhist and Advaita perspectives. And later on Stoicism. For a western mind, if there is a single book, which can distill the essence of Buddhism and Advaita in a single compilation, this is the book. It very eloquently analyzes illusory concept of "Self" and differentiates it from "persons". 
Here is excerpt from the book: The ideas that I will develop are inspired by my long engagement with two philosophers, one Indian and one Scottish: Candrakīrti (c. 600–650 CE) and David Hume (1711–1776 CE). Candrakīrti was a Buddhist scholar and a partisan of the Middle Way School of Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy. He was distinctive in his defense both of the robust reality of the world we inhabit, and of the view that despite—or more accurately, because of—the fact that that it is real, our own existence and that of the objects and institutions that surround us is merely conventional, dependent upon the way we think, and the way we talk. He argued that although we might take ourselves to be selves that exist independent of and prior to these conventions, this is an illusion; instead, he argued, these practices constitute us as persons. Hume also argued that although we have a persistent illusion of being selves, we are instead constituted as persons in the context of our interactions with one another and of the practices that enable those interactions.

Agile Web Development with Rails by Sam Ruby, David B. Copeland, Dave Thomas : 
As part of our Hackethon, I built back-end for Human Capital System using Rails. And reread few topics from this classic on  Ruby On Rails development as I built this. I had switched to Ruby, and Rails more than a decade back mainly because of  speed with you you can build full stack applications. And elegance of Ruby. I am surprised that no other framework till this date has solved that problem.  In fact it has become worse with plethora of front end frameworks. I am so glad that both Ruby and Rails ecosystems continue to thrive and being improved upon. They are out with Ruby 3.2 which has YJIT and support for WebAssembly.  And Rails 7 has Hotwire : an alternative approach to building modern web applications without using much JavaScript by sending HTML instead of JSON. And there is new push is towards simplifying deployments using containers.

As If Principle by  Richard Wiseman : 
The notion of behavior causing emotion suggests that people should be able to create any feeling they desire simply by acting as if they are experiencing that emotion. Or as James famously put it, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” He refers to this simple but powerful proposition as the As If principle Behavior and Emotion Common sense suggests that the chain of causation is: You feel happy — You smile ;You feel afraid — You run away The As If theory suggests that the opposite is also true: You smile — You feel happy;You run away — You feel afraid

The Stack and Tilt Swing by  Michael Bennet & Andy Plummer :
This year I built on the fundamentals of golf I developed last year. Started playing  golf in 2019 as this was the only sport open and safe to play during Covid. And stack and tilt technique helped me a lot in improving my distance and accuracy. I am still in handicap range of 15-20. Once in a while I get a handicap of 10 or even less, but I am able to hit 270+ yard driver consistently now. I learned that even when you are feeling good about your game, bad round is around the corner.  It does not demoralize me much now, as next good round is also around the corner. Focus is on consistency and hitting straight, as well as the short game. As they says golf is a funny and very humbling game. You are always learning, and I feel like I am just at the beginning. 

101 Mistakes All Golfers Make & Four Fundamentals Of Golf by Jon Sherman :
Covers some of the basics mistake we all make. And just being honest about our abilities and expectations, so that golf does not become source of stress.