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On Books

On Books is a podcast where we talk about books.
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Apr 1, 2018
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.
 
In this episode Chris reads and gives highlights from Deep Work. For more info visit www.castig.org
Mar 18, 2018

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

This week Chris reads and gives highlights from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. For more info visit www.castig.org 

Mar 6, 2018

Bird by Bird is one of my favorite books on writing, and life. In this episode I'll read from the book, and give you some key takeaways. For more info visit www.castig.org 

Excerpt: 

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'" - Anne Lamott 

 

Feb 3, 2018

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

In this episode Chris brings you his top highlights from Sapiens. 

Learn more at www.on-books.com

 

Jan 12, 2018
In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America--heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's, high blood pressure, and more--and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to help prevent and reverse these diseases, freeing us to live healthier lives.
Dec 24, 2017

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

In this episode Ta-Nehisi Coates reads from Between the World and me, and Chris offers some context and takeaways from the book hoping to inspire you to read the book for yourself.

Learn more at: www.on-books.com

Dec 12, 2017

New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

Klosterman visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past. Kinetically slingshotting through a broad spectrum of objective and subjective problems, But What If We’re Wrong? is built on interviews with a variety of creative thinkers—George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin, and Richard Linklater, among others—interwoven with the type of high-wire humor and nontraditional analysis only Klosterman would dare to attempt. It’s a seemingly impossible achievement: a book about the things we cannot know, explained as if we did. It’s about how we live now, once “now” has become “then.”

Learn more @ www.on-books.com

Oct 31, 2017
While many books explain the how of bitcoin, The Internet of Money delves into the why of bitcoin. Acclaimed information-security expert and author of Mastering Bitcoin, Andreas M. Antonopoulos examines and contextualizes the significance of bitcoin through a series of essays spanning the exhilarating maturation of this technology.
 
In this episode Chris brings you his top highlights from The Internet of Money. 
 
Learn more at www.on-books.com
Aug 3, 2016
Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.
 
In this episode of On Books, I'll read the introduction to Ego is the Enemy, as well as share my top 3 takeaways from the book. 
Jul 26, 2016

Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing.
 
Samuel Arbesman is on the show today to help us understand how this evolution of facts unfolds in a fascinating way that can have a powerful impact on our lives. In this interview Sam and Chris discuss The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date, as well as his latest book Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension.   

Jul 19, 2016

In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. The book is a how-to guide for reducing as much waste as possible from your life. In this episode of On Books, I interview Bea and discuss about how to reduce waste. 

Jul 12, 2016
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. The book is a how-to guide for reducing as much waste as possible from your life. In this episode of On Books I share my favorite tips from Bea's book for reducing waste, as well as a reading from the chapter "The 5 Rs: Refuse" - which is the fundamental tenants of the Zero Waste movement. 
 
Next week, Bea will be on the show. So if you have any questions you'd like to ask Bea send them to me at chris@on-books.com and I'll make sure either she, or myself gets to them next week. 
 
Jun 28, 2016

Haruki Murakami’s books are a blend of modern culture, and fantasy. Arguably, Murakami is Japan’s most famous author, his writing resonates on a frequency that is distinctly “Murakami.”

Over the past 30 years, Murakami has written 13 novels including: Norwegian Wood (1987), Sputnik Sweetheart (1999), Kafka on the Shore (2002), 1Q84 (2009), and his most recent Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki (2013). In this episode I have a special guest!

Lee Matos ("Murakami superfan", and philosopher of life) is here to discuss the meta-question: What does it mean to follow an author’s canon of work? We examine that question through the work of Haruki Murakami.

In this episode you’ll takeaway: - Which Murakami book is the best? - A review of Murakami’s latest book: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki - Our discussion on reading non-fiction books vs. fiction books - The benefits of deep-reading - When should you read an author’s complete body of work? Read more at: www.on-books.com, and email me with your thoughts: chris@on-books.com

Jun 22, 2016

Peter Singer is a well known Australian philosopher and author. In 2005 Time magazine named Singer one of the top 100 most influential people of the year. His latest two books The Life You Can Save (2009), and The Most Good You Can Do (2015) explore how you can be a vehicle for change in the world - right now, and without giving up much. Both of which we’ve covered in previous episodes of On Books!

In this episode we discuss:

* What does it mean to do “the most good"?
* Are startups improving the world?
* Why did you write The Life You Can Save?
* What was it like being one of the first people to petition for animal rights back in the 1970s?

My hope is that these three episodes of On Books will inspire you to unleash more good in the world - not only for others, but as you’ll see, for your own happiness and well being.

After spending time with Singer, he has opened my eyes to the idea that giving just a little money ($5.00) to the right causes (thelifeyoucansave.org) can be enough to save a human life. Now that I know what’s possible - it feels like I’ve had superpowers all along and just didn’t know it.

Email the show: chris @ on-books.com 

Jun 16, 2016

In this episode of On Books, I discuss The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, by Kevin Kelly. 

The Inevitable is driven by the idea that the technological trends of the next 30 years can be predicted. Over 336 pages the book breaks down the Top 12 technological forces at work such as: "Becoming, Cognifying, Flowing, Screening, Accessing, Sharing, Filtering, Remixing, Interacting, Tracking, Questioning, and Beginning."

The names themselves don't really tell you much about these trends, and so I'll break down in this shorter 25 minute episode of On Books the first three trends: Becoming, Cognifying and Flowing so that by the end of the podcast you'll have a pretty good sense of how to use these in your everyday work. And you'll have enough of the kernel of the concept of what "inevitable" means so that you can decide if this book is right for you!

Who better to speak on this subject than Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired Magazine, co-founder of The Quantified Self Movement, his accolades go on and on and on). Kelly's early writing in Out of Control (1994), and New Rules for the New Economy (1998) were highly influential in the shaping the past 20 years of the web, and his predictions here will no doubt be influential in shaping the next 20+ years.

I hope you enjoy this episode! If you'd like to learn more about the book and Kevin Kelly please check out the previous episode of On Books (Episode #39) to hear my conversation with Kevin Kelly on 60s counterculture, How to Read Better and of course The Inevitable.

Jun 13, 2016
This week I was lucky enough to interview one of my favorite people of all time: Kevin Kelly.
 
Tim Ferriss refers to Kevin as the real-life “Most Interesting Man In The World." 
 
He is one of the co-founders of Wired Magazine, co-founder of the Quantified Self Movement, and serves on the board of The Long Now foundation. He's a prescient writer, inspiring photographer, and prolific traveler. 
 
In this episode we talk about: 
* The Counterculture movement of the 60s
* Traveling as an act of rebellion
* Kevin’s latest book The Inevitable in which he writes that, "Much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion.” He'll share some of those predictions with us. 
* Lessons on how to read better
* And... a book that Kevin wishes everyone in the world read at least one time. 
 

 

Jun 6, 2016

In this episode of On Books, we discuss The Life You Can Save, by Peter Singer. 


Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com

May 29, 2016

In this episode of On Books, we discuss The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically, by Peter Singer. 


Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com

May 23, 2016

In this episode I talk with Zander Rose (Director of the Long Now Foundation) on long-term thinking, and building something that lasts longer than ourselves. This is the fourth episode in the series, but feel free to listen to them in any order you like. Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com

May 17, 2016

How do you build something that will last 10,000 years? In this episode of On Books, we discuss The Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand. This is the third episode in the series, but feel free to listen to them in any order you like. Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com

May 9, 2016

How does social change happen over time? What is more powerful nature or commerce? In this episode of On Books, we discuss The Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand. This is the second episode in the series, but feel free to listen to them in any order you like. Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com

May 3, 2016

In this episode of On Books, we discuss The Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand. Books notes available at:http://www.on-books.com 

Apr 27, 2016

In this episode of On Books, we discuss an idea I've been consumed by. This discussion will help set the stage for the next series of books coming up. This episode is called, "To Leave the World a Better Place Than How I Found it."


Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com Subscribe on iTunes! And follow On Books: Twitter: @onbooksshow (http://www.twitter.com/onbooksshow) Facebook: /onbooksshow (http://www.facebook.com/onbooksshow) Instagram: @castig (https://www.instagram.com/castig)

Apr 19, 2016

In this episode of On Books, we discuss Part 2 of Kurt Vonnegut's A Man Without A Country.

Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com Subscribe on iTunes! And follow On Books: Twitter: @onbooksshow (http://www.twitter.com/onbooksshow) Facebook: /onbooksshow (http://www.facebook.com/onbooksshow) Instagram: @castig (https://www.instagram.com/castig)

Apr 12, 2016

This episode of On Books brings you a reading from A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut. This is part 1 of a 2 part episode on this book.

Books notes available at: http://www.on-books.com Subscribe on iTunes! And follow On Books: Twitter: @onbooksshow (http://www.twitter.com/onbooksshow) Facebook: /onbooksshow (http://www.facebook.com/onbooksshow) Instagram: @castig (https://www.instagram.com/castig)

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