MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS 

Out of the 150-ish books that I've read, it's these few books that frequently and consciously influence my thinking. The remainder 140-ish books were good and enjoyable but they rarely arise in my thoughts.

 
 

Books

1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

The book transforms the main ideas from the psychological therapy, 'acceptance and commitment therapy' (ACT), into layman's terms. It was very entertaining, a really good book. However, the second half dragged on and became a little boring.

2. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process by Nancy McWilliams

An extremely well written book. Nancy McWilliams is a very good writer.

3. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault by Stephen R. C. Hicks

Carl Jung used to say, 'People don't have ideas, ideas have their people.' Postmodernism has pierced the minds of its victims, possessed them and controlled them.

Postmodernism is filled with superstition and it's explicitly anti-science, anti-reason, and anti-logic. 

The people that come up with these theories are truly pathological. 

Postmodernism is the Alex Jones of philosophy.

4. Our Knowledge of the External World by Bertrand Russell

The final lecture on 'causation' and 'free will' was good. Bertrand Russell had a gift for coming up with illustrations. 

5. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

I wish Dawkins would rewrite the book. It's not a practical read because there are so many footnotes that override the original text. Nonetheless, I'm glad that I finally know what the famous book is about. 

6. The One Sentence Persuasion Course: 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding by Blair Warren

While I intuitively agree with the 'one sentence', Warren doesn't provide any scientific research to back his claim. It may be sufficient from a common sense perspective, but it is not academically rigorous enough to apply in real life. He is however, a very good writer.

7. The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win by Joel Trachtman

This book is good for a new law student. I appreciate the 'point and counter-point' sections. It shows that the author is able to think flexibly. However, I wish some ideas, such as 'passive virtue' & 'passive aggression', has been expanded upon. I'm glad that I was exposed to the idea, but I couldn't transform this idea into anything practical because it was expressed in a single page. 

8. Rules for Radicals by Saul David Alinsky

9. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

If books had classifications, The Rape of Nanking would be rated R18+++++++++. This book is a recount of the Japanese invasion of China and it's particularly noteworthy because of the unfathomable brutally committed by the Japanese.

For example, the Japanese: sliced babies in 3/4's; threw babies into boiling water; killed the Chinese women once they were finished raping them; buried people in the ground halfway then let the dogs eat them alive; slice the abdomen of pregnant women, throw the baby on the ground and watch the baby squirm; put groups of Chinese together, throw grenades, then watch the blood and flesh blast about; used Chinese civilians as bayonet practice; created killing games to cure the monetary of repetitious killing; place fake ads at shopping areas, wait for women to arrive and then rape them all. The list goes on. 

10. Socrates by Thomas C. Brickhouse (Audiobook)

11. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I'm a Nassim Nicholas Taleb fanboy. He's a brilliant thinker and writer.

Nassim constantly rambles about his life and his musings, but then he subtly twists and morphs into something profound. One minute, I'm amused by his stories, the next, my mind is blown.

Just absolutely brilliant.

12. Maimonides & Medieval Jewish Philosophy by Idit Dobbs-Weinstein (Audiobook)

14. Witch: A Tale of Terror by Charles Mackay, Sam Harris

Humans have a long history of using the State as a weapon against others, rather than using the State as a tool of justice. This book is a perfect example. It was thought that the mere accusation of witchcraft was sufficient to put a woman to death. People time and time again used the most absurd reasons for the claim of being a witch. Some included: she was the prettiest girl in the area; she was from the richest family; she gave somebody a slightly wrong look; she was ugly; she talked to someone, then the person fell sick; and so on and so on. 

What was equally as scary, was the low level of evidence required to sentence a woman to death. The argument they used was, 'If we have a high level of evidence to prove witchcraft, then many witches that can't be proven to be a witch, will be let free.' And here's the scary part: these same arguments are being used today but in other areas. However, I won't mention them as they're too politically charged.

The purpose of this book was to show the extreme consequences of superstition. However, I put a different spin on it. The same set of facts demonstrates: 1) Why we employ the philosophy of 'innocent until proven guilty', and 2) why we have a high standard of evidence.

15. Avicenna and Medieval Muslim Philosophy by Thomas Gaskill

16. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

17. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

18. Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne

The book is OK... Coyne did what he intended to do, that is, show why evolution is true. However, it was quite bland.

19. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

 

Academic Journal Articles

 
  1. Playing Dice With Criminal Sentences: The Influence of Irrelevant Anchors on Experts’ Judicial Decision Making (2006) by Birte Englich, Thomas Mussweiler, & Fritz Strack
     
  2. Extraneous factors in judicial decisions (2011) by Shai Danzigera, Jonathan Levavb, & Liora Avnaim-Pessoa
     
  3. False Persuasion, Superficial Heuristics, and the Power of Logical Form to Test the Integrity of Legal Argument (2014) by Stephen M. Rice
     
  4. Natural Observations of the Links Between Attractiveness and Initial Legal Judgments (1991) by A. Chris Downs & Phillip M. Lyons
  5. The Influence of Defendant Race and Victim Physical Attractiveness on Juror Decision-Making in a Sexual Assault Trial (2014) by Evelyn M. Maeder, Susan Yamamoto & Paula Saliba

  6. A Biological Approach to Understanding Resistance to Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation in Group Conflict by Douglas H. Yarn & Gregory Todd Jones

  7. Defendants' Characteristics of Attractiveness, Race, And Sex and Sentencing Decisions (1997) by Andrea DeSantis & Wesley A. Kayson

  8. What is Beautiful is Innocent: The Effect of Defendant Physical Attractiveness and Strength of Evidence on Juror Decision-Making (2015) by Robert D. Lytle

  9. Physical Attractiveness and Femininity: Helpful or Hurtful for Female Attorneys (2015) by Peggy Li

  10. Guilty or Not Guilty? A Look at the "Simulated" Jury Paradigm (1977) by David W. Wilson & Edward Donnerstein

  11. The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Job-Related Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Experimental Studies (2003) by Megumi Hosoda, Eugene F. Stone-Romero, & Gwen Coasts

  12. The Effects of Physical Attractiveness, Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Gender of Defendants and Victims on Judgments of Mock Jurors: A Meta-Analysis (1990) by Ronald Mazzella & Alan Feingold  

  13. Appearance and Punishment: the Attraction-Leniency Effect in the Courtroom (1985) by John E. Stewart

  14. Defendant's Attractiveness as a Factor in the Outcome of Criminal Trials: An Observational Study (1980) by John E. Stewart

  15. The Impact of Litigants' Baby-Facedness and Attractiveness on Adjudications in Small Claims Courts (1991) by Leslie A. Zebrowitz & Susan M. McDonald

  16. Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases by (1974) Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky

  17. Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases (2007) by Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, & Andrew J. Wistrich

  18. Inside the Judicial Mind (2001) by by Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, & Andrew J. Wistrich

  19. The More You Ask for, the More You Get: Anchoring in Personal Injury Verdicts (1996) by Gretchen B. Chapman & Brian H. Bornstein

  20. Can Judges Make Reliable Numeric Judgments: Distorted Damages and Skewed Sentences (2015) by Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich, & Chris Guthrie

  21. Sentencing Under Uncertainty: Anchoring Effects in the Courtroom (2001) by Birte Englich & Thomas Mussweiler

  22. An Empirical View of Contract (1985) by Stewart Macaulay

Stewart Macaulay is a total conspiracist nut bag. He thinks everything is a plot to get more power. 

23. Precedent on High: The High Court of Australia and 'Seriously Considered Dicta' (2013) By James Lee

24. Precedent - Report on Australia (2006) by The Hon Justice Michael Kirby

25. Ex Tempore Judgments – Reasons on the Run (1995) by Michael Kirby

26. The Ratio of the Ratio Decidendi (1959) by Julius Stone

27. Ratio Decidendi: Adjudicative Rationale and Source of Law (1989) by HK Lucke

 
 
 

WHAT I READ IN 2016

 
 

1. Apology by Plato

2. Australia's Constitution Pocket Edition

3. Advanced Twitter Marketing: How to Get Twitter Followers with Twitter Automation: Advanced Twitter Marketing Strategies to Take Your Tweeting to Get More Followers and Take Your Tweeting to the Next Level by Alex Genadinik

I hate myself reading these slimy, cheap, scammy, fluff filled books... But they're surprisingly worth reading. In amongst all the BS, there will be at least one genuinely useful point. Once you finish reading, I recommend that you have shower.

4. Enchiridion by Epictetus

5. Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind by David J. Linden

6. The Constitution of the United States of America by Founding Fathers

7. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

Marx writes with such clarity and persuasiveness. I completely understand why people throughout history have become possessed by his ideas. However, Marxism was formed a long time ago. Modern science, economics, and philosophy have surpassed him. 

8. Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

9. How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff

10. Night by Elie Wiesel

11. The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival by John Bagot Glubb

I've got to admit, John Glubb's observations were quite striking. I was blown away by its relevance for today. It's not PC at all, but that does not concern me. My major criticism with this book, is the nonexistent references. There is no way that I can verify this to be an accurate book. For all I know, it could be an attempt for Glubb to cunningly push his political ideology... 

12. Six Thinking Hats Revised Edition by Edward de Bono

13. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Very interesting and enjoyable.

14. Friedrich Nietzsche by Richard Schacht, (audiobook)

15. River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins

16. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

17. Voltaire and Rousseau by Charles Sherover (audiobook)

18. Confucius, Lao Tzu and Chinese Philosophy by Crispin Sartwell (audiobook)

19. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman

20. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

21. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

22. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One by Thomas Sowell

23. She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner

24. Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

I genuinely feel sorry for Sam that he attached his name to such poorly thought-out book. I am a major fan of his book 'Free Will' but in this one, his reasoning is at the level of a high-school student that first starts to question the world. So bad...

This book reminds me of a debate between Richard Dawkins and the creationist lady, Wendy Wright. It was so cringeworthy because it soon became apparent that Wendy did not do her research. It sounded like she had never picked up a biology textbook before! She did not understand evolution. I give credit to Richard for being so patient and respectful in the face of sheer cognitive dissonance.

Sam has a few genuine points here-and-there, however, the bulk of it cringeworthy. He doesn't understand what he is arguing against. He continually used the 'strawman fallacy', incorrect 'framing', zero contextualising, 'is-ought fallacy', 'appeal to nature', 'contrast bias', and 'appeal to emotion'.

It shocks me that 20,000 people voted this as being a good book! If you want to genuinely debunk religion, watch debates that have both sides. Such as Richard Dawkins vs Father George Coyne and Richard Dawkins vs Rowan Williams.

25. The Philosophies of India by Doug Allen (audiobook) 

26. Stoics and Epicureans by Daryl Hale (audiobook)

27. Bertrand Russel and A. N. Whitehead by Paul Grimley Kuntz (audiobook)

28. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

29. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson

30. Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia

This book is like eating your vegetables. It's plain and boring, but you know it's good for you.

31. Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell

32. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

33. Rework by Jason Fried

Many of Fried's ideas were big sweeping statements that ignored nuance. I would caution someone to take every point as absolute. However, I really appreciate the attempt to debunk a lot of silly ideas that businesses use. This book resonated with me because I've been guilty of a few of them myself. 

34. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Absolutely brilliant.

35. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

36. Lying by Sam Harris

I totally agree that it becomes too hard to remember all the little lies. 1 or 2 is easy, however, 100 is impossible. Generally, truth-telling leads to an easier life. Also, Harris' examples of the awkward moments that are caused by lying, were very funny. 

The best part of the book was definitely the Q&A section. This section makes it apparent that the black & white nature of lying just doesn't exist.

37. So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

38. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

Solid book. Very interesting.

The combination of 'moral intuitionism', 'moral foundations theory', and evolutionary 'group selection' is a strong starting point in explaining erratic political behaviour. 

I'm impressed with the number of angles Jonathan has analysed political and moral psychology. I believe this has resulted in a better explanation. 

It's definitely helped me understand why I feel the way I do towards some political supporters. 

If you're like me and you perceive political zealots to be a bunch of primitive monkeys, this book is for you. It will help you understand the psychological roots of the madness.

39. Free Will by Sam Harris

This book is fascinating!!

The negative: 

The following is a minor issue but I think it's worth noting as Sam Harris has a tendency to make huge statements without understanding what he is arguing against. He criticised the legal system for punishing people. I agree with his criticism but it's not complete. I wish he had of opened the most obvious book - a criminal law textbook. He didn't even have to go very far, page 2 talks about this. The aim of prison etc is to have an organised system of revenge. When you find out that your friend has been raping your daughter for the last 15 years, it will send you into a bloodthirsty fury. You will rage to the point of causing chaos. This is where organised 'punishment' comes in. Instead of getting revenge yourself, the government does it for you. 

Sam Harris is a conclusion jump'er.

40. Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Slack

41. What Is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology by Addy Pross

42. Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study by George E. Vaillant

43. Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and Techniques That Create Extraordinary Results by Kim S. Cameron

44. LinkedIn Mastery: Quick Easy Guide to Dominate LinkedIn by Kathy Brooks

45. Satan's Advice to Young Lawyers by Aleister Lovecraft

46. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

47. The Book On Facebook Marketing: To Help You Set Your Business & Life on Fire by Nick Unsworth

48. Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special by Craig Malkin

49. Unforbidden Pleasures by Adam Phillips

50. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

51. Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

52. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT by Russ Harris

This book is the only self-help book worth recommending. At first, I was very resistant to ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), however, over time I began to realise that the author is right. It's taken me a year and a half to accept, acceptance. At first, brutal acceptance of reality can be quite confronting and seemingly insensitive, but once you get over that stage, it's genuinely profound. Seeing reality for what reality 'is', is true liberation. Living for a life that you think 'should be', is a mental prison. If you do some academic research into ACT, I think that you'll be surprised in its rigor. ACT has very wide application into day-to-day living. Solid book.

 

WHAT I READ PRE-2016

 

1. Principles of Marketing (5e Ed) by Gary Armstrong, Stewart Adam, Sara Denize, & Phillip Kotler

2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk by Al Ries

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by James C. Collins

5. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger

6. The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep by Lawrence J. Epstein

7. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

8. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

9. Small Business Ru!es: The 52 Essential Rules to Be Successful in Small Business by Mathew Dickerson

10. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

11. Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions from Facial Clues by Paul Ekman

12. The Essence Of Psychology by Kirsten Birkett

13. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

14. Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth by Brad Blanton

15. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch

16. The Complete Color Harmony Workbook by Kiki Eldridge

17. Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People by Marc Gobe

18. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow

19. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

20. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister

21. Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff by Mark Hughes

22. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

24. Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life by Joshua Becker

25. The Flinch by Julien Smith

26. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

27. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen

28. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit by Seth Godin

29. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson

30. Mastery by Robert Greene

31. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

32. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

33. Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson

34. Running Technique by Brian Martin

35. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

36. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

37. 101 Ways to Market Your Business by Andrew Griffiths

39. Of Course! The Greatest Collection of Riddles & Brain Teasers For Expanding Your Mind by Zack Guido

40. Outsourcing Mastery: How to Build a Thriving Internet Business with an Army of Freelancers by Steve Scott

41. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

42. The Anatomy of Stretching by Brad Walker

43. Fast Living, Slow Ageing: How to Age Less, Look Great, Live Longer, Get More by Kate Marie

44. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson

45. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

46. Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer

47. Your Brain On Porn by Gary Wilson

48. Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim

49. Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther Perel

50. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

51. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America's Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley

52. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Psychology: CIG to Psychology by Joni E. Johnston

53. Music Business by Shane Simpson

54. Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments by Stephen R. Covey

55. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

56. The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss

57. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

58. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

59. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

60. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

61. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

62. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

63. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

65. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

66. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

67. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

68. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

69. Exploring the History of Medicine: From the Ancient Physicians of Pharaoh to Genetic Engineering by John Hudson Tiner