5 Books I enjoyed Reading in 2023

I've read over a dozen books in 2023. Here are 5 favorites that influenced me the most.

Why books? They are efficient in inner dialogue focused on a single topic. Reading 1-2 hours in a row helps me train my neural network to focus on long-term, in-depth content. As a result, this makes learning new skills more effortless, as focused brain is more effective.

What got my attention?

1. AI 2041

This collection of 10 fiction stories from various AI areas and authors. From raising orphan children by a personality-tuned AI avatar over job reallocation service as part of the government to hacking religious predestination to allow oneself to fall in love. I read this in the first month of this year, and it widened my view on AI possibilities and risks.

Not only deep fakes, generative AI, and AGI, but also part of religion, spouse selection, and maternal love. Can AI provide a better childhood of love than parents who are gone? In these stories, authors imagine the year 2041 and what will be seen as "normal". This book widened my range of imagination beyond my internet and real-life bubble.

2. The Complete Book of Five Rings - by Miyamoto Musashi

This is the most random book that reached me through a miracle of the universe. I'm not sure anymore, but I think someone mentioned Miyamoto Musashi quotes in Lex Fridman podcast.

Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) was an expert Japanese swordsman and rōnin known for his undefeated record in 60 duels. In his final years, he authored The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still practical nowadays.

I tried to connect 400 years of knowledge with today's world - how I approach fruits of love, strive for "success", fall into greediness, and how stuff I own takes my energy. Also, how to refocus on what matters - the others, the present moment, and serving a purpose. If you enjoy Zen, Buddhism, or the meaning of life, you'll enjoy this timeless book.

"Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons
beyond what is useful."

3. Ego is the Enemy - by Ryan Holiday

While writing this post, I realized this book has a similar message as the previous one. It's about focusing on what matters over what impresses other people around you—doing the right thing over doing the popular thing and doing what's essential for your future over what pleases you now.

"Most successful people are people you've never heard of.
They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs."

This book shares a few stories that I could personally relate to. I felt great that I was heading in the right direction until I realized it was the ego trip path, and I could revise my directions. This book reminded me of this book. I've realized it's better to work on meaningful projects rather than well-paid projects.

4. Elon Musk - by Walter Isaacson

I've enjoyed this book so much. Walter keeps his high standard of great investigative stories I know from Innovators. The third of this book is about childhood challenges with the leading role of an abusive father, the other third is about coaching and mentoring people around, and the last third is another point of view on what we know from the media. As Lex often states, childhood trauma makes great leaders.

Looking for an effective solution is a matter of will, focus, and emotional challenges: what you believe in what is possible, and what matters. It's state-of-the-art coaching. What is our goal, how can we get there as fast as possible, and how can we make it cheap and easy to replicate in the future?

Nevertheless, it's a fantastic journey, and I'm eager to see what Elon is bringing to the world table next year.

5. Clear Thinking - by Shane Parrish

If I would have to pick only one book to read in 2023, it would be this one. I've just noted it was published only in October 2023.

I looked forward to each new chapter, diving into inner deep dialog with the author about what decisions are two doors (reversible) and one door (irreversible). We react to events without reasoning, not even realizing that we've missed an opportunity to think at all. At our best, we recognize these moments for what they are and apply the total capacity of our reasoning and rationality to them.

That's all for this year, and I'll see you in 2024.

Happy reading!

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