Books I’ve Loved | Maria Popova and Tyler Cowen on the Tim Ferriss Show

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Key Takeaways


Maria Popova’s Book Recommendations

  • Letter to a Hostage by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    • “He is an incredibly poetic writer and this is just an incredibly soulful, humanistic, book but also incredibly lucid and helpful” – Maria Popova
      • The book talks about living meaningfully and honorably
  • Love and Saint Augustine by Hannah Arendt
    • Maria calls the author “of the greatest political thinkers our civilization has produced”
      • The author contemplates the nature of love and how to live with fear
  • A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
    • In the book, the author looks at the genius and tragedy of two great scientists: Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing
      • The book is written by a scientist but the prose is deeply poetic

Tyler Cowen’s Book Recommendations

  • Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
    • This is one of Tyler’s favorite fiction books
      • The book teaches readers about jealousy, expectations, disappointment, and what it feels like to go through different levels of status in society 
  • Timeless Flight: The Definitive Biography of The Byrds by Johnny Rogan
    • This is Tyler’s favorite management book 
      • It shares the story of a band that split up because they couldn’t work together
        • “It’s brilliant, it helps you understand small groups” – Tyler Cowen
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Readers will learn about slavery, migration, and race from this book
      • “It just bleeds a kind of humanity on virtually every page and communicates what the suffering is like of being in a tragic situation” – Tyler Cowen
  • Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career by Scott Young
    • If you’re a knowledge worker, you need to be thinking of ways to get better every day and the people who do really well are always learning
      • This book will teach you how to learn hard skills and move your career forward
  • “There are these compounding returns to being obsessed with reading and starting young and never stopping” – Tyler Cowen
  • If you really want to get into a person’s mind, read all of their works within a few weeks
  • When you’re reading, you want to start with a problem or question
  • “Writing is thinking. If your writing isn’t clear, probably your thinking isn’t clear.” – Tyler Cowen
  • Don’t force yourself to finish books you don’t enjoy
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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