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  • Warwick Shaw

The Tale of a Bookworm

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

I've always been a bookworm.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of being dragged up from the basement of someone's house - where I had discovered a treasure trove of books - under the accusation that I was "not being sociable!"

There is one constant with people who read: they are interesting. People who don't read are often boring. Reading opens the mind to ideas that were not there before!

I know this is not really related to what I do, but consider this: conversation is one of the most important ways of building a business relationship. If you can't have a deep conversation about something your potential client feels strongly about, the chances of bonding are slim.

And yet, I'm often told that knowledge is useless unless it is put into action.

What do you think?

With that said, I think it would be pertinent to include a list of books that I would recommend. Here goes!

"12 Rules for Life" by Jordan Peterson. A long read and worth every minute. This book is based on an answer he wrote on Quora. It became very popular, because it was candid and also quite funny - as a primer, the first rule is "Stand up straight with your shoulders back" and the last is "Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street."

"Moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer. This is the true journey of a journalist who reported on the National Memory Championships in the United States (yes, there is such a thing). He wondered if he could improve his memory, and embarked on a journey which culminated in him actually winning the Championships! This contains nuggets of advice for anyone trying to improve their memories. It can be done, and Josh shows how.

"Made in America" by Bill Bryson. Bill is hilarious, and this book will entertain while educating you about the intricacies of how American English evolved. The best way to read this is not to read it, but listen to it on Audible. You will learn more about American history in this book than you did in school. (Promise!)

"Countdown to Zero Day" by Kim Zetter. This is the hair raising story of how a joint team of American and Israeli hackers and programmers made the world's first purely digital weapon - a computer worm designed to travel through computer networks until it found its target, a nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Iran. A fascinating real-life thriller.

"The Churchill Factor" by Boris Johnson. Written by the incumbent Prime Minister of the United Kingdom - who is really a modern Winston himself - this is an incredibly interesting biography of one of the greatest statesmen who ever lived. Controversial, belligerant, bellicose - this book will take you on a journey of the man who led Britain through its darkest hour. Oh - and if you like this book, you should definitely watch the film/documentary "The Darkest Hour."

"Blink," "The Tipping Point," and "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm is an entertaining chap - he's a TED fellow, so head over to and look him up. His talks are well worth watching! As for his books, they are equally entertaining and educational. Blink is about what happens in the first two seconds after we meet someone, or see a painting, or experience an event. The Tipping Point is about how trends, products, companies and much, much else suddenly jump from mediocrity to full-blown success - seemingly overnight. Outliers is a tale of success, and a study of the unique circumstances that lead to it.

"Lost Connections" by Johann Hari. This book is a tale of depression and anxiety - how it permeates the Western world and why, and what we can do to get out of this predicament. It resonated deeply with me as I frequently have depressive episodes - I do a pretty good job of covering them up - and it helped me to understand why.

"Chasing the Scream" by Johann Hari. This, I feel, deserves its own section here. It is the tale of the drug war, currently being waged in the United States and around the world, and how it is failing miserably. I read this because I wanted to understand why a cousin became part of a drug gang and ultimately ruined his life with drugs. I'll leave you with this thought: today, in the United States, it is easier for a child to get heroin and meth than it is to get a bottle of whiskey.

I'll add more as I go along!

Disclosure: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you use the above links.

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