Sunday, June 28, 2020

Favorite Songs of 15 Genres

I currently have 43 Spotify playlists that I created, all separated by loose-fitting genres. Every year, I listen to about 600-800 hours of music. Below are my favorite songs by genre:

Acoustic: Ocean by John Butler
Alternative: Sweet Disaster by DREAMERS
Classical: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach
Country: When the Stars Come Out by Chris Stapleton
Electronic: The Drift by Blackmill
Jazz: The Girl From Ipanema by Stan Getz
Metal: The Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin
Pop: Mine by Taylor Swift
Punk Rock: Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
R&B: Thinkin Bout You by Frank Ocean
Rap: Hiiipower by Kendrick Lamar
Reggae: Jamming by Bob Marley
Rock: Come Sail Away by Styx
Showtunes: Satisfied by Renee Elise Goldsberry
Soul: Lean on Me by Bill Withers

Monday, June 15, 2020

Third 10 books I read in 2020

Reading Period: June 15th - July 23

1. Art and Fear, by David Bayles

    This book is extremely well written, insightful, and motivating. This book is about making art, but at the same time it is not about art at all. It is about the struggle to produce, the anxiety of competition, and the destructive ways of thinking that tear us down. It is a book about life, and a book about getting shit done. The sheer amount of good advice David manages to pack in 120 pages is almost frighting. I would say that this is the most motivating book I have ever read, and one of the best.

2. Forex Trading, by Jim Brown

    I'm not going to waste much time writing about this book, it was pretty bad. Very short introduction to forex but poorly written, not helpful, and overall a waste of time.

3. Black Edge, by Sheelah Kolhatkar

    God damn is this book amazing. 10/10. One of the few books I've stayed up until 3:00 AM to finish. This book chronicles the rise of Steven A. Cohen, and the famous insider trading investigations surrounding his firm, SAC Capital. It is Cohen vs the FBI, SEC, and the Department of Justice. Extremely well researched, hilarious, and frustrating. I would say that the word that describes this book the best is "pleasure." It was a pleasure to read, and I am going to recommend this book to every person I know.

4. The Art of Currency Trading, by Brent Donnelly

    This books is absolutely phenomenal. As far as technical guides go, this is probably the most comprehensive, down to earth, and useful book about trading. This book is not simply about FX, it is really a life lesson about decision making and risk management. Brent is an expert who gives advice that seems specific, but is actually extremely applicable in every area of finance. Probably the best "hard finance" book I've ever read.

5. The Complete Whiskey Course, by Robin Robinson

    Extremely informative, probably the most "complete course" you could ask for. Robin breaks down how whiskey is made, how to taste whiskey, and the different types of whiskey. He splits whiskey into different geographies (American, Canadian, Irish, Scottish, Japanese, and World) and even gives suggested tastings! I kept a bottle of Jim Beam beside me during the reading, which definitely increased the enjoyment. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to all things whiskey, this is your stop.

6. Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide, by Madeline Puckette

    I would say this book is probably best in hardcover format, something to read on and off when bored or pouring a glass of wine. The first 80 pages were a easy introduction to wine, but the learning really stops there. The majority of the book is essentially an atlas that lists type of wine, basic characteristics, and taste profile. I was hoping for something much more similar to The Complete Whiskey Course (which was super in-depth and informative) but I ended up with a book you'd put on your coffee table and never read.

7. Lying, by Sam Harris

    Labeled as a book but essentially an essay. Sam expands on the idea that in 99.99% of situations, we should not lie. Pretty much in every regard, this point is thought through and defended. The more time you spend living life, the harder it is to disagree with this central theme. Your life will be easier, happier, and deeper if you simply decide to not lie under almost any circumstance.

8. Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris

    Another long form essay, this one a sort of sequel to The End of Faith, but probably written in the course of a weekend. Sam seems to simplify or dumb-down many of his attacks in the book, with the intended audience being a bible belt Christian who likely lacks a college education. This letter would likely be insightful to them, but as a standalone work read by an agnostic there is really nothing novel (though some quips are pretty funny).

9. Free Will, by Sam Harris

    Yet another "book" by Sam Harris, this one focusing on the idea of determinism and the illusion of free will. Of the essays I've read by Sam I think this is probably the least fleshed out, with much to be wished for. For example, I could have used another 10 pages describing compatibilism. It seemed as if the reader was expected to have prior knowledge of Sam's disagreement with Dennett. To be honest, Sam's lectures on free will on Youtube seem to be better structured and more understandable. However, this is still an interesting discussion topic and a good "pop philosophy" introduction.

10. Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter

    Simply marvelous. The most intellectually challenging/stimulating book I have ever read. Douglas weaves Godel's incompleteness theorem, Escher's mind-bending artwork, and Bach's musical brilliance in a thread through computer science, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and a host of other subjects. Chapters switch between in-depth discussion of a particular topic (number theory) and fun fictional interactions between a cast of characters (Achilles, Tortoise, Crab) that provide a ground to the scientific figure. Looking across my life so far, with this being the 185th book I have ever read, I can say with certainty that is was the theoretical best. The amount of effort, cleverness, and insight provided by the 777 pages is truly remarkable. Even without agreeing with Hofstadter's underlying assumption of strange loops/tangled hierarchies and their role, even conceding that a book about machine intelligence written in 1979 is bound to be outdated by modern technology, I can firmly say that I have never been more impressed by a book.