Book Review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

After a year of reading (and forgetting to finish) the monstrously comprehensive biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I am proud to say that last night I finally finished the book.

Coming in at 656 pages, this book delves into every epoch of Job’s Apple  journey. I was impressed that Isaacson not only covered Job’s childhood comprehensively but also gave background history of both Job’s birth parents and adoptive parents. These details while seemingly negligent are important to understanding Job’s notoriously combative and at times destructive personality.

Unlike the two movies on Job’s life, this book does not present a one sided analysis focused on his famous tirades. While Isaacson makes sure to include Job’s personality flaws in the book for the sake of realism, he also makes sure to show the more human and vulnerable sides of Job’s life, from his struggles to rekindle a relationship with his daughter Lisa to his fears of leaving his family and of course Apple behind as he struggled with pancreatic cancer.

Reading this book I was at times so inspired by Job’s story that I convinced myself I had chosen the wrong area of study and should go back to school to become a software engineer. After coming back to my senses (and remembering I can’t write error free code to save my own life) I realize now that I probably was just entranced by the effective, whimsical and well organized prose that Isaacson put together in this lovely book.

I would say if you are looking for a book to be your companion for the next year or so in coffee shops, bedside tables and the like, you should pick up this book too.

Happy Reading 🙂

❤ Adri

Book Review: The Elephant Keeper’s Children by Peter Høeg

The Elephant Keeper’s Children is written by a Danish author Peter Høeg (and translated into English by Martin Atiker). The book is all over the place, but if I were to describe its plot, I’d say it’s about a young boy named Peter who lives with his family on the fictional island of Finø where his parents are important religious leaders and run their own church. When his parents mysteriously vanish, Peter and his sister Tilte know immediately that something is amiss. Peter and Tilte go on a crazy, surreal hunt for their parents and what they learn about their parent’s mischievous plans changes them forever.

Reviews:

“It succeeds in being extremely funny while also wrestling with deeper philosophical questions about the role of religion in society and individual choice.” —Huffington Post

“This is the novel of the winter to restore your faith in the magic of human experience.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“As soon as I opened to page one, and met fourteen-year-old Peter, I was hooked…It’s really a crime thriller, yet filled with mystical characters and a surprising amount of laughs.” —Kick Ass Book Reviews

 

While this book definitely has a young adult reader vibe to it, I will warn that there are definitely a fair number of references to sex and drugs in this book, (which I am assuming isn’t much of a concern to Scandinavian audiences given their indifferent attitudes towards nudity, sexuality and alternative lifestyles). If you read The Elephant Keeper’s Children and want to read something else by this author, Smillia’s Sense of Snow is a New York Time’s bestseller and similar in genre to this book.

Minimalism: The Kon Marie Method

I admit to not actually reading Kon Marie’s popular book Spark Joy. I did however watch a few YouTube videos of the woman cleaning other people’s homes. If you have a computer or watch television with any frequency, it’s likely you’ve at least heard a mention of the Japanese organizational sensation.

Kon Marie basically advises that when cleaning the home, to reevaluate all the items one owns, actually hold them in one’s hands and determine whether the item makes us happy or not. Then of course we have to think about function, and then sentimental value in evaluating our stuff. (She also has very interesting ways of optimizing space once we’ve evalated our items. Most of these tips involve either rolling our items, standing them vertically, or a combination of the two).

Kon Marie also advises to clean your home not room by room, but item by item in five larger categories of items: clothes, books, paper, kitchen, and then miscellaneous items (referred to as komono in Japanese).

Using Kon Marie’s tips has helped me a lot to get rid of even more items that just aren’t adding to my life anymore.

Great Reads: The Sleep Revolution by Ariana Huffington

A few days ago I checked out Ariana Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution from the Kanawha County Public Library. I saw her promote the book on a talk show interview with Trevor Noah and I’m really glad I picked it out. I knew sleep was important, but I learned so much, because she executed such a diverse collection of chapters on different topics relating to sleep. As she proudly claims in her interviews, “I’d take it as a personal victory if you fell asleep reading my book.”

Some topics she tackles in her book are the culture of dismissing sleep as a status symbol (in other words, wearing sleeplessness as a badge of honor), the sometimes irreversible health issues that arise from not sleeping, lack of sleep in college, sleep’s effects on our decision-making, the significance of our dreams and our subconscious thoughts, the development of sleep monitoring technologies and sleep centers, and many more enlightening topics.

Also, a key takeaway message she shares is the importance of winding down before bed and keeping electronic screens powered off about 30 minutes before sleep. This is something I usually aim for anyway, but I think I’ll try working on calming down my thoughts before bedtime to truly maximize the great power of sleep.

Though there was one night when reading her book gave me “performance anxiety” and kept me up a little longer than expected, on a whole reading this book at night has helped me to wind down the day and experience restful sleep. I would recommend reading it, (or for the busy bees out there, skimming it or choosing chapters out of it you find useful).

❤ Color Me Adri