Here are a couple non-fiction books I’m looking forward to this fall:

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan (if you don’t have them, I order you to go buy them and read them now), finally has his new book ready.  Antifragile looks like it will continue Taleb’s variations on the theme of living among complex systems, this time perhaps attempting to answer the question: how can we use randomness (unpredictable chaotic systems) to make our lives better?  To make our lives stronger?  To make our systems non-fragile, that is, “antifragile”?  Looks like a very interesting book; I look forward to seeing what Taleb has to say on the subject.

by Robert Greene


Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power (if you don’t have it, I order you to go buy it and read it now), at long last returns to the bookstore bookshelves with a new book.  Amazon’s description reads:

What did Charles Darwin, middling schoolboy and underachieving second son, do to become one of the earliest and greatest naturalists the world has known? What were the similar choices made by Mozart and by Caesar Rodriguez, the U.S. Air Force’s last ace fighter pilot? In Mastery, Robert Greene’s fifth book, he mines the biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over our own lives and destinies. Picking up where The 48 Laws of Power left off, Greene culls years of research and original interviews to blend historical anecdote and psychological insight, distilling the universal ingredients of the world’s masters.

There’s a [stupid] line in the film Good Will Hunting in which Will says something like: “Beethoven looked at a piano and could just play.”  Mastery of a craft can often seem like some inborn natural talent.  In fact, that’s where the word “talent” comes from.  But, as books like The Genius in All of Us (another book I highly recommend) and The Talent Code show, no one is just born with innate expertise; it all must be learned and practiced.  (Sometimes the experts themselves have trouble explaining how they do things, which perpetuates the myth that it’s just innate.  Even as I type here on a keyboard, I could not explain “how” I type; I just do, and my motions have become automatic with practice.  That doesn’t mean I was born with any innate abilities that lend themself to quick typing.)

Anyway, I’m hoping Mastery will not just be a variation on The Genius in All of Us.  But even if it is, I’d love to read it.  Definitely looking forward to this one.

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