Lessons Learned From Reading More Than 40 Books in 2020

Lessons Learned From Reading More Than 40 Books in 2020
Lessons Learned From Reading More Than 40 Books in 2020
Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

This year, I’ve been able to read 43 books so far. In dedicating hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to reading, I’ve learned some unexpected lessons.

Reading without applying knowledge is useless

Before diving into a book, it’s important to know why you’re reading this book. What do you want to get out of it? What do you expect to learn from it? How can you apply what you learn to your life? We shouldn’t simply read to regurgitate random information and be able to tell others about how well-read we are.

There is little point in reading if you don’t apply what you’ve learned.

Quality over quantity

Reading a few, great books and getting as much as you can from them is better than reading dozens of books and barely learning anything. I’d rather read a few books and deeply understand them than read a bunch of books and only understand them on a superficial level. With reading, you get out what you put in. I’ve learned that the level of attention you can give to a book will determine how much you get out of it. …


My experience with the digital declutter recommended in digital minimalism

How Cal Newport’s Digital Declutter Changed My Life
How Cal Newport’s Digital Declutter Changed My Life
Photo: David Švihovec/Unsplash

Over the past 30 days, I tried out the digital declutter described in Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I learned a lot from Newport’s book and highly recommend it. If you haven’t read Digital Minimalism, you can read my summary and review here. In implementing the digital declutter into my life over the past 30 days, I learned a lot about my habits and what I value.

To start my digital declutter, I outlined, on an index card, the platforms I use and how I would be using them. Below were my limitations:

  • Snapchat: delete app, don’t use at all
  • Instagram: delete app, don’t use at…


On The Struggles Of Learning To Produce

Why I Find Writing So Hard
Why I Find Writing So Hard
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

For whatever reason, I continually put off writing. It’s one of those things that I tend to enjoy doing in the moment, but struggle to get myself to do. Day after day, I tell myself that I’m going to produce something. And, day after day, I find something more “important” to do.

For me, writing is so difficult because it’s a form of self-expression. In our modern society, we’re constantly being forced to consume rather than create. We use platforms that thrive on us continually scrolling on their newsfeed, watching their latest TV series, and reading their latest news article. …


Shocking Facts About Money in America

12 Things I Learned From Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
12 Things I Learned From Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

I recently finished reading Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It was a pretty informative read full of practical and applicable information. The ideas in the book were pretty simple. That said, even though doing the right thing is simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The main example of this that Ramsey emphasizes revolves around staying out of debt. The idea of staying out of debt is simple. However, actually staying out of debt while living in our consumerist American culture isn’t easy.

From reading this book, I learned 12 surprising facts about money and American culture:

  1. 70% of Americans live…


My Takeaways and Opinion on Grit

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Fabien Wl on Unsplash

Grit by Angela Duckworth was a fantastic read and I’m excited to share a summary and review of it with you.

Grit is broken down into three parts:

  1. What Grit Is and Why It Matters
  2. Growing Grit from the Inside Out
  3. Growing Grit from the Outside In

Within these three parts, there are thirteen chapters in total that I will dive into in more detail below.

Part 1: What Grit Is and Why It Matters

Chapter 1: Showing Up

In any field, the most successful people are lucky and talented. High achievers keep going after failures, stick things out, are constantly driven to improve, and are “paragons of perseverance.”

In research on high achievers, it’s been found that, for high achievers, there wasn’t a realistic expectation of ever catching up to their ambitions. In their own eyes, high achievers were never good enough. They were the opposite of complacent and were satisfied with being unsatisfied. The highest achievers had a passion for enduring and wouldn’t think of giving up. …


My Takeaways and Opinion on Digital Minimalism

A Summary and Review of Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
A Summary and Review of Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I just finished Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and am excited to share a summary and review. Cal Newport is one of my favorite authors. I like the fact that he is a computer science professor. That said, he’s also an incredible writer with an ability to distill information in an engaging way.

The book is all about how we use technology in our lives and how society has been transformed as a result of the latest technological development. Reading this book was somewhat of a wake-up call for me. Even though I was fairly conscious about my social media use and tried to go on only once a day, I realized that I, like many social media users, had simply accepted these technologies and brought them into my own life without questioning what benefits they brought and if these benefits outweighed the costs. …


My Takeaways and Opinion on Essentialism

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

I just finished reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Essentialism was a great read and I’m excited to share a summary of the book with you.

I will warn you up front: this isn’t a short summary. That said, I did my best to identify the key ideas and deliver them to you.

There are 4 parts in the book. The first part outlines the core mindset of an essentialist while the following three parts turn the mindset into a systematic process for the disciplined pursuit of less.

The basic proposition of essentialism is that you can make your highest contributions towards the things that really matter only when you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all and say yes to everyone. …


Mistakes I’ve made preparing for technical interviews

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Technical interviews can be super challenging. Very few people enjoy getting in front of a whiteboard to solve a tough coding question. That said, many companies use technical interviews in their hiring process for software engineers. Throughout college, I’ve spent a lot of time preparing for technical interviews and I want to go over some of the main mistakes that I made so that you can hopefully avoid them in your preparation.

The most detrimental mistakes I made are:

  1. Typing my solutions directly into LeetCode
  2. Looking at a problem’s solution too soon
  3. Not taking the time to deeply understand a solution and underlying…


The 4 Apps That I Use Daily to Increase My Productivity

Apps That Help Me Live a More Productive Life
Apps That Help Me Live a More Productive Life
Photo by William Hook on Unsplash

For a while, I’ve been experimenting with ways in which I can leverage technology to be more productive. I’ve tried dozens of apps and kept only the ones that work well for me. If any of these speak out to you, give them a try and see if they help you be more productive.

The apps that I use to increase my productivity are:

  1. Trello
  2. Toggl
  3. Forest
  4. Productive

Trello

Trello is a task management software that enables a user to create Kanban-style lists. I use Trello every day to track what I have to do. I like the fact that I can separate my tasks into different lists. I have a list that corresponds to each area of my life. I use Trello on my phone and laptop and enjoy that the app syncs seamlessly. While I used to rely on hand-written to-do lists, I found that I was doing repetitive work every day and lacked a unified place to hold all my tasks. If I didn’t accomplish my tasks for one day, then the next day, I would have to re-write that same task. …


My Take on When

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jeanne Rouillard on Unsplash

When by Daniel Pink is a fascinating read about the science of perfect timing. Before reading this book, I hadn’t thought much about how significant the role timing plays in my own life. Timing is easy to overlook, but crucial to outcomes that impact our livelihood.

The book is broken down into 3 parts:

  1. the day
  2. beginnings, endings, and in between
  3. synching and thinking

Throughout the book, the cyclical nature of many aspects of our lives are discussed. Our moods and emotional balance are impacted by the time of day. Across continents and time zones, it was found that positive mood rises in the morning, dips in the afternoon, and rises again in the evening. Our emotional balance generally also rises in the morning, dips in the afternoon, and rises in the evening. …

About

David Peletz

data scientist interested in AI and NLP davidpeletz.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store