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Brian Sarnacki Posts

Children’s Books for Nerdy Parents

A couple of months ago, my brother Peter shared a list of his favorite baby books. Though I don’t have any kids yet, my wife Marie and I enjoy buying books for our niece and nephew (and you guessed correctly, we will be the weird aunt and uncle that always get them a book each holiday) and we wanted to share some of our favorites. For a board books, Sandra Boynton has been our go-to author, but I’ve found there are many good options out there. We just sent our nephew Moustache Up!, a quirky little book that goes over… Read Children’s Books for Nerdy Parents

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What Three Months of Reading Business Books Taught Me

Over the last few months I read a bunch of books, mostly business-related. Here’s the business-y ones: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results Makers: The New Industrial Revolution So what did I learn? Three… Read What Three Months of Reading Business Books Taught Me

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Depression and Graduate School

Is depression in graduate school common? Yes. I’ve recounted my struggles with depression while in graduate school in an essay, Depression and Graduate School. If you’re dealing with chronic unhappiness, consider seeking out professional help. If you’re a graduate student there are likely free or low cost resources on campus. If you’re having suicidal thoughts or considering harming yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

J.J. Abrams. Sir Richard Branson. Arianna Huffinton. Sheryl Sandberg. Peter Thiel. The blurbs on the back cover of Originals are impressive. The list of awards the book has won is impressive. Adam Grant’s research is impressive. But for a book on originality and creativity, Originals is shockingly formulaic and derivative. If you’re dying to get an overview of management psychology, read this book. Otherwise, the irony of the author constantly quoting other people’s work on how to be an original thinker will drive you crazy. The formulaic, academic structure compounds this bland writing style to create a book on originality… Read Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

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Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly. (35) There’s a pervasive myth of the genius creative person. Breakthrough inventions, great pieces of writings, and works of art seem to come out of thin air. Created by an inventor, writer, or artist that stumbled upon the right inspiration at the right time. Anyone who has done creative work for a long period of time, knows this isn’t the case. Manage Your Day-to-Day gathers a number of successful writers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and others who make creative work into their career, to share the wisdom of becoming more productive, encouraging creativity, and making… Read Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

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Between the World and Me

Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage. Between the World and Me (103) Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me is a powerful, raw, letter to his son about his life and coming of age, the horrors of systemic racism and police brutality, and being black in America. A mix of memoir, history, and fatherly advice, Coates is completely honest as he writes to his son. He talks about the women he dated in college and smoking weed with his future wife. He talks about… Read Between the World and Me

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Baby Books

My brother Peter and his wife have an adorable 14 month-year-old and we’re constantly getting her books. Thankfully, they love reading to her. Peter wrote up the following introduction and compiled the lists below (while at Med School!). It gave me lots of ideas for the next holiday… Building Your Baby’s Library Story telling is one of the great cultural universals, a part of the human condition wherein ones role evolves within a lifetime. Perhaps the most important form of storytelling today is reading with children. Reading, particularly goodnight stories, to your young child is a bonding experience that creates… Read Baby Books

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Revisionist History

From the Vietnam War to inequality in higher education to free throw shooting in the NBA, Malcolm Gladwell tells a compelling story in each podcast while teasing out the deeper meaning. Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History allows him to explore shorter story arcs that might not otherwise make it to a larger audience. Each podcast features a well told story entertaining enough to keep your attention, but simple enough to listen to while doing another activity – I found the podcast to be a good accompaniment to mowing the lawn and working out. I think too often we make up our… Read Revisionist History

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How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Jordan Ellenberg is one of the rare university professors who also publishes prodigiously for the public. Much of his writing comes together in his book, How Not to Be Wrong. A collection of mathematical history, practice, and theory, the book is engaging and provocative. Ellenberg’s writing style allows him to present a seemingly bland topic in an approachable manner. Even when the theory left me scratching my head, Ellenberg kept my attention. Seeking to redeem mathematics from its too often bland or negative reputation, the title’s promise is part of a larger goal: Demonstrate the hidden mathematical thinking we often… Read How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Part history, part memoir, part management guide, Creativity Inc. is an engrossing read filled with behind the scenes tours and sage advice. The authors (Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace) mix detailed examples of Ed Catmull’s management philosophy with background on Catmull’s path to Pixar, Pixar’s development, and their transition to working within Disney. This book isn’t just for Pixar people, entertainment executives, or animators. It is for anyone who wants to work in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving. My belief is that good leadership can help creative people stay on the path to excellence no matter what… Read Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

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