What I Read – July 2016

Non Fiction

The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner – I have been intrigued by Peter McGraw quest to unlock what makes jokes funny since his profile in Wired. The book he co-wrote with Joel Warner doesn’t get you more or maybe it does but I stopped reading. The entire book is written from Warner’s perspective, so much so that he really should be the only listed author. This gives it the feel of a really long magazine profile that wanders too much and where Warner is a little too close to his subject. What I really wanted was to hear Peter’s authoritive voice like you find Daniel Ariely’s books on decision making or Jared Diamond’s works on anthropology. Skip.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – I saw this book recommending so many times, I finally picked it up. Each chapter is one to three pages and shares a barrier or exercise that can help your writing practice. Natalie is a long time Zen practitioner and that is a large influence on the book. I like her emphasis on writing as a practice. Should.


Scriptnotes – I am a semi-regular listener to this screenwriting podcast by John August and Craig Mazin. What I like is that they cover the craft and the business of writing for Hollywood.  They just celebrated five years of doing the podcast and they show there is so much to talk about in this space.  My interest lies in hearing how they discuss creativity and making money from it. In episode #256, they have this great rift on originality (start ~36:40) that applies to anyone working in the arts. Should.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru – Robbins has a new documentary on Netflix. The two hour feature follows him and the 2500 attendees to his Date with Destiny seminar.  You also follow a handful of people who are deeply moved by the experience. Your level of enjoyment will be likely equal to your acceptance of Robbins and his transformative techniques. Could.


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