Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Gotta Get Theroux This

Thursday, August 13th, 2020 | Books

Gotta Get Theroux This is an autobiography by Louis Theroux. It was always going to be a half-decent read as Louis is such a good storyteller. Although, he would probably be one of the first to admit that his documentaries are the result of a team of people that he happens to be the face of.

I didn’t know much about Theroux’s persona life. For example, I did not realise that he started by working with Michael Moore. I knew he had a family, but to hear his dreary tales about domestic life was a nice reminder that even rockstars have to do some chores.

Some documentaries get a lot of time. Others don’t get any. As may be expected, there is a lot about Jimmy Savile in the book. The audiobook includes a whole bonus chapter about “Jimmy Savile deniers” have some have dubbed them.

Overall, a good read.

Out of Orange

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 | Books

Out of Orange is an autobiography by Cleary Wolters, the real-life inspiration for Orange is the New Black‘s Alex Vause.

Although the book makes reference to prison, there is very little about prison in it. It’s mostly about the international drug trade and her involvement in it. Nor does Piper feature much in the story. It probably won’t surprise too many people that the TV show doesn’t draw much from reality.

The book is a slow start and I wondered whether to continue. But I thought I would give it one last chance on a long training session and it picked up as it got into the details. It was an okay read; not one of my favourites.

Wicked Healthy Cookbook

Sunday, August 9th, 2020 | Books, Food

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is a cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno and David Joachim. It’s nice in that it talks a little bit about the theory of making vegan food. But everything felt quite involved and hard to make, or easy to make but with hard-to-find ingredients. None of the recipes has made it into our regular rotation.

Dirty Vegan

Saturday, August 8th, 2020 | Books, Food

Dirty Vegan is a cookbook by Matt Pritchard of Dirty Sanchez fame. I tried a bunch of the recipes but I couldn’t really get into it. None of them has made it onto our regular rotation.

One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition

Thursday, May 21st, 2020 | Books

New book alert. If you are an athlete, coach or just someone interested in learning more about nutrition and exercise, The One-Hour Guide to Sport Nutrition will give you a fundamental and practical overview in around an hour’s reading.

We’ll cover macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and how they work. `But we’ll also look at personalising nutrition, the psychology of healthy eating, managing hydration, losing weight safely and how to fuel before, during and after exercise.

It’s available on Amazon in paperback now.

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 | Books

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance is a book by Alex Hutchinson.

It’s an interesting book for understanding the limits of human performance from both a physical and psychological point of view. Not that all questions are resolved. But there is plenty of discussion.

Below, I have picked out a few points.

Typically, you don’t run yourself to exhaustion. Your brain stops you before you reach that point. And that starts from the minute you start exercising. For example, cyclists set off slower from the start on a hot day.

But when you get in sight of the finish, you know the danger is over and you can sprint. Hence we can be hurting so much until the final straight, at which point we find that last bit of energy to push across the line.

How does this work? Is there some kind of internal regulation in the brain that we are not consciously aware of? Or is there another explanation? For example, could we be tapping into anaerobic energy?

It seems likely that the brain does have some control. For example, everyone finishes a marathon in just under 3, 4, 5 hours. Only the brain can respond to these abstract concepts. So why do so many more people finish a marathon in 3:59 than 3:47?

Similarly, how is it that the limit that climbing a mountain without oxygen turns out to be almost exactly the high of Everest? If Everest was a little smaller, or a little larger, would it turn out that the limits of climbing without oxygen were different also? It seems likely given that it was thought to be impossible until Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler did it. Then they changed the sums to show it was just possible.

Finally, a note on hydration. We often hear the idea that if you wait until you are thirsty, it is too late. But voluntary dehydration seems to be fine in the short term. Top marathon runners sweat more than 3.5 litres per hour. They replace nowhere near this much. If our performance drastically drops when we lose 2% of our body weight, how did Gebrselassie become an Olympic champion when losing 10% of his body weight? That is not to say drinking to thirst is the perfect strategy for running a marathon: but it does seem to be fine for everyday life.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Monday, April 27th, 2020 | Books

21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a book by Yuval Noah Harari. It looks at the near future (the next century) and the challenges that society will have to face.

Chiefly, this revolve around info-tech and bio-tech. What will happen when the majority of jobs are automated? The workforce had power when labour was required. But, as the rich upgrade their bodies to become superhumans and machines can replace the working man, how will this restructure society?

I highly enjoyed his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

This one was thought-provoking, but not what I expected. I went in thinking there would be 21 clearly defined points that gave me something to think about. In reality, it was more of a ramble through various ideas, each spilling into the next. Interesting, but perhaps not as clear as I hoped it would be.

The Chimp Paradox

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 | Books

The Chimp Paradox is a book by Dr Steve Peters. In it, he describes his model of the mind as two parts: the chimp, an irrational emotion-driven strong animal, and the human, the higher part of our brain that we often like to pretend is the “real us”.

It is a generalist book in that it is a useful read for anyone, not just those struggling with their own mind, but more of a popular self-help book with applications for every day relationships and problems.

I found it an interesting read, most of the time, but I don’t think I ever made it to the end.

Yoga for Athletes

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 | Books

Yoga for Athletes is a book by Ryanne Cunningham. It provides an introduction to yoga and makes some suggestions as to how athletes can use yoga. But, to be honest, it all felt pretty vague. More like a general book of yoga with a nod given to the idea that the reader may also be an athlete and that yoga could be useful for that.

The various poses are explained, but not in a manner I found completely clear. The routines may be more useful, but only make up a few pages at the back of the book.

Content Inc.

Saturday, March 21st, 2020 | Books

Content Inc. is a book by Joe Pulizzi. In it, Pulizzi makes the case that you can build a business using a content model in which you begin by providing your audience with lots of useful content, and once the audience grows you figure out what to sell them.

It is a long-term gain. Pulizzi suggests you need to do producing regular content for 12-months before you will have a sufficient audience and understanding of the marketplace to bring in the dough. But once achieve this, it should rain down.

There is a tonne of useful information here for building a content-based business and it gels with a lot of what the internet marketing industry is talking about. Definitely worth a read if you want to make money from online publishing.