The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant (3.5k words of notes!)

The Lessons of History is a short edition, about a hundred pages, written by Will and Ariel Durant – a couple who were both historians in their time, and presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their lifetime’s work. This one is one of their last publications, carries the weight of their fifty-plus years of study, and displays the quality of writing honed over that period. I cannot begin to recommend the book enough. It is short, illuminating, and engaging, with a dry wit that shines through and endears the book to me even more. High praise, but it has become one of my favorite books ever.

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Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy is on the range of historical fiction, but closer to fact than fiction. The novel’s basis comes from the interviews of its author, Barbara Demick, with defectors and refugees of and from North Korea. In it, the stories of those refugees become threads that Ms. Demick uses to weave a tapestry portraying life in North Korea, giving readers a look into a country that most only know through fanciful tales and overblown media, and that an unfortunate few know through hard, terrible experience. It is a deeply touching, engaging read, and she brings the characters, who are in fact real people made characters to protect their identities, to life. I highly recommend this book.

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Extreme Productivity by Robert Pozen

This one was quite useful. I can see it being paradigm-shattering for anyone that doesn’t regularly procrastinate by reading about productivity on the web.
If you already read people like Sebastian Marshall, you’ll most likely recognize snippets here and there, like the Touch It Once principle. However,
even being the productivity-researching procrastinator I can be, I still got a lot out of this book, and would recommend it to students and working
professionals alike.

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