Books

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

by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and the first-ever all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation – into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about creativity – but it is also, as Pixar cofounder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that…

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If This Is a Man and The Truce

by Primo Levi With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, dutiful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contemptible. What has survived in Levi’s writing isn’t just his memory…

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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg In Originals, Adam Grant addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all? Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak…

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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world. Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things…

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The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life

By Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd Your every significant choice — every important decision you make — is determined by a force operating deep inside your mind: your perspective on time — your internal, personal time zone. This is the most influential force in your life, yet you are virtually unaware of it. Once you become aware of your personal time zone, you can begin to see and manage your life in exciting new ways.…

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The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

Global poverty is one of the world’s most vexing problems. For decades, we’ve assumed smart, well-intentioned people will eventually be able to change the economic trajectory of poor countries. From education to healthcare, infrastructure to eradicating corruption, too many solutions rely on trial and error. Essentially, the plan is often to identify areas that need help, flood them with resources, and hope to see change over time. But hope is not an effective strategy. Clayton…

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“You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life”

To conclude the April 2021 Top of Mind newsletter, we turn to beloved first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In her book, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, “To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes…

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How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

by Julie Lythcott-Haims In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing…

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Excerpt from “John Stuart Mill: Autobiography”

Originally posted in our May 2021 Top of Mind Newsletter. I never, indeed, wavered in the conviction that happiness is the test of all rules of conduct, and the end of life. But I now thought that this end was only to be attained by not making it the direct end. Those only are happy (I thought) who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others,…

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