Books I read in February 2015

Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa

Your illustrated guide is probably the most mesmerizing short books I have ever encountered. The illustrations are simple yet mind-expanding. Yumi Sakugawa does a great job of illustrating what bearing your soul to the universe might look like… in black and white. The book is a quick read, but I would recommend taking it slow. Becoming one with the universe is not an easy task, or so I’ve heard, but this book will certainly help, if you let it.


Creativity: The Perfect Crime by Philipe Petit

I came across this book randomly at Weller Book Works in SLC, intrigued by the cover art and title, of course. Philipe Petit is infamously known for, among many other artistic endeavors, his illegal high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center Towers in 1974. His walk is well documented in his other books, Man on Wire and To Reach the Clouds. This book however, is Petit’s thoughts on his creative process and creativity in general. Aside from a couple worthwhile insights into his wild creative process, the book was chaos. Pure chaos. There are hundreds of great books on creativity, this is not one of them.


Meditations by Marcus Aerelies

I was first introduced to Meditations by Austin Kleon, who has made numerous references to the book. Marcus Aerelies was a philosopher and roman emperor back in the good old days of the 160s (no I didn’t leave a number out of that), who shares his wisdom and observations about living fully, fame, and the fluidity of life and leadership. Two things to note before you read this book: 1. Keep in mind that the verses in this book were written as notes to himself, and 2. This book reads like scripture–don’t worry about reading this in one take. It might also help to watch this awesome video by Brian Johnson.


This is a Book by Demetri Martin

This (is a) book is a collection of bits from the mind of comedian Demetri Martin. If I had to put statistics to it, I would say about 25% is ROFL-caliber (is that still a term?), 50% is smile-worthy, or at least entertaining, and 25% was just not funny at all. Overall, that 25% ROFL material is worth picking up the book–mood permitting. If you are not familiar with Demetri at all, it would probably be helpful to get to know him before jumping into this book. Like on youtube, etc.


Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

The opening line of the book says it all: “This book is an attack on current city planning and rebuilding.” Jane Jacobs was a true out-of-the-box thinker, demonstrating that city planners playing god think they understand much more than they actually do about what makes a successful city. Jacobs shows that cities are bottom-up, organic products shaped by diversity, density, sidewalk interaction, short blocks, and mixed uses. I’m sort of an urbanist nerd, so I loved the book. If you have a interest in what really makes cities tick, Death and Life is an absolute classic.


The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Following age-old Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements delivers simple, practical advice for acheiving “personal freedom.” Spoiler alert, the Four Agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. Not taking anything personally and not making assumptions is hella-difficult. Not that that is a surprise to anyone. Overall, the book is a quick read, so I recommend checking it out. It can feel a bit rambly at times (for such a small book) but the wisdom is priceless.

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