What I’m Reading
Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind –
On a planet that’s 4.5 billion years old, how did an otherwise insignificant species that’s existed as a mere “blip” on the evolutionary timeline, rise above all others to become the dominant life form on the planet?
Harari’s “Sapiens” is an anthropological primer that explores how we got here, where we’re going and everything in between.
Interweaving a fascinating interplay of historical events and their effect on cultural and sociological development, Harari provides some truly provocative philosophical insights on the nature of the human experience and the immaterial nature of our socially constructed reality.
I love these kinds of holistic histories that take a thematic macro perspective. Books like Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” (origins of civilisation) , Hawking’s, “A Brief History of Time” (origins of the cosmos) and Bryson’s “A Short History of Everything” (origins of….everything) have both expanded my consciousness and provided an interesting jump-off point for further study and exploration.
The holistic breadth and scope of this book along with Harari’s ability to make the events both engaging and accessible to literally any reader is a credit to his brilliance as a scholar and a writer.
For some, it will literally be a reality shaking read. Harari isn’t afraid to interject his own theories in order to challenge the reader, provoke debate and elicit curiosity to explore the material in more detail.
Other books I’ve read that have had a similar effect as this one include Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael”, Peter Senge’s “Fifth Discipline”, and Robert Greene’s “Power” and “Mastery” series.
I can’t recommend this book enough and can’t do it justice in a simple review – everyone needs to read it and I don’t make that statement lightly. I’ll be sure to revisit it again many times the future.
Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham
It’s been over 20 years since I’ve picked up a Grisham book and I wasn’t disappointed on my return to this, his most recent work, “Rogue Lawyer”.
The main character, Sebastian Rudd, operates in an unconventional, legally ethical grey-zone. He defends the indefensible; the cases no one else wants for their seeming hopelessness.
This reminded me of those Encyclopaedia Brown books I read as a kid with several smaller plot lines happening under the main narrative. It’s short chapters and punchy prose made this an awesome page turner perfect for a plane ride or a before bed read.
What I’m Watching
After watching the excellent documentary “The Unknown Known” last week, I was keen to check out another Errol Morris film.
Tabloid is about a former beauty queen, Joyce McKinney, who has a genius level IQ of 168. She set the British tabloids ablaze when she was accused of kidnapping and repeatedly raping her Mormon missionary love interest in the 1970’s.
Although not as good as “Fog of War” or “Unknown” this was a still a watchable yet bizarre and quirky doco that will have you saying WTF? on more than a few occasions.
Loved this and I thought it definitely lived up to the hype. Never been a fan of post 1990’s comic book genre films. Too much CGI and busy action sequences tire my weary brain and I’m not well versed in the DC or Marvel universe mythology- I was always more a Bugs Bunny fan than a Superman fan.
Stylistically, this reminded me of a Frank Miller film ala 300 or Sin City; films which I loved in the past. This was superb also and I love Ryan Reynolds hilarious portrayal of the title character. Definitely hope there’s a sequel in the works.
A great reminder of why this TV series began to seriously fade after a few years. The movie adds nothing new to the mix in the way of developing the characters and simply follows the same worn formula of any one of its repetitively redundant episodes.
The only highlights in this film are Ari Gold’s wardrobe and Jeremy Piven’s performance. I was surprised to learn that the bearded hick who plays Billy Bob’s spoiled brat son was Hayley Joel Osmont – the kid from the 6th Sense movie.
There were a tonne of other actor-singer cameos that were lost on me though I thought the forced inclusion of Rhonda Roussey was ridiculous. For diehard fans of the show only.
What I’m Listening To
Heavy Muscle Radio Podcast
I had no idea this actually existed since I thought all of Palumbo’s content was featured on his RxMuscle Channel. I’ve been binge listening to all the back episodes all week and its amazing how much I’ve come to dislike Dave Palumbo in that time.
I think Aceto and Romano are great. But Palumbo personifies everything I dislike about the industry and these self-proclaimed gurus.
Every episode features Dave ranting about his former boss, Steve Blechman, Dave whoring and pimping everything he sells on his site from supplements, snakes and steroid testing kits. Each conversation always leads back to Dave turning every topic back to an egotistical fueled diatribe.
Palumbo’s knowledge base hasn’t evolved since his own days as a competitive bodybuilder in the 1990’s and some of the shit he discusses is utterly cringe worthy for how far behind the times it is.
For really progressive nutrition and exercise science there’s plenty of other podcasts out there far better than this one.
Quote of the Week
From a book that’s literally quote upon quote worthy, here’s a few that I thought related well to the excellent agriculture chapter.
“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.”
― Yuval Noah Harari,
“Each year the US population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry people in the rest of the world.”
― Yuval Noah Harari,
Recipe of the Week
A delicious broccoli soup recipe that’s super easy to make. If you’re precontest or dieting hard you can just leave out the cheese and walnuts (depending on your macros), or you can add some low calorie 0.5% Chobani yogurt. This is an unbeatable way to get your healthy greens and makes an amazingly filling, low calorie accompaniment to any meal