Mowser's Book Club

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved reading. One of my rules to myself is this - if I see a book that raises my interest or think that I would like to read, I buy it then and there on the spot. It will then sit there staring at me until I read it. I see books as an investment, not only in myself but also in my children. I like to think that my kids have access to one of the best libraries of knowledge around - I have a massive home library.

Many of the books in my home library, I am yet to read. This is centered around the concept of 'The Anti Library' which I first heard about from Ryan Holiday and then also the Farnam Street Blog, both quote from Nassim Taleb and Italian writer, Umberto Eco:

“The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means … allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”

So, my reading is a work in progress but here are some of my favourites. Click the book title to go to the 'Goodreads' page on the book;

Atomic Habits

Author:
Clear, James
Date Read:
2021
Mowser Rating:
9/10
Comments:

Create good habits and get rid of bad ones. This book was really easy to read and enjoyable at the same time. James simplifies complex tasks and topics into a way that can easily be understood. Many years in the making this book is very well known and definately worth reading if you enjoy personal productivity. You can download the first chapter from his website, and I have been a subscriber to his weekly email for a long time.

Born to Run

Author:
McDougall, Christopher
Date Read:
2020
Mowser Rating:
7/10
Comments:

I really enjoyed Born to Run. A story about a guy who hears about a lost mexican tribe of ultra runners and then heads off to discover them and their secrets. As a lover of trail running, I really enjoyed this story and read it pretty quickly. If you are a keen runner then this is definately a book you should read at some stage. It’s also very entertaining. It features world champion ultra runner Scott Jurek who takes on some other runners in a wild race in a secret location in Mexico. It inspired me to keep running and I spent a lot of time googling some of the locations within the book after reading about them.

Can't Hurt Me

Author:
Goggins, David
Date Read:
2020
Mowser Rating:
10/10
Comments:

This is an awesome book and definately one of my favourites. Goggins. The guy is crazy. Having listened to so many different podcast interviews with Dave Goggins I thought I should read the book. It was recommended to me to listen to the audiobook and I definately rate this as the way to consume this book. The narrator, Adam Skolnick, interviews Dave between each chapter and it really enhances the whole story. Dave’s achievements are simply incredible and almost beyond belief. But, reading the book makes you feel like you could achieve the same. His feats are ludicrous. My mate Beaui read this at the same time and a few years later we still use the Goggins mindset when on our crazy hiking missions. Terms like ‘cookie jar’, ‘callous the mind’, ‘take a look in the accountability mirror’ are all common terms we jokingly use each day. However, within ourselves, I know it pushes us on during those particularly tough days in the wind and rain.

I will listen to this book again. It still amazes me to think about. And any one that loves endurance and tales of an underdog will love this read. Read it!

Finding Ultra

Author:
Roll, Rich
Date Read:
2019
Mowser Rating:
10/10
Comments:

This is one of my all time favourite books. I first discovered Rich Roll via his podcast, ‘The Rich Roll podcast’.  I’d always loved listening to Rich’s podcast, but didn’t know a great deal about his back story. At some point I decided to read the book and I was immediately enthralled. I read it over a weekend and not long after I also listened to the audiobook which I now think I prefer as it is Rich reading and I guess I’m used to hearing his voice on the podcast, so enjoyed hearing the book.

Finding Ultra tracks Rich Roll’s life. One that starts out with a promising young international level swimmer that soon unravels to a world of partying and alcoholism. While Rich manages to keep a career somewhat on track, becoming a lawyer, things are not all rosy and he hits rock bottom on a couple of occasions eventually finding sobriety albeit still with a fairly unhealthy lifestyle. Then around his 40th birthday Rich decides, for various reasons, that he needs to get in shape. This turns into an insane mission to enter one of the toughest ultra endurance races in the world, The Ultraman. It really is a crazy story and Rich goes on to do some other crazy events including one of his and a mates creation, the ‘Epic 5’.

This book immediately inspired me to get back into running and I have now read it a few times. I love it every time. It’s just a great story. Rich is still going strong and his podcast is worth a listen - scroll through, pick a conversation that interests and have a listen. I have gifted Finding Ultra to a lot of friends and they have all loved it as much as me. If you enjoy stories of redemption, then read it ASAP!

Open - An Autobiography

Author:
Andre Agassi
Date Read:
2021
Mowser Rating:
9/10
Comments:

Read this book while in Noosa while on holiday. From the moment I opened it, I couldn't put it down. An enthralling book that tracked the life of Andre Agassi, I found the people in his life fascinating. Told really well, Andre had assistance writing the book. Really puts a pro tennis players life on the tour in perspective and it does not sound like an easy life. His body ends up completely annihilated from a life on the tour (from age 16). This book really struck a chord with me. Will be recommending to a lot of people. Gave it straight to my dad to read and he too was hooked and couldn’t put it down. I have utmost respect for Agassi as a person after reading this book. Loved it

The Fish that ate the Whale

Author:
Rich Cohen
Date Read:
2020
Mowser Rating:
9/10
Comments:

I first heard about this book on the Tim Ferris podcast. Ryan Holiday (author) was reeling off some of his favourite books and ‘The Fish that ate the Whale’ was one he described as a ‘fun book’. I later saw it and purchased it and once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. A fascinating story about a Russian immigrant to the USA who grew up to become a self made Banana mogul in the early to mid 1900s. Samuel Zemurray started as a street peddler of bananas on the docs of New Orleans.  He overthrew governments and built an empire stretching across Central America to become one of the most powerful people in the world. Absolutely fascinating tale. Was a little slow to get going but persevere as it is a great read about someone I never knew about (but probably should have)

The Lean Startup

Author:
Ries, Eric
Date Read:
2021
Mowser Rating:
9/10
Comments:

I read this when we were setting up a new startup. It’s a must read when starting a new business, especially one involved in delivering a product to a consumer. Lots and lots of learnings Will definately read this one again. I would recommend this to anyone looking to start, or in the process of starting, a new business. I meet lots of young entrepeneurs and business ownsers and recommend this book to all of them.

‘The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers' hands faster. The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development.’

The One Impossible Labyrinth

Author:
Reilly, Matthew
Date Read:
2021
Mowser Rating:
10/10
Comments:

I am a long time Matthew Reilly tragic. Ever since his first mass release, Ice Station (not his first book though), I have loved the non-stop action of each of his books. This was the final of 7 books in the Jack West Series, which I have thoroughly enjoyed over the last 17 years. It didn't disappoint. A couple of my mates, brothers and dad all enjoy these books and we all get very excited when a new one is coming up for release. We sit around discussing it like we would a movie.

If fast paced and sometimes unbelievable action are your thing then I would highly recommmend starting at the beginning of the series. I would also recommend ALL of Matthew's other books. They are awesome. Check out all the titles at Matthew's website.

The Third Door

Author:
Banayan, Alex
Date Read:
2021
Mowser Rating:
9/10
Comments:

I started this book on a Friday afternoon and finished it by Saturday afternoon. Absolutetly loved it. It starts out as a guy on a mission to interview the greatest minds, entrepeneurs and most successful people in the world. It turns into a 7 year quest in which he learns a lot and meets some crazy people along the way. I highly recommend this book just based on the entertainment factor alone. It was also education. I reckon Alex would have come off as pretty annoying to some of the people he pestered for interviews but his persistence paid off. Highly Recommend.

From the book:

Life, business, success... it's just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There's the First Door: the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always... the Third Door. It's the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen--there's always a way in.

The World of Olegas Truchanas

Author:
Angus, Max
Date Read:
Many times since the 1990s
Mowser Rating:
10/10
Comments:

An iconic Tasmanian book which was compiled to remember one of Tasmania's best regarded wilderness photographers and wilderness pioneers. Olegas died trying to save a region he loved, a region that I now love too. The book is a photographic essay of some of Olegas' best work and tells his story along the way through. I can still recall the first time I picked up this book and read it as a teenager. I was immediately enthralled by an incredible kayaking adventure through my home state of Tasmania. It also tells an important story about Lake Pedder which Olegas tried to save from dams. The documentary film Wildness continued on with Olegas' story and both go hand in hand. If you want to learn what makes the Tasmanian wilderness special and different to any other wilderness in the world, then this book is a great place to start. The book is now hard to find but many second hand book stores and markets often have copies available. I have spent the last few years finding copies to hand on to each of my children. Give it a read.....