You probably read a lot of books too. My reading philosophy is evolving, but I believe in re-reading the books that have impacted you the most – there’s more there. I’m okay with reading a lot of books. Paying $12 to get one good idea that benefits you for a lifetime is a great deal. But I want to be able to spell out at least one idea I gained.

Here’s what I saw on my shelf today, with one signature idea the book left me with:

  • The Botany of Desire. Botany is a metaphor for the connection between the Apollonian and the Dionysian worlds – control and order with release and inspiration. You can’t cultivate excellent grapes for wine without an appreciation of both worlds.
  • On Writing. Art comes from showing up to do the work. The muse is real, but the muse needs to know where you’ll be so it’ll be worth the time to visit. Be at your desk at regular hours. More on it here.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People. Forget serious writing. Writing is marketing. Writing is storytelling. Here’s how to write a killer first page.
  • Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Life is theatrical. But the point isn’t to avoid performance, it’s to better understand it.
  • Bird by Bird. Write Shitty First Drafts. Get it out the door and then do it again.

There were books I saw that I really enjoyed but couldn’t spell out a lesson learned. I have a new mission.