Barry Yourgrau wrestles with Internet distraction too?!

I found myself back at my laptop, Web surfing. It was all sinkingly familiar. I was suckling on the cyber teat in the face of gnashing anxiety. I realized (not for the first time) that thanks to new technology I’d harmed my capacity to press on through such anxiety. The same way computers had affected my handwriting. My muscles for sustaining focus had turned twitchy and flaccid. 

This passage in Barry Yourgrau’s latest book Mess really caught my attention as it opens up a facet of his life with idiosyncratic authenticity. And that’s really the crux of this book; it opens up Barry Yourgrau’s physical and mental world for us in distinctive poetic prose that delightfully almost verges on melodramatic at times. It’s a travelogue taking us through his life by way of an itinerary of personal belongings, attempts to wrangle their overwhelming abundance and actual travels—the chronicles comprising the narrative all rendered in the writing style that made Mr. Yourgrau’s fantastical travelogue, The Haunted Traveler, a unique joy to read.  Continue reading

Summer Reading Suggestions: Nonfiction

Looking for a beach-bag, in-flight or in-hammock book that offers cutting-edge, even actionable ideas, instead of literary escapism? Here are some paradigm-shifting books I have been enthralled by and continue to use personally and professionally. Enjoy!

Creative Productivity

Glimmer (aka CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies and T-Shaped People)

By Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential—excellent guidance on how to be an effective creative professional

Steal Like an Artist

Getting the Right Work Done

Do More Great Work—the workbook for making the work you care about even better

The Nature of Thought, Human Behavior and the World

The Heath Brothers Trilogy: Made to Stick, Switch, Decisive—effective strategies for communicating, driving behavioral change and making decisions based on psychology research, explained clearly with compelling stories

The Social Conquest of Earth—the story of who we are as species, why we can be so kind and so hostile (

Your Brain on Nature—how we’re healthier with nature (and some explanation of why)

Leaders Eat Lastthe anthropology and neurobiology of leadership

Imagine, how creativity works (

Where Good Ideas Come From

The Rise of Supermanthe neurobiology of flow through the lens of extreme sports

Antifragile—systems can be more than resilient; rather than bounce back from disruption, some can be made stronger by it; enter antifragility

Focus: the hidden driver of excellence—“The more you can concentrate, the better you’ll do in anything, because whatever talent you have, you can’t apply it if you’re distracted.”

The Power of Habit—the anatomy of habits (

The Paradox of Choice—how more choices actually make us less happy (

The Willpower Instinct

Your Brain at Work

Ha! The Science of When and Why We Laugh—“humor is by nature confrontational—sometimes cognitively, sometimes emotionally, and sometimes both” (

The Information Diet (;

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

The As If Principle

The Social Animal

Disciplined Entrepreneurship