2019 Favorites: Books, Music, Documentaries, and Podcasts

Here’s some content from 2019 that I found noteworthy and enjoyed feeding my mind with. Perhaps some will resonate with you as well.

Books

  • Enlightenment Now
  • The Mind Illuminated
  • Why Buddhism is True
  • Becoming
  • Culture Code
  • Factfulness
  • Refactoring UI
  • The Brain: The Story of You
  • The Story of Your Life and Others
  • The Exhalation: Stories
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Music

  • Mostly my favorite electronic and sometimes jazz music for focus on Spotify
  • Top played: Tycho, Blackmill, Jon Hopkins, Odesza, Phaeleh, Chopin, Bach, Jimmy Smith, Aphex Twin, Grant Green, Bonobo, Brian Eno, Bill Evans, Youandewan
  • New discoveries: East Forest, Tourist, Monolink, Jan Blomqvist, Jonas Saalbach, Laraaji, and Khruangbin

Documentaries and Movies

  • The Mind Explained by Vox on Netflix
  • General Magic
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • One Strange Rock
  • Green Book

Podcasts

  • This Week In Startups
  • How I Built This
  • Rhonda Patrick’s Foundmyfitness
  • Very selectively: Making Sense, Peter Attia’s Drive, Tim Ferriss, Startup Straight Talk by Atrium, YC, a16z, Below the Line, and occasionally Joe Rogan
Monthly newsletter: technology, startups, business growth and marketing

Monthly Newsletter: Issue 3

This is an issue of my monthly newsletter. Main topics: technology, startups, business growth, and marketing. See other issues on my blog or subscribe. ~Max


Now, get a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Technology and Startups

Growth and Marketing

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My Favorite Spotify Playlists for Productivity and Focus

Some people liked the Spotify Playlists I shared last time, so I thought I’d share a few more. I wouldn’t claim that these four are the best but they are definitely my favorites when it comes working or studying:

  1. Electronic music, mostly medium to fast tempo, 1,039 songs.
  2. Electronic music, mostly slow to medium tempo, 1,661 songs.
  3. Electronic ambient drone music — super slow, for very occasional use when the deep focus is needed or when everything else seems too distracting. 321 songs.
  4. Jazz music with no vocals or saxophone, 454 songs.

I’ll also embed them here:

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A couple of great Spotify playlists

I just wanted to share these two amazing Spotify playlists.

1. BerkeleyHaas applications songs
Applicants to BerkeleyHaas used to be asked for an essay on this topic: “If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?” This is a collection of songs used by classes ’13, ’15 and ’16. Totally optimistic, daring, reflective and sometimes surprising. Highly recommended. Total songs: 381.

2. All Aerostat (a popular music podcast) songs: episodes 1-522
Hand-picked by Boris Grebenshchikov, full of beautiful gems from all eras. Total songs: 2,881 (actually 5,212 but Spotify doesn’t have all)

Just try both on shuffle, skipping the ones you don’t like. You won’t be disappointed.

Listening to music for the first time

Austian Chapman was born deaf. But recently he got a new a type of hearing aid device which allowed him to listen to music for the first time.

Here is how he describes his experience:

“When Mozart’s Lacrimosa came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn’t a dry eye in the car.”

 

I wonder how would it feel to listen to music for the first time. Or see for the first time. Or smell for the first time. Or just after a week-long “break”? Probably, it would be 100 times more vivid than what we are used to.

I wonder whether in the future people will incorporate short intermittent “breaks” using technology in order to sharpen these feelings.

 

via mashable