So I recently read: ‘Faster than Normal’

This is going to be weird. Although the book ‘Faster than Normal’ is about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or popularly known as ADHD and how to make it work for you, by a renowned Author, Speaker, Ironman Triathlon Athlete, Podcaster, etc. named Peter Shankman, the title might also be my own Tagline, if I do get a tagline.

Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHDBrain
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD brain

Let me share some of the traits (as I would refrain from calling them symptoms) of being Faster than Normal:

  1. Speaking fast. Very fast. I mean really fast. (Although in my mind I am being normal and others are being slow to understand me)
  2. Getting easily distracted from uninteresting things (BORING!)
  3. Being a Morning and Monday Loving Person / Extra-Energetic / Borderline-Hyper (Yes!)
  4. A believer in ‘Either my way or highway’ philosophy (Although this doesn’t work in real world. Still, I try.)
  5. Suffering from Imposter Syndrome often.
  6. Uncontrollable hands. Sometimes tongue too.

This isn’t written in the book but rather my own traits if I may be frank here. So, I don’t know whether I really have ADHD or not but reading this book gave me so many examples of my own life. And even if I might have had ADHD, this book continues to state that ADHD is not a disorder. Rather, ADHD is a superpower which can be utilized to maximize one’s output. The best part of this book is that the suggestions, tricks, and tips given in this book would work for anyone who wants to be optimal at their game, ADHD or not. I would pause here and state that if someone really has ADHD, I cannot even comprehend what all would be going through their minds all the time. But when this book tells about people who have been diagnosed with ADHD and still made it big, that is very reassuring. For instance, names like Seth Godin, Richard Branson, Will Smith have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives.

So, reiterating here that whether you are normal or faster than normal, this book has a plethora of tips by which you can enhance your general productivity. Peter gives his own examples at every instance and also brings in guests who share their experiences with how they used their faster brain to accomplish great things. From getting up early, journaling your schedule, keeping your room tidy, choices minimum, following rituals, and making the best of the time when you are in your zone, are some of the tips which are explained in details with daily life examples.

In the modern day life where we have more distractions than a normal sane person can handle, focussing on a single task at hand is certainly a huge deal. When you know that if you are to be given only one hour of time with no distractions, you can wrap up the work which otherwise might take a day with distractions, then you probably you would enjoy this book.

I have gained a lot of insights about things which I had kept on the backburner due to laziness but after reading this book, I am pumped up again. This review is the 7th blog post on my blog in 7 straight days. I think if I am able to continue this streak further, this book would be one of the reasons behind that.

The actual title of the book is: Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain. You may buy it at the given link.

So I recently read: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris

So I recently read Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferris or better known as Tim Ferris. Tim is mostly known as an investor, a podcaster, a motivational speaker, an author of multiple best-selling books and a few more things to top all that.


Tools of Titans is basically the book format of some of his podcasts, The Time Ferris Show in which he interviewed some popular figures and divided them into 3 categories:

  • Healthy
  • Wealthy
  • Wise

For example, in Healthy section, you will find Triple H, in Wealthy section, you will find Peter Thiel, and in Wise section, you will find Malcolm Gladwell.

To be honest, and also very clearly described in the foreword and beginning of the book, this is not a usual self-help book. This is rather a collection of interviews which needn’t be read from First Page to Last Page like a normal book. One is free to select an individual and read their discussion with Tim Ferris. After/during these interviews, Tim puts his own take on the answers given by the people who are very successful in their respective fields. The question ranges from how does one define success, to what were their best shopped item which costed 100$ or less.

Now, the book is plethora of tips and tricks which the mentioned people have used as their rituals and habits which make them the people they are. If you like a certain celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can directly jump to his interview and read about his journey from Alps to being the Governor of california while earning millions of dollars even before he became famous. You can read how Casey Neistat‘s day looked like when he began his Daily Vlogging. You can read about how James Altucher dealt with multiple failures before he became successful.

Some of the people in the books were pretty well knowns. However, some I got to know only while reading them as most of them are popular in US only (I am not living under a rock but not everyone can know about everyone, right? Ask Maria Sharapova) and then there were some voila moments when I read and realized ‘Oh, so this was the person who did that!’.

After reading this, apart from many tips received, the 2 tips which stand out the most are:

  1. Meditate, as much as you can, whenever you can, in whichever way you can.
  2. Journal, something, somehow, as much as you can, whenever you can, in whichever way you can.

These mean that most of the famous celebrities who have made something of their own in their lives live by one rule, Discipline.

Very recently, Tim has come up with another book, which is kind of sequel to this book called as Tribe of Mentors. For now, if you are interested in knowing about the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers, check out the below link.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers

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So I recently read: The Martian by Andy Weir

Sunday, October 4th, 2015, around 6 PM

Heavy raining was an understatement for that day. It was pouring out there. I and my room-mate called an Uber and found a 2x surge, as usual. But we had to go any how. We had to go to the movie, we had booked, “The Martian”. So eventually, we found a cab and started for the 6.30 show at Cinepolis (still the best after IMAX). The multiplex was not more than 20 mins away from our place.

We had crossed half the way, zooming past the evening rush amidst the downpour. The roads were relatively empty despite evening time. We were hopeful that we will reach the Cinema Hall well in time to buy Nachos and a huge tub of Pop-Corn. And then, like it always happens, Uncle Murphy reminded us of his laws. As soon as we reached the main road, it was jam-packed like the atoms of a heavy metal. I could only see a sea of red of the rear lights of the vehicles ahead. While the rain had now slowed down and some part of the sky had cleared, I could see a tiny red dot near the horizon up in the sky. (Making this last line up, it was still drizzling with grey-blue sky).

We crawled like a sloth and finally reach Cinepolis at 7.15 PM. I was expecting that they would have shown 20 minutes of trailers and advertisements before the show and we would have missed the movie little bit.

The Martian
The Martian

Hustling bustling, we entered the multiplex and found our seats after disturbing at least 10 people and saying sorry awkwardly to a couple. (This line is also made up because we had booked corner seats. I just didn’t want to state that fact)

I asked my neighbour, how much did we miss? The guy said, almost everything. The first scene, I remember, was when Astronaut Mark Whatney (Matt Damon) was video blogging about how he is about to make water and his plan is to have potatoes for survival.

Which means, we had missed the first part where the accident happens. Now, a little bit of Google will suggest that the first part of the story is slightly weird. As in, (if you have not seen the movie, Mark Whatney gets stuck on Mars due an accident caused by heavy storm), the storm won’t be that intense on Mars which would lead to such an accident. Sigh. That was as hurtful as the tethering bit goof-up of the movie Gravity. Anyway, we watched the rest of the movie, enjoyed it, came back home and happily lived ever after. [citation needed]

Now fast forward to present day. In fact few days ago when I got my hands on The Martian book by Andy Weir. So, out of curiosity about what actually would have happened in the beginning, I started reading this book. I will now proceed with this post in 2 sections.

  1. Book review
  2. How did I read this book?

Book Review (Not movie review)

As the story is quite known, I am going to directly post my views without giving story’s summary or even any context (as if the above text is nothing.).

I generally liked this book. I specially liked the part where the protagonist’s sense of humor, amidst the havoc happening around him, is still intact. And that’s most of the book. The wit in the most difficult situations makes this book memorable.

I cannot pinpoint which bit was the best but this book’s core is one message: Despite whatever happens, never lose hope. No matter how bad things look around you, there will always be something you can do. Even if you’re about to die, at least smile for the last time. The book’s first line itself says ‘I’m fucked’ but the last line says that ‘…this is the happiest day of my life’. Of course, some parts look totally impossible but how much do we know about human perseverance and will to survive! There have been many instances where life survived when everyone had given their hopes. This book is based on that idea. My only issue (apart from a character named ‘Venkat Kapoor’ (and that was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor!??!)), that some of the places and equipments depicted in the book are slightly difficult to imagine in the mind while reading the book. One, because I haven’t read much of Sci-Fi actually and whatever movies I have seen, seems to have made everything easier. Second, some geography, some vehicles, only Mars nerds would know.

But then, since this is mostly a first person book, these kinds interest me a lot. And I found myself chuckling throughout the book. But I am still not 100% sure why they called the movie based on this book ‘Comedy’. A thing is good if it is good. It doesn’t matter if it is comedy or serious. Anyways, I recommend this book if you want to read some good sci-fi which is very probable to happen in reality if Elon Musk and likes do few things soon.

How did I read this book?

Very good question.

I had read about 40% of the book at my own pace. But then my friend @anahgem_k shared the Audiobook of The Martian with me through Audible. (Thank you!)

That. Changed. Everything.

I listened to the book, while reading it. And then I increased my listening speed to 1.5x. And eventually found 1.85x comfortable.

With that, I could read, understand and enjoy it so fast, that I finished the book in almost no time. (it still took me 3-4 Sols though).

So, if in case, you are finding a book interesting but getting less time to read it. And audiobooks alone aren’t your thing, combine them both. I’m seriously.

You may buy this book from here:

So I recently read: Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath

There’s an advertisement running on the Television. A bright and happy family of five, are getting ready for a picnic. A young boy, followed by 2 younger sisters joyously enter the minivan. The Husband and the wife follow them soon after and they start. A scene many of us relate to easily. The voice-over introduces us to the minivan now. It tells us about the features like remote-controlled sliding rear doors, ample space for big family, temperature controlled cup holders, six-point navigation system and what not. The voice says, “It’s a minivan to the max. It’s the minivan for families on the go.”

Everyone inside the van is smiling and enjoying the ride.

And then, it happens.

A speeding car overspeeding from the intersection hits the minivan. There’s a huge explosion and ear-shattering noise of glass breaking and metal bending.

There’s now just the sound of a permanently pressed horn and then screen fades into blank and goes silent.

The voice over now says: “Buckle up… Always.”

Unexpected. Right?

Unexpected is one of the 6 principles of making a thought stick in the reader’s mind or a viewer or the audience mind. The above advertisement about necessity of putting on a seat belt is so powerful that one won’t be able to forget it so easily.

The principles of making any idea sticky are:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

or SUCCESs. An acronym, which would stick to your mind now, when you think of drafting an idea which you want to be sticky in other’s minds.

So I recently read:

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck or ‘Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die’ is a book by brothers Chip and Dan Heath.

made to stick
made to stick

This book is easily one of the most easy to read, witty and highly useful piece of text that I have ever read. It has plethora of anecdotes, stories, ideas and case studies of various incidents in the history where ideas housed themselves in people’s mind for a longer time.

The easy language with which Heath brothers have communicated the idea of making our thoughts get etched in and stay longer and relevant is exemplary. For anyone who is learning to write, fiction or non-fiction, or who is learning public speaking, writing an advertisement, or making a campaign, this could be of great use. Anyone actually who deals with communication would find this really enriching.

I found the recommendation for this book by Douglas Kruger in one of his videos. And this has actually helped me realize, why some of my own speeches and writings worked and why most failed. But after reading this, it would help me shape the flow and the content in a better way.

I recommend this book strongly, to anyone who wants to put forward their thoughts in a better way.

You may buy this book here:
Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck

So I recently read: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Recommended by @anahgem, I recently finished reading: Ready Player One by  Ernest Cline.

For anyone who has even the tiniest and slightest bit of experience of 80s and 90s movies and video games (see, I call it video games!), would find this book severely interesting and a sure-page-turner!

Before telling you my opinion about this, I would give a short spoiler-free-summary:

This book is about near-future, where real life would seriously suck and everyone would spend their times online (I meant present) in a Virtual Reality World called as Oasis. So, the creator of the Oasis creates a challenge for the users to play a game, like a Treasure Hunt. Whoever wins it wins a huge fortune of huge wealth and even the control of Oasis. Trick here is that the challenge involves being 2 words which are thrown around randomly so much nowadays that they have lost their real meaning: Nerds and Geeks. One has to be a thorough 80s and 90s days lover, pop-art follower, heavily addicted to games and movies of that era and above all, no social life. The challenge would involve playing games which range from Galaga to Pacman to what not, acting as the protagonist of movies, remembering Dungeons and Dragons from the top of your mind every 5 minutes, and so on. So the protagonist and some other people (and corporations) try to overtake each other and keep going Level by Level. Dying on Oasis and Dying in real world would be almost intertwined, if you know what I mean.

So, despite not being born in the US (or Japan) where most of the things were being developed in 80s and 90s, technology wise, I surely liked this book a lot. There are so many instances of movies and games of that era which are referred to and made very important parts of the movie, that you will find yourself referring to Wikipedia and doing ‘Aha! I had seen/heard/knew about this’ or ‘Ohh! How sad that I missed this!’. There are parts which you might not be able to relate to if you haven’t seen the game or the movies mentioned, but hey, this is also a recco to go through that stuff if you haven’t. Plus, there are some of the ramblings from the Oasis’s creator’s Almanac which can be made as a book in itself (like JK Rowling did with Fantastic Beasts). That book in the book gives a lot about mindsets and nostalgia related stuff, we all can refer too. And, the book has enough thrill already thanks to its ‘Gamification’ obviously embedded in it.

All in all, this was a fairly entertaining read and refers to a very plausible future. Moreover, *drumroll*, this book is being adapted to a movie soon. By none other than, Steven Spielberg.

How can you miss that now?

You can buy this book here:

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So I recently read: The Art of Public Speaking, by Dale Carnegie

So, I just finished reading, The Art of Public Speaking.

Have taken interest in learning to speak better in public, I had heard of this book a lot from many people who kept on quoting from it. So I bought it from Amazon one day and delved into it. Here are some of the things I felt after reading this book.

This book is indeed a classic, published in 1915, it has all the information, tips and tricks to be a better speaker. Of course, being written over a 100 years ago, some parts are a bit drag in terms of millennial-attention-span. Also, at some places, some shortcomings people might have with being able to communicate more effectively can be called as slightly obsolete with the advent of visual aids like PowerPoint.

However, the core message still holds. All the basics mentioned in the book about how to make your content better, and the ways to articulate more effectively, the methods to enhance voice and tone, the importance of rhetorics, etc are all explained in great detail. The book was written for the time when there was no or nominal usage of microphones and speakers, so, in a way this is really good for a novice speaker to follow. Using mic, one can cheat a bit with vocal variety but unless one use the inflections and volume in the ideal way, the difference can be easily noticed.

For new people who want to enhance their craft, this book will help as it gives ample explanation and importance to all the skills needs. I guess, once you start speaking in a group, you may start referring from this book and then you can measure yourself as to how are you doing. It also has some case studies sort of examples which are from good speakers from that era to learn from.

All in all, I found a majority of this book useful. So could you!

Some of my Favorite Quotes from this book:

Concentration is a process of distraction from less important matters.

The first sign of greatness is when a man does not attempt to look and act great.

If you believe you will fail, there is no hope for you. You will.

The worst punishment that human ingenuity has ever been able to invent is extreme monotony, solitary confinement.

Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.

Charles Dana, the famous editor of The New York Sun, told one of his reporters that if he went up the street and saw a dog bite a man, to pay no attention to it. The Sun could not afford to waste the time and attention of its readers on such unimportant happenings. “But,” said Mr. Dana, “if you see a man bite a dog, hurry back to the office and write the story.” Of course that is news; that is unusual.

It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery but the friction.

Speech is silvern, Silence is golden; Speech is human, Silence is divine.

Wilkie Collins’ formula for fiction writing well applies to public speech: “Make ’em laugh; make ’em weep; make ’em wait.

Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision; but today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. – Kalidas

Also, why stop at this and why not watch this too?

You may get this book from below link: