Discover more from Three Book Thursday
On Chutzpah, Dying with Zero, and The Story of Success
Books that changed my thinking, my behaviors, and my life
Thank you to everyone who purchased a gift subscription to Three Book Thursday. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Now, your weekly dose of goodness.
This is the first Dershowitz book that I read back in college (and have read many others since then). While we’ve grown apart in some ideological areas over the past decade, I still enjoy engaging in his work.
Chutzpah focuses on Jewish identity, civil liberties, and the Dershowitz's perspectives on various legal and social issues. Through this book, you’ll enter the mind of a formidable thinker who challenges conventional wisdom and champions freedom of speech, all while examining the complexities of being Jewish in a changing world (still relevant even 30 years after the first edition).
If you're interested in the intricacies of the legal system, passionate about defending civil liberties, or simply looking for a stimulating read that encourages critical thinking and spirited debate, Chutzpah is a book for you.
Insight: Over the centuries we were expelled, pogromed, crusaded, inquisitioned, jihaded, and holocausted out of countries that we helped to make great.
Jewish humor: An orthodox man pleads with God to prevent an imminent family tragedy: "God, please help me. My son is considering becoming a Christian." God responds, "Your son?"
Jewish humor: I'm Jewish. Count Basie is Jewish. Ray Charles is Jewish. Eddie Cantor goyish. B'nail B'rith is goyish, Hadassah Jewish. If you live in NY or any big city, you are Jewish. It doesn't even matter if you're Catholic, if you live in NY you are Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana you're going to be goyish even if you are Jewish. Kool Aid is goyish. Evaporated milk is goyish even if Jews invented it. Chocolate is Jewish and fudge is goyish. Fruit salad is Jewish. Lime jello is goyish. Lime soda is very goyish. All Drake's cakes are goyish. Pumpernickel is Jewish and, as you know, white bread is goyish. Instant potatoes, goyish. Black cherry soda is very Jewish. Macaroons are very Jewish. Blacks are all Jews. Italians are all Jews. Irishmen who have rejected their religion are Jews. Mouths are very Jewish. And bosons. Baton-twirling is very goyish. Underwear is definitely goyish. Balls goyish. Titties are Jewish.
Quote: If I am not for myself, who will be for me. I am for myself alone, what am I? -Hillel
Author: Alan Dershowitz
Themes: Memoir, Legal, History
My personal notes from the book
2. Living a full life
Die With Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life
This is such a great book. While it may be classified in personal finance, I think it is better classified in the living a full life category. There is a 90% chance that your beliefs will change after reading this book. The important question then becomes, will your behaviors change?
Die with Zero challenges the conventional wisdom about money and retirement. Rather than focusing solely on amassing wealth for the future, Perkins argues that it's equally important to use your money to enjoy life experiences while you're still physically and mentally capable. The book offers a fresh perspective on financial planning, emphasizing the idea that it's okay to "die with zero" - to spend your wealth strategically and intentionally throughout your lifetime to maximize your happiness and fulfillment.
Insight: When the end is near, we suddenly start thinking, what the hell am I doing, why did I wait this long? Until then, most of us go through life as if we had all the time in the world.
Insight: So it makes sense to delay gratification to some extent, because that pays off in the long run. But the sad truth is that too many people delay gratification for too long, or indefinitely. They put off what they want to do until it's too late, saving money for experiences they will never enjoy.
Insight: Unlike material possessions, which seem exciting at the beginning but then often depreciate quickly, experiences actually gain in value over time: they pay what I call a memory dividend.
Insight: The number of actual experiences available to you diminishes as you age. Yes, you need money to survive in retirement, but the main thing you'l be retiring on will be your memories–so make sure you invest enough in those.
Author: Bill Perkins
Themes: Living a full life, Personal finance, Wealth management, Health and wellness
My personal notes from the book
3. Decision making
Outliers: The Story of Success
As you know, I am a big fan of Gladwell and have read every book that he’s published. Outliers explores the factors that contribute to extraordinary success. Gladwell challenges the conventional notion that success is solely the result of individual talent and hard work. Instead, he argues that success is often shaped by a combination of unique opportunities, cultural influences, and the accumulation of meaningful experiences. Through a series of captivating stories and thought-provoking research, Gladwell delves into the hidden patterns behind the success stories of outliers, individuals who achieve greatness beyond the norm.
Principle: Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.
Insight: Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.
Insight: If intelligence matters only up to a point, then past that point, other things–things that have nothing to do with intelligence–must start to matter more. It's like basketball: once someone is tall enough, then we start to care about speed and court sense and agility and ball handling skills and shooting touch.
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Themes: Decision making, Human psychology
My personal notes from the book
That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading!
Please continue to share with me the books that changed your life!
Three Book Thursday is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.