The Rare Book Combo (#4)


“How well he’s read, to reason against reading!” — William Shakespeare

How often do you think about why you read?

In this episode, Sebastian reflects on why he reads (spoiler alert: to live the best possible life) and explains how reading a combination of rare good books might give you super powers.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcast.

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Show Notes

  • How often do you think about why you read? Sebastian reads answers from a Quora question about reading and asked the Ultraworking team why they read.

  • Three big ideas on reading:

    (1) Get clear on what you could get from reading, and choose books deliberately for that,

    (2) If you’re looking for a better life from reading, then obscure great books are likely more valuable than mainstream books for that, and,

    (3) Combinations of rare books might be a superpower.

  • So…. where to look for books to read?

    (1) Anyone who was pioneering in a field (Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Henry Ford)

    (2) International figures most people in your country probably wouldn’t read (Konosuke Matsushita; General Zhukov’s autobiography)

    (3) Biographies and summaries written during different time period (Count Egon Caesar Corti)

    (4) Obviously, the classics and first works, but also forgotten bestsellers (Aristotle, Xenophon, Thucicdydes)

    (5) Operations Manuals from companies, government agencies, US Army manuals (on stretching, nutrition, etc).

    (6) And finally, of course, any works of imagination.

  • So, why don’t people do this?

  • Why is Sebastian recommending obscure books? Read for whatever reason you want, but if you want to take action to build a really amazing life, it’s incredible when you can spot universal patterns.

  • Hunt out your own. If you find any really exceptional, feel free to shoot an email and let us know.

Books mentioned:

  • 54-40 or Fight by Emerson Hough

  • Endurance: Shackleton by Alfred Lansing

  • Operation Kronstadt

  • Assault on Lake Casitas by Brad Alan Lewis

  • The Tao of Jeet Kune Do

  • Kiss or Kill - Confessions of a Serial Climber by Mark Twight

  • Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger

  • Mover of Men and Mountains by R.G. LeTourneau

  • Made in America by Sam Walton

  • Matsushita Leadership by John Kotter

  • The Brothers: The Tsutsumi Family by Lesley Downer

  • The Rise of House Rothschild by Count Egon Caesar Corti

  • The Last Trail by Zane Grey

  • 1857 - The First War of Independence by V.D. Savarkar

  • The Consolidation of Philosophy by Ancius Boethius

  • Ray Dalio’s Principles

  • Foundation by Asimov

  • Musashi by Eiji Yoshikaw

Selected Links from This Episode

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