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The best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring (August 2022)

Posted in the following categories: Motivation

From time to time, instead of my usual email with one big idea you can read in 3 minutes or less, I share with you the best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring. Enjoy!


Reap3r by Eliot Peper. A quantum computer scientist, a virologist, a podcaster, a venture capitalist, and an assassin walk into a bar . . . and you end up with a great novel. It’s near-future science fiction at its best—a wild ride that will take you from the San Francisco Bay to the Galápagos. (Thanks to Seth Godin for the recommendation).

Upgrade by Blake Crouch. I’ll read anything by Crouch. His previous novel Dark Matter is one of my all-time favorites in any genre. I bought his newest book Upgrade the day it was published—and limited myself to about 20 pages a day to resist the strong urge to binge-read. Although some of the action sequences got a bit too much for me, this was another winner from Crouch.


I say very little about the plot of the films that follow—in large part because I don’t want to ruin the fun. I refuse to watch trailers—or even read film descriptions—because I want to be surprised from minute one.

Cha Cha Real Smooth. (Apple TV+) Coming-of-age movies usually miss the mark. This one was amazing—and made me an instant fan of the 25-year-old Cooper Raiff who wrote and directed the movie.

Mirage. (Netflix) Great sci-fi thriller with lots of plot twists. I wish Oriol Paulo’s films were better known outside the Spanish-speaking world (The Invisible Guest is another favorite of mine).

I Origins. (Apple TV | Amazon Prime) I’ll watch anything starring Brit Marling. (She’s the lead in The OA.) If you walk into this sci-fi film with strong opinions, you probably won’t like it. But if you’re willing to suspend judgment for two hours and entertain other possibilities that don’t fit your worldview, you’ll enjoy the ride.

Vengeance. (Apple TV | Amazon Prime) Darkly comic murder mystery with some of the funniest dialogue I’ve heard in recent memory. Great directorial debut by B.J. Novak (of The Office fame).


All Eyes on You” by St. Lucia. Before stepping onto the stage to give a keynote, I’ll often listen to a few upbeat songs to pump myself up. This is one of them.

A poem that I loved

Dust If You Must by Rose Milligan

(You can watch a beautiful narration of the poem by Christi Steyn at this link.)

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

The Contrarian Handbook
The Status Quo.

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