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The best of what I’m reading, watching, and exploring (February 2021)

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!


Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. I normally read books in print, but over the past year, I’ve been listening to memoirs narrated by the author. This is one of the very best. McConaughey did a phenomenal job of bringing words to life in his usual McConaughey way. Highly entertaining and insightful. Alright, alright, alright.

What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life by Mark Doty. My first introduction to Walt Whitman was in the movie Dead Poets Society, which I saw in the theater when I was 8. Since then, I’ve grown to love his poems. Whitman was a revolutionary poet, writing his poems in informal language (highly unusual at the time) and abandoning rhyme and meter for free verse. In this book, Doty serves as a guide to Whitman and brings his poems to life by reflecting on them through the lens of Doty’s own life. Beautifully written.

One by One by Ruth Ware. I’ve been reading more fiction lately, particularly at night before I go to sleep. I devoured this fantastic whodunit murder mystery in record time. If you’re looking for an escape, look no further (I learned about this book from Jeremy Anderberg’s excellent newsletter, What to Read Next).

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. This book changed the way I breathe. Enough said.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. I’m not a history buff, but I loved this book. It tells the captivating story of the Mongol Empire that will call into question everything you thought you knew about Genghis Khan. From the description: “In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization. Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. . . . This brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made. ”

Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Many #1 New York Times bestsellers don’t live up to the hype. This one does.


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

The Painter and The Thief (Amazon Prime). One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in recent memory. It tells the unlikely story of a friendship between a painter and a thief who stole one of her paintings.

Promising Young Woman (Amazon Prime). Amazing thriller. Carey Mulligan hits a home run with her performance.

Synchronic (Amazon Prime). I love a good time travel movie, and this one didn’t disappoint.

The Endless (Netflix). I liked Synchronic so I watched The Endless by the same director duo. A deeply unconventional story that’s equal parts harrowing and thought-provoking. If you watch it, tell me your theory about the ending.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Amazon Prime). It’s a slow burn, but a gorgeous one.

The Social Dilemma (Netflix). If you own a smartphone, this is a must-watch.


Ted Lasso (Apple TV+). I resisted watching this one for a long time since the premise seemed absurd (an American football coach is recruited to coach a Premier League soccer team). But it was recommended by a number of people I trust, so I gave it a shot. Surprisingly good.

Trigonometry (HBO). A modern love story about a polyamarous relationship. I was expecting a shallow comedy, but it was the opposite. It’s a beautiful story of love, jealousy, boundaries, and regret—that leaves you caring a lot about all three people involved.

The Flight Attendant (HBO). Terrific whodunit mystery. Kaley Cuoco is brilliant.

The Undoing (HBO). Another whodunit mystery with a stellar cast. Yes, there are cheesy, “would that really happen in real life” moments. But overall, it’s a great watch.

Tools If you’re anything like me, you highlight relevant sections of the books and articles you read, but then you promptly forget about them. Enter Readwise. The software syncs the highlights from my books and articles, and sends me a daily digest of 10 random highlights. It’s a great way to retain more of what I read and make connections between my highlights that I otherwise would miss. It’s one of the few tools I use every day. If you sign up with this affiliate link, you’ll get a 60-day free trial (instead of the usual 30).

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