A bundle of nonfiction

I’ve been on a bit of a nonfiction jag:

  • “The Best and the Brightest” by David Halberstam. I just couldn’t get into. Too much minutiae, not enough story telling. Contrast with The Strange Death of Liberal England which glosses over facts but tells a great story.
  • “Why Stomach Acid is Good For You” by Wright and Lenard. Interesting theory on stomach function, stomach acid, and the damage done by antacids and acid suppressing drugs. If you are taking Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec — you must read this book. It may or may not be right but it is a view you should understand for yourself. The core of it is this — heartburn caused by acid reflux is actually a symptom of too little stomach acid, and the downstream effects on your helf of having too little acid and thus incorrectly digesting food are tremendous. The heavily-marketed treatment of eliminating stomach acid does more harm over your lifetime than good.
  • “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert. There are some interesting discussions in here about what really makes us happy. But I hate hate hate the writing style — just chock full of oh-so-clever wordplay, knowing asides, wacky metaphors. This crap all just gets in the way of the story. You feel like the author went through the book and forced some clever construction into nearly every paragraph. Just annoying.
  • “Nature Noir” by Jordan Fisher Smith. Wow! What a surprising book. A nonfiction naturalist book, but threaded thru with a compelling personal story. The writer has a message but rather than beat you over the head with it, he writes a moving and evocative portrait of the land and the people on it. Way more impactful than your typical nonfiction book.
  • “All Markets are Liars” by Seth Godin. I expected to hate this book as I find most trendy business books to be tiresome. But I do resonate with the core message here — marketing is about telling a story, a story that your customers probably already know and want to believe. Like most nonfiction business books, would have been better as an article or a pamphlet, but still engaging.