Read a Book* in 10 Minutes

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If you found your way here, I assume you have a thirst for knowledge. I also assume you have a desire for efficiency, seeing as how most of this blog’s posts clock in at around 700 words and offer quick, simple solutions to problems. Well, this one’s a quickie, but the links contained here will keep you busy for hours as you read entire books* in 10 minutes flat. This isn’t about speed reading (though here’s how to do that), and it really only applies to nonfiction, but it’s time you explored the world of book summaries. It’s already saved me 15 hours this week.

The beauty of most self-development books is you can distil their information down to a few actionable points. The rest is anecdotal or fluff. This makes self-development books perfect fodder for summarization. In listening to “The 48 Laws of Power” on audiobook – an appallingly Machiavellian tome I don’t recommend anyone actually read – I realized each point of advice was easily summed up in a single sentence, or “law”. The rest of the book was just cherry-picked examples from history meant to illustrate the principle in question. After suffering through numerous hours of Robert Greene praising demagogues and conmen, I decided to opt out of finishing the full-length, 23-hour audiobook… buuuuut I was still curious about the remaining laws. I eventually found this, confirming what I already knew. I didn’t need to finish the book. I wouldn’t have taken the advice anyway.

Yet, this was a learning experience. Impressed with how quickly I breezed through the main points of a 496-page book, I started looking for book summaries online. I found Deconstructing Excellence and its summaries of books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I found Actionable Books and its summaries of business nonfiction like “The Art of Authenticity”. I found Derek Sivers and his notes on titles like “The E Myth” and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”. Suddenly, I had a free online library at my disposal, and I could digest any piece of it in just 10 minutes! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Obviously, you wouldn’t be getting the full experience of reading the real book. My advice is to actually take some time to think about each book summary. If something really captivates you, consider taking it out of the library and reading it long-form. Hell, it might save you the cost of a movie ticket! I know the links here have already saved me countless hours and dollars.

What can book summaries do for you?

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Why Eating Out Makes Me Sad

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Mr. Money Mustache said it best: Look at me, I am renting this huge venue and paying an army of servants to prepare food for me!

Yep, that’s how I feel now. When I enter a restaurant, it all feels like the worst kind of transaction. From the moment I open the door, I’m spending money on literally every encounter. It really skeeves me out. You know that feeling you get at strip clubs? Kinda like that.

“Welcome to W____ S­____! Table for two?”

Welp, someone’s paying that hostess, I think to myself. It’s me. I’m paying her wages just by dining out like an idiot.

“How’s your day going?” she says.

“Fine, thanks.”

Ugh. All that trouble for a canned response.

I’m led to my table and handed a menu of oversalted pasta and old meat in white bread. Yum.

*****

There was a time when I loved eating out. Lost in the idea I deserved luxury at every turn, I had no problem spending hundreds on a Michelin-star meal. Now that I’ve had that experience – ugh. – I decided to learn how to cook so I wouldn’t fall into that trap again. Now, I see making meals at home as an immense privilege! You mean I get to use FRESH ingredients, LEARN an art form with a huge potential to save me more MONEY, AND I get the added benefits of INCREASED HEALTH and SEX APPEAL? (Okay, maybe that last one’s just me, but everyone loves a good cook, so…) Then, there’s the benefit of making things EXACTLY how I like them without having to explain to some 16-year-old I’m indirectly paying that, no, I don’t want your pancakes because your pancakes are shit. There’s really zero loss to cooking at home. My roommates and I eat like kings. I mean, look. This is from our last two months.

WEEK 11 – Tuna tataki, spicy eggplant and “takeout” noodles
WEEK 12 – Scallop ceviche, tuna tataki, Atlantic razor clams
WEEK 13 – Sticky chicken, asparagus, and rice
WEEK 14 – Century egg congee
WEEK 15 – Rosemary steak and bacon lentil salad
WEEK 16 – Butter clams and crusty bread
WEEK 17 – Spinach omelette
WEEK 18 – Coriander-rubbed duck breast, bacon lentil salad, and smoked salmon crostini

Cooking, for us, is now a cakewalk as we perfect our recipes and learn new skills. Not only that, but it’s HUGELY enjoyable. Sipping brandy as the aromas of duck fat and orange zest fill the kitchen? Easily a peak experience. Nailing the perfect crust on a lamb persillade and then sinking your teeth into the most decadent rare meat you’ve ever had? Goddamn orgasmic. Mastering the comfort foods of your childhood and knowing you can have a soul-warming congee whenever you want? Bliss.

Resolving to cook one ambitious meal a week has done wonders for me, and I highly recommend you make that a goal for yourself as well. You get to find out where your food comes from, and you develop a healthy respect for the nutrients you’re putting in your body. Ever wonder why people who adult well have so many dinner parties? You get to make an entire evening out of simple ingredients that – if you’re doing it right – only cost $8-$10 a person! I used to get absolutely fucking obliterated at bars for $150/night, only to go home sad and alone. Dinner parties are the obvious win! AND: Instead of hiring a culinary slave horde for two hours every time I’m feeling peckish, I’m using all that money ON MYSELF. I’m investing in my health, my life skills, and my enjoyment. What an easy freakin’ choice.

Just cook. You’ll love it, I promise.

*****

“Hi, can I take your order?”

Oh, fuck you. I’m cooking at home.