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The No List: Books you wouldn't recommend

As the year draws to a close, most people create lists: (i) all the books I read this year, (ii) by top X number of books from this year, etc.—in the spirit of scaling back, paring down, and focusing on the essentials, I thought doing an anti-list would be a fun twist!

Of all the books you have read this year (or ever), what are the ones that you wouldn't recommend for the below reasons:

  1. Stopped reading/didn't finish for "quality" reasons
  2. Finished but reflecting on wish you spent that time reading something else
  3. Else

I recognize that there will be subjectivity here as someone may have branched out from their usual productivity books to sci-fi fiction and thought "yeah, nope, that's not for me," so a couple sentences on the why could be helpful.

Especially keen on hearing about those books that seem to be trending in all tech circles at the same time as I try to avoid the hype (e.g. Sapiens, Thinking Fast and Slow, Zero to One, etc.).

Let me know what your don't even waste your time on this or save your time and listen to the toplines on Blinkist! There's always more knowledge to be gained but let's help each other throw out the lesser stuff and focus our limited time on the quality stuff!

So glad to see this posted as we have the exact opposite thread going on right now! https://elpha.com/posts/2ko95yb1/what-books-did-you-read-in-2021-and-absolutely-loved
I LOVE this idea. I have to say I did not care for that new book from Sally Rooney that came with all the fanfare: "Beautiful World, Where Are You" πŸ™…πŸ»β€β™€οΈI stick to mostly nonfiction reading and this book reminded me why. 😬
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck was sooo bad. Maybe the worst book I've ever tried to read.I didn't finish Thinking Fast and Slow (too repetitive) and On the Future (just not that well-written) even though both really seemed interesting.I liked both Sapiens and Homo Deus but the newer one 21 lessons for the 21st century didn't grab me and seemed like it was rehashing the same points over and over.Dalio's Principles: I had to skip the first part because it was so long-winded but the latter part was okay.Anything by Nassim Nicholas Taleb I haven't liked; his anecdotes just makes me think he's a jerk.
The Subtle Art is just him being repetitive for 200 pages and getting a book deal. A woman could never.
Oh man, I agree with The Subtle Art being really bad. I feel like it got soooo hyped and then he was repetitive for about half the book. It's like ok dude, we get it.
Based on the reviews here, might I recommend not listening to the *audiobook* of Sapiens! I enjoyed homo Deus and assumed I'd like Sapiens too but it's now the audiobook I use to send myself to sleep with if I'm having a hard time falling asleep... Perhaps more to do with the voice than the contents given that people like itπŸ˜…
Arent all these books bestsellers?! Could you share some books you loved, interested in any suggestions!
A wrote a little article a few years ago here that has five books I really enjoyed: https://towardsdatascience.com/data-scientists-grow-your-expertise-with-these-5-out-of-field-reads-7dee32570630 Aside from this, if you're into AI, Pamela McCorduck's books are excellent, especially Machines Who Think (You can find the pdf online). I also love the magazine Lapham's Quarterly. It is a collection of historical writing on a common topic, along with very interesting essays.
Omg Briana you might be my book soul mate! Lol! Finding you on socials and connecting!
Hahah what was wrong with the subtle art? Think it was brilliant πŸ˜„
Co-sign on The Subtle Art! I felt like he was trying to be edgy when the entire book could have been summarized in a sentence. Thinking Fast and Slow was boring and too heavy with research. I liked Sapiens, found it genuinely thought provoking. On the other hand, Homo Deus was too speculative and based on conjecture.
+1 on fast and slow. I agree it was way too repetitive and didn’t capture my interest.
Have to agree on almost all !!! Subtle Art was terrible. Principles very long - still amazed I finished. And I don't know a single human that has read Thinking Fast and Slow from front to back lol!
I say almost all because I didn't read the rest! Don't think I could do Yuval or most Silicon Valley darlings.
I enjoyed most of the books I read this year but a few that were "meh" for me:Zine by Pagan Kennedy - this is a collection of the author's zines plus some essays about them. As it turns out, I liked her persona for the essays (which is more self-reflective) more than her persona for the zine (which was intentionally self-parodic). My interest in the zines was also not helped by the fact that her cultural touchstones are (mostly) quite different from mine/she's a little older than me.Little Scratch by Rebecca Watson - I have a grudging respect for this novel in that I think it's meant to be uncomfortable to read, and I found it quite uncomfortable, but yeah, I think in general I would rather read novels that don't immerse you quite so thoroughly in the protagonist's anxiety.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle- Adele credited it with helping her through her divorce. I usually enjoy the self-help genre and have found a lot of similar books valuable. This one just didn't resonate unfortunately. It felt very clichΓ©, author assumes everyone is a broken and damaged soul, and the writing was so dramatic and insincere. More narrative than substance. I like books written for strong women who can feel all their feelings and still hold their head high.Anything Rupi Kaur- Instagram poet. Enough said!Radical Candor by Kim Scott- Wanted to love it, heard good things, but I just got so bored and the writing was quite dry unfortunately. Blog post turned into book. Very overrated and did not provide much insight into management beyond extremely basic things that should be common sense. To counterbalance this negative post, check out my post under best books of 2021!
Totally agree on Untamed...was so disappointed in that book and had heard such good things.
@soph I came here to say the exact same thing on Untamed! My friend gave it to me as a gift, and I thought it was just SO over-written with homilies and twee little attempts at teaching moments. I found it really over the top.
Agreed on Untamed. Also, sadly I have to add Animal by Lisa Taddeo. I **loved** Three Women, so I expected to love this as well and found it really uncomfortable and far more forced than I'd think such a talented writer would produce. I also was gifted a book that I likely wouldn't have purchased that I decided to read as for decompression called Eliza Starts A Rumor. Expected a kind of fun, light read based on the description, but it was actually so poorly written and took itself so seriously at the same time that I couldn't believe it. The sad part was that there was a really important and layered story there and some interesting characters, but the writing was so painful and elementary that it didn't give the story or its cast the oxygen necessary to make the book any better. As for professional reads, I finally downloaded all of Patrick Lencioni's career-related fable books to my Kindle, and read The Five Temptations of a CEO. It was readable, but not half as good as I expected it to be based on reviews and recommendations. Kind of dragging my feet on the rest of his books, although I own them now so I will likely dive in soon.
+1 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. For fiction, The People We Meet on Vacation and The Circle.
Fiction-wise for me, it was Circe by Madeline Miller. I had heard so many people absolutely raving about it as one of the best books they had read, and for me, it was just fine. Not bad, but not something I would actively recommend to anyone else.
What to expect before you're expecting - while full of information, this book is horrid. It would convince even the most secure person that they need to change their entire life in order to have even a tiny chance of having children. Can be useful as a reference book, e.g. if you are specifically interested in learning about nutrition and fertility, or want a short summary of different disorders that can impact fertility such as PCOS, but reading it end to end is painfully discouraging (full disclosure I don't want kids, was reading for work, but was appalled).The Menopause Manifesto - I was excited to learn about menopause from a female expert. I'm a persistent reader but had to put this down after struggling through 2/3rds. This book reads like a poorly edited textbook with a constantly shifting narrator. Moves between heavily scientific language and cringey jokes ('remember, hormone treatment isn't like Tinder'), with long winded personal opinions thrown in. Tone, tense and focus shifts constantly making it hard to follow, and the information presented is dense to the point of being unhelpful. I'd hoped for something like 'Sex matters', which has a clear narrative and key takeaways from each chapter which could help you navigate an appointment or discussion. Instead it's a jumbled mess 😞
Miracule morning by hal elrod - the concept is good but can be explained in 2 pages instead of the whole book (which is full of redundant repetition and details)