Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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Over the past year, I’ve been on a journey to Less.

The easy part has been shedding the physical belongings.


Owning 2 sets of golf clubs for my 30 handicap… silly.

Keeping every book I’ve ever read… kinda ridiculous.

Housing 7 pairs of retro Air Jordans… probably not necessary.

Hoarding every Sports Illustrated magazine since 1987… beyond rational.

Maintaining dozens of power tools for projects I won’t do… to Craigslist we go.


As you can imagine, many of these were long overdue.

My wife sure thought so.


The more daunting challenge has been shedding low-value activities in my work at Red Angle. Saying YES! to every request for a lunch meeting and promptly answering every email in my Inbox left me with fewer minutes to do things I cared about.


Less time to think.

Less time to read.

Less time to write.

Less time to learn.

Less time to create.


It was in this frame of mind I eagerly started The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. Babauta is the writer behind Zen Habits, ( which I enjoy.


But I didn’t enjoy this book. While it’s always helpful to be reminded of the power of less, there was little original thought here. Half was benign and the other half had been thoroughly covered in his blog.

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Do I need a 2000-word reminder on how to “focus on only a few tasks at a time” ?



I need less of that.


Bottom Line: I’d recommend following Babauta’s blog to help you do less. For a great book on improving personal effectiveness by doing less, read Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes. Here’s the Libro 52 review for that book.




Libro 38/52 :: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Another thing I could have used less of is Wild by Cheryl Strayed.


This book was juuuuuuust interesting enough. Several times I was moments away from chucking it, but then I’d give Wild the benefit of the doubt. 50 pages later… I was back in the same spot. A bit bored, somewhat annoyed.


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Wild is the ran-away-from-my-life-only-to-find-myself archetypal story. It’s an autobiography with an absurd amount of detail considering the multi-year gap between Strayed’s experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (trail extending from Mexico to Canada, running though California, Oregon and Washington) and writing about it.



I wouldn’t have questioned the unusual level of detail if it wasn’t for the preface that screamed, “You probably won’t believe what I’m about to tell you… but it’s true. Really. Honest to Pete. Pinky swear. 110% true. I swear. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you. It’s all true. Super true. Really.


Then the reader learns the surname Strayed was cherry-picked from a dictionary by the author during the story’s arc.


Isn’t Strayed a bit too perfect for a woman who jumped the rails after her mother died? Cheryl Strayed strays through adultery, abortion, heroin use, and ultimately an ill-prepared, bush-league journey to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.


It’s nice she found herself instead of dying on the trail.

Maybe I should have found it more emotionally engaging, but I didn’t.


Bottom Line: This book made me interested in hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), but little beyond that. Find something else to read.



Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He blew through his 500-word constraint on this post, but it was deliberate.


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LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

13. One Click by Richard Brandt

14. Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

NA. James K. Polk by Walter Borneman

15. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

16. The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty

17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

18. Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

19. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

20. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

21. Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

24. Tales from Q School by John Feinstein

25. The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker

26. 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

27. Drive by Dan Pink

28. Enough by John Bogle

29. Contagious by Jonah Berger

30. Lexicon by Max Barry

31. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

32. A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis

33. The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

34. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

35. The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig

36. Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg

37. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

38. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

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4 replies


  1. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  2. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  3. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  4. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

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