Summary of reading: January – March 2014

March 30th, 2014 at 4:03 pm
  • "Why We Get Fat, And What to Do About it" by Gary Taubes – Since I’ve been recently interested in nutrition again, Taubes naturally came up on the radar due to the huge popularity and high ratings of his books (at least on Amazon). I decided to start with this one as an introduction, and read the much longer and more comprehensive "Good Calories, Bad Calories" later if I this one went well. Yeah, it did. The book starts kind-of slow and repetitive and by the end of the first third I wished he would get to the point. But the middle third or so of the book is awesome. What’s most awesome about it is the no-nonsense science. At some point after reading a particularly interesting explanation (of how insulin affects fat intake and processing), I flipped open my copy of "Life: The Science of Biology" and read the relevant few pages. It matched exactly, and from that moment I was hooked. I’m not very easily convinced, but this book definitely made me reconsider some notions I wasn’t questioning before. The author’s points in favor of low-carb diets are definitely convincing, and his attempts to actually unravel and understand relevant research and trials is very commendable. I definitely plan to read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" now to learn more on the hypothesis Taubes presents.
  • "Juvenilia" by Miguel Cané (read in Spanish) – an autobiographic account of the author’s years in the prestigious Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires. Occasionally amusing, I presume this account is much more interesting to persons familiar with the school in question, or at least the situation in Argentina in the 1860s.
  • "Everything I Know" by Paul Jarvis – your typical motivational book, on how one should stop being afraid and JFDI. Can’t say I related to it too much. Maybe I should try reading it again some time.
  • "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health" by Gary Taubes – The earlier, much more comprehensive and encyclopedic precursor to "Why We Get Fat" by the same author. This book provides the same conclusions, but spends significantly more ink on dissecting the published nutritional research of the past century. The author methodically addresses all the common "best practices" of high-carb, low-fat diet for healthy living. This deeper definitely look makes Taubes’s position appear even stronger. I really wish someone would be running the experiments suggested by the author in the epilogue – this definitely seems like an area that needs some proper, peer-reviewed scientific method-backed research.
  • "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg – while the core ideas presented in the first third of the book are interesting, the rest of it felt like an empty filler full with anecdotes that, while well written, have little to do with the main theme of the book. Still, it’s an intriguing and enjoyable book to read; just don’t expect too much from it.


  • "Masters of Doom" by David Kushner

Related posts:

  1. Summary of reading: January – March 2013
  2. Summary of reading: January – March 2011
  3. Summary of reading: January – March 2012
  4. Summary of reading: May – June 2010
  5. Summary of reading: April – June 2012

5 Responses to “Summary of reading: January – March 2014”

  1. erinNo Gravatar Says:

    Curious if you have any recommendations for someone just getting into reading spanish-language books? So far I’ve read El amor en los tiempos de cólera y Los detectives salvajes, both of which I enjoyed.

    Love the blog!

    Cheers –e

  2. elibenNo Gravatar Says:


    If you’ve read “El amor en los tiempos de cólera” in Spanish, you’re pretty advanced :-)

    I enjoyed Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books – “La sombra del viento” and others.

  3. erinNo Gravatar Says:

    Just getting into reading books, but I’ve been speaking (badly) and reading small stuff for a couple years now. My GF is a native spanish speaker, which is a like a language-learning cheat code ;)

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. chapparNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi eliben,

    I am fan your blog. I was wondering how do you get time to read books, blog and work while having family at home :-) . I have lot of books at home, many of them not opened. So, I wonder how someone is so productive. What is your typical day like? :-)

  5. elibenNo Gravatar Says:


    After having my first child, the amount of books I read per year went down by something like 60%… Also, no TV :)

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