Thoughts on Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Video Review of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker was one of my favorite books last year. A Wake up call to the importance of sleep. It was not just a phenomenal book but also triggered a lot of changes in my life.

It’s 4:36 AM when writing this. I’m wide awake after a night fu*ked up sleep. What better time to write about Why We Sleep?

This book is extremely comprehensive and will give you the full run down of how sleep is generated (absolutely fascinating!), dreams, why modernity promotes bad sleep and the terrible outcome of not getting enough sleep and, of course, the benefits of adequate shuteye.

📝 “The shorter your sleep the shorter your life span.”

📝 Lack of sleep makes you a baby: I don’t take myself serious when I’m sleepy. Feelings go haywire, I worries unnecessary, my food choices sucks. I’ve learned to observe when this happen and try to get some sleep. I also avoid making any important decisions in this state.

📝 Most people don’t know how long it takes to overcome a single dose of caffeine. Therefore a lot of people fail to link bad sleep with the cup of coffee they had 9 hours earlier. ☕️

📝 “If you don’t sleep the very first night after learning you lose the chance to consolidate those memories; even if you get a lot of catch-up sleep thereafter.”

Sleep for memory consolidation is an all-or-nothing event!

⏰ Reasons for 8h Sleep:

– Live longer.

– Enhances memory.

– Makes you more creative.

– Makes you look more attractive.

– Keeps you slim and lowers food cravings.

– It protects you from cancer and dementia.

– It walls of colds & the flue.

– It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke and diabetes.

– You’ll feel happier and less depressed and less anxious.


  • No coffee after 1 PM. ☕️
  • Increasing my daily sleep from 7h to at least 7.5h (8h would be ideal but I’m not sure it’s feasible for me atm.)
  • Adjust time for mediation to early afternoon to avoid nodding off. Then the Circadian rythm is at its peak and Sleep Pressure should be low.


This book is not a fun reading per se. It can get quite technical and i it’s quite terrifying; but it’s close to impossible not to change you lifestyle after reading it.

I don’t think I have said this since reading Influence by Chaldini: This should be mandatory reading!

Score: 5/5

How many hours of sleep do you get on average? ⁉️

Photo: @cristelleg

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Book Thoughts – How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell

Book Lab Book Review of How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne

Ah Montaigne! I’m glad I got to know you. You are now officially added to my list of peculiar historical men that fascinate me to no end – alongside Ben Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt.
He wrote 107 essays with simple titles like Of Friendship, Of Cannibals, Of Names and Of Cripples. He was an observer of the world but most of all he observed and wrote about himself.

Unconventional upbringing
He was sent out by his parents to be nursed by peasants as an infant in a weird attempt to create a bond with “the commoners” that he would one day need to help.
His parents’ educational experiment continued; Montaigne was brought up as a native Latin speaker! A tough plan to put in practice since there were almost no native latin speakers around. The rest of the household spoke minimal or no Latin.

Video review of How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell

“A man… should touch his wife prudently and soberly, lest if he caresses her too lasciviously the pleasure should transport her outside the bound of reason” Montaigne echoed Aristotle sentiment. Saying, basically, the conventional notion in those days that being a passionate husband would turn the wife into a nymphomaniac.

Pay attention!
As Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for paying attention is to write about everything. Just to describe simple things in the world opens your eyes to how marvelous they are.

Wrote in French
“Still French was his language of choice”. His essays give a weird reason for this: French could not be expected to last in the same way as the classical languages (I.e. Latin). This was freeing. If his writing was flawed, there was less pressure on him since they were doomed anyway.

Inspired by the Greeks
He was a big fan of Hellenistic philosophy; Stoicism and Skepticism in particular. Stoicism encourages wise detachment and skeptics held themselves back on principle. His motto was “What do I know?”

On Cripples
In On Cripples Montaigne writes about a rumor that lame women are more enjoyable in bed, and as Aristotle before him, he speculates that it must be that “their vaginas are more muscular because they receive the nourishment of which the legs are deprived.”

It’s a fascinating biography, even for the uninitiated! Now I just need to read his actual essays!


Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Book Review: Understanding Human Nature by Alfred Adler

Book review of Understanding Human Nature by Alfred Adler

Everyone has a goal from which most of our actions flows. This is what determines a persons psychic life according to legendary psychotherapist Alfred Adler.

We can’t think, will, or dream without these activities being determined and directed towards an objective.

We might be more or less conscious of what this objective is, but it’s more common that we actually don’t know what our goals is. Therefore it’s sometimes easier to figure out an individuals objective by looking at the results of her present actions.

Healthy goals allow us to perform our Life Tasks of work, relationships, and community, but many individuals develop warped goals as they lack the courage or psychic development to carry them out. This often stems from a feeling of inferiority and results in one of them most popular tricks of the human soul:
Clinging to excuses and alibis for not doing what life demands of us.

Adler quote about trust

📝 Adler was contemporary Freud and Jung, but is definitely lesser known then those those giants. Yet his style of psychology is far more practical than his peer’s.
📝 The many possible interpretations of experience lend itself well to rationalization. We can bend almost any experience or event to fit our goals, turning it into reasons why we can’t fulfill the task of life; like tending to work, relationships and contribute to society.
📝 “It’s well known that those who don’t trust themselves never trust others.”

Alfred Adler quote about envy.

If you want to understand what a person wants, the. observe what they do and where it takes them, rather then what they say. 👌
I first heard Adlers name in The Denial of Death; I got a taste of his ideas in The Courage to Be Disliked; and with this book I got a more in-depth look into his own writing. It started out slow, but it caught on, and a few chapters into it I didn’t want it to end. My favorite part of this book was chapters on common personality traits of people impoverished psychic development. Traits like vanity, envy, jealousy.
If you liked The Laws of Human Nature and want more—then this is it!

Have you every held on to beliefs and conditions that gave you an excuse to postpone important life tasks?!

Book Review: The Courage to Be Disliked

Review of The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

The Courage to be Disliked – An introduction to Adlerian psychology

It’s not about the cards your are dealt, but how you play them.
This book adds philosophy to Adlerian psychology in an attempt to reshape the way you view the role of trauma in an individuals life. The main idea is that you are not determined by your experiences, but the meaning you assign to them is self-determining.

Video Review of The Courage to Be Disliked – BookLab on Youtube

Life tasks and excuses

Our goal as humans, according to Adlerian psychology, is to attend our Life Tasks; work, relationships and love. But often our goals get skewed because of we lack the courage to carry them out. Our new goal becomes whatever preserves the excuses we have invented for ourselves in order to put off our Life Tasks.

📝 Why does a friend who wants to be a novelist say that he doesn’t have the time to write & finish his novel? Because by not committing to anything, he leaves the possibility of “I could do it if I tried” open. In a few years he will have another excuse like, “I’m not young anymore.”

Life Lies

Adler called the state of coming up with all kinds of pretexts in order to avoid ones Life Tasks the Life Lie. We blame our circumstances; our childhood, parents, and shortcoming for not being able to pursue then.

A prerequisite for getting back on track and gain the freedom to perform ones Life Tasks is to eliminate the desire for recognition, and the book explores the mindsets needed to get there.

⚖️ Verdict:

The book is written as a Socratic dialogue, between a philosopher and a frustrated youth. A style that I find quite apt for a philosophical discussion, but often come off as unnatural and might throw some readers off.

The book is aimed to be an introduction to Adlerian psychology for a popular audience and it sometimes feels dumbed-down to a level of condescension. That said; it got me to buy my first book by Adler, Understanding Human Nature. Hence, it probably succeeded in it’s mission!

Pick up this book if you are interested in the topics of self-sabotage, inferiority complex & people pleasing.


⁉️How bad is you people pleasing and recognition seeking?⁉️

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Book Review: Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Review of Stumbling on Happiness – A book for anyone curious about human nature

Stumbling on Happiness talks surprisingly little about happiness. Instead it focuses on how we fail to predict how the outcomes of our actions will make us feel in the future. We are not wired to predict the future accurately. Shortcomings in our way of thinking makes us terrible forecasters of how our current actions will affect our future happiness.

The book brings my thoughts to Thinking Fast and Slow, but it’s a more witty (at least it attempts to be so..) and accessible book on the subject. It cites tons of experiments and studies and it might leave you quite frustrated if you are anything like the average human:

🔸You think you perform above average in skills you deem valuable.

🔹You think are rational.

🔸You trust your imagination to make realistic assumptions of what the future might hold.

Prepare to get slapped in the face! 👋🏻 😈

Video Review of Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

📝 The Curse of Knowledge:
Once we had an experience we can no longer imagine how it is not to have had that experience.

📝 Scientists almost always predict that the future will be too much like the present.

📝 We let our current feelings and experience influence our prediction of the future. Because our brains are hell bent on responding to current events we mistakenly conclude we will feel tomorrow as we feel today.

📝 People regret inaction more than actions. But we predict that it would be the other way around when asked.


Continue to Journal. “Fallible eyesight can be remedied with glasses, and fallible hindsight can be remedied with written records about the past.”


Books like this can help you save time, energy and reduce suffering. When you know about the cognitive biases, errors and misjudgments humans are prone to,  then you can avoid falling victim to them.


This book left me both humbled and a bit sad. There is something frustrating about knowing about shortcomings of our brains and not being able to do much about it. I guess knowing about our cognitive biases is the best defense against misjudgment, but we can’t be on our guard 100% of the time. A great read!


Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Book Review – Futureproof: 9 Rules for Human in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose

Book Review – Futureproof: 9 Rules for Human in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roos

Why would you read a book on AI each year?

Because you want keep a watching eye on developments in that field and see how you can preserve a competitive edge in a world of rapid automation.
And because it fascinating, both the tech in itself and the possible impact it has on what it means to be human.
Is that the only reason I do it? I think that might  be bull 💩.

I think the REAL reason is because I’m subconsciously terrified becoming unless.

📝 Superiority Fallacy:
73% of US adults think that AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates. Only 23% was worried about losing their own job. Almost all trucker interviewed dismissed the idea of being replaced by autonomous trucks:
“Computers taking this job is a pipe dream. No one can do what we do.”
Oh boy! The fallacy of everyone thinking they are above average could backfire big time. 😅

📝 Job elimination outpace new job creation:
Until 1987 disappearing jobs where replaced by new ones at a similar rate. This is not the case today according to MIT studies.

📝 “We’ve been here before and it turned out fine!”
Did it really? A lot of people faced quite serious consequences of previous technological revolutions; child labour in factories,  the 24-7 work culture of recent years and it accompanying burnout and anxiety?

📝 “AI will make our jobs better by doing the boring parts for us”

What’s meant by better?! There is no proof for this. What has happened is that we are more stressed than ever. The effect of more efficient machinery is now affecting white collar workers. The same effect that we saw when machinery got faster and more reliable to in factories.

📝 “The Boomer Remover”:
The internal nickname for a AI  project that would eliminate the need of overpaid middle management.

📝 “The Invisible Automation Problem”

It’s not the case that you will find a robot substitute sitting at your desk one morning when you get to work, and you get shown the door. The effects of automation are more sneaky.

🔹It’s pay cuts, and not hiring as many people as before.

🔸It’s downsizing because the company doesn’t perform as well as it used to, because a startup in Silicone Valley has figured out how to do something similar with less people.

🔹It’s an that gets app that keeps track on when parts on a plane needs replacement, and now old airplanes can be in service for longer, and less planes needs to be produced.

📝 “So-so automation”:
A name for system that don’t do wonders for productivity but only provide “so-so” improvements. They eliminate some jobs but are not adding enough value to society to create new ones.

An example of “so-so automation” is the self-checkout at the grocery store. It kinda works, but far from perfectly. It doesn’t make society more productive, it simply moves the effort to the consumer.

Instead of getting served by store clerks, we all work in a grocery store for 20 minutes each week….

📝 The Effort Heuristic:
People greatly prefer goods that have obvious human effort behind them. Put a human touch into what you do. That will postpone you robot replacement!

Don’t be an end point!
If your job mostly involves moving information from one system to another. Get out! Get a job where you provide value through your judgment.

I really enjoyed this books focus on automation and how it provided some good insights on were its impact might occur—and why the robot takeover won’t manifest the way we might expect.
If you want to get a quick and practical update on the state of AI & automation then this is a good choice. Especially if you want some practical tips for how to  future proof your career and postpone your robot replacement.

And yes; I still consider AI a cause for concern and a technology to keep an close eye on. 🤖 👀

⁉️What do you do for a living and how “future proof” do you estimate your line of work to be?⁉️

Book Review: A World Without Email by Cal Newport

A World Without Email by Cal Newport, Book Lab Review

What if time blocks, email free Thursday’s, and turning off notifications is not enough? What if we need to totally reimagine how we work to reclaim our productivity?
This is the question that Cal Newport, of Deep Work and So Good they Can’t Ignore You fame, tried to answer in his new book.
He argues that email and Slack (or “The bane of my existence”, as I call it.) has not only made communication fast and frictionless, it has also introduced some quite horrible side effects like growing anxiety, frustration, and loss of productivity among knowledge-workers.

He calls it The Hyperactive Hivemind: workplaces that let the email inbox dictate priorities. You jump between random task and get stuck in never ending email threads that seems to nowhere.
A lot of things play into the feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration and guilt:
🔸A feeling that people are waiting for you to respond to messages.
🔹Uncertainty about when tasks are done.
🔸Scattered attention.

This book reminded me of this interesting expression– email apnea– I found in The Iconist:

“I’ve just opened my email and there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. It’s the usual daily flood of schedule, project, travel, information and junk mail. Then i notice… I’m holding my breath.” – Linda Stone

A video review of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. The author of Deep Work, Digital Minimalism and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

-Implemented Personal Work Board: Started to experimenting with focusing on certain work on certain days to reduce the draining effect of switching between tasks of unrelated nature.

The book is new, but feels a bit dated— I mean, who is organizing task management though email these days?! or maybe I just working at a company that is ahead of the curve. I have been using Agile frameworks like Kanban and Scrum for a decade, which is what book suggests as an antidote to email chaos.
That’ being said, I’m implementing a few ideas from this book and it feels like they might revolutionize the way I’m working!

If you’re still heavily reliant on email for your daily work, then definitely check out this book! 👌

⁉️What tools and practices makes you productive?⁉️

Review: Faust by Goethe

Cover: Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The book is written by one of the most prominent western writers and thinkers, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. A work that he spent almost all his life iterating on and he wasn’t done until he was in his 80:s. It’s a blueprint for how to life, one could say, but also the original “making a deal with the devil” story.

Video book review of Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe – Is it worth it? How do I best enjoy it?

Why I’m I reading this old thing?

One of the life goals I have is to “read all the great works of literature”, and each year i try to chip 4 classics off my list. This year it has been:
🔸 Thus Spoke Zarathustra
🔹Notes from the Underground
🔸The Gulag Archipelago
🔹and, yes, Faust!
Our main protagonist, Faust, is an aged academic and scholar. He spent all his life accumulating knowledge but have very little to show for himself. No real power. No real achievements to show for himself. No love. He’s feels like a loser. What’s the point of it all?
One day runs into a dog, a poodle, who follows him home. But lo and behold, the poodle turns into a devil—-Mephistopheles, who offers to grant his every wish. He gives Faust the energy of youth and the ability to do what the wants.
First Faust thinks that he could become an elite bookworm and get his hands in the most rare and finest manuscripts. He also tries out the path hedonism and worldly pleasure. He dabbles in this and that, but in end Faust thirst for a purpose beyond himself:
“…A Faustian idea that in order to flourish we need to flirt with things that are quite dangerous. But hold on to a sense of higher purpose.” – The School of Life, YouTube
📝 I started a “Faust reference counter” a while back because i kept hearing about it everywhere and in very different kinds of books: The Denial of Death, a Nixon biography, and Steppenwolf to name a few.
I listened to it as an audiobook with proper acting and it was a joy to listen to. Beautiful verse, existential angst, and unexpectedly humorous. The book has two distinct parts, and while the first part fits the description above, the 2nd part was incomprehensible to me. This review is only concerned with part 1.
⁉️What book do you see referenced everywhere but you haven’t read it yet?!⁉️

Review: Fire In the Belly: On Being A Man by Sam Keen

3 Key takeaways from Fire In The Belly: On Being a Man.

The book is meant to uncover a new route to authentic manhood. Sam Keen takes modern society’s often contradictory expectations of what it means to be a man and contrasts it with traditional cultures.

  • What kind of impact does the absence of initiation rites have on the maturation process of an individual?
  • Why does modern jobs leave people depressed?
  • How do we reclaim our Selfs in a financially driven world, where so many of us has adopted “a market orientation towards ourselves”.

This book challenges an outdated definition of masculinity that leaves men impoverish and alienated, and tries to replace it with of purpose and fulfillment.

Video version of the Fire in the Belly Review

3 ideas from the book.

———1. Traditional vs. Modern roles ———

The good and the bad news about the traditional rites of passage:

  • Traditional people knew who they were. (At least they had clear expectations.)
  • These traditional rites prevented the development of individuality.

‍🦱🧑‍🦱 Traditionally you were a child, and then a man or a woman. This eliminated any time where freedom could develop. This was a great way to ensure conformity in the tribe. Carefree years of adolescence is a modern invention.

——— 2. Stress & Dragons———

If I would rank key events that triggered spiritual growth for me, then being close to burnout would rank as nr.1.

“On the path to authentic selfhood we must remain for a time in the dark side of the soul until we reach the very bottom of despair.”

Philosophers and theologians and pilgrims talks about this part of the journey as being crucified, losing the ego, descending into hell, or battle dragons. Now we call it by clinical names like stress, depression, burnout.

Tricks like stress & time management, mindfulness techniques, and learning to cope w. stress, might actually destroy the significance these experiences of despair ones had on people’s lives—or at least delay the growth that needs to happen.

—— 3. The Corporate Hearth ——

Companies are trying to turn the workplace into the new  home and hearth. I can relate to this a lot since I’m in the tech industry where this trend is quite intense. A Company “culture” is invented, with it’s own “myth and rituals” and we are expected to view the workplace as a “family”.

But “under those velvet gloves is the iron fist of warfare.”. I think I know what Sam means by that. I have seen what happens when striving companies hits a rut: No more bean bags and office dogs!

It’s easy to forget the real purpose of a business when it’s so well hidden.


It’s a short and sweet read, but feels a bit dated (91’). The time of “It’s the cost of the toys that separate the men from the boys” mindset among men seems to have past. But I think some of the alienation around masculinity is still around! It would be interesting to read a more recent book in the topic.

What is the closest thing you have to initiation rites in your culture?

Book Review: Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

Bronnie worked as a caretaker of the dying. Someone who gets hired to tend for people during their final months or weeks in life. Through her work she was able to identify the most common and deepest regrets people had during those final days—what they wished they had done differently, what they wished they had the courage to be, and to say.
The list of common regrets probably won’t surprise you. But hearing the stories about the lives of the people who carry these regrets make them connect on a very deep level—deep enough for them to really sink in.

🔸 I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
The most common regret of them all.

🔹 I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.“

🔸 I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.“

🔹 I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
When you are dying you realize the full value of real friends, and by then you might have lost contact with them.

🔸 I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Many doesn’t realize that happiness is a choice until their dying days.

Video Review of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

Reading through this list, I realize that reading books can protect us from many of these regrets. To live a life true to myself, express my feeling and choose my attitude is something I’ve learned about through books, and which I have been put into practice (still Work in Progress) . I can’t put a price on those insights!
This book is not just a list of dying people’s regrets and life stories, but also a the story of Bronnie’s own journey, and how working with dying people and learning from their regrets gave her courage to fight her own demons and a build a life true to herself. It’s a powerful read that will snap you out of the matrix for a moment and have you check your priorities. It might even trigger some real change.


Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List