Thoughts on: ‘Richard Nixon: A Life’ John A. Farrell

Some reading projects are more ambitious than others. On my journey to reading a biography of every American president the time has come for Nixon (I’m on 3 of 45).

This is an excellent biography of a powerful, yet insecure and anxious man, in period of great turmoil historical. Corruption and paranoia; this dense biography really has it all.

Todays notes highlights attitudes have changed since the Nixon days (or have they?! 😉)


📝 Abortion: Abortion encourage permissiveness, Nixon thought, but, “there are times when abortions are necessary…” “..you know, between a black and a white.” he told Colson.

“Or rape.” Colson said.

“Or rape..”, Nixon said, “..you know what I mean.”

📝 Nixon had theories of black inferiority and black prospects: “Most of them are basically out of the threes. I have the greatest affection for them but I know they won’t make it for next 500 years.”

📝 Stress and Self medication: “In the evening, if I have 2-3 drinks I feel good. Do you think that should be knocked off or reduced?” Nixon said to his doctor. Alcohol is a great stress reducer. I have tried it myself haha 😂

📝 “You know one of the reasons fashion has made women look so terrible is that the god damn designers hate women.” Nixon theorized, “Though now they are trying to get some more sexy things going again.”

“Hot pants.” Erlichman added.

“Jesus Christ.” Said Nixon.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I can see where the American publics distrust of government comes from. What a mess this period was! Watergate, the Pentagon papers and projects Moongoose 🤦‍♂️

My next president will probably be Kennedy or Lincoln.


Do you have any ambition reading projects?

Score: 4/5

For more fantastic reads make sure to check out my Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: ‘Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction’

After my fast I got sick with the flue. This was by the time I finished the Death of Expertise and I wanted to fill my time with something short, sweet and different before continuing through my To-Read-Pile.

Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction is delivers on its name. It’s a concise history of the cultural hotpot of countries that we all call Southeast Asia.

The books takes us from the time of kingdoms, to the era of colonization, onward to today’s nation states.


Nations:

– Brunei 🇧🇳

– Burma 🇲🇲

– Cambodia 🇰🇭

– East Timor 🇹🇱

– Indonesia 🇮🇩

– Laos 🇱🇦

– Malaysia 🇲🇾

– the Philippines 🇵🇭

– Singapore 🇸🇬

– Thailand 🇹🇭

-Vietnam 🇻🇳


Religions:

* Buddhism

* Islam

* Christianity

* Confucianism


💥 ACTION: Read up on the Thmer Rouge If Cambodia. Any book recommendations?


I don’t think you could do a better job at condensing the history of an area as vast and dynamic as Southeast Asia. It’s bigger than Europe for Europe for one. The problem is that the text can get very dense with names, year and places. But just chill, and you’ll come out of this one with a better understanding of the world.


⁉️ What Southeast Asian countries have your visited?

Now I want to go travelling! 😊

4/5

For more great reading material you should check out my reading lists!

Fasting: A 36 Hour Experiment

“What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” – Mahatma Gandhi


My rules where these:

One week of intermittent fasting (18:6), as a warm-up, then a 36 hour fast. During fast I only drank water and tea.


Observations (intermittent fasting)

  • A perk is that fasting becomes a daily expression and practice of self control and awareness. It’s very easy pick up something to eat without it being a conscious decision.
  • Saturday: noticing I’m fantasizing about food at 10.25 am. Woke up at 7:00 am.
  • I have bad breath 😷 even after brushing between 10 am and lunch time.
  • I have noticeably less energy than usual from 11 am and onward.

Observations (36 hour fast):

  • Fasting is a huge time saver. No eating frees up time.
  • Glad I didn’t have any addictions during the experiment. It would have made it much harder. I did feel any cravings at all.
  • Got sick directly after ending my fast (the flue).
  • Keeping yourself busy was key. I spend the evening cooking that day.
  • Having a warm up week was probably a good choice.

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

My biggest takeaway is just the fact that I managed to go without food for 36 hours. Just like my experiment with not drinking for a day it sounded like a true challenge but ended up being fairly managedble. My self image has been altered.


⚖️ VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Try a 36 hours fast! Especially if you think it would be impossible for you to pull it of. It’s interesting to surprise oneself ones in a while. As for intermittent fasting, I don’t think it’s very noteworthy unless you’re intrigued by health benefits its proponents rave about. 😊.

⁉️ What are you experimenting with these days?

Check out Experiments for more Lab Reports!

Book Notes on Aging and Dying

Nothing last forever. Here are a few great notes on aging from my reading the last couple of years. Memento Mori.


📝 “By becoming deeply aware of our mortality, we intensify our experience of every aspect of life.” – Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature

📝 “No one set value on time. All use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But see how these same people clasp to the knees of physicians when they fall ill and the danger of death draws nearer” – Seneca, On the Shortness of life.

📝 People have different sensitivity to caffeine. Older people are more sensitive in general.

Notes from Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker.

📝 A deadly gene could survive in the gene pool by inflicting its damage only after a person reaches an old age, where the victim already produced it’s offspring. Like Cancer.

Notes from The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

📝 John D. Rockefeller was obsessed with his health and set a goal for himself to live until he was 100 years old. He died at 97.

Notes from Titan, Ron Chernow

📝 “Whatever the cause of the inverse association between body size and aging, it seems to be found in all mammals” Bigger animals live longer.

Notes from Mutants, Armand Marie Leroi

📝We know intellectually that we are going to die. But we don’t really feel it. We repress the affects of death to be able to function normally. – The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker


What are your favorite quote on the subject?

Thoughts on: Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

Sadhguru book is unsatisfying for the rational mind. Even the part that is suppose to be pragmatic are often fussy and vague. In exercises he asks the reader to do all kinds of experiments; watching a dripping crane for an hour, observe nature, bow to objects and “just see what happens”.

Of couse the rational mind doesn’t have the leading role here. Sadhguru points out the unbalanced focus on the mind in society. What about the body, energies? Aligning all these components is the highest aim of yoga.


📝 “Don’t simply believe what you are reading. The only way to find out whether something is true or untrue is to experiment with it.”

📝 “It’s only people who think too much who cannot eat and sleep properly!”

📝 “Resentment, anger, jealousy, pain, hurt, and depression are poison that YOU drink but expect someone else to die.”

📝 “To reduce a sophisticated science, like yoga, to a mere doctrine is just as tragic as turning it into a cardiovascular workout.” BUT “Even if you get into yoga for the wrong reasons, it still works!”. Haha, This is how it was for me. I started going to the lunch yoga at work for gaining flexibility, now the practice itself is the goal.

📝 “If you still believe that everything will be okay the moment you find a new girlfriend or boyfriend, get a raise, buy a new house or car, then it’s not time for yoga. Once you’ve tried all those things and more, and clearly know that none of it will be enough—then you are ready. So now, yoga.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book really hammered home the energy and body connection and got me looking into fixing my body. After years and running and lifting (and tons of injuries) I’ve realized the monumental importance of a solid foundation. I’m so stiff I can’t even reach my toes or sit in a squat. “You can’t inject blood in a frozen steak.” to quote @davidgoggins . I’m fixing that now with a daily stretching routine (32 consecutive days so far!)


⚖️ VERDICT:

The book didn’t grab the way I expected, and often exceeded my limits for open mindedness, but there is still more gems in there than can fit an Insta post. My favorite book in the genre is still A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle 👌🏻👌🏻

3/5

For more great reading check out my Reading Lists!

Notes From a Year of Reading – Addiction

I have had a few days in a row where I didn’t experience any cravings or took any addictive substances (excessive sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol etc..) It was pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve experienced something like this since I my early teens.


Quotes and Notes on drugs and addiction from my recent reading:

📝 We Habituate..

Understand: Artificial pleasures (designer food, drugs, VR porn etc..) throws our systems of the scale, making us unable to appreciate the natural. – BEHAVE by Robert Sapolsky

📝 “We mix up reality with our interpretation of reality. We invent some fundamental lies of how life should and shouldn’t be. Then we use food and drugs to temporarily escape the lie we invented.” – Radical Honesty, Brad Blanton

📝 Civilized Man: He can do what he sets out to do without chanting and drumming. Even daily prayer and divine aid is unnecessary. “His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with relentless, vague apprehension, psychological complications, an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food-and, above all, a large array of neuroses.”

⁃ Notes from Man and His symbols, Carl Jung

📝 “Pleasure from the senses seems like nectar at first but is bitter as poison in the end.” “That which seems like poison at first, but tastes like nectar in the end – this is the joy of sattva, born of a mind at peace with itself.” – Bhagavad Gita

📝 The Amateur replaces ambition with addiction. Drugs, alcohol and other distractions; like drama, social media, porn, the news, and food. This keeps the amateur from doing the actual work required.

⁃ Notes from ‘Turning Pro’ by Steven Pressfield.

📝 “You stop growing when you start drinking alcoholicly… prevents you from walking through the painful life experiences that take you from point A to point B on the maturity scale.”

– Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp


What’s your history with addiction? Emotional, physical, psychological, and/or chemical?

Notes from a Year of Reading – Psychology

📝 “It takes a lot of courage to take the unconscious seriously and to tackle the problems it raises.”

– Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols.

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children.”

– Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

📝 “Sometime educated guesses can be made about the wounds of childhood by closely inspecting what matters adults irrationally lose their tempers over”

– Clarissa Estes Pinkola, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

📝 “Those with a negative attitude tend to operate from a basic position of fear towards life.They unconsciously want to limit what they see and experience to give them more control.”

– Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature.

📝 “In other words, the final terror of self-consciousness is the knowledge of one’s own death, which is the peculiar sentence on man alone in the animal

kingdom.”

– Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death.


I’m working my way through my notes from the last 12 months. I thought it would be interesting to share my notes by subject rather than per book.

What’s your next read on human psychology?

(If you don’t have one. Pick any of the books above and you’ll be good!👌🏻😉)

Thoughts on: ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ by Friedrich Nietzsche

A Birth of Tragedy in 7 Steps:

▪️Nietzsche is 24 y/o when he become professor in philology.

▪️In 1872 he writes his first great book on dramatic theory; The Birth of Tragedy.

▪️He found an art form in the classic Athenian Tragedy that transcended the nihilism and horror of a meaningless world.

▪️What he found was an opposition between Dionysian and Apollonian forces; Chaos, Intoxication, Music vs. Order, Self-control and Sculpture.

▪️The Tragedy balanced these forces and allowed the spectator to experience in fullness the human condition.

◾️The end of Tragedy came with Socrates, through Euripides, Who Nietzsche thought ruined the Dionysian/Apollonian balance in Tragedy with reason and logic.

◾️ Nietzsche found new hope in Wagners music as a way to re-establish the balance between the Dionysian and Apollonian in modern art; a possible rebirth of tragedy.


📝 Beautiful works of art compensates for the horror of existence.

📝 Aectestic Arrest: Freedom from the Will in experiencing a great work of art. The only time except Nirvana or Samadhi where man can be free from the Will. (Schopenhauer)

📝 Is dancing and shouting in a drunken madness to “Killing in the name of” a form of modern Dionysiac phenomena? 🧐🤔


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I’ve gotten through a book that is ‘out of my league’ and came out on the other side with new-found confidence in my ability to read philosophy straight from the sources.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I got a lot value from this book, both as an introduction to Nietzsche, and to the concept Dionysian/Apollonian opposition. But If you’re unsure if you could stand 129 pages of analysis of Ancient Greek theatre and art theory then you think you should pass on this one.

4/5

Share some philosophy book recommendations on the comments! ‼️

Check out my Reading Lists for more amazing books!

Thoughts on: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

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.


🥊 MY ACTIONS:

  • 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.

⚖️ VERDICT:

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

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Thoughts on: ‘Grinding it Out’ by Ray Croc

Ray Croc was a 52 year when he first met the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California. He was impressed with the operation they got going; and the French fries in particular. Ray had seen his fair share of restaurants in his days as a multimixer salesman, but this one was special. The limited menu, the affordable prices, the cleanliness. It was love! ❤️

Ray wondered why the brothers didn’t expand their concept, but the McDonald brothers where not men of such ambition. So Ray took on the expansion himself—and the rest is history.


📝 Ray Croc biggest contribution was the McDonalds franchise system.

📝 “Persistence and determination alone is omnipotent.”

📝 Surprisingly little drama. I feel the rise of McDonald’s has been a pretty smooth ride compared to other business stories I’ve read.

📝 They started to build restaurants after what they called a “monotony index”. The higher the degree of monotony in a town the higher the likelihood that a McDonald’s Restaurants success. Why? Less alternatives to spending the evening at the MD.

🍟 My best combo at the Golden Arches these days is to get a Spring Sallad and a McVegan burger. Wicked combo! 👌🏻

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Ray didn’t see his ideas as a grand designs but worked ‘from the part to the whole’. Perfecting every fundamental before moving on to the large scale idea. I wonder if this mindset could be helpful for those of us who are in the process of building Instagram accounts? Would it be beneficial to focus on perfecting one element at the time; pictures, captions, hashtags, timings etc..?


I’m thankful for this little memoir of the first 40 years of McDonald. Love it or hate it, MD is a company we have a some kind of relationship with.

3/5

What your favorite business memoir? 🤔

I think mine are ‘Shoe Dog’ and maybe..’Jack Ma’?!

Photo: @pedagogyofthefresh

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