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?

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!👌🏻😉)

Lab Report: 60-Days of Non-Resistance

Current situation: children, crying, shit everywhere (literally and figuratively speaking), irregular sleep, a constant stream of contingencies and emergencies. It’s a lovely mess! BUT it can be frustrating at times. Condition are perfect for a new experiment.


The Lab Report – 009 – “60 days of Non Resistance”

Non-resistance is about letting things unfold as they do. Life is a mess. Instead getting frustrated by trying to control people and situations we can accept things to be as they inevitably are.

To offer no resistance to life makes you feel light and at ease— at least that’s the theory! Let’s look at the results!


Short term effects: ⭐️

– I was going to do this experiment for a month, but it took me a month just to get in the habit of catching myself in my resistance. Usually I realized what had happened only in hindsight.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– My close relationships have improved.

– It feel pretty good to be able to stay in control when the storm comes.

– It’s still unknown to me how I’m able to handle bigger setbacks since only minor one occurred during the test period.

– Stress levels has gone down.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– How long it takes to build a habit of non resistance might differ depending on you life situation. You might or might not have a life situation where you have a lot of opportunity to practice.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– A few days ago my wife complemented me on how patient and helpful I’ve been recently and how it had really made a difference during these first chaotic months with a newborn (she doesn’t know about the experiment (I think!).

– I actually kept productivity up during this experiment. I thought not forcing and resisting life would lead to less productivity.

– I’ll continue this going forward.


Related reading:

📖 A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle 📖

📖 The Bhagadvad Gita 📖


How do you handle the twists and turns of life? 🤔

Check out Lab Reports for more!

How to Nietzsche?

“The struggle of maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


Every time Nietzsche is referenced in books I pay extra attention because I know it’s likely that something utterly profound and insightful is being offered.

He intrigues me, but I’m pretty much oblivious about his work and life.

Where and how do I get started on studying Nietzsche? What your relationship to this man and his work? 🤔

I need your help here! 🙂

New Experiment: 60 Days of Non-Resistance

NEW EXPERIMENT


1️⃣WHY?

I don’t get annoyed too often but when I do get stingy it is usually due to unexpected events messing up my beloved routines.

I have pretty strict routines related to:

– Wake up/bed times

– Workout

– Meditation

– Social media usage

– Study/reading

In life it’s usually not the big things that get to me—I got those under control— it’s the small stuff! Sudden change of plans, interruptions and unforeseen disruptions.

An experiment in acceptance and non-resistance is in order!


3️⃣WHAT?

Non-resistance is about letting things unfold as they do. Life is a mess. Instead being frustrated by trying to control people and situations I’ll accept things be as they inevitably are. of Roll with the punches, aikido, go with the flow…You get it.

To offer no resistance to life you feel light and at ease. You’re no longer dependent on thing being a certain way. When your dependency on outer form disappears the conditions of your life improve greatly…at least that’s what they say. Let’s try it out!


3️⃣ WHEN?

In Progress. I chose my timing well; Here are some things that’s going on right now:

– We have a new born baby.

– My 4-year old has chicken pox.

– I’m have a cold.

– I have some kind of ass injury that cause me pain.

– I’m starting a new project at work.

Like all my experiments I will follow up with a Lab Report. Wish me luck!


Related reading:

📖 A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle 📖

📖 A Guide to the Good Life – Irvine 📖


How do you deal with the sh*t life throws at you? 🤔

Thoughts on: “Give People Money” by Annie Lowrey

The idea behind Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a simple one; Give People Cash! Enough to live on—maybe not well, but enough —every month, for a lifetime. No strings attached. Let people pay for rent, invest in a business idea or buy heroin. Doesn’t matter.

In one strike you would end poverty. This is interesting stuff!

📝 Some Arguments for a UBI:

– More women would afford leaving an abusive partner.

– Increase bargaining power for workers.

– Keep the masses afloat in a jobless future.

📝 Luddite fallacy: The idea that machines are going to eliminate work. It has been around for decades. And been proven wrong many times. Is it different this time?

📝 It has been proven again and again that giving people cash doesn’t have any impact on people’s propensity to work.

📝 “Cash is universally useful.” Charity programs can be counterproductive as it gives shoes to people who already have shoes and actually need something else. Foreign aid clothes can disrupt the local clothing markets etc..

📝 It’s going to be expensive.. but it’s not even close to impossible.

I loved to finally dig into this subject as the idea of UBI fascinates me to no end. Unfortunately there is not much data on I it will actually work. There are a lot of experiments going on throughout the world and only time will tell if it works.

The book is alright but the concept is great! A solid introduction to the subject.

Here are a few other books about UBI to choose from:

📖 Utopia For Realists 📖

📖 Inventing the Future 📖

3/5

Photo credit: @rewritethestory

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Are You Taking Part in the Reoccurring Ancient Pattern of Judging the Younger Generation?

When we get into midlife we tend to start judging the younger generation.

“When we judge in this way, we are not aware that we are reacting according to a pattern that has existed for at least 3000 years. There is an inscription in a Babylonian clay tablet that dated from around 1000 BC that reads, “Today’s youth is rotten, evil, godless and lazy. It will never be what youth used to be, and it will never be able to preserve our culture.””Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature, Chapter: Seize the Historical Moment.)

Something is bubbling under the surface. Maybe there is repressed envy of their youthful energy or mourning of the loss of our own? 😉

What are your resentments towards the younger(or older) generation of today? 🤔

Anyway, Look out for my reviews of The Laws of Human Nature and Give People Money later this week!

Quit or Persist? Know When NOT to Quit a Book.

Since many of us don’t read for pleasure only we should be careful not to discard a book because it’s not a thrilling rollercoasters ride. Some books I struggled with—that bored me or overwhelmed me— also gave me valuable insights and context for understanding the world and human nature.

Consult your ‘Why’ before you discard a book. What was your intention when you first started reading it and does it still apply?


Here are some books I’m happy I didn’t give up on (SWIPE for covers):

📖 Titan – The Life of J. D Rockefeller

📖 The New Tsar – The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

📖 Mao – The Unknown Story

📖 Deng Xiaopeng: A Revolutionary life

📖 The Origin of Political Order – Francis Fukuyama

(Hey, I see a common theme here 😉)


What’s your thoughts on pushing yourself on finish books?

What book are you glad you finished even though you struggled? 🤔

And yes; Find amazing reads in my reading lists!

Quit of Persist? – Know When To Give Up on a Book.

“What else?” This is a good question to ask yourself. What else could I do right now? Am I spending my time wisely?

When you stand in line to get free popcorn, Is the popcorn really free? No, not really. You give up the opportunity to do something else with the time you spend in line. That something could be work a job, read a book or shoot heroin etc.

It’s called Opportunity Cost; The loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. And you better keep assessing the opportunity cost for your decisions.

I decided to stop reading Michel Jordan’s biography. It was not bad, it was just not for me. But for some reason I just kept going. I caught myself in my madness during conversion with my friend @simonjk.jpg ,who had also read the book and didn’t think too much about it.

It’s easy to be a completionist. It’s harder to make a proper decisions on when to persist and when to let go. Let’s do the latter.


Some books i parted with before I hit the last page:

📖 Braving the Wilderness

📖 Braiding Sweetgrass

📖 Power vs. Force

📖 A Primates Memoir


What books did you leave unfinished?

Find books that really captured my attention in my reading lists!