This Years Obsession Reveals itself!

For me each year comes with it’s own discoveries and obsessions!


2015 it was Stoicism.


2016 was filled with New Age and miscellaneous woo woo books. (Eckhart Tolle, Bhagavad Gita, Spiral dynamics etc..)


2017 was the year of Buddhist teachings. (Siddhartha, Beginners Mind, Hardcore Zen, Marathon Monks etc..)


2018 looks like it’s going to be the year of Jungian psychology. An interest triggered by Dr. Jordan Peterson’s “12 rules for life” and followed by “Man and His Symbols” by the man himself. And I’m looking forward to it!


What’s your latest obsession? 😀🤔

Thoughts on: “The Expedition: A Love Story” by Bea Uusma

In 1897, three swedish scientists leaves for a polar expedition in a hydrogen balloon. Thirty years later they are found, by accident, dead on a deserted island. What happened to them and why did they die?

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The author, Bea Uusma (@bea_uusma ), gets obsessed by the subject and spends decades trying to find out what really happened. This is her account of what happened and the journey to uncover the last missing pieces of the puzzle.

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What I really loved about this book how each chapter uses very different narrative tools; diary entries from the crew, chart of data, maps, test results and research journals – This makes you feel like you are apart of an ongoing mystery investigation.

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📝 The hydrogen balloon leaked gas from the start. It was expected to last 30 days but it was useless after a day or two.

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📝 Sea charts of the Arctic region are just white. This goes on for page after page. Nothing exists there.

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📝 Eating the lever from of polar bears can lead to vitamin-a poisoning. The crew knew this and avoided it. The same goes for seals…but this they didn’t know!

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📝 After spending two weeks building a hut, the ice cracked underneath it and it had to be abandoned.

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📝 Polar bears can attack unprovoked. They can wander 100km a day on ice and a smell seals form 30km.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Freud mentions 3 main sources of human suffering; The external environment, our aging body and other people. This book reminds me of the relentless and brutish traits of nature untamed. Civilization (and with it; other people.) might be a cheap prize to pay for not having death lurking around every corner.

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4/5

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Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Recovering from depression induced by “Superintelligence”.

“Superintelligence” was a great and valuable read but it left me depressed. There seems to be so many dangers with AI and just so much time for us to get a grip on the control problem before It arrives.

To lift myself up I started to read “How to Live: or a life of Montaigne” by Sarah Bakewell. Ooooh WOW! It’s wonderful so far! Such a delight!

As I hinted in the picture, I know a thing or two about how to live (at least this week! Hehe! ), enjoying myself in beautiful surrounding with an eminent all-you-can-eat buffet.

Check out my review of Superintelligence and enjoy your Monday!

Thoughts on: ”The Origin of Political Order” by Francis Fukuyama

I feel defeated. This book is way beyond my level of understanding of Political Theory and it was too much for me to take in.

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The book is trying to discover the origins of political institutions, that we take for granted today, and that is not a small task. Starting in prehistoric times and ends with the French Revolution. To make task even more monumental, and the subject even broader, it’s not just focused on one area of the world but tries to cover all state building projects across the globe. India, China, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and the list goes on.

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A reviewer on Goodreads called it; “the best fan-fiction for “Civilization V” ever written” , which cracked me up.

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For me it was too broad. Too dense. It’s truly epic, and probably really good if you have the stamina and intense passion for political institutions.

If I can retain at least a fraction of the information in this book I will at least stand a chance the next time I decide to dwell into this genre.

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My takeaway from reading this book is that the state of the world, and how we got here, is nuanced and complex as fuck. We better come to terms with that sooner rather than later. We live in an era where we are bombarded with oversimplified messaging everywhere, whether it is used to win our votes in some election or to get clicks on websites. To quote Einstein; “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.

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“The Origins of Political Order” by Francis Fukuyama

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3/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Best Books of the Year: #1

#1 “Levels of Energy” by Frederick E. Dodson

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Here is something they didn’t teach you in school! The premise of the book is that there are clearly defined levels of consciousness. Basically, people experience reality differently – and act and think in a certain ways -depending on their energy “level”. Dodson lays out his whole spectral energy scale, from 0 – 1000, from the hellish to joy and bliss. It’s quite a ride!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

It’s fascinating! I don’t think it’s possible to read through this book without discovering something new about yourself or the people and environment around you.

————— IMPACT —————

The key to enjoying this book is to not expect to resonate with or believe everything it says. That’s also what open-mindedness is for me – to be able to listen to arguments and ideas that goes against ones believes, then experiment with that new information and see what works – and change views accordingly. You don’t have to believe the content and still you get huge benefits from reading it. Which is really cool! This book was the most interesting book I read this year. It’s super weird, but I think you can handle it! 😀👌🏻

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Best Books of the Year – #2

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

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Having anxiety about how the Internet is changing us? As we enjoy new ways of consuming information, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

The book is incredibly interesting and explains a lot of behavioral changes I’ve noticed in myself in recent years. It discusses the science around how internet browsing affects the way we think and learn. We also get a fascinating history of how, throughout time, the introduction of new media have changed the human perspective. Well researched and eye-opening! “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”

-Seneca

————— IMPACT —————

Most of all it has helped me keep and expand good learning habits and to notice – and discard – bad ones. One notion I’ve had for a while is that the length time you are exposed to an idea matters. Learning about 30 different topics for 30 min each (by reading articles and blogs for instance) is less effective for accumulating knowledge, than learning about one topic for 15 hours by reading a book. Something that research seems to support.

We also have to make some room here to consider the confirmation bias; of course I will appreciate a book that says that reading books is a great for deep learning and retaining knowledge. 🤥

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

How do you go about creating as much retention as possible when learning new thing?

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

Find more favorites here: Favorite Books of 2017

 

Best Books of the Year: #3

#3 “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Hesse influential book about a wealthy Brahmin son that casts off a life of privilege to find spiritual fulfillment. A short read and profound read!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

“This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.” – Gary (Goodreads). I think this sentence really captures why this book is important.

————— IMPACT —————

It ended up in my possession by coincidence. It was not on my radar at all. I met the mysterious man behind @booksonthetub in the subway one autumn morning at 5am. He had brought a stack of books for me that he thought might be of interest and “Siddhartha” was one of them. I’m happy I read it! It’s not every day you find a book that you know you will go back to over and over again throughout life. This book also spawned my first fiction review on my page. There will be more of that going forward!

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What book was surprising for you last year?

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This book got me so inspired that I made a fool of myself and wrote the review of it in verse.

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Thoughts on: “At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Time for a small break from the Top- 10 countdown before it reaches its crescendo. 😎

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This became my first encounter with the modern existentialists thanks to a recommendation by @inside_brians_brain . In this book we get to know Sartre and de Beauvoir primarily – but also Camus, Heidegger, Merleau Ponty to name a few! And we are taken on a journey where we get to familiarize with their concerns about being human, freedom and above all; authenticity.

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📝 Remnants of existentialist ideas in modern culture: “The vague longing for a more “real” way of living leads some people for example to sign up for weekend retreats in which their smartphones are taken away, like toys from children, so that they can spend two days walking in the country landscape and reconnect to each other and their forgotten selfs.” Did I mention that I wished for a “silent retreat” for Christmas?! 🤣

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📝 Phenomenology:

A philosophy of describing reality in detail, exactly how it’s experienced in the moment. An example of phenomenology in action would be wine tasting.

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📝 Sartre wrote a lot. Averaging 20 pages a day during his lifetime.

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📝 Sartre gave money away as fast as it came – and books after he read them. The only things he kept was his pipe and his pen. ”Nothing was to be kept in place of the money. Just memories.”

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📝 About the pre-war rise of the nazis: ”Sometimes the most educated people where the least inclined to take the nazis seriously, dismissing them as too absurd to last.”

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The books is complex and so are the persons it portrays. It was slow to hone me in – but now I’m excited to learn more! I’m already committing to further studies of the existentialists and to embrace the density of existence, it’s anxiety and contingencies.

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4/5

“At the Existentialists Café” by Sarah Bakewell

Photo credit: @punkass_bookjockeys on Instagram

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Best Books of the Year – #4

#4 “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

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The gripping biography of the most prominent innovator of out time.

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

Parts goes to Isaacson for being able to write a 600 page book without any real low points, and parts goes to Steve for being such an interesting fella! Anyhow – it’s just an excellent biography!

————— IMPACT —————

These is something with the intensity and focus with which Steve engaged with the world that I find truly fascinating. That’s what I’m taking away from this book.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

⁃ Steve Jobs

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What’s your favorite biography you read last year??

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017