Thoughts on: Stillness is the Key

Holidays keys to stillness has been inspired by the wisest people and the best of literature, and gives prime examples of people who embodies them—and those who fail to do so.
There is not anything new here. Rather the opposite is true. The sources he draws from are old, even ancient. But the book doesn’t feel dated. Instead it feels timeless and yet very applicable to our modern life.
📱Limit Your Inputs:
Napoleon was always weeks behind on his mail. He was surprised how many urgent problems had already been resolved ones got to them.
📖 Read Deeply and Regularly:
Tolstoy: “I cant believe how some people can live without communicating with the wisest people who ever lived on planet earth.”
💪🏻 Act Bravely:
“High minded thoughts and inner work is one thing, but all that matters is what you do”. The health of our spiritual ideals depends on what we do with our bodies in moments of truth. I need to work on this one…
👁 Be present:
“Be present. And if you have had trouble with this in the past, That’s ok. That’s the nice thing about the present, it keeps showing up to give you a second chance.”
🔁 Rituals
“A master has a system, a master turns the ordinary into the sacred. And so must we.”
What’s rituals are sacred to you? What systems keep you on track?
🌅 Notice Beauty:
there is beauty in..”a floor filled with a kids toys arranged in the chaos of exhausted enjoyment.” This mindset will come in handy on my parents leave. 😂
🏕 Solitude with Purpose:
Take some time to be alone with important work, or just to study a subject deeply, or ponder? 💥 Action: Booked my next Reflection Week for Sep.
📦 Get rid of stuff!
Reducing your needs to zero, and you are truly free; and nothing can be taken away from you. (But don’t go full Diogenes!)
🤤 Beware of Desire:
Desire is like a hydra; satisfy one, and two more grows in its place.
Epicurus: “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”
To be re-read yearly. It snapped me out of the busyness of everyday life and provided perspective to my priorities.
⁉️How do you cultivate stillness in your life?⁉️
📸 @veraciousreader (Instagram)

For more reviews and book tips check out my reading lists

How a Week of STILLNESS and REFLECTION Can Prepare You For A Successful Year

Experiment: A Week of Reflection, Stillness And Planning.
We all talk about the importance of reflection and planning ahead. To slow down, to gain perspective, to make sure the ship is on route. But do we actually take time to do it? What happens when we take a step back and look at the whole picture?

Get some real quality time with the notepad and pen. Minimize distractions (reading, tv, phone) and ideally find a cabin in the wood or other low stimulus environments; review the year that has gone buy, re-evaluate your goals and uncover the actions you have to take to go forward.


  • The start of the week was all about getting present and slow things down. I had myself booked into a Japanese spa for one night (I wanted to do 1 week in a cabin in the woods, but it didn’t fit my life situations this year.)
  • Activities for this phase: sauna, baths, zen mediation, goal mediation, silence, yoga.
  • The key is to get a better access to your genius, your unconscious and your creativity. This is best done in a state of calm presence.
  • Just as I really got relaxed and got my creative thinking going, it was time to leave the spa 😢.


  • I reviewed the past 12-months from my journal. It turned out to be a powerful practice. So many thinks have happened that I almost forgot about. A great way of gauging your momentum.
  • Reviewed my short-, mid- and long term goals. What this really what I want to spend my energy towards?

PHASE 3: STRATEGY ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– This is where the planning happens. Goals get updated in light of new insights. Problems where broken down to actionable tasks. A 6-month strategy, based on my goals, takes shape accompanied with specific action items.

FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • I have never been more well prepared and sure on the How, What When and Why of the immediate future.
  • The hardest part was to stay in reflection and planning mode as ideas came to me. I was so eager to start executing.
  • On the last day I got TWO ideas for unique and cool projects out of nowhere. The unconscious always delivered if it gets the proper conditions.

This is only one of many experiments. Check out the full list!

Raw and Unedited Notes from “Lost Connections”

My review could only cover a few of my notes from Lost Connections by Johann Hari. Here is the full set:

Additional Notes:

“You need your nausea, it is a message, it will tell us what’s wrong with you”.

Back then the answer was that depression was a malfunction in the brain. Lack of serotonin.

Cure: anti depressants SSRIs.

Side effect: you getting fat and sweaty.

Back in his youth. His family was unusual because they took pills. Nowadays everyone does it!

Björn comment: I was for the first time, since I was 15, chemically naked this year. Having quit both caffein and nicotine.

Depression and anxiety is very similar and often overlap.

Unhappiness and depression is not the same thing. Don’t say “cheer up!”

“If you expect it to work, for many of us, it will work”

The placebo effect could help almost any medical issue to some degree.

Publication bias: companies (who often finance studies) only publish the papers that make their product look good. Just like when you take selfies, you take several of them and discard all the ones with double chins and post the one where you look ace!

Effects of antidepressants are questionable but the side effects are real!

The drugs he evangelized as a teen wasn’t working and the company was later sued.

There is not much proof that low serotonin levels. Or if serotonin has anything to do with it.

Most popular book about anti depressants: “Listening to Prozac”.

Grief and depression has the same symptoms. Therefor, for a long time there was something called the “Grief exception” when it comes to diagnosing depression. But the time span for that exception has been made shorter and shorter and now it’s non existent.

Studies show that depression is in fact to a significant degree a problem not with your brain but with you you life.

Long term stress and bad events cause depression. Especially a combination of the two.

Depression has three types of cause: biological, social and psychological, this is known as the biopsychosocial- model.

1. Disconnection from meaningful work.

(Connects to Harari idea of meaningful pursuit)

Gallup 2011-2012: 13 percent is engaged in their work. 63 not engaged: Sleepwalking through the day. 23 percent are actively disengaged: busy acting out their unhappiness. Undermine their engaged colleagues.

The higher you are in the herachy the less likely you are to be depressed.

Control is important.

Disempowerment is at the heart of poor health.

2. Disconnection from other people.

Loneliness cause you cholesterol levels to sore.

“Being deeply lonely causes as much stress as being punched by a stranger”

Highly connected people get sick less.

Almost everything becomes more fatal when you are alone: cancer, heart disease, spiritual problems.

Obesity and loneliness are as deadly.

The lonely people are also Anxious , pessimistic , low self esteem and afraid other people will dislike them.

Loneliness usually comes first.

Björns comment: this is what we are doing to our old people…

As hunter gatherers we only made sense as a group.

Stress and anxiety caused by being alone pushed people back to the group (and increased survival odds for the group and the individual)

In a survey: nowadays it’s more common to have zero friends than any other option.

Being lonely and feeling lonely are not the same thing. Feeling lonely is the problem. You need to connect mutually. “It’s the sense that you are not sharing anything that matters with anyone else”.

Anxious and depressed people are prone to internet and gaming addiction. Escaping depression through distraction.

Games have Guilds and team, clear goals, control.

3. Disconnection from meaningful values

The more people value things, the more likely they are to be depressed.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic values

4. Disconnected from childhood trauma.

Benefits of being obese:

1. Sexually protective

2. Physically protective (prison guards)

3. Reduce people’s expectations of you. You become invisible to humanity is some sense.

Being treated cruel by your parents is the biggest driver of depression out of all childhood traumas.

5. Disconnection from status and respect.

Stress levels are high when ones Status is threatened or low.

The author References the work by Robert Sapolsky.

Status insecurity might be a big culprit.

High inequality = high depression rates.

Even out hierarchies might be a good idea. Today’s world is more unequal than ever.

6. Disconnection from the natural world.

Moving is natural to us. That’s why exercise makes us happy.

Spending time in nature is good for us. We can concentrate better.

7. Disconnection from a hopeful and secure future.

A larger framework for of significance.

Depressed people don’t have a sense of the future. They have a loss of future.

Insecure work create insecure people. 1 day contracts or no contract.. gig economy, not too glamorous for everyone.

8 & 9 :The real role of genes and brain changes.

Neuroplasticity : the brain changes depending how you use it. It’s the tendency for the brain to restructure itself after experience.

Genetics plays a role, but is not staring the show.

The caviat is that genes linked to depression can be triggered by certain environments. Your gene makes you more vulnerable but they don’t control your destiny.

Instead of diagnosing depression – diagnose disconnection?

Rumspringer: Amish 16 year olds spend ~2 years in regular society not needing to follow Amish rules. 80 percent come back. Coming back is voluntary, therefore Amish is not considered a cult.

“Chosen slowness ”

Amish is like a support group for resisting individualism. What weight watchers is for resisting snacking – the amish is resisting individualism.

Reconnect by voluntary programs and clubs.

Bjorns comment: For me it was toastmasters. Different people, common goal.

But depressed people cant do it on their own. It has to be prescribed. Someone need to help them get there. The depressed person just won’t do it by their own.

Top down organizations make the people low in the hierarchy depressed. They feel like cogs in the wheels and without control or influence.

Kids crave stuff… it hurts not to get them.

Björn comment: I dislike some of the solutions. It takes a stand that we are victims of advertisement etc.. well, kids might be. But should adults be able to handle that?

Envy and scarcity- another cause of depression.

‘Sympathetic joy technique’

Björns comment: It sometimes feel the book is written for someone who is depressed. Some Solution and causes can seem very obvious for someone who is not depressed or anxious; like being able to feel joy for other people’s success etc.

Meditation can be very beneficial to combat depression.

Loving kindness meditation.

Experience with LSD.

80 percent that was given the big dose of LSD said to have better relationships, more compassionate and more positive attitudes about themselves and about life. Just like people that meditate a lot!

Researcher gave psychedelic drugs to people that had struggled to quit smoking. 80% where smoke free 6 months after the test.

What does the psycadelics and feel meditation have in common:

“They both break our addiction to ourself”

Smoking becomes quite petty in the perspective of the whole.

Being free from the ego, for 25% of the testers, was terrifying!

“To people who feel safe only behind walls, dismantling them won’t feel like a jailbreak, it will feel like an invasion”

Experiments: doctors where asked to acknowledge a patients childhood trauma, with compassion, and listen without judgement if the patient wanted to talk about it.

This made a huge difference! Reduced shame. “A secular version of confession”

Shame makes you sick. Sealing of a part of yourself and thinking it’s disgusting is toxic to life

Universal income: started in late 70:s. Small town I Canada.

The poorer you are the more likely you are to become depressed and anxious. and to become sick.

Less mood disorder under universal basic income.

People have a secure future, companies need to incentivize people more to work with benefits etc. people felt like they had a choice.

What?! Just give out money?

ADHD was much lower because people spend more time connecting to their kids.

We can leave deadening jobs under universal basic income.

Book tip about gay marriage: ‘Virtually normal’

“The weekend” was mocked as an utopian idea when labour unions started to fight for it!

Universal basic income is possible.

Having fulfilling work is seen as a freak strike of luck, like winning the lottery.

“You are not a machine with broken parts you are an animal whose need have not been met.”

That’s it! Sounds cool? If you want more you can get the book right here! Also, don’t forget to check out more great reads at in my book lists.

My Year in Books with @danjmartinwa

“I listen to nearly one book per day, plus very many podcasts. I learn something I never knew from each book. Books,like people, know many stories and facts I don’t. Every day the parameter of my ignorance expands just like the universe.

Here are some books that really stood out to me this year!

– Dan Martin

📖 The Age of Eisenhower– William I Hitchcock

📖 Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

📖 Accessory to War– Neil deGrasse Tyson & Avis Lang

📖 Walt Disney – Neal Gabler

📖 Slavery by Another Name – Douglas A. Blackmon

– Dan Martin (@danjmartinwa on Instagram

When someone who reads one book a day gives you his 5 most outstanding books of the year then you better pay attention! I don’t know you Dan but you are a cool dude! 😎

– Poor Bjorn


Check out my reading lists for more great books!

My Year in Books with @qualiabooks

Book Year in review with @qualiabooks

I’ve read several amazing books this year that have really inspired me in my pursuit of knowledge but there are two particular books that stood out from the rest:

📝 Sean Carroll – “The Big Picture”

📝 David Deutsch – “The Beginning of Infinity”


🌌 Being an astronomy major, I’m naturally fascinated by these type of books. Both authors are not only great scientists but also exceptional philosophers and by reading their books you get the best of both worlds.


🥦 Aside from learning to be a better dietician to myself (I read books on health and nutrition behind the scenes), a combination of the books I’ve read had given me an even better grasp of Bayesian reasoning which helped me pin down my own observations of myself and others – I was able to put names on the things I’ve always been curious about. —-

🕰 Being very busy this year also gave me a new perspective on time that I haven’t considered before and that only enriched my experiences of 2018 and encouraged me to continue my self-actualization.


2018 was a bundle of boundless insights and there is too many to mention, but one that sticks is that we are living and breathing creatures who are in the constant flow of moving and changing. In order to be in line with our goals and authentic selves, we must be vigilant in cultivating the garden of our minds. As Jiddu Krishnamurti would say,

“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.”


I wish to have more time in 2019 so I may read more amazing books that I can share with you. Have a wonderful day and happy holidays! — Love, Dee 🙂

Top Books of the Year – #9

#10 Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.


We all have something we feel that we are meant to do but never get around to actually doing. A good place to start looking for clues of what that might be is in our early teenage years. What did you choose to do with your time before society’s expectations started to weight in too heavily on your life choices? For me it was making movies and radio shows, writing rap lyrics (😎), modding video games and pursuing shady business ideas with friends. You just might have a more natural inclination to doing a version those things, rather than staying with the safe and secure job you ended up with?

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

I’m not a big fan of motivational books, and this comes pretty close to being just that – follow you dreams jada jada jada… But what struck a chord with me is it’s directness and uncompromising tone. I guess sometime you need to be shaken up a bit to get back on track and to work towards something that actually matters.

————— IMPACT —————

Some thoughts on the subject:

It’s easy to live the booze & drugs part of the rock & roll lifestyle, and a lot of people do, but actually putting in the work to write the music is the challenging and scary part that people skip.

“Be creative like an artist and but work like an accountant”. Inspiration is overrated, it’s circumstantial and if you rely on it you won’t get anything done.

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What dream project do you keep putting on hold?

Find the full list here: Favorite Books of 2017

Thoughts on: “The Glass Cage” by Nicholas Carr

The book is about how bad automation erode skill and create unfulfilling jobs which in turn create a self-fulfilling prophecy where previously masterful people makes mistakes pitching in for failing automated systems – human errors that turn into arguments for even more automation.


It’s easy to discard this books as technophobic but there is a point to all of this. It’s a nuanced and important one. That we should not just discard the effects of automation as they have a big impact on the human psyche and sense of fulfillment. With smart decisions we can limit potential harm and still move technology forward by focusing on human centered designs rather than putting tech first.


At the same time I don’t see the big deal here? We are clinging on to how things ones were and can’t accept change. Everything changes all the time. But getting rid of this type of attachment is a bigger conversation and beyond the scope of this book. 😀


📝 “The problem with automation is that it often gives us what we don’t need at the cost of what we do”. Often cognitive bias -a flaw in our thinking – distorts our perception. We tend to think we don’t want to work but in fact work is often fulfilling while leisurely makes bored and anxious.


📝 “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.”

Alfred North Whitehead – ‘An Introduction to Mathematics’


📝 As the search engine get better at helping us find what we want the sloppier the questions become. “sharp tools, dull minds”


📝 A worker today is considered “skilled” if he/she goes through a week long training. Several months to a year of training – like learning basic programming- is looked apon with awe. Division of labor eroded what it means to be a skilled laborer. Back in the day 4-7 years of apprenticeship was needed to be skilled in a typical craft.



“Automation weakens the bond between tool and user not because computer controlled systems are complex but because the ask so little of us.”


How are you preparing for for a age where machines can do everything you do – but better and faster? 🤔


4/5 – “The Glass Cage” by Nicholas Carr

Check out my complete reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacsson


Asshole, crybaby or smelly hippie? Steve Jobs can be described in many ways. He certainly was a flawed man, yet brilliant! The products he brought into this world disrupted whole industries, a result of always demanding the impossible.
What really stood out for me in this book was how much of a hippie this guy actually was, and how the influence of his LSD experiences and eastern philosophy impacted on the products he created.
📝 Steve was adopted, and a sense of abandonment what’s a big theme in his life. One of the most moving parts of the book is when Steve’s biological father casually mentions to his sister that “I had a restaurant ones and this Steve Jobs character used to eat there all the time”. Both not knowing they where family.
📝 He could bend reality, and make people believe they could achieve the impossible. In essence, this was because Jobs had an unshakable belief that the rules of the game didn’t apply to him.
📝 Steve hygiene was a huge problem at Apple. He believed firmly that his diet (containing almost exclusively fruits) made it safe for him to not to use deodorant or shower.
📝 When a reporter asked about the 2 year delay of his NeXT computer, Jobs answer was: “It’s not delayed, it’s five years ahead of its time”.
📝 “He had a this ability to focus on just 2-3 thing and say no to everything else. This is a rare and valuable trait.”
📝 Want to see Jobs bringing his A-game? Watch the unveiling of the original iPhone on YouTube. Look how proud he is!
⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Jobs was sold on on the zen buddhist idea of detachment from material things. Still he created tons of them which might sound very paradoxical. But thinking more thoroughly about it it’s actually the other way around. The thing he created have had a tremendously dematerializing effect on society. The iPod (with iTunes) replaced shelves filled with CDs. The iPhone replaced video players, cameras, photo albums, handheld gaming consoles, calculators etc..
Excellent book! Probably my favorite biography of all time!


Check out my reading lists for more great books!