Thoughts on: “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller

Wow, this sucks! The book is just a long commercial for the authors other services and the concepts covered could have been a 15-page pamphlet.

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Wow, this is brilliant! It’s to the point, clear and actionable.

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Both these assessment are correct, depending how you look at it. But my intention when picking up this book was to learn something practical. And I did.

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You brands message should be simple, clear and, most importantly, packaged as a story where the customer is the hero.

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Many brands and marketers get some fundamental stuff wrong and puts the brand as the hero in their marketing instead of the customer.

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📝 Story in a nutshell:

“A CHARACTER (customer) who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before the can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE (you) steps into their lives, gives the a PLAN (your product), and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action help them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”

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📝 WRONG: An example of doing it wrong was Tidal, Jay-z music service. The marketing made whining artists the heroes of the story instead of focusing on the customers needs.

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📝 RIGHT: And example of doing it right is Apple with the Mac. The customer is the hero facing a problem; Complicated computers that stands in the way of the customers creative expression! Apple has a plan for our hero, the Macintosh computer.

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📝 Story is the greatest weapon we have to combat noise, because it organizes information in such a way that people are compelled to listen.

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When you finish this book, given you’ve done the exercises, you will have a new brand script for your services or products that capitalize on the strength of storytelling (or on human weakness to stories, hehe!😈). The book left me inspired and equipped for taking stuff to the next level!

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since I don’t really have a product to sell I’m going to use the story brand method to improve my website (hehe, will be quite easy judging from the state it is in). I will do this next week. Another takeaway is how uncomfortable selling things makes me feel. I have a really hard time with it.

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4/5

Thoughts on: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the age of 6 the narrator abandoned his favorite hobby; drawing. Grownups kept mistaking his depiction of Boa Constrictors who swallowed entire elephants, for drawings of hats… 🐍 🐘

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“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”.

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The narrator puts drawing to the side and instead becomes a pilot. After a dramatic crash landing in the Sahara desert he runs into a young boy that he refers to as The little prince. The boy shares his life story with the narrator. He tells tales about his interplanetary travels where he visited all kinds of weird and narrow minded people. All of the grownups, all of them very serious, all of them deeply irrational.

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📝 “Anything essential is invisible to the eye”

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📝“It’s the time you spend on your rose that make your rose so important”

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📝 “You are responsible forever for what you tamed.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book is a great reminder of the foolishness of being so serious all the damn time. Grownups often have an inability to perceive what is really important. Children on the other hand can often see things more clearly.

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Reading this book reminds me of a great quote from Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”.

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I’m going to buy this book in Swedish and read it as a bedtime story together with my son.👌🏻 🤴 it’s short, sweet and quite wonderful!

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What is your favorite children’s book?

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Photo credit: @deepsnow_fromjp

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4/5

“Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and “Now 21 Lessons for the 21 Century”. REVIEW.

While his other books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, focused on the past and the far future – this book focuses on the present and mankind’s immediate challenges.

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Topics are ranging from how to deal with disruptive technologies, the resurrection of nationalism and the relevancy of religions. Harari wants to shine a light on the fact that we are lacking new idea systems that are capable to help us navigate these new and trying times. Liberalism and the other old ideologies just won’t make the cut anymore.

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📝 The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism is that the money could have be used to fight other threats; like global warming.

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📝 Disruptive technologies will likely create a new “worthless class” of billions. Marxism might make a come back when jobs are being threatened, one might think? But Marxism presumes that the workers labour is of value. That probably won’t be the case with advancements in automation.

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📝 Protect humans not jobs. Finding meaningful pursuit for humans is the most important problem to solve in a future without jobs.

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📝 You don’t need religious text to be moral. Apes learned to take care of the poor and weak well before the Bible told them so.

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📝 “If you want reliable information, pay good money for it.” 👌🏻

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A whole bookshelf worth of topics is crammed into one small volume, which becomes a problems when each chapter deserves its own book.

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Harari don’t have a solution for all the issues. He offers the same advise that wise people and sages always have: sit down on a cushion and observe your sensations. Know thyself, and get to know suffering deeply enough so that you can act in a way that reduces it both your life and in the life of others.

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4/5

Thoughts on Classics: “The Stranger – Albert Camus

The Stranger is presented as a first person narration by Monsieur Meursault. A man who get imprisoned for shooting “an Arab” on a beach.

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It’s a quick read, somewhat depressing, and very absurd. I like it! Especially thought provoking is the fact that Meursault excepts to be judged for his crime (murder) but is instead is judged by his character because he did not cry at his mothers funeral and the fact that he was seeing a comedy at the cinema the day after his mother’s death.

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Reading it gives me a sense of unease as I’m are used to sympathize with the main character. Meursault don’t care about being likable. Another striking thing about this books is Meursault detached way of observing the world.

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Here is a conversation after his friend have been beating up a girlfriend of his:

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“Then he wanted to shoot a game of pool, and I just barely lost. Afterwards he wanted to go to a whorehouse, but I said no, because I don’t like that. So we took our time getting back, him telling me how glad he was that he’d been able to give the woman what she deserved. I found him very friendly with me and I thought it was a nice moment.”

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📝 The Classic beginning:

“Mother died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the Home: “Mother deceased. Funeral Tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.”

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💭 Thought:

Haha, when I think about it, the way Monsieur Meursault expresses himself in this book is very similar to how I write in my journal. Short sentences. Very detached and emotionless. Giving small and big events the same weight. A journal entry could look like this: “My son took his first steps today. I need to eat more vegetables. Today I received The Stranger in the mail. Looking forward to reading it.”

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On the topic of baby steps; I’m taking my first stumbling steps into the world of classic literature. I feel it’s much harder to write about these types of books than non-fiction. Anyway.. I enjoy it!

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What are your favorite classics? Which one are wanting to read? 🤔

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4/5

Thoughts on: “The Human Magnet Syndrome” by Ross Rosenberg

“The soul mate of you dreams is going to become the cellmate of your nightmares.” Rosenbergs father said this to him as a joke 30 years before he wrote this book. There is a lot of psychological insight in this joke. Especially since Rosenberg grew up to be a codependent.

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In a magnet-like fashion, Codependents are attracted towards self-absorbed emotional manipulators. We have all witnessed this phenomenon. Maybe we scratched ourselves in the head and wondered: “Why do these people don’t see that this relationship is dysfunctional?”

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This magnet-like force that pulls the codependent and the narcissist to each other is what Rosenberg aims to explain in this book.

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📝 Codependent and emotional manipulators are naturally attracted to each other because if their perfectly compatible dysfunctional inverse personalities.

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📝 Consciously we desire relationships based on similarities. But this is secondary to our unconscious preferences. “…We unconsciously gravitate towards relationships that are familiar and reminiscent of those experienced during our childhood.”

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📝 People of similar polarities seems uninteresting to each other. When dating what “on paper” would be the perfect partner the feel like “chemistry” is missing.

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📝 These types of relationships are resistant to break-up because neither the codependent or the manipulator can stand being alone. Loneliness triggers shame and a feeling of inadequacy.

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📝 Most families, especially dysfunctional ones, tend to resist change, since it is experienced as stressful and uncomfortable. A child, in an attempt to gain independence, might be seen as a threat. “Hence, all families, especially dysfunctional ones, not only resist change, but pass down their shared emotional function to the next generation.”

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A good book if you want to get an introduction to the common personality disorders. A fantastic book if you find yourself in an unending loop of dysfunctional relationships.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I’ve been thinking about one question a lot lately: What makes me sad about the world we live in? I think I have found it. It is how unfair it is that children have to inherit the problems of their parents. 😔

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3/5

Thoughts on: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

HeLa cells was the first immortal cell line ever discovered. This mean that they can survive and multiply forever in labs given they are provided with cell culture. Without this amazing discovery modern medicine would look very different.

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HeLa stands for Henrietta Lacks. The name of the poor tobacco farmer from which the cells come from. This book tells the story of the cells and the Lacks family, (which I quite a ride!) but also the history of patient consent.

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📝 What made the HeLa cancer cells so special was that they allowed researchers to do all kinds of experiments on them that would never be allowed to do on live humans.

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📝 HeLa led to the polio vaccine in a time when people died in droves from it. Only one of many HeLa contributions!

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📝 The Tuskegee Study: In the 30s scientists studied how one died from syphilis. Black men where observed dying from syphilis without intervention. (Yes, a cure existed.) “Doctors where doing experiments on black people. Watching them die.” That was the word on the streets when the study came to public knowledge. No wonder black Americans where distrustful of scientists!

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📝 All cancers originate from one cell going wrong. Scary thought. Memento Mori I guess!

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📝 People in prisons volunteered to inject Henrietta’s cancer cells into their arms to see how healthy people rejected to them. These patients fought off the cancer. (I would not volunteer for that 😬)

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📝 Modern gene patenting inhabits research. (No shit, Sherlock! 🕵️‍♂️ 😒)

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📝 The Lacks family have seen nothing of millions of dollars being made from HeLa-cells. They are still piss poor.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

What made things worse was the Lacks family’s lack of education. When hearing about Henrietta’s cells being cloned in London, her daughter thought actual copies of Henrietta was walking on Trafalgar Square, when i reality it was only her cancer cells that was cloned. The stress made her sick. So much unnecessary suffering could have been avoided by education.

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What are you reading this week?

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3/5

Thoughts on: “The Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse

This short and sweet books became the next stop for my Hermann Hesse obsession.

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The story has magical, almost mystical feel to it. Almost impossible to understand at times, but we are being warned, that the story about to be told about the journey to the East, is an untellable story. It’s not just a journey in space, but also in time. It’s is also both biographical and fictional.

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The main character, H.H, loses touch with himself, his Being and his previously natural creativity. In an attempt to re-live past days of glory he sets out to write an account of his greatest adventure; his journey to the East with The League.

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The League is a secret society that he ones where part of, with roots going back thousands of years. Famous members including both real and fictional hotshots like Plato, Mozart, Pythagoras, Don Quixote, Puss in Boots, and the ferryman Vasudeva (from Siddhartha) just to name a few.

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”But no account of David (note: King David that is.) can prove to me that life is not just a game. That is just what life is when it’s beautiful and happy —- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier? Goodbye, pleased to have met you!”

– Leo to H.H in Journey to the East.

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It’s an honest and personal story about the cycle faith gained, lost and regained. The unending search for enlightenment.

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It didn’t grab me right away but when I got into it I couldn’t put it down before I reached the last page. Beautiful book!

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What should be my next Hesse book? 🤔Btw. Just ordered The Stranger by Camus. So expect more classic fiction going forward! 😊

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4/5

The Bible of Fake News. Thoughts on “Trust me, I’m Lying”.


This book left me humbled. I thought I was on top of my media game and was able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I was wrong.

I knew the situation was bad, I even quit following “the news” 3 years ago because I thought it misrepresented reality to a larger degree than it represented it (and for the sake of my own my wellbeing), but Ryan Holidays confessions from his career as a media manipulator paints a darker picture than I could ever imagine.

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📝 The constraints of blogging create artificial content (shamings, planted stories, sensational speculations etc..), which is made real and impacts the outcome of real world events.

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📝 Trading up the chain: How to turn nothing into something! Send stories to small traffic hungry blogs with non-existing editorial standards and have them being picked up by bigger and bigger outlets until your fabricated story is national news.

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📝 “The world is boring, but the news is exciting. It’s a paradox of modern life.”

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📝 Top stories all polarize people. Threaten peoples belonging, belief or behavior and you will have a hit that will spreads!

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📝 The economics of the web has made it impossible to portray the complex situation of Detroit accurately. Photographs of abandoned houses was shared like crazy while photos of the same houses with it’s despairing residents included was “too sad to share”, creating less incentive for media. Simple narratives > complex realities.

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📝 On User Engagement: Provoke a person enough for them to be motivated to leave a comment. In the process of registering to be eligible to comment, a user has to go through up to 10 pageviews. That’s a lot of ads (and ad revenue!).

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Sensational and fearmongering headlines has always made me sad. Understanding the structure and constraints of click-based media is essential. These structure explains almost everything they do. It’s the nature of the system.

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’m focusing on notes this time around!

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Watts does a really great job at explaining ideas that seem to be at the core of most religious and spiritual teachings.

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📝 The Law of Reversed Effort. ”When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it— which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.”

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📝 There is a contradiction between the desire of being secure and fact of change. We want to be separate from the life of flux and change to feel secure and that, paradoxically, create the sense of loneliness and fear. “The desire for security and the fear of insecurity are the same thing”.

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📝 “You want to escape the pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony”.

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📝 “Look!”

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📝 Money is as a token for wealth. “In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things”. They represent them but are not those things. Words are fixed while what they represent change.

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📝 “When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectations must come to an end”.

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📝 “So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what is at this moment, there can be no freedom”.

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🤯 Is the brain really good for us? Or is it taking on a destructive evolutionary specialization by our focus on trying to predict the future?

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⚖️ This book is a given in the library of the spiritually minded reader, alongside modern classics like the works of Eckhart Tolles, and timeless classic like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching.

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

This book was really really hard for me to get into. I had a hard time to relating to the his story, and the politics and courtroom drama was a snooze for me. The only thing keeping me going with this book was that I felt is was important for me to familiarize with Nelson Mandela’s achievements in the lifelong struggle against apartheid. He was an extraordinarily man to say the least.

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📝 “Habit makes everything look bland; it is sleep-inducing. Jumping to a different perspective is a way of waking oneself up again.” This quote reminds me of Montaigne, who loved this perspective switching trick all the time in his writing.

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📝 “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor that defines the nature of the struggle.” After using all the tools of non-violent resistance – only to be beaten down hard – the AMC had to turn to violence and fight fire with fire.

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📝 After a successful term as president, he declined not to run again, this was to set an example of power being turned over to the next generation.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Resilience, Forgiveness and Perseverance. These are the traits I associate with Mandela. “We should forget the past and concentrating on building a better future for all”. His focus on the future and forgiveness – rather than revenge – hastened the abolition of apartheid, I think.

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I’m not regretting pushing myself through this tome of a book, quite the opposite, I feel like another missing puzzle piece in my history education is found and put in place.

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What booked bored you, but you felt reading it was important enough to keep going? 🤔

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3/5

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Photo credit: @ildarabbit (Instagram)

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