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

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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!

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!

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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Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 4) – The Far East

My longest book to date has reached its end, and this is just the 1st volume (out of 11) in the The Story of Civilization series by Will Durant. This last part focused on ancient China and Japan.

Was it worth it? We are talking about a 50 hour audiobook. Yes, I think so! Does the #sunkcostfallacy play a role in this answer? It probably does! I’ve suffered through a lot of dry talk about pottery and poetry to reach this point.


📝 The feet of girls at age 7 where compressed with tight bandages to prevent their further growth, so that the mature lady might walk with a mincing step erotically pleasing to the men.

In the prescence of a lady the word shoe was taboo.🦶 👠

📝 To know the ‘Dao’ is to surpress ones knowledge. “We have to forget our theories and feel the facts.”

📝 Confucianism: “Only in Christianity and in Buddhism can we find again so heroic an effort to transmute into decency the natural brutality of men.”

📝 Chinese civilization in 2 words: Philosophy and Porcelain.

📝 “Beards where small and always shaved, but seldom of the owner thereof.” oh, I cannot but LOVE Will Durants prose and elegant summaries of the smallest aspects of civilization. 😂

📝 Chinese writing: “The same character is read as different sounds and words in different localities.” I remember seeing Chinese and Japanese students, who where unable to communicate verbally, communicate through written messages when I studied in Japan. 🤯

📝 When the revolution raged they forgot the old sages words. “He who thinks the old embankments useless and destroys them is sure to suffer from the desolation caused by overflowing water.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

“The accumulation of wealth in the hands of the minority is no doubt a universal and apparently unfailing concomitant of civilization.” We see this play out over and over again.

I’m still green but now I at least have a slight understanding of Confucianism and rudimentary understanding of the Chinese and Japanese culture and history.

3/5

Which books is the longest book you read? 🤔

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Thoughts on: “The Kybalion” by Three Initiates

I read this years ago and thought to myself: “There is something important here, but I’m not able to grasp it fullly yet.

3 YEARS LATER: Reading it again. Maybe the fault wasn’t with me after all? The 7 principles are solid and worthwhile, but the writing is piss poor and the pretense of being written by the mystical “Three initiates”, while in fact it’s very likely written by attorney and New Thought author W. Atkinson, doesn’t really fly for me.

It’s sparked an interest for Hermetism, but the book could have been a pamphlet. The repetition is awful and all the interesting angles are left unexplained with reasoning that it’s beyond the scope of the book or available only “to the ears of understanding.”


Here are some neat notes though 😊:

📝 The “I” observes the “me” that generates thoughts, ideas and images.

📝 The books touches the subject of creativity and how the “I” can WILL the “me” to work on a problem in a certain direction. I personally use this “trick” to delegate creative problems to my subconscious minds. I.e. coming up with a title for a speech, ideas for a posts or find solutions in areas I get stuck. Works like a charm (most of the time).

📝 The higher we rise in the vibrational scale the more obvious the illusionary nature of finite things become.

📝“The possession of Knowledge, unless accompanied by a manifestation and expression in Action, is like hoarding of precious metals—a vain and foolish thing.” We should keep this in mind as we learn. 👩‍🎓 👨‍🎓


⚖️ VERDICT:

Great and timeless concepts are shrouded in what feels like a forced veil of magic and secrecy with the intention to heighten the reading experience—the result is making confused writing even more confused.


💭 THOUGHTS:

I’m weird with New Age/wo wo-books. I dislike the Kybalion; I can’t muster up the energy to finish Power vs. Force—but still praise Dodsons “Level of Energy” and was blown away by learning about Spiral Dynamics. I don’t know what this says about me.


2/5

Which one of the 7 Principle do you resonate with? 🤔

What book do you want to re-read? 🤔

For more books just waiting to be read check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Don’t Sleep There are Snakes” by Daniel L. Everett

Daniel, linguist and Christian missionary, spent decades in the amazon jungle trying to learn the curious language oh the Piranhã in order to do a Bible translation.

He was not the first person to try to convert these Amazonians. For 200 years people have traveled there to spread the good news’, but not a single Pitahã has ever taken the bait. They are just not in the marked for being saved!

It is a lovely account of immersing fully into a foreign culture, and the discoveries Daniel made had linguists pull their hair, since it crushed old assumptions about foundation of human language.


📝 Immediacy of Experience Principle: if you haven’t experienced something first hand your stories about it are irrelevant. The is the case for Pirahã.

📝 The Pirahã consumes everything they hunt and gather instantly. The don’t salt or smoke their food like other Amazonian tribes.

📝 Among the piraha the youth gets no sense of teenage angst, depression or insecurity.

📝 Piraha have no creation myth or oral history. (❗️)

📝 Left and right = “up“ and “down” river. They oriented themselves by external means, not relative to their own bodies.

📝 “Theories effect our perceptions; they are part of the cultural information that constrains the way we see the world around us.”


In the end it was Daniel that became the convert and started to doubt his own beliefs. He was turned from believing the bible was the exact word of God to go as far as challenging the value for myth in its entirety.

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Perception is learned. We experience the world according to our experience and expectations, “not always, perhaps never to how the world really is.”

Learning about the Pirahã culture is fantastic but the linguistic details can be quite exhausting at times.

3/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker

We know we are going to die someday. This is the unique problem of the conscious animal. We know it but we don’t feel it because we need to repress this truth in order to function.

So what to do? It’s really hard to accept that we are just worms in the dirt. Especially when our nature is so paradoxical; the body being so animalistic and limited yet our minds so godlike and boundless. We are gods with anuses.

What we need is a lie. A vital and grand one that we can always rely on. We need something that transcends us, some system of ideas and powers that embed us, whether it’s a flag, the proletariat, a guru or religion.

Kierkegaard, Freud, Jung, Maslow and Fromm are some of the characters you’ll get to familiarize with during this journey. I felt like each chapter demanded a following period of reflection. I was absolutely taken aback by this book.

freud meme


Some notes:

📝 “I believe that those who speculate that a full apprehension of man’s condition would drive him insane are right, quite literally right.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 😨

📝 Man is beaten down by life and the world; “beaten because he fails to face up to the existential truth of his situation— the truth that he is an inner symbolic self, which signifies a certain freedom, and that he is bound by a finite body, which limits that freedom.”

📝 How much of experience do we let in?The schizophrenic allow for too much; the depressed too little.

📝 Anxiety is the possibility of freedom.

📝 Ideally man is “…fully in the world on its terms and wholly beyond the world in his trust in the invisible dimension.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

If life is an insurmountable problem, and we can’t live with the truth of our situation then the question is on what level of illusion to live our lives on.

This book really checks all the boxes for me:

✅It’s complex and nuanced – yet I don’t feel totally lost (expect that fu*king castration complex.. I just do get it…🤷‍♂️ ✂️ )

✅ I started the book being one person, came out of it as another. (SWIPE for example 😉)

✅ Checked one book of my reading list – added a dozen!

Loved it!

5/5

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