Thoughts on: “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene

Robert Greene puts a lifetime of studies of human nature into one huge and important volume.

This book covers: character, toxic personality types, narcissism, cognitive biases, archetypes, childhood trauma, desirability, shortsightedness, the Shadow, attitude, group dynamics, leadership, persistence, fearlessness, purpose. The list goes on…

📝 You are more like than Louise XVI than you think!

📝 What you and me try tell ourselves: “I’m different. I’m more rational than others, more ethical as well.”

📝 ”If possible, avoid deep contact with those whose time frame is narrow, who are in continual react mode, and strive to associate with those with an expanded awareness of time”

📝 Keep in mind that your expectations of people are communicated nonverbally. Teachers expecting greater things from their students, without saying anything, have positive effects on their work.

📝 People with negative attitudes uses this world view to narrow their experience. It give a sense of control in a world of uncertainty.

📝 Cynicism as Purpose: “Man would rather have the void as purpose than be void of purpose”. Behind this false purpose is the great fear of trying and failing, of standing out and being ridiculed… Cynicism acts as consolidation for lack of accomplishment.

📝 Self-doubt makes us surrender inwardly before we surrender outwardly. Remember this: almost nothing in the world can resist persistent human energy.

💪🏻 ACTION:

The last chapter talks about the importance of mediating on our mortality. This prompted me to commit to a new experiment; to pretend it’s my last day in life. More info coming I separate post!💀 ⚰️

🎲 VERDICT:

This book is great (Book of the Year?)! And practical; I almost don’t want you to read it since I want my newly found super powers for myself. It has already helped me wrap my head around what’s really been going on in situations with people that, until now, had left me dumbfounded.

5/5

Find other fascinating books in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Purple Cow by Seth Godin

While being a short and sweet marketing book it’s main points could have been reduced to a few paragraphs:

▪️Classical advertisement is dead. Focus on people who are ahead of the curve; the Sneezers (aka. Influencers) who can give your product good word-of-mouth.

▪️Being Safe is Risky. Your product can’t be very good, it has to be remarkable.

▪️Go Niche, not Broad. The age of products that appeal to the masses is over.

This book is outdated (came out in 2002). The statements above doesn’t shock anyone.

What did surprise me though was how much I liked Purple Cow as history book. How confusing it must have been for companies when increased ads budget didn’t translate to increased sales anymore. I really enjoyed the case studies of companies that succeed—or failed miserably —in the transition from the old TV ad era to the new age of “Purple Cows”.

I learned a lot about advertisement history but I didn’t become much better at marketing. For a more current and practical book read Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.

Ps. Have you ever been given stuff for free? With the (not so) secret hopes of companies that you will spread the gospel of their product? 🤔

3/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini

Cialdinis book is a must read for everyone. Whether you try to influence someone or want to avoid being influenced by others. To know the weaknesses of the the brains reasoning abilities is the best way to protect ourself against making bad decisions. This book is jam packed with amazing facts, science and stories that will change the way you see the world. My main takeaway is that I need to continue be on my guard for influence workers that try to exploit the brains cognitive biases. The fact that this book isn’t obligatory reading in schools is beyond my comprehension.

5/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts On: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Enjoyed parts of it immensely . In the version I read the book was set in context by an introduction about the author and about the times in which the book was written. That was good for someone like me who was not familiar with either the author or Italy in the early 16th century. A guidebook for how to rule and keep you power as a prince, but a lot of the concepts in this book can be applied to modern business and work. The later parts of the book didn’t grab my attention, but I’m still glad I plowed through this classic.

3/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Endurance – Alfred Lansing

A testament to what humans will endure when put to the test. It’s amazing how Shackleton and his men overcame one terrible obstacle after another without losing hope. Hats off to the captain and the crew. My main takeaway is the leadership style of captain Shackleton. Leading by example and not standing above any task. Never accepting special treatment because of his rank by his men.

4/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 2) – The Near East

The second part of this tome (1200+ pages) is focused on the Ancient civilizations of the Near East; Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, Judea etc..

📝 “It is in the nature of an empire to disintegrate soon, for the energy that created it disappears from those who inherits it.”

📝 Persia was founded by a stoic people, but within a century it was destroyed by people binge-drinking and eating all day; “spending their geniuses on sauces and deserts” 🍰. What state is our current civilization in? 🤔

📝 Egypt: “Machinery was rare because muscle was cheap.”

📝 The hanging gardens of Babylon was considered considered one of the Wonders of the World. Legend has it that Nebuchadnezzar II had it build for his wife who was not used to the desert and longed for her lush homeland.

📝 There where thousands of Gods. With time minor deities merged and became mere aspects of major ones.

📝 In Judean prophets talked about the need to be moral rebirth. Jeremaya asked for circumcision of spirit as well as the flesh in his strange phrase: “Circumstance yourself to the lord, take away the foreskins of your heart.” 😂😂

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

One theme that stood out to me is how civilizations raise from hard labour and sacrifice, just so that future generation can have it go down the toilet by forgetting these hardships and fall victim to hedonism. 💩 🚽

⭐️ TAKEAWAY 2:

The accounts of the religious believes in the different civilizations fascinates me to no end. How similar their stories are to ours and how much we still can find intact or reshaped in today’s religions.

⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we get into the meat of the book and it has taken on another rhythm. I have mixed feelings about this second part of book. It’s is still brilliant but it’s getting hard to retain the information. The problem might lie in the way the book is structured, using the same template to describe each civilization, one after the other, making it overwhelming.

Check out Part 1 for more in this review series.

What are you reading these days? 🤔

Instagram Photo credit: @cinefile_25 , @eruchdah

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Behave by Robert Sapolsky

What is long and hard, and filled with baboon references? Robert Sapolskys book Behave.


📝 “The frontal cortex makes you do the harder thing, when it’s the right thing to do.” The frontal cortex consumes a lot of energy which makes your willpower limited. Have you noticed how quick you are to judge and how hard it is to be a good person you are when depleted after a hard day at work?

📝 Initially demanding frontal tasks, like controlling your bladder as a child, becomes easier with time. Understand: repeated good behaviors and they will become automatic!

📝 We Habituate..

Understand: Artificial pleasures (designer food, drugs, VR porn etc..) throws our systems of the scale making us unable to appreciate the natural.

📝 Humans delays gratification for an extremely long time. No other animal restricts calories now to look good on the beach next year! 😆

📝 “The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference”

📝 Win-Win solutions rewards more dopamine than Win – Lose ones. 👍🏻👍🏻

📝 Alcohol = more aggressive behavior? No, alcoholic only evokes aggression in people prone to aggression AND people that BELIEVE that alcohol makes you more aggressive. Like testosterone only increase aggression in people prone to it in the first place. Testosterone will enhance any behavior that helps us maintain status.

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: I was applying for days off at work. I was going to ask right before lunch, but caught myself and did it the proper way instead; Judges famously give harsher judgments when they are hungry. I upped my chances of getting an approved application quickly by waiting until after lunch.

This was not a matter of life or death situation, like the case with some trials, but I think this story points towards something worth thinking about.

What is the result of a lifetime of strategic moves based on the quirks of biology and human nature works compared to a life ignorant of these hidden influences?

⚖️ VERDICT: A detailed and nuanced summary of where we are at with the study of human behavior! 😍

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4/5

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Photo credit: @chriserzfeld

Get the book right here or find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Women Who Run With The Wolves explores folk tales and myths through a jungian lens with the intent to help women reconnect to the instinctual self, the Wild Woman archetype.


📝 Classic tale beginning:

““Once there was, and ones there was not…” This paradoxical phrase is meant to alert the soul of the listener that this story takes place in the world between worlds where nothing is as it first seems.”

📝 The animus can pollute your flow of creativity with self doubt. One with a polluted river will not be able to take compliments; “Beautiful? This old thing? Well, it nothing really, look at all the mistakes I made”.

A well-developed animus has excellent borders. An artist that puts up a sign outside her house: “I am working today and am not receiving visitors. I know you think this doesn’t mean you because you are my banker, agent, or best friend. But it does.” 💪🏻

📝 Original stories where often morphed to fit religious beliefs. Pagan symbols became Christian symbols. Sexual parts where removed and animals became demons. 🦁 —> 👹

📝 There is no more reliable sign that a person has spent time with Ugly Duckling status at some point or all her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. We have all know people like this… 🦆 🦢

📝“Sometime educated guesses can be made about the wounds of childhood by closely inspecting what matters adults irrationally lose their tempers over”.

📝 “If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin” 🌲


It’s beautifully written, very mystical in its tone, and I can sense the impact this book must have had on women throughout the years. As a male reader I can’t fully relate to all aspects of it – and it’s ok, it’s not written for me -but there is a lot of value in this book nevertheless.

For me the biggest takeaways are the stories themselves and their interpretation. I also found the chapter of creativity truly profound.

3/5


Get the book right here or find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 1)

Photo credit: @eruchdah

Why should you know history? It tells you how we got where we are today. Why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do. By learning about the past you can also avoid repeating it’s mistakes —- and it’s f***ing fascinating!

This book is ambitious in scope, the series (11 volumes) even more so; trying to summarize the history of civilization itself. This first book alone is 1184 pages. One of many reason to make break this book down to several micro reviews!

My focus for this year will be Ancient Greece, but first I want to read up on the history leading up to it.

The first part of the book talks about the economical, political, mental and moral elements needed for the establishment of civilization.


📝 “I do not have to think. I have plenty of meat”. Not planning for more than today in primitive life had its advantages. When planning for the future you pave the way for property and greed.

📝 Communism appears most commonly in the beginning of civilization. In times of dearth. Fear of starvation fuses the individual into the group. The dream Communism lurks in every modern society as a memory of a simpler and more equal life. “We remember its equality but forget the poverty!”

📝 About taxes: “It was better to pay bribe to one magnificent robber than to bribe them all.”

📝 Women not bearing children are shamed by men in societies that rely on high birth rates to compensate for high death rates.

📝 In primitive society delay between desire and fulfillment is not very long and therefore there is not need to idealize passion.

📝 “Where food is dear, life is cheap.”

📝 In simple days, men married for cheap labour and regular meals.

📝 Is it good to be a virgin or not upon marriage? What is shameful is totally dictated by culture.

📝 “Civilization is not imperishable. It must be required anew by each generation.”

📝 “Magic becomes science.” Magicians needed to give the supernatural a push by using natural means. Stuff that works for real.. 👩‍🔬

Photo credit: @cinefile_25


I’m excited to be a student of history again. The world I see everyday makes more and more sense after each chapter I read. 👨‍🎓

5/5

Thoughts on: “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Accounts Right Now” by Jaron Lanier

Social media companies needs us to keep returning to them and to make this happen they collect data about us. That data is used to give us more of what engages us the most and in that way creating wealth for the platforms.

The problem is that what engages us most are content that evokes fear, anxiety and outrage. And that’s what we get!


📝 BUMMER Platforms: Service like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are “driven by a business model in which the incentive is to find customers ready to pay to modify someone else’s behavior.”.

📝 A key point to remind yourself about: For services like a Facebook, we are the product, not the customer.

📝 We talk to our BUMMER connected products like they where humans, but it works even better if we do it in a way that makes you behave more like machines. (I.e. me interacting with my Google Assistant 😂)

📝 Podcasts are still not BUMMER. They are made by real people that are known to the listener. They are build on a sense of personality and context. It’s also harder for the listener to jump from one audio snippet to the next.


⚖️ VERDICT:

This short book only scratched the surfaces of the problematical issues social media brings to the table but does so in a good way!


If you want to get more depth with social media, clickbaiting and algorithms then read these books:

📖 Trust me I’m lying – Ryan Holiday.

Media manipulation and Fake news.

📖 21 Lessons for the 21st century- Y. Harari

How to live in a society of algorithms.

📖 The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains – Nicholas Carr

How the internet is changing the way our brains works.

📖 So you’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson

Social media and the renaissance of public shaming.


What book would you add to the list above? 🤔


3/5


Get the book right here or find other amazing reads in my reading lists!