Thoughts on Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran

The idea of me “reviewing” spiritual scriptures is bizarre. Who I’m I to judge the some of the most sacred scriptures known to man? Hehe, fuck it, why not,right!? Let’s go!

“Bhagavad Gita” is an old Hindu scripture. The narrative framework is a dialogue between Arjuna and his counsel Lord Krishna on the battlefield on the dawn of war.

The dialogue soon takes a dive in the deep end and dwells into ethics, karma, meditation, the good life and other juicy topics. Gandhi had “the Gita” as his spiritual dictionary for a reason.

This version of the book is probably preferable to the “raw” Gita. Mainly because you get explanations of the key concepts between chapters and it really helps you to understand the message fully. In the end of the book you get to hear the Gita again at full length without the commentary (about 2 hours long). I loved this book. I initially thought it would be tough to get through such an old book from a culture I’m not to familiar with. But it was the other way around. I was bingeing it and found it both profound and accessible.

My biggest takeaway was the concept of detachment from outcome. Many times we do thing we don’t want to because it might lead to future rewards. Krishna says: “You have the right to work but not to the fruit of work.”

Here are some of my notes:
– Only the one who is utterly engaged and utterly detached is able to live life fully.

– You have the right to work, but not to the fruit of work. Never engage in action in sake for reward.

“When you keep thinking about “sense objects”, attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire. The lust of possession which burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgement.”

“Pleasure from the senses seems like nectar at first but is bitter as poison in the end. That which seems like poison at first but taste like nectar in the end, this is the joy of satwa, born of a mind at peace.”

A truly Excellent book!

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Thoughts on Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spake Zarathustra Review

“Man is a rope stretched between animal and the Übermensch—a rope over an abyss.”

The death of God concerns Nietzsche because he has the foresight to see the chaos that might follow—a value system collapsing and a confused age where people no long can tell up from down. The solution he propose is the überman, the next step in human evolution, but he feared we might instead see a transformation of man into what he calls the Last Man.

To become the Übermensch, one must transcend the established morals and prejudices of human society to define out own purpose and values in life. This is person who is willing to risk it all for the advancement of humanity.

The Last Man is what Nietzsche feared would become of western man. Imagine a person laying on a couch with a bag of chips balanced on a potbelly, totally immersed in a game of Candy Crush after a long Pornhub session. Despite pleasures and comfort,the person is empty and miserable; There you have TheLast Man.

The book is written in a biblical style and is full of parables, analogies and mythical imagery. we get to follow a prophet-like character named Zarathustra who has isolated himself in a cave on a mountain top for 10 years. He grows weary of his wisdom he descents into humanity to tell the world what he had learned.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra Video Review

📝 “To give birth to a dancing star you need chaos in your soul.”

📝 Nietzsche wrote the book in a 10-day burst of creative madness, “, and it is clear that he didn’t revise his work very carefully”. And it took me 2 months to read it. 😬

💭 The hardest book I’ve read to date and a good preparation for tackling the Bible after summer.

⚖️ VERDICT: Just like a paralyzed person need stairlift to up to the top floor, I needed assistance to ascend to vicinity of Nietzsche’s ideas. Countless YouTube videos by professors and armchair philosophers where needed for me to gain a base level understanding of this book. And I cherished those lectures, more than I enjoyed reading the book.

It is not an easy read. But some parts of it are so powerful they’ll leave you awestruck.

⁉️What’s your relationship to Nietzsche?!⁉️

Thoughts on: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Book Review: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Social psychologist Erich Fromm explores the topic of love in all it’s aspects: not only the craziness and lofty expectations of romantic love, but also love of god, brotherly love, erotic love, the love of parents and self-love.
Fromm sees love an art and suggest that mastery in the art of loving need the same knowledge and effort as mastery in any other art.
The most interesting aspect of this book is Fromms theory that our feeling of separateness from the world is the main cause of human anxiety and love being on way of achieving a sense oneness.

Video Review – The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

The book has a quite harsh tone toward the modern western notion of love. Romantic love, that we are told to strive for in pop culture and mainstream media, he says, is a form of inmature love.

📝 ❤️
-Immature love: I love you because I need you.
-Mature love: I need you because I love you.

📝 ❤️ In fact we take the intensity of infatuation (being crazy about each other) “for proof of the intensity of our love, while it might only prove the degree of their preceding loneliness.” 💥

📝 ❤️ The object of love has become more important than the action of love.

📝 ❤️ Sexual rituals and orgies in tribes give a release from separateness. After it’s over people can go on with their life for a while until the anxiety of separateness builds up again. In a non-orgyastic culture people turn to drugs for release. 💉 🍻

📝 ❤️ Conformity to society is another way to protect oneself from separateness. If I’m like everyone else I’m safe from separateness.

📝 ❤️ “Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love.”

💭 THOUGHT: Isn’t it weird that we only have one word for love in English since romantic love and Love with a big “L” is so different?! It’s like “scarcity”and “abundance” used the same name.

⚖️ VERDICT: I really loved this book. It’s my first book on the topic—and hence, I might be easily impressed—but I love how serious the subject is treated! May I complain about the book being too short and having too much to note down?! 😆


What your views of mature vs. immature love?

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

Review: Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Prefer video? Here is the Video Review of Essentialism

“The wisdom of life lies in the elimination of non-essentials”- Lin Yutang
Saying yes to everything and trying to please everyone won’t only result in you being stressed out but it will also diminish the quality of your work

You don’t want to “major in minor” things as the saying goes.
If I would distill this books key values into 2 words it would be: impact and fulfillment.
📝 Meeting-mindset for the office dweller:
“Just because I was invited is not  a good enough reason for me to attend.”
📝 When you die, would you rather see a long list of accomplishments that doesn’t really matter, or just a few major accomplishments that have true meaning and significance?

📝 “If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness” – Dalai Lama

📝 The essence of Essentialism is the relentless search for less, but better.

📝 Live design and not by default.
1️⃣“What are all the obstacles standing between me and getting things done?” Make a list!
2️⃣“What is the obstacle that if removed would make the majority of other obstacles disappear.” Prioritize the list!
“Not only get rid of the obvious time wasters but also cutting out some really good opportunities as well.”
I think this is the new idea that I take way from this book. I’m new to having a lot of opportunities and I’ve been reacting as many people would; I jump on all of them. This has caused me to spread myself thin and I’ve gone from being always on point, to dropping balls left and right. The idea of asking myself: “will this activity make the highest possible contribution towards my goal? “— and turning down every that doesn’t get an undisputed “Hell yeah!” —has been a game changer for me.
I can easily say that this book now has a place in my top 5 when it comes to productivity books. I really loved it, even though it pulls from a lot of sources that that you might have already read (Thinking fast and slow, The Power of habit etc..)
⁉️ Are you happy with how you are able to spend your time? ⁉️

Thoughts on: Grant by Ron Chernow

Grant by Ron Chernow review
Book review

I picked up this book in an attempt to educate myself on the American civil war. I had no idea who Ullyses S. Grant was, but halfway through the book I felt like I knew the man better than I knew myself. The detail this book goes into is remarkable and you almost feel like you are experiencing the war first hand.
Grant came from simple beginnings and throughout his life his fortunes rose and fell with “incredible speed and frequency.”
He was a failed businessman and he was even thrown out of the army ones during the Mexican war, only to quickly raise through the ranks during the civil war, ultimately reaching the absolute peak of military achievement.
Looking only at his track record one would be lead to believe Grant was a man of ambition. Quite the opposite seems to be the case. He never sought fame or power— even his presidency was seen more as a burdensome duty for the man, rather than something he sought after.
🍃 I don’t envy Grant. I actually feel a bit sad for him. He seems to have lead his life like leaf in the wind. Letting external forces throw him back and forth, without ever letting his own will speak.
🎭 Grant was economic with words and, to be honest, he feels like a poster boy for repression. Maybe that’s why alcohol was his worst enemy?! His unattended to Inner Child would pop out and wreck havoc as soon as he let his guard down? And alcohol tend to do that.
💭 I read this book while I heard news that protesters had toppled a statue of Grant in San Francisco, because he was “ a white slave owner”. This surprised me as I’ve learned that Grant not only despised the idea slavery, but personally lead the Union army to defeat the slave-owning Confederacy, and later as president of the United States, he cracked down on the Ku Clux Clan.
This book is huge: 1000+ pages long. I love that I got to know this guy so intimately, and the history lesson will serve me well, but I can’t encourage everyone to get this book. We all have limited time and the opportunity cost of picking up this book might be too high—unless you have a very special reason for doing so! A masterful biography!


⁉️What’s the thickest book you’ve read⁉️

Thoughts on: The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone

Despite being a oversimplified and irrational book at times— full of contradictions— it makes one point very clear: you are probably not doing enough to get you where you want to go! Especially if you have ambitions goals for your finances & professional success.

💊 It’s a tough pill to swallow. 👆🏻

📝 10x Rule in a nutshell: Set targets for yourself that are 10X greater than what you believe you can achieve, and you should take actions that are 10X greater than what you believe are necessary to achieve them.

📝 The most common mistake people make is to not set high enough goals.

📝 “As long as you are alive you will either live to accomplish you own goals and dreams, or you will be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s goals and dreams”. Build you own assets!

📝 It takes energy to do nothing, or to be average. You might as well take massive action and reach your true potential.

📝 It’s better to fail on a goal  that is set really high because you might reach further than you would if you set it were a normal person would.

📝 You are going to know that your start to enter the realm of massive action when:
1️⃣ When you create new problems for yourself.
2️⃣ You start to receive criticism and warnings and supposed help from others (including family!)

💥 You probably have a dream of some kind. Let’s say you want to make your living by talking about books: Do you really take enough action to get where you want to go? Do you really put in enough energy to be at the top of your field? Are you making calls?

Chances are you’re not! And that what this book is for; shaking you out of complacency and get you going for real!💪🏻

It’s is the energy behind, it rather than the words themselves, that gives this book power. The audiobook version is great because it’s Crazy Grant himself speaking (often off the cuffs) and with an enormous conviction and energy.

This book is great for anyone who wants to get their project to the next level and need a reminder of what it takes to get there! It got me to put the bar higher for myself.

The right book at the right time for me!


⁉️In what area of life do you want to 10x?!⁉️

Thoughts on: Behave by Robert Sapolsky

What is long and hard, and filled with baboon references? Robert Sapolskys book Behave. Here are some key takeaways and lesson from this fantastic book on human behavior.

📝 “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! 😍




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

Thoughts on: The 5 AM Club By Robin Sharma

Video Review of The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma
At first couldn’t stand this book.

It’s tells a fictitious story about an artist and an entrepreneur who meet at a Tony Robbins style self-help event. They both bond with what they believe to be a homeless man, BUT — surprise! — he is actually a billionaire business magnate going incognito. The billionaire invites them to his private island (think Richard Branson) to teach them his secret for success.
Yes! It’s f*cking cheesy! but over the course of the book I started to really enjoy it!
What follows is a practical & entertaining breakdown of the principles that leads to a success:
health, sleep, presence, abundance, massive action, consistency, how you should surround yourself with great people and how your external circumstances usually are reflection of your inner state.

📝 “Becoming legendary is never easy” Stephen King threw the manuscript of his breakthrough novel, Carrie, into the trash. His wife recovered it, read it, and pushed him to not give up.
📝 “The flow of life rewards positive action and punishes hesitation”.

📝 “Don’t let yourself to get exhausted. Ever!” Massive action without burnout? If you know how to pull this off then please share in the comments.👇

📝 “Longevity is the key to Legendary”
Your body and mind is your biggest assets: Protect the asset!
📝 “Procrastination is a form of self-hatred.” Disappoint yourself over and over again and you will eventually recent yourself.
After reading the book I updated my morning routine. I now spend 1h each morning visioning/meditating (20min), learning/reading (20) and workout (20). Getting back to owning my morning—before the kids wake up and the chaos begins— has had a big impact on my well-being and life-trajectory.

Stay away if you are allergic to cheese 🧀 or want #seriousnonfiction. But for me this was the right book at the right time; I was slacking off on the routines that had been the foundations of my positive trajectory and needed a push in the right direction.
I recommend this book to people who are new to personal development or if you need a reminder of the principles that leads to long term success.

I’m hesitant to say this but— I really like it!

What cheesy book did you enjoy more than your like to admit?

Thoughts on: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Have you gotten the entrepreneurial seizure yet? That’s when a person with technical skills decide to go out on his/her own and start a business. The Technician turning business owner! The Boss is dead! hurrah! What could possibly go wrong?!

Most small business don’t even have a plan. It runs on gut feeling and intuition and that seems to work fine in the beginning—-until you run into a problem or when things start to take off.

You become a “busy fool”

The business that was supposed to free you becomes your prison. It can’t operate without you. It becomes the work you love to do + everything else, and YOU are now your own biggest liability.

The problem is not your business: it’s you! You need to change your perspective. You need to start working on the business—not in the business! You need to build a business that works without you and this book has the blueprint for how to pull it off.

📝 The Fatal Assumption 🤦‍♂️:
“If you understand the technical work of a business then you understand the business that does that technical work.” I.e a hair dresser starting a hair saloon.

📝 Pretend you are going to franchise your business. This is the game you have to play and your model needs to support:

– 5000 more copies of your business.
– Provide consistent value, predictable service, and exceed customers expectations.
– The work will be performed by by people of the lowest possible skill necessary.
– Stand out as a place of impeccable order.
– All work will be documented in manuals.
– A uniform color dress and facilities code.

📝 “Work on you business, not in your business”. If you don’t have a business?! The same goes for life: Work in you life not in your life. ❤️

It made me realize how much more work I have ahead of me before my businesses can run without me. But now I know how to get there!

The ideas are golden but the presentation is quite cheesy. This is a great book to pick up if you find your self being a prisoner in your own business.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #19 – The Mad Scientist of Reading: Poor Bjorn on Self-Experimenting with Non-Fiction

I just had a chat with Paul at the Penguin Latte Podcast! We talked about Stoicism, Nietzsche, Books in general and why doing Rejection Challenges are good for you! Enjoy

Paul LeCrone

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple | Watch on YouTube

Warning: what follows is a conversation for book nerds

Books transform us. When we really dig into a book, nestle beneath the words, peek under the author’s skin, we transcend our current self. We become someone greater. The best books maintain that transformation long after we’ve finished reading the last word.

A book isn’t something to collect. A book is to be experienced. Which is why I wanted to have this conversation with Poor Bjorn (@poorbjorn on Twitter and Instagram). Poor Bjorn loves books. He loves books so much that he doesn’t just read books. He livesbooks. He’s the creator of an Instagram page where he not only reviews books, he conducts self-experiments based on the lessons from the book.

Bjorn will cover any subject. Stoicism. Wealth. Esoteric Philosophy. Psychology. History. Self-help. Persuasion. Negotiation. It doesn’t…

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