Thoughts on: “Mutants” by Armand Marie Leroi

Spontaneous sex change, cyclops and mermaid syndrome and conjoined twins. The tall and the very short. Albinism and rapid aging. No stone is left unturned when Armand Marie Leroi’s takes us on a journey though the biology of the bizarre – and beautiful.

This book “..is not only about the human body as we might wish it to be, but as it is – replete with variety and error”.


📝 Mutation arise from errors made by the machinery that copies or repair DNA.

📝 “We are all mutants, but some of us are more mutant than others.”

📝 Clitoris = Penis

📝: ‘I do not want to be embarrassed by your black body at Daddy’s grave’ said her mother. Rita Hoefling was a white girl in the apartheid society of South Africa who suddenly turning black. At first she got subtle racist remarks and by the end of her transformation she was denied attending her own fathers funeral.. racism is dumb.

📝 Preformationists= They believed the egg contained the entire embryo (complete with limbs) and that embryo had itself it owns sperm or egg which in turn contained embryos ad infinitum.

📝 In conjoined twins the skew toward femininity is overwhelming: about 77 percent are girls. No one know why this is.

📝 Boys who are castrated before puberty grow up to be unusually tall.

📝 “Women of all cultures seem to prefer men who are on average five centimeters (about two inches) taller than themselves.”


The human body is amazing. This book feels like it celebration of the most haunting, weird and wonderful shapes the human body can take. It leaves me in awe.

4/5

What are you reading these days? 🤔📚

Check out more great books in the Reading Lists!

Lab Report: The Sock Experiment.

The Lab Report – 003 – “Socks Sucks”:

The motto is that you are not allowed to complain about not having “enough time” until you have certain systems in place that removes unnecessary complexity. Ones those are in place, then at least you have tried your best – And automation and simplification of everyday task is a good place to start.

Socks are a hassle – or to be more precise: to pair them is mindnumpingly boring and like all couples they break-up up, are gone for a whole and come back form new formation.

The idea is simple: buy all your socks at the same time and stick to one model. Ones a few of them starts to get worn the rest will usually follow, then throw all of them away and fill up with new ones. Repeat.


Short term effects: ⭐️⭐️

– Your closet becomes more bland.

Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– You avoid decision-making-fatigue by removing small everyday choices.

– Easy to do laundry. Pair however you want and you will still get a match.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– The drawback of having less variety can be remedied by having a small selection of colorful and cool on the side for special occasions.

– Shop big and seldom. Easy!


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

– It just works! Easy to execute and sustain, but the positive impact is hard to measure.


Check out more The Archives for more Lab Reports!

Thoughts on: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Goggins, Goggins, Goggins! This guy is proper crazy!

He managed to escape an abusive family situation and decided become a navy S.E.A.L. The problem was that he was overweight, uneducated and unprepared. This was the starting point for the man that grew to become one of (if not THE), toughest endurance athletes I’ve come across.


📝 About his abusive childhood home: “Glossy surfaces reflect much more than they reveal”. Great expression!

📝 “Motivation is bullshit.”

📝 “I brainwashed myself to craving discomfort”. Schedule suffering into your life.

📝 It’s funny, humans tend to hatch their most challenging goals and dreams, the ones that demands the most effort and promises absolutely nothing, when we are tucked into our comfort zones.

📝 Ran 100 miles without training, on broken legs, pissing blood.

📝 Had the world record for most pull ups in 24 hours in 2013 (4030).

📝 When you think you done your upmost you’re probably only at 40%.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

The most common excuse Goggins hears for not working out is that people don’t have time. We get it, we all got stuff to do. “You must win the morning” and master the dark hours, when your spouse and kids are asleep, he says.

So, how do I act on this? I’m waking up 05:30 for the coming 66 days. The extra time in the mornings will be used for exercise, meditation, reading and writing.

——-

⚖️ VERDICT:

This book made me add another 10km on my regular run last Sunday. There where two reasons: First, the book is really solid and I didn’t want to turn off the audiobook. Second, Goggins made me realize I’m not putting in even half the effort I could.

This book will challenge you to set the bar higher for yourself, If you can look past the Navy jargon..

What your morning routine? 🤔


4/5

📷 credit: @portlandpickers


Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Lab Report: The First 100 Days of Meditation

We keep reading about it; the most important endeavor one can undertake is self knowledge – “Know thyself” as the inscription reads at the Temple of Apollo – and what better way to start that examination than practice of meditation?

—————————

The Lab Report – 005 – “Meditation:

The First 100 Days”

———————–

The meditation style I do is Zazen. This first phase of the experiment is about establishing the habit of sitting everyday (I prioritize consistency over duration) and building up my capacity concentration.

I count each inhalation and exhalation starting from 1 and going up to 10, then repeat. Its easier said than done!

This meditation is done with open eyes. I started with 8 minute sessions and I’m now at ~20 min sessions and I’m gradually increasing the duration.


Short term effects: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

– It can be quite frustrating to observe when one’s mind wanders off.

– I dose off all the time.

– Observing one’s thoughts and “monkey mind” creates a gap between Me and my thoughts.

– Outside of meditation I feel that it is easier to catch myself when getting lost in thoughts and snap back to presence.


Long term effects: ❓❓❓

– Still unknown. I’m aiming for doing 365 consecutive days in this experiment, so it’s still to early to tell.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️

– I find activities like this one, that should be performed everyday, to be tricky. I only missed 1 day out of 100 so far. But the only way for me to achieve that was to make meditation my number one priority during this period. So that’s what I did.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

It’s still the early days but I’m happy to have established a solid habit. But it can be a frustrating practice. I guess Being is hard when you are used to Doing. Still, I love taking a few minutes out of my day for self care!


Tell me about your experiences with mediation? 🤔

Find more experiments in the Experiment archives.

Thoughts on: “Life of Pythagoras” by Iamblichus

This is a new sub-genre for me; ‘Biographies about ancient dudes written by other ancient dudes’. Iamblichus wrote this book about Pythagoras life and teachings around 300 AD.

The book is fascinating, often boring and sometimes complicated.

📝 He traveled everywhere he thought he could find wisdom. “He thus passed 22 year in the sanctuary of temples, studying astronomy and geometry and being initiates in no casual or superficial manner to in the mysteries of the gods”. On top of that he studied 12 years of the sciences.

📝 He was regraded as a divinity and was a cult leader.

📝 People looking for apprenticeship with Pythagoras were studied and observed for a long before getting the thumbs up. If they passed these initial tests they had to spend 5 years in silence to learn to control their speech before they could see Pythagoras face to face.

📝 According to this book, Pythagoras l could tame animals by talking to them, be in several places at the same time and speak to rivers. (This book reminds me of Life of a Yogi in many ways..)


⭐️ TAKEAWAY 2:

Pythagoras studied diligently under the best mentors in the world for +33 years. Then he started his career as a teacher. In modern society we expect things to go fast. For me this is was a great reminder of the value of playing long game and be patient. 🕰

⭐️ TAKEAWAY 2:

Now I have this weird urge to join a sect for some reason. 😆


I’m happy I read it but I don’t think this is for everyone.

Who’s your favorite Hellenistic philosopher? 🤔

Photo credit: @maankawas

2/5

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Trust Me, I’m Lying” – Ryan Holiday

“Each generation of media has a different cock in its mouth.” – Ryan Holiday, Trust me I’m lying.

😔 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 also for the sake of my wellbeing). But Ryan Holidays confessions from his career as a media manipulator paints a even darker picture than I could ever imagine!

👨🏼‍💻Understanding the structure and constraints of click-based media is essential. These structure explains almost everything they do. It’s in the nature of the system.

🥇 The first half of this book is should be mandatory reading (the other half turns into a bit of a rant). This is probably the book that influenced me the most this year!

What was your most influential books this year? 🤔

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “12 Rules for Life” – Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and in spite of how fucked up and unfair things are, we still can make it even worse. Let’s not do that! What if we instead get our act together and prepare ourselves to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path. And we all know where we fall short.

Peterson puts the responibility of all the world and all of it’s suffering on the individual. “If we all lived properly, we will collectively flurish.” If we put ourselves in order, maybe we will do the same to the world?

📝 “Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

The book is fantastic, but maybe more importantly – it led me to examine the world of Jungian psychology – and what a wonderful rabbit hole it is to dive into!Leading me books like these:

📖 Man and his symbols

📖 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

📖 Demian (kinda related..)

📖 Women Who Run With with the Wolves

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” – Gabor Maté

💉 An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction. Dr. Gabors is specialized in its study and treatment. His book offers powerful portraits of his patient lives, the story of his own addictive behaviors and the path to recovery.

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children.”

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

This year I got rid of two addictions: Nicotine (snus) and caffeine. 🚬☕️

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld:

“This year, I read a lot of interesting books. One of those was “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky. I got a lot of insight into what makes humans tick, and how we are irrational, emotional and out of control creatures in an entertaining way so that book influenced me a lot.

📖 “Behave” – Robert Sapolsky


I also enjoyed “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene, which expanded my views on people and was a great book to read right after Sapolsky’s book.

📖 “The Laws of Human Nature” – R. Greene


Then I learned a lot from reading Carl Rogers and his book “On Becoming A Person”. Especially the first half of the book.

📖 “On Becoming A Person” – Carl Rogers


I highly recommend you check them out!

The key insights for this year must be those of neuroscience, behavior, psychology, and biology. We humans are not so rational and stable as we think we are. But if we can come to terms with the factor that our hormones govern our behavior, we can begin to catch ourselves when we are about to carry out an impulsive action and stop ourselves before we do something we will later come to regret.

I am looking forward to reading more about psychology, mythology, and human nature next year. I’m also looking forward to writing and publishing more blog posts. I am excited about work in general so that pretty much sums it up!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Bookstagram. We’ll talk soon. Take care.

Best regards// @chriserzfeld