Thoughts on: “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari

For a long time depression and anxiety has been believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and the solution is a lifetime pill popping. Hari challenges this idea, both the cause and the solution.

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His research shows 9 very different causes for depression – Disconnection from…

1. Meaningful work

2. Meaningful values

3. Other people

4. Status and respect

5. Childhood trauma

6. The natural world

7. A hopeful and secure future

8. & 9. The real role of genes and brain changes.

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📝 “You are not a machine with broken parts you are an animal whose need have not been met.”

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📝 When asked how many friends people have, “zero” is the most common answer.

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📝 Anxious and depressed people are prone to gaming addiction. Games have groups and teams, clear goals, and provides a sense of control.

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📝 Anti depressant Companies (who often finance studies) only publish what makes their product look good. Just like when we take selfies, we discard the double chins and post the one where we look ace! 🤳

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📝 The more people value things, the more likely they are to be depressed.

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📝 Obesity and loneliness are equally deadly.

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📝 Studies show that depression is in fact to a significant degree a problem not with your brain but with your life.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: I have not been depressed myself (I don’t think?) but like most people I have had periods that has been darker and more anxious than others. Reconnecting to the 9 areas pointed out by Hari definitely improved things for me. Whether it was starting to run in nature (6.), Meditation (5.), read books (2.) or work on this Insta account (1. & 3.). Unfortunately “Reconnection” is not as commercially lucrative and easy to package into a product as antidepressants.

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We all have people around us, friends or family members, that suffer from depression. Reading this book helped me gain a deeper understanding why modern society is a breeding ground for mental disorders.

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This books is a serious contender for Book of the Year for me – and it’s only beginning of February. ❤️

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What actions and habits in your life protect you from depression and anxiety? 🤔

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5/5

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Photo credit: @thelavinagency


Get the book right here or find other amazing reads in my reading lists! Also, if you want more notes from this book then checkout the Extended Notes, 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!

Thoughts on: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

I managed to squeeze in another classic before the year ended and this time it was Aldous Huxleys dystopian vision in Brave New World.

This book brings my thoughts to raise of AI and the importance of setting the right goals for it (if we ever get to Artificial General Intelligence that is.). The path chosen for the society we are presented with in Brave New World choose happiness as the highest good through maximization of pleasure and avoidance of suffering.

What does this future looks like?

No one gets to grow old. every one belongs to everyone else and no mothers and fathers are available to traumatize childhoods. There are no spouses and children to feel strongly for.

And if all else fails… there is always SOMA. The pill that makes all anxiety go away (I.e alcohol without the hangover 😉).

Mantras of the Brave new world:

    “Civilization is sterilization”
  • “Everyone belongs to everyone else”
  • “The more stitches, the less riches”

💭 Thoughts 💭 :

Will we end up in a world more like the one in this book? As we spend more time living online worlds and in VR, the real world will become more foreign. No one creates online avatars that are old, deformed or disabled. Quite the opposite; we always create idealized versions of ourselves. Just look at your own Instagram page! 😉 Will old age be something we hide like we hide dead people nowadays. Will we be shocked when we see a real human face without a photo filter applied? 😨

Great book with philosophical undertones!

4/5

What’s your worries about the near future? 🤔

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Instagram Photo credit: @dauntlessreading

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Thoughts on: ‘The Accidental President’ by A. J. Baime

I was going to get a biography of Winston Churchill and ended up with this book (some people don’t read the backside of a book before they buy it, I apparently don’t even read the front cover 😂).

I have this idea that I want would like to read a biography from each american presidents but I think I like the idea of having done it is more appealing than the process itself. 🙃

📝 Truman was Vice President when Franklin Roosevelt died. He was put in office in what might be the most eventful year of recent political history; 1945.

📝 Franklin Roosevelt famous quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

📝 Truman about the presidential workload: “It takes about 17 hours a day and then you get as much sleep as you can. Start over again and do the next 17 hours as best you can. No man can do it as it should be done.”

📝 He gave the order to use the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima.

📝 He started reading at age 5 and read a lot. He studied the heroes of history and was a fan of Plutarch. (Who I’m yet to read…)

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I noticed how clueless I am about how events during this period relate to each other in space and time:

– The defeat of Germany vs. the time of The Bomb.

– How things lead up to the Cold War.

– The raise of Mao.

– When Roosevelt was replaced with Truman. (I didn’t even know who was president at the time to be honest).

Of course I learned all of this in school. But this book highlighted how much of the knowledge has been warped or plainly forgotten. I’ll definitely spend more time with historical biographies in 2019!

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The book is good but, as with most political biographies, I find them getting tedious at times. Like the Marvel movies, I enjoy the raise of the hero/president better than the confrontation with the bad guy.

Which is you favorite biography of a world leader?

3/5

Photo credit: @socialworxpr (Instagram)

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Thoughts On: ‘On the Shortness of life’ by Seneca

A brief essay on the the duration of life. And about why most people think it’s too short, when it’s actually long enough to if the time is used properly.

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Seneca is a stoic philosopher (4. BC – 65 AD. I won’t go into into much detail about what a stoicism is, since there will be a lot other opportunities to dwell into that in upcoming post (judging from what I’m reading right now). With a risk of oversimplifying, I like how Nassim Taleb put it: “A stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one that says “fuck you” to faith”

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“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficient measure to allow us to achieve the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested…” “…we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

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So, how do people waste their life? By gossiping, overindulgence in food and sex, living life for others (work a job you hate), complaining, etc.

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Also worrying about the future or letting the past disturb ones tranquility. Then, when we find out that these things are unimportant, we only have a few years left to live and wonder where all the time has gone.

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“He who has grey hair has not lived for long, he has existed for long.”

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Being written 2000 years ago, it’s amazing how almost all these thoughts are applicable to contemporary society. ———————————–

My takeaway from this book is to be more protective of my time and be wise in how I spend it. A sad thing would be to spend your life doing things you dislike with a promise of leisure and freedom in the future. Wasting each day as it comes for a future that one are is certain to live to see.

5/5

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

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

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“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

 

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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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Thoughts on: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg

Rosenberg teaches you practical skills for getting your needs met in a peaceful way. “Nonviolent communication helps us create a more peaceful state of mind by encouraging us to focus on what we truly wanting rather than what is wrong with ourself and others.”

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Mediocre writing and terrible narration aside (for the audio version that is), this gem of a book is likely to change the way speak to yourself and others in a profound way.

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📝 “When my consciousness is forcused on another persons feelings and needs, I see the universality of our experience”.

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📝 In cultures that judge, violence is more prevalent.

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📝 It’s important that we take responsibility for our feelings, and that we in no way imply that what others say and do makes us feel the way we do.

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📝 J. Krishnamurti: “Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence”.

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📝 It might be worth trying to pull out of people what they really mean with what they are saying to find out what needs aren’t met. Your initial interpretation might be wrong! And It’s not our fault, society has not conditioned us to express ourself properly.

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📝 When you find you inner critic getting on your case about something you did, then ask yourself – What unmet need of mine is being expressed through these statements?

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to be precise in our speech.

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“Non-Violent Communication” is the perfect compliment “Crucial Conversations”. Read them both and master the principles (easier said than done!) and you will have saved yourself and the people around you from a ton of unnecessary suffering.

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If you could add one more book to create the holy trinity of communication books, which one would that be? 🤔

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4/5

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Photo credit: @monica.bitar (instagram)

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Thoughts on: “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger

“Tribe” started as an article for Vanity Fair and was later expanded on and turned into this book. It revolves around how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts and how people directly, or indirectly, affected by war have problems readjusting to normal life.

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What really stuck with me with this book was how people in war torn nation look back on war with nostalgia. Many even preferring war times to what they are now experiencing.

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📝 Genetic adaptation takes about 25000 years to accumulate in humans.

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📝 Modern society perfected the art of making people feel unnecessary. “How do you become an adult in a society that doesnt ask for sacrifice?”

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📝 People need 3 basic things in order to be content:

– Feel competent in what they do.

– Feel authentic in their lives.

– Feel connected to others.

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📝 Modern societies lack opportunity for the average man to show his commitment to his community.

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📝 During war: suicides and depression rates goes down. Productivity goes up in bombarded cities.

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💭 Thoughts:

Apart from a feeling belonging and being an asset to society, I think there is one other aspect of war that is not talked about much in this book but that could be a factor in people missing war; people want to be told what to do! The endless possibilities of modern life is taxing on people. War limits opportunities.

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I myself don’t miss conflict, community or brotherhood. I feel like I belong and feel that I contribute. The book reminded me that I haven’t always felt this way and that a lot of people feel alienated in advanced societies. It’s weird how easy it is to forget how things ones where as your outlook on life evolves.

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A bit of a depressing read – but good! -Now I need something completely different!

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4/5

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Photocredit: @ashiorigami (instagram)

 

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