Thoughts on: Educated by Tara Westover

A memoir. Likely one of the best I’ve read.

——

Tara grew up in a pious Mormon family lead by a survivalist father with a fondness for conspiracy theories. His plan was to be fully self-reliant and “off the grid” before the End of Days, an event he was sure to be imminent.

Tara’s story about finding her independence is a powerful one; a narrative so well-crafted I had a hard time putting it down even for my most basic maslowian needs.


📝 Her mother was trained to be a midwife. The idea was that she would deliver the grandchildren ones the family was “off the grid”.

📝 The Protocols on the Elders of Zion: A fabricated document, from 1903, of a secret meeting of powerful Jews planing world domination. Discredited, but it still spread anti-semitism and fueled conspiracy theorists for decades to come.

📝 She read Mormon doctrine in mimicry of a brother that left her for school. “In retrospect I can see that this was my education. The one that would matter.” “The skill I was learning was a crucial one; the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”

📝 Mother was a herbalist and energy worker: “Mother was marketing her product as a spiritual alternative to Obama Care.” Made bank! 💰


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

It is fascinating how the object of concern for the conspiracy theorist change over time as each prophecy fail to deliver the end of days. When Y2K didn’t happened Taras father lost hope for a while, then the events of 9/11 filled that vacuum.


⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we run into trouble. What are we scoring here?! Our goal is to educate ourself about the human condition and learn how to live well in spite of it. The rating system gives and indication on how well a book meets that goal.

For our learning purposes it’s a good book (3). As a “beach book” it’s excellent! (4 or a 5). Pick it up during summer break (if you have the privilege to have one) then get back to your studies! 😉👨‍🎓👩‍🎓


3/5


⁉️ QUESTON:

Are there any books on the psychology of conspiracy theorists? AND What’s your thoughts on vaccines, Illuminati, Rothchilds, Aliens and government brainwashing? 🤔

Photo credit: @thebookunicorns

For more mind boggling read check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson

A book about hope. About our desperate chase for it. How easily it’s lost and what happens when we don’t have it; How to instill it, and how to overcome it.


📝 “Today appealing to the hopeless is easier than ever before. All you need is a social media account. Start to posting extreme and crazy shit and let the algorithm do the rest.”

📝 Intellectually understanding that we should change a behavior doesn’t help. “Emotional problems needs emotional solutions”. Being more empathetic to myself really helped me quit nicotine.

📝 “While pain is inevitable, suffering is always a choice.”

📝 “Science is singularly responsible for all the greatest invention and advances in human history.” It introduced the concept of growth. Before that the average human died in the same economic state she was born.

📝 Blue dot effect 🔵:

If we expect to see something, we start to see it even where there is none. This has terrible implications for almost everything.

“The better things get, the more we perceive threats where there are none and the more upset we become.” Being a victim of violence used to mean that someone physically harmed someone. Today some use the word violence to describe words that make them feel uncomfortable.

📝 In the lunchroom at the department store where I worked as a teen everyone would discuss shows that aired the night before on TV. We all watched the same tv-shows and sat on the same sofas. Social cohesion held the western societies together. Then the Internet came with endless options and varieties! Maybe we miss the old days?

(ps. Is this why people love Game of Thrones? Because it’s the last shared distraction we have?).

📝 “Most people avoid meditation like a kid avoiding homework.”


⚖️ VERDICT:

Unstructured, oversimplified and a thin overarching theme? Yes, at times. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and it opened my eyes to subjects and problems that deserve a closer look further down the road of my literary journey.

4/5


“…the only thing that can ever truly destroy a dream is to have it come true.” Have this happened to you? 🤔

Photocredit: @chandradyani_

For more excellent books, check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Martin Luther” by Eric Metaxas

Luther rejected the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and the practice of selling indulgences (get out-of-jail-free cards for purgatory, basically.) in particular. Thereby he started the era known to us as the Reformation.


Let’s jump right into the notes:

📝 He was about to become a law student when he got trapped in a lighting storm. Praying for his life he uttered: “Ich will ein Munk werden” (“I will become a monk”). The storm calmed and it was so.

📝 1476 the market for indulgences where expanded beyond the living. Now you could pay for the sins of the dead too!

📝 Luther heroically posting his truths on the wooden church door in Wittenberg is fiction made in hindsight. What Luther actually posted was an invitation to debate….which no one attended.

📝 Two things fueled the Reformation: the printing press and Luther writing in German (instead of Latin). Luther’s writing spread like wildfire which was unintentional. It was as if a hastily written email to a friend was accidentally forwarded to a major news corporation.

📝 “A simple layman armed with scripture is to be believed above a Pope or council without it.”

📝 “This life is the shithouse compared to the glories of heaven” – Luther 😎

📝 FUNNY STORY: A nobleman asked if he could buy indulgences for a future sin and a preacher named Tetzel said he could. When the peacher was about to leave town the nobleman robbed and beat him up and left with the comment: “this was the future sin I had in mind!”. 😂😂


Overall solid, VERY solid book. I enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would. Also it felt good to fill another gap in my history education; the Reformation.


What biographies have you planned for this year? 🤔

I would like to do another political leader (a president or Churchill) or a Nietzsche bio 💪🏻

4/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great reads!

Thoughts on: “The Power of Moments” by Chip & Dan Heath

The book does what it sets out to do and does it competently; It want to show how powerful moments- the moments that defines us and we remember for a long time – can change and elevate us. The Heaths breaks down why this is and how we can create more of powerful moments.


📝 The years between 15 – 30 has the most Moments. Probably due to novelty.

📝 Peak/End rule: Experiences are judged by two key moments; The peak and the end. Think about your last vacation. What do you remember from it?

📝 The Oddball Effect: Surprise stretches time. Novel moments are experiences as 36% longer than routine ones.

📝 “What did you fail at today?” A question for the family at the dinner table. Encourage to push yourself to stretch. An attempt to normalize failure.

📝 Try this! Next time you have a conversation, push intentionally beyond small talk. Make yourself vulnerable and be surprised by the results. Relationships don’t deepen naturally.

📝 Struggle together and strong bonds will be created. I just came off a challenging work project. Making RAGE2 (a video game) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The experience turned mere collages into brothers and sisters.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I got the recipe. Now I need to create more moments and better moments for myself and others.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I did not like this book, and I think it’s my fault. I have read to much about the subjects covered in this book already which makes a lot of the conclusions feel like common sense. BUT they probably aren’t if you are new to books on positive psychology, communication, leadership.

If you’re a new reader and want to create better relationships and be a better leader than this is a good starting point!


3/5

Photo credit: @kanoilab


Are you too suffering from diminishing return when reading certain genres? 🤔

Find the best books I’ve ever read in my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris

Theodore Roosevelt was a force of nature. I have never heard of a man of such industry before. The book covers his early years, from birth to becoming President of the United States. Whether you are into politics or not, this book is truly fascinating. Building himself up from a weak, sick-looking boy with terrible asthma to a force to be reckoned with.

He had a relentless passion for learning (the guy read all the time and at insane speeds). This is a more exciting origin story than anything Marvel or DC comics ever produced.

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: My takeaway from this book is that life is long. Long enough to accomplish great things if you use your time well.

——

5/5

For more insightful read, check out my Reading Lists

Thoughts on: “The Sell” by Fredrik Eklund

Top ranking real estate broker Fredrik Eklund reveals all his secrets on how to sell you, your product and how to achieve success in life. Written as a guide to greatness mixed with autobiographical snippets it hooked me instantly. Mostly because of Fredrik’s colorful personality.

I truly enjoyed his personal stories and his positive outlook on life. .

The experienced reader of personal development books will recognize a lot of the concepts Fredrik writes about, but it is a great introduction for someone new to the genre.

As always, I have to pick something for immediate implementation in my own life from the books I read…because applied knowledge is power! 💪. This time it will be to find my own trademark or “gimmick”. Though, I might pick something more discrete than Fredrik “high kick” 😄👍

3/5

Find more book worth reading in my reading lists

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 3) – India and it’s Neighbors

I’m 35 hours (50 in total) into this beast of a book and it’s a good time for another mini review. This part tackles the history of India and it’s a good one!


📝Gandhi: “What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” I have never fasted. Have you? Maybe this will be my next experiment. 🧪

📝 It’s hard to overestimate the importance and impact and the cast system on India. I want to read more about it. 🤓

📝 The dominating fact in India is heat, Durant argues. ☀️ “It weakened the youth and shortened them. It also gave way to the most quiet of religions and philosophy”. “The only relief of this heat is to sit still and do nothing and desire nothing”…”When the monsoon fails to blow, India starves, and dreams of Nirvana.” 🧐🤔

📝 Mohenjo-daro was as old as the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

📝 “In the whole world, said Schopenhauer, there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as the of the Upanishads. It’s been the solace of my life. It will be the solice of my death”. This Schopenhauer guy show up a lot in the Laws of Human Nature too. I need to read his work.

📝 ”Unlike most saints, Buddha had a sense of humor and knew that metaphysic without laughter is immodesty”.

📝 The oldest and ever reoccurring theme of Hindu thought: “individual separateness is an illusion.” “All life is one”.


⭐️TAKEAWAY: “Nothing should more deeply shameful to the modern student than the recency and Inadequacy of his acquaintance with India.” 🙋‍♂️🤦‍♂️ 🇮🇳. Ive been quite oblivious, but reading this is a part of the cure. I also want to read more about the cast system, Brahmins and maybe even take a closer look at the Upanishads. Let me know if you have book recommendations?

The books goes into traditional yogic practices (hardcore stuff.😨), the life of the Buddha, and the story of Buddhism and Hinduism and a short biography about Gandhi. And you know me by know; I LOVE that stuff!

4/5

What are you reading this week?

Also read part 1 and part 2 in this review series. Plus find other awesome books here!

Thoughts on: “Abundance” Diamandis & Kotler

Exponential technology has the potential to create a world of abundance. Did you know that aluminum was the most valuable of metals back in the day? Now we use it for disposable cans. This book covers exponentials that will shape the near future. Including computing power, nano science, microbiology and 3D printing to name a few. It’s written to get people aware and excited about the future in a world where mass media predicts the end of the world. My main takeaway is to try to recognize how quality of life for almost everyone is steadily improving with the help of human ingenuity–and try to battle some of my tendencies towards a “scarcity” thinking.

5/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

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: “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steven Pinker

It’s an odyssey through the history of human violence. Pinkers thesis is that we have seen a great decline in violence both in the long term , as well as short term history of mankind and he sets out to find out why this is.

This is a dense book.

I listened to the audiobook which clocked in at 36 hours. But don’t be discouraged! It’s such a deep topic and you will have an expanded view on humanity after turning the last page.

One of my many takeaways from this book is not to base my world on images, but on facts. One can easily be fooled by the availability bias when the 24-hour news cycle portraits rare accidents, catastrophes and act of violence appear as common events by giving the disproportionate airtime.

This is essential reading if you’re in a quest for worldly knowledge.

5/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!