Thoughts on: ‘Richard Nixon: A Life’ John A. Farrell

Some reading projects are more ambitious than others. On my journey to reading a biography of every American president the time has come for Nixon (I’m on 3 of 45).

This is an excellent biography of a powerful, yet insecure and anxious man, in period of great turmoil historical. Corruption and paranoia; this dense biography really has it all.

Todays notes highlights attitudes have changed since the Nixon days (or have they?! 😉)


📝 Abortion: Abortion encourage permissiveness, Nixon thought, but, “there are times when abortions are necessary…” “..you know, between a black and a white.” he told Colson.

“Or rape.” Colson said.

“Or rape..”, Nixon said, “..you know what I mean.”

📝 Nixon had theories of black inferiority and black prospects: “Most of them are basically out of the threes. I have the greatest affection for them but I know they won’t make it for next 500 years.”

📝 Stress and Self medication: “In the evening, if I have 2-3 drinks I feel good. Do you think that should be knocked off or reduced?” Nixon said to his doctor. Alcohol is a great stress reducer. I have tried it myself haha 😂

📝 “You know one of the reasons fashion has made women look so terrible is that the god damn designers hate women.” Nixon theorized, “Though now they are trying to get some more sexy things going again.”

“Hot pants.” Erlichman added.

“Jesus Christ.” Said Nixon.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I can see where the American publics distrust of government comes from. What a mess this period was! Watergate, the Pentagon papers and projects Moongoose 🤦‍♂️

My next president will probably be Kennedy or Lincoln.


Do you have any ambition reading projects?

Score: 4/5

For more fantastic reads make sure to check out my Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: ‘Grinding it Out’ by Ray Croc

Ray Croc was a 52 year when he first met the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California. He was impressed with the operation they got going; and the French fries in particular. Ray had seen his fair share of restaurants in his days as a multimixer salesman, but this one was special. The limited menu, the affordable prices, the cleanliness. It was love! ❤️

Ray wondered why the brothers didn’t expand their concept, but the McDonald brothers where not men of such ambition. So Ray took on the expansion himself—and the rest is history.


📝 Ray Croc biggest contribution was the McDonalds franchise system.

📝 “Persistence and determination alone is omnipotent.”

📝 Surprisingly little drama. I feel the rise of McDonald’s has been a pretty smooth ride compared to other business stories I’ve read.

📝 They started to build restaurants after what they called a “monotony index”. The higher the degree of monotony in a town the higher the likelihood that a McDonald’s Restaurants success. Why? Less alternatives to spending the evening at the MD.

🍟 My best combo at the Golden Arches these days is to get a Spring Sallad and a McVegan burger. Wicked combo! 👌🏻

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Ray didn’t see his ideas as a grand designs but worked ‘from the part to the whole’. Perfecting every fundamental before moving on to the large scale idea. I wonder if this mindset could be helpful for those of us who are in the process of building Instagram accounts? Would it be beneficial to focus on perfecting one element at the time; pictures, captions, hashtags, timings etc..?


I’m thankful for this little memoir of the first 40 years of McDonald. Love it or hate it, MD is a company we have a some kind of relationship with.

3/5

What your favorite business memoir? 🤔

I think mine are ‘Shoe Dog’ and maybe..’Jack Ma’?!

Photo: @pedagogyofthefresh

Check out Reading Lists for more great reads!

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 4) – The Far East

My longest book to date has reached its end, and this is just the 1st volume (out of 11) in the The Story of Civilization series by Will Durant. This last part focused on ancient China and Japan.

Was it worth it? We are talking about a 50 hour audiobook. Yes, I think so! Does the #sunkcostfallacy play a role in this answer? It probably does! I’ve suffered through a lot of dry talk about pottery and poetry to reach this point.


📝 The feet of girls at age 7 where compressed with tight bandages to prevent their further growth, so that the mature lady might walk with a mincing step erotically pleasing to the men.

In the prescence of a lady the word shoe was taboo.🦶 👠

📝 To know the ‘Dao’ is to surpress ones knowledge. “We have to forget our theories and feel the facts.”

📝 Confucianism: “Only in Christianity and in Buddhism can we find again so heroic an effort to transmute into decency the natural brutality of men.”

📝 Chinese civilization in 2 words: Philosophy and Porcelain.

📝 “Beards where small and always shaved, but seldom of the owner thereof.” oh, I cannot but LOVE Will Durants prose and elegant summaries of the smallest aspects of civilization. 😂

📝 Chinese writing: “The same character is read as different sounds and words in different localities.” I remember seeing Chinese and Japanese students, who where unable to communicate verbally, communicate through written messages when I studied in Japan. 🤯

📝 When the revolution raged they forgot the old sages words. “He who thinks the old embankments useless and destroys them is sure to suffer from the desolation caused by overflowing water.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

“The accumulation of wealth in the hands of the minority is no doubt a universal and apparently unfailing concomitant of civilization.” We see this play out over and over again.

I’m still green but now I at least have a slight understanding of Confucianism and rudimentary understanding of the Chinese and Japanese culture and history.

3/5

Which books is the longest book you read? 🤔

Check out my READING LISTS for more great reads!

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!