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!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: 21 Lessons for the 21 century

What Harari has done here is quite a feat. He has squeezed what could easily been a series of books into one volume, covering topics like:

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▪️The resurrection of nationalism.

▫️What to do in a post-jobs world.

▪️The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism.

▫️Why we need a deep understanding of suffering and how to attain it.

▪️What should we teach our kids in school to prepare the for the future?

▫️How to live in the age of biotech, algorithms and AI.

▪️Is religion still relevant?

▫️Do we need a whole new ideology to deal with the problems of the 21st century when liberalism just wont cut it anymore?

▪️Culturism vs. Rasism.

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The book is relevant, nuanced and sometimes frightening.

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How do I plan do dig deeper into the themes covered in this book in 2019?

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I will read ‘Future Presence’ early next year. It’s about human connection in a future of virtual reality.

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

My Year in Books with @danjmartinwa

“I listen to nearly one book per day, plus very many podcasts. I learn something I never knew from each book. Books,like people, know many stories and facts I don’t. Every day the parameter of my ignorance expands just like the universe.

Here are some books that really stood out to me this year!

– Dan Martin

📖 The Age of Eisenhower– William I Hitchcock

📖 Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

📖 Accessory to War– Neil deGrasse Tyson & Avis Lang

📖 Walt Disney – Neal Gabler

📖 Slavery by Another Name – Douglas A. Blackmon

– Dan Martin (@danjmartinwa on Instagram


When someone who reads one book a day gives you his 5 most outstanding books of the year then you better pay attention! I don’t know you Dan but you are a cool dude! 😎

– Poor Bjorn

 

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “How to Live: or a Life of Montaigne” by Sarah Bakewell

Ah Montaigne! I’m glad I got to know you. You are now officially added to my list of peculiar historical men that fascinate me to no end – alongside Ben Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt.


He wrote 107 essays with simple titles like “of Friendship”, “of Cannibals”, “of Names” and “of Cripples”. He was an observer of the world but most of all he observed and wrote about himself.


📝 He was send out by his parents to be nursed by peasants as an infant in a weird attempt to create a bond with “the commoners” that he would one day need to help.


📝 His parents educational experiment continued; Montaigne was brought up as a native Latin speaker! A tough plan to put in practice since the were almost no native latin speakers around. The rest of the household spoke minimal or no Latin.


📝 “A man… should touch his wife prudently and soberly, lest if he caresses her too lasciviously the pleasure should transport her outside the bound of reason” Montaigne quoted Aristotle. Saying, basically, the conventional notion in those days that being a passionate husband would turn the wife into a nymphomaniac. 😂


📝 Pay attention!

As Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for paying attention is to write about everything. Just to describe simple things in the world opens your eyes to how marvelous they are.


📝 “Still French was his language of choice”. His essays gives a weird reason for this: French could not be expected to last in the same way as the classical languages (I.e. Latin). This was freeing. If his writing was flawed, there was less pressure on him since the where doomed anyway.


📝 He was a big fan of Hellenistic philosophy; Stoicism and Skepticism in particular. Stoicism encourages wise detachment and skeptics held themselves back on principle. His motto was “What do I know?”.


📝 In “on cripples” Montaigne writes about a rumor that lame women are more enjoyable in bed, and as Aristotle before him, he speculates that it must be that “their vaginas are more muscular because they receive the nourishment of which the legs are deprived.”


It’s a fascinating biography even for the uninitiated! Now I just need to read his actual essays!


4/5

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Thoughts on: “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson

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

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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?

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📝 Render the people you care about competent – not protected.

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📝 The poor and stressed always die first. “When the aristocracy catches a cold the working class dies in pneumonia.”

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📝 Routine is necessary, the stuff we do everyday needs to be automatized into stable and reliable habits so that they gain reliability and lose complexity.

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📝 Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

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📝 “What you aim at determines what you see”. Choose your aim carefully!

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📝 “Why does it so often seem to be the very people standing so visibly against prejudice who so often feel obligated to denounce humanity itself?”

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📝 “As hard as it is to believe, a patient adult can defeat a two year old.”

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📝 Don’t blame your enemies, capitalism or the leftists. Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience! Set your house in perfect order before criticizing the world.

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⭐️ Takeaway:

When I started reading this book we lay next to our son at bedtime until he had fallen asleep. This was not good. Now he goes to sleep alone after his bedtime story. He is now a more competent and independent being. Me and my wife has more time together in the evening. We are a stronger family now. This is good.

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Don’t let the title fool you, this is not a cheap self-help book. Not even close. This comes from a man that has been thinking thoroughly. I might not agree with all his conclusions but the least I can do is to follow Rule 9 and “assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t”. Loved it!

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5/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield

This book is about the struggle against Resistance that keeps us from pursuing our creative endeavors.

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It is this Resistance that makes us hate ourselves, and that breeds undirected discontent.

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The world is made up of amateurs and professionals. They are both dealing with the same material (the pain of being human and struggle of self-sabotage), but they have fundamentally different approaches on how to deal with it.

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The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fear that this new person will be judged and rejected by the tribe.

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The amateur replaces ambition with addiction. Drugs, alcohol and other distractions; like drama, social media, porn, the news, food keeps the amateur from doing the actual work required.

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When we turn pro people will attempt to make us feel guilty for the change we are undergoing. Sacrifices will have to be made and habits will shift.

When we turn pro we face our fear.

When we turn pro, everything becomes simple. Turning pro is a commitment to do the work.

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📝 “Our work is a practice. One bad day is nothing for us. Ten bad days are nothing.” Because we are pros.

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📝 The amateur identifies with his ego. That’s why he is terrified. He competes with others and rates himself in relation to others.”

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📝 “Krishna said we have the right to our labor, but not the fruits of our labor. He meant that the piano is its own reward, as is the canvas, the barre and the movieola”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fear that this new person will be judged and rejected by the tribe. But the fact is that nobody gives a shit and there is no tribe. People are to caught up in their own bullshit to care. Realize this and you’re free to do what the fuck you want.

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Fantastic book! Your will save yourself time and effort by underlining what you find unimportant, rather than the other way around! 😀👌🏻

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5/5

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Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Best Books of the Year: #1

#1 “Levels of Energy” by Frederick E. Dodson

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Here is something they didn’t teach you in school! The premise of the book is that there are clearly defined levels of consciousness. Basically, people experience reality differently – and act and think in a certain ways -depending on their energy “level”. Dodson lays out his whole spectral energy scale, from 0 – 1000, from the hellish to joy and bliss. It’s quite a ride!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

It’s fascinating! I don’t think it’s possible to read through this book without discovering something new about yourself or the people and environment around you.

————— IMPACT —————

The key to enjoying this book is to not expect to resonate with or believe everything it says. That’s also what open-mindedness is for me – to be able to listen to arguments and ideas that goes against ones believes, then experiment with that new information and see what works – and change views accordingly. You don’t have to believe the content and still you get huge benefits from reading it. Which is really cool! This book was the most interesting book I read this year. It’s super weird, but I think you can handle it! 😀👌🏻

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Best Books of the Year – #2

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

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Having anxiety about how the Internet is changing us? As we enjoy new ways of consuming information, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

The book is incredibly interesting and explains a lot of behavioral changes I’ve noticed in myself in recent years. It discusses the science around how internet browsing affects the way we think and learn. We also get a fascinating history of how, throughout time, the introduction of new media have changed the human perspective. Well researched and eye-opening! “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”

-Seneca

————— IMPACT —————

Most of all it has helped me keep and expand good learning habits and to notice – and discard – bad ones. One notion I’ve had for a while is that the length time you are exposed to an idea matters. Learning about 30 different topics for 30 min each (by reading articles and blogs for instance) is less effective for accumulating knowledge, than learning about one topic for 15 hours by reading a book. Something that research seems to support.

We also have to make some room here to consider the confirmation bias; of course I will appreciate a book that says that reading books is a great for deep learning and retaining knowledge. 🤥

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

How do you go about creating as much retention as possible when learning new thing?

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

Find more favorites here: Favorite Books of 2017

 

Best Books of the Year: #3

#3 “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Hesse influential book about a wealthy Brahmin son that casts off a life of privilege to find spiritual fulfillment. A short read and profound read!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

“This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.” – Gary (Goodreads). I think this sentence really captures why this book is important.

————— IMPACT —————

It ended up in my possession by coincidence. It was not on my radar at all. I met the mysterious man behind @booksonthetub in the subway one autumn morning at 5am. He had brought a stack of books for me that he thought might be of interest and “Siddhartha” was one of them. I’m happy I read it! It’s not every day you find a book that you know you will go back to over and over again throughout life. This book also spawned my first fiction review on my page. There will be more of that going forward!

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What book was surprising for you last year?

——————MORE——————

This book got me so inspired that I made a fool of myself and wrote the review of it in verse.

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Best Books of the Year – #4

#4 “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

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The gripping biography of the most prominent innovator of out time.

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

Parts goes to Isaacson for being able to write a 600 page book without any real low points, and parts goes to Steve for being such an interesting fella! Anyhow – it’s just an excellent biography!

————— IMPACT —————

These is something with the intensity and focus with which Steve engaged with the world that I find truly fascinating. That’s what I’m taking away from this book.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

⁃ Steve Jobs

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What’s your favorite biography you read last year??

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017