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!

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!

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.

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⚖️ 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!

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

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!