Thoughts on: “Wanderlust” by Rebecca Solnit

If there is a way to read a book in the “wrong way”, I might actually have done it with this one! I listened to a book about walking while running.

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“A history of walking” is a bit misleading because it feels very superficial as a history book. It more a collection of musings and digressions around the subject of walking in the context of culture and history.

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Walkings influence on philosophizing/writing/thinking, women’s rights to roam freely, the “walking gardens” of leisure class, political marches and the auto-mobilization of public spaces are some of the topics covered. Sound kind of dry and boring but for some reason (and I can’t really put my finger on why), it kept my interest all the way through. ———————

📝 About the car mentality of modern day America: “People seem to have a mental radius on how far they are willing to walk, and it’s shrinking.”

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📝 Flâneur: A stroller. A connoisseur of the the streets.

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📝 Rousseau believed that the original man wandered the forests in solitude, living a simplistic life. This was what we ought to emulate. Most of his philosophy was born during his long walks.

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📝 Walking has been much more accessible to men than women. And this is still the case today. Restrictions and risk of physical abuse has limited women’s access roaming freely. 2/3 of American women are afraid to walk their neighborhood at night.

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📝 Back in the day the treadmill was used to punish prisoners sentenced to hard labor.

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⭐️ Takeaway: I should pay attention to my health. I would love to be able to still wander around during my autumn years without interference from bad knees, back problems or obesity.

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This is definitely not for everyone but if you, like I do, enjoy walking just for the sake of walking it might be worth your time.

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3/5

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Thoughts on: “Advice not Given” by Mark Epstein

“When we let the ego have free reign we suffer – but when we learn to let go, we are free.”

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Dr. Epstein explores where psychotherapy and Buddhism can complement each other in the persuit of mental wellness.

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The Buddha and Freud, Dr Epstein says, came to a similar conclusion. Ego is the enemy, the limiting factor in our wellbeing.

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Sure! We can control our egos to a large extent if we put in the effort, but I’m not as convinced as Dr. Epstein, that Sigmund’s Id, ego and super ego – and the “self” of buddhism are too similar – other than that the burden of societal norms increase our suffering – and that breaking free of those bonds is the key to inner

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📝 The Eightfold Path: Right view, right motivation, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

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📝 “Death is Apart of Life. Don’t make a big deal out of it!”

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📝 Right speech goes for both the external and the internal. Catch loops of bad self-talk!

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📝 We all need to find a way to deal with the truth of impermanence. ”Change is the Only Constant.”

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📝 Freud was a badass, Buddha was a badass!

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Epstein gives you psychotherapeutic case studies and personal stories interwoven with Zen parables – All tied together neatly with each chapter representing one of the 8 fold paths of Buddhism.

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I solid read for winding down and getting over yourself!

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3/5


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Thoughts on: “Walk Like a Buddha” by Lodro Rinzler

“All of you are perfect as you are, and you can use a little improvement”

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi


This is a very practical and accessible book about how to apply the teachings of the buddha to different aspects modern life. It has a question/answer format like: What would the buddha do in this and that situation or what would his stance be on one thing or another.


The book is good, but I feel that most of the value I got from it comes from cited sources rather than from the authors own experiences and insights.


📝 An elderly man teaches his grandson about peace. He said that he has two wolves that lives within his heart. One is fueled by anger and aggression and the other by kindness. They are always at war with each other for his heart.. The grandson asked: “who will ultimately win?”. The man answers:

“The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed”.


📝 Everyone think they are busy all the time. It’s easy to be busy! Get a dedicated time for meditation.


📝 Impermanence is a bitch. Going through Hell is not punishment, it’s training. We have to learn to deal with. A big part of life is pain and if you don’t learn to relate to it you are missing out on big aspects of life.


📝 At work: if you feel boredom. Drop it like a meditator drops an intrusive thought. The present moment is a perfect point from which to start anew.


📝 “Always don’t know”. Keep an inquisitive mind.


📝 There are so many things that can make an office environment toxic, but Mindless speech seems to be is chief among them.

The Four Gates of Speech:

1. Is what I’m about to say true?

2. Is what I’m saying necessary?

3. Is what I’m saying kind?

4. Is it a good time?


📝 From “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” by author Bronnie Ware:

“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected from me.”


💡 Takeaway. “Live your life as an experiment”. Nothing new here! BUT I’m a big proponent doing experiments. Going forward I will post about concluded and ongoing experiments I’m conducting. Stay tuned!What are you experimenting with in your life?

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Thoughts on: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

I was not the only one that woke up confused with Donald Trump installed as president of the United States.

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This book has helped me understand how this could happen and why it came a such a surprise for a lot of people.

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The book is part memoir and part sociocultural analysis. J. D Vance tells the true story of what it like to live in community in decline. He grew up in a rust belt town in a family that struggled with addiction and abuse but escaped it. Seeing his own community from from an outside perspective made him write this book.

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The white working class is the one social group in America that has the darkest outlook on life. Learned helplessness, believing that ones choices don’t have any impact on ones life, is widespread and belief in upward mobility and opportunities to come is fading.

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I don’t have a certain key takeaway from this book, but it help understand where the messaging of Trumps presidential campaign was aimed at and how in some circles it came as such a surprise that he won.

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This is not a book about politics, but a very honest and personal story that attempts to understand reasons behind the recent decline in the “hillbilly” way of life. It doesn’t mention Trump but it makes it clear that there are a lot of desperate people in the US that feel overlooked and want to end the status quo no matter the price.

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4/5

“Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

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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

Thoughts on: Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

We all lie like hell to ourselves and others, and it’s stresses us to death.

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It’s to the point, unapologetic and without sugar coating. The honesty Dr Blanton is talking about is not just “truth is the best policy”, but to tell the truth as you experience it, in great detail and no matter how it portraits you identity.

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What he suggests is shock program, but don’t worry, because 99.99% of you won’t have the ball (or tits?!) to do the exercises described in this book. Your ego won’t let you. And you don’t need to, you will still get massive value from reading it.

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📝 Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play.”

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📝 “The stress that kills or cripple most of us come from people being too hard on themselves when they don’t live up to their own imaginings about how other people think they should behave.”

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📝 How long it takes to build a ego identity depends on culture and tech level. For a bushman to go from child to starting to making babies, take on an adult role and choose vocation takes about a year. In our culture adolescent last from 12 to 40 y/o.

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📝 “We mix up reality with our interpretation of reality. We invent some fundamental lies of how life should and shouldn’t be. Then we use food and drugs to temporarily escape the lie we invented.”

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📝 “Getting drunk & stoned works! being sad & being fat works! Especially in a world where being angry, horny or being expressly joyful is tabu.”

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📝 “The key to happiness is the willingness to take care of oneself. Problem is that most people are willing to take care of anything and anyone else, but themselves.”

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⭐️ The author walks his talk when describing his intention with this book; to show off what he learned during his career, but also to show that he is smarter than most people. To be rich and famous and to create a legacy that lives on after his death.
Thing we all think but never say explicitly.

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I end this review by quoting my notes: “Mind-blowing book!”

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Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton – 5/5

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Thoughts on: “The Stranger in the Woods”

Christopher Knight was 20 years old when he one day walked into the woods, never to return to society again. It took 27 years for him to reemerge, not by his own choosing, but because he got captured by the police for stealing food.

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He spent a third of a century alone in the woods. He never lit a fire to keep warm during the horrid Maine winters. He didn’t speak to anyone, not even himself. This book tell the incredible story of last true hermit.

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📝 Lack of preparation: “It was like he planned to go out camping for the weekend and didn’t come home in a quarter century”

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📝 “Those with less becomes content, those with more becomes confused” Lao Tsu, “Tao Te Ching”.

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📝 He was confounded by the ideas of passing the prime of your life in a cubical,spending hours a day in front of the computer in exchange for money, was considered acceptable – While relaxing in a tent in the woods was disturbed.

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📝 He never got sick – “You need to be around people for that to happen.” – But he had problems with his teeth. Probably because he had a child’s dream diet of junk food, candy and sodas.

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📝 He was guilty of over 1000 burglaries.40 a year on average.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We tend to want to extract the wisdom we think comes from choosing a path so different from most people. So, What was Knights advice after 27 in by himself? “Get enough sleep.” I think that is as sagely an advise as any. 😎

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Love the book! The story is absolutely fascinating, but it leaves you wondering if there is not more to the story. His family never reported him missing, and the author shrugs he whole thing off with the comment; “The Knights are very private people”.

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4/5

“Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel

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Thoughts on: “Light for Visual Artists”


There are two areas into which I want to spend more of my reading time going forward; classic fiction and textbook learning materials.

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This one falls in the latter category – which is the harder of the two to write interesting post about – and as reading material these types of books can be pretty dry & boring, but the purpose here is not primarily to be entertained but to learn a new skill or expand your expertise within a certain field.

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📝 Most diffuse surfaces, such as wood and rock, become darker when they become wet. This is because the water is reflecting off the light in a specular fashion, and so less light reaches the underlying surface.

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📝 Different skin colours react differently to light. Caucasian skin has the greatest color variation due to its lack of pigment, so that blood has more influence on the color of the skin.

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📝 Direct reflection is the kind of reflection associated with mirrors: rays of light hitting the surface are reflected back at the same angle relative to the surface, thereby creating a recognizable image.

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📝 The limited range of color a device like an computer screen can display is know as it’s gamut.

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A must have for the visual artist, whether you are a painter, photographer or digital artist. The text is clear and every phenomenon imaginable is illustrated in great detail with photos and examples.

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Especially the first part of the book stood out to me – The Fundamentals of light – it’s hard to see the world in the same way after gaining full understanding of light, shadow and color.

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What really niche subject did you read up on this year?! 🤔

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind”

zenmindbeginnersmind

I feel like some book are meant to be studied rather just being read. There are some book that I decided not to review for this reason. Reading them ones just don’t do the trick, usually this is the case with esoteric writings like today’s book.
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So I read the book two more times after finishing it. Not because the book was fantastic in any way but to see if there was any value in repeating the information. Maybe it would reveal new insights?
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It kinda worked! like peeling an union – each round exposed a new layer of understanding and more concepts made sense. Unfortunately re-reading didn’t turn it in to a “must read” recommendation. 😜
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📝 When you are a beginner it’s easy to learn. The challenge is to keep this mindset – the beginners mind – when you get to an advanced level.
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📝 “Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say: it’s easy to have calmness in inactivity. It’s hard to have calmness in activity. Calmness in activity is true calmness.”
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📝 Zazen: “If you continue to this simple practice everyday you will attain a wonderful power. before you attain it it’s something wonderful but after you attain it it’s nothing special.”
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It’s a cool book about Zen practice and you should probably pick it up if you are into meditation and feel like you need some inspiration to spice things up. ———————
Which books did I end up not writing reviews for, you ask? So far it’s “Power vs. Force” and “The Kybalion”. Did you ever run into books where you not sure how you feel about them? 🤔
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3/5

 

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