Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 2) – The Near East

The second part of this tome (1200+ pages) is focused on the Ancient civilizations of the Near East; Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, Judea etc..

📝 “It is in the nature of an empire to disintegrate soon, for the energy that created it disappears from those who inherits it.”

📝 Persia was founded by a stoic people, but within a century it was destroyed by people binge-drinking and eating all day; “spending their geniuses on sauces and deserts” 🍰. What state is our current civilization in? 🤔

📝 Egypt: “Machinery was rare because muscle was cheap.”

📝 The hanging gardens of Babylon was considered considered one of the Wonders of the World. Legend has it that Nebuchadnezzar II had it build for his wife who was not used to the desert and longed for her lush homeland.

📝 There where thousands of Gods. With time minor deities merged and became mere aspects of major ones.

📝 In Judean prophets talked about the need to be moral rebirth. Jeremaya asked for circumcision of spirit as well as the flesh in his strange phrase: “Circumstance yourself to the lord, take away the foreskins of your heart.” 😂😂

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

One theme that stood out to me is how civilizations raise from hard labour and sacrifice, just so that future generation can have it go down the toilet by forgetting these hardships and fall victim to hedonism. 💩 🚽

⭐️ TAKEAWAY 2:

The accounts of the religious believes in the different civilizations fascinates me to no end. How similar their stories are to ours and how much we still can find intact or reshaped in today’s religions.

⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we get into the meat of the book and it has taken on another rhythm. I have mixed feelings about this second part of book. It’s is still brilliant but it’s getting hard to retain the information. The problem might lie in the way the book is structured, using the same template to describe each civilization, one after the other, making it overwhelming.

Check out Part 1 for more in this review series.

What are you reading these days? 🤔

Instagram Photo credit: @cinefile_25 , @eruchdah

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: “The Third Chimpanzee” by Jared Diamond

There is a 1.2 percent difference in DNA between humans and chimpanzees. But what is it that makes humans able to fly into space and create weapons so powerful that they can annihilate the earth as a whole? When did we separate into our own species and what triggered our evolutionary leap forward to become the rulers of he world?

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This is another book I picked out from Charlie Mungers list of book recommendations. And that list is a gift that keeps giving. This book is amazing. It covers a wide range from fields like anthropology, history and linguistics to evolutionary biology but it still feels like a coherent.

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The book is split up into 5 parts. The relationship between man and chimp, “sexual selection”, “world conquest” and “environmental impacts and extinction”. Here are some outtakes from my notes:

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“An alien zoologist from outer space. would easily guess that humans are a mildly polygamists species. It turns out that harem size corresponds to female vs male body size ratio. ”

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“From a study made on people growing up in a kibbutz; we learn not to have sex with people we are intimately associated with up to a age of six. ”

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“There is no correlation between linguistic and social complexity. Primitive societies have as complex languages as advanced ones.”

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There is a lot fascinating things to learn from this book, like, why human men have medium sized balls compared to chimps and gorillas. 😀 But is gets a darker tone towards its conclusion when we have to face the facts that we have some really huge obstacle ahead of us if we want the human species to continue to thrive in the future given the limited resources of the earth. J.D sees that the continuos homogenization of societies as the chief hope in our survival as a species. Creating the conditions to globally solve environmental issues together.

Loss of cultural diversity might be the price we have to pay for survival.

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5/5

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: ‘Shoe dog’ by Phil Knight

‘Shoe dog’ is industry slang for someone who has dedicated his or her life to the footwear industry. Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, is definitely is one of them.

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He wanted to be an athlete but didn’t have the skills. Is there a way to experience what athletes did without being one? He wanted no difference between work and play. To enjoy work so much it essentially becomes the same thing.

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He had an idea about importing high-quality low-cost shoes from Japan. And contrary to his fathered advice he pursued that dream, starting the Blue Ribbon shoe company that later would become Nike.

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Knights story is similar to other business memoir where we can follow a company through ups and downs and obstacles that, when conquered, takes the business to the next level.

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What makes this book so good is not only that it’s the inside story of one of the worlds most iconic brands. But also written in accessible way and is filled with great stories anecdotes.

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I expected this to be a more inspiring book than it actually was. There is a lot of passion in his work, but I don’t feel that I would like to be in his shoes (no pun intended). All work, no play.

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By spending very few words on certain subjects really shows what wasn’t prioritized for Mr. Knight. Family, children and employees (outside the board of directors) are barely mention except in the a brief section about regrets.

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📝 Phil did not believe in advertising . Not at all. A product should speaks for itself.

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📝 “Life is a game weather you like it or not”

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📝 Their board meetings = A bunch of fat drunk guys screaming insults to each other. Described as a romantic story about comradely but I found it kind of depressing.

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4/5

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Biographies You Should Read ASAP!

I did a “favorites of 2016” last year on my instagram and I thought it would be a good addtion to my blog. Good book recommendations are always relevant, right? The list for 2017 is coming soon butthese books sure are worthy gifts for loved ones this holiday season!

Favorite Books of 2016 – Biographies

My Pick:

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (Audio / Paperback)

I read a lot of really good biographies this year, making this a tough category for me. But I think “Einstein” deserves the top spot. Most biographies have one or more parts, even the really good ones, where you lose interest because connect with certain aspects of that persons life.

“Einstein” didn’t have that even though it’s a brick of a book. It phenomenal from start to finish.

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Runners up:

Read the full list with all it’s categories here!