Thoughts on: “The Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow

There were two chance events that stood out to me that night I waled out of the murky cellar bar in central Stockholm where I had discussed this book with four other non-fiction junkies.

——

The 1st coincidence was that during the cause of reading the book, one of the group members had unknowingly ended up at a family dinner with the author. Only when seeing the book in the household, and mentioning she was reading the book, the fact became obvious.

——-

The 2nd coincidence was that during

a discussion about the properties of true randomness—it’s tendency towards repetition- another attendee showed a tattoo he had made all over his left arm, displaying long slithering snake of quantum generated random 1:s and 0:s.

——-

What are the odds of that? 🤷‍♂️

——-

📝 Regression toward the mean:

In any series of random events an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one.

———

📝 Randomness clusters: here is a random series of 1:s and 0:s. Notice the repetition. Let’s say you are a reasearcher and get random numbers to work with and you end up with a sequence with overwhelming repetition. This is not unlikely. When do you start to doubt the randomness of the sequence?

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1

——

📝 “If you want to succeed; double your failure rate.” – Watson

——

📝 Apple had to make their iPods shuffle function less random because people experienced getting the same song twice as ”un-random”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since chance seems to play a bigger role in life than we like to admit, the number of chances you take and the number of opportunities you seize matters.

———

⚖️ VERDICT:

The basic concepts of randomness is laid out in this books and how they are often overlooked. We are also served a great history of how the science of probability evolved.

—-

I recommend this book if you enjoy the work of Nassim Taleb and/or find joy in logic and math problems. Suitable for an aspiring know-it-all!

——

3/5

——

⁉️ How do you maximize exposure to “luck” & chance?⁉️

——-

Photo: bombsaway_

For more great books and reviews: check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Let’s face it, successful people and unsuccessful people have the same goals. It’s the systems and strategies you put in pace that makes the difference between the two.

——

“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the levels of your systems.”

—-

James Clears book is the ultimate guide to the WHYs and HOWs of those systems.

——

🎭 IDENTITY:

Improvements are only temporary until they become who you are. You are not just going to read a book; you are going to become a reader. You are not going to run a Marathon; you are going to become a runner.

——

🏞 ENVIRONMENT:

Make bad habits difficult to perform and good habits easy: prep your gym bag the day before and put by the front door. Bring a book everywhere you go. Move candy and snacks from the kitchen to the cellar. Remove the batteries from the remote after watching tv if your struggle with bingeing.

——

🚦 SYSTEMS:

Stack new habits on top existing ones! “After I brush my teeth, I floss”

“After I finish’s my morning coffee, l journal for 5 min.”

——-

🔁 REPETITION:

Don’t ask yourself HOW LONG it takes to build a habit but HOW MANY TIMES it takes to build a habit. Start small and get the reps in.

——-

📈 PROGRESS:

One of the most satisfying feelings is to make progress. Habit trackers and other forms of visual measurements can make your habits more satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. “Don’t break the chain”: Instagram is a habit tracker for me (“visual reading progress”) and to keep a streak alive (“posting at set intervals”)

———

⚖️ VERDICT:

The one-stop-shop for habit building.

———

4/5

——-

⁉️ What habit did you build that you are proud of?!⁉️

For more book reviews and good reads, check out the Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: “The Netocrats” by Bard & Söderqvist

I tried to explain this book to a colleague before christmas break; how it utterly fashinated me, even though I feel I only understood it partly, and how it had provided me with a new lens with which to see the world.

It must have caught his interest, cuz when I got back to work we had lunch and he told me he had devoured the book and was working his way through another work by the same authors, Digital Libido, and was enthusiastically urging me to do the same.

The book, written in 2000, talks about a new paradigm. The transition from capitalism to informationalism in the wake of the internet era and how, like any genuine revolution means that the whole Darwinian system of punishment and rewards are restructured, introducing a new over and underclass.

The idea of this new system, the Netocracy, was invented in the 90:s is re-invented in this book by contemporary Internet philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist.

———

📝 Before we ran away from strangers that looked strong. Now we engage them and gain mutual benefits.

——

📝 The Consumtariat: Consumption rather than production is the role of the new underclass.

——

📝 Politicians are selected based on their value as entertainment and what narrative they can fit into. They are elected to to feed the headlines.

——

📝 Money will follow attention, not vice versa. The only hard currency on the net is attention.

——-

📝 Knowledge, contacts and exclusive information replaces capital for the netocrat.

——-

📝 “Technology plays its own hand”

Take the clock: innocent enough of an artifact. But this infernal little machine, with its introduction of second and minutes, have retrospectively given a whole new meaning to our perception of time.

———

📝 “Giving birth is simply not fashionable anymore.”

——-

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Great book to read before reflecting on how to navigate the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Is what you do professionally raising in value or is it losing its value in this new paradigm?

——

⚖️ VERDICT:

A must-read and total mindf*ck. Being outdated is one of the strengths of this book. Because now, 20 years after the books release, we can see its predictions manifest in everyday life.

5/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Time travel, the beginning of the universe, wormholes and string theory. Considering the complexity of some of these topics it is strange that the book has become an international bestseller. Though, I read somewhere that it is one of the most gifted books; but also the least read.


📝 Children dare to ask questions adults don’t: “Why do we remember the past and not the future.” 👶 Be more like a child.


📝 “The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.” 🕰


📝 “There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made out of antiparticles.” My mother used to say that I shouldn’t be so “anti” everything to me when I was a teen. I guess I was one of the antipeople Hawkingtaled about. 👩🏽‍🎤


However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.


✅ TO DO LIST FOR MANKIND: Come up with a complete and consistent theory that combines quantum mechanics and gravity.


⭐️ Most fascinating to me was to learn about the Event Horizon, which is the boundaries of a Black Hole, and Thermodynamic Arrow of Time.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I have read it twice now and it was actually harder to follow the second time. Probably because I did it on audio and the complicated ideas—at least for my limited understanding—made more sense when they where accompanied by pictures, graphs and illustrations. It think there are more accessible books on the topic that N00bs like me should prioritize. The book is too much at times.

3/5


What your favorite book in the genre⁉️

(For me it’s probably Deep Simplicity, a fantastic book about what happens at the edge of chaos. Check it out!)

For more more great reads and insights–check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: The Life of Greece by Will Durant

When I first posted my goal of making Ancient Greece the focus of my studies this year, I someone cautioned me that it might be too much to deal with in such a short time.

It was only after getting a few hours into this book that I understood what she/he meant: it’s impossible to take all this in within a year. It would take a decade to cover only one aspect of Greek civilization fully; lifetimes to cover it all! Ramming everything into my head was like trying to catching a waterfall with a bucket.

I changed my approach to the book and saw it as a buffet. I got a small taste of everything and noted down where I wanted to explore more.

Now I’m looking for further reading on:


📖 Pericles, “the most complete man Greece ever produced.” Big words. I want to know more.

📖 Diogenes, he lived the cynic lifestyle to the fullest. Fascinating man! Did you know that there is a condition known as Diogenes Syndrome? It’s characterized by extreme self-neglect, social withdrawal and lack of shame.

📖 Sparta: The crazy strict and tough lifestyle intrigues me. Is David Goggins actually the last Spartan?

📖 Archimedes: “Don’t disturb my circles!”. From Levers, to Pi, to the formula for calculating the surface area of a sphere, but also: war machines! I need to know more about this genius.

📖 The March of the Ten Thousand: Durant calls it “one of the great adventures in human history”. 🧐


📝 Schliemann: A crazy archeologist, obsessed with The Iliad, and determined to uncover Troy. Which he did!


💭 🤷‍♂️ Checking one book of the Reading List and you end up with an even longer list…


⚖️ VERDICT:

“Greek civilization is alive. it moves in every breath of mind that we breath. So much of it remains that none of us in one lifetime could absorb it all.”

As I reach the summary and conclusion of this book I’m in awe and my eyes tearing up in gratitude for this beautiful account of life in Greece.

4/5


Whose your favorite among the ancient Greeks? ⁉️🤔

For more great Non Fiction– check out my Reading Lists

Thoughts on: The True Story of Kaspar Hauser

It was really late one evening back when I studied in the dark and cold north of Sweden, when I turned on the TV to see a curiously strange scene from a German movie. I simple man was standing perfectly still, hand raised in the air holing a small paper note (a plead to the major to take him under his wings) in the middle of a city square.

The movie really made an impression on me, but I never got to know the name of the film or the strange man it portrayed.

The strange movie came to mind now and then during the coming 15 years, until I finally got the name of it. It was Werner Herzogs dramatization of the story of Kaspar Hauser.

Realizing it was based on true events I decided read a book about it.


📝 Kaspar Hauser was a German youth who claimed to have grown up in the total isolation, in a cage, in total darkness.

📝 “He could see in the dark as well as by day, but could not endure the light of the sun.”

📝 “His sense of smell was extraordinary.”

📝 He had magnetic qualities. “Iron attracted him; he declared that in riding, the iron saddle kept him in his seat, while his feet were held fast by the stirrups.”

📝 Chameleon-like. “The every-day face, which he wore to those immediately about him, Was neutral and commonplace enough, but instantly vanished if he was in company. “

📝 He was stabbed to death. Most likely by accident in an attempt to fake an assassination in order to be placed in the care of another protector.

📝 Many argued, both during and after Hauser’s life, that he was most likely just a fraud.


💭 THOUGHTS:

Was he just a liar and sociopathic narcissist all along! Or was his behavior was the result of year of assault and absence of parental love. Maybe a mix of both?!


⚖️ VERDICT:

Stories like these keep kindles a sense childlike wonder in me. The story is just fascinating, but the book is dry and dull at times; even painfully so towards the end with its court witness accounts and endless dissing of other written accounts of the Kaspar Hauser story.

3/5


What’s your favorite movie adaption of a non-fiction book?

For more books of great caliber, check out my Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I don’t think much about race, why would I? Im a white man. I’m the norm. Have you ever played a video game with a character selection screen? I’m the default character.

The book was an emotional rollercoaster of self-reflection. It left my head spinning and I realized how little time I’ve spent contemplating the question of race.


📝 “How can I define white privilege? It’s so difficult to describe an absence. And white privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism.”…“Absence of structural discrimination. Absence of ‘less likely to succeed because of my race’.”

📝 Reflection: I get suspicious when Twitterstorms are used to prove a point in books. Twitter is usually not a good representation of society as a whole.

📝 Reflection: Dividing people into groups has a purpose, I guess, especially when you want to highlight problems like structural racism. But where does it end? Reni talks about white feminists vs. black feminists vs mixed feminist etc etc. If the goal is to unite, then why this obsession with division?

📝 Reflection: What about evolutionary psychology? “Us” vs. “Them”-dichotomies has existed for millions of years. And we tend to like people who are like us. Evolutionary it makes sense; Similar individuals are more likely to share copies of each other’s genes. It would be interesting see this perspective in a book like this one. But then maybe I should look for books written by professors rather than journalists.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

My main takeaways was to learning more about what Eddo-Lodge calls “white privilege”, and also getting a rather overdue reminder that structural racism is still going strong today.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I didn’t enjoy the book; maybe it was the angry tone, the stereotyping or what felt like generalizations (or maybe it’s my ‘whiteness’ that put me in a defensive mode). It left me with a lot to think about. I appreciate that. The book is at its best when it catches you off-guard and challenge your assumptions and beliefs!


3/5

What book challenged you recently?

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Book Notes on Aging and Dying

Nothing last forever. Here are a few great notes on aging from my reading the last couple of years. Memento Mori.


📝 “By becoming deeply aware of our mortality, we intensify our experience of every aspect of life.” – Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature

📝 “No one set value on time. All use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But see how these same people clasp to the knees of physicians when they fall ill and the danger of death draws nearer” – Seneca, On the Shortness of life.

📝 People have different sensitivity to caffeine. Older people are more sensitive in general.

Notes from Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker.

📝 A deadly gene could survive in the gene pool by inflicting its damage only after a person reaches an old age, where the victim already produced it’s offspring. Like Cancer.

Notes from The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

📝 John D. Rockefeller was obsessed with his health and set a goal for himself to live until he was 100 years old. He died at 97.

Notes from Titan, Ron Chernow

📝 “Whatever the cause of the inverse association between body size and aging, it seems to be found in all mammals” Bigger animals live longer.

Notes from Mutants, Armand Marie Leroi

📝We know intellectually that we are going to die. But we don’t really feel it. We repress the affects of death to be able to function normally. – The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker


What are your favorite quote on the subject?

Notes From a Year of Reading – Addiction

I have had a few days in a row where I didn’t experience any cravings or took any addictive substances (excessive sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol etc..) It was pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve experienced something like this since I my early teens.


Quotes and Notes on drugs and addiction from my recent reading:

📝 We Habituate..

Understand: Artificial pleasures (designer food, drugs, VR porn etc..) throws our systems of the scale, making us unable to appreciate the natural. – BEHAVE by Robert Sapolsky

📝 “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.” – Radical Honesty, Brad Blanton

📝 Civilized Man: He can do what he sets out to do without chanting and drumming. Even daily prayer and divine aid is unnecessary. “His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with relentless, vague apprehension, psychological complications, an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food-and, above all, a large array of neuroses.”

⁃ Notes from Man and His symbols, Carl Jung

📝 “Pleasure from the senses seems like nectar at first but is bitter as poison in the end.” “That which seems like poison at first, but tastes like nectar in the end – this is the joy of sattva, born of a mind at peace with itself.” – Bhagavad Gita

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

⁃ Notes from ‘Turning Pro’ by Steven Pressfield.

📝 “You stop growing when you start drinking alcoholicly… prevents you from walking through the painful life experiences that take you from point A to point B on the maturity scale.”

– Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp


What’s your history with addiction? Emotional, physical, psychological, and/or chemical?

Thoughts on: ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ by Friedrich Nietzsche

A Birth of Tragedy in 7 Steps:

▪️Nietzsche is 24 y/o when he become professor in philology.

▪️In 1872 he writes his first great book on dramatic theory; The Birth of Tragedy.

▪️He found an art form in the classic Athenian Tragedy that transcended the nihilism and horror of a meaningless world.

▪️What he found was an opposition between Dionysian and Apollonian forces; Chaos, Intoxication, Music vs. Order, Self-control and Sculpture.

▪️The Tragedy balanced these forces and allowed the spectator to experience in fullness the human condition.

◾️The end of Tragedy came with Socrates, through Euripides, Who Nietzsche thought ruined the Dionysian/Apollonian balance in Tragedy with reason and logic.

◾️ Nietzsche found new hope in Wagners music as a way to re-establish the balance between the Dionysian and Apollonian in modern art; a possible rebirth of tragedy.


📝 Beautiful works of art compensates for the horror of existence.

📝 Aectestic Arrest: Freedom from the Will in experiencing a great work of art. The only time except Nirvana or Samadhi where man can be free from the Will. (Schopenhauer)

📝 Is dancing and shouting in a drunken madness to “Killing in the name of” a form of modern Dionysiac phenomena? 🧐🤔


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I’ve gotten through a book that is ‘out of my league’ and came out on the other side with new-found confidence in my ability to read philosophy straight from the sources.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I got a lot value from this book, both as an introduction to Nietzsche, and to the concept Dionysian/Apollonian opposition. But If you’re unsure if you could stand 129 pages of analysis of Ancient Greek theatre and art theory then you think you should pass on this one.

4/5

Share some philosophy book recommendations on the comments! ‼️

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