Thoughts on: ‘Richard Nixon: A Life’ John A. Farrell

Some reading projects are more ambitious than others. On my journey to reading a biography of every American president the time has come for Nixon (I’m on 3 of 45).

This is an excellent biography of a powerful, yet insecure and anxious man, in period of great turmoil historical. Corruption and paranoia; this dense biography really has it all.

Todays notes highlights attitudes have changed since the Nixon days (or have they?! 😉)


📝 Abortion: Abortion encourage permissiveness, Nixon thought, but, “there are times when abortions are necessary…” “..you know, between a black and a white.” he told Colson.

“Or rape.” Colson said.

“Or rape..”, Nixon said, “..you know what I mean.”

📝 Nixon had theories of black inferiority and black prospects: “Most of them are basically out of the threes. I have the greatest affection for them but I know they won’t make it for next 500 years.”

📝 Stress and Self medication: “In the evening, if I have 2-3 drinks I feel good. Do you think that should be knocked off or reduced?” Nixon said to his doctor. Alcohol is a great stress reducer. I have tried it myself haha 😂

📝 “You know one of the reasons fashion has made women look so terrible is that the god damn designers hate women.” Nixon theorized, “Though now they are trying to get some more sexy things going again.”

“Hot pants.” Erlichman added.

“Jesus Christ.” Said Nixon.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I can see where the American publics distrust of government comes from. What a mess this period was! Watergate, the Pentagon papers and projects Moongoose 🤦‍♂️

My next president will probably be Kennedy or Lincoln.


Do you have any ambition reading projects?

Score: 4/5

For more fantastic reads make sure to check out my Reading Lists!

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: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

It’s 4:36 AM when writing this. I’m wide awake after a night fu*ked up sleep. What better time to write about Why We Sleep?

This book is extremely comprehensive and will give you the full run down of how sleep is generated (absolutely fascinating!), dreams, why modernity promotes bad sleep and the terrible outcome of not getting enough sleep and, of course, the benefits of adequate shuteye.


📝 “The shorter your sleep the shorter your life span.”

📝 Lack of sleep makes you a baby: I don’t take myself serious when I’m sleepy. Feelings go haywire, I worries unnecessary, my food choices sucks. I’ve learned to observe when this happen and try to get some sleep. I also avoid making any important decisions in this state.

📝 Most people don’t know how long it takes to overcome a single dose of caffeine. Therefore a lot of people fail to link bad sleep with the cup of coffee they had 9 hours earlier. ☕️

📝 “If you don’t sleep the very first night after learning you lose the chance to consolidate those memories; even if you get a lot of catch-up sleep thereafter.”

Sleep for memory consolidation is an all-or-nothing event!


⏰ Reasons for 8h Sleep:

– Live longer.

– Enhances memory.

– Makes you more creative.

– Makes you look more attractive.

– Keeps you slim and lowers food cravings.

– It protects you from cancer and dementia.

– It walls of colds & the flue.

– It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke and diabetes.

– You’ll feel happier and less depressed and less anxious.


🥊 MY ACTIONS:

  • No coffee after 1 PM. ☕️
  • Increasing my daily sleep from 7h to at least 7.5h (8h would be ideal but I’m not sure it’s feasible for me atm.)
  • Adjust time for mediation to early afternoon to avoid nodding off. Then the Circadian rythm is at its peak and Sleep Pressure should be low.

⚖️ VERDICT:

This book is not a fun reading per se. It can get quite technical and i it’s quite terrifying; but it’s close to impossible not to change you lifestyle after reading it.

I don’t think I have said this since reading Influence by Chaldini: This should be mandatory reading!

Score: 5/5

How many hours of sleep do you get on average? ⁉️

Photo: @cristelleg

FOR MORE GREAT READS CHECK OUT MY READING LISTS.

Thoughts on: ‘Grinding it Out’ by Ray Croc

Ray Croc was a 52 year when he first met the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California. He was impressed with the operation they got going; and the French fries in particular. Ray had seen his fair share of restaurants in his days as a multimixer salesman, but this one was special. The limited menu, the affordable prices, the cleanliness. It was love! ❤️

Ray wondered why the brothers didn’t expand their concept, but the McDonald brothers where not men of such ambition. So Ray took on the expansion himself—and the rest is history.


📝 Ray Croc biggest contribution was the McDonalds franchise system.

📝 “Persistence and determination alone is omnipotent.”

📝 Surprisingly little drama. I feel the rise of McDonald’s has been a pretty smooth ride compared to other business stories I’ve read.

📝 They started to build restaurants after what they called a “monotony index”. The higher the degree of monotony in a town the higher the likelihood that a McDonald’s Restaurants success. Why? Less alternatives to spending the evening at the MD.

🍟 My best combo at the Golden Arches these days is to get a Spring Sallad and a McVegan burger. Wicked combo! 👌🏻

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Ray didn’t see his ideas as a grand designs but worked ‘from the part to the whole’. Perfecting every fundamental before moving on to the large scale idea. I wonder if this mindset could be helpful for those of us who are in the process of building Instagram accounts? Would it be beneficial to focus on perfecting one element at the time; pictures, captions, hashtags, timings etc..?


I’m thankful for this little memoir of the first 40 years of McDonald. Love it or hate it, MD is a company we have a some kind of relationship with.

3/5

What your favorite business memoir? 🤔

I think mine are ‘Shoe Dog’ and maybe..’Jack Ma’?!

Photo: @pedagogyofthefresh

Check out Reading Lists for more great reads!

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 4) – The Far East

My longest book to date has reached its end, and this is just the 1st volume (out of 11) in the The Story of Civilization series by Will Durant. This last part focused on ancient China and Japan.

Was it worth it? We are talking about a 50 hour audiobook. Yes, I think so! Does the #sunkcostfallacy play a role in this answer? It probably does! I’ve suffered through a lot of dry talk about pottery and poetry to reach this point.


📝 The feet of girls at age 7 where compressed with tight bandages to prevent their further growth, so that the mature lady might walk with a mincing step erotically pleasing to the men.

In the prescence of a lady the word shoe was taboo.🦶 👠

📝 To know the ‘Dao’ is to surpress ones knowledge. “We have to forget our theories and feel the facts.”

📝 Confucianism: “Only in Christianity and in Buddhism can we find again so heroic an effort to transmute into decency the natural brutality of men.”

📝 Chinese civilization in 2 words: Philosophy and Porcelain.

📝 “Beards where small and always shaved, but seldom of the owner thereof.” oh, I cannot but LOVE Will Durants prose and elegant summaries of the smallest aspects of civilization. 😂

📝 Chinese writing: “The same character is read as different sounds and words in different localities.” I remember seeing Chinese and Japanese students, who where unable to communicate verbally, communicate through written messages when I studied in Japan. 🤯

📝 When the revolution raged they forgot the old sages words. “He who thinks the old embankments useless and destroys them is sure to suffer from the desolation caused by overflowing water.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

“The accumulation of wealth in the hands of the minority is no doubt a universal and apparently unfailing concomitant of civilization.” We see this play out over and over again.

I’m still green but now I at least have a slight understanding of Confucianism and rudimentary understanding of the Chinese and Japanese culture and history.

3/5

Which books is the longest book you read? 🤔

Check out my READING LISTS for more great reads!

Thoughts on: Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson

A book about hope. About our desperate chase for it. How easily it’s lost and what happens when we don’t have it; How to instill it, and how to overcome it.


📝 “Today appealing to the hopeless is easier than ever before. All you need is a social media account. Start to posting extreme and crazy shit and let the algorithm do the rest.”

📝 Intellectually understanding that we should change a behavior doesn’t help. “Emotional problems needs emotional solutions”. Being more empathetic to myself really helped me quit nicotine.

📝 “While pain is inevitable, suffering is always a choice.”

📝 “Science is singularly responsible for all the greatest invention and advances in human history.” It introduced the concept of growth. Before that the average human died in the same economic state she was born.

📝 Blue dot effect 🔵:

If we expect to see something, we start to see it even where there is none. This has terrible implications for almost everything.

“The better things get, the more we perceive threats where there are none and the more upset we become.” Being a victim of violence used to mean that someone physically harmed someone. Today some use the word violence to describe words that make them feel uncomfortable.

📝 In the lunchroom at the department store where I worked as a teen everyone would discuss shows that aired the night before on TV. We all watched the same tv-shows and sat on the same sofas. Social cohesion held the western societies together. Then the Internet came with endless options and varieties! Maybe we miss the old days?

(ps. Is this why people love Game of Thrones? Because it’s the last shared distraction we have?).

📝 “Most people avoid meditation like a kid avoiding homework.”


⚖️ VERDICT:

Unstructured, oversimplified and a thin overarching theme? Yes, at times. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and it opened my eyes to subjects and problems that deserve a closer look further down the road of my literary journey.

4/5


“…the only thing that can ever truly destroy a dream is to have it come true.” Have this happened to you? 🤔

Photocredit: @chandradyani_

For more excellent books, check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker

We know we are going to die someday. This is the unique problem of the conscious animal. We know it but we don’t feel it because we need to repress this truth in order to function.

So what to do? It’s really hard to accept that we are just worms in the dirt. Especially when our nature is so paradoxical; the body being so animalistic and limited yet our minds so godlike and boundless. We are gods with anuses.

What we need is a lie. A vital and grand one that we can always rely on. We need something that transcends us, some system of ideas and powers that embed us, whether it’s a flag, the proletariat, a guru or religion.

Kierkegaard, Freud, Jung, Maslow and Fromm are some of the characters you’ll get to familiarize with during this journey. I felt like each chapter demanded a following period of reflection. I was absolutely taken aback by this book.

freud meme


Some notes:

📝 “I believe that those who speculate that a full apprehension of man’s condition would drive him insane are right, quite literally right.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 😨

📝 Man is beaten down by life and the world; “beaten because he fails to face up to the existential truth of his situation— the truth that he is an inner symbolic self, which signifies a certain freedom, and that he is bound by a finite body, which limits that freedom.”

📝 How much of experience do we let in?The schizophrenic allow for too much; the depressed too little.

📝 Anxiety is the possibility of freedom.

📝 Ideally man is “…fully in the world on its terms and wholly beyond the world in his trust in the invisible dimension.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

If life is an insurmountable problem, and we can’t live with the truth of our situation then the question is on what level of illusion to live our lives on.

This book really checks all the boxes for me:

✅It’s complex and nuanced – yet I don’t feel totally lost (expect that fu*king castration complex.. I just do get it…🤷‍♂️ ✂️ )

✅ I started the book being one person, came out of it as another. (SWIPE for example 😉)

✅ Checked one book of my reading list – added a dozen!

Loved it!

5/5

Find more fantastic books in my Reading Lists or get this at Amazon

Thoughts on: “The Power of Moments” by Chip & Dan Heath

The book does what it sets out to do and does it competently; It want to show how powerful moments- the moments that defines us and we remember for a long time – can change and elevate us. The Heaths breaks down why this is and how we can create more of powerful moments.


📝 The years between 15 – 30 has the most Moments. Probably due to novelty.

📝 Peak/End rule: Experiences are judged by two key moments; The peak and the end. Think about your last vacation. What do you remember from it?

📝 The Oddball Effect: Surprise stretches time. Novel moments are experiences as 36% longer than routine ones.

📝 “What did you fail at today?” A question for the family at the dinner table. Encourage to push yourself to stretch. An attempt to normalize failure.

📝 Try this! Next time you have a conversation, push intentionally beyond small talk. Make yourself vulnerable and be surprised by the results. Relationships don’t deepen naturally.

📝 Struggle together and strong bonds will be created. I just came off a challenging work project. Making RAGE2 (a video game) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The experience turned mere collages into brothers and sisters.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I got the recipe. Now I need to create more moments and better moments for myself and others.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I did not like this book, and I think it’s my fault. I have read to much about the subjects covered in this book already which makes a lot of the conclusions feel like common sense. BUT they probably aren’t if you are new to books on positive psychology, communication, leadership.

If you’re a new reader and want to create better relationships and be a better leader than this is a good starting point!


3/5

Photo credit: @kanoilab


Are you too suffering from diminishing return when reading certain genres? 🤔

Find the best books I’ve ever read in my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “The Sell” by Fredrik Eklund

Top ranking real estate broker Fredrik Eklund reveals all his secrets on how to sell you, your product and how to achieve success in life. Written as a guide to greatness mixed with autobiographical snippets it hooked me instantly. Mostly because of Fredrik’s colorful personality.

I truly enjoyed his personal stories and his positive outlook on life. .

The experienced reader of personal development books will recognize a lot of the concepts Fredrik writes about, but it is a great introduction for someone new to the genre.

As always, I have to pick something for immediate implementation in my own life from the books I read…because applied knowledge is power! 💪. This time it will be to find my own trademark or “gimmick”. Though, I might pick something more discrete than Fredrik “high kick” 😄👍

3/5

Find more book worth reading in my reading lists