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

Thoughts on: ”Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill

In an interview with the Devil himself, Napoleon Hill finds out how he keeps us from living extraordinarily lives and what it is that cause us to “drift”. 2 out of 100 are “non-drifters” and live lives of definiteness of purpose. These are the thinking men/women and the builders of the modern world.

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Most effective of the Devils tools of is fear.

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The book was released in 2011 even though it was written in 1938, but was said to be too controversial to be published during that time.

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It is a personal development gem. Even though many concepts are well known and have been written about elsewhere, there is a certain clarity to way the ideas are presented that really makes me think reevaluate my attitude towards life. One of many takeaways from this book, for me, will be to work on eliminating my fear of criticism, which is one of many obstacles for becoming a “non-drifter”.

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5/5

Thoughts on: “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene

Robert Greene puts a lifetime of studies of human nature into one huge and important volume.

This book covers: character, toxic personality types, narcissism, cognitive biases, archetypes, childhood trauma, desirability, shortsightedness, the Shadow, attitude, group dynamics, leadership, persistence, fearlessness, purpose. The list goes on…

📝 You are more like than Louise XVI than you think!

📝 What you and me try tell ourselves: “I’m different. I’m more rational than others, more ethical as well.”

📝 ”If possible, avoid deep contact with those whose time frame is narrow, who are in continual react mode, and strive to associate with those with an expanded awareness of time”

📝 Keep in mind that your expectations of people are communicated nonverbally. Teachers expecting greater things from their students, without saying anything, have positive effects on their work.

📝 People with negative attitudes uses this world view to narrow their experience. It give a sense of control in a world of uncertainty.

📝 Cynicism as Purpose: “Man would rather have the void as purpose than be void of purpose”. Behind this false purpose is the great fear of trying and failing, of standing out and being ridiculed… Cynicism acts as consolidation for lack of accomplishment.

📝 Self-doubt makes us surrender inwardly before we surrender outwardly. Remember this: almost nothing in the world can resist persistent human energy.

💪🏻 ACTION:

The last chapter talks about the importance of mediating on our mortality. This prompted me to commit to a new experiment; to pretend it’s my last day in life. More info coming I separate post!💀 ⚰️

🎲 VERDICT:

This book is great (Book of the Year?)! And practical; I almost don’t want you to read it since I want my newly found super powers for myself. It has already helped me wrap my head around what’s really been going on in situations with people that, until now, had left me dumbfounded.

5/5

Find other fascinating books in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steven Pinker

It’s an odyssey through the history of human violence. Pinkers thesis is that we have seen a great decline in violence both in the long term , as well as short term history of mankind and he sets out to find out why this is.

This is a dense book.

I listened to the audiobook which clocked in at 36 hours. But don’t be discouraged! It’s such a deep topic and you will have an expanded view on humanity after turning the last page.

One of my many takeaways from this book is not to base my world on images, but on facts. One can easily be fooled by the availability bias when the 24-hour news cycle portraits rare accidents, catastrophes and act of violence appear as common events by giving the disproportionate airtime.

This is essential reading if you’re in a quest for worldly knowledge.

5/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini

Cialdinis book is a must read for everyone. Whether you try to influence someone or want to avoid being influenced by others. To know the weaknesses of the the brains reasoning abilities is the best way to protect ourself against making bad decisions. This book is jam packed with amazing facts, science and stories that will change the way you see the world. My main takeaway is that I need to continue be on my guard for influence workers that try to exploit the brains cognitive biases. The fact that this book isn’t obligatory reading in schools is beyond my comprehension.

5/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts On: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Enjoyed parts of it immensely . In the version I read the book was set in context by an introduction about the author and about the times in which the book was written. That was good for someone like me who was not familiar with either the author or Italy in the early 16th century. A guidebook for how to rule and keep you power as a prince, but a lot of the concepts in this book can be applied to modern business and work. The later parts of the book didn’t grab my attention, but I’m still glad I plowed through this classic.

3/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: Endurance – Alfred Lansing

A testament to what humans will endure when put to the test. It’s amazing how Shackleton and his men overcame one terrible obstacle after another without losing hope. Hats off to the captain and the crew. My main takeaway is the leadership style of captain Shackleton. Leading by example and not standing above any task. Never accepting special treatment because of his rank by his men.

4/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Quit or Persist? Know When NOT to Quit a Book.

Since many of us don’t read for pleasure only we should be careful not to discard a book because it’s not a thrilling rollercoasters ride. Some books I struggled with—that bored me or overwhelmed me— also gave me valuable insights and context for understanding the world and human nature.

Consult your ‘Why’ before you discard a book. What was your intention when you first started reading it and does it still apply?


Here are some books I’m happy I didn’t give up on (SWIPE for covers):

📖 Titan – The Life of J. D Rockefeller

📖 The New Tsar – The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

📖 Mao – The Unknown Story

📖 Deng Xiaopeng: A Revolutionary life

📖 The Origin of Political Order – Francis Fukuyama

(Hey, I see a common theme here 😉)


What’s your thoughts on pushing yourself on finish books?

What book are you glad you finished even though you struggled? 🤔

And yes; Find amazing reads in my reading lists!