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.

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld:

“This year, I read a lot of interesting books. One of those was “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky. I got a lot of insight into what makes humans tick, and how we are irrational, emotional and out of control creatures in an entertaining way so that book influenced me a lot.

📖 “Behave” – Robert Sapolsky


I also enjoyed “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene, which expanded my views on people and was a great book to read right after Sapolsky’s book.

📖 “The Laws of Human Nature” – R. Greene


Then I learned a lot from reading Carl Rogers and his book “On Becoming A Person”. Especially the first half of the book.

📖 “On Becoming A Person” – Carl Rogers


I highly recommend you check them out!

The key insights for this year must be those of neuroscience, behavior, psychology, and biology. We humans are not so rational and stable as we think we are. But if we can come to terms with the factor that our hormones govern our behavior, we can begin to catch ourselves when we are about to carry out an impulsive action and stop ourselves before we do something we will later come to regret.

I am looking forward to reading more about psychology, mythology, and human nature next year. I’m also looking forward to writing and publishing more blog posts. I am excited about work in general so that pretty much sums it up!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Bookstagram. We’ll talk soon. Take care.

Best regards// @chriserzfeld

Thoughts on: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the age of 6 the narrator abandoned his favorite hobby; drawing. Grownups kept mistaking his depiction of Boa Constrictors who swallowed entire elephants, for drawings of hats… 🐍 🐘

—-

“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”.

—-

The narrator puts drawing to the side and instead becomes a pilot. After a dramatic crash landing in the Sahara desert he runs into a young boy that he refers to as The little prince. The boy shares his life story with the narrator. He tells tales about his interplanetary travels where he visited all kinds of weird and narrow minded people. All of the grownups, all of them very serious, all of them deeply irrational.

—-

📝 “Anything essential is invisible to the eye”

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📝“It’s the time you spend on your rose that make your rose so important”

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📝 “You are responsible forever for what you tamed.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book is a great reminder of the foolishness of being so serious all the damn time. Grownups often have an inability to perceive what is really important. Children on the other hand can often see things more clearly.

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Reading this book reminds me of a great quote from Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”.

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I’m going to buy this book in Swedish and read it as a bedtime story together with my son.👌🏻 🤴 it’s short, sweet and quite wonderful!

—-

What is your favorite children’s book?

—-

Photo credit: @deepsnow_fromjp

—-

4/5

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

 

Raw & Unedited Notes from “King Warrior Magician Lover”

King Warrior Magician Lover was where I took notes like crazy. Such a fascinating read! Here is my full unedited notes:


“In the late twentieth century, we face a crisis in masculine identity of great proportions“

It’s increasingly difficult to point out masculine and feminine essence.

One could look at the disintegration of the modern family systems as the main culprit, but important as that is, it’s not the whole story.

Two other factors:

⁃ Ritual process –

Traditional societies had standard definitions of what makes up boy psychology and man psychology.

Rituals to manhood has been abandoned or turned into pseudo-initiations. The mere ceremonial versions of these rituals don’t have the power to transform ones consciousness.

Lack of initiation into manhood leaves modern society to a dominance of boy psychology.

⁃ Patriarchy –

The other factor is patriarchy: patriarchy are the expression of the immature masculine. An expression of boy psychology and shadow (crazy) side of masculinity. The stunted masculine. The authors see patriarchy as an attack on both masculinity and femininity in its fullest. Boys fear women and boys fear teal men.

The Patriarchal male does not welcome full masculine and feminine development.

The more beauty, maturity, creativity and generativity we display the more envy, and hate we generate in superiors and peers.

Psychologists often assume it’s connection with the inner feminine that is missing. But the author believes it’s actually the connection with deep and instinctive masculine energies.

The little masculine one can hold on to is criticized by feminists.

We dont need less masculine power, but more mature masculine power.

In lack of rituals we have to each find our own way to man psychology and that’s the purpose of the book. To help us on our way.

Pseudo-initiations:

  • Military
  • Criminal gangs

Two reasons they are pseudo initiations;

  1. they are stunted and skewed and false. It’s patriartical manhood. There needs to be a death. The ego must die. Effective, transformative initiation slays the ego.
  2. absence of sacred space and ritual elder.

Jungians refer to masculine potentials as archetypes, or “primordial images”.

Jung and his successors have found that on the level of deep unconscious the psyche of every person is grounded in what Jung called the “collective unconscious” made up of instinctual patterns and energy configurations probably inherited genetically throughout the generation of our species. P9.

These archetypes are foundational.

– Boy psychology –

We are continually mistaking the controlling, threatening, and hostile behavior for strength.

The divine child

  • story of young Jesus, Moses , Orpheus
  • Superiority complex.
  • All powerful, center of the universe yet weak and helpless
  • Young at heart, well-being and enthusiasm for life.

The High Chair Tyrant

  • hurts himself with limitless demands and grandiosity and reject the very thing he need for life.
  • Arrogance
  • Irresponsibly
  • Childishness (in negative sense)
  • Stalin, Hitler, Caligula.

The Weakling Prince

  • Convincing his parents he is a helpless victim
  • Few friends
  • Little personality

In therapy, men, rarely identify with the Divine child, rather they need to get in touch with it.

When we are extremely tired or frightened we tend to regress into our Child, high chair tyrant or weakling prince.

The Precocious Child:

Precocious: unusually advanced or mature in development, especially mental development:

  • eager to learn
  • He causes us to wonder about the world around us and inside us.
  • Wants to know what makes people tick, as well as himself.
  • Introvert and reflective
  • Also extrovert and reach out to people
  • Can achieve cognitive detachment from people around him earlier than others.
  • Urge to help others with his knowledge.

The know-it-all Trickster

His energy comes from envy. The less a man is in touch with his true talents and abilities, the more he will envy others. Envy blocks creativity.

The trickster have no heroes. We can only admire others if we have a sense of our own worthiness.

⁃ The Oedipal child –

Shadow: mothers boy and dreamer

⁃ The hero –

The grandstander bully

  • impress others
  • Takes risk
  • Not a team player
  • Inflated sense of importance and his own abilities.

The coward

  • can’t stand up for himself in physical confrontation.
  • Acquiesce to pressure from others
  •  Doormat

⁃ Man psychology –

Four major forms of mature masculinity: king, warrior, magician and lover.

We have all archetypes within us. Like board members we need to make all of the heard.

⁃ King –

Kings in the ancient world was often ritually killed when their ability to live out the king archetype began to fail

⁃ The central archetype, around which the rest of the psyche is organized.

Two functions of the king when transitioning from boy to man psychology: ordering and blessing.

”The mortal King’s first responsibility is to live according to ma’at, Darma, or the Tao. If he does, the mythology goes, everything in the kingdom – that is, the creation, the world – will also go in the Right Order.”

The king gives his men and blesses the most competent and loyal ones with opportunity, and recognition. E bestows his blessing.

Being praised has enormous psychology consequences for us. Studies show that our body changes chemically when we feel values, praised and blessed.

Young men today crave blessings from older men, starving for king energy. They need to be blessed for their legitimate talents and abilities.

The king guides and nurtures others towards their own fullness of being. It rewards and encourages creativity in others.

The shadow king: tyrant and the weakling

The Tyrant exploits and abuses others. Merciless. Hates all beauty, creativity innocence, strength talent and life energy

Verbal and psychological abuse. But also physical and sexual abuse.

Malignant= Elak, ondskefull.

The tyrant king is operating in narcissistic personality disorder. Drug lords, pimps, mafia bosses.

He is sensitive to criticism and puts on a threatening front.

The weakling king: lacks centeredness, calmness and security in himself. Paranoid. (The sect leader in Holy hell?)

Abdication syndrome: hallmark of the Weakling. People turn over their own inner King energy to “the Fürer”. Giving power over our lives to .

The Warrior

Alert and mindful. Knows what he wants and how to get it.

As a function of his clarity of mind he is a strategist and tactician. He has awareness of the shortness of life. Every act counts.

The sense of imminence if death energizes the man accessing the Warrior energy to take decisive action.

His control is first of all over his mind and attitudes.

He does not live like most people, he is a spiritual machine, trained to bear the unbearable in the service of a transpersonal goal.

He is emotionally distant as long as a man is accessing the warrior. “Unavailable” or “inaccessible”.

The warrior in his fullness operating without the other archetypes (king and lover) can be disastrous because of his detachment.

The shadow warrior: the sadist and the masochist.

Detachment in itself is not a bad thing but it opens doors to the “demon” of cruelty.

The masochist

Darth Vader

The sadist:

Stay long hours, workaholics, people don’t live up to their standards (nor themselves). Don’t take care of them selfs physically or mentally. Then it’s probably the shadow warrior in you.

“Any work that puts a great deal of pressure on a person to perform at his best all the time leaves us vulnerable to the shadow system if the warrior”

If we are not secure enough in our inner structure, we will rely on our performance in the outer world to bolster our self confidence. 🔑

The Magician:

The energy of the magician is twofold:

⁃ The knower and master of technology

⁃ “The ritual elder” who guides the process and transformation, both within and without.

Merlin, Obi-wan

Initiator of secret and hidden knowledge off all kinds, in himself and others.

All knowledge that takes special practice to acquire the province of Magician energy

An apprentice electrician or shaman are in exactly the same position.

Gnosticism: movement in Ancient Greece seeking deep psychological knowledge. Gnosis=knowledge

Thoughtfulness and reflection. Introversion.

Manipulator &the “innocent”

The man under the power of the Manipulator not only hurts others, he huts himself.

In the fear of making the wrong decision, he makes none.

The passive pole of the Magicians shadow is what we are calling the Naive, or “Innocent”.

The “innocent” wants status that traditionally come to the man who is a magician, at least in societally sanctioned fields. But he doesn’t want to take the responsibilities the belong to the true magician. He doesn’t want to share and teach.

Hides truth for the sake of achieving and maintaining status.

Motivations come from envy of those who act, who live, who wants to share.

Lover

The lover is the archetype of play and if “display”, of healthy embodiment, of being in the world of sensuous pleasure and in ones own body without shame.

Feeling a oneness with all.

The artist and the psychic.

Connoisseurs

The fans and buffs

When we stop to smell the roses..

Any man living in the shadow form of the masculine energies, is possessed by the very energy that could be a source of life and well-being for him, if accessed appropriately. The shadow side works to his destruction and the destruction of others.

Shadows: the Addicted and the impotent

Question for the Addicted lover: “why should I put limits on my sensual and sexual experience of this vast world, a world that holds unending pleasures for me?”

The addicted lover gets lost in an ocean of the senses. Everything makes strong impressions on him.

Pulled here and there. Not the master of his own fate.

Addiction to cigarettes and addictive behaviors.

Monogamy (though not in a simple yay) can be seen as a mans own deep rootedness and centeredness. He is bounded, not by external rules, but by his own inner structure.

The Impotent

Lack of enthusiasm, lack of vividness, lack of aliveness. We will feel bored and listless. Symptoms psychologists call the “flattening affect”.

Conclusion:

What today is called patriarchy is really “puerarcy” (I.e the rule of boys) like Lord if the flies. Systems of initiation, previously making mature masculine energy accessible, have broken down.

Active imagination: imaginative dialogue with the archetypical energy forms.

Unwanted energies acting up, like children, really just want to be noticed, honored and be taken seriously. Ones validated, the stop acting up.

Invocation: across masculine energies in fullness in their positive form. Focused imaging.

Look at images of the archetypes and read about the gods that represent the archetypes.

The pyramid, a symbol for the masculine self.

A related technique is admiring. Admire other men, dead or alive. Have contact with older men. Read biographies.

Act “as if”: act the king and all of a sudden you feel like a king.

This book is concerned about helping men to take responsibility for the destructiveness of immature forms of masculinity.

 

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Man and his Symbols” by Carl Jung & Co

According to Jung, dreams carry an important role, and by interpreting their symbols we can get hints from our unconscious when the time has come to change attitudes and value systems in order to move to the next level of psychic maturity.

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Dreams are a bridge between the conscious and unconscious.

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This is my first encounter with Jungs work and certain parts of this book were some of the most intense and fascinating pages I’ve ever read.

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Each chapter is written by different authors, each with their own angle on Jungian psychology. Unfortunately all of them don’t live up to the high standards of the introductory chapter by Jung himself.

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📝 “It takes a lot of courage to take the unconscious seriously and to tackle the problems it raises.”

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📝 Archaic remnants: (Freud’s term) mental forms whose presence can’t be explained by anything in the individuals own life and which seem aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.

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📝 “A sense of a wider meaning to ones existence is what raises a man beyond mere getting and spending. If he lacks this sense, he is lost and miserable”

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📝 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.

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📝 “If a man devoted himself to the instructions of his own unconscious, it can bestow this gift, so that suddenly life, which has been stale and full, turns into a rich, unending inner adventure, full of creative possibilities.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: I especially enjoyed reading about the individuation process and civilized vs. primitive man, and the archaic symbols of the original psyche. Initiation rites and the origin of rituals also had my full attention!

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Complex, uneven but a all-in-all fantastic book!

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4/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Endure” by Alex Hutchinson

We have all seen a world record being broken. The athlete crosses the finish line and a new bar has been set. But you have also seen that the athlete is alive and moving. Which means he/she had more to give!

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What sets the limit of human endurance? Is it mental or physical? What is the absolute limit given we found the perfect athlete and perfect condition? These are some of the questions this book tries to answer.

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Some notes:

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📝 Expectations matter! How many tries you know you have to do something impact how you pace yourself. Even if you’re told to do your max for each rep.

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📝 Gabrselassie (marathon champ) sweats up to 3.6 Liters/hour.

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📝 The extraction of mindfulness from it’s Buddhist context began in the 1970’s with Jon Kanbat-Zinn.

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📝 Central governor, Anticipatory regulation, Pacing instinct – it goes by many names – basically, the theory that the brain stops us from running ourselves to death.

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📝 Pain in training leads to a higher threshold for pain. High intensity training heightens your pain tolerance while medium intensity doesn’t.

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📝 Experiment shows that seeing a smiling face, even subliminally, induces a sense of ease.

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⭐️ Takeaway: Nr.1 advice (except training) is to presue motivational self talk training. Cuz it really works! Training is the cake and believing is the icing.

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🔸Verdict:🔸

My second favorite book with a title that starts with “endure”. 😉 Well, that wasn’t a helpful measuring stick. Haha. To be fair, it’s a good book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people that don’t have a special interest in human performance and endurance. You need a bit of passion to stay focused with all the data being presented. Spoiler: all the conclusions are: “it’s unclear”, “we have to wait for the final data” or “its complicated.” But I rather have that, than oversimplification.

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What’s my favorite book that starts with “endure”? “Endurance” by Lansing! About captain Shackleton’s amazing polar expedition. High stakes endurance! 👌🏻

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3/5

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This Years Obsession Reveals itself!

For me each year comes with it’s own discoveries and obsessions!


2015 it was Stoicism.


2016 was filled with New Age and miscellaneous woo woo books. (Eckhart Tolle, Bhagavad Gita, Spiral dynamics etc..)


2017 was the year of Buddhist teachings. (Siddhartha, Beginners Mind, Hardcore Zen, Marathon Monks etc..)


2018 looks like it’s going to be the year of Jungian psychology. An interest triggered by Dr. Jordan Peterson’s “12 rules for life” and followed by “Man and His Symbols” by the man himself. And I’m looking forward to it!


What’s your latest obsession? 😀🤔

Best Books of the Year – #2

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

—-—

Having anxiety about how the Internet is changing us? As we enjoy new ways of consuming information, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

The book is incredibly interesting and explains a lot of behavioral changes I’ve noticed in myself in recent years. It discusses the science around how internet browsing affects the way we think and learn. We also get a fascinating history of how, throughout time, the introduction of new media have changed the human perspective. Well researched and eye-opening! “To be everywhere is to be nowhere”

-Seneca

————— IMPACT —————

Most of all it has helped me keep and expand good learning habits and to notice – and discard – bad ones. One notion I’ve had for a while is that the length time you are exposed to an idea matters. Learning about 30 different topics for 30 min each (by reading articles and blogs for instance) is less effective for accumulating knowledge, than learning about one topic for 15 hours by reading a book. Something that research seems to support.

We also have to make some room here to consider the confirmation bias; of course I will appreciate a book that says that reading books is a great for deep learning and retaining knowledge. 🤥

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

How do you go about creating as much retention as possible when learning new thing?

#2 “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicolas Carr

Find more favorites here: Favorite Books of 2017

 

Top Books of the Year – #6

#6 “Radical Honesty” by Blad Blanton

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  • It’s about anger.
  • It’s about how moralism comes back to bite you in the ass.
  • It’s about neurosis.
  • It’s about deadening. Low intensity suffering caused by being on guard.
  • It’s about growing the fuck up!
  • It’s about willingness to take care of oneself.
  • It’s about telling the truth as you experience it, regardless of how it portraits you.
  • It’s about the struggles you face – and their insignificance in face of your death.

It’s all over the place in a wonderful way!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

This book so crazy, yet so sane. It is books like these that keeps me motivated to read. It is finding books like this that is the payoff for time I put into reading. I don’t agree with everything Blaton says but I’m grateful to still be able to pick up new perspectives and ideas that can help me understand the human condition.

————— IMPACT —————

I’m more aware of when I withhold information, bend the truth and tell small lies. I have also started experimenting with being more honest in situation where it’s would be more comfortable not to be.

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What new ideas and perspectives did you pick up this year?

————— MORE —————

Read my full Radical Honesty Review!

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017