These are my 3 absolute favorite books of all the 40 books I read during 2019. You can’t really go wrong with either of them. Dare I say they are mandatory reading?!
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.
📝 “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.”
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
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.
✅ Checked ONE book of my reading list— and added a DOZEN new ones!
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
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.
This book is great! 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.
Greene puts a lifetime of studies of human nature into one huge and important volume.
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:
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.
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 Cialdini: This should be mandatory reading!
For more great books check out my Reading Lists!