“You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury
I'm not exactly a bookworm by nature - I got into reading when I was around 16 or 17, and sometimes go a few weeks without cracking open a book (or listening on Audible). Lately I've been trying to get through a book or two each month, as I'm a believer in the phrase "you either wear out or rust out", so I'd like to keep my mind expanding (or at least being subjected to some quality material other than my minor-maybe-not-so-minor Instagram addiction...).
Here are a few books I've enjoyed recently:
1 - The Obstacle Is The Way - Ryan Holiday
This book served as my introduction to Stoicism. I felt the author did a great job of pulling quotes from Marcus and other classic Stoics and applying them to modern day life (with electronics, constant distractions, 24 hour news cycle, etc). One of my favorite topics in this book was about something called "The Process" - meaning when setting out at something, not to worry about the end goal (i.e. winning a competition, publishing a NY Times Best Seller), but rather to focus on the next task in front of you and execute.
"When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death. The unordered mind loses track of what's in front of it - what matters - and gets distracted by thoughts of the future. The process is order, it keeps our perceptions in check and our actions in sync".
2 - Models - Mark Manson
Mark Manson is a well known blogger, and I first read his book "Models" sometime in 2016 when I was frustrated with online dating and reading anything I could get my hands on about dating and how to do it without going crazy. Fear of rejection has been something I've wrestled with over the years, and while I've read books on PUA (Pick-Up-Artists) techniques and approaches, that stuff never seemed to work for me. I came across Mark's book and I'm actually re-reading it now.
One of my favorite things about this book is his emphasis on self-improvement and satisfaction with one's own life as the best dating advice there is:
"The only real dating advice is self-improvement"
While the book is largely intended for the male reader, I think it's worth a read for anyone who wants to hear a modern day take on dating that doesn't give you the sleazy, post-cheat-meal-guilt feeling that a lot of other books/material on this subject have given me.
3 - Resilience - Eric Greitens
Written by a former Navy Seal, this book is comprised of a compilation of letters written by the author to a friend and former Navy Seal himself who is going through a rough patch in life (struggling with alcoholism, failed business, etc). I read this book before "The Obstacle Is the Way", but they have a lot in common. I also listened to this book on Audible during my commute (love this option for reading books, but the only disadvantage for me is I can't highlight passages the way I can with a real book or kindle).
What I liked about this book is that it wasn't all "Be tough, feel no emotions" - I was kind of expecting that coming from an author who was a seal. For me, it came across as a way to approach life accepting the things I cannot change, and having the courage to take action on the things that I can (sort of a modified serenity prayer).
That's it for now! If you have any books you'd recommend feel free to leave them in the comments below, and if there are any other blog topics you'd like to hear about, let me know either by commenting or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org !