In 2018, I read quite a bit.
While in the past I have dabbled in the odd book here and there, going through droughts and splurges of page turning, in 2018 I kept it pretty consistent, often while juggling a few books at the same time.
This list could definitely be longer that is for sure. I have so many books lined up that I am just dying to read yet I am limited by my reading style.
Yes, I am that weird guy who needs a hard copy of a book in order to properly focus and soak up all of the content. For me, podcasts are what I binge when I am out and about, at the gym or cooking some food. Audiobooks just don’t do it for me because I get too distracted using my ears rather than my eyes.
I am also that weird guy who likes to note down all of the interesting stuff that he reads as he reads it. Evernote has been a lifesaver for me in the last year or so. That adds a lot of time on to each book but for me, it is worth it to look back on stuff that I might have forgotten or to piece together some great and useful things I learnt from all of these different books.
So there are my reading habits that you didn’t ask for, but if you are one of those weird people like me, I salute you. If you are thinking that I’m wasting a lot of time, I salute you too. If you are looking for some fantastic books to read this year to upgrade all areas of your life, then you need to look no further than this list.
Below I have compiled a nice list of the books, my favourite quotes/extracts that really stood out as valuable and sometimes a little bit of commentary too.
EDIT: This post turned into an unexpected 6000+ words behemoth. So I encourage you to read this post over a couple of sittings to properly absorb all of the good stuff and/or to use the navigation bar below to jump to the books that you might be interested in hearing more about.
I hope you find these books useful, enjoyable and consider reading at least a few of them. You definitely won’t regret it.
12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson
While this list is in no particular order, 12 Rules of Life might have been my favourite book of 2018.
I took copious amounts of notes which included separate files, thoughts and takeaways on each chapter. Yes, it was that full of good stuff.
It was immensely difficult to whittle it down to just a few extracts, but here were some of my favourites:
*On why we treat ourselves so badly but not others, not even (especially not) our pets*
…But only you know the full range of your transgressions, insufficiencies and inadequacies. No one is more familiar than you with all the ways your mind and body are flawed. No one has more reason to hold you in contempt, to see you as pathetic – and by with-holding something that might do you good, you can punish yourself for all your failings. A dog, a harmless, innocent, unselfconscious dog, is clearly more deserving.
…You deserve respect. Treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping.
*On avoiding arguments, having necessary discussions and making adjustments in life*
…Forest fires burn out deadwood and return trapped elements to the soil. Sometimes, however, fires are suppressed, artificially. That does not stop the deadwood from accumulating. Sooner or later, a fire will start. When it does, it will burn so hot that everything will be destroyed – even the soil in which the forest grows.
…’Did what I want happen? No. Then my aim or my methods were wrong. I still have something to learn.’ That is the voice of authenticity. ‘Did what I want happen? No. Then the world is unfair. People are jealous, and too stupid to understand. It is the fault of something or someone else.’ That is the voice of inauthenticity.
…We can open our eyes and modify what we have where necessary and keep the machinery running smoothly. Or we can pretend that everything is alright, fail to make the necessary repairs and then curse fate when nothing goes our way.
*On group identity, laws and the overlooked complexities of society*
Group identity can be fractionated right down to the level of the individual. Disabled people should be payed as much as non-disabled people. Ok. On the surface, that’s a noble, compassionate, fair claim. But who is disabled? Is someone living with a parent with Alzheimer’s? If not, why not? Someone with low IQ? Someone overweight? Someone less attractive?
21 Lessons For the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
If you have read Harari’s other work, particularly Sapiens and Homo Deus, you would expect to have some pretty high expectations for his third book. I certainly did and felt like they were lived up too.
Whilst the other two took in-depth looks at our species’ past and future, this book looks at the present and helped me at least to make a lot more sense of the often seemingly chaotic and complicated world that we live in today. The book covers topics from religion to war, to politics, to Artificial Intelligence, to meditation. It is a very diverse and interesting read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Here are some of my favourite parts:
*On the system of voting*
Referendums and elections are always about human feelings, not human rationality. If democracy were a matter of rational decision making, there would be absolutely no reason to give all people equal voting rights – or perhaps any voting rights. There is ample evidence that some people are far more knowledgeable and rational than others. Richard Dawkins claims that ‘the vast majority of us shouldn’t have been able to vote in Brexit, because most of us lack background in economics and political science. It’s like letting passengers vote on which runway the pilot should land.’
*On the gift of hindsight and the bias of only seeing what goes wrong*
It is hard to set priorities in real time, while it is all too easy to second-guess priorities in hindsight. We accuse leaders of failing to prevent the catastrophes that happened, while remaining blissfully unaware of the disasters that never materialised. It is hard to set priorities in real time, while it is all too easy to second-guess priorities in hindsight.
*On the future of technology, and us*
Perhaps the worst sin of present-day science fiction is that it tends to confuse intelligence with consciousness. As a result, it is overly concerned about a potential war between robots and humans, when in fact we need to fear a conflict between a small superhuman elite empowered by algorithms, and a vast underclass of disempowered Homo sapiens.
*On the importance of knowing thyself going forward*
As biotechnology and machine learning improve, it will become easier to manipulate people’s deepest emotions and desires, and it will become more dangerous than ever to just follow your heart. When Coca Cola, Amazon, Baidu or the government knows how to pull the strings of your heart and press the buttons of your brain, could you still tell the difference between yourself and their marketing experts?
To succeed in such a daunting task, you will need to work very hard on getting to know your operating system better. To know what you are, and what you want from life. Because you have serious competition now from the big businesses. You might have heard that we are living in the era of hacking computers, but that’s hardly half the truth. In fact, we are living in the era of hacking humans.
When people ask the big questions of life, they usually have absolutely no interest in knowing when their breath is coming into their nostrils and when it is going out. Rather, they want to know things like what happens after you die. Yet the real enigma of life is not what happens after you die, but what happens before you die. If you want to understand death, you need to understand life.
4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
The 4 Hour Body is built intentionally as more of an encyclopedia rather than a story book for you to read through.
For anyone who is familiar with Tim, you will know that he is a ruthless self-experimenter doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things from learning to be conversational in six languages, to competing in the World Tango Championships in Argentina. He is also the author of the 4 Hour Workweek which I cannot recommend enough on this blog.
In this book, he does all sorts of experiments on his body for the reader’s benefit and interest. Nice one, Tim.
I will leave you with just one general extract since this book can be made incredibly personal if you allow it. It contains everything from diets, results, workouts, sex, learning how to run again (properly), to how to take a variety of blood tests for measuring all sorts of variables. It’s geeky but it’s awesome and has something for everyone.
*How to spot bad science, misleading ‘facts’ in industry or anywhere else*
- Is a relative change (like percentages) being used to convince?
- Is this an observational study claiming to show cause and effect?
- Does this study depend on self-reporting (possibly memory) or surveys (untrue answers)?
- Is this study claiming a control group? E.g. low fat vs high fat diet would also include lower/higher protein, therefore would have to add carbs or have unequal calories as another variable
- Do the funders of the study have a vested interest in a certain outcome?
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
I read Extreme Ownership quite early on in the year and I’m glad I did. It set me up for nearly a full year of listening to one of my favourite podcasts: Jocko Podcast.
I also wrote about the concept of Extreme Ownership in one of my earlier blog posts, it had that much of a profound impact on me.
That post was based on one chapter from the book, here are some of the other great things I took from the book:
The concept of Prioritise and Execute. In every chapter, the authors begin with a personal experience from war, breaking down the principle that they talk about and then applying it to business and life. In the past year of trying balancing this blog, university, work, exercise, social life and everything in between, with varying degrees of success, Prioritise and Execute has saved my butt more than a few times. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I think of those words and it puts everything in order, helps me to realise what’s important and then get it done.
The concept of Decentralised Command. It is just as applicable to the battlefield as the business world.
Each leader was trusted to lead and guide his team in support of the overall mission. Those junior leaders learned that they were expected to make decisions. They couldn’t ask, ‘What do I do?’ Instead, they had to state: ‘This is what I am going to do.’ Since I made sure everyone everyone understood the overall intent [the why] of the mission, every leader worked and led separately, but in a unified way that contributed to the overall mission, making even the most chaotic scenarios much easier to handle.
There are 9 other incredible chapters and concepts that I haven’t mentioned here. Whether you work in a business, are on the front lines or just want to take some ownership of your own life, I consider this a must-read.
Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
This is a book that I haven’t yet finished and am tackling in chunks at a time. Not just because it’s a massive book but because the content is also pretty heavy.
The book is considered history and memoir of life in the Soviet ‘Gulag’ camps during much of the 20th century. Solzhenitsyn recounts some of his own experiences from the camp, the life of others, the regime itself, various reflections on the meaning of life, the cruelty of humanity and much, much more.
Many consider this book, despite its lengthy content, a ‘moral obligation’ to read. Around 60 million people died in the camps according to some estimates yet knowledge of the camps, especially in contrast to the Nazi concentration camps, is relatively small.
Although I have only partially covered the content, here is what I have noted as interesting so far:
There always is this fallacious belief ‘It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.
Who was arrested in the ‘gold’ wave? All those who, at one time or another, fifteen years before, had had a private ‘business,’ had been involved in retail trade, had earned wages at a craft, and could have, according to the GPU’s deductions, hoarded gold.
People were arrested after they had finished their sentences under no new charges! What about the children of his sworn enemies? They, too, must be imprisoned! They were growing up, and they might have notions of vengeance.
In your position as a blue cap, the one who would determine other’s freedom, you could have any woman you wanted. You could easily remove the husband. You could have any apartment, remove any enemies so long as you served the state.
‘And just so we don’t go around flaunting too proudly the white mantle of the just, let everyone ask himself ‘If my life had turned out differently, might I myself not have become such an executioner?’ It is a dreadful question if one really answers it honestly.
If only it were so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
Happy City by Charles Montgomery
I would probably consider this book the most I was pleasantly surprised by in 2018. While I had high expectations for all of the other books and the majority lived up to it, I only heard of this book off the back of a recommendation by Mr Money Mustache. I thought I would give it a go and after putting it off behind a few other books for a while, I absolutely loved it.
The author looks at various components of city life and all of the aspects that affect our health, sanity and happiness. It talks about urban design, how everything is connected to everything, where we go from cars and many more fascinating aspects of city life. This book certainly gave me a new perspective on all of the details of the city I live in, things that I would usually take for granted or would go unnoticed. It also fed my inner geography geek.
Here are some of my highlights from the book:
*On the paradoxical effect of how we’re making roads ‘safer’*
Unfortunately, some of the most favoured design responses to road danger have backfired. For decades, road engineers have followed standards that strictly separate pedestrians from cars, remove distractions and widen traffic lanes. Engineering safety long held as gospel that cars wouldn’t crash so frequently if the things they tended to hit were farther away.
Now the unintended consequences of pursuing seemingly obvious measures have started to pile up. The removal of pedestrians and other distractions from urban roads has actually made roads more dangerous. Road studies have found that most of us drive not according to posted speed limits, but according to how safe the road feels. We drive as fast as road designs tell us to drive. The result: drivers kill four times as many pedestrians on spacious suburbs than on the narrow streets of traditional neighbourhoods.
*On why building more roads and wider roads doesn’t result in less traffic*
The problem was that new asphalt changed the collective mind of the city. It caused thousands of people to regard the road differently and behave differently. Non-drivers saw open lanes and started driving. Existing drivers altered their route. Other drivers were inspired to move their homes or work farther away. Meanwhile, property developers took advantage of newly proximate land, offering everyone what seemed like a chance to live or work in the landscape of dispersal.
Lessons From History by Will and Ariel Durant
Despite this book being just over 100 pages long, the content is dense and I could read and digest no more than 4/5 pages per night. The book moves through across various spectrums and looks at the history of each facet: from economics to religion to progress.
Whilst I did find it a bit of a struggle to finish, I acknowledge that books are highly subjective and someone else may find this book incredibly insightful, so don’t be deterred.
I did still manage to pick up some very interesting notes though:
*On Freedom and Equality*
Natures smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917.
*On Wealth and where it lies*
We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial re-distribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation.
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
From all of the various podcasts, books, interviews, Youtube videos and other forms of media that I have consumed (usually procrastinated on), I would say this book comes up the most often in the ‘life-changing’ and ‘essential reads’ category, and it is little surprise after reading it.
The book recounts and recalls life in a Nazi concentration camp, as told by Viktor E. Frankl’s and his own experience there. As well as providing horrific insights into what some of our fellow humans had to endure less than a century ago, Frankl also contemplates human nature, searching for the meaning of life during such dreadful circumstances and a vision of hope for all.
This book isn’t a cheery read, but it’s an integral read. At only 150 pages, I will definitely be returning to it at least once this year.
Here are some of the messages that stuck out to me the most:
*On the nature of love*
Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, in his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.
*On the nature of being*
For, in the past, nothing is irretrievably lost but everything irrevocably stored.
Nothing can be undone, and nothing can be done away with. I should say having been is the surest kind of being.
Man is ultimately self-determining. In the concentration camp, in this living laboratory we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualised depends on decisions but not on conditions.
So let us be alert – alert in a twofold sense:
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.
Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus
For anyone that is looking for a complete guide to having the perfect day, from exercise to nutrition to sleep to cold exposure, this is the book that I would recommend hands down. There is a load of invaluable information and ideas in this book that I have implemented into my own daily routine since reading and I often refer back to it whenever I’ve had a few days of slacking and need to get back on track.
The whole idea behind the book is that if you can take control of and ‘own’ the days of your life, then your whole life will take care of itself. It’s intimidating trying to own your whole life, so focusing on each day is where you want to start. Plus he runs my favourite podcast at the moment, so bonus points for that.
Here a couple of takeaways from the book:
*On working on better posture while you work*
Chin retractions. The goal of the chin push is to push your chin down and back, elongating the neck and setting a better alignment for your head on your shoulders .Do three sets of ten reps, holding a duration of two seconds each time.
Draw the shoulders down. Holding your chin in the position you just patterned, reaching your hands toward the floor, draw your shoulders down to your sides, stretching and lengthening the traps, which are one of the main places many of us hold our stress, especially if we are holding our hands too high up when we type. The shoulders tense up, then they get tight, which leads to tightness in the neck and the traps (and eventually headaches). Gently push your ear down toward your shoulder, increasing the stretch on the opposite trap. Hold for 10 seconds at a time. Do ten sets for a total of 100 seconds.
*On stress and combatting it*
Chronic stress is literally killing us, and the traditional medical model offers very little help to deal with it. Counterintuitively, one of the best ways to deal with stress is to seek certain forms of acute stress. Through a process called hormesis, acute stress will help you adapt and become stronger.
Cold exposure is one of the best sources of acute stress, and can be accessed in showers, cold tubs, and cryotherapy. The cold also offers the opportunity to practice an essential life skill – what i call ‘mental override’ -the ability to make yourself do something you don’t want to do.
*On getting a good night’s sleep*
We have made a mistake by thinking of sleep only in terms of hours per night. Instead, think about sleep as cycles per week. Understand that any form of polyphasic sleep, which includes napping, is a natural antidote to the anxiety of getting night-time sleep, and a supplement to your daily recovery.
To play out any great act, you have to set the stage. When it comes to sleep, this means eliminating the blue lights, keeping distractions to a minimum, making your room cool and dark like you’re a cave bear, and adding some plants to push some oxygen into your life.
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
The Rational Optimist served as a bit of a refreshing change to a lot of the doomsday predictions that we see often and that are quite trendy in the modern day. Despite the monumental problems and challenges ahead of us in the 21st century, Matt Ridley looks back at how we have conquered past challenges and provides all of the reasons why this century will be the best for humans yet.
I really enjoyed reading this book as it offered a lot of hope and reassurance going forward for us as a species, as well as reminding me of how far we have come and the challenges that we have already surmounted and conquered. It also draws some interesting analysis and explanation on how the world we participate in every day actually works.
Here are a few of the good bits:
*On pessimism of the future*
On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
*How trust came about in the digital/commercial age*
There is a vast history behind the trustworthiness of a tube of toothpaste, a long path of building trust inch by inch. Once that path is trodden, though, trust can be borrowed for new products and new media with surprising ease. The remarkable thing about the early days of the internet was not how hard it proved to enable people to trust each other in the anonymous reaches of the ether, but how easy. All it took was for eBay to solicit feedback from customers after each transaction and post the comments of buyers and sellers. Suddenly, every deal lay under the shadow of the future; suddenly, every eBay user felt the hot breath of reputation on his neck as surely as a Stone Age reindeer hide salesman returning to a trading place after selling a rotten hide the year before.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
The Subtle Art was definitely one of my favourite books last year and I took copious amounts of notes on almost every chapter. I had heard it being recommended by various people through various mediums so my expectations were high and it still managed to smash through those.
It contains some fantastic messages, and what made them stick with me were the unconventional ways in which they were presented. Take a few of the chapters that are titled ‘Happiness is a Problem’, ‘You are not Special’ and ‘You’re Wrong about Everything’. I was getting beat down on every page and I loved it.
I have already highlighted some of my favourite parts of the book over on Instagram, but here are some more for your enjoyment:
A lot of fear of failure comes from shitty values. ‘Make everyone I meet like me’ causes anxiety and failure is 100% defined by the actions of others. ‘Improve my social life’ means I can live up to my value of ‘good relations with others’ regardless of how others respond to me.
If we follow the ‘do something’ principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting – when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite – we propel ourselves ahead.
*On freedom and entitlement*
Entitlement plays out in one of two ways, but often fluctuates between the two:
- I’m awesome and the rest of you all suck, so I deserve special treatment.
- I suck and the rest of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.
The more freedom we’re given to express ourselves, the more we want to be free of having to deal with anyone who may disagree with us or upset us. This is entitlement. This is the ‘I shouldn’t have to put up with this’ attitude.
Because here’s something that’s weird but true, we don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience is. Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating. Some of the best and most gratifying experiences of our lives are also the most distracting and demotivating. Don’t trust your conception of positive/negative experiences. All that we know for certain is what hurts in the moment and what doesn’t. And that’s not worth much.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
After following Seth’s Blog for almost two years now, I consider him nothing short of a marketing and life genius.
He has brought out a series of books but this was the first one that I jumped on. I literally could not put it down. That’s very rare for a book on marketing I’m sure.
It taught me so much about myself, my audience, my life, empathy, thinking outside the box and of course, marketing.
Here are a few snippets. In particular analogies about different concepts:
– The marketing of dog food is for dog owners, not dogs. It’s for the way it makes them feel, the satisfaction of taking care of an animal that responds with loyalty and affection, the status of buying a luxury good, and the generosity of sharing it. Have you ever seen a dog buy dog food?
– This is the lock and the key. You’re not running around grabbing every conceivable lock to try out your key. Instead, you’re finding people (the lock), and since you are curious about their dreams and desires, you will create a key just for them, one they’ll happily trade attention for.
A lifeguard doesn’t have to spend much time pitching to the drowning person. When you show up with a life buoy, if the drowning person understands what’s at stake, you don’t have to run ads to get them to hold it.
– Why do we squirm at crickets but get hungry at the thought of beef? Because people like us eat things like this.
For most of us, from the first day we are able to remember until the last day we breathe, our actions are primarily driven by one question: ‘Do people like me do things like this?’People like me own a car; we don’t take the bus.People like me have a full time job.People like me want to see the new James Bond movie.
Even when we adopt the behaviour of an outlier, when we do something the crowd doesn’t often do, we’re still aligning ourselves with the behaviour of outlier
– We each have our own narratives. The noise in our head, the worldview that is unique to us, the history and beliefs and perceptions that shape who we are and what we choose. And sonder is the generous act of accepting that others don’t want, believe, or know what we do – and have a similar noise in their head.
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
This is another Tim Ferriss-style encyclopedia that is full of knowledge, wisdom and invaluable life lessons from the greatest performers and minds all over the world. Tim proposes a set of interview questions and publishes the best answers to questions like ‘In the last 5 years, what new belief, behaviour or habit has most improved your life?‘ or ‘What advice would you give to a smart, driven, college student about to enter the ‘real world’?‘.
The interviewees range from TV and film stars like Terry Crews, Jimmy Fallon and Ben Stiller, to sports stars like Maria Sharapova and Tony Hawk, to world leaders in their respective fields such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Arianna Huffington and Josh Waitzkin.
This is a book that you can refer back to again and again whenever you need a little bit of motivation, inspiration or wisdom from the best people in the world.
Here are just a couple of my notes from various mentors:
*On how you consume media*
One distraction I’ve learned to avoid is consuming media that’s just telling me things I already know and agree with (for example, about politics). That stuff can be addictive because it feels so validating – it’s like venting with a friend – but you’re not learning from it, and over time, I think indulging that impulse makes you less able to tolerate other perspectives. So I broke my addiction by, essentially, reminding myself how much time I was wasting not learning anything.
*On the importance of focusing on the now rather than the future*
Macro patience, micro speed. They should not care about the next eight years, but they should stress the next eight days.
*On the importance of adversity*
‘Storms make us stronger.’ If i had one message for young people embarking on life, it would be this. Don’t shy away from the hard times. Tackle them head-on, move toward the path less trodden, riddled with obstacles, because most other people run at the first sign of battle. The storms give us a chance to define ourselves, to distinguish ourselves, and we always emerge from them stronger.
*On living in the present and taking time to notice*
Every morning, on my run, I try to take a picture of a flower and share it on Instagram. I was inspired to do this by a passage I read many years ago in a book by C.S. Lewis in which a character after death, only sees the flowers as blobs of colour, and his spirit guide tells him ‘that’s because you never really looked at them when you were alive.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
This was another book that fell into the bracket of curiosity and I am so glad that I picked it up.
After hearing a few clips of Matthew Walker on the Joe Rogan Experience, I was immensely impressed with his depth of knowledge, the studies that he has carried out on sleep as well as by the other things he talked about such as dreams, the effect of alcohol on sleep and how our sleep cycles work.
If you struggle to sleep or have an interest in any area of sleep, this book is a must-read written extremely well by one of the most competent sleep professionals in the world.
Here are a few points from the book:
– Vehicular accidents caused by drowsy driving exceed those caused by drugs and alcohol combined.
– The physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise.
– Caffeine mutes the tiredness inducing sleep pressure of adenosine. Caffeine latches on to the receptors instead of the adenosine, blocking the sleepiness signal from adenosine build up. This however also causes the caffeine crash. Adenosine continues to build up anyway without the brain being aware of it. Once all of the caffeine is processed, you’ve got that build up of sleep pressure dumped on you.
– Can you function optimally without caffeine before noon? If the answer is no, then you are most likely self-medicating your state of chronic sleep deprivation.
– You do not know how sleep-deprived you are when you are sleep-deprived. Baseline resetting occurs where people acclimate to their impaired performance and lower energy levels.
– After being awake for 19 hours, people who were sleep deprived were as cognitively impaired as those who were legally drunk.
– Alcohol sedates you out of wakefulness, but it does not induce natural sleep. The electrical brainwave state you enter via alcohol is not that of natural sleep; rather, it is akin to a light form of anaesthesia. Alcohol also fragments sleep. Not continuous means not restorative. Most of these awakenings go unnoticed by sleeper since they aren’t remembered.
Zorba The Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Zorba The Greek is a book that seems to be a bit of a cult legend and has its own movie too.
It is about a larger-than-life character who teaches a very straightforward guy about how to properly enjoy the life that he has been given. There is women, working, dancing, singing, playing instruments and many other adventures in between.
For me, it had some good messages entwined within the story but I didn’t enjoy it that much. The story felt fragmented and jumped all over the place and some of the ideas and concepts in the book felt quite dated. It was first published in 1946.
Nevertheless, I did note down some quotes from the book that I quite enjoyed:
– I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.
– God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.
– You can knock on a deaf man’s door forever.
– I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize – sometimes with astonishment – how happy we had been.