Books, classics, Non-Fiction, philosophy, Reviews

Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau

My Rating: 4/5

 

Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity

This is a call for self-honesty and harmony with nature in the writings of Henry David Thoreau.

Walden was published in 1854 written during the reign of transcendentalists of which Thoreau was a central figure. Transcendental was a philosophical movement that was influenced by romanticism, Platonism and Kantian philosophy in which one must examine and analyse the reasoning process which governs the nature of experience. German philosopher Immanuel Kant developed the base idea for this movement.

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Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Reviews

REVIEW: JK Rowling’s Hogwarts Short Stories

After completing the reading of Harry Potter Series earlier this year after feeling a nostalgic buzz when the new play The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling got released in paperback in July. Yes I confess of not reading the first three parts of the series before and yes I call myself a reader. However, one thing I realised is that Prisoner of Azkaban is my second favoruite Potter book now. So, just to get another glimpse of that Potter buzz, earlier this week I bought three ebooks which are published by Pottermore Limited, tagline: digital heart of the Wizarding World, two months ago. The set includes the following titles:

  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
  • Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

This post includes reviews of all three books. Let’s start.

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Books, Non-Fiction, philosophy

Philippa Perry on Self Observation


How to be Sane by Philippa Perry is a short, and surprisingly a good book to read. This book is a part of The School of Life series which takes a different approach to introduce self-help genre, in an intelligent way.

Philippa Perry is psychotherapist and in her book she offers some pragmatic insight on observing one’s attitude, reactions or thought process. She argues that there are four cornerstones to being sane, to being conscious. Self-observation is one. She suggests, we should start with:

The ability to observe and listen to feelings and bodily sensations is essential to staying sane.

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Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Fearless and Free by Wendy Sachs

Published by Amacom Books | My Rating: 4/5

Often these days we see books with catchy covers that are entitled to one half of our species. Then many of us from the other half disown the notion of reading that book even though we know that it will do good to us, we will gather some better thoughts for our intellectual and conscience from that book. There isn’t any gender gap at start when we are naive. It’s a seed sown inside our heads. This is what we teach and preach from then on and that’s how our children begin to differ. And then it becomes a problem.

Both women and men are human beings. One species! How can someone differentiate between the workings of the two? I tell you to disown the “disowning notion” right now. Start it today. Start by reading some books like Wendy Sachs’s Fearless and Free: How Smart Women pivot & relaunch their careers.

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Books, Non-Fiction, notes

BOOK NOTES: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

My Rating: 5/5

These notes include Books Recommended to Tim over his interviews with various people. Do take a look in those books, you might find something useful and that you haven’t read before.

  • Questions are your pickaxes and competitive advantage.
  • Borrow liberally, combine uniquely, and create your own bespoke blueprint.
  • Very often, “our” beliefs are not our own.
  • The superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximized 1 or 2 strengths.
  • Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
  • Everyone struggles. Take solace in that.
  • “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” —Lao Tzu
  • “The rule is: The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”
  • take phosphatidylserine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). For me, this also has a noticeable impact on lowering anxiety the following day.
  • 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute by Richard Wiseman (for stress reduction)
  • The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
  • when you’re a leader, people are going to mimic your behavior, at a minimum. . . . It’s a guarantee. So here’s the key piece of advice, this is all he said:
  • ‘Calm is contagious.’”

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5 Stars, Books, Non-Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Mastery by Robert Greene 

For a start, I want you to watch this video:

No, I did not watch this video before reading Mastery by Robert Greene book. Though I do watched it after reading the book and it made me read the book again and get deep into it. Malkhaz has elegantly and importantly described the whole 310 pages long book in almost 13 minutes and if you are not going to read this post, at least watch the video. You’ll definitely learn something new. If you decide to read this post, keep in my mind that I’m only writing about this book is because I enjoyed reading it and simply want to share my thoughts on it.

I was first introduced to Robert Greene’s works in 48 Laws of Power when I saw that red binding, vertical blue stripe in the middle of the cover in a local bookstore. I had a series of thoughts in parallel and some of them were extreme and exciting. After reading a few pages, he become my company for the next few days, especially morning and night. Not many books do I enjoy reading in the morning, but I can say Robert Greene’s writing is definitely the one to be enjoyed in the morning bliss. Wake up, get yourself together and Greene’s words will help to get hold of yourself for the rest of the day.

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5 Stars, Books, Business, Non-Fiction, philosophy

BOOK REVIEW: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

My Rating: 5/5

My Rating: 5/5

I introduced myself to Tim Ferriss last year when I randomly found a post on his blog in which he had interviewed Maria Popova. Actually, I was searching for Brain Picking’s Maria Popova’s interviews as she is such an inspiring blogging personality, the way she curate the content for every post is amazing and seems an example of a creative process, just right out of her imagination.You must check out Brain Pickings. Moreover, scan through Tim Ferriss’ blog which is called FourHourWorkWeek.com and got introduced to his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show [Podcast Link]. He has done an amazing job by taking more than hundred 60+ minute interviews with some of the successful and interesting people by digging deep into their “mind”, process of their workings, process of maintaining their bodies, listening to their suggestions and how do they motivate, inspire, live and do something that they love to do.

Tools of Titans is an enormous collection of bits and pieces of interviews that are available on his podcast and highlights the major theme of most of the interviews Tim has included in this book. The book is huge, exceeding 700 pages and is certainly not meant to be read all at once. It’s not Tolstoy’s War and Peace or David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest that you can read continuously without moving your body parts for next 7 to 10 days or so. Bear in mind, reading Tools of Titans will take more than that many days since it has a sheer amount of practical information to be processed by our mind. I’d recommend you to take your time with each interview described by Tim, think over it, if there’s a book recommended in between as there are so some interesting book recommendations, try to read few of them or at least do a little research on why the book is being recommended, what’s there inside and is the book for you? Then you can definitely add it to your TBR.

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Books, Non-Fiction, philosophy, Reviews

REVIEW: How to be Sane by Philippa Perry

How to be Sane written by Philippa Perry is a short, and surprisingly a good book to read. This book is a part of The School of Life series which takes a different approach to introduce self-help genre, in an intelligent way. For more information on The School of Life, please refer to my previous post.

Philippa Perry is psychotherapist and in this book she offers some pragmatic insight on observing one’s attitude, reactions or thought process. She argues that there are four cornerstones to being sane, to being conscious. Self-observation is one, other being your relationship with others (Man is a social being ~ Seneca), the Good Stress & our own perspective.

She starts with a short introduction to how a human being’s mind work, and then takes a reader to a number of pragmatic approaches through exercises that are designed to strength our capacity to recover from adversities. She clearly warns each reader that some of these approaches or exercises may work for some and may not work. It is similar to what is our perspective to the situation or adversity and the approach we take to overcome it.

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Books, Non-Fiction, philosophy, Reviews

REVIEW: The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

The Virtue of Selfishness as the title suggests, is not about selfishness in the way “we” generally think or practice the word— selfishness. We have a high tendency to form and adapt things according to us and thus, with time, similar has been done with the language and its use. Our tendency to shape things has no boundaries though. But a language do as well as the meaning of a word.

Ayn Rand was one of the most controversial thinkers and a successful fiction writer of 20th century. Her fiction mostly reflects her philosophy. Her fiction includes The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged. I actually enjoyed reading The Fountainhead last year as well as her writing style. But there is more than just mere meaning of words in her wiring, and it’s called Objectivism, her philosophy. In considering that, I’d like to mention here, please keep in mind that the intellectual changes she observed and her vision of individualism may sound harsh and dogmatic currently but in her time, some parts of the western world were overwhelmed by communism and socialism. Although, majority of her philosophy is comfortably applicable to the current time period.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is presented through her fictional works and all started with Anthem which is all about finding yourself in the heap of society. This continues and reaches its pinnacle in the form of Atlas Shrugged. The Virtue of Selfishness, a non-fictional work, is more a collection of essays explaining Objectivism in detail. In her essays, one can see her paraphrasing from her own work Atlas Shrugged. 

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5 Stars, Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Reviews

Stoner by John Williams

John William’s book Stoner barely sold when it came out in 1965. Now, it is one of the great American novels of 20th Century. It’s the story of William Stoner, as you may have heard of, a boy born in the end of nineteenth century in a farming family. From his childhood days he learns the value of work. The novel goes through the protagonist’s life chronologically as he gets older. He enters the university as a freshman, becomes a professor, a disappointing marriage, father to a daughter, recognises love and lust, and his love for literature. It is indeed a tale of a simple life that John Williams describe through his words and characters and he has done that with some perfection.

From the start, the fluency of words, the narration is enough to grab any reader’s attention. It grabbed mine and I could not put down the book until I was  on the last page reading the last line, and the last word. The novel is not huge neither will it tire your eyes. It is an interesting piece of literature which is display an ordinary tale of an English Professor that is observed and decrypted in front of a reader. William Stoner appears as a typical academic but he is more than that. He is a human breathing air just like you and me. He is in endurance like everyone else.

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