Having reviewed nearly 40 books over the past year, I figured it would be a good time to take stock.
To reflect on those books which I particularly enjoyed.
But where to start?!
Honestly, I’ve garnered so many insights from so many of these books! From economics to relationships and everything in between, each one has offered something unique.
It’s been a real pleasure delving into them and I’m looking forward to many more ‘wow’ moments over the coming years!
It wouldn’t be fair to single out any book. They’ve all been well worth the time. The only thing I can really do is present my favourite takeaways in some sort of logical order so that hopefully you too can learn something from them.
Of course, reviews are one thing. If you really want to get the best out of these books, go ahead and read them!
That’s the only advice I’d give.
Time to let the Donkey see the Kong.
Life-changing quotes – reveal yourself…
- “The people who don’t give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and then do what they believe in anyway. Because they know it’s right.” The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- “This, in a nutshell, is what ‘self-improvement’ is really about: prioritising better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems [to solve], you get a better life.” Defining Good and Bad Values
- “Without conflict, there can be no trust. Conflict exists to show us who is there for us unconditionally and who is just there for the benefits. No one trusts a yes-man.” How to Build Trust
- “‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.'” Part I: Chapter 1
- “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Part I: Chapter 2
- “All this [learning names] takes time, but ‘Good manners,’ said Emerson, ‘are made up of petty sacrifices.'” Part I: Chapter 3
- “… ‘stop a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else. Realise then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the same way…” Part II: Chapter 8
- “… Johnnie might feel encouraged until he heard the world ‘but’. He might then question the sincerity of the original praise… This could be easily overcome by changing he word ‘but’ to ‘and.'” Part III: Chapter 2
- “When you have nothing to prove, you have the most to give.” Chapter 2
- And I believe as humans we have this untapped potential within all of us – reservoirs of it – that we can unlock when we choose the positive mindset.
- Even Mt. Everest… can ultimately be broken down to its smallest component parts – a bunch of small rocks stacked on top of each other…
Do you know what happens when you expect nothing from nobody?
Do you know what it feels like to live a life where you just give, give, give and you never ask for anything in return?
The problem is a lot of you are fronting on your content because you’re not willing to be authentic. The ironic thing is all the magic’s in the s*** that’s corny.
It just is.
You all look the same.
Your nuance is the only currency you can trade on because it’s the only thing that’s not replicable.
Run the f*****g marathon. Keep it humble. Put out good content.
- “… Dani declared that courage was more important than confidence. When you are operating out of courage, you are saying no matter how you feel about yourself or your opportunities or the outcome, you are going to take a risk and take a step toward what you want. You are not waiting for the confidence to mysteriously arrive.” Debbie Millman
- “I warn students today to be careful how they use their precious time and to think carefully about when is the right time to help. It’s a well-worn cliche, but you have to help yourself before you help others. This is too often lost on idealistic students.” Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- “Based on everything I’ve seen, a simple recipe can work: focus on what’s in front of you, design great days to create a great life, and try not to make the same mistake twice. That’s it. Stop hitting net balls and try something else, perhaps even the opposite. If you really want extra credit, try not to be a dick, and you’ll be a Voltron-level superstar. The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.” Tim Ferriss
- “It’s not about making someone look good. It’s about providing the support so that others can be good. The better wording for the advice is this: Find canvasses for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.” Aspire – Follow The Canvas Strategy
- “So why do you do what you do? That’s the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can.” Success – What’s Important To You?
- “When, therefore, we find ourselves entertaining an opinion about the basis of which there is a quality of feeling which tells us that to inquire into it would be absurd, obviously unnecessary, unprofitable, bad form, or wicked, we may know that that opinion is a non-rational one, and probably founded upon inadequate evidence.” Part II, Chapter 4
- “The great mass of humanity has never had anything to do with the increase of intelligence expect to act as its medium of transfusion and perpetuation. Creative intelligence is confined to the very few, but the many can thoughtlessly avail themselves of the more obvious achievements of those who are exceptionally highly endowed.” Part III, Chapter 6
- “The other fellow might look frightfully big, frightfully important. But remember, he is still a human being with essentially the same interests, desires and problems as you.” Chapter 3
- “A leader is a decision-making machine. Now, to manufacture anything, you’ve got to have raw materials. In reaching creative decisions, the raw materials are the ideas and suggestions of others. Don’t, of course, expect other people to give you ready-made solutions… Ideas (from) others help to spark your own ideas so your mind is more creative.” Chapter 5
- “Does your ‘How are you?’ sound interested? When you make a habit of colouring your words with sincere feelings, you’ll notice a great uptake in your ability to hold attention.” Chapter 8
- “‘ No matter how old you are, don’t stop learning. For this is a process, I gather, that goes on for eternity.’” Chapter 2 – The Experience of Dying
- “… what we call time is but the ‘moving, unreal reflection of eternity.’” Chapter 3 – Parallels
- “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting…” Part One
- “If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it.’” Part One
- “… Frankl approvingly quotes the words of Nietzsche, ‘He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.’” Preface
- “Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” Preface
- “If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ‘size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.” Experiences in a Concentration Camp
If your happiness requires other people to behave the way you want them to behave, what are the chances you’re going to stay happy in your life?
When I experience suffering, I feel the tension and say “uhh, the brain’s trying to hijack the mind.”
The mind. Not my mind.
That’s an important distinction.
… those aren’t your thoughts.
Those thoughts have been around forever.
You call them your thoughts and as long as you make them your thoughts, it will be extremely hard for you to separate from them because you’ve identified with them…
Trade your expectations for appreciation and in that moment, you will change your life…
- “I have learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want.” Where I’m Coming From – Chapter 4
- “When faced with a choice between achieving their goal or pleasing (or not disappointing) others, they would choose achieving their goal every time.” Where I’m Coming From – Chapter 6
- “‘You could have all the money you’ve ever wanted, a successful career, and be in good physical health, but without loving relationships, you won’t be happy… The good life is built with good relationships.’” Part II – Life Principles | 4.2
- “Getting extraordinary results is all about creating a domino effect in your life.” Chapter 2 – The Domino Effect
- “The payoff from developing the right habit is pretty obvious. It gets you the success you’re searching for. What sometimes gets overlooked, however, is an amazing windfall: it also simplifies your life. Your life gets clearer and less complicated because you know what you have to do well and you know what you don’t.” Chapter 6 – A Disciplined Life
- “So go to your calendar and block of all the time you need to accomplish your ONE Thing. If it’s a onetime ONE Thing, block off the appropriate hours and days. If it’s a regular thing, block off the appropriate time every day so it becomes
- “Remember where you came from, where you’re going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You’re going to die a horrible death, remember. It’s all good training, and you’ll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution is not generally understood by less-advanced life-forms, and they’ll call you crazy.” Chapter 4
- “Make the required remarkable.” Chapter 10 – Phase 3: Affirm
- “‘People think it’s sexier to go chase new customer blood. They don’t get it. The magic is pouring on gas to ignite existing relationships…’” Chapter 14 – Phase 7: Adopt
- “The professional has learned, however, that too much love can be a bad thing. Too much love can make him choke. The seeming detachment of the professional, the cold-blooded character to his demeanor, is a compensating device to keep him from loving the game so much that he freezes in action.” Book 2: For love of the game
- “The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality. Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page.” Book 2: A professional self-validates
- “Only think about the people you enjoy. Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human. Only go to the events that actually make you laugh or fall in love. Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.” How to Choose Yourself
- “Most people obsess on regrets in their past or anxieties in their future. I call this ‘time travelling’.” How to Choose Yourself
- “Enhance your family, your friends, your colleagues, your clients, potential customers, readers, people who you don’t even know yet but you would like to know. Become a beacon of enhancement, and then when the night is grey, all of the boats will move toward you, bringing their bountiful riches.” Just Do It
- “You will have nobody to run from. Some people will hate you. Some people will doubt your sincerity. But the people who need someone to call, someone to share with, or someone to give to, these people will know who to call. They will call you.” Honesty Makes You More Money
- “As Allen famously stated, 80 percent of success is ‘showing up.’” Nine Things I Learned from Woody Allen
- “The only real dating advice is self-improvement. Work on yourself. Conquer your anxieties. Resolve your shame. Take care of yourself and those who are important to you.” Chapter 1: Non-Neediness
- “… making yourself vulnerable doesn’t just mean being willing to share your fears or insecurities. It can mean putting yourself in a position where you can be rejected, saying a joke that may not be funny, asserting an opinion that may offend others, introducing yourself to a group of people you don’t know… In this way, vulnerability represents a form of power, a deep and subtle form of power. It’s courageous even.” Chapter 2: Power in Vulnerability
- “Not acting on our desires and asserting ourselves where appropriate is showing more investment in others than ourselves. It is therefore unattractive.” Chapter 5: Rejection and Success
- “‘Where are you from?’ translates to: ‘You look like a California girl.’ … ‘What do you do for work?’ translates to: ‘You seem to be a creative person. I bet your job is interesting.'” Chapter 12: How to Improve Your Flirting
- “For instance, when I first meet a girl, let’s say within 30 seconds she says something I don’t like. I’ll say, ‘That’s it, we’re getting divorced.’… you can actually milk a lot of fun out of something like this – for example, ‘You keep the kids, I’m moving to Europe.” By the way, your music sucks, and I never liked your casseroles either.'” Chapter 12: How to Improve Your Flirting
- “Remove, ‘What do you want to do now?’ from your dating vocabulary.” Chapter 13: The Dating Process
- “I’m going to say this point-blank: getting physical with women, and getting physical quickly and comfortably, is ultimately the difference between having a lot of female friends, and having a lot of girlfriends and dates.” Chapter 14: Physicality and Sex
- “… ask yourself, ‘What kind of evidence would convince me to change my mind?’ If the answer is ‘no evidence could ever change my mind about vaccination,’ then you are putting yourself outside evidence-based rationality, outside the very critical thinking that first brought you to this point. In that case, to be consistent in your skepticism about science, next time you have an operation please ask your surgeon not to bother washing her hands.” Chapter 4: The Fear Instinct
- “Crying wolf too many times puts at risk the credibility and reputation of serious climate scientists and the entire movement. With a problem as big as climate change, we cannot let that happen. Exaggerating the role of climate change in wars and conflicts, or poverty, or migration, means that the other major causes of these global problems are ignored, hampering our ability to take action against them. We cannot get into a situation where no one listens anymore. Without trust, we are lost.” Chapter 10: The Urgency Instinct
- “When Epicurus defined happiness as the supreme good, he warned his disciples that it is hard work to be happy.” Chapter 1 – The New Human Agenda
- “Alas, the exciting sensations of the race are as transient as the blissful sensations of victory… Like the rats pressing the pedal again and again, the Don Juans, business tycoons and gamers need a new kick every day. Worse still, here too expectations adapt to conditions, and yesterday’s challenges all too quickly become today’s tedium. Perhaps the key to happiness is neither the race nor the gold medal, but rather combining the right doses of excitement and tranquility; but most of us tend to jump all the way from stress to boredom and back…” Chapter 1 – The New Human Agenda
- “This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies.” Chapter 1 – The New Human Agenda
- “History is something very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.” Chapter 6
- “How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined… // You also educate people thoroughly. From the moment they are born, you constantly remind them of the principles of the imagined order, which are incorporated into anything and everything… fairytales, dramas, paintings, songs, etiquette, political propaganda, architecture, recipes and fasions. For example, today people believe in equality, so it’s fashionable for rich kids to wear jeans which were originally working-class attire.” Chapter 6
- “‘When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.'” Afterword