Disclaimer: The links to these books on Amazon are my affiliate links, this means if you purchase them after clicking on the link, you don't pay any extra and Amazon pays me a small referral commission. If you prefer not to use my affiliate links, no hard feelings, just search for the book title on Google.
READ IN 2016 SO FAR along with my rating and some of my notes.
This was a thoughtful gift from my girlfriend because I mentioned how much I enjoyed Sam Harris' appearance on a podcast. This is a VERY short book, more of a collection of blog-post length articles, really, that can be consumed in one afternoon. Although the material is a lot deeper than that. While not presented with any maxim truths, Sam delves into the physchology of moral-grey areas such as white lies, why do we tell them, trust, faint praise, and more.
Letters from a Stoic - Seneca
3 stars (hard to read)
When I met Ryan Holiday in Austin last year, this was his #1 pick that I should read to dig more into Stoicism. I'll admit it is a pretty tough read. The language is sometimes confusing and repetitive. Because of how strongly it's recommended by people I admire, I will read it again in a year, I wish I had enjoyed it more.
Stoics strived for what they called “Virtue”: summarized in ancient philosophy as a combination of four qualities: wisdom (or moral insight), courage, self-control, and justice (or moral dealing). It enables a man to be ‘self-sufficient’, immune to suffering, superior to the wounds and upsets of life. It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more. "Could anything be more stupid than to praise a person for something that is not his? Or more crazy than admiring things which in a single moment can be transferred to another? It is not a golden bit that makes one horse superior to another." "Many are the things that have caused terror during the night and have ben turned into matters of laughter with the coming of the daylight."
A Guide to the Good Life - William B Irvine
4 1/2 stars
This was recommended by someone on Tim Ferriss’ podcast I was listening to while driving in Austin. I had just met Ryan Holiday and I think he said it was good also.
Stoics separated themselves form Cynics because they favored a lifestyle that, while simple, allowed for creature comforts. They enjoyed whatever good things happened to be available but were prepared to give up those things at any time. Negative Visualization: People always want more and take for granted what they have- called hedonic adaptation. Negative Visualization is the practice of visualizing that you lost things that you value. Avoid getting on the satisfaction treadmill- detect an unfulfilled desire and work hard to attain it, then you adapt to its presence in your life and as a result stop desiring it, or don’t find it as desirable as before, so you’re unsatisfied again.
Contemplate Imperminance:There WILL BE (or already has been) a last time in my life where I will drive a car, watch the moon, smell popcorn, kiss a lover, see snowfall, etc etc. Don’t sleepwalk through life. Practice discomfort on purpose. Harden yourself against misfortune, like a vaccine. Also helps to appreciate comfort we do have. Epictetus: “You will be harmed at just that time at which you take yourself to be harmed."
The Truth - Neil Strauss
2 1/2 stars
I’ve never read “The Game” (Neil's other controversial book about pick-up artists) although I've known about it for some time. This is the story of Neil, where the guy that invented the term 'player' grows up and falls in love and gets married. But his story of non-monogamy and polyamory and sex addiction therapy all the other goofy stuff he had to do to ‘find’ himself. Entertaining read, worth the time, but not particularly life changing.