I experience mixed feelings whenever someone recommends a book or a song that came out years ago and which I’m just discovering now. One part of me is grateful for the recommendation, but another part of me says, “This came out years ago and I’m only just discovering it now?!”
Two of the books I’m going to share below just came out in 2020, so it’s entirely possible that you haven’t heard of them yet. …
You can have almost anything you want in life as long as you a) help enough other people get what they want, and b) you don’t care that in the beginning, most people will just think that you’re failing. Today, I’m going to show you the hidden benefits of letting people think just that.
The genesis of this idea came to me after reading Plato’s Republic, specifically when Socrates is talking to (arguing with?) Glaucon about virtue (being a good person). They’re discussing whether it’s best to be thought a good person by everyone in the world but really be a terrible person in secret, or better to be thought an absolutely vile individual by everyone in the world, but actually be a good person in secret. …
Since I don’t have the last name “Gautama,” I can’t pretend to have reached some exalted state of inner peace and equanimity — “well-being,” to use the modern term.
Rather, I tend to think of myself as more or less like you: reasonably well-off, all things considered; grateful for what I have, but desirous of more; curious about the wider world, but not completely certain of my place within it.
Therefore, you can think of me as a fellow-traveler — someone who is intensely interested and invested in solving the problem of human existence; and, perhaps most importantly, as someone who feels unconditional positive regard for everyone reading this today. …
I swear that I didn’t just pick the number “50” and then try to find 50 great books to recommend. It’s just a happy accident.
Rather, I went through the list of books I finished in 2020 and picked only the absolute knockouts to push into your hands today.
It’s a wide range, and I’d never expect all of us to agree on every single choice, but there’s gold in here for everyone. How do I know?
Because all books, everywhere, fiction or nonfiction, romance or thriller, science or history, psychology or adventure, tell only one story. That’s it. …
If we pull ourselves together in time, this won’t be the end of us. It’s still within our power to come back from everything that’s beaten us down in 2020, and to look beyond to a bright and healthy human future.
The future that we’ve been steadily building, at least since the time of the Enlightenment.
I believe so strongly in human resiliency and decency that I refuse to submit to cynicism and despair — especially since that refusal is the very thing we need in order to pull ourselves back from the edge.
That being said, the solutions that we need are going to have to come from all of us, and we’re past the point when any one person can just sit back and do nothing. Not when we’re all connected to everyone else in such crucial, life-sustaining ways. …
My fight to read 10,000 books, live on 1% of my income, and own a space travel company
This is my first-ever progress report on Medium, and what I plan to do is get real honest and transparent with you guys about what I’m working on, how it’s going, what I’m doing to get there, and what I think can help you get to wherever it is you’re going.
We’re all in this together, and I hope that some of what I have to impart resonates with you, even if our goals are completely different.
And they probably are! …
School may have killed your passion for the printed word, but it can be brought back to life.
You have not been condemned to some kind of a bookless desert-future where you’ll never read anything longer than 140 characters ever again.
There’s a spark left where your love of books used to be, and I’m going to help you find it, and re-ignite it into a Guy Montag-sized flame.
Since leaving university, I’ve read 883 books (I counted lol), and my, shall we say, “Passion for Proust,” my “Hankering for Hemingway,” my “Desire for DeLillo” (sorry), remains undiminished.
Now, if you haven’t even looked at a physical book since you last closed your final exam booklet; if you used to love reading, but you can’t get excited about books any more because of all the required reading you’ve had to do for school; or if it’s been so long since you’ve had your life changed by a book that you weren’t forced to read that you’ve resigned yourself to your bookless fate — then this article’s for you. …
Medium can be a harsh mistress.
The editors of publications can beat you to your knees, and keep you down there permanently if you let them.
Alright, so I paraphrased that last sentence from Rocky, but what I’m driving at here is that rejections don’t have to be permanent.
It sucks getting rejected by publications — especially as a new writer on Medium like myself — but every top writer I know has pushed through them on their way to their eventual success, and they all say that rejection is not the end.
That’s actually what I want to talk to you about today. …
What Fyodor Dostoevsky Can Teach Us About Love
Franz Kafka once said that the experience of reading great books should be like taking an axe to the frozen sea inside us. The Brothers Karamazov did that for me. Several times, actually.
In fact, I was so strongly taken by one particular passage from Dostoevsky’s classic book on free will and morality that I started writing under the name Matt Karamazov.
It’s a different passage that I want to bring to your attention today, but my life was never the same after reaching Book VI, Chapter 2, when Father Zossima’s brother, Merkel, tells their…
If you look back on your life, you could probably pick out one single day that, if you hadn’t lived that particular day, your entire life would have turned out completely different.
Charles Dickens brought that point home for readers of Great Expectations. I experienced it for myself when I first sat down to read The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, even though I didn’t recognize until much later what I had done.
You see, seven years ago, I fortuitously decided to start taking notes on Greene’s book, and from that day forward, my life has never been the same. …