Great Books: 7 Days’ Worth of Wisdom and Life Advice from Brian Tracy, Amy Morin, Jiddu Krishnamurti and More…

The following “Life Advice” was re-published from my FREE email course on books and literature, which you can enroll in by clicking here. Enjoy!

You’ll hear me say this quite often:

In many ways, great books are like puzzle pieces.

If the “puzzle” you’re trying to solve is the fundamental nature of reality (which is the most fascinating puzzle around, to be honest), how to live courageously in the world, how to achieve worldly success, or whatever else, then reading the best books will help illuminate your path.

To continue with the metaphor that I’m inordinately pleased with myself for having thought up on my own, the best books are like “edge pieces” that help you develop your macro-level worldview, and the lesser (though by no means unimportant) books serve to fill in the details of whichever puzzle you’re trying to solve.

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The edge pieces give you an idea of how big the puzzle might be, what its basic structure looks like, and then, if you want to dive deeper and really “fill out” your knowledge, you can keep doubling down on your reading and read more books on the puzzle in question, even if those additional books aren’t as paradigm-shattering as the edge pieces you started with.

Follow me?

The funny thing is though (albeit maddeningly frustrating at times) is that you’ll soon realize how much you didn’t even KNOW that you didn’t know!

If you think of what you “know” right now as one giant room, each book you read leads you into an entirely different room.

And once you get to THAT room, you’ll find that it opens up into three ADDITIONAL rooms that you didn’t even know were there.

Clearly, reading is a giant rabbit hole.

You’ll never find all the edge pieces (because most of them haven’t even been written yet), you’ll never be able to explore every room, and you’ll never get to the bottom of the rabbit hole.

But the attempt itself is the intellectual adventure of a lifetime.

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Myself, I’ve set the worthy goal of reading 1,000 books before I turn 30, but I’m quite sure that there are probably tens of thousands of books that are WORTH ​​​​reading.

So, with some measure of sadness concerning the finitude of human life and the immensity of available knowledge, I decided to launch a (free) email course where I discuss what I believe are the greatest “edge pieces” that I’ve read so far.

If I were to mix my metaphors, I would say that these edge pieces are the books that pack the strongest one-two punches I’ve ever experienced in all my years with the printed word.

I’d love it if you enrolled in the free email course and received these lessons from me via email, but even if you haven’t signed up to my mailing list, I still wanted these discussions to be available to you.

I love nothing more than to push books into people’s hands, and running the course benefits me too, because I’ve realized that the best way to learn this stuff is to teach it to others.

Below, there are 7 days’ worth of course material, free as always, on the books we covered that week in the email course.

If you like what you read here, please don’t hesitate to sign up for the REAL email course and get individual lessons sent DIRECTLY TO YOU dealing with the “Great Books” of human civilization.

And while I have your attention, I will say that ALL of my book notes from every single book that I’ve ever read are available on my Patreon page.

My study-notes include thousands of pages of quotes, insights, lessons, etc and I’ve also distilled the BEST notes from each book into one “master” document that is now over 500 pages long! You can get all of that on my Patreon, and I update my notes monthly as I read more and more books.

My email course, however, is absolutely free; all I ask is that you never, ever stop learning, and that you never, ever, stop asking questions.

Anyways, enough of all that. Let’s get to the books!

DAY #1: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, By Amy Morin

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From My Notes:

You’re only as good as your worst habit

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You have a choice in everything you do, but each choice carries consequences

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Trust in your ability to tolerate discomfort

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The longer a change gets delayed, the harder it gets to do

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Change for just one week and then decide whether you want to continue with the change

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Behave like the person you want to become

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An internal locus of control is only disadvantageous if you believe you can control absolutely everything

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“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner”

When you’re first getting started with habit change, it can feel daunting to think about the fact that you’re now going to have to continue this good habit indefinitely, until the end of your days.

Whereas I eat 7 meals a day (sometimes only 6), I feel this acutely. Instead of taking it one meal at a time, I do the math in my head and see that that’s 49 meals a week, or 2548 meals a year.

How am I going to eat 2,548 meals?!?!

There’s no way!

But when I just commit to doing it today, I find that it’s a lot easier. I don’t have to eat all those meals at once. Or do all those reps at once, or read all those pages at once.

And it’s the same thing with other habits. You don’t have to, from the very first time you make a positive change in your life, commit to doing this every single day for the rest of your life. Just do it for one week, and if you like the way this new habit makes you feel, then you can choose to continue doing it for another week.

You can make headway on any meaningful change like this. It doesn’t have to be an ordeal from the very beginning. In fact, it should be as simple as possible so that you have no excuse NOT to do it.

You can give up sugar for a week; you can write 100 words a day for a week; you can stand up straight with your shoulders back for a week.

Trust in your ability to tolerate discomfort.

You can handle small, meaningful challenges like these. And Morin is right in that the longer you persist in your bad habits, the more difficult they are to change.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #2: Earn What You’re Really Worth, By Brian Tracy

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From My Notes:

You have chosen your current income

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People will pay you for the results that you get them

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You will not see new doors opening along the corridor unless you are moving

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Constantly look for ways to improve

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Do not unconsciously accept mediocrity

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It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; it only matters where you’re going

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For your life to get better, you must get better

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It is never crowded at the top

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There are no traffic jams on the extra mile

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Develop your own competitive advantage

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Everyone who succeeds, does so with the help of others

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Challenge yourself to get through every task as quickly as possible

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Pause and allow the other person to more easily understand what is being said

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Do your work quickly and develop a reputation for it

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Ask for what you want

I’d like to first register my objection to the phrase “Earn What You’re Worth”, before getting to some of the valuable ideas in the actual book. My objection arises from the fact that you can’t POSSIBLY “earn what you’re worth”, because the value of a human life is…infinite.

Nevertheless, my facile objection to the title of this book should not be taken as any indication of my feelings towards it; this book is all about being of service to others, earning your pay check each week, and going the extra mile to achieve results in your life and work, all of them ideas which had been subtly implanted in my mind at around this time.

The fact is, you have “chosen” your current income by virtue of deciding what kind of service you are going to be rendering to others. Simply put, if what you do positively impacts a large number of people, then more often than not, you are going to be well-rewarded financially.

If what you do creates BENEFIT for a large number of people on a big enough scale, you almost can’t HELP but be well-paid.

So it’s worthwhile, in every sense of the word, to develop this kind of service mindset.

Of course, there are reasons not to. Some of them are probably “good” reasons too:

“Oh, no one will notice; it’s a huge company.”

“My bosses don’t give a shit, so why should I?”

“There’s no one ELSE putting in this kind of effort!”

Anyone who says these types of things is consciously or unconsciously accepting mediocrity, but you don’t have to. Brian Tracy’s whole point is that developing a service mindset and pledging to yourself that you will compete as never before (competing to provide service and gain to others), almost automatically places you in a select group of winners.

Even though the idea here is to provide service to others, this mindset can’t HELP but also positively impact you as well.

In the final analysis, it’s simple: For your life to get better, YOU must get better.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #3: A Guide to the Good Life, By William B. Irvine

From My Notes:

“Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man. For just as there is no profit in medicine if it does not expel the diseases of the body, so there is no profit in philosophy either, if it does not expel the suffering of the mind.”

-Epicurus

Ask someone on the street who their favorite philosopher is, and they’ll often have no answer.

They don’t see the point in practicing philosophy, not when there’s money to be made and experiences to consume. It’s seen as a waste of time that could be better spent padding one’s investment portfolio.

This is really a shame, because philosophy’s reach is far wider and longer and deeper than most people assume it to be. I would argue that there’s nothing that’s left untouched by philosophy, and if you don’t have a larger vision for what you want your life to be about, then you don’t have a coherent philosophy of life.

But all philosophy is not created equal.

Analytic philosophy, for all its brilliance and potential usefulness…is REALLY boring! I just don’t care about logical positivism and shit like formal logic. I see its value to some people, but I don’t share in their enthusiasm.

Philosophy, done properly, should alleviate some of the burden of existence. It should “dispel the suffering of the mind” to borrow Epicurus’ phrase.

There’s lots of philosophy that does this, by the way. Here are just a few examples of books which contain various antidotes to chaos:

12 Rules for Life — Jordan Peterson

Meditations — Marcus Aurelius

On the Shortness of Life — Seneca

The Art of Loving — Erich Fromm

Walden — Henry David Thoreau

So don’t let anyone tell you that philosophy doesn’t have value, or that it’s too boring or obscure to be taken seriously, or that it can’t reasonably be expected to improve anyone’s quality of life.

Philosophy, properly understood, has literally brought be back from the edge of nothingness. It’s helped me realize that even though life is suffering, that everything I love will be taken from me in the end, that I’ll face challenges that will smack me upside the head and make me ask myself if it’s all worth it…human life has value; MY life has value, and it’s possible for me to build the mental resilience necessary to face the hardships of life without giving an inch to despair.

Philosophy has done all those things for me, after I read the right books and took the time to think through what the great Masters were trying to teach me.

For the price of a library card (free!!!), this mental toughness and mental health can be yours for ever and ever.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #4: Tools of Titans, By Tim Ferriss

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From My Notes:

“If the best in the world are all doing the same things in order to get stronger and to improve, then why aren’t you?”

Maybe there are more than a few highly secretive experts and professionals out there who won’t let ANYONE in on their secrets.

But far more common are experts and professionals in a wide variety of areas who are MORE than happy to teach anyone who’s willing to learn, and teach them anything they’re willing to learn. These top-level athletes and coaches and professionals of all persuasions aren’t that difficult to find, and there are lots of things that they all agree are incredibly important.

Bodybuilders won’t shut up about how diet is 90% of the battle…and they’re RIGHT!!!

Yet people still fiddle around with their set lengths and rep ranges instead of getting things straight in the kitchen.

Top executives will ALL tell you how important it is to get enough sleep and to hit the day running with as much energy as you possibly can.

Yet…how many people keep bragging about how little sleep they got the night before? As if that were somehow COOL to be sleep-deprived and ineffective.

Hell, many of these people have YouTube channels and Instagram accounts and website where they’re just GIVING this information away.

So why aren’t more people taking it upon themselves to be GREAT?!?!

I can tell you…we don’t need more information. We are drowning in information, and if there’s something you want to learn, there’s someone out there teaching it. Sometimes you need to pay them for the privilege, but the information is widely available.

We know that we need to get our diets in check if we want to change our bodies. We know that we need to start managing our stress better if we want to maintain mental health and remain effective at our jobs. We know that meditation and things like that will help us clear our minds and help take our lives to the next level.

There are experts out there teaching this stuff. A lot of them agree on what the best things to do are. The only thing stopping you…is…what?

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #5: The Revolution from Within, By Jiddu Krishnamurti

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From My Notes:

“Trying to change society while leaving the individuals who constitute society unchanged is a dangerous error.”

Individuals are what societies are MADE of. All societies in fact are, is a large group of people who are trying to figure out how to live alongside each other and how to get what they want and need from each other.

We complicate things by formulating grand theories about the makeup and evolution of societies when really it’s a question of how we are to behave as individuals living next to other individuals.

Personal responsibility lies at the heart of all cultural change, and frankly, I don’t trust people who are more concerned with changing OTHER people than they are about correcting their own faults.

And believe me, I have faults.

I have faults like you wouldn’t BELIEVE, and I’ve spent the last two and a half years or so diving deep into my unconscious motivations and thought patterns so that I can better understand how I work, what I want from other people, and how I can more bravely face the world outside my doorstep.

This is an inner battle. Other people can be useful as mirrors that will help you detect these faults in yourself, but it’s not their business to change you. It’s their business to do the same inner work that YOU are doing. That’s how we change society.

We don’t point fingers at people who we believe are “evil” and must be destroyed. We don’t blame circumstances or broad categories of people we don’t understand. The very reason we don’t understand them is because they’re not US! We barely understand OURSELVES, so it’s silly to think that we can know other people, not least have any hope of changing them for the “better”, whatever that means.

No, I choose to start smaller. I’m starting with myself; when I am no longer selfish, lazy, hurtful, vengeful and stupid, then I’m no longer a danger to society.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #6: Consider the Lobster, By David Foster Wallace

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From My Notes:

“We who are well off should be willing to share more of what we have with poor people not for the poor people’s sake but for our own; i.e., we should share what we have in order to become less narrow and frightened and lonely and self-centered people.”

It’s passages like this that make me wish that I could bring David Foster Wallace back from the dead. As you might know, he killed himself back in 2008 after coming off his anti-depression medication against his doctor’s advice.

What he says here is so counter-intuitive and yet also so plainly obvious; of COURSE we should help others. But should we do it just for them? What about the effects that giving has on ourselves?

When you share what you have with someone who has less, you open yourself up.

You become more connected to the people around you, regardless of who becomes the recipient of your generosity. That’s important.

Do it for yourself!

Share what you have in order to become less narrow, and frightened, and lonely and self-centered!

This changes the dynamic completely. You’re no longer “taking pity” on poor people; they don’t want your pity, and if they do, that’s a whole different problem which we won’t concern ourselves with here. No; instead, they are accomplices in your striving for moral perfection. You are helping them in their time of need, and they are helping you to become a better person.

It’s a reciprocal relationship that benefits everyone involved.

We need more win-win situations in contemporary society.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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DAY #7: Doing Good Better, By Will MacAskill

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From My Notes:

“In the 20th century alone, smallpox killed more than three hundred million people, before it was eradicated in 1977. The death toll from every single war and terrorist act since 1973 has been twelve million. Prior to its eradication, smallpox killed 1.5 to 3 million people every year, so by preventing these deaths for over forty years, its eradication has effectively saved somewhere between 60 million and 120 million lives. The eradication of smallpox is one success story from international aid, saving five times as many lives as world peace would have done.

There has been 2.3 trillion in aid spending over the last 50 years. Even with the low estimate of lives saved at 60 million from smallpox, foreign aid has saved a life with every $40,000 spent. In comparison, government departments in the United States will pay for infrastructure to improve safety if doing so costs less than about $7 million per life saved. So aid has saved lives for 1/150th of the cost that the US is currently willing to spend to save the lives of its own citizens.”

If the American government can save the life of one of their citizens for less than $7 million dollars, they will do so. At least where safety and infrastructure are concerned.

Now, before we get too far into this, we should realize that aid is not perfect. Of the 2.3 trillion that’s been spent on aid in the last 50 years, hundreds of MILLIONS of aid dollars have been flat-out stolen by government officials in developing countries, and a lot of that money has been spent on programs that don’t actually do what their proponents say that they’re going to do.

But we’re learning. We can use those great big brains of ours and figure out how best to spend our limited resources so that we can end up doing the most good we can do.

Defeating smallpox was a MASSIVE win for us a species, but it’s really just the beginning. We have starving children to feed, children to educate, heart-disease to eradicate, global warming to fight.

The problems that confront us are massive, but we’ve proven ourselves capable of fighting back. Now, we need to figure out what’s working, where our money will do the most good, and double-down on those efforts. Maybe the first person to live to be 200 years old has already been born. Maybe we can feed everyone, clothe everyone, send everyone to school, and create a better future. Maybe.

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

Want More? Click here to get thousands of pages of my personal study-notes on every single book I’ve ever read. Organized so that you can find what you’re looking for simply and easily.

Also, click here if you would like to enroll in my FREE daily email course on the “Great Books”. It’s basically in this format that you’re reading now, except sent directly to your email.

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EXTRA CREDIT:

The Bouncer’s Book Club

This is a Facebook group I started where we discuss books and ideas. You’re welcome (and encouraged) to join, but spamming the group will get you kicked out. I AM a nightclub bouncer after all.

My Patreon Page

Here’s why I don’t have time for a girlfriend: I take notes on every single book I read, and over the years, those have grown into a collection of thousands of pages of study-notes on hundreds and hundreds of books. I’ve even distilled the best notes from each book into a “master” document that is now over 500 pages long.

You can get ALL of my notes by clicking here, and these are updated monthly. I read around a dozen books per month, so this collection of notes is growing all the time. There are some other cool rewards on this page too. Check it out!

Blinkist

Don’t have time to read for 7 hours a day like me? Well have no fear! Not only can you get my OWN notes by checking out my Patreon page, you can also use a handy app called Blinkist, which gives you access to thousands of excellent non-fiction books, and distills their key ideas into 15-minute summaries.

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Top Writer in Books and Reading. Physique Competitor. Nonprofit Leader. Best Books: https://cutt.ly/hhmTASC

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