I’ve been on a reading rampage. It seems that I my dedication to the written word is starting to manifest within me and my abilities as a reader are starting to come to fruition. It is not just about scanning pages of words, it also about comprehension. It could also be that I’ve started to read more fiction, making me feel like a giddy little kid, one that used to comb the library for new editions of Encyclopedia Brown: Kid Detective. Reading now is once again taking me back to a time when I realized that I can use my mind to escape to different worlds, acting as an accomplice to the story’s hero, one that is almost always on the brink of a grand adventure.
Fast forward to today, where I see myself as a sort of hero immersed in a real world; where logic and facts become mental weapons sharpened by years of precision, honed by history’s best writers, the best teachers, and the finest mentors.
All of the world’s greatest authorities, the best in their fields, the billionaires, the savants, the most savviest, the most creative, the sleuths, and of course the greatest minds have taken to the written word. Their knowledge exists in the books we so often choose to pass over instead looking for something else to help satisfy that growing feeling of averageness.
I’ll choose to attract the right signals. The Secret is what you think, you manifest, and only through reading will you ever be able to fully comprehend the limitless possibilities of the mind.
You can be anything you want to be, if you only believe with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. – Napoleon Hill
♦ The Field of Fight by LTG (R) Michael Flynn. I followed LTG Flynn a bit during the Trump campaign, where he served as Senior Military Adviser. His thoughts at the time were immensely interesting to me because he was able to verbalize what needed to be done in order to achieve victory in the Middle East. However, he was not Politically Correct as the basis of his argument involved the reformation of Islam as a whole, which just seems to be too extreme. But then, we are reminded that Christianity has gone through a similar reformation and the norm for many Christians today is a moderate adherence to its religious text.
So why do we feel so strongly against LTG Flynn’s thoughts on the reformation of Islam? Especially his strong arguments against Radical Isalm and Sharia Law? Mostly because people are too narrow minded to see truth, even when Flynn, once the highest ranking Military Intelligence officer espouses solid arguments. After reading this thought provoking book, it is clear that one thing will persist in our society: We will continue to support Islam as a religion because it seems like the right thing to do, we will not publicly take a stance against Muslims because that seems like a wrong thing to do, we will continue to fight proxy wars, waste money, and essentially dabble in Middle Eastern conflicts until someone eventually becomes strong enough to challenge us head on. People will die in this eventual circumstance but then we, the liberal society, will finally have enough evidence and reason to take a stance at those that persistently preach “Death to America.” (Contributor: J.R. Cambo)
♦ Golden Son by Pierce Brown. Hic Sunt Leones. Here be Lions.
This was such a glorious follow up to Red Rising. I am glad that I am not beyond the silly thing of falling for a science fiction novel set against the backdrop of a dystopian world. I enjoy the carnage. The glory. The plot twists and the rise of a hero amid a never ending struggle for control and power. I especially enjoy it when that hero secretly trains with the best swordsman of a generation only to public declare a duel against a former superior dueler, embarassing him in front of society’s most infamous attendants, cutting his arm clean off with a swooping maneuver in which his sword oscillated between two different forms. All I remember thinking was how gangster that shit was. The rollercoaster ride that is this series left me drawing comparisons to the first and second editions of the Eragon trilogy.
A quote by Brown resonates, “I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind – how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.”
The Reaper wakes up in the fetal position, having been locked in a box of solitary confinement for nine straight months.
He faces an endless battle within his mind, one that is plagued with past losses and demonic illusions of his failures and dire circumstances. Still, there is a flare of hope, one that has propelled him to the top of society; a Golden society that is not his place. The story evolves quickly as the once invincible Peerless Scarred comes to bear as the Red peasant that he truly is, marred in a struggle against an overwhelmingly powerful enemy. Following a narrow escape, Darrow is left physically weak and in a slow battle against eventual defeat. Darrow realizes, like he has many times before that he must change the paradigm to make any progress against the Golden elite. This is why I like reading fiction, it allows to mine it character, to live through them as they embark on epic journeys and engage in impossible internal and external battles. As the character evolves to meet these challenges head on, so to does the reader and they are allowed unrestricted access into the characters mind; something a movie can never do. The Red Rising Trilogy is such a good story because of the evolution of Darrow and how he strategically rises to ever challenge despite his enormous disadvantages at almost every juncture. “I am not alone. I am not his victim. So let him do his worst. I am the Reaper. I know how to suffer. I know the darkness.”
♦ Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker. If Tai Lopez actually matters to you, (I don’t even really know what he does besides magically reading a book a day, partying, shooting hoops, and buying sport cars), this is his number one book recommendation. I think it does have merit as being an important read, as it sets the foundation for development with key questions that everyone should be asking themselves. Of note, is the two I find of most value: How do I learn? and How do I perform? With these critical insights, we can begin to formulate a solid self-development plan. Drucker also elaborates on today’s working force, one that primarily consists of knowledge workers and how these workers are finishing their professions too early in life, subsequently leaving the work force too early earning them a life of dissatisfaction and boredom. This is something that not a lot of people talk about. Boredom. The imminent and approaching end of one’s life. A person needs to continuously be challenged. It is better to wear out than to rust out. I wrote about Managing Oneself in a post here that includes some of Drucker’s thoughts.
♦ Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlakovits, and Jonas Koffler. When I first read this book, I wasn’t at all impressed and was actually quite let down with the overall experience. However, having just transferred my notes (my note taking system), I realized that there was lots of good information in this book and the real problem was that it was poorly organized, with a general feel that didn’t jive well with its title. The books authors are three successful businessmen and entrepreneurs from different industries but none of them are authors or prolific bloggers, so it makes sense that they didn’t seamlessly transfer their knowledge into the written word. Actually, I felt that it read like a series of blog posts that lacked the connecting joints to keep it fused together.
Still, I enjoyed some of their overarching thoughts (all of which are loosely based on the idea of hustling): owning your dreams and focusing on your strengths, taking action to attract luck (and success), the idea of hormesis (limited exposure to difficult things strengthens a system as opposed to weaken it), the four types of luck (random, hustle luck, hidden, and quirky), the importance of vision, and the power of storytelling.
♦ Excellence: Inspiration for Achieving Your Personal Best by J. Pincott. This premise behind this book was to take quotes from successful people and arrange them into categories that align with personal excellence. It was a crafty design and the quotes came from some of the world’s most gifted leaders, it’s most influential business people, it’s most daring explorers, and of course it’s most celebrated authorities. I took the time to read every quote but put assembled a few of the most provoking thoughts into a post on excellence.
Read More: The Pursuit of Excellence
♦ A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine. The first book in my Summer Stoic Reading List was a good primer for what was to come. It helped to bridge the major ideas that come from the philosophy of Stoicism, while providing me with the basic tenets in which to apply its principles. All of Greene’s thoughts come from Stoicism’s most influential voices, combined in a way that makes them actionable, hence the title and suggestion of a good life. Now I am even more eager to dive deeper into this ancient philosophy and to extract the wisdom of its founders directly from the original sources. Perhaps the journey of discovery will build a stronger stoic foundation, forming perhaps the basis of more productive and successful life. My post for the Outwork Book Club is here.
Read More: Summer Stoic Reading List (2017)
♦ The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It is The Law of Attraction, I guess that’s the big secret. I remember thinking that this book would be filled with nonsense and a bunch of wishy washy garbage. Surprisingly it was filled with lots of solid advice and reinforced with inspirational thoughts and guiding wisdom by a slew of successful contributors, all claiming The Secret as the source of their success. The bottom line is that the secret is simply the power of positive thinking reinforced with a strong commitment to accomplishing one’s guiding life mission. There is also a spiritual connection, in which you believe so strongly in your success that the universe will transmit the necessary signals to your body to help you manifest your dreams.
Is it as simple as thoughts become things? Yes. It just means that you believe so strongly in your purpose that you start doing things that enable you to accomplish them. You put yourself in the right mental states, the right situations, set yourself on the right course and eventually you’ll manifest whatever it is that you desire.
Read More: The Law of Attraction.
In Pursuit of Excellence
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