In this post I will talk about the books which have has the biggest impact on my life so far.
I am young in my 20s as I write this, and I have gone through some hardship in my life. Life hasn’t been a walk in the park for me by any means. But I appreciate the struggle because I feel I get more value out of my life with great difficulty than if I had been given an easy life. As Bruce Lee says “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to ensure a difficult one”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k
This book really made me appreciate how life is really just all about solving problems. This book is where I first learned of the story of the Buddha which sparked my interest in Buddhism. I also realised that even if you’re homeless on the streets begging, you’re still alive and life continues. I had this wrong perception at the time that if you are homeless, that’s it your life is finished and there is no coming back from it. But life does indeed continue no matter what hardship you go through. The trick is to anticipate the hardship and difficulty so that you can prepare mentally for it when it does come, so that it lessens the impact of it.
The Courage to be Disliked
This book really laid my path to becoming a more spiritual person. This book is a dialogue between a philosopher and a student. They talk about things such as Adlerian psychology (which I think is a philosophy way ahead of its time), Greek philosophy and other various topics. The Courage to be Disliked really broadened by perspective to various things which I hadn’t quite appreciated before. The first being how everyone has their own interpretation of the world and how my world is different to everyone else’s world. Meaning that the world isn’t this vile place filled with evil and negative people which I thought it was. It’s because I was so focused on the negative that the world appeared negative to me, but if you choose to focus on the positive in the world, the world can be a much nicer place.
The book also looks at teleology (looking at the goal) vs etiology (cause and effect). Adlerian philosophy argues that everyone has a goal in mind with all human behaviour, and so they change what they do in line with that goal. The book gives the example of a person who is locked inside his room and doesn’t go out because when he tries to he panics and suffers from palpitations. With etiology (cause and effect) you would argue he doesn’t go out (effect) because of this panic he suffers (cause). However, with teleology (Looking at the goal) the philosopher argues he is manufacturing this cause so that he doesn’t go out so that he can have his parent’s attention. Thinking in terms of teleology has really progressed by thinking within myself. I notice it in myself when I don’t want to go out with friends for example, I come up with some excuse like I can’t because I have work. I feel that etiology overplays the role of causes, because we as humans are more powerful that cause and effect. Just because x happened doesn’t mean you need to allow for y to happen. An example could be if you were rejected by a person you have a crush on (cause). You could get upset about it (effect), or you could choose to take it on the chin and focus on something else. The power that the rejection has is really determined by how much that person lets it have.
Tao Te Ching
This book was written a few thousand years ago and has been a really good resource for learning more about spirituality. It’s said that this book says the most in the fewest words and I tend to agree with this. What I feel really makes this book is the fact that a lot of the meaning in the words is interpreted by the reader. Yeah, you can read about someone else’s interpretation of the text, but I feel that the real value comes from making your own interpretations on the text. I also like the fact that the book opens with a conversation with Lao Tzu and Yin Xi and in that conversation, Lao Tzu says that books are dead things, its only if you apply the knowledge held in books does the book become alive. Point being is that you can spend a whole lifetime reading books, but if you don’t apply the books teachings then the book doesn’t have any value.
There is a vast amount of spiritual wisdom contained in this book, which I am still learning to incorporate in my life. I really recommend this book for anyone really interested in spirituality.
Your Money or Your Life
This book really made me appreciate what money really is. Money is a means to control people. People do things for money and if you give someone enough money there isn’t much a person won’t do. This book made me recognise money is an exchange of energy (I do truly believe that the only real currency of existence is energy). Everyone has a finite amount of energy to give in their lifetime and money attempts to take people’s energy by making them do things. So, a billionaire has a lot of power to control how people spend their finite amount of energy.
Therefore, to be free of being controlled by money I need to not let money be a big factor in how I live my life. I could go for the monk approach and denounce all my items and go on and beg on the streets. But I don’t think this is going to accomplish much. What I take from this is that I should live more frugally and recognise that buying the latest trendy items, whether that be the new smartphone or games console will prevent me from being free because now I must work more in order to pay for those items. Therefore, I tend to recognise that money is one of the means to my freedom and that should be more conservative with my money. Although I do tend to heavily prioritise my education and therefore put a lot of money into that.
Elon Musk by Ashley Vance
This book really inspired me. Like really inspired me. Elon Musk is a man like no other, he is extremely ambitious, positive, and knowledgeable. I really admire how he built up several companies from nothing. When setting up SpaceX he bought a bunch of physics books and was reading them anywhere he had the opportunity to and it really made me appreciate the power that determination has. When someone has enough will power and determination, they can achieve anything. It also made me realise that if you want to be successful and lead a great life, you need to put work into yourself constantly. Musk recognised that he knew nothing of rockets and so sought to learn more about them by reading books.
This book also taught me how working hard is essential to success. Musk was ambitious with deadlines and was able to push his employees to solve things a lot faster than they thought was possible. I really admire Musk’s dead set drive to do things. This drive really gives Musk great power, because no matter what goes wrong, or complications come in the way Musk is so driven that he won’t let that deter him from achieving his goal. Drive is something I would really like to master. When your driven by something you have a clear sense of purpose with what you want to achieve and so you are less influenced by distractions and more focused in what you do. You don’t care what others are thinking of you when you are so driven by something. In fact, I argue that anyone that is sufficiently driven can achieve anything. If you want to develop a time machine and visit a past president, you can.
Musk also really taught me the power that attitude has to what you are trying to accomplish. Musk in the book is always shown with great confidence, ambition, and optimism in what he does. It really made me reflect on myself how when I set out to achieve something, I think that it’s not going to go too well and so there isn’t much point in putting in the effort to make it work. I would really recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn more on Elon Musk. He really is a great man.
This book was recommended to me by a friend of mine and having read it the first time I related to the ideas and saw the truth in them, however I quickly forgot about it and only until recently I relearned the topics, I really see the truth in the information. For example, in the book it talks of how everyone has a control drama which is used to take someone’s else’s energy. The four control dramas are Interrogator, poor me, aloof and intimidator. I generally tend to slip into poor me, allowing myself to feel down and depressed and withdrawal from the world. Withdrawing from the world acts as defence mechanism to protect me from the pain and suffering that the world has to offer. But since becoming more aware of this issue I can take steps to remedy it, such as becoming more aware when I slip into this, being more positive about things (which I really value) and also forcing myself to be more social with friends.