Great Books: 7 Days’ Worth of Wisdom and Life Advice From Nassim Taleb, Tim Ferriss, Alan Watts, and More…

The following "Life Advice" was re-published from my FREE daily email course on the "Great Books", 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.

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.

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) daily 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 400 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 daily 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!

From My Notes:

"Making people strain to hear you a little bit invests them further in hearing what you have to say."


Passively listening to someone speak won't help you remember what they said to you. You have to do some of the intellectual work or else their message won't sink in.

And it works the same the other way.

We're taught to speak loud enough so that other people will hear, to speak sensibly enough so that other people will get our meaning right away.

But that means they're not doing any of the work involved in picking up what we have to say. They're not invested in the content of our communication.

Because we've made it too easy for them.

Making people strain to hear you a little bit invests them further in hearing what you have to say. 

They're meeting you closer to halfway, instead of being relieved of the responsibility of interpreting your meaning.

People don't value what they don't have to work for.

That's SO important that I'll state it again: 

People don't value what they don't have to work for. 

That's why I usually charge at least a single dollar for anything that I put out, or ask people to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders, instead of just giving it away for free.

I do the same with my communication, even if I don't always succeed in the attempt. I try not to dumb down my sentences or cater to the lowest common intelligence quotient. I humbly ask that people put in the work.

Of course, since life is nothing but contradiction, speaking clearly and concisely is also a virtue. 

Use your judgement and be aware of the difference and in which cases either is appropriate. Sometimes you don't WANT to have people put in any effort to hear what you have to say.

Again, it's more and art than a science when deciding whether you want to make it easier of harder for people to hear what you have to say.

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.


From My Notes:

"If the best in the world are all doing the same thing in order to get strong or improve, then why aren't you?"


The whole idea behind a lot of what Tim Ferris does is that the best in the world know something about achievement that the rest of us don't.

Most of the time, they're not actively hoarding these secrets, they just don't have anyone asking about them! Tim Ferris performs this vital function for us.

Over the years, he's uncovered the best practices of hundreds and hundreds of the top performers in the world in various disciplines. And you know what?

A lot of them do the same things!

If you take a look around, and 300 (or 400, 5,000, or whatever) of the best in the world are all doing the same things in order to read their potential, the question becomes...WHY AREN'T YOU?!?!

The best in the world do variations on the same types of things:

*They have some sort of mindfulness practice

*They get enough sleep at night

*They regulate their hormones

*They put themselves in uncomfortable learning situations

*They ask for help

*They go past what they think they can do

Those courses of action are available to each and every one of us, whoever and wherever we are. There is literally no reason in the entire world why we can't start doing the same things that the world's top performers all realize are unimaginably effective.

It's easy: Ask around, do some research, find out what the best in the world are doing and why, and then seek to implement those strategies in your own life.

Then maybe you can teach someone else how you got to where YOU are.

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.


From My Notes:

"There have been few people in my life who could be regarded as my enemies - so few that I have not mentioned them."


This came from the "Acknowledgements" section of Alan Watts' autobiography. I loved this.

If you're unfamiliar, Alan Watts was widely considered the foremost interpreter of Eastern philosophy in the West. Not only that, but he's one of my biggest role models.

Why waste time (especially when it's so limited) trashing the people who tried to make your life more difficult, when there are far more important things you could be doing?

Alan was a person just like you and me, and he probably got upset sometimes. I bet he probably even yelled at a few people over the course of his life. Who knows, maybe he even hit someone! As a nightclub bouncer, I definitely have a few knockouts to my name. 

But his autobiography wasn't the place to settle scores; it was the place where he wanted to tell us a few of the most important things that he ever discovered during his thoughtful, energetic life spent unraveling the mysteries of the universe and describing the fundamental nature of reality.

Let those other trifles dissolve on their own.

We can follow his example not by suppressing our true feelings, even our anger, but by letting it go when presented with the opportunity to engage in something more important.

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.


From My Notes:

"Your enjoyment of the world is never right till every morning you awake in Heaven; see yourself in your Father's palace; and look upon the skies, the earth, and the air as celestial joys; having such a reverend esteem of all, as if you were among the angels. 

You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. 

Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and kings in scepters, you can never enjoy the world. Till your spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all ages as with your walk and table; till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made; till you love men so as to desire their happiness with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own; till you delight in God for being good to all; you never enjoy the world."


This book is a scholarly, erudite expedition into the basic ideas behind every religion and what sophisticated theologians mean by the world "God".

It's not what many people seem to think it is.

In fact, he says that you can never get to "God" except by negation; telling what he is NOT. 

Denying the majesty and splendor of THIS world is also NOT the answer. 

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.


From My Notes:

"The world happens as it happens, but we construct what we remember and what we forget. And people will eventually do that to us, too."


The world is in constant flux, and everything is passing away. 

The above quote brings up the question of which things we consider important today will stand the test of time and be remembered by future generations. What will they think is important about us? Will it be the same things that WE think are important about us?

There's another excellent book almost exclusively about memory called "Moonwalking With Einstein" (one of my favorite books), where the author writes that at the end of our lives, our memories are all that we really have.

We won't always have the people we love around us, but our memories of them will endure.

That sick sports car we had when we were younger won't survive until our old age, but we can remember all the fun times we had in it.

And you may not remember every individual workout, but the memory of standing in the centre of the ring with the referee raising your arm in the air will certainly live on in your mind.

We're always constructing what the narrative of our lives look like, and this is undoubtedly a very complicated process. Not only is our memory fallible, but we have personally meaningful reasons for forgetting certain things and holding onto others.

Our lives unfold exactly as they unfold, but our memories of the way our lives unfolded will always be shaped by our motivations and reactions. Basically, we won't remember everything correctly, but we will be left with something that we can identify as "our life".

Taking the view from 30,000 feet into consideration, we can see that this same process occurs when OTHER people remember US. Our history together will have happened as it happened, but they will remember what they want to remember. And what they CAN remember.

I haven't offered any moral judgements here or anything, I just wanted to show that memory is a fluid process that we have some control over. At least, we have limited control over our own memories.

How other people will remember us will be largely out of our hands.

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.


From My Notes:

"It is impossible to understand the world of today until today has become tomorrow."


Kierkegaard said much the same thing when he said that we never reach a point in our lives when we completely understand what's going on.

We can only understand what has happened to us thinking backward, which doesn't always help us in the current situations we find ourselves in. 

There's just so much confusion around that we will never be able to understand the full breadth of all the processes going on around us at any one time.

From changes in the political sphere and the influence of various ideologies and theories, to improvements in agriculture, economic sustainability, changes in the tech sector, and more, there is too much change, too much movement, and we don't have a secure base from which to understand it all.

That comes later, according to Klosterman (and Kierkegaard).

Just think of everything we understand about, say, the fall of the Soviet Union, or the collapse of the Roman Empire that people living in those times simply didn't have the perspective to understand.

It all just leads to more questions.

What DON'T we understand about what's going on today? Where do we go from here? Can we take a step in belief?

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.


From My Notes:

"Do quarterly 80/20 reviews of your stress points and figure out what you're still doing yourself that someone else could do better or doesn't need to be done at all."


This short sentence packs a huge punch.

By way of explanation, the 80/20 Rule is basically the idea that 20 percent of what we do leads to 80 percent of the results in our lives. 

That's a gross oversimplification of the rule, but it works for our purposes today.

So the idea here is that once a quarter (every three months), we should review all of our commitments and responsibilities, and most notably the things that stress us out the most, and see what changes we need to make. 

I don't experience much stress, but when I do, it's because I feel overworked, or because I've let work pile up.

When I have 6 articles that I'm working on, I'm behind on my note-taking, I've got nonprofit issues that need to be sorted out, and my monthly budget and discipline reports are due, I'm not very much fun to be around.

So this quarter, I realized that I no longer want to feel busy.

Ain't that the dream, right?

Well it's doable! My analysis pointed out to me that I need to say no to more things, take more time off my night job in order to catch up on things, and I need to better organize my day so that I don't let things pile up as the day goes on. 

Also, there are things that I currently do that I could EASILY pay someone else to do FOR me, at a negligible additional cost. 

Thanks for the advice, Tim!

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.


EXTRA CREDIT:

From High Existence:

10 Books That Will Help You Actually Make a Lasting Change

It was written by my good friend Jon Brooks, and I ended up adding exactly half of them to my reading list. (I've already read 3 of them).

AUDIBLE:

I just signed up for a new audiobook service. You might have heard about it (Audible), but in case you haven't, I highly recommend checking it out.

I don't make any money from this or anything, I'm just passing it along because I think it's going to be a good investment.

Here's the Audible website.

You get the first month free, then it's $14.95/month after that. You get a free audiobook each month for that price, if I'm reading their site correctly. 

Anyway, just thought it might be something you may be interested in.

Ryan Holiday:

I want to share a website with you this morning, Ryan Holiday's personal site, which contains his AMAZING reading list. 

I've also signed up to his monthly newsletter where he runs down the best books he's read that past month and gives a short description of each. He usually has some other cool things in there as well. 

Just thought I'd pass that along.

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 400 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.