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“The Buddha has a very different understanding of our existence. It is the understanding that birth and death are notions. They are not real. The fact that we think they are true makes a powerful illusion that causes our suffering. The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear. It is a great relief. We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.”

Saddened to hear about Thich Nhat Hanh’s passing on January 22nd as his books and teachings have had a big impact on my life! I’ve built up quite the stack and have enjoyed all of them; he was a prolific teacher and writer and brought many of the Buddhist teachings into the West making them accessible for everyone.


Have you had a chance to read anything by him? I'd be curious to hear from you what your favourite book was of his.


From this stack, I’d probably start with Peace is Every Step or The Miracle of Mindfulness. He has a lot of books on specific topics too which are great.


Peace is Every Step looks at many of the situations we face in our lives and shows us how we can take those events and turn them into positives by how we react. Being aware of how our mind reacts and accepting the thoughts for what they are; just thoughts. It's a lifelong process but this book is a great first step.


The Miracle of Mindfulness is Thich Nhat Hanh's introduction to meditation and how powerful mindfulness can be in our lives. Practical advice and exercises as well as lessons that he has learnt over his life fill this book. It's a great practical compendium to Peace is Every Step and all of the other books that he has written.


 

If you are interested in additional books on spirituality, Buddhism, or mindfulness, I'd encourage you to check out this earlier post from 2020 on a few books you may want to check out. You can also check out this post to see some additional suggestions on mindfulness books that I've recommended in the post.

Our species' pace of change now outstrips our ability to adapt. We are generating new problems at a new and accelerate rate, and it is making us sick - physically, psychologically, socially, and environmentally." Heather Heying & Bret Weinstein

Note that the publisher's Portfolio Books sent me a free copy of this book to review for a fair and honest review. Here goes.


I wanted to like this book. I appreciate the ideas, especially around the speed at which technology is moving and my general agreeance that the pace of change is creating more problems than we seem to know how to manage. Hartmut Rosa coined the term social acceleration in his book of the same name, referring to the idea that society as a whole seems to be speeding up. Perhaps that low-level angst that seems to grip us all is a function that none of us know how to adapt to anymore other than by trying to hold on.


Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, known for their DarkHorse Podcast, have been riding the wave of their initial popularity stemming from Bret's earlier speaking out against the intellectual woke mob coming after Universities and himself at Evergreen State College in 2017. His appearances on The Joe Rogan podcasts elevated him to someone of interest only to see the whole topic fizzle as big names like Sam Harris slowly backed away. I've personally listened to a few of their episodes early on and found some of the conversation interesting. For a counter-argument, I'd recommend

the podcast Decoding the Gurus who delve into this world of public intellectuals.


This book attempts to simplify some of these topics into manageable chunks while asking us to put on our evolutionary thinking caps and reflect on what people from our past may have done. I have to say there are some interesting ideas in here and some straight-up borderline crazy ideas (see not going to a doctor to get your broken bones set). In the area of health, I had to give my head a shake as the advice seemed dangerous. I appreciate the need to step back from antibiotics and consider the individuality of our bodies but please see a doctor.



The sections on raising children and our school system were necessary, and everyone should read the section on becoming an adult. The short Corrective Lens sections at the end of this chapter are worth reminding ourselves regularly, although they felt a bit superficial like much of the book. Ultimately, that was part of my complaint with the book. It didn't feel like a book that was well researched and thought out but perhaps more out of a need to capitalize on waning popularity. At some points, recommendations based on singular anecdotal experiences didn't leave me with a lot of comfort accepting what I had just read.


Rating: 3/5 for me. Recommended to anyone who happens to be a DarkHorse podcast fan and those generally looking for different views on our evolutionary behaviour and where we are today.


As for my final thoughts, are we placing too much emphasis on our inability to evolve as a species? Although I tend to agree that technology is outpacing our own evolution, I do begin to wonder if we put too much stock in the idea that our brains are running on this outmoded software when we have in fact designed and built everything around us. Something worth pondering as a lot of books today seem to base their narrative around this singular idea.

  • Sean


"If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one."


Do you consider yourself a good storyteller? Admittedly, I don't think of myself as much of a storyteller, but it's an area that I like to work on. Perhaps it comes in the form of photos but also here, in the captions. All of these spaces are opportunities to tell our stories.


Austin Kleon's book Show Your Work will help you find ways to uncover your own storytelling. I always appreciate Austin's straightforward approach to writing, and these books are as clear as they come. His previous book, Steal Like An Artist, is also worth picking up if you haven't already read it.


This book, in particular, highlighted a few areas I need to continue to improve. Consider this: "By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work..."


Letting go of our ego, especially when we are always on the hunt for status, can be the most challenging thing. What will others think if I post this? Why should I even bother posting this if no one cares? What if I feel posting this will make me look bad? The ego pops up in all of these questions and sits there "trying" to protect us. Even after five years of running this account, I still find these questions popping up, especially when we allow comparison to creep in!


This is a helpful book for creatives, especially when trying to figure out a path forward. I'll leave you with this one last quote: "The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others."


In The Glass: A Brett Saison with Sour Cherries!


 

Are you a creative looking for more inspiration? Consider this post on Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect which looks at building in small increments to help you achieve your goals. Often distraction can be one of our biggest detractors from the creative path! Consider this post on Cal Newport's Deep Work.