Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A PDF Summary

Always Running: La Vida Loca PDFAre you also on the run? Hiding from someone, or perhaps cannot find peace?

Anyway, this book gives a rundown on how a local gang-member became a shining jewel, whose actions inspire millions.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the plot.

Who Should Read “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A”? And Why?

First and foremost, this is one of those books which carry a dose of hope, therefore – categorization would be utterly ridiculous.

Anyway, we welcome you to explore its secrets and find similarities between yours and Luis’ life. In other words, “Always Running: La Vida Loca” is predestined for troublemakers in the making, who needs to hear the other side of the story.

About Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. RodriguezLuis J. Rodriguez is an American poet, author, a novelist with Mexican origins, who managed to conquer the world with his life stories.

He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books including poems such as My Nature is Hunger, The Concrete River…

“Always Running: La Vida Loca PDF Summary”

Luis recalls his early days when he was about 9. Along with his family, he goes to Union Station, and the journey suddenly begins. His mother takes good care of Luis and his needs in particular. As a comic book lover, she provides him with new materials for him to read and entertain himself.

His father on the other end in reckless and stands firm in his idea not to return to Mexico at any cost. Luis’ mother doesn’t greet this news with enthusiasm, but eventually, she decides to stay as well.

Luis finds himself in the middle of a quarrel, and describe his situation as a bouncing ball – without any permanent settlement nor solution; only dodging troubles and going where the wind takes them.  

Luis tries to overcome the language barrier with an intention to blend into the group of students. The main problem is a lack of basic understanding, which makes life even harder. The teachers have little clue on how to deal with such personalities and help them integrate into the society.

Out of fear of becoming a laughing stock, he decides to speak as little as possible. He attends school superficially, with no real interest in digesting the teachings. Such a turn of events instigate a new behavior and leave Luis little choice but to indulge in troublemaking as a way of life.

Forming a gang is seen as a way out such misery and gaining respect. Being on the same wavelength as his unsettling friends makes him an essential figure in the newly formed circle. Joining the Animal Tribe and earning a nickname “Chin” represent the turning point in his life.

Meanwhile, Luis is aware of the violence and crime perpetrated by these groups as families are abused and threatened. Killing happens almost daily, as gang violence spreads like cancer. Secretly, he believes that life can change for the better, but he decides not to betray his crime-partners.

To prove that he is a valuable member of the organization, he participates in an assault against a rival gang member, while firebombing his house. Knowing that all the other family members are inside, doesn’t stop him from taking part in the aggression and brutality.

Then out of a clear blue sky, he is offered a chance to showcase his skills and make an honest living. Guided and mentored in a community center, he somehow manages to pluck up his courage and gear himself up with the right mentality.

A teacher recognized the potential Luis possesses, and as a response, some of Luis’ writing samples were sent to a committee. Without knowledge, Luis comes out a winner, without even being aware of his application. He is awarded $250 and praised for his style.

Another City-Based program hires him to paint murals, and decorate the urban environment. A journalism degree is within reach, now more than ever, but yet again runs into trouble when he saw a woman beat up by the police.

He interferes and intervenes, which adds another blemish to his resume for assaulting an officer in the line of duty. He is back in the beginning once more!

When he was at the height of is gang-membership career, Luis turned down an offer to take part in a cigarette laced with PCP operation. His decision convinced other members to go down the same road, and by the public, this action is greeted with respect and admiration.

He manages to survive the boiling atmosphere inflamed by acts of “betrayal,” and he is even shot at. This warning is pointed at other members to watch out how they behave.

Luis struggles to find cover, but with the help of others, he copes with the situation and rising tension. He eventually flees the bad neighborhood and ends up getting married. Out of nowhere, a discredited rival gang member approaches Luis at a family gathering to wreak vengeance.

Luis asks for forgiveness because of the suffering he has caused, and if killing him would alleviate the pain, he’s prepared to give his life.

Key Lessons from “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A”

1.      It’s never too late
2.      Find your talent
3.      Grow daily

It’s never too late

Luis made it crystal clear, why he was the one who managed to abandon the circle of illusion and hatred.

Every person can wake up from a state of deep sleep, and then work its way through life until the goal is reached.

Find your talent

At first, no one is aware of its potential nor how to find it. Identifying your shallow limitations is the first step in eventually emerging as a winner.

In other words, you have to alter your mindset, before you embark on an adventure to conquer the world.

Grow daily

Education is just one tiny segment of learning; the real challenges are up-ahead. If you are not armed with knowledge and a positive spirit, you’ll quickly face a downfall.

So, don’t hesitate to invest in your professional expansion in order to improve your creative thinking skills!

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“Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A Quotes”

She was still young then in Watts, in her thirties, but she had all these ailments. She didn't' even have teeth; they rotted away many years before. This made her look much older until later when she finally obtained false ones. Despite… Click To Tweet There are choices you have to make not just once, but every time they come up. Click To Tweet Cry, child, for those without tears have a grief which never ends. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

There’s not much that can be said from our perspective, regarding the stylish correctness of this book. If our humble opinion is meaningful to you then – this book has thumbs up!

Take notes and learn!

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When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary

When Breath Becomes Air PDF SummaryAt around 9 p.m., on March 9, 2015, Paul Kalanithi, an Indian-American neurosurgeon, passed away after a long and grueling battle with cancer, just a month shy of his 38th birthday.

Published several months later by his wife, “When Breath Becomes Air” is his unfinished, thoroughly heartbreaking autobiography.

One which will undoubtedly make you wonder about the meaning of your life as well.

Who Should Read “When Breath Becomes Air”? And Why?

A touching and life-affirming autobiography chronicling the death of a remarkable man, “When Breath Becomes Air” is Paul Kalanithi’s “Last Lecture,” the things he had an urge to share with the world once realizing that his life is nearing to an end.

As such, this book should be relatable to everyone.

And it ought to be read by everyone as well.

About Paul Kalanithi

Paul KalanithiPaul Sudhir Arul Kalanithi was an Indian-American neurosurgeon and an author.

Born on April 1, 1977, Kalanithi graduated as valedictorian from Kingman High School, before earning a B.Sc. in human biology and a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from Stanford.

Afterward, he attended the University of Cambridge – from where he obtained an M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine – and the Yale School of Medicine, where he graduated cum laude and met his future wife.

In May 2013, Kalanithi was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer; he died two years later.

Though left unfinished, “When Breath Becomes Air” was published, with an epilogue from his wife, in January 2016 by Random House.

“When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary”

Paul Kalanithi was born on April 1, 1977, in Bronxville, Westchester County, New York to a Christian family hailing from India.

A doctor, his father spent most of his time away from home, which resulted in Paul’s disenchantment with medicine even before he developed any interest in it.

When Paul is 10, the family moves to Kingman, Arizona.

This gets Paul’s mother worried: Kingman, Arizona is “the least educated district in America” and she believes too much in the academic future of her three sons to allow any risks.

Her solution?

She acquires college reading lists and makes her sons read every book on them. They even take their SATs in Las Vegas, about 100 miles away from Kingman.

This is not a problem for Paul: he’s enamored with literature and enjoys few things more than an afternoon passed over any book written by Thoreau, Poe, Orwell, Camus, Sartre, Beckett.

However, during the summer before college, his then-girlfriend borrows him a book by Jeremy Leven, titled “Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S.”

Kalanithi is fascinated by Leven’s idea that the brain is merely a machine which allows the mind to exist (in much the same manner, that the hardware of your computer is a vehicle for the browser on which you’re reading this text).

So, he started a course in biology and neuroscience.

These areas – literature and neuroscience – will remain lifelong interests for Paul: the former because it delved in the meaning of what it means to be alive, and the latter because it’s a science of the mechanisms which produce this meaning.

He felt – as he says himself at one place – that “literature provided the best account of the life of the mind, while neuroscience laid down the most elegant rules of the brain.”

Paul was a cum laude student, and everything was going great until the beginning of 2013: he had an MA in literature and was in the final stages of his residency training in neurosurgery when he first started feeling severe back pain and signs of exhaustion.

He was worried that these might be the signs of spinal cancer, but the X-ray results of a routine medical check-up looked just fine.

His primary care doctor determined that the pain and the lost weight must be the result of his 14-hour workdays – something which seemed like all but the most logical conclusion to Paul as well.

However, his health deteriorated in the following months, and even before he got the results of his CT scan in the month of May 2016, Paul and his wife Lucy were already prepared for the worst.

Its name sounds as sickening and as gruesome as what it actually represents:

Stage-IV non-small-cell EGFR-positive lung cancer.

“I need you,” Paul whispered to his wife.

“I will never leave you,” she replied.

Kalanithi, the doctor, was suddenly a patient; Kalanithi, the avid reader, was suddenly the book that he needed to read and comprehend:

Grand illnesses are supposed to be life-clarifying. Instead, I knew I was going to die—but I’d known that before. My state of knowledge was the same, but my ability to make lunch plans had been shot to hell. The way forward would seem obvious, if only I knew how many months or years I had left. Tell me three months, I’d spend time with family. Tell me one year, I’d write a book. Give me ten years, I’d get back to treating diseases. The truth that you live one day at a time didn’t help: What was I supposed to do with that day?

Even before Paul started his therapy, he discussed with his wife the possibility of starting a family.

“Will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” Lucy asked Paul. “Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?” she added.

And then Paul said something as remarkable as anything:

“Wouldn’t it be great if it did?”

Lucy tells this same story in the clip below.

A word of warning, though, if you intend to watch it: prepare some tissues beforehand:

Paul’s situation got better at first, but then the worst happened: he stopped reacting to the chemotherapy, and by the time his daughter – Elizabeth Acadia (Cady) – was born (4 July 2014), he was so exhausted that he was unable to stand in the delivery room and had to lie on a cot while Lucy was giving birth.

Despite all the pain and suffering, Paul is filled with an incredible amount of joy at seeing his daughter for the first time.

Unfortunately, merely eight months later, he will see her for one last time.

Key Lessons from “When Breath Becomes Air”

1.      Paul Kalanithi Was a Remarkable Man
2.      Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans
3.      Life Isn’t About Avoiding Suffering

Paul Kalanithi Was a Remarkable Man

Paul Kalanithi had almost everything: a Stanford MA in literature and a cum laude degree from Yale School of Medicine; nearly completed residency training for a neurosurgeon; quite a few published articles and even more prestigious awards; numerous successful operations; finally, a beautiful wife.

Life Is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

And then he was diagnosed with metastatic stage IV non-small-cell EGFR-positive lung cancer.

As he says himself, hiscarefully planned and hard-won future no longer existed. Death, so familiar to me in my work, was now paying a personal visit.”

And that’s what often happens in life: something completely unexpected changes the course of planned events once and for all.

Life Isn’t About Avoiding Suffering

Paul Kalanithi didn’t live enough to complete “When Breath Becomes Air.”

Its epilogue was written by his wife, who shares the most important lesson she learned (in the form of advice given to Lucy and Paul’s daughter) in a heartbreaking TED Talk, delivered a year and a half after the death of her husband.

Cady, engaging in the full range of experience — living and dying, love and loss – is what we get to do. Being human doesn’t happen despite suffering. It happens within it. When we approach suffering together when we choose not to hide from it, our lives don’t diminish, they expand.

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“When Breath Becomes Air Quotes”

You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving. Click To Tweet Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. Click To Tweet There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment. Click To Tweet I can’t go on. I’ll go on. (Via Samuel Beckett) Click To Tweet Even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Writing for the USA Today, Mack McCarthy, wrote that “When Breath Becomes Air” is “a story so remarkable, so stunning, and so affecting” that he “had to take dozens of breaks just to compose [himself] enough to get through it.”

Chances are – you are going to need quite a few breaks as well.

But that could only mean one thing and one thing only: if you haven’t read “When Breath Becomes Air” so far, you must do it in the very recent future.

It’s not that Kalanithi’s memoir will bring you to tears and help you live through the beauty of a profoundly cathartic emotion. It’s that it will make you cherish your life a bit more.

Not many books can do that.

But, then again, there are not many people as extraordinary as Paul Kalanithi.

No, we are not changing the tense in the previous sentence.

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Do you want to learn how to become an astronaut?

Or how life in space can alter your perspective about living on Earth?

Then, read our summary of Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.”

It answers both of these questions.

Who Should Read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”? And Why?

If you are interested in astronauts – or dreaming of becoming one – then you should buy “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as soon as possible.

However, Chris Hadfield’s autobiography should be your choice even if you are merely looking for a book to help you live a better and more fulfilled life – one that has nothing to do with astronomy and spacecrafts.

After all, just look at the title.

About Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut, the first Canadian to walk in space.

Both an engineer and a former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot – one of the very best – he first flew in space in November 1995 as a mission specialist. Six years later he went back and walked in space for the first time.

In December 2012 he flew for a third time, after which he served as a commander of the International Space Station from March until May 2013.

He is a member of the Orders of Ontario and Canada and has received both the Canadian Forces Decoration and the Meritorious Service Cross.

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary”

When I was young – that is, before I turned 12 or something – when asked what I would like to be, when I grow up, I’d always answer “astronaut.”

I mean, what could be better than being an astronaut, right?

Floating through space, zero gravity and all, strange planets and beautiful stars all around you, the Earth just a pale blue dot in the far distance

The best possible profession a guy can have.

Well, if that ten-year-old me could have read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” the autobiography of Col. Chris Hadfield, aka the first Canadian to walk in space, he would have probably had at least a few second thoughts.

Because – who would have guessed? – being an astronaut isn’t what the dictionaries teach you (that is, something along the lines of “a spacewalker” or “a member of a spacecraft”), but, actually, merely a person trained to do those things.

But wait: Hadfield has an even better definition:

An astronaut is someone who’s able to make good decisions quickly, with incomplete information, when the consequences really matter.

Wait a moment, you say – there’s nothing about planets and stars, space and spacecrafts in this definition; nothing at all! And these things are there in the very word, be it “astronaut” or “cosmonaut”! You can’t fool me: they mean star- or space-sailor!

Where’s the sailing in Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut?

Well, there is some sailing – true – but most of it is stationary, and it happens on Earth. As Hadfield points out, in general, you need several months of training to prepare for one single day in space!

And you’ll get your first mission only after several years. And – surprise! surprise! – you’ll have to spend the next two to four years training for that specific mission.

The really heartbreaking part of this all is that no matter how good you are and how much you want to go into space, the chances are stacked against you from the start!

After all, it only fits three people in a Soyuz spacecraft, which means that not only each of them should be exceptionally well-prepared, but also that the three chosen ones should be experts in mutually compatible categories.

Well, Hadfield was one of these lucky few.

And the main lessons he learned in space – and which he believes are applicable everywhere, let alone Earth, are these three:

#1. There’s no such thing as over-preparation. That’s actually the background of Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut; an astronaut, simply put, is one who has prepared for everything in advance and who is capable of acting fast even when something unpredictable happens. After all, it’s not like there’s a rescue crew near you!

#2. The more they criticize you, the safer you are. Even the smallest blunder can be a crucial one when you’re in space; so, at NASA, everyone is – and should be – a critic; in other words: you should pray that they criticize you so that you can learn what not to do the next simulation.

#3. Make up for the lost time with your loved ones. Being an astronaut means spending a lot of time away from your family; Hadfield tried making up for that by prearranging the delivery of Valentine gifts for his wife or lighting the biggest candles (the rocket’s engines) for his son’s 16th birthday (which was on the very same day as Hadfield’s launch)

By the way, we forgot to mention (in case you don’t know):

Chris Hadfield is a great and exceptionally funny John Cleese lookalike, and you should really check him out on YouTube, debunking space myths or sharing his experiences at TED.

Or, channeling his inner Bowie:

Thanks, Chris: that video never fails to make our day!

Key Lessons from “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”

1.      Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking
2.      The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism
3.      The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking

Astronauts have a saying: “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.”

However, once you’re in space, a problem means certain death in 1 out of 35 cases – which are not chances you’d like to see aggravated.

Can you improve them?

Of course: by taking a trick from the old Stoic book and visualizing everything in a negative light.

Use the same strategy in life as well: because when you’re prepared for something in advance, you can be a lot calmer.

“It sounds strange, probably,” writes Hadfield, “but having a pessimistic view of my own prospects helped me love my job.”

The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism

“A man of genius makes no mistakes,” wrote James Joyce once, “his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

Pretentiousness aside, Joyce is right about the second part: making a mistake is actually the best way to learn new things. Just think about the way people learn to play an instrument! They make many mistakes, and they try until they stop making them.

If you go on playing your guitar the same away after making a mistake (i.e., appropriating it), your brain will think it’s the right way and will engrave it as a habit.

In other words, making a mistake is just a part of the learning process; seeing the mistake is the other. And since we are incapable of seeing our mistakes as clearly as impartial observers, constructive criticism should be a big part of every apprenticeship.

So, instead of saying “oh, shut up,” say “thank you” the next time someone points out a mistake of yours.

The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

As we pointed above, even if you want to become an astronaut in the customarily accepted meaning of that word, there’s a high chance that you won’t.

After all, only 561 people from no more than 40 countries have gone into space so far.

However, Hadfield never gave up.

He just reframed his state of mind:

I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.

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“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Quotes”

I never stopped getting ready. Just in case. Click To Tweet In order to stay calm in a high-stress, high-stakes situation, all you really need is knowledge. Click To Tweet Each time you manage to do that your comfort zone expands a little, so if you ever face that particular problem in real life, you’re able to think clearly. Click To Tweet Rehearsing for catastrophe has made me positive that I have the problem-solving skills to deal with tough situations and come out the other side smiling. Click To Tweet Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We really like Chris Hadfield, so we loved this book from start to finish.

And so did almost each and every reviewer, describing “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as “a satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut” (Kirkus Reviews) and as “a very human glance into a rarified world” (WSJ).

Allow us to include one more quotation at the end: “Houston, we have a superstar!”

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Kitchen Confidential PDF Summary

Kitchen Confidential PDFAdventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Sadly, Anthony Bourdain is no longer among us.

Fortunately, his books will forever be.

And “Kitchen Confidential” is probably his best one.

Who Should Read “Kitchen Confidential”? And Why?

“Kitchen Confidential” is a delicious book and should be a treat for everyone who wants to get to know Anthony Bourdain a bit better.

“A delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales,” the book will also teach you what to avoid at a restaurant – and inspire you to gather the courage to learn what to order by yourself!

Anthony BourdainAbout Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef and a bestselling author, recognized worldwide for his larger-than-life persona and caustic humor.

“A professional gadfly, bête noir, advocate, social critic, and pork enthusiast,” Bourdain became famous with his 2000 book “Kitchen Confidential” before making a name as a food and travel documentarian via four exceptionally successful TV shows, of which “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown” were the best-known and the longest-lasting.

Anthony Bourdain killed himself on June 8, 2018, while filming an episode of the eleventh season of “Parts Unknown.”

“Kitchen Confidential PDF Summary”

On June 8, 2018, Anthony Michael Bourdain, one of the foremost and most admired chefs of our time, hanged himself in his room at Le Chambard hotel in Kaysersberg, France, the country where his culinary journey had once begun and the country whose food will forever leave a mark on both his taste and his food.

As always when an exceptional member of the human race leaves our planet, we have no other option but to cherish the memories with which he/she has enriched our existence and transform them into guideposts for the future.

Fortunately, Bourdain left many of them along the way, packed neatly in as many as four widely adored TV shows, five fiction books, and no fewer than eight nonfiction classics.

Released in 2000, “Kitchen Confidential” is Anthony Bourdain’s first nonfiction book.

Part memoir, part behind-the-scenes investigation of the world of restaurants and restaurant kitchens, the book quickly became a “New York Times” bestseller and made Bourdain the star we so fondly remember.

Ever the honest – not to mention “the angry, cynical, snarky guy who says mean things on ‘Top Chef,'” – Bourdain even made fun with the success of “Kitchen Confidential” in its 2010 follow-up “Medium Raw,” describing himself as

A loud, egotistical, one-note asshole who’s been cruising on the reputation of one obnoxious, over-testosteroned book for way too long.

But, even so, it was always painfully obvious to almost everyone who has ever had the pleasure of reading “Kitchen Confidential” that this was always a reputation of the rarest kind: a deserved one.

Bourdain’s culinary story starts with his summer vacation to Europe as a young boy.

There he is first introduced to French food via a bowl of vichyssoise; a couple of fresh oysters and some tasty provincial food later, and Bourdain’s senses will never be the same again.

However, it will take some time before Bourdain would finally have a chance to enter the vast, but very private universe of restaurant kitchens.

And, as it often happens in life, it will be due to chance!

Namely, while attending Vassar college, Bourdain got a job as a busboy at a Provincetown, Massachusetts restaurant. So, he was able to witness not only the subtleties of food preparation but also the strangely masochistic culture of kitchen work.

And he liked it!

Soon, it made a perfect sense to him to drop out of college and start pursuing a career in cooking. So, he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America, from where he graduated two years later, in 1978.

His rise through the culinary hierarchy of New York City started at the Rainbow Room, the first of many restaurants he worked in while mastering his craft.

However, the painstaking process took the toll on him, exacerbating his self-destructive hedonistic behavior, parts of which he regretted to the end of his life.

However, some other parts he always considered important aspects of his personality, especially in view of his profession:

I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.

Bourdain’s adventure will lead him to the famous Brasserie Les Halles, where, in 1998, he became an executive chef, retaining the position – whether officially or unofficially – almost to the end of his life.

Key Lessons from “Kitchen Confidential”

1.      Anthony Bourdain Loved the Restaurant Business
2.      Your Body Is an Amusement Park
3.      Some Food Tips from Behind-the-Scenes

Anthony Bourdain Loved the Restaurant Business

Ever since he tasted his first bowl of vichyssoise and, soon after, his first fresh oyster during a summer vacation in Europe as a young boy, Anthony Bourdain fell in love with food and the way a well-prepared dish could make you feel.

In “Kitchen Confidential” he repeatedly states that this is one of those loves which he is sure will never pass since it has been put to the test numerous times and never failed.

However, he has a warning for all you cooking enthusiasts out there: restaurant kitchens are not for hobbyists!

Which means: unless you are masochistic by nature and really love to become a chef, you better cook at home and pursue a different career.

Your Body Is an Amusement Park

When it comes to food – and, basically, everything else – Bourdain is all about adventure and indulgence.

Which means that, if you ask him, “vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans… are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

Because, in his opinion, “life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”

And, also, because

Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.

Some Food Tips from Behind-the-Scenes

One thing you need never forget is that restaurants – regardless of whether the best or the worst ones – function just like any other business, i.e., they try to earn as much as money as possible.

So, when they can save some – they will do exactly that.

In real-world terms, this means don’t ever order fish on Monday: it’s most probably left over from the weekend; also, well-done beef is not the best, but the worst beef: restaurant chefs use overcooking to mask the original quality of the meat.

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“Kitchen Confidential Quotes”

Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. Click To Tweet

No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American. Click To Tweet

Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have. Click To Tweet

When I die, I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered. Click To Tweet

I'm not going anywhere. I hope. It's been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Click To Tweet

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Our Critical Review

“Kitchen Confidential” is a deeply personal memoir, honest and hysterical to the bone.

It’s also a gonzo investigation in the world of restaurant kitchens, which, coupled with Bourdain’s unabashed style, was all the world crown him with the appellation “Hunter S. Thompson of the kitchen.”

And, indeed, this book proves that he was – “one of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

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Titan PDF Summary – Ron Chernow

Titan PDF Ron ChernowThe Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

In many languages, the surname “Rockefeller” has basically become synonymous with the phrase “fabulously rich.”

The man responsible for that?

John D. Rockefeller, Sr., quite possibly the richest person in modern history and most certainly the wealthiest American of all time.

And Ron Chernow’s “Titan” is the essential 800-page-long biography of this extraordinary man, rightly called “the Jekyll-and-Hyde of American capitalism.”

Who Should Read “Titan”? And Why?

Just like most biographies of great men, “Titan” is a fascinating and endlessly enthralling read, which should certainly get the attention of most people.

The fact that the great man this biography is about is such a controversial figure makes “Titan” an even more alluring book since it should appeal to both the advocates and the detractors of capitalism.

It’s also a book from which entrepreneurs can find some inspiration, and in which social critics who don’t believe the world needs people like John D. Rockefeller, Sr. will find enough arguments in their favor.

A treat for all!

Ron ChernowAbout Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow is an American historian and biographer, author of numerous bestselling and award-winning books on the life and times of important historical figures.

In 1990, he published his debut book, “The House of Morgan” which traced four generations of the J. P. Morgan empire and which was honored with the National Book Award for Nonfiction. He followed this up with “The Warburgs” which won him the 1993 George S. Eccles Prize for Excellence in Economic Writing.

The critically acclaimed “Titan” was published in 1998 and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, just like his 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, which was subsequently turned into the highly successful Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-musical from 2015, “Hamilton.”

In 2011, Chernow won both the American History Book Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for “Washington: A Life.”

His last book, the 2017 “Grant,” is a 1,000-page biography of Ulysses S. Grant, America’s 18th President, and was once again met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

“Titan PDF Summary”

John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839, in Richford, New York, as the second of six children and the eldest son of William Avery “Bill” Rockefeller and Eliza Davison.

His father was a con artist, a traveling salesman and a “botanic physician” who practiced bigamy and ended up living a double life under an alias.

His mother, on the other hand, was a devout Baptist who put up with her husband’s promiscuity and taught John the value of saving money.

When JDR was ten years old, his father – who, by that time, had managed to father two children with his housekeeper Nancy Brown as well – was indicted for a rape which supposedly occurred at gunpoint and which drove William to sell the Rockefeller’s house and move the family to Oswego, New York, in a potential attempt to avoid trial.

He was never convicted for the rape, but soon enough he left his family for good, assuming the identity Dr. William Levingston and marrying a certain Margaret Allen in Ontario, Canada (even though he was still legally married to Eliza as well).

Before that, Bill moved the Rockefellers once again close to Cleveland, Ohio, where John attended the Cleveland’s Central High School, one of the first free public high schools in the United States.

Even though John was a good student – excelling especially in math and oratory – he couldn’t afford to go to college, especially since he was burdened with the self-assigned role of a surrogate father.

So, instead, he enrolled in a business school and got a job as an assistant bookkeeper.

It was here that he got his “first look at a banknote of any size”:

I was clerking at the time down on the Flats here. One day my employer received a note from a down-State bank for $4,000. He showed it to me in the course of the day’s business, and then put it in the safe. As soon as he was gone, I unlocked the safe, and taking out that note, stared at it with open eyes and mouth, and then replaced it and double-locked the safe. It seemed like an awfully large sum to me, an unheard-of amount, and many times during the day did I open that safe to gaze longingly at the note.

In 1859, JDR teamed up with his partner Maurice B. Clark – with whom he also shares a rags-to-riches story – and, at the tender age of 20, opened his first business.

It will grow in the largest modern history had seen by pure accident.

Namely, “Clark and Rockefeller” was a buying-and-selling venture which provided both friends a good income for some time, before they were convinced by Samuel Andrews, a chemist and a friend of Clark’s, into becoming stockholders in his new enterprise.

The enterprise was a small Cleveland oil refinery.

The result?

Instant success – thanks especially to Andrews’ “mechanical genius” (as Ida M. Tarbell had described it) and his pioneering work with fractional distillation.

However, success also means jealously and soured bonds, so it’s no surprise that by 1865, the relationship between Rockefeller and Clark (as well as Clark’s two brothers who also owned parts of the joint ventured) deteriorated to the point of no return.

The partners auctioned the business between themselves and, in the end, JDR bought the Clarks’ shares for $72,500 (about $1 million in today’s money).

Speaking to William O. Inglis, Rockefeller later noted:

It was the day that determined my career. I felt the bigness of it, but I was as calm as I am talking to you now.

At 25, JDR became the owner of one of the world’s largest oil facilities. The very same year he married his high-school sweetheart, Laura Spelman Rockefeller.

The couple will end up having four children, only one of them a boy, JDR’s namesake, John D. Rockefeller Jr.

It was all uphill from here!

In 1870, JDR abolished his partnership with Andrews, and in less than four months in 1872 – in what would later be known as “The Cleveland Massacre” – his new-formed “Standard Oil” 22 of its 26 Cleveland competitors.

Titan Summary Ron ChernowThis will inspire some admiration and a ton of hate, resulting in cartoons such as “The Anaconda” seen here on the left, parodying JDR as a snake swallowing its Cleveland competitors.

In 1874, “Standard Oil” will buy 27 more refineries – this time major and nationwide.

Still in his 30s, JDR “became the sole master of American oil refining,” controlling almost 90% of all oil in the United States.

By this time, he was also deeply convinced in his messiah-like role, believing that God gave him so much money so that he could help the world and provide cheap kerosene and light to the poor people of the world.

Even though he did do that, not many bought his side of the story, so Rockefeller was forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to dismantle Standard Oil into 34 “Baby Standards,” some of which you know by the names of ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc.

The end result?

JDR was even richer than before, owning a fortune worth nearly 2% of the nation’s GDP, or $400 billion in today’s money.

Fortunately, he spent a large – or small, depends on who you ask – part of it to basically create modern philanthropy.

Key Lessons from “Titan”

1.      The Growth of a Large Business Is Merely a Survival of the Fittest
2.      All the Fortune That I Have Made Has Not Served to Compensate Me for the Anxiety of That Period
3.      Gain All You Can, Save All You Can, And Give All You Can

The Growth of a Large Business Is Merely a Survival of the Fittest

The story of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. is an almost novel-like rags-to-riches story: he was the son of a con artist who, as a teenager, begged the principal of his free, public school to find a home for his family, but will be remembered as modern history’s richest men.

How he did it?

Mainly – because he never backed down and decided to survive through it all.

All the Fortune That I Have Made Has Not Served to Compensate Me for the Anxiety of That Period

As JDR was earning money and swallowing his opponents one by one, he was becoming so influential that newspapers started claiming that it was he who was actually running the country.

Even though he was rich and could afford everything, he was actually deeply depressed and couldn’t even fall asleep for most of the nights.

Gain All You Can, Save All You Can, And Give All You Can

The dictum from this title was originally John Wesley’s but became JDR’s.

It sums up his life in a sentence and easily shows why he was both so admired and so hated by the public.

JDR, the real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of American capitalism.

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“Titan Quotes”

From the outset JDR’s plans had a wide streak of megalomania. Click To Tweet

No threat to his empire was too small for Rockefeller to overlook. Click To Tweet

JDR retained his mystic faith that God had given him money for mankind’s benefit. Click To Tweet

JDR was convinced that the Almighty had buried the oil in the earth for a purpose. Click To Tweet

The impression was gaining ground with me that it was a good thing to let the money be my slave and not make myself a slave to money. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Basically, each of the books Ron Chernow has so far authored have received acclaim of the sort few books ever do.

“Titan” is no exception: it was listed as one of 1998’s ten best books by both “The New York Times” and “Time,” the latter of which described it as one of the great American biographies.

Even before we had the time to write its summary, we didn’t hesitate for a moment to include it in our list of the 15 best business books in history.

Balanced and neutral, revelatory and beautifully written, “Titan” is certainly a titan of a book!

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The Golden String PDF Summary

The Golden String PDFAn Autobiography

You’ve certainly read one or two biographies of a Yogi.

And you have probably read your fair share of hagiographies of Christian saints.

But what about the autobiography of a Christian yogi?

Bede Griffiths’ “The Golden String” is exactly that.

Covering the first half of this exceptional man’s life.

Who Should Read “The Golden String”? And Why?

Since “The Golden String” is an autobiography, it’s only obvious that the people who’ll enjoy it the most are those who have some previous knowledge of Bede Griffiths.

However, if all you know about him comes from Wikipedia, be warned that this book only covers the first half of Bede Griffiths’ life, ending with his decision to embark on an enlightening journey to India.

So, if you are interested in his experiences from the ashrams of South India, then you should consult Griffiths’ other book with a Blakean name, “Marriage of East and West,” an autobiography justly subtitled “A Sequel to the Golden String.”

Of course, if you have the time, it would be best if you read both books – so that you get the full picture.

Bede GriffithsAbout Bede Griffiths

Bede Griffiths, born Alan Richard Griffiths, was a British-born Oxford-educated Benedictine monk who spent the second half of his life living in the ashrams of India.

Because of this, by the end of his life, he was known by yet a third name, Swami Dayananda, i.e., the Bliss of Compassion.

After spending his childhood in poverty, Griffiths got an Oxford scholarship. At Oxford, he met C. S. Lewis and started regaining his lost faith. This will ultimately result in him rejecting modernity and becoming a monk.

“The Golden String” was his debut book. By the end of his life, he will end up writing eight more.

“Universal Wisdom,” Griffiths’ idiosyncratic selection of the religious thoughts from all major religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism) will be published soon after his death in 1993.

“The Golden String PDF Summary”

In one of the “Notebooks” of the great English Romantic poet William Blake, there’s a beautiful stanza which ultimately ended as the epigraph of “To the Christians” plate of his prophetic poem “Jerusalem”:

I give you the end of a golden string;
   Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
   Built in Jerusalem’s wall.

Bede Griffiths used its first verse as the title of his 1954 beautifully written autobiography; the implication: this book, chronicling Griffiths’ personal experiences with faith, may lead you to the discovery of God as well.

Because, in his personal dictionary, discovering God is synonymous with discovering yourself.

Alan Richard Griffiths was born at Walton-on-Thames on December 17, 1906. He was the youngest of three children in a middle-class Anglican family.

However, soon after Griffiths was born, his father was betrayed by his business partner, leaving Griffiths’ family at the very brink of absolute poverty.

Consequently, in 1919, Griffiths was entered into the Christ’s Hospital, the “Blue-Coat school,” called that way because it was only attended by the poorest boys.

Griffiths excelled in his studies, and by 1924 it was obvious that he was destined for something great.

It was here, while reading authors such as Fielding and Austin, and especially Dante, Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” and S. T. Coleridge, that he fell in love with Western culture.

He had also fallen in love with Marx and many other social thinkers, so, by the end of his secondary education, Griffiths considered himself a zealous socialist, an ardent pacifist, and a devoted atheist.

“We did not believe in any authority beyond our own reason,” writes Griffith.

However, an evening walk in 1924 will change that profoundly, because a mystical experience would open his eyes to the presence of God in nature:

I remember now the feeling of awe which came over me. I felt inclined to kneel on the ground, as though I had been standing in the presence of an angel; and I hardly dared to look on the face of the sky, because it seemed as though it was but a veil before the face of God.

It was with this new-found belief in the divinity of all living things that Griffiths continued his journey, by entering Oxford in the fall of 1925.

Needless to add, he was one of the very selected few of his milieu who had the honor of earning an Oxford scholarship.

Two years later, still believing that Christianity is “a religion of the past,” he started studying English literature.

His tutor?

S. Lewis, the guy you may know as the author of “Narnia,” but also the guy many people revere as one of the wittiest Christian apologetics of the 20th century.

Lewis’ views on religion – combined with a careful study of Plato and Aristotle, Spinoza and Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” – will affect Griffiths deeply, especially after 1929 when the author of “Narnia” will experience his first conversion to theism.

The next year, repulsed by the flux of modernity and the dehumanization of man by the second Industrial Revolution, Griffiths would start a Waldenesque “experiment in common life” with two friends, Hugh Waterman and Martyn Skinner.

The three men shunned civilization and settled in a cottage in the Cotswolds, where they earned money almost exclusively by milking cows and selling the milk, and where they spend most of their time reading the “Bible” and discussing it.

The experiment – which lasted for a year – had a strong effect on Bede Griffiths and, on returning home, he decided to seek Holy Orders in the Church of England.

He was advised to first gain some experience in the London slums, but during his time working with the poor he suffered a crisis of faith.

He overcome it through the writings of Cardinal John Henry Newman, which helped him undergo a powerful conversion experience.

On Christmas Eve 1932, Bede, despite the protests of his mother, was received in the Roman Catholic Church.

A year later he took the name “Bede,” and he made his solemn profession on December 21, 1937.

A decade later, Bede Griffiths was appointed prior of St. Michael’s Abbey in Farnborough, but he was transferred to Pluscarden Priory in Scotland as a novice in 1951 after he was unable to generate sufficient financial support.

It was in Pluscarden Priory that he wrote “The Golden String,” one of the most moving autobiographies of its kind.

Key Lessons from “The Golden String”

1.      A Mystical Experience: The Golden String of Bede Griffiths
2.      Discovering God is Discovering Oneself
3.      The Divine Mystery Is a Mystery of Love

A Mystical Experience: The Golden String of Bede Griffiths

Bede Griffiths was an Oxford-bound poor boy who excelled as a student in a poor boys’ school before an evening walk in 1924 changed his outlook on life altogether.

Suddenly, he saw himself as something more than the greedy egos we all are – namely, a humble part of everything and all, Nature and God.

And, years later, he realized that, on that very evening, he had managed to find the end of a golden string which, to paraphrase Blake, throughout his lifetime, he would wind it into a ball which would, in turn, lead him to heaven’s gate.

Discovering God is Discovering Oneself

In Bede Griffiths’ words, discovering God means discovering oneself.

Turn that around, and you realize that you can reach God by merely trying to find who you are.

Consequently, if you have that objective in mind, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading the “Bible” or the “Vedas,” the “Qur’an” or Dante and Shakespeare.

They will all lead you to God.

The Divine Mystery Is a Mystery of Love

The divine mystery,” writes Bede Griffiths at one place, “is ultimately a mystery of love, and it reveals itself to love alone. It is only if we are prepared to give ourselves totally in love that Love will give itself totally to us.

To Griffiths, Love is a consuming fire.

It can purify you if you embrace it; but burn you if you resist it.

So don’t.

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“The Golden String Quotes”

It is a movement towards a science and a technology which will cease to exploit nature and will learn to live in harmony with nature. It is a movement also towards a more human way of life... an attempt to reconstruct science and… Click To Tweet

To discover God is not to discover an idea but to discover oneself. Click To Tweet

We have progressed from rejection of the Church at the Reformation, to the rejection of Christ at the French Revolution to the rejection of God at the Russian Revolution. Click To Tweet

The source of evil was to be found in the human mind rising up against God and seeking to build up its civilization without reference to God, the supreme arbiter of destiny and... human happiness. Click To Tweet

To sacrifice is literally ‘to make a thing sacred’; it is to take something out of common use and make it over to God. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Bede Griffiths’ life had two interrelated halves: one as a monk and one as a yogi.

“Golden String” documents the first of these two halves – from his childhood until his departure for India – and is as beautiful as any autobiography you’ll ever read.

It’s personal, it’s honest, it’s moving – and it’ll probably make you want to yearn for a similar spiritual journey.

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Where the Past Begins PDF Summary

Where the Past Begins PDFWriter’s Memoir

We’ve shared with you the summaries of some fictional memoirs, as well as numerous heartbreaking memoirs of statesmen (from Joe Biden to Nelson Mandela).

Now, we have the memoir of a writer, Amy Tan.

She strips bare and tells us all about “Where the Past Begins.”

Who Should Read “Where the Past Begins”? And Why?

“Where the Past Begins” is a memoir – and that’s one genre that always gets us. We sincerely believe in John Donne’s motto that “no man is an island,” so, whenever we read someone else’s memoir, we feel as if that someone has written something about us.

So it’s difficult for us to answer the question “who should read ‘Where the Past Begins.'” Because on the face of it, aside from the obvious “Amy Tan fans,” and “memoir lovers” it hardly has any other obvious answer.

However, we feel that it should have: “everyone who wants to train his or her compassion.”

Amy TanAbout Amy Tan

Amy Tan is a Chinese-American writer whose books focus on the Chinese immigrant experience in the United States.

She has won numerous awards for her writing, which has also been criticized by many for perpetuating “racial stereotypes and misrepresentations as well as gross inaccuracies in recalling details of the Chinese cultural heritage.”

However, almost all of her books have achieved wide popular and critical acclaim, most famously “The Joy Luck Club,” a book which was also turned into a film in 1993 by Wayne Wang.

One of her two children’s books, “Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat” was also adapted as an animation series by the CBS.

“Where the Past Begins PDF Summary”

Picture this.

You’re at a writers’ workshop, and your teacher asks you to write something about a real-life event when you got the closest to dying – or, at least, thought that you would.

You plunge deep into your memory and, after some time, you start writing.

You are all but incapable of discerning reality from fiction – after all, you’ve watched so many movies in the meantime that it’s kind of difficult to know whether these things actually happened to you – but, for some reason, you also can’t start sobbing and crying while you try to get to the bottom of the life-threatening event which supposedly happened to you when you were 16.

And the event itself, the one you tell your classmates and teacher all about a few minutes later?

Something straight out of a horror movie:

You’re 16 years old, and you’re running around the house with your younger brother because your mother is chasing you both with a cleaver.

“We all go to heaven together,” she says, presumably plotting a suicide after the double murder – two things which most certainly question the “together” in the previous sentence.

“I want to live!” you shout, “I want to live!” – not because you’re a drama-queen, but because there’s a woman with a cleaver and fiery eyes running behind you.

No – we aren’t being hypothetical.

This is a scene straight out of Amy Tan’s memoir – meaning, it really happened to her.

Meaning: her autobiography sounds like something of a sequel to “The Glass Castle.”

Only much worse.

And that’s even before the most bizarre part of the story!

Namely, after the just described event, Amy Tan calls her mother to – wait for it – check if the event has really happened.

Her mother confirms it.

And “without any remorse in her voice.”

At least three obvious questions arise:

  1.      How has Amy forgotten such an event? Does that mean that there were many of a similar kind?
  2.      Why would you share something so traumatic with the world?
  3.      And, of course – what the hell is wrong with Amy’s mother?

“Where the Past Begins” both does and doesn’t try to answer any of these questions.

Because Amy Tan is a writer and she’s fully aware that reliable narrators exist only in fiction.

We don’t remember our lives the way they happened.

And, as Tan says it herself, “the process of writing is the painful recovery of things that are lost.”

That actually sums up the genesis of this book.

It started when her editor Daniel Halperin suggested Tan that she could shape a book out of the thousands and thousands of emails she had sent him while writing her 2013 novel “The Valley of Amazement”:

It started off as a record of emails about the process of writing between me and my editor, but that was an awful idea. It fell to pieces. Then it turned into something much more personal, about how I write and what inspires me. But once it was done I realized you shouldn’t explain the magic tricks. Writing shouldn’t be dissected and pulled apart. So I hate that this is out there. I told my editor how I felt but he persuaded me it was wonderful and I caved in. I found writing it exhilarating. But I wish it hadn’t been published.

Tan describes “Where the Past Begins” as an “unintended memoir.”

After digging through the emails between her and Halperin – some of which are included unedited in Chapter 10 – Tan moved to dig through the riches of her childhood memorabilia, uncovering herself as one usually uncovers someone else.

And there’s everything in this book: photos, school papers, address books, Tan’s father’s sermons…

And yes – death certificates as well.

Because this book is as heartrending read as any and a summary really doesn’t do justice to all the pain inside.

The pain functions as something of a guide for Tan’s memory, moving us back and forth between events, some of which would seem too much if we had seen them in the cinema.

The second of the three children to Chinese immigrants John and Daisy Tan, Tan learns about pain very early in her life: when she’s 15, both her father – an electrical engineer and evangelical Christian preacher – and her older brother Peter die of brain tumors within six months.

Daisy moves Amy and her younger brother John Jr. to Switzerland, where Amy learns that she has another family back in China: her mother had four children and three abortions back in her home country.

The relationship between Amy and Daisy is almost too painful to read.

Daisy is suicidal and often threatens to kill herself in order to join her mother, a rich man’s concubine, who ended her life by committing suicide!

As we saw above, Daisy is also unstable enough to threaten to kill her children as well.

But, even so, there’s something strange – something which we are unable to describe with words other than “understanding” and even “love” – that Amy and Daisy share through it all.

As if they feel their pains (Amy herself is taking depressants and for a while would even suffer from epileptic seizures due to a misdiagnosed Lyme disease), as if they know that they will always be each other’s comfort zone – even if that results in something as teenage-like as a six-month-long ostracism or as violent as a knife attack.

In fact, Amy learned during the writing of this book that both she and her mother had saved all of each other’s letters – even the angry ones.

A proof of love’s resilience,” she adds.

And in a way, that’s a tender description of Amy Tan’s whole life as well.

Key Lessons from “Where the Past Begins”

1.      The Difference Between Writing a Memoir and a Novel
2.      Discovering the Meaning of Life
3.      Writing as a Way to Recover What Is Lost

The Difference Between Writing a Memoir and a Novel

It’s not as simple as it looks like.

Ask any writer.

Some of them even think that their memoirs are more fictional than their novels.

In fact, Amy Tan thinks that a memoir is a memoir only when it is unchronological; the more structured it is, the less true-to-the-memory:

Memoir is unvarnished. In fact, too much so in this case: I would have revised this book numerous more times. In fiction, I’m much more concerned about the sequence of sentences and the flow of the narrative from beginning to end. When it comes to my own life, the sequence in which I remember things is not necessarily going to be orderly for the reader. Events and memories are going to emerge according to their importance and how they shaped me.

Discovering the Meaning of Life

Amy Tan has had a very painful life.

A granddaughter of a rich man’s concubine who killed herself; a daughter of an idealized father who died when she was 15, and an unstable suicidal mother who had to go through two marriages, three abortions, and the deaths of two of her seven children – Tan lived to even witness the murder of her roommate while working on her Ph. D. at Berkeley!

And, still, she is able to find the strength to move on.

How?

By writing.

Spontaneous epiphanies” – writes Tan – “always leave me convinced once again that there is no greater meaning to my life than what happens when I write.

Writing as a Way to Recover What Is Lost

“Where the Past Begins” is Amy Tan’s unintended attempt to recover the past we all necessarily lose with every passing year.

It’s a way to fight through some of the traumas her brain had blocked – just like Junot Díaz’s narrator does in “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

Telling your story may be the best way there is to fight your own demons.

It’s a cathartic experience.

In case you need one.

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“Where the Past Begins Quotes”

Memory, in fact, gives you no choice over which moments you can erase, and it is annoyingly persistent in retaining the most painful ones. Click To Tweet

Memory is extraordinarily faithful in recording the most hideous details, and it will recall them for you in the future with moments that are even only vaguely similar. Click To Tweet

Writing is the witness to myself about myself. Whatever others say of me or how they interpret me is a simulacrum of their own devising. Click To Tweet

Perhaps the most moving discoveries were the letters to me from my mother and the letters to my mother from me. She had saved mine and I had saved hers, even the angry ones, which is a proof of love’s resilience. Click To Tweet

I never throw away photos, unless they are blurry. All of them, even the horrific ones, are an existential record of my life. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Where the Past Begins” is almost too intimate and honest for its own sake: sometimes you’ll find yourself leaving the book on its shelf because, if you’re like us, you may find the overflow of emotions just too unbearable.

Which is a compliment: not too many writers are capable (or ready) to strip their hearts before the world the way Amy Tan has done in “Where the Past Begins.”

Though, we feel, Chapter 10 may be an unnecessary chapter.

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Way of the Peaceful Warrior PDF Summary

Way of the Peaceful Warrior PDFA Book That Changes Lives

If we have only one word to describe this book, that would be – Wow!

We are really honored to be a part of such amazing, and life-altering masterpiece.

Everyone should take the path of the peaceful warrior, and oppose the egoic sensations which seem to gain momentum.

Who Should Read “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”? And Why?

Well, it would be ignorant of us, to conduct any classification and choose a target audience to which this book would seem more appealing.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is one gem of a book; Dan’s interpretations are out of this world, and as such we believe it’s suitable for everyone.

Dan Millman Biography

Dan MillmanDan Millman is the real warrior, born on February 22, 1946. He is the author of many books, but his life-journey revolves around Socrates’ pure wisdom and insights.

Plot

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is part-autobiographical, part-fictional bestseller, which since its first publication in 1980, appeared on many top-books lists.

Dan Millman is in the spotlight, a junior at the University of California – Berkeley, who seems successful and happy. The storyline and all the subplots are tied up, all lead to a mind-blowing outcome. It all happens in the 1960s; Dan is a college gymnastics star, who continues to do well in all fields except one.

Although he expands his collection of trophies day by day, he starts to feel lonely and lost.

The life-adventure is also spiced up with his girlfriend Susie, who eventually can’t cheer him up. As a matter of fact, each night he has a hard time falling asleep and wakes up drenched in sweat.

Regardless of how successful he seems on the outside, on the inside, his world is crumbling with each passing moment.

At first, Dan is not prepared to admit the problem. Nightmares haunt him, and the fear of death overwhelms him.

In the recurring dreams, one particular face stands out, a white-haired person, who can unravel the knots. He believes that this man, whoever he is, can help him interpret his dreams, and put an end to the nightmares that make him go crazy at night time.

The meeting between these two personalities is very emotional and touching. The movie version of the story puts us into a dilemma, and disbelief – how something so powerful exists, and yet we neglect it, because of our egos:

It all happens at a nearby gas station, where Dan suddenly lays eyes on “Socrates” – a name which Dan gives to his new white-haired friend. This wise-old-man is both the problem and the solution according to Dan’s perspective.

Each night is tougher than the last one, waking up in a cold sweat is becoming a psychological routine, something that Dan can’t figure it out. Socrates, offers his guiding hand, to lecture him about the real priorities of life, and melt his ego, like ice in hot water.  

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

On many occasions, Dan shows lack of understanding and shallowness, but that doesn’t seem to bother Socrates. He insists on learning Dan, that all problems lie in the future and the past, from a state of total awareness, there’s hardly anything to be unhappy about.

Socrates, place emphasis on the value of the present moment, what does it mean, and how to be fully into it.

Dan is on the fence, whether to go for Socrates’ life wisdom or to follow a conventional path, which yields positive results and elevates his ego to the top of the heap. All of a sudden, he feels stranded on a deserted island and isolated from his classmates.

Left with little options, Dan accepts to follow the path of a peaceful warrior. In the meantime, he develops a crush on Joy – another Socrates’ student who visits him from time to time.

They share various encounters and spiritual experiences, which Dan can’t absorb, and from the perspective of personhood, he is unable to dig deep into his own self and find the real core of existence.

You have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.

A motorcycle accident puts his training on hold and kicks him out of the Qualifiers for the Olympics.

Socrates explains that each setback and disaster has a deeper meaning than the one appearing on the surface. Uplifted by words of real wisdom, Dan decides to come back stronger than ever by following a strict life-routine manifested through diet, physical training, mental training, alertness, etc.

Dan begins to explore the wonders of the cave and is finally able to see what Socrates has been telling him for so long. Dan somehow manages to convince the Berkley’s Gymnastics Head Coach to join them for the national collegiate championship. Thanks to Dan, they win the first place.

His reactions about the achievements are not the same as they once were. He is quiet and doesn’t make too much noise because from within, he is aware that victories are not the path leading to full happiness and bliss.

The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.

On the spur of the moment, Dan quits gymnastics. After finishing his education, he realizes that he needs Socrates now more than ever.

Nonetheless, the old-man keeps Dan at a distance, by telling him to start looking answers somewhere else for the time being.

Dan unable to find the courage, plunges into psychological war with himself, and rather than pursuing wisdom, he gets trapped in the “boring” life-cycle. A failed marriage added to work disappointment makes him eager to dig up the end of the story.

He recalls Socrates’ words – What am I doing? – What would Socrates say about this? He ends up selling everything, and heads towards the mountains, to run into happiness and lay fingers on his new sense of self.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior Epilogue

On the way over, Socrates appears out of nowhere, leaving Dan in shock. Surprisingly, Dan somehow knew that he would bump into Socrates, he felt it, it was the only option one can think of. Dan admits that it took him awhile to embark on this adventure.

Socrates makes the final test, by taking Dan to a cave with an idea to examine his willingness to live the life of a warrior.

There, Dan witnesses his own death and realizes that he is not the body, but the soul. The temporary self – is just a masquerade, and there’s another reality which we can’t see.

Dan realizes that nothing is worth the tears and the discontent. This life is not about suffering, but about discovering your eternal self, which radiates blissfulness. He ends up marrying Joy, – and living in joy!

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“Way of the Peaceful Warrior PDF Quotes”

If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Click To Tweet A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does. Click To Tweet Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body. Click To Tweet You can live a whole lifetime never being awake. Click To Tweet I had lost my mind and fallen into my heart. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We are inclined to agree that we all have quarrels with ourselves, and the path to enlightenment is paved with pure heart and wisdom.

If you are leaning towards the pleasures of this world, that’s fine. In reality, if you don’t know who you are, nothing can make you happy.

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Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Ernest Hemingway QuotesSome people see him as a literary legend, as well as a person that lived legendary life.

Others consider him to have had a sad life, but fruitful career.

In any case, one thing is true: Ernest Hemingway is a name that will keep on living.

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in today’s Oak Park, Illinois.

Although he was raised in a suburb, he spent most of his time in his family’s cabin in northern Michigan, where he learned to fish and hunt.

There, he also developed his love for nature.

He showed interest in literature from early on, and during his high-school years, he started writing for the sports section of the school newspaper.

After he graduated, he continued the same line of work, which can explain his simplistic, journalistic style of writing which one can encounter in all of his novels.

The year before the World War I has ended, he went to serve in it. He was an ambulance driver for the Italian side, and during his posting, he met a nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky, whom he proposed to.

However, the acceptance of the proposal was short lived since she soon left him for another man.

This event broke the writer’s heart, but at the same time inspired him and was the basis for his very famous work “A Farewell to Arms.”

At the age of 20, he was already heavily injured by the sufferings he saw during the war and was carrying deep emotional wounds.

After the war, he went to the US and took a job at a newspaper in Chicago. It was there where he met the woman that would become his first spouse.

But, just as up until then, his romance did not last forever.

By the end of his life, he was married four times.

Back to his writing career, shortly after he married for the first marriage, he moved to Paris, continuing to work for the newspaper as its foreign correspondent.

In Paris, he was made Gertrude Stein’s pupil, and he was part of what she would call as “The Lost Generation.”

During this time he met many famous artists of the 20s – and became one of them.

In 1951 after several critically and commercially acclaimed novels, he finally won the Pulitzer Prize for “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Just three years later, he won the Nobel Prize for literature as well.

As you could already notice from this short introduction to Hemingway’s personal life has influenced his literature – many of the things he saw and experienced he used as the basis for his stories.

Now, let’s take a peek at some of the most famous lines from his work and his letters.

Ernest Hemingway Quotes – Top 10

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it… Click To Tweet There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it. Click To Tweet Every day above earth is a good day. Click To Tweet Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know. Click To Tweet I want you so much I want to be you too. Click To Tweet You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that. Click To Tweet The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. Click To Tweet We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Click To Tweet As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. Click To Tweet The shortest answer is doing the thing. Click To Tweet

When he was not spending his time writing, which was his first passion, he was filling his life with excitement: bullfighting in Spain, deep-sea fishing in Florida, or hunting in Africa.

He was in several accidents, including plane crashes, but he still continued his adventures.

That is exactly why many people believed he knew how to live.

However, deep down Hemingway was actually a melancholic.

When he retired, his health was already deteriorated. His body was battling with liver disease and high blood pressure because of his drinking habits.

His mental health was not good as well. He was battling depression that ended tragically – with his suicide at the age of 62.

Quotes by Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises

A bottle of wine was good company.

Fake European standards have ruined you. 

Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?

He’ll never be frightened. He knows too damn much.

Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.

He was fairly happy, except that, like many people living in Europe, he would rather have been in America, and he had discovered writing.

It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.

Quotes by Ernest Hemingway – A Farewell to Arms

Life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.

I’m not brave anymore darling. I’m all broken. They’ve broken me.

Keep right on lying to me. That’s what I want you to do.

I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.

I was a little crazy. But I wasn’t crazy in any complicated manner.

When I saw her I was in love with her. Everything turned over inside of me. She looked toward the door, saw there was no one, then she sat on the side of the bed and leaned over and kissed me.

Quotes by Ernest Hemingway – Death in the Afternoon

Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.

A writer who omits things only because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.

There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. 

Quotes by Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls

There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.

You go along your whole life and they seem as though they mean something and they always end up not meaning anything.

The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.

There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.

And what did last? I last, she thought. Yes, i have lasted. But for what?

Quotes by Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea

Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.

Let him think I am more man than I am and I will be so.

Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes, you are ready.

Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.

It was considered a virtue not to talk unnecessarily at sea, and the old man had always considered it so and respected it.

Final Notes

Ernest Hemingway was a man with a turbulent life that left behind an impressive opus.

It is known among authors that many of them fail at becoming successful just because they try to write like Hemingway. Writing like him – so simply but at the same time so deeply is not something just anyone can do.

His talent still influences readers and writers of contemporary generations.

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George Orwell Quotes

George Orwell QuotesGeorge Orwell was a British writer, most widely known to the public for his most famous novels “1984” and “Animal Farm.”

The “Big Brother is watching you” quote is used continuously all over the world to comment on the political situation in countries (it is especially frequent to see such a poster in protests).

His books and essays are not just stories – they are a critique of the world we live in, that you cannot help but agree with, and you hate him because he was completely right.

You do not want to live in a world like in Orwell’s stories, and yet, in some situations, it seems that our realities are excerpts from his novels.

Orwell was an ordinary man, a son of a colonial civil servant in eastern India, where he was born in 1903. He got English education and then became a worker in the Imperial Police in the, then British – Burma.

However, the job did not seem to satisfy him. He had an itch for something else – for words.

In 1927 he decided to scratch the itch, resigned his job and moved to Paris.

Becoming a writer was everything except easy, so Orwell was forced to do some manual jobs to make a living, while he was penning his first book.

His real name was Eric Arthur Blair but felt that George Orwell had a better sound to it, so he decided to take it as his pen name.

The first book he published was “Down and Out in Paris and London” in 1934, and shortly after that he also published his first novel “Burmese Days.”

Up till that point, he considered himself an anarchist, but as he saw more of the world, he became a socialist. Then soon he became an anti-Stalinist, as he had an experience in which he had to flee to survive, afraid of communists that were supported by the Soviets and were chasing after revolutionary socialists.

Nearing the age of forty, he worked for the BBC and later became an editor of the Tribune.

By then he was already successful, publishing books and writing articles and reviews for newspapers, but he became a real star with the publication first of his novel “Animal Farm” and then, four years later of “1984”.

He died of tuberculosis just one year after the publication of “1984”.

These books made quite an impact on the literary world and are frequently quoted even today.

Which brings us to the next point: Orwell’s most famous quotes.

George Orwell Quotes – Top 10

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH Click To Tweet Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. Click To Tweet In the face of pain there are no heroes. Click To Tweet Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Click To Tweet In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Click To Tweet Big Brother is watching you. Click To Tweet Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future. Click To Tweet It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. Click To Tweet Four legs good, two legs bad. Click To Tweet Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time. Click To Tweet

Apart from being a novelist that knew how to pack what everyone was thinking in a compelling story, Orwell was also a journalist and essayist.

His importance as an essayist is often in the shadow of his two novels, but we must not forget to mention it.

Most of the opinions he has been packing up in fictitious stories in his novels – he had stated loud and clear in his essays.

He also talked about writing, as well as the worth of literature quite often.

That is why in the following list of quotes, you will also find many taken from his essays. Although many of them lose some of their power when taken out of context, they still ring true even read individually.

Quotes by George Orwell – Animal Farm

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. 

There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word—Man.

All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind.

Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility.

In the old days, there had often been scenes of bloodshed equally terrible, but it seemed to all of them that it was far worse now that it was happening among themselves. Since Jones had left the farm, until today, no animal had killed another animal.

There was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her mind. She knew that, even as things were, they were far better off than they had been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it was needful to prevent the return of the human beings. 

They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare, that they were often hungry and often cold, and that they were usually working when they were not asleep. But doubtless, it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so. Besides, in those days they had been slaves, and now they were free, and that made all the difference.

No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.

Quotes by George Orwell – 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. 

Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.

I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.

It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself.

For after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable–what then?

In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl’s body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. 

Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. 

At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way.

Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.

Both of them knew —  in a way, it was never out of their minds —  that what was now happening could not last long. 

Quotes by George Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier

No sooner have you washed one child’s face than another is dirty; before you have washed the crocks from one meal the next is due to be cooked.

Our age has not been altogether a bad one to live in.

To the ordinary working man, the sort you would meet in any pub on Saturday night, Socialism does not mean much more than better wages and shorter hours and nobody bossing you about.

You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but not to cooks or bacon-curers or market-gardeners.

Poverty is poverty, whether the tool you work with is a pick-ax or a fountain pen.

All his opinions change into their opposites at the first brush of reality.

Quotes by George Orwell – A Collection of Essays

I was crying partly because I felt that this was expected of me, partly from genuine repentance, but partly also because of a deeper grief which is peculiar to childhood and not easy to convey: a sense of desolate loneliness and helplessness, of being locked up not only in a hostile world but in a world of good and evil where the rules were such that it was actually not possible for me to keep them.

Myths which are believed in tend to become true.

The intellectual is different from the ordinary man, but only in certain sections of his personality, and even then not all the time.

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.

To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.”

Whoever writes about his childhood must beware of exaggeration and self-pity. 

Clarity is the remedy.

Final Notes

George Orwell was an author who had a strong political opinion and made sure to include it in all of its writings.

If we listen to the writing advice stating that good writers have something to say, then Orwell is an exceptional one.

His books are clever, interesting, and full of relatable lines. The collection of quotes above was just a little chunk of the wealth that Orwell’s manuscripts offer.

So, if you are reading this now, you know that you have a big task ahead of you: read Orwell’s thoughts in their full form.

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