Brain Rules PDF Summary

Brain Rules PDF Summary

12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Do you know how your brain works?

Let us burst your bubble: you don’t.

Which is why it’s more than necessary that you take some time to learn the 12 most essential

Brain Rules.

Who Should Read “Brain Rules”? And Why?

Even though this book is suited for neuroscientists and psychologists as well, it probably works best as one of the best popular science books on how the brain works for laypeople and students.

It would be great if people in power read it too – Medina’s ideas on how our classrooms and business environments should look like seem to us not only great but revolutionary.

If only some of them could become reality.

About John Medina

John Medina

John J. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant, working primarily on issues related to mental health with pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies.

The author of the “Molecules of the Mind” column in the Psychiatric Times journal, he is also the founding director of the Talaris Research Institute.

Brain Rules, part of a trilogy of similarly titled books (with Brain Rules for Aging Well and Brain Rules for Baby) is one of the many books on the subject he has so far authored, such as What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s, The Clock of Ages and Depression.

Find out more at http://www.medinascientific.com/

“Brain Rules PDF Summary”

“I am a nice guy, but I am a grumpy scientist,” says John Medina in the “Introduction” to Brain Rules, a reader-friendly exploration of our brain powers with applicable revelations, based exclusively on peer-reviewed scientific studies.

That’s what the sentence above refers to, in fact: for a study to appear in his book, Medina goes on, “it has to pass what some at The Boeing Company (for which I have done some consulting) call MGF: the Medina Grump Factor.”

What does Medina Grump Factor mean?

“That means,” explains the guy after whom it is named, “the supporting research for each of my points must first be published in a peer-reviewed journal and then successfully replicated.”

In other words, all of the rules presented here are factual and verified; they are, as Medina calls them, “things we know about how the brain works.”

Unfortunately, it seems that most of these things are either willfully ignored by the people who have created – and carry on creating – our societies or are not known to anyone outside the neuroscientific community.

Because, in a nutshell, what they all point to is this:

If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over.

Well, this is to book which can help you start off on the right foot.

Key Lessons from “Brain Rules”

1.      Rule #1: Exercise Boosts Brain Power
2.      Rule #2: The Human Brain Evolved, Too
3.      Rule #3: Every Brain Is Wired Differently
4.      Rule #4: We Don’t Pay Attention to Boring Things
5.      Rule #5: Repeat to Remember
6.      Rule #6: Remember to Repeat
7.      Rule #7: Sleep Well, Think Well
8.      Rule #8: Stressed Brains Don’t Learn the Same Way
9.      Rule #9: Stimulate More of the Senses
10.      Rule #10: Vision Trumps All Other Senses
11.      Rule #11: Male and Female Brains Are Different
12.      Rule #12: We Are Powerful and Natural Explorers

Rule #1: Exercise Boosts Brain Power

Let’s get straight to the point: your body is not built to sit 8 hours a day; your brain likes that even less.

Think of it this way: you’ve become who you are – aka homo sapiens – not because your predecessors say 8 hours a day, but because they walked at least 10 and as much as 20 kilometers a day.

The point?

Your brain still craves this experience!

All of the studies consistently prove this: exercise boosts brain power, especially in sedentary populations.

Whether it’s long-term memory (see Rule #6) or problem-solving tasks, attention (see Rule #4) or reasoning – exercisers always outperform couch potatoes.

And there’s a physiological reason for this!

Namely, exercising stimulates the production of certain hormones, one of which is the BDNF.

That acronym stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the scientific community, but in layman’s terms, you can translate that to “boost dem neurons, friend.”

Because BDNF refreshes your neurons and strengthens the connections between them and that’s great both for your problem-solving capabilities and long-term memory.

To sum up in Medina’s words: “To improve your thinking skills, move… Aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of dementia.”

Rule #2: The Human Brain Evolved, Too

Now, it’s important to note that when we use the word “brain,” it’s almost more appropriate to use it in the plural.

Because we don’t have one, but three brains inside our skulls.

The oldest one is the lizard brain, which is “lively as Las Vegas” and controls “most of your body’s housekeeping chores;” namely, “breathing, heart rate, sleeping, and waking.”

The second one is the (paleo)mammalian brain, which is responsible for your survival, or as some scientists say, the four F’s: “fighting, feeding, fleeing, and … reproductive behavior.”

Finally, the third one is the human brain, the one responsible for all the complex tasks, the pinnacle of evolution.

Now, everybody expects from you to have your human brain active at all times; the problem is the other two brains are still there; most of these rules concern the mammalian brain which is a large part of us and is still too powerful to be ignored.

The lesson?

Until we evolve to become something more than sapiens, we’re still part animals; and we need to react appropriately to this fact.

Rule #3: Every Brain Is Wired Differently

The brain may have evolved historically in humans as species, but it is also continually evolving (well, sort of) inside each and every one of us.

“What you do and learn in life,” writes Medina, “physically changes what your brain looks like – it literally rewires it.”

Think of your brain as an empty map containing no roads. More or less, all humans share the same blueprint (the same locations and places, the same milestones), but no two humans connect these by drawing upon the map the same, exact roads.

In other words: “no two people’s brains store the same information in the same way in the same place.”

It is wiring – connecting the different regions of the brain – which makes virtuous pianists and it is wiring which helps some people be so great at chess.

However, wiring is also the reason why some people score high at IQ tests, and others don’t.

“We have a great number of ways of being intelligent,” writes Medina, “many of which don’t show up on IQ tests.”

Rule #4: We Don’t Pay Attention to Boring Things

When it comes to paying attention, your brain is, simply put, not evolved enough to multitask.

So even though you try to talk on your cell phone while driving, the fact is that your brain is constantly switching on and off between the two; what actually happens inside your brain when you think you’re multitasking is chaotic singletasking between more than one assignment.

It is literally impossible to multitask: “the brain’s attentional ‘spotlight’ can focus on only one thing at a time.”

Also, as you know full well from every single PowerPoint presentation you’ve seen so far in your life, it is impossible for you to pay attention for more than 10 minutes at anything.

So if you want to keep your audience’s attention, do something which will arouse their emotions at 9 minutes and 59 seconds!

Rule #5: Repeat to Remember

The Romans had a nice saying: repetitio mater studiorum est; repetition is the mother of learning.

Why?

Because that’s precisely how your brain works when it tries to remember things; it first encodes them, and then stores them; however, unless you try to decode the info repeatedly, your brain just forgets the code, and, thus, you forget the information.

This is the reason why you sometimes can suddenly recall something you’ve forgotten after reproducing the environment or the immediate surrounding information of the one you’re interested in.

The more elaborate the initial encoding, the longer you’ll remember the info; the more often you visit the information stored, the more likely it will become part of your long-term memory.

Which brings us to Rule #6.

Rule #6: Remember to Repeat

“Most memories disappear within minutes,” says John Medina, “but those that survive the fragile period strengthen with time”:

Long-term memories are formed in a two-way conversation between the hippocampus and the cortex, until the hippocampus breaks the connection and the memory is fixed in the cortex – which can take years.

After this process is finalized, you don’t even need to think to remember something: your brain does it by default.

But what does this mean in practical terms?

Simply put, it means that the schools of the future should completely eliminate homework and instead focus on initiating “review holidays.”

In other words, if every third or fourth day, you repeat with your class your notes of the previous days (in summarized form), then you’ll have no need of homework.

Rule #7: Sleep Well, Think Well

Let us ask you a question: do you feel tired every day around 3 o’clock?

If so, do you know why?

No, it’s not because of your work or your kids or what not – it’s because your brain really needs a nap from time to time!

Put it this way: sleeping is not exactly something evolution should encourage; after all, it’s not a great idea to sleep for 8 hours when there are lions around you; and yet, sleeping has endured to this day.

The reason?

It’s just too essential.

Afternoon naps especially!

Because, even though “people vary in how much sleep they need and when they prefer to get it, but the biological drive for an afternoon nap is universal.”

Don’t believe us?

According to one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent!

So, what are you waiting for?

It’s time for a sleep revolution!

Rule #8: Stressed Brains Don’t Learn the Same Way

As we have already told you, stress is the direct product of your body’s defense mechanism.

In a nutshell, when in a fight-or-flee situation, your body switches off all the systems which are not necessary for your immediate survival and turns on all those which are.

The problem?

Your body’s defense system – the release of adrenaline and cortisol – is built for an immediate response to a serious but passing danger, such as a saber-toothed tiger. Chronic stress, such as hostility at home, dangerously deregulates a system built only to deal with short-term responses.

So, in other words, when the danger of a saber-toothed tiger attack passed, the bodies of the Neanderthals went back to normal; however, ours don’t – because saber-toothed tigers have evolved into never-ending streams of abstract fears, be they deadlines or homework assignments.

Unfortunately, chronic stress causes your brain to stop working properly, “crippling your ability to learn and remember.”

Want better schools and offices?

Make them as stress-free as possible!

Rule #9: Stimulate More of the Senses

You know why some people have unlimited memories?

Because they include more of their senses to remember things.

Just ask synesthetes, aka people who smell colors or see sounds; apparently, they also remember things unusually well.

But there’s a very understandable reason for this.

“We absorb information about an event through our senses,” reminds us John Medina, “translate it into electrical signals (some for sight, others from sound, etc.), disperse those signals to separate parts of the brain, then reconstruct what happened, eventually perceiving the event as a whole.”

Memory, as we learned above (Rules #3, #5 and #6) is all about your capability to connect the dots, aka wire the parts of the brain which keep the information.

Just imagine the power when you are hardwired to connect them because you experience everything in more than one sense!

Why not use this while learning new things?

Also, an interesting trivia: because smell signals bypass the thalamus, smells bring back memories most forcefully.

However –

Rule #10: Vision Trumps All Other Senses

Leonardo da Vinci knew this intuitively; science has all but proven it: “vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up half of our brain’s resources.”

In fact, it’s wrong to say that we see with our eyes; we’re, in truth, seeing with our brains. Consequently, “what we see is only what our brain tells us we see.”

It’s only natural that this is not 100 percent accurate; in fact, this explains, in no uncertain terms, why some people see ghosts or visions. Simply put, their eyes are seeing what their brain tells them to see, even though there’s nothing of that sort in reality. 

Vision is so important, in fact, that, as Wittgenstein argued, it’s possible that you can’t really understand things unless you translate them into images.

That’s the reason why you use analogies and why the only way you can comprehend the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth is by saying that it’s Destiny knocking on the door.

“We learn and remember best through pictures,” concludes Medina, “not through written or spoken words.”

Rule #11: Male and Female Brains Are Different

No matter what religions say, women are actually the more complex sex: the X chromosome (which females have two of, and men only one of) carries “an unusually large percentage of genes involved in brain manufacture.”

Also, the X chromosome carries about 1,500 genes, fifteen times more than the number of genes in the corresponding male Y chromosome.

In other words, the brains of males and females are different both structurally and biochemically; even though this explains how men and women react to stress and why men are generally the more stable sex, we don’t know if the differences go past, say, the speed of serotonin production.

Also, we don’t know whether we should encourage these differences or balance them out; and, if the latter one, in which direction.

So, anyone who says that he knows and he’s advocating either of the views, he’s lying – because science hasn’t said the final word on this just yet.

Rule #12: We Are Powerful and Natural Explorers

If you observe a baby for a while, you’ll immediately understand that we’ve evolved to learn new things “not by passive reaction to the environment but by active testing through observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion.”

In other words, you posit a hypothesis (“lions are great creatures”), then look for errors in it (“wow: that look is slightly menacing”), and then, another part of your brain tells you that you need to change your behavior if you want to survive on this planet (“you better run”).

The great news?

“Some parts of our adult brains stay as malleable as a baby’s,” says Medina.

Yes, that means exactly what you think it means: you can create neurons and learn new things throughout your whole life.

Since you’re reading this summary, you’re actually doing that right now.

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“Brain Rules Quotes”

The most common communication mistakes? Relating too much information, with not enough time devoted to connecting the dots. Click To Tweet We must do a better job of encouraging lifelong curiosity. Click To Tweet One of the greatest predictors of successful aging, they found, is the presence or absence of a sedentary lifestyle. Click To Tweet Studies show that a person who is interrupted takes 50 percent longer to accomplish a task. Not only that, he or she makes up to 50 percent more errors. Click To Tweet Emotionally charged events are better remembered—for longer, and with more accuracy – than neutral events. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Brain Rules seems like one of the best candidates for the Brain 101 book you’ve always wanted to find, but never could.

It’s science-based, nicely structured, simply written, and offers many practically applicable ideas.And there’s a whole website – which includes references and a film – if you want to delve into the subject further once you finish the book.

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What I Know for Sure PDF Summary

What I Know for Sure PDF Summary

Oprah Winfrey is a living legend.

And her columns for the O, The Oprah Magazine have certainly contributed to that status.

In What I Know for Sure Oprah has collected the best of them, revised them, and updated some of them.

And we have the summary.

Who Should Read “What I Know for Sure”? And Why?

Oprah Winfrey is dubbed the Queen of All Media and the Most Influential Woman in the World for a reason. And What I Know for Sure is a collection of the best of her columns.

If these two sentences don’t spell a recommendation for you, we don’t know which will.

About Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, actress, and media executive, best known for The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated TV program of its kind in history.

Born in poverty and out of wedlock to a teenage mother, Oprah lived through a tough childhood (including sexual abuse and pregnancy at 14) and landed a job in radio in her teens, becoming a co-anchor for the evening news by the age of 19.

Soon, she transferred to Chicago and became the host of AM Chicago, a low-rated half-hour morning talk show. After making it the highest-rated talk show in Chicago in just a few months, Oprah was persuaded by the movie critic Roger Ebert to sign a syndication deal with King World.

After Winfrey was nominated for an Academy Award for her appearance in The Color Purple, AM Chicago was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and relaunched as an hour-long TV event; the rest is history.

Not that you don’t know already, but in case you need to, you can find out more at http://www.oprah.com/index.html.

“What I Know for Sure PDF Summary”

During an interview two decades ago (1998, to be precise), film critic Gene Siskel (one half of the famous Siskel and Ebert duo) asked Oprah a compelling question: “What do you know for sure?”

Oprah took the question pretty seriously: “Uhhhh, I know for sure… uhhh… I know for sure, I need time to think about that some more, Gene,” she replied.

And she did!

In fact, the question inspired Oprah to start writing the identically titled monthly column for O, the Oprah Magazine – for the next fourteen years!

These columns are collected, revised and updated in this book.

Not because most of them weren’t already famous enough, but because, as Oprah says in the “Introduction,” “when you know something, really know something, it tends to stand the test of time.”

In the book, the columns are organized in eight different sections – joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, power – and we have the highlights of them all.

Joy Is the Ultimate Product of Resilience

Now in her 60s, Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest people in the world and undoubtedly one of the most influential women on this planet.

However, few – if anyone – would have predicted her even a modestly successful future four decades ago.

Born out of wedlock to a teenage mother, Oprah spent the first six years of childhood with her poor grandparents.

At the age of six, she moved back with her mother, who had too many problems of her own to look after her well enough.

Unfortunately, Oprah’s problems only got worse: from the age of ten to the age of thirteen, she was sexually abused by as much as three different people (her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend).

Owing to this abuse, at the age of 13, Oprah ran away from home, only to get pregnant the very next year; just like her mother, Oprah hid her pregnancy from everyone; her son was born prematurely and died just a few weeks after being born.

You can’t go any lower than this in life, can you?

So, how did Oprah find the strength to grow into a planetary star from being a poor and lonely family-less 14-year-old sexually abused girl with a prematurely born and deceased son?

According to her, she managed to make the leap precisely because of her suffering.

“What doesn’t kill me,” wrote once Friedrich Nietzsche, “makes me stronger.”

That’s something would most gladly sign.

Be resilient and endure, she says, and you’ll earn your happiness in the end:

There is one irrefutable law of the universe: We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time. You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.

Be Grateful for the Little Things

One of the things Oprah learned during her life is to be grateful for all the beautiful little joys in life.

For example, for long years, she struggled with her body image and tried tons of different diets to make herself slimmer: “Beverly Hills, Atkins, Scarsdale, Cabbage Soup, and even the Banana, Hot Dog, and Egg diets.”

However, nothing worked.

And then, one day in 2001, she started suffering from heart problems at night; six months later, she finally had a life-affirming epiphany: she needed to help her heart beat for many more years, not deal with trivial matters such as body image.

“There is no need to struggle with your body,” she concluded, “when you can make a loving and grateful peace with it.”

And so she did.

Now she is grateful for it – as well as for at least fifteen different things she lists in one column:

1. Planting vegetables in my garden.
2. Making blueberry-lemon pancakes on Sunday morning for Stedman. Never fails to delight him—like he’s 7 every time.
3. An off-leash romp on the front lawn with all my dogs.
4. A rainy day, a chill in the air, a blazing fire in the fireplace.
5. Picking vegetables from my garden.
6. A great book.
7. Reading in my favorite place on earth: under my oak trees.
8. Cooking vegetables from my garden.
9. Sleeping till my body wants to wake up.
10. Waking up to the real twitter: birds.
11. A workout so strong, my whole body breathes.
12. Eating vegetables from my garden.
13. Being still.
14. Embracing silence.
15. The daily spiritual practice of gratitude. Every day I bless my life by counting my blessings.

What are the things you’re grateful about?

Everything Is Possible If You Don’t Apologize for Yourself

 “Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise,” Oprah writes in one of her columns. “We apologize for our accomplishments. We try to level the field with our family and friends by downplaying our brilliance. We settle for the passenger’s seat when we long to drive.”

Oprah experienced this in the third grade, in, as she says, “one of the defining moments” in her life. After her book report earned the praise of her teacher, her classmates grudgingly started whispering to each other something along the lines of “She thinks she’s so smart.”

For years Oprah feared that people would see her as arrogant. In fact, she even thinks her weight was some sort of an apology on her part: “See,” her body seemed to her to be saying, “I really don’t think I’m better than you.”

But that’s not the way to go.

Too many of us are willing to hide our light as adults. Instead of being filled with passion and purpose, “we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics.

The truth, according to Oprah, is “that the naysayers in your life can never be fully satisfied”:

Whether you hide or shine, they’ll always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough. So stop paying attention to them. Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.

Key Lessons from “What I Know for Sure”

1.      Joy and Love Stem from Self-Sufficiency and Resilience
2.      The Power to Choose
3.      Saying No Is Also a Choice

Joy and Love Stem from Self-Sufficiency and Resilience

It’s an understatement to say that Oprah had a difficult childhood.

She was born out of wedlock, raised in harsh conditions, sexually abused for at least three years by three different people from her near family, ran away from home at 13, got pregnant at 14, her son died a few weeks after being prematurely born.

And yet – she became a global superstar!

How did she do it?

Well, by enduring and by learning to be self-sufficient.

Instead of looking outwardly, she learned to look inwardly. Instead of looking for validation for her actions in someone else (be that a parent or a lover), she decided to look for it in herself.

And if you want to be loved and successful, you should do it too!

Because, for one thing, you’ve endured a lot as well already.

“Think back for a moment on your own history,” Oprah writes at one place. “What were the moments along the way that wounded or scared you? Chances are, you’ve had a few. But here’s what’s remarkable: You are still here, still standing.”

Isn’t that a lot?

The Power to Choose

“After the hundreds of stories I’ve heard of atrocities around the globe, I know that if you’re a woman born in the United States, you’re one of the luckiest women in the world,” writes Oprah.

Andshe has a point.

Because, unlike millions and millions of women in the world, you’ve almost certainly been given an opportunity to live the life of your choice.

Why don’t you start using it:

Take your good fortune and lift your life to its highest calling. Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.

Saying No Is Also a Choice

It isn’t at all surprising that Oprah – being Oprah, aka the greatest black philanthropist in American history – was often overwhelmed by too many requests for help by too many needy people.

“Some would spend their last dime on a bus ticket to get to me,” she writes, “children would run away from home, abused women would leave their husbands and show up at the doorstep of my studio, all hoping I’d help.”

And, of course, she did!

After all, she had a difficult life and knew that many people needed help; however, after writing thousands of checks, she started feeling worn out.

More importantly, she started realizing that she wasn’t helping anymore because she thought that she could help, but because she was afraid that if she didn’t write a check, people would hate her.

“I was saying yes so people wouldn’t be angry with me, so they would think I was a nice person,” she concluded. “My intention was to make people feel I was the one they could call on, count on, last minute, no matter what.”

She was 40 years old when she realized that this was the wrong way to go in life.

And she started saying “no” – because that’s also a choice.

She still keeps the note she wrote that day on her desk

Never again will I do anything for anyone that I do not feel directly from my heart. I will not attend a meeting, make a phone call, write a letter, sponsor or participate in any activity in which every fiber of my being does not resound yes. I will act with the intent to be true to myself.

It’s time you started doing this yourself.

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“What I Know for Sure Quotes”

What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing. Click To Tweet If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough. (Via Meister Eckhart) Click To Tweet You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding into the shadows of fear and self-doubt. Click To Tweet What I know for sure is that pleasure is energy reciprocated: What you put out comes back. Your base level of pleasure is determined by how you view your whole life. Click To Tweet Balance lives in the present. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you like Oprah, you’ll certainly like What I Know for Sure as well.

All of her trademarks are here: the confessional tone, the honesty, the clarity, the warmth, the wisdom gained through experience.

The perfect gift book for hurt women.

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The Five Thieves of Happiness PDF Summary

The Five Thieves of Happiness PDF SummaryFeeling unhappy and sad?

Perhaps your problem is that you’re constantly being robbed of your happiness?

By whom, you ask?

John Izzo replies:

By the Five Thieves of Happiness.

Who Should Read “The Five Thieves of Happiness”? And Why?

If we are to believe Aristotle that everyone’s goal in life is to be happy, then any book written about happiness should be read by everybody. Even if it makes one person happier than he or she already is, the book has more than done an excellent job.

The same is correct about The Five Thieves of Happiness. You’ll lose nothing if you read it. And you can gain a lot.

About John Izzo

John IzzoJohn Izzo is an American businessman, bestselling author and an advocate for sustainable living; he is a citizen of both the USA and Canada.

After graduating in Sociology and Journalism from Hofstra University, Izzo went on to earn an M.Div. from the McCormick Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Kent State University.

He has so far written seven books: Awakening Corporate Soul (and its Companion Workbook), Second Innocence, Values Shift, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, Stepping Up, and the one we’re summarizing here, The Five Thieves of Happiness.

Izzo is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

“The Five Thieves of Happiness PDF Summary”

“We have been so trained to think that we have to seek, long for and work for happiness that it’s easy to forget that the contentment we seek is always there, waiting for us to access it.”

This is the central premise of John Izzo’s bestseller The Five Thieves of Happiness.

In other words: happiness is not something out there, but something within you. Consequently, you don’t need to go out of your way to find it; in fact, it’s quite the opposite: by going out of your way to find happiness, you’re, in fact, losing it.

But, then again, why aren’t you already happy if your happiness is inside you?

Well, that’s what this book is about!

The short answer is: the Five Thieves of Happiness have been stealing your joy for quite some time. And they’ll continue doing that unless you do something to stop them!

And by something we mean following Izzo’s NSR routine.

It consists of only three steps:

#1. Notice: identify the thieves and start being aware when they are present; catch them red-handed!
#2. Stop: once you know who they are and finally happen upon them – show them the door!
#3. Replace: substitute their presence with something else, something far more positive.

Sounds like something familiar?

Well, that’s because it is!

It’s Charles Duhigg’s habit cycle all over again!

If it works in the case of habits, why shouldn’t it work in the case of joy and laughter? Especially if Izzo is right and you’ve been robbed of it by the five thieves he’s talking about.

Speaking of which –

Of course you’ll be unable to catch your thieves rapid if you don’t know who they are and how they look like.

So, allow us to introduce them:

The 5C Brothers.

Key Lessons from “The Five Thieves of Happiness”

1.      The First Thief: Control
2.      The Second Thief: Conceit
3.      The Third Thief: Coveting
4.      The Fourth Thief: Consumption
5.      The Fifth Thief: Comfort

The First Thief: Control

The first thief of your happiness: your wish to control everything.

News flash:

At least ever since the Ancient Stoics and Buddha, we know that the key to happiness is, in fact, quite the opposite: going with the flow, surrendering yourself to the “what may come” of tomorrow and accepting the “whatever it was, it was” of yesterday.

“The chief task in life is simply this,” wrote Epictetus two millennia ago, “to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control.”

That’s the best lesson you’ll ever hear!

Simply put, it means that you can control only some of the things that are happening to you, and some others are out of your control no matter how much you try.

Think of it this way:

Regardless of your wishes, if the weather forecast says that it will rain on the day you are planning a picnic with your partner, it will probably rain.

If your happiness depends upon not raining that day, then you’ve just allowed the Powers Beyond You to rob you of your happiness.

Now, why would you do that?

Accept the fact that it might rain beforehand, and devise a Plan B. If it doesn’t – great; if it does – once again, great!

“Staying in the moment is not what brings happiness,” writes Izzo. “What brings inner peace is acceptance of whatever is happening in the present moment.”

In other words, the only thing you can control is the present moment; and even in that present moment, there are thousands of things you can’t control.

Want to make yourself miserable?

Start whining about your past mistakes.

Want to be happy?

Accept them.

It’s that easy.

The Second Thief: Conceit

The second thief of your happiness is your self-centeredness.

What do you mean you’re not conceited?

Let us give you an example:

Say you’re watching the Superbowl and your favorite team is losing.

In addition to saying “Why is this always happening to me?” you’re also trying to activate a superstition or two to help your team get back on the right track.

Because, of course, in the alternative universe where you are the center of the world, your team will inevitably score if you change your seat.

The problem?

There are about a million people doing the same at the very same moment, and half of them are rooting for the other team.

And you know what’s interesting: each and every one of you thinks that they are the only ones affected and the only ones who can help in some way.

But that’s not how the world works.

Moreover, it’s not how the world should work.

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” wrote smartly Martin Luther King Junior. “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Life is about realizing this truth, known at least as early as the time of Marcus Aurelius (yes, another Stoic).

Because once you realize it, you’ll know that happiness never comes from focusing on your own desires and needs; it comes from helping others

Numerous studies have shown this, and the Dalai Lama endorses it: helping others makes us happier. Your whole being extends when you sacrifice some of your wishes and desires for others.

It’s a strange paradox, but it’s, nevertheless, true.

Conceit robs you of the possibility to become something more.

Show this thief the door the next time you notice him working behind your back.

You’ll be happier!

The Third Thief: Coveting

Let’s start with pointing the obvious: there’s a big difference between wants and desires on one side, and jealousy and envy on the other.

Coveting is a thief who uses the latter two as his tools.

Even though we explained you above that it’s paradoxically always better for your happiness (to quote Winnie-the-Pooh) to take a few steps back to make room for the happiness of others, a life without desires and wishes would be, undoubtedly, unbearable!

Ever since you were a child, you had dreams which usually included wanting to own something you didn’t have at the moment.

However, as you grew old, this wish transformed into something much darker: envy for the people who owned the things you didn’t.

And there’s the catch: what the others own is not something you can control; even less if they own something which you never will, no matter how badly you want it (say, a yacht or a movie studio).

So, what’s the point in envying them? Also: do you know that you’re also the subject of envy of other people? Why aren’t you comparing with them and, instead of being unhappy about what you don’t have, learn to be happy with what you have?

Of course, society can help.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that comparisons between people stemmed from private property because that’s what caused inequality.

Case in point, numerous studies have shown that people are, by definition, happier in more equal societies – regardless of whether the societies were rich or poor.

In other words, strangely enough, you’ll be happy with your Nissan if nobody is driving a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce.

Even stranger, primitive societies or the people of the world in 1800 were probably just as happy as the wealthiest individuals of today.

Makes you wonder, ha?

The Fourth Thief: Consumption

OK, so let’s sum up what we’ve learned so far:

#1. Your wish to control everything robs you from happiness because you can’t control many things; you need to surrender;
#2. Your conceit makes you unhappy because the world doesn’t revolve around you; you need to learn to live with the others;
#3. Your coveting hinders your joy because you fail to see what you own; and, it will always do that, because, well, “there will always be a dog bigger than you or who has qualities you wish you had;” and because “our worth as a human being is not about how we compare with others but about truly living to our own best potential. We cannot control how we compare with others.”

Well, this last thing uncovers the face of Thief #4: Consumption.

Basically, the Consumption thief insists that happiness is not inside you but that it only comes from external acquisitions.

It constantly whispers to your ear: “You’ll be happy when you have this or that.” And the moment you acquire those things, it comes up with another great idea: “It’s better now, but you need to acquire this as well, and we’re done…”

But we’re never done.

Because we’ve chosen to think of happiness as something which is not inside us and which we can only attain through external things.

If that’s the case, then it means that you are not enough to yourself.

And that’s preposterous!

“We don’t need to seek happiness,” writes Izzo, “so much as we need to get out of its way.”

You want to be happy?

Just choose to be happy:

The idea that happiness is a choice, one that we can make at any moment, is so simple and radical that we often resist it.

The Fifth Thief: Comfort

If you’re like 90% of the people, you are living your life in your “comfort zone.”

True, there are some nice things about your “comfort zone”: you’re familiar with the environment, and you have just enough access to everything which will grant your survival.

But beware: Comfort is the fifth and perhaps the most sinister thief of your happiness!

Don’t believe us?

Let us remind you of two little men called Hem and Haw.

Remember how they were going about their days, following the same basic routine day in day out, pleased by the fact that they always had enough cheese to eat?

And then, one day, there was no more cheese; and the only way to get some was leaving the comfort zone as soon as possible.

The problem with the comfort zone is that it dulls our emotions and our rational capabilities. To our bodies and our minds, routines are basically the same as idleness is to us. They feel relaxed since they know that it’s autopilot time.

But, really, is that a way to live your life?

Is that what happiness really is?

Many people make the mistake of settling well in their comfort zones, contended with the fact that even if they are not too happy, at least they are not sad.

So, they never quit even though their jobs are not as fulfilling as they had once been; and some of them even marry because of the therapeutic effects of routine.

Don’t do that!

Comfort is great at first, but, over time, it becomes toxic to your happiness and spiritual health.

Counter it by accepting that change is usually good and that the world is moved forward through a process of creative destructions.

Why should you, as an individual, be any different?

Disrupt yourself!

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“The Five Thieves of Happiness Quotes”

Happiness and contentment are products of the mind. Click To Tweet

Gratitude boosts your immune system and happiness. Click To Tweet

Happiness is not in what is happening; it is in how I process what is happening. Click To Tweet

Coveting takes away our capacity to be grateful. Click To Tweet

The future cannot be controlled, only experienced. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

John Izzo discovered the Five Thieves of Happiness during an eight-month sabbatical spent in Spain and in the Andes of Peru.

And some pages of the book really feel as if written by someone who has managed to isolate himself from the whirlwind of stress and the barriers and conventions of society.

If he can do it, why shouldn’t you be able to do the same?

Hopefully, this book can help you.

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The Highly Sensitive Person PDF Summary

The Highly Sensitive Person PDF SummaryHow to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You

The hypersensitive fraction of the population frequently feels like the world is crashing down on their shoulders.

They don’t want to succumb to this pressure, but they can’t seem to operate under the strain of societal principles.

It’s a struggle they like to win, and Elaine is willing to lay out some actionable tips.

Who Should Read “The Highly Sensitive Person”? And Why?

Well, you got it all wrong if you think highly of yourself and feel like being a lumberjack excludes you from absorbing the utility of this book.

Perhaps, we should put it in layman’s terms!

In our humble opinion, “The Highly Sensitive Person” is an astonishing book that lifts the veils on the behavior of a certain group of people.

Therefore, we believe it will mostly fit those who struggle to maintain composure due to hypersensitivity.

Elaine N. AronAbout Elaine N. Aron

Elaine N. Aron is a psychologist born on November 1st, 1944 in the US. She earned her M.A. in clinical psychology from York University.

Elaine is also lauded as an author whose books have sold millions of copies.

“The Highly Sensitive Person PDF Summary”

Do you fall in the highly sensitive category?

When highly sensitive people (HSPs) share some intimate details about love and relationship-building as a whole – that somehow foreshadows acceptance. In general, they care for their partners dearly and feel no hesitation to convey their feelings and sometimes even plunge into soul-shaking encounters.

All being said, no one marginalizes the non-HSPs, as we are just indicating that HSPs, are more prone to certain behavioral patterns.

In a study conducted by a renowned psychologist, John Gottman, you can find some astonishing numbers regarding the conflicts couples have and end up unresolved. He found out that approximately 70% of all quarrels are unsolvable, and the same percentage applies to both happy and unhappy couples.

This explains why you should at least give the benefit of the doubt prior to jumping into conclusions.

High sensitivity is, in fact, an inherent feature and depicts profound proclivity for making certain moves. HSPs unlike its counterparts, exert themselves in nurturing a close and intimate connection with people from their closest circle.

As avid dreamers, their understanding of the unconscious eclipses the stigma attached to socially-accepted patterns. This gives new impetus for comprehending unconscious impulses that may emerge.

When it comes to cultural patterns, not every culture favors HSPs. As a matter of fact, the more aggressive one social group is, the more it’ll need an entirely different approach toward survival.

We now have four types of people:

  • HSPs/non-HSSs
  • HSSs/non-HSPs
  • Non-HSPs/non-HSSs
  • HSPs/HSSs

The Path to Your Real Self

In this chapter, the author puts emphasis on love and the way you can protect it through right actions. If you want to ensure that you can make headway in this process, you have to get a bird’s eye view of gender stereotypes.

Next up, one must dive deep into the close relationship men and women form, and find the subtle reasons which might hamper the profundity.

Let’s look it through the lens of history.

Throughout the ages, women were somehow pressured to look physically appealing to men as a way of forming a family. In recent years, women were also told to act with respect and adopt ethical habits in the pursuit of achieving their personal and professional goals.

Nonetheless, being attractive remains their personal priority.

In the digital age, HSPs can prosper in almost every regard since gender roles are brought to its minimum. In other words, you are allowed to excel at anything without being subjected to societal pressure.

Also, we would like to address a phenomenon known as “love-shyness.”

Love-shyness is a term conceived by sociologist Brian Gilmartin, who has found out that a significant fraction of heterosexual men crave for establishing intimate relationships but fail to do so.

The truth is, the biggest threat to HSMs (Highly Sensitive Men) are not non-HSMs but the lack of male role models – fathers.  

In order to reciprocate for these cons, HSPs often turn over to a full-scale alteration by developing into a Superman or Superwoman.

The Real Fear of Intimacy

Indeed, HSPs are naturally inclined to have this sense of discomfort when it comes to intimacy. This also induces a risk-free attitude or advocates for absorbing acts that contain minimum insecurities.

Intimacy and friendship often demand more openness and thus it is vital to lower your guard down. Sometimes, it may well end up in a fizzle – such as loss, cheating, betrayal, quarrel, etc.

Elaine N. Aron tries to enlighten its readers by laying all the cards on the table from where we can scrutinize all aspects of establishing close and intimate relationships.

It’s not easy to define intimacy but according to the book; it is something like:

Being authentic, revealing to another your most private and true-at-this-moment self— thoughts, feelings, bodily self. In return, the other reveals his or her true self to you.

Why do we have this need for closeness? It’s partly because we were born someone took care of us. It’s not like we did it all on our own – that’s why we have this need for love and confidentiality.

Even as adults we prefer of having someone close by our side to whom we can say anything and expect comforting words.

Eight reasons an HSP might fear intimacy

  • First, Fear of Exposure and Rejection
  • Second, Fear of Angry Attacks
  • Third, Fear of Abandonment
  • Fourth, Fear of Loss of Control
  • Fifth, Fear of One’s “Attack-and-Destroy” Impulses
  • Sixth, Fear of Being Engulfed
  • Seventh, Fear of Commitment
  • Eighth, Fear of Disliking the Other for Subtle Annoyances

Fall in Love

Contrary to popular beliefs, HSPs struggle to fall in love! In the next sub-chapter, the author defines love as:

Love is a set of attitudes, feelings, and behaviors associated with the desire to enter and maintain an intimate relationship with a particular other person.

If you want to meet HSPs and see their side of the story, you ought to follow these simple ground rules:

  • Go where they go, do what they do
  • Learn to recognize them
  • Ask others to introduce you to the HSPs they know
  • Approach HSPs carefully and be persistent

While, if you are more interested in non-HSPs you should meet the following criteria:

  • Go where they go, but on your own terms
  • When you are feeling aroused or nervous, ask questions and listen
  • Let the non-HSP get to know you, especially your deeper aspects
  • Be ready for the differences between you

Sometimes, we don’t even want to engage in serious relationships, and there are some things you can do to avoid falling in love. Try not to express intimacy, avoid giving romantic cues, stay away from people who are clearly interested in that kind of relationships, etc.

The Synergy between HSPs and non-HSPs

Mismatches existing in behavior and temperament can sometimes be compensated with a great dose of flexibility. At a given point, the greatest problem among these two groups would be the idea of maintaining close intimacy.

One cannot simply contend with one outcome or the other – we must advocate for a critical overview of the pros and cons.

So how can a person benefit from the differences:

  • You will have immense flexibility intertwined by a wide range of abilities
  • Your relationship will be filled with exciting situations
  • It will help both of you to build a character
  • You will affect each other
  • You will learn more about your “shadow”

Furthermore, Elaine pinpoints in her research that many HSPs prefer or are in close relationships with partners who can be portrayed as non-HSPs. Nonetheless, the main misunderstanding occurs when these individuals are believed to be insensitive.

The truth is – they are only less sensitive than the HSPs.

When the relationship is composed of two HSPs, then the probability of negative emotions reaching an overwhelming level is a bit higher.

So basically, one must not take for granted any potential outcome.

Key Lessons from “The Highly Sensitive Person”

1.      Get out of your comfort zone
2.      There is nothing wrong in being a highly sensitive person
3.      Understand your standings

Get out of your comfort zone

This lesson doesn’t solely reflect the position of HSPs, as we try to portray all people as individuals whose “prison” is self-induced.

Try to act in your best interest by confronting your restricted mindset and discover new heights.

There is nothing wrong in being a highly sensitive person

People in this position are depicted as underdogs and feel like being pushed around by a more secure fraction of their group.

This doesn’t have to be the case if you are aware of these inclinations and tendencies.

Understand your standings

Well, this seems a bit vague! What does it mean to understand your status? It simply implies that you must discern traits which may hamper your soar on any level.

Beware of external obstacles which could pose a potential threat. Your only job is to take necessary precautions.

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“The Highly Sensitive Person Quotes”

HSPs make such good targets because we react so strongly. Click To Tweet

Even a moderate and familiar stimulation, like a day at work, can cause an HSP to need quiet by evening. Click To Tweet

Whatever the times, suffering eventually touches every life. How we live with it and help others too, is one of the great creative and ethical opportunities. Click To Tweet

Things deeply move me. I’d hate to miss the intense joy of that. Click To Tweet

Everything alive is important; there’s something greater, I know. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

You probably have realized by now, but we are not clinical psychologists, and we have to take Elaine’s word for everything said in here.

It is of immense value that the theory about the harmful effects of hypersensitivity is debunked and every outcome has its good and bad sides.

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Brain on Fire PDF Summary

Brain on Fire PDF SummaryMy Month of Madness

While reading the life-story of young and intelligent Susannah Cahalan, we learned more about life and the axis around which our lives spin.

The author bends over backward to help the readers see through the lens of rationality and make decisions in their best interests.

Although this may sound like something you’ve already come across with – we guarantee you that the life-of-madness as described by Susannah will knock your socks off!

Stay tuned to dive into the medical encounters a young Susannah was compelled to embrace.

Who Should Read “Brain on Fire”? And Why?

It is an educational and highly inspirational book that lifts the veils on the struggles and challenges a young girl had to overcome in order to tackle her illness.

As such, we find “Brain on Fire” mind-blowing and incredibly useful for the wider audience and especially for those suffering/have suffered from brain inflammatory disorders.

It will act as a wind at your back, and something that will urge you to propel forward despite the odds.

We loved it!  

Susannah CahalanAbout Susannah Cahalan

It is somewhat strange to cover Susannah Cahalan’s biography as most of this book serves pretty much the same purpose. However, we’ll try to mention a few things not included in this summary.

Susannah Cahalan is an American journalist and author born in 1985. Even a movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz was released on February 22, 2017.

“Brain on Fire PDF Summary”

The trilogy of Brain on Fire leans on the author’s hallucinatory and paranoid urges triggered by an uncommon disease. It puts her sanity into question and makes her even more vulnerable to external phenomena. Her family and those closest to her start to doubt her prudence and mental stability.

The key leitmotif that serves as an axis around which all the events circle is the struggle to overcome this inferiority. Namely, the elements which comprise the basis of this plot are weaved together and affected almost interchangeably.

As it turns out, the narrative is brought into line with the voice of Cahalan who finds it unbearably tricky to get back on its feet upon returning home.

She slides from one stage to the next in an effort to hasten the recovery process. She has been released from the hospital, but it would take some time before she could relate to the problem.

The other not so emphasized parts of this book are the diaries, journals, texts, testimonies and memories of those closest to her.

The rest of it is mainly traced to medical records linked to Cahalan’s health swings. You can also find writing and texts that were actually written by herself as she battled her way through the sickness.

One can say with some confidence that this is not as simple as ABC to deliver Cahalan’s life story in an easy-digestible manner. To be fair, we’ll go with a detailed but on the point description of what caused the illness to take hold of her life.  

Above all, the words conveyed, depict Susannah as a person whose life-trajectory deserves a special focus.

The whole journey commences with a brief portrayal of Cahalan and the medical predicament which precludes her of normal activities. First and foremost, the reader will bump into some self-destructive mindset fueled by paranoid thoughts.

Cahalan is not aware of course of the impulsive urge that compels her to go with the stream while neglecting the idea of recovery.

She keeps this little secret and refuses to inform anyone of her situation.  

The illness starts to take over her lifestyle in a matter of months as the pain intensifies and the whole idea of keeping it a secret is inconceivable.

From the outset, she firmly makes a stand against these symptoms, but the inner breakdown escalates with no end in sight.

The stigma attached to the American healthcare system is in the limelight as well. As you move onward with the book, you’ll realize that Cahalan’s skepticism regarding the expertise of the doctors is well justified as they refuse to dig up the problem and scratch only the surface.

Cahalan guides her audience through the painful experience she’s had with the medical treatment. Her family is devastated, and they look for a doctor who actually is interested in listening and coming up with a useful diagnosis.

Death lurks around the corner, as a potential solution is nowhere to be found. Cahalan only wants a doctor who is fundamentally interested in rendering a professional medical service, unlike all the others whose ego impairs their judgment.   

Is it too much to ask for humane treatment?

A point often overlooked was the fact that the main trigger proved to a physical one with symptoms which are not consistent and may delude the person suffering from it.

In other words, the layperson may not be aware of anything even when symptoms start to crop up. With that being said, the nature of the illness alongside the NMDAS-receptor encephalitis are put in the spotlight as Cahalan tries to portray an accurate picture of her medical condition.

But let’s take a few steps back and trace it to the beginning.

Susannah Cahalan’s professional and personal endeavors were only matched by her eloquent appearance.

She obtained her college degree from Washington University; mostly inspired and psyched up to take risks without any concealed tricks up in her sleeves.

A smart and cheerful 24-year old woman residing and working in New York City had a bright future ahead of her.

Hired at the age of 17 to work for the NY Times, she quickly rose to prominence due to her proclivity for hard work often under pressure. Capable of wringing out the story from not too friendly individuals such as rapists and kidnappers was her specialty.

Many pondered about Cahalan’s sudden shift in behavior and the instigators which induced the change in the first place.

It turns out that Cahalan had insect bites on her arm. Meanwhile, New York City was swarming with similar incidents as the bedbug plague wreaked mayhem in the Big Apple. She believed that her studio is also under attack and it would be hard for the city to avert a potential catastrophe.

She called upon an exterminator to get rid of the bugs and spray all across the place. Upon not finding a single one, Cahalan insisted that it’s necessary to throw around some insecticide or scatter it just in case they crop up!

At first, she tried to hide the fact that she has bug bites out of fear and mostly judgment. It is not easy to come out of the woodwork and just confess everything to people you hardly know.

The “bed-bug” incident was just the cream of the crop as she started to hallucinate and grow increasingly paranoid about the environment. The overly suspicious behavior turned a proficient and intelligent woman into an underdog.

The egregious misconduct didn’t seem normal to the people with whom she worked with, as she fell out of their favor.

Those closest to her, including Susannah’s boyfriend, Stephen peered into her soul in an attempt to locate the issue. As time went by, they became increasingly concerned about her emotional and mental situation.

They didn’t know that the worst is yet to come.

There wasn’t anything they could do to alleviate the problem despite their utmost concern for the well-being of Susannah. Outwardly, she started to exhibit an odd behavior by twisting her hands and mumbling.

Without any remedy in hand, the illness progressed. The doctors failed to spot the issue as they asserted that the tests are just fine and no preliminary action is required. Without any professional assistance, her health deteriorated.

In the eleventh hour, Susannah was transferred to NYU’s medical school hospital. She spent 4 weeks in the hospital before any official report or test about the disease was made. Doctors suspected that she may be suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or have sustained some physical ailments.

With her life on the line, a doctor, known for his ability to unpuzzle similar medical mysteries was summoned.  

Dr. Najjar was able to nail down the causes for Cahalan’s condition in a short amount of time. He used the “clock test” which helped him assess the degree to which Cahalan’s brain is infected.

She was instructed to draw a clock containing all the numbers from 1-12. Immediately as she started drawing, he spotted the issue. He concluded that Susannah’s right-side of the brain is infected and they need to react quickly.

Dr. Najjar immediately did a brain tissue biopsy which only upheld his claims made earlier. The report was conveyed to Dr. Dalmau who had experience with similar disorders and have worked with patients suffering from brain inflammations.

In “tough-to-grasp” terms – the disease was labeled as anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis. In layman’s terms, the brain is under attack by the antibodies. It’s literally one big internal chaos which induced shifts in behavior, physical and mental inconsistencies.

Now, they had to figure out the possible treatment that could help her in the recovery process. The doctors were relieved because at least now, they had a good understanding of the problem.

The road turned out to be a tough one, so the doctors decided to ponder heavily before each decision is made.

How did Susannah fall victim to the disease was a mystery to them?! It included several possibilities, all of which with a significant percentage of probability.

Cahalan stood back up again – seven months since she first became infected with the disease. Her health condition was on the rise as she made up her mind to go back to work.

Educated from this experience, Cahalan wrote an article to embolden those suffering from similar disorders and invite them to share the problem as soon as possible. This article reached many people, and Susannah was lauded for her willingness to share with the world the process she’s been through.

An experience that almost cost her life was actually the turning point of hers – now Cahalan sees the world with different eyes, dazed in awe at the fragility of existence.

Key Lessons from “Brain on Fire”

1.      Act as quickly as possible
2.      You know yourself better
3.      Get back on your feet

Act as quickly as possible

We are not entitled to lecture anyone but as far as we can tell, if Susannah reacted quickly and informed those closest to her about the mood swings, perhaps the outcome would’ve been different.

We are referring to lesser struggle and better response to the situation.

You know yourself better

Sometimes we question our mindset and the thoughts accumulated there. Anyway, you should always be one step ahead of everything that is presented before you!

In other words, we are saying that you should be the observer of thoughts, not merely someone who is fully engaged in self-talk.

Get back on your feet

Even when the world collapses right in front of you, you must pluck up that courage and make a comeback – live through the tough times.

Maintain your composure and ponder about a possible twist in your favor.

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“Brain on Fire Quotes”

We are, in the end, a sum of our parts, and when the body fails, all the virtues we hold dear go with it. Click To Tweet

I had asked him many times why he stayed, and he always said the same thing: “Because I love you, and I wanted to, and I knew you were in there.” No matter how damaged I had been, he had loved me enough to still see me somewhere inside. Click To Tweet

The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Click To Tweet

There are few other experiences that can bring two people closer than staring death in the face. Click To Tweet

It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If we are completely honest, then we must say that this story left us speechless. We are not in a position to discuss the narrative nor the plot which in our opinion is perfectly delivered by Susannah.

We leave you be the judge of this astonishing and life-altering memoir of a woman who defeated a rare illness.

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Eating Animals PDF Summary

Eating Animals PDF SummaryThis is a controversial topic that should be brought up more and more. In our humble opinion, one must at least be willing to hear the other side of the story, without necessarily showing bias.

Eating animals is part of human history, but what would happen if we at least ponder about the possibility of ending the mass slaughter?

Let’s find out!

Who Should Read “Eating Animals”? And Why?

If you are not vegan and vegetarian, this book may cause some confusion in terms of your life choices. The author is not here to promote guilt or any other primitive form of conversion; just to lay down the facts and give you wide latitude to decide.

With that being said, we firmly believe that “Eating Animals” is one of those books which is intended for the broader audience.

About Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist born on February 21st, 1971 in Washington, DC.

So far, Eating Animals is his best book that prompts open discussion regarding the proliferation of factory farms.

He is also the author of a few Fiction Books:

  • Everything Is Illuminated (2002)
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005)
  • Tree of Codes (2010)
  • Here I Am (2016)

“Eating Animals PDF Summary”

Storytelling

Surviving the atrocities of WW2 is surely not something that can be put underneath the carpet. Jonathan talks of his grandmother and her perilous journey to safety filled with rather “questionable” diet made of rotten potatoes, scraps of meat, and even the kind of things you wouldn’t want to hear of.

When you are on the run, and you are traversing the hostile wilderness in Europe there’s not much you can do other than eating on the go. Whatever you can find finds its way into your mouth.

Half-a-century later in the US, Jonathan’s grandmother excelled at preparing chicken, and pretty much everything else under God’s blue heaven. She wasn’t into “save money” or “eat healthy” kind of agenda, and she would often offer Coke to her grandson.

In closed circles, she was known as the Greatest Chef, ever to set foot on Earth.

The father Journey

UNEXPECTED IMPULSES STRUCK WHEN I found out I was going to be a father. I began tidying up the house, replacing long-dead lightbulbs, wiping windows, and filing papers.

Fatherhood wasn’t an overnight sensation, as it was hard for one to grasp that moment of transition. It gave him an immediate stimulus to find life in different forms that were usually discarded.

He packed his imaginary bags and went on in pursuit of truth.

The author recalls his early experiences with a babysitter who didn’t want to hurt anything – not even chicken. This unprovoked and unsuccessful conversion to vegetarianism marked a new era – although not a very fruitful one.

Then, after graduating from college and being exposed to a good number of ups and downs in his life; he met a woman. What shocked him the most was the fact that her story resembled his own. It was strange that this new “stranger” who swooped into his life had the “vegetarianism” though on her mind too.

During the wedding ceremony, the guests weren’t deprived of the delicious meat, as they thought that it’s only fair to feed them.

However, on their honeymoon in Japan, the freshly married couple subdued the urge to eat meat. Back home, they did from time to time eat burgers and have tuna steaks.

A bit later, a new baby boy was brought to life. The fatherhood commenced, and somewhat shockingly. Jonathan looked up and realized that the first thing the baby asked for was to be fed (of course through breastfeeding).

For the most part, the food stories have long been wiped out from the short-term memory and lodged into one’s heart. Is it okay to comply with the “delicious” side of things and ignoring all the rest?

Jonathan says: I just ate what was available or tasty, what seemed natural, sensible, or healthy — what was there to explain?

Even though the author admits of some inconsistencies during the writing of this book, it’s pretty evident that the scope of it spreads beyond vegetarianism. It would be a great story, but it wouldn’t entirely cover the central premise that you’ll be witnessing here.

All or Nothing or Something Else

We all know who is man’s best friend, right? Even though cases of dog-eating are extremely rare (Talking about the US and we hope the rest of the world), 44 states out of 50 have legalized it.

It comes as a shock, but it’s the truth. It’s even estimated that 95% of male owners speak to their dogs as normal human beings, which is not quite the case when it comes to fish. This leads us to the next example that Jonathan wishes to magnify and go to the extremes.

Currently, the demand for fresh fish is on the rise; but hunting and exterminating our sea-friends with the current rate of activity will endanger their survival.

There is some foolish collective understanding regarding the process of hunting and consuming animal meat. As if we all enjoy the extremes and as a consequence of that – polarization is slowly taking over the world. In other words, you are either an activist or express contempt for their demands.

In our eyes, fish somehow doesn’t deserve the respect a dog does, and this is a broad generalization. Ask yourself, what would your reaction be if someone throws a pickaxe towards a dog with an intention to cook it? How then can we justify the hunt on sea-animals, which spreads uncontrollably?

Jonathan takes neither and implies that the world should seriously consider plunging into a debate to get to a broad vantage point.

Words / Meaning

In this section, we will give a brief explanation of some terminology:

ANTHROPODENIAL

The non-acceptance of the similarity existing between humans and other animals.

ANTHROPOMORPHISM

The idea of bestowing humanlike qualities upon other animals, and it’s considered to be an ingrained tendency of humans.

BYCATCH

This term tries to unveil the process of catching sea-animals without intention. However, it’s tricky to portray this type of fishing as “by accident” because by now is entirely embraced by various fishermen worldwide.

CAFO

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, a.k.a. Factory farm. Namely, this organization was founded not to help the meat industry but to instill a sense of environmentalism by aligning with the Environmental Protection Agency.

CFE

Common Farming Exemptions enacts legal acts and measures to control the course of events for raising farmed animals and ensuring that the practices are followed.

DISCOMFORT FOOD

Sharing delicious food for the sake of building strong social bonds and relationships.

DOWNER

An animal that collapses to the ground due to deteriorating health conditions and unable to get back up. This process doesn’t refer to humanlike demise.

ENVIRONMENTALISM

A shared concern for environmental conditions which denotes the preservation of natural resources and controlled embezzlement. To put it differently, it takes into account the ecological system and the idea of tackling human irresponsibleness.

INSTINCT

Most of us are cognizant of the power deriving from intuition, or sometimes called – the sixth sense. This impulse also referred to as instinct helps the animals to navigate, draw conclusions, find nesting locations, avoid predators and more.   

Hiding / Seeking

In this section, the author emphasizes some of the stories that shaped his viewpoints on how we behave with animals:

I Am the Kind of Person Who Finds Herself on a Stranger’s Farm in the Middle of the Night

It talks about a “guy” who grew up in Texas and was basically a backup killer. All the chickens which survived the automatic throat slitting had to be killed – as simple as that. Many would assume that this man is scientifically detached and out of touch but that it’s not the case.

What lies beneath this urge for survival remains a mystery!?

More often than not, we ignore this part of our lives. After watching a video on how cows and other poultry animals are slaughtered, something urged him to ask for an explanation. After not receiving an answer, he sent letters to huge farms all across the country to observe the process of preparing the meat.

He was refused while presented a different reason each and every time. It was clear; they didn’t want someone to keep an eagle eye on their inhumane treatment.

Eager to get to the bottom of this mystery, he started visiting farms and seeing the things you wouldn’t want to catch a glimpse of. Whether you like it or not, this is the cruel reality.

Factory farming is becoming and probably is just a killing process scaled by technology.

Influence / Speechlessness

In this section, the author mainly covers the epidemic diseases which resulted in many casualties.

Lam Hoi-ka – a tiny Inuit village of Brevig Mission where 267 live and thrive. Jonathan focuses on Johan Hultin – who on August 19th, 1997 got the legal go-ahead to excavate a mass grave of the flu victims in 1918.  

A couple of months before the removal of the bodies, Hong Kong broadcasted that H5N1-chicken virus is spreading. A six-year-old boy named Lam-Hoi-ka was the first victim, which raised many questions about the prospect of dealing with the crisis.

Influenza – also labeled as The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was the cause for the death of millions. The Influenza is regarded as one of the most fatal epidemics in world history.

In 2004, several experts gathered to discuss the possible link between farm animals and pandemic flu. They came to conclusions that public-health concerns are in tight correlation with the intake of various types of ingredients including poultry.

I Do

Less than 1% of the animals killed for meat in America come from family farms.

Bill and Nicolette

In pursuit of truth, Foer was warmly welcomed at Bill and Nicolette’s farm in the small town of Bolinas, California. Bill shared that he is the son of a Russian immigrant and explained how they run the farm.

When I visited them, Nicolette was spending more time managing their personal ranch than Bill was. He was busy working to ensure sales for the beef and pork produced by his company’s hundreds of small family farmers.

At the table, Foer ordered pasta primavera, and took Bill by surprise who asked: ‘Oh, are you a vegetarian?’

Foer replied: Yes.

And then Bill said –

I am a Vegetarian Farmer

He gives a rundown on how he perceives the whole meat extraction process, and that we shouldn’t succumb to cruelty as a response. Bill thinks that we should honor animals in every way possible, like lying in the sun, stimulating mating, and various others small acts of respect.

It’s the least we can do to preserve nature in its economic confinement. Moreover, when an animal dies from natural causes, nature consumes it – it’s the circle of life.

Do We Know Better?

There’s not a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that there are many different perspectives on how to treat animals.

Cultural, religious, social implications have a huge role. However, we all must at least undertake actions to provide them with better care.

Key Lessons from “Eating Animals”

1.      Allow for openness to introduce itself
2.      The endless supply of animals
3.      The effects of controlled consumption

Allow for openness to introduce itself

Nobody is saying or suggesting that you should become a vegan overnight.

The book’s narrative simply divulges key information regarding our treatment of animals. Stop for a moment and allow that to sink in.

The endless supply of animals

This is a great tragedy that many of us want to believe. As a matter of fact, we should root out the oblivious extermination of some animal species – something that is happening underneath our noses!

Once we become aware of the danger, it might be too late.

The effects of controlled consumption

Once we have a deep understanding of how dangerous it is to discard the prevailing threat, we’ll be ready to enact new policies.

It will benefit the entire living kingdom, to say the least.

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“Eating Animals Quotes”

While it is always possible to wake a person who's sleeping, no amount of noise will wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. Click To Tweet

Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something. Click To Tweet

Do you eat chicken because you are familiar with the scientific literature on them and have decided that their suffering doesn't matter, or do you do it because it tastes good? Click To Tweet

I love sushi; I love fried chicken, I love steak. But there is a limit to my love! Click To Tweet

Something having been done just about everywhere just about always is no kind of justification for doing it now. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Given the facts presented in this summary, it would be ignorant not to praise the educational side of this book.

We really believe that the magnitude of the problem is not exaggerated, and the world should discern the potential threat.

Generally speaking, it will make a nice addition to your reading collection!

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Braving the Wilderness PDF Summary

Braving the Wilderness PDF SummaryThe Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

It’s Brené Brown once again!

Meaning: we don’t have to introduce her at all.

Ever since her TED Talk on vulnerability became one of the Top 5 Talks of all time, Brené Brown has basically become a cultural icon!

You know her, you love her, you want to hear her thoughts on everything.

So, join her as he shares her most valuable lessons on:

Braving the Wilderness.

Who Should Read “Braving the Wilderness”? And Why?

By now, you should be already familiar with most of Brené Brown’s interests: vulnerability and courage, humiliation and pride, belonging and being an outsider.

In Braving the Wilderness she tackles once again all of them, mostly focusing on the last one of these dichotomies.

And, just like most of her other books, this one also analyzes the problems in a way which should attract both students of social sciences and common folks who just need someone to talk to.

Well, hurting people, Brené Brown is certainly someone you’ll enjoy having a chat with.

About Brené Brown

Brené BrownBrené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and New York Times bestselling author.

She has spent over two decades studying under-researched topics such as vulnerability and courage, empathy and shame, and is widely considered one of the world’s most read and beloved experts on these subjects.

She is the author of half a dozen books, most of which we’ve summarized here: I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) (2007); The Gifts of Imperfection (2010); Daring Greatly (2012); and Rising Strong (2015).

Braving the Wilderness was published last year (2017) and Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. – Brown’s most recent book – just four days ago.

Brown’s 2010 TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” has been seen over 36 million times (as of October 2018) and is one of the five most viewed TED Talks in history.

“Braving the Wilderness PDF Summary”

We all live in a bubble.

And no, we’re not talking about multiverses or Bitcoin or any other kind of scientific or economic bubble.

No.

We’re talking about something that, based on urgency, may be even more serious.

Namely, the filter bubble.

Put simply, the filter bubble is a state of intellectual isolation caused by personalized searches. They make your life easier, of course, but they also make humanity’s future bleaker.

Why?

Because instead of using the Internet to connect with other people with different experiences and worldviews, you are using it to reinforce your previous beliefs and disconnect from everything else!

The Internet was supposed to usher us into an age of interrelatedness; instead, it is merely making us lonelier by the minute.

Enter stage Brené Brown.

Brené Brown, the Outsider

You see her now all smiling and vivacious and you are immediately overwhelmed by the feeling that she has her life all figured out.

And then you hear her sharing some of her past experiences and you realize that she may have already had more problems than you ever will.

In fact, most of Brené Brown’s childhood was marred by a crushing fear that she doesn’t belong anywhere.

As a little girl, she was oftentimes marginalized by everybody. It was a poisonous racially segregated environment and the white girls at her school didn’t like her African-sounding names: Brené and Cassandra (Brown’s middle name); on the other hand, her African-American friends of hers were somewhat afraid to hang out with her.

So, she was neither here nor there for most of her childhood.

Thigs got only worse in high school where she badly wanted to become part of her school’s cheerleading team, the Bearkadettes. Just like her mother – who had met her father in this manner. (Stop guessing: her father was indeed the star of the football team).

Brown did everything within her power to become a member of the Bearkadettes; unfortunately, neither the liquid diet nor her perfect routine didn’t help her make it.

And to top this off, her parents were disappointed in her for not making it to the team.

To fight pains such as this, Brené started to drink. So much, in fact, that she had to join the AA.

Guess what?

They didn’t want her there either, suggesting her to try the Co-Dependents Anonymous group instead!

Brené Brown Discovering Herself

Most of the people you know have gone through what Brené Brown did in her early years.

And it always boils down to the same problem:

We put a lot of energy to belong to something; read between the lines and that means that you are, in fact, putting a lot of energy to be something that, deep inside, you are not.

Back in 1987 Brené Brown was at one of the worst stages in her life. She spent most of her time drinking and smoking, partying even when she had no energy for it.

That was her way of forgetting about herself.

And then she met Steve, the man she would eventually marry.

The best part about Steve?

He saw through Brené’s attempts to belong somewhere; and started guiding her toward self-belonging. Three decades later Brown would explain to the world how she managed to do this, as a guest on Oprah.

Namely, permission slips.

Suddenly, next to Steve, Brené realized that she could permit herself to be the person she actually was. No conventions, no exhausting liquid diets you need to go through so that you can be accepted.

Just herself.

In fact, her fist permission slip stated: “Be goofy, have fun and enjoy life.”

And she has tried doing that ever since.

Brave the Wilderness Inside You

You are such a unique individual that no one has ever lived a life like the one you’re currently living.

That’s as close to a fact as an opinion can get.

So, it’s only natural that conventional wisdom may not work: your own self is a one-of-a-kind wilderness.

Whatever you do – treat it as such.

Of course, this means that your path through it is also unique and that you need to find it on your own. But, believe us – you will!

Because, deep down inside you, you actually know that walking inside it is what life is all about. “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step,” advised Joseph Campbell, “you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

And Campbell was one of the smartest and most inspiring people of the 20th century.

So:

Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

Key Lessons from “Braving the Wilderness”

1.      The First Lesson of Self-Belonging: Brave the Wilderness Inside You
2.      The Seven Traits of Trustworthy People
3.      Tackling Loneliness and Ways to Burst the Bubble

The First Lesson of Self-Belonging: Brave the Wilderness Inside You

There’s a reason why everybody wants to belong to someone or something.

And that reason is quite obvious: it’s quite difficult to go through life alone. Men are social beings – and that’s exactly what Aristotle thought was their defining trait.

However, it is difficult to belong somewhere if you don’t know who you are. In that case, all of your attempts to become part of a group are actually wild guesses, shots in the dark. “Be careful who you pretend to be,” warned us once Kurt Vonnegut. “You might forget who you are.”

Well, Brené Brown is here to update this advice.

The best way to forget who you are, she says, is to never understand yourself completely in the first place.

And if you want to do that, be prepared to make some steps in the wilderness:

Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness — an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. The wilderness can often feel unholy because we can’t control it, or what people think about our choice of whether to venture into that vastness or not. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.

Look at it this way: nobody belongs to this place more than you.

Even if a wilderness, your self is a very unique place: your very own, personal Shangri-La.

And nobody can explore it better than you!

The Seven Traits of Trustworthy People

Self-belonging is not as easy as it sounds.

It means making yourself open to your traumas and pains and vulnerable to other people’s opinions and judgments.

But it’s worth it!

Especially if you can find trustworthy people you can talk to, dependable friends ready to listen to your

According to Brené Brown, these people share these seven traits:

1. They are reliable, which is self-evident;
2. They own their mistakes which is something people rarely do nowadays;
3. They are capable of respecting boundaries, meaning they know that they should leave you alone when you want to be alone, even if that means going to the cinema without company;
4. They are capable of keeping confidential information safe; so, be wary of people who can’t keep your secrets because the betrayal of trust is one of the most traumatic experiences one can go through;
5. They are capable of making decisions with integrity; integrity is underrated in a world of lies and money;
6. They are non-judgmental; they know that we all make mistakes and that pointing them out repeatedly helps no one;
7. They are generous; with everything; meaning: with them, you’re never the only one who shares.

Tackling Loneliness and Ways to Burst the Bubble

If you’re feeling that people are too divided, then be aware that it’s not exactly a feeling: it’s a fact.

For example, only a quarter of Americans supported a specific candidate overwhelmingly back in 1976; however, just a few years ago, more than four fifths were either strongly for Trump or strongly for Hillary Clinton! And, in the meantime, the number of people who describe themselves as lonely more than doubled!

We explained at the beginning of our summary why this is happening. The same mechanism applies to both examples. Put simply, we live in a world designed to keep us inside a bubble.

We don’t experience anything out of our comfort zone, because it’s so easy to stay inside it: personalized ads, personalized searches, and even personalized channels.

The solution spells itself: do the opposite of what Google or YouTube or your inside voice suggests you! Experiment! Experience the difference! And see for yourself whatever suits you best.

At a certain point during your journey, you’ll undoubtedly come across a place, a person, a point where it will all make sense.

Congratulations: you’ve found your way through your inner wilderness.

Now you belong to yourself.

The side-effect?

You already belong to others as well.

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“Braving the Wilderness Quotes”

You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. Click To Tweet

But what we know now is that when we deny our emotion, it owns us. When we own our emotion, we can rebuild and find our way through the pain. Click To Tweet

Sometimes the most dangerous thing for kids is the silence that allows them to construct their own stories—stories that almost always cast them as alone and unworthy of love and belonging. Click To Tweet

Courage is forged in pain, but not in all pain. Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate. Click To Tweet

We want to be part of something, but we need it to be real - not conditional or fake or constantly up for negotiation. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“It is inevitable —we will fall,” notes Simon Sinek in a review of Braving the Wilderness. “We will fail. We will not know how to react or what to do. No matter how or when it happens, we will all have a choice—do we get up or not? Thankfully,” he adds, “Brené Brown is there with an outstretched arm to help us up.”

Just like most of Brown’s books, Braving the Wilderness does feel as if an outstretched arm. It is both compassionate and empowering. Add to that mixture a lot of goodhearted humor and few mantras you’ll never forget – and you have a reason why you should read this book as soon as possible.

Especially if you feel like nobody understands you.

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Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself PDF Summary

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself PDF SummaryHow to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One

Tired of being yourself?

What if there was a way to reinvent yourself from scratch?

And what if you already know this way intuitively, and have already mastered it, but in the wrong departments?

Intrigued?

Let Dr. Joe Dispenza explain you the rest.

And start Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself today!

Who Should Read “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”? And Why?

Let’s face it: no matter who you are, your life has almost certainly been plagued by bad habits ever since you were a child. And since this is a book about how to break them – then it is undoubtedly a book recommendable to just about anyone.

However, we feel that we need to warn you straight from the start about a couple of things.

First of all, Dispenza’s book references many scientific concepts from different fields, so be prepared to grapple with some light neurobiology and quantum physics if you want to embark on this journey of self-remodeling with Dr. Dispenza.

Even so, Dispenza’s basic premise (the reversal of the thinking/doing relation) is not exactly widely accepted as a scientific fact. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that his methods wouldn’t work; it merely means that they might have been explained away here in a challengeable way.

By the way, if you want a book about habits most scientists approve of, then check out Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit.

About Dr. Joe Dispenza

Dr. Joe DispenzaDr. Joe Dispenza is a chiropractor, educator, lecturer and New York Times bestselling author. He also holds degrees in biochemistry and neuroscience.

He is the author of several books dealing with health and wellbeing, most of them published by Hay House. In his 2014 book, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, he explores human’s ability to heal without surgery or drugs but through thought alone.

He builds upon this notion in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One, Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind and Becoming Supernatural.

Find out more at www.drjoedispenza.com

“Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself PDF Summary”

At one point during their beautiful correspondence, René Descartes writes to Elisabeth, Princess of Bohemia, that thinking people are capable of being unhappy regardless of how happy their circumstances actually are.

In other words, even if everything is going your way, your mind can still bother with things such as why someone else – even someone you don’t really know – is feeling bad at the same moment; and, thus, still cause you genuinely pain and unhappiness.

Even though the above is an undeniable fact – we’re sure you’ve gone through similar feelings at some point in your life – we seem incapable of grasping its real implications.

Namely, if your brain can make you feel unhappy even though you should objectively be happy, why shouldn’t the reverse be true as well?

Or to rephrase that in the form of a question Dr. Joe Dispenza poses: “Can you accept the notion that once you change your internal state, you don’t need the external world to provide you with a reason to feel joy, gratitude, appreciation, or any other elevated emotion?”

If not – stay with us.

We’re about to explain to you why you should.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life… Because of Quantum Physics

Yes, that’s the title of a Brian Tracy book.

But it’s also the main idea of Dispenza’s book. And the author digs deep to explain it. So, we guess we have to do the same as well.

Now, we’ve already mentioned quantum physics before, but the only thing we had the time to point out to you back then was how strange and bizarre it is. And we summed up this strangeness in a single sentence: “Believe it or not, quantum particles assume characteristics only when observed!”

Well, this is what attracted Dispenza’s attention the most. And the best way to demonstrate what it could mean in practical terms is by using a thought experiment.

The Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.

Now, the science behind its weird consequences is unquestionable. And it boils down to this: a quantum system – say, an atom or a photon – can exist in multiple mutually exclusive states at one single moment. This is called quantum superposition, and it’s bizarre to even think about in theory.

And yet – it works in practice as well. That’s why we can have such a thing as a quantum computer, in fact; unlike regular computers which transfer information in terms of bits, quantum computers transfer it in terms of qubits. And unlike bits which can be either in the state of 1 or in the state of 0, qubits can be in a superimposed state, that is, a 10 or 01!

Back to our cat.

If we put it in a box with an object that emits radioactive waves, undoubtedly at some point it would die. However, quantum physics suggest that until we open the box, we must assume that it is both alive and dead.

Because the cat too is built of atoms. And that’s how quantum superposition works!

The Potential You’ll Be That You’ll Never See

Now, that’s a line from an Elliott Smith song.

But it’s also something Dispenza firmly believes in – and wants you to understand it!

If you still have problems understanding the experiment above, allow us to help you a bit: matter may not be as definitive as we thought a century ago. It seems that everything behaves as both a particle and a wave.

It is our scientific observations which allow us to fix things into more permanent forms – i.e., change their state from waves to particles (something called, the wave function collapse). As strange as this sounds, most scientists think this interpretation of quantum mechanics – called the Copenhagen Interpretation – is our best guess at how the universe works.

If you think that’s strange, wait till you hear how SF its consequences sound!

We don’t have time to explain this in detail, but in brief: if something can be in superposition of all its possible states at once and if it is our observation which reduces the superposition to a single state, and, finally, if it is true that information mustn’t be lost, then there is an infinite number of parallel universes (a many-worlds multiverse) across which practically everything has already happened, is happening or will happen!

What does this mean in more practical you-related terms?

Well, that our universe hides the potential of every single reality imaginable. It is through our observations that we reduce this potential to a single reality. And since our observations come from our brains, then basically our unhappiness is the product of our wrong thinking.

Change your thinking, change your life isn’t merely a metaphor.

It’s literally what may be happening every single second.

Live Out Your Desires in the Present

“Whether you think you can,” noted Henry Ford once, “or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

We believe we already made a case why Ford would think that.

Some of the greatest scientists alive believe that it is entirely possible that we are living in a “universal choose-your-own-adventure” narrative!

The difference between our lives and choose-your-own-adventure books, however, is that in the latter case, you can always go back to the branching page and choose once again to experience the other adventure.

However, life doesn’t work that way: every choice you make leads to an irreversible outcome which leads to another decision, and so on and so forth.

There are no undos in life.

However, as many books have taught you by now, there are dreams and fantasies and creative visualizations.

Well, Dispenza has a message for them all:

The quantum field responds not to what we want; it responds to who we are being.

In other words, thinking isn’t enough. (If it was, Rachel Hollis would have probably married Matt Damon.)

Thinking is merely the starting point of the process of reducing all of your possible realities to the one you want to live in. However, if you want to make your desired reality real, well, do precisely that. Namely start acting as if you are already living inside your visualizations.

But that’s something biology and neuroscience can probably explain much better.

Your Three Brains

Thinking happens in the first of your three brains: the Neocortex. The Limbic brain is the second one – that one’s responsible for your emotions. Finally, the third one is the cerebellum, responsible for your habits and your behaviors.

These three brains are interrelated, so you can’t change anything if you use only one of them. You need to force them to communicate so you can translate your thoughts into genuine emotions and actions and your actions into your character.

Here’s how it works in practice!

Say you want to become a more courageous person.

The first step is to activate your neocortex. Meaning: you need to find yourself a model – or, even better, models – and study their actions. You want to be a Maya Angelou or a Winston Churchill? Read about them and teach your neocortex what they did to become who they are.

Then, it’s time to put your Limbic brain into action. When a situation arises which demands bravery, willingly force your body to act the way you tried teaching yourself is the best one.

Now that your body has acquired an understanding of bravery, it will be easy to repeat the action you’ve already done once in the next similar circumstance. After all, they don’t say for nothing that the first time is the toughest.

Do a thing two or three times, and you can be sure that your cerebellum has registered it as a part of your character.

Meaning: you’ve successfully gone through the process of becoming who you want to be!

Key Lessons from “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”

1.      Become Who You Want to Be – From Brain Cell to Gene
2.      Don’t Play Out Your Past Memories – Live Through Your Future Fantasies Instead
3.      Learn How to Bridge the Identity Gap and Be Happy

Become Who You Want to Be – From Brain Cell to Gene

“The latest research,” writes Dr. John Dispenza, “supports the notion that we have a natural ability to change the brain and body by thought alone so that it looks biologically like some future event has already happened. Because you can make thought more real than anything else, you can change who you are from brain cell to gene, given the right understanding.”

In other words, science has all but proven the truth of an old adage: “Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch your words, they become actions, watch your actions, they become habits, watch your habits, they become character, watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

You can find that quote in numerous different versions, but the link is always the same: it starts with thoughts; it ends with character and destiny!

Don’t Play Out Your Past Memories – Live Through Your Future Fantasies Instead

The reason why you are more than your genes is your brain; and, unsurprisingly, your brain can affect your genes.

In fact, it does precisely that even as you’re reading this article. However, the problem is that you are not exactly using its full potential, basically limiting yourself to being what your past has nonchalantly taught you without your intervention.

Think about it this way: you won’t change if you are living out your memories. Because that’s exactly who you are in the first place.

But you can change if you are living out your fantasies. Because that’s who you want to become in the future.

Or, in the words of Dispenza:

When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the ‘knowns’ in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. And since your brain is equal to your environment, then each morning, your senses plug you into the same reality and initiate the same stream of consciousness… If you want a new outcome, you will have to break the habit of being yourself, and reinvent a new self.

Learn How to Bridge the Identity Gap and Be Happy

Now, be aware that becoming who you want to be doesn’t mean that you’ll end up being happy. There are people who have perfect lives and, yet, they struggle. According to Dispenza, the reason for this is because they are not exactly themselves.

Because who you are is at least two people to start with; how you see yourself and how others see you. This is the identity gap everyone has to deal with on a daily basis.

You can only be happy if you bridge the gap; that is, if others start seeing you the way you see yourself.

You can do that using some of the methods above.

Dispenza also offers a shortcut: meditation.

Because meditating, as he explains, is “a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviors that you want to change reside.”

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“Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself Quotes”

A memory without the emotional charge is called wisdom. Click To Tweet

We should never wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon; if we do, then we are turning science into another religion. Click To Tweet

Warning: when feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is to act greater than the familiar feelings of the… Click To Tweet

Think of it this way: the input remains the same, so the output has to remain the same. How, then, can you ever create anything new? Click To Tweet

The point is, true happiness has nothing to do with pleasure, because the reliance on feeling good from such intensely stimulating things only moves us further from real joy. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself is a unique way of linking your habits and your happiness with neuroscience and quantum physics. We are not experts enough to know how much of it actually holds water.

But we do know people who are happy with the results of putting in practice some of its advices. So, if you are like us: ignore the science; but try the exercises.

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Girl, Wash Your Face PDF Summary

Girl, Wash Your Face PDF SummaryStop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Ever felt like your self is constantly struggling against a vision of who you ought to be?

Tired of doing that?

Well, Rachel Hollis says: it’s time to get that dirt of other people’s lies off of you!

And it’s time for a total makeover:

Girl, Wash Your Face!

Who Should Read “Girl, Wash Your Face”? And Why?

The world of today is a merciless place.

Whether you are a single mom or a mother of two, an unmarried successful woman in your forties or a married twenty-year-old with no job – you are bound to be judged by those around you.

Why?

Merely because no one lives up to the standards of what being a happy woman means for the world. (That’s right – It’s the Anna Karenina Principle all over again!)

The only conclusion you can deduce from that: it’s not you, but the standards which don’t work.

And this is the main message Girl, Wash Your Face is trying to communicate.

That’s why it’s a necessary reading for all the women out there who feel as if they are battled to the ground on a daily basis by the perfect figures of beauty and success from the unrealistic movies of today.

If you need some inspiration to dream and an encouragement to turn those dreams into reality – then Rachel Hollis is your girl.

About Rachel Hollis

Rachel HollisRachel Hollis is the founder and recurrent blogger for TheChicSite.com, a motivational speaker, and #1 New York Times bestselling author.

A mother of four, Hollis is widely considered one of the world’s leading motivators for women, something which has earned her not only a place on Inc. Magazine’s “Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30” but also the flattering moniker “Tony Robbins for women.”

“Deeply passionate about empowering women in business,” Hollis is famed for her high-energy style and for her ability to inspire and galvanize female audiences.

She is also the CCO of her own company, the Hollis Company, and the author of Girl, Wash Your Face which spent about more than four months on The New York Times bestseller list.

She is currently working on a sequel: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, to be published in March 2019.

“Girl, Wash Your Face PDF Summary”

“Man is the measure of all things,” uttered Protagoras about two and a half millennia ago, “of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.”

In its bare essence, Girl, Wash Your Face is a tell-it-all mediation upon this famous saying. Or, in other words, it is a book about “one great truth”:

You are in control of your own life. You get one and only one chance to live, and life is passing you by. Stop beating yourself up, and dang it, stop letting others do it too. Stop accepting less than you deserve. Stop buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t even really like. Stop eating your feelings instead of working through them. Stop buying your kids’ love with food, or toys, or friendship because it’s easier than parenting. Stop abusing your body and your mind. Stop! Just get off the never-ending track!

Of course, it’s easy to see why you should be in control of your life. The more difficult part is to actually take things in your own hands.

And here’s how you can do it!

Promises and Commitments

The second – and, quite possibly, the best – of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life was to treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

Let’s try that out here, suggests Rachel.

Say you have a friend who you like very much and would love to see her succeed. Let’s call her Pam. Now, Pam has a bizarre habit: she oftentimes makes arrangements with you to only back out of them at the last minute.

And her excuses aren’t that great either.

For example, even though a week ago you two had agreed to go to Paris for the weekend and experience French cuisine at its best, she canceled out on you because she felt that eating ice cream and streaming Netflix shows was much more fun.

The excuse sounds even feebler when you realize that Pam had promised to go on a diet just a month ago. When did she give up on the diet?

If you don’t have that high of an opinion for Pam – join the club: we’re not that impressed with her either.

The twist:

You are Pam.

Because you do to yourself what Pam is doing to you in this hypothetical example on a daily basis. You constantly promise yourself things and make commitments you are unable to keep. “Our words have power,” notes down Rachel, “but our actions shape our lives.”

So, lesson one: keep your promises to yourself the same way you’d keep them if you gave them to someone you really love. Bonus: split them into smaller, more manageable chunks so that the rewarding feeling of accomplishment can encourage you to go onward.

Dreams and Fantasies…

Now, going onward is both lonely and tiring if there isn’t a final destination to your journey, an objective you believe is important enough to reach.

And having an objective, on the other hand, is so essential that sometimes it can spell the difference between life and death.

However, “I want to be the next Oprah” or “I want to marry Matt Damon” are not very good goals.

Take it from Rachel.

It was her fantasy to marry Damon ever since Good Will Hunting. She spent hours and hours dreaming about it, picturing their wedding and their beautiful little kids.

Years later in LA, she happened upon Matt Damon while she was working as an events manager at some Miramax event. He was standing across the room and started approaching her the minute their eyes met.

However, since this is not a romantic comedy, but real life, he didn’t tell her that he has never seen a more beautiful woman in his life.

No.

The only thing he said to her was posing the rather anticlimactic question: “Can you tell me where I’m sitting, please?”

In other words, no matter how much of your time you spend visualizing some things, they will never come true if they are unreal to start with.

…and Actual Objectives and Goals

You need something much more tangible.

If you’re Jim Carrey, it can be a $10 million check; in Rachel Hollis’ case, it was a $10,000 Louis Vuitton Speedy purse.

The thought of owning it was what kept her going: she promised herself that she was going to buy it the first time she charged a client $10,000 in consulting fees.

It took her many years and many checks of $1,000 or $2,500 to get there, but one day she did do it. And the first thing she did afterward: went straight to the store and bought the purse. She claims to have never felt prouder.

Two lessons to take from here.

First, instead of setting yourself an unrealistic objective, set yourself a SMART goal. That stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Secondly – well, scratch the part about time-bound. Be patient with your dreams. Sometimes it may take a week to turn them into reality, sometimes more than a decade. Don’t forget that that’s how long it took Julia Child or James Cameron to come up with Mastering the Art of French Cooking or Avatar.

Home and Family

Rachel Hollis is a mother of four.

And she is also a CCO of her own company, a bestselling author, a blogger, and a motivational speaker.

So how does she do it?

“When it comes to women,” she says on her website, “there always seems to be a question about how we can balance everything. Girl, I don’t even try!”

Put simply: forget everything movies ever taught you. Not only there are no happy endings – but there are also no happy middle parts as well. At least not happy in the way they tell you are going to be.

Balancing between life and work is a myth; it’s something nobody can do it. (Not even Shonda Rhimes!)

So, embrace the chaos and try to find yourself around day by day.

Also, don’t even dare to say “no” when someone is offering a helping hand. The Beatles put this better than anyone: you’ll get by with a little help from your friends.

Body Image

Based on the tone of Rachel Hollis’ ode to self-love so far, you can probably already guess what her advice is going to be here, right?

Just embrace who you are and stop punishing yourself by following Instagram profiles of supermodels and actresses.

Well – not exactly: do stop doing the latter, but don’t do the former!

Because your body is a divine gift and you need to keep it in the best form possible. And because it’s not exactly a question of beauty – it’s a matter of health.

So, you don’t need to care about how you’d look like in a bikini on the beaches of Ibiza; but you do need to take your lifestyle seriously if you experienced problems climbing the stairs that Friday the elevator didn’t work!

That’s not a way to live your life.

Throw out most of your snacks. Start eating some healthy food. Exercise.

Your body will be grateful.

Sex

Also – your sex life as well!

If it is in any way boring – then you’re certainly doing something wrong.

Sex should be about pleasure, and when it is not, there’s no reason for it happening at all. And that’s exactly what Rachel convinced herself at a certain point in her marriage; this turned her sex life around.

Namely, firmly believing that the goal of sex is to experience an orgasm, she told her husband that she would never have sex again without achieving this goal. And since her husband was a thinking man, he agreed.

Now – if we are to believe her – Rachel does have an orgasm every time she has sex.

Some of her tips: start enjoying your naked body; encourage yourself with some positive sex talk; experiment; and when things aren’t going that well – well, power it through!

Even if that means committing yourself to having sex every day for, say, a month. Because, let’s face it: that’s one commitment you should be able to carry through easily.

Key Lessons from “Girl, Wash Your Face”

1.      You Are in Control of Your Own Life
2.      Someone Else’s Opinion of You Is None of Your Business
3.      Compare Yourself Only to Yourself from Yesterday

You Are in Control of Your Own Life

If you need to take only one lesson from this book – take this one:

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.

That’s both a burden and a blessing. Because, on the one hand, it leaves you no room for excuses. But, on the other and more important one, it makes your life a joy and an experiment.

Your own personal, customizable journey.

Someone Else’s Opinion of You Is None of Your Business

We live in a social media-obsessed world, and everybody has something to say about someone.

Most of the time these are not good things. However, more often than not, it is precisely because of these things our lives seem so empty and meaningless.

Why should we?

If something makes us happy, what difference does it make if it doesn’t fit in the conventional narrative of happiness?

Think about it this way: if Picasso or Beethoven did what their surroundings told them to, they wouldn’t have become Picasso and Beethoven.

Compare Yourself Only to Yourself from Yesterday

“Comparison is the death of joy,” notes Rachel Hollis, “and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”

Of course you’re not going to be better than Oprah or Sandra Bullock in a few months’ time. Comparisons such as these can only make you feel unhappy and worthless.

But you can be better than yourself from yesterday – and achieving that will make you feel good and content.

Do that long enough and, who knows: maybe you can become the next Oprah or Sandra Bullock!

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“Girl, Wash Your Face Quotes”

You must choose to be happy, grateful, and fulfilled. If you make that choice every single day, regardless of where you are or what’s happening, you will be happy. Click To Tweet

Friends, it’s not about the goal or the dream you have. It’s about who you become on your way to that goal. Click To Tweet

Your dream is worth fighting for, and while you’re not in control of what life throws at you, you are in control of the fight. Click To Tweet

When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse. Click To Tweet

God has perfect timing, and it's highly possible that by not being where you thought you should be, you will end up exactly where you're meant to go. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Chances are you are not going to find anything new inside Girl, Wash Your Face.

But, somehow, Rachel Hollis has a way of communicating the clichés in a manner that has already reached the hearts and brains of many girls and women worldwide.

So, why shouldn’t it do the same for you as well?

(One note, though: at certain points, the book may sound a bit too Christian and too preachy; so if that’s not your cup of tea – be prepared for digressions of this kind.)

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Year of Yes PDF Summary

Year of Yes PDF SummaryHow to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Are you saying “no” to too many things in your life?

Well, it’s time to change that.

Let Shonda Rhimes help you to kickstart your life-changing “Year of Yes.”

Who Should Read “Year of Yes”? And Why?

Do you like Grey’s Anatomy?

Considering the fact that the show is on TV for about 13 years now, we bet it’s safe to assume that not many would answer that question in the negative.

Well, this is the story of the person behind its success: Shonda Rhimes.

So, if you are a fan of that show, don’t miss this book.

Don’t miss it if you want to be the person behind the next Grey’s Anatomy: there are many lessons here for aspiring TV writers.

However, don’t expect all of them to be encouraging: there’s more to life than being successful. In fact, that’s lesson number one.

About Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Lynn RhimesShonda Rhimes is an American screenwriter and television producer.

She is best known as the creator, writer and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy and its spin-off Private Practice. She is also the creative force behind ABC’s political thriller Scandal.

In 2017, Netflix purchased the streaming rights for Rhimes’ shows and made a multi-year development deal with her, according to which her future productions will be Netflix Original series.

Year of Yes is Rhimes’ only book so far.

“Year of Yes PDF Summary”

Even if you don’t know who Shonda Rhimes is, you certainly know what Shonda Rhimes has so far done. Because she is the creative force (both writer and producer) behind three top-rated TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal.

However, if you think that Year of Yes is a book about success – think again! It’s actually much more a book about happiness. And it’s not so much about what you should do to be happy, but about what you should don’t.

It’s also a highly personal account of how Shonda Rhimes became Shonda Rhimes – and what she would have done differently if she could go back in time. And what she actually did the minute she faced her regrets.

Born in Chicago as the youngest of six children to a college professor (her mother) and a university administrator (her father), Rhimes was (expectedly) an introvert.

Her favorite hobby was playing pretend with food items. She had a habit of hiding in her mother’s pastry and developing stories in which the green beans were ruled by the yams, and the tomatoes plotted an overthrow.

She was, in every sense of the phrase, a storyteller from birth, homo narrans.

Unsurprisingly, after attending Marian Catholic High School, she went on to earn a BA at Dartmouth College in English and film studies.

It was here that she started dabbling in much more serious make-believe games, joining the Black Underground Theater Association and directing numerous student productions. She also acted in some of them, writing fiction in the meantime.

It was the beginning of the 1990s, so it’s only natural that Shonda dreamt of becoming the next Toni Morrison, the first black woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Interestingly enough, after Shonda became Shonda Rhimes, she had the privilege to have dinner with Morrison.

The thing they talked about?

Grey’s Anatomy.

Now, how did that happen?

How does one evolve from just a regular person dreaming a dream to an exceptional one living inside it?

Shonda has pretty straightforward advice:

They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.

I think that’s crap.

I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? They are busy doing.

In other words: dreaming is easy; it’s doing the work necessary to turn that dream into a reality that is difficult.

However, that’s not what Shonda learned during this process of becoming one of the most respected people in the film industry; what she did is actually a much bleaker lesson: that success doesn’t bring you happiness.

In fact, it may be the very opposite: it’s what prevents you from being happy.

For two reasons:

First of all, if you want to be successful in Hollywood, you can’t allow yourself a break; however, if you are a writer, that usually means many solitary sleepless and stressful nights. After all, it’s not like you don’t know that even Muses need to take some rest from time to time.

The second reason is even scarier. Namely, no matter how lonely and insecure you feel, you mustn’t show this before anyone. Because nobody has the time to deal with an anxious person with panic attacks in a world where new episodes must come out each week and new TV shows are constantly created and produced.

Rhimes’ solution?

Well, the obvious one: gobbling up her feelings.

Literally.

And, of course, after she realized that this method gained her some weight, she felt so sad that she had to start eating some more.

You know it: the vicious, vicious circle.

And then, one day, her sister and her publicist all but ordered Shonda to accept an invitation for dinner with then-U.S. President Barack Obama and the First Lady.

Suddenly, Shonda realized that there must be another way. In other words, you can, instead of watching the world go by in front of your very eyes, take participation.

And just like Jim Carrey in Yes Man, she decided to say “yes” to everything.

You may remember 2015 as the year you did nothing in particular, but in Shonda Rhimes’ vocabulary, 2015 was her “Year of Yes.”

The first thing Shonda said “yes” to was her social life.

And this led to a few memorable experiences, such as being photographed by Annie Leibovitz and being interviewed (for the first time) for Good Morning America!

In addition, she organized a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. And she didn’t reject the offers for a friendly hangout by the cast of her shows.

The second thing Shonda said “yes” to was her family.

Rhimes adopted her first child back in 2002, and her second and third in 2012 and 2013. However, before her “Year of Yes,” she didn’t have that much time for Emerson, Beckett, and Harper. In 2015, however, she decided that that’s not a way to live your life.

So, she started saying “yes” every time her daughters would ask her to play with them. And she stopped working during the weekends so that she can dedicate herself fully to her family for at least two days a week.

It wasn’t always like that.

When she adopted her first child, a friend of hers asked her whether she had started interviewing for a nanny. Rhimes was furious: “Why would I want to adopt a child if I plan to make it someone else’s problem?” – she yelled.

However, soon enough she realized that real life doesn’t work the way movies do. In real life, it is quite tricky – and almost impossible – to balance family and work.

In comes Jenny McCarthy.

Though she has written some books about parenting – no, we’re not talking about that Jenny McCarthy.

It’s Shonda Rhimes’ supernanny who, in Rhimes’ words, helped her both realize that it is impossible to do it all and, ironically, actually do it all. (Your friends are an extension of you; and you are an extension of your friends. Never forget that.)

This helped Rhimes feel much more confident and act with much more assertiveness. And it inspired her to say “no” once in a while – when that secretly means saying “yes.”

Because a “no” to self-depreciation is actually a “yes” to compliments. And a “yes” to compliments leads to just the perfect amount of self-love.

And that – as Rupi Kaur points over and over again – is the only valid starting point of love.

Not to mention health, as well!

You see, Shonda Rhimes lost 117 pounds during 2015.

Now, you can say that it’s because of exercising and dieting and you won’t be wrong. However, the real, underlying reason is something else.

A newly discovered capacity for self-love.

Key Lessons from “Year of Yes”

1.      Unhappiness May Be the Price for Success
2.      The FODs and the Bad-Asses
3.      The One Rule of Happiness

Unhappiness May Be the Price for Success

Most people know that happiness and success are intricately related. And they instinctively agree that the former must follow from the latter.

OK, let’s agree with that. So, you can’t be happy if you are not successful. But can consider yourself successful if you are not happy?

As Shonda Rhimes found out during her “Year of Yes” – no, you can’t. And, unfortunately, success may be an obstacle on your road to happiness.

Because you may have to sacrifice many things so that you can become successful. And because, during the process, you may forget that you wanted to be successful only so that you can enjoy those exact same things.

You know – the plotline for every romantic comedy ever.

It turns out it’s much too real.

The FODs and the Bad-Asses

Shonda Rhimes thinks herself a FOD, that is “first, only different.”

How different?

Well, you know: not male, not white, and yet highly successful.

Since she’s a rare kind even today – did luck have anything to do with her success?

“I am not lucky,” answers at one point Shonda Rhimes. “You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way, and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

Other people you can call badasses: Julia Child, Serena Williams, Oprah… Wonder Woman. And Brené Brown.

And, well, you.

If you want to, that is.

The One Rule of Happiness

Remember the Anna Karenina Principle?

If not, maybe the first line of that brilliant Tolstoy novel will refresh your memory: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

In other words, in order to be happy, you need to check all the checkboxes. You can be unhappy, however, if only one (any one: love, friends, family, work, etc.) of the checkboxes is left empty.

Obviously, this explains why it is so much more difficult to be happy. But, what it doesn’t say is how you can be happy.

Shonda Rhimes, however, thinks that, in fact, it does.

Because, if there are so many things that influence our happiness, and if each of us is different – then the only way to happiness is your way.

There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people.

You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize, don’t explain, don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.

And that’s the one rule of happiness: don’t listen to others telling you how you can make yourself happy. It won’t work – because you’re a unique individual. Follow your inner voice should work. Even if that means having no family of your own or being less than successful in your profession.

For some people, happiness is having a coffee with their high school friends once a week. And why shouldn’t it be?

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“Year of Yes Quotes”

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Click To Tweet

’Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need.’ ‘He is very dreamy,’ she says. ‘But he is not the sun. You are.’ Click To Tweet

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change. Click To Tweet

Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one ‘no’ at a time. Click To Tweet

If I don't poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Year of Yes is – to quote a review – “as fun to read as Rhimes’s TV series are to watch.”

So, if you enjoy rapid-fire dialogue, poignant moments, great punchlines and unforgettable life lessons – you’ll enjoy this memoir as well.

Raw and revelatory, Year of Yes is as life-affirming as its title.

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