Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDF Summary

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDFThe Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping

This is not just another book about stress.

In fact, it’s probably the only one you should read.

Since it’s written by a renowned scientist and a brilliant science writer and since it will not only expose many of the other stress-related books as fakes, but it will also offer you science-backed tips on how to control your stress levels.

And since, let’s face it, there’s not another book on the market which actually explains “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.”

Who Should Read “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”? And Why?

Even if it certainly looks that way – trust us – we didn’t oversell “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” in the introduction above.

So, if you feel under a lot of stress and want to understand its origins and learn a few coping mechanisms – this is the book we recommend.

It’s a book we most warmly recommend to anyone who is even remotely curious about human behavioral biology and the inner workings of the human’s body.

About Robert Sapolsky

Robert SapolskyRobert M. Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist, a professor of biology and a widely revered science writer.

Born in 1957 in Brooklyn, New York to Soviet immigrants (hence the surname), Sapolsky obtained a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University, after spending some time in Kenya to study the social behavior of baboons and a few years more working in the lab of noted endocrinologist Bruce McEwan.

Dubbed “one of the best science writers of our time” by none other than Oliver Sacks, Sapolsky has authored seven bestselling books, including “The Trouble with Testosterone,” “A Primate Memoir,” and “Behave.”

He is currently the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor at Stanford University

“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDF Summary”

All animals – humans notwithstanding – possess basically the same stress-response mechanism, grounded in something aptly called the “fight-or-flight syndrome.”

“Aptly” because we practically don’t need to explain it: when in the presence of great physical danger, your only two choices are to either fight back or flee.

Now, if you are a lion attacked by another lion, there’s a good chance that you’ll try not to be a coward; however, if you are a zebra and you happen to notice a lion lurking in your vicinity, well, you better run!

Strangely enough, as far as the biology of the response is concerned, it matters not whether you fight back or flee: in either case, vast amounts of energy are delivered to your muscles, so that you are able to fight or run away.

If you want the response of your body broken down a bit, here’s an explanation of what the fight-or-flight syndrome actually does inside you!

First, your liver and your fat cells release glucose, fats, and simple proteins, and feed the muscles you’re going to need the most during the next few minutes; so, if you are a zebra, you suddenly get super leg muscles!

At the same time, your blood pressure, your breathing rate and your heart rate increase dramatically in an attempt to acquire and send more nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.

Chances are you’re not going to eat anything or have sex with someone while a lion is chasing you down the African savannah, so – in an attempt to conserve all the energy it possibly can – your body shuts down both your digestive and reproductive functions.

What happens next is the most interesting part if you have that misfortune of being a human: the minute the danger passes, the stress-response mechanisms shut down, and everything’s suddenly back to normal, regardless of the fact that you had been in a life-or-death situation just a few moments ago.

And why is this interesting?

Well, because, as Sapolsky notes, even though “zebras and lions may see trouble coming in the next minute and mobilize a stress-response” they “can’t get stressed about events far in the future.”

So, in a way, their fight-or-flight apparatus is finely tuned to their ways of life.

Because as great as it is to have super legs when you’re running for your life, it’s all but pointless to keep having them – and have problems eating and reproducing – even when you’re trying to calmly lie down or graze in the savannah!

And because:

Sustained or repeated stress can disrupt our bodies in seemingly endless ways… Many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused or made far worse by stress.

That’s where we, the humans, come in.

You see, we have – fortunately – developed the very same mechanisms to cope with danger, but we have – unfortunately? – developed a highly complex brain as well!

The result?

We get stressed by a job interview or the taxes, by a tight deadline or an expected visit from our parents – the same way a zebra does when attacked by a lion; and, what’s even worse, we do that not in the immediate presence of this danger, but way in advance of it!

So, basically, we have mastered the art of wasting our body’s energy on the wrong places and at the wrong time while leaving some other parts of us completely bereaved of energy when they need it the most.

Let’s go back to our example with the zebra.

If the stress-response mechanism causes its digestion and reproductive functions to shut down, what do you think it will happen to it if this fight-or-flight syndrome grows into something of a chronic nature?

You’ve guessed it: serious, serious problems!

Now you probably get why zebras can’t get stress-induced ulcers and why men regularly get them!

And you finally understand why you had problems maintaining your erection that night before the interview for that coveted job.

Key Lessons from “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”

1.      Stress-Response Mechanism = Fight-or-Flight Syndrome
2.      How to Treat Stress: Few Practical Bits of Advice
3.      Stress Is Bad… But Let’s Not Stress Out Over It

Stress-Response Mechanism = Fight-or-Flight Syndrome

Humans and animals share the same fight-or-flight mechanism.

In a nutshell, this means that in the presence of great physical danger, our bodies react in much the similar manner: they release vast amounts of energy and direct it to the most important centers at the moment to prepare us to either fight back or flee.

This is basically what stress is.

However, humans react in much the same way even in the absence of danger, namely, even if merely thinking about it.

And that’s very bad.

How to Treat Stress: Few Practical Bits of Advice

Stress can be reduced – but it’s impossible to eliminate it altogether.

There are no magical cures for it, but there are a few things that seem to help:

#1. Exercise: self-explanatory; demonstrated to reduce stress in numerous studies.
#2. Socialization: the more time you spend with friendly people – the right people – the less time your body will think that it needs to fight someone or flee from somebody else.
#3. Predictability: as we explained above, only humans can stress over future events; which is especially dreadful, since sometimes these events don’t happen at all; so, try to establish predictability when you can so that you can prepare your body in advance.
#4. The 80/20 Rule: Be aware that the first 20% of your efforts should reduce about 80% of your stress.
#5. Find an outlet: find something that gets you back to normal; it can be anything depending on the person; in our case, is playing or watching soccer.
#6. Serenity now: OK, that didn’t work that well for Frank Costanza! But something similar worked more than perfect for both the Stoics and the numerous people who know the Serenity Prayer by heart.

Stress Is Bad… But Let’s Not Stress Out Over It

There is a strong relationship between stress and some illnesses and a moderate one in the case of some other diseases.

However, stress is almost always just a part of the equation.

So, please stop giving money to people who say otherwise:

Everything bad in human health now is not caused by stress, nor is it in our power to cure ourselves of all our worst medical nightmares merely by reducing stress and thinking healthy thoughts full of courage and spirit and love. Would it were so. And shame on those who would profit from selling this view.

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“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers Quotes”

Sustained or repeated stress can disrupt our bodies in seemingly endless ways. Click To Tweet

What goes on in your head can affect how well your immune system functions. Click To Tweet

Many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused or made far worse by stress. Click To Tweet

If you’re running 26 miles in a day, you’re either very intent on eating someone or someone’s very intent on eating you. Click To Tweet

Hope for the best and let that dominate most of your emotions, but at the same time let one small piece of you prepare for the worst. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We absolutely adore Robert M. Sapolsky!

So, it’s kind of difficult for us to be objective about any of his books.

We won’t be about this one either: already in its third edition, this is far and away the best book on stress out there!

Sapolsky knows his stuff, and he has a way with both words and images. So, there’s not only plenty you’ll find enjoyable here – but there’s also plenty you’ll never forget.

10/10!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Luis J. Rodriguez

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

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

“Always Running: La Vida Loca PDF Summary”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s never too late

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

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

Find your talent

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

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

Grow daily

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

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

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

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

Our Critical Review

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

Take notes and learn!

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This Is Water PDF Summary

This Is Water PDFSome Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

The world doesn’t revolve around you.

That’s the gist of what David Foster Wallace wants you to never forget.

He explains why in his beautiful 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech “This Is Water.”

Who Should Read “This Is Water”? And Why?

If we are to take these questions literally, then the most appropriate answer – in our opinion – is “nobody because it’s a speech and it was always meant to be one.”

If, however, the question we are to discern from the general title is “who should hear ‘This Is Water,’ and why?” then the answer abruptly changes: “everybody because this speech can change your life.”

Especially if you are young and inexperienced.

David Foster WallaceAbout David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was an American postmodern author, “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last twenty years.”

He attracted attention already with his first novel, “The Broom of the System,” but it was his second novel, “Infinite Jest,” that brought him nationwide fame and made him one of the most revered authors of the modern age.

He left his third novel, “The Pale King,” incomplete; even so, the book was published in 2011 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize the year after.

After struggling for years with depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, on September 12, 2008, Wallace committed suicide at the relatively young age of 46.

“This Is Water PDF Summary”

This Is Water” is a book-length essay which Little, Brown and Company published in April 2009, half a year after David Foster Wallace decided to take his own life.

The book is, basically, an elongated version of the commencement speech the famous author gave on May 21, 2005, to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College.

As opposed to the book which was criticized as being too stretched for its own sake, the commencement speech has been widely praised and was even selected by the “Time” magazine as one of the 10 best commencement speeches in history.

So, we’ve opted to summarize the latter, sharing everybody’s opinion that the book makes the very same points, but in a rather overextended manner, which bereaves quite a few of them of their power.

As for the speech – it can change (and, in fact, has changed) numerous lives. And if you want to, you can hear David Foster Wallace now-poignant delivery of it below:

After greeting the students and congratulating them, Wallace begins his speech with a memorable parable, as he says, “the standard requirement of US commencement speeches”:

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

The point of the fish story,” Wallace quickly points out, “is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

In other words, we are all living in the water we can’t see or don’t know, unaware of its existence, but, still, somehow absolutely confident that our worldview is the correct one.

Well, Wallace says, we are wrong for most of the time.

And it’s the job of a liberal arts education to tell us that we are wrong: not by filling our heads with unnecessary knowledge, but by making us aware of the fact that there is water around us.

Education is not about facts – it’s about humility.

It doesn’t mean knowing when Caesar was born; it means “learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”

Real education teaches us “to be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about [ourselves] and [our] certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that [we] tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”

Educated people are, to put it in a word or so, conscious enough to be alive and infuse some meaning in the ultimately boring and unfulfilling lives almost everybody is doomed to lead.

And these lives are the lives nobody talks about in commencement speeches!

An average adult day isn’t even remotely comparable to the ones promised in self-help books and entrepreneur manuals.

An average adult day means getting up in the morning, going to “your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job,” working hard for eight or ten hours, and ending up so tired and stressed by the end of the day that all you want to do is just have a good supper and “hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again.”

And it gets even worse from there, because there’s a high chance that you don’t have your lunch prepared (because of your busy life) and because this means getting stuck in traffic while going to the supermarket where you end up stuck in the aisle together with numerous people who have experienced the same day as you.

Now, there are two paths you can go from there: you can choose to think that it’s all about you and be angry at everyone or understand that you’re just a little drop in the ocean and that everybody has some problem (or thousand).

Most of the people operate at the former, “default setting,” and don’t even think that there are other people who experience at least the same things as them.

But,” Wallace notes, “if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Wallace’s point is the same the Stoics tried to make over and over again:

The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

So, choose wisely.

Key Lessons from “This Is Water”

1.      Don’t Live by Default
2.      The Real Value of Education: This Is Water
3.      You Get to Decide What to Worship

Don’t Live by Default

Most of us operate at the default setting – namely, automatically. We leave our lives as if robots programmed to feel what we are told we should feel, or (to use Wallace’s parable) fish unaware of the surrounding waters.

The really important kind of freedom,” notes Wallace, “involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

The Real Value of Education: This Is Water

In the opinion of Wallace, “the real value of a real education” has nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with awareness:

…awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: ‘This is water.’ ‘This is water.’ It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.

You Get to Decide What to Worship

In the ultimate scheme of things, your life has no meaning.

But you can give it one, and that’s a most wonderful thing.

Worshipping money, power or physical beauty is pointless because you will never have enough of any of them.

So, simply put, worship something else.

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“This Is Water Quotes”

’Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. Click To Tweet

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. Click To Tweet

The most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about Click To Tweet

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out. Click To Tweet

Capital T-truth is about life before death. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We have summarized two quite famous commencement speeches before: J. K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech of 2008 and Admiral William H. McRaven’s 2014 “Make Your Bed” address at the University of Texas.

We feel that “This Is Water” is better than both: humbler and wiser, more theoretical but ultimately more practical as well, poetical, straight-to-the-point, and exceptionally profound.

Don’t read the book. In fact, don’t read the speech either.

Just hear it once.

Chances are you’ll end up hearing it over and over again.

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Getting the Love You Want PDF Summary

Getting the Love You Want PDFA Guide for Couples

From time to time, we come across the terms such as “attention junkies”; “drama queen” and others; which spread lots of misleading info and concepts when it comes to love.

Building relationships as a process is nothing shorter than a pure brilliance, a real challenge and a quest for those ready to plunge into its fortune-telling elements.

Let’s dive right into Hendrix’s discoveries about love and affection.

Who Should Read “Getting the Love You Want”? And Why?

If you don’t need any love, then you are not alive. Our point is simple, Hendrix unlike other authors in the same realm, likes to mix it up. Facts, theories, and opinions create one comprehensive picture, which serves a higher purpose.

Therefore, we wholeheartedly welcome you to take a peek at this fascinating and eye-opening book (Getting the Love You Want) about love.

About Harville Hendrix

Harville HendrixIt’s shallow and unsatisfying to label Harville Hendrix only as a self-help author, without having to compliment on his unique style.

In other words, he is a real poster boy for providing value to the reader, and able to get into their minds.

“Getting the Love You Want PDF Summary”

Why are we feeling affection toward one person and not the other? As a story that is yet to be told, a mystery that is yet to be unraveled we decide to give an opinion on this question older than time. Finding that special someone is for the most people the backbone of life and a sprinkle of encouragement.

That magical moment, when two souls merge and form a special bond is indescribable because they are no words which contain the actual meaning of this deep connection. Many people valiantly discard the idea of monogamy and assert that falling in love with various profiles of people is equally compelling.

But let’s not skip these phases and move gradually:

Whether you are inclined to endorse the theory of love or not, it’s vital to at least acknowledge the fact that we all dream of finding our other half. The bottom line is the concept of love is not on the same wavelength as the process of building this profound connection.

Is the concept of happy childhood overrated?

Even the most caring and loving parents who endeavor to keep their little angels safe are not able to provide an eternal cover for their offspring. In other words, as much as we try to raise our children in the spirit of tenderness, some external forces tend to teach every one of us about the world fraught with danger.

Don’t let this be a discouragement that keeps you away from finding your way. All the twists and turns in life exist to make you more perceptive of the environment and its elements. For instance, Infants and teenagers have different sets of needs, and accommodating to their necessities is vital for keeping them in high spirits.

Generally speaking, this can be briefly explained in two scenarios:

– If the parents insist on instilling a sense of intrusiveness into the mind of the child, the kid can develop into an isolated individual.

–  If the parent is not omnipresent in the life of the child, the once abandon kid can develop an obsessive need for attention.

The brightness from within

The beauty of sexual evolvement is contained within the idea of visualizing the ideal partner. As a person progresses from one stage to the next, the sexual aspirations grow in its subconscious; a process also referred to as “imago.”

The same phenomenon manifests the concepts and ideals that influenced your emotional and intellectual expansion since an early age.

To put it differently – all the individuals that can fit into this frame represent the potential candidates which you find suitable according to the imago. If the partner you select/choose is a mere reflection of your parents’ attributes, the greater the chances are that you’ll end up receiving the same treatment that your “Guardians” gave you.

If you decide to fly in the face of danger to “overpower” this influence you need to be prepared to face the music. Building a mutually satisfying, love-filled relationship is not a power struggle but a gentle refinement that brings to light your intrinsic quality.

The Road You Should Take

According to Hendrix, couples must abide by specific ground rules to build a strong, conscious and lasting relationship. First and foremost, to sustain this form of partnership the partners must work as one and commit to at least 10-15 therapy sessions.

During that time, they are prompted to define their ideal partner and relationship to emphasize the flaws which are blemishing their perfect imago.

Second, Hendrix likes to pop up a question which arouses a dose of discomfort because it inquires the couple’s methods for bypassing affinity.

In addition, take a look at this activity list which is also the easiest way to avoid a confrontation:

  • Going out with your Friends
  • Watching TV
  • Staying Late
  • Going Fishing
  • Shopping
  • Drinking
  • Overfocusing on the Children
  • Becoming a Workaholic
  • Exercising Too Much

Finding Love

Have you noticed how feelings can change in a heartbeat depending on the situation you are facing? If the love-problem entails massive baggage, it’s normal for the affection to recede at least temporarily.

Couples need to become allies and best friends, not competitors who try to overshadow each other. This healing process is often referred to as reromanticizing.

So, the least you can do is allocate some time to make your partner happy. Start with: making their favorite dinner, or massage – in other words, anything that makes them feel loved and appreciated.

Such actions spark the unconditional love that later blossoms into an internal dialogue and understanding.

Key Lessons from “Getting the Love You Want”

1.      The era of love
2.      Understand the purpose of life
3.      The parents are mostly responsible for the child’s evolvement

The era of love

The first couple of months, when you feel the butterflies in your stomach is basically what you need to preserve.

Treating each other in the same manner can rekindle that fire once more, and spice you’re the relationship on the long haul.

Understand the purpose of life

If you remain with both feet on the ground and rely only on your conscious brain, you may feel how life dissolve naturally in positive energies.

As far as the coupling is concerned, the spiritual growth of both individuals is fueled by the elements deriving from right actions.

The parents are mostly responsible for the child’s evolvement

As the child grows, it develops a thirst for the material world, and maybe find a short fuse instead of warming hearth.

The childhood tendencies can induce a new behavior, which is inflamed or suppressed by the parental norms.  

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“Getting the Love You Want Quotes”

When we were babies, we didn’t smile sweetly at our mothers to get them to take care of us. We didn’t pinpoint our discomfort by putting it into words. We simply opened our mouths and screamed. And it didn’t take us long to learn that,… Click To Tweet Helen and I like to think of two people in a conscious love relationship as companion stars. Each person is a unique individual ablaze with potential. One is just as important as the other, and each has a unique and equally valid view of… Click To Tweet Dr. Hendrix, why do couples have such a hard time staying together?” I thought for a moment and then responded. “I don’t have the foggiest notion. That is a great question and I think I’ll spend the rest of my career trying to find out. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

All things said, all things considered; it’s fair to say that we all learned something today. Whether you are in a serious relationship or not, finding a way to improve your current emotional and mental state is vital.

We pretty much loved every piece of this magnificent masterpiece, and hope you’ll do too.

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Designing Your Life PDF Summary

Designing Your Life PDF SummaryHow to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Everything you see around you has been designed to match somebody’s original vision.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have an idea: why not do the same with your life as well?

They have a manual to help you get started:

Designing Your Life.”

Who Should Read “Designing Your Life”? And Why?

There’s nothing more deadening than a nine-to-five routine in a career you don’t love.

Burnett and Evans’ “Designing Your Life” is a book written specifically for those who are both stuck in it and want to do away with it once and for all.

Dubbed “an inspiring and thought-provoking graduation gift,” “Designing Your Life” is also the perfect book for recent graduates and last-year students.

About Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Bill BurnettBill Burnett is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford and the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford University.

After earning a master’s degree in product design from Stanford University, Burnett led Apple’s Powerbook product line, before coming back to teach at Stanford.

With Evans, he co-founded the Life Design Lab.

Dave EvansDave Evans is an American entrepreneur and design professor.

After a successful career at Apple, he co-founded the famous video game company Electronic Arts, after which he became a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University.

“Designing Your Life” is his only book so far.

“Designing Your Life PDF Summary”

Almost 70 percent of US workers are not satisfied with their jobs.

Moreover, about 30 million Americans aged between 44 and 70 believe that they have made the wrong college choice and, if given an opportunity, would choose differently now.

And now the twist:

75 percent of college graduates don’t really work in a field which bears any resemblance to the subject they majored in!

Even though at first glance the third statistics may seem bad as well, you can consider it your silver lining as well: it means that there’s always a chance to do something differently.

In other words, you can reach your final destination even if your current location isn’t the one you hoped for. You just need to know the direction.

Who cares if it takes you longer: the point is to live the life you always wanted to!

There are four critical areas of your life you need to assess before you embark on your journey:

#1. Health: physical, emotional, mental – they are all important, the basis of everything else!
#2. Work: and it doesn’t matter whether paid or volunteer.
#3. Play: the things you do for the fun of them!
#4. Love: now, do we really need to define love (yes, this one includes your pets as well!)

The goal, of course, is to find a balance between these four areas – one that you will find most suitable to your current interests and future expectations.

Another balance you should pay a lot of attention to is the one between your workview and your lifeview, aka your personal philosophy of what the phrases “good job” and “good life” mean.

Write about 250 words on each so that you have a clear vision of both. And set your compass accordingly.

In other words, don’t take a job which doesn’t fit neatly enough within your lifeview. No matter how much it pays, in time, it will bring you discontent and unhappiness, since it will eventually force you to either reconsider your principles or quit.

Speaking of happiness – don’t forget to keep a Good Time Journal.

This is nothing more but a simple diary documenting not only your experiences but also your reactions to them.

If you feel engaged and focused, underline those activities in green; if you feel bored or unhappy, underline them in red.

But, put in bold, highlight and circle the activities during which you experience full immersion, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to as flow. Some people experience flow while playing football, others when writing; yet, a third group while dancing or making lunch.

It doesn’t matter – once highlighted, these moments will help you realize which things energize you and which things drain your energy.

No need to point out the obvious: once you uncover them, choose the former, thus choosing yourself.

However, what if there are no such things at the moment?

In other words, what if you are all but drained out of all energy and stuck in a career, an environment, a life that seemingly you can’t get out of?

There’s a way out for that as well!

Getting unstuck starts with mind mapping, i.e., making a map of associations stemming from one central idea which should be your final goal.

Say that you want to become a good writer even though you spend most of your day working as a programmer at an obscure bank.

Put “writing” in the center of your mind map and start brainstorming associations, such as “books,” “reading,” “studying,” “free time.” Now jot down secondary associations, like “a room of one’s own,” “silence,” and “library.”

Now, put these ideas into an actionable plan: maybe all you need is a library card and two hours of silence a day to start your project.

After all, many authors managed to write award-winning books while having full-time jobs. How did they do it?

If you want to know more about the best ways to design your life, you can listen to TEDTalks delivered by both of the authors on YouTube.

Here you’ll find Dave Evans’ San Francisco TED Talk.

Below you can watch Bill Burnett’s:

Key Lessons from “Designing Your Life”

1.      Your Life Is Just Another Designer’s Problem
2.      Reframing Your Dysfunctional Beliefs
3.      Develop a Failure Immunity

Your Life Is Just Another Designer’s Problem

Designers constantly deal with problems. Two of them – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – realized that the biggest one of them all has been too rarely addressed in designer’s terms: Life.

In “Designing Your Life” they suggest innovative ways through which you can actually design your life the same way a carpenter designs a cabinet – with a lot of planning and flawless execution.

In their words:

A well-designed life is a life that is generative—it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise. You get out of it more than you put in. There is a lot more than ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ in a well-designed life.

The main philosophy of a life designer boils down to two simple rules:

1. You choose better when you have lots of good ideas to choose from.
2. You never choose your first solution to any problem.

Reframing Your Dysfunctional Beliefs

Possibly nothing hinders your life as much as your dysfunctional beliefs.

The best way to deal with them is by reframing them.

For example, a dysfunctional belief would be that there’s only one person perfect for you on this whole planet.

Reframe this dysfunctional belief (which has probably resulted in numerous heartbreaks so far) into the one which is statistically much more probable: there are “multiple great designs” of your ideal partner, and it’s your job to experiment.

Develop a Failure Immunity

We have mentioned this numerous times: not only failures aren’t that bad, but they are actually great learning experiences.

Just reframing your dysfunctional belief that you must never fail can help you live a far happier life. But if you follow Burnett’s and Evans’ advice, you can do one better!

List all of your failures (experienced and potential) and divide them into three categories: “screw-ups” (e.g., pouring coffee) “weaknesses” (e.g., you can’t drive) and “growth opportunities” (e.g., wrongly allocating the money for your first startup).

The first are trivial and will keep on happening no matter what you do; the former are part of your character and, instead of spending years to correct them, you need to accept them and focus on putting your strengths to work instead.

The third category is the one you should constantly assess, so that you can see what you have learned from your past failures and what you should do to prevent them from happening in the future.

There it is: now you’re failure-immune!

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“Designing Your Life Quotes”

It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you think you are going, what job or career you have had or think you should have. You are not too late, and you’re not too early. Click To Tweet Dysfunctional Belief: Happiness is having it all. Reframe: Happiness is letting go of what you don’t need. Click To Tweet Living coherently doesn't mean everything is in perfect order all the time. It means you are living in alignment with your values and have not sacrificed your integrity along the way. Click To Tweet It’s not hard to imagine that if we added up all the hours spent trying to figure out life, for some of us they would outweigh the hours spent actually living life. Really. Living. Life. Click To Tweet As a life designer, you need to embrace two philosophies: 1. You choose better when you have lots of good ideas to choose from. 2. You never choose your first solution to any problem. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In the words of Daniel Pink, “’Designing Your Life’ walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. You should read the book. Everyone else will.”

And you really should!

Even though it may not be as innovative as Burnett and Evans try to point out, it is, nevertheless, a great manual, combining numerous surefire strategies suggested by similar books and inspiring authors into one comprehensible guidebook on how to finally start living your life.

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When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary

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

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

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

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

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

As such, this book should be relatable to everyone.

And it ought to be read by everyone as well.

About Paul Kalanithi

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

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

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

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

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

“When Breath Becomes Air PDF Summary”

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

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

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

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

Her solution?

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

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

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

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

So, he started a course in biology and neuroscience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I will never leave you,” she replied.

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

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

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

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

And then Paul said something as remarkable as anything:

“Wouldn’t it be great if it did?”

Lucy tells this same story in the clip below.

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

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

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

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

Key Lessons from “When Breath Becomes Air”

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

Paul Kalanithi Was a Remarkable Man

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

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

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

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

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

Life Isn’t About Avoiding Suffering

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

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

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

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“When Breath Becomes Air Quotes”

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

Our Critical Review

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

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

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

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

Not many books can do that.

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

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

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Turning Pro PDF Summary

Turning Pro PDF SummaryTap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

Just because you earn money to do a job doesn’t mean that you are a professional.

But you can become one if you follow Steven Pressfield’s advice.

Turning Pro” has never been easier.

Who Should Read “Turning Pro”? And Why?

It’s there in the title: “Turning Pro” is about everyone who wants to become (and stay) a professional!

If “The War of Art” was all about the why and the how of becoming a professional, “Turning Pro” is about the when and the what if of being one.

True, Pressfield is a writer and writers may profit the most from his advice, but, compared to his previous books, “Turning Pro” is the most generic one, so it can be read as a standalone.

So, dig in!

About Steven Pressfield

Steven PressfieldSteven Pressfield is an American novelist and non-fiction author.

He debuted with the “golf novel” “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which, in 2000, was turned into a successful movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron.

Most of Pressfield’s other novels deal with subjects derived from ancient history: “Gates of Fire” is about the Battle of Thermopylae,” “Tides of War” about the Peloponnesian War, while “The Virtues of War” and “The Afghan Campaign” are both about Alexander the Great’s late conquests.

Pressfield’s debut nonfiction book, “The War of Art” was a huge hit – which inspired us to include it in our list of “6 books that will turn you into a great writer.” “Do the Work” and “Turning Pro” are its follow-ups.

“Turning Pro PDF Summary”

One of the key concepts in analytical psychology – Carl Jung’s idiosyncratic vision of a person’s wholeness – is the shadow, Jung’s attempt to root Freud’s id within our unconscious.

Basically, the shadow is the entirety of the repressed aspects of our personality, the unconscious facets of what we are which are so profoundly internalized that even our ego is unaware of their existence. Even so, helped by the superego, it works hard on eliminating them altogether.

Except, that’s not possible.

The result?

We live one life on the outside, and a completely different life is happening in our unconscious!

Now, in most cases, the shadow is fairly negative: it is the place which contains all our fears and anxieties, the least desirable qualities of our personality.

However, as Jung himself has implied in “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” the shadow can sometimes be the seat of creativity as well: “the dark side of our being, our sinister shadow,” Jung notes, “may represent the true spirit of life as against the one of the arid scholar.”

Pressfield talks a lot about our Shadow Life.

Because, unfortunately, most of us live one.

The Shadow Life is the life of denial and addiction. In a nutshell, it means living the superficial aspects of the life we actually want – and can – live.

To extend on Jung’s note above – while still using Pressfield’s examples – living a shadow life means getting a Ph.D. in Elizabethan studies even though you are actually someone who’s got the writing itch inside you and would much rather write a tragedy or a comedy.

On the addiction’s side, it means drinking and using drugs – aka “living the drugs-and-booze half of the musician’s life” – without ever writing a song!

But it goes beyond art as well: you may be the next Tesla, working in a support capacity for an innovator!

All of these – they are traces of our true calling; but, since mere traces, they are essentially nothing more but a shadow calling.

And when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, that’s what we end up with: pursuing a shadow calling and living a shadow life.

That is the life of the amateur:

Being amateur means being stuck in the past circumstances of your life and never growing up.

The amateur fears to define himself and this fear is what keeps him an amateur.

Whereas an amateur spends his time writing “shadow novels” (in his head) while publishing critical studies of other people’s novels in real-life, the professional says: “I’m a writer” and may even give up on his studies to finally start penning his real-life masterpieces!

The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.

We can never free ourselves from habit. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.

In other words, giving up on your studies doesn’t mean not working – it means working more. That is if you want to be a professional.

And working more is always related to finding the right habits to guide you through the process.

Each and every one of us is a Minotaur: part artist and part addict.

If you want to become a professional, the point is to face your fears, find the thing which makes you an addict, and start pursuing it, thus activating the part of you which is an artist.

The rest is just building a routine around the right habits and enduring.

Key Lessons from “Turning Pro”

1.      Living in the Shadows
2.      Stop Being an Addict
3.      Become a Professional

Living in the Shadows

According to Freud, each of us has an id (our instinctual drives), an ego (an “I” which communicates our id in real-life terms: the reason why you’re not walking naked) and a super-ego (internalized culture and tradition).

Carl Jung added quite a few new agents to this psychic apparatus, all stemming from our unconscious, something Freud completely ignored. One of these agents is the shadow, the repressed aspects of our being.

Whether by longings, addictions, or superficial professions, these repressed aspects of our being try to communicate with us all the time, telling us, in no uncertain terms, that in fact, everything but them is our shadow life.

Stop Being an Addict

Once you face your fears and embrace your shadows, you may finally be able to transform your shadow life into something bigger and more important:

When we turn pro, the energy that once went into the Shadow Novel goes into the real novel. What we once thought was real — “the world,” including its epicenter, ourselves — turns out to be only a shadow. And what had seemed to be only a dream becomes, now, the reality of our lives.

Become a Professional

Being an amateur means living a shadow life.

Being a professional means going beyond that.

It’s usually a thorny path: it means adapting the right habits, working hard, passing through a membrane and giving birth to somebody else.

But it’s the right path because it’s the only one which will result in you finally living the life of the real you.

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“Turning Pro Quotes”

The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow. Click To Tweet To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. Click To Tweet Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It's a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day. Click To Tweet Many artists are addicts, and vice versa. Many are artists in one breath and addicts in another. What's the difference? The addict is the amateur; the artist is the professional. Click To Tweet The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Turning Pro” is not a magic wand which will help you become a professional in the blink of an eye.

In fact, it’s anything but: it’s a book which elucidates that becoming a professional is actually a messy process, which has nothing to do with buying products or taking courses – but everything with changing the state of your mind and embracing your shadows.

Consider it more of a psychological preparatory class in professionalism than a how-to manual.

And since we sincerely believe that only the former are actually possible – we both appreciate Pressfield’s honesty and recommend this book.

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The Daily Stoic PDF Summary

The Daily Stoic PDF Summary

366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

You want to live a happier and more fulfilled life?

Then, please do – with Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman’s “The Daily Stoic.”

There’s a lesson here for every day in the year.

And each of them is timeless.

Who Should Read “The Daily Stoic”? And Why?

You don’t have to be interested in philosophy to read “The Daily Stoic.”

In fact, the goal of the book is to show that the Stoics were the original self-helpers and motivational coaches, and that, moreover, they were far better (because smarter) than their contemporary colleagues.

So, think of this book both as an introduction to Stoicism – if you need one – and as a guide through life – because, let’s face it, we all need one.

About Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

The Daily Stoic PDF SummaryRyan Holiday is an American author, media strategist, and marketer.

After dropping out of college at the age of 19, Holiday went on a successful professional writing career, during which he has so far authored seven bestselling books.

This is the fifth one we have summarized. Check out our other four summaries: “Trust Me, I’m Lying,” “Growth Hacker Marketing,” “The Obstacle Is the Way” and “Ego Is the Enemy.”

Stephen HanselmanStephen Hanselman is a literary agent, bookseller, and publisher.

“The Daily Stoic” is his first book.

“The Daily Stoic PDF Summary”

“Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live,” wrote Seneca once. “Only an ingrate would fail to see that these great architects of venerable thoughts were born for us and have designed a way of life for us.”

In an age when life is understood to be an adventure and when basically every social media site abounds with testimonies that living your life to the fullest means drinking huge amounts of alcohol and taking selfies – it sure seems strange to see this passage quoted as an epigraph to any non-academic book, let alone one which aims to teach you the art of living.

But that’s how “The Daily Stoic,” “a beautiful daily devotional of Stoic meditation,” begins: with a sincere belief that living will always be the end result of thinking about life, and not what happens after you press the pause button of your brain.

But, wait a second!

You want us to believe that only philosophers – aka “no-thank-you-I’d-rather-spend-my-night-reading” nerds – truly live?

I won’t buy that!

Well, you should – because if you stretch that definition a bit, the answer to your question is “yes.”

Just a quick comparison:

Remember that time when you broke the screen on your iPod, and you couldn’t get your act together for the next month or so?

Well, Epictetus – one of the stars of this book – was a slave with a disabled leg and he was supposedly capable of accepting both things, spending most of his life without ever feeling angry or sad.

Fast forward two millennia, and you have William Ernest Henley, a poet with an amputated leg, Nelson Mandela, a prisoner for 27 years, and James Stockdale, a Vietnamese prisoner of war – all surviving through some of the worst things that can happen to anyone in life, by reading Epictetus and the other great Stoic philosophers.

If you want to join their company, then “The Daily Stoic” may be the best book you can find on the market.

No summary will do the book enough justice, since, as we said above, it’s structured as a daily devotional, meaning you should read one page of it per day.

Every single page contains a newly translated quote from some of the most important Stoic philosophers – mainly, the holy triumvirate of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca, but also some lesser-known Stoics such as Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus – along with a commentary provided by the authors.

These are in turn divided into three parts (coinciding with Stoicism’s three critical disciplines):

#1. THE DISCIPLINE OF PERCEPTION

This part refers to how we perceive (and how we should perceive) the world around us.

It contains the first four months of the year, during which you’ll learn how to achieve clarity in your vision (January), how to restrain your passions and emotions (February), and how to be aware (March) and unbiased (April).

Needless to say, the book starts (January 1st) with Stoicism 101, i.e., Epictetus’ dichotomy of control:

The chief task in life is simply this: 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. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…

#2. THE DISCIPLINE OF ACTION

This part is all about how actions should always be taken with the end in sight, as the product of clear and unbiased perception.

In May you’ll learn about right actions, in June about problem-solving, in July about duty and in August everything you need to know about pragmatism.

Here (June 7th) you’ll happen upon Seneca’s brilliant advice from “On the Shortness of Life” concerning role models (aka, why people write and you should read this kind of books):

We like to say that we don’t get to choose our parents, that they were given by chance – yet we can truly choose whose children we’d like to be.

#3. THE DISCIPLINE OF WILL

The Discipline of Will part is dedicated to the problem of “how we deal with the things we cannot change, attain clear and convincing judgment, and come to a true understanding of our place in the world.”

Or, more precisely, to fortitude and resilience (September), virtue and kindness (October), acceptance/amor fati (November) and meditation on mortality (December).

It is in this part that, on October the 3rd, you’ll come across Marcus Aurelius channeling his inner… Martin Luther King Jr.:

Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other — for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance.

All in all, a book you should own.

Because, as Kipling implicitly put it in “If–,“ becoming a Stoic is not that much different from becoming a man.

Over to you!

Key Lessons from “The Daily Stoic”

1.      The Three Stoic Interests
2.      The Three Stoic Disciplines
3.      The Easiest Way to be a Stoic: The Four Fundamental Habits

The Three Stoic Interests

Stoics were interested in only three aspects of philosophy: logic, physics, and ethics.

In fact, they often used the analogy of the fertile field to describe their endeavors.

In the analogy, physics (or Nature) was the field itself with all of the laws governing its existence; logic was the fence protecting the field from outsiders (think: superstitions, false beliefs… khm… alternative facts); finally, ethics was the crop you produce, that is the life you manage to extract out of what you are naturally endowed with.

The Three Stoic Disciplines

Now, in order to extract as much as possible out of life, the Stoics were profoundly interested in mastering three disciplines: the discipline of perception, the discipline of action, and the discipline of will.

The discipline of perception was all about learning to see the world clearly; the discipline of action dealt with the decisions and actions we take – and to what end we take them; finally, attaining a discipline of will meant conquering your fears and doubts by accepting what you can’t change.

The Easiest Way to be a Stoic: The Four Fundamental Habits

These are the four steps to becoming a Stoic:

#1. Learn how to differentiate between what is true and what is not and accept only the former;
#2. Try to harmonize your needs and desires with what you can control;
#3. Embrace that which you can’t;
#4. You are part of humanity: work toward the common good.

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“The Daily Stoic Quotes”

Knowledge—self-knowledge in particular—is freedom. Click To Tweet The more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do. Click To Tweet Pretend that each event—whether desired or unexpected—was willed to happen, willed specifically for you. Click To Tweet Having an end in mind is no guarantee that you’ll reach it—no Stoic would tolerate that assumption—but not having an end in mind is a guarantee you won’t. Click To Tweet Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgment, not your environment. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Daily Stoic” is “The Upper Room” for secularists. So, no reason why – to quote Jack Canfield – you shouldn’t make it “your guide and [start growing] in clarity, effectiveness, and serenity each day!”

In the meantime, check out The Daily Stoic’s website and browse through it for free.

If you find it appealing, then do buy this book.

And grow into a Stoic – day by day.

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

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

Do you want to learn how to become an astronaut?

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

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

It answers both of these questions.

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

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

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

After all, just look at the title.

About Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best possible profession a guy can have.

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

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

But wait: Hadfield has an even better definition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, Hadfield was one of these lucky few.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, channeling his inner Bowie:

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

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

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

Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking

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

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

Can you improve them?

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

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

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

The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism

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

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

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

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

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

The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

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

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

However, Hadfield never gave up.

He just reframed his state of mind:

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

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

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

Our Critical Review

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

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

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

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Make Your Bed PDF Summary

Make Your Bed PDF Summary

Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World

You want to change the world.

Start off by making your bed.

Don’t believe us?

Then, let us rephrase that in the words of a decorated United States Navy admiral:

Make Your Bed!”

Who Should Read “Make Your Bed”? And Why?

In “Make Your Bed” Admiral William H. McRaven shares the 10 most valuable life lessons he learned by being a part of the US military.

As he says himself, they are universally comprehensible and applicable, so it doesn’t matter who you are or whether you like the military or not.

“Change in the world can happen anywhere,” emphasizes McRaven, “and anyone can do it.”

About William H. McRaven

William H. McRavenWilliam H. McRaven is a retired US Navy admiral.

He last served as the commander of the United States Special Operations Command (2011 – 2014), a position he got after serving for three years as the Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (2008 – 2011).

Back in 1995, Spec Ops, the first of the two books he has so far authored was published.

In 2012, he was played by Christopher Stanley in the Academy Award-winning movie chronicling the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty,” and a year later he appeared as himself in the documentary “Dirty Wars.”

“Make Your Bed PDF Summary”

William H. McRaven is 1977 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a decorated United States Navy admiral.

How are these things related between themselves, or, for that matter, to this book?

Well, McRaven retired from the Navy – after more than 37 years of service – on August 28, 2014.

About three months before that, as still the Commander of United States Special Operations Command, he addressed the Class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin.

The commencement speech went viral and has been viewed, in different versions, more than 10 million times.

We link it below.

But, before you watch it, we feel obliged to add a “spoiler alert” tag: it’s basically this book in 20 minutes minus some of the anecdotes and stories:

As you might have already heard (in case you decided to watch McRaven’s speech before going on to read this summary), Admiral McRaven was inspired to share the 10 most valuable lessons he learned as part of the US military by the slogan of his alma mater: “what starts here changes the world.”

The question is – he adds after pointing this out – what the world will look like after it is changed.

So as to make sure that it looks better (of which he has no doubt to start with), he makes ten (once again: universally applicable) suggestions, which, chiseled and polished up a bit, make up the titles of the ten chapters of his book.

So here they are, “the 10 lessons [McRaven] learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.”

Key Lessons from “Make Your Bed”

1.      Start Your Day with a Task Completed
2.      You Can’t Go It Alone
3.      Only the Size of Your Heart Matters
4.      Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!
5.      Failure Can Make You Stronger
6.      You Must Dare Greatly
7.      Stand Up to the Bullies
8.      Rise to the Occasion
9.      Give People Hope
10.      Never, Ever Quit

#1. Start Your Day with a Task Completed

One of the first things you’ll learn if you want to take part of the basic training for being a member of the US Seal team is – the proper way to make your bed.

And that is lesson #1: always start your day by making your bed.

How will that change the world, you ask?

Well, it’s actually not the making of the bed that matters; it’s the discipline you put into it and, more importantly, the fact that, by making your bed, you are starting your day on a high note: already with a task completed.

The bonus: no matter how bad the rest of the day is, you’ll always come home to a made bed.

#2. You Can’t Go It Alone

Even a superhero has a sidekick – and you need plenty of them. To use McRaven’s example: if you want to steer a boat faster, you’ll need to find people to paddle with you.

And if you suffer a near-fatal parachute incident, you’ll need a partner to carry you through the pain and the depression (yes, that actually happened to McRaven):

None of us are immune from life’s tragic moments… It takes a good team of people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.

#3. Only the Size of Your Heart Matters

“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man,” wrote a fairly obscure poet sometime in the early 20th century; “but sooner or later the man who wins/ is the one who thinks he can!”

McRaven has, basically, the same advice: the best team during his Navy training was actually the one who was most often the butt of the jokes on account of the size of its members’ flippers.

But, it’s not the size of the paddles that counts; it’s the size of the heart. The passion and the perseverance.

So, please, don’t judge a book by its cover. Judge it by its content.

#4. Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!

“The universe,” writes Neil deGrasse Tyson, “is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

In other words, there’s a big chance that life is not going to treat you fair.

But blaming your lot on some outside force is both easy and wrong. What’s right is learning how to accept and rise above the unfairness.

“The common people and the great men and women,” concludes McRaven, “are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness.”

#5. Failure Can Make You Stronger

During his SEAL Navy training, McRaven was part of a swimming team which always finished last.

Their punishment?

The Circus, i.e., an endurance test which has made many cadets give up.

However, in the case of McRaven, the failure to win the swimming races only made him stronger: for the graduation test, he was part of the winning team.

So, keep calm – and fail forward.

#6. You Must Dare Greatly

Don’t be afraid to take risks:

Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment, will never achieve their potential.  Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.

#7. Stand Up to the Bullies

As part of their training, McRaven and his teammate were once commanded to swim four miles through potentially shark-infested waters. Refusing the task meant not completing the SEAL training.

So, as afraid as they were, they didn’t.

The lesson?

You’ll encounter many sharks – whether bullies or personal fears – on your path to greatness.

Stand up to them.

#8. Rise to the Occasion

Sometimes it’s inevitable that you’ll lose a loved one.

Unfortunately, no amount of shouting and screaming, no amount of sulking or depression, will ever change that.

Being a soldier, McRaven has learned this the hard way.

What you’re left with is to rise to the challenge and endure.

#9. Give People Hope

Sometimes, all it takes is just a little pat on the shoulder.

Or a song.

For example, during McRaven’s Hell Week (the dreaded seven-day endurance test which makes or breaks a SEAL), one of the guys was about to call it quits, when another started singing a song.

Soon, everybody joined in.

And even though it was past midnight and they were all covered in cold mud, somehow, they felt a bit more hopeful.

And they persevered!

#10. Never, Ever Quit

Don’t give up!

If a Navy SEAL who has lost both legs can find some meaning in life, certainly you can too, no matter how bad your day is.

No matter what happens, it’s your job to be unbroken.

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“Make Your Bed Quotes”

Without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life. Click To Tweet True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision. Click To Tweet In life, you will face a lot of Circuses. You will pay for your failures. But, if you persevere, if you let those failures teach you and strengthen you, then you will be prepared to handle life’s toughest moments. Click To Tweet I realized that past failures had strengthened me, taught me that no one is immune from mistakes. Click To Tweet Hope is the most powerful force in the universe. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Though certainly not groundbreaking (far from it), “Make Your Bed” is as inspirational as is William McRaven’s brilliant commencement speech.

Meaning: it’s one of those books you just can’t buy only one copy of.

Take our word for it: we’ve given at least six of them as gifts.

And had we known you personally, we probably would have gifted one to you as well.

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