Tuesdays with Morrie Summary

Tuesdays with Morrie SummaryAn Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson

We featured this book on our list of most inspirational books ever written, and we never got the chance to summarize it for you.

Time to right that wrong.

Join us on a few unforgettable Tuesdays with Morrie.

Who Should Read “Tuesdays with Morrie”? And Why?

As its subtitle suggests, Tuesdays with Morrie is about a relationship between a dying old man and an unhappy young man – a professor and a former student – “and life’s greatest lesson.”

And this lesson covers topics such as love and happiness, marriage and friendships, regrets and loss – and, ultimately, death.

In other words, that’s not a hyperbole in the subtitle: you may, in fact, learn life’s greatest lesson from this book.

And neither are the ones in the following two sentences: everybody should read Tuesdays with Morrie; because Morrie’s lessons can certainly change your life.

Let’s just say it this way: we would have loved to have Morrie as our professor; and, in a way, after finishing this book, we kind of feel like we did.

About Mitch Albom

Mitch AlbomMitch Albom is an American journalist, author, screenwriter, musician, and TV and radio broadcaster.

He made his name as a sports columnist for Detroit Free Press, becoming one of the most award-winning sports journalists of his time. In fact, the Associated Press Sports Editors awarded him best feature writing honors 7 times and named him the nation’s best sports columnist a record 13 times!

His first non-anthology book was simply titled Bo, an autobiography of football coach Bo Schembechler, co-written with him. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller, just like his second book, Fab Five.

However, the real breakthrough for Albom came after Tuesdays with Morrie was published in 1997. One of the bestselling memoirs of all time, the book remained on the New York Times bestselling list for over four years, an unprecedented success for a book of its kind. Unsurprisingly, the book was turned into an eponymous TV movie, the most watched television film of 1999.

Six years after Tuesdays with Morrie, Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven, another resounding success. Once again, it became a television movie in 2004, which, once again, was the most watched TV film of the year.

Five more books followed: For One More Day, Have a Little Faith, The Time Keeper, The First Phone Call from Heaven and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.

Albom has so far founded several charities both in Detroit and Haiti.

Find out more at www.mitchalbom.com and www.saydetroit.org

“Tuesdays with Morrie Summary”

Mitch and Morrie, 1979

Tuesdays with Morrie opens with a college memory.

Mitch Albom, the book’s narrator, tells us what happened after his 1979 graduation from Brandeis University. After receiving his diploma, Mitch gifts his favorite professor Morrie Schwartz a monogrammed briefcase.

It is more than a token of gratitude; it is a token of love and respect. And it comes with a promise: Mitch assures his moved-to-tears professor that he will keep in touch no matter what happens.

Mitch, 1995

Sixteen years later, we find Mitch living a mediocre and unfulfilling life.

But if you think that means that he is some unsuccessful schmuck without a job and someone to care for him – think again. Or, better yet, read his biography above.

If you don’t want to scroll up, then let us tell you what’s happening with Mitch in the year of 1995. In a sentence: he is a 37-year-old well-paid nationwide-famous sports writer with a loving wife (Janine) and a pretty hectic schedule.

Since he’s always on the road on reporting assignments, he doesn’t’ have that much time for his wife; and, even though he has promised her children, he never seems to think it’s the right time to have them.

All in all, he’s living the life you probably dream about until you actually start living it.

Morrie, 1995

And one night, as he is disinterestedly flipping the channels on his TV, Mitch happens upon a show featuring none other than his favorite college professor! It’s a Nightline interview with Ted Koppel – the first of three – and it both astounds and saddens Mitch.

And here’s why:

You see, from the interview, Mitch finds out that Morrie has been diagnosed with ALS, which is short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which, in turn, is a technical term for something more widely known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

If you still don’t know which debilitating disease we have in mind, then it’d suffice to say that we’re talking about the disease Stephen Hawking suffered from.

Let’s make that even more heartbreaking for you: Morrie’s favorite hobby – as he tells Koppel on the Nightline interview – is dancing.

Mitch and Morrie, 1995: The First Meeting

Mitch is overwhelmed with memories and feelings.

Soon, he contacts Morrie and decides to visit him in Boston. More specifically: West Newton, Massachusetts.

Their first meeting?

Well, a bit anticlimactic.

Namely, Mitch delays greeting his professor – i.e., someone who has effectively changed his life with no interest to get anything in return – because of a phone talk with his producer.

He still regrets this. But he regrets nothing since.

Mitch’s Sobering Wimbledon Experience

You see, shortly after Mitch’s first meeting with Morrie – at the time, all but planned to be the last as well – Mitch is sent on a reporting assignment to London. It’s the end of June 1995, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for some Wimbledon action.

However, Mitch can’t stop thinking about Morrie and their first discussion. And, one day, as he is knocked over by a crowd of reporters racing to catch a glimpse of then celebrity couple Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields, he suddenly realizes that he is on the wrong place chasing the wrong thing.

It’s Morrie he needs to be with.

And it’s Morrie he calls the minute he arrives in Detroit and finds out that the newspaper union is on strike and that his report from Wimbledon isn’t even going to get published.

Soon, the arrangement is made: Mitch will return to Morrie’s house every Tuesday until Morrie is able to talk, and they will discuss the things that really matter.

The last lesson. The most important one.

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

Morrie Schwartz, 1916 – 1995

Throughout Mitch and Morrie’s discussions – extending over a period of fourteen Tuesdays – we get a glimpse of both Morrie’s life and their relationship during the college years.

And we learn that life wasn’t that generous to Morrie.

The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, he was a poor, but precocious child. Since his father didn’t know how to read and his brother David was an infant, when he was merely eight years old, Morrie was forced to read aloud the telegram informing the family of his mother’s death.

Morrie’s father, Charlie Schwartz, was incapable of providing him and his younger brother David in no manner whatsoever: neither financially, nor emotionally. Which made the next two years of Morrie’s life a bit hellish.

Finally, his father remarried, this time to a Romanian woman by the name of Eva. Fortunately, she was kind and gentle and managed to provide both Morrie and David with the love and care they desperately needed. Unfortunately, David developed polio at a young age and this left him paralyzed.

Morrie’s father didn’t want David to find out that Eva is not his biological mother, so he forced Morrie to keep this a secret. Morrie would keep the telegram with the news of his mother’s death all his life so as to not forget that his mother existed.

In adulthood, Morrie married an MIT professor named Charlotte, who bore him two sons, Rob and Jon Schwartz. Charlotte caries for him in a compassionate, motherly manner.

It seems as if now, as Morrie is nearing his death, he is becoming a child again. Only this time, he is given the love he wasn’t during his actual infancy.

Mitch as a College Student

Though acting tough, Mitch himself was a tenderhearted young man while at Brandeis University, with a profound capacity to love and a sincere need to be loved.

Even though merely a student of Morrie, Mitch always saw in his professor something of a father figure. And their relationship – as exemplified by the farewell gift – resembled father/son relationship much more than a professor/student one.

In a heartbreaking moment, when Morrie is barely capable of moving – or even breathing – on his own, he confides in Mitch that if he could have another son, he would undoubtedly want that son to be Mitch.

The Main Lesson

An overarching element of Morrie’s lessons is his attempt to encourage Mitch to brave the wilderness inside him and find a unique path of his own:

We’ve got a sort of brainwashing going on in our country, Morrie sighed. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it–and have it repeated to us–over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.

In the eyes of Morrie, the world has gone astray and become just too materialistic. People believe that money and success bring happiness, and they don’t know that when death comes neither of these two matters not one bit.

What does is love and kindness, integrity and compassion.

A life which doesn’t have these as objectives is a life not worth living.

Mitch’s Brother

Inspired by Morrie’s words, Mitch tries his best to restore his relationship with his brother Peter.

Peter is living in Spain and suffers from pancreatic cancer, but doesn’t want compassion or help from his family.

So, Mitch tries to reach him, calling his brother and leaving him numerous messages; the only thing he receives is a short message from Peter stating that he is fine and that he doesn’t want to talk about his disease.

Morrie assures Mitch that his relationship with Peter would eventually be restored; we don’t know if Morrie knew something we don’t, but we do know that after his death, this really happened.

Death Is Not the End

Eventually, Morrie dies.

At his funeral, Mitch recalls promising him that he will never stop talking with him.

Unlike his graduation day promise, this is one that he still keeps. Namely, whenever in trouble or doubt, Mitch Albom conducts a silent discussion with his beloved professor in his head.

To this very day.

It seems that Morrie was right about this as well: “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

Key Lessons from “Tuesdays with Morrie”

1.      Enjoy Your Emotions to the Fullest
2.      Don’t Ever Settle for Substitutes
3.      Love Each Other or Perish

Enjoy Your Emotions to the Fullest

The first time Mitch sees Morrie cries, he feels a bit uncomfortable. “It’s okay to cry,” says Morrie. Soon enough, Mitch learns that he is entirely right.

Because why should you hide from your emotions? If you are sad, why shouldn’t you cry? And if you are in love, why shouldn’t you give all your heart (we’re looking at you, W. B. Yeats)?

These are cathartic experiences and one day, you’ll be unable to do either.

So, open yourself. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.

It may be awkward at first, but it pays off big time in the end!

Don’t Ever Settle for Substitutes

If there’s one thing Morrie is fed up with, it’s modern culture.

“Wherever I went in my life,” he tells Mitch at one point, “I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got?’”

Morrie’s interpretation:

These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.
Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.

Love Each Other or Perish

This is Morrie’s paraphrase of the most famous verse of W. H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939”: “We must love one another or die.”

It’s not exactly a choice is it?

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“Tuesdays with Morrie Quotes”

Accept who you are; and revel in it. Click To Tweet The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live. Click To Tweet I like myself better when I'm with you. Click To Tweet Don't let go too soon, but don't hold on too long. Click To Tweet Don't cling to things because everything is impermanent. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Tuesdays with Morrie has sold almost 15 million copies so far, and has been translated into more than 40 languages. It is widely considered to be one of the bestselling memoirs of all time – if not the bestselling memoir in history.

It has been taught at many schools worldwide, whether American high schools and universities because of its messages or Asian primary schools because of its straightforward, simple writing.

The movie it inspired, the Oprah-produced 1999 ABC feature by the same name, won four Emmy Awards and was the most-watched TV movie of 1999. Starring Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria, the movie (you can watch it in full here) will almost certainly bring a tear or two in your eyes.

But that’s nothing compared to the effect the book may have on you.

We dare you to not cry at the heartbreaking farewell; and we dare you to go on living the same mediocre life you do (yes, believe us, you do) after finishing Tuesdays with Morrie.

It’s a book that stays with you.

A book everybody should read.

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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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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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12 Rules for Life Summary

12 Rules for Life Summary

An Antidote to Chaos

Ready for a dose of Jordan Peterson?

Even if you’re not – here it comes!

Tight-packed in the form of his 12 Rules for Life.

Who Should Read “12 Rules for Life”? And Why?

There’s probably nobody as famous as Jordan Peterson in the intellectual world nowadays.

Which means that each and every one of his moves is carefully inspected by a host of people – both his two million (and counting) active followers and as many criticizers.

12 Rules for Life, however, is a much lighter and less controversial read than we’ve come to expect from Peterson.

It feels as if it is mainly aimed at teenagers and young people who are trying to find their way in life.

If you are one of them, based on many testimonies,

About Jordan Peterson

Jordan PetersonJordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist and cultural critic – quite possibly, “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.”

He studied at the University of Alberta, where he obtained a BA in political science in 1982. After a year off in Europe, he returned to Alberta and received a BA in psychology in 1985.

Six years later, he earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University where he remained as a post-doctoral fellow for the next two years. He then moved to Harvard University, where he became an associate professor of psychology.

He published his first book, Maps of Meaning, in 1999, two decades before he published 12 Rules for Life.

In the meantime, he became an Internet celebrity, propelled by his argumentation against the Canadian government’s Bill C-16.

Find out more at https://jordanbpeterson.com/

“12 Rules for Life Summary”

As Jordan Peterson explains in the Overture to his 12 Rules of Life, this book grew out of one of his most interesting hobbies.

Namely – answering questions posted on Quora.

Well, one time he tried answering the question “What are the most valuable things everyone should know?”

His answer – which then included 40 rules – was, to say the least, quite popular.

As Peterson explains, it “has been viewed by a hundred and twenty thousand people and been upvoted twenty-three hundred times. Only a few hundred of the roughly six hundred thousand questions on Quora have cracked the two-thousand-upvote barrier.”

So, in other words, he had already written this book before he had even started writing it.

To complete it, he just combined some rules and dropped out the redundant ones.

And he came up with the 12 rules for life.

Key Lessons from “12 Rules for Life”

1.      Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back
2.      Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping
3.      Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You
4.      Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else is Today
5.      Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them
6.      Put Your House in Order
7.      Pursue What is Meaningful, Not What is Expedient
8.      Tell the Truth
9.      Assume that the Person You are Listening to Might Know Something You Don’t
10.      Be Precise with Your Speech
11.      Leave Children Alone when They are Skateboarding
12.      Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

Rule 1: Stand Up Straight with Your Shoulders Back

For his first rule, Jordan Peterson casts a cold look upon the nature and the “society” of the lobsters. But you probably already know this, since it has already been made stupendously famous via his debate with Cathy Newman.

The main reason for the analogy: the basic chemistry of a lobster’s brain is not that different from the chemistry of your brain.

And we know for a fact that, after a fight, “a lobster loser’s brain chemistry differs importantly from that of a lobster winner.” And this is “reflected in their relative postures,” which depend on the serotonin/octopamine ratio: more from the former makes you stand up straight and enthuses you with confidence.

Rings a bell?

It should – if it doesn’t.

Because it basically echoes Amy Cuddy’s exceptionally popular TED Talk: “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.

Now, the rule makes much more sense: if octopamine makes you slouch when you’re feeling bad, then stand up straight, and the serotonin wills start flowing:

So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them—at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence.

Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping

We live in a scientific, materialistic world and we are pitifully unaware of the fact that there are different ways to understand it.

However, for most of history (back to, say, Newton), humans understood it in a profoundly different way, i.e., via myths. And myths had the power to give their lives some meaning and orientation.

Now, interestingly enough, the fact that we are aware that the universe has no obligation to make sense to us (Neil deGrasse Tyson) makes us cruel to, well, ourselves.

We are capable of inventing meaning even for our dogs and cats – but we are incapable of doing the same for us. And statistics show this: “People are better at filling and properly administering prescription medication to their pets than to themselves.”

And, as Peterson says, “that’s not good. Even from your pet’s perspective, it’s not good. Your pet (probably) loves you, and would be happier if you took your medication.”

Peterson analyzes the Genesis story in order to find an answer to the question of why we prefer our pets to ourselves. And – after few pages which concentrate on the order/chaos dichotomy – he finds it.

And it is the same Viktor Frankl discovered while going through the Hell of Auschwitz. Namely, the ones who go forward are the ones who have something to go forward to.

He whose life has a why can bear almost any how,” Peterson quotes his favorite philosopher Nietzsche to make his point once again.

How this relates to Peterson’s second rule?

Well, if you believe your life has a Meaning – with a capital M – then you will have to treat yourself as someone who deserves it. And if that’s the case, you will be able to recognize your problems.

And consider them accordingly.

Just like you would your dog’s.

Rule 3: Make Friends with People Who Want the Best for You

A highly personal lesson dipped in Jordan Peterson’s childhood experiences.

And as simple and obvious as a lesson can get: “Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement.

Peterson goes on:

You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. Quite the opposite. You should choose people who want things to be better, not worse. It’s a good thing, not a selfish thing, to choose people who are good for you. It’s appropriate and praiseworthy to associate with people whose lives would be improved if they saw your life improve.

People who don’t want to improve are not exactly people you want to be around with. By definition, they can’t be helped. They will merely drag you down to their level to make themselves feel better, using you as an object instead of a human being (contra Kant).

If you spend your time around them, you are not helping yourself and, thus, you are not helping the world either.

Because the people who don’t want to improve are the same people who will give a cigarette to a former smoker or beer to a former alcoholic.

They don’t want to make the world a better place by improving; they want to make the world a worse place and, thus, simulate improvement.

To hell with them!

Make friends only with people who want the best for you, people you’d easily recommend to others for

Rule 4: Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not to Who Someone Else is Today

We’ve told you before that happiness may be a relative category.

In other words, that how you feel at this moment depends not on how close you are to some definitive state of things (i.e., Happiness with a capital H), but on how better off you feel when compared to those around you.

Regardless of the fact that happiness is not precisely Peterson’s cup of tea – it’s a fact that, for millennia, this may have worked for people in one way or another.

Nowadays, it’s all but a recipe for disaster!

Why?

Because, nowadays, you have the media and the Internet continually feeding you with images and news about the best of the very best.

And it’s only sensible to come to terms with a simple fact: no matter how good you are, there will always be someone better than you out there.

Look at it this way: millions of kids are at the moment playing basketball and dreaming of becoming the next LeBron; only a handful or one or even no one will do that!

What does that leave for the rest of the bunch?

Misery.

That’s why Jordan Peterson advises you to introduce a Copernican revolution inside your existence. It’s time to stop being the object revolving around some objects with a stronger mass; it’s time to become the object around which everything else revolves.

In other words: don’t compare yourself to other people; compare yourself with, well, yourself from yesterday. If you’re better than that guy – then you are on the right track!

Rule 5: Do Not Let Your Children Do Anything that Makes You Dislike Them

Parenting is an art.

And the most artful part about it is learning – and, then, communicating – the rules of it.

It’s only obvious that not everybody can be a good parent. What separates the good from the bad is their capability to guide their children on the road of improvement.

Because children are born into chaos. They learn the rules of life by constantly hitting walls – both literally and metaphorically.

A parent’s job is to organize the metaphorical part of his/her child’s existence in a way which will give it some meaning.

And that, in Peterson’s dictionary, doesn’t mean “happiness.”

After all, a child will always feel a little happier when given a candy; but that doesn’t mean that you should give your child candies all the time.

Your purpose as a parent is to be the superego to your child’s ego: to be the link between the chaos of the child’s world and the order of society.

If a child receives no feedback, then the chaos into which it is born will permeate well into his or her adulthood; and society will punish it, much less mercifully than you.

However, if it receives too much feedback, then the order will limit too much its potential; society will punish that as well.

The lesson here: set clear rules and proper discipline for your children; because if you don’t – society will.

Rule 6: Put Your House in Order

This one of Jordan Peterson’s rules goes back to Voltaire’s Candide.

If you recall, the book ends with a conviction that the only way to counter the evils of this world is by cultivating your own garden. That way, Voltaire believed, you can free yourself of the “three great evils: boredom, vice, and poverty.” And contribute to a better future of everybody.

Jordan Peterson rephrases this thus: put your house in order before you start philosophizing about how we should put the whole world in order.

Don’t blame other people for your own troubles, because, chances are, you haven’t taken advantage of every opportunity coming your way.

“Don’t blame capitalism, the radical left, or the iniquity of your enemies,” Peterson goes on. “Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience. Have some humility. If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city? Let your own soul guide you.”

The actionable lesson: “Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong.

Rule 7: Pursue What is Meaningful, Not What is Expedient

Life is suffering.

Many ancient religions and mythologies have tried articulating that in some of the most famous stories we have inherited from our ancestors.

There is basically no way around it: no matter what happens, one day the people you love will inevitably die; and you will as well.

There’s an easy solution to this problem: hedonism. “Pursue pleasure. Follow your impulses. Live for the moment. Do what’s expedient. Lie, cheat, steal, deceive, manipulate—but don’t get caught. In an ultimately meaningless universe, what possible difference could it make?”

However, there’s also a more difficult answer, one which makes much more sense. Namely, if suffering is real – and no one can deny that – and if it is that painful to live with suffering, then certainly the worst thing you can do is cause someone else’s suffering.

And we know this intuitively: even if we don’t know what is good, says Peterson, we certainly know a priori, what is bad.

Well, Meaning – once again, with a capital M – must be doing good; and doing good is the negation of doing bad.

“If the worst sin is the torment of others, merely for the sake of the suffering produced—then the good is whatever is diametrically opposed to that. The good is whatever stops such things from happening.”

(No, that’s not diametrically opposed to tormenting others, Jordan.)

Rule 8: Tell the Truth

This rule is Jordan Peterson’s gospel to the Truth.

Let us quote its most beautiful part:

To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into Being. Truth builds edifices that can stand a thousand years. Truth feeds and clothes the poor, and makes nations wealthy and safe. Truth reduces the terrible complexity of a man to the simplicity of his word, so that he can become a partner, rather than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly past, and makes the best use of the future’s possibilities. Truth is the ultimate, inexhaustible natural resource. It’s the light in the darkness.

In other words, just like God does at the beginning of John’s Gospel, we too have the power to organize the chaos of the world into something much more tangible.

Lies are only temporary and do service only to those who use them to manipulate. Truths don’t serve anyone per se. They can’t, since they are as they are, regardless of our interests and feelings.

So, they serve the world.

Your duty: “Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.”

Oh, if only it were as easy?

Rule 9: Assume that the Person You are Listening to Might Know Something You Don’t

This one’s pretty much self-explanatory.

If you are merely telling somebody something, then the existence of that person is irrelevant. You might as well be talking to yourself in the mirror.

The problem?

You’ll never get anywhere with that kind of attitude.

For a simple reason: you are sabotaging your own improvement. There’s no way you know as much as you think you do – no matter who you are.

So, why don’t you start learning something from those around you?

Instead of a talker, become a listener; you’ll do your talking later; in the meantime – you may actually learn something.

And this reminds us of one of our favorite movie scenes.

Watch it straight away.

And don’t be a marketing rep; be a human!

Rule 10: Be Precise with Your Speech

Ah, good ol’ Wittgenstein!

If you talk about something you don’t understand, then you are contributing to the Chaos which engulfs the world.

You must, in fact, confront it!

Precision and specificity – just like truth – turn the Chaos into something treatable.

If you don’t know the specific destination you want to reach, there’s no way you’ll ever reach it. And being ambiguous about something is not much different from providing a wrong map for someone and telling him/her that following it will lead him/her to the right location.

Naturally, that will never happen.

Rule 11: Leave Children Alone when They are Skateboarding

Look aide, lefties: this is the part you are definitely not going to like at all!

It starts quite innocently: modern parenting is overprotective. And it is: called helicopter parenting, it risks raising children who are not prepared for life, but protected from it.

So far, so good.

However, according to Jordan Peterson, there’s a difference in what overparenting means for boys and what it means for girls.

Why?

Because boys and girls are different; and because, if not for overparenting, they would develop their sexual differences even more visibly.

So, let them do!

Why should we feminize boys and masculinize girls – when their differences are so natural? After all, “if they’re healthy,” says Peterson, “women don’t want boys. They want men.”

Now, correct us if we’re wrong, but isn’t this somewhat contradictory to Rule 5? We know people who would be ashamed of hearing their sons got expelled from school

How do you know when to put your foot down?

Or is it, unfortunately, not as apparent as Peterson proclaims it to be?

Rule 12: Pet a Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

So, all in all, suffering is an inescapable part of life.

There are two paths you go from here: either you are going to blame the universe, or take the sins of the world upon yourself.

If the former, you are never going to be happy; you’ll become resentful and bitter and a pain to be around with.

If the latter, there are, once again, two paths to choose from: either you are going to be smashed by the burden, or you are going to stand up straight and carry it.

And the best way to deal with your burden: to pet a cat when you encounter one. That is – to enjoy the little beautiful and good things happening all the time around you:

If you pay careful attention, even on a bad day, you may be fortunate enough to be confronted with small opportunities of just that sort. Maybe you will see a little girl dancing on the street because she is all dressed up in a ballet costume. Maybe you will have a particularly good cup of coffee in a café that cares about their customers. Maybe you can steal ten or twenty minutes to do some little ridiculous thing that distracts you or reminds you that you can laugh at the absurdity of existence.

Peterson’s way of dealing with suffering: watching a “Simpsons” episode at 1.5 times regular speed – “all the laughs; two-thirds the time.”

We promise we’ll try that.

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“12 Rules for Life Quotes”

It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you're going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons. Click To Tweet You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself. Click To Tweet ’No tree can grow to Heaven,’ adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, ‘unless its roots reach down to Hell.’ Click To Tweet Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence. Click To Tweet So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life will, undoubtedly, help some; it will also, undoubtedly, irk others.

In our opinion, there’s plenty in the book to justify the behavior of each of these two parties.

Because, unfortunately, as much as Peterson is trying to convince the world in the opposite, language is not precise.

And he’s not exactly telling the truth when he’s saying that his words have only one interpretation.

They have many.

Fortunately, some are encouraging and uplifting.

So read the book because of them.

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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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Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary

Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary

Half a decade ago, James Altucher asked you to choose yourself.

Now, he’s back with another advice:

Reinvent Yourself.”

Who Should Read “Reinvent Yourself”? And Why?

If you have heard anything about James Altucher, you probably already know that he is an incessant experimenter and that he absolutely abhors the idea of 9-to-5 jobs.

“Reinvent Yourself” is for those who share his hate on the latter and want to become the former.

About James Altucher

James AltucherJames Altucher is an American entrepreneur, podcaster, blogger, and bestselling author.

According to his count, he has founded more than 20 companies and has, in addition, invested in at least 30. Many of them have failed, but those which have succeeded have thriven.

Altucher hosts a famous podcast, “The James Altucher Show,” and has authored 18 books, including “Choose Yourself” and “The Rich Employee.”

“Reinvent Yourself PDF Summary”

The only thing constant in the life of James Altucher is, undoubtedly, his hair.

Everything else is flux and change, inventions and reinventions all across the board!

Who knows – T. S. Eliot may have written these beautiful two lines for him and not for some other guy with the initials J. A.: “In a minute there is time/ For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

After imploring you to choose yourself back in 2013, Altucher is now back with an update, telling you to reinvent yourself.

Constantly.

But what does he mean by reinvention?

Well, in his words,

Reinvention is life. This is the call to adventure that constantly whispers to us. Do we answer it? Do we take the call?

The answer, is, of course, a resounding “yes.”

And the way?

Well, start by redefining the word freedom.

Sure, the dictionary will tell you that freedom is “the condition of being free of restraints, especially the ability to act without control or interference by another or by circumstance,” but ask yourself: what does that mean in practice?

Capitalism should have – and, in some sense, it did – brought freedom, but why do you wake up each day at the same time with the same obnoxious alarm sound only to spend the next eight hours working a job you don’t actually like and the remaining few talking about how unhappy it makes you?

We’ll tell you why: because you need to have money to be free.

Which brings us back to Altucher’s main lesson from “Choose Yourself”: if you need money to be free, it’s pointless to earn them by not being free; so, find/choose/invent a job you would like to do!

That way, you’ll both be free while earning money and have money to be even freer afterward! Was it Confucius the one who said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”?

Altucher endorses this.

Next step of reinventing yourself: acquiring the right habits.

According to Altucher,

You are not just the average of the five people around you. You’re the average of the five habits you do, the things you eat, the ideas you have, the content you consume, etc.

The third step on the ladder to a total makeover: improving your relationships.

You are a part of much more than your own life, and this is true for everybody. Meaning: a large part of your happiness and success depends on other people.

In terms of your reinvention, it seems that three are the most important ones: your plus (someone who knows more than you), your equal (your peer), and your minus (someone who knows less).

Which brings us to the fourth, and final, step: your plus should, in fact, be your mentor and finding the right mentors to teach you how to become the person you want to be should become your top priority on your road to reinvention.

In fact, “Reinvent Yourself” doesn’t only include “the ultimate guide to finding a mentor,” but also an explanation of “how to have 1,000 mentors in your life.”

And, of course, numerous pieces of advice from many of them in the following chapters.

For example, Altucher learned from Louis C. K. the Tao of not spending any energy on things you can’t change and the uselessness of saying that you’re bored.

From Picasso and Isaac Asimov he learned that “action is the foundational key to all success” (aka the reason why Picasso produced 50,000 works of art and Asimov wrote 467 books!) and that you should “learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

From Elon Musk he learned that it’s not a bad thing to have all the eggs in one basket – if you can control that basket.

From Malala and Louis Armstrong that suffering can be transcended and turned into something bigger, whether art or cause to fight for

From Albert Einstein – the beauty of what comes after the “I don’t know.”

From Mick Jagger Altucher learned that, in the beginning, you should take every gig and that it takes about 15 years to master something: 3 to study, 2 to start making money, 4 to make a comfortable living and 6 to become a rock star!

And we’ll stop here.

Though there are many more lessons Altucher shares with his readers, whether coming from rappers such as Eminem and Ice Cube, from regular people such as his daughter or a friend’s grandma, or even some acquired through playing poker and chess or watching “Star Wars.”

Needless to say – they are all interesting and useful!

Mentoring at its most entertaining best.

Key Lessons from “Reinvent Yourself”

1.      Reinventing Is All About Four Things
2.      Find Yourself a Plus, a Minus, and an Equal
3.      Reinvent Yourself in Five Years

Reinventing Is All About Four Things

Reinvention is not something you should fear, nor something you should think of in terms of a painfully long and excruciatingly tiring process.

On the contrary, you should try to reinvent yourself constantly.

First, by redefining what the word “freedom” means to you at that specific moment. Then, by acquiring to right habits which should guide you to your imagined end. Thirdly, by improving your relationships. And finally, by finding yourself some great mentors.

Find Yourself a Plus, a Minus, and an Equal

Speaking of finding –

This is a strategy James Altucher borrows from Ryan Holiday’s “Ego Is the Enemy,” where the approach is presented as Frank Shamrock’s system for self-improvement.

It consists of choosing a plus, an equal, and a minus.

The plus is someone who knows more than you – i.e., your mentor; the equal is a peer to constantly challenge yourself against; finally, the minus is a student you can impart your knowledge on.

The goal?

Getting real and continuous feedback.

Reinvent Yourself in Five Years

If you want to reinvent yourself completely, you’ll probably need half a decade.

Use the first year to learn, experiment, and start doing some things. Then, the second year, start doing them on a more regular basis, i.e., each day – while finding some time to network with the right people. The third year you should start making some money.

But only the next – the fourth year – you’ll earn enough to make a good living. If things go well, by the fifth year, you should become a wealthy person by doing the things that you love!

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“Reinvent Yourself Quotes”

Despair = Suffering – Meaning. Click To Tweet Talent is the tiniest of sparks. A spark lights the fire. But you have to feed the fire more fuel to keep it going. Else it dies out. Click To Tweet Don’t be afraid to go silent. Mirror and then have the confidence to go silent. Click To Tweet It’s never too late to do what you love. What you love is always on the shore, waiting for you to arrive, waiting with open arms. Click To Tweet We were put here to try. Nobody will grade us. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

James Altucher is undoubtedly an idea machine, but, truthfully “Reinvent Yourself” isn’t that original – not if you have followed him well enough during the past decade or so.

Even so, it’s still Altucher – “the Oprah of the Internet” – and, moreover, it’s Altucher and his 1,000 mentors.

So, plenty of great minds.

Multiple that by five for the good advice count.

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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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