What to Say When You Talk to Yourself PDF Summary

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself PDF SummaryWell, this is not a problem Shad is addressing but an everyday reality.

Either consciously or unconsciously we all indulge in self-chat and puzzle over a wide variety of things in our moments of wasted time.

This book tries to ascertain the real prowess of this phenomenon and how we can capitalize on it.

Let’s roll!

Who Should Read “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself”? And Why?

If you prefer to play on the safe side, you are probably inclined to agree that a daily dose of motivation is all it takes to come out victorious. But, why then so few people manage to break the ice?

Only those whose lives are perfectly aligned with their inner needs can be exempted from reading this amazing masterpiece.

To put it differently, we believe that flipping through the pages of “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” would be beneficial.

Shad HelmstetterAbout Shad Helmstetter

Shad Helmstetter is a renowned author and a self-development figure whose methods are unconventional.

A life-coach, who explains the mind-programming in need of a complete overhaul.

He is also the author of The Selftalk Solution; Who Are You Really, and What Do You Want?; Selftalk for Weightloss; Network of Champions.

“What to Say When You Talk to Yourself PDF Summary”

Chapters 1-5 — Setting Up a Plan

Frequently, we have been told that we can achieve anything we crave for if we put up the necessary effort. Nonetheless, in practicality, the people sharing these tips don’t have the credibility since no one has rolled out the red carpet before them.

In all honesty, they love the glamour and limelight as much as the next person. Why then we fail in reaching our goals, or making things work the way we want it to be?

The everyday life which takes most of our energy and engrossed us entirely is the biggest bottleneck one can come across against.

The answer to this struggle is almost always right underneath your nose, but we tend to overshoot the destination. After being engaged in constant learning, you’ll find out the unvarnished truth regarding the process of exceeding your expectations.

Shad talks about his path to becoming a real goal-setter and achiever.  

Are you ready for the bitter truth?

Top-notch behavioral analyzers and researchers have uncovered that the lion’s share (70%) of the inner phenomena is comprised of negative sensations. To spice things up, it’s also brought to light by doctors alike that most of the illnesses are self-induced.

Wow, that’s a revelation!

Since the old programming of the mind is the “engine” which controls and cultivates the habits, you should zoom in on the practices you apply to your life.

The author ponders about the probability of maintaining high-intensity which could lead to full reformation, inwardly. So why then, we fail to establish good habits, even though we’ve read dozens of self-help books and exerted ourselves in following those ground rules?

A general rule of thumb is that self-improvement is an endless process, not an overnight sensation.

It stands to reason why most people just go back to their previous lifestyle and abandon the idea of alteration.

To make up for this loss, Shad pinpoints three key elements omitted from self-development literature:

  • Permanence
  • Knowledge of the brain functions
  • The idea of developing a specific programming vocabulary

Chapters 6-10 – Self Management

Can we find a single soul on this planet who doesn’t indulge in self-talk? Well, that’s on the same wavelength as saying – let’s find a person who doesn’t need oxygen. The emotional expression can either be put into words, pictures, thoughts and we all one way or the other rely upon the mind to make decisions.

So, the answer to that question is – No!

With that being said – a thought doesn’t have any real power until you pour belief into it. In other words, ideas and concepts mean nothing without the person to inflict judgment and ruminate on something.

Years and years of researching and exploring have led the author into noticing that most of the self-talk falls into the unconscious realm. It means that people do it out of habit, and are not keenly aware of the sensations that emerge.

If you go back a little bit and reminisce about the dreams that you once had and the craftiness you possessed but didn’t follow that intuition – you’ll find out that most of the self-talk is negative.

You could have turned them into a real-life experience, but something insurmountable cropped up!

THE FIVE STEPS THAT CONTROL OUR SUCCESS OR FAILURE

  • Behavior
  • Feelings
  • Attitudes
  • Beliefs
  • Programming

How can we define Self-Talk?

Self-Talk is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions.

The Five Levels of Self-Talk

  • The Level of Negative Acceptance
  • The Level of Recognition and Need to Change
  • The Level of Decision to Change
  • The Level of The Better You
  • The Level of Universal Affirmation

In the last chapter, the author focuses on the pros and cons of the positive-thinking rhetoric. As a rarely criticized concept, the author is curious regarding its practical nature.

Is it just a good theory, or is it applicable in day-to-day encounters?

Shad cast doubt on the idea of developing a mindset which can subdue the urge to produce negative thoughts – forever. For precise the same reason, leaning on the notion of developing into a positive-thinker is short-lived.

The human mind wants ACTIONS, WORDS, COMMANDS, not some commercialized belief-system that a large chunk of the population nurtures.

Chapters 11-15 – New Attitude

Shad starts by attempting to unpuzzle the myth of motivation. He makes it crystal clear that there are different kinds of motivations and motivators most of whom have an audience of anxious listeners whose life has turned upside down, and he/she is ready to wave its wand and make all the sorrow disappear.

It’s all done energetically so that once a person leaves that collective magnetism would feel psyched up to beat the odds! Even companies endorse the same attitude when trying to motivate their colleagues and conclude businesses.

EXTERNAL MOTIVATION IS TEMPORARY!

If you don’t want to be led astray and want to avoid veering off course, then you have to understand that you need an internal shift.

Corporate executives and managers should heed these warning indicators. If at some point, you felt like your motivational speech didn’t have the effect you were hoping for, you should understand that external motivation is not linked to permanency.

Many people confuse this part with hypnosis. Although they pretty much share the same features, hypnosis helps you enter a “trance” state, while Self-Talk guides you through the process of achieving your goals, consciously.

When it comes to practical use, you should know that an overly complex system that requires much time, energy will never be put into use!

Advocate for simplicity, and you’ll immediately see the positive change. Also, it is critical to understand the possibilities regarding self-talk:

  • SILENT SELF-TALK – The concealed chatter
  • SELF-SPEAK – Anything you say out loud
  • SELF-CONVERSATION – Anything you say out loud while holding both ends of the conversation
  • SELF-WRITE – This one is self-explanatory
  • TAPE-TALK – Listen to your thoughts on a recording device

Chapters 16-20 – Lean towards Problem-Solving

Self-Talk can be further subdivided into four categories:

  • Habit-Changing
  • Attitude-Building
  • Motivational
  • Situational Self-Talk

State your goal in the present tense and remain persistent! The subconscious mind is not sure whether your statement is true or false, therefore, you should always insist on telling it to act upon that energy.

I always do everything I need to do when I need to do it. I never argue or let my emotions work against me. I don’t smoke! I have a good memory.

I easily and automatically remember any name or anything that is important to me. I eat only what I should.

I am a good listener-I hear everything that is I am attentive, interested, and aware of everything that is going on around me.

Try to get as specific as possible, and that will help you change your attitude. Your attitude will determine the outcome; it’s that simple. You should also bear in mind that attitude has a critical role in the portrayal of yourself!

As we progress throughout this book, you also start to get the big picture and act upon given instructions. This is the essence of problem solving and accomplishment.

Also, don’t misuse the term “goal” and try to be as consistent as possible. Once your projections are in tune with the reality, it will be easier to conquer the world.

Chapters 21-23 – Self-talk and Its Effects

The last three chapters revolve around the idea of spearheading a campaign that will enable you to create your own self-talk.

Emphasize honesty and try not to embellish your daily encounters. Keep it real and loud by knowing your current standings.

Example: Today has been a tough day.

We also advise you to run through the Self-Talk checklist to see whether you are moving in the right direction:

  • Is your self-talk stated in the present tense?
  • Is it specific?
  • Does it get the job done without creating any unwanted side effects?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Is it practical?
  • Is it personal and is it honest?
  • Does your self-talk ask enough of you?

The author highlights the following statement:

You are everything there is,
Your thoughts, your life, your dreams come true.
You are everything you choose to be.
You are unlimited as the endless universe.

Key Lessons from “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself”

1.      The truth behind “I can do it” mentality
2.      Find out what really works
3.      Educate yourself and dive deep into your unconscious tendencies

The truth behind “I can do it” mentality

Ask yourself, can a 75 year-old-man from Texas beat Usain Bolt in 100-meters race? Don’t care who your motivational speaker is, the truth is that not everything is possible.

Genetics, culture, environment, financial and physical capabilities – all of these can affect the outcome.

Make smart moves, and you can end up exceeding your expectations.

But believing that a 45-year-old dude who has never been a basketball player, can defeat Lebron James in one-on-one game is crazy.  

Find out what really works

Shad merely implies that an internal shift is 100x more powerful than millions of external motivational boosts.

They wield no real power, and you should not lean on them for overcoming temporary setbacks.

Educate yourself and dive deep into your unconscious tendencies

Read, ponder, and puzzle over concepts engrained deep inside you.

Don’t allow your shallowness to stand in the way of full victory in terms of achieving your goals.

That is the essence of prosperity.

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“What to Say When You Talk to Yourself Quotes”

The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice. Click To Tweet A lot of people have lived richer lives because someone who cared took the time to listen. Click To Tweet Give life to your dreams, give strength to your visions, and give light to your path. Click To Tweet You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming—what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself. Click To Tweet The more you think about yourself in a certain way, the more you will think about yourself in that same certain way! Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Well, it is good to something that questions the concepts which are overly commercialized – such as a positive mindset.

It’s of enormous importance to have someone who fears not in letting the cat out of the bag!

Shad Helmstetter gives us the lowdown on how self-talk affects our decision-making, and how we can make use of it!

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The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF Summary

The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF SummaryA Study in Human Nature

Science and religion haven’t been exactly on speaking terms for most of history.

America’s great philosopher and first psychology teacher William James attempted to mend that.

And he did it best in one of the earliest books exploring the psychological nature of religion:

The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Who Should Read “The Varieties of Religious Experience”? And Why?

Regardless of whether you’re a religious person or not, one thing that should be more than clear to you is the fact that religious experiences exist.

It helps nobody if we shelf all of them under the same category – say, meetings with the divine or acts of manipulations.

That’s why James’ Verities of Religious Experiences is such an essential work in the history of science. The American philosopher is almost utterly disinterested in the legitimacy of religious experiences.

What he is interested in, however, is much more important: whether religious experiences can tell us more about the human condition here, on earth.

That’s why we warmly recommend this book to both believers and non-believers: it takes into account both positions, and it analyzes religious experiences in an objective, descriptive manner.

About William James

William JamesWilliam James was one of the most influential American philosophers and psychologists, justly considered “The Originator of Pragmatism” (with Charles Saunders Pierce) and “The Father of American Psychology.”

Born into a wealthy intellectual family – his brother was the novelist Henry James – William James trained as a physician and even taught anatomy at Harvard; however, he was never interested in practicing medicine, and he quickly reoriented toward the field of psychology and then philosophy.

James’ writings have influenced a number of prominent 20th-century intellectuals, from Husserl and Du Bois to Russell and Wittgenstein.

His books, Essays in Radical Empiricism, The Principles of Psychology, and the Varieties of Religious Experience, are considered not only groundbreaking texts in each of their respective fields but also indelible parts of the Western Canon.

“The Varieties of Religious Experience PDF Summary”

The Varieties of Religious Experience consists of William James’ Gifford Lectures on natural theology, which he delivered at the University of Edinburgh during the first three years of the 20th century.

There were originally twenty of them, but the book has a few chapters less than that number since it groups those which explored similar topics.

Lecture I. Religion and Neurology

“Religion and Neurology” describes the methodology of James’ study.

Just so that no one should make a mistake, he states straight from the outset:

I am neither a theologian, nor a scholar learned in the history of religions, nor an anthropologist. Psychology is the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed. To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution. It would seem, therefore, as a psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to a descriptive survey of those religious propensities.

And then he proceeds to explain that it seems much more interesting to him to explore the world of the “religious geniuses,” i.e., those people who have experienced religious visions dissimilar to those passed on through orthodox traditions.

In other words, the Einsteins of religious experiences.

Lecture II. Circumscription of the Topic

“Circumscription” is a rather archaic word which means “restriction” or “limit.”

And that’s what James tries to set in the second lecture.

Mostly, he says, he is interested in personal religious experiences, since corporate ones are usually – if not always – the product of personal ideas and conversions.

Put simply, Christianity exists because of Jesus, Islam because of Muhammed; so, the only religious experiences worth analyzing are those of Jesus and Muhammed.

And even more interesting than Jesus and Muhammed may be the creators of sects within these religions – say, George Fox who founded the Quaker religion.

What drove them to do it?

Lecture III. The Reality of the Unseen

“Vague impressions of something indefinable have no place in the rationalistic system,” writes William James in this chapter.

“Nevertheless,” he immediately adds giving an apology for his interest in religious experiences, “if we look on man’s whole mental life as it exists, on the life of men that lies in them apart from their learning and science, and that they inwardly and privately follow, we have to confess that the part of it of which rationalism can give an account is relatively superficial.”

It is the part that has the prestige undoubtedly, for it has the loquacity, it can challenge you for proofs, and chop logic, and put you down with words… Your whole subconscious life, your impulses, your faiths, your needs, your divinations, have prepared the premises, of which your consciousness now feels the weight of the result; and something in you absolutely knows that that result must be truer than any logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may contradict it.

Lectures IV and V. The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness

The fourth and fifth James’ Gifford lecture are grouped under the same title: “The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness.”

Interestingly enough, in retrospect, what James is talking about in this chapter – terming it America’s principal contribution to religion – is actually what we should nowadays call it positive thinking.

Finding its origins in Emerson, Whitman and Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science, James calls this “the religion of healthy-mindedness,” or “the religion of the mind-cure.”

In the case of these people, James thinks, the religious experience is the product of happiness and an optimistic outlook; they don’t believe in evil and bad things since both of them can be neutralized through a positive attitude.

These are the once-born, the people who can live a life of sustained happiness; they don’t need a religion different than optimism.

Lectures VI and VII. The Sick Soul

However, there’s also another group, a group of people whose souls are sick from birth, since, unlike the once-born, they believe that the world is fundamentally evil.

These are the morbid-minded people.

Unfortunately, in the eyes of James, “morbid-mindedness ranges over the wider scale of experience,” since many people suffer on a daily basis and the healthy-minded are all but incapable for prolonged suffering.

So that these morbid-minded people can experience happiness, they need to be born a second time; this is why James calls their religious experiences, the religious experiences of the twice-born.

To these people, finding religion means finally finding a cure for unhappiness.

Lecture VIII. The Divided Self, and the Process of Its Unification

So, in a way, religion is a way for the morbid-minded individual to restore the condition of his healthy-mindedness.

This can be done through some sort of a “conversion experience” – see below – which can happen either abruptly (as in the case of St Paul) or through a gradual process of discovery (as in the case of Leo Tolstoy and John Bunyan).

“But neither Bunyan nor Tolstoy,” notes James beautifully, “could become what we have called healthy-minded. They had drunk too deeply of the cup of bitterness ever to forget its taste, and their redemption is into a universe two stories deep.”

In both of them, “the sadness was preserved as a minor ingredient in the heart of the faith by which it was overcome.”

However, what interests James “is that as a matter of fact they could and did find something welling up in the inner reaches of their consciousness, by which such extreme sadness could be overcome.”

Lecture IX and X. Conversion

In lectures nine and ten, James spends some time discussing the nature and the effects of religious conversion.

For some reason, he says, religion gives people the power and the impetus to change their habits and even their character.

In some cases, religious conversions result in a profound change affecting the core being of an individual.

“There are persons in whom,” writes James, “quite independently of any exhaustion in the Subject’s capacity for feeling, or even in the absence of any acute previous feeling, the higher condition, having reached the due degree of energy, bursts through all barriers and sweeps in like a sudden flood.”

He notes that “these are the most striking and memorable cases, the cases of instantaneous conversion to which the conception of divine grace has been most peculiarly attached.”

Lectures XI to XV. Saintliness and the Value of Saintliness

Then James moves on to the topic of saintliness which he explores in the next five chapters.

He uses the first two to define saintly people as those whose “spiritual emotions are the habitual center of the personal energy.”

According to James, saintliness includes four traits which lead to four practical consequences.

The four traits of saintliness are these:

#1. “A feeling of being in a wider life than that of this world’s selfish little interests; and a conviction … of the existence of an Ideal Power.”
#2. “A sense of the friendly continuity of the ideal power with our own life, and a willing self-surrender to its control.”
#3. “An immense elation and freedom, as the outlines of the confining selfhood melt down.”
#4. “A shifting of the emotional center towards loving and harmonious affections, towards ‘yes, yes’ and away from ‘no,’ where the claims of the non-ego are concerned.”

And the practical consequences of these four traits are the following:

#1. Asceticism: experiencing pleasure in self-sacrifice;
#2. Strength of soul: since fear and anxieties make room for “blissful equanimity,” a saintly person can endure everything and become a martyr. “Come heaven, come hell, it makes no difference now!”
#3. Purity: being sensitive to your own purity means trying willingly to stay away from the impurities of the world, which is often its material nature;
#4. Charity: tenderness for fellow-creatures; “the saint loves his enemies, and treats loathsome beggars as his brothers.”

Lectures XVI And XVII. Mysticism

In the next two lectures – and, in a way, the final two proper lectures of this series – William James explores the concept of mysticism. And he extrapolates “four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify us in calling it mystical”:

#1. Ineffability: no mystical experience can be adequately put into words; it defies expression;
#2. Noetic quality: all mystical experiences are “states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect;” even though inarticulate, they give the mind power of a kind which the person who goes through a mystical experience considers it revelatory;
#3. Transiency: most mystical experiences are transient and can’t be sustained for long;
#4. Passivity: the mystic often feels “as if he were grasped and held by a superior power;” he is being overcome by something else.

The first two of these four qualities of the mystical experiences are general: all mystical experiences have them; however, the second two are subsidiary features found often, but not always, in cases such as these.

Lecture XVIII. Philosophy

In this lecture, William James tries to explain why it is so difficult to talk about religious experiences in philosophical language.

Of course, the answer is simple: the former is illogical, and the latter follows the laws of logic by definition.

However, there’s a catch!

“I do believe,” writes James, “that feeling is the deeper source of religion, and that philosophic and theological formulas are secondary products, like translations of a text into another tongue.”

This whole lecture is an explanation of that sentence.

Lecture XIX. Other Characteristics

In the penultimate lecture, James skims through some “other characteristics” of the religious experiences.

The three topics covered here are institutional religion, prayers, and the relationship between religion and the subconscious.

James doesn’t hold organized religion in high regard since it doesn’t give enough room for personal religious experiences – which is what it was born out of.

Prayers are then analyzed both historically and pragmatically, as is the relationship between religion and the subconscious, leaving room for the interpretation of at least some religious experiences as products of psychopathological conditions.

Lecture XX. Conclusions

In his final lecture, William James continues this discussion of the subconscious, presenting it as a channel through which “the further limits of our being plunge… into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely ‘understandable’ world.”

It is because of this that further studies in the realm of the subconscious are necessary.

They, in the eyes of James, should be able to reveal to us a sounder basis for scientific exploration of the religious experience.

For now, it is our duty to not dismiss it as something inherently unscientific because it has helped many people become both happier and smarter.

Key Lessons from “The Varieties of Religious Experience”

1.      Healthy-Mindedness and Morbid-Mindedness
2.      Saintliness: Traits and Effects
3.      The Four Marks of a Mystical Experience

Healthy-Mindedness and Morbid-Mindedness

Some people are born healthy-minded, and others are born morbid-minded; the former are capable of sustaining happiness, the latter think that they are doomed to suffer through life.

Positive thinking is, more or less, the only religion the first group of people needs; however, the second can only become healthy-minded trough some sort of religious conversion.

That’s why William James calls the former “the once-born” and the latter “the twice-born.”

Saintliness: Traits and Effects

There are four traits which describe a saintly person and which lead to four different practical effects.

The traits in question are: a feeling that the world is more than what we can see; a sense that there is an Ideal Power which exists in you as well; an immense elation and freedom; and a shifting from a no-state to a yes-state of being.

These four traits lead to four practical consequences: asceticism, strength of soul, purity, and charity.

The Four Marks of a Mystical Experience

Just like saintliness, mysticism can also be defined within the limits of four qualities.

These are: ineffability, noetic quality, transiency, and passivity.

The first two are general and describe all mystical experiences; the latter two can often be found in them, but are sometimes absent and are subsidiary.

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“The Varieties of Religious Experience Quotes”

Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile. Click To Tweet Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another. Click To Tweet I am no lover of disorder and doubt as such. Rather I fear to lose truth by the pretension to possess it already wholly. Click To Tweet There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other. Click To Tweet The lunatic's visions of horror are all drawn from the material of daily fact. Our civilization is founded on the shambles, and every individual existence goes out in a lonely spasm of helpless agony. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The Varieties of Religious Experience may be a bit outdated, and some of its ideas may seem somewhat dangerous; after all, Mussolini said that it was this book which taught him that “an action should be judged by its result rather than by its doctrinal basis.”

Even so, it is a book which – as James’ fellow pragmatist Pierce said – penetrates deep into the hearts of people; and it will undoubtedly be debated for many years to come. Just as it has been for over a century now.

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Good and Mad PDF Summary

Good and Mad PDF SummaryThe Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

Wondering about the origins of the #MeToo movement?

Well, it’s time to learn something about the history of women’s anger and why that’s the place where girl power sits!

Dear ladies – and gentlemen in the all but forgotten, literal sense of that word – we present you the summary of Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad!

Who Should Read “Good and Mad”? And Why?

Regardless of some people’s claims, in the intellectual world, it is not exactly debatable whether women have been the second sex for millennia; and whether some kind of bad form of gender inequality still exists.

So, all of you women who want to change that, this is one of the best books on the subject; and all of you men who can’t seem to understand it, please, first read all about its history in Good and Mad.

After all, nothing comes out of nothing.

Why should the #MeToo movement or feminism be any different?

About Rebecca Traister

Rebecca TraisterRebecca Traister is an American writer, mostly interested in the topics of women’s rights and politics; according to American writer Anne Lamott, she may be ”the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country.”

She debuted in 2010 with Big Girls Don’t Cry in which she attempted to understand and analyze the reinvigoration of the women’s movement in the USA due to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 political campaign.

Eight years later, she published All the Single Ladies, a book often described as “a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the unmarried American woman.”

Good and Mad, published just this year, is Traister’s third book; inspired by the #MeToo movement, it follows the cumulation of women’s anger through the past few centuries.

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

“Good and Mad PDF Summary”

The Beginnings of Women’s Anger

Back in 1963, Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and revealed to the world a “problem that has no name.”

Namely, that the majority of women didn’t like – who would have guessed, ha? – to be measured against an archetype of a children-loving and always-smiling housewife whose sole objective was to find a good husband, and maybe shop for groceries and chauffer Boy Scouts.

That can’t be all, wrote Betty Friedan; there must be so much more to life than that.

And that’s basically how women’s anger was born, almost concurrently with the anger against racial injustice and the one against the War in Vietnam.

And this anger marked most of the 1960s and the 1970s, a period during which women successfully campaigned for the legalization of abortion and birth control, as well as for laws which made divorce easier and sexual harassment a form of discrimination against women.

And then the 1980s came, and Ronald Reagan reversed all that.

Suddenly, these women – labeled as “freaks” at the beginning – evolved to become nothing short of demons and witches.

Don’t believe us?

Just think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.

Which is why women’s anger subsided during the 1990s. No woman wanted to be associated with the she-devils of the 1970s. You know the ones who’d burn their bras, shout in your face, and wouldn’t back down.

Instead, anger made place for humor; a great thing, of course, but even greater for the men. After all, it is far easier to deal with someone funny than with someone angry.

You can just ignore the first one; there’s no way you can ignore the second one.

Angry Yet Again

In a word, not much was going on in the world of feminism between the 1970s and today.

There were few sparks here and there – Anita Hill’s accusation against Clarence Thomas for sexual harassment, Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign – but these were all just short-lived and ignorable.

And then Clinton’s second presidential campaign came, and, just as the women of America started preparing for a woman president, the shock arrived: Donald Trump won.

And, once again, women’s anger erupted!

On January 21, 2017, just a day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Women’s March happened; its goal: to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”

And a bold message it did send: more than 4 million people participated in the Women’s March, making it the most massive single-day protest in US history!

Of course, that was only one of the events through which women’s anger found a way out during the past two years.

The other – still going on – was the #MeToo movement, which spread virally soon after sexual abuse allegations were made against Harvey Weinstein.

What the cases of Trump and Weinstein revealed to the women of the world was something they became aware of in the 1970s: no matter how much they try, chances are they will always be the second sex.

Trump, for example, is both a racist and a misogynist, and yet he won a presidential race against a woman. And as the #MeToo movement revealed, no matter how high on the Hollywood success ladder you’ve climbed, powerful men can still use and abuse you.

What does that leave for the rest of the women out there?

The Sexist Nature of Anger

Nothing.

That’s the answer to the question posited in the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

Most women are utterly defenseless against the powerful and unchanging structure of our patriarchal society; unfortunately, only women can understand the full weight of this sentence. But let us try and make it a bit clearer for you.

Think of an angry young man. What do you see in him? A rebel, a fighter for justice. Even though his face is contorted and his mouth wide open, there’s nothing especially repelling there.

Now think of an angry young woman.

Get it?

The very idea of an “angry woman” somehow seems wrong, almost oxymoronic. Angry women are witches and she-devils: they seem disagreeable to all but everybody, including their parents and partners.

Society has always frowned upon them. After all, there’s a reason why the term “hysterical” originates in the Ancient Greek word for “uterus”; men, for some reason, can’t be hysterical; women are not allowed to.

That’s why Donald Trump can call publicly Mexicans “rapists,” women “pigs” and “cows,” and rave against almost everybody and everything and still win the presidency. And that’s why Republicans were able to all but dismiss the allegations of Kamala Harris for Russian interference simply by labeling her “hysterical.”

Even if you can rationalize against it, deep inside you, you still think that women are supposed to be submissive and smiling, agreeable and beautiful; nothing less, and nothing more. Apparently, we all believe that this is in the very genes of women.

And you know why we believe that?

Because it has suited the people in power for millennia; and because it still does.

After all, they are men.

Stifling Women’s Anger

And please note: we’re not saying that men are consciously doing this.

“On some level,” writes Traister, “if not intellectual then animal, there has always been an understanding of the power of women’s anger: that as an oppressed majority in the United States, women have long had within them the potential to rise up in fury, to take over a country in which they’ve never really been offered their fair or representative stake.”

And this is perhaps the reason why women’s anger is so broadly denigrated, and so often represented as ugly, alienating, and irrational. Because, in the opposite case, it is capable of bringing down the current order.

Just think of Jordan Peterson’s (of course, borrowed from Jung, Taoism, and the spheres of mythological thinking) often-quoted dualistic idea that “Order is the white, masculine serpent; Chaos, its black, feminine counterpart.”

Within this frame of reference, you can’t argue with him. However, this frame of reference is masculine. And, of course (as Beauvoir showed us more than half a century ago) the only way you can define womanhood inside it is by relation.

So, if men represent order – and they do: for starters, there are about five times more of them in US politics – then women, by definition, represent chaos. They are the ones who can do something unexpected.

Traister correctly points out:

What becomes clear, when we look to the past with an eye to the future, is that the discouragement of women’s anger – via silencing, erasure, and repression – stems from the correct understanding of those in power that in the fury of women lies the power to change the world.

Remember this.

Because this is the discussion we’re having.

Key Lessons from “Good and Mad”

1.      It’s Not the End of the Struggle for Women’s Rights… It’s Merely the Beginning
2.      Women’s Anger Is Good
3.      I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore!

It’s Not the End of the Struggle for Women’s Rights… It’s Merely the Beginning

2017 was a revolutionary year in terms of women’s struggle for their rights.

It was marked by two momentous events: the Women’s March (the largest single-day protest in U.S. history) and the #MeToo movement.

However, as Rebecca Traister shows, in retrospect, what these women are fighting for are, more or less, the same things the women of the 1960s and the 1970s had all but won.

Merely a second of inattention may lead to another repeat of Reagan’s masculine 1980s.

So, it’s not the end of the struggle – it’s merely the beginning

Women’s Anger Is Good

Don’t let anybody fool you: as far as revolutions are concerned, anger is a prerequisite.

After all, it’s not like the American Revolution started because the Founding Fathers waited for the Englishmen to give them freedom and rights.

They tried the good way, and when that failed, anger festered to the point when the spilling of the tea was the only possible outcome.

“I confess that I am now suspicious of nearly every attempt to code anger as unhealthy, no matter how well-meaning or persuasive the source,” writes Traister.

And then she goes on:

What is bad for women, when it comes to anger, are the messages that cause us to bottle it up, let it fester, keep it silent, feel shame, and isolation for ever having felt it or rechannel it in inappropriate directions. What is good for us is opening our mouths and letting it out, permitting ourselves to feel it and say it and think it and act on it and integrate it into our lives, just as we integrate joy and sadness and worry and optimism.

I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore!

This is the central message of Good and Mad.

And we will quote the paragraph stating it best in its entirety:

What you are angry about now – injustice – will still exist, even if you yourself are not experiencing it, or are tempted to stop thinking about how you are experience it, and how you contribute to it. Others are still experiencing it, still mad; some of them are mad at you. Don’t forget them; don’t write off their anger. Stay made for them. Stay mad with them. They’re right to be mad, and you’re right to be mad alongside them. Being mad is correct; being mad is American; being mad can be joyful and productive and connective. Don’t ever let them talk you out of being mad again.

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“Good and Mad Quotes”

Men literally have no idea how to even legitimately recognize or name our anger—largely because we don’t either. Click To Tweet The Women’s March on January 21, 2017 was the biggest one-day political protest in this country’s history, and it was staged by angry women. Click To Tweet The British feminist Laurie Penny tweeted in July 2017, ‘Most of the interesting women you know are far, far angrier than you’d imagine.’ Click To Tweet I want to convince you that there are types of anger that are not bad. (Via Myisha Cherry) Click To Tweet Women’s anger, publicly and loudly expressed, is all of that: unnatural, chaotic, upsetting to how power is supposed to work. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Every fifty years since the French Revolution, writes noted journalist and critic Vivian Gornick, “there’s been an uprising on behalf of women’s rights—we’re in the middle of one right now—and each time around a fresh chorus of voices is heard, making the same righteous bid for social and political equality, only with more force and more eloquence than the time before.”

“Among today’s strongest voices is the one that belongs to Rebecca Traister,” she goes on. “Deeply felt and richly researched, her new book, Good and Mad, is one of the best accounts I have read of the cumulative anger women feel, coming up against their centuries-old subordination. Read it!”

Coming from Gornick, that’s as a compelling argument as any to read Good and Mad.

Black and hip-hop feminist scholar Brittney C. Cooper (by the way, the author of Eloquent Rage) adds yet another: “Rebecca Traister has me convinced in this deftly and powerfully argued book that there will be no 21st-century revolution until women once again own the power of their rage.”

“As I read,” Cooper adds, “my blood started pumping, my fist tightened, and my spirit said, ‘hell yeah! We aren’t going down without a fight.’”

And if you are a woman, it’s your duty to not allow this.

At the moment at least, Good and Mad is an essential read.

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The Law of Success PDF Summary

The Law of Success PDFMost of us prefer system over tips.

Why?

Because, unlike tips – a well-designed system guides you from one stage to the next, and helps you put all pieces together.

One of Napoleon’s best works surely delivers an all-encompassing scheme for one to follow.  

Who Should Read “The Law of Success”? And Why?

Most of you do know that “The Law of Success” traces from the pre-Great depression America, or to be more precise – 1925.

According to modern-day readers and book critics, this book is one of the few evergreen pieces of written art. As such, we find it entirely absurd to divide the audience in one way or the other.

Inasmuch as we want to do it, it goes without saying that this book will benefit the entire world.

Napoleon HillAbout Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill was a renowned figure of the 20th century and managed to preserve his authority long after his death.

He was born on October 26th, 1883 and passed away at the age of 87 (in 1970) while leaving a legacy of astonishing classics – including “Think and Grow Rich.”

“The Law of Success PDF Summary”

One can say with absolute confidence that Napoleon Hill is one of the founders of motivational and self-development rhetoric. His works are a treasure trove of ideas which continue to inspire almost a century after they first have been published.

That being said, Napoleon in his classics emphasizes a person’ inner aura. By putting it into words, he maintains a good vantage point to evaluate the effectiveness of one’s actions.

The number of people who weren’t cagey to share their secret recipe with the rest of the world can be counted on one’s fingers. Napoleon Hill is surely among them!

If you prefer not to be led astray, then you have to take into account several key factors. Amongst them, one must comprehend the inconsistencies in every environment and adjusting to them means that you are flexible to achieve success.

In the business world, building, for instance, iron-clad strategies at scale is tougher due to increased competition. Even in the digital age one must adopt an open-minded approach and ponder about the decisions made on a day-to-day basis.

Evidently, it’s incongruous to ask for advice from someone who hasn’t tested the road.

Therefore, we wholeheartedly endorse the previously defined formula for success which consists of harmonious but battling attitude. It keeps you sharp between the ears, and your eyes peeled for a potential entanglement.

Is it as straightforward as it sounds?

Of course not, because the research conducted by Napoleon Hill and those after him add a layer of doubt regarding the achievability of this process.

It stands to reason why such a small fraction of the population managed to climb the ladder. It also lays the fundamentals of understanding the external forces that may hamper or accelerate your ascension. It’s needless to say that you’ll need to tackle excuses and focus on day-to-day improvement.

It’s not about succeeding in everything you attempt to accomplish, but having the audacity not to point fingers at anyone!

Before embarking on this perilous but adventurous quest, Napoleon Hill cast doubts on the cultivated habits fueled by traditional, religious and cultural patterns.

Does this herald a great change?

Probably yes, because whether we like it or not, the promises you make to yourself must be integrated into your broad outlook on life.

To prove a point, the author zooms in on historical individuals whose proclivity for success boosted their societal position. You should also get to know the potential restriction that may occur at some point during this process.

Everything necessary is contained in the 15 Laws!

According to Napoleon Hill, the path leading to success is exclusively prescribed for people who are burning inside, who are flared up to a certain point from which you can’t go back.

If you are on the fence, such an attitude will take a toll on the probability to meet your goals.

Don’t let your plans fizzle out, because you are not serious to utilize all means at your disposal. Dedicate time to pursue your dreams otherwise; this will be a total waste of time. First off, one must identify its weaknesses prior to proceeding with exploiting the strengths.

It’s just common sense, getting to know yourself before you get analytical.

As stated in this book, there are certain factors which curtail the chances of achieving success in the long run. Amongst them, you’ll find greed, aimlessness, egoism, spending more than you earn, etc. One must dive deep into its character and find those weak points which are in need of full eradication or alteration.

If you defeat these symptoms, you’ll pass the most critical phase which is, in fact, the idea of overcoming your shallowness. Any person with common sense and logic can understand that to achieve success you must move beyond mediocrity, and that’s Napoleon’s central premise in this classic.

In addition, let’s take a closer at Napoleon’s Laws of Success that can elevate you to the top of the heap:

  1. Definite Chief Aim

As the name implies, this law revolves around the idea of finding your axis! In other words, it helps you tackle procrastination and aimlessness and save time, energy and resources.

It also helps you make the first steps in materializing your plan by following a well-defined system.

  1. Self-Confidence

This law is based on overcoming the six fears:

  • The fear of Poverty
  • The fear of Old Age
  • The fear of Criticism
  • The fear of Loss of Love of Someone.
  • The fear of Ill Health
  • The fear of Death.

Just to clear up the confusion, you should bear in mind that Napoleon Hill didn’t assert that everyone has these tendencies buried deep within them.

It’s all a matter of cultural, hereditary, societal, or self-imposed patterns which vary from person to person.

  1. Habit of Saving

Most of the laws are self-explanatory, and this one stresses out the importance of managing your finance and distributing your income.

It’s a skill most people don’t have and show no passion for mastering it.

As a rule of thumb, you should heed how fast/slow the income is accumulated and then, enact the right measures.

  1. Initiative & Leadership

You have to build authority in your field of interest in order to rise to prominence. You should be a solid representative of your agenda and initially promote your views.

Understand your role in delivering something that your industry is deprived of and take the necessary steps.

  1. Imagination

The fifth law hinges on creativity and the very instigator of it. It helps you learn the ropes of your mind, and the cultivated habits engrained in it.

It also provides a plan for how to rebuild the thinking mechanism and place strong foundations for future endeavors.

Imagination conquers everything.

  1. Enthusiasm

This life lesson is in line with the idea of getting into the right frame of mind. Such behavior will help you when establishing contacts with strangers and laying out your plans.

Enthusiasm is vital when forming that bond, which could be the start to something lucrative and mutually prosperous.

Influence others by being energetic and persistent.

the law of success summary

  1. Self-Control

Without the right control, all of the previous laws will bear no meaning.

So, it’s of utmost importance that you have some self-discipline and rationality. Overwhelming enthusiasm is not good either, so you better have that handbrake close by your side.

Self-control = Master of your own destiny.

  1. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For

The highest ROI is when you do more than assigned to. People love when you are engrossed in the thing you plan to achieve and are more than willing to reward you for the passion you bring to the job.

If you can rise to the occasion fueled by that intense desire to get the job done, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd.

No leader can be a good leader, by focusing on equality of output. For every $1 you give, (figuratively speaking) you have to expect $0.5 in return.

This is not in reference to financial distribution but a more metaphorical proposition.

  1. Pleasing Personality

Welcoming personality is the epitome of success.

I would rather begin at the bottom and climb to the top than to start at the top and have to remain there.

An attractive personality knows the essence of drawing people to itself – it has that magnetism that can make all the difference.

If you bring that personality into line with your intelligence, no obstacle will be insurmountable.

  1. Accurate Thought

In a world filled with misinformation and fake news, it’s not easy to separate facts from opinions. Anyways, it’s the basis for becoming a sharp thinker who acts upon data not emotions.

It also instructs you to subdivide the facts into:

  • Important & Relevant
  • Unimportant & Irrelevant
  1. Concentration

Fixating your attention at one thing is one of the critical elements paving the way to prosperity.

If you transform your scatterbrained attempt to get multiple things done at the same time into a single powerful thrust – you’ll sense the proficiency in a certain field.

Leave the multitasking bullsh*t aside for now.

  1. Cooperation

And yes – you can’t do it alone. Your team will do most of the work, and you should support each other by opting for environmental freedom.

Coordinate your actions with the ones of other and build that synergy.

  1. Profiting by Failure

If you think that you are ready to map out a plan of action, you must draw positive from past encounters.

The try-fail mechanism is a proven method for excelling at something.

Making mistakes is, in fact, a blessing in disguise – something that most people don’t see. Remember: A lost battle is not a lost war!

  1. Tolerance

This law affects the people whose minds are poisoned with prejudices and hatred. They occasionally stir up ethical, cultural, racial and nationalistic tensions and are unable to get out of this mindset.

Think again and ask yourself – What is the good in remaining narrow-minded?

You’ll find nothing to cling onto!

  1. The Golden Rule

NO man could possibly read the Law of Success philosophy, even once, without becoming, thereby, better prepared to succeed in any calling.

This lesson is a real intellectual lodestar in terms of its constructive narrative. It is, in fact, the test that you need to take after running through the previous lessons.

Key Lessons from “The Law of Success”

1.      The effects of knowingness
2.      Discipline is the essence
3.      Question your actions

The effects of knowingness

Yeah yeah….

We heard it a million times that knowledge conquers the world (From parents and teachers alike).

Anyway, when we are talking about real knowledge, we mostly refer to life-experience and daily encounters.

Lean on the try-fail cycle, not what other people have said. If you abide by this law, you’ll definitely speed up the entire process and tip the balance in your favor.

Discipline is the essence

I am starting next Monday!

Sounds familiar? – I bet it does.

As much as we are all aware of what’s needs to be done and why you need to put up your best-work, the human mind is prone to “freeze-mode.”

It’s basically the thing that is keeping you stuck in the same boring job, or life and acting as a stranglehold around your neck.

Break those chains of laziness and grab the world at first light!

Question your actions

In entrepreneurial waters, there is one term growing in popularity – Pivot.

It literally means when things go “South” you need to pivot and head over North.

In layman’s terms, you have to be flexible and willing to experiment until you find the life-altering formula.

Learn on the go, remain open-minded.

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“The Law of Success Quotes”

No man has a chance to enjoy permanent success until he begins to look in a mirror for the real cause of all his mistakes. Click To Tweet Far from being a disadvantage, struggle is a decided advantage, because it develops those qualities which would forever lie dormant without it. Click To Tweet ASK any wise man what he most desires and he will, more than likely, say - more wisdom. Click To Tweet Imagination is a faculty of the mind which can be cultivated, developed, extended and broadened by use. Click To Tweet Success is the development of the power with which to get whatever one wants in life without interfering with the rights of others. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Can someone put a blemish on Napoleon Hill?

Well, it’s really tough to find unexplored and weak spots in his books, and we didn’t succeed either.

This indicates that you should dive right into the essence of this classic and be ready for significant changes.

Take notes, and learn as you progress!

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Being and Nothingness PDF Summary

Being and Nothingness PDF SummaryAn Essay in Phenomenological Ontology

You are condemned to be free.

And yet, you’re living an unfree, inauthentic life.

No matter who you are.

How’s that?

Let Jean-Paul Sartre explain that to you.

In the principal text of modern existentialism:

Being and Nothingness.

Who Should Read “Being and Nothingness”? And Why?

In the years following the Second World War, Being and Nothingness was all the young intellectuals of the world talked about; for all its apparent nihilism, somehow, this book spoke to them volumes about how one can redesign himself to exert his freedom to a fuller extent.

And this was more than necessary when it seemed as if the world had lost all of its meaning. One fights fire with fire, and the students of post-war Europe fought meaninglessness with a philosophical book which explains its paradoxical origins.

Due to Sartre’s leftist inclinations, by the end of the 20th century, he fell out of favor in the minds of many; however, since somehow, we’ve fallen back again in a state of desperation, Sartre can sound surprisingly contemporary.

If you are a philosopher, you know that this book is a must; if you are not, but you’re feeling kind of depressed about everything that’s going on in your life, we feel that this is a book which can both understand you and help you introduce some meaning in it.

With that being said, be wary: Sartre’s Being and Nothingness is a critique of Kant and a further exploration of Heidegger’s Being and Time with an antireligious Kierkegaardian flavor.

And yes – it’s as complicated to grasp as the sentence preceding this one; so maybe it is smart to read our summary – and especially the Key Lessons section – to understand better what’s going on before embarking on actually reading Being and Nothingness.

Or you can just watch The Good Place – which is much inspired by Sartre’s works and ideas.

About Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul SartreBeing and Nothingness PDF Summary was a French philosopher, writer, literary critic, and political activist. He is widely considered to have been one of the pivotal thinkers of the 20th century.

As a philosopher, he was a leading proponent of existentialism, an intellectual movement which stressed freedom and authenticity as the primary values and virtues of human existence.

As a political activist, he was perhaps the most influential thinker of the Left for the better part of his life.

Finally, as a writer, he won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1964, which he refused it, claiming that no intellectual should ever accept official honors, and that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”

He was also famous for his open relationship with fellow existentialist philosopher and noted feminist Simone de Beauvoir, which lasted from his early twenties to end of his life, at 74.

His major works include: Nausea and the unfinished tetralogy The Roads to Freedom (novels); The Wall (short story collection); No Exit and The Flies (plays); Being and Nothingness and Critique of Dialectical Reason (philosophical books); “Existentialism Is a Humanism” and the ten-volume series Situations (essays).

“Being and Nothingness PDF Summary”

Being and Nothingness is subtitled “An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology.”

Which, basically, means that it is a book which discusses the being (ontology) in relation to the structures of our consciousness and the ways they help us experience and perceive the phenomena of the world around us (phenomenology).

Don’t worry – by the end of this summary, you should understand what that sentence means a little better.

Kant’s Noumenon

Now, Sartre had studied Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological philosophy while in Berlin in the 1930s, and in the “Introduction” to Being and Nothingness he credits it with one of the most significant advances in modern philosophy.

Namely, the negation of dualistic thinking inherent in the philosophy of, say, Immanuel Kant.

You see, for Kant, there were not only objects existent in the world around us (phenomena, things), but also some intrinsic features which define these objects (noumena, things-in-themselves).

In a nutshell, the phenomenon is everything we can ever know about the noumenon. Even if a stone has a soul, which is more than the sum of its geological history and molecular structure, human sensation has such limits which prevent it from perceiving this.

In a sentence, Kant believed that there may be a noumenal world out there, but that it is entirely unknowable through our senses. An event may have a meaning beyond the one we experience it at the moment, but there’s no way to recognize this meaning.

Now, as far as Sartre is concerned, phenomenology has made one step forward, removing “the illusion of worlds behind the scene.”

Because, for phenomenologists, the noumenon is something we should simply not bother with. The appearance of a thing (phenomenon) is the thing-in-itself (for Kant, noumenon) – and that’s where the discussion ends.

Being-in-Itself vs. Being-for-Itself

But it’s also where a new dualistic discussion should begin.

This one involves the concepts of Being-in-itself (être-en-soi) and Being-for-itself (être-pour-soi).

Being-in-itself is the unconscious being, a mode of existence which simply is. It is neither active nor passive (after all it’s unconscious) and, thus, lacks the ability to change the very essence of its being.

A rose is a rose is a rose – noted once Gertrude Stein. And that is because a rose cannot be anything else but a rose, no matter how hard it tries; it doesn’t know that it’s a rose – it merely grows into one.

This is the absolute, almost godlike state of existence: a rose has an unchanging identity, and it isn’t capable of turning into a lily in the midst of its growth cycle.

That’s being-in-itself.

Being-for-itself, on the other hand, is the conscious, nondetermined state of existence.

In a way, this is what makes us humans: we actively participate in the creation of our own being.

We can study to become scientists, realize that we like poetry halfway through, become musicians instead and end up playing football in our free time.

We are not destined to become something: we are capable of creating our being for ourselves.

Sounds like something cool?

Hold your horses, says Sartre.

Nothingness

A paradoxical problem lies at the very heart of our mode of being.

And here’s the gist of it.

If you understood the part above well enough, you already know that, unlike a rose (thing-in-itself), a person (thing-for-itself) lacks an essence; true, a rose has its essence finalized before it’s even born, but a person has nothing to start with.

And this nothing sounds as scary as it does.

It is the being-for-itself (humans) which introduces nothingness to this world. If there was no conscious mode of being – aka no things-for-themselves (once again, humans) – then this world would have been finalized, and everything would have been just as it is.

It is difficult to say that, in this case, the world would have made some sense; but that’s the point: it wouldn’t have had the burden of making sense to anyone because there would have been no one to perceive it.

However, we perceive the absoluteness of the beings-in-themselves and the lack of it in our mode of being.

And though we can be anything we want to be, we try to become one, final thing.

That is, we try to give our lives meanings which are final and absolute.

When they asked you as a child “what do you want to become when you grow old?” they’ve actually asked you how do you want to finalize your for-itself existence into an in-itself mode of being.

Existence Precedes Essence

Let’s try to sum this up – and maybe simplify it a bit.

So, from the moment you are born (aka “thrown into being”), you are free to become whatever you want to become.

However, your freedom is a burden. You can be anything you want to be, says Sartre; and, strangely enough, that’s the problem.

It’s like running a race in a vast desert, and you have to invent the checkpoints yourself.

That sounds… scary.

Hence, Sartre’s famous maxim (taken from his famous accompanying lecture, “Existentialism is a Humanism”):

Man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does.

This responsibility comes from the fact that, unlike for a rose, for humans, existence precedes essence. We are defined not by what we are (essence), but by what we do (existence).

A paper cutter is a paper cutter because it cuts paper; however, there is no definition of what a man should be that precedes the existence of any man.

So, everything you do, each and every one of your actions, reveals what you think a human being is and should be. This is, once again, scary.

“I must be without remorse or regrets as I am without excuse,” writes Sartre, “for from the instant of my upsurge into being, I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.”

Being-for-Others

Since being-for-itself is scary, we want to pin our freedom down to a state of being-in-itself.

But even more than that, we want to do the same for others.

It is impossible to comprehend a being-for-itself: you can’t pigeonhole someone who is free to do whatever he wants at any moment. We want predictable things.

So, we conveniently ask the Other to become something less than a For-itself – namely, In-itself. And, he does do that.

It is the gaze of the others which cages us and denies us our authentic lives – whatever this latter thing means.

Key Lessons from “Being and Nothingness”

1.      Being-in-Itself, Being-for-Itself, and Being-for-Others
2.      Existence Precedes Essence
3.      You Are Living Inauthentically Because of Your Bad Faith

Being-in-Itself, Being-for-Itself, and Being-for-Others

The central concepts of Sartre’s philosophy are the being-in-itself and the being-for-itself.

Being-in-itself is a state of absolute, fully realized, and self-contained being. This is a mode of existence that simply is. A tree is a thing-in-itself because it will forever be a tree, no matter what; its being is finalized by its very nature.

Being-for-itself, however, is the mode of existence in which all humans are thrown into because of their consciousness and their ability to make choices. Even though a tree cannot choose to become a rose, a man can choose to become a teacher or a scientist.

Interestingly enough, even though he is free to do whatever he wants, a man willfully tries to limit his existence to a state of being-in-itself, mostly because of social pressures. This is what being-for-others means: you become what the conventions expect you to become.

Existence Precedes Essence

The interesting part is that the conventions are what’s helping you to live through the dread and anxiety of your freedom to become anything else.

You constantly invent yourself excuses that you can’t do this or do that because of that or this. The truth is – you can.

Because you have a choice to do whatever you want, and because there’s no blueprint, no definition what it means to be a man, every choice you make is your contribution to the definition of what it means to be a human.

As far as trees are concerned, their essence precedes their existence – they are what they are, not what they do; even if a tree doesn’t bear fruits or is cut down after sprouting, it will still be a tree.

However, men are defined by what they do, and not by what they are; you can say that you are a poet, but unless you’ve written a few poems, you’re not.

You Are Living Inauthentically Because of Your Bad Faith

In Sartre’s mind, the problem with our modern existence is relatively simple: we convince ourselves that we can’t be more than what we are.

This is bad faith.

It is because of this bad faith that we become functions of ourselves instead of living, breathing human beings.

Sartre uses the example of a waiter who practically acts out other people’s idea of a waiter – even though he is free to be much more than it.

Whatever you do and wherever you are – you can do that too.

You invent your being with every step you take.

That means that you are responsible for what you’ve become and what you’ll become.

So, stop living the way other people expect you to live.

Live authentically!

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“Being and Nothingness Quotes”

It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are. Click To Tweet I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating. Click To Tweet Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being - like a worm. Click To Tweet Life is a useless passion. Click To Tweet It amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

What can we tell you?

There’s something in the philosophical basis of Being and Nothingness which we continue to find very interesting and thought-provoking.

Dostoevsky might have thought that in a godless universe everything is allowed; Sartre says that it is not because of the other people; and, interestingly, that, in a way, this is the problem.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to see behind the nihilistic veil of this argument.

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Educated PDF Summary

Educated PDF SummaryA Memoir

What if you were born in a family with radical religious beliefs?

And what if you didn’t have a birth certificate until the age of 9 and were not allowed to go to school until 17 (and even then)?

Could you earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge?

This book reads as if a barely believable novel.

And yet – it is a memoir.

Educated by Tara Westover.

Who Should Read “Educated PDF Summary”? And Why?

This book should be a treat for anyone who likes to read amazing memoirs, such as Jeanette Wallis’ The Glass Castle, or the recently summarized Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.

It will be even more interesting to those who’d like to understand the ways of life of a Mormon survivalist family.

Finally, it should prove a thought-provoking read for anyone who is interested in the power and necessity of knowledge and education.

Tara Westover Biography

Tara WestoverTara Westover is an American writer.

Born in rural Idaho, into a Mormon survivalist family, she spent her childhood wholly isolated from the outside world.

Since her father didn’t believe in schools (or hospitals), Westover didn’t have a chance to visit one until she was in her late teens. Even so, she managed to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge.

Educated, her first book, tells this story.

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

Plot

Being a Child in a Mormon Family

Tara Westover was born in a small Idaho farming town, the youngest of the seven children of Gene and Faye Westover (actually Val and Laree), Mormon survivalists with, well, let’s just (for lack of a better, inoffensive adjective) distinctive personalities.

For starters, Tara was born at home, and she was not issued a birth certificate; in fact, until she was 9, she might have just as well not been born, and nobody would have noticed.

In addition, Gene firmly believed that schools are just a way for the socialist government to brainwash individuals into obedient slaves of the system, which is why neither Tara nor her six siblings ever had a proper chance to experience education.

He didn’t believe in hospitals either, meaning even Tara’s concussions or burns were treated with herbs and home medicines.

He did believe in a Mormon God, though, and this God (like, unfortunately – and for some reason – most of the Gods) didn’t seem to be that fond of women. Their place was in the house, which is where Faye was all of the time.

Tara’s grandmother wanted a proper education for her youngest granddaughter, and, one day, when she was 7, she offered her a chance to escape to Arizona and go to school.

Tara stayed: not that surprisingly, even today she has fond memories of her family and her childhood.

Tyler’s Decision and the Effect on Tara

Three years later, Tara’s mindset suddenly changed.

It happened when her brother Tyler, the Westover’s third son, announced, soon after his 18th birthday, that he wanted to go to college.

Gene, of course, objected.

Both because Tyler’s older brothers Tony and Shawn were not that much around the house anymore, and because, well, school teaches you nothing about how to support a wife and quite a few kids.

And, also, because – well, the Illuminati and the Communists would want you to go to school.

However, Tyler persisted, and this inspired Tara – 10 at the time – to spend some more time reading, mostly the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.

Opening Herself to the World

Soon after Tyler, Tara’s older sister Audrey also left the house; and the only ones who stayed there were Luke, Richard, and her.

Due to the lack of helping hands, Gene had to move away from farming and Tara had to help him. So, already at 11, she was scraping old cars for parts.

However, she felt that she could do better, so one day, she posted a flyer at the local post office, offering her services as a babysitter.

This opened her to the world.

One of her clients, Mary, offered Tara an opportunity to visit a dance school; Tara enjoyed it, but Gene soon forbade it, believing dancing was immodest.

And you thought the premise of Footloose was wacky!

However, the dancing lessons led to voice lessons, and these were something even her father could find nothing wrong with.

Especially since they helped Tara wow the congregation at the local church on Sundays; she even got a part in a play at the local Worm Creek Opera House!

It’s the End of the World… as We Know It

As far as her father was concerned, Tara’s 13th birth should have been her last.

Not because she did something that drove him mad, but because it happened sometime during September 1999, and January 31st, 1999, should have been the last day for everybody on this planet.

Once again: he was not merely a Mormon, but also a Mormon Survivalist.

And as Hobbes feared nothing is worse than people who think they have had a revelation: no argument would convince them in the opposite.

Case in point: even when the end of the world didn’t come with the year 2000, Gene didn’t change his beliefs.

However, they were visibly shaken, so the family left Idaho for Arizona to visit Tara’s grandmother.

On the way to there, their van spun off the road and crashed into a field. Everyone survived, but Tara was badly hurt, even losing her consciousness for a while.

That mattered not one bit to Gene: it was still God’s and Nature’s job to cure Tara; and not doctors’.

Fortunately, even though Tara’s neck frequently locked up on her, eventually, she got out of it safe and sound.

However, untreated head injuries such as these may have contributed to the very unstable condition of Tara’s brother Shawn, who continually abused her and her sisters.

Prone to violence and as fanatic as his father, he once violently attacked Tara, waking her up from her sleep and dragging her by her hair from the bed.

The reason?

Tara had started wearing makeup and spending time with a guy named Charles.

Apparently, that is not appropriate for a 15-year-old girl.

Gene’s reaction?

A little short of “way to go, son!”

College, Finally

Encouraged by her brother Tyler, at 16, Tara finally decided to take the ACT Test (in case you don’t know, another standardized test for college admission in the US, similar to the SAT).

And she failed it, scoring 22 out of the 27 points she needed to get into Brigham Young University (BYU), a Utah-based university entirely owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormons.

Considering the fact that she barely knew math, it wasn’t such a bad score; however, it was in relation to her dreams.

After her mother helped her figure out algebra and stuff, Tara retook the ACT.

28!

Time to go to BYU!

Well, not exactly, said Gene. Apparently, God had told him personally that Tara would greatly displease Him if she went to college.

However, three days before her 17th birthday, she did, driven to BYU by her encouraging mother, Faye.

And there – she experienced shock after shock.

For example, her roommate Shannon wore pants that had the word “Juicy” on them; and Mary dared to shop on the Sabbath!

Oh, the blasphemy, the horror!

And the classes somehow seemed even scarier!

Tara took English, American history, Western civilization, religion, and music. As you might guess, she didn’t have that many problems with the latter two, but, to her, Western civilization was probably what Einstein’s theories are to you and me.

She barely understood the words in it.

A quick example: once, she stood up in her class before everyone only to ask her professor to explain to her what the word “Holocaust” meant.

The Education of Tara Westover

But Tara didn’t want to back down. She studied hard and, after the initial problems, eventually aced almost all of her exams.

The only exception was Western civilization.

Now, if you are like most people, you would probably interpret this along the lines of “OK, that’s probably not something for me.”

However, in the case of Tara, this basically meant the exact opposite: “I don’t know enough about this; maybe I should try and change that.”

And in time, she did.

And even though she had come to college to study music, she kept signing up for classes related to history and politics.

Her professors noticed her enthusiasm, and one of them referred her to a study-abroad program at the University of Cambridge.

Tara applied and, soon enough, she headed to King’s College, Cambridge, to study a course under Jonathan Steinberg.

Up to just a while ago, she didn’t even know the word “Holocaust,” and now Steinberg, a Holocaust-expert, was grading her words and ideas.

And he had only nice things to say about them, telling her that her final essay was one of the best he had ever seen in his long career. Because of this, he promised her to help her with her graduate application.

And that’s how Tara managed to win the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, only the third person to do so from BYU.

A student at the prestigious Trinity College, she became a celebrity back in Idaho, revered by almost everyone who had known her.

Everyone but her father Gene and her brother Shawn that is.

Family Troubles

Everything was going well after Tara returned to England, this time as a graduate student.

So, well, in fact, that Tara started feeling as if a new person, one who was allowed to drink coffee and wine, and even tell stories of her fabulously strange upbringing.

However, back at home, things were as curious and as dark as ever.

First, Gene suffered an accident which almost killed him and left him with severe burns all over his body; however, he refused medical help once again and, somehow, stayed alive.

Then, Tara received a letter from her sister Audrey, telling her that she was planning to confront her parents about the abuse from Shawn.

Tara stood by her side and came back home to testify in her favor.

However, Gene and Faye were left unconvinced by the claims of the sisters, even though Shawn had explicitly threatened them to kill them.

He repeated the threat by phone even after ceremoniously hugging Tara during the discussions with their parents.

Simply put, he was all but beyond treatment. As was Tara and Audrey’s father, who, as she learned during her psychology classes, suffered from a severe case of bipolar disorder, getting worse with every day.

If his gradually growing misogyny wasn’t enough of a proof for you, get this!

In the meantime, he and Faye had started a line of medicinal oils, a business which brought them not only a lot of money but also a lot of interest from big companies.

One of them offered Gene $3 million to buy the receipts.

Gene declined the offer.

The Meeting of the Two Taras

Her trips back to her house opened Tara’s eyes to one crucial thing: that there were now two Taras.

And as her parents were trying to get her soul back from England to fit her in the body of the 16-year-old Tara that once left Idaho, Tara’s soul was soaring to very new and different heights.

Ph.D. heights.

Much more importantly, through Wollstonecraft and Mill, Tara had finally realized that women are just as good as men:

I carried the books to my room and read through the night. I loved the fiery pages of Mary Wollstonecraft, but there was a single line written by John Stuart Mill that, when I read it, moved the world: ‘It is a subject on which nothing final can be known.’ The subject Mill had in mind was the nature of women. Mill claimed that women have been coaxed, cajoled, shoved and squashed into a series of feminine contortions for so many centuries, that it is now quite impossible to define their natural abilities or aspirations.

Even more, that she had been lied her whole life about so many different things, from schools to hospitals to religion.

She started reading about Mormonism much more fervently and with a much different mindset, and realized that, in relation to many other intellectual and religious movements, Mormonism was downright radical.

Speaking of –

When during her Ph.D. research, Tara won a visiting fellowship at Harvard, her parents (after somehow finding out) quickly appeared at the doorstep of her dorm room.

Apparently, Gene had another revelation: that Tara has been taken by Lucifer and that the only way for her to save herself was accepting his blessing and coming back to her hometown.

Educated PDF Summary Epilogue

“Everything I had worked for,” writes Westover, “all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind.”

And she goes on:

I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.

That was a price she wasn’t interested in paying.

And though she suffered a mental breakdown in the process, spending day after day watching TV and doing nothing else, she persevered.

She decided to leave her family behind her and finish her thesis.

And it all came down to one not-that-very0good day, when, watching herself in the mirror, Tara realized that her old self had finally left her:

The decisions I made after that moment were not the ones she would have made. They were the choices of a changed person, a new self.
You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal.
I call it an education.

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“Educated PDF Quotes”

You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life. Click To Tweet First find out what you are capable of, then decide who you are. Click To Tweet The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand. Click To Tweet We are all of us more complicated than the roles we are assigned in the stories other people tell. Click To Tweet I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

There are really not enough superlative adjectives to describe Educated.

Alluring, courageous, heartbreaking, heartwarming, beautiful, propulsive, best-in-years, one-of-a-kind, fascinating, extraordinarily evocative… – these have all been used by numerous different reviewers.

And all justly.

A unique memoir, it’s undoubtedly an autobiography of a type you’ve never had the chance to even imagine, let alone read.

And yet, as a Vogue review noted, “despite the singularity of [Tara Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”

“Fit to stand alongside the great modern memoirs” – wrote The Sunday Times.

And they are not exaggerating.

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Summary Thomas Hobbes

Summary Thomas HobbesThe Matter, Form and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civil

Now, that has to be one of the greatest covers of all time!

A monstrous creature with the head of a man and the body of, well, three hundred smaller men, ominously waving a sword and a staff over the world.

Above him, in Latin, a quote taken out of the Book of Job: “There is no power on earth to be compared to him.”

And below, the title:

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.

Who Should Read “Leviathan Summary Thomas Hobbes”? And Why?

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes is perhaps the earliest and inarguably one of the two most influential texts which have attempted to sketch the ideal social contract – in addition to pinning down its origin and its significance (the other, of course, being Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract).

As such, it is one of the cornerstones of modern political philosophy, and one of the first books you should read if you are interested in that field.

Then move on to Rousseau. Then contrast and compare.

There: you’re halfway through understanding the whole field.

About Thomas Hobbes

Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes was a 17th-century English philosopher and political thinker, one of the foremost figures of the European Enlightenment.

Best known for his 1651 book, Leviathan, Hobbes was a polymath who made significant contributions in more than one field of inquiry, ranging from history and philosophy to geometry and physics.

He is widely considered one of the founders of modern political philosophy, and, paradoxically (since he championed the absolutism of the sovereign), a precursor of classical liberalism.

“Leviathan Summary”

Written in 1651, Leviathan is titled after a sea monster mentioned in the Bible, most notably in the Book of Job. There’s a lengthy description there – if you want to, you can read it here (it starts in the previous chapter, verse 25) – but, let’s just say that the Leviathan is not something you’d want to mess with.

Looking at the frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’ book, you probably already know what we’re talking about.

Surprise, surprise –

You don’t.

Because even though, at first sight, this image of the Leviathan calls to mind a dystopian dictatorship, it actually represents Hobbes’ vision of an ideal social contract, aka the perfect civil society.

Strangely enough, Hobbes does have a point why you need a sea monster and not a butterfly to serve as a metaphor for a utopian society.

Most of it is presented in the first book of Leviathan, with the other three further analyzing the political implications of the philosophical conclusions reached at the beginning.

So, let’s see what’s Hobbes’s deal.

Part I: Of Man

Mechanical Interpretations

The first part of Leviathan is the most important one—it is the one upon which all the others are founded.

In other words, if there’s something wrong with it, then you’ll undoubtedly find quite a lot of flaws in the other three parts as well.

Which is why everybody spends about a hundred times more time analyzing this first part in comparison to the time spent on the other three parts.

And its essence?

Well, basically, that all of those sentimental, spiritual, otherworldly explanations of what we are and how we live are just a bunch of nonsense!

In other words, every single feeling and concept can be explained mechanically and materialistically, in terms of the movements of our bodies and minds toward or fromward objects, which, in turn, can be absent or present.

Our mind is moving toward or backward in terms of opinions; our body is moving in terms of appetites/desires (when toward an object) and aversions (when fromward an object).

Let’s make that clearer for you!

Say you have an appetite/desire for something, coupled with an opinion that you can get that something; then you’re experiencing hope. In this case, both your body and your mind are moving toward that thing.

However, if you just have an appetite for a thing, but you don’t believe that you can ever obtain it – then, that’s despair; your mind is moving backward now, even though your body is still prompting you to go toward that thing.

Fear is when both your mind and your body are averted, “with opinion of hurt from the object;” courage is “the same, with hope of avoiding that hurt by resistance;” anger is sudden courage, etc. etc.

Good vs. Evil

As you can see, similarly to Aristotle, Hobbes thinks of some feelings as much more complex than the others.

But just like molecules – no matter how complex – can be ultimately broken down into one of no more than 118 atoms, feelings and concepts can be too, and into no more than a few “bodily” movements and “mindedly” opinions.

Now, you’d expect that the most complex emotions and states – such as Good and Evil – should be the most complex arrangements of simple feelings and concepts, right?

Wrong!

You know why?

Because they are the simplest.

And this is both the catch and the most important inference from Hobbes’ mechanical analysis of the human species!

In essence, he says in an anachronistic language we’ll spare you the trouble from interpreting for now, there are no such things as Good and Evil.

We say that something is good if that something aligns with the appetites and desires of our body and our mind; if, however, it doesn’t, we call that thing bad, “vile, and inconsiderable.”

The words good and evil, Hobbes goes one, are always used with relation to the person who uses them.

The point?

There is nothing simply and absolutely good or bad in nature; the goodness or badness of a thing – when there is not such a thing as a commonwealth (see part II) – is taken from the person of the man who judges it or represents it.

The bottom line?

Whatever is good for one person, is bad for another one; and vice versa.

Summum Bonum vs. Summum Malum

And therein lies the rub!

Hey, look – we inadvertently quoted Hamlet, a play written half a century before Hobbes’ Leviathan!

Are we trying to make some point?

Of course we are (aka it wasn’t at all inadvertently)!

We wanted to remind you, as a side note, that Shakespeare managed to sum Hobbes up in a single sentence from the second scene of Act II of Hamlet: “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

However, there’s a reason why Hobbes had to write about a hundred pages to explain that sentence.

It’s because, at his time, everybody believed the opposite.

Namely, that there’s something, deep within us, which is divine and which helps us align our actions with the Highest Good, or, in Latin, the summum bonum.

This Idea of the Highest Good originates in Plato – remember, the essentialist Plato? – and is a Form which exists irrespective of us and which is the ultimate object of our striving and knowledge; it is from It that things on earth which are good gain their value and their usefulness.

So, we just need to discover It, and we’ll be able to understand everything that is good why it is good and everything that is bad why it is not good.

Think of it as the finish line of a race you’re running; once you see it, you know in which direction you should run and when to stop running.

Yeah, right – said Hobbes!

Everybody knows what’s good – to him.

And good luck Plato if you want to create a society based on summum bonum: there could be no such thing because everyone’s desires are different!

Fortunately, everyone’s aversions seem to converge at one point, the summum malum, the Greatest Evil.

Namely: violent death.

The Natural State

So, let’s turn this discussion on its head – advised Hobbes!

Instead of trying to do the impossible – i.e., create a society which will satisfy the desires of all of its members – let’s try to do something much more obtainable – create a society which will eliminate the aversions of its inhabitants.

Summum bonum – butterflies and zebras, and moonbeams and fairytales – is a myth; summum malum – the fear of being hit on the head with an ax or a sledgehammer – is much too real.

And it must have been – since the very beginning of times!

You see, in the absence of a community – that is, man’s natural state – it seems to have been every man for himself. And that, coupled with a lack of resources, must have resulted in a war of all against all, the only conceivable state of men without civil society.

Because when there are no such things as a common good and a common bad, all men have “equal right unto all things:”

In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The Natural Laws

Because this is something nobody wants – because it is something which could destroy everybody – some laws must have evolved spontaneously.

Hobbes calls these natural laws (leges naturales) and defines them as precepts, or general rules, “found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or take away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that by which he thinks it may be best preserved.”

Hobbes comes up with 19 such laws, the first two of which are by far the most important.

The first and fundamental law of nature and reason is this: “that every man, ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of war.”

It sounds a bit Kantian, doesn’t it?

If I can war to obtain the things I like, then everyone can do that too, and this means that I should fear for my life on a daily basis. So, it’s better for me not to wage war in cases where I can obtain peace; and when peace is out of the question, only then I should resort to warring.

Neither sentimental nor humane, but a giant leap from the natural state!

Now, from this “fundamental law of nature” follows the second one, according to which a man should be “contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.”

It’s both liberalism at its best, and even more Kantian once you think about it.

In fact, Hobbes sums up this law thus: “Whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them.”

So, the Golden Rule yet again!

Parts II-IV

Part II: Of Common-Wealth

So, basically, the essence of these two natural laws is this: instead of acting as packs of wolves, let’s act as organs of a single body.

This single body – the one on the cover – is the Commonwealth, whose purpose Hobbes describes thus:

The final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants.

Then Hobbes goes on to describe the twelve principal rights of the sovereign, the three types of government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; monarchy is, yet again, the best), the succession and the taxation rules.

Not that exciting or original; but also kind of interesting.

Part III: Of a Christian Common-wealth

Which you can’t say about the third part of Leviathan, in which Hobbes tries to see how compatible Christianity is with his philosophical ideas.

Considering the fact that he was oftentimes called an atheist – and this was at a time when that was worse than being called, well, anything – it seems only necessary that Hobbes devoted so much of his time and energy to explaining something which, nowadays, would have been unnecessary.

However, behind all the biblical scholarship, the gist of this third part is rather simple: religious power must be subordinate to civil power.

Why?

Because, just like Good and Evil, revelations are just too subjective and too untestable!

For example, I can casually say that an angel gave me a golden book with, I don’t know, seventeen new commandments which go against the civil laws of a country; and you wouldn’t be able to disprove me.

And that, logically, shouldn’t be allowed if you want a just civil society.

Part IV: Of the Kingdom of Darkness

As you can infer from the title, the fourth part of Leviathan is also interested in some biblical ideas. More specifically, in how to guard the Commonwealth against liars and deceivers.

Hobbes lists four types of religious deceivers one should be especially wary about:

#1. Misinterpretators; these are people who cite and quote the Holy Book to prove that there are such things as angels and demons; yes, Hobbes is talking about the priests.

#2. Demonologists; these are people who not only claim that there are angels and demons, but they also claim to know how to deal with them; yes, Hobbes is explicitly talking about the Catholic Church and the Pope;

#3. Crusaders against the Truth; these are people who use the Scripture to punish other people for their opinions; he specifically mentions his friend Galileo’s punishment asking “what reason is there for it? Is it because such opinions are contrary to true Religion? That cannot be, if they be true;” great observation, Thomas;

#4. Privileged truthers; these are those who, for some reason, others believe that have privilege over the truth; the point being: scientists and philosophers have as much right to truth as priests and the Pope himself.

Key Lessons from “Summary Thomas Hobbes”

1.      A War of All Against All
2.      The Natural Laws
3.      The Commonwealth

A War of All Against All

Hobbes’ Leviathan is perhaps most famous for its idea that the natural state of man was one of war of all against all.

Why?

Because, in Hobbes’ opinion, good and evil are subjective, and when there are no communities, everybody has equal right upon everything.

When that is the case – nobody is safe.

The Natural Laws

And it is precisely because nobody is safe in a bellum omnium contra omnes state of affairs that, after some time, people had to come up, intuitively, with these two laws.

It isn’t that they devised them or put them down on paper or something – it’s just that they realized that, if they want to work for themselves, they have to follow them.

The first law is that peace is better than war when the former is an option; and the second, that one should be content with that freedom which doesn’t affect the freedom of other people, because that’s the freest one can be without risking a conflict.

The Commonwealth

Most of Leviathan is actually a description – as the book’s subtitle explicitly states – of the matter, form and power of the commonwealth,

It is a community ruled by a sovereign, which helps people get themselves out from “that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent… to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants.”

The best civil commonwealth is a monarchy, separated and superior to the ecclesiastical, i.e., religious part of the government.

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“Summary Thomas Hobbes Quotes”

Curiosity is the lust of the mind. Click To Tweet Hell is truth seen too late. Click To Tweet The condition of man... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone. Click To Tweet Leisure is the mother of philosophy. Click To Tweet Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Leviathan is one of the first-order classics of political philosophy.

However, do yourself a favor and don’t bother that much with parts II to IV – fortunately, we’re now past them.

Part I, however, is so thought-provoking it will probably be discussed for as long as we exist; or, at least, find a scientific proof that it is or isn’t right.

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Brain on Fire PDF Summary

Brain on Fire PDF SummaryMy Month of Madness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We loved it!  

Susannah CahalanAbout Susannah Cahalan

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

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

“Brain on Fire PDF Summary”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it too much to ask for humane treatment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Lessons from “Brain on Fire”

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

Act as quickly as possible

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

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

You know yourself better

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

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

Get back on your feet

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

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

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“Brain on Fire Quotes”

We are, in the end, a sum of our parts, and when the body fails, all the virtues we hold dear go with it. Click To Tweet I had asked him many times why he stayed, and he always said the same thing: “Because I love you, and I wanted to, and I knew you were in there.” No matter how damaged I had been, he had loved me enough to still see me somewhere inside. Click To Tweet The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Click To Tweet There are few other experiences that can bring two people closer than staring death in the face. Click To Tweet It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

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

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

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The Business of the 21st Century PDF Summary

The Business of the 21st CenturyAre you still living in the 20th century, trying to climb the corporate ladder?

Allow Robert T. Kiyosaki and his wife to introduce you to an alternative:

The Business of the 21st Century.

Who Should Read “The Business of the 21st Century”? And Why?

If you are an employee with dreams of climbing the corporate ladder or a self-employed small business owner, then you’re still living in the 20th century, and you must read The Business of the 21st Century if you wish to make the much-necessary step forward (and upward).

However, if you’re a big business owner or an investor, then you don’t need Kiyosaki’s book: you’ll already living it.

About Robert T. Kiyosaki

Robert T. KiyosakiRobert T. Kiyosaki is an American investor, entrepreneur and educator, most famous for his Rich Dad series.

The original book of the series, Rich Dad Poor Dad, spent six years on The New York Times bestseller list and was named “USA Today’s No. 1 Money Book” for two years in a row.

This inspired Kiyosaki to add many other titles to the series which, combined, have sold almost 30 million copies in more than 50 languages and about 110 countries.

Kiyosaki has been featured on shows such as Oprah and Larry King Live and has co-authored a book with Donald Trump titled Why We Want You to Be Rich: Two Men—One Message.

He has co-written The Business of 21st Century with his wife, Kim Kiyosaki, and John Fleming, an architect, life-designer, and editor-in-chief of Direct Selling News.

“The Business of the 21st Century PDF Summary”

The ESBI Quadrant

If you know one thing about Robert Kiyosaki—OK, besides that he’s the guy who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad—you certainly know his Cashflow Quadrant.

By his own admission, it may be “the most important writing” he’s ever done, because “it goes right to the heart of the crucial issues involved for people who are ready to make true changes in their lives.”

A strange thing to say about 4 letters inside a table which looks something like this:

E

B

S

I

However – and expectedly – there’s much more to it!

First of all, each of these letters stands for one of the only four categories of people that exist on this planet – at least in the eyes of Kiyosaki:

E = Employee
S = Self-employed or Small-business owner
B = Business owner
I = Investor

Which one of them are you?

Or to use the words of Kiyosaki, which quadrant do you live in, aka how do you earn most of your money?

Need some help to decide?

Here we go:

The E Quadrant

You’re here if you belong to the overwhelming majority of people.

Or, to be more exact, you’re here if you’re happy enough to not belong in the zero-quadrant, also known as being unemployed. Unfortunately, at least according to Robert Kiyosaki, 19% of young white men living in the US between the ages of 18 and 25 cannot find a job.

It’s even worse for African Americans: a third of them face similar problems!

You, however, don’t. You work hard in a moderately successful company, and you believe that, one day, your career will earn you just enough money to relax in the bliss of retirement.

The S Quadrant

Then again, maybe you’ve already migrated to the S quadrant.

Driven by your urge to earn more and to have more freedom, you decided to “fire your boss,” found a start-up, and become your own boss instead.

Unfortunately, this has backfired: now you have even less free time (because taking a day off means earning no money at all) and you can’t blame your boss for your problems (because that boss is you).

However, you feel that you’re better off than in the E quadrant.

At least slightly.

The B Quadrant

Of course, both the small business and the big business owners are self-employed.

However, the difference between the S quadrant and the B quadrant is straightforward: in the case of the latter, you’re not working for your company, but your company works for you.

The I Quadrant

Finally, the I quadrant, in which it is not your business which works for you anymore, but your money.

Though it seems something an E or an S guy would never have a go at, investing, says Kiyosaki, is “not rocket science.”

You already understand its essence from Monopoly: “four green houses, one red hotel.” All you need now is just a few books to master it.

E’s and S’s, This Book Is for You

Now that you’ve evaluated yourself, time to reveal to you the point of the test:

Kiyosaki’s The Business of the 21st Century is not for the I’s and neither for the B’s. It is about the E’s and the S’s.

And especially about those young people who haven’t decided yet whether they’ll live on the left or on the right side of Kiyosaki’s quadrant (pun, of course, intended).

Here’s Kiyosaki explaining that in brief:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg39w-NEn1w

So, news flash:

The corporate myth is over. If you’ve spent years climbing the corporate ladder, have you ever stopped to notice the view? What view, you ask? The rear end of the person in front of you. That’s what you get to look forward to. If that’s the way you want to view the rest of your life, then this book probably isn’t for you. But if you are sick and tired of looking at someone else’s behind, then read on.

Blame Prussia for Your Troubles

Basically every modern book on retirement planning states this explicitly: if you’re merely working somewhere, you’re already doing it all wrong!

Why, you ask?

Because you’re living in the past – more precisely sometime between the end of the 19th century and the 1980s.

You see, the “employment for life” myth didn’t exist before the Industrial Revolution; before it occurred, in fact, there were many more S’s than E’s.

However, once the Industrial Revolution incited the demand for employees, most European governments took over the task of mass education.

The system adopted everywhere was the Prussian system – and, miraculously, most school systems in the world are modeled after it to this day.

Miraculously, because the idea of that system was to mass-produce E’s, “people who would follow orders and do as they were told.”

And what they were promised in return?

The paradise of retirement.

Yet another Prussian idea, devised by then-Prussian president Otto von Bismarck in 1889.

What’s so bad about it?

We’ve already told you, but let us remind you yet again.

Back in the time of Bismarck, the average life expectancy was 45, and not many people lived to be old enough to start receiving their benefits.

Now, almost everybody lives past that age, and it’s only a matter of time before pension funds go absolutely broke.

Still wanting to be an E or an S?

Beyond Income

Of course you don’t.

Because you’re smart and because you’ve just realized that unless you’re a B or an I, you’ll never earn enough money to sit back and relax.

“it’s not about income,” writes Kiyosaki in the title of chapter 8, “it’s about assets that generate income.”

What does this mean?

Well, it means that earning money actively will never get you anywhere; and even if it does, it will be at the price of your own freedom. Think of it as a race. You’re not allowed to take a rest because then you’ll be outrun.

However, if you’re capable of finding a way to start earning money passively, then you can sit back and enjoy the view. Think of it as having someone else running in your stead.

Network Marketing

Now, it’s easy to say this; but somewhat tricky to put it into practice.

Why?

Because of the obvious Catch-22: in order to earn money, you need a big business; however, you need money to start a big business; the same goes for investing.

However, there’s a great way to circumvent this obstacle.

Namely, network marketing!

“If you are considering building your own business,” writes Kiyosaki, “you need to be acutely aware of who you’re spending your time with and who your teachers are. It’s a crucial consideration.”

Think of it this way: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Phil Knight – they all had friends when they were 18 or 20.

And they all wanted some support for their projects, whether financial or logistical.

If you had been one of the people to know them, even a single dollar might have made you a rich person today!

Network marketing is all about understanding the power of  the power connectors.

The point is to know people, to help them, to connect them, to sell them your idea before you have the money to put it into practice:

When it comes to creating business success, it’s not a simple matter of technical skills. Even more important are the life skills it takes to successfully negotiate the B quadrant. The key to long-term success in life is your education and skills, your life experiences, and most of all, your personal character.

“As a network marketer,” Kiyosaki adds, “you might think your job is to demonstrate and sell a product. It’s not. Your job is to communicate information, to tell a great story, and build a network.”

Key Lessons from “The Business of the 21st Century”

1.      The ESBI Quadrant
2.      One Business – Eight Wealth-Building Assets
3.      The Future Is Network Marketing

The ESBI Quadrant

The ESBI Quadrant is in the very essence of Kiyosaki’s philosophy – which means it forms the basis of almost all of his books.

It states that, at least in terms of money, there exist only four categories of people: employees, small business owners, big business owners and investors.

The first two belong to the left side of the quadrant; the latter two to the right side.

Also: the first two belong to the past; the latter two to the future.

Choose wisely – because you can choose.

1 Business – 8 Wealth-Building Assets

The point is not to get stuck in actively earning money – but to try and start earning. It’s not about income, says Kiyosaki, but about assets which bring income on their own.

And these are, according to him, the eight wealth-building assets which really matter:

Asset #1: A Real-World Business Education
Asset #2: A Profitable Path of Personal Development
Asset #3: A Circle of Friends Who Share Your Dreams and Values
Asset #4: The Power of Your Own Network
Asset #5: A Duplicable, Fully Scalable Business
Asset #6: Incomparable Leadership Skills
Asset #7: A Mechanism for Genuine Wealth Creation
Asset #8: Big Dreams and the Capacity to Live Them

Spend as much time as you can developing these assets in your youth; you’ll be more than thankful to yourself when you get older.

The Future Is Network Marketing

The essence of you becoming a B or an I (instead of living an unfulfilling life as an E or an S) is network marketing.

That is, finding people who’ll share your dreams and ideas; people who want to be B’s and I’s as well; people who’ll either buy your visions when the lack of money prevents you from turning them into reality or people in whose visions you can invest.

That’s all the intelligence you need to become a successful person.

Remember that:

It is not real estate, gold, stocks, hard work, or money that makes you rich; it is what you know about real estate, gold, stocks, hard work, and money that makes you rich. Ultimately, it is your financial intelligence that makes you rich.

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“The Business of the 21st Century PDF Summary Quotes”

Your mind is infinite, it's your doubts that are limiting. Click To Tweet Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Click To Tweet I came to realize that while personal success is fulfilling it's much more fulfilling when you can help many others create their own success as well. Click To Tweet The key to long-term success in life is your education and skills, your life experiences, and most of all, your personal character. Click To Tweet Learning how to tell a powerful story is learning how to show up as the winner you are. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The Business of the 21st Century was published soon after the financial decline of 2008 and addresses Americans mainly through the prism of this crisis.

However, its message – if you want wealth, create it by taking charge of your income source – rings true even a decade later.

It does sound a bit simplifying here and there, but there are quite a few interesting takeaways. If you like Rich Dad Poor Dad, you’ll like this one too.

If not, don’t bother.

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The Social Contract PDF Summary

The Social Contract PDF Summary“Man is born free, and yet he is everywhere in chains.”

Do you know where that line comes from?

Well, no surprises here: of course it comes from the book we summarize below.

Rousseau’s The Social Contract.

Who Should Read “The Social Contract”? And Why?

Too many people criticize Rousseau without having read anything but a few quotes of him.

Unfortunately, this results in a one-dimensional representation of him, which does neither him nor ideas any justice—regardless on which side you’re on.

So, here’s your chance to change them: glorify him to the heavens, criticize him back to hell, but please spend some time with him first.

The Social Contract is a great place to start.

About Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques RousseauJean-Jacques Rousseau was a major Swiss-French philosopher of the Enlightenment.

Even though he often disagreed with the ideas and opinions of his contemporaries (especially those of Voltaire), he believed, just like them, in the necessity of progress and the possibility of a utopian society just to every person.

He authored some of the most important books of the period, including the political essays, Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract, the educational treatise Emile, the novel Julie, or the New Heloise and his controversial autobiography, Confessions.

He exerted enormous influence on the thinkers of Europe long after his death and his writings are rightly considered as the main instigators of the Romantic movement.

“The Social Contract PDF Summary”

What is a Social Contract?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 1762 book The Social Contract was influential enough to provide the world with a term used even today to describe a topic discussed by philosophers long before Rousseau was even born.

So, consider it as something similar to what Google is in relation to internet browsing: even though Google was not the first search engine, it popularized Internet browsing to such an extent that nowadays we freely use the verb “googling” as a synonym for this action.

Well, the same holds true in the case of The Social Contract. Although Rousseau was neither the first nor the last one to discuss it, his book was the one which popularized the importance of this topic, and nowadays we say that Hobbes’ Leviathan—though written more than a century before Rousseau’s treatise—also discusses “the concept of the social contract theory.”

But what does the phrase “social contract” refers to?

In a nutshell, to the relationship between natural and legal rights.

Or, to put that in even simpler terms, the theories of the social contract try to explain how, why, and even if the state should have authority over the free will of an individual.

As far as Thomas Hobbes was concerned the answer was all but obvious: in the absence of laws, the unlimited natural freedoms of the individuals will undoubtedly lead to a state of “war of all against all.”

Rousseau, however, has some very different ideas about how “the natural state of men” looked like. And, consequently, the nature of his social contract is very different as well.

Rousseau’s Natural State

It is important to note from the start that Rousseau discusses the social contract in both this book and an earlier essay, titled “(Second) Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men.”

Even though he repeats some of the claims from the essay in his book as well, in order to understand The Social Contract better, you need to have some knowledge and understanding of his “Second Discourse” as well.

As always—we’re here to help!

So, in a few words, the “Second Discourse” provides Rousseau’s vision of how human societies evolved: from the natural state of the tribesmen to the modern civil society.

However, unlike Hobbes, Rousseau doesn’t believe that prehistory was all that bad.

In fact – quite the opposite.

In Rousseau’s mind, the natural state of men is that of the peaceful, uncompetitive life. Due to the small number of people inhabiting the world and the abundance provided by nature, early humans didn’t have problems satisfying their very few needs.

Also, even though living in a world of saber-toothed tigers and mammoths, they must have had fewer fears and stresses, since, as Bob Dylan once sang in a completely different context, “when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

It may seem idealistic to you now (it certainly did to just about every serious thinker of his time), but you’ll be surprised to learn that modern anthropologists have recently resurrected Rousseau’s theory once again.

So, what happened?

Why did we paved paradise and put up civil society?

Private Property and the Fall from Grace

Because of the inevitable: paradises are never meant to last.

In humanity’s case, the problem was relatively simple – the smarter the humans grew, the more capable they became in terms of defending themselves against wild animals and natural catastrophes.

This resulted in a gradual growth of the population which then led to a lack of resources. This, naturally, caused the first severe strives and conflicts.

However, the real problems came when private property was invented.

“The first man,” writes Rousseau in “The Second Discourse,” “who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.”

Because, thinks Rousseau, the moment someone said something is his marked the moment when someone else realized that that something doesn’t belong to him anymore.

When one gained, another one lost.

And this led inevitably to such awful things as competition, greed, and vanity; and that’s how inequality was born.

The one who profited from this state of affairs were, expectedly, not the most capable or the smartest ones, but the strongest and the least moral people.

However, as Rousseau notes, “the strongest is never strong enough to be always the master unless he transforms that strength into right.”

Or to quote Wyatt Earp: “there’s always a man faster on the draw than you are, and the more you use a gun, the sooner you’re gonna run into that man.”

So, in an ironic twist, the strongest ones—and, consequently, at this point, the richest ones as well—proposed to the not so fortunate ones that a government is created tasked with protecting the freedom and the ownership rights of every man.

And that’s how the Natural Social Contract was signed.

Rewriting the Social Contract

Naturally, Rousseau is not that fascinated with this Natural Social Contract. So, in The Social Contract, he proposes that it should be rewritten because that’s the only remedy for the ills of modern societies.

Put in simpler terms, they were created by the strong and are meant to protect the strong. In the process, the weak lost everything—including their freedom.

Before they realize they can get it back through a violent revolution, Rousseau thought, maybe it’s better that we draft a new version of the social contract that should be fair to everybody.

The Social Contract begins with one of the most famous opening sentences in the history of all texts:

Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.

This is the paradox Rousseau’s social contract attempts to resolve; it is, as one can only imagine, a fundamental paradox of existence, boiling down to something all lovers find out sooner or later.

Namely, that living with another means giving up some aspects of your freedom; or, to paraphrase Winnie-the-Pooh, taking a few steps backward to give way to the happiness of the person you love.

Now, in a relationship, you know why you do this: so that two “I’s” can become a “we”; you skip watching the Jets tonight not because you don’t want to, but because it is for the greater good of the relationship.

However, if you stop watching the Jets altogether (even though you want to), then it’s fairly apparent that you’re not with the right person.

There’s no “we” or equality when one gets everything and the other next to nothing; there’s only inequality and a master/servant hierarchy.

The Essence of the New Social Contract

Well, if you asked Rousseau, the 18th-century society—and our society as well—was at such a stage of its development.

Namely, some people were abusers, and others merely caught living in an abusive relationship.

Rousseau is adamant that this needs to change.

And that, as is often the case, the abused ones are incapable of changing the state of affairs without any help.

So Rousseau offers it in his proposal for a new social contract.

Its essence?

[The social contract] can be reduced to the following terms: Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and in a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.

Problems understanding that?

Don’t worry!

Basically nobody has.

We’ll offer one interpretation of it, possibly the most flattering to Rousseau’s convoluted logic. But be aware that he is a divisive thinker and that many believe that, just like Plato in his Republic, what he proposes in The Social Contract looks much more dystopian than utopian.

The good part?

Rousseau, just like many of the (finally) enlightened philosophers of his time, believes that all men are created equal and born free. “To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave,” he writes, “is to assert that he is not born a man.”

In other words, there’s absolutely no reason why some people should speak in the place of others, and why the voice of these others should not be heard.

So, that’s a big “no-no” to representative democracies.

The Mystery of the General Will

But it is a big “yes” to direct democracies!

Let’s try to summarize the logic which leads to this, before explaining the consequences.

You know who is a healthy individual?

The one in agreement with himself; the one who is not, suffers from schizophrenia or MPD and can only be acted out by James McAvoy.

By the same analogy, the only relationship which works is the one in which two people act as if one. This means that they come to agreements on different matters, and respect them to the best of their capabilities.

When they don’t—and this is the most important part—they actually work against themselves.

They work against themselves when they don’t make their wills and desires known as well—because how should the other one take them into consideration if he doesn’t know that they exist?

To make the long story short: the only society which makes sense is the one in which all people make their wills known and, thus, contribute to the formation of something Rousseau refers to as general will.

The general will is the will of the Sovereign, which is how Rousseau calls the collective grouping of all citizens. So, think of it as the will of a giant individual composed of all the people living in a single community.

In a relationship, you have your own individual will (say, watching the Jets), your girlfriend has her own individual will (say, watching a movie), and the couple has its own general will, which is not a mere aggregate of these two wills.

In other words, due to having one TV, this couple’s general will would instead go out to a restaurant.

Naturally, obeying this general will is better for the common good: no arguments, and hugs before sleeping.

The General Will and Society

Now, how should the 300 million Americans know their general will?

Well, they can’t.

Simply as that.

If we understand Rousseau well, they are simply too many to think as a community.

General will can only be formed when the sovereign consists of a limited number of people. So, just like Aristotle, Rousseau thinks that utopian societies can only exist in small city-states where everybody knows everyone and can identify, to some extent, with his/her needs.

And everyone is supposed to meet at least once a while, tell to the others what bothers him or her, and participate in the final formation of the general will, aka, direct democracy.

Of course, the general will is then translated into law, and this process repeats to the end of the times and back.

The obvious problem, of course, is what should the Sovereign do with those individuals who refuse to conform to the general will? After all, it should be only expected that not every decision will be unanimous!

Rousseau goes all biblical here.

Not that he quotes the Good Book, but that he kind of suggests something Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount: “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

No, he doesn’t say that the Sovereign should kill the individuals who act freer than they are expected to. But it says that it should muffle them, for they do not know what they are doing or even what they truly want.

There it is, we quoted the Bible yet again.

We told you that Rousseau is biblical.

Key Lessons from “The Social Contract”

1.      The Social Contract
2.      The General Will
3.      Forced to be Free

The Social Contract

A social contract is a theory which concerns the processes by which individuals transfer their rights and freedom to a collective governing body such as the state.

Rousseau’s Social Contract is one of the most influential and controversial takes on this vital topic.

The gist of his idea is that, paradoxically, in order to reclaim their freedom, people need to give up on it yet again.

However, this time, this should be done by everybody and in agreement with everybody.

The General Will

When everybody points his individual will in the direction of one common good, something Rousseau calls “the general will” is created.

This general will is basically the will of the collective body (the sovereign) but is neither the aggregate nor the compromise between the individual wills which comprise this collective.

What it is can only be found through the process of direct democracy.

Forced to Be Free

As for those who don’t want to obey the general will?

Well, simply put, they don’t know what they want!

They must, says Rousseau, be “forced to be free.”

Whatever that means.

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“The Social Contract PDF Summary Quotes”

Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. Click To Tweet In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much. Click To Tweet As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State ‘What does it matter to me?’ the State may be given up for lost. Click To Tweet It is easier to conquer than to administer. With enough leverage, a finger could overturn the world; but to support the world, one must have the shoulders of Hercules. Click To Tweet In a well-governed state, there are few punishments, not because there are many pardons, but because criminals are rare; it is when a state is in decay that the multitude of crimes is a guarantee of impunity. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We kind of feel that The Social Contract is famous for all the wrong reasons.

We’re not saying that you should forget about the concept of the “general will” and the “forced to be free” adage; on the contrary: it seems as if these ideas need further interpretation.

However, when you read this work, don’t forget that its objective was to devise a way how to take away the power from the monarchs and give it back to the people.

Even if the way is wrong, the general idea is more than commendable.

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