Weekly Blog #28 - Holidays... and what to read

My wife and I will take a week off next week to visit "the Florida of China", Hainan. Not being able to travel to Europe for a reasonable amount of money and a bearable amount of effort, we've decided to look for places here in China and Hainan was on the top of our list due to being one of the few places with nice beaches and tropical weather.


Since my beach holidays usually consist of sleeping, eating, swimming and reading (as they should, really), I want to share with you the two books I am taking with me on this vacation.


You may or may not have heard of the authors before since both of them have had some controversial publications, political engagements or other news-worthy periods in their lives. The good thing about a holiday-read is, however, that I can put down the book at any given time if I don't like it and pick up a Chinese newspaper or another cocktail, or both.

12 Rules for Life - An Antidote to Chaos from Jordan B. Peterson


As so many things that I am reading right now, this is a book about the human psychology and self improvement. It's a long book. I've started reading it a while ago and it has a few lengthy passages.


About the Author

Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist and psychology professor at the University of Toronto. His YouTube lectures have reached tens of millions of views and the book mentioned above has sold over 3 million copies. Wall Street Journal has named Peterson to be "the most significant conservative thinker to appear in the English-speaking world in a generation."


About the Book

In his book, each of the following twelve rules (spoiler alert) are being explained extensively and in a way that doesn't necessarily suit the impatient reader. Originally there were over 40 rules as mentioned by the author at the beginning of the book, but his editor told him to cut it down by quite some margin. The author uses a lot of references and passages from the bible to explain his rules which can be more confusing than helpful at times but if you read or listen carefully enough you'll find that subtle guiding thread throughout the book that helps you to stick with it.

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back

  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

  3. Make friends with people who want the best for you

  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today

  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world

  7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

  8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie

  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't

  10. Be precise in your speech

  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding

  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

I have managed to get to rule number 5 and I am looking forward to the next 7. Chances are high that I will write about it in a later blog since until now I find a lot of the rules and their condensed versions to be worth sharing.


You can find the book on Amazon following this link (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2VUdO2N)

Zero to One from Peter Thiel


This is also a self-help book, however, it is about how to start a business. The subtitle reads "Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future". It's been described by The Times as "That rare thing: a concise, thought-provoking book on entrepreneurship" and Elon Musk said this about the author: "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how."


About the Author

Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal and Palantir, made the first outside investment on Facebook, funded companies like SpaceX and LinkedIn and started the Thiel Fellowship, which encourages young people to put learning before university.


About the Book

The book itself - according to Wikipedia - is "a condensed and updated version of a highly popular set of online notes taken by Masters for the CS183 class on startups, as taught by Thiel at Stanford University in Spring 2012".


In his lecture and in this book, the author describes the differences between starting a company by copying what has been done before and starting a company from zero by being innovative and creating something new. "Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creating, and the result sis something fresh and strange." These lines, written by the author in the Preface of the book, were quite intriguing to me so I am really looking forward to reading the book during the next few days.


You can find the book on Amazon following this link (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2Z68eN2)


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