Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

Naturally, our first idea for our final list – best nonfiction books of all time – was making “a best of the best” list. After all, we already made for you no less than 16 lists, and choosing the best book of each of them would have been a perfect finale to our wonderful list-making journey of the past year.

(Which, by the way, we hope you enjoyed it at least as much as us.)

However, halfway down making such a list, we realized that there were so many great books we didn’t have a chance to include anywhere else. So, we decided to make a U-turn! Instead of compiling books from our lists, we decided that each of our top nonfiction books should be a unique entry.

Yes, that meant that this list would be bereaved of many highly deserving classics. From the top of our heads: “The Diary of a Young Girl”, “Night” or “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (top biographies), “Civilization and Its Discontent” (top psychology books), “Capitalism and Freedom” and “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, And Money” (top economics choices) or half of our top history books.

But, it also meant that we’ll provide you with 15 more reviews of 15 more exceptional books by 15 more exceptional people. Although, we would have wanted to include at least as many even here.

Enjoy!

#1. “A Dictionary of the English Language” by Samuel Johnson

A Dictionary of the English Language SummaryContrary to popular belief, this is not the first dictionary of the English language. However, it is certainly both the most influential and the most admirable one. As Walter Jackson Bate wrote, Samuel Johnson’s “Dictionary” “easily ranks as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship, and probably the greatest ever.”

No, this is not a biased opinion! And a simple comparison may be the only argument you’ll ever need to read as evidence.

Namely, the Académie française took 55 years and the dedication of 40 scholars to complete their Dictionnarre; it included about 30,000 words. Samuel Johnson spent 8 years to compile a list of 40,000 words. And all were thoroughly defined and meticulously illustrated with over 114,000 quotations!

And he did it all – by himself!

There’s nothing even remotely similar to Johnson’s endeavor in all of human history! His dictionary was so good that was unanimously considered the preeminent work of its kind for almost a century and a half, until the “Oxford English Dictionary” came out.

Bonus: some of the definitions in the dictionary are really funny! Such as “Lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original and detailing the signification of words.”

#2. “Critique of Pure Reason” by Immanuel Kant

Critique of Pure Reason SummaryBarely thirty years after Samuel Johnson transformed the way people think about the English language, German philosopher Immanuel Kant transformed the way people think about – well, anything. A miraculous achievement, considering the fact that Kant almost never left his hometown, the city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad).

First published in 1781 – before being revised six years later – “Critique of Pure Reason” attempts to give an answer to the question “how do we know.” A question as old as time, you might say, but a question with so many answers before Kant as well.

Kant didn’t like this, so he tried to explain away the confusion and put an end to all speculation once and for all. However, he didn’t want to resort to some easy answers, such as the skepticism of René Descartes and David Hume. So, he went on to develop about a thousand-page long theory of the relationships between pure reason and human experiences.

And, magnificently, philosophers worldwide agree that he did quite a good job. Although, to be perfectly honest, some time passed before anyone understood what Kant was saying.

Bear that in mind if you ever want to leaf through its pages. You’ll definitely need some help.

#3. “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto Summary1848 was one of the most tumultuous years in human history. Revolutions broke in over 50 countries around the planet, and almost each and every one in Europe. Objective historians have rightly dubbed 1848 as the Year of Revolution. The more hopeful ones have opted for a more poetic title: People’s Spring.

Well, a month before the actual commencement of that year’s spring (February 21, 1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published a very brief political pamphlet which would go on to change the course of human history.

Widely considered the most influential text of its kind in history, the three-part “Communist Manifesto” is a summary of Marx and Engels’ ideas about the nature of society and politics.

The first part, “Bourgeois and Proletarians,” states from the outset the main premise: “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” The second part, “”Proletarians and Communists,” lists and explains the measures necessary to achieve a classless society. Finally, the third part “Socialist and Communist Literature,” sets apart communism from other similar doctrines.

Some love it; others despise it. Nevertheless, the ideas presented in “The Communist Manifesto” have been hotly debated ever since its publication.

And will be – for any foreseeable future.

#4. “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau

Walden SummaryIn 1845, Henry David Thoreau – then merely 28 years of age – left behind the materialist America of his time to live a life of seclusion and solitude in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s country cabin near Walden Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.

He stayed there for two years, two months and two days. And nine years later, he gave the world his account of his experiences, “Walden,” a book so influential that, as John Updike noted it “risks being as revered and unread as the Bible.”

If you’ve ever watched “Dead Poets Society,” you probably already know its (a bit jumbled-up, though) introduction by heart: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

What you may not know, however, is that “Walden” is the most radical way in which Thoreau tried to practice his ideas of civil disobedience. Expounded more thoroughly in another essay of his, the concept – and “Walden” – would influence figures as diverse as Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

A book for all the ideologists out there. For all times.

#5. “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill

On Liberty SummaryJohn Stuart Mill was raised to be a genius; so, he became one of the greatest of his, or, for that matter, all times. He contributed to so many areas of human knowledge that he is often considered to have been “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century.”

However, his short book titled “On Liberty” seems to have stood the test of time like no other of his books. It’s still widely read and widely commented. A copy of the book, for example, is regularly passed to the new president of The British Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party as a symbol of his office.

Written as an attempt to apply Mill’s favored philosophical doctrine (utilitarianism) to the state and society in general, “On Liberty” analyzes the relationship between governments and individuals, and between authority and freedom. It tries to uncover where one’s freedom ends and where someone else’s begins. And, finally, it tries to show how we can remain democratic without falling victims to an unexpected “tyranny of the majority.”

Just like any of the books on this list, “On Liberty” has been as much lauded as it has been criticized. However, just like them, it’s also still thought-provoking and debated. A testament to its greatness.

#6. “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin

On the Origin of Species SummaryThe same year Mill published “On Liberty,” one man published a book which will largely overshadow its significance. A book which – some may argue – has overshadowed almost every single nonfiction book ever written, bar one or two it rubs its shoulders with at the peak of the pedestal.

The full title of the book: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” You already know the author: Charles Darwin.

Written for the general public – so as to attract more attention – “On the Origin of Species” argued something nobody had ever dared before. Namely, that living organisms have a common ancestor and that their diversity is the result of random selection.

No gods, no divine will. Merely Mother Nature, in all its haphazard glory.

It’s practically impossible to overestimate the effects Darwin’s theory would have on every living person. And when twelve years later Darwin would apply the theory of evolution he devised here to humans, the circle would be completed.

Because “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex” would be the first book to argue that humans are not an exceptional species.

And that – there’s so much humbleness and beauty in this finding.

#7. “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus SummaryAustrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was such a colorful person that a short biography would do no justice to either his life or his larger-than-life personality. For now, suffice to say that he is considered to have been “the most perfect example… of genius” even though he published just one fairly slim book during the 62 years he was given to live and think on this planet.

And that volume is “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” – in all of its 80 pages and 526 numbered statements.

Written during the period of the First World War, the “Tractatus” is comprised of no more than seven main propositions, each as seemingly comprehensible as thoroughly inscrutable as the next one.

Want to have a go?

Here is the first one: “the world is everything that is the case;” it’s followed by seven sub-propositions which may help you understand it; or not. Either way, they won’t prepare you for the second one: “What is the case (a fact) is the existence of states of affairs.” Cue 79 apparently elucidating statements. (Click here for the whole structure.)

Now, you’re probably wondering how then the “Tractatus” ended up being on our list?

Well, because almost every single sentence of it has been scrutinized and/or challenged by almost any thinker who matters. Not the least – by Wittgenstein himself. A bit strange if you take into consideration that, at the time he published it, he claimed, in a Kantian manner, that the “Tractatus” had solved all philosophical problems.

Even stranger in view of the last – and by far most famous – of his seven propositions. This one’s a beauty: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

#8. “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One’s Own SummaryIt was precisely something many had remained silent about that an English modernist writer by the name of Virginia Woolf wanted to speak about in 1929. And in “A Room of One’s Own” she did. In her familiar exuberantly fluid, and sumptuously beautiful prose. A lifetime interest for her – style – wasn’t as important this time around.

It was what she wanted to convey through it. A message which echoed through time and space. It isn’t just to her talent to summarize it in a sentence, but, since it’s hers, will be unjust. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

As axiomatic as it may sound nowadays, when Woolf wrote it, it was both frowned upon and as radical as a political manifesto.

However – and fortunately – it set the foundation for feminism; and, through it, for women’s rights. Because Woolf was the first one to ask the right question. It’s not “why have there been no talented women artists and scientists up to the nineteenth century”; it’s: “why no talented women artists and scientists ever got the chance to employ their talents?”

We already quoted her fairly straightforward answer above.

#9. “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces SummaryWhen it was published in 1949, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” was one of the most thorough analyses of how similarly world mythologies have shaped the stories of their heroes’ journey to greatness. In the meantime, it has also become a sort of a manual for creating long-lasting works of art.

You probably don’t know it, but whether it’s “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter,” “Watership Down” or “Beauty and the Beast” – they all consciously owe their structure to Joseph Campbell’s investigations and his idea of the monomyth. Borrowed from Joyce, Campbell uses this word to speak about the fundamental architecture of the archetypal hero’s journey. And he summarizes thus:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Of course, there are many episodes interspersed with this narrative, but, even those are shared throughout cultures. Why? Because we’re all humans and because some stories are buried deep within our subconscious.

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” strives to uncover the arche-stories. While warning us that if we ever forget them, we’ll forget being humans as well.

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#10. “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique SummaryVirginia Woolf may have been the first one to remind women that they are as much as humans as men. However, Betty Friedan was the author who really shook women to their core, waking them from centuries of stony sleep. And showing them the way to a world where women can be equal to men.

Published in 1963, “The Feminine Mystique” is widely considered to have been the book which launched second-wave feminism. It was originally intended to be an article about the results of a survey Friedan conducted of her former Smith College classmates on their 15th-anniversary reunion. But, nobody wanted to publish the article. So, Friedan authored a whole book.

As she famously put it herself, about “the problem that has no name.”

You see, what Friedan discovered is that most of her friends were unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, what made them unhappy was the fact that they were expected to be wives and mothers.

And – herein lies the nameless problem – nothing more.

And each suburban wife, wrote Friedan, struggled with this problem alone. “As she made the beds, shopped for groceries… she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all’?”

Friedan was sure it couldn’t be. And she gave voice to all the women who shared her feelings.

And the world changed.

#11. “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” by Hannah Arendt

Eichmann in Jerusalem SummaryA Jew who left Germany soon after Adolf Hitler’s rose to power, Hannah Arendt is considered one of the most significant modern political philosophers. So influential is she that – as many would argue – the book we’ve chosen for our list isn’t the one she’s most famous for. That one is, in fact, “The Origins of Totalitarianism” where she carefully examines the roots of Nazism and Communism.

However, we went here with “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” a book smaller both in length and in scope; but, in our opinion, also a book whose conclusions are much more related to the human nature and, thus, much more relevant and frightening.

Based on Arendt’s “New Yorker” reports about the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, the book famously argues that Eichmann, one of the organizers of the Holocaust, was not a gruesome monster, but merely averagely intelligent “joiner.”

Or, in other, much more worrisome words, a person just like anybody else. He boasted of no exceptional intelligence or hatred, and he wanted to belong to some community.

But therein lies the rub: it was exactly because of people like him that the Holocaust was made possible. Evil has no movie-like qualities, and you can’t really detect it the way you can detect a serial killer in a slasher movie.

As Arendt famously said, evil is banal. And almost anyone, under the right circumstances, can become its agent.

#12. “Orientalism” by Edward Said

Orientalism SummaryAll humans belong to the same species. However, it seems that cultural differences have created chasms between them. Only recently we started understanding the greatest one, the West/East schism.

And it couldn’t have been written by anyone else other than Edward Wadie Said, a public intellectual born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, and raised and educated in Cairo at a British Anglican Christian school. All in all, by his own admission, “an uncomfortably anomalous student.”

But, “Orientalism” stemmed out of this discomfort. It strives to describe the cultural representations of some Eastern cultures (Asia, North Africa, Middle East) in the works of the authors who belong to the Western literary canon.

The results themselves are nothings short of expected. Predictably, Western writers never saw the inhabitants of these places as people of real flesh and blood, but as underdeveloped caricatures residing in an exotic world of myths and legends.

However, the consequences are far-reaching. According to Said, in time, the ruling elites in these Eastern societies realized that they could use these stories to exert authority and influence over their subjects. So, they internalized the Western narratives – and actually started turning into what they were wrongly portrayed to have been.

So, “Orientalism” is not only about culture and literature. It’s also about power and freedom.

#13. “The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA” by James D. Watson

The Double Helix SummaryThere are not many events in modern history that can compare – both in terms of instant impressions and eternal effects – to the publication of a single two-page article in the 171st volume of the scientific journal “Nature” on 25 April 1953.

Titled “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” and signed by Francis Crick and James D. Watson, the article has been variously described as a scientific “pearl” and as “the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century.”

Could it be any different?

What the article first described was the double helix structure of the DNA. Or, to put it in laymen’s terms – there, on these two pages, lay the answer to one of science’s fundamental mysteries.

The origin of life.

Fifteen years later, one of these two scientists, James Watson, wrote “The Double Helix”. An intimate autobiographical account of the discovery of DNA, “The Double Helix” was voted the 7th best nonfiction book of the 20th century by the Modern Library, and was placed on Library of Congress’ list of the 88 “Books That Shaped America.”

Important and immensely popular, the book has inspired a fair share of controversies as well. Which, of course, makes the book even more appealing.

#14. “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time SummaryWe really wanted to include a book by Einstein or Newton in our list; however, we opted for Stephen Hawking. And that already says a lot about how much we value the British physicist and his most celebrated book.

However, the reason why we preferred Hawking to Einstein or Newton is a blatantly obvious one. Namely, during the past two decades, “A Brief History of Time” has sold more than 10 million copies. You can’t say that about many books – let alone scientific treatises.

Because, even though it’s bereaved of the technical jargon associated with similar books, “A Brief History of Time” is still a serious study about serious matters. Such that go even beyond the questions answered by the discovery of DNA.

In it, Hawking writes about the origins and the eventual death of our universe; about concepts such as the Big Bang, time-space continuum, quarks and gravity; and, finally, he discusses two different theories which try to explain the existence of the universe – Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum physics.

Nobody has ever succeeded in bringing the world of cosmology and astrophysics as close to the general public as Hawking. And, unsurprisingly, in 2002 BBC poll, he was voted the 25th Greatest Briton of all time.

#15. “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction SummaryThe most recent entry on our list is one we felt we had to include in spite of it being published in 2014. Because we want you to take its subject matter as seriously as a heart attack. And because, in a way, “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert talks about some things which, if you don’t, there will be no writers left to write, and no readers to compile lists like this.

A winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, “The Sixth Extinction” argues that we are currently in the middle of a modern extinction process. However, unlike the previous five, this one’s man-made. Consequently, it’s also preventable.

However, the extinction will probably not be prevented, because, as Kolbert shows, humans are in a state of absolute denial. She compares this denialism to the one pre-Darwinian people had in view of prehistoric mass extinction. Most of them simply didn’t believe that any event could be powerful enough to wipe down a whole species from this planet.

Now, we know for sure that they were wrong. Unfortunately, we have invested enormous amounts of energy to – well, repeat it.

The result? Kolbert demonstrates that, if our estimates are correct, almost half “of all living species on earth” may be extinct by the end of 21st century.

Bleak? In need of immediate action?

Well, that’s what books can do.

And why we need lists like this one to guide us through the libraries of history.

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Principle-Centered Leadership Summary

Principle-Centered Leadership SummaryGIVE A MAN A FISH AND YOU FEED HIM FOR A DAY: TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH AND YOU FEED HIM FOR A LIFETIME

Control through fear is short-lived.

If you want to build a true following, it is better for you to take another path.

Which one?

We show you the way in the summary below.

Who Should Read “Principle-Centered Leadership”? And Why?

In his book “Principle-Centered Leadership,” Stephen R. Covey teaches you what a principle-centered leader is and gives you the steps toward becoming one.

If you want to become someone who people genuinely value, and has apparent control, but not external and forced, then this is the book that will show you how.

If you always believed that exerting force and fear are the only ways people can stay loyal then delve into this summary, since it might change your mind.

In any case, give it a change. That is the least you can do when it comes to Steven R. Covey’s books.

About Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. CoveyStephen R. Covey is a writer who established himself as one of the most excellent businessmen, philosophers, theorists, and speakers of the 20th century. He wrote several best-sellers including The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleFirst Things FirstThe 8th Habit, etc.

“Principle-Centered Leadership Summary”

There are different types of leaders, that use different methods to gain a following.

There are many management tricks you can use to manipulate people and gain some benefits, but such benefits are always short-lived.

Principle-centered leadership is the rarest and purest form of the command, which begins with yourself and spreads out towards your followers.

When you fail to become a principle-centered leader, your staff will slowly become skeptical about each quick fix solution you introduce.

What makes principle-centered leaders special?

There are eight characteristics that define them, which you should try to incorporate into your own leadership style.

First, principle-centered leaders never stop learning. They learn by reading, taking classes, listening to others, by seeking training or through their experiences.

Second, they are service oriented. They do not see their job and life as a career, but as a mission, and have a strong sense of responsibility.

Third, they emanate positive energy. They are pleasant to be around and are always upbeat and optimistic. They dream, hope, and believe. Positive energy attracts other positive experiences.

Positive energy is extraordinarily powerful when combined with the next characteristic: belief in other people.

Principle-centered leaders don’t overreact to weaknesses and negative conduct since they know the difference between behavior and potential. They do not limit their employees with preconceived stereotypes, and by believing in the unseen, they create a pool of opportunities.

Next is leading a balancing life. Principle-centered leaders do not exaggerate and accept failures, seeing them as opportunities to learn and to better adapt in the future.

Furthermore, principle-centered leaders see life as an adventure. They often go out of their comfort zones and push themselves.

The seventh characteristic is linked with synergy. Synergy happens when the whole has more value and power than the sum of its parts. This means that principle-centered leaders are team players and know how to complement the weaknesses of one team member through the strength of others.

Finally, principle-centered leaders regularly exercise the four dimensions of human character: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Now, although you know all of these character traits, do not try just to make yourself practice them,

There are no shortcuts to creating a personality. If you mold your personality first, then the behavior will follow.

Three important traits decide whether you will be great or not, and those traits are: integrity, maturity and having an abundance mentality.

You can try some quick fix solutions, but they will not work in the long-haul.

They will be useful as long as the territory does not change. And as you know, in business the territory is in a constant process of change, so you will be much better off if you decide to work harder on becoming the person you would admire, and then seek all others to admire you as well.

Key Lessons from “Principle-Centered Leadership”

1.      Types of Power
2.      Impact of Each Type of Power
3.      Communicating Effectively

Types of Power

  • Coercive power uses fear to gain followers.
  • Utility power followers choose their leader because of the benefits they expect to receive.
  • Principle-centered power is based on willingness – followers believe in their leaders, and they like who they are.

Impact of Each Type of Power

  • Coercive power otherwise called the big-stick approach fuels deceit and dishonesty and can be only temporary, since control through fear cannot last.
  • Utility power reinforces a sense of fairness and equity. It has a bad and a good side, the good side being maintaining a relationship as long as there is a mutual interest.
  • The principle-centered power is rare. It can exist only in the case when the values of the leader and follower overlap. This means that the control exists, but it is not external. People follow you because they choose to and because they like who you are.

Communicating Effectively

Each conflict happens because of differences in perception. People believe that their own understanding of the world is the right one, not believing in subjective interpretations.

So, what can you do when you have a disagreement?

  • Assume good faith.
  • Try to resolve differences in relationships.
  • Be open to influences and do not resist change.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Speak to be understood.
  • Start the communication from a common point of reference.

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“Principle-Centered Leadership” Quotes

Unless we control our appetites, we will not be in control of our passions and emotions. We will instead become victims of our passions, seeking or aspiring our own wealth, dominion, prestige, and power. Click To Tweet When you are living in harmony with your core values and principles, you can be straightforward, honest, and up-front. Click To Tweet Principles are self-evident, self-validating natural laws. Click To Tweet If I try to use manipulative strategies and tactics to get other people to do what I want-while my character is flawed or my competency is questionable-then I can’t be successful over time. Click To Tweet An abundance mentality springs from an internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Principle-Centered Leadership” is another one of Steven R. Covey’s masterpieces, that shift perspective and make people think.

Its pages are full of diagrams, lists, charts, and anecdotes, which help the reader easily comprehend the ideas that Covey conveys.

An interesting fact is that the cover of the book has incorporated the famous quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We can safely say that this quote explains the intention Covey had when writing this book – to teach leaders how to fish.

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We Need to Talk About an Injustice Summary

We Need to Talk About an Injustice SummaryWe live in a world of progress.

However, this progress is purely technological. To wholly progress as a society, on the other hand, we need to work on other aspects.

We explain those aspects in the summary of “We Need to Talk About an Injustice” TED talk.

Who Should Watch “We Need to Talk About an Injustice”? And Why?

Lawyer Bryan Stevenson sparked an interest in his TED audience reminding them that technological progress means nothing when people still suffer from human rights violations and are a subject to discrimination.

We recommend “We Need to Talk About an Injustice” to everyone who has even the slightest desire to eliminate injustice and make the world a better place.

About Bryan Stevenson

Bryan StevensonBryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization which has made it its mission to eliminate discrimination against African-Americans from the US justice system.

“We Need to Talk About an Injustice Summary”

When now-lawyer Bryan Stevenson was a little boy, his grandmother made him promise that he would take care of his mother, that he would avoid alcohol and always do the right thing, even in adverse situations.

He lived his life according to these three requests, and as an adult, he believes that this conversation he once had with his grandmother helped him form and define his identity.

In other words, Bryan Stevenson believes that talking about things, helps to incorporate those things into your identity.

So, when Americans steer away from discussions about the imbalances in the criminal justice system, the national identity is at risk.

In the present, more than two million people lead their lives in US prisons.

A not so fun fact is that some of these prisoners are children. America is the only nation in the whole world that sentences teenagers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

In all major US cities, around half of black men are in prison, on probation, or on parole.

Another thing that not many people know is that in some states, people who have a criminal background and record, permanently lose their right to vote. By 2022 in Alabama, “the level of disenfranchisement will be as high as it’s been since before the passage of the Voting Rights Act.”

What does this tell you about American society? Is America great, as we all believe it is?

Contrary to what you may believe, wealth, not guilt, is the one that decides who goes to jail and who walks away free.

Don’t you believe us?

Just look at the statistics: one in nine people put on death row are later found out to be not guilty.

And yet, everyone ignores these issues, and no one speaks of such injustices.

America’s history is filled with terrorism toward African-Americans, but talking about it is taboo.

However, as we already said, avoiding open discussions about this past violence is stopping the progress of the “truth and reconciliation” process, which people and nations need to go through in order to heal and grow.

For example, the death penalty would be “unconscionable” in Germany as we know it today, particularly in the event that it was meted predominantly to Jewish individuals, given the country’s dark history.

In contrast, the states of the Old South still have the death penalty in function, which allotted excessively to black males, on the very same ground that holds the assortments of lynching victims.

We gave you all these information in order to put our point across the US’s identity is in danger.

Technological advances and innovations make our lives more manageable, but they alone cannot gauge progress.

In fact, society’s treatment of less fortunate members is far more critical.

All humans have right to a justice system that treats them with dignity.

Stevenson, for example, once placed a motion in court to have his 14-year-old black client treated and tried “like a privileged, white 75-year-old corporate executive.”

Stevenson’s request was not received well in the courtroom. But then, an old black man, who was a janitor there, approached him and told him to hold on and keep his “eyes on the prize.”

So, if we hold on as well, we may reach the point where we have “visions of humanity, compassion, and justice.”

Key Lessons from “We Need to Talk About an Injustice”

1.      The Reality of Prisons
2.      The Need for Open Discussions
3.      The Important Milestones to Progress

The Reality of Prisons

Some of the prisoners are children. America is the only nation in the whole world that sentences teenagers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

In some states, people who have a criminal background and record, permanently lose their right to vote.

The Need for Open Discussions

Avoiding open discussions about this past violence is stopping the progress of the “truth and reconciliation” process, which people and nations need to go through in order to heal and grow.

The Important Milestones to Progress

Technological advances and innovations make our lives more manageable, but they alone cannot gauge progress.

In fact, society’s treatment of less fortunate members is far more critical.

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“We Need to Talk About an Injustice” Quotes

We have a system of justice in the United States that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. Click To Tweet In many parts of this country, and certainly in many parts of this globe the opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice. Click To Tweet The politics of fear and anger have made us believe that these are problems that are not our problems. We’ve been disconnected. Click To Tweet The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We cannot call ourselves “evolved” until we begin to fight for human rights and basic human dignity actively. This is the paraphrased thesis that you can hear discussed in “We Need to Talk About an Injustice,” which we believe is well researched and grounded discussion of our current reality.

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The Wealth of Nations Summary

The Wealth of Nations SummaryHow did the global economy become what it is today?

What has the division of labor done for humankind’s transformation?

This time, we are summarizing the main ideas of legendary theorist and thinker Adam Smith.

Who Should Read “The Wealth of Nations”? And Why?

Every serious economist knows deeply about Adam Smith and his “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.”

Adam Smyth’s theories and ideas have inspired some of the most famous economists over the last few centuries, including Vilfredo Pareto, David Ricardo, and Milton Friedman.

“The Wealth of Nations” is a classic which offers a look at the history of economics. We recommend this book to all economists and economics enthusiasts.

About Adam Smith

Adam SmithAdam Smith was the son of a jurist, born in 1723. He studied in Oxford and Glasgow, and taught for some time, after which he began teaching logic at Glasgow University in 1751, and moral philosophy one year later.

During this endeavor, he was in contact with David Hume, whose economic ideas left their mark on him.

In 1763, Smith left on a two-year educational journey through Switzerland and France. He met with Turgot and Quesnay, who influenced Smith substantially.

He soon developed the concept for his opus magnum, “The Wealth of Nations”.

However, he finished the work more than a decade later and published it in 1776.

He died in Edinburgh, on July 17, 1790. Before he passed away, he asked his friends to destroy all of his unfinished work.

“The Wealth of Nations Summary”

The division of labor has transformed the markets and improved productivity.

Division of labor means that instead of one worker producing the whole product, from scratch to its final form, production is now divided into individual steps.

It is safe to say that the division of labor is one of the most significant transformations of progressive society.

But how did it develop?

Well, not all people have everything, and not all people know to do everything.

So, people needed to exchange goods and find a proper way to practice their talents and specialize in the fields they want.

Now, while we are on the topic of exchanging goods, let’s talk about trade.

For trade to function, consumers and suppliers need to have a meeting place – a market. The size of the market has a crucial influence on the division of labor.

Specialization functions in big markets only.

A long time ago, people traded by exchanging goods. However, such an exchange was impractical, so people invented money.

However, you have to keep in mind that money is not what gives a commodity value. The real value of a commodity comes from the costs acquired while producing it. In other words, the value of a product is equal to the labor needed to create it.

If we calculate value this way, we will understand that the real price of commodities is stable and does not fluctuate, since it always involves the same amount of labor.

But, wait, then why do prices fluctuate all the time?

The prices that you see changing are the nominal prices, which are affected by different things.

Depending on the level of development of a particular society, the commodities develop natural prices, which are similar to their labor costs.

Now, there are instances when the selling price can be the same as the purchase price. Such is the case when a seller cannot make a profit, so he must sell the goods at the amount he paid for them.

The market price is another term you need to know, which is the price that a seller can achieve.

The market price is connected to the supply and demand forces in the market. When the supply is higher than the demand, prices fall. Conversely, if a commodity is rare, and the demand is booming, prices will skyrocket.

A commodity will sell for its natural price in cases when there is a balance between supply and demand.

This explains why, when a supplier manages to create a monopoly, he can keep the supply low, and prices high.

Before the division of labor happened, no one needed stockpiled supplies.

When people felt a lack of something, like for example of food or clothing, they could act on it at the moment. They used raw materials to satisfy their daily needs.

However, when people started producing commodities and the division of labor was established, people had to start storing goods.

People who succeed in generating a surplus of goods started selling them, and those goods became their revenue-generating capital.

There are a few types of capital.

Goods that are produced and sold immediately are “circulating capital.”

Tools, property and machines are “fixed capital” or “capital assets.”

Usually, the definitions that apply to individual capital are also accurate and can be used to define national capital.

For example, the capital assets of a country are its properties, businesses, machinery, as well as the skills and talents of its citizens.

The circulating capital, on the other hand, consists of the storage of supplies and goods, both finished and semi-finished, as well as the money in circulation.

Key Lessons from “The Wealth of Nations”

1.      The Flaws of the Mercantile System
2.      The Ways States Fostered Exports in the Mercantile System
3.      The Tasks of the State

The Flaws of the Mercantile System

The mercantile system neglects the consumers and serves only traders. It is highly dangerous and deceptive. It had two main flaws:

  • The nation’s wealth equals the amounts of silver and gold in its possession.
  • Maintaining a favorable balance of trade: more substantial exports and imports.

The Ways States Fostered Exports in the Mercantile System

  • They granted reimbursements to exporters whose goods initially were subject to government duties.
  • They provided subsidies for some trades.
  • Individual state trade agreements granted privileges for home country goods.
  • States founded colonies where their merchants could have monopolies.

This entire mercantile system is a deceptive, highly dangerous construct. It serves only producers and

The Tasks of the State

    • National defense
    • Justice

 

  • Public institutions

 

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“The Wealth of Nations” Quotes

All the different nations of Europe have studied, though to little purpose, every possible means of accumulating gold and silver in their respective countries. Click To Tweet Labor was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things. Click To Tweet The substitution of paper in the room of gold and silver money replaces a very expensive instrument of commerce with one much less costly. Click To Tweet The wealth of a neighboring nation, however, though dangerous in war and politics, is certainly advantageous in trade. Click To Tweet The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

No one has ever read an economics textbook that did not encounter Adam Smith’s name.

However, more often than not, his theories are used in fragments and are taken away from context.

Hence, when you read “The Wealth of Nations” have in mind the context that surrounded Smith during the development of his theory. Read something more about the monopolization of the world’s precious metal reserves, and the recreation of the export policies.

Then you will be able to comprehend Smith’s work completely.

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Fuck Work Summary

Fuck Work SummaryEconomists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

Our parents raised us to be workers.

We all think that hard work pays off, and that full employment is the answer to all our troubles.

But what if that is not the case? What if jobs are not “the answer” anymore?

Who Should Read “Fuck Work”? And Why?

American politicians disagree about many things, but there is one point they all agree on: the need to restore “full employment.”

However, economic historian James Livingston argues that this is not only unrealistic but uncalled-for as well.

Sharing his views in online magazine Aeon, he presents his theory that the obsession with work disables American people to face everyday situations that do not revolve around their jobs.

We recommend “Fuck Work” for all who do not mind reading a critique of the present day society.

About James Livingston

James LivingstonJames Livingston is an author and history professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“Fuck Work Summary”

Most Americans, and even people from other parts of the world, increasingly define themselves through their jobs.

The reason for this lies in that fact that people’s professions present a daily structure in their lives, create a comfort zone, provide an income, and even a sense of belonging and self-worth.

Jobs are supposedly character builders as well.

However, the belief and obsession with this work ethic are far from the reality of the 21st-century labor market.

What do we mean?

Well, to start with, there is not enough work for everyone, so there are many unemployed people out there.

Studies show that no net jobs have emerged in the US since the 2000s.

But that is not all!

Experts expect that by 2035, half of the existing jobs may disappear due to technological advancements and automation.

The idea that federal policies can recreate full employment in the US is nothing but an unachievable reality.

Furthermore, many of the employees in the US do not earn enough for a comfortable living from their jobs only.

Contrary to what you may think, America is far from the land of the dreams for almost half Americans, who qualify for food stamps. “Transfer payments” from the government make up around 20% of all household income, as well.

So, having all this in mind, the reality that Americans believe in: that hard work will result in high rewards – seems to be untrue.

Livingston argues that there is another reality: many of the people who are employed full time are unable to make ends meet, while others earn millions the easy way: through illegal business practices, like drug dealing, money laundering, deception, and fraud.

Now, we understand that this situation may seem to be bad, but each unwanted position is an opportunity for reflection as well.

What is the point of having a job that does not provide for one’s basic needs? Is there a purpose to it?

If people didn’t have a job, which experiences would mold their character and form their day to day routines?

“What would society and civilization be like if we didn’t have to ‘earn’ a living – if leisure was not our choice but our lot?”

Those are all valid questions that we need to reflect on.

Paid work not only does no longer produce an appropriate income to satisfy people’s basic needs, but it also is not an economic necessity as well.

What are we talking about?

The US government can generate enough revenue to support the sustenance of every single American.

Yes, that is right, the government can raise the Social Security contributions above the current number and increase taxes on corporate income.

Contrary to what you may believe raising corporate taxes will have no adverse effect on job creation since US corporations are not using their profits for creating new jobs.

So, if society can afford welfare payments, what is the problem?

We believe the problem is the people.

If people were told that jobs no longer work, do you think that they would give up what became the foundation of their identity and self-worth?

Key Lessons from “Fuck Work”

1.      A Lack of Jobs
2.      The Other Side of Reality
3.      Questions to Reflect On

A Lack of Jobs

There is not enough work for everyone, so there are many unemployed people out there.

Studies show that no net jobs have emerged in the US since the 2000s.

Moreover, experts expect that by 2035, half of the existing jobs may disappear due to technological advancements and automation.

The Other Side of Reality

Livingston argues that there is another reality: many of the people who are employed full time are unable to make ends meet, while others earn millions the easy way: through illegal business practices, like drug dealing, money laundering, deception, and fraud.

Questions to Reflect On

  • What is the point of having a job that does not provide for one’s basic needs? Is there a purpose to it?
  • If people didn’t have a job, which experiences would mold their character and form their day to day routines?
  • “What would society and civilization be like if we didn’t have to ‘earn’ a living – if leisure was not our choice but our lot?”

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“Fuck Work” Quotes

What, exactly, is the point of earning a paycheck that isn’t a living wage, except to prove that you have a work ethic? Click To Tweet Securing ‘full employment’ has become a bipartisan goal at the very moment it has become both impossible and unnecessary. Click To Tweet Taxing the profits of corporations to finance a welfare state that permits us to love our neighbors and to be our brothers’ keeper isn’t an economic problem. It’s something else – it’s an intellectual issue, a moral conundrum. Click To Tweet Already a fourth of the adults actually employed in the US are paid wages lower than would lift them above the official poverty line – and so a fifth of American children live in poverty. Click To Tweet So this Great Recession of ours – don’t kid yourself, it ain’t over – is a moral crisis as well as an economic catastrophe. You might even say it’s a spiritual impasse, because it makes us ask what social scaffolding other than… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

James Livingston writes a critique of the American work culture which, according to him prevents them from finding a non-work-related purpose in life.

His ideas are compelling, and he engagingly presents them.

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Decisive Summary

Decisive SummaryHow to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

It’s pretty standard to be on the verge of giving up, which causes a shift in focus from priority to secondary matters.

We give you a clue on how to overcome such inner treachery and improve your decision-making.

Who Should Read “Decisive”? And Why?

This book unlike most other concerns us all. “Decisive” is a valuable asset for most people who struggle to draw a conclusion and form an opinion about something.

We all have our period of sorrow, but should we stagnate? – Absolutely not! Get up, and do something that you will remember forever.

About Chip and Dan Heath

Chip Heath

Chip and Dan Heath are brothers working at Duke and Stanford University.

They also wrote, “Switch and Made to Stick.”

“Decisive Summary”

Organizing your life depends on your ability to make split-second decisions. Although sometimes that seems too hard, it’s pivotal for enhancing your mind, body, and spirit. Such mindset will give you the edge to improve the psychology of decision-making, regardless of how silly the choice may seem at first sight.

Apparently, it’s not advisable to impose your iron will to someone else. Drawing a conclusion is more than taking your pick between two options. Occasionally, we are settling scores with other people, which reduces the ability to take under advisement other alternatives.

For instance, choosing your favorite ice cream can give a mini headache. A vast array of options is equally challenging as having little possibilities. Experts advise that will ultimately apply a bit of flexibility in your decision-making by understanding “opportunity cost.”

What does “opportunity cost” indicates? – It outlines your losses from the judgments you make.

Generally speaking, all the decisions a person makes throughout its life are based on personal experience and cultural, religious, national, and environmental background. Every once in a while, we fail to spot a better solution to our problems.

Don’t forget that every issue has its turns and high roads. So, there are plenty of alternatives for a person to implement and grasp, despite the external and internal influences.

This process is often referred as multitracking. As the name implies, it actually represents embracing several options, which are performed parallelly or simultaneously. This streamlines the decision-making process and adds to enhancing your skills for coming to right conclusions.

Once you commit yourself to become a real leader, you must enforce certain principles that will support your calls.

As we stated earlier, options overload can be a huge problem, even for experienced managers. Your ascent from nobody to somebody is undoubtedly a matter of time and quality of establishing your rules.  First and foremost, wrapping your head around some issues is not sufficient.

It’s best if you conduct a series of investigations, which show how other individuals handle similar situations. Once you are equipped with knowledge, nothing can hinder your progress. For example, you have a problem to increase sales, but you lack the inspiration to devise a plan that will provide a financial boom.

Just take a quick look at your competitors, analyze their strategies, and ultimately your business will find a way to reach its goals.

As much as we want to believe in the uniqueness of our situation, we often fall into the mediocre category. We must agree that we nurture similar interests, leading to almost identical circumstances.

Just outside your courtyard, you’ll find a person with a matching dispute point, and by observing their behavior, you’ll see why are we like two peas in a pod. Take, for example, the extraordinary Thai Cook – Jack.

He was starting his restaurant business in a traffic area at a seemingly perfect location on 4th Street with plenty of other Thai restaurants nearby. Jack faced a challenge, whether to proceed or to conduct new analyzes since his views were partially biased.

The outside reality implied something profoundly different. Even with the support of the people, he couldn’t invest all his money into something without assessing the situation. What are we trying to convey? – Almost 60% of all restaurants face downfall in the first three years.

Don’t take this as some discouragement, but as an essential piece of information that should be at least considered. It’s equally important to leave your emotions aside, and never to make decision resting on beliefs, and superstition.  

Another example – Companies nowadays are fed up with making the wrong calls when hiring staff. So, it’s highly popular to give the potential member a several months trial, to evaluate its impact performance and the value it creates.

A simple solution is to list all the essential milestones and assess their impact, as separate entities and overall. Ask yourself – What is most important to me? – My family, my peace, or work, the answer you provide will serve a higher purpose.

Key Lessons from “Decisive

1.      Don’t sell yourself into slavery
2.      What is your dream job?
3.      Double check everything

Don’t sell yourself into slavery

Sometimes we make the wrong decisions not because of emotions or lack of know-how, but by unlisted priorities that are destroying our lives.

These sensations must not become overwhelming, and you must free yourself from the bondage you imposed on yourself.

What is your dream job?

Individuals that are on the fence, it’s best to use proven methods, before embarking on a full-scale adventure.

For instance, if you are unsure which profession to choose, taking an internship is one highly effective idea for reducing the chances of error.

Double check everything

Your aspirations are merely an illustration of the expertise you possess.

However, even in such circumstances, you cannot be 100% confident in your choice, so there’s no harm in a quick check. In general, people prefer testing and reject guessing.

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“Decisive” Quotes

Success emerges from the quality of the decisions we make and the quantity of luck we receive. We can't control luck. But we can control the way we make choices. Click To Tweet Any time in life you’re tempted to think, ‘Should I do this OR that?’ instead, ask yourself, ‘Is there a way I can do this AND that? Click To Tweet Multitracking keeps egos in check. If your boss has three pet projects in play, chances are she’ll be open to unvarnished feedback about them, but if there’s only one pet project, it will be harder for her to hear the truth. Her ego… Click To Tweet When people have the opportunity to collect information from the world, they are more likely to select information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Click To Tweet Good ideas are often adopted quickly. When all retailers adopt centralized checkout as a “best practice,” it’s no longer a competitive advantage for anyone. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Despite some small dose of repetitiveness, “Decisive” will certainly be one of your highlights.

In all honesty, this book deserves a place on your bookshelf.

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Coming to Our Senses Summary

Coming to Our Senses SummaryHealing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness

How often do you feel fed up with life? – You want to walk out on everything and start living on a mountain.

Perhaps, it’s not the geographical location that causes the trouble, nor the people around us, but the self-imposed ideas that we protect with our lives.

Who Should Read “Coming to Our Senses”? And Why?

Coming to Our Senses” revives the society by explaining why should we pursue a real life-altering experience with the help of mindful meditation.

This book is perfectly designed to give you the edge you desperately need for handling the issues that arise almost endlessly.

About Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-ZinnJon Kabat-Zinn is lauded as an expert in mindfulness and meditation. He is a best-selling author who focuses on alleviating emotional pain and reducing stress while endorsing proven methods.

Jon is the founder of Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“Coming to Our Senses Summary”

How to define Mindfulness?

From the beginning of time, people have always been curious about the supernatural and how to find it. Even though it all started as one huge misconception, the practice of mindful meditation continued to change the lives of true wisdom-seekers throughout history.

It stimulates perception without judgment, and it disregards the analytical attitude towards everything that surrounds us. Mindfulness is more than just becoming the witness of thoughts – how they arise and vanish. It’s the substance of all creation, your only friend, who unlike the ego, doesn’t have hidden agenda.  

For reaching such state, you need to move beyond the concept of meditation

As a person faces its end, it realizes how life passed with lightning speed, and there is little hope for slowing down the pace. However, to be truly in the presence of wisdom means to discover timelessness and spaciousness that are not time-bound.

The Buddha was among the first human beings who reached a state of total awareness, and absence of the egoic-consciousness through the practice of meditation. He imparted wisdom and taught his followers to remove their attachments to the external world.  

Not adhering to anything will give you the opportunity to experience peace and inner harmony. Don’t cling to your concepts, methods, ideas, opinions, but be open to new experiences because every second brings new life.

Meditation is pretty tough to grasp for most people. It’s neither doing nor undoing/ it’s simply being. In such manner, one can transform its mind and instigate a new reign of peace instead of anger. When you reach such stage, beyond even transcending experience, you can begin sharing that wisdom without pronouncing a single word.  

As we stated earlier, it’s critical to understand what mindful meditation represents. If you start meditating with an intention in mind, to do this, or become that – you will once again end up being deluded. To trigger that sense of peacefulness, one must master the art of “effortless non-doing,” and gradually absorb that position as natural.

It may seem surreal, but it’s our innate essence, and we must ignite it once again, with sincere approach and determination. This mental state reflects your ability to stay in the “here and now” without losing ground by resisting the temptation to trust your mind.

Why should you endorse full-scale transformation?

Practicing mindfulness consists of following some unwritten rules, such as stay alert, don’t pay too much attention to your thoughts, and start living in the now. Apparently, this is easier said than done. Don’t get discouraged because meditating doesn’t merely involve finding the perfect posture.

Self-awareness doesn’t change regarding external factors, so you can perform any mundane activity and still be fully present, and watchful. This state will ultimately lead to emotional stability, happiness, and satisfaction.

The real struggle

Pay extra attention to the energy flowing within your body, don’t get involved in the action, just remain the seer. With time, you’ll no longer be easy prey for your thoughts, and you’ll start to feel control and dominance over your mind.

Once you get the better of your mind, it’s only natural that you’ll become aware of subtler sensations. It’s irrelevant whether your eyes are open or closed, what does matter is that you stay effortlessly in the now.

How to Meditate

Many people are misled with the idea of attaining enlightenment. Don’t plunge into such shallow thinking patterns, because reaching an egoless state requires only one thing – paying attention.

The end goal is not the priority here, but what’s happening in the present. Buddhist call this Zazen, meaning that the purpose of life is to be aware. Stop drifting around, embrace the real life and stop chasing the future.

Key Lessons from “Coming to Our Senses

1.      Lying meditation for beginners
2.      The obstacles along the path
3.      Change your world

Lying meditation for beginners

Staying in the comfort of your home while meditating is perfect for anyone. So, before you ask – How should I implement this type of meditation, ask yourself – What am I trying to achieve?

Truthfully, many people start with a goal in mind, and Jon advises you not to do that. Each morning when you wake up, just remain in the same position while being fully alert to what’s happening. Repeat the process!

The obstacles along the path

Evidently, life has its ups and downs, but you should not get upset about it since your only concern is to return to your natural state.  

The mind wants to get as far away as possible from the present moment; producing intense heat and restlessness from within.

However, that’s pretty much how it goes, and it’s not a sign of weakness.

Change your world

We all want to bring peace and love to the world, but what about us?

Don’t clean your neighbor’s yard before you have done that for yourself. Meaning that you are not obligated to act on behalf of everyone, allow compassion to enter your heart- that’s all.

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“Coming to Our Senses” Quotes

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. Click To Tweet It is healing simply to be heard, to be met, to be seen, to be known. Click To Tweet Even and especially as we are being confronted with the law of impermanence and the inevitability of change, conditions we are subject to as individuals regardless of how much we resist or protest or try to control outcomes. If we wish to… Click To Tweet Coming to our senses involves cultivating an overarching awareness of all our senses, including our own minds, and their limitations, including the temptation when we feel deeply insecure and have a lot of resources, to try to control as… Click To Tweet Meditation is a way of being, not a technique. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Not many self-help books cut right to the chase like this one.

Jon Kabat-Zinn once again provided exclusive masterpiece, drawn from its own experience and other life-examples.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff Summary

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff SummarySimple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life

Are you uptight? – If not, who is responsible for your dissatisfaction?

We summarize the key findings that will enable you to keep going full steam ahead – with new energy.

Who Should Read “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff”? And Why?

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff” is an inspirational and informative book that is suitable for the wider audience, since it covers topics that are familiar to all of us.

About Richard Carlson

Richard CarlsonPsychotherapist Rich Carlson is a renowned author, who came under the spotlight after the launch of the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series, which were translated into many languages.  

Carlson is also an expert in stress management.

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Summary”

Being one step ahead of everyone else sounds like an impossible task. What if you can focus on walking side by side with the latest technology to make your life easier? – In truth, getting a break from all the extra activities can take you to a whole new dimension of understanding how to improve your life.  

Streamlining the processes is one way to meet the deadlines, but never sacrifice quality for speed! Are you sure that you’re on the right track? – Let’s find out!

Most people are prepared to do pretty much anything at the cost of their peace. Many reject the idea to relax once in a while to eschew “failure” in the workplace. Applying such attitude will incline you to think that happiness and relaxation is merely a waste of time – because, time = money.

By endorsing conservative and goal-oriented mentality, most of us assume that they’ll quickly reach their goals. Evidently, happiness is a result of hard and disciplinary efforts. Is this reliable? – No, it’s a statement that will lead you to further depression.

Think logically, how can the exposure to never-ending stress and pressure lead to something good? – It’s literally a trick that many superiors use nowadays, in order to squeeze every bit of your energy and passion. Don’t fall for this shallow maneuvering from the “big boys.”

In the light of this discovery, many have awakened and realized that there’s something beyond professional success? If you truly want to live the life of your dreams, you must take full responsibility for your actions and accept the consequences of your decisions.  

When you are in that position, it’s much easier to implement your ideas and get things done. In reality, the hardest thing is to start with the new approach. Relaxation will become more natural the minute you realize its benefits.

Don’t think that by looking too serious and important, you’ll get a step closer to your goals. Most people struggle in life because they want to impress others. To avoid such irrational concerns, you might want to stick to yourself and worry about your self-contentment.

What was your childhood dream? To be a soccer player, perhaps a signer, anything that can get you under the spotlight, right? But what is triggering such aspirations? – The habit to impress other people is the biggest culprit that jeopardizes business and personal relationships.

We also tend to cling to bitterness and hatred, instead of resolving any argument peacefully. Such misunderstandings occur when two or more individuals are too proud to enforce a reasonable solution.

Practically, this doesn’t do you any good, and one way or the other, you’ll end up being the looser alongside your colleges or acquaintances.

If you are ready to go beyond such conflicts, don’t be impatient. Probably, if you continue in the same manner, people will avoid contact with you, leaving you stranded on a sinking ship.

Business is not an excuse, for being away from home, and intolerant with your employees. People are frustrated with arrogant leaders, and consequently, the organizational performance may drop below the usual standard.  

For instance, if the couriers are slowly delivering the messages throughout the organization, don’t go too hard on them, ask – why are they behaving like that. Most definitely, they are not doing it on purpose, or with a deliberate intention to get you angry.

You must create unique value, and thus improve your reality. It’s crucial to trap whatever is hindering your progress, and develop a new mentality for igniting growth. Many people live under the whip of their master – the mind. Nevertheless, you possess all the necessary features to oppose this influence and take full control over yourself.

Key Lessons from “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff

1.      Focus your energy on something valuable
2.      Live in the present moment
3.      Technical know-how is insufficient

Focus your energy on something valuable

When you are having one of those days when you are fed up with life, concentrate on what’s keeping you going and happy.

A simple shift in focus is the perfect recipe for sparking creativity. Remember, emotions are temporary, don’t hold on to these concepts!

Live in the present moment

Simple as that, by living in the moment (here and now) you’ll achieve peace of mind.

It’s only common behavior for most people; worrying too much about the future and living the past. However, such attitude produces destructive results, leading to anxiety and depression.

Technical know-how is insufficient

All your efforts and skills will be forgotten if you lack the interpersonal qualities.

For mutual benefit, advocate for creating an atmosphere of support so that anyone can feel happy and content. With such priorities, you’ll grow as well – leading to a win-win situation.

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“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff” Quotes

Effective listening is more than simply avoiding the bad habit of interrupting others while they are speaking or finishing their sentences. It's being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for… Click To Tweet Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff. Click To Tweet True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems,but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn. Click To Tweet Life is a process--just one thing after another. When you lose it, just start again. Click To Tweet We deny the parts of ourselves that we deem unacceptable rather than accepting the fact that we're all less than perfect. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Despite some minor repetitiveness, this book has a lot to offer.

We, challenge you to employ some of Richard Carlson’s and share your experience with us.

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Great Work, Great Career Summary

Great Work Great Career SummaryHow to Create Your Ultimate Job and Make an Extraordinary Contribution

Do you wake up each day feeling like you HAVE TO work and put food on the table?

If the previous sentence resonates with you, then you need to change your approach and start building a career, instead of just doing a “job.”

And we will tell you why and how to do it.

Who Should Read “Great Work, Great Career”? And Why?

Yes, it has been discussed many times over: you need to build a career, which will bring you a long-term satisfaction, instead of just momentary benefits.

However, rarely anyone says it better than bona fide guru Stephen R. Covey and co-author Jennifer Colosimo.

In “Great Work, Great Career” they try to change the way people go about making their professional choices and inspire them to start building a career instead of just looking for ways to make a living.

We recommend this magnificent book to Covey fans, job seekers, people who want to change their existing patterns and service industry personnel.

About Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo

Stephen R. CoveyStephen R. Covey is a writer who established himself as one of the most excellent businessmen, philosophers, theorists, and speakers of the 20th century. He is the author of the Habits of Highly Effective PeopleFirst Things First, The 8th Habit.

 

Jennifer ColosimoHe is a co-founder of FranklinCovey, where Jennifer Colosimo is chief learning officer.

“Great Work Great Career Summary”

There are two types people in this world: those that want a job that puts food on the table, and those who want a career who people admire.

Which type are you?

Now, we will tell you why just having a job will not make you happy in the long run.

We understand that you need to pay the bills and buy food at the moment. However, if you just do your job, without painting a bigger picture, you will pay the price later.

What we are saying is that a career is not equal to the sum you have in the bank.

Yes, you can have a great career without being that rich. Money and benefits are not the only goals of those people who want to build a career for themselves. There is much more to it.

But how do you build a career?

A career is a mix of three characteristics: loyalty, trust, and contribution.

Let’s explain them briefly.

Your contribution consists of your “talents, passion, conscience” and “need.” As such, it is unique.

Trust and loyalty are “the fruit of your character and your conscience.”  

If you decide to walk the path toward a career, instead of a high paying job, you will feel satisfaction each day. You will work with a smile on your face, knowing that you are building something bigger than yourself.

The good news for you is that contrary to what you may believe, not only workaholics, corporate-ladder climbers and backstabbers have a chance in creating a career for themselves. In fact, anyone can have one – and should have on.

Giving everything you have to your job and using your skills and talents to their maximum is the only way to contribute fully.

You do not have to change your position to start building a career. You just need to look at your work differently.

Do not go to work thinking of it as an obligation. Instead, learn to love it and see it as a possibility to improve yourself, to push yourself, and to make your maximum contribution.

We promise you that everywhere you work, you will be rewarded for such kind of behavior. But that is not everything – you will feel much better and start finding meaning and purpose in your work-life.

Now, sometimes, the markets shift and present many problems that need to be solved.

It is your choice how you will see these problems. Will you see them as something that will destroy you, or as an opportunity to grow?

What we are trying to say is that you will live a much better life, have a much better career and feel happier if you learn how to appreciate what is there, and try to make the most of it, instead of dwelling on something that is missing.

Optimism can take you places.

So, tomorrow, when you wake up for work, what will you choose to feel like? What will you choose to see your workplace as?

We encourage you to be excited, start loving what you do and become the best worker there is.

Key Lessons from “Great Work, Great Career”

1.      The Solution Contribution
2.      Six Steps to Writing a Contribution Statement  
3.      Claim What You Deserve

The Solution Contribution

Change your mindset and become a problem solver. Finding solutions to problems and implementing them is key to your survival.

Write a contribution statement to articulate “the high purpose you want to serve.”

A good contribution statement connects the problems you want to solve with your strengths and skills. It will help you focus on creating value.

Six Steps to Writing a Contribution Statement  

  • “Write a homage to an influential person.”
  • “Write tributes you would like to receive”
  • “Review your strengths”
  • “Examine your cause”
  • “Share”

Claim What You Deserve

Create the job you want – that actively pushes you toward exploiting all your talents and experiences. Create a circle of people that will only help you progress.

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“Great Work, Great Career” Quotes

A great career is all about solving great problems, meeting great challenges and making great contributions. Click To Tweet The landscape has never been greener. The volatile, burned-over economy of the new century provides opportunities no one ever dreamed of. Click To Tweet One difference between a great career and a mediocre career is finding a cause you can volunteer to serve. Click To Tweet You are not a job description with legs. Click To Tweet Your career success depends not only on yourself, but also on the people around you. In the workplace, you never achieve anything worthwhile alone. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Great Work, Great Career” presents another way to look at things.

Hence, if you are not a lover of alternative ways of thinking, and you don’t want to make changes in your existing paradigm, you might want to find something else to read.

However, if you are ready to change your old habits and change the patterns that exist in your professional life, Covey and Colosimo’s book is just what you need.

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Fish! Summary

Fish! SummaryA Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

What can a fish market teach you about management?

Read our summary to find out.

Who Should Read “Fish!”? And Why?

“Fish!” is a story about Mary Jane, who has just gotten the promotion of the nightmares.

At least that what she thinks until she stumbles upon the Pike Place Fish Market. There she learns the inspiring management philosophy that might change her life!

The authors of “Fish!” teach readers those secrets by telling this engaging tale. We recommend this entertaining, easy to read and even easier to remember book to all managers, students, change agents, executives, and staff members.

We promise you will be inspired.

About Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen

Stephen C. LundinStephen C. Lundin is a writer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur who runs a corporate membership seminar series for the Institute for Creativity and Innovation at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

Harry PaulHarry Paul is a bestselling author and a senior vice president with the Ken Blanchard Companies. He has more than three decades of experience in management and consulting.

John Christensen is a CEO of ChartHouse Learning Corporation, a writer, and a filmmaker.

“Fish! Summary”

Mary Jane Ramirez is a mother and a wife who lives in Southern California, who, after her husband gets a dream job offer in Seattle, moves there with her family. Soon after, Mary Jane lands a great job in the new city as well. Everyone is happy.

One day, during her work hours, Mary Jane gets a phone call that her husband is in a hospital.

She doesn’t get there on time – her husband is already dead when she arrives.

Mary Jane cannot get over her husband’s death, even after two years have passed.

Luckily, her career goes well – her team enjoys an excellent reputation, and everyone respects her.

Then, she gets the bad news. She is promoted to a manager.

However, the team she is in charge of is the operations group on the third floor, a group of unpleasant, slow and negative employees. This place is otherwise known as the “toxic waste dump.”

She is the third person to get this kind of “promotion” in two years.

Five weeks go by, and Mary Jane has a hard time. She understands how that floor got its reputation.

Nevertheless, she refused to give up. Instead, she tried to understand the employees’ motifs for having that job. She came up to the conclusion that most of them were there because of security, benefits or salary.

Yet, they didn’t seem to understand that their security is an illusion.

While she was thinking all of those things, her boss called to ask her if she has solved the third-floor problem. He asked her to go for a meeting to discuss it.

Mary Jane did not know what she was going to say to that meeting, but she decided to think about it later and go for lunch.

Instead of going to the usual place (the cafeteria), Mary Jane decided to walk to the fish market.

There, she found a “large crowd of well-dressed people clustered around one of the fish markets.” One fishmonger shouted: “Good afternoon yogurt dudes!”

People smiled waving yogurt cups into the air.

The next thing Mary Jane was aware of was a giant fish salmon flying through the air. The worker that threw it yelled out: “One salmon flying away to Minnesota.”

Another worker made a “fish” talk, teasing a small boy.

Mary Jane had to wonder what she had stumbled upon. She was surprised and delighted by the energy in that place.

Then, she stumbled upon Lonnie, a stranger whom she told all about her problems at work, even though she didn’t know if she could confide in him.

Lonnie listened to her and then told her that working at the fish market saved his life.

But what struck her was him telling her that the fish market was a “toxic waste dump,” just like the third floor of her workplace, when he first started.

Then, he told her that he could teach her the secret that transformed the place.

If she wanted to know more, she had to return, since he had customers waiting to be served.

And if you want to know more – scroll down.

Key Lessons from “Fish!”

1.      Secret Number One: Attitude
2.      Secret Number Two: Play!
3.      Secret Number Three: Make Their Day
4.      Secret Number Four: Be Present

Secret Number One: Attitude

The way you do the work is everything.

Mary Jane remembered the dinners she had at her grandmother’s place as a child, and how her grandmother had all the children help with dishwashing.

No one in this world likes washing dishes, but Mary Jane remembered how her grandmother made it so fun, that the grandchildren felt left out if they didn’t join and help.

Secret Number Two: Play!

The second time Mary Jane went to the fish market along with her children. Lonnie made them enjoy themselves, while actively involving them in work.

After a while, Mary Jane realized that the second secret was to play.

Business should be serious, but one shouldn’t forget playing with the approach they have to conduct it.

Secret Number Three: Make Their Day

The third secret is all about customers.

Customers should feel good about the environment, and the way to do that was to engage them.

Secret Number Four: Be Present

The fourth secret, just as the third one, is customer-centered as well.

Employees should always be present, aware of the moment and fully engaged in the work they do. They should pay attention to the customers.

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“Fish!” Quotes

Life is too precious just to be passing through to retirement. Click To Tweet There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself. Click To Tweet The compelling reason to move forward comes from inside. Click To Tweet Choosing your attitude and acting like a victim are mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet We can choose the attitude we bring to our work. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Fish!” is a quick read suitable for all people feeling trapped in a bad environment. It is no doubt one of the most influential and remarkable books we have read on the topic of change management.

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