What I’d Been Reading
Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson
Well, I wanted to get Peterson’s previous book 12 Rules for Life when I was browsing around at Lit Books, but it went out of stock. But it worked out great anyway, because I really enjoyed this read. It challenges you to embrace disorder in your life, and to give it meaning by being of service to other people. His writing style may not be for a generic self-help audience, but you just might find it incredibly thought-provoking.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Here’s another game-changer. Peter Thiel here argues that the only innovations that truly give value to society and make a dent in the world are ones that are totally new. Through his experiences of founding and investing in remarkable startups, he walks us through practical steps that we could take to go from 0 to 1 (creating something new), rather than 1 to n (copying what has been done before).
Life by Keith Richards
Keith Richards would always be thought of, first and foremost, as the famous Rolling Stones guitarist who has lived his life to the extreme edge, and has unthinkably survived. But listen attentively to a single Stones song, like Gimme Shelter, and you could immediately appreciate his musicianship (which he doesn’t get enough credit for). While it’s fun to read his stories of cheating death, it’s even more fun to read about his musical influences, and his undying love for the craft.
The Civil War : A Narrative (Vol 1) by Shelby Foote
I love studying war, not because I support or believe in it, but because it reveals a lot about human nature. War being an extreme form of crisis, it can either bring out the best or the worst in ourselves. Shelby Foote here narrates the Civil War with a novelist’s flair, as he unbiasedly delves into the perspectives of both the Union and the Confederate states. Fun fact : he also wrote his thousand-page drafts with a fountain pen, making sure every single word mattered.
Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Having started my internship about a month ago, my lecturer gave a piece of advice, which was to listen more than you talk. Quite naturally, it made me want to turn to Ryan Holiday’s Ego Is The Enemy again for some humbling reminders. One of the many things that I’ve learned from this book is that you shouldn’t care about being the smartest person in the room. Instead, you should just try to be a good human being : speak because you actually have something important to say, raise your hand because you actually something of value to offer.
What I’ve Been Listening To
Sacred Text Messages by Hamza Yusuf
It’s my daily Ramadan routine to listen to this podcast after Fajr (dawn) prayers. I’ve always looked up to Hamza Yusuf as one of my favorite scholars, because I really appreciate how articulate he is, and how he relates different sources of knowledge (eg. literature, Western and Eastern philosophy) in his discussions.
Side note : I literally became a Bob Dylan fan six years ago because of Hamza Yusuf, no kidding. Till this day, he loves to quote Dylan lyrics in his speeches, especially from the Blood on the Tracks album. So credits to him for making me a Dylan nerd.
What I’d Been Watching
Apocalypse Now is one of those rare movies than you don’t merely watch, but experience. It’s as if you’re sitting on the same boat as the characters, traveling up the fictional Nung river and witnessing the darkest strands of humanity unravel right before your own eyes. It makes you think deeply about the Vietnam War, as you enter the same headspace as these characters, and feel the same confusion as they do. It’s one of the most horrific and costly wars in history, because no one really knew what they were fighting for. Not the soldiers who fought, and not even the administration that made the orders.