Reading List

Everything is Fucked by Mark Manson 


Finally got around to reading this one. A sequel to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, this book touches on yet another difficult subject that philosophers have wrestled with for centuries: hope. Initially, this book might give you the impression that it’s nihilistic, but it’s really not that at all. It does suggest that objectively, yes, we are just a tiny speck of dust, and our importance and contributions may amount to little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. 

But with that being said, this book suggests that it is up to us to create a subjective meaning and hope for ourselves, for why we bother at all to get out of bed in the morning. Overall, I personally feel that this book is not as coherent as its predecessor, but it still makes a really good read nevertheless. 



The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson 


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The first time I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, I honestly didn’t think much of it. Maybe it had to do with my preconceptions of the book and the author, but I felt that it wasn’t saying anything new, especially compared to Stoicism books that I was already used to reading. Coming back to this book 4 years later, I’ve definitely gotten older (and hopefully wiser) — and I now feel that it’s one of the best self-help books I’ve ever read.

The contents haven’t changed, of course. But I have a much deeper appreciation for Mark Manson’s delivery, or how he communicates his contents to his readers. He has a knack for telling the truth as it is, which I think all of us needs at different times of our lives.



Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel 


Zen in the Art of Archery

Got here from a recommendation by pianist and composer Nahre Sol, who credited this book as a big help in helping her manage her stage frights. This book was written by the author as an account of his 5 year tutelage under the master archer, Awa Kenzo. One might think that archery is the ultimate art of will, that it requires a tense and relentless focus towards hitting your goal. Only it isn’t, according to Kenzo’s teachings. 

In line with Zen principles, mastering archery requires one to let go and slow down, to embrace a calm precision. This is much harder to truly understand than it sounds — so much so that it took the author five years to arrive at that understanding. As human beings, we tend to engage in hyper-intention, or an obsession with outcomes. But it’s a counterintuitive reality of life that the more we try to achieve something, the less likely it is for that to happen. Rather, if we learn to let go of the outcomes and instead stay focused on the process itself, the more likely we are to gear ourselves into a position of success. 



The Pope and Mussolini by David I. Kertzer 


The Pope and Mussolini

This book tells the story of how Italy’s dictator, Mussolini was able to rise to power by manipulating the Vatican. Despite having no care or worry about religion, Mussolini was able to gain the Church’s support by honoring their demands and lavishing them with privileges. And with that, both parties were strongly reliant on each other to keep their political powers in check.

Yet, Pope Pius XI became disillusioned and remorseful of this Faustian bargain towards the end of his life, as the ties between Mussolini and Hitler grew only stronger. But of course, as human nature dictates, people resist change, even if it is good. And so, the Vatican soon sided against Pope Pius XI, as they fought to maintain the partnership that had benefited them and Mussolini for so long.



The Dynasty by Jeff Benedict 


The Dynasty

Although I’m not one to catch up with sports games, I’ve always admired the NFL, particularly Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. With the recent announcement of Brady’s retirement, this is the book I went to. It’s awe-inspiring, how the Patriots, who were once the laughing-stock of the NFL, were able to turn themselves into one of its most-feared teams, having won the most number of Super Bowls under the dynamic of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. 

Brady himself is a great source of inspiration for all of us. The very definition of an underdog, he was very nearly not drafted into the NFL at all, yet he slowly proved himself to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all the time. He earned each of his Super Bowl rings, with one win after another. Even if you’re not well acquainted with American football and its rules and so forth, I believe this would still be a page-turner for you.

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