Sustainable Pace

October 25th, 2020

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeown, 2014)

As I try to follow the ideals of elegance and simplicity in my life, Greg McKeown's "Essentialism" got my attention. He defines essentialism as doing less, but focusing on the right things, and explains different aspects of essentialism in about 20 blog-post-sized chapters. Journaling and Editing He starts with the essentialist's mindset in theory, which involves getting in the driver's seat and making choices for yourself, discerning important from unimportant, and continues with a few practical chapters on how to do this. I liked the chapter called "Look" best, where McKeown uses journalism as a metaphor: he describes the journalist's ability to identify the essence of a confusing,…

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October 21st, 2020

Why We Sleep - Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (Matthew Walker, 2017)

Matthew Walker is a neuroscientist and sleep researcher. Why We Sleep is a comprehensive collection of insights into why sleep should be given more attention. To me it has been a revelation. Sleep affects our well-being so much, it should be a number one priority to get right, even before addressing exercise and nutrition. This book is full of interesting bits and pieces, and I pick a few that were most interesting to me. Circadian rhythm and adenosine It's not like everyone has the same sleep patterns. Sleep is dependent on the circadian rhythm and the levels of adenosine in your body. Let's talk about circadian rhythm first. You may have heard of people being either owls or larks, meaning…

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October 19th, 2020

Less Is More - How Degrowth Will Save The World (Jason Hickel, 2020)

Jason Hickel is an economic anthropologist originally from Swaziland, who has previously written about social injustice in "The Divide" (2017). In this book, "Less Is More", he argues that capitalism is systemically designed to destroy human civilization on the planet, and a paradigm shift is needed to avoid this. The book contains of two parts, "More Is Less", and "Less Is More". More Is Less Growth In this first part, Hickel explores the origins of capitalism and its consequences for today's world. He says that the distinguishing feature of Capitalism is requiring growth to keep it going. The need for growth comes from replacing use-value by exchange-value: Goods are not produced in order…

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August 13th, 2020

Deep Work (Cal Newport, 2016)

The author describes Deep Work as an increasingly rare ability to focus intensely over a long period of time, in order to solve complicated problems. He says that by acquiring this skill you will not only make yourself sought after in today's economy, it also leads to a better quality of life in general. If you're more of a scatterbrain, don't despair - the ability to perform deep work is something that can be learned, it needs to be trained like a muscle. The idea In the first part, Cal explains why he thinks that Deep Work is rare valuable meaningful While the first two aspects are pretty much evident if you're familiar with the absurdly chaotic nature of even progressive workplaces, the…

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April 18th, 2020

Erfolgsleere. Philosophie für die Arbeitswelt (Michael Andrick, 2020)

The title of the book is a pun - phonetically similar to "Erfolgslehre" ("theory of success"), "Erfolgsleere" could be translated to "emptiness in success". Michael Andrick tackles the risks of the omnipresent conformity in today's workplaces, and our ideas of careers and success. He argues that success is a reward for sacrificing essential human qualities like critical thinking and compassion, in order to live a seemingly convenient life by serving the purpose of others. There is absolutely nothing original about a career, it's merely following a well-defined path. It's not Sinatra's "My way". It's about anticipating what the expectations of the people in charge are - the people who are…

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