4 short books to start 2022 fresh
4 easy to read, inspiring, and impactful books to keep you optimistic and thinking during 2022
I don't know anyone who said "I saw this post on Instagram and it changed my life" or "I watched this video on Facebook and I'm now better at work" or "wow… now that I'm on Twitter, I'm learning so much more". However, every time I read a book, even if for 5 pages, I learn something new and can apply that information in my life or at work.
As I opened the book "Man's Search for Meaning", I read:
Dr.Frankl, author-psychiatrist, sometimes asks his patients who suffer from a multitude of torments great and small, ‘why do you not commit suicide?’. From their answer he can often find the meaningful guide-line for his psychotherapy.
In my untrained mind I thought 😳 "that's crazy… this guy is asking people that want to kill themselves "why do you not commit suicide?" surely that's not the way to go… but from this very honest approach he has started meaningful conversations and treated millions of patients to find meaning in their lives and consequently live a better life.
Here are 4 easy to read books with lots to inspire, amaze and to make you think about life.
#1 Man’s Search For Meaning, from Viktor Frankl
On the first part of the book, Viktor Frankl writes about his experience as a longtime prisoner in concentration camps, where he found himself stripped of everything he possessed. His father, mother, brother and his wife died in camps or were sent to the gas ovens. Except for his sister, his entire family died in these camps.
As a psychiatrist he shares his views, observations and learning about human nature and human behaviour. Frankl quotes Nietzsche
“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”
And he continues to tell a story:
“I remember two cases of would-be suicide, which bore a striking similarity to each other. Both men had talked of their intentions to commit suicide. Both used the typical argument — they had nothing more to expect from life. In both cases it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them. We found, in fact, that for the one it was his child whom he adores and who was waiting for him in a foreign country. For the other it was a thing, not a person. This man was a scientist and had written a series of books which still needed to be finished. His work could not be done by anyone else, any more than another person could ever take place of the father in his child’’ affection.
A person who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how’.”
Logotherapy: the second part of the book
Logos in latin means “Meaning” and after reading the first pages it’s quite clear that his Logotherapy is all about helping others find meaning in their life. As simple as that.
In Logotherapy, the therapy he created, the patient is actually confronted with and reoriented toward the meaning of his life. Below you can see him giving a lecture, so bright, sharp meaningful and funny:
#2 The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
He made his professional life as a writer/screenwriter. This is his personal view about the book:
The “war of art” is not about genius, it’s about work.
We can’t control the level of talent we’ve been given. We have no control over the nature of our gift.
What we can control is our self-motivation, our self-discipline, our self-validation, and our self-reinforcement. We can control how hard and how smart we work.
If you are encountering any resistance or creative block, this book can help you overcome that. The book is organised in three parts: Resistance (Defining the enemy), Combating resistance (Turning pro), and Beyond resistance (The higher realm).
The book is not only for writers or people in the creative/arts industry. If your life is monotonous (we’ve all been there 🤷♂️) and you don’t know why, this book can help you identify the cause and will encourage you to fight back:
Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
I love this part about turning pro:
The professional endures adversity. He lets the birdshit splash down on his trainers, remembering that it comes clean with a heavy-duty hosing.
And about mastering a technique or skill:
The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come.
Does this ring a bell? In every book you read about creativity, this topic will be there: expose yourself with information and grow your database of experience so when the chance comes, you take it!
#3 Why beauty is key to everything, from Alan Moore.
1st point: Alan Moore writes one of the most beautiful newsletters you’ll get. And it’s here 👉 https://beautiful.business
Really, the cover photo of his website is already beautiful. Everything is.
2nd point: The title of his book is self-explanatory, but he starts the book with:
For all the people who have designed and created beauty in this world.
For those striving to bring beauty into this world.
For those who will create beauty and share with the world.
Mr. Moore writes life stories from Jony Ive, at Apple, to the great photographer (my favourite) Sebastião Salgado.
Some great quotes the book are:
We all learn the very hard way, but trust your instinct. Do not work with people who don’t want beautiful, who wish to cut corners to increase profitability. Who, more dangerously, bring neither elegance nor grace to their work and their working environment, but the opposite. Work should be enjoyable and should uplift your spirits. Our time on this planet is short, so make it count.
Without trust there can be no creative collaboration.
If you are doing things for profit, who are you serving? The shareholders or the people who buy your products?
If we cannot describe a new destination, we will never be able to get there.
#4 The obstacle is the way, from Ryan Holiday.
(I listened to this book)
It’s about accepting the fact that there will be obstacles in your life and how to go through them. The obstacle is the way.
Ryan Holiday writes about historical moments where great humans of the world (some super famous and others not so much) endured absolute complicated moments, overcoming obstacles by controlling their perceptions and emotions, and learning from failures. His main point is: to be successful you must avoid letting your emotions control how you act and react when faced with obstacles.
I’m a big fan of his work and feel inspired by his tenacity and grit. He is 33 years old and have already written 10 books with some reaching more than 2 million copies sold. Impressive.
Here are some quotes I love:
So what if you focus in what you can change? That’s where you can make a difference.
this one provokes and hurts a bit…
The world is indifferent to your existence.
Do the best with what you’ve got. The first iPhone was revolutionary, but still shipped without a handful of features that they would like to have included. Steve jobs, the supposed perfectionist knew that at some point you have to compromise. What matter is that you got it done and it works. Start thinking like a radical pragmatist, still ambitious aggressive and rooted in ideals, but also imminently practical and guided by the possible. Think progress, not perfection.
Prepare to start again. The more you accomplish the more things will stand in your way. You are always fighting uphill, so get used to it. Passing one obstacle simply says you are worthy of more; the world seems to keep throwing them at you once it knows you can take it, which is good, because we get better at every attempt.