Book 3 of 24: You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier

Book 3 of 24 of A Year of Books. You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto. Read: February 2018.

We should instead seek to inspire the phenomenon of individual intelligence. “What is a person?” If I knew the answer to that, I might be able to program an artificial person in a computer. But I can’t. Being a person is not a pat formula, but a quest, a mystery, a leap of faith.

Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget falls within the gray area between a tech and a philosophy reading. The basic premise is that we have to continuously question whether the design of the technologies we create (and use) stretches our capabilities as human beings, or reduces them. Continue reading “Book 3 of 24: You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier”

Book 2 of 24: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Book 2 of 24 of A Year of Books. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Read: January 2018.

Everyday, our beagle, Sky would start barking at 5:00am for my dad to take him out to pee. On the weekends, my dad leaves him out in the lanai/garden after his walk. After an hour or two, additional rounds of barking ensues. And he will keep doing this until any of us wakes up and gives him attention. (Usually that person is me.) So you would understand why I refuse to go out late nights these days… We are all forced to be morning persons on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Not that I’m complaining.

Last Sunday, dad realized that Sky’s incessant barking isn’t necessarily a call to take him out for a walk or pee or to exercise (beagles are one of the most energetic dogs and it’s important that they get the right amount of activity). Every time he’d take him out the gate, he’d just sit down and refuse to move. But when dad leaves him in the garden he’d start making a lot of noise again. So… it seems he just wants us to be in his company.

“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said… And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…” The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time. “Please — tame me!” he said. Continue reading “Book 2 of 24: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery”

Book 1 of 24: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Book 1 of 24 of A Year of Books: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Read: January 2018.

I love long haul business flights. Being alone forces me to spend time with myself without much disturbance. In the plane I am suspended in the air, disconnected, in a state of being neither here nor there. Silence (or at least something like it) is a luxury. Of course travel is a luxury as well – but that’s a different story.

In this specific flight, I was en route to Amsterdam. My first trip for the year. The perfect time and place to be still and think about “matters of no consequence” – if I may borrow the words of The Little Prince. Like, maybe, happiness. What does it even mean? And why does it continue to be elusive despite “success” or privilege? And what about success? What does it mean? Will their definitions be any different if we strip away what everybody else thinks? I have a barrage of other questions, but I’m afraid to go too deep too soon.

I started reading my first book for the year in that flight – A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. A book which I have already read before, but did not have any meaning the first time. I am not fond of reading books a second time, but that has changed now, partly because of this. Reading a book again with a new framework or with a completely different state of mind changes everything about a book. Come to think of it, it changes everything about everything.  Continue reading “Book 1 of 24: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle”

A Year of Books: Ripping Off Mark Z’s Challenge

By now you probably think I’m a total rip off of other people’s ideas. And I am, without doubt or shame.

After creating my Life Goals Template, which was inspired by Chris Guillebeau, one of my major goals for the year was also stolen from Mark Zuckerberg’s A Year of Books.  In 2015, Mark announced that he has challenged himself to read a new book every other week. And was like, whaaattt? [insert crazy gif here] I remember thinking, how the hell will he juggle that with his CEO work to connect the entire world and all the philantrophy shizzle and Max and yadada?!

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Never Lose Your Childlike Wonder

On Instagram, you post a photo of yourself with closed eyes, arms spread wide, hair blown by the wind, in your cute adventure outfit. In this photo, you are probably at the beach, or at the top of the mountain, or in a new city in another part of the world. The caption says something in the lines of “Never lose your childlike wonder”.

It is a five-day long weekend for everyone in the city. In other days, that could have also been me. But this time I decide to stay at home in the suburbs through (almost) all those days, without any plans. In this era of filled calendars, that is an awful long time with barely anything setup. Life as an adult is a collection of lists of things that must be done – things to do, errands to run, muscles to gain, inboxes to empty, eyebrows to pluck, children to run after, money to earn, occasions to attend, places to go. But this weekend is mine. I am free to be bored, to stare at the ceiling, let my thoughts wander, read a good book, or play with the dogs all morning and afternoon.

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Beyond Five Stars

We only ever remember stories.  This is true when it comes to new places we visit, experiences we try, people we meet, products we use.

If you want to build something that’s truly viral you have to create a total mindfuck experience.

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Life in Pie Graphs

The other day a friend spoke about someone who is dying, literally – someone who is counting down his days because of a certain illness. And the first thing that came to my mind was: Aren’t we all? The only difference between us and the person who was told she only has a few days or weeks or months left to live is that we don’t know what number to start counting down from. If you think about it, the sands of time are dripping down the hour glass. Our hour glass. Every hour, every minute, every second is our life.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve thought about playing around with graphs of life using spreadsheets. I figured that if we’re using them so much in our work and business to visualize our status, progress, or certain data, then perhaps we can also apply them to visualize our own lives.

In this series of pie graphs, I’ve graph-ified something quite simple: the years of life I have lived versus the years of life I (may or may not) have remaining. Obviously, all are but guesstimates. Nevertheless, it might be worth pondering.

What is your target life span?

I’m currently 30 years old, and I plan to live to at least 100. Based on that plan, I would have lived 30% of my life. This pie makes it look like I still have a lot of time to pursue my dreams and tick off boxes in my bucket list (though I don’t really have one).

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