Start with a purpose

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

All habits are influenced by the environment and its triggers, according to Marshall Goldsmith. Influenced by what we are using our energy and attention for, where Greg McKeown teaches us to only focus on the essentials. They are influenced by our growth or fixed mindset, says Carol Dweck, which Susan Cain argues also influenced by our introvert-extrovert demeanor.

Moreover, any progress towards our goals depends on how we face what Steven Pressfield called the Resistance, in which Ryan Holiday suggest that they are in fact the way. It depends on how extreme we have ownership over our efforts, as illustrated by Jocko Willink, how we can screen through the cognitive biases described by Daniel Kahneman, and how we can fully utilize our brain’s capacity as trained by Jim Kwik (mind), hack our body like Dave Asprey does (body), and approach it with a monk-like attitude as taught by Jay Shetty (spirit). And in the end, change, says Robin Sharma, is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous in the end.

But underneath them all, lies the very first foundation that keeps the structure of any effort or change to remain strong throughout the journey: the underlying reason, the life’s calling, the fuel for the passion, the higher cause, the sense of purpose, or in short, the WHY. “It is the cause, not the death”, said Napoleon Bonaparte, “that makes the martyr.” And while our life’s quests and struggles are not as extreme as life and death, without the WHY none of the above matters. This is WHY this book is so important.

Much to my pleasant surprise, this book is nothing like the contents that I’ve been accustomed to with the author, Simon Sinek, in his brilliant podcast interviews. While it is still based on psychology and its applications in sociology, it is heavily tailored to business, innovation, and its marketing approach, akin to Charles Duhigg’s the Power of Habit.

And it fits. Because there’s arguably nothing that can illustrate the power of WHY better than business and innovation stories, from the “cult” of Apple and Harley Davidson, to why Honda need to create a second brand for their luxury cars, why TiVo failed to reach a tipping point, to how the Wright Brothers can invent the first aeroplane with no funding and minimum expertise while Samuel Pierpont Langley with his all star team and government funding failed to do so.

All of this are analysed with tools that can be applicable to anything in life. Tools such as the celery test, the school bus test, the golden circle, or the golden pyramid with the WHY-level at the top, HOW-level in the middle, and WHAT-level at the bottom.

Because when you want to lose weight and start living a healthy life, you need a WHY. If you want to stop smoking, you need a WHY. If you want to start up a company, volunteer to help the poor, pursue a PhD, train to win a race, enlist in a military service, organise a mass protest, or want your organisation to last for decades, everything need a strong WHY to keep the cause alive. And this book analyses it very well.

The best of Charlie Munger

“Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The wit and wisdom of Charles T. Munger” by Charlie Munger and Peter D. Kaufman

If this is a music album, this book would be Charlie Munger’s greatest hits. It comprise of his short biography, followed by testimonials from his family and closest circle, then a closer look into his intellectual framework and the mental models that have shaped his way of thinking and investment decisions, and neatly closed with 11 speeches that define his outlook on life and the market.

Here are some examples of the gems from Munger in the book:

  • When you borrow a man’s car, you always return it with a full thank of gas.
  • Concentrate on the task immediately in front of [you] and to control spending.
  • People make mistakes, the right thing to do is to admit your mistakes.
  • Do the job right the first time.
  • Take a simple idea and take it seriously.
  • We don’t claim to have perfect morals, but at least we have a huge area of things that, while legal, are beneath us.
  • Capitalism without failure is like religion without hell.
  • I’d rather make my money playing piano in a whorehouse than account for options as recommended by John Doerr (he really dislike derivatives).
  • You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.
  • All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.
  • A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, etc.
  • Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at.
  • I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time. None, zero.
  • The importance of being a reliable person.
  • Roughly half of the army of Adolf Hitler was composed of believing Catholics. Given enough clever psychological manipulation, what human being will do is quite interesting.
  • Just in an ecosystem, people who narrowly specialise can get terribly good at occupying some little niche.
  • Anytime anybody offers you anything with a big commission and a 200 page prospectus, don’t buy it.
  • We don’t leap seven-foot fences. Instead, we look for one-foot fences with big rewards on the other side. So we’ve succeeded by making the world easy for ourselves, not by solving hard problems.
  • Why should we want to play a competitive game in a field where we have no advantage – maybe a disadvantage – instead of in a field where we have a clear advantage?
  • Each of you will have to figure out where your talents lie. And you’ll have to use your advantages. But if you try to succeed in what you’re worst at, you’re going to have a very lousy career.
  • I won’t bet $100 against house odds between now and the grave.
  • I try to get rid of people who always confidently answer questions about which they don’t have any real knowledge.
  • It’s kind of fun for it to be a little complicated. If you want it totally easy and totally laid out, maybe you should join some cult that claims to provide all the answers.
  • The best way to avoid envy is to plainly deserve the success we get.
  • I can’t stand his politics, I’m on the other side. But I love this man’s essays.
  • Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day, if you live long enough, most people get what they deserve.
  • As a securities investor, you can watch all sorts of business propositions in the form of security prices thrown at you all the time. For the most part, you don’t have to do a thing other than be amused. Once in awhile, you will find a ‘fat pitch that is slow, straight, and right in the middle of your sweet spot. Then you swing hard. This way, no matter what natural ability you start with, you will substantially increase your hitting average. One common problem for investors is that they tend to swing too often. This is true for both individuals and for professional investors operating under institutional imperatives, one version of which drove me out of the conventional long/short hedge fund operation. However, the opposite problem is equally harmful to long-term results: You discover a fat pitch’ but are unable to swing with the full weight of your capital.

In this chaotic and rapidly changing world, where lines are sometimes blurry, Charlie Munger stands out as the calm presence whose values and wisdom should be the benchmark for everyone. And as you can see, this book reveals them all.

It’s no wonder that it becomes an instant classic, simply unmissable!

Everything we need to know about our gut

“Happy Gut: The cleansing program to help you lose weight, gain energy, and eliminate pain” by Vincent Pedre

This book is like the summary for everything we need to know about our gut, and it is written with such brevity that it feels like a cheat sheet where only the most important information are presented.

The book begins with describing the ideal state: how a healthy gut looks like. Then it takes us step by step through the whole digestive process, starting from the top (our mouth), to the middle (our gut), down to the bottom (our colon). Along the way he explains the many functions of our organs, which makes it easier to understand within the context of the digestive process.

Moreover, while the first few chapters are absolute masterpieces on describing our gut and digestive system, the proceeding chapters dive straight into the practicalities: What certain types of food are made of, what to avoid and what to consume (and why), all the problems and challenges for our gut, and culminating with so many recipes for a good gut flora that takes about 1/3 of the length of the book.

And all of these gems are discussed within the frame of C.A.R.E: Cleanse (remove gut irritants, infections, food sensitivities, and toxins in food) Activate (reactivate healthy digestion by replacing essential nutrients and enzymes) Restore (reintroduce beneficial bacteria for a healthy guy flora) Enhance (repair, regenerate, and heal the intestinal lining).

Now, while there are so many great knowledge that I’ve learned from this book, there are some that stand out more than the others. These are the selected few:

  • “Between the antibiotics, eating the wrong foods that feed the bad organisms, the toxins you are exposed to in your environment, and the resulting dysbiosis, over a period of days to months you develop a leaky gut. This leakiness or “hyperpermeability” exposes your body to partially digested protein molecules from food. The immune system does not recognize these so it attacks, which results in food sensitivities. You might not even be aware of these sensitivities, which can manifest as hives, allergies, chronic sinus inflammation, and migraines and become the triggers for irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune disease.”
  • ““Leaky gut” is not a diagnosis but a process, a description of the underlying pathology of numerous diseases that we treat yet have failed to find a cure for. It is a condition in which connections between the cells that line the inside of the intestines (known as tight junctions) become looser, allowing larger molecules (such as partially digested food particles) to pass through the gut wall. Usually, properly digested food is absorbed directly through the cell wall, but in a leaky gut, the pathway between the cells is opened up, exposing the gut-associated immune system to a wide variety of substances our immune cells would otherwise not come into contact with.”
  • “Your immune system is constantly patrolling the gut border for anything it does not recognize in order to prevent an all-out invasion. As the immune system encounters these escaped particles, it attacks. And in individuals with a genetic predisposition to autoimmune diseases, this increased load on the immune system leads to the type of dysregulation that becomes an autoimmune disease. As you are exposed to large protein molecules in a leaky gut from the incompletely digested foods you eat on a daily basis, you develop immune reactions to those foods.”
  • “Often a diet rich in the foods that you are sensitive to, in combination with a leaky or hyperpermeable gut, leads to fluid retention and inflammation and, as a result, weight gain. People who are very food sensitive often lose five to six pounds in the first week after removing these foods from their diet.”
  • “Even when you restrict yourself stringently by following one of the popular diets, including limiting calories or carbs, or monitoring carb-fat-protein ratios, your food sensitivities will make it very difficult to lose weight. When you remove the foods that are “toxic” to your body because they activate your immune response, weight loss happens naturally.”

Because if there is one thing that nearly all modern diseases have in common, it is inflammation. And it underlines the importance of this book, since many metabolic diseases, including inflammation, begin in the gut.

The art of neuroscience

“How the Mind Works” by Steven Pinker

Book number 2 out of 5, in my quest of reading one Steven Pinker book a year that are in my possession.

This one is a 673 pages-long book about how the mind works, but one which bizarrely seldom mentions about its underlying neuroscience. Granted that this book was published in 1997, which shows how far the biological field of our brain has since developed, but the many assumptions and the omittance of any scientific finding to back up the theses are still appalling.

So instead, what is it about then? To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know. There are so many gibberish in between the paragraphs and so many derailing from the main topic, with its good points (such as the computational theory of the mind, or the effect of optical illusion to our brain, or evolutionary psychology) often drowned in a sea of unnecessary gimmicks and overcompensating fancy words.

Perhaps it’s a bit unfair to judge this book after reading excellent [and newer] books on mind such as “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman, or “The Chimp Paradox” by Steve Peters, any Daniel Goleman’s series, or even the fun one “You Are Not So Smart” by David McRaney that are more straight forward.

But still, the lack of scientific evidence, untidy organisation of information, the many off topics that are way too long, and no clear concluding points (if any) with just a little hint of arrogance are making it hard to like this book.

The future of banking

“Bank 3.0: Why banking is no longer somewhere you go, but something you do” by Brett King

According to the author, Brett King, there are 4 phases of behavioural disruption in banking: 1. The arrival of the internet 2. The emergence of smart device or app phone 3. Our switch to mobile payment on a broad scale (which is where we currently are) 4. Banking no longer being somewhere we go, but something we just do.

Published in 2013, this book is largely about the road to the 4th disruption. It shows an exciting glimpse of what the future may look like and how banks will play their role in it. It is a world where “someone else owns the customer, [while] banks become the manufacturers, networks and processes that support the utility of banking.”

The book ultimately takes us through the evolution of banking, which are illustrated by abundance of data and statistics to provide us with the contextual trend, where now by the time I read it in 2021 I can see how plenty of the predictions by King have already happening.

An essential read for bankers or those who are interested to learn about the banking industry.

The insane story of the rise and fall of Theranos

“Bad Blood: secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup” by John Carreyrou

How can a 19 year old Stanford dropout, with only 2 semesters worth of chemical engineering credits, is able to start a company in Silicon Valley focusing on cutting-edge new science in medicine?

How can she then surrounds herself with all-stars management team (such as General James Mattis and former Wells Fargo’s CEO Richard Kovacevich), employ the most capable experts (Stanford, MIT, Caltech and Cambridge PhDs are not uncommon among the 800 employees), backed by a number of diverse investors (with Rupert Murdoch, Carlos Slim Helu, Betsy DeVos, among many of them) and highly regarded board members (like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz), not to mention the numerous media exposures and her attendances at formal White House events.

How can she pull all of this off, even at one time regarded as the female Steve Jobs that will revolutionise the healthcare industry, only ended up becoming a fraud?

This is an incredibly bizarre true story of Elizabeth Holmes, and the rapid rise and spectacular fall of her start-up bio-tech company Theranos.

The author, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner John Carreyrou, interviewed more than 150 people (including more than 60 former theranos employees) to set the facts straight, turned it into THAT 2015 investigative reporting at the Wall Street Journal, before re-telling the story in this book in a gripping manner that reads like a thriller movie.

It is filled with hope and brilliance, lies and deceits, lots of lawsuits, harassments, and even suicide. It’s no wonder that the book has received so many awards including winning the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year award in 2018. It is simply hard to put down the book once you start reading it.

Lessons from the rebel yogi

“Inner Engineering: A yogi’s guide to joy” by Sadhguru

Sadhguru is like the rebel yogi, the contrarian guru, that says spirituality is overrated, that teaches us NOT to believe in what the many gurus are saying if you don’t agree with them (including him). He’s bluntly honest, and often slap us back into grounded reality with his logical approach, which is supported by plenty of stories that are amusing and often funny.

In fact, right at the very few early paragraphs he dismantles the feel-good but empty or misleading mantras that we use to live by in the modern society. Mantras such as  “be in the moment”, “do one thing at a time”, “positive thinking”, the utopian idea of heaven, and as simple as the word “stress management” in which he commented “why would anybody want to manage stress?”

And instead, he offers a worldview that is grounded in common sense and, increasingly as the book progresses, in Yoga practises where he discusses about mind, body, and energy from the point of view of what he call the “science of yoga”.

It is a soothing book to read, one that serve as a calm reminder in this fast paced world of our basic senses, one that teaches us how to be more connected with the universe, and with its basic teachings can lead us to becoming joyful as an effect. Because everything that is happening in our lives we experience it within ourselves, which is controllable for us.

As Sadhguru remark, “Human experience may be stimulated or catalyzed by external situations, but the source is within. Pain or pleasure, joy or misery, agony or ecstasy, happens only inside you. Human folly is that people are always trying to extract joy from the outside. You may use the outside as a stimulus or trigger, but the real thing always comes from within.”

In addition, I read this book using audiobook with Sadhguru himself as the narrator, and with some bell sound effect for every Sadhana part (practices), and a soft chanting background in every box of story. It really brings the reading experience into a whole different feel.

A little bit of context: Israel Palestine conflict

CONTEXT NO. 1: The big picture

Have you ever noticed that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government very often cause trouble in Gaza and the West Bank during the holy month of Ramadan? Very intentionally.

The UN then usually may or may not issue a condemnation. They even issue a sanction if they’re feeling good about themselves, only to be vetoed by Israel’s – even bigger bully – cousin: the US. Every. Fucking. Time. A proof that UN Security Council is full of shit, designed only to serve the interests of its permanent members and particularly its largest funder.

Frustrations then normally lead the majority of the world’s citizens to join boycotting Israeli products. But after few weeks, the “BDS movement” will fade out and life goes back to normal for most of us. No amount of petitions will make any difference either.

Along the way, plenty of NGOs (such as THAT famous one in Indonesia) manage to collect donations for Palestine, with the flow of money not really answerable to an audit. Sure, some are distributed to help the Palestinians, but the majority of them disappear into thin air. Because the Israeli government also restrict the amount of aid that the Palestinians can receive.

Meanwhile, just after around 4-5 days Erdogan usually show up to milk this crisis to boost his propaganda image.

But after about a week or so the protests of the Palestinians on the ground usually die down, because they literally don’t have the energy to do so (Israel only provide foods to the so-called “open air prison” that meet caloric level BELOW the sufficient amount per person per day).

Moreover, thanks to the strong Israeli lobby in US Congress (AIPAC), US funding to Israel ($3 billion/year + $8 billion loan guarantees) will remain way bigger than their aid to Palestine ($235 million, only restored last month after completely abolished during Trump era) to ensure the Palestinians will never win the assymetric clash against its apartheid ruler.

So things will eventually become nice and quiet again in the media, until Netanyahu needs the conflict to escalate once more, so that he can distract the public from his many corruption scandals, or to win an election (this time he failed to create a coalition, and they may need to do another election).

And the cycle will repeat itself in a few months time, in a similar manner.

CONTEXT NO. 2: Analogy

Read the news and replace the word “al-Aqsa Mosque” with “Vatican.” That’s pretty much what’s happening now. The Israeli government is attacking the 3rd holiest site for Islam, in the holiest month. Now imagine the reaction if Italy is raiding, shooting and burning the Vatican during Christmas.

The media call it “clashes”, world leaders can only condemn with no action, any real sanction by the UN will be vetoed by the US, and they will get away with it.

CONTEXT NO. 3: History

Israel vs Palestine is not the long ongoing fight between the Biblical Israelites vs Philistine, they’re both long gone as an ethnic group. The Israelites vanished after 722 BC when they were crushed by the Assyrians, While the Philistines disappeared by the late 5th century BC after they were destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia.

While the native Palestinians are Arabs, the Jews in there have roots from Ashkenazi Jew in Georgia, who came to the British-controlled Palestine from mostly Eastern and Central Europe thanks to a movement called the Zionist movement. The movement was boosted by the rise of Hitler who slaughtered every Jew in sight in late 1930s-1945, which in western Germany and northern France were mostly Ashkenazi.

It is as if European Gypsies (another “homeless” tribe) choose 1 country to be their motherland, start mass-migrating there, and eventually after having enough Romani in the country they start claiming independence. Or imagine the many Burmese refugees in Bangladesh one day declare the country theirs and rename it to “Rohingya”, and start treating the native Bangladeshi as 2nd class citizens in an apartheid system.

The Zionist Jews deliberately use the Biblical name “Israel” to justify their occupation of the Palestinian land, after the British left abruptly in 1948 without a clear succession plan and then acknowledged the independence claim at the UN. To make sense of this move by Britain, google: Balfour Declaration.

CONTEXT NO. 4: Politics

Newton’s 3rd law state that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. But for an assymetric action, where the victim has no equal power against the abuser, the opposite reaction will manifest itself in the form of guerilla movements. This is how Hamas was born among the oppressed Palestinians.

For every jet fighter missile attacks by the Israeli government, Hamas can only retaliate with rocket shots that were smuggled into their compound. For every systemic killing by the Israeli government (such as food restrictions, violence by soldiers on the ground with the latest technology, etc), Hamas’ best effort is to attack back using terror tactics such as suicide bombings and threats that generate much less victims.

Don’t get me wrong, Hamas is without a doubt a condemnable terrorist group. But they use terror as a tactic because their even more condemnable oppressor have more potent power than terror: legalization.

What Israel do may be ilegal (for example in the current crisis they violate Article 4 of the Geneva Convention and UN Security Council Resolution no 478), but it’s not a big problem in the eyes of the compromised international community. Just as the other settler-colonies such as US, Canada, and Australia have done so themselves: the genocide of Indians and Aborigins, for example, were not punishable by the law that they create for themselves.

Hamas is only one of several reactions that came out from the oppression. While Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resort to religious fundamentalism (and revolutionary in nature, AKA war-minded), there are also nationalistic organisations that are evolutionary in nature, such as Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its dominating faction, Fatah. Remember Yasser Arafat? He was the chairman of PLO, the closest attempt for them to achieve a peace agreement with Israel (the Oslo Accord), before Israel decided to poison him a decade later.

Hamas is based in Gaza, while PLO is based in the West Bank. Israel likes the PLO because it is weak and submissive, the international community even give them an observer status in the UN (at par with Vatican and Taiwan). Whenever you read about the Palestinian Authority and its Palestine President (Mahmoud Abbas) that’s [currently] PLO.

Hamas, on the other hand, is a dick. Israel hates Hamas. So much so that when Hamas took full control over Gaza, the Israeli government blocked the area into practically an open air prison until now. PLO also hates Hamas because they keep derailing PLO’s diplomatic efforts with fresh terror attacks (which became THE excuse for Israel for breaking any negotiation).

Things get complicated because Hamas is eventually funded by Hezbollah of Lebanon, which in turn is funded by Iran. Meanwhile, Israel is funded by the US, and protected by Egypt and Saudi. So like in many places in the Middle East, such as Syria and Yemen, Palestine is another battle ground for their proxy wars.

So who are the bad guys? The oppressor, for sure. But the good guys? This isn’t a Hollywood movie where there’s a clear line between the protagonist and antagonist, as Hamas is a terrorist group while Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is a corrupt institution that benefits only the few. The victims are clear though, the ordinary Palestinians.

The Palestinians are played like a pawn, and get killed in the process, because Netanyahu failed to grab power in the last Israeli election (unable to form a coalition to back him), while awaiting trial for his many corruption scandals. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas (of PLO) is postponing the first Palestinian election in 15 years, and blaming it on Israel for not allowing voting in East Jerusalem (which the Israeli government denies, but will benefit from).

This pisses Hamas off, with Hamas simultaneously angry at Israel for doing so and accusing PLO of deliberately delaying the election so that Hamas will not secure their inevitable win (Mahmoud Abbas is growingly unpopular among Palestinians).

This is why an incident in the West Bank can now spillover to a full-blown war in Gaza.

CONTEXT NO. 5: The core problem

Unfortunately, none of these touching big protests around the world matter, not a single country can do anything to change the reality on the ground, not even a UN sanction can prevent the violations to happen in front of our eyes, if AIPAC still exist.

And as long as AIPAC exist US will forever flex its muscles, pulling strings and threats to everyone standing up against “Israel’s right to self defense.” Just look at those impotent Arab countries who do absolutely nothing concrete to save their massacred brothers and sisters.

That’s why the talks among countries only amount to “de-escalating tension” or “stopping the violence” or aiming for “ceasefire”, and not punishing the killer(s) or penalizing them for attacking worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque (violation of Article 38, third paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV).

What about Israel violating another Geneva Convention on freedom of press (Article 79 of Additional Protocol I) by literally bombing down an entire building that housed the Associate Press and Al Jazeera? And killing medical staffs and experienced doctors in Gaza (article 36 of 1949 Geneva Convention II)? They got just a tiny slap in the wrist and being asked to pinky promise not to repeat that naughty behaviour again.

Just like NRA is a cancer for the ridiculously preventable gun violence problem in the US, AIPAC is the biggest cause that ensures this slow cleansing of Palestinians is happening (the “collateral damage” for their full occupation of the land). The lobby group also tie the hands of every single US president since 1963 from taking any action against Israel and/or for Palestine. Even Obama who publicly dislike Netanyahu still cannot do anything significant to dismantle the apartheid.

So, the solution is actually simple (but not easy, borderline impossible): Abolish AIPAC (and its coalition), and you won’t believe how fast the enduring Israel Palestine conflict can be over.

What an introduction!

“Introducing Chaos: A graphic guide” by Ziauddin Sardar, Angela Adams, and Iwona Abrams

This is a short but detailed book, with nice illustration at every page, covering everything about the subject matter that has always been the most intriguing for me: the chaos theory.

But what delightfully surprises me is, what I thought would be a breeze “introduction” book (as per the name of the series) with only 171 pages long, can turn out to be so densed, mind-bending, and enlightening enough to make me see science and a lot of other concepts connected to chaos theory in a new light.

It completely ruined my plan for a relaxed, no-brainer, weekend. But oh it’s so invigorating.

A classic, with all the cliches

“The Master Key System” by Charles F. Haanel

It’s holiday time during the pandemic, which means relaxing at home. And I want to read a light book that has little narrative to follow. It should be short and direct, broken down into short chapters and even written one paragraph at a time in a quotation-like sentence if possible, to make it a lighter bite. It should cover topics that are soothing for the soul but stimulating enough for the mind, a book that I can still learn from but with oh so minimum effort (hey, it’s a holiday mood).

Is there such a book, my dear Coesus? As it turns out, there is. It’s Terry Crews’ favourite book (didn’t see that coming, did you?). And this book nailed it. Sort of. Well not really. Ok fine, let’s just say it’s not my cup of tea.

There’s some weird stuff going on with most of the ideas in the book, such as the believe that our minds can somehow connect to the universe (the Cosmic Mind), that everything is originated in the Universal Mind, that you can get what you want if you mentally concentrate on the object of your desire (without work? The author, Charles F. Haanel, didn’t say anything about work to get it) complete with the morning mantras in front of the mirror, while he’s also selling the concept and usage of solar plexus a little too much.

Moreover, apparently if we’re in debt it’s wrong to worry and think about the debt. Instead, we should focus on the opposite: abundance (yes, Edwin. Concentrate on what you want). The book also claims to have the secret solution to every problem known to mankind: to apply spiritual Truth on it. So, bone marrow cancer? The spiritual Truth. Solution to Israel vs Palestine conflict? The spiritual Truth. Where will Doge Coin move next? The spiritual Truth.

All in all, the book has this overall feel of being at a presentation of an MLM product that makes you borderline questioning its legitimacy. Because nearly nothing tangible come out from the ideas. And instead, just BELIEVE hard enough with no clear cause-and-effect steps on how to achieve them (AKA, the law of attraction).

But perhaps I should cut the book some slack, because it was afterall written in 1912, from the simpler times. It was even before World War 1. So it’s understandable that the concept of the book isn’t really that applicable for our modern era. But then again, Aristotle was from the 4th century BC and Isaac Newton lived in the 17-18th century, and their ideas are phenomenal. And furthermore, this book is also featured in the modern-day book “The Secret” (which mystifies the psychological concept of “confirmation bias” into practically a magic show). So maybe, just maybe, it has always been wacky even for its days.