Miscellaneous

Basa: How E-books saved my life

One of my 2019 resolutions is to read more books. I used to be a bookworm during my youth, but smartphones and apps have really changed the face of the world. Fortunately, the convenience of smartphones can also be used for good. Swapping my mobile games for e-books, I got started on the first book of many for 2019.

Let me just preface that I’m not new to reading e-books. I have a collection of PDFs that I read when I commute. But I read at a such a glacial pace, I only finished one book a year for the past 2 years. For 2017 I read Mark Mason’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and for 2018 it was David M. Eagleman’s Incognito. For this year, I recently finished Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. These will be the three books I’ll be giving a short review below.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

I’ve been reading articles from Mark Manson since 2016. He has a really nifty website with articles that are very interesting. Most of his articles pieces on how we’ve been looking at life the wrong way. They question our current outlook and sometimes give a better and simpler way to live.

I have to admit that in times of too much mental clutter, I go to his website and read a few articles. He tackles subjects from relationships, to work troubles, to finding out one’s purpose in life.

When he first launched his book, I was apprehensive. I thought it would just be a compilation of his online articles. But after reading some good reviews about it, I decided to buy it; my first e-book purchase. The price was a token of thanks for helping me view life in a much more informed way.

The book has a really eye-catching title, and the author gives a lot of clear examples and parables to prove the point. From why we shouldn’t give too much fucks, to how not to give too much fucks, this book is a must-read for today’s people. The author doesn’t tell you how to live your life. Instead, he asks the questions that ultimately help you find the best way to live. It strips you bare and makes you examine the values you hold dear and even helps you pick better values. Basically, it’s a primer for living life a little bit better.

I can’t guarantee that this book will change your life, but it will give you a filter to see the things you could do to live better. This book is my top recommendation, especially for the too stressed generation we are in. I’m already rereading this in between my other books so it’s really that good.

Incognito by David M. Eagleman

I heard about this book from a certain reddit post that I forgot about. Reddit is actually a pretty good site to learn new things and it’s the site I frequent most at home and at the office. I downloaded a copy and started reading it.

The book tackles very interesting topics of science and philosophy. Are we our consciousness? Or are we just a bunch of synapses firing from the nerves in our body? Is it nature or nurture that determines an individual’s personality? Are people who do crimes 100% guilty of it? Why is it so satisfying to tell a secret? It goes through lots of different case studies showcasing various answers. Because there really just isn’t any one answer to everything.

I never thought I would enjoy a scientific, non-fiction book but this was written very well. The language is enough for the average person to understand. The author gives a plethora of examples for his arguments that they make it easy to understand his points. It’s a bit long, but it’s easy to drop and pick up from where you left off.

Reading this book made me realize how fragile who “we” are. Who we are is totally up to the workings of our brain. One misplaced bump or damage can totally change our life and we wouldn’t even know it! It’s a really fascinating read and I recommend this to anyone who loves learning stuff about themselves and human nature in general. While some self-help books try to tell us how to react to the actions of others, this book lays the groundwork on why people do those actions in the first place.

You will really learn a lot from this book. From the certain gene that causes 90% of all crimes, to a brain tumor that causes pedophilia. This book is a really interesting journey into the workings of our brain. A must-read for people who have spare time in their daily lives.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

I’ve seen this book years before. Being in the creative field, it resonated to me. I wondered what knowledge I would be able to get from that tome. But, just like a lot of ideas I have, out of sight means out of mind and it never got followed through.

Fast forward to the 1st day of January, Bebelabs and I were in Fully Booked to buy her Fukubukuro book bag when I saw the book on the shelves. Since I didn’t want to add more stuff to my room, I decided to check google books if they had a digital copy. Success! They sold the book at a cheaper rate than the physical copy. So I quickly bought and downloaded it.

I started reading it on my morning commutes. On the table of contents, I was surprised to see how short it was. Only 161 pages! I knew this would be an easy read, so I dug in.

The book was easy to understand. The pages just flowed quickly and because if it’s shortness, I think I can finish it in one session. But since I havent found my next book yet, I decided to take it slow and really reflect on each point.

The contents are more of reminders for the creative mind (or pretty much anyone). It wasn’t groundbreaking science, but an easy-to-digest compilation of things we should already know. I’m not saying that you won’t learn anything new, but most of the advices (travel, save money, be kind) are already something that should be common knowledge.

It’s a book with a high re-read value because of its briefness. Once learned, the contents serve as helpful reminders when one is stuck or bored. The book’s message is simple; that it doesn’t take a complicated formula to be a good artist, just a set of tools, knowledge, and discipline


These are the three books I’ve finished for the past two years. Looking back, they’re a great trio to have. Incognito shows us the essence of our personality and basically who we are. TSAoNGaF gives us pointers on how to live our best lives. SLaA then tells us how to create with what we’re given. How we are who we are, how to be good, and how to do good.

If you wanna try reading e-books too, then just download the Google Play Books app and search! Buying e-books also support the authors so try not to pirate as much as possible. But if you can’t resist, then adobe acrobat reader is free and just as effective for reading. PDF is still the most versatile format for e-books so any PDF reader will do the job as well.

I’m looking forward to reading more books and learning more stuff! I’ve got a lot of time on my morning commute so it’s definitely something that fits my schedule. If you have a certain book that you enjoy, let me know and I’ll try to find an e-book of it. 👌

Never stop learning and questioning.

-jgzn

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