I fought reading this book for a long time because my bullshit sensor is very sensitive and it just seemed like a bunch of weird self-helpy trash. I avoided it for many years until someone I really respected said it was worth reading. I gave it a shot and was surprised at how practical and informative it was. I can credit this book with helping me to see outside and go beyond my current circumstances and expand my horizons in business and life.
Let’s be honest: nothing happens in a vacuum. Walls, empires and lives are built and destroyed based on interactions between people. So why not be as good as possible in this respect? The book’s title sounds like it’ll teach you how to manipulate people to do your bidding, but that’s not the angle it takes, so don’t let it dissuade you. I credit this book with helping me get over my social anxiety and shyness and, dare I say, has made me a better person overall.
The pitch for this book is tough. It takes at least a few times of goading people to read it before they finally acquiesce and understand how good it is. It was basically written as a manual for emperors about how to be good rulers. But that description, while accurate, is doing this really short and succinct book a huge disservice by implying it’s only for people who oversee countries or large corporations. I read this book at least once a year to keep my life in perspective and use it as a sort-of pep talk during rough times. The book will use some terms that Westerners would interpret as religious in nature, but take those with a huge grain of salt and define them how you want. There is no such thing as an Eastern religion, they are only philosophies, similar to the Golden Rule, that are meant to only be supplements to your personal beliefs – not replace them.
When I started my first company, I didn’t know how to manage all the responsibilities and tasks being thrown my way. I would literally go through my to-do list and calendar in my head each night while laying in bed and as the company grew and my responsibilities increased, my sleep went away with it. I was recommended this book to use as a system for managing my life and it delivered on that promise ten-fold. I can credit this book with keeping me, as well as Ashley when she started her first company, sane and in a position to grow and expand our business’ and lives. This book will work for you, no matter where you are in life and make you more productive and happier than you thought possible.
Religions are important to understand because they’ve influenced our lives in ways you may not realize. So in order to understand the basis for most laws, societies and people in general, it’s important to understand the foundational elements of everything – which are religions. The only problem with this book is that it’s written by a religious scholar who sees everything through a Christian viewpoint, so his interpretation of Eastern philosophies are not accurate because he looks at them as religions – when they’re not at all. I will include another book in the bonus section below that contains a more accurate description of Eastern thought.
This book was written almost 75 years ago and it’s scary how accurately it portrays our modern times. This is a fictional-must read and a re-read if you haven’t read it in a while.
This is a free youtube video of a lecture by Alan Watts, about the origins and details of Eastern philosophies that are a more accurate depiction than the other book about religions above.
If you want to have your head screwed on differently, read this book by a Zoolgist who breaks down the human species like any other animal in nature. It’s an entertaining and perspective-changing read.
This is a perspective-shifting book that will help you understand the place you inhabit in the literal universe.