Bored at work? Need something to listen to in the car other than mindless babble? Well, I have been collecting interesting podcasts over at Soundcloud. In particular, give a listen to my selection on books, writing and learning.
Reclaim lost minutes of your day, shut down the Facebook feed, and exercise your mind. You’ll feel much better…
Here’s our first installment of Podcast Roundup with selection of fascinating interviews with authors that will teach you and most likely have you ordering their books:
Daniel Mendelsohn, author of, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, tells us how ancient works like the The Odyssey “…always somehow feel present and real…[the] kinds of experiences they describe, are the kinds of experiences, in many cases, we have.” In particular, he looks at the father-son relationship in The Odyssey and how we look at — and if we really know — our parents and family members.
Tristan Gooley is the author of several books on the lost art of reading nature. Listen how you can can be more observant in our world, and relearn the skills that will allow you to travel and explore anywhere — no gadgets required.
Self-defense expert Tim Larkin, author of When Violence is the Answer, wants us to know that “sometimes violence is the answer, and that when it is, it’s the only answer.” Unfortunately, not everyone knows the difference between “antisocial aggression and asocial violence” and how to respond to each. A very important message for our time.
After watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, I was reminded of one of the most memorable lines in The Lord of the Rings:
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
Each generation in the modern era has faced the specters of busyness, materialism and deciding what is truly important. Arguably, at no other time in history, have societal forces have been so powerful in telling us how to live and what to become. It’s as if we’ve given up in finding out what we are truly meant to be. We’ve abandoned our intellectual ability to make our own decisions. Then one day, we wake up, wonder where it has gone, and wish we’d set out and found our own story, not someone else’s.
A human darkness with a vast appetite for chaos and violence.
That is what simmers in the background, waiting to be released, which is exactly what unfolds in Steven Konkoly‘s The Perseid Collapse and William R. Forstchen‘s One Second After.
Unfortunately, what they write about in fiction is all too real a threat.
A Dangerous Situation
An aged power grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks or natural or man-made EMPs. This really isn’t a secret to the powers that be. In fact, if they truly cared about people, they would have taken measures to shore up the grid years ago. They’re too busy figuring out how to buy votes and bail out their buddies. If this is all new to you, check out the latest threats to the grid here. A decade or so ago, the United States finally began deploying a missile defense system to protect us from human causes. Again, politics continues to threaten expansion and upgrades.
National Geographic aired the docudrama American Blackout which showed what could happen with the grid down for a few days. What would happen if this lasted weeks or months? Many people think (or hope) disasters like these won’t or cannot happen. Ask people who have lived through hurricanes and tornadoes or earthquakes. Fiction can remind us what is really important in life. It tells us action is better than hoping for the best.
Should protecting the country from nuclear holocaust or complete collapse really be a political issue? I’m thinking most would rather not be vaporized or watch their cities self-destruct. Sooner or later, disasters will come, whether natural or man-made.
Ignoring this is beneath human intelligence. Let’s do something about it.
Categories: Books, What You Can Do
Tags: 33 Minutes, A Nation Forsaken, American Blackout, EMP, grid, missile defense, One Second After, power grid, Steven Konkoly, The Perseid Collapse, William R. Forstchen
Check out Tim Urban’s TED talk here as he delves into his procrastinating mind. Read the blog version and then how to beat procrastinating. After you watch and read you’ll see how procrastination is a subtle, subversive disease that attacks us all and keeps you from your true Story.
If you haven’t checked out the Hero’s Journey interval training program yet, why not? Training or working out doesn’t have to be boring or something you have to do, it should be something you want to do. Add these two to the mix: the Legolas Workout or the Shieldmaiden Workout or any of the other dozens of themed workouts at Darbee.com. Training, however, is only half of the equation.
The other half is nutrition. Sure, working out out will reduce the weight, just as only “dieting” will, but focusing on only one makes long-term maintenance difficult and gains often temporary. If you have decided on a commitment to better health, you also have to commit to some studying. Knowledge has many benefits for your lifestyle change, such as: Continue reading
Think not forever of yourselves, O chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground. – Peacemaker, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy
In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion…Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation. – The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law
There are a variety of quotes like these, often rewritten as some variation of, “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…” These quotes are often used in discussion of environmental issues, but they are a fundamental concept of foresight that should be applied to much of our thinking. This is something our politicians rarely do — they’re only concerned in what they can say or do (or appear to do) to get them through the next election cycle.
Much has been said about fantasy books here, but can we somehow manage to combine this with fitness?
“How on Earth can we do that?” you wonder (or say to the computer screen if you’re apt to talking to yourself).
Neila Rey and friends at Darebee have created the fantasy themed Hero’s Journey workout. This is a real deal workout that will test your readiness for any quest in your life.
I may continue this as a series of posts, Fitness Fridays if you will, an idea borrowed from Amy’s Curiouser and Curiouser blog. And if you need some fantasy mood music, load up some Lindsey Stirling here and here.
I’ve written on how 19th Century author George MacDonald fathered the fantasy genre that has become such a staple of literature. Beyond that, MacDonald was also a controversial figure in his day, and even now. Why? Because he wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Biographer Michael R. Phillips writes:
In his later writings MacDonald strongly attacks the mentality that cares more for providing its own position than for discerning the truth. He would prefer to find himself in the wrong, and thereby learn a new facet of truth, than win an argument…he would not even formulate an opinion until he sees the question more clearly…[he wouldn’t]…put forward an opinion prematurely until the light of truth had been shed upon it.
Here, on the first day of the new year, perhaps this is what we should keep in our minds and on lists of resolutions. A commitment to test what we read, what we are told and what the powers that be claim is so. In an election year this is even more important, because the professional politicians and their dutiful followers have already spent months weaving their deceptions. We need to be like MacDonald who had
…a mind not afraid to doubt and ask questions. It was a mind not hiding behind doors, but knocking on them. His eyes were wide open, alert to any entrance of truth.
So in 2016, let’s open our eyes, stop hiding and start knocking.
Doug Fields writes in his book Refuel:
…a life without margins is a life in or rapidly approaching chaos. A marginless day is crammed with running, driving, chasing, little time to catch your breath, and limited time to think something through or decompress…Why is it, with all these luxuries, technologies and time-saving devices in our lives, that we’re still busy, tired and marginless? I believe it’s because a series of lies has barged in and taken root in our lives.
Those lies are:
There’s just not enough time to do everything.
I’m just in the busy season right now.
But this is really, really important.
Success and busyness are synonyms.
We create much of our busyness for ourselves and then complain we have no time. This has become such a problem in the modern world that Timothy Ferriss writes, “Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing…Being selective — doing less — is the path of the productive.”
Much of this is in your control. Don’t wake up someday and wonder where the time has gone. It’s always there with this reminder:
Don’t waste it.