Review: The Philoso­pher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Hap­pi­ness

The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness
The Philoso­pher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Hap­pi­ness by Mark Row­lands
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

After read­ing the book Run­ning with the Pack, I was delight­ed to find that there was a book that dived even deep­er in the bond between wolf and man. For me this is the best type of phi­los­o­phy book, one that is inter­spersed with more light-heart­ed moments from the author’s life, con­trast­ed with con­struc­tive and deep­er mus­ings on the events in his or her life. I noticed that it took me a lot longer to get through the book, just because it took a while for the mes­sages to sink in and under­stand them. There­fore, this is def­i­nite­ly a book that would not be bet­ter as an audio­book, because I think I would miss things because there’s no time to mull them over. One thing that hap­pened dur­ing the read­ing of this book, is that all the notes and high­lights I took on my e‑reader got delet­ed, due to me shuf­fling around some set­tings. This felt like a set­back, one that tem­porar­i­ly makes you not want to be remind­ed of your mis­take and dis­con­tin­ue read­ing the book. How­ev­er, because I was so close to fin­ish­ing it, it would have been sil­ly not to. It made me think that the mem­o­ries and lessons we gain from read­ing a book, if they are for­got­ten and we can no longer rely on our (dig­i­tal) mem­o­ry. Of course that is not the case, but it showed me how eas­i­ly your brain del­e­gates the task of remem­ber­ing to a third par­ty. Not sure if this top­ic is men­tioned in the oth­er book from this author about exter­nal mem­o­ry, but it made me look for­ward to read that one as well!

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Review: Ik drink niet meer

Ik drink niet meer
Ik drink niet meer by Loïs Biss­chop
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

A per­son­al and relat­able account what it means to give up alco­hol in your life and how it impacts ones rela­tion­ship with oth­ers. The sub­tle humor in this book was great and made the whole book a page­turn­er for me. The most impor­tant les­son in this book was the impact of a relapse after a pro­longed peri­od of absten­tion. Real­iz­ing the impact it can have, makes it so that you do not need to make this mis­take your­self to learn from it. Anoth­er great les­son was that of just bluff­ing, even though you have not fin­ished writ­ing the book, men­tion­ing that you want to pub­lish one can help you make it hap­pen, even if you don’t expect it. All in all, I would rec­om­mend this book to every young per­son read­ing and doubt­ing their own intake of emo­tion-sur­press­ing drugs.

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Review: Caf­feine: How Caf­feine Cre­at­ed the Mod­ern World

Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World
Caf­feine: How Caf­feine Cre­at­ed the Mod­ern World by Michael Pol­lan
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

The pac­ing of this sto­ry was quick and kept the atten­tion eas­i­ly, even if one’s recent­ly abstain­ing from caf­feine. Talk­ing about the his­to­ry and impact of soci­ety’s most accept­ed and wide­spread drug. Michael Pol­lan did a great job in relay­ing his expe­ri­ence with tem­porar­i­ly abstain­ing of cof­fee and lat­er on using it as a tool, but insin­u­ates it will creep back to an every­day ordeal. For the com­ing weeks I would like to fol­low his plan and just drink cof­fee on Sun­day morn­ings and only then. Per­haps Sat­ur­days could work as well, but I usu­al­ly tend to do my long run on Sun­days, so it would ben­e­fi­cial for that too. I appre­ci­at­ed the appear­ance of Matthew Walk­er and his view on caf­feine’s effect on the sleep qual­i­ty. I do notice, that even when I drink cof­fee in the morn­ing that my sleep is impact­ed, so that would be a good moti­va­tion. One of the more insight­ful bits was about the dif­fer­ence in spot-focus and can­vas focus, the lat­ter would enhance cre­ativ­i­ty by loose asso­ci­a­tion. Caf­feine enhances the spot-focus and there­fore lin­ear think­ing and might thus reduce one’s cre­ativ­i­ty. Know­ing what it can and can­not do, might help one use it for the right use cas­es. With­out cof­fee, there would­n’t be this cat­a­lyst for the age of rea­son. The fact that it was a replace­ment for alco­hol in the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry was new to me and that the cof­fee-hous­es played a big role in the enlight­en­ment by exchang­ing ideas, so much so that the first mod­ern ency­clo­pe­dia found its ori­gin in one of the cof­fee-hous­es in France.

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Review: Filosofie van de duur­loop

Filosofie van de duurloop
Filosofie van de duur­loop by Mark Row­lands
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Fas­ci­nat­ing book, it is clear that the author spent a lot of time think­ing while run­ning with his dogs/wolf and is equal­ly deter­mined to write down and clar­i­fy his thoughts. There were a few big learn­ings for me, that put run­ning in a new per­spec­tive for me. Main­ly, in the Dutch ver­sion, he talks about “run­ning is remem­ber­ing”, remem­ber­ing what we have lost along the way. A sec­ond, unex­pect­ed les­son was a way to humbly face the inevitable decay that will set in, soon­er or lat­er. The final per­spec­tive that stuck with me was its focus on run­ning being a form of play, not of work and how unique that is.

The one thing that would take away half a star, would be the penul­ti­mate chap­ter in which there is just too much philo­soph­i­cal chitchat on his iden­ti­ty and what he is not, to exem­pli­fy Sartre’s view on the con­scious­ness. Per­son­al­ly i found it to be just a lit­tle con­fus­ing and not help­ing fur­ther his main argu­ment of his phi­los­o­phy on run­ning and its intrin­sic val­ue.

I was sur­prised by the many words I did­n’t know the exis­tence of, these real­ly stretched my vocab­u­lary, but again, makes the book less acces­si­ble to the read­er and pre­vents the deep­er under­stand­ing of its con­tents.

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Review: What We Talk about When We Talk about Books: The His­to­ry and Future of Read­ing

What We Talk about When We Talk about Books: The History and Future of Reading
What We Talk about When We Talk about Books: The His­to­ry and Future of Read­ing by Leah Price
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

I found it to be a delight to lis­ten to this book out on a run, while real­iz­ing how I’ve incor­po­rat­ed more read­ing in my life through the abil­i­ty of being able to lis­ten simul­ta­ne­ous­ly and get lost in a vir­tu­al world as I do in the real world by foot. For me, there were a few fun­ny coin­ci­dences that I came across, one was talk­ing about the book Too Much Hap­pi­ness, which I planned to read this month for a book­club, but it got can­celled due to the coro­n­avirus con­cerns. The pas­sage was about bil­bio­ther­a­py and mis­un­der­stand­ing the book’s title as a self-help book. The prac­tice of doc­tors and psy­chi­a­trists pre­scrib­ing books as part of a cure is not a bad thought at all. I do think that I owe a very large por­tion of my cur­rent healthy lifestyle through read­ing, some­thing that I doubt would have hap­pened if a doc­tor told me so. Anoth­er fun fact was con­cern­ing the very first edi­tion of the veg­e­tar­i­an cook­book being made out of parch­ment, thus from dead ani­mals. Guten­berg’s press was most­ly used for sin­gle sheets indul­gences, to reduce one’s sins. And not for print­ing bibles what I had always assumed, so lots of nuggets and over­all it helped me appre­ci­ate how lucky I am to find myself in a time where one can read by lis­ten­ing. This book also dis­cussed its uses, virtues and how it impacts com­mu­ni­ties small and large. In the future I would like to have a phys­i­cal copy on my shelves.

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Review: Dig­i­tal Min­i­mal­ism: Choos­ing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Dig­i­tal Min­i­mal­ism: Choos­ing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal New­port
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

I have been toy­ing with this idea for a long time and per­son­al­ly had a few set­backs that with­hold me from attempt­ing anoth­er dig­i­tal detox. I do think that this book makes the strongest case and it came to me on a time that was right and felt I could imple­ment the key prin­ci­ples direct­ly. The exam­ples were great and diverse, the rest of the ‘the­o­ry’ was well-sup­port­ed and con­cise­ly for­mu­lat­ed. Com­pared to oth­er books of the same top­ic, I found it rather action­able and moti­vat­ing to take steps!
For sure, I will buy a phys­i­cal copy of this book, so I can browse through it at a lat­er moment in time. It would act as a reminder of the direc­tion I want to move in and since it takes mul­ti­ple cycles to get clos­er to this more pre­ferred state of inten­tion­al liv­ing, the chances are high that I would want to re-read it in the future. Best self-help book that I have read this past year!

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Review: Het water komt

Het water komt
Het water komt by Rut­ger Breg­man
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

This was a free book­let you could order online and it tries to get peo­ple take action in com­bat­ting cli­mate change and more specif­i­cal­ly, the rise of sea lev­el that would be real­ly chal­leng­ing to fight against, once the increase is a lot more than we have need­ed to fight in the past. As a stu­dent at Delft Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy, I was sur­prised to find out that even me and my friends did­n’t know about Johan van Veen, who was the father of the Dutch Delta­works. I vis­it­ed many parts of this world­fa­mous sys­tem to pro­tect the cit­i­zens from flood­ing and hav­ing to aban­don their home­grounds. The main les­son for me would be that his­to­ri­ans can real­ly teach us as a soci­ety a lot. It helps to put cur­rent events in per­spec­tive and they remind us of mis­takes our fore­bears made in the past.

I would be curi­ous to read the rest of the biog­ra­phy of this for­got­ten engi­neer. How­ev­er, I am a bit less opti­mistic than the author and feel that peo­ple should seri­ous­ly con­sid­er mov­ing to high­er grounds. While one has the chance it is bet­ter to build up a new life in a safer envi­ron­ment for the long term.

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Review: The Fat Switch

The Fat Switch
The Fat Switch by Richard J. John­son
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

An insight­ful book about the var­i­ous ways fruc­tose wreak hav­oc on the human body. You could almost see it as an anti-nutri­ent, if sup­plied in a high con­cen­tra­tion. Like all sub­stances, the dose makes the poi­son. After hear­ing about the con­cepts in the pod­cast of Peter Attia, I want­ed to learn more about the research that Prof. Richard John­son and his col­leagues had done to sup­port his claims. Sur­pris­ing to me were the rela­tion­ship with yeast and uma­mi foods to uric acid and its fur­ther effects on blood pres­sure. I will def­i­nite­ly reread parts of this book in the future.

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Review: S‑Town and the Art of Pod­cast Music

S-Town and the Art of Podcast Music
S‑Town and the Art of Pod­cast Music by Roby
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Even though most peo­ple would­n’t clas­si­fy this as an audio­book, I think it does. I mean, it does­n’t mat­ter, I just want­ed to write a quick review about this great and grip­ping sto­ry, not all that unsim­i­lar to the stranger in the woods by Michael Finkel. The main char­ac­ter was fas­ci­nat­ing and res­onat­ed with me strong­ly. The lit­tle facts about clock­mak­ing and the ref­er­ence to oth­er lit­er­a­ture were nice details that added to the expe­ri­ence. The audio record­ings just made it super vivid and I wish more non-fic­tion books were done this way, although I under­stand it is very dif­fi­cult to pull off. One of a kind!

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Review: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extra­or­di­nary Sto­ry of the Last True Her­mit

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extra­or­di­nary Sto­ry of the Last True Her­mit by Michael Finkel
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

This has been my favourite book that I have read in the year 2020, and although the year has just begun, I think it will remain one of, if not the favourite at the end of the year. An insight­ful book look­ing into the soli­tude life and what it can bring. What brings a man to make a deci­sion like this and how did he get away with it for so long. These are the peo­ple that if you met them in real life, you would want to ask them so many ques­tions and try to under­stand what goes on in their mind and if you were able to do the same in such a sit­u­a­tion. Def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend this book to any­one.

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