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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 067 (July 4, 2021) — How to Read a Book, Hero’s Journey of Financial Independence, Thinking in Opposites, & More
Here’s the latest from Sloww along with the most interesting things I discovered last week.
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Happy learning and living!
New Public Post:
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler was originally published in 1940. The book was then revised and co-authored with Charles Van Doren in 1972. It’s become a classic guide over the last 50+ years that is still relevant today—perhaps more than ever. I saved 14,000 words from this book—and then cut it down to 6,000 for this summary. Bonus: If you missed it last week, here’s a photo of Adler manually sorting info into ideas.
“We must become a nation of truly competent readers, recognizing all that the word competent implies. Nothing less will satisfy the needs of the world that is coming.” — Mortimer Adler
New Premium Post:
For Premium Members, this version of the book summary is further refined and distilled to 4,500 words while including bonus content like how to skim, how to mark a book, and how to take notes at each level of reading. Enjoy!
“One of the worst mistakes anyone can make is to suppose that school is the place where one gets an education … No one can become educated while young. Education takes place in adult life after right maturity.” — Mortimer Adler
🤑 The Hero’s Journey of Financial Independence
(14 mins | YouTube)
Vicki Robin, co-author of the classic Your Money or Your Life, has one of the best perspectives you’ll ever come across in the financial independence (FI) community. In this video, Robin describes how the journey toward financial freedom follows the stages of the hero’s journey. If you think reaching FI is the point of the journey, you will be in for quite a surprise.
- First Stage (Pre-FI): You awaken enough to realize there’s a way in life that’s different from following the societal norm. You have newfound sense of agency and choice. You think FI is the goal, so you set forth on a path and find allies.
- Second Stage (FI): Once you reach FI, you may do some travel, binge watch TV shows and read books, and pick up some new hobbies. But, eventually you realize something is missing and that FI wasn’t the ultimate goal after all.
- Third Stage (Post-FI): Your realize life isn’t just about you anymore—it’s about how you can help. You start to gain perspective and search for purpose in your life—giving back beyond yourself.
- Key Point: Don’t make the mistake of thinking FI is the end goal. All of the paths will eventually lead to these questions: Who am I? Who are my people? What am I here for? Where do I belong? How much is enough?
“The work of existence is to metabolize the energy that’s coursing through you, and make it into something that you yourself deem as worthy. And, most often, it’s making a contribution in the lives of other people.” — Vicki Robin
🧠 Supercharge Your Creativity with Janusian Thinking
(3 mins | YouTube)
Albert Rothenberg is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who has carried out long-term research on the psychological factors of the creative process. “Janusian thinking” (or “janusian process”) is one of a few approaches he recommends to enhance your creativity.
- Who is Janus? The multi-faced Roman god Janus (Wikipedia) who is always looking in diametrically opposed directions.
- What is the janusian process? A creative thought process based on the property of opposition … “The capacity to conceive and utilize two or more opposite or contradictory ideas, concepts, or images simultaneously.”
- How does it aid creativity? Although it seems paradoxical, by consciously considering opposites (while in a rational state of mind) you disrupt your pre-existing contexts and conceptions. Think about firmly held propositions as simultaneously true and not-true to produce new and valuable creative effects.
- What is a real-life example? “Albert Einstein described his ‘happiest thought’ in the development of the General Theory of Relativity as his conceiving that a man falling from the roof of a house was both in rest (relatively) and in motion at the same time.”
- The Process of Janusian Thinking in Creativity (Full Harvard Paper PDF)
“Simultaneity of multiple opposites or antitheses is a cardinal feature of the janusian process.” — Albert Rothenberg
We’ve all heard stories about wealthy people giving away large sums of money—but the big dollar amount is usually only a small percentage of their net worth. Billionaire Chuck Feeney completely flipped the script. Known as the “James Bond of Philanthropy,” he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living. Over the last 40 years, he has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities, and foundations worldwide. He estimates that he’s only kept about $2 million for him and his wife. In other words, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth!
“It’s a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you’re dead.” — Chuck Feeney
💭 Deep Quote
“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capacities, your own possibilities.” — Abraham Maslow
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Solopreneur & Synthesizer, Sloww