March Reading Romp

March was a productive month as far as reading is concerned, even though I spent four days in L.A. networking and partying with people. There was a heavy focus on books that I would consider life improvement and challenging to conventional wisdom. I didn’t plan on the month going that way, but that’s just how things progressed.

Okay, enough bloviating on my part. I give you the March Reading Romp.

The Game

This book has been recommended to me countless times, and I finally got around to reading it. I had always been thrown off by the title and the connotations that came with it, but I’m glad I got over those preconceived notions, because the book is excellent.

Neil talks about his journey inside a society of pickup artists, and how he became one of the most successful pickup artists in the world. Not a bad transformation for a geek who had absolutely zero confidence.

I thought the book was an intriguing read for quite a few reasons. Obviously reading about sex and drugs is always fun, but on a deeper level Strauss explores the radical shift that takes place when someone starts feeling more successful with women, or anything really.

As he became more confident in his ability to talk to women, it’s clear that he also became more confident in his ability to kick life in the balls in whichever arena he focused his attention on. His success with women become a keystone habit. Which is exactly what happens with fitness for a lot of people.

You also get a view at the darkside of the pickup artist world, and get to see how much he struggled with the accompanying objectification of women that was required. Which really becomes a mind fuck, because that objectification allowed him to be successful at the start, but it’s also apparent that he’s not a soulless individual and actually likes women as human beings. Really fascinating read.

If you’re at all interested in human interaction, sales, women, life, or just want a good story then this is a must read. You can grab it here.

 

The Truth

As a follow up to The Game, Strauss wrote The Truth. A book exploring relationships, what we hope to get out of them, why we’re in them, etc. It’s basically his journey that he goes on after fucking up a loving relationship, and spending two years working through all the murky bullshit that comes with being in love. It’s raw, it’s open, and he writes about some very intimate details of his personal life, while teaching a Masters class in relationships.

I can accurately describe how this book made me feel with two words:

Holy shit.

This book is a complete and utter mind fucking that I can almost guarantee you’re not ready for, but you need to get into. I’m not going to spoil some of the inner details of what he goes through and talks about, because you need to read it. But we can talk about some of the overarching points.

Like the fact that we neglect just how influenced we are by our parents when it comes to seeking out love and partners. Or how we let society dictate everything that we feel a relationship should be, and when someone has a happy relationship that doesn’t conform to our notions of what is right, we tend to chastise them.

The Truth is a book that not only made me do a lot of soul searching, it also offered some clarity on quite a few things that I had been struggling with in the past. Everyone that I talk to that’s read it can say the same thing.

If you’ve struggled in relationships, with love, or are just curious about them then this is an absolute must read. Just be prepared to read it all the way through. This isn’t a book you can quit on half way, and I doubt you’d want to.

It also contains what may now be my favorite quote:

“A life is just one letter away from a lie.”

You can grab it here.

 

Candide

I was wandering aimlessly through my local bookstore when I found a cope of the classic, Candide by Voltaire hiding in between a few other books. I’d always been curious about this one, and at the price of $2.99 I would’ve been an idiot not to pick it up. I’m glad I did.

Candide is Voltaire’s most well known work, and is the satirical story of a young Candide, disciple of eternal optimist Dr. Pangloss, and his travels around the world. The book is like a constant series of unfortunate events, and Candide’s never ending attempt to see the best in all things. As time goes on, that becomes increasingly difficult.

And while the book is hilarious and still relevant, even though it was written in the 1750’s, the humor isn’t the lesson to be learned. With cutting wit and satire Voltaire absolutely rips apart all that we hold dear in this world; things like romance, science, religion, government, and philosophy.

In the end Candide decides that the key to life is to tend to one’s garden, both literally and metaphorically. Something I think we could all learn.

The book is also full of outstanding quotes that are so good, I’m morally obligated share.

“You’re a bitter man.” – Candide

“That’s because I’ve lived.” – Martin

 

“Our work keeps us free of three great evils: boredom, vice, and poverty.”

If you’re interested in a really short read that will not only help put life in perspective, but cause you to question certain things in this world, then this book is a no brainer. Plus it’s so cheap you’d be a fool not to pick it up. You can grab it here.

 

Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass

All month I had done some pretty heavy reading that I really enjoyed, but I needed to give my brain a break and read something that was just pure pleasure, and hopefully something that could bleed over into my writing. And this is typically where fiction shines for me.

This wasn’t a great choice for that.

I’ve loved the Alice In Wonderland movies, and I’ve never read the actual books, which up until now had been a massive failure on my part. I wasn’t particularly blown away by the books. They still hold up 150 years after being published, and can be read by anyone, but I didn’t love them.

Maybe it was that I found the writing style to be a little too whimsical and jumpy for me. Or maybe it was that I already had preconceived notions for Alice and the characters in my head thanks to the movies, which I found to be a good deal different than the books.

Still, it was a trippy read and one that challenged me in ways that I didn’t really expect. And maybe I’d get it more if I was tripping on mushrooms or something while reading it.

Speaking of hallucinagenic drugs, it’s common to think that Carroll was doing some crazy drugs and that caused him to write this. Actually, Carroll was a well respected mathematician whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and he suffered from a rare neurological disorder that caused him to see hallucinations. So much for tripping on acid and writing one of the best known stories of all time.

If you want to read it, you can grab it here.

 

The Perfect Day Formula

I had a chance to meet Craig Ballantyne while I was in L.A. at The Fitness Business Summit a few weeks ago, which was huge for me because I’ve read Craig’s work for years. For those who don’t know, Craig is easily one of the most prolific and productive humans walking this gigantic rock hurtling through space.

Craig is the Editor at Early To Rise and creator of Turbulence Training. He’s also the most disciplined guy in this world.

Wakes up at 4am, goes to bed at 8pm. Every single hour is structured, and the guy absolutely crushes everything he puts his mind to. This book is no exception.

The Perfect Day Formula is more or less a blueprint into why having routines and structure are massive to your success, and he outlines various strategies to build your own. And while that may sound like a typical self-help book, I didn’t find it to fit that mold at all.

The tone of the entire book is conversational, and you feel like you’re chatting with a mentor for 150 pages. I must’ve highlighted something every few pages, and marinated on various passages for days to come after I finished the book.

If you’re a creative, an entrepreneur, or someone who is looking to take their life to the next level this is a very quick and easy read that can help instill the value of routines, as well as help you build out your own. Definitely worth a read. You can grab it here.