“We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.”
How to be alone—a wonderful antidote to one of the central anxieties and most misunderstood arts of our time:
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today… The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
Seneca on busyness and the art of living wide rather than living long – the kind of read that stays with you for a lifetime:
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival."
C.S. Lewis on true friendship – spectacular short read:
“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills.”
Why We Hurt Each Other – Tolstoy’s letters to Gandhi on love, violence, and the truth of the human spirit:
“To maintain the state of doubt and to carry on systematic and protracted inquiry — these are the essentials of thinking.”
How We Think: John Dewey on the art of reflection in an age of instant opinions and input-overload, a remarkably timely read from 1910
“The self-renewing man … looks forward to an endless and unpredictable dialogue between his potentialities and the claims of life — not only the claims he encounters but the claims he invents.”
The art of self-renewal – a timeless 1964 guide to keeping your company and your soul vibrantly alive
"The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else? … Never to get lost is not to live."
Rebecca Solnit on how getting lost helps us find ourselves – one of the best things I’ve ever read, soul-expanding beyond words:
“Art and physics, like wave and particle, are an integrated duality … two different but complementary facets of a single description of the world.”
Leonard Shlain on how integrating wonder and wisdom enriches our lives:
"Self-awareness is the rarest power of all, precious and vulnerable to the highest degree, the supreme and generally fleeting achievement of a person."
Mapping the meaning of life and the four “levels of being,” or how to harness the uniquely human power of “consciousness recoiling upon itself” – fantastic read:
“Little triumphs are the pennies of self-esteem.”
How to find yourself – some of the best life-advice you’ll ever receive:
“There are still souls for whom love is the contact of two poetries, the fusion of two reveries.”
French philosopher Gaston Bachelard on dreams, love, solitude and happiness – beautiful read:
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”
C.S. Lewis on suffering and what it means to have free will in a universe guided by fixed laws – superb read:
“Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.”
Buddhist Economics – excellent, enormously timely vintage read on how to stop prioritizing goods over people and consumption over creative activity:
Alan Lightman on our yearning for immortality and why we long for permanence in a universe of constant change – a heartening perspective on mortality by way of the physics of the cosmos and the poetics of the night-blooming cereus cactus.
“Is not mistaking relationships for what they are not — that is being blind to their ambiguity — arguably the greatest cause of disappointment and failure?”
How to navigate the murky waters of workplace friendships, with wisdom from Aristotle to Adam Smith: