The American Experiment by David M. Rubenstein
The American Experiment is for all those who dream and wish to make it big and actually live the American Dream! The author touches upon topics of democracy, voting, equality( though he admits that it’s a work in progress), freedom of speech, peaceful transfer of power, rule of law, separation of powers, capitalism & entrepreneurship, immigration, diversity and a culture that allows everyone to pursue their dreams based on their ambitions, goals, skills, talent and hard work without much interference from the central or the state governments. Rubenstein uses “America’s 13 Key Genes” ( listed above) that he says have made the “American Experiment work” albeit with challenges and something with which the Country continues to fall short. The Civil War & Slavery, Reconstruction and its Jim Crowe Aftermath, Women’s Suffrage, Great Depression, WW-II, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, The Watergate Scandal, 9/11 attacks, Iraq War, Gay Rights movement, Black Lives Matter Movement, to the ongoing COVID situation- warm, engaging conversations are used to bring forward perspectives of notable people from all occupations.
Actor Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican immigrant, upon being asked about her legacy replies, “I would like people to think of me only in one way: she never gave up. Perseverance.” Judge Sotomayor continues to revoke the feelings of passion, commitment, dedication and hard work via her conversations.
All you dreamers-if you believe in yourself, if you love to listen to other people’s perspectives and that you know that you have the ability to create that dent- read the book! But remember that the American Experiment is clearly ongoing….
The book is a revelation, will debunk most of your B**LSH*T rules or as the author calls them BRULES and breaks the myth of hard work. The title sounds quite oxymoronic but the book tells you how to embrace the two archetypes- that of the Buddha and the other of the Badass. The Buddha is defined as “The person who can live in this world but move around with grace, ease and flow that come from inner awareness and alignment” and is certainly not being referred to as the literal Buddha, the enlightened one. On the contrary, the archetype of the Badass is someone who is out there “creating change, building, coding, writing, investing, leading. The Badass represents the benevolent disruptor.” In order to lead the life of your dreams, you need to blend the two. Be ready with a pen and paper as there are exercises at the end of each chapter that will force you to literally write, brood, re-write and finalize your mission on earth. Find your Soul-Print, Attract your Allies, Spark Deep Connections, Become an Unf***withable Masterpiece and Lead, says Lakhiani. He inspires readers by quoting one of his influencers, Roy Bennett- “Good Leaders have vision and inspire others to help them turn vision into reality. Great leaders create more leaders, not followers….” The book is a must read for people who want to succeed at work. You will be equipped with spiritual warfare and armory just so that you can uncover your purpose. Go break all rules, become Extraordinary!
The Buddha and the Badass by Vishen Lakhiani
The Hard Thing about Hard Things- Building a Business when there are no easy answers by Ben Horowitz
A book review after a long time. It does not mean that I was not reading all this while. Just felt that I needed to pause on this one and review. Start a business, own your freedom, be the boss. All sounds good but no one tells the amount of hard work that comes with it. Ben Horowitz does. He does not sugarcoat from beginning to end. No romanticization of running a business. Just plain simple truth. There is no formula or a recipe for running a successful business, no rule book, no guidelines. “As a CEO, there will be times when you feel like quitting,” Horowitz says. He quotes his former boss from Netscape, who said, “ We take care of the People, the Products, and the Profits- in that order.” Majority of the book focusses on working with people- how to hire them, how to train them and whether to poach them from friends’ companies. He lays emphasis on how hard it is to fire employees- friends or not.
The book is meant for budding entrepreneurs, startups and aspiring founders who wish to be CEOs one day. The author uses humor and tons of swear words to keep the interest going.
All in all, things don’t get easy once the venture’s all set up- Be prepared for things to become harder and the task uphill!
The book talks about a psychological paradigm of happiness and the author says that it is not pure relaxation in the form of sipping a glass of wine on a beach or a fancy holiday or that expensive house or a gift or a diamond or a ferrari or a partner or a boyfriend or a six figure salary or a CEO job role or having children that would help peak your human experience. As Flow says “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen.” Flow is “the zone” –that almost magical state of mind where you become completely absorbed in something very challenging, but possible. Because you are at the edge of your ability, it takes all of your mental energy to make progress.” So how do we get to this amazing state of mind? By focus, intense focus. In this world of distractions and social garbage, how do you focus and get those levels of attention so that you are in that continuous state of ‘flow’ or magic, I would say? The book is a good read if not a compulsive one.
“Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
“Becoming Flawesome”, Kristina Mand Lakhiani
After a considerable hiatus from writing book reviews, a chance encounter with an old friend prompted me to revisit this cherished pastime. Their question, “Why aren’t you doing reviews?” led me to reflect on my recent reading journey. I’ve been an avid reader all along but finding the time to sit down and share my thoughts on the books I’ve delved into had been a challenge. However, spurred by this conversation, I’ve finally decided to pen my thoughts on a recent literary encounter.
Last month, I had the privilege of meeting the author of the book “Becoming Flawesome”, Kristina Mand Lakhiani, during one of her book tours in Houston. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss, and I attended her book release event in Katy. Kristina struck me as an exceptionally warm and gentle individual. To top it off, I even had the honor of getting my copy of her book signed.
In her book, Kristina shares her life story in the most uncomplicated manner. She begins by recounting her struggle with what she calls the ‘Hermione syndrome’—an insatiable pursuit of perfection, which seemed to have yielded the ideal degree, career, partner, and children. Yet, by the time she reached the age of 40, she discovered an unsettling hollowness within herself.
Her journey of self-discovery begins with what she terms ‘shadow work’—a process of introspection and questioning everything around her. She takes this introspection to a deeper level with the concept of ‘surfing.’ While ‘hustling’ implies relentless effort, stress, and limitations, ‘surfing’ is synonymous with a state of flow. Kristina aptly observes that “Hustling has a glass ceiling while surfing is limitless.” Could we dare to liken it to a life on cruise control but with heightened awareness? Imagine a 40-hour workweek on cruise control (read happy and joyful), a feat unimaginable for most but attainable for those who have successfully tamed their inner critic, conquered self-doubt, and found INNER PEACE.
Kristina’s narrative encourages readers to lead life courageously and fearlessly, emphasizing the importance of always speaking one’s truth. She contends that AUTHENTICITY isn’t a direction but a force that emanates from within. You cannot ‘appear’ authentic, ‘show’ it, ‘influence’ it, or ‘use’ it as a mere façade. Authenticity emerges from SELF HEALING -a rarity in a world where disconnection and broken lives prevail.
Another essential skill Kristina explores is VULNERABILITY—the willingness to venture into the unknown without any guarantees. These profound concepts can ultimately become an integral part of one’s value system. She urges us to shed the delusions and facades, to be honest with ourselves and our emotions, and to relinquish the shackles of perfectionism that hinder our growth.
Kristina’s book beautifully underscores the value of being true to oneself, EMBRACING flaws and insecurities, and owning one’s unique blend of experiences, expertise, and even failings. In a world that often values authenticity over perfection, KINDNESS emerges as the new sexy—a transformational shift towards leading a life unapologetically and truthfully. It’s a blueprint for a life truly well-lived.
Housel, a prominent financial writer and analyst, presents his insights in a clear and engaging manner, making the book accessible to both finance experts and lay readers alike. The author skillfully combines real-life anecdotes, historical examples, and behavioral economics principles to shed light on the timeless and universal aspects of money management.
One of the book’s key strengths is its emphasis on the emotional and psychological aspects of money. Housel argues that people’s financial decisions are often driven by their emotions, biases, and social influences rather than purely rational calculations. By exploring various psychological phenomena, such as loss aversion, overconfidence, and the impact of social comparison, the author provides readers with valuable insights into why individuals make the financial choices they do.
The Psychology of Money
Throughout the book, Housel emphasizes the importance of adopting a long-term perspective when it comes to wealth accumulation. He illustrates how compounding and time in the market are often more critical to financial success than individual stock-picking or market-timing strategies. This message encourages readers to focus on building sound financial habits and resisting the urge to chase short-term gains.
Another standout feature of “The Psychology of Money” is its storytelling approach. Housel uses compelling real-life stories, ranging from Warren Buffett’s investment journey to the mistakes made by ordinary individuals, to illustrate his points effectively. These narratives not only make the book engaging but also help readers connect with the principles discussed and remember them long after they finish reading.
One of the book’s central themes is the concept of “getting rich slowly.” Housel argues that wealth-building is often a slow and steady process, requiring discipline and patience. This perspective challenges the pervasive culture of quick fixes and overnight success, encouraging readers to adopt a more realistic and sustainable approach to financial planning.
However, the book is not without its limitations. Some readers may find the content somewhat repetitive, as Housel revisits certain themes and concepts throughout the book. Additionally, while the book provides valuable insights into the psychological aspects of money, it may leave readers looking for more concrete, actionable advice on personal finance strategies.
In conclusion, “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel is a compelling and enlightening exploration of the intricate relationship between human psychology and finance. It offers valuable lessons for readers seeking to improve their financial well-being by understanding their own behaviors and biases. With its engaging storytelling and accessible language, this book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in personal finance and the psychology of money.
“Silence of Shiva” by Mohanji
I received a special edition of this book as a gift from an awakened individual during a spiritual conference in Dallas in October, 2023. Our deep conversation about existence and being led to this generous gesture, which I deeply appreciated. This book is not found on Amazon, by the way.
The title, while not exclusively connected to the Hindu deity Shiva, holds a meaningful interpretation; it means liberation, final emancipation…
To me, “Shiva” symbolizes the darkness that exists within us, the cosmic abyss waiting to be explored that is directly related to the dark matter present in the universe.
However, according to the highly enlightened spiritual master cum author Mohanji, Shiva is presence and I quote, “The self-glowing, self-illuminated Presence that illumines all decisions while remaining undivided. Shiva is freedom…”
1. Freedom from what?
A: Freedom from fear, anger, lust, anxiety, worries, jealousy, envy, ego, pride, arrogance, sadness, guilt, loneliness, frustration, shame, disgust, bitterness, regret, resentment, hopelessness, confusion, just to name a few that came to my head while doing the review, of course there is a list of more than 100-200 vices to either control or abstain from completely in order to gain self-mastery.
In the first chapter, the wise author refers to “The Dance of Shiva.” He is referring to the cosmic dance of life, its existence and its purpose. Our Karma is created by our Thoughts, Feelings, Emotions and Actions and Dharma is our duty, the base and basis of the universe. Karma is the basis for individual life and its corresponding happenings and experiences.
Q: Can we navigate our dharma, fulfill our karma, and yet remain detached, particularly from the EGO?
A: He emphasizes that we are not our thoughts, our possessions, our mind, our gains or losses, expectations, attentions, success or failure, addictions, pretensions, doubts, nor a sum of any of this.
Mohanji humbly responds by urging to SURRENDER To Him, having FAITH in Him, taking HONEST action and keeping your heart open. Admittedly, these ideals are easier said than done. The path to ENLIGHTENMENT is not shown to everyone. Its is meant only for the ones who have been bestowed with His Grace. GRACE does not come to everyone, only the few lucky ones live in that mode, they learn to ride the waves and become AMAR (literal meaning IMMORTAL) by being alive in this Life itself.
What is Shakti Pat? Shakti Pat, Mohanji says is the infusion of a higher energy into the often status lower energy planes in existence. The higher energy activates everything that is dormant. It brightens the cells and rejuvenates the existence.
What is Prana Pat and Shiva Pat? Answers to related questions get answered in the book.
Meditation and finding the ‘Guru’ for guidance are the solutions. Meditation is not mindfulness, it’s not a de-stressing tool. From the eastern philosophy, Meditation or Dhyana (Sanskrit for Meditation) means deep contemplation, means connecting with the Higher Consciousness.
Samadhi (Stillness achieved only and only via Meditation, being in the Sajana Sangtee (company of likeminded individuals who are also on the same path) and Seva (voluntary service) are the three Ss to abide by for the whole life.
This is what separates the conscious from the unconscious, the awakened from the un-awakened, the healed from the wounded. So far, 99.99% of the world, men and women are asleep or unconscious while only the .1% of them are the awakened ones.
The book is a comprehensive text on all topics on metaphysical reality, spirituality, our existence, death, before lives, after lives and offered a refresher course for me which I enjoyed, nevertheless. The fun part is that the book is in Q&A form and easily relatable for those who wish to gain insights into The Ultimate Truth,
OM NAMAYA Shivaya!
(literal meaning, I Bow Down To The “Shiva” or the Ultimate Truth)
Again, this book is a spiritual read and is not in particular referring to the Hindu God, Shiva.