ShenGoku

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

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Hello fellow daobummers. First off i just wanna say i grew up in the hood with no real education or guidance in learning real knowledge about the world. Politics. History. Why things are the way they are. I am completely clueless, and i cannot stress it enough. I hate the embarassment i feel when im in a group setting and people are discussing history or politics or world knowledge that interlink in different areas and i have no idea what they are talking about because of lack of education and no real guidance or motivation in gaining it. I still live in the hood and i just dont know what books i should start out with. I would greatly appreciate highly informed individuals to give me a list of books that will put me on game in understanding the world, why its the way it is, how things came to be etc. I would be so happy and grateful. Thank you

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1 hour ago, ShenGoku said:

I would greatly appreciate highly informed individuals to give me a list of books that will put me on game in understanding the world, why its the way it is, how things came to be etc.


One book that covers these things pretty well is ‘Sapiens - by Yuval Noah Harrari’.

 

If you’d like to understand how the economy works there’s a great YouTube video by Ray Dalio (his book Principles is also excellent):

 

Finally books by Malcolm Gladwell (any of them really) are also very illuminating.

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Truth to tell, the books I've gotten the most practical understanding of the world from are technical little books on how to do things. 

 

Years ago, I worked in a Cutlery shop. I wanted to start sharpening, both as a personal skill and to increase my worth to the shop. They sold a book - "The Razor Edge Book Of Sharpening". John Juranitch. It's on the same shelf as my books on Taoism. 

 

I destroyed a copy of Ralph Denyer's "The Guitar Handbook" -  scales, repairs - I even faked my way through the early stages of a job running live sound at events on the back of that book. The replacement copy is getting pretty beat up too.

 

Not saying those particular books or skills - something relevant to your own situation.  Of course, always having a sharp knife handy certainly proves useful over the years.

 

A book that will help you take care of yourself -  a wealth of information on health and wellness practices including basic exercise sets - is Tom Bisio's "A Tooth From The Tiger's Mouth".

 

 

Edited by Sketch
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A few books I've found valuable -

 

A History of God by Karen Armstrong, mostly about the Abrahamic religions with a little Buddhism and Hinduism thrown in.

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby, deals with the origins of the separation of church and state in the US.

Awareness by Anthony Demello, not so much about the world but rather our connection to it.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, discusses the collaboration of mass media, corporate, and political entities to manipulate and control society.

 

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My recommendations:

 

1984 by George Orwell

Archipielago Gulag (just the first part)

The Prince by Machiavelli

Plato's Republic

 

Also you can watch the movie

 

Requiem for a dream

Edited by Toni
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If you can understand the "creative process" in one thing you can see it in all others. 

 

Hmmm....i would recommend a balance of intellectual knowledge and internal cultivation. Practice this movement Moving of Yin an Yang 20 minutes (minimum) every day until its 2nd nature to you. Video below. 

 

In terms of understanding how the world works and how you can maneuver in it to your advantage. Geez, human beings and scientists are still trying to figure this stuff out....hmmm....ill try and post some books that i think will be useful and have a spiritual flavor. 

 

1. Chaos Protocols by Gordon White (Economics and Magick)

2. The Way of Walking Alone by Miyamoto Musashi (not a book, but a good list of rules to live by) 

3. The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian (how to navigate society) 

4. The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu (how to navigate life)

5, The Art of learning by Josh Waitzkin  (a map for developing skills)

6. The Prince by Nicollo Machiavelli (Politics and Power)  

 

 

Chi Kung technique: 
 

 

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If you feel like you lack a knowledge base, my advice is start general, move toward specific, and find sources that are designed to give quick overviews, such as Simple English Wikipedia (free), and the Very Short Introduction series (not free, but not expensive, and really high quality). 

 

Know nothing about history, but want to know about something specific? First read an overview of the study of history - of how we can know anything about history at all, and what are the major time periods and geographic centers that history centers on (ancient, modern, Western, Eastern, etc). Then find a major subfield of history that your topic falls under, and read an overview of that. For instance, if you are primarily interested in what is happening in America today, first read an overview of American History. Only then specialize to the specific topic you were initially interested in.

 

This allows you to build a scaffolding to hang individual facts on, a way to see how things fit together. Without this, jumping straight into a book on a specialized topic, however good of a book it is, will mostly not be absorbed. 

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15 hours ago, RiverSnake said:

The Art of learning by Josh Waitzkin  (a map for developing skills)


I like this book. He would’ve been a very good cultivator - unfortunately he got taken in by competition which won’t allow him to go deep.

 

His approaches in that book are similar to some of the best internal arts masters I’ve come across... but again he uses competition as his benchmark of truth... cultivators use something else.

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My advice is go to thrift stores, libraries that have a used book store inside and libraries in general.  Pick up some good compilation of history books.  Theres a good series on philosophy its soft cover its on Amazon, I cant remember the author but they are text books, each in a bold color, theres six of them now I believe, its a two year course of text books.  I found it invaluable. This is one of the series Amazon.com: A History of Western Philosophy, Vol. 5: The Twentieth Century to Wittgenstein and Sartre (9780155383173): W. T. Jones: Books  Wait until the semester is over and they are usually ten bucks each.  I also found the history of the world by Penguin classics to be good, and its good to find a history of political thought book.  

 

When it comes to philosophy, remember that it is about morals, what is right and what is happiness.  This is the key to all religion and philosophy.  It is also about how the Universe came to be and what is prime.  Basically, it is all opinion on the good life.  The world is fire and measurement, fuel and form, and movement.  Action is judged based on Good and Evil, Good being to assist, not harm,  and not obstruct and Evil being to harm and obstruct.  Once you hit Machiavelli you see that great thinkers decided that even though we have the perfect moral code, it is necessary to break it sometimes.  Then comes Nietszche who says break it when it suits you.  But if you stick to freedom and harming, you will be good in light of what is true to all of us instinctually.

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1 hour ago, freeform said:


I like this book. He would’ve been a very good cultivator - unfortunately he got taken in by competition which won’t allow him to go deep.

 

His approaches in that book are similar to some of the best internal arts masters I’ve come across... but again he uses competition as his benchmark of truth... cultivators use something else.

Do u recommend his book? By the way, did u also read robert green book about mastery? I wanted to read it but never did

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That's not necessarily a bad thing. Much of my practice is about unlearning things. 

 

On 12/27/2020 at 3:05 AM, ShenGoku said:

Hello fellow daobummers. First off i just wanna say i grew up in the hood with no real education or guidance in learning real knowledge about the world. 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness
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2 minutes ago, Toni said:

Do u recommend his book?


Yeah it’s a good book.

 

2 minutes ago, Toni said:

By the way, did u also read robert green book about mastery?


I haven’t - but I’m interested... might check it out!

 

I noticed that a lot of the recent research on mastery (such as ‘deliberate practice’ from Anders Ericsson) and on using ‘flow’ (the guy with the unpronounceable name from Hungary) - it’s all built into classical methodology of ‘gong’... (as in Qi gong and gong fu)

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A book I recommend constantly is Andrus Kivirahk's "The Man Who Spoke Snakish". Set at the border between an  Estonian folkloric "once upon a time" and the incoming tide of Christian civilization, it's a story with empathy and strangeness in great measure.

 

I'm currently reading Emilie Conrad's "Life On Land", an important book I think. A pioneer in bodywork and somatic healing, she writes very well, passionate and poetic with moments of precision. Certainly a book of interest to anyone learning about cultivating themselves. There are techniques layered into the text but don't rush through looking for them. The real teaching here is about how things unfold.

 

On order is a copy of "Infinite Mind: Science Of The Human Vibrations of Conciousness ", Valerie Hunt, Emilie Conrad's long time scientist collaborator. 

Edited by Sketch
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On 12/28/2020 at 10:15 AM, freeform said:


Yeah it’s a good book.

 


I haven’t - but I’m interested... might check it out!

 

I noticed that a lot of the recent research on mastery (such as ‘deliberate practice’ from Anders Ericsson) and on using ‘flow’ (the guy with the unpronounceable name from Hungary) - it’s all built into classical methodology of ‘gong’... (as in Qi gong and gong fu)

Off topic, but this is something I and probably others here would like to hear you expand on: some general principles expounded by Western experts on skill, flow, and mastery and how these are incorporated into "classical methodology of gong".

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14 hours ago, Creation said:

Off topic, but this is something I and probably others here would like to hear you expand on: some general principles expounded by Western experts on skill, flow, and mastery and how these are incorporated into "classical methodology of gong".

 

Honestly - there's not much to it... the modern books tend to be 90% validation of their ideas using science - the real meat is the 10%... and that 10% is already built into how one trains (in genuine lines of) cultivation...

 

For instance one of the major aspects of 'deliberate practice' is focus... you're meant to be deeply focused on what you're doing - not just mindlessly repeating something...

 

Here's a decent article on deliberate practice: https://jamesclear.com/beginners-guide-deliberate-practice

 

Similarly the recent popularity of the concept of flow comes from Steven Kotler in his book 'Rise of the Superman'... Kotler claims that flow is developed most in action-adventure sports (big wave surfing, wing-suit flying, unassisted rock climbing etc.) ...

 

In Daoism flow is the result of full, 'mindful' absorption into skillful action - particularly if it's also put under some pressure (hence internal martial arts being such a prominent part of Daoist training)... absorption is trained directly - whereas in action adventure sports absorption happens as a byproduct of the danger of death...

 

Though I believe that one is very nourishing - as it systematically builds up jing, qi and shen using the Ting (absorptive awareness) and Song (active release) - while the other way is very depleting because it essentially forces you to dip into your jing reserves to achieve flow. (that's why action adventure sports people report feeling extremely drained, tired, depressed and like they're coming down from addictive drugs after a strong flow event).

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25 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Honestly - there's not much to it... the modern books tend to be 90% validation of their ideas using science - the real meat is the 10%... and that 10% is already built into how one trains (in genuine lines of) cultivation...

 

For instance one of the major aspects of 'deliberate practice' is focus... you're meant to be deeply focused on what you're doing - not just mindlessly repeating something...

 

Here's a decent article on deliberate practice: https://jamesclear.com/beginners-guide-deliberate-practice

 

Similarly the recent popularity of the concept of flow comes from Steven Kotler in his book 'Rise of the Superman'... Kotler claims that flow is developed most in action-adventure sports (big wave surfing, wing-suit flying, unassisted rock climbing etc.) ...

 

In Daoism flow is the result of full, 'mindful' absorption into skillful action - particularly if it's also put under some pressure (hence internal martial arts being such a prominent part of Daoist training)... absorption is trained directly - whereas in action adventure sports absorption happens as a byproduct of the danger of death...

 

Though I believe that one is very nourishing - as it systematically builds up jing, qi and shen using the Ting (absorptive awareness) and Song (active release) - while the other way is very depleting because it essentially forces you to dip into your jing reserves to achieve flow. (that's why action adventure sports people report feeling extremely drained, tired, depressed and like they're coming down from addictive drugs after a strong flow event).

Good article, thks for sharing

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