“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”
— George Orwell, 1984
Like many of you, I’ve waited for that awful winter to end, for the current situation to resolve itself, and for things to go back to “normal.” I now find myself thinking that there is no “normal” to go back to, or rather that the “normal” we are now being sold doesn’t look like anything I would ever call “normal.” If you feel this way, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not… then hooray, enjoy the fun and freedom (while they last.)
Spring of 2021 for me was a period of grief for the lost way of life. I was reading a lot but seldom had the desire to write about what I read. This edition of the newsletter is a selection of some of the books that made an influence on me during these last couple of months. It’s a weird collection of books, but I hope you’ll find something you like.
1984 by George Orwell
There is probably no year when reading 1984 doesn’t scare you, but in 2021 re-reading this book was especially terrifying. I guess I woke up only this year and found myself living in the world where we, supposedly free people, have rapidly traded in all of our freedoms for the false promise of security — all without firing a metaphorical shot. The world where the truth is always changing, and where the science deniers of yesterday are the experts of today. How do we go on in this world? How do we fix it? Why did we allow this to happen and what else will we allow to happen? It’s scary to ponder these questions.
Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
I’ve become a slightly better-functioning human being thanks to Jordan Peterson's books, and I am eternally grateful for that. I've learned more about pain, suffering, happiness, and love. The lessons Peterson teaches are very uncomfortable, but they are also true, and that is the secret to his success. That is also the secret to why people hate him that much or love him that much, and it is hard to stay indifferent to what he says if you really listen, and you need to listen. You need to listen to finally hear someone tell you the hard, sad facts about the cruelty of the world and the people in it, and why we are all so unhappy, and that perhaps existence doesn't have to be that difficult, though it certainly will be tough no matter how hard you try to avoid reality.
Nomad Capitalist by Andrew Henderson
This is a must-read for anyone who would like to grow their wealth, diminish their financial risks and increase their freedom.
I’m not new to the ideas described by the author, so I didn’t expect to be influenced by the book in any significant way. After all, I already knew much of what Henderson had to say and agreed with his general approach to life. I’ve tried to go where I’m treated best, and I’ve tried not to rely on governments to take care of me or my family.
Curiously enough, the book left a strong impression on me and kind of shook me. It helped me see that despite some of my efforts to diminish my dependence on just one government and just one financial system, I still haven’t done what I should have done to diminish my financial risks or grow my wealth.
If you are worried about your financial future or feel like the country you are currently living in is not treating your well, this book might give you some ideas about improving your situation. It’s an uncomfortable read, but very necessary, now more than ever.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
This was one of my favorite books when I was growing up, and I was scared to re-read it now: I was afraid I would hate the book and one more memory of my adolescence will be ruined (as happened with “Thorn Birds.”)
Well, I loved “Gone with the Wind.” The only thing I hated was the fact that the novel was racist as fuck, with not some, but all major white characters being unabashedly racist, and even the omnipotent narrator’s voice being racist. It’s a prime example of Anti-Tom literature, and the racism of it oozes out of every chapter, there is no ignoring it.
Other than that, it’s hands down one of the best-written historical novels I’ve read so far. It’s so readable that I could easily spend hours on it without noticing. The characters are vivid and truly lifelike. Once you read about them, you will never forget their stories, just as I have had their images in my memory for more than a decade. In contrast to many other war epics, this novel is fast-paced, gripping, and heart-wrenching. Honestly, I’ve never been able to care that much for Andrey Bolkonsky as I cared for Rhett Butler.
I realize the movie and the book will probably be canceled and purged from the world at some point. In my opinion, we should study such books, not ban them, so as to understand how millions lived under that disgusting system, how they viewed it, why they fought the war to maintain states’ rights, I mean slavery, how their lives changed during and after the war. It’s a very, very uncomfortable book to read, but that’s one of the reasons it’s so great. True art is not supposed to be easy to digest.
If you’ve never read it, I envy you. This might be the best 1,400 pages of historical fiction you’ll ever get to read.
I also re-read “Brave New World” this week. It feels weird to recommend a classic book like this, but I’m sure at least some of you haven’t read it yet. You should. If you read it, but only in high school, re-read it now.
That’s all from my side. I really shouldn’t take such long breaks from writing this newsletter: hitting “publish” gets too nerve-racking after a while.