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Past Smalltalk When Traveling

Hi Sebastian,

This is first time actually contacting you, or anybody through blog for that matter. But you make it almost too easy(you must be bombarded with e-mail, good luck!).

I'm interested to know your strategy or preference on maximizing meaningful conversations abroad or even back home. I mean do you have any particular tactic or is it mostly random. Any public places or events that stir up conversations with strangers, any small talk lines or questions(etc. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?) that lead to insight and good conversation.

I'm from Finland and I'm going to travel a bit in asia(Okinawa, Seoul, Katmandu, Bhutan) and I find conversations as the best way to learn and experience different cultures. It would be such a waste to do it randomly if it there's is a way to do it most efficient way.

If you have any book recommendations, please make them available in amazon.co.uk with your affiliate id I would be happy to support you somehow.

Why I read. And why I'm glad that you don't.

On Greyscale Colors

Yesterday, at 5:35 am, I finished my fourth book of 2014. It was Robert Greene's 'The 48 laws of power'. In this blogpost, I will explain why I push myself to read, why it's so important to me, and why I'm (sort of) glad that most people don't read.

Over the past couple of years, self-development has become really important to me. I realised at one point that if I don't work on improving myself in skills, physique, intelligence, personality and way of thinking, I would end up with a really shitty life. So I started reading books in order to grow. What makes books so important? I'm a very practical person. I'm hands-on and more comfortable with doing things than talking or thinking about them. Books help me improve my weak side, the theoretical side of life, the abstract. (i.e. marketing, PR, social psychology, story telling, politics, boedhism,...) I exercise both my art skills and my physique, but I need brains in order to put that into good use. And the brain can be trained by reading and studying books.

Books give me a better sense of my lifes purpose. I can build or improve my own character and insights from the insights and stories from various books. For example, Seneca's 'Letters from a Stoic' has had a profound impact on the way I look at wealth, audience and morals. Here's one of his quotes:

'“A cheerful poverty is an honourable state” - Epicurus.- But if it is cheerful it is not poverty at all. It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more.'- Seneca

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