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"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta has inspired millions through his writing on Zen Habits, where he's shared his experiences in building up great habits, cutting clutter and junkfood from his life, learning about great parenting and building a wonderful family, eliminating debt, increasing his income and productivity, and living a life that's more happy through and through.

Leo is now graciously participating in GiveGetWin with a practical class on "action-oriented contentment", and he sat down with Sebastian Marshall to share his thoughts on what motivates him, around what contentment is, on trusting yourself, on being compassionate and compassion as an impetus for action, on self-compassion and treating yourself well, and happiness in general. Enjoy:

"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta, as told to Sebastian Marshall

How to Live (book review)

On Mike Dariano

How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford.

I picked this up at the library because the title sounded wise and the dog on the cover epitomized what I was expecting. How to Live would be the story about the collected wisdom of old people. In reading it, I would be fast-tracking my chance at wisdom too. I imagined sitting down to talk with my daughter in ten or twenty years and drawing on the gems of enlightenment from when I read this book as a young man. All I really learned though, was that I was wrong.

There are no secrets from old people. My hope for a nicely wrapped package topped with a bow was delivered like a cardboard box affixed with a piece of string tied in a harried and hurried manner. That's not to say this book isn't good.

There is no archetype of wisdom in this book but Alford does find a slew of characters that fill out what wisdom is. It's a bit like a basketball team, only instead of a great player like Lebron James, there's a bunch of decent players with their own unique skills. One of which is Alford's mother.

Somehow, during the writing of this book, his mother goes through a divorce and moves from the northeast to a retirement community in the Carolinas. Both of these things don't seem so much as things wise people do as much as what old people do. As I read about her experiences I hoped that she would share nuggets of wisdom about life since she's had so much time to find them. There were no nuggets of gold, but maybe a few flakes along the way. Alford's mother sits on the floor and that makes her seem young. For whatever reason I liked this. She's always moving in the story, physically and emotionally. I liked this too. Hers is the best story from the collection of interviews in the book.

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