“Hope is like a muscle; and like every muscle in continual use, it needs rest.”

EA

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #2

open book outside

The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy (Economic Controversies)
by Yanis Varoufakis

In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis explodes the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a ‘Global Minotaur’ was born. Just as the Athenians maintained a steady flow of tributes to the Cretan beast, so the ‘rest of the world’ began sending incredible amounts of capital to America and Wall Street. Thus, the Global Minotaur became the ‘engine’ that pulled the world economy from the early 1980s to 2008.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
| by Haruki Murakami

An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the remarkable story of a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. Here Haruki Murakami—one of the most revered voices in literature today—gives us a story of love, friend­ship, and heartbreak for the ages.

Sweat Equity: Inside the New Economy of Mind and Body (Bloomberg)
| by Jason Kelly

Sweat Equity goes inside the multi-billion dollar trend toward endurance sports and fitness to discover who’s driving it, who’s paying for it, and who’s profiting. Bloomberg’s Jason Kelly, author of The New Tycoons, profiles the participants, entrepreneurs, and investors at the center of this movement, exploring this phenomenon in which a surge of people—led by the most affluent—are becoming increasingly obsessed with looking and feeling better. Through in-depth looks inside companies and events from New York Road Runners to Tough Mudder and Ironman, Kelly profiles the companies and people aiming to meet the demands of these consumers, and the traits and strategies that made them so successful.

In a modern world filled with anxiety, pressure, and competition, people are spending more time and money than ever before to soothe their minds and tone their bodies, sometimes pushing themselves to the most extreme limits. Even as obesity rates hit an all-time high, the most financially successful among us are collectively spending billions each year on apparel, gear, and entry fees. Sweat Equity charts the rise of the movement, through the eyes of competitors and the companies that serve them. Through conversations with business-people, many driven by their own fitness obsessions, and first-hand accounts of the sports themselves, Kelly delves into how the movement is taking shape.

Continue reading…

“Important things can change in your life but, the most important thing never changes: Being able to set priorities.”

EA

Bitter

Meshell Ndegeocello

Bitter is such a beautiful solo album by Meshell Ndegeocello from ’99; inspired by a torturous romantic relationship. The song “Bitter” surges with emotions with minimal lyrics that are shaded with regret and remorse.

The whole album is amazingly the most personal… However, Meshell’s subtle songcraft is making it an emotionally meditative journey.

This CD album was one of my favorite pieces of the collection I left at my hometown. Definitely a pearl.

You push me away bitterly
My apologies fall on your deaf ears
You curse my name bitterly
And now your eyes they look at me bitterly
I stand ashamed amidst my foolish pride
‘Cause for us, there’ll be no more
For us, there’ll be no more
And now my eyes look at you bitterly
Bitterly bitterly

“Prematurely giving up is a big problem. A more exhausting problem is not knowing when to let it go.”

EA

Over-modesty

There is something off-putting about over-modesty.

People will come to see you when you invite them.
They will listen to you when you talk.
They will give you compliments when they realise something amazing about you.
They will give their time and attention to you when they see something in YOU.

Don’t EVER say or look sorry about it. Don’t walk the sideways and find excuses for them not to be there with you, not to feel what they are feeling about you, not to invest their time in you.

When you belittle yourself, you also belittle them; their choice to be with you, their time spent on you, the attention they have towards you…

Instead, accept it, and shine.

If you really want to say something about it or show gratitude; thank them.

“Thank you” is stronger than “I’m sorry”.

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #1

reading book

PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future
|
 by Paul Mason

Over the past two centuries or so, capitalism has undergone continual change – economic cycles that lurch from boom to bust – and has always emerged transformed and strengthened. Surveying this turbulent history, Paul Mason wonders whether today we are on the brink of a change so big, so profound, that this time capitalism itself, the immensely complex system by which entire societies function, has reached its limits and is changing into something wholly new.

At the heart of this change is information technology: a revolution that, as Mason shows, has the potential to reshape utterly our familiar notions of work, production and value; and to destroy an economy based on markets and private ownership – in fact, he contends, it is already doing so. Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swathes of economic life are changing… Goods and services that no longer respond to the dictates of neoliberalism are appearing, from parallel currencies and time banks, to cooperatives and self-managed online spaces. Vast numbers of people are changing their behaviour, discovering new forms of ownership, lending and doing business that are distinct from, and contrary to, the current system of state-backed corporate capitalism.

In this groundbreaking book Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy. Moving beyond capitalism, he shows, is no longer a utopian dream. This is the first time in human history in which, equipped with an understanding of what is happening around us, we can predict and shape, rather than simply react to, seismic change.

The Strange Non-death of Neo-liberalism
| by Colin Crouch

The financial crisis seemed to present a fundamental challenge to neo-liberalism, the body of ideas that have constituted the political orthodoxy of most advanced economies in recent decades. Colin Crouch argues in this book that it will shrug off this challenge. The reason is that while neo-liberalism seems to be about free markets, in practice it is concerned with the dominance over public life of the giant corporation. This has been intensified, not checked, by the recent financial crisis and acceptance that certain financial corporations are ‘too big to fail’. Although much political debate remains preoccupied with conflicts between the market and the state, the impact of the corporation on both these is today far more important.

Several factors have brought us to this situation:

  • The lobbying power of firms whose donations are of growing importance to cash-hungry politicians and parties
  • The weakening of competitive forces by firms large enough to shape and dominate their markets
  • The moral initiative that is grasped by enterprises that devise their own agendas of corporate social responsibility

Both democratic politics and the free market are weakened by these processes, but they are largely inevitable and not always malign. Hope for the future, therefore, cannot lie in suppressing them in order to attain either an economy of pure markets or a socialist society. Rather it lies in dragging the giant corporation fully into political controversy.

Continue reading…

“Life is full of bizarre coincidences that might turn into strange situations or amazing opportunities. It's all a matter of perspective.”

EA

Hello & Goodbye

Banksy balloon girl

What I find so exquisite in the Hindi word “Namaste” is that it not only translates to “hello” and “goodbye”, but it means “the light in me bows to the light in you”.

I feel within this word encapsulates the entire attitude we should have towards friends and lovers, past and present. It was the light that brought us together, and that inner beauty is always to be cherished.

Even when parting ways that shall be remembered.

“Stop setting limits and there are no limitations.”

EA