Ask Jujimufu 12 – Books

Question from Royal Flora about books

Dear Mr. longhairdon’tcare, i appreciate your insight.
Okay, before i lubricate to much honey around your mouth my question, what do you read and what do you recommend everyone should read?
So what are your favourites, your best books?
It don’t matter if its fiction like the metamorphosis or it’s the “second world war” by Churchill.

My Answer:

Honey?

Ok. Well. First, I have no training or diet books to recommend. I recommend just reading blogs and websites for that information.

acrobolix_jujimufu_barbell_split

“So. Like. I’m trying to get better at holding a 100+ lb barbell overhead with one hand while maintaining the front split position. What exercise book do you recommend that is available at my local bookstore?”

Also, I don’t read fiction. Fiction is fine and all but I don’t read it. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 was one of the few fiction books I’ve actually read. It totally kicked ass.

kurt_so_it_goes

All of my reading is driven by key words and purposes and I prefer philosophical handling of the topics. For example. I’m interested in learning about what Boredom really is, what it means, the implications of it. So I look for a philosophy book on Boredom.

boredom_book

Lars Svendsen also wrote a great book on Work and on Fear … I recommend Lars’s book Work for all college students pondering their life after college. Okay, another example of key word based philosophy book selection was Distraction by Damon Young.

distraction_damon_young

I read it because I had a Facebook addiction at one point in my life and needed help. It cured me of that. Also, Alain Botton. Check out his book on Status Anxiety it is incredible.

status_anxiety_book

Another author who seems to write almost exclusively key word based philosophy books is Osho. I’ve only read two of his books, Intimacy and Being in Love, which really did a lot to improve my relationship.

osho_intimacy

Here’s an example of something in his book Being in Love that, to me, was something I never had even thought of:

“If you want to become a human being and not a machine, get rid of your parents. And you will have to be watchful. It is hard work, arduous work; you cannot do it instantly. You will have to be very careful in your behavior. Watch and see when your mother is there, functioning through you—stop that, move away from it. Do something absolutely new that your mother could not even have imagined. For example, your boyfriend is looking at some other woman with great appreciation in his eyes. Now, watch what you are doing. Are you doing the same as your mother would have done when your father looked at another woman appreciatively? If you do that, you will never know what love is, you will simply be repeating a story. It will be the same act being played by different actors, that’s all; the same rotten act being repeated again and again and again. Don’t be an imitator, get out of it. Do something new. Do something that your mother could not have conceived of. Do something new that your father could not have conceived of. This newness has to be brought to your being, then your love will start flowing. So the first essential is getting rid of your parents. The second essential is this: People think that they can love only when they find a worthy partner—nonsense! You will never find one. (around Page 11 and 12)”

How many of you readers out there are living in your parent’s house? How many of the decisions do you make on a daily basis are influenced by your parent’s expectations or what you assume are their expectations? Did you ever think that maybe that was holding you back in your romantic relationships?

osho_awesome

This is Osho, and yes, his books really are as awesome as his looks. And now I’m going to pick up another one of his books now after finding this picture for this blog post. Fuck yeah!

Montaigne is another favorite of mine. Interesting, with that 1600s wording, but not stupidly hard to read.

montaigne_essays

Each essay is about a 5-25 minute read and the topic is made very clear so you can read exactly what you want to read about and skip around. Montaigne has an aphoristic writing style (meaning, almost everything he writes reads like one of those quotes you see on quotes websites) and a great sense of humor. The best part of Montaigne is how incredible his understanding of himself was.

Since I cannot hold my reader’s attention by my weight, it is not a bad thing if I manage to do so by my muddle… And there are humours so made that they despise anything which they can understand and which will rate me more highly when they do not know what I mean. They will infer the depth of my meaning from its obscurity – a quality which (to speak seriously now) I hate most strongly; I would avoid it if there were a way of avoiding myself…

Now that’s #realtalk … Montaigne was real. It was astounding how well he knew himself and how he accepted it. Through and through. A philosopher from the 1600s who philosophized about farts and sex positions along with all the usual crap like morality and truth or whatever.

Anyway, similarly, as Montaigne hates the tendency of certain people to infer meaning from obscurity and overcomplicated metaphysical gobbleduck and writers who do it intentionally, I hate people who recommend stupidly hard books to come off as intelligent. And I hated the tendency in myself I used to have to strive to read stupidly hard books just to say I read them (yes I went through that phase… dick waving contest immaturity) A book I tried reading just to say I read it and brag about, that pissed me off like none other was Being and Nothingness by Sartre.

About as hard as deadlifting twice you current max, but not as cool.

About as hard as attempting to deadlift twice you current max, but not as cool.

I read the first 100 pages of that fucker, it took me 3 weeks to do that, underlining and taking notes and really trying to grasp what he was saying before I finally realized I was getting absolutely no results from killing myself trying to understand it. Here are the final two parts I underlined before I gave up.

Everything happens as if the Present were a perpetual hole in being – immediately filled up and perpetually reborn – as if the Present were a perpetual flight away from the snare of the “in-itself” which threatens it until that final victory of the in-itself which will drag it into a past which is no longer the past of any For-itself. It is death which is this victory, for death is the final arrest of Temporality by the making-past of the whole system or, if you prefer, by the recapture of human Totality by the In-itself.

Keep reading it gets better, you’ll understand it in just a second I promise.

This totality which runs after itself and refuses itself at the same time, which can find in itself no limit to its surpassing because it is its own surpassing and because it surpasses itself toward itself, can under no circumstances exist within the limits of an instant. There is never an instant at which we can assert that the for-itself is, precisely because the for-itself never is. Temporality, on the contrary, temporalizes itself entirely as the refusal of the instant.

Sorry guys I’m just too stupid to understand Sartre’s mega dosed amphetamine, nicotine and alcohol induced mental gymnastics in Being and Nothingness. Attempting to read Sartre’s Being and Nothingness was about as exciting, fun and useful for me as trying to max out on a deadlift with twice my current max. Try that yourself, tell me how you feel. You know it’s absurd, why would you ever try it? You wouldn’t! But do it, try it anyway, and when you do you will understand how absurd I felt as I continued turning pages in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness just to be able to brag to people that I read it. I wasn’t ready for it, and never will be ready. And I do not give a fuck, and you know why? Because Sartre didn’t give a fuck himself! He didn’t give a fuck whether people understood him or not. Maybe if Sartre gave a fuck about that, his philosophy would spell itself out? Okay let’s try something here.

This totality which runs after itself and refuses itself at the same time, which can find in itself no fucking limit to its surpassing because it is its own surpassing and because it surpasses its fucking self toward itself, can under no fucking circumstances exist within the limits of a fucking instant. There is never an instant at which we can assert that the for-itself is, precisely because the for-itself never fucking is. Temporality, on the contrary, temporalizes itself entirely as the refusal of the fucking instant.

Nope. My head is still fucked from reading that. Sartre was a paradox in that he was extremely careful with the system of his works and choice of his words, while careless and clueless that his readers didn’t understand any fucking sentence he wrote.

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Sartre. lol.

I read philosophy to broaden my understanding, troubleshoot my thoughts and develop my attitude. But what I finally realized from trying to read Sartre’s incredibly sterile and cryptic philosophy text, was how much I really, really, really appreciated a philosopher I could fucking read. I recommend you read something you can actually read. So, if you want to read a philosopher who writes things you can actually read… who writes in a more conversational tone, and with passion, who uses exclamation marks almost every sentence, who bashes everyone and everything excessively and unabashedly, who has an awesome sense of humor about himself and everything and seems to have way, way too much fun while he writes, read Nietzsche.

 

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Nietzsche is my favorite writer of all time. He was the most obsessed person who ever lived on this planet, in the good connotation of that word. He is my #1. My main man. I read him for years and it did nothing but change my life, my outlook, my sensitivities for the better. When I read Nietzsche, I get ideas, I get inspired, I get awesome and I get moving. Reading Nietzsche makes me want to do “life” and enjoy everything about it, the good and the bad. Nietzsche has been a strong contributor to my good humor and happy demeanor. Seeing how he makes light of everything, how he laughs at all the philosophy time immemorial while making sense somehow of the fact that none of it really makes sense anyway is a magical experience.

the_gay_science_nietzsche

The word “Gay” here is the old use of the word meaning “Happy” …

So is Nietzsche hard? Reading him is not hard, no. Understanding him correctly can be very hard though. But what makes Nietzsche interesting is you don’t have to understand him to benefit from his writings. How is this possible? Because when you read him, you’re going to read yourself and own situation in his writings very strongly. And you will benefit from thinking about it in ways you never ever considered. For example, you can read his works in any context: tricking, training, relationships, wealth, social media, whatever you want, whatever you think about, and it will enhance your thinking of it. It’s like game genie for your thoughts.

GAME GENIE

Enhance any thought you have with Nietzsche books like you would enhance any game with Game Genie.

He knew his readers read him this way, he knew they were cheating, and he didn’t really like this too much. But it doesn’t matter what he thinks because he’s dead, and I can tell you myself that even if you don’t really understand what the fuck he really meant, you can still find him super enjoyable and get a ton out of what you’re reading even while you’re cheating.

So what book to start with? Since Nietzsche wrote in German, make sure what you read is a Walter Kaufmann translation if you can’t read German, his read the best. The Gay Science is a good one to start with, pick it up and skip around. Ecce Homo, and The Will to Power are my other favorites. Beyond Good and Evil is typically considered his beginner book but I didn’t find that one spoke to me quite like the former books I mentioned. I strongly suggest a paperback. I’ve since tried reading him again in digital format and it’s impossible.

So. How to read him? Remember how I mentioned that I like key word driven reading? Well, my recommended way to read Nietzsche is backwards. Start with the index. Find a key word and read every instance of it in a book, connect those messages. When you find something you really like, go back to where you started reading and go back a few pages. Remember what I said: backwards.

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Reading Nietzsche is actually a bit like exploring a new music artist’s discography. First you find your favorites, then you fill in the gaps if you like those.

So, to those people who will say you have to read from start to finish to understand, that’s bullshit. There is no need to read start to finish, jumping around like a motivated lunatic keyword to keyword, cross referencing passages throughout his books like a psycho and treating it like a coloring book with all my pens has provided me TREMENDOUS and PROFOUND value to my life. And I understand him just fine but I can tell you that’s not what’s important. You don’t need to understand him. What’s important is beginning to see how he thinks and how he treats topics he discusses. It’s more important to see and learn the way he thinks than what he thinks or what he actually meant. So enjoy skipping and skimming around reading handfuls of his aphorisms at a time applying them to your own situations and problems, and see if he begins to rub off on you like he did me.

So, if you pick up a Nietzsche book tomorrow at the store and thumb through it and decide “man, Juji is really fucked up in the head, this isn’t as good as he said it was.” or if you feel like how I felt when I read Sartre, that’s okay! Just put it back and go check out the Where’s Waldo books. Because everyone loves those things. I’ve had one next to my toilet since I moved into my apartment a year ago and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I skip around non-stop time period to time period, stone age to space age, always finding new shit to explore.

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I find Waldo every morning!!!

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14 thoughts on “Ask Jujimufu 12 – Books

  1. Thanks for this article Juji! I listened to an audiobook of The Paradox of Choice and found it to be quite enlightening! I’m definitely a fan of books that give me insight on life and help change my attitude. I’ll definitely be checking these ones out!

  2. Dude, if you love Nietzsche (like I do) then you have to check out Fernando Pessoa’s “Book of Disquiet”. Like Nietzsche, it’s nothing technical. It’s like reading a diary of Fernando and his many alternate selves (because who is he to say who he really is?). But where Nietzsche is aggressive and insisting, Pessoa is sensitive, a bit helpless, almost wimpy. So on the one hand we should be Nietzscheans because aggressive and insisting interventions are awesome as hell. So why read Pessoa? Take the following quote from Tarkovsky’s movie “Stalker”:

    “Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it’s tender and pliant. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.”

    I read Nietzsche because it teaches me something about vitality, namely to utilize man’s innate passionate savagery [Wildheit], to harden yourself against the world. But too much Nietzsche makes me crazy. It makes me down a pot of coffee with creatine and leave behind me a burning trail of destruction wherever I go. Nietzsche makes me laugh about it afterwards, but really my laughter becomes yet another defense against the world. But I balance it out by reading Pessoa. It TEACHES me weakness (something we know very little about). Not weakness that makes you die but a kind of sensitivity that makes you feel alive in the way described in the quote above. It makes you happier, by letting the world penetrate your being instead of the other way around. It makes you a better lover. It makes you a better at life.

    So if you ever feel like you’d want to read something like Nietzsche, but which rather balances him out than echoes him, then check it out.

    • I still think this is something I need to read when I first read this comment. Which I didn’t respond to the first time because I was about to step onto an airplane and go into “airplane mode” on my phone.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  3. I really thought you where into fictional literature thinking of your taste in metal.
    I’m a bit baffled

    But still great article. Thank you.

    • Jesus, i mean Juju.
      What about the bible? Religion how about some spiritual mana?

      And i wondered you didn’t write Satire instead of Sartre.
      When i did read your whole text, it reminded me, when i tried to read Lenins Čto delat’ where i also had to take notes after 20 pages and had to do reasearch.

      • Just a caveat to this, but it’s interesting Juji mentions the Osho and Being In Love and the topic about moving away from your parents. This very topic is hit in the bible in Genesis 2:24 ” Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

        BTW Juji great looking update to the site man, been looking out for the new IRON MAN mag, can’t find it anywhere here for some reason might have to do a digital download.

  4. As if I couldn’t like you enough already, I find you’re into Philosophy and share the same favorite Nietzsche book as me! Nice. I could tell from your writing you’re philosophically inclined, which is what makes it great! It’s always a very well thought out, refreshing reflection on fitness and its relation to life. You have all the marks of success man, reading your stuff gets me pumped.

    • Thanks for the kind and thoughtful words Karl! If you’re into Meyers-Briggs MBTI in anyway, my personality type pattern is INTJ/INFJ. I’m heavily intuitive, so I do tend to gravitate towards the things behind the things, because I believe those are the hard things to deal with and often offer the biggest rewards when you tweak them. You can play with calories and exercises and stuff all day long on the surface, and get great results, but the really big results come when you get behind all of this just one step and make some adjustments on what’s going on behind the scenes. Philosophy trains you in the right way to do that. 🙂

  5. I once had to read Being & Nothingness for an essay I had to write on Beckett’s Godot; in spite of knowingly misquoting him (taking passages from the text and changing their inference) – my tutors all gave me top marks. I’m quite certain they were as lost as me when it came to Sartre.

  6. Jujimufu, try Albert Camus!! Gave me so much more than Sartre, seems like complete opposite, much deeper into life itself.

    You´re crazy, I like your attitude so much, Happy New Year from Czech Republic!

  7. Congratulations on possessing certainly one among one of the crucial sophisticated blogs Ive arrive throughout in some time! Its just amazing how a lot you’ll be capable to think about away from a factor mainly merely because of how visually stunning it is. You’ve place collectively an important blog website area –nice graphics, motion pictures, layout. This is actually a should-see web site!

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