This was a tough selection to make. And I cheated because I did not include any books I will need to read about the American Civil War.
So why have I picked these twelve?
In random order.
1. Erinnerungen, Albert Speer
This is going to sound scary, but I feel this guy’s modus operandi is frighteningly similar to some mechanism inside me. Yes, I know I am talking about one of the top nazis. He was not a real nazi according to me, he was mainly an opportunist. He became Hitler’s friend and at one point the second most powerful guy in the Reich because he felt a deep need to make something of himself. He was all too willing to turn a blind eye to things he knew were wrong, as long as his star was rising. As long as he got praise. He was addicted to the applause, the thumbs up of Hitler, and he liked having the opportunity to work creatively with vast means at his disposal.
At times I feel like the biggest difference between Speer and myself are that… I have never met my Hitler. I have never met that powerful persona to whom I could sell my soul in exchange for feeling like a huge success.
So I want to understand this guy better.
It’s rather useless and an other form of me mentally and emotionally jerking off, but I feel I need to do it.
And at least it will improve my German, which qualifies as something ‘useful’.
2. The establishment, Owen Jones
Honestly, my biggest problem with the establishment is that am not a part of it.
My second biggest problem with the establishment is that I hate injustice and the supe wealthy, the establishment, they do not deserve to be in charge. And I want to know how they keep getting away with it. Call it an exercise in getting to know your enemy.
Not really am afraid.
Am not about to overthrow the establishment. I have been an active member of a political party that preached revolution and I discovered am more like the late comedian George Carlin, when it comes to politics and economics I prefer to just sit back and watch the freak show. I get awfully bored at protests and prefer to stay inside anyway. Reading about how there will not be any revolution any time soon, yet hoping that one day people will get mad enough to bring more equality into this world.
I must say I find my political attitude quite bizarre.
I sympathize with the workers, but long to be part of the very wealthy.
Not so much because of the status, but because I want to be in total control of how I spend my time and a lot of money allows you to do that.
3. Chasing the scream, Johann Hari
I am in favor of legalizing all drugs and I have a lot of sympathy for drug addicts, because according to me we are ALL addicts. Whether the drug we are addicted to is legal or not makes very little difference, and the main problems with illegal drugs seem to be caused by their illegality.
Not a popular opinion, I know.
Useful book? I haven’t defined my criteria for what qualifies as something useful, but my gut feeling says no.
Call it a guilty pleasure to read books like this.
4. Models, attract women through honesty, Mark Manson
I have read this book twice before. It may be the best book, or the second best book on seduction out there. I just want to refresh my memory.
Useful? Yes. Women are so important to me that being very sure about what attracts them qualifies as useful.
I know, not many people would call this a useful pursuit.
5. Die sieben Todsüden des Deutschen Reiches im ersten Weltkrieg, Sebastian Haffner
Have read this one before and it’s brilliant.
Content wise – although brilliant – it’s probably useless.
But I will enjoy it and it will help my German along.
6. Back to blood, Tom Wolfe
I felt like including one novel that has the potential to make me a better writer if I read it carefully enough.
It was the tactic of Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) in prison, he just kept reading two of his favorite novels over and over again to teach himself how to write.
7. Intimiteit, Paul Verhaeghe
I stopped reading books in Dutch years ago, but I will make an exception for this one. He is one of my favorite psychologists and I was lucky to receive a copy sent to me by the author himself. One of the nicest gifts of 2018. Am sure it will be useful. He writes about the body and my body is something I have managed to thoroughly neglect. I have dealth with my messed up psyche in any number of ways, but I have almost always ignored how my traumas show up in my body and what my body is telling me about my mental state. Even a skilled therapist trained in Somatic Experiencing couldn’t break through my ‘armoring’ as Wilhelm Reich used to call this self-defeating defense mechanism.
8. Fear of flying, Erica Jong
I want to understand women as deeply as I can.
9. The wolf of wall street
Jordan Belfort personifies what I wish I had become, but am just too passive and scared senseless to even try.
Although I am happy that I never swindled poor people out of their money to invest in penny stocks I do regret never having built a sexy company.
10. Ekonómia dobra a zla, Tomáš Sedliaček
The economics of good and evil.
I felt like including at least one book in Slovak…
It’s a damn difficult one, so I do not know if I will work up the patience to plow through it.
11. Warum schweigen die Lämmer? Rainer Mausfeld
About how the neoliberal poison turns us into willing tools of the super wealthy.
I must say I derive an almost perverse pleasure out of reading stuff like this.
It’s utterly useless since I don’t do a damn thing to counter the sick societal dynamics discussed in a book like this.
Rainer Mausfeld explains incredibly well how the masses got to be so apolitical and disorganized in the face of the elite.
He’s like the German Chris Hedges but with less anger, much more soft spoken.
12. The game, Neil Strauss
It’s definitely not the best book on seduction, but it’s really well written. The information is dated. The seduction community has discovered much more about the mechanisms behind attraction, but I want to reread this book because of the fast paced writing. And some of it still matters.
If you feel I can’t include books I have already read, let me include two more:
13. Becoming myself, Irvin Yalom
On how he became a psychotherapist.
Useful because psychotherapy will probably be what I will be doing at 70.
So far I am having too much teaching incredibly attractive Slovak women to devote myself fully to sad stories.
Also: as a teacher I can date my clients, as a psychotherapist I cannot.
14. America, the farewell tour, Chris Hedges
I get a perverse sadomasochist joy from seeing empires die. It’s with mixed feelings that I watch the US totter to its destruction and none describe this funeral march better than Chris Hedges.