We invite you to take a moment to indulge your inner brilliance and suggest some Earth-shattering literature to help along the way
Sometimes all it takes is one painting, one book, one film to change one’s life. Great leaders and thinkers throughout history have found kismet in simple moments of inspiration that have led them to great achievements.
However out of all mediums, none has the power to grasp our imaginations and teach us about than books. To quote the proverbial wiseman; “to have a library is to have access to the minds of a thousand geniuses.” The written word allows us to delve into the thoughts and rumination of others and absorb centuries of wisdom; learning from the experiences of those that came before us.
The best part of all is that to join this grand tradition, one must only pickup a book and dive in. A simple book or passage may well result in changing how one sees the world, one’s own circumstance or inspire one’s next earth-shattering idea.
As we come to the later part of a difficult but undoubtedly remarkable year, there could not be a better time to pick up a book and learn from those that have reflected on similar situations in the past, gain insight for a better future or channel a new passion. To help get you started, DDW has made a selection for you below of great books that feel relevant to our times…Enjoy!
Perhaps one of the most influential texts on ethics, internal strength, perseverance, humility and the human condition. Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations as a privately introspective journal during his reign as the Emperor of Rome. In it, he provides he steers away from self aggrandising and instead reflects deeply on his own humanity and the challenges he faced as a man (his contemplation on the deadly Antonine plague is particularly poignant), son, father and a leader in equal measure.
The text has remained timeless, perhaps due to the unabashedly honest lens in which it reflects its author, and has served as a quintessential manual for leaders throughout history. Meditations is truly a must read.
If there ever was a book best suited to hold a mirror up to current global conversations on race, equality and social justice, it is Ralph Ellison’ masterpiece Invisible Man. Once described by the NY Times as composed of “intricately wrought structure of myth and symbol, a novel devoted to initiations, rites of passages, testing, annihilation and rebirth…”. Ellison is one of the great American authors of the last century and a cornerstone of inspiration for what would become the US’s Civil Rights Act (although this law only finally passed an astounding twelve years after its publication). Like the stoics, Ellison believed that “the power of literature is to make us recognise again and again the wholeness of human experience”. A powerful voice in a powerful book – it behooves us all to pick up a copy to read (or re-read) it.
The Pleasure of Hating
A provocative title for an equally provocative collection of essays. British Enlightenment philosopher William Hazlitt posits that what it means to be human is in itself full of beauty and ugliness. He advances that without accepting both sides as fundamental one cannot fully understand the human condition nor govern it.
Although Hazlitt eloquently peppers jabs of unsentimental rancour throughout his essays, he is not doing so indulge base instincts but rather to open honest self-reflection within the reader. The thought exercise he brings forward ultimately allows us to acknowledge any anger or resentment we may be harbouring and release us from its grasp whilst warning against the permanence of such emotions; “Pure good grows insipid, wants variety and spirit. Love turns, with a little indulgence to indifference or disgust: hatred alone is immortal.” A fundamental and thought-provoking read – especially in light of the perilous nature of modern life.
The 48 Laws of Power
Author Robert Greene has dedicated his life to being a student of humanity. Unmatched in his knowledge of the classics, philosophy, the masters and literature he has published essential compilations of distilled wisdom in the form of actionable lessons. Utilising storytelling and anecdotal history he weaves through centuries of writings in a digestible and ultimately captivating fashion. In 48 Laws of Power Greene examines human dynamics as hypothesised by great minds and extracts key deliverables to focus on and to gain power – through “seduction, charm, and deception of your opponents”. A pleasurable and supremely insightful read, even for those who are not power-hungry.
Leadership: In Turbulent Times
Doris Kearns Goodwin
If there was ever book that could serve to perfectly accompany an observation of the often murky halls of power that currently govern many corners of the globe, it would be this. A deeply researched study of American presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, FDR and Johnson it is an essentially distilled snapshot of the creation of the modern American state – and as a result modern global democracy.
We live in uncertain times and we must hold our leaders accountable – without understanding the foundations of our political society it is difficult to grab a wholistic context of our present and impact our future.
Reading is a gift with a million rewards, we invite you to buy a copy of the above or another book that might grab your attention. Indulge in it, delve into it and let your mind expand. Humans are endlessly curious creatures, feed your curiosity and you will be amazed at the unexpected results.
UP NEXT: 6 Stoic Lessons For Your Week…