Good Reads, Spring Abundance Edition

One of the most wonderful things in Germany around this time of the year is the beginning of spring season. Since a couple of weeks, everything is blooming, blossoming and flourishing and we are having some wonderfully sunny days.

One of the better things about living a couple of weeks of coldness and greyness during winter, in contrast, is being able to experience how even the worst things won’t last forever. ((Ski enthusiasts will disagree. As far as I am concerned, ice shall serve the penguins, the ice bears, and a bit of it will mix well with my rum, but that’s about it, thank you!)) (And how they can still teach us stuff! As the controversial Chögyam Trungpa puts it in his wonderful Shambhala teachings, ((Amazon affiliate link)) it’s important to look back into darkness in order to appreciate the light and get clarity about where we are coming from and where we are going to.)

This post includes links to some of the great things I read online during the last couple of weeks and a couple of photographs from nature near my house and from a wonderful walk we took in Belgium a couple of days ago.

It’s a visual meditation of the abundance of spring – I hope you’ll enjoy it! ((There’s even a life lesson hidden in one of the mouse-over texts of the images. These flowers are killers, I tell you!))

Spring abundance!

One of the problems I’ve faced throughout life is that I’m kind of lazy, or maybe I lack will power or discipline or something. Either way, it’s very difficult for me to do anything that I don’t feel like doing. If I try to force it, my energy disappears, and I hate life. Furthermore, not only were my parents not Chinese, but they had five kids, so there wasn’t time for Amy Chua’s style of parenting. I kind of had to figure it out on my own.

My strategy can be reduced to two rules:
1) Find a way to make it fun and
2) If that fails, find a way to do something else. […]

The approach I stumbled into is based on intrinsic motivation. To the greatest extent possible, do whatever is most fun, interesting, and personally rewarding (and not evil). External constraints, such as the need to go to school or make money are simply obstacles to be hacked. Be skeptical of external authorities, as they are often manipulating you for their own benefit, or for the benefit of the institutions they represent (often unknowingly, as they were already captured by the same systems which are attempted to ensnare you). Your identity comes from within — external recognition such as degrees and awards are only of tactical importance — don’t allow them to define who you are.

Must-read: Paul Buchheit (inventor of Gmail) on the two paths to success.

Abundant spring!

5. Experience now, share later.
It’s common to snap a picture with your phone and upload it to Facebook or email it to a friend. This overlaps the experience of being in a moment and sharing it. It also minimizes intimacy, since your entire audience joins your date or gathering in real time. Just as we aim to reduce our internal monologues to be present, we can do the same with our digital narration.

I pretty much agree with these: Ten Mindful Ways to Use Social Media

Even more abundant spring!

I recently got an email from Lucas Jatoba who told me about a wonderful idea he had. After living for three years in Barcelona he had to move to Sydney, but didn’t want to leave the city without a trace: As a small thank you for his great time there, he let 250 balloons fly, each of them including a free theater ticket for the finder!

Walk with flowers, balloons with tickets, this is definitely a great realization of kindess towards strangers! Thanks for sharing, Lucas!


My mom used to say to me, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
It used to drive me nuts. But now I know what she means.
Your job is to collect ideas. The best way to collect ideas is to read. Read, read, read, read, read. Read the newspaper. Read the weather. Read the signs on the road. Read the faces of strangers. The more you read, the more you can choose to be influenced by.

Austin K. Leon on how to steal like an artist.

Made me realize how reading lots and lots of stuff isn’t really a waste of time, no matter how obscure the topics might be: All this stuff is my drive, my constant inspiration and it certainly leaves lots of positive traces in the texts and art I create. Yay for that!


This 15 minute documentary tells the story of Denis Smith. Two years ago he was in a high pressure sales job suffering with depression, debt and alcohol problems. Then he discovered light painting, and his life changed forever…

Spring: Better than the iPad, because it comes in 2 gazillion colors! (And it’s FREE!)

In all likelihood, we have never slept so soundly. Yes, the length of a single night’s sleep has decreased over the years (upward of 30 percent of adults average six or fewer hours), but the quality of our sleep has improved significantly. And quality, not quantity, sleep researchers tell us, is more important to feeling well rested.

Interesting op-ed from the New York Times on how humans were used to sleep in two cycles, getting up for an hour or so in the middle of the night to pray, make love, have a smoke or even talk to their neighbors.

If I think about how I sometimes fall asleep again an hour or two after getting up in the morning, I cannot agree enough…

Forest of light

Presented with a rose, we can observe and study it, or we can merely look and admire its beauty. For the intellecutual worker, only the former is really legitimate. Wonder is “a waste of time.” It produces nothing, nor does it further understanding. In this context, it is worth noting that Descartes hoped to explain extravagant natural phenomena such as meteors and lightning in such a way that “one will no longer have occasion to admire anything about what is seen.” Far from being a prelude to insight, wonder for Descartes was an impediment to the technology of knowledge.

Of course, we should not wish to do without the extraordinary benisons of that technology. We live in a world deeply shaped by the Cartesian imperative, and the first response of any sane person must be “Thank God for that.” But our first response needn’t be our only response. […]

The simplex intuitus, the “simple looking” (in-tueri: to look upon) that leisure provides, alerts us not to our power over reality but to our ultimate dependence on initiatives beyond our control. Thus it is that leisure is both an openness to reality and an affirmation of mystery, of “not being able to grasp” that which one beholds.

Interesting piece on leisure and Josef Pieper, whom I have been reading a bit again lately, not just for my post on the Indian birthday party!

These bad boys grow where nothing else can survive. Look sweet, be tough = Life lesson learnt!

There are a lot of people (people in public relations, or something) who claim that maybe their job is awesome. Or maybe guys that make a lot of money and think that they can be in on this love-fest too.


Doing something prestigious does not equal being awesome. In other words, awesome does not look the same close-up as it does from far away.

Once again, true words by Julien. This is part of the ‘delusion of awesomeness’ I mention in Beyond Rules: Awesome is what’s awesome to us, not to some imaginary Committee of Awesomeness Standardization.

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