books, philosophy

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

The final book in the Kurt Wallander series was published 2009.

The author dying of cancer while he wrote it, I believe.

For me the story was mostly a look at aging and dying. The meaning of life.

The plot was inspired by the submarine incursions into Swedish territorial waters between 1982 and 1983, which Mankell considered the worst scandal in Swedish political history.

Though slower and even more philosophical than the rest, I still enjoyed the book — sad that it was the end for Wallander and the end for Mankell.

Henning Mankell

The only story I haven’t heard yet is a novella — An Event in Autumn — not available in audio on my services.

books, health & fitness, philosophy

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora Seed decides to commit suicide.

And finds herself offered a chance to reinvent her life by going back and making different major life decisions.

Some include Nora becoming a glaciologist, Olympic swimmer, and rock star.

Haig put together this construct to talk philosophically about regret, hope and second chances. The author is a a champion of mental health causes. Instead of preaching medical science, he puts the same messages across in an entertaining narrative.

I found the book very uplifting.

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever.

Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices

. . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

MattHaig.com

Click PLAY or meet Matt on YouTube.

ethics, movies, philosophy

The Man from Earth – Film

The Man from Earth is a 2007 American drama science fiction film … starring David Lee Smith as John Oldman, the protagonist. …

John … claims to be a Cro-Magnon (or Magdalenian caveman) who has secretly survived for more than 14,000 years. The entire film is set in and around Oldman’s house during his farewell party and is composed almost entirely of dialogue. …

Almost a home movie, a budget of just US$200k.

The most impressive man John ever met was … the Buddha.

And John was Christ.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, philosophy

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I really enjoyed these 3 books by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari.

Like Bill Bryson, he can make academic subjects interesting and lively

Critics call it sensationalist infotainment.

He is a simplifier. I like his frequent analogies to well known references.

There are endless interesting factoids.

Critics complain he gets some facts wrong by over-simplifying.

In Sapiens he postulates that humans now rule the earth because of our ability to organize and coordinate in large numbers.

Bees, ants and other species cooperates even better, but they are too inflexible to evolve. And have comparatively small numbers.

We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation.

TED

He feels humans will continue to evolve, likely into some computer / human hybrid.

Click PLAY or watch his TED Talk on the topic on YouTube. (17min)

books, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, Islam, philosophy

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Harari

Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present.

I really enjoyed this book. Harari is a BIG PICTURE guy who quickly puts things into perspective.

His chapter on God is excellent, for example.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)by Yuval Noah Harari … attempts to untangle the technological, political, social, and existential quandaries that humankind faces. …

In The New York TimesBill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”


related 2020 interview:

Yuval Harari: This is the worst epidemic in ‘at least 100 years’

philosophy, TV

The Good Place – season 1

I heard so much buzz about The Good Place that I finally watched season 1.

It’s pretty good.

The series focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to “the Good Place”, a highly selective Heaven-like utopia he designed, as a reward for her righteous life.

However, she realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally imperfect behavior while trying to become a better and more ethical person. …

… the show’s exploration and creative use of ethics and philosophy have been positively received …

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.

ethics, health & fitness, philosophy

living off-grid for $80 / week

Jill Redwood lives in East Gippsland, Australia where she built her house almost 30 years ago.

She prefers to be really self-sufficient, having an orchard, a garden with vegetables and an animal farm which provide almost everything she needs on a daily basis, without having to frequently drive one hour and a half to the nearest town.

Moreover, with regard to energy and water supply, she uses solar panels and a waterwheel.

Living entirely off-grid, on around $80 a week and surrounded only be animals, Jill happily says: „what more do I need?”…

Good Home Design

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.