Posts categorized "Books"

The good fight

"The good fight is the one that's fought in the name of our dreams.  When we're young and our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven't yet learned how to fight.  With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat.  So we turn against ourselves and do battle within.  We become our own worst enemy.  We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result of our not having known enough about life.  We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight."

- from Paulo Coelho, "The Pilgramage"

Posted by Abscondo

Love It or Leave It now available as a free ebook

You can download the pdf or epub version of my recent political manifesto, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem here.  Read more about it, listen to audiobook samples, and check out interview clips here.

Posted by Abscondo

Life productivity

Friends often ask me how it is possible to get everything done that I do.  I don't believe in false humility, so I can say that I'm quite satisfied with this partial list of what I've gotten done this year so far:

- I left one job with a company in Boston and two weeks later found a better one with a company Canada.  In my first quarter, my measurable sales output was equal to the other 7 individuals on my team combined.

- Wrote and published my book, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem

- Gave 16 radio interviews

- Recorded an album

- Lost 20 pounds by changing diet and exercising up to 6 times per week

- Spent 3 weeks visiting my family in Wisconsin with my wife and child

- Went to Greece for a few weeks, visited Budapest for a weekend, and spent a few weekends in the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia.

- Improved my guitar and vocal skills by practicing up to 5 times per week

The larger point is, it is possible to accomplish things like this even if you have a 1-year-old.  Furthermore, it is possible to accomplish all of this while spending plenty of time with your family or doing whatever else it is that you value.  All of this is possible if you can work from home and do so in a highly effective, efficient way.

Each morning, I get up with little Isabella and spend a few hours with my family as we have breakfast.  I see her and Sofia from time-to-time as I get coffee, take a break, or have a shower after a workout.  I see my family at lunch, am available most early evenings to have dinner with them, and we manage to get our 1 1/2 year old to bed by 7:00 every night (part of the reason I believe she is so well-adjusted is that she gets plenty of sleep).

I spend almost every night away from my computer with Sofia (we also get a baby-sitter and go out at night once or twice per week).  Weekends are spent either going to festivals in the area, visiting Sofia's parents (eating and drinking way too much of course), going on mini-trips, or sometimes just hanging out on the balcony listening to music and playing with Isabella.

I'm grateful for this lifestyle I have designed, but I'm not entirely satisfied yet.  My goal is to work even less, make even more money, and establish a larger audience for my music and writing.  I've been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.  I found out that there is one other person out there who has come to so many of the same conclusions as I have...well, not philosophically, but in terms of how to structure and live your life.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to maximize the potential of their life.  Some of what he says and does is a bit crazy and extreme (even to me), but if anyone wants to live a fuller, more successful life then I would certainly recommend this book.

Of course there is no standard, cookie-cutter way for anyone to design a life that is right for you.  Your ideal lifestyle is as unique as you are.  Your profession and work skills are different from mine (though inside sales is a pretty good profession if you want to escape the office), just as your idea of what you want to do with your days is different from mine (Tim Ferriss mostly likes travel and competition while I like to use my time for creating and searching for truth / meaning).  The goal is to cut out all of the crap you don't want to be doing (work) and make time for doing everything you actually want to do.

When I told friends, 5 or 6 years ago, that I only work 2 hours a day (though I had a full-time job), they thought I was lazy, crazy, and that I was sure to get fired.  What they didn't know is that, if you do only what actually gets the results, it only takes 2 hours a day!  The rest of it is done out of habit or guilt!  When I cut out all of the bullshit that goes on in the office, I found myself far more effective and successful in the same job I had when working in the office (though I had just moved across the world).  The trick is to make sure your boss doesn't know your hours, and the only way to do this is to work from home.  Better yet: start a business and avoid having to justify yourself to a boss at all.  That's next on my list.

I just wanted to share this because I think that anybody's life could be better if they found ways to eliminate the crap or to outsource it to India (I'm only half-joking).  Your time is precious, your life is short, your dreams are real and possible.  There is so much you can actually accomplish and become in your actual life...in time...with persistence and intelligence.

Posted by Abscondo

Recent interviews

Government shutdown during tax season?  The US government is asking us to obediently pay our taxes while that same government is threatening a shutdown?  They take our money and feel no need to provide services in return?  This is unacceptable.

I am in the process of booking several radio interviews for next week on this topic.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few recent radio interviews.

Interview with WCIT in Ohio

Due to my crazy schedule this next week, I'll probably just present the following interview into the podcast:

Interview with KKNT in Phoenix

Posted by Abscondo

Audiobook and Kindle edition now available!

I'm excited to announce that Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem, is now available at iTunes and other digital music outlets.  Given the format and subject-matter of the book, my opinion is that the audiobook version is the preferred experience. 

The book is also now available on Kindle.

Visit the book site to learn more.  Print and additional ebook editions are coming very soon.

Cover

 

Posted by Abscondo

The Quest to Communicate Ideas Through Art and Logic; poetry vs. prose, indie vs. commercial, authentic vs. kitsch

Now that I've begun expressing myself not just through writing and music, but also by means of audio and video, I've begun to question what it is I'm actually attempting to do through these multiple mediums and why.

Regardless of medium, the goal is always to communicate an idea to the audience...to communicate something I feel is worthy of attention, something interesting or important.  But to do this I use two basic and fundamentally different approaches.  While everything on this blog can be considered a "creative work", not all of it is intended as "art".  So what exactly is the difference between something that can be classified as art and something that is not art?

Depending upon the nature of the subject-matter being communicated to the audience, one approach or the other must be used. This is where I will compare the differences between the nature of logic and reason vs. the that of beauty, passion, or inspiration.  Other than the poetry podcast, the Abscondo Podcast makes no attempt at art.  What Sofia and I attempt to achieve here is to appeal to your sense of logic.  We attempt to present a compelling argument.  We try to communicate an idea through reason.  The podcast format is an effective way of communicating certain kinds of ideas...simple observations, theories, opinions...anything having to do with that which is observable or has a cause and effect.  The same is true with respect to much of my writing.  But there is a limit to this type of expression.  The limit is found when an idea cannot be rationalized, argued, measured, and observed.

This is where art steps in.  Perhaps the most fundamental purpose of art is to communicate about things which fall outside the limits of logic and reason.  I firmly believe, for example, that what is between two people cannot be understood by a third.  This is most clearly visible in the case of love.  It is only possible to successfully explain our feelings of love to the object of our affection him or herself.  But when we try to make a friend, a family member, or an audience understand that love, understand that relationship through mere words (through "prose"), we fail.  We are left with a frustrated sense that nobody understands or, worse yet, our words are misunderstood and twisted into something unrecognizable.  So if we wish to express love to any third party, we must look to art if we have any chance at all of success!

Love, pleasure, beauty, despair, inspiration, hope, these are feelings.  The best way to communicate about feelings is in the language of art.  Imagine the attempt to comfort a brokenhearted friend by saying, "Everyone gets their heart broken now and then, you'll get over it."  It might actually be more helpful for her to listen to a favorite song which was written and performed by a complete stranger.  We watch films, read fiction, look at paintings, and listen to music so that we might understand a feeling a little differently.  We might see someone else' perspective on a feeling or emotion.  In doing so, we might understand our own feelings differently.  We might even change how we feel.  We might at least find comfort in that we are not alone. 

It is also interesting to note that not every film, composition of music, painting, or sculpture is, indeed, art.  A rap song about bitches and bling, a cardboard cut-out at the movie theater, the vast majority of Hollywood films, most best-sellers at the airport book store -- this content is not art in the truest sense.  These are examples of Commercial communication.  The focus on "communicating something about feeling" is not primary.  The "art of the mainstream" is, instead, designed to sell, influences us to shop, and actually prevents us from feeling and thinking in the truest, deepest sense.  This is content, not art. 

Similarly, Commercial news and talk show content is not truly designed to communicate ideas which appeal to logic and reason.  Art is dying.  Logic is dying.  That's because nearly all mainstream, commercial, corporate-sponsored content is nothing more than an advertisement, a sales pitch, and a form of propaganda sponsored by and created by the powerful elite.  It is designed neither to bring us truth, enlightenment, logic, critical thinking, nor is it designed to bring us any closer to beauty, bliss, pleasure, emotional balance, or contentment.  Rather, its purpose is always to merely justify the status quo by convincing all of us to conform to it and to not think or feel outside of it.  Oh, and if we don't like the void we are left in, we are allowed to look to religion (the only other acceptable option).  Bullshit.

What I'm doing, with the help of Sofia, might only be one lonely voice that at times seems a bit strange.  It may not always make sense and I may not always even succeed.  But my audience can at least know that the focus is purely on the idea, always on the feeling, and always aimed at a general quest for purity, freedom, and truth.

Posted by Abscondo