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400+ of the top optimal living books… ever.

Imagine the best ideas from the best optimal living books distilled into fun, inspiring and super practical 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3s. That’s PhilosophersNotes. (More wisdom in less time!)

Latest PhilosophersNotes

  • The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy

    by Donald Robertson

    Got problems with your soul? These days, you’d see a psychotherapist. But, back in the day, it was the philosopher who’d help you optimize—they were the preferred physician of the soul. This book is about the philosophical roots of modern psychotherapy. Specifically, it outlines the connection between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Stoicism. Big Ideas we explore include being a warrior of the mind vs. a librarian of the mind, your highest human purpose, getting on good terms with your inner daimon, practicing the reserve clause and modeling your ideal sage.

  • #ASKGARYVEE One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness

    by Gary Vaynerchuk

    Gary Vaynerchuk. Better known by those in the know as Gary Vee—the jumbo intense, uber-passionate entrepreneur/social media maven/investor extraordinaire who happens to have a strong opinion on everything! In this book, we get the best Ideas from his ##AskGaryVee show. It’s packed with Gary’s insights on everything from entrepreneurship to social media. Big Ideas we cover include Clouds and Dirt, Oxygen + DNA, Hustle, practicing the religion of adding value and being willing to suck.

  • The Power of Starting Something Stupid How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live Without Regret

    by Richie Norton

    Want to make great things happen? Be willing to be a little stupid. Smart stupid that is. I was midway through this book when we decided to start something stupid—acquiring a church and its 5-acre campus here in Ojai. Thank you, Richie, for the inspiration and wisdom. Big Ideas we explore include Stupid as the new smart (vs. just plain stupid), the stupid equation, your top 3 excuses, living in permanent beta mode, egonomics, and the authentic you.

  • Born to Run A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    by Christopher McDougall

    Christopher McDougall is an extraordinary writer and this is a fascinating book. We covered his more recent book Natural Born Heroes in which he profiles World War II Cretan resistance fighters and their amazing physical feats. In this one, Christopher takes us on an incredible journey to meet a hidden tribe that can run forever (well, almost!) and an eclectic group of iconoclastic superathletes who meet them in the Copper Canyons of Mexico to run the greatest race the world has never seen. Big Ideas we cover include the secret power of glee + determination, the two goddesses (wisdom + wealth) and which one to pursue, the beast and how to love it, proper running form, and how to do super-challenging things.

  • Pursuing the Good Life 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology

    by Christopher Peterson

    Christopher Peterson was an award-winning professor at the University of Michigan. He was also one of the founders of the positive psychology movement. He worked closely with Martin Seligman to create one of my favorite surveys: the VIA (Virtues-in-Action) Survey of Character Strengths. This book is essentially a collection of 100 blog posts Chris created for his popular blog on Psychology Today. Big Ideas we explore include: good hope and bad hope, how to truly matter, how to avoid a sub-optimal epitaph and the keys to flourishing relationships.

  • The Brain Warrior's Way Ignite Your Energy and Focus, Attack Illness and Aging, Transform Pain into Purpose

    by Daniel G. Amen, M.D., Tana Amen

    Daniel Amen is a ten-time New York Times bestselling author and the Washington Post has described him as the most popular psychiatrist in America. Tana is also a New York Times best-selling author (The Omni Diet) and a leading fitness expert who holds black belts in both Tae Kwon Do and Kempo Karate. Together, they’ve written a passionate, inspiring book on how we can, as the sub-title suggests, ignite our energy and focus, attack illness and aging, and transform pain into purpose. Big Ideas we explore include why to become a brain warrior, a check in to see if positive thinking is killing you, the #1 strategy to live long, top 10 nutrition tips, why cheat days are not smart, and the power of community to Optimize.

  • Spiritual Evolution How We Are Wired for Faith, Hope, and Love

    by George Vaillant

    George Vaillant is a psychiatrist and Harvard professor who, for 35 years, led Harvard’s 70+ year Study of Adult Development. (You learn a thing or three when you follow the development of teenagers as they grew into great-grandparents.) In this book, he tells us that we can evolve spiritually. Leaning on his experience running Harvard’s study plus cultural anthropology, ethology and neuroscience, he walks us through the biological underpinnings of the positive emotions that make up our spirituality: faith, love, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion and awe.

  • The Inner Citadel The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

    by Pierre Hadot

    Pierre Hadot was one of the most influential historians of ancient philosophy. In this book, he gives us an incredible look at Marcus Aurelius and his classic Meditations. You can feel Hadot’s incredible intellectual rigor and equally incredible passion for engaged philosophy. It’s inspiring. Big Ideas we explore include spiritual exercises, your inner citadel, your daimōn, amor fate, turning obstacles upside down and carpe areté.

  • The Four Purposes of Life Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World

    by Dan Millman

    Dan Millman is one of my favorite teachers and deepest inspirations. This is a super concise, quick-reading book (150 pages) in which Dan synthesizes wisdom from many of his other books—shining light on how we can engage in the four purposes of life to create meaning in an ever-changing world. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the 4 purposes of life, the fact that daily life is your master teacher, the required classes in the school of life (and how you’re graded), the importance of deciding to decide (then going all in), how to live happily ever after, and making every moment extraordinary.

  • The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan Boost Brain Performance, Lose Weight, and Achieve Optimal Health

    by David Perlmutter

    Dr. Perlmutter is a leading neurologist and nutritionist who offers compelling, cutting-edge perspectives on how to optimize our brains and our bodies. This book is a practical guide to help us integrate the Ideas from Grain Brain + Brain Maker. Big Ideas we explore include the chief goals of the program, the food rules, the fact that high fat requires low carb (and a reminder of why fat is good), coconut oil = magic sauce, and more ways to optimize beyond nutrition.

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