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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 Artist's Way 25th Anniversary Edition

    by Julia Cameron

    This is the 25th Anniversary Edition of the classic book that has inspired millions of creative people around the world. It’s essentially a 12-week course in helping us “discover” and “recover” our creative selves. It’s *packed* with exercises and questions to help us connect with the “Great Creator” within as we free up our latent creative potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the spiral path, morning pages, artist dates, gain disguised as loss, and the magic, grace and power of action.

  • The Master Key Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love, and Wisdom

    by Robert Peng, Rafael Nasser

    Robert Peng is one of the world’s leading Qigong masters. In addition to some powerful Qigong practices and an overview of how it all works, Robert shares his utterly fascinating and captivating personal story about how he met and trained with his master as a boy in China. (I felt like I was reading Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior. But Robert’s master, Xiao Yao, is a) real and b) even more powerful than Dan’s fictional Socrates. :) Big Ideas we explore: the meaning of Qigong, #1 goal of spiritual development, The Four Golden Wheels and a sense of destiny.

  • The Distracted Mind Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

    by Adam Gazzaley, Larry D. Rosen

    Adam Gazzaley, MD., Ph.D. is a leading cognitive neuroscientist. Larry Rosen is one of the world’s leading authorities on the psychology of technology. Together they give us a fascinating, scientifically rigorous look at how our ancient brains respond to a high-tech world. (Hint: They easily get distracted.) Big Ideas we explore include: goal interference, the pause, you and squirrels and foraging, metacognition, and the #1 prescription to deal with distraction.

  • The Healing Power of the Breath Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions

    by Richard P. Brown, Patricia L. Gerbarg

    Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg are medical doctors, clinical psychiatrists and university professors. They also happen to be two of the world’s leading breath experts—integrating Western science and ancient breath techniques derived from yoga, qigong, Coherent Breathing, and Open-Focus meditation. Big Ideas we explore: Pill or 20 minutes?, Breath = portal to mind-body systems, Coherent Breathing, Resistance Breathing and turning off your worry centers via vagus nerves.

  • Strength in the Storm Transform Stress, Live in Balance, and Find Peace of Mind

    by Eknath Easwaran

    As I mentioned in the other Notes on his work, Eknath Easwaran is one of my favorite teachers. He was a professor of English literature in India before coming to America on a Fulbright scholarship. He taught at UC Berkeley and became one of the world’s leading meditation and spiritual teachers. In this book, we learn how to love storms—how to use simple tools to find strength in the inevitable storms of life as we “transform stress, live in balance and find peace of mind.” Big Ideas we explore: “I love storms.” -Gandhi, Eudaimantra (how I came up w/the perfect mantra for myself), how to end all boredom, time as an infinite cosmic carpet, the secret of life (in one sentence) and Gandhi 101: how to become fearless.

  • Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

    by Rudolf Steiner

    I got this book on the recommendation of Phil Stutz (author of The Tools). I recently hired Phil as my coach and he *loves* Rudolf Steiner. I love Phil and I love following Joseph Campbell’s advice to study the books the teachers you admire studied so here we are. Rudolf Steiner was a remarkable man. Born in 1861, he was a philosopher, architect, and social reformer. Big Ideas we explore: the fundamental attitude of your soul, the importance of cultivating courage (and how to do it), spiritual perfection (it’s your ultimate goal), unfailing mastery (is the key), and using all your powers to serve profoundly.

  • The Jefferson Bible The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

    by Thomas Jefferson

    The Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson created it for himself and never intended it for broad publication. Jefferson *literally* snipped out the passages and parables (from four different translations of the Bible) that he felt best captured the essence of Jesus’s moral philosophy and conformed with his sense of reason. Big Ideas we cover: Love your enemies (+ everyone else), seek ye first the kingdom of God, take the beam out your eye, use your talents, and build your life on the rock of wisdom.

  • Breathe The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

    by Belisa Vranich

    Breathing. It’s obviously important. And... I’m beginning to realize *just* how important it is. In fact, breathing properly is quickly becoming my #1 fundamental. Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on how to breathe right. In this Note, we take a quick peek at why breathing is so important, learn how to measure your Vital Lung Capacity, observe the difference between Clark Kent and Superman and get to work on training the most important and underappreciated muscle in your body (hint: your diaphragm).

  • 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.

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