This is my first post here, so please don't bully me. I know all you math-boys with your big, wrinkly brains could do me a serious bruising. I beg thee mercy, for I am but a first time poster. 

First things first - Oliver boy, I am on to you. I see what you've done here, disguising your work of legitimate philosophy in self-help's clothing.

Just when I thought I could listen to another audiobook telling me to take cold showers, drink green juice, and meditate all with a "scientists have even discovered..." sprinkled atop, you snuck one past me. 

Not only did you avoid mentioning green juice even once, but you avoided laundry lists of life-hacks all together. Instead, you decided to write a thought-provoking analysis of our finitude relying only on appeals to my common sense, using only observations that any typical human would have. 

All I was looking for were some new platitudes to add to my "Inspirational Quotes" document, but you just had to really educate me on how think about time management. You had to make me change my opinions on commitment, pacing, rest, and time's importance in being human.

I'll let you get away with it this time, educating me, changing my perspective for the better. I just hope next time you can write something that promises me the impossible via a series of bizarre rituals. Improving my work life balance by eating more broccoli, maybe? Up to you. 

In all seriousness, this is a really good book. The audiobook is about six hours. I would recommend it.

 I've included my summary of the book below. I've broken it down into a few different categories. The summary is chronological. 


  • Finitude
    • You have to face finitude, pick a few things to dive deep on, and really try to distance yourself from distractions. 
    • You have to cherish the simple fact you're alive. The time you've been given in limited, but at least it's there at all. You didn't have to be here, don't take your time for granted.
  •  Commitment
    • Committing is as much a positive action as it is a negative. You are doing something as much as *you will not be doing other things.*
    • Also, you will be destroying the perfect fantasies in your head about what could be. So commitment is both a negative and destructive act. 
    • Three tenants of commitment
      • Do your most important task first. 
      • Limit works in progress. Do not have ten projects going simultaneously. You'll just end up quitting one project when it gets tough and moving unto another.
      • Resist the allure of middling priorities. Be wary of moderately appealing tasks, as these are powerful enough to distract but not important enough to form your life's core.
    • Do not be afraid to settle. Everyone goes with non-optimal choices, a therefore everyone settles. 
      • Not wanting to "settle" is a great way to never commit to anything.
  • Lessons on distraction
    • Attention is life. Your life is just the sum of what compelled your attention moment to moment, so distraction literally causes you to pay with you life.
    • You cannot render yourself distraction-proof, because you don't have total sovereignty over your attention. This is because distraction is very hard to monitor. You can get distracted from the fact you are distracted. Distraction is distraction's distraction.
    • Boredom is many times the catalyst for distraction. It occurs when a task shows that it will either take extreme commitment to do properly or we will have to make sacrifices. 
  • Pacing
    • "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:3. 
    • Re-phrasing the above"Each day has enough trouble of its own."
    • Re-phrasing again - Take life one day at a time. Worry only about what can be accomplished that day.
    • The "When I finally..." mind is the idea that all things in the present are to serve some kind of final, future goals. 
      • Like the present does not have to be satisfying so long as it leads up to some future state of satisfaction. This of course is an endless series, the satisfaction never comes.
  • Rest
    • It is useful to think of time not as "utilized" and "wasted" but time as used "instrumentally" or "non-instrumentally". 
      • Instrumental use of time is using time towards a certain end. So you say "I'll use the next hour to learn this skill, as it will allow me to succeed professionally". 
      • Non-instrumental use is simply saying "I'll use this time as I want it, maybe to add up to nothing."
    • You should rest sometimes, and rest totally. Just see what's going on. Walk around your town. Enjoy a glass of wine, lay out in the sun. This isn't "being lazy" it's just using time "non-instrumentally".
      • This is a basic human pleasure. As there is pleasure in drinking cold water on a hot day,  there is pleasure in true rest after hard work.
    • "If the satisfaction of an old man drinking a glass of wine is nothing, then production and wealth are just hollow myths. They have meaning only if they are capable of being retrieved in individual and living joy." - Simone de Beauvoir
  • Questions to fight the human disease
    • 1. Where are you in your life or work are you pursuing comfort when you should be feeling discomfort? Ask "Does this decision diminish me or enlarge me?"
    • 2. Are you judging yourself by impossible standards?
    • 3. In what ways have you yet to accept the fact that you are who you are, not who you are "supposed" to be?
    • 4. In which areas of life are you still holding back until you feel like  you know what you’re doing?
    • 5. How would you spend your life differently if you didn't care so much about seeing your actions reach fruition?

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