Memoirs of Hadrian

How did you come across the book?

Well… one of my teachers from school had told me about this book… he actually gave this one to me. So yeah, here we go… this is the book I am reading for now. He had told me that it was interesting… and so far it is.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

This book contains a lot of experience. A lot of it deals with things in life we have all been through; the book connects with you.  It teaches you how to appreciate life more; how you can live your life better then before, whatever that means to you. It tells you to always stay on the positive side… if your mind is positive then you will always be in the positive. That is why I like this book; it’s amazing.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

I recommend this to people who love to read books; they must be opened minded. For the ones who look to experience new things in life, which… whether the story is true or not true, reading this its still going to teach you a lot of lessons.

#JustFinished: Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd

Traveling along the Atlantic east coast, up Highway 13 through the small towns of Chesapeake Bay, I finished one of my current reads; Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. The trips initial crossing of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel aided the imagination in the minds fruition of this classics’ main setting; the sea. Needless to say, the tone was right and the book provided a plethora of wisdom and thought. Below I share with you a few of my favorite quotes from the read. Enjoy…

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On preparation…

“But, he thought, I keep them with precision. Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”

On establishing your own image…

“I wish I could show him what sort of man I am. But then he would see the cramped hand. Let him think I am more than I am and I will be so.”

On the human experience of endure…

“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”

On choice of thought…

“Don’t think old man,” he said aloud. “Sail on this course and take it when it comes.” But I must think, he thought. Because it is all I have left.”

On perspective of situation…

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

On the now…

“He was a fish to keep a man all winter, he thought. Don’t think of that. Just rest and try to get your hands in shape to defend what is left of him.”

On illusion…

“What can I think of now? he thought. Nothing. I must think of nothing and wait for the next ones. I wish it had really been a dream, he thought. But who knows? It might have turned out well.”

On being the captain of your own fate…

“It is easy when you are beaten, he thought. I never knew how easy it was. And what beat you, he thought. “Nothing,” he said aloud. “I went out too far.”

The above quotes only lightly express the wisdom and thought one can extract from the reading of this book. Furthermore, the beauty of reading provides us the opportunity to pull from a book what is unique, wanted or needed according to ones life. If you have read it, or choose to in the future, please let me know what you think, along with sharing with me your favorite quotes in the comment section below!

Cheers,

CityReads NYC

“Iron” Mike Tyson on the Gift of Life

I have been a fan of boxing for as long as I can remember. The brutal and honest expression of two beings giving their all for something they have placed value upon greater than themselves; what more can we ask for. Whether it is for their country, their families, becoming the best of something in this world, or for the satisfaction of seeing ones hard work and devotion to ones craft come to fruition, outside of the result, boxing itself teaches us a very important truth within life. Simply put, you will get hit and you will fall, but it is never about that… it is about getting back up.

Coined as the “Baddest Man on the Planet, “Iron” Mike Tyson at one point represented the image and the presence of brutality. He destroyed any foe we placed in front of him and did so with a prowess of rage and aggression. But, the purpose of this post is not to focus on what once was, which was a narrative fabricated largely by the world instead of by the individual. Rather on the contrary, I want to share with you the beauty of life and how who we are painted to be is never truly who we are. Below is an expert from the documentary film “Champs“, a beautifully crafted story focusing on the life and times of three greats within the sport: Bernard Hopkins, Evander Holyfield, and Mike Tyson. Ending the film, Tyson shares with us a perspective on life and the gift in which it is. Enjoy…

“It all comes down to family, love, forgiveness, respect. Closing the gap between who I am and who I want to be. Finding different ways of becoming more conscious about myself. Human beings think a lot of themselves, you know. They think that we will be that privileged to see the end of the world; I don’t think that we are gonna have that privilege. I know there are things that happen that are bad but, we have to look at all the good that is happening out here. I see a new birth in the world; I see people respecting people more. We have to evolve; this is a great world and its the best deal we ever get in this life, you know. Life it self… we got this for nothing; look at all we get in return.”

What I took from this perspective and from the person sharing it, is that this world is very good at pointing out and sharing the negative, whether of the individual or of the collective whole. Who we are is never concrete and what this world becomes is only up to us. Who we are as individuals and as a collective falls upon our shoulders. If we can see and appreciate the uniqueness of the individual without applying our own bias or presumption, along with applying this gratuity to the world, nothing can get in our way. Look around yourself today and appreciate life. And like Mike, look around at all we get in return for simply being here. Its beautiful!

Stamped from the Beginning

How did you come across the book?

“That’s a good question… umm… I think it came up on my GoodReads. I’m on GoodReads and I think one of my friends marked it as a book he wanted to read so I checked it out and added it to my list.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Man… I was actually just talking about this earlier! So, essentially the way the book goes… he breaks it down into three different ideas… and then looks at racist ideas through those three different lenses; its the segregationists, or the racists, the anti-racists, and the assimilationists. So, you have segregationists people who are just flat out racist… your anti-racist people who are firmly against racism and all its forms… and then your assimilationists… and those are the ones who say that if black people were to be more like white people, or if black people could aspire to whiteness, then everything would be better… and, I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken from this book is that I would have firmly put myself within the anti-racist category… but I found that so many of my thoughts and views, which were shaped by the racist society that we live in, put me in the assimilationist category… where I would say things like, “Oh, if we black people could just do this… then, you know, we’d be viewed differently.” But… uplift suasion… which is something he talks about… which is the idea that if we  would act a certain way then white people would respect us… and media suasion… which is if white people would just see more good black people then they would think differently about us; historically both have proven to not work. It’s just been… eye opening… kind of like… if you’ve seen the documentary 13th. And so… you know how that entire documentary, your just going wow… WOW? You read this book and you’re just going…WOW! So yeah… its incredible! I’d recommend it to anybody.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

” I would recommend this book… literally… to everybody. I would recommend it to racists, so that they can see where there ideas came from… I would recommend it to anti-racists, so that they can see the history of the struggle… and I would recommend it to assimilationists, because most assimilationists don’t realize that that is the category they fall into… and reading this book would really open their eyes and give them a new perspective.”