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Letter sent on Feb 20, 2017

The Life-Changing Magic of These 13 Free Books

Yes, I said “Life-Changing Magic.

There is no shame in my game.

Why?

Because if you actually read some of the books listed below…

They will change your life.

They will change how you view the world.

They will give you time-tested lessons to help build health, wealth, and wisdom. Those changes (if continued) will compound, and the human mind struggles to understand compounding…

So it will appear like magic.

Did you know that one of the most well-respected scholars in the world believed that reading Shakespeare caused the reader’s consciousness to expand? This is the reason why the writers of Westworld use Shakespeare’s phrase to wake up the budding consciousness of the androids inside the park,

“These violent delights have violent ends”

So beware… these books have lines in them that might do the same for you…

I know they did for me.

However there is one small challenge…

These books are all free. This means we must create our own incentives and accountability to make sure we read them.

It’s tough to value anything we don’t pay for, and easy to forget that where you stand is already on the shoulders of giants. Inherited technology, like inherited wealth, can blind us to its beauty and the human sacrifices that were made to bring us this knowledge.

Thanks to brave individuals, technological creations, and innovative copyright laws, what follows are 13 of the most undervalued, free, and potentially life changing books found anywhere online.


To Help Navigate Life by Pursuing Strategic Isolation, Reflection, and Direct Experience in Nature

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

The Most Practical Guide to Finance, Sales, Marketing, and Commerce

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
“I am not bound to please thee with my answers.”

For Objective Utilitarian Wisdom and Patience

The Annual Letters of Warren Buffett

“Charlie and I have always considered a ‘bet’ on ever-rising U.S. prosperity to be very close to a sure thing. Indeed, who has ever benefited during the past 237 years by betting against America? If you compare our country’s present condition to that existing in 1776, you have to rub your eyes in wonder. And the dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic. America’s best days lie ahead.”

On Making More Money and Separating Your Earnings From Your Time

Breaking the Time Barrier by Mike McDerment

“I’m the accumulation of all my skills and talents. I’m wisdom and creativity.”

Full Disclosure: The Mission is brought to you this month by FreshBooks.

If you’d like a free copy of Breaking the Time Barrier, just subscribe to the FreshBooks newsletter!

Mike McDerment, co-founder of FreshBooks, is the author of one of the most important free books I’ve read in business called Breaking the Time Barrier.

To gain disposable income to help your business become profitable so you can reinvest in your community, family, or even your friends’ startups… you must learn how to separate your earnings from your time.

When you subscribe to the FB newsletter and blog, you’ll get a free copy of Breaking the Time Barrier, and you’ll be helping support independent media like The Mission!

How to View and Escape Groupthink, Mobs, and Goons

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”
“I never lost money by turning a profit.”

To View Society, Culture, and Creativity in a Whole New Light

Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna

“…language is not merely a device for communicating ideas about the world, but rather a tool for bringing the world into existence in the first place. Reality is not simply ‘experienced’ or ‘reflected’ in language, but instead is actually produced by language.”

On Ambition, Imagination, Cleverness, and How To Triumph Over Evil

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Now at last let me see some deeds!”
“You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.
You’ll sit forever, gluing things together,
Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps,
Blowing on a miserable fire,
Made from your heap of dying ash.
Let apes and children praise your art,
If their admiration to your taste,
But you’ll never speak from heart to heart,
Unless it rises up from your heart’s space.”

One Of The Most Important Gateways Into Science Fiction

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

A Classic to Help Bootstrap and Expand Consciousness

Hamlet by Shakespeare

“What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!”
“This above all: to thine own self be true”

A More Recent Consciousness Expanding Book That Steve Jobs Adored

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

“You may control a mad elephant;
You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.”

On Governments and Systems of Co-operation

Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard

“Such are the laws that praxeology presents to the human race. They are a binary set of consequences: the workings of the market principle and of the hegemonic principle. The former breeds harmony, freedom, prosperity, and order; the latter produces conflict, coercion, poverty, and chaos. Such are the consequences between which mankind must choose. In effect, it must choose between the “society of contract” and the “society of status.” At this point, the praxeologist as such retires from the scene; the citizen — the ethicist — must now choose according to the set of values or ethical principles he holds dear.”

On Startups, Creating New Technology, and Finding Secrets

Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup class notes by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

“In a very real sense, the life of every person is a singularity.
The obvious question is what you should do with your singularity. The obvious answer, unfortunately, has been to follow the well-trodden path. You are constantly encouraged to play it safe and be conventional. The future, we are told, is just probabilities and statistics. You are a statistic.
But the obvious answer is wrong. That is selling yourself short. Statistical processes, the law of large numbers, and globalization — these things are timeless, probabilistic, and maybe random. But, like technology, your life is a story of one-time events.
By their nature, singular events are hard to teach or generalize about. But the big secret is that there are many secrets left to uncover. There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge. You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces.”

On Gaining Self-Awareness and Discovering Personal Meaning

Maps of Meaning by Jordan Peterson

“We were out to improve things — but we were going to start with other people. I came to see the temptation in this logic, the obvious flaw, the danger — but could also see that it did not exclusively characterize socialism. Anyone who was out to change the world by changing others was to be regarded with suspicion. The temptations of such a position were too great to be resisted.”

On Learning to Navigate and Explore Your Mind

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by Carl Jung

“My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life.”

If you’ve found a book that catches your eye here, I hope you take the time to set up the proper incentives to read it, or share this list with someone who might do the same.

The insights and challenges these books provide are tremendous.

You never know when the right insight or line will literally arrest your mind and body like an electrical storm and open up doors and pathways that exist only for you.

Life, liberty, contentment, great works, and meaning are worth pursuing.

Cheers to finding them and making the journey the reward!


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