The Life Adrift

Experiments in Nomadism, Minimalism and Ecocentrism

Top 20

 

Walden At Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau reflected on simpler living in the natural world. By removing himself from the distractions of materialism, Thoreau hoped to not only improve his spiritual life but also gain a better understanding of society through solitary introspection. In Walden, Thoreau condenses his two-year, two-month, two-day stay into a single year, using the four seasons to symbolize human development—a cycle of life shared by both nature and man. A celebration of personal renewal through self-reliance, independence, and simplicity, composed for all of us living in “quiet desperation,” Walden is eternal.

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Taleb, the author of The Black Swan, is one of few who accurately predicted the 2008 financial crash. He didn’t make many friends over it, but he was right. In Antifragile, he takes a step back from specific events such as these and talks about what it takes to be resilient to them. This a fantastic book that takes much of what we already know, about life, biology, evolution and more, and repackages it to explain how we need to be a little less disorderly and random in our lives, for our own good… See full review on Goodreads.

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Utopia In Utopia, Thomas More gives us a traveller’s account of a newly-discovered island where the inhabitants enjoy a social order based on natural reason and justice, and human fulfilment is open to all. As the traveller, Raphael, describes the island to More, a bitter contrast is drawn between this rational society and the custom-driven practices of Europe. So how can the philosopher try to reform his society? In his fictional discussion, More takes up a question first raised by Plato and which is still a challenge in the contemporary world. In the history of political thought few works have been more influential than Utopia, and few more misunderstood.

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Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider these aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define. The Untethered Soul, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves, and the world around us. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.

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12 Rules for Life Jordan Peterson’s work as a clinical psychologist has reshaped the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world’s most popular public thinkers, with his lectures on topics ranging from the Bible to romantic relationships drawing tens of millions of viewers. In an era of polarizing politics, echo chambers and trigger warnings, his startling message about the value of personal responsibility and the dangers of ideology has resonated around the world.

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Cosmos Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, full color illustrations, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

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In 1996, Allan Weisbecker sold his home and his possessions, loaded his dog and surfboards into his truck, and set off in search of his long-time surfing companion, Patrick, who had vanished into the depths of Central America. In this rollicking memoir of his quest from Mexico to Costa Rica to unravel the circumstances of Patrick’s disappearance, Weisbecker intimately describes the people he befriended, the bandits he evaded, the waves he caught and lost en route to finding his friend.

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Utopia for Realists doesn’t waste most of its pages repeating what any real realist will know are the major problems that face us today. “Whether it’s the growth of the economy, audience shares, publications – slowly but surely, quality is being replaced by quantity.” Rather, it gets into the discussions on solutions without apparent ideological attachment. Rutger Bregman saves us from politically taboo topics and instead just gets down to how his solutions would work and the science or facts about them. His main topic is the Universal Basic Income…. See full review on Goodreads.

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In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern Zen classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. It’s a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice, and it is now available to a new generation of seekers in this fortieth anniversary edition, with a new afterword by Shunryu Suzuki’s biographer, David Chadwick.

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Homo Deus WAR IS OBSOLETE You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

FAMINE IS DISAPPEARING You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

DEATH IS JUST A TECHNICAL PROBLEM Equality is out, but immortality is in

WHAT DOES OUR FUTURE HOLD?

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Affluenza affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

We tried to warn you! The 2008 economic collapse proved how resilient and dangerous affluenza can be. Now in its third edition, this book can safely be called prophetic in showing how problems ranging from loneliness, endless working hours, and family conflict to rising debt, environmental pollution, and rampant commercialism are all symptoms of this global plague.

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Feral How many of us sometimes feel that we are scratching at the walls of this life, seeking to find our way into a wider space beyond? That our mild, polite existence sometimes seems to crush the breath out of us? Feral is the lyrical and gripping story of George Monbiot’s efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living. He shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives. Making use of some remarkable scientific discoveries, Feral lays out a new, positive environmentalism, in which nature is allowed to find its own way.

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“Resistance to Civil Government” (“Civil Disobedience”) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican American War.

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Dedicated largely to the teaching of Hui Neng, this volume covers the purpose and technique of Zen training and goes further into the depths of Zen than any other work of modern times. Here we find no reliance on scripture or a Savior, for the student, is shown how to go beyond thought in order to achieve a state of consciousness beyond duality.

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Essayist, poet, and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) propounded a transcendental idealism emphasizing self-reliance, self-culture, and individual expression. The six essays and one address included in this volume, selected from Essays, First Series (1841) and Essays, Second Series(1844), offer a representative sampling of his views outlining that moral idealism as well as a hint of the later scepticism that coloured his thought. In addition to the celebrated title essay, the others included here are “History,” “Friendship,” “The Over-Soul,” “The Poet,” and “Experience,” plus the well-known and frequently read Harvard Divinity School Address.

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‘(Greene) send(s) the reader’s imagination hurtling through the universe on an astonishing ride. As a popularizer of exquisitely abstract science, he is both a skilled and kindly explicator’ the New York Times

‘Greene is as elegant as ever, cutting through the fog of complexity with insight and clarity; space and time become putty in his hands’ Los Angeles Times Book Review.

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The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu is among the wisest books ever written and one of the greatest gifts ever given to humankind. In the handful of pages that make up the Tao te Ching, there is an answer to each of life’s questions, a solution to every predicament, a balm for any wound. It is less a book than a living, breathing angel.

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One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

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A philosophy that saw self-possession as the key to an existence lived ‘in accordance with nature’, Stoicism called for the restraint of animal instincts and the severing of emotional ties. These beliefs were formulated by the Athenian followers of Zeno in the fourth century BC, but it was in Seneca (c. 4 BC- AD 65) that the Stoics found their most eloquent advocate. Stoicism, as expressed in the Letters, helped ease pagan Rome’s transition to Christianity, for it upholds upright ethical ideals and extols virtuous living, as well as expressing disgust for the harsh treatment of slaves and the inhumane slaughters witnessed in the Roman arenas. Seneca’s major contribution to a seemingly unsympathetic creed was to transform it into a powerfully moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

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Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveller Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel. Not just a plan of action, vagabonding is an outlook on life that emphasizes creativity, discovery, and the growth of the spirit.

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