Tag Archives: non-fiction

5 Books To Shae Your Growth Mindset During Pandemic

Here’s a secret: I hate all kinds of growth mindset quotes, articles and… well books. What a promising first sentence for an article titled 5 BOOKS TO SHAPE YOUR GROWTH MINDSET DURING PANDEMIC! I know. Let’s just say it’s an to write my own type of anti-genre.

Let me elaborate on this contradiction. The growth mindset isn’t something that can be evenly distributed to everyone willing to learn about it through books. People searching for growth mindset resources are most of the times looking for something that will confirm their own sense of growth. What I mean is that at the end they will probably read something inspirational, will put it on their instagram bio, their company presentation or just recommend it to their friends (if it’s a book). And this will be it!

However, my understanding is different. I don’t think that I will find growth mindset material in the lists of books and articles that everyone else is reading. Every conversation about this topic must be as specific as the people who are participating in it are.

Let me be as specific as possible about the growth mindset:

I read a lot. Like 60-70 books per year. Based on the amount of time I spend reading, I will introduce you to 5 reads that are valuable for shaping the growth mindset in unpredictable way (which means that you won’t get a Jordan Pietersen recommendation here!).

Why I’m doing it? Because we’re in pandemic. Big millionaires are donating millions for the well being of the world. The least I can do is to donate a few hours of my time and write about 5 growth mindset reads that will be helpful to my generation in time of crisis. I can’t think of better motivation. So let’s start with my list backwards.

5. “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling

Sceptre / WIRED

I will feel very stupid if I start explaining why you need to read a book with the following subtitle “Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think”. So I won’t do that. But I will tell you that if you ever felt worried about your health during the covid-19 pandemic, this book will ease at least an iota of your worries.

The current world crisis is bringing bad news on a daily basis. Every day someone dies and the media reports those numbers. This, of course, is right because the world cannot be understood without numbers. But the world cannot be understood with numbers alone. The daily media exposure right now is like an essential daily meal that is missing the most needed supplement. Take this book as the missing supplement.

“Beware of data that is relevant but inaccurate, or accurate but irrelevant. Only relevant and accurate data is useful.”

4. “The End of the End of the Earth” by Jonathan Franzen

The next best thing that you can do after reading “Factfulness” is to read Franzen’s “The End of the End of the Earth”. This collection of essays will:

  • make you angry about topics like climate change
  • make you accept what makes you angry about it
  • give you a resolution about what you can do about climate change
  • make you understand what is the individual’s purpose amid world crisis
  • teach you that everything you knew about the essays from school is wrong and this is a genre that has nothing to do whit what your literature teacher told you.
  • make you understand why so many people hate Jonathan Franzen and this will make you like him even more
  • teach you how to write a little bit better

“Attempting to write an honest essay doesn’t alter the multiplicity of my selves. What changes, if I take the time to stop and measure, is that my multi-selved identity acquires substance.”

3. “Just Kids” by Patti Smith

For people of my generation (I’m born in the 90s) this is probably the first world crisis that we face in our life as employed and fully functional entities of the community. However, there were other generations before us who faced more than one global crisis (I’m looking at you, 60s and 70s).

What were their worries? How did it all work out for them? “Just Kids” is a good account of such times. It will also give you a lot of music and art along the way of reading. And Patti Smith of course. You may not know it, but she is the best thing on Instagram and reading her words always makes the world better.

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”

2. “Station Eleven” by Emily Saint John Mandel

growth mindset books
Credit: Time.com

It’s a risky business recommending a work of fiction to people looking for growth mindset books, but whatever. “Station Eleven” is the best description of a world that suddenly splits in two – before and after.

“Before and after” is a concept that could be applied for the financial crisis of 2008, the 9/11 attack, the WWII and so on. Imagination is a powerful thing and when we use it to imagine crisis that are unknown to our being, it will eventually help us get through everything that is unknown to us. So it’s a great long-term investment of time reading it.

“The more we know about the former world, the better we’ll understand what happened when it fell.”

1. “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene

Credit: https://riapacheco.com/

I kept this list quite unpredictable so far but I will break my own trend with this last growth mindset recommendation. It’s Robert Greene’s “The Laws of Human Nature”. Basically every chapter in this books is like a lesson that will teach you more about yourself, about your reaction towards other people and other people’s actions.

To be honest, it’s more like getting on an introspective journey, rather than reading a book. The current times are one of the best times for learning this kind of lessons. Take your time and make it worth.

“We want to learn the lesson and not repeat the experience. But in truth, we do not like to look too closely at what we did; our introspection is limited. Our natural response is to blame others, circumstances, or a momentary lapse of judgment.”

What are you recommendations for pandemic reads? Share in the comments.

PS: accoring to wikipedia, anti-genre is:

a self-descriptive label attributed to any artistic style devoid of genre. This lack of genre-status can either be the result of:
(1) an active attempt to evade categorization (transcend all genres),
(2) conscious negation of the ethos of its medium (unlearning of history),
(3) an active and conscious negation of itself.

Review: What are you looking at?

My artdissey around the European museums took an unexpected turn this year when I planned my summer surf vacation. It turned out that during my surf travelings I will have to spend a day in Lisbon, Portugal by myself. So the first thing that I did was to google the “best museums in Lisbon”. There were plenty of results, but however the Museu Coleção Berardo grabbed my attention the most.

A pic I took on the outside of Berardo Museum in Lisbon.

Basically I had a whole month before my vacation, I knew where I’d go the day I arrive in Lisbon and I knew that I need to find a way to understand what I will be looking at when I get to the Berardo Museum. This is how I found the book of Will Gompretz “What are you looking at?”. Turned out that the author was an ex director of the Tate Modern museum in London. I didn’t need any further thinking to know that this is the book I have to read before going to such a big modern art museum as Berardo.

“Art is always to an extent about trying to create order out of chaos .”

The book captures the evolution of modern art form impressionism (late 19th century to pop art (1960s-70s) and contemporary art. The author claims that it is written for beginners, but honestly when I read it I felt like I went through 2 semesters of art school.

As someone who visited couple of modern art museum around Europe, it was very interesting for me to read about some of the things I have previously looked at, but now put in a chronological perspective through the understanding of one of the most well respected art curators in the world.

With this in mind I must note that it was extremely interesting for me to read about the impressionist painters. A generation of artists whose work I’ve already seen a great deal of in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. All of the painters that impressed me at D’Orsay were mentioned and discussed in Gompretz’s guide to the modern art.

“Paint, for the Impressionists, became a medium whose material properties were being celebrated as opposed to being disguised behind the artifice of a pictorial illusion.”

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Gompretz writes about Picassso. Picasso is basically the Jesus Christ of art. At D’Orsay I visited a temporary exhibiton of paintings from his early blue and rose periods. In”What are you looking at?” I learned more about his later works and development as an artist.

Pablo Picasso. Madame Canals [Benedetta Bianco]. Paris, [autumn] 1905.  Snapped by me in Musee D’Orsay in October 2018.

Aside the fact that the book was extremely enriching in terms of names of big artists and their biographies, it was a great journey through the different art movements. I was very pleased to learn in such a interesting way about how the art movements emerged in Europe and spread their influence across the Atlantic ocean and beyond.

Head, 1938-41 by Jackson Pollock. Snapped by me in the Berardo Museum.

I always thought that it’s a bit pretentious to talk about art in term of “…isms” but when I educated myself with this amazing piece of a modern art guide, I couldn’t help myself but talk with the same vocabulary with my friends. See what books can do to us? 😉

Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Snapped by me in the Berardo Museum in August 2019.

You can find the book from amazon or audible, if you prefer listening to it.

Have a look at my journey inside the Berardo Museum here.