Recommendations

This page collects links to a number of products and services I recommend, mostly books and technology. Note that some of those links are affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission if you buy through those links. It is a convenient way for you to support my work as it will not cost you anything extra.

Technology
I use an Apple MacBook Pro for content creation. In my opinion, the 13″ entry-level model offers the by far best value for money. The Touchbar is a gimmick, so the standard model should be fine. If you need more space, get an external hard drive for backups. The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is very cool. (I use the Samsung T3, its predecessor.)

In addition, there is value in having a larger monitor at home. My preference is Samsung. The Samsung SE348 (24″) is a very good office monitor with, what I particularly like, pivot functionality, meaning that you can flip the screen by 90 degrees into portrait mode.

I stopped using mouse and keyboard, but if I had to make a choice, the following would be it. The most convenient no-frills mouse is the Logitech B100. My keyboard of choice is the Cherry G80, which has very responsive mechanical switches. In particular, if you type a lot, such a mechanical keyboard comes highly recommended. I have to admit that mine has been gathering dust because I put my hardware away when I’m done with my work, and it’s more convenient to just open the laptop.

I don’t like to spend too much time on my smartphone, so I got a basic Android phone, the Moto G4. It arguably offers the best value for money in that industry.

Books (General)
In my opinion, novels are largely a waste of time. It’s fine to read thick novels if you’re a bored housewife. Otherwise, your time is likely better spent elsewhere. There are a few novels I have greatly enjoyed reading, though:
Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
Bukowski: Post Office
Bukowski: Factotum
Bukowski: Ham on Rye
Bukowski: Women
Cervantes: Don Quijote
Huxley: Brave New World
Kafka: The Trial
Kafka: The Castle
Orwell: 1984
Orwell: Animal Farm
Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
Wilde: Dorian Gray

Books (Serious)
Academic philosophy used to be a refuge for the highly-intelligent straight white male. Sadly, those days are gone. Nowadays the discipline wants to be “inclusive”, which includes watering down standards and bending over to not offend the permanently offended. Instead of focusing on rigorous thinking, you get an overdose of social justice. However, almost everything in philosophy that had any importance was not produced by academic philosophers, just like there are almost zero novels of any worth that were written by professors of English, so it’s probably not much of a loss.

Schopenhauer is a mind of a caliber humanity sees once every few hundred years. In particular, I recommend his Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life as well as his Essays. At the very least, read his essays “On Thinking for Oneself” and “On Women”.

I also warmly recommend Marc Aurel’s Meditations. It may make you reevaluate your entire life.

Very little of value has been produced by academic philosophers. One exception is Karl Popper. Read his Conjectures and Refutations to give your reasoning skills a good workout. It is particularly commendable how he demolishes psychoanalysis.

Also, read up on history. At the very least, read The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival by Glubb for a big picture view of dynamics that are normally not covered in a narrative based on agent-less statements such as “war broke out.” You’ll have to hunt this book down as it is out of print. In addition, I would advise you to gain some familiarity with the history of the Roman Empire, in particular its slow collapse. Gibbon’s book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is excellent.

Logical Thinking
I personally think there is great value in having done at least some rigorous thinking. Get some Calculus under your belt. A few decades ago, European high schools used to teach a fair bit of it, but the curriculum has been watered-down. In the US, as far as I know, it is relatively uncommon to study Calculus in high school. Well, sign up for Khan Academy or go through Apex Calculus. It will make you smarter.

Some exposure to logic is also great to have. At the very least, it will help you spot logical fallacies, which you will encounter over and over in the mainstream media as well as in conversations with people. Teller has made his out-of-print book on logic available for free online. It is a good start. An alternative approach is learning how to program a computer. This will allow you to figure out if you can really think logically because the computer does not care about your feelings. It will just tell you if you’re wrong.

Planning your Life
As you get older, you may wonder what you are doing with your life. You may also start to realize that one day you are going to die. On grappling with those questions, reading Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life is a worthwhile undertaking. An interesting product that can assist you in sorting our your goals in life is Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring program. I wrote a review of Future Authoring, based on my own experience, on my other site.

Exercising
Well, do some sport. If you’re a minimalist who does not like the idea of going to the gym, I’d recommend looking into yoga. Ashtanga yoga is a great way to do a nice body-weight workout at home. After a bit of instruction you can do it at home and all you need is a yoga mat. In addition, get some trunks and swim regularly. Yoga and swimming gets you in better shape than 90% of guys and the cost is absolutely negligible.

Entertainment
I got a Nintendo Switch for my modest gaming needs. Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are both fantastic and will probably keep you busy for a year. Otherwise, I enjoy playing a few rounds of Puyo Puyo Tetris every now and again. If you’re into competitive multiplayer, you may like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2.