Finished on 1/12/21 on Moffatt Beach, Australia.
Chapter 1 - A Suspicion of School
"We shouldn't - by now - be overly surprised: school curricula are not necessarily designed by people who have much engagement with, experience of, or talent at, the intricacies of the world beyond. School curricula are not engineered on the basis of close study of the determining ingredients of fulfilled adult lives. Historically speaking, they were intellectually influenced by a range of slightly random forces as these evolved over hundreds of years - shaped by, among other things, the curricula of medieval monasteries, the ideas about fact-based learning of some nineteenth-century German educationalists and the emphasis on grammar and logic of the ancient Greeks. As a mass phenomenon, education has only been going on for a couple of hundred years."
Chapter 10 - Manage Your Moods
“We can too easily find ourselves in the company of people who, though they may call themselves our friends, are - in terms of what they do to our moods - no such thing. Beneath a veneer of kindness, some people are the bearers of latent hostility, deadly competitiveness, self-absorbed hysteria or priggish moralism. To start to be a friend to ourselves means learning to recognise those people that leave us feeling riled, dispirited or depressed and edit them from our social lives.”
Chapter 13 - Be More Selfish
“And so, as a result of our talents at ‘selflessness’, we fill our diaries with obligations to people who bore and drain us, we stick at jobs that neglect our true talents and we stay for far too long in relationships with people who deceive us, annoy us and subtly (and possibly with a lot of sentimental sweetness) take us for a long ride. Then one morning we wake up and find that the bulk of our life is already behind us, that our best years are spent and that no one is especially grateful for our sacrifices, that there isn’t a reward in heaven for our renunciations and that we are furious with ourselves for mistaking meekness and self-surrender for kindness.”
Chapter 15 - Choose a Partner Carefully
"The fastest, easiest and most inadvertent technique for messing up one's life remains that of getting into a serious relationship with the wrong person. With very little effort, and without any innate taste for catastrophe, one can end up - by midle age or earlier - contemplating wholesale financial ruin, loss of parental rights, social opproprium, homelessness, nervous exhaustion and shattereed esteem, to begin a lengthy list of harrowing side-effects."
“To choose a partner is the most important job interview we are ever asked to carry out. Around half of us get it very wrong, not because we are inept, but because we are wounded. We might think that there would be a minimum of training and some hazard lights to guide us. In fact, our dedication to public safety ends squarely at the door of our dating interviews. We’re supposed to need to be left strictly alone to follow our (misfiring) instincts. Out of some peculiar fear of infringing on our liberties, we are abandoned to make our own beautiful disasters, generation after generation, without drawing the slightest benefit from the sufferings and late-life realisations of others. Therefore with horrifying predictability, the most cautious types routinely come adrift without discerning the multiple cataclysms they are incubating - and which may take a good two decades fully to come to light.”
Chapter 18 - Time Is Short
”If the goal is to have a longer life, whatever the dietitians may urge, it seems like the priority should not be to add raw increments of time but to ensure that whatever years remain feel appropriately substantial. The aim should be to densify time rather than try to extract one or two more years from the grip of death.”