We live in a time where the default is to use your real name for writing. This was not always the case, as I learned in Benjamin Franklin’s biography. 300 years ago the default was to use a pen name. For good reason, as speaking your mind could be dangerous.
This got me thinking. Why don’t we use pen names more often today?
There are clear benefits: You can create a completely different persona. You can speak your mind even more vocally. And it overall feels lighter as the personal downside is smaller, which could especially be helpful for introverts.
Here are some famous pen names I wasn’t aware of:
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
Have you always wanted to start a blog, write a book or create YouTube videos?
So here’s today’s idea: Why not start with a pen name?
I love reading books. However, if I go too fast and read through too many books, I have trouble remembering what I learned. Also, I want to avoid chasing the “number of books” I have read. It doesn’t mean anything.
That’s why I really liked the idea by Rolf Dobelli of reading each book a second time, right after finishing it for the first time.
I started doing that and I really like it. The learning is much deeper. I discover things I didn’t catch for the first time. And it slows down the process of chasing the “next book”. All positive and healthy effects.
As 2018 is coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the most important books I have read this year. Enjoy!
My favorite books of 2018
1. The Art of the Good Life by Rolf Dobelli (audio version): This was the most important book I read in 2018 (I’ve read the original German version). The book was so good that I have read it twice and have scheduled to re-read it at least once a year. It gives very practical recommendations of how to live a better life, and I’ve been able to implement multiple things.
2. A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine (audio version): It’s a great companion to Rolf Dobelli’s book (see above), and it’s a wonderful introduction to the stoic way of life. I’ve decided to not only read it, but to study it, and to integrate these practices into my life. This little iPhone app is helping me to practice it every day.
3. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson (audio version): This book helped me fix my bad sleeping habits. I’m now sleeping more and better! A great companion book is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (audio version). A great tool that I use to track my sleep is the Oura Ring. According to Why We Sleep it’s the most accurate sleep tracker available.