Two recently read books – Hemingway and Adelstein

As far as literature is concerned – both fiction and non-fiction – there are an almost innumerable amount of white spots. That is, books that one as an academic or laymen ‘should have read’ but have not. For obvious reasons a realistic and not too extensive list of particular books and authors may function as a fruitful method of selection and structure for individuals.

Perhaps such a list should be comrised of both so called classics and various interesting contemporary works that have caught one’s individual attention. Two books that I have read recently belong to each of these categories: Ernest Hemingway’s modern classic The Sun Also Rises (1926) and Jake Adelstein’s crime report Tokyo Vice (2009). I will briefly summarize my opinion on these two.

I agree that Hemingway is a great writer and his widely praised first novel is no exception. His prose is often simple and laconic but at the same time both articulated and multilayered, since it contains messages and attitudes of the characters that are not explicitly but rather implicitly uttered.

As far as the story of the novel goes, it takes place mainly in Paris and Pamplona after the First World War. It examines some aspects of the lost generation of Americans (expats) and their sympthoms of decadence, such as a penchant for bull fight and general shallowness, hedonism and egoism. However, it does also contain a romantic/relationship-related conflict, between the main character Jake and Brett, and which is the focal point of the story, although not in the center of the plot throughout the entire text.

Overall, The Sun also rises, which ought to be read while wholly concentrated on the plot and its partly untold, less explicit messages, is a great novel. I will probably read it one more time – or at least particular sections of it – before I put the pocket away (probably for good). It is not the best work of Hemingway that I have dealt with but definitely worthwhile.

Since I have visited Japan – and during that time experienced quite vast areas and domains of Tokyo – and have been interested in contemporary Japanese culture and pop culture for several years, I definitely welcome Adelstein’s book on the country’s mafia, the Yakuza.

Obviously, the Jewish-American author knows a lot about Japan after been residing there since 1993 and worked as a sneaky journalist with a special interest in one of the world’s most influential mob groups, the Yamaguchi-gumi. As such, the book provides insightful descriptions, explanations and reflections on modern Japan and its particular policies and customs, such as the fact that a significant share of people in general lionize the mafia, and that the government cannot or will not go against it. The Yakuza is in some significant regards intimately linked to the Japanese government – the ties are obvious.

The problem with this book is that it is largely very self-centered. Adelstein appears more interested in to convey his own experiences rather than the broader and deeper patterns of how the Yakuza groups affect the Japanese society. At least in the first part, which comprises more than one hundred pages.

Moreover, it is not very well-written – perhaps because Adelstein is more trained in writing in Japanese than English at this point. However, this does not undermine many of its strengths, and the whole story that unfolds is indeed very enthralling. And it made me to some extent quite disgusted about Japan, especially Tokyo, even though I still love this city and the experiences that I have had while dwelling in the world’s largest metropolis. Everything that Tokyo offers does not indeed hinge on sex trafficking and prostitution.

If one is interested in contemporary Japan in general and the Yakuza in particular, Adelstein’s book may be worth reading. As an alternative, one can watch the movie adaptation which will have its premiere later this year, or perhaps Gaspar Noe’s unique film Enter the Void (2009).

30 wisdoms of life

In this article I emphasize what I regard as 30 wisdoms of life – whether these are based on sound knowledge or own experiences, both endeavors and shortcomings – and in conjunction with this I do also make some suggestions on how to optimize one’s disposable extra income and leisure time. Overall it has a male perspective as its point of departure, but many of these things are also applicable for females.

1. Think of life as a poker game
As has been established as a fact, poker is not gambling but a game of skill. However, it does definitely include some degree of chance and luck too.

Hence, poker is the perfect metaphor for life because it is both about to master the skill of when to be offensive and when to be defensive (push/pull), and to understand when one has made a mistake or been the victim of particular – whether lucky or unlucky – circumstances. Moreover, it is about to grow and to fortify self-confidence, and to not tilt too much when one experiences a setback; perhaps to take a break and then continue to play with a (partially) new and hopefully more succesful strategy. Furthermore, one can also mention the importance of to avoid hubris, stay foucused, and to always maintain some degree of self-critical introspection.

2. Think of life as a curvilinear process
Life is a linear process in the sense that people are born and eventually dies, but it is never a linear process with regard to achievements and wellbeing since one’s life goes up and down – for some much more uphill than downhill. However, it is seldom perfect for anyone; one should not think that it should be either.

3. Do have a balanced approach to many things in life
Classic Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have discussed the importance of balance with regard to many dimensions of human existence, such as power, money, happiness, food etcetera.

This is often quite logic and obvious, but even so many people drag themselves into various extremes, such as overeating and -drinking. One can use water as an example: it is completely essential for human existence, but if a person drinks too much within a too narrow timeframe it is detrimental and even lethal. The same way of thinking and acting can and should be applied to a lot of other things in life.

4. Learn the essence of karma
Karma has several meanings, of which some are religious and moral and related to beliefs within Buddhism and Hinduism and the idea that one can be born to something better or worse in next life, and that one’s actions will lead to consequences (the sum of all actions).

However, a third meaning is non-religious and -moral, namely the karmic law about cause and effect – to understand how things are causally interrelated. For example: if one eats too many calories then one will inevitably add (fat)weight and vice versa. It is not a moral question but a scientific question, yet still many want to make into a moral, like the oft-repeated assumption that a person ‘deserves’ to eat junk food because they somehow think that they do. Part of a constructive process in order to become more free as an individual human being, is to stop making scientific topics into moral matters.

5. Do not put other people on a pedestal
It is important to not idolize people, whether those in one’s own environment or distant celebrities, because it is based on illusions about reality – people are seldom as good as one might think that they are. Additionally, it makes oneself subordinated and is thus counterproductive.

A quite striking example is when I visited Hollywood in 2006 and went to a film gala premier. I was not particularly fascinated by all the prominent celebrities, unlike all the fans who stood outside, screaming and adoring their idols, and as ironic as it may seem, some guards asked me if I wanted to come inside when I passed by the entrance, while not a single one of the pathetic fans were let in. The reason is, of course, that they appeared to not be able to handle themselves in that sort of situation and environment. They chose to make themselves subordinated losers.

6. Find role models, not idols
To worship other people is not constructive, and in the best case it is harmless. However, to have role models are important.

Notice the pluralis – one should have several, in different phases and contexts of life, rather than one particular role model. This is partly due to that as a person one does often engage in different activities and occupations througout life.

7. Let yourself be influenced and inspired by other people but do not imitate them
To mimic other individuals is not constructive and often deemed to fail, but to be influnced and inspired by different people and phenomena –  which then are mixed with one’s particular personality, conditions and preferences – can indeed be positive and constructive, and be related to many different areas such as behavior, fashion, training and writing style.

8. Obtain a positive habituation
People feel well, looked upon in a longer timeframe and on average, when they have certain positive habituations, such as to eat, sleep, train and study at particular times of the day. Of course one can do partial deviations from one’s schedule, for instance when one travels or party, but to stick to the good habituations is what generally is constructive and the proper way to live.

9. Learn from your experiences but do not get stuck in the past
As the German philologist and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) has emphasized in The Use and Abuse of History, it is important to not get stuck in the past, whether positive or negative experiences. It is relevant to consider both one’s good and bad sides and experiences, and everything that happens in one’s life hinges on the past which we ought to learn from. But it is still the present and the future that should be the main focus, and this is partly related to the idea that one should not live on old merits for too long, whether for oneself or in a social context, but instead strive for continuous development. Essentially one should not ruminate about the past.

10. Do not categorize yourself or other people
Since the upper-secondary school time onwards, my bodyweight has shifted between 63-79 kilograms. Hence, it has not really been any extremes in this regard but still a relatively wide spectrum. When I was 16 I was slim and weighed about 63 kilograms and felt that I could eat almost anything without gaining (fat)weight.

However, in the middle of the upper-secondary school period I started to gain some fat weight – almost 10 kilos – before I realized that one simply cannot eat junk food for several days of the week without unwanted consequences. Since I started with fitness when I was about 20, I have had periods of both bulk and diet, mostly due to strategic reasons but to some extent also because of bad habits, and the shape has shifted accordingly.

These patterns symbolize that one should seldom categorize and essentialize people, whether oneself or other individuals. Sometimes we tend to use simplified etiquettes such as ‘thin’, ‘fit’, ‘normal’, ‘fat’, ‘smart’, ‘ugly’ etcetera in order to describe our environments and the people that dwell in them. But nothing lasts forever and few if any things are completely static and unchangeable – and that is true for all. Hence, do not underestimate your own or other people’s ability to change, and just because you feel that you have had a setback or peak in life you should not think that it will last. Panta rhei.

11. Metrosexual rather than machismo
This is somethings that is unhesitatingly linked to the current era of manhood, but some of these things may also be more ‘timeless’. It is a vast topic to investigate, but one can at lewast briefly conclude that when it comes to the false, dichotomous choice between being a soft beta male or a macho man one should chose to be metrosexual instead. This is what most people will earn from, and to let everyone be ‘winners’ is what creates a better and more equal society (even though competition between males will still persist).

Hence, take care of your looks, clothes, hygiene, and way of being, and make it into a habit and lifestyle. It does not have to be particularly expensive and time-consuming and just a few simple changes in these respects might be just it. One can find inspiration and influences from a vast amount of people and contexts, for instance here.

12. Strive for a balanced narcissism
Narcissism, to love oneself too much, is within the frames of differential psychology not a question of either/or but one of degree and how it expresses itself among different individuals. In current times narcissism is generally speaking acceptable, even encouraged, as long as it does not get too excessive, and the cliche that one should love oneself is in fact largely true. Thus, strive for a balanced narcissism without extremes.

Such negative extremes include to think that one is (much) better than one actually is, and to have too long periods of self-absorption. If one is too self-absorbed and introvert then may lose social skills (or interpersonal ability) and completely ignore external validation, and if one is too self-centered and extrovert then one might be too dependable on external validation and in worse case even unbearable to socialize with.

13. Do not ‘be yourself’ but the best version of yourself
Virtually all personality traits are 40-60% inherited. This is indeed a very complex topic, and I have no intent of trying to examine it here, but it can still be concretized and simplified through the platitude that one should always ‘be oneself’ (just be yourself).

I consider this cliche to be partly misleading, and instead think that one should strive for to be the best version of oneself. To reiterate myself – no one is perfect and one cannot affect everything. But one can change quite a lot by good decision-making. Hence, do not blame your supposedly static personality but instead strive for to optimize your personality, alongside behavior and looks. People will appreciate you more, although some might be jealous if/when you are too good.

14. To give does not imply to get
As has been pointed out in relationship to karma, it does not exist any immanent justice in the world – at least it does appear so for most individuals. However, many people – because of an overall sound inner moral compass – have not yet come to understand this and expect that what one gives is what one gets in return, whether from friends, family or exmployers.

Things do not work that way, generally speaking, though. Of course one will in many cases get good things in return and vice versa, but quite often the almost complete opposite is the case. The most striking example is celebrities who publish a trivial photo and consequently get hundreds of thousand, even millions, of ‘likes’ in return by their numerous Instagram followers, while some common people will put efforts, year after year, but not get anything or very little in return.

15. It can always become even worse
Within the frames of various media channels one can learn that person X has lost Y amount of pounds or kilograms. But why did person X gain that much weight in the first instance? This ubiqitous phenomenon is related to many things in life: it can actually become even worse. Sometimes the wind will turn almost naturally, from something good or bad to its respective opposite, but the living nightmare can also become more frightening, which then makes it even more difficult to cope with the difficulties in question.

Therefore one should not walk around with the false conviction that things will resolve themsleves – even in a welfare country like Sweden – but instead cope with the problems, sooner rather than later.

16. Drink alcohol selectively
If one really has to chose between to drink and to not drink alcohol, then one should chose not to. But if one looks upon the Western sphere’s most popular drug in a little more balanced way, a more fruitful strategy would be to it selectively. That is, to do it at special occasions, such as during a overseas stay or in conjunction with a particular party. With few acceptions: save your money and health until the right time for festivity comes.

17. Travel when the opportunity comes
To travel is to widen one’s inner horizon and to enrich one’s own life (and sometimes other people’s lives too). Despite all negative things that may linked to these activities, it is something that one ought to do when the economic and temporal conditions make it possible. Nothing new under the sun but still true.

18. Do not romantize things in life
Johann Wolfgang von Goethes world-famous epistolary novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774) – as well as much that have been written about so called game in much more recent years – teach males to be less of romantic idealists and more of crass realists. To romantize love, women, relationships and life overall may offer more meaning (or rather, a pretense of meaning) but may also lead a person on paths that are to no one’s good.

Of course, one may be romantic during certain phases and at particular situations of life, but to be guided by a false shimmer of beautiful illusions (pretty lies) should definitely be avoided. As parodoxical as it may seem, a more realstic and cynical approach in this respect may in fact lead to more romanances.

19. Learn to be alone but do not get stuck in loneliness
In a sequence of the phenomenal film Donnie Darko (2001), Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Donnie says that all creatures will eventually die alone. It is a little bit misguiding but still correct in one way of looking at it, and it is true about life too. Loneliness will seldom enable the individual to gain strength – rather the opposite – but to spend some time alone and be pleased with it is important in order to develop as a person and sometimes also completely necessary.

When I visited Mt. Fuji in Japan in 2009, I did not speak to anyone for two whole days and this rather brief period of time lead to that I started to talk to myself and laugh at my own jokes that I made up in my head. Hence, it appears to be favorable to return to social settings after some time of enriching loneliness. As is explained in the brilliant film Into the wild (2007) it is important to net get stuck in loneliness, whether phsysically or mentally.

20. Appreciate your friends and family
Friends come and go but it is important that some relationships persist. Because if they don’t, then one gets stuck in loneliness.

21. Do (almost) never be arrogant to other people
Far from all people deserve one’s descency, and it is not one’s responsibility to give everyone positive attention. If someone is arrogant one may also respond with similar measures. However, to generally speaking be arrogant is negative, often counterproductive, and a sign of one’s own weakness; a kind of defence mechanism.

22. Do never take someone or something for granted
This is a cliche that is true, a real wisdom. Of course, one can and should predict various scenarios and sequence of events that will most likely happen, and many people’s behavior tend to be quite predictable. But to not distinguish the probabalistic from the deterministic may lead to desillusions or cognitive dissonance with regard to both people and events.

23. Cowardice limits one’s life while courage enlarges it
A large share of people, especially in more developed countries such as Sweden, have never ever before had better preconditions for to experience and accomplish interesting and important things. Still many let themselves be held back by cowardice. It is when one is at least a little bit brave that good things will happen. As philosophers such as Plato asserted for almost 2500 years ago it is of course of chief significance to avoid recklessness (always remember the dynamics of push/pull), but without some degree of proper courage not much will happen. And this is the case with for instance relationships, traveling, work, education and many other things.

24. Visions are not reality
Another platitude, especially among companies but also within the domains of politics, education and among people in general, is the idea that one ought to have visions. Of course, it really is important, and as an individual it is constructive to visualize one’s ideas and goals. It is in fact hard not to.

But even the visions that become real are in every case only approximate depictions of one’s earlier, inner sensations. For instance, The United States is not as fantastic as one may think if one has various popular culture as points of reference; not even Miami Beach or Manhattan.

25. Read many books
Like to travel – even if one does not actually move spatially when one heads into the world’s of literature – literature is about expand the inner existential room and to enrich one’s own life. Another good thing with literature is that it is more or less free of charge, abd available for almost everone. Here are a few tips of what to read.

26. Hide your weaknesses and compromising sides
To be open-hearted and honest can be liberating and advantageous in several ways, but honesty can often be turned against oneself, sometimes even by so called friends. One should not lie but to stress out loud what one has experienced and thinks about this and that is seldom a fruitful strategy. And if one really has to express something of the potentially compromising sort, save it until very special occasions.

27. What feels right is not always what is right
The cliche says that one ought to trust one’s own gut feeling. But how substantial is this oft-repeated phrase? People are guided by both instincts, experiences and knowledge, and in many cases that of which feels right is also what is right. But at the same time, there are oceans of examples that point in the opposite direction. For instance, cowardly people do trust their own gut feelings, don’t they? Courage, will, common sense, consideration and knowledge are often better loadstars than various gut feelings.

28. Refine your talents
As a person one may wish for to develop many different potential aspects of oneself throughout life, whether theoretical or practical, but there are also certain skills and/or that one may try to refine as much as possible. To try to accomplish this is to give life meaning, to create goals, and may under certain circumstances lead to fantastic results and experiences.

29. Be patient
The proper outlook on the relationship between short-term and long-term perspectives is neither simple nor obvious. Because on one hand one may die tomorrow and should thus focus on the present, but on the other hand a certain degree of long-term thinking and planning is required in order to aim for more important goals. That is indeed the case with for instance intellectual, physical and career development, as well as to save money for traveling.

30. Father time is always breathing down your neck
As has been said just above, one ought to be patient but at the same time always remember that time is constantly and inexorably breathing down one’s neck. If one wants to experience things one should start to work on that now.

Body and Brains – self-test

The main idea behind this post is to offer a self-test with regard to one’s level of body and brains, i.e. how smart and knowledgeable one is, and the physical level one has reached. To reiterate myself, it is thus not a question of either/or but to constitute a more or less complete personal synthesis.

Needless to say, this test and all of its ten questions hinge on a construct and is partly based on arbitrary or personal preferences, but its various components – which are reflected in the different questions and their respective answer alternatives – are based on both science and sound reflections. Many of these topics or sub-topics have also been elaborated in earlier blog posts, such as this one (about the importance of traveling for personal development) and this one (about general strength and endurance statistics). Notice that all strength statistics are based on strict and full-range movements.

The most difficult part has been to distinguish between different academic fields and subjects in relationship to a relevant international university ranking. The main point, though, is to take into account the current inflation of university ceritifications, degrees and diplomas and to be self-critical in this respect. And it is implied that one can largely or at least partly compensate the lack of a high-value degree with extensive reading of books.


1. How much can you squat?
Less than 1 x one’s particular body weight: 0p
1-sligthly less than 1,5 x one’s particular body weight: 1p
1,5-slightly less than 2x one’s particular body weight: 2p
2 or more than x one’s body weight: 3p

2. How much can you bench press?
Less than 1 x one’s particular body weight: 0p
1-slightly less than 1,25 x one’s particular body weight: 1p
1,25-slightly less than 1,5 x one’s particular body weight: 2p
1,5 or more x than one’s body weight: 3p

3. How much can you dead lift?
Less than 1,5 x one’s particular body weight: 0p
1,5-slightly less than 2 x one’s particular body weight: 1p
2-slightly less than 2,5 x one’s particular body weight: 2p
2,5 or more x than one’s body weight: 3p

Less than 1,25 x one’s particular body weight: 0p
1,25-slightly below 1,5 x one’s particular body weight: 1p
1,5-slightly below 2 x one’s particular body weight: 2p
2 or more x than one’s body weight: 3p

4. How many strict, wide-gripped chin-ups can you do?
0-9: 0p
10-14: 1p
15-19: 2p
20 or more: 3p

0-5: 0p
6-9: 1p
10-14: 2p
15 or more: 3p

5. How fast do you run three (3) kilometers on a regular all-weather running track?
15 minutes or more: 0p
14:59-13:00: 1p
12:59:-12:00: 2p
11:59 or less: 3p

16 minutes or more: 0p
15:59-14:00: 1p
13:59:-13:00: 2p
12:59 or less: 3p

6. What is your current level of educational achievement?
Upper-secondary school, diploma/certificate outside of a university context, various university courses and/or unfinished educational programs (regardless of university ranking), or a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the social sciences at a university out of the top 100 world ranking: 0p

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in the social sciences or humanities at a top 51-100 ranked university, bachelor’s or master’s degree in science, law, psychology or medicine from a 101-200 ranked university, phD in the social sciences or humanities from a 100-200 ranked university, or two Bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in the social sciences or humanities from a 50-100 ranked university: 1p

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in the social sciences or humanities from a top 50-11 ranked university, bachelor’s or master’s degree in science, law, psyhchology or medicine from a 100-51 ranked university, or a PhD from a 11-50 ranked university: 2p

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in social sciences or humanities from a top a top-ten ranked university, bachelor’s or master’s degree in science, law (법학 in Korean), psychology or medicine frm 11-50 ranked university, PhD, regardless of subject, from a 11-50 ranked university, hired docent, senior lecturer or professor at a 11-50 ranked university: 3p

7. How many novels and/or academic works have you read in their respective entirety during the last twelve (12) months?
0-9: 0p
10-19: 1p
20-49: 2p
50 or more: 3p

8. How many novels and/or academic works have you read in their respective entirety during your entire life?
0-99: 0p
100-200: 1p
200-499: 2p
500 or more: 3p

9. How many countries have you ever visited?
0-9: 0p
10-20: 1p
21-50: 2p
50 or more: 3p

10. How much time have you, in total, stayed abroad?
Less than six months: 0p
Six months up to slightly less than a year: 1p
One-two years: 2p
More than two years: 3p


0-10 points
You will probably need to work hard on your physical and intellectual development. If it seems impossible to earn a decent university degree – perhaps due to one’s particular personal situation – then focus on to visit both the gym and the library often and on a regular basis. Of course, changes in nutritional habits, and consequently loss of fat-weight, may also be important when it comes to physical development. Be active and patient at the same time.

It might also be the case that you are quite young and at some point within a larger personal process. If so, do not give up and continue in the right direction.

11-20 points
On the physical and intellectual continuum, you are somewhere in between and may have to decide if you want to keep improve (or perhaps work hard on maintenance) or continue to be – let us be honest – quite mediocre. If you are at the upper level, you have done a decent job already and are hopefully heading in the right direction.

21-25 points
You are indeed a physically able intellectual, or perhaps rather a quite intellectual fitness person, and can be proud of your progress so far. It might be the case that you do not have to develop even further, but perhaps a little more progress in one or even both of these respects is what you need in order to be or to feel more complete as a person.

26-30 points
You are one of those few individuals who have experienced large part of the world and for more extensive periods of time, earned a higher and prestigious degree at a top-ranked university, and in parallel with this do also have a high-class physique, both strength- and endurance-wise. Regardless of how your more exact socio-economic and personal situation is at the moment – there are, of course, other important things in life besides body and brains – you can be very proud of your achievements and development.

Huvudpoängen med detta inlägg är att erbjuda ett självtest som mäter ens grad av fysisk och intellektuell förmåga, vilket som bekant är en del av denna bloggs koncept och min egen livsfilosofi.

Det är givetvis svårt att konstruera “objektiva” tester som täcker in mycket av det som är väsentligt och samtidigt får med nyanser och gradskillnader, men jag har gjort mitt bästa, och mycket av detta bygger vidare på det jag har skrivit tidigare om till exempel vikten av att resa mycket och läsa mer utmanande litteratur för att utvecklas, samt att utgå från rimliga fysiska krav som (delvis) är anpassade efter vikt och kön.

Det svåraste har varit att göra rimliga avvägningar när det gäller universitetsutbildningsnivå, men poängen är att ta hänsyn till den inflation av utbildningar och examina som förekommer och att vara självkritisk i det avseendet. Som kompensation för en eventuell låg poäng i det avseendet kan man ha läst väldigt mycket litteratur, både inom ramarna för universitetsstudier och/eller på egen hand.


1. Hur mycket lyfter du i knäböj?
Mindre än 1 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
1-1,5 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1,5-strax under 2x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
2 eller mer x än den egna kroppsvikten: 3P

Mindre än 0,75 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
0,75-strax under 1 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1-strax under 1,25 x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
1,25 eller mer än x den egna kroppsvikten: 3p

2. Hur mycket lyfter du i bänkpress?
Mindre än 1 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
1-strax under 1,25 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1,25-strax under 1,5 x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
1,5 eller mer x den egna kroppsvikten: 3p

Mindre än 0,75 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
0,75-strax under 1 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1-1,25 x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
1,25 eller mer x den egna kroppsvikten: 3p

3. Hur mycket lyfter du i marklyft?
Mindre än 1,5 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
1,5-strax under 1,75 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1,5-strax under 2 x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
2 eller mer x den egna kroppsvikten: 3p

Mindre än 1 x den egna kroppsvikten: 0p
1-strax under 1,25 x den egna kroppsvikten: 1p
1,25-strax under 1,5 x den egna kroppsvikten: 2p
1,5 eller mer x den egna kroppsvikten: 3p

4. Hur många strikta chin-ups med brett grepp kan du göra?
0-9: 0p
10-14: 1p
15-19: 2p
20 eller fler: 3p

0-5: 0p
6-19: 1p
10-14: 2p
15 eller fler: 3p

5. Hur snabbt springer du tre (3) kilometer på en vanlig löparbana?
15 minuter eller mer: 0p
14:59-13:00: 1p
12:59:-12:00: 2p
11:59 eller mindre: 3p

16 minuter eller mer: 0p
15:59-14:00: 1p
13:59:-13:00: 2p
12:59 eller mindre: 3p

6. Vilken är din nuvarande akademiska utbildningsnivå?
Gymnasieutbildning, diplom/certifikat utanför ett universitetssammanhang, högskole- eller universitetsstudier i samband med diverse oavslutade utbildningar eller kurser (oavsett universitetsranking), kandidatexamen eller masterexamen i samhällsvetenskapliga ämnen eller humaniora vid ett topp 101-200-universitet på internationell rankinglista: 0p

Kandidat- eller masterexamen i samhällsvetenskapliga ämnen eller humaniora vid ett 51–100-rankat universitet, kandidat- eller masterexamen i naturvetenskapligt ämne, juridik, psykologi, eller medicin vid ett 101-200-rankat universitet, PhD i samhällsvetenskapligt ämne eller humaniora vid ett 101-200-rankat universitet: 1p

Kandidat- eller masterexamen i samhällsvetenskapliga ämnen eller humaniora vid ett 100-51-rankat universitet, kandidat- eller masterexamen i naturvetenskapligt ämne, juridik, psykologi, eller medicin vid ett 51-100-rankat lärosäte, PhD i samhällsvetenskapligt ämne eller humaniora vid ett 51-100-rankat universitet, PhD i naturvetenskapligt ämne, juridik eller psykologi vid ett 101-200-rankat universitet: 2p

Kandidat- eller masterexamen i samhällsvetenskapliga ämnen eller humaniora vid ett topp-tio-rankat universitet, kandidat- eller masterexamen i naturvetenskapligt ämne, juridik, psykologi, eller medicin vid ett 11-50-rankat universitet, PhD i något ämne vid ett 11-50-rankat universitet, anställd docent eller professor vid 51-100-rankat universitet: 3p

7. Hur många hela romaner och/eller akademiska verk har du läst under de senaste tolv (12) månaderna?
0-9: 0p
10-19: 1p
20-49: 2p
50 eller fler: 3p

8. Hur många hela romaner och/eller akademiska verk har du läst under hela din livstid?
0-99: 0p
100-200: 1p
200-499: 2p
500 eller fler: 3p

9. Hur många länder har du vistats i?
0-9: 0p
10-20: 1p
21-50: 2p
50 eller fler: 3p

10. Hur mycket tid har du sammantaget tillbringat utomlands?
Mindre än sex månader: 0p
Sex månader till och med strax under ett år: 1p
Ett-två år: 2p
Mer än två år: 3p


0-10 poäng
Du måste förmodligen arbeta hårt för att utvecklas fysiskt och intellektuellt, i synnerhet om du är lite äldre – för ungas del kan det handla om att man bara har kommit en viss bit i en längre personlig utvecklingsprocess och bör fortsatta på den inslagna vägen. Om det av olika skäl verkar omöjligt att genomföra en gedigen universitetsutbildning, kan det vara lämpligt med många och regelbundna biblioteks- och gymbesök (och man kan även genomföra kurser som ger en, om än inte en helgjuten utbildning, högre grad av bildning och kunskap), och/eller bevista motionsspåret. Självklart kan det även vara väsentligt för många att förändra sina kostvanor och följaktligen minska sin underhudsfettvikt, vilket i sin tur tenderar att göra en både snabbare och starkare i förhållande till kroppsvikt. Det kan också vara relevant att utvärdera sin privatekonomi och spara pengar som läggs på skräpmat och shopping till en resa resa.

11-20 poäng
På det fysiska och intellektuella kontinuumet, är du någonstans mittemellan och måste kanske avgöra om du vill fortsätta att utvecklas eller – låt oss vara ärliga – vara relativt medioker. Eller så måste du kanske kämpa för att bibehålla din nuvarande nivå, vilket kan vara nog så viktigt.

21-25 poäng
Du är utan tvekan en mycket fysiskt utvecklat intellektuell, eller kanske snarare en intellektuell fitnessperson. Det kan kanske vara så att du inte behöver utvecklas särskilt mycket mer, eller så är det precis det där lilla extra som behövs för att bli eller uppleva själv dig vara mer komplett som person, fysiskt och/eller intellektuellt.

26-30 poäng
Du är en av ganska få personer, andelsmässigt, som har upplevt stora delar av världen, och under längre perioder dessutom, erhåller en prestigefylld examen vid ett mer eller mindre topp-rankat universitet, och parallellt med detta har en högklassig fysik, såväl styrke- som uthållighetsmässigt. Oavsett hur din livssituation i ekonomiskt och andra avseenden ter sig i nuläget – det finns givetvis andra viktiga saker i livet än fysisk och intellektuell utveckling – kan du vara stolt över vad du har åstadkommit hittills.

5 main authors to focus on

This blog’s main focus is related to a specific concept, body and brains, and hence to develop both physically and intellectually as a person. To develop physically does also imply and include phenomena such as fashion, and to develop intellectually is also related to for instance traveling, so these two main areas do partly overlap several subjects and domains and consist of a rather broad spectrum of dimensions and activities.

An additional aspect of relevance is what is sometimes called life-hacking. Life is full of choices, and therefore it is both hard and ineluctable to recurrently make choices related to how to invest and spend one’s particular time and money. So if one is striving for to develop intellectually, one must select a reasonable quantity of books, journals, blogs, documentaries and podcosts to read and/or to watch and listen to. The keywords in this respect are what can be labeled as smart selection.

Throughout the years, I have read a lot of books – both academic, fiction and other categories – and hence is able to give som proper guidance with regard to which authors and works that one may chose in this respect. However, in this case I will focus solely on novel authors and their fictional works.

I will do this by to exemplify five fantastic novel authors, and in connection with each one of these mention some of their masterpieces. It is quite subjective, of course, but I have considered many aspects while making my decision in this respect, such as that a quite broad age spectrum might be able to enjoy these. For instance, one relevant dimension that I have thought of, is that all of these authors and their respective works, are often easily accessible, and can be found in many libraries and/or in bookstores, and they are available in both English and Swedish editions (and well, Strindberg wrote primarily in Swedish, of course, but his works have in many cases been translated into English and other languages) and very often as audio books too. I hope that some may find these tips useful.


1. Yukio Mishima
I have briefly written about the Japanese author Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) in earlier posts, and in conjunction with this emphasized his interesting lifestyle (he was one of the early pioneers – particularly in East Asia – in bodybuilding, and one of the most talented authors of the whole 20th century: what a combination!).

Mishima produced quite many novels during his active years, but if I would only mention one piece of work it has to be The Sound of waves (1954). It is a fantastic novel about male bravery and love between a boy and girl. It is so well-written that almost every piece of word is like a small section of art. A definite must-read.


2. August Strindberg
Strindberg (1849-1912) is, as most real or potential readers already know, one of Sweden’s most famous authors, and like Mishima he produced a vast amount of different kinds of works – not only novels, but also plays, essays, poems and journalistic material, and he was also an Impressionist painter.

With regard to his fictional works – often influenced by his own life experiences – I would have to chose Inferno (published in French in 1898, and in English the first time in 1912) as one of his absolute masterpieces. If a person is interested in existential, scientific and religious topics, this splendid piece of work is the proper one to focus on.


3. Umberto Eco
The Italian semiologist, literary critic, essayist, medievalist, popular scientific and fictional author Umberto Eco (1932-), is one of the leading intellectuals of the 20th and 21th centuries, and possesses an extraordinary amount of knowledge about many different subjects, but medieval history and literary theory in particular.

This broad and deep knowledge is showcased in many of his fictional works, such as The Name of the rose (first published in Italian in 1980 and in English in 1983) and Foucault’s pendulum (first published in Italian in 1988 and in English in 1989). Read these two – you will definitely be a lot smarter afterwards, and their plots are quite thrilling and entertaining too. Eco is the predecessor of Dan Brown but only much better.


4. Haruki Murakami
The second Japanese author on the list is Haruki Murakami (1949-), one of the most best-selling contemporary authors on a global level, and behind critically-acclaimed works such as The Wind-up bird chronicle (1994) and less prominent but commercially successful pieces such as the 1Q84 trilogy (2009-2011). You can find his pocket books in virtually every book store in the developed parts of the world, I guess.

Since Murakami is one of my absolute favorites, it is hard pick only one or a few of his works. But I think that Kafka on the shore (2002) still has to be one in this regard. It is a phantasmagoric and multilayered novel, which contents – among other things – overlap psychoanalysis, Greek mythology and Japanese history, while mainly taking place in modern Japan and thus is a interesting reflection of this country’s many facets.


5. Michel Houellebecq
Houellebecq (1958-) is one of the most controversial but also acclaimed – at least in his native homeland France and other Western countries – authors in current times, and behind partly provoking novels such as The Elementary particles (originally published in 1998, and in English in 2002) and Platform (2002).

Although it is possible to find stylistic and other sorts of flaws in all of Houellebecq’s works, I do still insist on that one should read all or at least most of them, particularly his novel debut, translated into English as Whatever (1994), and The Elementary particles (in English in 1998).

Houellebecq’s works are at the same time funny, deeply serious and regardless of aspect relevant, and treat many topics and sub-topics such as the sexual market, prostitution, ageing, existential puzzlement, and some of the obstacles that charcterize the contemporary French society. It is not easy to figure out which side he is on so to speak – for instance, is he a misanthrope or not? – but that is partly why he is worth reading. You have to think for yourself and try to figure out what your own thoughts are regarding these contentious issues.

Under årens lopp har jag läst en stor mängd böcker – både akademiska, skönlitterära och andra slags kategorier – och kan därför ge en del vägledning gällande vilka författare och verk som man kan välja bland i detta avseende. Tiden är knapp och det är därför viktigt att göra smarta urval. I det här inlägget kommer jag dock endast att fokusera på romanförfattare och deras respektive fiktiva verk.

Jag kommer göra detta genom att lista fem stycken i mitt tycke fenomenala författare, och i samband med att var och en tas upp också nämna en eller ett par av deras bästa verk. Det är förstås till stor del subjektivt, men jag har ändå tänkt igenom detta ordentligt och det gäller även beträffande åldersspektrum; tanken är att alltifrån 20- till 70-åringar skulle kunna tänkas få ut någonting av samtliga dessa. Dessutom har jag lyft fram författare och verk som i de flesta fall är väldigt lätta att få tag på, både på bibliotek och i boklådor, både på svenska och/eller engelska, ja kanske även på koreanska.

1. Yukio Mishima
Jag har tidigare skrivit lite om den japanske författaren Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) och i samband med det tagit upp denne minst sagt intressante mans – han var bland annat en av pionjärerna inom bodybuilding, åtminstone i Östasien, och definitivt en av 1900-talets mest begåvade stilister – syn på olika samhällsfrågor. Om man endast ska nämna ett av hans verk, måste det bli Bruset av vågor (1954, utgiven på svenska 1965), en fantastisk kortroman om manligt mod och kärlek mellan en tjej och en kille. Oerhört välskriven, och man slipper politiskt innehåll.

2. August Strindberg
Strindberg (1849-1912) är, som de flesta läsare redan vet, en av Sveriges mest kända författare, och har dessutom skrivit pjäser, noveller, dikter och journalistiska texter, samt var även impressionistisk målare. Om man endast ska lyfta fram en av hans romaner får det lov att bli Inferno (utgiven på franska 1898 och något senare översatt till svenska), som behandlar en mängd existentiella, religiösa och vetenskapliga perspektiv och frågor, och är inte minst enastående formulerad. Särskilt skildringarna av Paris är fenomenala.

3. Umberto Eco
Den italienske semiologen, litteraturkritikern, essäisten, medeltidskännaren, populärvetenskapliga- och romanförfattaren Umberto Eco (1932-), är en av de ledande intellektuella under 1900- och 2000-talet, och han besitter onekligen ett enormt, både brett och djupt kunnande, om många olika ämnen.

Detta färgar också hans romaner, som Rosens namn (utgiven i svensk översättning 1983) och Foucaults pendel (utgiven på svenska för första gången 1988), som båda verkligen bör läsas. Som läsare kommer man garanterat att känna sig betydligt smartare efteråt. Eco är föregångaren till Dan Brown fast oerhört mycket bättre.

4. Haruki Murakami
Murakami (1949-) är den andra japanen på listan och utan tvekan en av de mest framgångsrika författarna – på global nivå – i dag; man hittar mängder av hans böcker i inte minst pocketinriktade butiker och på snart sagt varje svenskt bibliotek. Hans långa roman Fågeln som vrider upp världen (1995) är tämligen kritikerrosad, medan flera av hans lite senare verk – som i många fall blivit översatta till svenska under de senaste 10-15 åren, oavsett när de exakt har skrivits på originalspråk – har inte mottagits med samma entusiasm av kritikerkåren, men det varierar och är inget man behöver bry sig alltför mycket om.

Eftersom Murakami är en personlig favorit är det svårt att välja endast en bok, men det får likväl bli Kafka på stranden (i svensk översättning 2007). Det är en fantasieggande och väldigt mångbottnad roman, vars innehåll och teman överlappar bland annat psykoanalys, grekisk mytologi och japansk historia, samtidigt som handlingen primärt utspelar sig i ett nutida Japan med allt vad det innebär av långa bussresor, shintohelgedomar och västerländsk popmusik. Fantastisk och kan läsas flera gånger.

5. Michel Houellebecq
Houellebecq (1958-) är utan tvekan en av de mest kontroversiella nutida författarna, men det är också svårt att kategorisera denne och lista ut vad han så att säga egentligen tycker om sådant som den sexuella marknaden, prostitution och människan som biologisk varelse – läs därför denna utmärkta recension av romanen Refug för att få en bra inblick i hans tänkande och hur det tar sig uttryck i den litterära produktionen.

Trots att fransmannen Houellebecqs verk – för några han för övrigt fått motta prestigefyllda pris i hemlandet – har en hel del brister, vill jag dock påstå att man bör läsa nästan alla eller i alla fall de flesta av hans romaner, för så intressanta och underhållande är de.

Om man vill göra ett något snävare urval i det avseendet kan man dock kanske ta itu med den korta debuten Konkurrens till döds (i svensk översättning 2002), följt av Elementarpartiklarna (i svensk översättning 2000), Refug (i svensk översättning 2006), och Kartan och landskapet (på svenska 2011).

저는 특별한 소설 을 미시마 요키오 (특별한 ‘파도 소리’), 아우구스트 스트린드베리 (‘지옥’ 특별한 ), 움베르토 에코 (예를 들면 장미의 이름 ), 무라카미 하루키 (특별한  해변의 카프카), 하고 미셸 우엘벡 (예를 들면 소립자 ) 쓰으로  좋아해요. 그 소설 들을 다 읽어주세요.