How to argue with fundamentalists without losing your mind

Hubert Schleichert

"The basic situation is straightforward: There is a certain thesis, and somebody asks: Why? Giving an answer to this means providing an argument."

We are always arguing. We weigh up the pros and cons of a given idea, we attack others' positions on a given topic and defend our own. This is especially prevalent in business: Here, being able to convince others with both logical as well as rhetorical accuracy is a decisive advantage. Hubert Schleichert's classic essay "How to argue with fundamentalists without losing your mind" provides the basics of the theory of argumentation in a very entertaining way. In this very short and very enjoyable book, Schleichert outlines the most common bogus arguments and fake equations. He unmasks the arguments of populist politicians as well as fundamentalist religious leaders. A very rewarding read! (Christophe Braun)

"How to argue with fundamentalists without losing your mind" is not available in English. However, Jay Rosenberg's classic "The Practice of Philosophy" makes for a great alternative. 

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Shoukei Matsumoto

"(...) we must put all our efforts into each day so we have no regrets, and (...) we must not grieve for the past nor worry about the future."

In this short essay, Buddhist monk Shoukei Matsumoto describes the daily routines of monastic life in Japan, particularly stressing the importance of cleaning and maintaining. For these routines, he argues, are intimately linked to cultivating one's mind: It is by adhering to daily tasks such as washing clothes, dusting or washing the dishes that we develop mindfulness and develop true, deep bonds with the world around us. In this sense, Matsumoto's guide is much more than just a text about some monastic routines. It's a guide to live life in the most mindful, attentive manner possible. (Christophe Braun)

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind on Amazon

Ego is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday

"When we remove ego, we're left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes - but rock-hard humility." 

Which force ruins successful entrepreneurs, burns billions every day and prevents thousands from developing their full potential? According to Ryan Holiday, it's ego. Ego is our innate tendency to overestimate our own importance and our place in the world. Ego tells us that we're far more important, smart and experienced than the world seems to see. And thus begins a lifelong downward spiral of failures and despair. For the world that ego suggests is but an illusion, with little ties to reality. Ryan Holiday suggests a remedy for this ego-mania: the philosophy of the stoics. Their humility and their fatalism might help to ground one's own perspective. A read that is both entertaining and motivating - and sure provides a cold shower for your ego. (Christophe Braun)

Ego is the Enemy on Amazon