Score: 95/100 (9.5 out of 10)
This is our absolute favorite Michael Cook book for a reason! We rarely have a book this short score this highly, but it's well-deserved. It's short and concise yet packs a huge punch! It's one of the best collections of inspirational and practical life quotes we've ever read! We have no doubt that if humanity were to follow the advice in this book, the world would be a much better and happier place.
So, where do we begin? Let's start with the general premise of this book. Meditations for Modern Man is a collection of quotes and affirmations—“maxims”— about the following subjects: leadership, morality, logic, facts, liberty, criticism, character, education, and politics. These maxims were collected by the author in a small notebook over the course of three years. They are based on 30 years of studying history, observing and experiencing events, and supervising military service men and women.
There's also a short section on different logical fallacies which are at the root of flawed thinking and decision making. Interestingly, this also includes appeals that Aristotle advocated for like the appeal to emotion. That reminds us that being persuasive doesn't mean being good, moral, or right. Most people are simply not aware that they are being manipulated by politicians, the education system, and the media on a constant basis. We watch commercials in which celebrities tell us to eat or drink a certain thing, yet those celebrities—utilizing “appeals to authority”—are always paid and sometimes don't even eat or drink the things they're advertising. Kids don't know that. Many adults consciously or subconsciously forget that. Yet they're bombarded with this information that's full of deception. And they accept it. We accept it.
This is even scarier when it comes to things like politics. How many times can the media remind you that something or someone is “bad”—whether they truly are or not—before you start to believe it and accept it as true? Truth seems eerily relative in that regard.
In a nutshell: don't be a lemming, at least in the mythological sense. Don't follow others off a cliff just because those others are doing it. Don't believe just because everyone else believes. Do your own due diligence. Question everything. Challenge everything. And don't forget that everyone has an agenda that often doesn't involve your personal health, happiness, and well-being.
Something we can greatly appreciate about these is that many of them are what we'd consider counter-cultural. That means that they don't reflect the Millennial popular opinion of the time. This book isn't about what's popular or hip, it's about what's true and what works. For example, you would think that throwing money at a problem like poverty would work. That's pretty much what the government does. But what you think is real isn't necessarily reality. What you believe isn't necessarily what's true.
Furthermore, we've long emphasized language, math, and sciences, but practical life skills and the trades have always been neglected by our education system. The author advocates for these practical life skills and trades.
Here are a few of our favorite quotes and partial quotes from the book:
“Actions, not incomes, define people as noble or evil.”
“Nothing is ever free, it must be paid for in exchange of individual responsibility and personal liberty.”
“The most intolerant people in the world are those people who demand tolerance from everyone else.”
“There are two types of people in this world: you either have a pair of balls or you cling to a pair.”
There are so many more great quotes from this book!
Check it out on Amazon!