On books, Nassim Taleb says this –
1) Never read a book that can be adequately summarized
2) Never read a book you would not reread
3) No book that can be shortened survives
— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) March 18, 2017
I completely endorse it.
It has been quite rare that I have come across a book, I want to read twice. In fact, a lot of books with me unfinished.
Maybe, I just don’t get my hands on the right books.
Anyways, after a long time, I read one such book. And I read it again – the second time. I am sure I will read it many more times.
It passes the 3 tests, as suggested by Taleb, 100%.
The book is Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
The title makes it appear to be a book on Writing. Even I thought so, till I started reading it.
Yes, it is a book about writing. It is equally a book about meditation, starting up, entrepreneurship, career and life.
Rarely does a book traverse so many segments so effortlessly. It’s a true gem.
Let me bring back the central point of the book – Writing.
If you are a budding writer or someone who has felt that you have a writer inside you, yet hesitated to start, this is the book you MUST read.
Let me share my personal experience.
As you are aware, I write this blog you are reading and one other too. What you might not know is that I also write privately, for myself.
Writing has done a world of good to me.
While my private writing allows me to be deeply in touch with myself, the best part about the public blog is that it allows me to be in touch with you.
After reading the Bones book, I am feeling a new energy under my wings.
It has allowed me to trust my instincts more, not to worry too much about what others would think, how to get over the writer’s block and finally, let my voice truly out on to the paper (or screen).
It has done it in an amazing way. I can’t explain. That’s the secret of the book.
You feel it when you read it.
Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword was a genius. Combine the pen and the internet and you can shake the world.
You are not dependent upon anyone to get your voice heard out there. You can communicate your thoughts independently and connect with those who matter, those who believe in you and want to become a part of your movement.
The internet is a given. But you need to bring your voice out. I know you must be holding yourself back, giving several silly excuses to not do it. At one point, I had too.
Bones recognises this aspect brilliantly and helps you come out of this self-created shell. You don’t just come out, you flower, you thrive, you rock!
Connecting real life, Zen and the power of the pen, the author Natalie turns out to be a master teacher.
Here are some excerpts from the book:
Writers live TWICE.
Don’t worry about your talent or capability: that will grow as you practice. Katagiri Roshi said, “Capability is like a water table below the surface of earth.” No one owns it, but you can tap it.
Writers have good figures.
Let one plus one be a Mercedes Benz.
Don’t “make” your mind do anything. Simply step out of the way and record your thoughts as they roll through you. …We can step through moons right into bears. You will take leaps naturally if you follow your thoughts, because the mind spontaneously takes great leaps.
Doubt is torture.
If you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot. And don’t think too much.
If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you. …if you want to learn something, go to the source. Basho, the great seventeenth century Haiku master, said, “If you want to know about a tree, go to the tree.”
So, just listen, read and write. Little by little, you will come closer to what you need to say and express it though your voice.
Everyone has a genuine voice that can express his or her life with honest dignity and detail. There seems to be a gap between the greatness we are capable of and the way w see ourselves and, therefore, see our work.
Gore Vidal has a wonderful quote. “As every author-and every reader-knows, writing well is the best trip of them all.” Don’t even worry about writing “well”; just writing is heaven.
These are just the few parts I highlighted. There is so much more to it.
With reference to Taleb’s heuristic “don’t read a book if can be adequately summarised” – this one cannot be. You have to read it yourself.
Even if after reading this book, you don’t start communicating your own voice, you never will. That’s how powerful this book is. It invokes your courage, intuition, intelligence, humour in a way that you have never imagined before.
Grab Writing down the Bones now and read it like it’s the only book you will ever have.
Then you let me know what happened after. Deal?
Between you and me: If you have a stomach of a writer and you are looking for an opportunity to be a part of an online venture which has writing and content as its central theme, get in touch with me. Write to me with details about you at vipin [at] vipinkhandelwal [dot] com. Let’s live.