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A Eulogy for Nana


Abby lost her grandmother this week.
This is her eulogy to her.

She was Aunty Matty to other people, mummy to her children and countless other fond names to who knew her.

But she was my Nana.

I have memories of her cradling me, and taking care of me as a baby.
Vacations at Nana’s were the highlight of my childhood years.
She was a tireless, hard working woman who raised her large family to the best of her abilities.
And not just her family, but also (to me it seemed) the whole neighbourhood.
She was loved and appreciated, just by about everyone whose life she touched.

As the years flew by, Nana seemed very out of place.
In our fast paced, always connected, no time for any one age, Nana was a slow, deliberate, thoughtful, kind, gentle and gracious woman, like someone from a different, more altruistic age.

And it was here in her shadow years, while i was grew up and was beginning to work and could make my own trips to see her, that i really began to see her for the strong willed, tireless, hard working that she was, beyond just my nana who cossetted me and made me nice things.

And after all these years, the only theme i see that has rung true throughout Nana’s life was, Nana was there.

  • when i was a young bawling baby, Nana was there.
  • throughout my growing up years, Nana was there.
  • to cook me what my heart desired, Nana was there.
  • for everyone in her life, Nana was there.
  • to crack jokes and lighten up any room, Nana was there.
  • to empathise and have a compassionate ear to whatever was ailing you, Nana was there.
  • to gently, yet firmly correct you, Nana was there.
  • to remember you on your birthdays and anniversaries, Nana was there.
  • to worry about you and pick you up when you were down, Nana was there.

Since the day before, when Nana left us, I feel distraught and left alone, that Nana wasn’t there.
And yet, as i read this little note, i realise that this is not quite true.
Like the Little Prince tells the author,

I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy.
But it will be like an old abandoned shell.
There is nothing sad about old shells …

Nana was in pain, and she moved on beyond her body to her rest.
But that does not mean, she isn’t there anymore.
I will always carry Nana with me.
We all do.
Nana is here.


Why You Need a Reading Plan

Jeremy Andenberg, on the importance of Reading Plans:

Creates room for mastery of a subject.

This is perhaps my favorite part of having a reading plan. We’ve made the case multiple times here on Art of Manliness that everyone should strive to be “T-shaped”; that is, you should have a breadth of general knowledge, but also mastery in a single topic or subject or skill. Such mastery provides satisfaction and self-confidence in spades.

So how do you achieve mastery?
One way is certainly by reading deeply into a single subject.
Whether driven by your career or your personal passions, having a reading plan is a surefire way to deepen your knowledge base.

Read more over at the Art of Manliness.
They also have a helpful list of several reading plans if you need inspiration.

P.S. If you like this, you’ll definitely enjoy my newsletter. Go, subscribe.


Supernova in the East

If you haven’t already heard me raving about Hardcore History and Dan Carlin then you’re about to :)

Hardcore History is the world’s slowest podcast. The Accidental Tech Podcast, a topical weekly Apple news podcast that i listen to, started in 2013 and as of today, 16th January, 2019 is now on episode 308. Hardcore History, on the other hand, began its run in 2005 and is now on episode 65. I just checked the feed and Dan averages a measly two episodes a year.

In truth however, it makes very little sense to look at them as podcast episodes. Think of them as books. Medium length audiobooks. And then it suddenly makes sense. A book a year. An engaging history book, a year. For free!

Not that you’ll want to just stick to free anyhoo. Dan is superengaging and like so many folks say he makes history come alive.

After a few episodes, you’ll be begging to give him your money. The man is that good. And if you are so inclined, the entire back catalogue is available for purchase. My favourite is the Wrath of the Khans. 1

And why all this raving now? Because it’s time for “Supernova in the East II”, the first Hardcore History episode of 2019. Find Supernova in the East I here.

From the episode’s description:

The Asia-Pacific War of 1937-1945 has deep roots. It also involves a Japanese society that’s been called one of the most distinctive on Earth. If there were a Japanese version of Captain America, this would be his origin story.

Intrigued? Then go listen. And subscribe to all future episodes in your podcast player of choice, using this link.

You can thank me later.

P.S. The pic below is a glimpse of the research that goes into one, single episode.



  1. This link goes to a seperate compilation download just for this series. 

The Final Word on Building Habits – Atomic Habits

If you want to build a habit, this is the definitive book on the topic. 1 You could read about habits in other books, to learn more, but if you actually want to be building them, look no further.

This was the first book in a long time that moved me to actually take action. Succint, pithy and packed with advice, there isn’t a wasted word in its 300 odd pages. And unlike other, it does not feel like three-hundred-pages. Moving from introduction to positing its arguments to tactical advice to conclusion, this feels more like a fast paced novel.

On we go to the things that moved me.

Read more…

Looking for Something to Read in the New Year?

As the year draws to an end, here’s what the folks I follow read this year.

Vishal Khandelwal, has a couple of short, sweet posts on “The Books That Made Me.” Here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2.

If you’ve already read (and reread) Taleb’s books, here’s a list of books he loves (and hates).

Here is Ryan Holiday’s evergreen list and here’s what he was unto in 2018.

Patrick Collison has a whole antilbrary. (via this ttfs episode).

James Clear wins most organised list.

I follow this not a blog and this tumblr, because these giants who I have grown up on, always have something to recommend.

Not an annual list per se, but Brett McKay’s recommendations have always been awesome!

And finally the big daddy of them all, the annual Farnam Street reading list. While Shane Parrish changed my life in more ways than one, by teaching me how to read and focus, it was his opinions on the books he read that made me follow him all those years ago.

My own eccentric list of books is here.

And there you have it. My little gift to you.

I have about a hundred of you awesome folk on this list. And no matter how infrequent or erratic I am, more than half of you always read every mail I send.
And you always have an encouraging word for me.

For your time, and your attention, and your little acts of kindness, I am truly humbled and thankful.

Merry Christmas to you all! And a Happy New Year!

Gratefully, Jason

P.S. And if you haven’t already, you can always subscribe here.