I’ve had the idea for a few years now to write a book that I tentatively called “The Owner’s Manual for Life”. It would summarize many of the things I have learned about health, wealth, philosophy and how to live a good life. The more I thought about it, the more I started to see how inadequate a single book on this subject would be. I started to think that what I needed to do was to write an entire set of books with different volumes on different topics. The set could very easily be 12 volumes or more. Even if I were writing at a very fast pace, this undertaking would take years, possibly decades. Then there would be the problem of how to organize my thoughts and the different sections. It would be nice if the books could be written in a dynamic fashion so they could be radically changed or re-organized if needed. I want the books to cover all aspects of life, and to grow and evolve as my understanding of life evolves. I got this idea of the work constantly evolving while I was studying the French philosopher Montaigne. His Essays were constantly evolving. He continued to write and revise them throughout his lifetime and several updated volumes have been published.
I had the crazy idea that writing this set of books could be my life’s work. The volumes of this work should be small enough and short enough, just like individually bound chapters, that they can be handed out and read independent of the rest of the work. One of the primary goals for the project is to be approachable. Easy to read. Non-threatening. I want to reach readers, as well as people who do not read and who would not normally be buying or reading self improvement or philosophy books.
I started writing it in February 2016. There is a lot of self-help and philosophy information out there, but nothing that I know of in this format, and nothing that covers such a broad scope of topics that I am trying to cover here. I really want this to be an overall outline, or owner’s manual for life, helping you think things through for yourself and pointing you to many valuable resources that can help you in your life. I don’t want to tell anyone that there is any one way to do anything. I want to present the information that I have gathered through reading and experience, and allow the reader to make his or her own decisions.
My approach to acquiring knowledge and wisdom is to gather as much information as I can from all different sources and perspectives. As Napoleon Hill says, I’m trying to keep “An open mind on ALL subjects”. This is somewhere where I feel the large majority of people fall short, give into arrogance or start to think they know how things really are and they know better than others. I strive to always be open to new information and be ready to change my viewpoint and approach. Very few things in life are black and white. Charlie Munger says to always look for disconfirming evidence for any view that you hold. Never think that you know anything beyond doubt. Charlie Munger also says, “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”
Montaigne, in my eyes one of the greatest philosophers of all time, would often end his statements with “What do I know?”, introducing a healthy skepticism, as well as deflecting critics. I realize this may be a hugely arrogant thing to write, but I am working on it with a humble mindset. My plan is to write for a year, and if I have something to show for myself I’ll post it HERE, free for the whole world to read and learn from. And I’m sure it will continue to evolve and grow over time.