Resources

Hello there,

As asked by many friends, I have put together a resource page for all the life-advice stuff that I’ve been reading, applying and writing about. 

My writing for the last two years has been an ongoing personal (and now more public) inquiry into the human condition. I know that it’s a big bold claim, but I can’t find a better terms to describe the various questions I’ve been asking along the way. I do so mostly by telling stories and muse on them. Participant-observer, as the anthropologists say. I would like to believe that we are not alone, and that the troubles I’ve sit with is not unique and therefore may mean something to you. 

In college, I almost majored in Philosophy as I got fascinated by Western philosophy (like this Onion article). Then I burned out and decided to just enjoy life without thinking too much about it, aka taking an experiential approach. Needless to say, I failed miserably and ended up philosophizing every step along the way. 🤣 One thing for sure though: my inquiry is not a search for capital T Truth, whatever that means. It’s just fun, interesting and sometimes important.

Sometimes I draw on my background as a Millennial, a Vietnamese, someone who went to school in Singapore, college student in America, a nerd, an almost-techie, an almost-trickster who enjoys mixing, matching, twisting and discombobulating life experiences to share. Friends have come to talk to me about life, its joys and sorrows, its celebrations and struggles. I got better at admitting my ignorance, reframing and exploring those questions with them.

I want to keep asking and living those questions, and I am rejoiced to have you with me. No, you don’t have to be on my side. Indeed, I’d prefer you don’t so that we can co-inquire into the line we have drawn. It’s always my invitation for you to be on par, with-ness and play with me.

Life is a beautiful mess to be wondered about rather than cleaned up. 


Onto potentially helpful stuff.

Resources

  • Enneagram: If you are into the whole personality think, 18-40 year old and haven’t heard of the Enneagram, you should definitely check it out. I like it more than the Myer Briggs because it has a lot more dynamic view of human development. The Wisdom of the Enneagram is a great book. Send me a note if you want some scanned pages.
  • ULab: Leading from the Emerging Future: I’ve taken it this free online course every year since it was first offered 3 years ago. It’s not a normal online course; it’s a budding social movement of integrating the intelligence of the head, heart and hand. Highly recommended for those who isn’t sure of what they want to pursue in their life but have a vague sense that they want to do something meaningful for the world (which is most of us anyway). If you have 40′ quiet uninterrupted time for a journaling session, do it here. 
  • Books
    • Work/life “practical” stuff
      • Design Your Life: great methodology to think about your life as a designer
      • What Color Is Your Parachute: you can’t go wrong with this classic job-hunting. I’ve got a signed copy by the late Richard Bolles 🙂
      • How will you measure your life (decent summary): looking at life through the lens of business. One of those rarer books that teaches us how to think, not what to think. Good theories matter.
        • Related: The Startup of You:  Good career advice in general for those interested in career. I am learning to let go of the notion of “career” myself, but many tips there are useful as life advice too. 
    • Deeper (whatever that means)
      • Wild Mind and Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin are both well-researched and soulfully written (he has a really nice definition of “soul” that doesn’t feel religious or new-agy, which I appreciate).
      • Finite & Infinite Games by James Carse. I gave up highlighting this tiny book – it’s way too dense. The opening line nails it There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play”
      • When you feel existential  and spiritually horny, get Alan Watt. He will slap you in the face and you will feel great about it. For someone who used to be so deep into self-improvement, this is a good whack What if there is no self to improve. Beware: by conventional labels, he was an alcoholic and infidel. By the way, as someone who’s inflicted with a terminal disease called “a desire to live a meaningful life” I hit existential crises quite often too, and riffed about it once here.
      • If you are interested in what I read, see Thought Diet on my page.
  • Websites

Now to stuff I wrote.

Dear Jumbo: The advice column I wrote for Tufts students during my senior year.

Personal inquiry

 

Phew! I will update this page often. Meanwhile, you can subscribe for the weekly Enzymes for delicious food for thoughts here, and do send me a note at g.khuyen [at] gmail [dot]com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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