The Sum of Your Parts


A number of requests have come in asking for recommendations on books to help people prepare for our ARAINDROP Personal Security & Environmental Manipulation course. I find it is a difficult question to answer – and I’ll revisit this a little further down the page – because there isn’t one book or one treatise to prepare someone for all eventualities. The premise of ARAINDROP is: how to maintain control of you and your surroundings when your entire environment can change in the blink of an eye. Other than being immersed within it, how does one prepare for every outcome?

If I were to attach a book list I would insert a link to Amazon where you could read all of the currently 32.8 million books for sale. I heartily suggest their Prime membership if you choose to go that route because that’s a lot of free shipping.

So I talked with Ellen and we decided to gather our own lists. Below are our individual answers, some with explanation, some not. We decided to set the limit at five books.

Matt’s List

  1. The Bible, because the power exists.
  2. Peace Like a River, by Lief Enger, because that power can exist within us.
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, because life is about the journey and joy can be found in the most unlikely things.
  4. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, because life is about the journey and sometimes there’s bumps.
  5. The Odyssey, by Homer, because it is good to remember “my name is Nobody”.

Ellen’s List

  1. The I Ching.  The one constant in life is change.
  2. The I Ching.  Study another translation.
  3. The Tao Te Ching.  + repeat same instructions for #2.
  4. The Field, by Lynne McTaggart, to expand the conversation.
  5. The Survivor Personality, by Al Siebert, Phd.

So there are our lists. For today. For right now. As I sit alone in a crowd, in a cafe, writing. Realistically though: what book could you read in preparation for life? Every fragment of writing from every book you have ever read has become a piece of your mosaic, just as listened lyrics have become part of your song. You are the sum of your parts, yet your parts are in a constant state of flux. Pick one color that defines you, or one word, or one song. We – us – are fluid: which is why we survive. We are shaped by our environment as much as we shape it: which is why we are successful. We create our monsters and our demons: which is why we can prevail.

Read one book or read them all. The answer isn’t in the book, it’s in you.

Write your journey.

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