In 2010, during the Great Recession, my dad and I decided to start a business. I was still in grad school and realized I had little chance to land a good job because the economy was still recovering from the financial crisis.
As a minority, getting a job was even more difficult. I looked at the job market, the economy, and my little experience, and figured I had little chance of getting a good opportunity.
My dad was working at a major linen cleaning service, an industry that was cutting costs really fast. As a manager, he had to fire dozens of people, and my dad just didn’t see himself working for that company anymore.
As I’m writing this (March 2022), there’s a lot of conversation around whether we are headed for a recession or not.
Since we haven’t had a real one for a while, let’s look at the definition of a recession:
“A significant decline in economic activity spread across the market, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”
Most people look at real GDP (adjusted for inflation) to determine whether we’re in a recession. It makes sense in hindsight, but I don’t find that a useful measure to detect a recession. GDP is simply the market value of all the goods and services produced in a specific time period by countries.
It says very little about what you and I feel like when we’re managing our finances and spending.
A foundational idea in modern society is that we all need to strive for more. You can see this everywhere, from movies, books, articles, to the way people speak in private.
We often say something like, I want to be.. smarter, more successful, better, faster, etc. We’re always thinking about some kind of future moment when we will have more of whatever we’re after. More money, status, respect, love.
You see the desire for more in many ads as well. One of the best examples is a marketing campaign that Mcdonald’s ran a few years ago called “You deserve more.” It’s about their breakfast, and apparently, Micky D thinks we all deserve to have “more savory, more sweet.”
I’ve read hundreds of books in my life. But only a few dozen made a lasting impact on the way I live.
And from the few dozen great books I’ve read, there are 7 that inspired me to be better. I can honestly say that I’ve changed my life and behavior for the better after reading these books.
Here they are. I truly hope they will have the same effect on you.
If you enjoyed Sapiens by Yuval Harari, you’ll love this one. The Dawn of Everything is written by anthropologist David Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow.