Corentin Derbré


A Philosopher’s Notes Volume 1 – Brian Johnson

ISBN: 0983059101
Date read: 2016-04-10
How strongly I recommend it: 9/10
(See my list of books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Easygoing writing style. A complied list of advice on many virtues and techniques to be happy and reach goals. Useful reminder of ideas and concepts. It might not make sense to 'how to live well' newcomers, and doesn't add anything for people familiar with 'how to live well'.

my notes


“The Master said, If out of the three hundred songs I had to take one phrase to cover all my teachings, I would say ‘Let there be no evil in your thoughts.’” – Confucius

Choosing to curl up in the corner (or in bed) as we helplessly let life shock us again and again is THE quickest way to ensure we’re depressed.

Optimism is not about whistling happy tunes to ourselves when life gets challenging. It’s about disciplining our minds to create more empowering explanations of what’s going on.

The equanimity game: When you find yourself off balance and life has kicked you in the butt, see how fast you can get back in balance. (Marcus Aurelius)

To think you’re gonna get that goodness when you’re constantly sowing the seeds of anger, fear, greed, impa- tience, laziness, half-assness, entitlement and whiny-ness just isn’t very wise, eh?

Every situation is essentially neutral/empty of meaning.

Suffering inherent to life.

Purpose & Self Awareness

“What human beings can be, they must be.” – Abraham Maslow

“Everything—a horse, a vine—is created for some duty… For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.” – Marcus Aurelius

Living a life of purpose is all about knowing that our Ultimate Purpose—our Highest Goal—is seeing just how consistently we can plug into the best within us. In short, to live with integrity.

Basic idea is really simple: Everything is created twice—once in your mind/biz plan/blueprint and then in reality. Same thing goes with our lives. If we want to create a truly extraordinary life, it’s a good idea to know what a truly extraordinary life would look like, eh?

The first quality of a master: Curiosity.

She points out the fact that, although it’s her inner genius who’s responsible for the creative goodness that might come through her on any given day, it’s HER responsibility to show up to write.


“Avoid fragmentation: Find your focus and seek simplicity. Purposeful living calls for elegant efficiency and economy of effort—expending the minimum time and energy necessary to achieve desired goals.” – Dan Millman


“The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.” – George Leonard

The slow but steady day-by-day improvements and, OVER THE LONG RUN, you’ll be way ahead.

At the end of every day ask yourself, Self (Note: It’s VERY important you refer to yourself as “Self ” ;), did we get a little better today?”

“99% is a bitch. 100% is a breeze.” – Jack Canfield

Obviously, the stonecutter isn’t strong enough to break a rock in one blow and no one is “lucky” enough to reach any level of sustainable success without an equally diligent and consistent effort.

Good luck is just another name for tenacity of purpose.

To develop integrity, quit making so many commitments and really check in before you make your next commitment and confirm to yourself that you will, fer sure, follow thru.

See how many things you can “one touch.”


Too busy driving to stop for gas.

Consistency over intensity.

First, we need to “Overload” our bodies—we need to go past our current comfort zones and, basically, ask our body to work a little harder than it’s used to working. (Not too far past the comfort zone or we’re likely to injure ourselves. Think “Stretch Zone” not “Snap Zone.”) Now, our bodies are remarkably adaptive and don’t like getting their butts kicked and they basically say, “Hey, there! Wow. So, uh, you want me to be able to lift that weight/ run that extra mile/swim that extra lap, eh? Well, alrighty then. Bring it on!” After that little self-pep-talk, our bodies “Over- compensate”—they strengthen themselves so they can handle that new level of stress next time around. Pretty cool, eh?

“You have enormous untapped power you’ll probably never tap, because most people never run far enough on their first wind to ever find they have a second.” – William James

We take antidepressants like they’re tic-tacs. Prolly don’t want to be “normal” in a society like that!

We cultivate control of our minds such that we can put our attention where we want, when we want.


“As an irrigator guides water to his fields, as an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.” – Buddha

“What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor Frankl

The greatest among us simply take the next step and do what needs to be done.


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Courage is the virtue that vitalizes all the other virtues.


“if he wants to live in love, he must spend at least as much time as the auto mechanic or the gourmet in studying love.” – Leo Buscaglia

Everything is empty of meaning—everything is inherently NEUTRAL. (Buddhist Concept)


When we violate our own deepest truths it’s like we’re literally breaking down from within.

Speaking of retirement… Who came up with that? Work our asses off doing something we’re not passion- ate about so we can accumulate enough money to pay the bills from our stress-caused illnesses while we bitch about what we should have done when we were still young.

© 2018 Corentin Derbré.