Letters To A Young Contrarian

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A short and elegantly written handbook on why and how you should stand up for what you believe in.

Who should read it: Anyone who needs a little reassurance to stand-up strongly for what they believe in

What I took from it: Letters To A Young Contrarian reassured that it is not only acceptable but valuable and desirable, to disagree and question many preconceived ideas or social norms. The consensus is not always a reliable source of what is true, or good – and if you wish to stand for what is true or good, then you must be willing to accept the hardships of being a black sheep at times. As you would expect with Hitchen’s writing, he conveys his points elegantly and poetically. This book will mean different things to different people, but I think the following quote encapsulates its broader message perfectly. If it intrigues you, the entire book might be worth your time.

Notable quote: Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

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