To All the Books I’ve Loved Before

I have since had to sell the knight, but these two bookshelves contain approximately a fifth of the books I own. The swastika is on the WWII history Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, so please don’t think I am a Nazi.

Recently I wrote quite a bit about goals, dreams, and plans. Then I broke some readers hearts by writing about shams. Now I’ll return to the topic of plans. I’ll leave a link to the post in case you wish to read or review it.

I finished that post with these paragraphs:

“Plans and goals to achieve this? Right now, I intend to publish three written blog posts every week (so feel free and comment if I fail on that). Second, I intend to start or restart a YouTube channel to do book reviews, or to discuss anything my readers would enjoy me talking about. Last of all, I intend to build this into an actual, professional website. I intend to figure out how to make an actual menu so people can find this more easily. I intend at some point to monetize, though I’ll be honest, I have only vague idea of how to do that.

“I know that likely, most of the things I envision may never come to fruition. It would be so simple, so easy to give up. Get fat. Hate women for not wanting me. Run off all my friends with a negative attitude. Stop writing, start reading b rate escapist fiction. To quote George Michael though…”Maybe…just one more try.” Or, to quote Cyrano when he is asked if he has read Don Quixote:

Cyrano de Bergerac: I have, and found myself the hero. Antoine Comte de Guiche: Be so good as to read once more the chapter of the windmills… Windmills, remember, if you fight with them…may swing round their huge arms and cast you down into the mire! Cyrano: Or cast you up into the stars!”

When I looked up my old YouTube channel, this was the image that popped up. Yes, cruel world, that is me a few years back trying to do book reviews. I fear I have not aged gracefully; I’ve put on about fifty pounds since then. The channel was Poe’s Hotel, and I only reviewed one book, Codependent No More.

In this post, I’ll share three principles I’ve learned from a book that impacted me profoundly, and lastly, I will share my mental brainstorming for a YouTube channel I would like to start (or restart), and lastly, I will share my list of books I am interested in both reviewing for my audience, and also my success or failure in applying the principles of each book, and how it impacts my life.

Most of my life I’ve been searching for “the idea.” The idea that will make the world a better place, and possibly make me a fortune. Or, at least, that I’ll be able to make an honest living doing something I love for the good of humanity.

Up to this time, the idea has either eluded me, or I am not wise enough to understand how to make it work.

I believe I’ve written a bit about this elsewhere, but when I was 12, my dad brought home a tape. (For you young folks, a tape was like a primitive zip drive, it had recordings of music or audio books on it). It was a condensed audiobook, Earl Nightengale’s presentation of Napoleon Hill’s classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich. I’ve digested this book, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t applied more than half of its easier principles. Whether my life of poverty is my fault or of the world, I’ll allow the reader to be the judge.

This audio book both inspired me and has since also depressed me. Many of the few good things I have accomplished were in part inspired by it, but on the other hand, I keep thinking it is my fault I am not a successful person (at least in the eyes of some). Has a book ever had that impact on you? Comments wanted.

There really is quite a lot of useful information in the book, but the reason I discuss it here is that bogey idea. The three principles it teaches that I wrestle with are:

  • 1. All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.
  • 2. Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.
  • 3. The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.
If Napoleon Hill is correct, this man started out with some idea he capitalized on.

Ok Idea Men, What’s the Big Idea?

I’m often asking people around me if they have come up with the million-dollar idea. Likely this irritates most people, but I’ve felt ever since I listened to that tape that all I really need is the idea. If I just had that, I could take off like a rocket. I was gifted with imagination, so you would think I would be someone full of ideas. And I do have a few, but honestly, many of them are either just not good, or are half baked. Now, if you give me an idea, I can form you a fairly decent strategy and run with it. But I often don’t have the original idea myself. So far, the blog is the best idea I’ve stolen. Even the idea of blogging is not my own (though I did come up with the brand name. I’m quite proud of it).

What evil lies in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. And he is psionically well endowed. Maybe it is for the best that we can’t read each other’s minds. Perhaps before we get to be telepathy as a species, we need to be better stewards of our minds.

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.

This tape was literally the first time in my life that anyone ever told me it was OK to want something. The first lesson in my life from my abusive parents was that if you wanted it, you couldn’t have it. “Santa Clause is poor, remember that.” Also, most of my childhood everyone acted like I was a burden, like I was in the way, like they would be better off if I were gone.

You can’t want food, because Mom is too tired to cook it. You can’t want attention, because Dad is killing mad on whiskey and even if he is sober, he worked 100 hours this week and has no time, energy, or patience for you. You can’t want a woman’s love, because you are poor, and a woman will never marry into poverty.

And anyway, God wants us to be poor (so I was taught). The rich usually stole it, and God will get them in the next life. This life you should just write off, suffer nobly, and enjoy the bounty of Heaven, where you will gloat over the wealthy as they roast in hell.

Then I married my ex-wife and was introduced to the prosperity gospel. I don’t really wanna write much about that here…let’s just say my love of the Law of Attraction ideology has been profoundly affected.

But I’ll admit…I want it to be true. I want there to be some form of justice in the universe. That good people are rewarded with good. But I’m here ta tell ya, in my limited experience, there is not much justice in this world.

Anyway, I’m trying hard to make up my mind about LOA. Comments wanted.

Socrates, Buddha, and Spock all seemed to be telling me not to feel anything. For several years I was all too willing to comply.

One last thing and I’ll move on. I’ve noticed that bullies and abusers resent you wanting anything. “You filthy peasant! How dare you want glass panes for your windows? How dare you want a pay raise? How dare you want adequate food, shelter and clothing? Shut up and get back to work!”

And I just realized I got point two and three mixed up, but I think I can still work with this. Constructive comments on my bad editing below.

Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.

It is hard to argue this one. It isn’t scientific at all. For one thing, it is unfalsifiable. For another, how can you gather data on what you are thinking? Unless you get the Elon Musk chip (I send him a blog post two or three times a week, yet I never get a response…. And I’m pretty sure our thoughts do have a huge impact on how our lives go. But…how can you control your thoughts? I know you can deliberately think of one thing to try to drive out something you don’t wanna think about. I’ll leave an article here about it, but I do think that on the whole, controlling the monkey mind is a challenge very few will ever master.

Poe’s Hotel

A couple of years ago, I decided to start my own YouTube channel. At first it was me reading poetry. That received very few views. Then a friend of mine said that with all the books I read, I should do book reviews, and call it “Curtis Cut.” I did that for a bit, but when I got this job, I became too busy to do it anymore. But I think it is time to get back to it. So, readers, what do you think? Would you watch a channel, or listen to a podcast of Tired Blogger What Blogs at Midnight?

I’m thinking I’ll start a new one, about book reviews, and keep The Tired Midnight Blogger brand going. But I will be happy to listen to feedback. Let me know in the comments what you think you would like to listen to? Until I hear from Ya’ll, I intend to begin reading ten books for my self-help/writer’s journey.

A Tired Blogger’s List of Books to Review

Every book in here.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Your Novel.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Website.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Marketing.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams.

90 Days to Your Novel.

As you see, most of these books aim at writing, publishing, or online business.

I am also considering reviewing Think and Grow Rich, The One Minute Millionaire, and/or possibly The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Rich.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, nor do I intend to limit myself to nonfiction. I would love, one day, to write about the many books and authors I love. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Homer, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, the list goes on and on.

What do ya’ll think? What books would you want me to review? Or is there some other topic you think I should discuss? Comments wanted.



  1. Xman says:

    YES! This is GREAT
    — revise/rebrand the Book Review.
    — mix Blog topics between the personal (goals, philosophy, geekdom) and the Worldly (politics, society, philosophy #2), each with that awesome TMBWBaM sarcasm/hyperbole!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Curtiswselby says:

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Now I gotta get to the next one. Whadayathink of the title “Avengers Assemble”?


  2. Xman says:

    Re: Law of Attraction & Get Rich books/videos

    I definitely think there is **something** to a positive attitude. And 100%, Effort is needed. But if that’s the sum factors, then many, many, many more people would be able to follow the supposed Millionaire Handbook.

    I’m torn between there being some element of “luck” or “aligned circumstances” and my personal upbringing that Hard Work brings reward — it 100% does but often times that Reward of hard work is reaped by the corporation and not the ground level worker.

    I think there also has to be a “freedom to take risks” factor. One has to be “free enough” from economic and family (or societal) responsibilities to take the risk of entrepreneurship. Heck, sometimes even just switching jobs (for better pay or conditions) that is a trade of working from one version of The Man to another is “too risky” for some people.
    If one can go to Zimbabwe to dig in the dirt for diamonds, sleep in a tree for 2 years, and be destitute and emaciated, and finally find the treasure, then that’s perhaps an example of the combination of hard work, Risk Freedom, and conditions/circumstances that I wrestle with myself.

    I’m personally have never found the “be rich” books to be of much value — but maybe it doesn’t matter if the “Treasure Map” is a fake? Maybe those books ARE helpful for getting off the front porch?
    (It’s a dangerous step, young Frodo…)
    Because I do believe that if one doesn’t do the work and take a chance then they will NEVER find the treasure the seek.
    (Joesph Campbell says it lies within the very Cave that one is afraid to enter.)

    I hope we get to cheer the TMBWBaM as he dons his backpack and buckles his tool belt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Curtiswselby says:

      Thank you very much for the thoughtful commentary. When I looked at my list, I felt it to be a bit unwieldy. I looked at it and thought “why, all I’m gonna be doing is reviewing a bunch of “Complete Idiot” books. But I was in a hurry, I hit send and decided to let the chips fall where they may. From your comment my takeaway is..”mix Blog topics between the personal (goals, philosophy, geekdom) and the Worldly (politics, society, philosophy #2), So maybe I will start with the One Minute Millionaire, and then after my miserable failure (or hell, if I succeed, I can continue the blog with high dollar equipment) then move to an “out of list” book in one of the aforementioned categories to cleanse the pallet, and then back to the other list so I stay focused on my goals. Thoughts welcome.


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