Brian Johnson, Philosopher

I have talked a lot about Brian Johnson with my family and friends, especially regarding the Vipassana Mediation retreat which he inspired me to do, but I have never written about him on my blog. So here it is: Brian Johnson, the blog post.

Brian Johnson is the founder of the website which was recently bought by and assimilated into, a website operated by the multinational corporation Gaiam - who you might recognize from their famous yoga products. It was through Zaadz that I was first introduced to Brian over a year ago. I read his personal blog posts, received some of his group e-mails and friended him on the site, but that was about it. Then at the end of last year Brian wrote about a Vipassana Meditation retreat that he went to with his fiancee and it intrigued me so much that I decided I would try it out myself. It would be several months before I was able to attend my first retreat in Virginia, but it was well worth the wait. As I have written before, learning Vipassana Meditation was one of the best things I have ever done and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

When I got home from the retreat it was May and I only had one month before leaving for Mongolia with Peace Corps. I wrote a short “thank you” to Brian on Zaadz and then headed to Mongolia. During that time Brian had moved on from and started a new adventure called PhilosophersNotes.

His plan with PhilosophersNotes is to read a Ph.D.-equivalent quantity of spirituality, self-improvement, philosophy, and personal effectiveness books and then write 5-page Cliff’s Notes-style summaries of each book. These are then made available as PDF and mp3 files, purchasable both individually or on a subscription basis. I read about this idea in an e-mail a couple of months back from Zaadz/ and thought it sounded great so I signed up to receive updates, but I didn’t think I would be able to afford a subscription anytime soon. Then this week I received an unexpected e-mail. After reading my auto-response from Gmail which explained that I am currently in serving in the Peace Corps, Brian sent me a message which read, “Hey bud: I love it! I would love to support you and your work with a free subscription to PhilosophersNotes! Let me know if you'd like it and I'll hook you up. - bri.” Stunned, I wrote him right back and told him a subscription would be incredible. If anything about Peace Corps is universal, it’s that we Volunteers have plenty of time to read good books. Within a day I had a response from Brian with my subscription, and since then then I have downloaded over a dozen of the PDF and mp3 PhilosophersNotes, including ones on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, among many others. So far I am very impressed, but I guess that’s not a surprise. Brian Johnson is a quality guy and I have a feeling he is going to continue surprising me for quite some time. Thank you Brian, for being so helpful and generous. I appreciate your support and look forward to reading many PhilosophersNotes to come.