Book: Essentialism – the disciplined pursuit of less

0000039082This is such an easy concept to grasp, but so hard to implement. The core premise is

„You must do and only do what is essential”.

Intuitively we all know it – we have to focus our efforts and do important stuff instead of paddling on the river of constant unimportant thingies.

But interruptions are sneaky and try to redirect us from the way of essentialism.

Be it politeness, doing things „while we’re at it” or just lack of focus.

Doing only essential things is key to achieving anything.

Amazon link

This mindset – for me – is key to productivity. Instead of another productivity app and great todo-list system – we need to filter our todos and try to get rid of the non-essential. Much of productivity advice seems like majoring in minor things. people get better at managing lots of unessential tasks and then take on busywork because it makes them feel productive.

The main points of essentialism are:

  1. Do less, but better
  2. Instead of accomplishing everything, choose specific directions
  3. The process of choosing what is important and what is not is ongoing

Tim Ferriss actually touched upon many of these ideas in „Four Hour Workweek”. He calls this „choosing a lead domino” – doing the thing that if done correctly can render others obsolete or unimportant.

Essentialism is especially lacking in business, where agendas keep creeping in and growing out of proportion. People have great ideas and other people include them not to offend anyone. Doing things to please others is the biggest contributor to amassing non-essential todo list.

Tricks to avoid offending people

  • Seperate decision from the relationship
  • The awkward pause. Instead of being controlled by the threat of an awkward silence, own it. Use it as a tool. When a request comes to you (obviously this works only in person), just pause for a moment. Count to three before delivering your verdict. Or if you get a bit more bold, simply wait for the other person to fill the void.
  • The soft “no” (or the “no but”).
  • Say, “Yes. What should I deprioritise?”
  • Say it with humour.
  • “You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.”
  • “I can’t do it, but X might be interested

 

My Kindle highlights

  • “Can I actually fulfil this request, given the time and resources I have?”
  • “Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?”
  • “Just because I was invited didn’t seem a good enough reason to attend.”
  • In this example is the basic value proposition of Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.
  • Dieter Rams was the lead designer at Braun for many years. He is driven by the idea that almost everything is noise.
  • Weniger aber besser.
  • The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing.
  • Only in the 1900s did we pluralise the term and start talking about priorities.
  • 1. EXPLORE AND EVALUATE
  • “Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution towards my goal?”
  • 2. ELIMINATE
  • What if schools eliminated busywork and replaced it with important projects that made a difference to the whole community?
  • What if businesses eliminated meaningless meetings and replaced them with space for people to think and work on their most important projects?
  • “If you could do only one thing with your life right now, what would you do?”
  • a choice is an action.
  • “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.
  • we live in a world where almost everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally valuable.
  • According to Porter, “A strategic position is not sustainable unless there are trade-offs with other positions.”3 By
  • “Which problem do I want?”
  • Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”
  • To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.
  • When I say focus, I don’t mean simply picking a question or possibility and thinking about it obsessively. I mean creating the space to explore one hundred questions and possibilities. An Essentialist focuses the way our eyes focus; not by fixating on something but by constantly adjusting and adapting to the field of vision.
  • Today he still takes the time away from the daily distractions of running his foundation to simply think.
  • One practice I’ve found useful is simply to read something from classic literature (not a blog, or the newspaper, or the latest beach novel) for the first twenty minutes of the day.
  • WHERE IS THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE LOST IN INFORMATION?– T. S. Eliot
  • “I realised that journalism was not just about regurgitating the facts but about figuring out the point.
  • I have seen play reverse these effects in my own children. When they are stressed and things feel out of control, I get them to draw.
  • Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritise.
  • “If the answer isn’t a definite yes then it should be a no.”
  • If you rate it any lower than 90 per cent, then automatically change the rating to 0 and simply reject it. This way you avoid getting caught up in indecision, or worse, getting stuck with the 60s or 70s.
  • First, write down the opportunity. Second, write down a list of three “minimum criteria” the options would need to “pass” in order to be considered. Third, write down a list of three ideal or “extreme criteria” the options would need to “pass” in order to be considered.
  • The largely indistinguishable statements make the task almost impossible.
  • “What do you really want out of your career over the next five years?”
  • when people don’t know what the end game is, they are unclear about how to win, and as a result they make up their own game and their own rules as they vie for the manager’s favour.
  • An essential intent, on the other hand, is both inspirational and concrete, both meaningful and measurable
  • “If we could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?”
  • ASK, “HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE’RE DONE?”
  • they noticed that some of the most grandiose were actually the least inspiring.
  • It takes asking tough questions, making real trade-offs, and exercising serious discipline to cut out the competing priorities that distract us from our true intention.
  • COURAGE IS GRACE UNDER PRESSURE.
  • The right “no” spoken at the right time can change the course of history
  • A true Essentialist, Peter Drucker believed that “people are effective because they say no.”
  • SEPARATE THE DECISION FROM THE RELATIONSHIP
  • SAYING “NO” GRACEFULLY DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN USING THE WORD
  • there are a variety of ways of refusing someone clearly and politely without actually using the word no.
  • REMEMBER THAT A CLEAR “NO” CAN BE MORE GRACEFUL THAN A VAGUE OR NONCOMMITTAL “YES”
  • a clear “I am going to pass on this” is far better than not getting back to someone or stringing them along with some noncommittal answer like “I will try to make this work”
  • Sunk-cost bias
  • “the endowment effect,” our tendency to undervalue things that aren’t ours and to overvalue things because we already own them.
  • PRETEND YOU DON’T OWN IT YET
  • Instead of asking, “How much do I value this item?” we should ask, “If I did not own this item, how much would I pay to obtain it?”
  • APPLY ZERO-BASED BUDGETING
  • In a reverse pilot you test whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences.
  • he said he thinks of the role of CEO as being the chief editor of the company.
  • as Stephen King has said, “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
  • “To write is human, to edit is divine.”
  • When sitting in a meeting, we can resist the urge to add our two cents. We can wait. We can observe. We can see how things develop.
  • NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE.—Anne Lamott
  • Jin-Yung1 was an employee of a technology company in Korea who found herself planning her wedding while simultaneously preparing for a board meeting that was to take place three weeks prior to her big day.
  • DON’T ROB PEOPLE OF THEIR PROBLEMS
  • The question is this: What is the “slowest hiker” in your job or your life?
  • BE CLEAR ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL INTENT
  • IDENTIFY THE “SLOWEST HIKER”
  • “What is the obstacle that, if removed, would make the majority of other obstacles disappear?”
  • As John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar and now Disney, said, “We don’t actually finish our films, we release them.”
  • DO THE MINIMAL VIABLE PREPARATION
  • “What is the minimal amount I could do right now to prepare?”
  • VISUALLY REWARD PROGRESS
  • With repetition, the connections strengthen and it becomes easier for the brain to activate them.
  • embedding our decisions into our routine allows us to channel that discipline towards some other essential activity.
  • “Focus on the hardest thing first.”
  • to operate at your highest level of contribution requires that you deliberately tune in to what is important in the here and now.
  • What we can’t do is concentrate on two things at the same time.
  • Multi-tasking itself is not the enemy of Essentialism; pretending we can “multi-focus”
  • After a moment of reflection I realised that until I knew what was important right now, what was important right now was to figure out what was important right now!
  • GET THE FUTURE OUT OF YOUR HEAD
  • “What might you want to do someday as a result of today?”
  • He spent three years not reading any newspapers because he found that their contents added only non-essential confusion to his life.
  • when he died he owned fewer than ten items.
  • on my worst days I have wondered if my tombstone will read, “He checked e-mail.”
  • continue to discover almost daily that I can do less and less – in order to contribute more.
  • Choosing to set aside a day each week where I don’t check any social media so I can be fully present at home
  • “fewer things done better”
  • “Clarity equals success.”
  • DEBATE UNTIL YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED A REALLY CLEAR (NOT PRETTY CLEAR) ESSENTIAL INTENT
  • Essentialist leaders speak succinctly, opting for restraint in their communication to keep the team focused

 

Book: Skin in the Game

livro-skin-in-the-game-hidden-asymmetries-in-daily-life-d_nq_np_621538-mlb27088732212_032018-oOnly those, who have skin in the game know what they are talking about, because they cannot afford cheap talk.

In the modern world, very often we have situation where one side has much more risk than the other. It is baffling that usually the side that has almost no risk advises the side that gets the consequences.

 

 

 

Examples would be:

  • Financial advisors offloading risk on the clients
  • Corporations with their rules
  • Academics and economy professors
  • Real – estate salespeople

Amazon link

They all can theorize and they will not suffer any consequences if their theories are wrong. Naturally, that makes them create situation where they are more and more isolated from the real world and practical applicability of their suggestions.

In history, there were laws protecting people against this kind of situation – for example – Sharia law protects against information asymmetry (I know the car Im selling is broken).

“True equality is equality in probability.”

Taleb states that „The knowledge we get by tinkering, via trial and error, experience, and the workings of time, in other words, contact with the earth, is vastly superior to that obtained through reasoning,”.

He calls this practical approach to life „Being Roman” – as opposed to „Being Greek” and focusing on theories.

In a typical Taleb manner, he introduced the notion of a „Intellectual Yet Idiot”. Intellectualism is separating theory from practice and naive perception that everything can be solved in a typical top-down manner.

I dont know what it has to do with the skin in the game, but Taleb suggests there is something like „Minority Rule”. Small, but inflexible minority will convert the flexible majority. Every time member of majority comes in contact with the member of minority – a small convert is born. Slowly, but surely, the conversion spreads. He suggests GMO crops are such example where minority of non-GMO eaters converted the rest.

All in all – this book is very entartaining, but a bit full of Taleb’s ego. Still, very much worth a read.

My highlights

  • in academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world, there is.
  • For I just don’t like reading books that inform me of the obvious.
  • one debases a principle by endlessly justifying it.
  • The abrasions of your skin guide your learning and discovery, a mechanism of organic signaling,
  • The knowledge we get by tinkering, via trial and error, experience, and the workings of time, in other words, contact with the earth, is vastly superior to that obtained through reasoning,
  • buzzword-laden discourse. Their three flaws: 1) they think in statics not dynamics, 2) they think in low, not high, dimensions, 3) they think in terms of actions, never interactions.
  • should avoid engaging in an action with a big downside if one has no idea of the outcomes.
  • In general, when you hear someone invoking abstract modernistic notions, you can assume that they got some education (but not enough, or in the wrong discipline) and have too little accountability.
  • The principle of intervention, like that of healers, is first do no harm (primum non nocere); even more, we will argue, those who don’t take risks should never be involved in making decisions.
  • Bureaucracy is a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions.
  • You will never fully convince someone that he is wrong; only reality can.
  • The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding,
  • In general, the more people worship the sacrosanct state (or, equivalently, large corporations),
  • The more they wear suits and ties, the more they hate skin in the game.
  • Effectively, there is no democracy without such an unconditional symmetry in the rights to express yourself, and the gravest threat is the slippery slope in the attempts to limit speech on grounds that some of it may hurt some people’s feelings.
  • Such restrictions do not necessarily come from the state itself, rather from the forceful establishment of an intellectual monoculture by an overactive thought police in
  • Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, which I summarize as: Behave as if your action can be generalized to the behavior of everyone in all places, under all conditions.
  • Even worse: the general and the abstract tend to attract self-righteous psychopaths similar to the interventionistas of Part 1 of the Prologue.
  • Start by being nice to every person you meet. But if someone tries to exercise power over you, exercise power over him.
  • Avoid taking advice from someone who gives advice for a living, unless there is a penalty for their advice.
  • You do not want to win an argument. You want to win.
  • “natural” rational; to the contrary. By definition, what works cannot be irrational;
  • By definition, what works cannot be irrational;
  • Intellectualism is the belief that one can separate an action from the results of such action, that one can separate theory from practice, and that one can always fix a complex system by hierarchical approaches, that is, in a (ceremonial) top-down manner.
  • Those who talk should do and only those who do should talk
  • This explains the more severe problems of landscaping and architecture: architects today build to impress other architects, and we end up with strange—irreversible—structures that do not satisfy the well-being of their residents;
  • Specialization, as I will keep insisting, comes with side effects, one of which is separating labor from the fruits of labor.
  • Things designed by people without skin in the game tend to grow in complication (before their final collapse).
  • when you are rewarded for perception, not results, you need to show sophistication. Anyone
  • Many kids would learn to love mathematics if they had some investment in it, and, more crucially, they would build an instinct to spot its misapplications.
  • Being somewhat tribal is not a bad thing—and we have to work in a fractal way in the organized harmonious relations between tribes, rather than merge all tribes in one large soup. In that sense, an American-style federalism is the ideal system.
  • What Ostrom found empirically is that there exists a certain community size below which people act as collectivists, protecting the commons, as if the entire unit became rational. Such a commons cannot be too large. It is like a club.
  • I am, at the Fed level, libertarian; at the state level, Republican; at the local level, Democrat; and at the family and friends level, a socialist.
  • French was supposed to be the language of diplomacy, as civil servants coming from aristocratic backgrounds used it, while their more vulgar compatriots involved in commerce relied on English. In the rivalry between the two languages, English won as commerce grew to dominate modern life;
  • So all Islam did was out-stubborn Christianity, which itself won thanks to its own stubbornness.
  • it is the most intolerant person who imposes virtue on others precisely because of that intolerance.
  • The best slave is someone you overpay and who knows it, terrified of losing his status.
  • There is a category of employees who aren’t slaves, but these represent a very small proportion of the pool. You can identify them as follows: they don’t give a f*** about their reputation, at least not their corporate reputation.
  • traders cursed like sailors, and I have kept the habit of strategic foul language, used only outside of my writings and family life.
  • dogs. Ironically the highest status, that of a free man, is usually indicated by voluntarily adopting the mores of the lowest class.
  • Consider that English “manners” were imposed on the middle class as a way of domesticating them, along with instilling in them the fear of breaking rules and violating social norms.
  • What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.
  • People whose survival depends on qualitative “job assessments” by someone of higher rank in an organization cannot be trusted for critical decisions.
  • If you do not undertake a risk of real harm, reparable or even potentially irreparable, from an adventure, it is not an adventure.
  • What we saw worldwide from 2014 to 2018, from India to the U.K. to the U.S., was a rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy League, Oxford-Cambridge or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think, and … 5) whom to vote for.
  • The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited.
  • They are what Nietzsche called Bildungsphilisters—educated
  • The IYI has been wrong, historically, about Stalinism, Maoism, GMOs, Iraq, Libya, Syria, lobotomies, urban planning, low carbohydrate diets, gym machines, behaviorism, trans-fats, Freudianism, portfolio theory, linear regression, HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup), Gaussianism, Salafism, dynamic stochastic equilibrium modeling, housing projects, marathon running, selfish genes, election-forecasting models, Bernie Madoff (pre-blowup), and p-values. But he is still convinced that his current position is right.
  • True equality is equality in probability.
  • The way to make society more equal is by forcing (through skin in the game) the rich to be subjected to the risk of exiting from the 1 percent.
  • So class envy doesn’t originate from a truck driver in South Alabama, but from a New York or Washington, D.C., Ivy League–educated IYI (say Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz) with a sense of entitlement, upset some “less smart” persons are much richer.
  • Traders, when they make profits, have short communications; when they lose they drown you in details, theories, and charts.
  • That which is “Lindy” is what ages in reverse, i.e., its life expectancy lengthens with time, conditional on survival.
  • You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment.
  • the people you understand most easily were necessarily the bull***tters.
  • the class of intellectuals is all about rituals: without pomp and ceremony, the intellectual is just a talker, that is, pretty much nothing.
  • Poison is drunk in golden cups (Venenum in auro bibitur).
  • If you understand nothing about the problem (like D.C. pundits) and have no skin in the game, then everything is seen through the prism of geopolitics.
  • But it remains that nobody in the Vatican seems to ever take chances by going first to the Lord, subsequently to the doctor,
  • So when we look at religion, and, to some extent, ancestral superstitions, we should consider what purpose they serve, rather than focusing on the notion of “belief,” epistemic belief in its strict scientific definition.
  • Survival comes first, truth, understanding, and science later.
  • There is nothing particularly irrational in beliefs per se (given that they can be shortcuts and instrumental to something else):
  • It is therefore my opinion that religion exists to enforce tail risk management across generations,
  •  If one claimed that there is “statistical evidence that a plane is safe,” with a 98 percent confidence level (statistics are meaningless without such confidence bands), and acted on it, practically no experienced pilot would be alive today.
  • It doesn’t cost me much to go with my “refined paranoia,” even if wrong. For all it takes is for my paranoia to be right once, and it saves my life.
  • Never compare a multiplicative, systemic, and fat-tailed risk to a non-multiplicative, idiosyncratic, and thin-tailed one.
  • In a strategy that entails ruin, benefits never offset risks of ruin.

 

Book: Purple Cow: Transform your business by being remarkable

cow1This book is about what I perceive as marketing: creating products that really resonate with the core audience and designing / packaging them in a way that the customers cannot help themselves but to tell their friends.

Are you wondering why “purple cow?”. Because its stands out among black and white!

Trying to make stuff for „everyone” does not cut it anymore. You cannot start with mediocre product and „market” (advertise) the shit out of it. Instead, your product has to be #1 in some category, even if category is really made up.

Create remarkable products. That simple and that hard.

Here is how you may create a popular product:

  1. Create a remarkable products that people want to tell their friends about.
    1. Target a niche. Have something that is very appealing to a small audience, but make this audience fall in love with the product
    2. Explore the limits, go away with the blandness! Find out how customers could describe you
    3. Word of mouth for your product will spread differently in different niches. Some niches are more prone to share product info with friends than others
  2. Advertise it to said audience, they are your early adopters
  3. See them advertise it to their friends

This is marketing done right. Marketing where the marketer changes the product, not the ads.

My highlights

  • Too often, big companies are scared companies, and they work to minimize any variation – including the good stuff that happens when people
  • If an audience doesn’t have the money to buy what you’re selling at the price
  • If an audience doesn’t have the time to listen to and understand your pitch, you’ll be treated as if you were invisible. And if an audience takes the time to hear your pitch but decides they don’t want it … well, you’re not going to get very far.
  • The world has changed. There are far more choices, but there is less and less time to sort them out.
  • All the obvious targets are gone, so people aren’t likely to have easily solved problems.
  • Consumers are hard to reach because they ignore
  • Satisfied customers are less likely to tell their friends.
  • Little noticed over the past fifty years was a very different symbiotic relationship, one that arguably created far more wealth (with large side effects) than the military-industrial complex did. I call it the TV-industrial complex.
  • The new rule is: CREATE REMARKABLE PRODUCTS THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE SEEK OUT.
  • TV-INDUSTRIAL AGE POST-TV AGE AVERAGE PRODUCTS REMARKABLE PRODUCTS ADVERTISE TO ANYONE ADVERTISE TO THE EARLY ADOPTER FEAR OF FAILURE FEAR OF FEAR LONG CYCLES SHORT CYCLES SMALL CHANGES BIG CHANGES
  • The leader is the leader because he did something remarkable. And that remarkable thing is now taken – it’s no longer remarkable when you do it.
  • Awareness Is Not the Point
  • Instead of trying to use your technology and expertise to make a better product for your users’ standard behavior, experiment with inviting the users to change their behavior to make the product work dramatically better.
  • If a product’s future is unlikely to be remarkable – if you can’t imagine a future in which people are once again fascinated by your product – it’s time to realize that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, take profits and reinvest them in building something new.
  • The only chance you have is to sell to people who like change, who like new stuff, who are actively looking for what it is you sell.
  • The way you break through to the mainstream is to target a niche instead of a huge market. With a niche, you can segment off a chunk of the mainstream, and create an ideavirus so focused that it overwhelms that small slice of the market that really and truly will respond to what you sell.
  • It’s not an accident that some products catch on and some don’t. When an ideavirus occurs, it’s often because all the viral pieces work together. How smooth and easy is it to spread your idea? How often will people sneeze it to their friends? How tightly knit is the group you’re targeting – do they talk much? Do they believe each other? How reputable are the people most likely to promote your idea? How persistent is it – is it a fad that has to spread fast before it dies, or will the idea have legs (and thus you can invest in spreading it over time)? Put all of your new product developments through this analysis, and you’ll discover which ones are most likely to catch on. Those are the products and ideas worth launching. The Big Misunderstanding
  • Marketing in a post-TV world is no longer about making a product attractive or interesting or pretty or funny after it’s designed and built – it’s about designing the thing to be virus-worthy in the first place.
  • Differentiate your customers. Find the group that’s most profitable. Find the group that’s most likely to sneeze. Figure out how to develop/advertise/reward either group. Ignore the rest. Your ads (and your products!) shouldn’t cater to the masses. Your ads (and products) should cater to the customers you’d choose if you could choose your customers.
  • Differentiate your customers. Find the group that’s most profitable. Find the group that’s most likely to sneeze. Figure out how to develop/advertise/reward either group. Ignore the rest. Your ads (and your products!) shouldn’t cater to the masses. Your
  • Make a list of competitors who are not trying to be everything to everyone. Are they outperforming you? If you could pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate), what would it be? Why not launch a product to compete with your own – a product that does nothing but appeal to this market?
  • So it seems that we face two choices: to be invisible, anonymous, uncriticized, and safe, or to take a chance at greatness, uniqueness, and the Cow.
  • Criticism of the project is not criticism of you. The fact that we need to be reminded of this points to how unprepared we are for the era of the Cow. It’s people who have projects that are never criticized who ultimately fail.
  • What tactics does your firm use that involve following the leader? What if you abandoned them and did something very different instead? If you acknowledge that you’ll never catch up by being the same, make a list of ways you can catch up by being different. Case Study: The Aeron Chair Before Herman Miller, desk chairs were invisible.
  • “The best design solves problems, but if you can weld that to the cool factor, then you have a home run,”
  • What would happen if you gave the marketing budget for your next three products to the designers? Could you afford a world-class architect/designer/sculptor/director/author?
  • What could you measure? What would that cost? How fast could you get the results? If you can afford it, try it. “If you measure it, it will improve.”
  • Once you’ve managed to create something truly remarkable, the challenge is to do two things simultaneously: Milk the Cow for everything it’s worth. Figure out how to extend it and profit from it for as long as possible. Create an environment where you are likely to invent a new Purple Cow in time to replace the first one when its benefits
  • How could you modify your product or service so that you’d show up on the next episode of Saturday Night Live or in a spoof of your industry’s trade journal?
  • Do you have the email addresses of the 20 percent of your customer base that loves what you do? If not, start getting them. If you do, what could you make for these customers that would be superspecial? Visit http://www.sethgodin.com and you can sign up for my list and see what happens.
  • Sit There, Don’t Just Do Something
  • What would happen if you took one or two seasons off from the new-product grind and reintroduced wonderful classics instead? What sort of amazing thing could you offer in the first season you came back (with rested designers)?
  • This is marketing done right. Marketing where the marketer changes the product, not the ads.
  • find the market niche first, and then make the remarkable product – not the other way around.
  • slogan that accurately conveys the essence of your Purple Cow is a script. A script for the sneezer to use when she talks with her friends.
  • In almost every market, the boring slot is filled. The product designed to appeal to the largest possible audience already exists, and displacing it is awfully difficult.
  • How can you market yourself as “more bland than the leading brand”?
  • If someone in your organization is charged with creating a new Purple Cow, leave them alone! Don’t use internal reviews and usability testing to figure out if the new product is as good as what you’ve got now. Instead, pick the right maverick and get out of the way.
  • Work with the sneezers in that audience to make it easier for them to help your idea cross the chasm. Give them the tools (and the story) they’ll need to sell your idea to a wider audience.
  • Marketing was really better called “advertising.” Marketing was about communicating the values of a product after it had been developed and manufactured.
  • Is there someone (a person, an agency?) in your industry who has a track record of successfully launching remarkable products? Can you hire them away, or at least learn from their behavior? Immerse yourself in fen magazines, trade shows, design reviews – whatever it takes to feel what your fans feel.
  • prototyping new products and policies? When GM shows a concept car at the New York Auto Show, there’s more than ego involved. They’re trying to figure out what car nuts think is remarkable. I’m not pitching focus groups here (they’re a waste). I’m talking about very public releases of cheap prototypes.
  • Explore the limits. What if you’re the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the hardest, the oldest, the newest, the … most! If there’s a limit, you should (must) test it.
  • Is your product more boring than salt? Unlikely. So come up with a list of ten ways to change the product (not the hype) to make it appeal to a sliver of your audience.
  • Think small. One vestige of the TV-industrial complex is a need to think mass. If it doesn’t appeal to everyone, the thinking goes, it’s not worth it. No longer. Think of the smallest conceivable market, and describe a product that overwhelms it with its remarkability. Go from there.
  • Copy. Not from your industry, but from any other industry. Find an industry more dull than yours, discover who’s remarkable (it won’t take long), and do what they did.
  • Find things that are “just not done” in your industry, and do them. JetBlue almost instituted a dress code for passengers. They’re still playing with the idea of giving a free airline ticket to the best-dressed person on the plane. A plastic surgeon could offer gift certificates. A book publisher could put a book on sale. Stew Leonard’s took the strawberries out of the little green plastic cages and let the customers pick their own – and sales doubled.
  • Ask, “Why not?” Almost everything you don’t do has no good reason for it. Almost everything you don’t do is the result of fear or inertia or a historical lack of someone asking, “Why not?”

 

Book: Remote – Office not required

remote-cover-aadeb20bf72bc28d49a49d2433e731d36c8a255f9d496880a5224e1ce0006577„Remote” by David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) and Jason Fried is a book about (you guessed it) remote work. Both DHH and Jason are huge advocates of the distributed setup as they should – they run a company called Basecamp that hires remotely.

And so am I – I work in one of the biggest distributed companies ( Automattic ) and I help to run a foundation in Poland called Remote Ninja. The focus of the initiative is to promote and help set up remote companies and lifestyle so that people in the most remote parts of Poland can participate in the global economy without leaving their families.

Since remote work is weaved into every part of my life, it is hard for me to learn something new from the book. I can swear by everything that they have written there and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about remote work.

 

Benefits of remote work

  • As a company, your talent pool is much wider
  • Employees are much more loyal, since they can fit work intoo their lifestyles with ease
  • They can fit the work into their chronotypes easily
  • If you work remotely you dont have to wait for retirement to travel the world

 

Stuff I wholeheartedly agree on with the authors

  • Office is much more distracting environment than home
  • Remote work puts work first, hours spent last
  • I am much more productive when I can work when I feel like it, not when my ‚office hours’ are
  • Asychronous communication is the only way to do the work in a sane manner
  • Urgency is overrated

 

My highlights

  • If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in”
  • We traded the freedom and splendor of country land and fresh air for convenience and excitement.
  • That’s a much more realistic goal than buying lottery tickets, either the literal or figurative ones. As an example of the latter: pursuing a career-ladder or stock-
  • But why wait? If what you really love doing is skiing, why wait until your hips are too old to take a hard fall and then move to Colorado?
  • In this world very few leaps of progress arrive exclusively as benefits. Maybe the invention of the sandwich, but that’s it.
  • People have an amazing ability to live down to low expectations.
  • And let’s not forget the ergonomics of sweatpants!

 

 

Book: Born to run

9780307279187This book is not a manual how to run. It is however, a gripping tale of how a group of western world’s best endurance athletes came together to race an ultra marathon with fabled Mexican tribesmen called Tarahumara.

If it was was fiction, it would not be believable.

Yeah, but what about actual running?

The book is pretty bullish on Nike. The company invented the modern running shoe and (according to the author and his research) that was the worst thing that could happen to runners. Modern running shoe cushions the foot and it promotes landing on the heel. The impact caused by full weight being amortized only my the shoe heel is very detrimental to knee, hip and the foot itself.

The alternative would be landing on the side of the foot and using foot’s many muscles and bones to in a process called pronation to slowly absorb the impact.

Human beings are perfect runners. The ability to keep head on top of the center of the mass, ability to perspire, ability to breathe independently of running pace and achilles tendons make them the best long – distance runners in the animal kingdom. Some scientists theorize that the running was what gave us the edge over Neanderthals.

With this construction optimized for running, any high-tech additions that are modifying running style are throwing the complex machine out of balance and in turn cause injuries.

How to run Tarahumara style

  • Have thin-sole shoes
  • Straighten up
  • While running, place your feet under your center of gravity, push back
  • Flick your feet to your ass
  • Move feet in smaller contractions ( ideally 180 steps per minute )
  • Your upper body should flow through space, move vertically as little as possible
  • Run like kindergarteners
  • SMILE and love running

Memorable stuff for me

  • Thats another place I’ve seen the benefits of Chia. I’ll try to eat more
  • Keep heartbeat in cardio range – the same thing they told me in Unleash the Power Within
  • Another insight congruent with UPW – vegetarian diet is best for runners
  • I need to run more

My clippings

  • iskiate is otherwise known as chia fresca—“chilly chia.” It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime.
  • If you have a choice between one step or two between rocks, take three.”
  • “Lesson two,” Caballo called. “Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
  • PAINFUL TRUTH No. 1: The Best Shoes Are the Worst
  • PAINFUL TRUTH No. 2: Feet Like a Good Beating
  • Their feet land right under them, and they push back,”
  • “Set it for one hundred eighty beats a minute, then run to the beat.”
  • Evolution Running.
  • The way to activate your fat-burning furnace is by staying below your aerobic threshold—your hard-breathing point—during your endurance runs.
  • “Anything the Tarahumara eat, you can get very easily,” Tony told me. “It’s mostly pinto beans, squash, chili peppers, wild greens, pinole, and lots of chia.
  • Back straight? Check. Knees bent and driving forward? Check. Heels flicking back?
  • So how long would it take to actually run an animal to death?

 

Book: Tribe of Mentors

71gfznfhxil“Short life advice from the best in the world” is a very fitting subtitle. Tim Ferriss has indeed contacted best in the world and asked them a roster of specially designed questions. They came back with surprising, wise and quirky answers.

The array of personalities presented on these pages is immensely diverse and that makes it so much easier to find gold nuggets for every stage of life and every field. I would definitely recommend the book to a motivated college graduate about to enter a „real world”. Especially because Tim asked specifically for advice for those folks!

Contrary to Tools of Titans, it is hard for me to tease out common themes. Let my highlights speak for themselves.

 

Ah, one very common theme:

There are many definitions of success. Don’t let someone else’s ambition guide you through life.

 

My Kindle Highlights

  • In my experience, going from 1x to 10x, from 10x to 100x, and from 100x to (when Lady Luck really smiles) 1000x returns in various areas has been a product of better questions.
  • Often, all that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions.
  • an easier search query (easier to recall),
  • success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have, and by the number of uncomfortable actions we are willing to take.
  • What would it look like if it were easy?
  • If I were the security professional tasked with protecting me from bogus, sociopathic, and clueless asks, which ones would I screen and dump into the trash? That has helped a lot.
  • I do not believe in work-life balance. I believe that if you view your work as a calling, it is a labor of love rather than laborious.
  • If you are doing something you love, you don’t want work-life balance.
  • Suffering is a moment of clarity, when you can no longer deny the truth of a situation and are forced into uncomfortable change.
  • say and why? “Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”
  • The Rational Optimist
  • FINIS swim paddles (under $20; hat
  • The best advice is more like, “I can’t answer your question, but this might be a good way for you to think about it.”
  • “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
  • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
  • The Baroque Cycle
  • The best skill is to be able to communicate efficiently both in writing and speaking.
  • But my favorite concoction, which I created three years ago, is a medley of cabbage, onion, avocado, and pear. It’s incredibly delicious, extremely healthy, and fast to prepare.
  • The first sign of negativity, for me, is irritation. When I recognize it, right away I save myself and my loved ones a lot of emotional pain by taking time alone. Breathing deeply helps. In between breaths, I have time to slow down and see the thoughts running through my mind as well as see the other person in front of me. I say no to blame, no to complaints, and no to gossip. I also teach my daughter these three rules. If I have nothing positive to say, I don’t say anything. It makes my life easier and happier.
  • backpack [Incase City Collection].
  • Hearos Xtreme Protection NRR 33 work best and are the most comfortable. If you really want to go to extremes to also control light, Lonfrote Deep Molded Sleep Mask is the best for airplanes or anywhere else.
  • I think moving away from my hometown was one of the most fruitful things I ever did. We can’t help but define ourselves in terms of how others see us. So being around nothing but new people allowed me to define myself anew. I’ve since moved back, but the growth I got out of living away was huge.
  • probably understanding how to interpret things that other people are saying in situations where their goals do not fully align with yours. A
  • “What policy was I following that produced this bad outcome, and do I still expect that policy to give the best results overall, occasional bad outcomes notwithstanding?” If yes, then carry on!
  • Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, focuses on strategies for great decision-making.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
  • Always take the time to acknowledge people—and not just when you know you have something to gain. If you show interest in them, they will be interested in you. People react to kindness with kindness, to respect with respect. Relationships
  • “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”—Harry Truman
  • Whenever I am trying to decide whether to accept an invitation, I just pretend it is going to happen tomorrow morning. It is easy to say yes to something happening six months from now, but it has to be super fantastic to get me to go tomorrow morning.
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. If you want to be a hands-on parent and also have some version of a career, this book is gold.
  • I decided that I was going to live my life in three parts—one-third for my business, one-third for my family, one-third for myself.
  • The Scientist in the Crib by Alison Gopnik. I give this to any fellow geek about to have their first child.
  • Raising for Effective Giving, a fundraising organization that raises money for the world’s most cost-effective and globally impactful charities.
  • Map and Territory
  • I write down my goals on my bathroom mirror. I’ve done it with my target body weight, to how much I want to bench, etc. By writing it down every single day, it turns those dreams into obtainable goals.
  • disagreements, and recording all meetings. His estimated net worth is nearly $17 billion. Along with Bill Gates and
  • “Is what I am doing right now aligned with my life’s calling?”
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a question, don’t be afraid to sound stupid.
  • I’ve gotten better at telling my brain “no” when it wants to relate to conversation with a “bigger” story. What I mean is, somebody might be telling me a story about an experience they had, while I have a related story that sounds even bigger or more dramatic than theirs. Rather than wait for a moment to jump in with mine, I’ll just let that desire go and ask them more questions about their experience. What I’ve discovered is incredible: the loss of the opportunity to possibly impress someone is far outweighed by what I learn when I ask more questions.
  • “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
  • task, you must do something extraordinary. I have found that my absolute best is the best possible outcome. That is a “win.” To do your best may sound easy, but it is anything but. It requires everything you’ve got . . . and no less. The beauty of it is that it is totally within your control. You can always give your absolute best effort regardless of physical state or circumstances. That, to me, is always a win.
  • Imago Dialogue, created by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. It’s a structured way to talk with your spouse or significant other,
  • I aim for six to ten reps ranging from 70 to 85 percent of my one-rep max. Then, I’ll do three or four supersets of either (a) 15 to 20 reps of pull-ups and dips, (b) ten reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions, or (c) ten reps of shoulder presses, lateral raises, and front raises. Last, I’ll do my core workout, which includes either (a) four sets of one-minute planks alternated with four sets of sit-ups, leg raises, suitcases, and bicycles or (b) one set each of sit-ups, planks, side planks, and ball knee tucks followed by three sets of side bends.
  • In 2016, I started doing New Month Resolutions [as opposed to New Year Resolutions]. Here’s some of what I did:
  • “If you only engage with people about problems, pretty soon, you’ll become the problem for them,”
  • But I do want to get that culty Japanese journal that all the designers use, a Hobonichi Techo.
  • Bucky neck pillow
  • up saying the same things over and over. Thinking of things that made me happy helps me put aside all the baggage I’ve packed throughout the day,
  • The culture at WWE is a “can do” or “yes” environment.
  • iMask Sleep Eye Mask
  • Being on the road, you deal with lots of traveling that can bog you down, and a lot of bad food options, which means you can’t control all the variables around you. At home, you would have your juice spot, your gym, and your market where you can shop every day, so you can eat the right foods and keep your life in balance. One thing that I do on the road is “Aoki Bootcamp,” which utilizes accountability between the people I travel with to meet a certain goal every single day. We set a certain number of repetitions to complete each day, such as push-ups, sit-ups, etc., and even have a WhatsApp group chat to show evidence that we did the workouts. Beyond exercise, it also crosses into food, because it is not just about the workout you do but also about your diet. We have a list of foods that we can’t eat, and if you eat them, then you have to add 15 more repetitions to your workout to account for it. So, each day, we do our best to eat properly and exercise and meet these goals. That’s the underlying philosophy of Aoki Bootcamp: to use group accountability to meet these goals for food, nutrition, and workouts.
  • Writing out the distractions list was a real game changer and what finally made the concept of a Premack work for me. Makes it all so fácil.
  • I’m rarely too busy, if you can keep the right attitude about it, which is, “I can definitely say I am living my life to the fullest.”
  • It was called Nine Gates Mystery School.
  • The Wisdom of the Enneagram
  • Honor your moods not by forcing a different reality, but by just letting them be.
  • Then I have a one- to two-minute, three-step process: I spend about 15 to 30 seconds affirming that it’s natural to feel this discomfort. I may have a big talk coming up or a deadline. You are supposed to be scared when you’re doing big things—okay? Acknowledging this can be life-changing. I spend the next 15 to 30 seconds being curious about what my current relationship is with that discomfort. If the anxiety seems out of proportion to the situation, or if it seems irrational in any way, that means I’ve been ignoring fear and thus it’s starting to speak louder or act out. If this is the case, I give it my full attention then, and ask what it’s been trying to say to me that I haven’t acknowledged (e.g., “Write a new speech; the one you have sucks.” Or, “You forgot to call your mother”). Being such a great advisor, I use this time with fear to juice its knowledge like you would juice an orange. Then, I spend as long as it takes to feel it. Now, this is important: I don’t try to get rid of it. That is not what this is about, because that would be disrespectful to fear. The key is to feel the feeling by spending some time with it, like you would with your dog, friend, or lover. I usually do this for about 30 to 60 seconds. After which, fear, feeling acknowledged and heard, often dissipates.
  • The power broker in your life is the voice that no one ever hears. How well you revisit the tone and content of your private voice is what determines the quality of your life. It is the master storyteller, and the stories we tell ourselves are our reality.
  • focus on what’s in front of you, design great days to create a great life, and try not to make the same mistake twice.
  • What would this look like if it were easy?
  • tim.blog/booklist
  • tim.blog/spin

 

 

Book: Life Principles

9781501124020_p1_v3_s550x406Ray Dalio is one of the most successful investors in the world. Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris call him the Steve Jobs of investing.

He argues that there most of the hard problems in life are „another one of those”. Situation is somewhat similar to a pattern recognized before and the real trick is to correctly identify the pattern and auto play the correct behavior.

By using the same tactic in his investment work, he analyzed how asset classes perform in certain situations and what usually leads to an economic downturn.

By properly recognizing the signs and probable outcomes, his firm has become a worlds largest hedge fund – Bridgewater Associates.

He calls his learnings „principles” and when he cans, he tries to make them into computer algorithms because computers are so much better than people at avoiding cognitive biases.

The methaphors used thought this book speak to me very strongly. He uses the metaphor „machine” for life circumstantces and argues that you can either be a cog or look at it from a higher level and design it. You are a worker in the machine, but you always have the power to zoom out and design the machine itself.

Amazon link

The book has 2 parts: Life principles and Work principles. This post is about the first one – life.

Small notes:

  • I really need to write my own principles and playbooks for different scenarios that occur often in life
  • Biggest motivator to change is the pain you feel after the mistake. That is why it is very crucial not to run away from it, but use it as a cue to change behavior.
  • Kindness instead of truth is sometimes tricky because it leads to dishonesty and that – to poor communication

Habits, again.

This comes over and over again. The key to success is helpful habits.

Every habit consists of Cue, Behaviour and reward. Identyfying proper cues and rewarding behavior gets you there.

 

This book is essentially a goldmine. I truly can have no hope of summarizing it. Highlights speak for themselves.

 

My highlights

  • Whatever success I’ve had in life has had more to do with my knowing how to deal with my not knowing than anything I know.
  • reflect on and write down my decision-making criteria whenever I made a decision,
  • My most obvious weakness was my bad rote memory. I couldn’t, and still can’t, remember facts that don’t have reasons for being what they are
  • great is better than terrible, and terrible is better than mediocre, because terrible at least gives life flavor.
  • My business has always been a way to get me into exotic places and allow me to meet interesting people. If I make any money from those trips, that’s just icing on the cake.
  • I believe one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your decision making is to think through your principles for making decisions, write them out in both words and computer algorithms, back-test them if possible, and use them on a real-time basis to run in parallel with your brain’s decision making.
  • I never valued more traditional, antiseptic relationships where people put on a façade of politeness and don’t say what they really think.
  • believe that all organizations basically have two types of people: those who work to be part of a mission, and those who work for a paycheck.
  • Moreover, I recognized that managers who do not understand people’s different thinking styles cannot understand how the people working for them will handle different situations,
  • matching the right types of people to the right types of situations is key.
  • “Capable people are those who sit there worrying about the future. The unwise are those who worry about nothing.
  • a. Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life.
  • 1.2 Truth—or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
  • Besides giving me the freedom to be me, it has allowed me to understand others and for them to understand me, which is much more efficient and much more enjoyable than not having this understanding.
  • Don’t get hung up on your views of how things “should” be because you will miss out on learning how they really are.
  • Whenever I observe something in nature that I (or mankind) think is wrong, I assume that I’m wrong and try to figure out why what nature is doing makes sense.
  • now realize that nature optimizes for the whole, not for the individual, but most people judge good and bad based only on how it affects them.
  • To be “good” something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to the evolution of the whole; that is what is most rewarded.
  • So rather than getting stuck hiding our mistakes and pretending we’re perfect, it makes sense to find our imperfections and deal with them. You will either learn valuable lessons from your mistakes and press on, better equipped to succeed—or you won’t and you will fail.
  • The individual’s incentives must be aligned with the group’s goals.
  • Contribute to the whole and you will likely be rewarded.
  • It is a great paradox that individually we are simultaneously everything and nothing.
  • I realized that most everything that at first seemed “bad” to me—like rainy days, weaknesses, and even death—was because I held preconceived notions of what I personally wanted.
  • But if you can remember to reflect after it passes, that’s valuable too. (I created a Pain Button app to help people do this, which I describe in the appendix.)
  • If you don’t let up on yourself and instead become comfortable always operating with some level of pain, you will evolve at a faster pace.
  • you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or
  • At some point in your life you will crash in a big way.
  • Look at the machine from the higher level.
  • One of the hardest things for people to do is to objectively look down on themselves within their circumstances (i.e., their machine) so that they can act as the machine’s designer and manager.
  • You shouldn’t be upset if you find out that you’re bad at something—you should be happy that you found out, because knowing that and dealing with it will improve your chances of getting what you want.
  • Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.
  • Don’t overweight first-order consequences relative to second- and third-order ones.
  • Dawkins’s River Out of Eden.
  • Achieving goals
    • 1. Have clear goals.
    • 2. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of your achieving those goals.
    • 3. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at their root causes.
    • 4. Design plans that will get you around them.
    • 5. Do what’s necessary to push these designs through to results.
  • For example, when setting goals, just set goals.
  • Decide what you really want in life by reconciling your goals and your desires.
  • Remember that great expectations create great capabilities.
  • Focus on the “what is” before deciding “what to do about it.”
  • Everyone has at least one big thing that stands in the way of their success; find yours and deal with
  • The two biggest barriers to good decision making are your ego and your blind spots.
  • Sincerely believe that you might not know the best possible path and recognize that your ability to deal well with “not knowing” is more important than whatever it is you do know.
  • Radically open-minded people know that coming up with the right questions and asking other smart people what they think is as important as having all the answers.
  • Don’t worry about looking good; worry about achieving your goal.
  • That is because what exists within the area of “not knowing” is so much greater and more exciting than anything any one of us knows.
  • Be clear on whether you are arguing or seeking to understand, and think about which is most appropriate based on your and others’ believability.
  • you should make it clear that you are asking questions because you are seeking to understand their perspective.
  • also recommend that both parties observe a “two-minute rule” in which neither interrupts the other, so they both have time to get all their thoughts out.
  • a. Plan for the worst-case scenario to make it as good as possible.
  • right then and there I called the other doctor to see what each would say about the other’s views.
  • Recognize the signs of closed-mindedness and open-mindedness that you should watch out for.
  • circumstances, truly open-minded people, even the most believable people I know, always ask a lot of questions.
  • Nonbelievable people often tell me that their statements are actually implicit questions, though they’re phrased as low-confidence statements. While that’s sometimes true, in my experience it’s more often not.
  • 3. Closed-minded people focus much more on being understood than on understanding others.
  • 4. Closed-minded people say things like “I could be wrong . . . but here’s my opinion.” This is a classic cue I hear all the time. It’s often a perfunctory gesture that allows people to hold their own opinion while convincing themselves that they are being open-minded.
  • Mental pain often comes from being too attached to an idea when a person or an event comes along to challenge it.
  • Make being open-minded a habit.
  • If you consistently use feelings of anger/frustration as cues to calm down, slow down, and approach the subject at hand thoughtfully,
  • Get to know your blind spots. When you are closed-minded and form an opinion in an area where you have a blind spot, it can be deadly. So take some time to record the circumstances in which you’ve consistently made bad decisions because you failed to see what others saw.
  • This led to one of my most valuable management tools: Baseball Cards,
  • like “conceptual,” “reliable,” “creative,” and “determined”; the
  • while many people have an instinctual fear of snakes, no one has an instinctual fear of flowers.
  • The Spiritual Brain
  • Beyond Religion,
  • Choose your habits well.
  • The most valuable habit I’ve acquired is using pain to trigger quality reflections.
  • Our experience has been that left-brained folks tend to see right-brained folks as “spacey” or “abstract,” while right-brained thinkers tend to find left-brained thinkers “literal” or “narrow.”
  • barry bassbal cards
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Workplace Personality Inventory, the Team Dimensions Profile, and Stratified Systems Theory.
  • Introversion vs. extroversion. Introverts
  • Intuiting vs. sensing.
  • Thinking vs. feeling.
  • Planning vs. perceiving.
  • Creators vs. refiners vs. advancers vs. executors vs. flexors.
  • Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored.
  • Everything looks bigger up close.
  • it is smarter to choose the great over the new.
  • Be an imperfectionist.
  • When a line of reasoning is jumbled and confusing, it’s often because the speaker has gotten caught up in below-the-line details without connecting them back to the major points.
  • “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
  • 5.6 Make your decisions as expected value calculations.
  • Let’s say the reward for being right is $100 and its probability is 60 percent, while the penalty for being wrong is also $100. If you multiply the reward by the probability of being right you get $60 and if you multiply the penalty by the probability of being wrong (40 percent) you get $40. If you subtract the penalty from the reward, the difference is the expected value, which in this case is positive (+$20).
  • Convert your principles into algorithms and have the computer make decisions alongside you.
  • setting goals, identifying and not tolerating problems, diagnosing problems, coming up with designs to get around them, and then doing the tasks required.

 

SUMMARY AND TABLE OF LIFE PRINCIPLES

  • Think for yourself to decide
    • 1) what you want,
    • 2) what is true, and
    • 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2, and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you consider the best thinking available to you.
  • LIFE PRINCIPLES INTRODUCTION
    • • Look to the patterns of those things that affect you in order to understand the cause-effect relationships that drive them and to learn principles for dealing with them effectively.

PART II: LIFE PRINCIPLES

  • 1 Embrace Reality and Deal with It
    • 1.1 Be a hyperrealist.
      • a. Dreams + Reality + Determination = A Successful Life.
    • 1.2 Truth—or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for any good outcome.
    • 1.3 Be radically open-minded and radically transparent.
      • a. Radical open-mindedness and radical transparency are invaluable for rapid learning and effective change.
      • b. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way.
      • c. Embracing radical truth and radical transparency will bring more meaningful work and more meaningful relationships
    • 1.4 Look to nature to learn how reality works.
      • a. Don’t get hung up on your views of how things “should” be because you will miss out on learning how they really are.
      • b. To be “good,” something must operate consistently with the laws of reality and contribute to the evolution of the whole; that is what is most rewarded.
      • c. Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; it is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything.
      • d. Evolve or die.
    • 1.5 Evolving is life’s greatest accomplishment and its greatest reward.
      • a. The individual’s incentives must be aligned with the group’s goals.
      • b. Reality is optimizing for the whole—not for you.
      • c. Adaptation through rapid trial and error is invaluable.
      • d. Realize that you are simultaneously everything and nothing—and decide what you want to be.
      • e. What you will be will depend on the perspective you have.
    • 1.6 Understand nature’s practical lessons.
      • a. Maximize your evolution.
      • b. Remember “no pain, no gain.”
      • c. It is a fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful.
    • 1.7 Pain + Reflection = Progress.
      • a. Go to the pain rather than avoid it.
      • b. Embrace tough love.
    • 1.8 Weigh second- and third-order consequences.
    • 1.9 Own your outcomes.
    • 1.10 Look at the machine from the higher level.
      • a. Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes.
      • b. By comparing your outcomes with your goals, you can determine how to modify your machine.
      • c. Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine.
      • d. The biggest mistake most people make is to not see themselves and others objectively, which leads them to bump into their own and others’ weaknesses again and again.
      • e. Successful people are those who can go above themselves to see things objectively and manage those things to shape change.
      • f. Asking others who are strong in areas where you are weak to help you is a great skill that you should develop no matter what, as it will help you develop guardrails that will prevent you from doing what you shouldn’t be doing.
      • g. Because it is difficult to see oneself objectively, you need to rely on the input of others and the whole body of evidence.
      • h. If you are open-minded enough and determined, you can get virtually anything you want.
  •  2 Use the 5-Step Process to Get What You Want Out of Life
    • 2.1 Have clear goals.
      • a. Prioritize: While you can have virtually anything you want, you can’t have everything you want.
      • b. Don’t confuse goals with desires.
      • c. Decide what you really want in life by reconciling your goals and your desires.
      • d. Don’t mistake the trappings of success for success itself.
      • e. Never rule out a goal because you think it’s unattainable.
      • f. Remember that great expectations create great capabilities.
      • g. Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have
        • a) flexibility and
        • b) self-accountability.
      • h. Knowing how to deal well with your setbacks is as important as knowing how to move forward.
    • 2.2 Identify and don’t tolerate problems.
      • a. View painful problems as potential improvements that are screaming at you.
      • b. Don’t avoid confronting problems because they are rooted in harsh realities that are unpleasant to look at.
      • c. Be specific in identifying your problems.
      • d. Don’t mistake a cause of a problem with the real problem.
      • e. Distinguish big problems from small ones.
      • f. Once you identify a problem, don’t tolerate it.
    • 2.3 Diagnose problems to get at their root causes.
      • a. Focus on the “what is” before deciding “what to do about it.”
      • b. Distinguish proximate causes from root causes.
      • c. Recognize that knowing what someone (including you) is like will tell you what you can expect from them.
    • 2.4 Design a plan.
      •  a. Go back before you go forward.
      • b. Think about your problem as a set of outcomes produced by a machine.
      • c. Remember that there are typically many paths to achieving your goals.
      • d. Think of your plan as being like a movie script in that you visualize who will do what through time.
      • e. Write down your plan for everyone to see and to measure your progress against.
      • f. Recognize that it doesn’t take a lot of time to design a good plan.
    • 2.5 Push through to completion.
      • a. Great planners who don’t execute their plans go nowhere.
      • b. Good work habits are vastly underrated.
      • c. Establish clear metrics to make certain that you are following your plan.
    • 2.6 Remember that weaknesses don’t matter if you find solutions.
      • a. Look at the patterns of your mistakes and identify at which step in the 5-Step Process you typically fail.
      • b. Everyone has at least one big thing that stands in the way of their success; find yours and deal with it.
    • 2.7 Understand your own and others’ mental maps and humility.
  • 3 Be Radically Open-Minded
    • 3.1 Recognize your two barriers.
      • a. Understand your ego barrier.
      • b. Your two “yous” fight to control you.
      • c. Understand your blind spot barrier.
    • 3.2 Practice radical open-mindedness.
      • a. Sincerely believe that you might not know the best possible path and recognize that your ability to deal well with “not knowing” is more important than whatever it is you do know.
      • b. Recognize that decision making is a two-step process: First take in all the relevant information, then decide.
      • c. Don’t worry about looking good; worry about achieving your goal.
      • d. Realize that you can’t put out without taking in.
      • e. Recognize that to gain the perspective that comes from seeing things through another’s eyes, you must suspend judgment for a time—only by empathizing can you properly evaluate another point of view.
      • f. Remember that you’re looking for the best answer, not simply the best answer that you can come up with yourself.
      • g. Be clear on whether you are arguing or seeking to understand, and think about which is most appropriate based on your and others’ believability.
    • 3.3  Appreciate the art of thoughtful disagreement.
    • 3.4 Triangulate your view with believable people who are willing to disagree.
      • a. Plan for the worst-case scenario to make it as good as possible.
    • 3.5 Recognize the signs of closed-mindedness and open-mindedness that you should watch out for.
    • 3.6 Understand how you can become radically open-minded.
      • a. Regularly use pain as your guide toward quality reflection.
      • b. Make being open-minded a habit.
      • c. Get to know your blind spots.
      • d. If a number of different believable people say you are doing something wrong and you are the only one who doesn’t see it that way, assume that you are probably biased.
      • e. Meditate.
      • f. Be evidence-based and encourage others to be the same.
      • g. Do everything in your power to help others also be open-minded.
      • h. Use evidence-based decision-making tools.
      • i. Know when it’s best to stop fighting and have faith in your decision-making process.
  • 4 Understand That People Are Wired Very Differently
    • 4.1 Understand the power that comes from knowing how you and others are wired.
      • a. We are born with attributes that can both help us and hurt us, depending on their application.
    • 4.2 Meaningful work and meaningful relationships aren’t just nice things we chose for ourselves—they are genetically programmed into us.
    • 4.3 Understand the great brain battles and how to control them to get what “you” want.
      • a. Realize that the conscious mind is in a battle with the subconscious mind.
      • b. Know that the most constant struggle is between feeling and thinking.
      • c. Reconcile your feelings and your thinking.
      • d. Choose your habits well.
      •  e. Train your “lower-level you” with kindness and persistence to build the right habits.
      • f. Understand the differences between right-brained and left-brained thinking.
      • g. Understand how much the brain can and cannot change.
    • 4.4 Find out what you and others are like.
      • a. Introversion vs. extroversion.
      • b. Intuiting vs. sensing.
      • c. Thinking vs. feeling.
      • d. Planning vs. perceiving.
      • e. Creators vs. refiners vs. advancers vs. executors vs. flexors.
      • f. Focusing on tasks vs. focusing on goals.
      • g. Workplace Personality Inventory.
      • h. Shapers are people who can go from visualization to actualization.
    • 4.5 Getting the right people in the right roles in support of your goal is the key to succeeding at whatever you choose to accomplish.
      • a. Manage yourself and orchestrate others to get what you want.
  • 5 Learn How to Make Decisions Effectively
    • 5.1 Recognize that
      • 1) the biggest threat to good decision making is harmful emotions, and
      • 2) decision making is a two-step process (first learning and then deciding).
    • 5.2 Synthesize the situation at hand.
      • a. One of the most important decisions you can make is who you ask questions of.
      • b. Don’t believe everything you hear.
      • c. Everything looks bigger up close.
      • d. New is overvalued relative to great.
      • e. Don’t oversqueeze dots.
    • 5.3 Synthesize the situation through time.
      • a. Keep in mind both the rates of change and the levels of things, and the relationships between them.
      • b. Be imprecise.
      • c. Remember the 80/20 Rule and know what the key 20 percent is.
      • d. Be an imperfectionist.
    • 5.4 Navigate levels effectively.
      • a. Use the terms “above the line” and “below the line” to establish which level a conversation is on.
      • b. Remember that decisions need to be made at the appropriate level, but they should also be consistent across levels.
    • 5.5 Logic, reason, and common sense are your best tools for synthesizing reality and understanding what to do about it.
    • 5.6 Make your decisions as expected value calculations.
      • a. Raising the probability of being right is valuable no matter what your probability of being right already is.
      • b. Knowing when not to bet is as important as knowing what bets are probably worth making.
      • c. The best choices are the ones that have more pros than cons, not those that don’t have any cons at all.
    • 5.7 Prioritize by weighing the value of additional information against the cost of not deciding.
      • a. All of your “must-dos” must be above the bar before you do your “like-to-dos.”
      • b. Chances are you won’t have time to deal with the unimportant things, which is better than not having time to deal with the important things.
      • c. Don’t mistake possibilities for probabilities.
    • 5.8 Simplify!
    • 5.9 Use principles.
    • 5.10 Believability weight your decision making.
    • 5.11 Convert your principles into algorithms and have the computer make decisions alongside you.
    • 5.12 Be cautious about trusting AI without having deep understanding.

 

Work Principles

I did start on “Work principles” part, but I had to stop to take a breathe 🙂

  • Don’t let loyalty to people stand in the way of truth and the well-being of the organization
  • Speak up, own it, or get out
  • Distinguish between idle complaints and complaints meant to lead to improvement
  • but I often hear people complaining about the style or tone of a criticism in order to deflect from its substance. If you think someone’s style is an issue, box it as a separate issue to get in sync on.
  • Use “double-do” rather than “double-check” to make sure mission-critical tasks are done correctly.