Book: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

25658675

Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.

 

You don’t need to formally be a leader, nobody had to put you in that position, but you still can own the situation.

No excuses, no bullshitting, just ownership.

Extreme ownership gives you power. Power to own every situation, to never stop searching for the ways what you can do to shape the world.

Initiative is hard and demanding. You have to work hard, keep your word and not sheepishly follow the crowd, you have to put yourself out there.

But lack of initiative is depressing and disempowering.

Amazon Link

Jocko Willink

Jocko is former commander of Task Force Bruiser, the most decorated unit in Afghanistan. They were fighting in the battle of Ramadi, the most brutal urban environment in afghan war. He has a podcast about leadership and discipline.

Jocko is fond of saying that discipline equals freedom.

And he gave a TED talk too!

 

Ego is the enemy.

That is a common thread in the many recent books I’ve read. Ego is the enemy obviously, Astronauts guide to life on earth, Tools of Titans  and few more are conveying that you should focus less on yourself and more on the team and how can you support it. Victory is for team players.

For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success. The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas. They are simply focused on the mission and how best to accomplish it.

What is interesting is that I see this turn towards stoicism only recently. It seems that in 80s and 90s the path to win was to be the loudest talker with the biggest suit. If you could scream more, you were a winner.

But now I sense kind of Sun-Tzu approach of knowing yourself and being like water. I cannot articulate it better, maybe the authors of the books I read form a tight circle.

Concept of leading up the chain of command.

Take responsibility for leading everyone in your world, subordinates and superiors alike

When we hear about leadership, most of us don’t perk up and focus since we tend to think of leadership as someone elses problem. More than that, it is usually someone else’s screwup.

Being happy with leadership isn’t common, since no-one is perfect and its all too easy to find faults and put blame.But concept of extreme ownership doesn’t allow you to do that.

Boss is tough on you or making you do something you don’t like? You own that situation.

  • Did you give her enough information?
  • Did you make her trust you?
  • Did you prove yourself co they don’t have to hand-hold?

Concept of leading UP the chain of command really strikes me as useful since it puts power in my hands, can be immediately applied and actually does something to make the situation better. It caused me to reflect if I am indeed providing enough information so my superiors can make good decisions.

My highlights

  • Between the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism, the U.S. military experienced a thirty-year span of virtually no sustained combat operations.
  • Cover and Move, Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command.
  • The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.
  • For all the definitions, descriptions, and characterizations of leaders, there are only two that matter: effective and ineffective. Effective leaders lead successful teams that accomplish their mission and win. Ineffective leaders do not.
  • For leaders, the humility to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them is essential to success. The best leaders are not driven by ego or personal agendas. They are simply focused on the mission and how best to accomplish it.
  • Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.
  • If an individual on the team is not performing at the level required for the team to succeed, the leader must train and mentor that underperformer. But if the underperformer continually fails to meet standards, then a leader who exercises Extreme Ownership must be loyal to the team and the mission above any individual. If underperformers cannot improve, the leader must make the tough call to terminate them and hire others who can get the job done. It is all on the leader.
  • “Maybe not so much here to help you, but here to help the situation,”
  • When a bad SEAL leader walked into a debrief and blamed everyone else, that attitude was picked up by subordinates and team members, who then followed suit. They all blamed everyone else, and inevitably the team was ineffective and unable to properly execute a plan.
  • Each boat had a roman numeral painted in bright yellow on the front, indicating the boat crew number—all except the boat crew made up of the shortest men in the class, known as the “Smurf crew.” They had a bright blue Smurf painted on the bow of their boat.
  • one of the most fundamental and important truths at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
  • as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
  • No matter how obvious his or her failing, or how valid the criticism, a Tortured Genius, in this sense, accepts zero responsibility for mistakes, makes excuses, and blames everyone else for their failings (and those of their team).
  • In order to convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission. Even when others doubt and question the amount of risk, asking, “Is it worth it?” the leader must believe in the greater cause.
  • If frontline leaders and troops understand why, they can move forward, fully believing in what they are doing.
  • The leader must explain not just what to do, but why.
  • Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation.
  • Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is your own.
  • Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility.
  • Your superintendent may not have really understood how his failure to follow procedure and get approval for these changes would result in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost. Do you think that is possible?”
  • “Remember, it’s not about you,” I continued. “It’s not about the drilling superintendent. It’s about the mission and how best to accomplish it. With that attitude exemplified in you and your key leaders, your team will dominate.”
  • Simplifying as much as possible is crucial to success. When plans and orders are too complicated, people may not understand them. And when things go wrong, and they inevitably do go wrong, complexity compounds issues that can spiral out of control into total disaster.
  • Teams must be careful to avoid target fixation on a single issue.
  • Every tactical-level team leader must understand not just what to do but why they are doing it.
  • senior leaders must constantly communicate and push information—what we call in the military “situational awareness”—to their subordinate leaders. Likewise, junior leaders must push situational awareness up the chain to their senior leaders to keep them informed, particularly of crucial information that affects strategic decision making.
  • With SEAL Teams—just as with any team in the business world—there are leaders who try to take on too much themselves.
  • Contrary to a common misconception, leaders are not stuck in any particular position. Leaders must be free to move to where they are most needed, which changes throughout the course of an operation.
  • Situations will sometimes require that the boss walk away from a problem and let junior leaders solve it, even if the boss knows he might solve it more efficiently.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part.
  • A broad and ambiguous mission results in lack of focus, ineffective execution, and mission creep. To prevent this, the mission must be carefully refined and simplified so that it is explicitly clear and specifically focused to achieve the greater strategic vision for which that mission is a part.
  • The mission must explain the overall purpose and desired result, or “end state,” of the operation
  • While a simple statement, the Commander’s Intent is actually the most important part of the brief.
  • Giving the frontline troops ownership of even a small piece of the plan gives them buy-in, helps them understand the reasons behind the plan, and better enables them to
  • It must be repeatable and guide users with a checklist of all the important things they need to think about
    • Analyze the mission. —Understand higher headquarters’ mission, Commander’s Intent, and endstate (the goal). —Identify and state your own Commander’s Intent and endstate for the specific mission.
    • Identify personnel, assets, resources, and time available. Decentralize the planning process. —Empower key leaders within the team to analyze possible courses of action.
    • Determine a specific course of action. —Lean toward selecting the simplest course of action. —Focus efforts on the best course of action.
    •  Empower key leaders to develop the plan for the selected course of action. • Plan for likely contingencies through each phase of the operation. • Mitigate risks that can be controlled as much as possible.
    • Delegate portions of the plan and brief to key junior leaders. —Stand back and be the tactical genius.
    • Continually check and question the plan against emerging information to ensure it still fits the situation.
    • Brief the plan to all participants and supporting assets. —Emphasize Commander’s Intent. —Ask questions and engage in discussion and interaction with the team to ensure they understand. •
    • Conduct post-operational debrief after execution. —Analyze lessons learned and implement them in future planning.
  • repeatable checklist others with less experience can follow.”
  • new feature manifesto mvp manifesto new feature checkklisst ?
  • “As a leader, if you are down in the weeds planning the details with your guys,” said Jocko, “you will have the same perspective as them, which adds little value. But if you let them plan the details, it allows them to own their piece of the plan. And it allows you to stand back and see everything with a different perspective, which adds tremendous value.
  • But I could have done a far better job as a leader to understand for myself the strategic impact of our operations and passed this insight to my troops.
  • “We are here. We are on the ground. We need to push situational awareness up the chain,” Jocko said. “If they have questions, it is our fault for not properly communicating the information they need. We have to lead them.”
  • LEADING UP THE CHAIN
  • A public display of discontent or disagreement with the chain of command undermines the authority of leaders at all levels.
  • Take responsibility for leading everyone in your world, subordinates and superiors alike. • If someone isn’t doing what you want or need them to do, look in the mirror first and determine what you can do to better enable this. • Don’t ask your leader what you should do, tell them what you are going to do.
  • better info about projects gloing on
  • BUSINESS
  • the picture could never be complete. There was always some element of risk. There was no 100-percent right solution.
  • Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom.

 

Book: Walden by Henry David Thoreau

41p2bri0sgfl“Walden” is a history of 1 year of Henry David Thoreau’s life when he decided to practice minimalism and live in a cabin that he has built by his own hands.

It was an extreme case of practicing what he preached and he preached ( in 1800s ) that constant struggle to keep up with the Joneses is a waste of humanity’s potential. He advocated for civil disobedience when state was violating human rights and above all – mindfulness in both life choices and day to day activities.

It all sounds so current now.

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

Amazon Link

the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it,

Maria Popova from the amazing Brain Pickings site is quite a fan of Thoreu and has covered all this better than I ever could:

In the first part, he focuses on the consumer society and how we are a bit sheepish in our day-to day lives. In the second part he describes in detail his experiment with the cabin, thoughts and insight gained from observing nature and the passing of seasons.

I have to admit that that nature descriptions were less interesting for me. Exciting as it sounds, It was a bit hard to go through 10 pages of descriptions of the habits of ducks.

Nevertheless, this book is full of gems.

My highlights

  • I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
  • slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself, a fame won by his own deeds. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.
  • The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
  • A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
  • prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields.
  • Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
  • A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in;
  • I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.
  • If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man—and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages—
  • and the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it,
  • the necessity of the young man’s providing a certain number of superfluous glow-shoes, and umbrellas, and empty guest chambers for empty guests, before he dies?
  • I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground.
  • men have become the tools of their tools.
  • We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agri-culture.
  • Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made.
  • I think that it would be better than this, for the students, or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves.
  • The student who secures his coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble and unprofitable leisure, defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful.
  • “But,” says one, “you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?” I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end.
  • Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month—the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this—or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father?
  • The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably
  • I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer.
  • but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father’s or his mother’s or his neighbor’s instead.
  • Above all, as I have implied, the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.
  • There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.
  • If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as
  • https://gum.co/Walden-audiobook/secret-2015
  • What is a house but a sedes, a seat?—better if a country seat.
  • perchance, for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
  • The Harivansa says, “An abode without birds is like a meat without seasoning.”
  • Morning brings back the heroic ages.
  • Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to
  • Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment.
  • As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence.
  • And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another.
  • To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.
  • There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure—news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelve-month, or twelve years, beforehand with sufficient accuracy.
  • If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers, nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts, a French revolution not excepted.
  • The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers.
  • and in this respect I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my townsman who cannot read at all and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects.
  • We have a comparatively decent system of common schools, schools for infants only; but excepting the half-starved Lyceum in the winter, and latterly the puny beginning of a library suggested by the State, no school for ourselves. We spend more on almost any article of bodily aliment or ailment than on our mental aliment.
  • Shall the world be confined to one Paris or one Oxford forever? Cannot students be boarded here and get a liberal education under the skies of Concord? Can we not hire some Abelard to lecture to us? Alas! what
  • Shall the world be confined to one Paris or one Oxford forever? Cannot students be boarded here and get a liberal education under the skies of Concord?
  • Why should we leave it to Harper & Brothers and Redding & Co. to select our reading? As the nobleman of cultivated taste surrounds himself with whatever conduces to his culture—genius—learning—wit—books— paintings—statuary—music—philosophical instruments, and the like; so let the village do—
  • I love a broad margin to my life.
  • For my own part, I was never so effectually deterred from frequenting a man’s house, by any kind of Cerberus whatever, as by the parade one made about dining me,
  • I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
  • I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind.
  • but this is one of those sayings which men love to repeat whether they are true or not. Such
  • the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful.
  • What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics. It is the law of average. Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us toward the sun in the system and the heart in man, but draws lines through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a man’s particular daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets, and where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character.
  • If he is surrounded by mountainous circumstances, an Achillean shore, whose peaks overshadow and are reflected in his bosom, they suggest a corresponding depth in him. But a low and smooth shore proves him shallow on that side. In our bodies, a bold projecting brow falls off to and indicates a corresponding depth of thought.
  • Ice is an interesting subject for contemplation.
  • At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.
  • We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.
  • The universe is wider than our views of it.
  • Patriotism is a maggot in their heads.
  • It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct.
  • that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
  • Some are dinning in our ears that we Americans, and moderns generally, are intellectual dwarfs compared with the ancients, or even the Elizabethan men. But what is that to the purpose? A living dog is better than a dead lion. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made.
  • Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
  • Tom Hyde, the tinker, standing on the gallows, was asked if he had anything to say. “Tell the tailors,” said he, “to remember to make a knot in their thread before they take the first stitch.” His companion’s prayer is forgotten
  • came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it,
  • A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong.

 

Book: Rising Strong: by Brené Brown

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt famous speech in Sorbonne, 23.04.1910

Brene Brown is a big proponent of vulnerability. In 2010 she gave a TED talk about the value of being vulnerable and it turned out to be amazingly popular. The book came out from the talk.

My takeaways

Rising Strong:  by Brené Brown

Artur, could you please focus and talk about the book? Your digressions about all this are interesting, but lets hear about the book itself!

Being broken-hearted is also courageous. Instead of running away, you have to admit, see and own your moment face-down.

Only when you fall you can see what is up.

You need to admit that „the stories we tell ourselves” are not the whole truth. In every relationship, we all have our internal narratives and you cannot just believe that they are the whole truth. And if you believe you share the story about some facts of your relationship – you need to consult them! You could be very surprised how your significant other can believe in a different story about the same thing.

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. The proper thing instead of cool, fast or easy.

You need to live your values instead of just talking about them.

You have to own your moment of failure.

Give yourself permission to feel

Actual badass isn’t afraid of talking about the fear and failure. He always stands up after being knocked down. Pretending that you didn’t fail is cowardice.

To rise strong after failure, you have to go through:

  1. Reckoning ( enough with this shit! )
  2. Rumbling ( now what? examine your emotions )
  3. Revolution ( change narratives )

Courageous life

  1. Cultivating authenticity: letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivating laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in control”

For teams

  • What emotions are the people in our team experiencing?
  • What do we need to get curious about?
  • What are the stories that the team members are making up?
  • What can these stories tell us about the relationships within the team, about communication and team culture?
  • What are the key learnings?
  • And how do we act on these key learnings?

MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED 

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers

Than those of us who are willing to fall

Because we have learned how to rise With skinned knees and bruised hearts

We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure. Showing up is our power.

Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are rising strong.

More

My highlights

  • badassery deficit.
  • Engineers Without Borders
  • I want to be in the arena
  • shame-based fear of being ordinary (which is how I define narcissism).
  • “the story that I’m making up”
  • Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
  • A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t.
  • MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers Than those of us who are willing to fall Because we have learned how to rise With skinned knees and bruised hearts; We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending. When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings. We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure. Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are rising strong.
  • TEN GUIDEPOSTS FOR WHOLEHEARTED LIVING 1. Cultivating authenticity: letting go of what people think 2. Cultivating self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism 3. Cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness 4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark 5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty 6. Cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison 7. Cultivating play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth 8. Cultivating calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle 9. Cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to” 10. Cultivating laughter, song, and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in

Book: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray BradburySurprisingly, the book feels very modern. Contrary to what many people remember from it, the burning of books was not issued by a totalitarian government, but by people themselves.They just didn’t like being offended.

Amazon Link

The artifitial chatter created by “walls” and “families” is very reminiscent about modern society. We dont like uncomfortable ideas  as it seems and are offended A LOT. We should be offended more. And feel more. Its human and it’s a part of life.

The society in the book always chased happiness, which made them deeply unhappy. They started chasing self-destructive vices: driving with insane speeds, tv all the time, etc.

“Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority”

Modern tendency to being outraged is actually one of the reasons, we have the „fake news problem” –  check out “Confessions of a Media Manipulator”.

My highlights

  • Federico Fellini who, when asked about his work, said, ‘Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know.’ The grand thing is to plunge ahead and
  • Have you seen the two-hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last.
  • It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank
  • Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed
  • You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it.
  • you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.
  • Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year.
  • Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.

Book: Moonshots in Education: Blended Learning in the Classroom by Esther Wojcicki

Moonshots in Education: Blended Learning in the Classroom by Esther Wojcicki

I met Esther Wojcicki during EU Hackathon devoted to education (which I kinda won).

She is a most amazing person, the most decorated highschool teacher in US, mother the founder of personal genetic sequencing company , ceo of youtube and mother in law of this guy.

Amazon Link

„Moonshots in Education” is a handbook for improving education situation in United States. It gives lots of examples from around the world how to make education less stagnant and more practical.

My takeaways are:

  • Everything should be a project, learning by doing is the best way to go
  • Enough with the grades!
  • Empower kids, you’ll be amazed

I immediately wanted to give this book to my mom (the teacher) but there is no Polish translation and most of the examples are tightly coupled with US reality so they could be easily refuted in the basis of not applying to Polish day-to-day.

My view on current education system.

I treat the topic of education very seriously. My mom is a teacher, I spent total of 7 years in colleges, earning 2 master degrees. I really, really wanted it to be all that was promised to be.I now consider it harmful for the vast majority of people to attend college.

I strongly believe, that the current educational system is useless because:

  • It focuses on theoretical instead of practical. Who in the workplace makes you take a test?
  • The whole environment is NOT designed to make learning better, it is designed to make TEACHING easier. Knowledge is standarized to make materials easier, tests are administered to makes sure teachers are following along
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_cycle.  By making people follow the same curriculum, you will loose at least 50% of your students

I think it is even harmful, because:

  • If it were more personalized, you could cut time for knowledge transfer by 70% for each kid
  • Kids loosing interest at early stages reinforce their opinion thet learning is not for them and become effectively disabled for life, since lifelong learning is extremely needed now
  • Kids WANT to learn, but school destroys that motivation
  • Higher education is preparing people for a different world. After university, the will think:
    • „If I do bare minimum, I’ll get an A”
    • „There is always a handbook for everything”
    • „I can take as much time as I want and learn everything on a topic”
    • „Having theoretical knowledge is enough for anything”

I will not even start on how school is missing on practical life skills.

After school we leave children asking themselves questions, full of useless knowledge and dread for learning.

„But we’re doing the best we can, it’s better then nothing!”

NO IT ISN’T.

There is abundance of free material that is lightyears better than what we are offering at so called „educational institutions” . Youtube, Khan Academy and others are free and ripe with knowledge that is interesting, of superior quality and in the medium kids are used to.

Plus, they can consume it at their own curriculum.

Let’s take advantage!

My highlights

  • There have been countless studies on learning and memory, and one prominent takeaway message is this: It’s not just the content, or what you’re learning, but also the details of when and how things are presented
  • grit, tenacity, and perseverance
  • Research 101
  • It’s not all about you
  • “Why spend hours ‘talking’ science to students when they can experiment themselves?
  • Joyce’s students played paleontologist as they used the technology to turn a 2D sketch of bones to 3D printed models.
  • then the problem would be on the way to be solved
  • learningaccelerator.org
  • MONSTER PHYSICS
  • Edutopia.org
  • “At present, there are very few examples of the preparation of teachers for the online environment.”
  • flipped classroom
  • In South Korea, according to a UNESCO report, pre-service teacher training in information communication technology (ICT) began in the mid-1990s at elementary and secondary teacher-training institutions
  • Five-Year Strategy plan “were mostly skewed towards the training of generic IT skills.”
  • It was preparing kids for the factory model; today we are preparing kids for a world we cannot even conceptualize. They need to think, not follow directions. We need to move forward, take a risk; we have the tools and the skills to change the classroom and make learning exciting and relevant for all students

Book: The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World by Randall E. Stross

To say Thomas Edison is an iconic figure is an understatement. His image is so deeply entrenched within culture that its hard to separate what is truth and what is fiction and what constitutes a fact.

Amazon Link

The image of genius who just cant stop innovating was appealing and convenient for journalists of the era. Multiple headlines were screaming describing amazing pace of spitting out new machines and businesses.

While Thomas Edison was without a doubt a great innovator, he was a lousy businessman. He had a knack for getting public excited but he often under-delivered on his promises of bringing ideas to market and changing lives with them.

He was a resident of Menlo Park only for a short time ( 7 years? )and most of hes subsequent career he wanted to come back to that isolated place where he could innovate with peace

(all this reminds me of skunkworks approach that 10x the output by isolating employees and providing singular focus)

All in all, his life seemed pretty drab.

All the successes had were like startup unicorns that flare out when he failed to make his products commercially available. He really just wanted to be left in peace in his laboratory.

General Electric is a company that was founded by his efforts and continues to flourish to this day, but it shunned his name from the title in 1892.

Tesla vs Edison

edisons_nightmare

Oatmeal sells this great print

The epic „Battle of currents” between Tesla and Edison is a very compelling story. Two wizards of the modern age fighting for the future of all electricity is a compelling story.

Yes, it may have gone too far and yes, Edison has electrocuted an elephant. There were also a stories of current „leaking” into the ground and electrocuting a bit people standing above the lines.

But he was really just trying to innovate and hew as convinced about superiority of
direct current.

My highlights

  • In his spare time, Edison spent time with a small chemistry laboratory that he set up in the baggage car. Flammable chemicals did not travel as well as the printing press. When a bottle of phosphorus fell and set the car on fire, the conductor ejected Edison, his chemical laboratory, and his printing press.
  • The vote recorder was a bust, and the lesson Edison drew from the experience was that invention should not be pursued as an exercise in technical cleverness, but should be shaped by commercial needs.
  • Edison was disinclined to drink with his fellows because it would pull him off track, interfering with the greater pleasures: tinkering, learning, problem solving
  • The isolation of the Menlo Park setting infused the laboratory with a feeling of unbounded creative freedom
  • which also meant that little interest could be mustered for fixing problems with older products like the electric pen.
  • The fault, Edison was told by another manager, was with the customers’ “prejudice and stupidity.”
  • This was a short-lived idea—only a month later, Edison wrote in a laboratory notebook in an agitated hand: “My wife Dearly Beloved Cannot invent worth a Damn!!”

Book: How Proust Can Change Your Life: by Alain de Botton

How Proust Can Change Your Life:  by Alain de Botton

What I understood from the book was, that it really is important to stop and marvel at everyday life, which can be very profound.

Ultimately, the goal is to see the world through artists eyes and particular object of the art is not very important. It is the perception, the noticing of the details in particular way that constitutes work of art

And maybe particular life.

Amazon Link

Proust was very sick, and didn’t leave his home much and was considered a failure by his family.

Later, when his work was acclaimed and people were trying to summarize his work.

Even contests were held to summarize it in 1 minute.

Whlch was quite ridiculous because that was precisely beside the point of the main message in the book.

The school of life

Alain de Botton considers himself a ‚Äěpractical philosopher‚ÄĚ.

He is on a mission to make philosophy answer practical questions again, instead of debating the meanings of words.

The school of life is a great project and I urge you to check out their merchandise like this, this and this

Another amazing project worth checking out is The Book of Life where they try to summarize answers to big life questions

My highlights

  • Less greedily, more importantly, going by slowly may entail greater sympathy
  • A woman whom we need and who makes us suffer elicits from us a whole gamut of feelings far more profound and more vital than does a man of genius who interests us
  • Only when plunged into grief do we have the Proustian incentive to confront difficult truths, as we wail under the bedclothes, like branches in the autumn wind
  • The incident emphasizes once more that beauty is something to be found, rather than passively encountered,
  • Even the finest books deserve to be thrown