Book: On Writing by Stephen King

„Writing is a telepathy” – it’s a process that transports thought from the writers mind to the reader’s.

The biggest takeaway from this book is:

Damn, this guy knows how to write books! I know, insightful!

Part autobiography – part writing manual, „on writing” is a deep dive into Stephen King’s writing process.

An author of Carrie, The Green Mile, The Dark Tower series and countless other stories, Stephen is prolific to a point where people (including my mom) think he has ghost writers.

Now, pushed to spill his secrets, Stephen addresses his prolific career. The book is not self-congratulatory at all. It consists of two parts – one about writer and one about writing.

The writer

In the first part of the book, Stephen briefly tells his life story and it’s exactly what you would expect. He tells amusing stories about his teenage adventures, and later cocaine. All in all, I respect him more now than before reading this book. He just seems like a fun guy. Not only because of the cocaine.

He grew up poor, hardworking and fascinated with the stories. He kept writing since the age of 7 and not long after started sending his stories to journals and magazines, accruing quite a stash of rejection letters.

But he kept improving his art, kept going at it, getting better and better.

He immersed himself in storytelling – mostly pulp fiction, good writing and the kitschy movies of the 50s and 60s. He was at a drive-in cinema when his wife broke into labour.

This is not at all surprising for me. In fact, that’s precisely what Malcolm Gladwell discovered in Outliers and Walter Isaacson explained in Innovators.

Immersing yourself in your art and devoting hours of deliberate practice is key to being ’the best in the world’ in your area of expertise.

The Writing process

The second half of the book holds a few writing principles but is not in any way a curriculum.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

  1. Read, Read and read some more. You need to absorb new writing styles and writing tools, so you need to read any chance you get.
  2. Some well-behaved people will not considered it good manners to read while eating. If there is anything slowing down your progress more than not reading any chance you get, it will be listening to well-behaved people.
  3. Write a lot. A LOT.
  4. Ideal paragraph explains itself in the first sentence and in later sentences provides supporting evidence.
  5. Grammar is important. Adverbs are risky and sleazy. Especially in the dialogue. „He begged pitifully”
  6. Stories are made of:
    1. Narrative that moves the story from A to B
    2. Descriptions transferring the reality to the readers mind
    3. Dialogue
  7. Everybody is the hero of their own story. The best characters are the ones that are the heroes from their point of view
  8. “Write behind a closed door, edit in the open. The first draft belongs to you, the second – to anyone willing to read” – a concept similar to „Shitty first draft” of Anne Lamott
    Your second draft IS NOT an opportunity to add more stuff.
    Second version = First version – 10%

Benefits of daily writing practice

In the interviews I used to say that I write every day except Christmas, Fourth of July and my Birthday.
It’s a lie. In an interview you have to say something that sounds a bit funny and I didn’t want to look like a maniac.
The truth is that I write every day, including Christmas, Fourth of July and my Birthday which I try to ignore.

Stephen King

After taking the “Write of Passage” course, I finally understood why daily writing is helpful. Stephen’s reasoning is quite similar:

  • It gets the avarage ideas out of the way. You just have to flush the obvious out of your system
  • In the beginning you will use a hodge-podge of other people’s styles. There is nothing wrong with that. Only with writing you will be able to grow your own style. It needs room to develop and that room is the page.
  • Stephen says that when he is not writing daily, the characters in his mind start to ‘calcify’.
    It becomes harder and harder to make them move and it feels more like work.
    I found the same thing in regards to my blogging – when I don’t create something every day, it becomes harder and harder the next one.

”Write what you know about. If you know plumbing, the story about Space Plumbers is a good concept.”

You know what? I just very well may do that.

Book: Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

book-imageThis book is an excerpt and a summary of „Money: Master the game” also by Tony Robbins.

I highly recommend any Tony Robbins book and this one is no exception.

This one may be better for you than „Money”, since that is a tough one to read – but very valuable.

Seemingly a book about finances – sneaks in some Tony Robbins knowledge about centering your state.


Amazon link

Some takeaways:

  • Invest in ETFs
  • Diversify in everything humanly possible
    • Across markets
    • Across time
    • Classes
    • Companies
  • Dont loose money / protect the downside – similar what Branson is obsessed about
  • Search for asymmetric risk / reward. -Paul Tudor Jones calls it 5:1 rule – for every dollar he risks, he expects 5
  • Know your taxes
    • Frequent trading kills you with trading fees and taxes. That extends to funds as well – when funds trade frequently, they can generate lotsa fees
    • That also extends to reballancing portfolio – better to slower bring it to target distribution


My Kindle Highlights

  • investors in 403(b) and 401(k) retirement plans.
  • Freedom Fact 1: On Average, Corrections Have Occurred About Once a Year Since 1900
  • Meanwhile, a study by JPMorgan found that 6 of the 10 best days in the market over the last 20 years occurred within two weeks of the 10 worst days.
  • performed well and sell the ones that have
  • “The four most expensive words in investing are ‘This time it’s different.’
  • you pay a high price for certainty.
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • Master Limited Partnerships.
  • Asset Allocation Drives Returns.
  • 3. Always Have a Cushion.
  • The single biggest threat to your financial well-being is your own brain.
  • Mistaking Recent Events for Ongoing Trends Why Most Investors Buy the Wrong Thing at Exactly the Wrong Moment
  • as Warren Buffett says, “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.”
  • all this suffering is really just the result of an undirected mind that’s hell-bent on looking for problems!
  • Suffering trigger is “Less.”
  • 1. Suffering trigger is “Loss.”
  • 2. Suffering trigger is “Less.”
  • 3. Suffering trigger is “Never.”
  • Notice, too, that most, if not all, of our suffering is caused by focusing or obsessing about ourselves and what we might lose, have less of, or never have.
  • So what’s the biggest decision you can make in your life right now?
  • Are you committed to being happy, no matter what happens to you?
  • “I’m done with suffering. I’m going to live every day to the fullest and find juice in every moment, including the ones I don’t like, BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT TO SUFFER.”
  • Whenever I start to suffer, I give myself 90 seconds to stop it so that I can return to living in a beautiful state.
  • But here’s what I do now. As soon as I feel the tension rising in my body, I catch myself. And the way that I catch myself is really simple: I gently breathe and slow things down.
  • “What’s wrong is always available . . . but so is what’s right!”
  • I’ve recorded this meditation and made it available online at and on the Unshakeable mobile app, so you can listen to the audio with your eyes closed.
  • What struck me most was that everything seemed beautiful to her.
  • you can start giving even when you have very little.



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.



  • 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.
    • • 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.


  • 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.




Leonardo Da Vinci


Leonardo Da Vinci has an Uberman fame. He painted the most acclaimed painting in history, designed war machines, perfect cities, airplanes, submarines and bridges. He discovered how human aortic valve really worked, authored one of the best medical illustrations in history, fathered modern map making… The list goes on and introducing him is not really necessary.

Amazon Link

Leonardo’s history

Leonardo was a son of a notary. Because he was illegitimate, he was never sent to actual notary school and that seemed to work out in his favor. He was able to pursue his own interests and discover the world on his own terms. His father, Piero could have legitimized him and there are theories why he didn’t. One of them is that Leonardo would be a terrible notary.

At age 14, Leonardo was an apprentice in Andrea del Verocchio’s workshop, where he painted, helped create fabulous shows that dazzled whole of Florence and dabbled in many other arts.

One of the common exercises in Verocchio’s workshop was painting draperies over object – something Leonardo became very proficient at and in every painting there are curls, fabrics and curved surfaces.

Many of the mechanical designs that he created could have been destined for theatrical shows. Something that was very popular both in Florence and in Milan, where Leonardo later moved. His move to Milan was in part motivated by his search of a benevolent patron. In Milan, Ludovico Sforza wanted to cement his grip on the throne and kept a substantial court. With the move, Leonardo was seeking to reinvent himself. He presented his abilities as an engineer first and painter last.

In Milan, he met Luca Pacioli – a matematician – and a wider circle of collaborators. That circle became interested in works of Vitruvius – Roman military engineer who wrote treaties on architecture.


Vitruvius argued, that buildings should keep the proportions of a human body.

That idea captivated Leonardo.  He started measuring tens of subjects and wrote a detailed stock of human proportion. When he was done with analysis, he draw a Vitruvian Man – one of the most incredible drawings in history.

In Vitruvian Man, there are hints of Leonardo’s another obsession – squaring the circle. Pi haven’t been discovered yet and Leonardo tried to find a square that has the same surface as the circle and failed.

In Milan he also painted „Lady with an Ermine” – one of the most expressive paintings of the era implementing a unique concept of subjects showing emotion.

Cecilia Gallerani – lady in painting was Ludovico Sforza’s lover and the piece is hanging in Cracow, Poland.


The Last supper was another masterpiece he created at that time. The painting through clever tricks of perspective and his acute eye is telling a story of the moment Jesus prophecies his betrayal.

Renaissance in Italy was a tumultuous time and Leonardo found himself under the wing of Cesare Borgia and Niccolo Machiavelli. Cesare was incredibly powerful, cruel and effective politician. Macchiavelli’s prince is based on him. With Borgia’s conquests, Leonardo hoped to realize his dreams of military projects. His big contribution were extremely detailed and easy to read maps. Before Leonardo, maps weren’t drawn from a bird perspective.


But Borgia’s cruelty was too much for Leonardo so he went back to Florence, where Michelangelo was a rising star. The had a competition to paint „Battle of Anghiari”, but neither one of them finished the mural.

After Florence, he went back to Milan and later he joined the court of the French King – Francis I. He was a real admirer of Leonardo, gave him estate in Clos-Luce, close to Amboise and a title “First Painter, Engineer, and Architect to the King,”.

I had a chance to visit Clos-Luce and Amboise

Relentless curiosity

The relentless of his curiosity was impressive and hard to pull off, but he didn’t posses some god-like superpowers. He was a smart, curious man that worked hard on improving his understanding of the world.

But how being curious has led to Mona Lisa, it had to be talent, right?

You seem to underestimate the power of curiosity.687px-mona_lisa2c_by_leonardo_da_vinci2c_from_c2rmf_retouched

  • He was deeply interested in motion and emotion. His paintings were an exercise in showing emotions through body,
  • In his dissections he discovered that eye has 2 different light receptors, so he engineered a smile that is visible only while looking indirectly. Once you focus on Mona Lisa’s mouth, the upturned corners disappear and she is no longer smiling,
  • He studied light and reflection and stumbled upon lead white undercoating that can reflect light through translucent layers of paintings. His art not only looks 3d, it really is.
  • His sfumato technique of blurring edges comes from observation that the eye has no single point of focus. With wide surface area it is impossible to hold 1 exact point in focus, so every edge we see has to be blurred,

All the little tricks that come together in this masterpiece are a result of a passionately curious mind who worked to discover inner working of the world and applied the findings in this painting.

Businessman vs Inventor

He left impressive amount of things unfinished. Battle of Anghiari, treaties on architecture, perfect city, anatomy and water.

Once he understood how something worked, he moved on instead of investing effort into disseminating his findings. World could have been much further along if he were to share his understanding of it.

Many think he was wasting time. That the tangents he went on were hurting his productiivity. Like Thomas edison, Leonardo’s biggest drive was curiosity. Once that was satisfied, he had no big desire to make business work, fulfill commissions on his masterpieces or to deal with uninteresting minutiae.

My immediate takeaway on this is that Inventor can’t be a businessman. It’s just an issue of optimizing function. If you prioritize curiosity over business workings, you will understandably let go of the „good deal” in favor of „interesting thing”.

But what about Elon Musk? Surely he is an inventor!

Ahh, the good ol’ halo effect. Elon Musk deals with technology and is immensely successful, hence he is an inventor!

No, he is not. Elon is VERY impressive person, but his impressive track record and what he is doing right now comes from focus and making it a great business. For Elon, everything is means to an end – that end being saving human race. I would say Elon is more impressive than Leonardo, but that is a topic for another post.

Elon is businessman, hustler, manager. He makes things work and he is good at it.

Leonardo was an observator, recipient, he found ways to marry different branches of knowledge and gain insights. But once he found out, he had no desire to apply it. He moved on because world has so much more to offer.

My highlights

  • ability to make connections across disciplines—arts and sciences, humanities and technology—is a key to innovation, imagination, and genius.
  • “the most relentlessly curious man in history.”
  • One of them, dating from the 1490s in Milan, is that day’s
  • “Observe the goose’s foot:
  • “Inflate the lungs of a pig and observe whether they increase in width and in length, or only in width.”
  • That remnds me of 10 weird things eritten by altucher
  • I did learn from Leonardo how a desire to marvel about the world that we encounter each day can make each moment of our lives richer.
  • He went off on tangents, literally, pursuing math problems that became time-sucking diversions. Notoriously, he left many of his paintings unfinished, most
  • Leonardo’s relentless curiosity and experimentation should remind us of the importance of instilling, in both ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different. The town of Vinci and the church where Leonardo was baptized.
  • This was fortunate. He would have made a poor notary: he got bored and distracted too easily, especially when a project became routine rather than creative.14
  • His lack of reverence for authority and his willingness to challenge received wisdom would lead him to craft an empirical approach for understanding nature that foreshadowed the scientific method developed more than a century later by Bacon and Galileo.
  • Verrocchio’s
  • The painted scenery and backdrops had to be unified with the three-dimensional stage settings, props, moving objects, and actors.
  • He was a genius undisciplined by diligence.
  • Leonardo was following a practice that had become popular in Renaissance Italy of keeping a commonplace and sketch book, known as a zibaldone. But
  • His notebooks have been rightly called “the most astonishing testament to the powers of human observation and imagination ever set down on paper.”
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s entrée into the court of Ludovico Sforza came not as an architect or engineer but as a producer of pageants.
  • He would walk the streets with a notebook dangling from his belt, find a group of people with exaggerated features who would make good models, and invite them over for supper. “Sitting close to them,” his early biographer Lomazzo recounted, “Leonardo then proceeded to tell the maddest and most ridiculous tales imaginable, making them laugh uproariously. He observed all their gestures very attentively and those ridiculous things they were doing, and impressed them on his mind; and after they had left, he retired to his room and there made a perfect drawing.” Lomazzo
  • Applying this analogy to the design of temples, Vitruvius decreed that the layout should reflect the proportions of a human body, as if the body were laid out flat on its back upon the geometric forms of the floor plan.
  • After detailing human proportions, Vitruvius went on to describe, in a memorable visualization, a way to put a man in a circle and square in order to determine the ideal proportion of a church:
  • Ideas are often generated in physical gathering places where people with diverse interests encounter one another serendipitously. That is why Steve Jobs liked his buildings to have a central atrium and why the young Benjamin Franklin founded a club where the most interesting people of Philadelphia would gather every Friday. At
  • Even though it was typical of him, we still should marvel that he would decide that before sculpting a horse he had to dissect one.
  • The cannons would end up doing little good, for the French would easily conquer Milan in 1499. And when they did, the French archers used Leonardo’s huge clay model for target practice, destroying it.
  • “He who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-jar,” he wrote.
  • in the middle of one notebook page where he copied 130 words, he drew his nutcracker man scowling and grimacing more than usual
  • He was constantly peppering acquaintances with the type of questions we should all learn to pose more often. “Ask Benedetto Portinari how they walk on ice in Flanders,” reads one
  • He preferred to induce from experiments rather than deduce from theoretical principles. “My intention is to consult experience first, and then with reasoning show why such experience is bound to operate in such a way,”
  • assure their validity: “Before you make
  • his uncanny abilities to engage in the dialogue between experience and theory made him a prime example of how acute observations, fanatic curiosity, experimental testing, a willingness to question dogma, and the ability to discern patterns across disciplines can lead to great leaps in human understanding.
  • Let’s pause to marvel at Leonardo walking out in the evening, no doubt dandily dressed, standing at the edge of a moat, intensely watching the motions of each of the four wings of a dragonfly.
  • He compared it to looking at the page of a book, which is meaningless when taken in as a whole and instead needs to be looked at word by word.
  • But for all the beauty of his art and all the ingenuity of his designs, he was never able to create a self-propelled human flying machine. To be fair, after five hundred years nobody else has either.
  • A major enterprise of the late Renaissance was finding a way to equalize the power of an unwinding spring.
  • Leonardo also invented a machine designed to grind needles, which would have been a valuable contribution to the textile industries of Italy.
  • Coming up with the conception was enough for him.
  • “Among the impossible delusions of man is the search for continuous motion, called by some perpetual wheel,” he wrote in the introduction to his Codex Madrid I. “Speculators on perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras you have created in this quest!”
  • All movements in the universe—of human limbs and of cogs in machines, of blood in our veins and of water in rivers—operate according to the same laws, he concluded. These laws are analogous; the motions in one realm can be compared to those in another realm,
  • “Man is a machine, a bird is a machine, the whole universe is a machine,” wrote Marco Cianchi in an analysis of Leonardo’s devices.18
  • Not having access to algebra, he instead used geometry to describe the rate of change caused by a variable. For example, he used triangles and pyramids to represent rates of change in the velocity of falling objects, the volume of sounds, and the perspective view of distant objects. “Proportion
  • His sixty illustrations for Pacioli were the only drawings he published during his lifetime.
  • In popular lore, including in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the golden ratio is found throughout Leonardo’s art.11 If so, it is doubtful it was intentional.
  • These obsessions led Leonardo to an ancient riddle described by Vitruvius, Euripides, and others. Faced with a plague in the fifth century BC, the citizens of Delos consulted the oracle of Delphi. They were told that the plague would end if they found a mathematical way to precisely double the size of the altar to Apollo, which was shaped as a cube.
  • lifelong association with Florence’s hospital of Santa Maria Nuova.3
  • When he moved to Milan, he discovered that the study of anatomy there was pursued primarily by medical scholars rather than by artists.
  • If there were not so much else to remember him for, Leonardo could have been celebrated as a pioneer of dentistry.
  • he became the first person in history to describe fully the human dental elements, including a depiction of the roots that is almost perfect.
  • Appended is a note about his experience pithing a frog, the first scientist to record doing what is now a staple of biology classes.
  • Such obsession is a component of genius
  • An object will display the greatest difference of light and shade when it is seen in the strongest light. . .
  • But this should not be much used in painting, because the works would be crude and ungraceful.
  • “first modern portrait” and “the first painting in European art to introduce the idea that a portrait may express the sitter’s thoughts through posture and gestures.”
  • Lady with an Ermine, Cecilia Gallerani.
  • because the mind is stimulated to new inventions by obscure things.9
  • Leonardo had a higher standard for using the word finished,
  • He came to understand that the use of shadows, not lines, was the secret to modeling three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface.
  • “The line forming the boundary of a surface is of invisible thickness. Therefore, O painter, do not surround your bodies with lines.”
  • Leonardo’s insistence that all boundaries, both in nature and in art, are blurred led him to become the pioneer of sfumato, the technique of using hazy and smoky outlines such as those so notable in the Mona Lisa.
  • One experiment he did, which was drawn from the work of the eleventh-century Arab mathematician Alhazen, was to move a needle closer and closer to one eye. As it gets near, it does not completely block the vision from the eye, as it would if sight were processed in only a single point on the retina.
  • A wall-size painting, as he would soon show, requires a mix of natural perspective with “artificial perspective.”
  • Italy was then, as now, a nation of hand-gesture enthusiasts,
  • and Leonardo in his notebooks recorded a variety of them.
  • He had learned how much could be communicated by gestures by watching Cristoforo de’ Predis, the deaf brother of his painting partners in Milan.
  • Gestures were also important to the monks who ate in the Santa Maria delle Grazie dining hall because they were obliged to observe silence many hours of the day, including at most meals.
  • The day after his arrival, the king went to see The Last Supper, and he even asked whether it might be possible to cart it back to France.
  • town. It is a delightful image: Leonardo in an Arab hooded cloak or strolling in purple and pink garb, heavy on the satin and velvet. He was tailor-made for a Florence
  • It’s reassuring to discover that Leonardo spent as much on books as he did on clothes.
  • the notoriously beautiful and evil Lucrezia Borgia, who was married to Isabella’s brother.
  • Painting a conventional portrait for a pushy patron did not interest him. Nor did money motivate him. He painted portraits if the subject struck his fancy, such
  • “Leonardo da Vinci’s ultimate masterpiece” (l’ultime chef d’oeuvre) in the title of the catalogue published by the Louvre for a 2012 exhibition celebrating its restoration—this from the museum that also owns the Mona Lisa.2
  • Ideas for building better wheelbarrows was a topic he had covered in one of his draft treatises on mechanics.
  • For three months during the winter of 1502–3, as if in a historical fantasy movie, three of the most fascinating figures of the Renaissance—a brutal and power-crazed son of a pope, a sly and amoral writer-diplomat, and a dazzling painter yearning to be an engineer—were holed up in a tiny fortified walled town that was approximately five blocks wide and eight blocks long.
  • Leonardo dutifully placed the account in his notebook (using a spare bit of the page to draw a new idea for hinged wings of a flying machine), and then proceeded to ignore it.2
  • And the foremost patron there was the one who loved Leonardo the most, Charles d’Amboise, the French royal governor who had written a flowery letter reminding the Florentines how brilliant their native son was.
  • “It was a variety of employment which Leonardo enjoyed, but which has left posterity the poorer.”21
  • describe “the jaw of the crocodile.” Once again, if we follow his curiosity, rather than merely be amused by it, we can see that he was on to an important topic.
  • So here is another secret to Leonardo’s unique ability to paint a facial expression: he is probably the only artist in history ever to dissect with his own hands the face of a human and that of a horse to see if the muscles that move human lips are the same ones that can raise the nostrils of the nose.
  • The aortic valve.
  • His genius and creativity had always come from proceeding without preconceptions.
  • He was able to avoid pedantry by regularly bringing his theories down to earth, so to speak, and tying them to practical applications. As
  • “When you put together the science of the motions of water, remember to include under each proposition its application, in order that this science may not be useless.”15
  • even though calculus had not yet been invented, he seemed to sense the need for such a mathematics of continuous quantities.
  • That willingness to surrender preconceptions was key to his creativity.
  • Il sole nó si muóve. The sun does not move. These words of Leonardo are written in unusually large letters on the top left of one of his notebook pages that is filled with geometric sketches, mathematical transformations, a cross section of the brain, a drawing of the male urinary tract, and doodles of his old warrior.
  • “Leonardo made some wings of the scales of other lizards and fastened them on its back with a mixture of quicksilver, so that they trembled when it walked,”
  • philosophy [meaning the sciences].”18
  • Understanding that light hits multiple points on the retina, he wrote that humans perceive reality as lacking razor-sharp edges and lines;
  • When the British needed to contact their allies in the French Resistance during World War II, they used a code phrase: La Joconde garde un sourire. The Mona Lisa keeps her smile.
  • Like Vitruvian Man standing in the square of the earth and the circle of the heavens, Lisa sitting on her balcony against the backdrop of geological eons is Leonardo’s profound meditation on what it means to be human.
  • And what about all of the scholars and critics over the years who despaired that Leonardo squandered too much time immersed in studying optics and anatomy and the patterns of the cosmos? The Mona Lisa answers them with a smile.
  • “First Painter, Engineer, and Architect to the King,”
  • As he knew, the outlines of reality are inherently blurry, leaving a hint of uncertainty that we should embrace.
  • “I have no special talents,” Einstein once wrote to a friend. “I am just passionately curious.”4 Leonardo
  • He drilled down for the pure joy of geeking out.


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

Book: Tools of Titans – Wise

Tools of Titans” is a summary of Tim Ferris’s amazingly popular podcast. The caliber of people presented there is spectacular and the depth of knowledge amazing. I let myself split my book summary similarly to how TF has split it:

„Wise” part is pretty cohesive with „Wealthy”. Honestly, only after reviewing these notes I can see that this division is pretty arbitrary and TF really wanted to create a homage to Benjamin Franklins “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise”

Great questions, continued

  • what would I tell my 25-year-old self?’
  • ‘What are actually my ultimate goals in life, and how can I optimize toward them?’
  • [when we judge someone to be angry/bad] ‘Has this person slept? Have they eaten? Is somebody else bugging them?’
  • Talk to people about a thing they didn’t think they were going to talk about.
  • ‘When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?
  • “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”
  • What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch?
  • What are the worst things that could happen?
  • Is this the most audacious endeavor I can possibly conceive of?

Just be yourself – ( Making flaw into an asset continued )

I realy believe that good and bed are often entanged and once yoi get rid of the bad you loose good too.

  • It pays to write what you know.
  • it is so much less work just to be yourself.”
  • “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”:
  • Tell the Truth. It’s the Easiest Thing to Remember

Ego is the enemy

As Ryan Holiday has put it, Ego is indeed the enemy. Most of our problems stem from the fact that we overfocus on ourselves.

  • Robbins: “Focus on me = suffering”
  • when you’re standing at the edge of your horizon, at death’s door, you can be much more in tune with the cosmos.”
  • Definitions of success are widely varied

My clippings

  • when you’re standing at the edge of your horizon, at death’s door, you can be much more in tune with the cosmos.”
  • What bullshit excuses do you have for not going after whatever it is that you want?
  • To “fix” someone’s problem, you very often just need to empathically listen to them.
  • don’t encourage more incompetence by rewarding it.
  • It always, always shows in the work when you resent it.
  • “What’s very fortunate, beautiful, wonderful, and also, in a weird way, tragic about modern society, is that crisis has been removed.
  • “The future is already here—it’s just unevenly distributed.”—William Gibson
  • code to, The Glitch Mob, and Infected Mushroom.
  • BlockBlock on OS X,
  • Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield.
  • what would I tell my 25-year-old self?’
  • the definition of success is being cool with your parents, your grandparents [if still alive], and your kids. Being able to navigate the difficult task of dealing with each other as human beings.”
  • ‘What are actually my ultimate goals in life, and how can I optimize toward them?’
  • Tony Robins Dickensian process
    • What has each belief cost you in the past, and what has it cost people you’ve loved in the past? What have you lost because of this belief? See it, hear it, feel it.
    • What is each costing you and people you care about in the present? See it, hear it, feel it.
    • What will each cost you and people you care about 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now? See it, hear it, feel it.
  • In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
  • afraid of, what I’m ashamed of, who I’m pretending to be, who I really am, where I am versus where I thought I’d be. . . . If you watched yourself from afar, if you met yourself, what would you say to yourself?
  • ‘Has this person slept? Have they eaten? Is somebody else bugging them?’
  • it: I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know.
  • And nature is still technically free, even if human beings have tried to make access to it expensive.
  • Cocktail Techniques by Kazuo Uyeda
  • Write about a time when you realized you were mistaken. Write about a lesson you learned the hard way. Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back. Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing. Write about something you don’t remember. Write about your darkest teacher. Write about a memory of a physical injury. Write about when you knew it was over. Write about being loved. Write about what you were really thinking. Write about how you found your way back. Write about the kindness of strangers. Write about why you could not do it. Write about why you did. Spirit animal: Jaguar
  • “What is it that they can’t afford to say or think?”
  • It pays to write what you know.
  • it is so much less work just to be yourself.”
  • “Cynicism is a disease that robs people of the gift of life.”
  • “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”:
  • “The teppanyaki grill. It’s a little tabletop grill [search “Presto 22-inch electric griddle”].
  • If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.
  • Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill and can be traded for anything else.
  • “You get paid for being right first, and to be first, you can’t wait for consensus.”
  • Be willing to fail or succeed on who you really are. Don’t ever try to be anything else.
  • “For me, a convenient place to work is a remote place among strangers where there is good swimming.”
  • Sleep with Me:
  • was, whenever we meet someone who we know doesn’t care about meeting us, my wife and I always try and come up with a trick question that throws them off. They kind of have to answer, or have
  • Talk to people about a thing they didn’t think they were going to talk about.
  • Once you don’t start at the beginning, your life just gets so much simpler.” TF: Search “5 great examples of in medias res” for more on this approach. In medias res literally means “into the middle things”
  • what I learned during the day that I want to be talking about it at 1:00 in the morning? And
  • “I cultivate empty space as a way of life for the creative process.”
  • Belief #1—It’s rarely a zero-sum game
  • the entanglement is fundamental to their being.
  • i realy believe that good and bed are often entanged and once yoi get rid of the bad you loose good to
  • “One of the biggest mistakes that I observed in the first year of Jack’s life was parents who have unproductive language around weather being good or bad.
  • ‘Look, Dada, it’s such a beautiful rainy day,’
  • I still use “mini-retirements” à la The 4-Hour Workweek a few times a year.
  • mini retiremeents ?
  • ‘When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?’”
  • “Did Shakespeare Invent Love?” by Nerdwriter.
  • Brain Games,
  • Tell the Truth. It’s the Easiest Thing to Remember
  • the expression from Glengarry Glen Ross? ‘Always tell the truth. It’s the easiest thing to remember.’ . .
  • The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler,
  • What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch?
  • What are the worst things that could happen?
  • People’s IQs seem to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them.
  • People don’t like being sold products, but we all like being told stories. Work on the latter.
  • What might I put in place to allow me to go off the grid for 4 to 8 weeks, with no phone or email?
  • “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”
  • 15 pull-ups, 50 push-ups, 100 sit-ups 15 pull-ups (different grip), 50 push-ups 10 pull-ups (first grip) 10 pull-ups (second grip)
  • ‘Is this an itch, or is it burning?’
  • Is this the most audacious endeavor I can possibly conceive of?
  • “What assets might we have?”
  • ‘Try to look bigger. . . .’”
  • “The key is to do it early. Do it while you’re still shooting. First impression is everything. I’ll cut a trailer while I’m still shooting and send it to a studio. They’ll try to make their own, over and over, and they can’t get that first thing they saw out of their heads, ‘It’s still not as good as the one we saw.’”
  • “Let me see, what I can learn from this?”
  • “Enjoy it.”
  • What is something you believe that other people think is insane?
  • What obsessions do you explore on the evenings or weekends?
  • What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?

Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People:  by Dale CarnegieThis classic is a treasure trove of great advice. Initially published in 1936 it is still filled with timeless knowledge.
Only small bits are a bit dated almost 100 years later – like “selling the sizzle”, but I suppose only because the marketing world went a little overboard with implementation of these rules.


  • Benjamin Franklin made it a habit to never openly oppose others. When speaking to others, he even banished certain expressions from his vocabulary such as “certainly” and “undoubtedly.”


Part I: Fundamental techniques in handling people
  • don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • give honest and sincere appreciation
  • arouse in the other person an eager want
Part II: Six ways to make people like you
  • become genuinely interested in other people
  • smile
  • remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves
  • talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
Part III: How to win people to your way of thinking
  • the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • show respect for the other person’s opinions, never say “you’re wrong”
  • if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • begin in a friendly way
  • get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately
  • let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  • appeal to the nobler motives
  • dramatize your ideas
  • throw down a challenge
Part IV: Be a leader: how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
  • begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  • talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • let the other person save face
  • praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement, be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise
  • give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • use encouragement, make the fault seem easy to correct
  • make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest
Nine suggestions to get the most out of this book
  • intrinsic drive to learn, determination to increase social skills – remember how important this is, visualize success
  • skim each chapter once, then read again thoroughly
  • pause during the reading to think about it and how to apply it
  • highlight things, especially suggestions – much easier to review rapidly next time
  • spend a few hours/month reviewing the book, turn into habitual action (SRS)
  • apply these rules at every opportunity – new habits require time and persistence
  • create a game out of the rules, give others a dollar if they catch you violating them
  • keep a daily planner, do a weekly review and ask yourself:
    • what mistakes did I make that time?
    • what did I do that was right, and how could I have improved my performance?
    • what lessons can I learn from that experience?
  • record specific examples of your success at using these principles
All of the principles taught in the book will only work when coming sincerely from the heart. This is not a bag of tricks, this is a new way of life. You already possess these powers which you are habitually not using.
Show others sincere appreciation
Most people are starved for appreciation
  • fulfill that need and people will love you
  • do this all the time, everywhere
  • ask yourself: what is there about them that I can honestly admire?
  • always make the other person feel important!
  • ask others to share their achievements with you, only share yours when they ask
  • avoid the common habit of saying nothing about the good, and always pointing out the bad
Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise
  • appreciation and encouragement arouse enthusiasm, people put out greater effort under approval than criticism
  • people will go out of their way to help you if you make them feel good about themselves
  • praise publicly as well as privately
  • reframe bad events positively (e.g. he didn’t lose money, he recovered so much of the sunk investment…)
  • leave gratitude in your wake, and you will return to friendship
  • people will remember your words long after you’ve forgotten them
  • people who feel appreciated will bestow upon you all variety of gifts
Insincere praise is mere flattery
  • telling the other person what he thinks about himself
  • shallow, selfish
  • most discerning people can tell if you are only complimenting them to manipulate them, you will fail
  • some are thirsty enough for praise they may still benefit
Appeal to the interest of others
The only way to get anyone to do anything is to make them want to do it. People will rarely succeed at a task unless they have fun doing it. Ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do this task?”
People know more about their own business and problems than you do
  • let them talk themselves out
  • they are giving you info
  • ask questions
Everyone has their own interests
  • before any meeting, study whatever the person is interested in
  • mention first that which interests the other person most
  • don’t talk about your own interests unless asked – people can’t listen to you until they are fully expressed themselves
  • talk about what they want and show them how to get it
  • be explicit about how your suggestions will accomplish their goals
  • unselfishly trying to serve others is a rare quality, and will win you allies
  • enjoy the feeling of helping another without any recourse to yourself
Become genuinely interested in other people
  • everyone likes people who admire us
  • send costly signals to others: do tasks which require time, energy, selflessness, thoughtfulness
  • greet people with animation and enthusiasm
  • greet everyone by name, including assistants
  • answer the phone in a tone that sounds glad to receive the call
  • schedule people’s birthdays and remember them
Be a good listener
People will think you’re a great conversationalist if they just talk the entire time about their own interests!
Listen because you are genuinely interested and others will feel it
  • be attentive
  • encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments
  • ask questions the other will enjoy answering
  • be interested to appear interesting
Listen intently
  • stop whatever else you are doing
  • face the person
  • sit erect on the edge of your chair
  • make little other movement
  • pay exclusive attention
  • don’t be thinking about your next response
A patient, sympathetic listener will disarm just about anyone
  • complaining is often a need for attention
  • agree with the person, sympathize, thank them for bringing this to light
  • sometimes people just need to talk something out, and need no external input
  • this will develop strong customer loyalty
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
Criticism is dangerous
  • puts people on the defensive
  • hurts sense of importance
  • arouses resentment
  • demoralizes
  • will justify own actions and then condemn you instead
  • does not produce lasting changes
  • trying to improve yourself is a lot more profitable
Instead, try to seek understanding
  • our first reaction to most statements is evaluation or judgment
  • there is a reason they acted this way, understand that and you have the key to their actions
  • by becoming interested in the cause, we are less inclined to dislike the effect – to know all is to forgive all
  • everyone thinks they are doing the right thing
  • see things from the point of view of the other person
  • beware the fundamental attribution error: you deserve little credit for what you are, and them little discredit for being what they are, given your respective situations
  • measure people by their own yardstick, not your own
  • love others just as they are
  • everyone you meet is your superior in some way, learn from them
  • it is much more fun to try to get other people to like you
Write an angry letter to blow off steam, but do not send it (or check again in two days)
Do not argue
Would you prefer a theatrical victory or a person’s good will? You can rarely have both.
You can’t win an argument
  • 9/10 times each party is only more convinced of their own position (very bad for sales)
  • by pointing out someone else is wrong, you’re causing them to lose face
  • even if you “win” you have made the other feel inferior and hurt his pride and generated resentment
  • as far as changing their mind you might as well be completely wrong
  • agree with the other person’s argument, and they have nowhere to go from there
  • once you stop arguing, admit the other’s importance and allow their ego to expand, they will become sympathetic again
Do not tell people they are wrong
  • you strike a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect
  • you can tell people they are wrong by a look or gesture or tone as easily as through words
  • you will not alter their opinions if you hurt their feelings
  • never let anyone know you are attempting to prove something
  • ask questions in a friendly, cooperative way to help others realize they are wrong
  • they may acknowledge to themselves they are wrong, but it takes tact to admit this publicly and become open-minded
Admit if you are wrong
  • admit it quickly, openly, emphatically
  • this will end the argument immediately and encourage others to be open-minded too
  • beat the other person to the punch – they will become more forgiving of your self-criticism
  • learn to revel in this self-criticism, this can be much more fun than trying to defend yourself
  • you don’t have to stand by old statements, tell others you changed your mind
To keep disagreement from becoming an argument
  • welcome the disagreement, be thankful for the opportunity to correct yourself
  • distrust instinctive impressions, first reaction is to be defensive
  • control your temper
  • listen first, let them finish and do not resist, defend or debate
  • look for areas of agreement, dwell on them first
  • be honest, find areas to admit your own error and apologize for mistakes
  • promise to consider their ideas carefully, they may be right and you should agree to think it over
  • thank your interlocutors sincerely, anyone who spends time disagreeing has a shared interest with you and wants to help
  • postpone action to give both sides time to think, suggest a followup meeting and ask yourself these questions:
    • could my opponent be right? partially right?
    • is there truth or merit in their position?
    • will my reaction relieve the problem or just my frustration?
    • will my reaction draw my interlocutor in or push him away?
    • will my reaction increase my estimation in the eyes of good people?
    • will I win or lose? what price must I pay to win?
    • if I am quiet will the disagreement blow over?
    • is this difficult situation actually an opportunity?
From Ben Franklin’s autobiography for social skills and self-improvement:
  • realize that being insolent and opinionated will lead to social ruin, and change immediately
  • make a rule to forbid direct contradiction of others, and positive assertion of our own ideas
  • avoid language which imports a fixed opinion: certainly, undoubtedly, etc.
  • use instead: conceive, apprehend, imagine, it appears to me…
  • acknowledge the other person is right for some case, but it appears to be different in this one
  • this resulted in better reception of ideas, an easier time admitting his own wrong beliefs, and getting others to do the same!
Cooperative conversation
  • begin by emphasizing the points on which you agree
  • emphasize you are striving towards the same ends: difference of method, not purpose
  • show the other person you consider his ideas and feelings as important as your own
  • give the person a purpose or direction at the start of the conversation
  • say what you would want to hear as the listener
  • accept his viewpoint to encourage the listener to have an open mind
Interpersonal interactions
  • do not fear being misunderstood
  • don’t waste time thinking about enemies
  • fix in your mind what you wish to do
  • picture in your mind the person you wish to be (visualization)
  • attitude of courage, frankness and good cheer
  • the expression on your face is more important than the clothes on your back
  • action and feeling move together, act as if you were happy and you will become so
  • generates positive mood contagion
  • do so even while talking on the phone
  • insincere grins fool no one
  • you must have a good time meeting others if you expect them to have a good time meeting you
Body language
  • worth repeating: smile!
  • draw the chin in
  • carry the crown of the head high
  • inhale deeply
  • put soul into handshakes
Use radiant language, full of praise and positive affect
  • Example: Rockefeller to strikers
    • proud to be here
    • visited your homes, met your wives and children
    • we meet not as strangers, but as friends
    • spirit of mutual friendship, common interests
    • here by your courtesy
  • Example: Webster to jurors
    • it will be for the jury to consider
    • this may, perhaps, be worth thinking of
    • here are some facts I trust you not to lose sight of
    • you, with your knowledge of human nature, will easily see the significance of these facts
People love to hear their own name. Name things after other people!
System for remembering names
  • find out complete name, facts about family, business/political opinions
  • if you don’t hear the name clearly ask them to repeat it, ask for spelling if unusual
  • look at features, expression, general appearance
  • fix these facts in mind as part of a picture
  • repeat the name
  • write it down later to make an eye-impression as well as ear-impression
  • don’t make excuses for yourself
Little courtesies are social lubricant
  • would you be so kind as to…
  • won’t you please?
  • would you mind?
  • thank you
Tips for interacting with famous people
  • read about the lives of famous people, then ask them about their childhood
  • being around powerful people can imbue you with confidence and ambition
  • most successful people like to reminisce about their early struggles
  • temperamental stars need lots of sympathy
No one wants to be sold anything, people want to buy things to solve their problems , and your enthusiasm in a product can invoke an eager want .
Don’t try to force your opinions on others, or use high-pressure tactics – be soft-spoken, quiet, friendly
Get the other person saying “yes” to you from the outset, never let them say “no”
  • chain together a string of yeses!
  • physiological response, opening of the body, receptive to ideas…
Dramatize your ideas
  • dramatizing a product gets people to buy it
  • you simply must use showmanship if you want to garner attention
  • merely stating the truth is not enough, the truth must be made vivid, interesting, dramatic
  • works in life as well as business, e.g. don’t just express love in words
Steps to collect from non-payers
  • when no information is yet obtained, assume the person is sincere, honest, truthful and willing and anxious to pay
  • call to find out what your company had done or failed to do
  • offer no opinion until you’ve heard the customer
  • the customer is the ultimate authority on his own interest and situation
  • let him talk, listen with sympathy
  • once in a reasonable mood, appeal to sense of fairness
How to change behavior
You have the power to inspire people with a realization of their latent possibilities
Guidelines for behavior change
  • be sincere, don’t promise anything you can’t deliver, concentrate on benefits to other person
  • know exactly what it is you want the other person to do
  • be empathetic, ask yourself what the other person wants
  • consider the benefits the other person will receive
  • match those benefits to the person’s desires
  • convey the request so the person knows he will benefit
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
  • abilities wither under criticism, and blossom under encouragement
  • reputations (good or bad) are self-fulfilling prophecies, so give people good ones!
  • act as though they already possessed that trait – assume this and state it publicly
  • it can be difficult to find things to praise when you’re focused on the negatives
  • use specific examples and accomplishments, say why the work was good and how important it was to the business
  • don’t just flatter people!
When someone makes a mistake
  • thank them for their work
  • tell them it is not unusual to make this mistake
  • show confidence in them, that they tried their best
  • lack of experience, not ability, was the reason for failure
  • you trust them not to do it again now
Begin feedback with praise and honest appreciation
  • it is always easier to hear unpleasant things after first receiving praise
  • when other people realize you have confidence in them, they are willing to follow suggestions
  • what matters is not what we think of others, but what they think of themselves
Do not follow up sincere praise with a “but” and then a critical statement
  • praise feels like a contrived lead-in to criticism, listener questions the praise
  • change this to and!
  • this indirectly calls attention to the behavior we want to change, works especially well for sensitive people
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • it is easier to hear about your own faults from someone who just admitted his
  • this can work even if you haven’t corrected your own behavior yet
  • the next-best thing is to praise after a criticism, sometimes you can still recover
Make the fault seem easy to correct
  • be encouraging
  • tell the person you have faith in their abilities
  • tell the person they already possess natural talent
  • the person will practice the skill in order to excel
Always give suggestions instead of orders
  • saves a person’s pride, gives feeling of importance
  • makes it easy for others to correct errors
  • people are more likely to cooperate if they have some part in the decision
  • explain the importance of the situation
  • asking questions stimulates creativity – what is the problem and how do we fix it?
  • let others do things, and learn from their mistakes
Let the other person come up with ideas
  • use low-key suggestions at proper intervals to get them to develop your idea themselves
  • let them suggest it as their own, care about results not credit – publicly award credit to others
  • we trust ideas we discover more than ones given to us
  • we like to think we are acting on our own ideas, not being commanded
  • ask others to give you their thoughts, they will feel like part of the creative process
  • we like to think we are buying something, not being sold
  • give people referrals, let them do the investigation and sell themselves on the idea
Always make the other person happy about doing what you want
  • turn someone down for a position by telling them they are too important for it
  • give someone a new title for work they are already doing, give old position to someone better
  • when giving someone an honor, make them feel like they are doing you a favor to accept it
  • after turning down an offer, give an immediate substitute so they don’t have time to feel bad about the refusal
  • give the leader of a rival faction a title and some authority to bring them in line with your cause
Stimulate competition via challenge
  • if the work is exciting and interesting, the people will be motivated to do a good job
  • successful, driven people love the game: self-expression, proving your worth, to excel, to win
Appeal to noble motives
  • people have two reasons for doing things: the real reason (near mode) and the one that sounds good (far mode)
  • appeal to noble motives to change behaviors
  • offer famous/wealthy people to give money to their favorite charity
When letting people go, praise their efforts and express confidence in them
  • they will not feel so let down
  • they will leave with good will
  • they will return if needed again