Month: May 2017

Book Notes – The 48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene

Book Notes – The 48 Laws Of Power – Robert Greene

NOTES

  • #1: Never outshine the master
    • Make those above you feel comfortably superior
    • Displaying talent may inspire fear/insecurity in others
    • Make your master appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power (The Canvas Strategy – Ryan Holiday)
  • #2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use your enemies
    • Friends are the ones who will betray you more quickly due to envy
    • Enemies are more loyal, since they have more to prove
    • Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.
    • An enemy at our heels sharpens our wits, keeping us focussed and alert
  • #3: Conceal your intentions
    • If people have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense
    • Everything in seduction depends on suggestion:
      • You cannot announce your intentions
      • Appear to want things you do not desire
      • Support ideas contrary to your sentiment
      • Do not close yourself off
    • The simplest form of a smoke screen is (a bland) facial expression
    • Create patterns, only to break them when the right moment arrives.
  • #4: Always say less than necessary
    • The more you say, the more common you appear
    • The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish
    • Once words are out, you can NEVER take them back
  • #5: Guard reputation with your life
    • Ruin the reputation of others by instilling doubt in the public
    • By not caring how you are perceived, you let others decide how you are perceived for you
  • #6: Everything is judged by its appearance.
    • What is unseen accounts for nothing
    • Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out, be conspicuous at all cost.
    • Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.
    • Attention – whether positive or negative – is the main ingredient for success
    • People feel superior to those whose actions they can predict
    • There is power in contradiction: remaining mysterious
  • #7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
    • Never do yourself what others can do for you
  • #8: Make other peopple come to you
    • When you force the other person to act, you are in control
    • Alternatively, force the other by a fast attack
  • #9: Win through actions, never through argument
    • Argument = resentment
  • #10: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky
    • Misery is infectious, though positivity is too
  • #11: Learn to keep people dependent on you
    • Therefore becoming inexpendable
    • To maintain independence, always be needed and wanted
  • #12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim
  • #13: When asking for help, appeal to peoples self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
    • Gratitude is a burden
    • Though sometimes mercy pays as you paint someone as being more powerful, therefore tickling a peoples desire for power
  • #14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy
    • Ask indirect questions
    • Reveal a fake secret
    • Truth should be attended by a bodyguard of lies
  • #15: Crush your enemy totally
    • Otherwise he will recover
  • #16: Use absense to increase respect and honor
    • Create value through scarcity;
    • But only after creating engagement
  • #17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability
    • Being predictable = being controlled
    • When you are unpredictable, people make up their own reasons and stories for your behavior
  • #18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous
    • Don’t be cut off from information
  • #19: Do not offend the wrong person
    • Every person will react differently to your strategies;
      • The arrogant man: will overreact
      • The insecure man: will nibble you to death
      • The suspicious man: sees the worst in people
      • The serpent: will wait and strike
      • The plain man: will not take bait because he will not recognize it
  • #20: Do not commit to anyone
    • Do not choose sides
    • Maintain independence
    • Play people against eachother
    • Everyone wants the virgin queen
    • Let others do the fighting. Be supportive but stay neutral
    • Secure your interests by being a mediator
  • #21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker
    • Seem dumber than your mark
    • People will never suspect your ulterior motives
    • We try to justify people being smarter than us
  • #22: Surrender when you are weaker as a tool of power
    • It gives you time to recover and irritate
    • Surrendering will unsettle the opponent
  • #23: Concentrate your forces
    • Intensity over extensity
    • ‘If you are not in danger, dont fight’ – Sun Tzu
  • #24: Play the perfect courtier
    • Avoid focusing attention on yourself
    • Practice nonchalance
    • Subtly arrange to be noticed
    • Never be the bearer of bad news
    • You are not your masters’ friend
    • Do not criticize those above you directly
    • Be frugal in asking for favors
    • Don’t be the court cynic
    • Be your own mirror
    • Master your emotions
    • Be a source of pleasure
    • Never try to hard to impress, as it is as if you are trying to cover up a deficiency
  • #25: Recreate yourself
    • Be the master of your own image
    • Don’t let others define your image for you as you will be limited to your assigned role
  • #26: Keep your hands clean by using:
    • Scapegoats
    • A cat’s paw
  • #27: Play on people’s need to believe something to create a cultlike following
    • Offer a cause but keep it vague
    • Provide rituals, ask for sacrifices
    • We are in a rush to believe something, that is why silver bullets appeal so much
    • Create an us vs. them dynamic
  • #28: Enter action with boldness
    • Hesitation will infect execution
    • Mistakes are easily corrected by more boldness
    • If boldness does not come natural, neither does timidity. It is an acquired habit
  • #29: Plan all the way to the end
    • The ending is everything
    • Don’t be overwhelmed
  • #30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless
    • Act as if you can easily do much more
    • Teach no one your tricks
  • #31: Get others to play with the cards you deal
    • Provide options that lead to outcomes favorable to you
    • The other party will feel in control
    • When provided with a choice between A and B, we rarely think of the other letters
  • #32: Play to people’s fantasy. Manufacture romance
    • Truth and reality are equal to disenchantment
    • Reality: change is slow and gradual. It requires hard work, a bit of luck, a fair amount of self-sacrifice and a lot fo patience.
    • Fantasy: a sudden transformation will bring total change in ones fortunes, bypassing work, luck, self-sacrifice and time in one fantastic stroke.
  • #33: Everyone has a weakness
  • #34: Act like a king to be treated as one
  • #35: Master the art of timing
    • Never seem to be in a hurry (as it is perceived as a lack of control)
    • Always seem patient
    • Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe
    • Time is an artificial concept created to make the limitless of eternity more bearable
    • Success that is built slowly will last
  • #36: Ignore the things you cannot have
    • Sometimes it is better to leave a small mistake than to try and fix it
    • You choose to let things bother you
  • #37: Create compelling spectacles
    • Dazzled by appearances, nobody will notice what you are really doing
    • Words put you on the defensive
  • #38: Think as you like, but behave like others
    • Unconventional ideas as a cry for attention
    • Blend in and show yourself only to tolerant friends
  • #39: Make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself
    • The cause of anger is oten larger than what seems to be its instigator
  • #40: Despise the free lunch
    • It usually involves a hidden obligation
    • Stay clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit
    • Be generous
    • The value of something increases irrationaly due to sentiment and emotion
  • #41: Avoid stepping in a great man’s shoes
    • It comes with expectations
    • Create your own name and identity
  • #42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter
    • Within a group, trouble almost always has a single source
  • #43: Work on the hearts and minds of others
    • The key to persuasion is softening people up and then breaking them down.
    • The keyhole analogy: “People build walls to keep you out; never orce your way in – you will find only more walls within walls. There are doors in these walls, doors to the heart and mind, and they have tiny keyholes. Peer through the keyhole, find the key that opens the door, and you have access to their will with no ugly signs of forced entry”
  • #44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect
    • Seduce the enemy into thinking you share the same values
    • Narcissus effect: mirror others to appeal to their self love
    • Avoid being negatively associated to someone
  • #45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once
    • Make change feel gentle
  • #46: Never appear too perfect
    • Envy creates silent enemies
  • #47: Do not get overconfident by victory. Learn when to stop
    • Past results are no guarantee for the future
  • #48: Assume formlessness
    • Become unable to grasp by your enemies
    • Never show defensiveness

Each law in in itself is a complete life lesson. Robert explains each law by observances, transgressions and reversals of each law, denoting the key points to power. I therefore highly recommend this book for anyone in a corporate setting, however the advice is very relevant for (romantic) relationships in general. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: The 48 Laws Of Power on Bol.com
Amazon: The 48 Laws Of Power on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
Book Notes – Starting Strength – Mark Rippetoe

Book Notes – Starting Strength – Mark Rippetoe

NOTES

  • “exercise is substitute cave-man activity, the thing we need to make our bodies, and in fact our minds, normal in the 21st century. And merely normal, for most worthwhile humans, is not good enough.”
  • “Our strength, more than any other thing we
    possess, still determines the quality and the quantity of our time here in these bodies.”
  • “Properly performed, full-range-of-motion barbell exercises are essentially the functional expression of human skeletal and muscular anatomy under a load.”
  • “A straight vertical line is also the most efficient bar path for a barbell moving through space in a gravitational framework.”
  • For the squat and the deadlift that means: “Weight is moved most efficiently directly over midfoot”.
  • “There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.”
  • Lower position of the squat:
    • The spine will be held rigid in lumbar and thoracic extension.
    • The bar will be directly over the middle of the foot.
    • The feet will be flat on the ground at the correct angle for the stance width.
    • The thighs will be parallel to the feet.
    • The hip joint will be in a position lower than the top of the patella
  • Use your hips! “The complete concept of the correct use of the hips in the squat is best understood as the use of both an actively locked lumbar extension and actively shoved-out knees, resulting in a below-parallel squat that incorporates a stretch reflex, using all the muscles of the posterior chain in the most optimal way possible. This movement pattern gets the thighs out of the way of the pelvis so that good depth can be more easily obtained. At the same time, it makes the squat stronger because the active use of the external rotators holds the femurs in a position that enables both the external rotators and the adductors to contribute to hip extension. This hip extension produces a more effective use of more muscles over a wider range of motion.”
  • “For example, if you are tall with very long femurs and relatively narrow shoulders, you need a wider stance than is usually recommended.”
  • “A mirror is a bad tool because it provides information about only one plane of the three: the frontal, the one that gives you the least information about your position and your balance. The most important reason to squat without a mirror in front of you is that you should be developing your kinesthetic sense while you squat.”
  • “As a general rule, the more of the body involved in an exercise, the better the exercise. The press produces strength in the trunk muscles – the abs, obliques, costals, and back – as well as in the shoulders and arms. It trains the whole body to balance while standing and pressing with a heavy weight in the hands and overhead. It uses more muscles and more central nervous system activity than any other upper-body exercise.”
  • In the (shoulder) press: “Lean back slightly by pushing your hips forward. This slight movement must not be produced by bending the knees or the lumbar spine. Rather, the movement is a function of only the hips. Without the bar and with your hands on your hips, push your pelvis forward and back a few times, keeping your knees and your low back locked in position.”
  • “You will have to take a new breath before each rep, at least for a while, or you risk a “blackout” at heavier weights.” – Unfortunately I have experienced this once in the form of an exertion headache.
  • “For the vast majority of lifters, the deadlift should be an essential part of training. It is the primary back strength exercise, and it is an important assistance exercise for the squat and especially for the clean (for which it is an important introductory lesson in position and pulling mechanics). The deadlift also serves as a way to train the mind to do things that are hard.”
  • “The deadlift starts at the mechanically hardest part of the movement and requires the lifter to generate the entire explosion necessary to break the bar off of the floor and get it moving up, without any help from a negative or anything else.”
  • Deadlift grip: grip the bar in the hook of the fingers, not in the meat of the palm. Otherwise the bar will slide down.
  • “In the squat and deadlift: The back muscles and the hamstrings are in a war for control over your pelvic position, and the lower back must win.”
  • The five steps for a perfect deadlift.
    1) Take the correct stance.
    2) Take your grip on the bar.
    3) Drop your shins forward to touch the bar, pushing your knees out slightly and without dropping your hips.
    4) Squeeze your chest up, with your weight on the mid-foot.
    5) Drag the bar up the legs.
  • “Because our muscles can contract only a small percentage of their length, our skeletal system is composed of levers that multiply the distance of their contraction at the expense of an increased force production requirement.”
  • “The arms are not plumb in a deadlift because the lats do not attach to the arms at 90 degrees when the arms are plumb. The arms must slant back to achieve a position of stability as they hang from the shoulders.”
  • “If the back rounds during the pull, some of the force that would have gone to the bar gets eaten up by the lengthening erectors. If the weight is sufficiently heavy, the rounded back cannot be re-straightened and the deadlift cannot be locked out.”
  • “People with long femurs, long tibias, and relatively short torsos will have a more horizontal back angle and a more closed hip angle. Long arms produce a more vertical back angle. Long arms tend to mitigate the effects of a short torso.”
  • “The use of the full range of motion is therefore important for two very good reasons. First, it allows you to quantify the amount of work you do: if you hold the range of motion of an exercise constant, you are holding constant the distance variable in your work equation.”
  • “Second, full-range-of-motion exercises ensure that strength is developed in every position in which the joints can operate. Strength development is extremely specific: muscles get strong in the positions they are made to be strong in, and in precisely the way they are trained.”
  • Bench press: “Correct use of the legs and hips involves only the maintenance of chest and back position, with the force directed horizontally along the bench and not vertically up off of the bench.”
  • Bench press: “The proper position for the feet is flat against the floor so that the heels can be used as the base of the drive up the legs. As with most of the things in the weight room, your heels need to be nailed down to the floor.”
  • “The best assistance exercises are those that directly contribute to the performance of the basic movements that produce the most benefit.”
  • “Assistance exercises fall into three categories. These exercises 1) strengthen a part of a movement, as with a partial deadlift (either a rack pull or a halting deadlift); 2) are variations on the basic exercise, as with a stiff-legged deadlift; or 3) are ancillary exercises, which strengthen a portion of the muscle mass involved in the movement in a way that the basic exercise does not, as with the chin-up.”
  • “Your bench press strength doesn’t adapt to the total number of times you’ve been to the gym to bench or to your sincerest hope that it will get stronger. It adapts to the stress imposed on it by the work done with the barbell. Furthermore, it adapts to exactly the kind of stress imposed on it. If you do sets of 20, you get good at doing 20s. If you do heavy singles, you get better at doing those. But singles and 20s are very different; the muscles and nervous system function differently when doing these two things, and they require two different sets of physiological capacities, and thus cause the body to adapt differently.”
  • “Exercise follows exactly the same principle as getting a tan – a stress is imposed on the body and it adapts to the stress, but only if the stress is designed properly. You wouldn’t lay out for 2 minutes and assume that it would make you brown, because 2 minutes isn’t enough stress to cause an adaptation.”
  • “As a general rule, you need to try to add weight to the work sets of the exercise every time you train, until you can’t do this anymore. This is the basic tenet of “progressive resistance training,” and setting up the program this way is what makes it different from exercise. For as long as possible, make sure that you lift a little more weight each time.”
  • Exercise is specific: training a lift for one set will make you better at lifting one set. Sets of 20 will make you better able to do sets of 20.

These were my personal notes, which I wrote down based on my own strength training needs. The book contains far more information on the power clean and assistance exercises. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on:
Amazon: Starting Strength on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
Lose weight with delicious apple cider tea

Lose weight with delicious apple cider tea

I came across this tip by Fledge Fitness, a youtuber primarily concerned with intermittent fasting and whose channel I dearly recommend. He advocates prolonging the fasted period by consuming apple cider vinegar (ACV). The vinegar in itself is a powerful appetite suppressant, which should be the main use for consuming the ACV even though a host of benefits are ascribed to it all across the internet like:

  • Decreased insulin: supposedly increasing fat breakdown and the ratio of fat burned when losing weight.
  • Lower blood sugar overall.
  • Improved metabolism.
  • Sometimes ACV is claimed to even burn fat by increasing fat burning genes (link).

Though I don’t believe in the aforementioned claims necessarily, I have tried ACV for its appetite suppressing effects. In my experience, the ACV does indeed stave of hunger for at least a couple of hours.

In order to make the apple cider vinegar more palatable, Fledge Fitness provides a recipe containing: a splash of apple cider vinegar, a splash of lemon juice, a pinch of cinnamon and hot water. These ingredients culminate to form an apple cider vinegar tea that is easier on the teeth and throat due to the disolved acids.

This is especially beneficial for people who don’t like to drink black coffee or to ingest caffeine, since it brings another option to the table.

Improved apple cider tea

After being introduced to the apple cider vinegar tea, I drank it multiple mornings in the week in order to stall my first meal until noon. After a while, I began to grow bored of the taste and increasedly substituted the tea by coffee. Even though coffee is great, and the office coffee machine provides a sort of decent coffee, I tend to get jittery after 2-3 cups. Furthermore, my sleep tends to suffer when I drink coffee in the early afternoon.

I therefore tried to add a splash of apple cider vinegar to a multitude of flavored teas using store bought tea bags. This turned out to be delicious. I have tried this with rooibos tea, green tea, cranberry tea, lemon tea, chamomile tea and mango tea. Surprisingly, the result is great with each of the teas I tested this with.

I suggest adding apple cider vinegar to your tea to give it a more tangy taste and make it more flavorful overall.

You should create a personal online space

You should create a personal online space

Obviously, there are several benefits to writing. Writing is one of the most important meta-skills in life. Just think about the amount of e-mails people send daily. Your style and the clarity of your writing will determine how willingly your colleagues will respond to your requests. Especially when sending e-mails externally to clients, you will be judged by the effectiveness by which you can put your thoughts on the figurative paper.

Additionally, you create an online platform where you can express yourself. You set a stage where you can influence people, perhaps change lives by putting out meaningful content. This is arguably the most important reason of creating an online space for yourself. However, becoming an increasingly more important reason for creating an online space for yourself is:

Controlling the information people find when they search for your name online.

 

In the current day and age, the information people find about you online is having a greater and greater role in your daily life. For example, when applying for a job, the first impression is not just created by your cover letter, motivation or curriculum vitae. Online presence is arguably even more important. Your online presence is not just determined by your social media for example. It is also very dependent on what other people write about you. Enough examples exist of careers being destroyed by online accusations. Since it becomes more and more easily to put out content, it is progressively more important to manage what people find when they enter your name in Google.

By creating an online space, you can mitigate the risk of having your reputation ruined by false allegations. Furthermore, by putting out quality content, you distinguish yourself from the people who’s online presence consists just of pictures of them getting wasted with friends.

This shouldn’t be the first thing that comes up when people search for you online.

Creating a blog is free. If you have purposeful information to share, there is no reason not to start one, so I encourage everyone to do so.