Tag: psychology

Book Notes – The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck – Mark Manson

Book Notes – The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck – Mark Manson

NOTES

  • The secret to Charles Bukowski’s success: the simple ability to be completely, unflinchingly honest with himself—especially the worst parts of himself—and to share his failings without hesitation or doubt.
  • Conventional life advice—all the positive and happy self-help stuff we hear all the time—is actually fixating on what you lack.
  • “The smallest dog barks the loudest.” A confident man doesn’t feel a need to prove that he’s confident.
  • You are constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about everything, all the time. Give a fuck about a new TV. Give a fuck about having a better vacation than your coworkers. Give a fuck about buying that new lawn ornament. Give a fuck about having the right kind of selfie stick.
  • Companies want you to give a fuck: giving a fuck about more stuff is good for business.
  • The problem is that giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health. It causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake, to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction.
  • The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.
  • Very few animals on earth have the ability to think cogent thoughts to begin with, but we humans have the luxury of being able to have thoughts about our thoughts.
  • We feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious.
  • By not giving a fuck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the Feedback Loop from Hell (feeling bad for feeling bad).
  • Say to yourself, “I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?” And then, as if sprinkled by magic fuck-giving fairy dust, you stop hating yourself for feeling so bad.
  • We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.
  • Because there’s an infinite amount of things we can now see or know, there are also an infinite number of ways we can discover that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, that things aren’t as great as they could be. And this rips us apart inside.
  • The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
  • Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.
  • Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.
  • To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.
  • You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.
  • In the short amount of time between being born and being dead, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.
  • Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent;
    • It means being comfortable with being different.
    • People who are indifferent are lame and scared.
    • It’s about not caring about pissing some people off to do what he feels is right or important or noble.
  • You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
  • To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.
  • “Life problems” are really just side effects of not having anything more important to worry about.
  • Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.
  • Most things in life have little lasting impact on our lives.
  • Become comfortable with the idea that some suffering is always inevitable—that no matter what you do, life is comprised of failures, loss, regrets, and even death.
  • Life itself is a form of suffering.
  • The greatest truths in life are usually the most unpleasant to hear.
  • We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change.
  • Our brains don’t register much difference between physical pain and psychological pain.
  • Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next one.
  • Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable.
  • Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you.
  • Many people fuck things up in at least one of two ways:
    • Denial, and/or;
    • Victim Mentality
  • If you feel crappy it’s because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved.
  • Emotions evolved for one specific purpose: to help us live and reproduce a little bit better.
  • Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it is good.
  • The Hedonic Treadmill: the idea that we’re always working hard to change our life situation, but we actually never feel very different.
  • You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three-year-old kids. And dogs. You know what else three-year-olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet.
  • You don’t REALLY want something if you want the reward and not the struggle, if you want the result and not the process.
  • People who feel entitled view every occurrence in their life as either an affirmation of, or a threat to, their own greatness.
  • If we have problems that are unsolvable, our unconscious figures that we’re either uniquely special or uniquely defective in some way. That we’re somehow unlike everyone else and that the rules must be different for us. Put simply: we become entitled.
  • Entitlement plays out in one of two ways:
    • I’m awesome and the rest of you all suck, so I deserve special treatment.
    • I suck and the rest of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.
  • The more exposed we are to opposing viewpoints, the more we seem to get upset that those other viewpoints exist.
  • The vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average.
  • Millennials often get blamed for this cultural shift, but that’s likely because millennials are the most plugged-in and visible generation.
  • This constant stream of unrealistic media dogpiles onto our existing feelings of insecurity, by overexposing us to the unrealistic standards we fail to live up to.
  • Because social media only shows unrealistic standards, it becomes better to be at the extreme low end of the bell curve than to be in the middle, because at least there you’re still special and deserve attention.
  • Your actions actually don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
  • The vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy, and that’s okay.
  • There are a handful of common values that create really poor problems for people—problems that can hardly be solved.
  • Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest to obtain and the easiest to lose. And yet, pleasure is what’s marketed to us, twenty-four/seven.
  • Pleasure is not the cause of happiness; rather, it is the effect.
  • We consistently make poor assumptions, misjudge probabilities, misremember facts, give in to cognitive biases, and make decisions based on our emotional whims. As humans, we’re wrong pretty much constantly.
  • Material Success: Many people measure their self-worth based on how much money they make or what kind of car they drive or whether their front lawn is greener and prettier than the next-door neighbor’s.
  • If your metric for life success is to be right—well, you’re going to have a difficult time rationalizing all of the bullshit to yourself.
  • Sometimes life sucks, and the healthiest thing you can do is admit it.
  • Constant positivity is a form of avoidance.
  • One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
  • Good values are:
    • reality-based,
    • socially constructive, and;
    • immediate and controllable.
  • Bad values are:
    • superstitious,
    • socially destructive, and;
    • not immediate or controllable.
  • When we have poor values we are essentially giving fucks about the things that don’t matter.
  • Self-improvement is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about.
  • Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
  • If you’re miserable in your current situation, chances are it’s because you feel like some part of it is outside your control.
  • There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.
  • We are always taking an active role in what’s occurring to and within us.
  • The point is, we are always choosing, whether we recognize it or not. Always.
  • The real question is, What are we choosing to give a fuck about? What values are we choosing to base our actions on? What metrics are we choosing to use to measure our life?
  • Example of bad values: “a man felt that he was too short, he didn’t often go out and try to meet women. The few times he did, he would home in on the smallest behaviors from any woman he talked with that could possibly indicate he wasn’t attractive enough for her and then convince himself that she didn’t like him, even if she really did. As you can imagine, his dating life sucked.”
  • There are also problems that we aren’t at fault for, yet we are still responsible for them. For example, if you woke up one day and there was a newborn baby on your doorstep, it would not be your fault that the baby had been put there, but the baby would now be your responsibility.
  • Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense.
  • Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you.
  • One side effect of the Internet and social media is that it’s become easier than ever to push responsibility—for even the tiniest of infractions—onto some other group or person.
  • The moment you change your values, your turnaround will reverberate out through your relationships.
  • Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong.
  • A certain man works his ass off and believes he deserves a promotion, but he never explicitly says that to his boss. He is therefore never rewarded for his hard work.
  • We don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience is. Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating.
  • We experience something. Then we remember it slightly differently a few days later, as if it had been whispered and misheard. Then we tell somebody about it and have to fill in a couple of the plot holes with our own embellishments.
  • By linking our present experiences with that imagined past, our mind allows us to maintain whatever meaning we already established.
  • Not only is certainty unattainable, but the pursuit of certainty often breeds more (and worse) insecurity, because the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.
  • Before we can look at our values and prioritizations and change them into better, healthier ones, we must first become uncertain of our current values.
  • Manson’s Law of Avoidance: “The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.”
  • Buddhism argues that your idea of who “you” are is an arbitrary mental construction and that you should let go of the idea that “you” exist at all.
  • If you assume that your plane is the one that’s going to crash, or that your project idea is the stupid one everyone is going to laugh at, or that you’re the one everyone is going to choose to mock or ignore, you’re implicitly telling yourself, “I’m the exception; I’m unlike everybody else; I’m different and special.”
  • Aristotle wrote: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
  • Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
  • If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have.
  • Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.
  • If I measure myself by the standard “Make everyone I meet like me,” I will be anxious, because failure is 100 percent defined by the actions of others, not by my own actions. I am not in control.
  • For many of us, our proudest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity.
  • Just as one must suffer physical pain to build stronger bone and muscle, one must suffer emotional pain to develop greater emotional resilience, a stronger sense of self, increased compassion, and a generally happier life.
  • VCR questions: From the outside, the answer is simple: just shut up and do it. But from the inside, from the perspective of each of these people, these questions feel impossibly complex.
  • Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. A series of VCR questions. All of life is like this. It never changes. Even when you’re happy.
  • Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.
  • Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
  • Trick yourself into action (by Tim Ferriss): Promise yourself to write two hundred crappy words per day, that’s it. The idea was that you force yourself to write two hundred crappy words, more often than not the act of writing will inspire; and before you know it, you’ll have thousands of words down on the page.
  • Do something. That “something” can be the smallest viable action toward something else. It can be anything.
  • Freedom grants the opportunity for greater meaning, but by itself there is nothing necessarily meaningful about it. Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.
  • The avoidance of rejection (both giving and receiving it) is often sold to us as a way to make ourselves feel better. But avoiding rejection gives us short-term pleasure by making us rudderless and directionless in the long term.
  • The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things:
    • How well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and
    • The willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner.
  • Wherever there is a healthy and loving relationship, there will be clear boundaries between the two people and their values.
  • People in a healthy relationship with strong boundaries will take responsibility for their own values and problems and not take responsibility for their partner’s values and problems.
  • A healthy relationship is when two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other.
  • The setting of proper boundaries doesn’t mean you can’t help or support your partner or be helped and supported yourself.
  • People with strong boundaries are not afraid of a temper tantrum, an argument, or getting hurt.
  • People with strong boundaries understand that it’s unreasonable to expect two people to accommodate each other 100 percent and fulfill every need the other has.
  • People with strong boundaries understand that they may hurt someone’s feelings sometimes, but ultimately they can’t determine how other people feel.
  • There are some experiences that you can have only when you’ve lived in the same place for five years, when you’ve been with the same person for over a decade, when you’ve been working on the same skill or craft for half your lifetime.
  • When you’re pursuing a wide breadth of experience, there are diminishing returns to each new adventure, each new person or thing.
  • If there really is no reason to do anything, then there is also no reason to not do anything.
  • By spending the majority of your short life avoiding what is painful and uncomfortable, You essentially avoid being alive at all.
  • Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.
  • Humans are unique in that we’re the only animals that can conceptualize and think about ourselves abstractly.
  • Because of this unique mental ability, Becker says, that we all, at some point, become aware of the inevitability of our own death.
  • Death terror: a deep existential anxiety that underlies everything we think or do.
  • We are all aware on some level that our physical self will eventually die, that this death is inevitable, and that its inevitability—on some unconscious level—scares the shit out of us.
  • To compensate for our fear of the inevitable loss of our physical self, we try to construct a conceptual self that will live forever. This is why people try so hard to put their names on buildings, on statues, on spines of books.
  • All of human civilization, he says, is basically a result of immortality projects: the cities and governments and structures and authorities in place today were all immortality projects of men and women who came before us.
  • All the meaning in our life is shaped by this innate desire to never truly die.
  • We’re all driven by fear to give way too many fucks about something, because giving a fuck about something is the only thing that distracts us from the reality and inevitability of our own death.
  • Mark Twain: “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
  • You too are going to die, and that’s because you too were fortunate enough to have lived.

This book contains some serious life lessons, sometimes on the boundary of stoicism.  There is a reason these notes turned out to be over 3.000 words. I highly recommend this book for everyone, especially in this day and age of entitlement and victim mentality, but also this time of unlimited options and infinite possibilities. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: Early Retirement Extreme on Bol.com
Amazon: Early Retirement Extreme on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
Book Notes – The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande

Book Notes – The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande

NOTES

  • Know-how and sophistication have increased remarkably across almost all our realms of endeavor, and as a result so has our struggle to deliver on them
  • Our failures remain frequent. They persist despite remarkable individual ability.
  • The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.
  • Multiple fields, in other words, have become too much airplane for one person to fly. Yet it is far from obvious that something as simple as a checklist could be of substantial help.
  • People can lull themselves into skipping steps even when they remember them.
  • The researchers found that simply having the doctors and nurses in the ICU create their own checklists for what they thought should be done each day improved the consistency of care to the point that the average length of patient stay in intensive care dropped by half.
  • Checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net.
  • Simple problems, they [Zimmerman, Glauberman] note, are ones like baking a cake from a mix. There is a recipe. Sometimes there are a few basic techniques to learn. But once these are mastered, following the recipe brings a high likelihood of success.
  • Complicated problems are ones like sending a rocket to the moon. They can sometimes be broken down into a series of simple problems. But there is no straightforward recipe.
  • Complex problems are ones like raising a child. Once you learn how to send a rocket to the moon, you can repeat the process with other rockets and perfect it. One rocket is like another rocket. But not so with raising a child, the professors point out.
  • [In life] we are besieged by simple problems.
  • Checklists can provide protection against such elementary errors.
  • The assumption was that anything could go wrong, anything could get missed. What? Who knows? That’s the nature of complexity.
  • [Hurricane Katrina] had been an “ultra-catastrophe,” a “perfect storm” that “exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody’s foresight.” But that’s not an explanation. It’s simply the definition of a complex situation.
  • No, the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity—where the knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictability reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail. People need room to act and adapt.
  • Under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success. There must always be room for judgment, but judgment aided—and even enhanced—by procedure.
  • There seemed no field or profession where checklists might not help.
  • Question your seniors: The more familiar and widely dangerous issue is a kind of silent disengagement, the consequence of specialized technicians sticking narrowly to their domains. “That’s not my problem” is possibly the worst thing people can think, whether they are starting an operation, taxiing an airplane full of passengers down a runway, or building a thousand-foot-tall skyscraper.
  • Because we’d worked as a single unit, not as separate technicians, the man survived. We were done with the operation in little more than two hours.
  • Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb.
  • They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on.
  • Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.
  • The wording should be simple and exact, Boorman went on, and use the familiar language of the profession. Even the look of the checklist matters. Ideally, it should fit on one page. It should be free of clutter and unnecessary colors. It should use both uppercase and lowercase text for ease of reading. (He went so far as to recommend using a sans serif type like Helvetica.)
  • But first think about what happens in most lines of professional work when a major failure occurs. To begin with, we rarely investigate our failures.
  • [Anonymous investor] enumerated the errors known to occur at any point in the investment process. He then designed detailed checklists to avoid the errors, complete with clearly identified pause points at which he and his investment team would run through the items.
  • The checklist doesn’t tell him what to do, he explained. It is not a formula. But the checklist helps him be as smart as possible every step of the way, ensuring that he’s got the critical information he needs when he needs it, that he’s systematic about decision making, that he’s talked to everyone he should.
  • Benefits of (good) checklists:
    • They improve outcomes with no increase in skill.
    • The process is more thorough but also faster.
  • It somehow feels beneath us to use a checklist, an embarrassment.
  • A checklist is only an aid. If it doesn’t aid, it’s not right.

The book is a bit pop-psych and not necessarily a game-changer, but it is an easy insightful read for everyone performing complex tasks on the daily. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: The Checklist Manifesto on Bol.com
Amazon: The Checklist Manifesto on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 4 out of 5.
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 – Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

Book notes – Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

NOTES

  • “No one owes you anything”. – Amelia Boone
  • Rehearse the worst case scenario’s (especially when your competition doesn’t) – Amelia Boone
  • In training, consistency is more important than intensity. – Christopher Sommer
  • Do a 5-day fast 2 to 3 times per year to reboot the immune system and purge precancerous cells. (Fast = trace amounts of BCAA’s and 300 – 500 calories of pure fat (MCT). – Dominic D’Agostino
  • “PLAY!” – Jason Nemer
  • “The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life” – Tony Robbins
  • “Optimal depends on what you are optimizing for” For example: high LDL (‘bad’) allows you to build more lean body mass at a faster rate. – Justin Mager
  • “Strength is the mother quality of all physical qualities” – Pavel Tsatsouline
  • “Strength is a skill, and, as such, it must be practiced” – Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Practice going first; like, say hello first. – Gabby Reece
  • Overcome jetlag by exercising (15 min. bike ride) – Paul Levesque
  • Floyd Mayweather before a match:
    “Why would I be wound up? Either I’m ready or I’m not. Worrying isn’t going to change a thing”.
  • If you don’t do something well, either:
    – Improve
    – Eliminate
    – Delegate
    Paul Levesque
  • Be fearless – Adam Gazzaley
  • Sleep potion:
    – 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    – 1 tablespoon of honey
    – hot water
  • Kickstart the day. Do 10 pushups immediately after waking up.
  • Do less than you can, before things become a burden. – Chade-Meng Tan
  • Do the smallest possible thing. For example in meditation: focus on doing just one mindful breath. – Chade-Meng Tan
  • Are you on the offense or the defense? Survey the challenges in your life: did you assign them to yourself, or are you pleasing someone else? – Chris Sacca
  • Become good in asking the plain in sight questions. Cultivate the beginner’s mind. – Chris Sacca
  • “Be your unapologetically weird self”. Be authentic, since that is what’s lacking in the world. – Chris Sacca
  • Stress test ideas (even if you agree) by creating a ‘red team’ to argue the other side. – Marc Andreessen
  • “Strong views, loosely held”. Develop strong views! But be willing to change your mind around new information. – Marc Andreessen
  • “Everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” – Marc Andreessen
  • “If (more) information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”; it is not what you know, it is what you do consistently. – Derek Sivers
  • Ask ‘why?’ 3 times (when questioning your own motives) – Ricardo Semler
  • “Busy” = out of control – Derek Sivers
  • Derek’s did his bike ride consistently in 43 minutes, ending up red faced. When he went on the same bike ride focusing on enjoyment, he did the ride in (just) 45 minutes. – Derek Sivers
  • “Treat life as a series of experiments” – Derek Sivers
  • What, if done, will make the rest of my to-do’s easier or irrelevant?
  • “When you can write well, you can think well” – Matt Mullenweg
  • “Everyone is interesting. If you’re ever bored in a conversation, the problem’s with you, not the other person.” – Matt Mullenweg
  • Commonalities across the best investors:
    – Cap the downside
    – Find low risk vs. high reward
    – Diversify
    – Contribute
    Tony Robbins
  • You will never be the best at anything, but you can always work hard. – Casey Neistat
  • Follow what angers you (it is all creative material) – Casey Neistat
  • “Which of these highest-value activities is the easiest for me to do?” (80/20) – Reid Hoffman
  • Go to sleep thinking about a problem, as a “request to your subconsious” – Thomas Edison – Reid Hoffman
  • “Failure is overrated”; most of the time, you/things fail for multiple reasons, most of which you will not even be aware of. – Peter Thiel
  • Say no. If people want things from you that do not align with your mission and you say yes? Their mission is now your mission. – Seth Godin
  • “Once you have enough for beans and rice – Money is a story” – Seth Godin
  • Coming up with ideas is a numbers game – Seth Godin
  • Think about developing systems instead of goals, so you allow yourself to inevitably succeed – Scott Adams
  • A new product doesn’t need to be better than all competition. It has to be first (the only) in a category.
  • Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses – Chase Jarvis
  • Ask the dumb question everyone else is afraid to ask – Alex Blumberg
  • Complaining is destructive. “When you complain, nobody wants to help you”. – Tracy DiNunzio
  • If you do not fully understand, ask: “I don’t understand?” – Luis von Ahn
  • The canvas strategy: make other people look good by clearing their paths. – Ryan Holiday
  • A long life isn’t guaranteed. Nearly everyone dies before they are ready.
  • Make your health your #1 priority.
  • Life’s constructs are not some natural order, but rather some superstructure that we humans created. – BJ Miller
  • Stargazing therapy: when you are struggling: look up. Ponder the night sky, the vastness of space and time. – BJ Miller
  • Freeform days seem idyllic, but are paralyzing in practice due to paradox of choice and decision fatigue. – Jocko Willink
  • If you want to be tougher, be tougher – Jocko Willink
  • In life, look for:
    – A senior to emulate
    – A peer who is doing better than you
    – A subordinate doing better than you did
    Chris Fussell
  • “The secrets in life are hidden behind the word ‘cliché'” – Shay Carl
  • “Follow your passion” is terrible advice. More importantly: does a job provide variety, does it give good feedback, allow you to exercise autonomy, contribute to the wider world? – Will MacAskill
  • Conquering fear = defining fear. Once you try to quantify fear, worst-case scenario’s end up being (temporary) 3’s or 4’s on a scale of 10.
  • In making decisions, also consider the cost of inaction.
  • Perfectionism leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis – Whitney Cummings
  • Don’t expect others to understand you. This is unfair, because we don’t understand ourselfs and generally have a hard time communicating – Alain de Botton
  • Putting your thoughts on paper is the best way to develop ideas and review and improve your thinking.
  • Two words for conflict resolution: “Say LESS”. – Amanda Palmer
  • Change your words, change your world. Your language impacts everything. – Eric Weinstein
  • In every situation, you have 3 options:
    – Change
    – Accept
    – Leave
  • Watch every thought you have and ask: ‘why am I having this thought?’ – Naval Ravikant
  • “We are nothing”:
    – The universe is gigantic and has been around for over 10 billion years
    – There are entire civilizations that we remember by just one word (Mayans, Sumerians)
    – We are basically just monkeys on a small rock, orbiting a backwards star in a huge galaxy
    Naval Ravikant
  • “75% of success is staying calm” – Sam Kass
  • “Don’t be shy” – Richard Betts
  • “Write verything down, because it’s all very fleeting” – Marc Birbiglia
  • If you don’t understand, keep asking questions. Don’t worry about sounding dumb – Malcolm Gladwell
  • If you approach every problem from just your moral compass, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes – Stephen Dubner
  • Choose courage over comfort – Brené Brown
  • Worrying is a waste of time – Jason Silva
  • The best business ideas:
    “How can I scratch my own itch?”
    “Where am I price insensitive (where do I spend a disproportionate amount of money?)
  • Tackle problems by trying the opposite of what other people are doing.
  • Lose the small decisions by delegating them. Free up your own time and willpower.
  • When losing (money), you do not necessarily have to make it back the same way you lost it.
  • Instead of adding to solve a problem, what could I subtract?
  • What would it look like if it were easy?
  • The five monkey story – Bryan Johnson
  • The key to ideas is starting. Act first before the inspiration will hit. – Robert Rodriguez
  • “Good” – Jocko Willink:
    – The mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on another one.
    – Didn’t get the job? Good. Go out and gain more experience, build a better résumé.
    – Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

This book is awesome. I like to advocate that silver bullets do not exist. However, the principles and nuggets of wisdom will have the effect of  a silver cannonball. I highly recommend this book. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: Tools of Titans on Bol.com
Amazon: Tools of Titans on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
Book notes – Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Book notes – Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

NOTES

  • We tend to prefer things we can compare easily. We don’t know if A is better than B, but we do know A is better than A-. We therefore prefer A over A- and B.
  • Decoy effect: when you go out and bring a similar looking friend that looks slightly worse will increase your own value.This is done in marketing, when appliances are sold next to inferior models that do not have the intention of being sold.
  • ‘In order to make man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make that thing difficult to attain’ – Mark Twain. (scarcity = demand).
  • Price relativity makes us behave irrationally when faced with discounts. We go out of our way to save 1 euro, but we have no problem in paying an extra 500 for those leather seats in a 25k car.
  • Unrelated numbers can become an anchor when faced with a decision.
  • Social herding is basing your own decisions on the behavior of other people, for example going to Starbucks since it is always crowded. But also when you base your behavior on your own previous behavior. If you do something a lot, it has to be good…
  • We do not know optimal prices for goods. How much should milk cost? We reference the current price to the historical prices of the same good and determine whether something is good value. But if we could erase all memory, optimal prices may be completely different from actual prices.
  • When there is a choice between a free and paid option, we place a disproportional favor on the free option, and ignore the benefits of the paid option, which could provide a lot more value.
  • [A] FREE! [option] is appealing, because there is no inherent loss.
  • The cost of FREE: When a free option requires time (for example: a queue), you are spending time that cannot be spent elsewhere.
  • Social norms, like motivation and self-definition are often more important to employees than a paycheck, though companies tend to move more towards market norms (pay etc.)
  • Paying someone when social norms apply (ex. helping someone move), actually decreases their motivation, since now their effort is quantified by a monterary amount.
  • We can hardly predict how we will behave when we are faced with our own emotions.
  • It is easier to avoid tempation than overcoming it.
  • Create systems in order to combat procrastination. Example: a recurring appointment with a personal trainer to get you into the gym regularly.
  • Part of why e-mail is such a distraction is because some e-mails provide a dopamine hit.Like with gambling, most of it is junk (losing when pulling the lever), but every once in a while, we receive the e-mail we WANT.
  • Form habits: combine short term rewards with favorable ‘negative’ behaviors to instill habits.
  • We become immediately attached to what we own (loss aversion).
  • We have an irrational compulsion to keep doors open, though results tend to be greatest when unimportant doors are closed.
  • The story of Buridan’s Ass: the donkey that dies of starvation after being indecisive.
  • When faced with a decision, it is important to also consider the effect of not deciding at all (inaction).
  • Our experiences are very much shaped by our expectations.
  • Placebo effect: hormones are secreted by mere expectation.

After reading this book, you will never view the decisions you make the same way. You will start to recognize WHY you tend to make certain choices, which allows you to make smarter decisions overall. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either:
Bol.com: Predictably Irrational on Bol.com
Amazon: Predictably Irrational on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.