Here are some of the books that I've read and for which I think it was worth take notes and write a review
Bought this book in Ealing, back in 2012, not remember well from which shop, but I did noted I was with Mercedes. I don't think is a book that is going to make history, or a must read for everyone. Nevertheless, it does contain some interesting stuff about how to face life following a "scientific" approach and most importantly how to relate to others and understand their motives. On my arrogance, I started the book with no much hope of learning anything new ("like a frog on a well who thinks that the small circle of blue sky is all there is above the well"), but got to admit that some of the NLP concepts will present with new lines of thought that are worth embracing
Some of the bits that I like the most about this book was the clear explanation between the "thru-time" people and the "in-time" people, as well as the different kind of recalls we may have: visual, internal dialogue, auditory construct, etc
Here are some extract from this book that I absolutely love:
- You may not know how to act differently and find the change awkward and unnatural. This in itself will create a tug for you, a feeling that something isn't right, and you may want to revert to your more usual behaviour. If this happens, remind yourself why you want to change and that the tug will diminish the more you repeat the new behaviour. Think of the rug as a signal that you are making a transition from old habits to new and this will help you to become more flexible as a person.
- Limiting beliefs; question everything that you know, that limits yourself. Do you have any prove of that believe? be aware of them!
- You can't see a believe or touch it. Beliefs have no physical form other than the activity in your mind,but we need them in order to survive and thrive. Beliefs are powerful. Even though you can't see one, you can observe the results of a belief very clearly. In the extreme, beliefs are fuel for both suicide bombers and peace activist. What you belief has an impact on every aspect of your life. Some may have a positive effect, others may not.
- Think of beliefs and values as a tree. The values form the stable trunk and the beliefs are the fruit. Sometimes the fruit is fresh and nutritious, some times it rots. Every now and again, it's worth giving the branches a good shake so that old and unwanted beliefs fall to the ground.
- Everything begins with a thought and that thought will attract similar ones until you have a cluster of thoughts. That cluster becomes a pattern of thinking, which form a habit. The habit will then be applied to many different scenarios. Scientist believe that the conscious mind is able to cope with only about seven pieces of information at any one time and can become overloaded very quickly.
- A problem only exist in your mind, outside of your mind there are only a set of circumstances
- Is you behaviour aligned with your thinking? Happiness is a state of mind, and you arrive to it by being congruent with your actions. If you decide to be unhappy, you'll be. This is how life works
- The key is to develop "curiosity" about what is causing a person to behave in such a way
- When you are having a tough day and your mind is working flat out to meet deadlines, stress accumulates in your body (your may become tense and your breathing erratic). Your body will reacts to whatever changes your mind goes through and vice versa
- Be aware of your own, as others are likely to be making judgements about you from your posture, gesture or tone of voice.
- A smarter way to have your ideas accepted is to connect them with the ideas already held by the other person.
- Observe carefully: if you are selling you want your customer to be in a "buying" state. Having the sensory acuity to notice when a person is processing in downtime is fundamental to building rapport, pacing and leading and, ultimately ,effective communication.
- It is not so much the content of what you are saying, that ensures you make the connection, but the way you say it. Your language is just the superficial expression of the structure of your experience, behind which lies your kaleidoscope of values and beliefs.
- Your personal perception of events is called your "map of reality"
- You have programmes for everything you do; all the programmes consist of sequences of thoughts and behaviours that are triggered by certain stimuli
- Whatever aspect of your life you want to improve, you can bet there is a strategy you are currently using that is holding you back, either creating inertia or producing undesirable results. the key is to know the beginning and end of each strategy so that you can change it.
- Watch out for these rules that limit your potential, and focus instead in these rules that keep you open to the world of possibility.
- Everything starts with one thought. If you are in control of your thoughts, you are in control of your behaviour and, therefore, your results.
Bought it Daunt Books (Chelsea store) in August 2016. This book enlight on you the passion for hoverflies and open you eyes to their existance. I always thought those insects were bees, and it is funny now to see how the pretty girls in the park in London get up from their lunch on the grass and wave their hand in fear to the passing of hoverflies. They have been fooling people for million of years.
The book is a nice read, but it could have been a lot better. Instead of a personal biography or insight of the author, it could have been transformed into a research on the life of Rene Malaise with a hint of adventure, where the author could start discovering things as he deeps on the life of Rene, instead of merely describe it as an anecdotal events. I missed more of Rene and less of the personal life of the author. All his ideas could be masquerade on the life of Rene. Overall, I recommend it!
Got this amazing book in September 2016, from Foyles, Covent Garden, London. This is a great piece of work by Josh Kaufman that I would recommend absolutely to everyone. It contains not only a great deal of information for anyone doing an MBA, as it says on the tip, but also and most importantly a huge deal of sound advice about how to face life both professionally and within the inner workings of your mind. Defenitely a must read for everyone.
Quotes found on this book:
"It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong" (Jonh Maynard Keynes)
"People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy" (Jeffrey Gitomer)
"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get" (Warren Buffett)
"Don't build better cameras, build in the process better photographers" (Kathy Sierra)
"In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences" (Robert G. Ingersoll)
"When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in the life. Now that I'm old, I know it is" (Oscard Wilde)
"Action comes about if and only if we find a discrepancy between what we are experiencing and what we want to experience" (Philip J. Runkel)
"We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are" (Anais Nin)
"No battle was ever won according to plan, but no battle was ever won without one...Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable" (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
The only limits are on your brain
Here are some of the sections (described to my own understanding) that I personally liked the most:
- Critical Assumptions; do your research well before embarking on a new project, and focus on the facts, that will prevent you from failing
- Field Testing; nothing better than eating the food that you produce, wearing the gear that you manufacture an following the norms that you dictate. On any new project, use the final product as much as possible in order to improve it and identify flows
- The Universal currencies; they are resources, time and flexibility, where resources is the stuff that you put to get stuff that you want, time is just that and flexibility is the amount of sacrifice that you are willing to put to balance the other two currencies; every project is composed of these 3 currencies one way or another, identify them well
- Sufficiency; money is just a tool, very true, it is just a medium to get what we think we want; money is not the end result after all but is the most popular tool to get the end result (happiness with family, etc)
- The Onion Brain; "one of the best things you can do to get more done is to dissociate yourself from the voice in your head", so true! "A few moments of meditation every day can be the difference between feeling scared and overwhelmed and feeling in control of your destiny"
- Reference Level; Nobody likes pain, but "f you are in the process of getting a tattoo, pain receptors firing is an acceptable situation"; you need to define your reference levels, what you actually understand for pleasure, pain or value before investing on a project
- Guding Structure; yes, you need to setup rules, hash but fair, like for example the "Sterile Cockpit Rule" where pilots can only talk about the flight below 10,000 feet, above that altitude all other conversations are allowed,what did you do on the weekend, etc
- Interpretation and re-interpretation; "It is entirely possible to change your beliefs and Mental Simulations consciously by recalling and actively Reinterpreting past events. Reinterpretation is possible because your memory is fundamentally impermanent. Our memories aren't like computer disks, every time we recall a memory it doesn't re-save it to the same location or in the same state. Every time we recall something, the memory is saved in a different location with a twist: the new memory will include any alterations that we have made to it. Reinterpret your past, and you'll enhance your ability to make great things happen in the present".
"Reinterpret your past mistakes in a constructive light, and focus your energy on what you can do right now to move in a positive direction".
- Motivation; "motivation is an emotion, NOT a logical, rational activity", the logical behaviour is derived from the emotion
- Cognitive Scope Limitation; this is an amazing concept by which more or less we can only take about 150 relationships with people, according to Dunbar's Theory (though I personally believe that "healthy" or "fullfiling" relationship would be a lot less). It is really valuable to know this concept and to know and be aware of your own cognitive limitation at the time of approaching people and doing stuff
- Novelty; another beautiful concept for both your life and professional endavours: "Human attention requires novelty to sustain itself. Continue to offer something new, and people will pay attention to what you have to offer"
- Akrasia; meaning "lacking command over oneself", it is all of word for a concept that has been hitting (and hit) us since the dawn of mankind. Akrasia is not like procrastination, it can be easily identified when you add the "should" to whichever action that you have long consider but never actually started.
- Cognitive Switching Penalty; "eliminate unproductive context switching, and you'll get more done with less effort", this sound so logical but nobody applies it: if you are writing a report, don't take calls on that time and avoid precisely that, unproductive context switching, it will take a while for your mind to re-concentrate when you go back to the subject
- Five-Fold Why; another powerful concept to put into practise, this consist of asking yourself five times "why" to discover the root causes of what you want. "Discover the root causes behind your goals, and you'll discover new ways to get what you actually want", for example, to the question: I want a million pounds:
- Why do you want a million pounds? because I want to buy a house
- Why do you want to buy a house? because I want me and my girlfriend to live in there
- Why do you want you and your girlfriend to live in a house? because we want to live together
- Why do you want to live together? because we want to create a family
- Why do you want to create a family? because we want to create a family (that's the root reason of you wanting a million pounds!) nice ah?
- Doomsday Scenario; this concept explores the idea that our brains assume threats as life-or-death situation, that's why when we have no money or no love we feel so vulnerable and about to die. Life continues, don't be pessimistic
- Confirmation Bias; "paradoxically, one of the best ways to figure out whether or not you're right, is to actively look for information that proves that you're wrong"
- Hedonic Treadmill; this is a cycle by which we pursue things that we think will make us happy, to ultimately no longer make us happy once we got them
- Attachment; you cannot change a single bit of the past, no a single second, therefore: "the more you focus and accept the things that have happened and choose to work on things that you can do to make things better, the happier you'll be"
- Communication Overhead; another massively useful concept, the more people on your team the more the communication needed and the less effectiveness achieved
- Reason Why; "people will be more receptive to any request if you give them a reason why. Any reason will do"
Commander's Intent; this is a master rule for delegation, explain the overall purpose and let them take the actions needed to achieve the goal
- Option Orientation; "focus on options, not issues, and you'll be able to handle any situation life throws at you"
- Performance-Based hiring; "the best predictor of future behaviour is past performance"
- Gall's Law; "all complex systems that work evolved from simpler systems that worked", in other words: start simple, be a new relationship (don't start giving the ring away on the 3rd date) or embracing a new professional career
- Flow; "follow the flow, and you're on your way to understanding how the system works"
- Constraint; to increase performance, eliminates first of all constrains, if at the time of making coffee you never find a spoon, stick one to the wall with a rope
- Uncertainty; "Contemplating uncertainty feels bad, because not knowing what's going to happen feels like a threat. Instead of fixating on predicting the future and invisible and unknown threats, it's better to channel your energy into enhancing your ability to handle the unexpected"
- Second-Order effects; "approach making changes to a complex system with extreme caution: what you get may be the opposite of what you expect"
- Intervention Bias; this is a concept by which humans are likely to introduce changes on a system that are not necessary in order to feel in control of the situation. It's definitely worth always exploring the "null hypothesis", virtually do nothing and see what happens
- The Experimental Mind-Set; "You learn the most of what doesn't go well. As long as your mistakes don't kill you, paying attention to what doesn't work can give you useful information you can use to discover what does work. All failure are temporary, what you learn in the process always helps you move forward", in other words: setup that lab before that given upgrade! lol
In autumn 2018 I visited once again the IP expo at the Excel Center in London, ready to be bombarded again by IT sales business cards in exchange for the valuable insight of seeing their products and consulting with them in regards to innovations and new features. It was almost the end of the day when I passed around a crowd of people that where queuing to get to a table. OMG! I recognised on the table the doctor Hannah Fry signing her new book, so I queued too, patiently, and got the chance to congratulate her for her amazing BBC documentary Calculating Ada - The Countess of Computing, about Lady Lovelace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgUVrzkQgds , and obviously bought the book she was selling, here my review below, well worth the reading!
Her book is an interesting reading full of bibliography (as you would expect coming from an academic background as she is) and a compilation of real events of how algorithms shape our society. She puts in evidence that while algorithms could do a good job, they are "not accountable" for any decision, and that there is always a level of bias in the creation of every code: if for example some algorithm tend to be racist, that's because the creators are, and the creator do noting but trying to represent the best of what society is. The conclusion to draw from her book is that algorithm can never be perfectly accurate, and "the question is whether the pros (of its usage) outweigh the cons". We can use them to certain level, to make our lives "easier", but there always have to be a human factor involved in the chain of decision making.
Neural Network is a new term that I've learnt on her book, thank you Hannah! I also learnt on her book that Burgeoning Eugenics is a movement that aims to provide genetic compositions of humans by selective breeding, euthanasia and force sterilisation, awful! Had no idea such things existed outside of the nazi regime. Probabilistic Interference and the Trolley Problem, along with Distance Decay, Doppelganger and the Buffer Zone are some terms that I learned in formal detail, and yes, Social Proof Phenomenon too, in which you don't question the behaviours of others in a situation where you're not that familiar with. I knew all these things, but never knew the scientific formal terms to describe them.
Extracts from her book:
"A price hike from £1.20 to £2.30 seems enormous, but an increase from £67 to £68 doesn't seems to matter", even though in both cases the increase is £1, this is because we humans perceive our environment in relative terms rather than in absolute values, as described by Webber's Law https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHG8io5qIU8 We only notice the "weight" of difference in small scales
"It'll only be able to find patterns in the data if that data is collected, collated and connected" A great advice of every algorithm builder
"The algorithm are undoubtedly great imitators, just not very good innovators" If we are the image of God, and we are imperfect, isn't it God imperfect too? How can we possibly aim to create something perfect? a perfect algorithm? Impossible. If we are created by the evolution of a Universe, and we admit that by nature we are imperfect, and thus that we are evolving, and so is the Universe, our creations should therefore be "dynamic", and have some kind of airtifical intelliguence on them that will allow them to evolve.
Drawbacks, but add it on your next edition Hannah!
I was kind of hoping for Hannah to mention Edward Snowden move in 2013 of leaving the CIA, and how his disclosure in regards to the algorithms he created had a mayor impact of the impression we have of data usage by governments and corporations nowadays, but I guess she kept it all quiet and avoid any comments in case she will be ban from entering the USA in the future. She does however speaks amply about Cambridge Analytica, yet another event (scandals labelled on this occasion, espionage in the other) of data misuse
Some of the videos in the "Notes" are unavailable, not her fault of course, but it would have been handy to have just one page on her website, where you can check her Notes and she can update the links as needed, amen from saving the time and frustration of reader like me, who had to type on the address bar of the browser the tedious long hyperlink that she provided on paper. Overall, a fantastic read!
If I was the ruler of the World I'll make a law so that all human population will have to read this book, patiently and calmly, it is a journey to the discovery of yourself and your interaction with other human beings. Don't be deceived by the title "You are not so smart", and don't let you ego grow arrogant and prevent you from picking up this book from the shelf. Of course you're not so smart, and David proves it in this book in many occasions. Just like in a course of physiology, these are some of the terms that I learned on this book:
Confirmation Bias; you tend to look for information that confirms your beliefs, and ignore information that challenges them, in other words, wishful thinking.
Priming ; "on experiments, mere exposure to briefcases and fancy pens had altered the behaviour of normal, rational people. They became more competitive, greedier and had no idea why. Faced with having to explain themselves, they rationalised their behaviour with erroneous tales they believed were true". Adaptive unconscious is the term used by psychologist were prime takes effects, were the subjects minds (by mere exposure to objects) are altered by unconscious priming. Just remember, you are most open to prime/suggestions when your mental-cruise-control is on or when you find yourself in unfamiliar circumstances. "If you bring a shopping list, you'll lest likely to arrive at the checkout with a cart full of staff you had no intention of buying before you left the house. If you neglect your personal space and allow chaos and clutter to creep int, it will affect you, and perhaps encourage further neglect. You can't prime yourself directly, but you can create environments and positive feedback loops conductive to the mental states you wish you achieve". In Buddhism this is called "imprints", Buddhists surrounded themselves by images of Buddha not because they adore the imaginary, but because they are priming themselves unconsciously to achieve enlightenment. Priming can also be consider like the Law of Attraction of some sort?
Confabulation ;you feel like a single person with a single brain, but in many ways, you really have two. When the left hemisphere is force to explain why the right hemisphere is doing something, it often creates a fiction that both sides then accept. You are a confabulatory creature by nature: you are always explaining to yourself the motivations for your actions and the causes to the effects in your life, and you make them up without realising it when you don't know the answers. Over time, these explanations become your idea of who you are and your place in the world. Mirror neurons and complex clusters of brain cells.
Procrastination; "Thinking about thinking is the key. You must be adept at thinking about thinking to defeat yourself at procrastination. You must realise there is the YOU who sits there now reading this, and there is the YOU some time in the future who will be influenced by a different set of ideas and desires, a YOU from whom an alternate palette of brain functions will be available for painting reality". A clear example of this are programs like Freedom Blocker or plans like Nutrisystem
Frequency Illusion ;be aware of when this happens to you, and please read all the possible Confirmation Bias that there are as from the time of writing in the human brain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases Remember that in Science, you move closer to the truth when seeking evidence to the contrary! "Meaning is a human construction". From this list of Cognitive Biases I'd like to mention a few:
- Hindsight Bias; similar to Availability Heuristic, you of course knew it all along, but only realise of that once the things are happened. Don't be deluded by this and give yourself examples, can you for example predict a situation later that later on you'd say of-course-I-knew-all?
- Present Bias ;"being unable to grasp that what you want will change overtime, and what you want now isn't the same thing you will want later; this bias explains why you buy lettuce and bananas to throw them out later when you forget to eat them"
- Hyperbolic Discounting; this is the tendency of getting more rational when you are forced to wait, meaning to me that patience is a great contributor to cognition. "If I offer you £50 now or £100 in 5 years you'd take the £50 of course. After all, who knows what would happens in 5 years time. But if I offer you £50 in 4 years and £100 in 5 years you'd wait for the £100, it feels natural. A logical mind would pick up the £100 in both situations, but you're not so smart. You are also affected by Hyperbolic Discount"
- Normalcy Bias; "The first thing you are likely to feel in the event of a disaster is the supreme need to feel safe and secure. When it becomes clear -to you- that is impossible, you drift into a daydream". You acclimate to your surroundings so that you notice when things go awry, but this acclimation makes you forget certain aspects, for example of your new home until a visitor points them out to you.
- Consistency Bias; you need to feel that you can predict your own behaviour, and so you rewrite your own history sometimes so you can seem dependable to yourself; if you are really in love now, but once had your doubts, you simply delete the past and replace it with one less inconsistent with your present state. You need to be aware, therefore, of not to alter your memories to match your current emotions
Apophenia; your mind is pre-organised to notice order, and you see what you want to see while ignoring therest. Apophenia is the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things, it isn't just seeing order in chaos, it is believing you were destined to see it. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/reality-play/201207/being-amused-apophenia
Brand Loyalty; are you an Android or Apple fan? When you make a choice you need to have an emotional connection to the product you choose, and your brain is more than capable of deluding you and altering the memories of the past to match your current emotions. "That nebulous emotional connection people have with certain companies, which turns them into defenders and advocates for corporations who don't give a shit about them"
Post-decisional dissonance; the feeling you have committed to one option when the other options may have been better; remember that t he minute you pick a flower you automatically deselect all the other flowers. http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/post-decision_dissonance.htm
The argument from authority; "you should be wise to come to your own conclusion based on the evidence, not the people delivering it, if a celebrity footballer is selling you batteries, ask yourself if that footballer seem like an expert on electrochemical energy storage before you take his word"
The Straw Man Fallacy; "in creating a fantasy argument where the world goes mad if the other person' argument were to win, you have constructed a straw man" It is sooo easy to fall on this fallacy! We much aware of it in your daily life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfil34ayaEU A good explanation also in here: https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/169/Strawman-Fallacy The Ad Hominen Argument is another one you should be much aware too (be critic with the argument, but no with the person exposing it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBkj-AYYg7w "Wondering whether or not someone can be trusted and wondering whether or not someone is telling the truth are two different things". List of fallacies here: https://kspope.com/fallacies/fallacies.php
Gain some self-control now. Your perceived status is part of the unconscious equation you work out when accepting, refusing and making offer with other people; you are not so smart, and willing to get nothing in the Ultimate Game Example, when you win a £1 million in the lottery but have to share a bit of the prize with a total stranger, whom if denied your proposal you'll lose the whole prize. How much would you offer? How much will you be willing to accept? Life could be as absurd as connecting dots in the constellations, and you struggle to make sense of the world, you focus on what falls into place and neglect/reject that which doesn't fit.
Groupthinking; if you manage a group of people, according to Irwing Janis, the decisions of the group are to be truth and more successful is some of the members are "ass-holes" and don't give a shit about the group, being able to speak up without any fear of dismissal, rejection, etc
The Affect Heuristic; without emotions it is incredibly difficult to settle on any one option, that''s why politicians with data grapsh tend to fail. When you want to believe something you will unconsciously turn down the volume on the bad qualities of the object you want to believe, and vice verse if you want to hate the object. Today everyone is a consumer and has to pick from the select selection of goods as everyone else; and because of this people now define their personalities by how good their taste is, or how clever, or how obscure, or how ironic their choices are, so you reveal your unique characters through your consumption habits. Poor people compete with resources, Middle Class compete with selection, wealthy people with possessions.
Illusory Superiority Effect ;humans are liars by default, and you lie most to yourself; you see the person you used to be as a foolish bumbler with poor taste but your current self as a legend who is worthy of at least 3 times the praise.
The Spotlight Effect; You spend so much time thinking about your own body, your own thoughts and behaviours, you begin to thinks other people must be noticing too, but the reality is they don't acknowledge your present at all, and they are far less likely to give a shit about you. Next time you have a new hair cut or new pair of shoes, don't expect anyone to notice. You are not so smart or special
Conformity; never be afraid to question authority when your actions could harm yourself and others. Even in simple situations, like queuing for a cinema, restaurant, etc, feel free to break norms and go and check the door to look inside. Be aware of Social Loafing too: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-social-loafing-2795883
Extinction Burst; your brain didn't evolve in an environment where there was an abundance of food, the brain is made of atoms and molecules, therefore it must obey the laws of physics and chemistry, it is hard to control it, and therefore most of your well-intended actions for self improvement cold end up in a catastrophic binge. http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/2011/03/12/the-extinction-burst/
Reality, as you experience it, is a virtual experience generated by the brain based on the inputs coming from your senses; you don't get a raw feed from these inputs, instead, you get an edited version. The you of now who makes decisions in your life is usually the remembering one; it drags your current self around in pursuit of new memories, anticipating them based on old memories. Be aware as well of Self-Handicap, you are limitless, but sometimes your mind play tricks on you: if you succeed you can say you did so despite terrible odds and thanks to your great competence; if you fall short you can blame the events leading up to the failure instead of your own incompetence or inadequacy
Self-Fulfilling Prophecies; research shows that if you believe someone is going to be an asshole, you will act hostile, thus causing them to act like an asshole. This same research shows if people think their partner doesn't love them, they will interpret small slights as big hurts, and this will then lead to a feeling of rejection that causes the partner to distance him/her; the Feedback Loop will build and build until the prophecy is fulfilled
The Illusion of Control; the odds are fixed, but sometimes you think you can beat them. Since you briefly control the initial action, you start to feel like the control extends beyond just the toss of dice, and into the randomness that results
Samuel Aun Weor, quotations:
La muerte reduce a cenizas todas las vanidades del mundo. La vida practica como escuela es formidable pero tomarla como un fin en si misma es manifiestamente absurdo.
Books to read:
A New Earth: Create a Better Life by Eckhart Tolle
Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life