Featured post

Library

Below is the visual library for all the books I have summarized
To access the searchable library, click here

 

                                                                                9780943045092-us-300  jewel-book-cover-357f955151cf194549275a2106e6f18e7ba5313706ac343769e9da3e0c9e724b 517loszzml-_sx335_bo1204203200_  capture 51p5t5cw4tl-_sx302_bo1204203200_  2632830 51af4jqgawl-_sy344_bo1204203200_ 41uty3mqrvl-_sx319_bo1204203200_ 51lnqvt3ol-_sx328_bo1204203200_ disneywar 411pfl4nmzl-_sy344_bo1204203200_ 41dsslntrl-_sx316_bo1204203200_ 51qqnglcidl-_sx318_bo1204203200_ 51pna4itnjl-_sx334_bo1204203200_ 51j0aco1hol-_sx317_bo1204203200_ 41dkjoqvu-l-_sx321_bo1204203200_ 71zpp045ywl 6190ig5x2rl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ 51iwrjcuw6l-_sy344_bo1204203200_ 41ozgec8e6l-_sx331_bo1204203200_ 3 sync bak 51NNRZBJ+sL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51zvuHPCgoL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ les-schwab-pride-in-performance-keep-it-going-19 0060916575-01-_sx200_sclzzzzzzz_1 510aKu0sPTL._SX299_BO1,204,203,200_ 41KY2u4d4ZL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_1995421all_i_want_to_know41TGRwvg4YL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_  deep-work-cal-newport  16248196  51N7s0z8kXL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 174713 Washington_A_Life_book_cover Power vs Force Softcover 510aKu0sPTL 41-eYMXLKqL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_  41ZDNyKoHlL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 9780805052534 16130 517oIyvrNDL 13533740 41rJVsU7tJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ download md184556324162688773851a9rND+uPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 513dRdOldWL._SX329_BO1204203200_ 5143bEJRfqL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ 9780300216974 heroes-of-history-9780743235945_hr{488DB970-C6F6-4E88-AE18-11A93B255D66}Img400 41cmM6UedGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 41ElRO9ypBL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_ 41jeohotvgL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 41qKdrO4wnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51zp+qPAe-L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 511yBt6KhlL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_ 812rexUR0rL The_Power_Broker_book_cover 41jFVZL72YL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_ 41JvQj9sJAL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_ 41VatwrWCeL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_ 51dLDq5mkcL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_ 51gN-yGw5oL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51Mt5H5lX2L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_51YHqfdHJeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 81aGCwitXcL 516qbIR3suL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_ 1305 LoyaltyEffectRevCover 516pEhuhDlL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  41m0N7IIcsL 41rfAKBZVuL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51WnDA3RrUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51YE689GC7L._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_ 4144JvvbfkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 5486 cover225x225  the-silo-effect-9781451644739_hr  51DWYZY76QL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_41+nfGp2AgL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41lz22fodhL._AC_UL320_SR212,320_ 41WrIQaCTBL 41Z3XNXTcHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51-j173j-LL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51jWkjTVbBL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ 51l6k9k4HsL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51pBocD9LPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_  Beyond-Training-Cover  cb6ef9e8fa38798e99972aaef7cdcc4d  david-goliath  FinalCover2 TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover What_do_you_care_what_other_people_thinkGEB Lindbergh The Innovators Obstacle is the Way Body by Science Bridgewater Education of a Value Investor The Loser's Game The Prince remains-of-the-day   Stroke of Insight   This is WaterBirmingham Jail  Lolita   Letters from a Self Made Merchant Peter the Great  Antifragile  Think and Grow Rich 48 Laws of Power What the Most Successful To Kill a Mockingbird I and Thou Influence  Manuscripts found in Accra  Ben Franklin Measure Your Life  How to Read a Book   The Small Cap Advantage My Own Life  Buddha Standard Time Decoded Checklist Manifesto The Outsiders Seeking Wisdom Bold Buddha Brain 10 Happier Cyrus the Great Hedonistic Imperative The Winner's Game Diary of Soren Adultery  Where are the customers yachts Education of a Coach Zen in the Art of Archery Moral Sayings of Publius Art of Stillness 51lPZw1WaOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51r0fm0Y82L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Killing Kennedy 5 Rules Brave New World Common Sense Investing The Little Book That Builds Wealth Never Eat Alone  Warrior Within  Poor Charlie's Almanack Killing Lincoln Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy A New Earth Tao Teh Ching Hurricane Startup of You Essentialism innoutAmerican Gods Do the Work Future of the Mind How to Love The Luck Factor Radical Acceptance   Nudge Eleven Rings The Hard Thing About Hard Things 33 strategies delivering happiness good to great monk and philosopher on china one click power of full story of philosophy thinking big way we're working zen and art 41z+F+i4C2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51cvElYU7WL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ 51fN0mD37nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51nPvo5Su3L._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_ 51OVTLXoJ+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 61zkSQ8mjbL 81fncUPB6cL 518PbRACTQL 17859574 a curious mind Brain-That-Changes-Itself George-True-North-Authentic  power thebrainswayofhealingCapture 41ckYWIZtNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41HVo-Vf+zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41xs4vbcTPL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ 51BWHwWGCoL 51jCcKixK1L 51NcUB2HTxL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51NL4ze5EkL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ 51o2zBoDItL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 71tHnQXwJtL 514Y9hUYhRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 519MS8HD0CL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  1152-2 0399139435 41SNnGFamQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_   51EOw3BYhrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51fIjlYbsVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51g8CrvBr8L._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_ 51pmlYf63+L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ 51T7HIMnjvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51y+hZEulnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Fooled_by_Randomness_Paperback  Steve_Jobs_by_Walter_Isaacson the-fountainhead  tumblr_mzf8b0ZtUv1tq3nx5o1_1280  WceGgDUNlCA8RPHOz66AbHHs4RI12Vqg+OoBRGBrKx2plCphEkAr3aizNSRpuGHkIoDZcS4gLRs3LNNbucM2tzHjr1b6gOv!JK2gG4iMspVQ5iDKyCBWtzAWMsmQ+7PK41cpg1ESArL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41OLNqCiM0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41ujSlRdt3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51dOQ2ytN-L._SX374_BO1,204,203,200_  51mF+0T9o5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  51oHuRxOgIL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ 51q71sE7c5L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ 51xwPegEzlL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_ 51Z6PrTDb4L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 413fr2eoPPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 416qS30-lQL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_ 830 23289992 Organized-Mind 9900241KHCQnx1EL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51aUygppA+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51cx5AfHpZL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ 51ETE8NqvcL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ 51kbKLCazgL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ 51XkLHJz++L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 71ahJkud8uL 71X3Y9yRtlL 81wBzBcSclL 857333 littlebets  prophet-cover_1_op_397x548 Screen-Shot-2015-09-14-at-2.22.25-PMreagan-151fc0+DDh9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51iuMfmHHHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51tkKRzS5YL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ 51xrAg9mceL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ FINDING-ULTRA-COVER-FINAL1  TheBoysintheBoat9780812993257 How_We_Decide_cover  OmnivoresDilemma_full  brothers k Happiness-Hypothesis unbroken-crjpg-ce0987f837463333  mans_search_for_meaning  simplicity  9781571745712 81B9+kACYLL BotanyofDesire_full 300x300 cn_image.size.swerve-book rise of superman  year-without-pants-752x1128  getting to yes 51V38NLW5zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ TheIntelligentInvestor 51XcaFJirNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Jesus  BP Diet  Zorba_book Flowers for Algernon  1776 Auto of Black Hawk Genghis Khan Making Onward God Delusion Moonwalking_with_einstein Stroke of Insight Einstein Isaacson Siddhartha Titan fooling super brain Lila Meditations Fahrenheit 451  On the Road   Cooked On the Shortness of Life What every body is saying Aleph Animal Farm Sports Gene Love WinsBorn to Run  Emotional Intelligence Cool Tools Sun also rises Inutition Pumps  Moby Dick  Free to Choose  Power of Positive Thinking Experiments with Truth Vagabonding Slaughterhouse Five Aristotle in Outline the social animal_3.indd Cat's Cradle Thinking Fast and Slow  The Alchemist  Walden  Art of War  The Charisma Myth  Flatland  Mr. Feynman Money master the game 51qwpkjNP7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  7126 41ry6MoUc3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51JNMx5G3iL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Berkshire 51K28NKVF3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 1984-by-opallynn-d4lnuoh 6596 17184 cover2 cvr9781451695182_9781451695182_hr Mastery_Cover movieposter PicofDorianGray-728143 Rye_catcher subliminal_seduction  TheJungleSinclair  The-Richest-Man-In-Babylon-George-Clason Continue reading

February 2018

The Rabbit Hole by Blas Moros 
     
Jump In. 
 

My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 201820172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

Monthly Challenges

  • Run a 6-minute mile – it had been a while since I was able to do this and it took some time to get it back but I’m happy I did. Probably won’t keep it up though…
  • Read Sam Altman’s blog – not quite Paul Graham-level but had some worthwhile insights

Other

  

Amor Fati

Blas

 

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

 
     
   
   
 
To unsubscribe click here, to edit your profile click here.

January 2018

The Rabbit Hole by Blas Moros 
     
Jump In. 
 

My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 20172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

  •  None this month

Monthly Challenges

  • Daily tweet – hardly did anything on Twitter before but it was fun to try to come up with a quick daily blurb that wasn’t totally worthless
  • No caffeine – I usually only drink 1-2 cups per day but this was surprisingly easy after the first 2 days. Definitely slept better but miss coffee and will go back to 1-2 per day

Other

  

Amor Fati

Blas

 

“Learn to love what you have been taught to fear.” – Felix Baumgartner

 
     
   
   
 
To unsubscribe click here, to edit your profile click here.

Boyd: The Figher Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

Summary
  1. “Boyd has had a bigger impact on fighter tactics, aircraft design, and theory of air force combat than any man in history but he was also court marshaled and investigated dozens of times for leaks to the public, stealing computer time to work on his theories, and more. He was cantankerous, loud, and offensive and made a lot of enemies but it was all in the pursuit of his theories which positively impacted how the US military trained and fought.”
Key Takeaways
  1. Boyd was a rare combination of skills and talents and became known as 40 second Boyd because of his ability to beat anyone in air to air combat simulation.
  2. He was the first to codify air to air combat. He was only a junior in the army when he changed how the Army and Navy at large trained fighter pilots. Much of Boyd’s work is classified so his contributions were almost unknown to the outside world during his lifetime. Even then, except for the Marine Corps, most divisions of the military didn’t give Boyd proper credit for his contributions because of how much of a ruckus he caused
  3. He was in search of truth and a pure man but he was also larger than life, rude, cared little for his appearance
  4. Boyd was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1927 and his father died when he was only three years old. His mother worked very hard to keep the family afloat and she taught her kids the principles of frugality and hard work that would stay with Boyd forever. The mother severed ties with religion, friends, and family if she thought it would hurt her children. Also, Boyd’s sister contracted polio and the family became a sort of pariah because at the time people didn’t know what caused polio. Although John was somewhat socially awkward, his mom instilled in him that if you work hard and had integrity, you would win in the end
  5. As a child, Boyd had incredible focus and was a championship swimmer in Pennsylvania
  6. Boyd questioned the limit of everything and often found that it was always greater than what people told him
  7. Boyd had little tolerance or patience for those who didn’t understand what he was working towards but for those who did, he would go into great detail to make sure they understood
  8. After Boyd graduated from flight school, he was asked to stay on as an instructor which is one of the most prestigious job requests that a pilot can get
  9. After several years at Flight Weapons School, Boyd wanted to get his undergraduate engineering degree and got it from Georgia Tech. It was here that he was able to intertwine thermodynamics with his aerial studies. It was the trade off between potential and kinetic energy that tied them together and the beauty and simplicity of the idea made his hair stand on end when it clicked for him. Like entropy, a plane could have energy that was unavailable for work because of his position, speed, or strength of opponent. This was his excess power theory, which eventually became known as the Energy Maneuverability Theory. At its most basic, this determines the specific energy rate of an aircraft – how fast can you speed up or slow down compared to your opponent. Using specific energy makes this ratio universal across planes because, simply put, it is energy divided by weight of aircraft
  10. Boyd’s EM did 4 things for aviation
    1. It allowed for a quantitative basis for teaching aerial tactics
    2. It forever changed the way aircraft are flown in combat
    3. It provided a scientific basis for how the maneuverability of an aircraft could be evaluated. It allowed for a comparison of aircrafts and how to negate or minimize the advantages when flying against a superior jet
    4. It became a fundamental tool when designing fighter aircraft
  11. Boyd was able to see a page of numbers and visualize how they would affect his airplane, flight, tactics, and more. He had the hologram in the head
  12. Boyd hated optimization. Instead, he iterated on his thoughts and processes, letting them grow in a very Darwinian, organic way rather than trying to have a set plan or perfect solution to work towards
  13. By getting his engineering degree and deeply understanding thermodynamics, Boyd was able to see and understand the pros and cons of fighter jets’ designs, often better than the designers themselves
  14. To say he was a perfectionist is an understatement of epic proportion
  15. When Boyd determined that somebody had an “obstruction” (didn’t agree with him or didn’t give him the respect he felt he deserved), he took it upon himself to show them why he was thought of as one of the best fighter pilots, instructors, and most knowledgeable person on jets
  16. Boyd’s temperament and harsh way of dealing with people came back to bite him as he was continually passed over for promotions
  17. Trade-offs are the heart and soul of jet fighter design. Discipline and understanding the mission at hand are key too
  18. Boyd’s incredible intensity and passion for his work of course hurt his family situation and many of his kids ended up distanced from him. He neglected and ignored his family to the point that sometimes they didn’t talk for years
  19. Ambiguity, although difficult for people to deal with, tends to reflect reality better than black and white thinking and allows for new thoughts and spontaneity to arise and help evolve an idea or situation
  20. Another of Boyd’s great contributions was Patterns of Conflict. This piece studies the emotional, moral, and behavioral aspects of people during war and is helpful to compare different strategies, technologies, and techniques to one another
  21. The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) was another big contribution but what most people don’t understand or what they oversimplify is the fact that you always have to have one foot in reality in order to update your ideas and understanding of the situation. Otherwise, you’re orienting and acting with outdated and wrong information
  22. General Mattis developed a reputation as a genius simply by not saying much
  23. The Pentagon is not set up to protect America, it is set up to buy weapons
  24. Boyd cared far more for his ideas being spread, adopted, and practiced than for getting any credit or payment for them
  25. Boyd’s theories were all over the Gulf War and had a meaningful impact on how quickly and dramatically America overcame the local opposition
  26. Boyd experienced some severe health scares and later developed an all consuming depression. He wasn’t sure what he was afraid of but it was real and it deeply frightened him. Boyd later developed aggressive cancer which was the cause of his death
  27. if you’re fighting for the right thing there’s always a way to win
What I got out of it
  1. A great biography on a man I didn’t know anything about. He had a deep desire to learn and search for truth but his rude, in your face manner earned him many enemies and opposition to his ideas. Energy Maneuverability, Patterns of Conflict, OODA Loop were his main contributions

Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes by Frans de Waal

Summary
  1. An incredible insight into the takeovers and social organization of a chimp colony in the Netherlands. “The behavior of our closest relatives provides clues about human nature. Apart from political maneuvering, chimpanzees show many behaviors that parallel those of humans, from tool technology to intercommunity warfare. In fact, our place among the primates is increasingly a backdrop of substantial similarity. Our uniqueness breaks down as we study our relatives.”
Key Takeaways
  1. Simplified conditions, like the one found at Arnhem Zoo with this chimp colony, allow researchers to see more because there is less. A totally wild environment is too dynamic, too chaotic to be able to closely observe some of the interactions which are dissected in this book
  2. “Every country has its Dick Cheneys and Ted Kennedys operating behind the scenes. Being over the hill themselves, these experienced men often exploit the intense rivalries among younger politicians, gaining tremendous power as a result. I also did not draw explicit parallels between how rival chimpanzees curry favor with females by grooming and tickling their young and the way human politicians hold up and kiss babies, something they rarely do outside the election season. There are tons of such parallels, also in nonverbal communication (the swaggering, the lowering of voices), but I stayed away from all these. To me, they were so obvious I am happy to leave them to my readers…The social dynamics are essentially the same. The game of probing and challenging, of forming coalitions, of undermining others’ coalitions, and of slapping the table to reinforce a point is right there for any observer to see. The will to power is a human universal. Our species has been engaged in Machiavellian tactics since the dawn of time, which is why no one should be surprised about the evolutionary connection pointed out in the present book.”
  3. Only in harmonious groups are adult males solicitous and tolerant of kid’s behavior
  4. When excited or aggressive, their hair stands on end so they appear larger than life and often this behavior can be seen as much as 10 minutes before by inconspicuous body movements and changes in posture
  5. The group dynamic is one large web and the alpha male is just as, if not more, ensnared in the web as the rest
  6. Since they don’t need to forage for food as they do in the wild, there is considerably more time to socialize and the close quarters, especially in the winter months, which leads to nearly twice as many aggressive incidents as in the summer months
  7. “Experts sometimes choose to create the impression of knowing nothing. They act in exactly the opposite way from the young teacher, who held forth with such conviction. Both attitudes lead nowhere, but unfortunately I will not be able to avoid them completely.”
  8. “Everyone can look, but actually perceiving is something that has to be learned. This is a constantly recurring problem when new students arrive. For the first few weeks they “see” nothing at all…Initially we only see what we recognize. Someone who knows nothing about chess and who watches a game between two players will not be aware of the tension on the board. Even if the watcher stays for an hour, he or she will still have great difficult in accurately reproducing the state of play on another board. A grand master, on the other hand, would grasp and memorize the position of every piece in one concentrated glance of a few seconds. This is not a difference of memory, but of perception. Whereas to the uninitiated the positions of the chess pieces are unrelated, the initiated attach great significance to them and see how they threaten and cover each other. It is easier to remember something with a structure than a chaotic jumble. This is the synthesizing principle of the so-called Gestalt perception: the whole, or Gestalt, is more than the sum of its parts. Learning to perceive is learning to recognize the patterns in which the components regularly occur. Once we are familiar with the patterns of interactions between chess pieces or chimpanzees, they seem so striking and obvious that it is difficult to imagine how other people can get bogged down in all kinds of detail and miss the essential logic of the maneuvers.”
  9. When chimpanzees are frightened or distressed, they bare their teeth much further than when they put on the so-called play-face
  10. When males are displaying and trying to intimidate, it is not uncommon to see females take away their weapons
  11. Side-Directed Behavior: behavior toward opponents and behavior toward companions or outsiders
    1. Seeking refuge and reassurance – the most common form and an excited or frightened chimpanzee clearly has a need for physical contact
    2. Recruitment of support
    3. Instigation
    4. Reconciliations – after conflict, the opponents are attracted to each other like magnets! They had to physically connect to make up and tension and hesitancy remains as long as the opponents had not reconciled their differences. This action serves to repair valuable relationships
    5. Coalitions – when two apes fight or threaten each other, a third ape may enter the fray and side with one of them. Sometimes this escalates and larger coalitions are formed. However, this does not cascade – chimpanzees never make an uncalculated move and the top position in a group may depend on aggressive cooperation (highest form of strategy, dominance) and, often, it was the females who were the most important part of helping their chosen male get into the position of alpha
  12. Social Intelligence Hypothesis
    1. Chimps developed such high intelligence in order to deal with an increasingly complex group life. The evolution of primate intelligence started with the need to outsmart others, to detect deceptive tactics, to reach mutually advantageous compromises, and to foster social ties that advance once’s career
  13. Alpha males
    1. Hair is constantly slightly on end, even when not actively displaying and walk in an exaggeratedly slow and heavy manner – all meant to make one look larger and heavier
    2. The submissive greeting is the most special form of behavior indicative of social order – deep bows, grunting, looking up at the alpha, kiss his feet/neck/chest. Alpha reacts to this by standing taller and making his hair stand on end which makes the contrast even greater
    3. Dominance manifests in two different ways – social influence (power, who can defeat whom and who weighs in most heavily when a conflict in the group occurs) and formal dominance (ones actual rank within the colony)
    4. Physical strength is only one factor and almost certainly not the critical one in determining dominance relationships
    5. A leader who hesitates in defending his proteges might very well have problems defending himself
    6. Tantrums are indicative of the beginning of the end but familiarity breeds contempt. Tantrums which are thrown too often are ignored
    7. Tend to think that the outcome of a fight determines the social relationship, whereas here the outcome was determined by the social relationship. The same was seen in later dominance processes. The prevailing social climate affected the self-confidence of the rivals. It was as if their effectiveness depended on the attitude of the group (rather like a soccer team playing better at home than away).
    8. Speed and agility are just as important as strength
    9. Alpha males experience a physical and emotional change when they become the alpha – hair on end, a “policy” of trying to stabilize the group after the shake up in hierarchy
    10. Pattern Recognition – an older alpha had a better eye for potentially dangerous social developments and realized better than his partner that such developments must be nipped in the bud
    11. One of the new alphas, Nikkie, received great resistance from the females and never had secure rule. He was “greeted” and groomed and obeyed but he lead from a position of fear rather than respect. Must have the backing and support of the females or else your power is fragile
  14. Chimps overcome basic competitive tendencies more than other animals and achieve a high degree of cooperation. They cooperate in order to create a common front against the neighbors – the psyche is one of both competition and compromise and this is what makes chimp society so much more recognizable to us than the social structure of the other great apes
  15. Chimpanzee males avoid looking at each other in moments of tension, challenge, and intimidation. In moments of reconciliation, on the other hand, they look each other straight and deep in the eyes. After a conflict the former opponents may sometimes sit opposite each other for a quarter of an hour or more, trying to catch each other’s eye. Once the opponents are finally looking at each other, first hesitantly but then more steadily, the reconciliation will not be far away. Often, a “sense of honor” would need to be overcome before the reconciliation begins and often it was a third party who would help them out of the impasse. This third party was always one of the adult females
  16. After a fight, contact and conciliation is so important than the winner can blackmail the loser. The winner refuses to have anything to do with the loser until he has received some respectful grunts
  17. A stable hierarchy is a great sign of peace and harmony in the group but only partially ensure peace in the social system. Horizontal developments – in which children grow up and social ties are established, neglected, or broken – inevitably affect the temporarily fixed “vertical” component, the hierarchy. Western “ladder” view of social ties compared to Japanese “network” view. Hierarchical stability cannot be equated with stagnation and monotony, dominance must constantly be proven (Red Queen Effect)
  18. Loser-supporters: a third individual who intervenes in a conflict on the side of the party who would otherwise have lost
  19. Young males of superior fighting ability cannot usurp power without the support of a sizable portion of a group. You have to have the group buy-in and back you – can never do it alone
  20. The chimps have incredible awareness of their social cues. During one of the fights, both sides were bluffing about how brave they were and could be seen holding their hands in front of their mouths so that nobody could see them bearing their teeth (a sign of fear, excitement, nervousness
  21. In all the time studying the apes, the researchers never once witnessed a conflict between the two highest ranking females
    1. Key for stability within a hierarchy to have the top women on the same page?
  22. There are often issues when there is ‘dual leadership’ or a second person who feels they are entitled to respect and power just as much as the true leader. As Machiavelli reasoned, “He who attains the principality with the aid of the nobility maintains it with more difficulty than he who becomes the prince with the assistance of the common people, for he finds himself a prince amidst many who feel themselves to be his equals, and because of this he can neither govern nor manage them as he might wish.”
  23. The males are incredibly tolerant of children. They cannot risk getting upset and losing the support of the females
  24. Sex
    1. The formation of territories is one way of demarcating procreational rights; the formation of a hierarchy is another. There is a definite link between power and sex; no social organization can be properly understood without knowledge of the sexual rules and the way the progeny are cared for. Even the proverbial cornerstone of our society, the family, is essentially a sexual and reproductive unit. Sigmund Freud, speculating about the history of the unit, imagined a “primal horde,” in which our forefathers obeyed one great chief, who jealously guarded all sexual rights and privileges for himself
    2. A female can only be fertilized by one male. By keeping other males away from her, a male increases the certainty that he will be the father of the child. Consequently, children will more often be sired by jealous than by tolerant males. If jealousy is hereditary, and that is what the theory assumes, more and more children will be born with this characteristic, and later they in turn will attempt to exclude other members of the same sex from the reproductive act.
    3. Whereas the males fight for the right to fertilize as many females as possible, the situation for the females is totally different. Whether she copulates with one or one hundred males, it will not alter the number of children she will give birth to. Jealousy among females is therefore less marked. Female competition occurs almost exclusively in pair-bonded species, such as many birds and a few mammals, such as humans. Men get most upset at the thought of their wife or girlfriend having sex with another man, women dislike most the thought that their husband or boyfriend actually loves another woman, regardless of whether or not sex has occurred. Because women look at these things from the perspective of relationships, they are more concerned about a possible emotional tie between their mate and another woman
    4. If a female does not want to mate, it is usually over. Persistent males run the risk of being chased by the female they approached and some of the other females too. Consequently, it is the females who largely engineer the evasion of the rules that exist among males
  25. If the number of individuals in any colony becomes unnaturally alrge, the system collapses (Dunbar’s Number)
  26. Triadic Awareness (Lateral Networks)
    1. Just as individual recognition is a prerequisite of a stable hierarchy, so triadic awareness is a prerequisite of a hierarchy based on coalitions. The term triadic awareness refers to the capacity to perceive social relationships between others so as to form varied triangular relationships. For example, Luit knows that Yeroen and Nikkie are allies, so he will not provoke conflicts with Yeroen when Nikkie is nearby, but he is much less reluctant to do so when he meets Yeroen alone. What is special about this kind of knowledge is that an individual is not only aware of his or her relationships with everyone in the group, but also monitors and evaluates relationships that exist in the social environment so as to gain an understanding of how the self relates to combinations of other individuals. Elementary forms of three-dimensional group life are found in many birds and mammals, but primates are undoubtedly supreme in this respect. Mediation with a view to reconciliation, separating interventions, telling tales, and coalitions would all be inconceivable without triadic awareness
    2. If any of this sounds simple, it is because triadic awareness is second nature to human beings, and we find it hard to imagine a society without it
    3. Dependence on third parties plays such a prominent role in the chimpanzee hierarchy that the basic relationships are completely overshadowed. This is not only true for the complex balance of power in the male triangle. A small child, for example, may chase away a full-grown male. He is able to do so under the protection of his mother or “aunt.” Like the children, these females are basically inferior to the males, but they, in turn, can rely on the support of other females and sometimes can appeal to dominant males for help
  27. The Female Hierarchy
    1. The basis of hierarchical positions is sex-related. Among males coalitions determine dominance. The male dominance over the females is largely determined by their physical superiority. Among females it is above all personality and age that seem to be the determining factors.
    2. Conflicts between females are so rare and the outcome is so unpredictable that they cannot be used as a criterion for determining rank.
    3. The female hierarchy in our chimpanzee group seems to be based on respect from below rather than intimidation and a show of strength from above
      1. Perhaps why it is so stable and powerful – get buy in and respect from the bottom
    4. Our understanding of ape hierarchies is further complicated by the fact that there is a third type of dominance that exists alongside formal dominance and power. For example, when the alpha male places a car tire on one of the drums in the indoor hall with the intention of lying down on it, one of the females may push him away and sit down herself. Females also remove objects, sometimes even food, from the hands of the males without meeting with any resistance
    5. They have things to offer that cannot be taken by force, such as sexual and political favors, and their silent diplomacy, which helps to calm tempers. This provides the females with a good deal of leverage: if being popular among the females is critical for the stability of a male’s leadership, he had better be lenient and accomdating towards them
    6. Quite the opposite from subhuman primates, a man must be generous to be respected
  28. Mutual fear as the basis of alliance formation makes nations weigh in on the lighter side of the balance. The result is a power equilibrium in which all nations hold influential positions. The same principle applies to social psychology and is known as the formation of “minimal winning coalitions.”
  29. A rational choice is based on an estimate of the consequences.
  30. The hankering for power itself is almost certainly inborn. The question now is, how do chimpanzees achieve their ambitions? This too may be hereditary. Some people are said to have “political instinct,” and there is no reason why we should not say the same of chimpanzees. I doubt, however, whether this “instinct” is responsible for all the details of their strategies. Experience is needed to use innate social tendencies as a means to an end in the same way that a young bird born with wings to fly needs months of practice before it has mastered the art. In the case of political strategies, experience can play a role in two ways: directly, during the social processes themselves, or through the projection of old experiences into the future
  31. Sympathy is related to intimacy and familiarity
  32. Sharing
    1. For the adult male, the amount that he himself possesses is not important. What matters is who does the distributing among the group. (However, this only applies to incidental, extra food. Main meals and hunger can cause chimpanzee males to quarrel violently, as the Holloman colony showed.) Females, on the other hand, tend to share mainly with their own children and best friends and do not get into quarrels with other group members. Taking food by force is extremely rare in our colony; sharing is something apes learn young
    2. Their control rests on giving. They give protection to anyone who is threatened and receive respect and support in return. Also among humans the borderline between material and social generosity is scarcely distinguishable. Observations of human children by the psychologists Harvey Ginsburg and Shirley Miller have demonstrated that the most dominant children not only intervene in playground fights to protect losers but also are more willing to share with classmates. The investigators suggest that this behavior helps a child to command high status among peers. Similarly, we know from anthropological studies of pre-literate tribes that the chief exercises an economic role comparable to the control role: he gives and receives. He is rich but does not exploit his people, because he gives huge feasts and helps the needy. The gifts and goods he receives flow back into the community. A chief who tries to keep everything for himself puts his position in jeopardy. Noblesse oblige, or, as Sahlins said, “A man must be generous to be respected.” This universal human system, the collection and redistribution of possessions by the chief, or his modern equivalent, the government, is the same as that used by chimpanzees; all we have to do is replace “possessions” by “support and other social favors.”
      1. Honor this golden rule of generosity in all areas of life. Give more than you receive in every manner
  33. Reciprocation
    1. The influence of the recent past is always overestimated. When we are asked to name the greatest human inventions we tend to think of the telephone, the electric light bulb, and the silicon chip rather than the wheel, the plough, and the taming of fire. Similarly the origins of modern society are sought in the advent of agriculture, trade, and industry, whereas in fact our social history is a thousand times older than these phenomena. It has been suggested that food sharing was a strong stimulus in furthering the evolution of our tendency to reciprocal relations. Would it not be more logical to assume that social reciprocity existed earlier and that tangible exchanges such as food sharing stem from this phenomenon? There are indications of reciprocity in the nonmaterial behaviors of chimps. This is seen, for instance, in their coalitions, nonintervention alliances (A remains neutral if B does the same), sexual bargaining (A tolerates B mating after B has groomed A), and reconciliation blackmail (A refuses to have contact with B unless B “greets” A). It is interesting that reciprocity occurs in both the negative and the positive sense. Nikkie’s habit of individually punishing females who a short time before joined forces against him has already been described. In this way he repaid a negative action with another negative action. We regularly see this mechanism in operation before the group separates for the night. This is the time when differences are squared, no matter when these differences may have arisen. For example, one morning a conflict breaks out between Mama and Oor. Oor rushes to Nikkie and with wild gestures and exaggeratedly loud screams persuades him to attack her powerful opponent. Nikkie attacks Mama, and Oor wins. That evening, however, a good six hours later, we hear the sound of a scuffle in the sleeping quarters. The keeper tells me later that Mama has attacked Oor in no uncertain manner. Needless to say Nikkie was nowhere in the vicinity. Negative behavior hardly enters into the theories about reciprocity that anthropologists and sociologists have developed. Despite the emphasis on powerful exchanges there has not been much theoretical progress
    2. Every individual voluntarily enters and stays in any relationship only as long as it is adequately satisfactory in terms of rewards and costs. Interactions between humans have been regarded as a kind of trading in advantageous and disadvantageous behavior. Here too reciprocity is an important theme, not only in the positive form but also in its negative form.
    3. This give-and-take mechanism is a very old, and very fundamental feature of our species and of chimps. Much of the process may take place in the subconscious, but we all know from experience that things come bubbling up to the surface when the difference between costs and benefits becomes too great. It is then that we voice our feelings. By and large, however, reciprocity is something that takes place silently. The principle of exchange makes it possible actively to teach someone something: good behavior is rewarded; bad behavior is punished
    4. Life in a chimpanzee group is like a market in power, sex, affection, support, intolerance, and hostility. The two basic rules are: one good turn deserves another and an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
  34. The major themes found and discussed in the chimpanzee colony
    1. Formalization – ranks are formalized. When they become unclear a dominance struggle ensues, after which the winner refuses reconciliation as long as his new status is not formally recognized
    2. Influence – an individual’s influence on group processes does not always correspond to his or her rank position. It also depends on personality, age, experience, and connections. I regard our oldest male and oldest female as the most influential group members
    3. Coalitions – interventions in conflicts serve either to help friends and relatives or to build up powerful positions. The second, opportunistic type of intervention is seen specifically in the coalition formation of adult males and goes hand in hand with isolation tactics. There is evidence for a similar sex difference in humans
    4. Balance – in spite of their rivalry, males form strong social bonds among themselves. They tend to develop a balanced power system based on their coalitions, individual fighting abilities, and support from females
    5. Stability – relationships among females are less hierarchically organized and much more stable than among males. A need for stability is also reflected in the females’ attitude toward male status competition. They even mediate between males
    6. Exchanges – the human economic system, with its reciprocal transactions and centralization, is recognizable in the group life of chimpanzees. They exchange social favors rather than gifts or goods, and their support flows to a central individual who uses the prestige derived from it to provide social security. This is his responsibility, in the sense that he may undermine his own position if he fails to redistribute the support received
    7. Manipulation – chimpanzees are intelligent manipulators. Their ability is clear enough in their use of tools, but it is even more pronounced in the use of others as social instruments
  35. To my eyes, the most striking result is that there seem to be two layers of social organization. The first layer we see is a clear-cut rank order, at least among the most dominant individuals. Although primatologists spend a lot of energy discussing the value of the “dominance concept,” they all know that it is impossible to ignore this hierarchical structure. The debate is not about its existence but about the degree to which knowledge of rank relationships helps to explain social processes. I think that, so long as we concentrate on the formal hierarchy, the explanations will be very poor indeed. We should also look behind it, at the second layer: a network of positions of influence. These positions are much more difficult to define, and I consider my descriptions in terms of influence and power only as imperfect first attempts. What I have seen, though, is that individuals losing a top rank certainly do not fall into oblivion: they are still able to pull many strings. In the same way, an individual rising in rank and at first sight appearing to be the big boss does not automatically have the greatest say in all matters. If it is hard to explain this duality of the social organization without using human terms, it is because we have very similar behind-the-scenes influences in our own society. When Aristotle referred to man as a political animal he could not know just how near the mark he was. Our political activity is part of an evolutionary heritage we share with our close relatives. What my work at Arnhem as taught me, however, is that the root of politics are older than humanity
  36. Human’s daily dabbling in politics are not always recognized as such because people are past masters in camouflaging their true intentions. Politicians for example, are vociferous about their ideals and promises but are careful not to disclose personal aspirations for power. This is not mean to be a reproach, because after all everyone plays the same game. I would go further and say that we are largely unaware that we are playing a game and hide our motives not only from others but also underestimate the immense effect they have on our own behavior. Chimps on the other hand, are quite blatant about their “baser” motives. Their interest in power is not greater than that of humanity, it is just more obvious
  37. To compare humans with chimps can be taken to be just as insulting, or perhaps even more so, because human motives seem to become more animal as a result. And yet, among chimps, power politics are not merely “bad” or “dirty.” They give to the life of the Arnhem community its logical coherence and even a democratic structure. All parties search for social significance and continue to do so until a temporary balance is achieved. This balance determines the new hierarchical positions. Changing relationships reached point where they become “frozen” in more or less fixed ranks. When we see how this formalization takes place during reconciliations, we understand that the hierarchy is a cohesive factor, which puts limits on competition and conflict. Child care, play, sex, and cooperation depend on the resultant stability. But underneath the surface the situation is constantly in a state of flux. The balance of power is texted daily, and if it proves too weak it is challenged and a new balance established. Consequently chimpanzee politics are also constructive. Humans should regard it as an honor to be classed as political animals.
What I got out of it
  1. Female support counts for as much as nearly anything, coalitions/reconciliation as important in chimp’s life as in human life, much more about cooperation than simply brute strength/size/speed, aggressive cooperation is one of the highest forms of strategy, the need for physical contact is crucial for social bonding and reconciliation, power is truly comprised of two things: social influence and formal dominance, must get buy in from the bottom of the group in order to have a stable hierarchy, man must be generous in order to be respected, stability vita for a well functioning group and hierarchy, hierarchy is a cohesive and a constructive factor which put limits on competition and conflict

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memory of a Family and Culture in Crisis by JD Vance

Summary
  1. JD Vance wrote this book not because he’s accomplished anything extraordinary, but because he’s accomplished something ordinary. His poor upbringing and difficult childhood indicates he’d never escape but he was able to graduate from Yale Law School.
Key Takeaways
  1. There is of course inequality but there is also a lack of agency, of responsibility, of accountability that JD has found in his cohort
  2. The honor culture of the south leads many into violence and revenge, not being able to let an insult go
  3. For most hillbillies, the only way up is to move out. There are astonishing numbers of people moving away from the Appalachian region every year, in pursuit of a livable wage
  4. People don’t expect much of themselves because the people around them aren’t doing very much
  5. Despite all the social and peers pressures, JD received a different message at home that it was alright to learn and to strive and that made all the difference to him
  6. Parent’s desire for their kids to do better didn’t just relate to education, work, and pay, but to relationships too. Low expectations for those living in the Appalachians is hurting every generation
  7. JD had no role models for relationships and thought that screaming, violence, and hitting was how adults spoke to each other
  8. We are all very bad at judging ourselves
  9. His grandma was his most important positive influence as she showed him not only what was possible but how to get there. She helped him raise what he expected out of himself
  10. The instability in JD’s life was so disruptive. He was in several different homes with several different father figures in only a couple of years. Once he had a safe, stable place with grandma, he was able to focus and do his work
  11. JD enlisted in the marine corps and graduating was his proudest accomplishment. He got out of his learned helplessness and it made him see and question things once he returned home
  12. Sometimes those in power try to help the helpless without truly understanding their situation, which often ends up with negative consequences
  13. When a group believes that hard work will pay off, they all work harder and go all-in, often with amazing results
  14. The predominant emotion in lower middle class working white Americans is a sense of pessimism and a lack of accountability. They’re not willing to work hard and be consistent and blame others or the government for their problems
  15. Most successful people don’t even play the same game as the people JD grew up with. He had no idea how important networking, one’s social capital, was for one’s prospects. He learned this during his time at Yale Law and going through the interview/admissions process
What I got out of it
  1. An amazing dive into the life of poor Appalachians and the struggles they face. JD told his story in such an open, transparent, vulnerable way and gave me insight into situations I didn’t appreciate or know much about before. Inspiring how hard JD worked to escape his situation, his learned helplessness

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson

Summary
  1. John Chatterton and Richie Kohler risked their lives to explore a sunken WWII sunken German U-Boat just 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey
Key Takeaways
  1. Diving for shipwrecks is one of the most dangerous professions but even here it tends not to be the obstacles that kill divers, but their reaction to them. Great divers learn to overcome their emotions and their unborn fight or flight instincts and remain calm when most would panic. Liberated from his instincts he becomes something else, a freak of nature
  2. Fix the first problem fully and wholly before even thinking of addressing the second
  3. When a man finds what he is supposed to do or where he is supposed to be, it is impossible to be lost
  4. Chatterton, Nagel, and the rest of the crew couldn’t believe they had found a German U-Boat. The definitive moment came when they found a statue of the German eagle
  5. Always take your swing while the other guy is telling you how badly he’s going to beat you up
  6. After months of diving, hours of research, three lives lost, Chatterton and Kohler finally thought they had identified the U-Boat as boat U857
  7. It is amazing how murky and complex things can get when you leave it to experts. In order to feel confident, you have to do your own work and come to your own conclusions
What I got out of it
  1. Really exciting and well told stories about an unlikely find just 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The risk these men put on solving this mystery is amazing

Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner

I got so much out of this book that I made a bit of a more formal write-up: On Effortless Mastery

Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Summary
  1. The discovery of the Second Foundation and its impact on the Foundation and its citizens is played out
Key Takeaways
  1. The Mule is searching for the elusive Second Foundation with the intent of destroying it. The Second Foundation is far more powerful than The Mule expected. A leader of the Second Foundation, the First Speaker of the Second Foundation, telepathically modifies the Mule to make him not care about finding the Second Foundation.
  2. A few decades after the Mule’s death by natural causes, the members of the First Foundation are now fully aware that the Second Foundation is out there. The Foundation has an ongoing conflict with the Mule’s former imperial capital at Kalgan and the ensuing war is won by the Foundation
  3. After inventing a “Mind Static device” that jams telepathic abilities while simultaneously causing telepaths great pain, the Foundation finds and locates telepaths on Terminus, “at the other end of the galaxy” from the first Foundation, also at Terminus, since, as Arcadia puts it, “a circle has no end.” Thus, they declare the Second Foundation destroyed after finding roughly 50 “mentalic” agents on Terminus.
  4. The Second Foundation was actually located on Trantor, at the center of the galaxy. It was called Star’s End due to the ancient saying, “All roads lead to Trantor, and that is where all stars end.” The location was also said to fit the “other end of the galaxy” location, since the galaxy is, in fact, not a disc, but a double spiral–and from the edge, the other end of the spiral lies at the center.
What I got out of it
  1. Really enjoyed this series and would recommend to anyone who enjoys space, travel, sci-fi

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

Summary
  1. The series is about the people on these many different worlds who are all part of the ride towards the Second foundation and their worlds, lives, victories, and losses.
Key Takeaways
  1. Hari Seldon foresaw the fall of the Empire and to try to lessen the time of destruction and darkness, created two Foundations – one at each end of the Galaxy. The two would eventually merge, creating a new, stronger Foundation – the Second Foundation.
  2. Bel Riose is a soldier who only likes fighting for the Empire and travels the Galaxy in search of worlds to conquer. He finds little resistance and claims new planets for the Empire, but is told that Seldon’s Plan predicts that the Empire will not succeed. The Emperor of the Empire, Cleon II, fears that Riose is amassing troops for a civil war to overthrow the throne and hauls him home to be executed. Riose is stopped, and the Foundation “wins,” making Seldon’s prediction true
  3. The next “Seldon Crisis” occurs a century later when a scientist named Ebling Mis figures the date of Seldon’s next prediction. Seldon’s prediction includes the advice to “compromise” with the Traders who are currently in an uprising against the Foundation. A member of the Traders, Randu, is present and admits that the Traders had planned a revolt but were sidetracked when the Mule began attacking the Empire and the Foundation. As it became evident that the Mule was succeeding in his quest for Galaxy domination, the Traders put their resources into fighting the Mule instead. No sooner do the people realize that Seldon’s prediction is true than the Mule attacks Trantor where they are gathered to hear the prediction. The Mule is a mutant, able to control emotions. His forces seldom have to do battle as the Mule transfers a sense of helplessness onto the people, which causes them to typically give up without a fight.
  4. Upon a request from his father and uncle, Toran and Bayta travel to the resort planet, Kalgan, where they are to search for the Mule in an effort to join his forces with those of the Traders against the Foundation. They believe their quest fails though they take in Magnifico, a clown who was once an entertainer for the Mule. They will later learn that Magnifico is actually the Mule and that he hopes they, along with Mis, will discover the location of the hidden Second Empire so that he can defeat it and rule the Galaxy.
  5. Bayta finally puts it together, realizing that they narrowly escaped several times when the Mule’s forces were near, and that it was simply too much of a coincidence to be believed. She kills Mis before he can reveal the location of the Second Foundation and says that she’s figured out that Magnifico and the Mule are one and the same. It’s then that the Mule says that he hasn’t interfered with Bayta’s mind, because she liked him without his interference and that he relished that novelty. Because of that, he didn’t realize her intentions before she killed Mis, eliminating the possibility of the Mule finding the location of the Second Foundation from the scientist. Vowing to travel until he locates it, Magnifico leaves Bayta and Toran unharmed
What I got out of it
  1. Really fun book that I enjoyed reading

The Schlumberger Adventure by Anne Gruner Schlumberger

Summary
  1. The story and people behind the incredible success of drilling and surveying giant Schlumberger. “Conrad was a physicist, idealist, dreamer, man of ideas, and Marcel an engineer, pragmatist  inventor, man of action. They complemented each other perfectly. Together they were able to orchestrate time, talent, and opportunity to put science to work for mankind. In the interest of identifying the hiding places of the world’s storehouse of minerals, they devised ways to measure the earth’s interior parameters in new and effective ways. Their discoveries and inventions made possible and practical the modern industry that now explores for and produces petroleum. In fact, it is fair to say that much of the world’s oil and gas reserves have been identified by methods the Schlumbergers pioneered. Likewise, and not incidentally, their work revolutionized the science of subsurface geology. Their findings, the fruit of their technology, resulted in a quantum leap in scientific understanding of how the earth is constructed and composed. The same technology that has explored the earth’s crust has since given rise to other technologies that have helped to make possible the exploration of space.” Both Conrad and Marcel possessed qualities of leadership that inspired others to follow gladly and meet willingly the most awesome challenges in the interest of their cause
Key Takeaways
  1. Schlumberger made its mark by surveying land for potential oil sites. The black box, or potentiometer, was their breakthrough. It made geophysical measurements based on electrical properties. The grains that made up the rocks might act as insulators, but the electrical conductivity of the rocks was in proportion to the grater or lesser degree of salinity in the water that impregnated them. Therefore, the map of potentials could show significant contrasts even when sub-surface contained no conductive deposits. As the resistivity of porous rocks impregnated with oil or gas was greater than the resistivity of those rocks filled with water, the bore could distinguish between different kinds of strata – this was the birth of “electrical coring”
  2. Schlumberger motto: “Wherever the drill goes, Schlumberger goes” and “First in the field, first in research.”
  3. If the convergence of the scientific and commercial viewpoints is too difficult, it is better to opt for the viewpoint of science. What is essential is that you keep your strength and your serene confidence in the results already acquired and which you must not let go. Science is a great force for peace, for the individual as well as for humanity.
  4. Conrad’s job as a professor was perfect as it gave him plenty of long vacations to read, think and experiment
  5. Father’s involvement: “I agree to disburse my sons Conrad and Marcel the funds necessary for research study in view of determining the nature of the subsurface, in amounts not exceeding five hundred thousand francs. On their part, my sons will agree not to disperse their efforts, and to abstain from research or inventions in other fields  The field of activity is vast enough to satisfy their inventive genius by its investigation: they must devote themselves to it entirely. The scientific interest in research must take precedence over financial interest. I will be kept informed and will be able to express my opinion as to important directions and expenditures to be made or not to be made. The sums disbursed by me are a contribution on my part to primarily scientific and secondary practical work which I consider to be of the highest value and in which I take an interest. Marcel will bring to Conrad his remarkable competence as an engineer and his common sense. Conrad, for his part, will be the wise physicist. I will support them.”
  6. Like Carnegie, the Schlumbergers hired specialists early on that their competitor’s thought were worthless/superfluous. “There were too many parasitic currents, too many disturbing elements; the task was to understand them and to eliminate their interference. IN this situation, an increase of personnel would have been superfluous, and as for employing a full-time geologist, that would have seemed like an uncalled for expense.
  7. Prospecting the salt domes in Alsace was the Schlumberger brothers first success
  8. Between the two brothers a process of osmosis produced a continuous communication
  9. Marcel had amazing focus and passion – “When he finally saw the machine – his machine – finished, there was a kind of joy in the way he took possession of it, examining it with almost amorous care. More than once I saw him, surrounded by his crew, crouching beside some new apparatus for half an hour, even an hour; and when he straightened up to his full height, his young assistants (who, out of deference, had crouched along with him) unfolded their limbs as if stricken with rheumatism
  10. Gained respect through publications in specialize journals, by omission they lied a little. Early on, “our modesty would kill us,” Marcel said. Process, quality, reliability where of utmost importance early on, never growing too fast
  11. In a factory or office, team spirit dwindles as the work is fragmented and the task of each worker becomes more limited; the pleasure of contributing to a common task is seldom found there. But our equipment was so uniquely conceived and built that, on entering this ill-defined market, it did not lose its individuality. The tie between the equipment and the man who made it was never cut. Because everyone contributed on a footing of equality, and because the discussion of ideas, methods, and techniques was given free rein without the constraints of a hierarchy to stifle spontaneity, a rare cohesion welded “thinkers” and craftsmen, “administrators” and prospectors, into a solid unity. The prospectors, coming back from Alsace or the ends of the earth, could go straight in to the “bosses,” tell them about their work and experiences, voice their criticisms, make their personal problems known. T Hey communicated to the engineered  technicians, and secretaries a feeling of the wide-open spaces – of adventure. What added to that cohesion, I think, was the low ratio of workmen to engineers – four or five to one – whereas in industry it was from fifty to two hundred to one. And if, as was true, my father and my uncle quite naturally practiced an “enlightened” paternalism, it was just true that the company was a shop unlike others. It was different, in fact, even in the day to day work. Everything went along as if fun and laughter were part of even the least likely tasks.
  12. Marcel and Conrad filled their time by “observing tiny details” others would typically miss or ignore
  13. Every creative effort is in itself a small revolution
  14. Russia was an early supporter but it was dangerous, primitive. The present  They rejected it. The future? They no longer believed in it
  15. Nobody saw the revolution that electrical “logging” would have on the oil-producing industry
  16. Nothing succeeds like success. One success brings on another
  17. Schlumberger changed its contract from fixed annual payments to one of unit of operation. Because of the nature of the process, speed was of the essence. In the US, the client alerted Schlumberger center, read off his coordinates – well, depth, type of operation – and within half an hour the crew was on its way. As soon as the site was reached the truck was backed up to the well, the various pieces of equipment put in place, the sonde attached to the end of the cable, and the operation was begun. Velocity was of the essence which is why the labs were mobile and near the drilling operations
  18. The men were commonly working t the absolute limit of their strengths. A recruitment policy, adequate material resources, and a large degree of autonomy were urgently needed.
  19. Success – the much talked of opportunity – is nothing but work and more work
  20. Marcel – “Finance is no tour business and I don’t believe in it”
  21. The success of Schlumberger is due largely to the belief – originated by the founders – that reservation and engineering are the lifeblood of any
What I got out of it
  1. Fun to learn more about Schlumberger – research/science/engineering always more important than the financials focus on velocity, serve a niche and serve it damn well – who knows how large the market can become, be a hands on manager who is involved in the day to day