Category Archives: Books

John H. Patterson: Pioneer in Industrial Welfare by John H. Patterson, Samuel Crowther

Like my write-up on Henry Ford and some of my other “teacher’s reference guides“, I got so much out of Pioneer in Industrial Welfare that I wanted to create a more formal write-up. As always, I have attempted to put together something which is (hopefully) a manageable, actionable and digestible introduction to Patterson’s thinking and business philosophy.

On John H. Patterson

 

 

*The vast majority of the content is from the books and not my own words. I’ve simply distilled, compiled, and added a few notes.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

Summary

  1. 12 rules for how to balance chaos and order, how to live a meaningful life that benefits self and others. If we each live properly, we will collectively flourish

 

Key Takeaways

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
    1. Most animals and every human is part of a dominance hierarchy and being higher has more positive effects than we care to verbalize. It is an external part of our environment, an unchanging aspect of evolution. Where we stand powerfully affects every aspect of our being – conscious and unconscious alike. Our system actively monitors exactly where we stand in society and there are physical changes that occur in victory and defeat (a loss by a dominant lobster leads to a virtual dissolution of his brain into a subordinate brain).
    2. Many human games are winner take all or winner take most so being a winner often has exponentially positive effects – virtuous and vicious cycles. You feel safe and secure so can take more risks, change is typically seen as good and you can be more confident, courageous, and generous, can be on less alert and plan long term, you can delay gratification. All characteristics, traits, behaviors that enhance chances of success. Those at the bottom are generally less healthy and don’t live as long. Being at the bottom necessitates a lot of emergencies and a strong will to survive but this burns our energy.
    3. Having predictable daily routines offsets much chaos, unpredictability and ultimately fear that many people experience – go to sleep and wake up at similar times, have a high protein and fat breakfast. Many difficulties stem from biological imbalance and if we can get our sleep, diet, health in order, we can better manage anything that comes at us
    4. If you start to straighten up, people might just start looking at you and treating you differently. Your nervous system responds totally differently when you take on a challenge directly as opposed to being forced into it. Being higher up in the food chain, in the social hierarchy, has obvious social, physical, psychological, physiological effects which ripple into everything we do or undertake
  2. Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping.
    1. Peterson argues that because you know your own faults better than anyone else, how meaningless and flawed you are, you have trouble taking care of ourselves like we would others. We don’t respect ourselves and see ourselves as falling creatures. We don’t stand for and walk with the truth so can’t take care of ourselves in the way that someone who did would. Most people simply do not believe they deserve the best care. However, although we are not a God, we are something, we matter. You have a moral obligation to take care of yourself as best as you can because it not only benefits you but ripples and benefits others as well. You deserve to be taken care of and to be healthy and happy
  3. Make friends with those who want the best for you
    1. Good influences will encourage you and not put up with your flaws. They will push you to be a better person and to strive for more, for better.
    2. Those who are bad influences will try to drag you down for every improvement you make in your life only makes them more aware of their own inadequacies
  4. Compare self to who you were yesterday and not who someone else is today
    1. Aim high but make the goal(s) reachable
    2. Be careful who you compare yourself to. The comparison is generally too narrow, without taking the full context into account. Is that famous person you are jealous of truly happy. Are they close with their families? Do they feel fulfilled?
    3. You have to see yourself as a stranger and ask who you are, what you want, where are you and where you want to go. Imagine that you’re dealing with your moodiest, most sensitive, laziest friend and communicate to yourself as you would to them. Nobody wants to work for a tyrant so ask nicely, humbly. Begin with small, simple asks and actions – what small thing could you do today that would help you accomplish that? That would get you just an inch closer to better, to being happier. Just like you pay an inspector to tell you the flaws in a house, you need an inspector to tell you your flaws. This can be an internal critic, if he/she is on the right track and has your best interests in mind.
    4. The past and the future are similar except that the past is fixed. You can do something about the future and happiness is found in uphill progress.
    5. 3 simple questions to get started on this path:
      1. What bothers me?
      2. Is this something I can fix?
      3. Would I actually be willing to fix it?
      4. What could you do, what would you do, to make life just a little bit better
    6. When you feel strongly about something, you must speak up. When this failure happens at a societal level, tyranny ensues. It is on the individual to speak up for what is right, to stop evil, to do good.
    7. What you aim at is what you see. That’s worth repeating. What you aim at is what you see. Overtime this accumulates and progresses. This is magic. This is compound interest. Seeing is difficult and very cognitively expensive so you must shepherd your resources carefully. You must ignore the unmanageable complexity found in the world and march towards your goal. You see obstacles as they arise and find a way around them. However, you must balance this with knowing when to back off for marching blindly towards your goal will make you unaware of other, potentially better, opportunities. If we accept that we are blind to most of the world, we also must accept that most of the opportunities are outside of our awareness. This is incredibly uplifting because it means that finding different paths, more opportunities is always available
    8. You cannot fool your psyche. You must wholeheartedly want to improve, to become better. You have to know what this means for you from bottom to top. Becoming better and improving takes more resilience and responsibility than living stupidly and without a purpose. It takes perseverance and effort. Don’t let that stop you. Align yourself to your highest good, bring peace and beauty into this world.
    9. You are too complex to ever fully understand. The closest proxy we have is to observe how we act. Don’t overestimate your self-knowledge. On one hand you are the most complex thing in the universe and on the other, you can’t even set the time on your microwave.
  5. Don’t let kids do anything that would make you dislike them
    1. Successful parents make kids eminently sociable (know how to play which allows them to develop and learn and be accepted by a wide variety of groups).
    2. Many parents are willing to give up respect in order to gain friendship. This is wrong. Your children will have many friends but only two parents. Proper discipline is difficult and takes much effort but the long-term payoffs are priceless. It will give you a well-adjusted, socially desirable child. Boundaries and limits, although not generally welcome in the moment, are needed by all children. They push in order to see what is permissible, where the boundaries lie. Consistent correction is necessary and better sooner than later, and a better alternative to what the child is looking for must be shown.
    3. No grudge after victory – you always reward good behavior. Children do not solely cry when they are scared, hungry or sad, but more often they cry because they are angry. Anger crying is often an act of dominance and should be dealt with as such.
    4. Violence, destruction, anxiety are not hard to understand. They are the default. Peace, progress, calm are hard to understand because they are difficult, they take restraint.
    5. Discipline and punishment evoke bad images but their use in raising children cannot be avoided. Rewards are of course needed too and they can’t be so small they are inconsequential nor so large that they devalue future rewards. People move towards what they find agreeable and away from what they don’t. So know what you are looking for and what you want more of and reward that and punish what you don’t. You can discipline your children or you can wait for the harsh and uncaring world to do it for you. Poorly socialized children have terrible lives so it is best, and most loving, to socialize them yourself when they are young. The question is not if to punish/discipline/reward your children, but how to best do it based on the temperament of your children
    6. Rules should not be multiplied beyond necessity. Bad laws drive out the good. Limit the rules and then figure out what is done when one is broken but use the least force necessary to enforce those rules – this must be figured out experimentally (note the rules he mentions in this section for why children should behave well). You are not doing your child any favors by holding back on punishment and discipline and ignoring their bad behaviors. Timeouts are useful to show the child that they can rejoin once the anger or poor behavior has resided.
    7. Parents should come in pairs. Parenting is difficult and everyone has bad days so it is necessary to have someone else around to observe and step in when needed
    8. Parents should understand their own capacity to be mean, vengeful, spiteful. No adult human being can withstand being dominated by a child forever and this will eventually lead to a need for revenge, to ignoring the child and the real punishment will then begin – resentment, holding back love, ignoring them. Planning and knowing the proper punishment and how you will act will stem toxicity and save the family
    9. Parents have a duty to act as proxies of the real world. Caring proxies, loving proxies, but proxies nonetheless. This responsibility supersedes any responsibility to make the child happy, boost their self-esteem, it is the primary job of parents to make the children very socially desirable, bringing opportunities, deep relationships, meaning and fulfillment. Clear rules make for sociable and calm children and rational parents
  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
    1. Understanding resentment, revenge, and the dark side of humanity is very helpful but you must come to know these in yourself before you can judge others. It is only through the difficult self-work needed to make your life better, the little things that you know you can do or stop doing in order to make yourself happier, to make your life simpler, to make the lives of those around you better. Only once you have acted on all these and have gained this self-knowledge, can you begin to look outward and expect more of others. Once you see how hard it is to expect these things of yourself, you will better understand others and not have sky high expectations
  7. Do what is meaningful and not what is expedient
    1. Doing anything meaningful requires sacrifice and sometimes the bigger the sacrifice the more meaning you can gain
    2. Delayed gratification, planning, and sacrifice are essentially bargains with the future – you give up something today in order to have more or better tomorrow
    3. What is the biggest most impactful sacrifice you can make today and what is the most ideal future that would create? Define this for yourself and align your life to give yourself the best chance of making that happen
    4. Sharing done properly is giving something today to someone with the hope that they will give you something else in the future. It is the beginning of trade. What is even better than sharing is sharing generously, without expecting anything in return, for this has many positive unintended effects and everyone loves and helps those who are generous
    5. The most successful sacrifice: any sacrifice which is difficult to make, and is personal. Do this until it becomes easy, until it’s routine.  This is foregoing what is expedient and what is easy for what is meaningful
    6. If you learn to listen to your conscious, get to know your values and ideals, and follow them, you’ll be given more than you could ever need or require. The payoffs are greater than you know
    7. Enlightenment is so rare because it takes a move down to move up which means that the enlightened know the darkest, deepest, worst spots and stains and behaviors of man and is therefore never surprised by human nature. However, the flip side is that they also know the highest, the ideal form of man and knows that we are all capable of that as well
    8. Evil is when you make others needlessly suffer for no reason other than to see them suffer and good is anything which stops it. That is the meaning for that we should guide our lives towards. Never lie for this is the road to hell. Make this your moral pinnacle do everything in your power to alleviate unnecessary pain and suffering – that is the meaning of the good life
  8. Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie
    1. Never lie for it is the road to hell. If you lie, you can’t present your true self to others and you will never get to know your true self either. You will never truly know who you are or maximize your potential. You are hiding from the reality and not willing to confront it head on
    2. Lies warp the structure of being and lead to repression, pathologies, and the moral issues and horrific events that we saw in the 20th century
    3. You have to know where you are and where you are going so that you can chart a course, so that you know what you need to do to get from where you are to where you need to be. You have to know what your principles are, what you stand up for, so that you can argue against those who do not believe in what you do, so you can protect yourself, and you can more easily tell what is worth striving for. You have to keep your word and reward yourself when you succeed. It takes work to make heaven on earth, it won’t just be handed to you
    4. True thinking is really hard and really rare. Thinking can be thought of as a conversation between two or more avatars in your head and you have to be able to take each one of their sides, listen to each one, see how they would play out in your reality and then act on it. What most consider thinking is simply self-criticism disguised as thinking
    5. Memory is not meant to be perfect recall of the past for that does not exist. Memory exists in order to help you not make the same mistakes over and over again
    6. Truly listening to someone is one of the rarest skills and gifts there are. People organize their thoughts through conversation and if they have no one to share them with, they lose their minds. If you can truly listen, people tell you more than you could ever ask for and they will generally be very interesting and help you grow as a person
  9. Assume person you’re listening to knows something you don’t
    1. What you don’t know is more important than what you know. If you truly listen to people they’ll tell you what’s wrong, what they want, and how to fix it. Repeat people’s arguments to them and ask if you understood it correctly – don’t want to “win”, want to fix the problem. You and me against the problem, not me against you
  10. Be precise in your speech
    1. We don’t perceive objects like we think we do. We perceive meaning directly and then assign them to objects. We see tools and obstacles, not things and objects. And it depends on our needs and goals. This is why knowing where we are, where we are going, what we want, what we don’t want, our values, etc. is so important. It literally affects how we perceive the world around us
    2. We often see by instinct what things mean even before what they are which means that objectivity is very hard to reach
    3. Emergency = emergence of “c”, emergence of chaos
    4. Never underestimate the power of omissions. When things get swept under the rug and are not discussed and flushed out, they grow and manifest and become worse than you could ever imagine. If only they were brought up early and transparently and discussed openly, they could be called out, named, and dealt with. Everything discussed becomes clarified and gives you the potential to at least remedy them. If you avoid rather than address, what you least want will eventually come to happen, at the worst possible time. To specify the problem is to admit it exists, to admit what it is that you want. This may hurt but it is far better than the alternative and in the other way you cannot fail as you have not admitted what it is you want but this path leads you quickly astray. Be brave. Risk conflict in the present for longer term peace and happiness
    5. If we are imprecise with our speech, things remain vague, we are in the fog, our destination is unknown. Courageous clarity of thought is needed to call forth the problem
    6. Say what you mean, act out what you say so you can find out what happens and then course correct. Tell those around you who you are and what you want
  11. Don’t bother children when they’re skateboarding
    1. Kids need some danger, some consequences, in order to gain competence and later mastery. If things are too safe or predictable, they’ll behave in unintended ways because they need to live on the edge in some sense. They enjoy risk because it helps them improve future performance
    2. If you can’t understand why somebody did something, look at the consequences and then infer their motivations
    3. Conscientiousness and honesty more common and natural in western culture than people give it credit for.
    4. Take responsibility for your life and make the most of it. Don’t restrict children’s play
    5. Competence and not power is what gets you to the top of the hierarchy. In the west, the traits most associated with success are intelligence and conscientiousness and for entrepreneurs and artist, it is intelligence and openness to new experiences
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one in the street
    1. In order to cope with a crisis, people shorten their time frame just to make it through the day. Be alert to the unexpected beauty in life during difficult times
    2. What you love about someone is inseparable from their weaknesses, from their flaws
    3. In the depths of difficult situations it is not thinking that gets you out but noticing. Notice that you love someone not despite their limitations but because of them.
  1. Other
    1. Consciousness is the thin veil the process that turns order into chaos. It has been proposed that the two hemispheres of the brain exist in order to deal one with order and the other with chaos. Meaning progress and for filament is found when you have 1 foot in order and 1 foot in chaos providing some stability and routine while still being able to learn and grow this is the straight and narrow path to flow and all progress. A good question for parents regarding chaos and order is do you want to meet them safe or strong
    2. An idea is more creditable when the results from the investigation come from various different realms
    3. Two lessons Peterson learned about the Golden Rule – about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. The first is that it has nothing to do with being nice and the second is that it is an equation rather than an injunction. It is better for both parties to be strong, to stick up for what is right, because if you just give in and are “nice”, one will become a slave and the other a tyrant. Sticking up for yourself therefore is helpful to you and also beneficial to the other party
    4. Happy is by no means synonymous with good. When you give a child candy, the child is happy but it is not good
    5. There is no one enlightened, only those who seek to be closer to enlightenment.
    6. Overemphasize who you are becoming rather than who you are. This mindset, while often painful, is the fastest road to growth, fulfillment, and happiness.
    7. Aim to be the person at your father’s funeral who everyone can rely on
    8. A shared belief system simplifies communication and allows you to more easily understand where you stand in relation to others. It is inaccurate but a necessary mode of thinking. This simplification is absolutely vital and if it is threatened can lead to outcomes such as the Cold War. It is a system of value, providing a hierarchy and a structure for how to act and respond to others

 

What I got out of it

  1. An incredibly insight and interesting book, drawing from many different realms. I re-read it the minute I finished it and will return to it often

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton Christensen

Summary
  1. This book is about how to better create, predict, and act upon innovation breakthroughs. It helps us better understand why customers behave the way they do and make decisions, shifting from relying on luck to competing against luck.
Key Takeaways
  1. It often looks like companies have good innovation processes but the fundamental problem is that the hordes of data we have today is not organized in such a way as to helpfully indicate which might be the next breakthrough idea. The data never tells you why the customers make the decisions that they do. Understanding this process and some of the questions you can pose will help you get away from relying on lucky and hit or miss innovations and being able to better predict what customers truly want. This leads us to “The Jobs Theory”
  2. The Jobs Theory
    1. The better question to ask is, “what job did you hire that product to do?” This change in perspective helps clear up what your customers truly want. Most of the focus is on customers and the products themselves and not how well the product is truly solving the job that the customer wants. This helps us understand the why of customer behavior, providing the fundamental driver of innovation success
    2. Customers hire a product to make progress, the job they’re trying to get done and the product/service solves these jobs.
    3. Jobs Theory also take into account circumstances, people’s values, emotional and social needs, and more.
    4. Never fall in love with your solution to the job, always try to find way to better understand the job and how to best solve it. These questions and lens will help you more accurately define who your competition truly is. For example, Netflix competes with every form of leisure including a bottle of wine and sleep
    5. The power lies in not being able to explain to successes but in helping a predict future innovation successes
    6. Jobs Theory is an integration mechanism allowing you to create a full narrative and to focus on the right type of complexity. The priorities and trade-offs of customers may totally change with this lens and it’ll get you to focus on what’s truly important the why of customer decision making
    7. These questions help you step into your customer shoes and truly see the world through their eyes
    8. You not only have to think of the product itself but how they find, purchase, and initially learn how to use your product
    9. Non-consumption could be your biggest opportunity as customers don’t do anything because there is no solution which satisfies their needs. This opportunity will not show up in any data but you can uncover it by observing people‘s behavior. You can learn everything you need to know about your product or service just by observing people who use and don’t use your products but you have to know what you’re looking for
    10. Whatever you see customers compensating see this as a great opportunity for some innovation which people would pay highly for
    11. Negative jobs, or what people don’t want to do, are also a rich resource for innovative ideas
    12. Observing customers use your product or service, especially in any unusual ways, is full of opportunities for improvement or for horizontal moves
    13. You have to think through and understand what other product/service/behavior is being “fired” or what you are replacing, in order to better understand where your product fits and what job it is truly doing for you and your customer
    14. Two important forces that are very rarely considered are habits (the fact that people are comfortable with something that tends to be good enough) and anxiety of choosing a new product
    15. Customers are infamously bad at knowing what they want but they can tell you very quickly and accurately where they struggle
    16. Only by constructing the narrative and taking everything into account that led to the purchase can you change the ending and see how your product could fit in
    17. You are selling progress, not products
    18. Consistent small “hires” is a great indicator you are satisfying the job needed
    19. Companies should be organized around the job to be done, rather than by geography, product line, etc.
    20. Products which nail the job they’re supposed to do don’t have to worry about price – customers are grateful for the solution
    21. Taking a job perspective will easily allow you to shift into a mindset and see clearly how to shift annoyances from the customer to internally so that the customer experience is better than ever before
    22. When a product commands high market share and has high pricing power, it is rarely the product itself which is amazing. The overall experience fits the job so perfectly that they’re hard to copy or replace. Creating experiences around this job almost inoculate you to competitors. You must understand the job, the set of experiences around the job that you need to create, and integrating around the job are critical. Helping the customer make progress, incorporating the functional/social/emotional aspects, and aligning experiences and the job
    23. Aligning around the job to be done and making that job crystal clear gives people confidence to act on their own and efficiently scales decision making because the goal is clear. This unlocks human ingenuity, innovation and enthusiasm
    24. Jobs to be done should be in verbs and nouns and not in adjectives and adverbs. It should describe the process itself and not what the customer feels
  3. A genuine insight is a thought which is known as true upon conception – no further analysis is needed
  4. Because it is so much easier to measure efficiency than effectiveness, that’s what most organizations optimize towards. It is hard but necessary to keep top of mind what is important (whether easy to measure or not) and work towards that
  5.  The voice of the customer must be the loudest voice in any decision
  6. Beware the fallacy of “data is always objective”. Data is man made and fallible
  7. SNHU keeps one vital statistic – if you could go back in time knowing what you know now, would you choose SNHU again?
What I got out of it
  1. What job is your product or service being hired to do. This framework helps you better understand what your customers need and how to best serve them. All customers buy products or services to make progress, not for the product/service itself

The Gervais Principle by Venkatesh Rao

Summary
  1. That, ultimately is what this book is about: organizational literacy, the reading and writing of organizational forms. But there is a cost to getting organizationally literate. This ability, once acquired, cannot be un-acquired. Just as learning a foreign language makes you deaf to the raw, unintelligible sound of that language you could once experience, learning to read organizations means you can never see them the way you used to, before. Literacy of any sort gives you the power to recognize and unambiguously label things that the illiterate can easily ignore as noise, fads and bullshit. This power can have very unpredictable effects. You may find yourself wishing, if you choose to acquire it, that you hadn’t. So acquiring organizational literacy is what some like to call a memetic hazard: dangerous knowledge that may harm you. A case of “where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.”
Key Takeaways
  1. Idealized organizations are not perfect. They are perfectly pathological. So while most management literature is about striving relentlessly towards an ideal by executing organization theories completely, this school, which I’ll call the Whyte school, would recommend that you do the bare minimum organizing to prevent chaos, and then stop. Let a natural, if declawed, individualist Darwinism operate beyond that point. The result is the MacLeod hierarchy. It may be horrible, but like democracy, it is the best you can do.
  2. A Sociopath with an idea recruits just enough Losers to kick off the cycle. As it grows, it requires a Clueless layer to turn it into a controlled reaction, rather than a runaway explosion. Eventually, as value hits diminishing returns, both the Sociopaths and Losers make their exits, and the Clueless start to dominate. Finally, the hollow brittle shell collapses on itself, and anything of value is recycled by the Sociopaths, according to meta-firm logic.
  3. The Losers like to feel good about their lives. They are the happiness seekers, rather than will-to-power players, and enter and exit reactively, in response to the meta-Darwinian trends in the economy. But they have no more loyalty to the firm than the Sociopaths. They do have a loyalty to individual people, and a commitment to finding fulfillment through work when they can, and coasting when they cannot. The Clueless are the ones who lack the competence to circulate freely through the economy (unlike Sociopaths and Losers), and build up a perverse sense of loyalty to the firm, even when events make it abundantly clear that the firm is not loyal to them. To sustain themselves, they must be capable of fashioning elaborate delusions based on idealized notions of the firm – the perfectly pathological entities we mentioned. Unless squeezed out by forces they cannot resist, they hang on as long as possible, long after both Sociopaths and Losers have left
  4. Which brings us to our main idea – how both the pyramid and its lifecycle are animated. The dynamics are governed by the Newton’s Law of organizations: The Gervais Principle. The Gervais Principle is this: Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing Losers into middle-management, groom under-performing Losers into Sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort Losers to fend for themselves. The Gervais Principle differs from The Peter Principle, which it superficially resembles. The Peter Principle states that all people are promoted to the level of their incompetence. It is based on the assumption that future promotions are based on past performance. The Peter Principle is wrong for the simple reason that executives aren’t that stupid, and because there isn’t that much room in an upward-narrowing pyramid. They know what it takes for a promotion candidate to perform at the top level. So if they are promoting people beyond their competence anyway, under conditions of opportunity scarcity, there must be a good reason. Scott Adams, seeing a different flaw in The Peter Principle, proposed The Dilbert Principle: that companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to middle management to limit the damage they can do. This again is untrue. The Gervais principle predicts the exact opposite: that the most competent ones will be promoted to middle management. Michael Scott was a star salesman before he become a Clueless middle manager. The least competent employees (but not all of them – only certain enlightened incompetents) will be promoted not to middle management, but fast-tracked through to senior management. To the Sociopath level.
  5. The minimum-effort Loser Stanley tells him coldly, “this here is a run-out-the-clock situation.” The line could apply to Stanley’s entire life. Stanley’s response shows both his intelligence and clear-eyed self-awareness of his Loser bargain with the company.
  6. The future Sociopath must be an under-performer at the bottom. Like the average Loser, he recognizes that the bargain is a really bad one. Unlike the risk-averse loser though, he does not try to make the best of a bad situation by doing enough to get by. He has no intention of just getting by. He very quickly figures out – through experiments and fast failures – that the Loser game is not worth becoming good at. He then severely under-performs in order to free up energy to concentrate on maneuvering towards an upward exit. He knows his under-performance is not sustainable, but he has no intention of becoming a lifetime-Loser employee anyway. He takes the calculated risk that he’ll find a way up before he is fired for incompetence.
  7. So let me introduce you to the main skill required here: mastery over the four major languages spoken in organizations. I’ll call the four languages Posturetalk, Powertalk, Babytalk and Gametalk.
    1. What distinguishes Powertalk is that with every word uttered, the power equation between the two speakers shifts just a little. Sometimes both gain slightly, at the expense of some poor schmuck. Sometimes one yields ground to the other. Powertalk in other words, is a consequential language.
    2. Another way to understand the difference between Powertalk and the other languages is with a card-playing analogy. In Powertalk, you play with valuable currency, usually reality-information. In the other languages, you are playing with no stakes. The most important enabling factor in being able to speak Powertalk is simply the possession of table stakes. Without it, whatever you say is Posturetalk. The only Powertalk you can speak without any table stakes is “silence.”
  8. Treacle is a vocabulary drawn from apparently win-win/play nice frameworks, but deployed with adversarial intent.
  9. So what is going wrong here? Why can’t you learn Sociopath tactics from a book or Wikipedia? It is not that the tactics themselves are misguided, but that their application by non-Sociopaths is usually useless, for three reasons. The first is that you have to decide what tactics to use and when, based on a real sense of the relative power and alignment of interests with the other party, which the Losers and Clueless typically lack. This real-world information is what makes for tactical surprise. Otherwise your application of even the most subtle textbook tactics can be predicted and easily countered by any Sociopath who has also read the same book. Null information advantage. The second reason is that tactics make sense only in the context of an entire narrative (including mutual assessments of personality, strengths, weaknesses and history) of a given interpersonal relationship. The Clueless have no sense of narrative rationality, and the Losers are too trapped in their own stories to play to other scripts. Both the Clueless and Losers are too self-absorbed to put in much work developing accurate and usable mental models of others. The result is one-size-fits-all-situations tactical choices which are easily anticipated and deflected. And the third and most important reason of course, is that your moves have to be backed up by appropriate bets using your table stakes, exposing you to real risks and rewards. A good way to remember this is to think of Powertalk as decisions about what verbal tactics to use when, and with what. The answer to with what is usually a part of your table-stakes. The stuff you are revealing and risking. If you cannot answer “with what?” you are posturing. You are not speaking Powertalk. In the Jim-Wallace example, Jim’s table stakes were his superior knowledge of the Michael-Jan story.
  10. You learn through real Powertalk conversations with other Sociopaths. Betting real stakes, like information, credibility, labor and literal dollars. You get played for a sucker a few times along the way before you wise up. Even if you are a kind Sociopath, you learn to swallow your distaste and occasionally play hardball when you have to.
  11. But if you do have the table stakes to join important conversations, and the mental toughness to play risk-and-reward games with every conversational move, there are a couple of skills worth practicing. The second skill is low-level utterance-by-utterance control, which is much harder. You cannot consciously engineer 7-8 meanings and calibrated amounts of power and leverage into every line you utter, through careful word choice.
  12. the depth of any transaction is limited by the depth of the shallower party.
  13. If the situational developmental gap between two people is sufficiently small, the more evolved person will systematically lose more often than they win. This is the Curse of Development. When you develop psychologically, and leave somebody behind, your odds of winning get worse before they get better.
  14. Well-adjustedness is a measure of the degree to which your worldview is socially acceptable and appropriate in a given environment. Since a messed-up personality can be well-adjusted with respect to a messed-up environment, well-adjustedness has very little to do with sanity and actual mental health. Environments and worldviews really come down to a series of situations and situational reactions. If your situational reactions are generally appropriate but against your best interests, you are a well-adjusted Loser. If they are both appropriate and in your best interests, you are a Sociopath. If your reactions are inappropriate (whether or not they are in your best interests – sometimes they are), you are Clueless.
  15. Here is the non-trivial stuff, compressed into three handy laws: Your development is arrested by your strengths, not your weaknesses. Arrested-development behavior is caused by a strength-based addiction. The mediocre develop faster than either the talented or the untalented. An alternative way of looking at these three laws is to note that defense mechanisms emerge to sustain addictions even when the developmental environment that originally nourished it vanishes. These then are the developmental psychology roots of the Gervais Principle. Recall that Cluelessness goes with overperformance. That overperformance is caused by arrested development around a strength, which has been hooked by an addictive environment of social rewards. Mediocrity is your best defense against addiction, and guarantor of further open-ended psychological development.
  16. Each pattern is based on a preferred, dominant variety of delusion: The Clueless distort reality. The Losers distort rewards and penalties. The Sociopaths distort the metaphysics of human life.
  17. To be an effective teacher at a given level, you need to have studied five years beyond that level. This has nothing to do with subject-matter expertise, and everything to do with trying to exit the Curse of Development zone.
  18. Status illegibility is necessary to keep a group of Losers stable. It is a deep form of uncertainty. I am not saying that there is a ranking that is just not known or knowable. I am saying there is no clear ranking to be known.
  19. Social groups grow from the illegible but stable center of the status spectrum, and leak at the legible but unstable edges.
  20. Remember, you are unique, just like everybody else. And everybody is uniquely above average. This is why, paradoxically, collectivist philosophies that value equality must necessarily value diversity. Nobody wants to be equally average. Everybody must be given a chance to be equally above average. Sociopaths detect and get wary of this dynamic very quickly:
  21. For the alpha, keeping contenders guessing through unpredictable signs of favor is the best idea. Exits work the same way. If an alpha or omega leaves, the new alpha or omega is plucked out of the illegible middle at that time. Not before. Succession planning may be a good idea in formal hierarchies, but it is a bad idea in social groups.
  22. Groups must remain socially fluid to work. Fluidity is the other side of illegibility.
  23. social skill, such as joke-telling ability, is a behavior whose effectiveness is determined by the reaction of a group. A joke is funny if the audience laughs. A proven mathematical theorem remains true even if a billion people scream that it isn’t. Theorem-proving is not a social skill in that sense. Like theorem-proving, social skills are information skills, since nothing tangible is produced besides an effect on others’ minds. Unlike theorem-proving though, the value of the product is based on social proof rather than objective proof. Social skills produce information; a social truth hypothesis (such as a joke). If it passes a social proof test, it becomes a piece of social capital, the grand narrative of the group. In other words: Social skills → Social truth hypotheses → Social proof → Social capital
  24. Most forms of humor attempt to raise or lower status of individuals via game-like structures, with defined roles and a structurally predictable script (the surprise comes from the content). There is always a jokester, a victim (which can be the same person by design or accident) and crucially, an audience. The victim may or may not be present. So there are at least three roles in a piece of humor, of which the role of audience may be played by a group. Sociopath jokes usually involve straight-faced delivery and private laughter, with no hint of mockery.
  25. Among the Sociopaths, status is irrelevant. Table stakes and skill at using them is what matters. Sociopaths pay attention to what you have, and how well you bargain with it. Not who you are.
  26. Clueless jokes are zero-sum, but Loser jokes are actually non-zero-sum. This does not mean they are win-win. This is a variety of non-zero-sum called mutual exploitation, that is sadly under-studied by game theorists. It simply means you can create net positive value by taking turns beating each other up competitively (aside for game-theory geeks: in the iterated prisoner’s dilemma, you get mutual exploitation by breaking the constraint that the cooperation payoff must be higher than the average of the defection and sucker payoffs). You can also create net-negative toxic non-zero-sum outcomes.
  27. Among Losers, in specific situations, status may go up or down, but overall, it just goes round and round. There is no grand status hierarchy. Only a top, a bottom, and an illegible middle. Newcomers attempt to successfully lose themselves in the middle. Situational wins and losses create a turbulent churn that maintains the illegibility without creating any decisive movement within the group.
  28. We’ve been drilling deep into social dynamics, and we finally get to that one deeply human quality that makes all this possible. It’s called empathy. The ability to feel what another human being is feeling. All this complicated social psychology does not need to be explicitly understood. For high-empathy people, all this is natural. By participating in collective feeling in groups of any size, and reacting to basic attraction/aversion drives, you can actually safely navigate all the complexity by instinct. Not only can you do this, you will actually feel good doing this. This feeling is called happiness. I don’t have time to go into this, but happiness is entirely a social phenomenon, and there’s plenty of evidence that the best way (and from my reading, the only way) to get happy is to get sociable. Non-social feelings that seem like happiness turn out, upon further examination, to be distinct emotions like contentment, equanimity or hedonistic pleasure. This isn’t particularly surprising. Our brains are designed like our bodies: just as we possess backs that others can scratch more easily than ourselves, our brains contain “backs,” so to speak. That’s where happiness lives, and is brought alive by empathic scratching.
  29. Why do we use the word “cringe” to describe the peculiar brand of humor in The Office? Think about the word. You cringe when you anticipate pain. Physical cringing, such as the cowering reaction you instinctively produce when you realize your car is going to hit another car, or when you realize somebody is going to hit you, serves to mitigate the anticipated damage. You also cringe via empathic anticipation of someone else’s impending pain.
  30. In this episode, Ryan is still not a Sociopath, so he cringes. Jan and David Wallace on the other hand, maintain an effortless poise no matter what Michael or Dwight get up to. To get there, they have to sequester empathy through detachment, and give up on happiness. We’ll see how and why that pact with the devil happens next chapter. In summary, seasoned Sociopaths maintain a permanent facade of strategic incompetence and ignorance in key areas, rather than just making up situational incompetence arguments. This is coupled with indirection and abstraction in requests given to reports. The result is HIWTYL (heads I win, tails you lose) judo.
  31. Loser group successes are effectively inflated, and blame discounted. So as Loser groups accumulate a history, internal valuations of earned credit are steadily inflated, and assessments of culpability run a deficit. A successful group systematically overvalues its capabilities and develops a blindness to its weaknesses. Sociopaths design the system this way because they are only interested in building an organization that lasts long enough to extract the easy value from whatever market opportunity motivated its formation. Expensive investments that will not pay off before the organization hits diminishing returns are not made. (It is revealing that the longest-lived businesses are family-owned – Sociopaths have an incentive to think long term if they intend to pass the business on to their progeny.)
  32. There are only three ways to get a bureaucracy to do anything it wasn’t designed to do: by stealth, with secret and deniable support from allies in the staff hierarchy; by getting air-cover from a sufficiently high-up Sociopath who can play poker with whichever oversubscribed Sociopath is in charge of exception-handling for the specific process (i.e. jumping the appeals queue and calling in favors to ensure the required ruling); and through corruption and bribery.
  33. That is what Sociopaths ultimately do with their lives if they survive long enough: generate amoral power from increasing inner emptiness, transforming themselves into forces of nature. As a side-effect, they also manufacture transient meanings to fuel the theaters of religiosity (including various secular religions) that lend meaning to lives of Losers and the Clueless. This meaning is achieved via subtraction, through withdrawal of complexities that the latter are predisposed to ignore, leaving behind simpler, more satisfying and more tractable realities for them to inhabit.
  34. Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas. And in Jamesian solitude, Sociopaths find ideas contending in their minds. The creative destruction they script in the world of Losers and Clueless is mirrored by a creative destruction in their minds. This process creates power, but destroys meaning, especially the meanings of social realities. The result is increasing inner emptiness and external power. It is this very emptiness that allows the Sociopath to play hero for the Clueless and priest for Losers. Recall that Sociopaths create meaning for others through the things they subtract, rather than the things they add. This is something conspiracy theorists typically don’t get: manufacturing fake realities is very hard. But subtractive simplification of reality is much easier, and yields just as much power.
  35. Sociopathy is not about ripping off a specific mask from the face of social reality. It is about recognizing that there are no social realities. There are only masks. Social realities exist as a hierarchy of increasingly sophisticated and specialized fictions for those predisposed to believe that there is something special about the human condition, which sets our realities apart from the rest of the universe. There is, to the Sociopath, only one reality governing everything from quarks to galaxies. Humans have no special place within it. Any idea predicated on the special status of the human – such as justice, fairness, equality, talent – is raw material for a theater of mediated realities that can be created via subtraction of conflicting evidence, polishing and masking.
  36. To turn status-seeking into a control mechanism is to devalue status. To devalue something is to judge any meaning it carries as inconsequential. In terms of our metaphor of masks of gods, the moment you rip off a mask and wear it yourself, whatever that mask represents becomes worth much less. So the Sociopath’s journey is fundamentally a nihilistic one.
  37. The major theme of Office Space, unlike The Office, is not deciphering and navigating the gridlock on the road to power, but exiting the rat-race altogether, to a state held up as an ideal of freedom: exile.
  38. The only true exit is to a freer mind. The only true state of happy exile is one which allows you to penetrate the social fictions that surround you, whether you remain within a cubicle or build a life around Burning Man.
What I got out of it
  1. Fun read showing why and how The Office is so funny and cringe-worthy. Organizational literacy is a great filter to have in your arsenal – Sociopaths, Clueless, Losers make up the typical hierarchy

The Wisdom of Life by Arthur Schopenhauer

Summary
  1. Schopenhauer walks us through the art of ordering our lives to gain the maximum pleasure and fulfillment
Key Takeaways
  1. The wise of every age have said the same things and the fools have done the same
  2. The first and most essential factor in our happiness is our personality, what we are, for it is always with us and shapes everything around us and everything that happens to us.
  3. Man’s happiness can be summed up in three lots:
    1. What they are – their personality, what has been bestowed upon them by nature
      1. It is undeniable that lasting happiness and fulfillment comes from the first bucket, from their inner constitutions. External circumstances are worth relatively little because they are shaped by our experiences, thoughts, and ideas that shape the externalities and affect how we respond to them. It is what we are and not what we have that leads to lasting happiness
    2. What they have
      1. Excessive material wealth does little for happiness but we must be able to meet our needs or else we won’t have the luxury of time and space to focus on ourselves and what makes us really happy.
      2. Excessive wealth leads to so many unintended distractions that you can’t focus on what really matters to you.
      3. Focus on acquiring culture and gaining knowledge rather than material wealth
    3. The esteem others hold them in.
  4. Beauty
    1. The gift of beauty is not one which should be lightly thrown away it is an invitation to others to like us and should be used accordingly
  5. Health
    1. Health is the foundation of happiness
    2. Health accounts more for happiness than nearly any other factor.
    3. A sound mind in a sound body is the foundation for all happiness and without which it is very difficult if not impossible to be happy.
    4. For great health avoid every excess and exercise regularly – even the trees must be shaken by the wind in order to thrive.
    5. Therefore any action which deprives us of health is a poor decision as 9/10 of our happiness comes from health
  6. Boredom
    1. The greater one is in their wealth or knowledge, the less susceptible they are to boredom extravagance and other vices.
    2. The wise man aims for a life free from pain and annoyances and seeks one of leisure and quiet.  The less wise a man is, the more apt he is to become bored for when he has nothing to do, his intellect does not turn on and he loses interest in everything around him.
    3. With time, leisure, and intellect, truth becomes clear
  7. Being Self-Sufficient
    1. Happiness is to be self-sufficient which is why wise man needs a little outside stimulation and socialize less on average than the normal person
  8. One can learn best from the extreme examples for they give us a magnified looked at our own nature
  9. Man never feels the pain of not getting what he has never known to ask for
  10. What is worth doing is hard to do
  11. Rank and honor and pride are tied to what others think is useful and not truly what you want to do or what you think is useful or how you best spend your time.
What I got out of it
  1. Striving for leisure and lots of time to read and think are worthy goals; health is at the heart of happiness; it is one’s inner happiness which lasts and paints external circumstances

The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of the Hero’s Journey and the Lifelong Pursuit of Meaning by Steven Pressfield

Summary
  1. The artist’s journey begins with the hero’s journey, it is merely the beginning and it allows us to begin living authentically, to self-actualize. It is the gift you get from going through the often painful hero’s journey, it is what you do with your gift, how you help the world and those around you.
Key Takeaways
  1. The artist’s journey is personal, solitary, mental, an evolution, a constant, about self-discovery (as opposed to self-expression), yet universal
  2. The Hero’s Journey has 11 steps:
    1. The call to adventure
    2. Refusal of the call
    3. Meeting the mentor
    4. Crossing the threshold
    5. Tests
    6. Approaching the innermost cave
    7. Ordeal
    8. Reward/Bliss
    9. The road back
    10. Resurrection
    11. Master of two worlds
  3. Subject
    1. We are all born to find our “subject”, it finds us and not the other way around. It is our calling, what we are meant to do. It is terrifying to try to find which is my so many people put it off. Once we find it, we can’t turn away from it but it takes a risk to act on it
  4. Voice
    1. We have to find our voice, how we best express ourselves
  5. Point of View
    1. Once the artists develops their “point of view”, they can answer any question about any aspect regarding their work, they know what “movie” they’re making and what it takes to get there – they have the hologram in the head
  6. Medium of Expression
    1. The artist must determine the medium for the message.
  7. Style
    1. Every artist has a style that they must develop over time. Hemingway didn’t write with short, simple words because he didn’t know more complicated ones – it was because it was his style
    2. Your style must blend seamlessly with the medium
    3. Style is inseparable from voice, it evolves out of subject and point of view and blends seamlessly with medium of expression.
  8. Subject, voice, point of view, medium of expression, and style are all different ways of thinking of your gift, which is the same as asking the question, “who am I?” Finding the answer to these questions is not a rational journey, it cannot be rushed or planned, we are born with all of these but they are out of our normal consciousness and it takes time, suffering and persistence to find them. We must give up our control, our ego, to find them. Once you discover your gift, you become an artist. To the outside, nothing may seem to change but internally everything changes. Everything in your life which is “not artist” falls away. Externally, your life may look boring with no drama, binges, disrespecting your gift/voice/talent, the artist is now on a mission and her life has acquired a purpose. Your life is now about following their muse, about becoming who you really are, and this journey will take you through the rest of your life
  9. An artist is in touch with their time, they speak of and to their time
  10. In this journey, all enemies are mental and self-generated. But, on the flipside, same with all strengths
  11. All progression is made by increments and is done by accessing the unconscious, your muse. Everything you create as an artist comes beyond your conscious awareness. Artists do not know what they’re going to do before they do it, and often don’t know what they’re doing while they’re doing it. This “second” you is the real you and it is much smarter than the “you” you normally associate with
  12. The artist’s journey lasts the rest of your life
  13. Resistance (fear, distraction, temptation, etc.) is a mini refusal of the call. You can get over this by meeting with the mentor – it can be external but even better you become your own mentor, helping yourself get past the Resistance. The aim is to make ourselves Masters – not just of our crafts, but of ourselves
  14. Index of basic skills acquired during the Artist’s Journey
    1. Learns how to start
    2. Learns how to keep going
    3. Learns how to finish
    4. Learns how to hang on
    5. Learns how to let go
    6. Learns how to be alone – learns how to gain energy from her work alone, and need for third party validation attenuates
    7. Learns how to work with others – would rather produce something better with others than they otherwise could have alone than get credit
    8. Learns emotional distance – learns how to detach from the judgment, their emotional needs
    9. Learns how to handle rejection
    10. Learns how to handle praise
    11. Learns how to handle panic
    12. Learns how to give up
    13. Learns how to go beyond what you know
    14. Learns how to be brave – run towards what scares you
    15. Learns how to keep the pressure on
    16. Learns how to kill – either the Resistance wins or you do, which will it be?
    17. Learns how to help others and how to be helped
    18. Learns how to steal good ideas
    19. Learns how to how the marketplace works
    20. Learns how to gain perspective on their work
    21. Learns how to learn from history
    22. Learns how to learn from the masters who have come before them
    23. Learns how to be humble
    24. Learns how to self-validate
    25. Learns how to self-reinforce
    26. Learns how to self-evaluate
    27. Learns how to commit for a lifetime
    28. The amateur is one who does not have any of these skills – they are not mentally tough, they don’t have persistence
  15. A better name for the unconscious is the superconscious. You must develop the ability to go from the conscious to the superconscious and back again often and effectively. Most people are afraid of finding out what’s truly in us, of what we really have, of finding out who we are
  16. The artist believes in a different reality and shuttles back and forth between realities
  17. How the world works – The universe exists on at least two levels – the material world (physical world) and the ethereal (the higher realm, the soul, it cannot be seen or summoned but can be felt, it is the plane we are trying to access as artists). An artist’s skill lies in shuttling between the normal mind and the higher mind. They cease direct thinking and shift to a more intuitive, non-linear mindset, this is what makes the process addictive
  18. All art is about the recognition of beauty and the articulation of empathy and compassion for the other – the artist is a force for unity
  19. Mankind’s original sin, what got Adam and Eve cast out of Eden, is identifying with the ego
  20. Daimon = genius. It is us, yet it is separate
  21. The secret that every true artist knows is that the profound can be reached by focusing on the mundane. Sit down at the keyboard, stand before the easel, you have to show up
  22. The mysterious flow of creativity can be prompted, primed like a pump, by emotionally and physically creating a habit and a space where you want that energy to flow
  23. Who you are is what you produce, what you write/produce/paint…
  24. The artist’s journey is the hero’s journey of the human race
  25. How do you know when you’re ready? You decide. You act
What I got out of it
  1. The artist is one who can shift between the normal everyday world and the higher plane where inspiration hits, where the daimon resides, and being able to translate this higher plane into art

Intuition: Its Powers and Perils by David Myers

Summary
  1. To plumb the disparate discoveries about intuition – the powers and the perils and how we can use it to better our lives. To bring awareness that our intuition could benefit from some correction, in realms from sports to business to spirituality, makes clear the need for disciplined training of the mind. Intuition works well in some realms, but it needs restraints and checks in others. The biggest truth about learning is that its purpose is to unlock the human mind and to develop it into an organ capable of thought – conceptual thought, analytical thought, sequential thought
Key Takeaways
  1. Intuition
    1. The capacity for direct knowledge, it is experiential, emotional, mediate by vibes from past experience, self-evident, for immediate insight without observation or reason, perception-like, rapid, effortless
      1. Compared to deliberate thinking which is slow, rational, critical, analytic, mediated by conscious appraisal, justified with logic and evidence, differentiated
    2. If intuition is immediate knowing, without reasoned analysis, then perceiving is intuition par excellence. Human intelligence is more than logic, more than ordering words, more than conscious cognition
    3. Intuition is nothing more, nothing less than recognition, simply analyses frozen into habit. Intuition sometimes compresses years of experience into instant insight. Hence the importance of filling the brain/body/soul with positive information, ideal situations, getting quick/accurate feedback and learning/iterating towards the ideal
  2. The Powers
    1. We know more than we know we know. The autonomic nervous system responds with measurable perspiration and sped up pulse when a loved one’s face is shown, the body displays recognition although we may not react. What the conscious mind cannot understand, the heart knows
    2. Everyday perception – instant parallel processing and integration of complex information streams
    3. Automatic processing – absent-mindedness but allows you to focus on the big stuff. So much of who what we do/perceive is never conscious. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations which we can perform without thinking about them
    4. Young children’s intuitive learning
    5. Brain can rationalize and create a story about anything. When the two minds are at odds, the left brain acts as the brain’s press agent, doing mental gymnastics to rationalize unexplained actions. If the right brain commands an action, the left brain will intuitively justify it. Humans have a quick facility for constructing meaning. Beneath the surface there is much intelligence, and above the surface there is much self-delusion
    6. We are much more influenced by barely perceptible background noise than we like to believe. Priming is the awakening of associations. Implanted ideas and images can automatically – unintentionally, effortlessly, and without awareness – prime how we interpret and recall events. Sometimes we intuitively feel what we do not know we know. The subliminal influence experiments further support the reality of unconscious information processing.
    7. Micro-thin slices often reveal much about people – everything evaluated as good or bad within a quarter of a second of seeing it. Intuitive first impressions can be telling, especially when feelings rather than reasons guide behavior. Gut-level feelings not only predict some behaviors better than analyzed feelings, but they can also better predict the judgments of experts. Sometimes it pays to listen to our hearts. Our automatic, implicit attitudes regarding someone or something often differ from our consciously controlled, explicit attitudes. Our likes and dislikes, our preferences and prejudices, are partly unconscious, partly conscious.
    8. Dual attitude system – often our gut guides our actions and then we rationalize them
    9. Emotional intelligence – the ability to perceive, express, understand, and manage emotions. Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware. They cope with life without letting their emotions get hijacked by dysfunctional depression, anxiety, or anger. In pursuit of long-term rewards, they can delay gratification rather than letting themselves be overtaken by impulses. Their empathy enables them to read others’ emotions and respond skillfully – knowing what to say to a grieving friend, when to encourage a colleague, how to manage conflicts. They are emotionally astute and thus often more successful in careers, marriages, and parenting than are those academically smarter but emotionally denser.
      1. Comprised of: emotion perception, emotion understanding, emotion regulation
    10. Bodies hold an enormous amount of wisdom – thanks to our neural shortcuts, our storehouse of emotional memories, and our conditioned likes and dislikes, our bodies accumulate and express our adaptive intuitions
    11. Social intuitions – mere exposure effect, spontaneous trait inference, moral intuition, contagious moods, unconscious mimicry smoothes social interaction, empathic accuracy, poor at detecting lies
    12. We have two minds – two ways of knowing, two kinds of memory, two levels of attitudes. One is above the surface, in our moment to moment awareness; the other is below, operating the autopilot that guides us through most of life. We see the work of those downstairs cognitive laborers in the social intuitions they slip into our awareness, and also in our developing expertise and creative inspirations. Through experience we gain practical intuition – subtle, complex, ineffable knowledge that aids our problem solving
      1. Nonconscious learning – what you know, but don’t know you know, affects you more than you know
      2. Learned expertise – experts’ knowledge is more organized than novices’
      3. Tacit knowledge – street smarts, practical intelligence, knows how (rather than knows that, explicit knowledge/expert)
      4. Physical genius
    1. 5 components of creativity – expertise, imaginative thinking skills, venturesome personality (can handle ambiguity, risk, persevere), intrinsic motivation, a creative environment (humans sharpen other humans)
      1. You have to really think about nothing but that problem – just concentrate on it. Then you stop. Afterwards there seems to be a kind of period of relaxation during which the subconscious appears to take over, and its during that time that some new insight comes
      2. You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind
      3. It is by logic we prove but it is by intuition that we discover
    2. Heuristics – perceptual or mental cues that usually work well but occasionally trigger illusions or misperceptions
  3. The Perils
    1. Often we don’t know why we do what we do
    2. Misreading our own minds – Many of life’s big decisions require intuiting our future feelings. Often our intuition is on target but we often fail in predicting an emotion’s duration and intensity. The human treadmill – duration of feelings low as we adapt quickly. Nothing you focus on will make as big a difference as you think
    3. Mispredicting our own feelings / behavior / hindsight bias / self-serving bias / overconfidence- Humans are often bad at predicting our own future behavior – look to a person’s past for better accuracy. Beware illusory, blind spots, complacency. Humility/Realism. So, despite our impressive capacity for thinking without awareness, for social intuitions, and for intuitive expertise and creativity, our intuitions sometimes mislead us as to what we have experienced, how we have changed, what has influenced us, and what we will feel and do. There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self. Asking people to explain their past actions or to guess their future actions sometimes gives us wrong answers. By being mindful of the limits on our self-knowledge, we can restrain our gullibility and motivate ourselves to think critically, to check our own and others’ intuition against reality, and to replace illusion with understanding.
    4. Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself – Ludwig Wittgenstein
    5. Memories are fallible – reconstruct them as we remove them from storage – current moods, views, emotions all paint the past
    6. At the center of our worlds, more pivotal for us than anything else, are we ourselves. Whatever we do, whatever we perceive, whatever we conceive, whomever we meet will be filtered through our self. When we think about something in relation to ourselves, we remember it better. Ergo, memories form around our primary interest: ourselves
    7. Illusory correlation – perceiving relationships where none exist (caused by desire to explain, even if no correlation)
    8. Belief perseverance – the more we examine our intuitions and beliefs and explain how they might be true, the more closed we become to challenging information. We never truly change our beliefs. However, the solution lies in explaining the opposite. Imagining and explaining why an opposite theory might be true – why a cautious rather than a risk-taking person might be a better firefighter – reduce or eliminates belief perseverance. To open people to a different idea, don’t just argue your point. Instead, get them to imagine why someone else might hold an opposite view. Indeed, mindful of our fallibility, perhaps we would all do well to recall Oliver Cromwell’s 1650 plea to the Church of Scotland: “I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, consider that ye may be mistaken.”
  4. Sports Intuition
    1. Hot hands / streaks not as random as you think – expect them to happen
    2. Investment Intuition
    3. Loss aversion, endowment effect, sunk cost, anchoring, overconfidence (greatest for most unpredictable events), diversification, sustainability (surviving is the number one goal)
  5. Clinical Intuition
    1. Vulnerable to illusory correlations, hindsight biases, belief perseverance, self-confirming diagnoses
    2. Must monitor the predictive powers of your intuition. Beware the tendency to see associations you expect to see. Recognize the seductiveness of hindsight, which can lead you to feel overconfident (but sometimes also to judge yourself too harshly for not having foreseen and averted catastrophes). Recognize that theories, once formed, tend to persevere even if groundless. Guard against the tendency to ask questions that assume your ideas are correct; consider the ideas and test them, too. Better yet, harness the underappreciated power of statistical prediction. Actuarial science strengthens clinical judgment, or at least offers a second opinion. Actuarial science also helps protect practitioners from malpractice suits, which might otherwise allege that the clinician made aberrant decisions without attending to relevant research
    3. To sift true intuitions from false, sense from nonsense, requires a scientific attitude: being skeptical but not cynical, open but not gullible. By testing clinical intuition – discerning its wisdom and fallibility, and learning when to undergird it with actuarial science – a hard-headed process promises to pay kind-hearted dividends.
  6. Psychic Intuition
    1. A particular specified event or coincidence will is very unlikely; some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain (which is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted in with foresight)
  7. Risk
    1. Perceived risk is not equal to actual risk. We exaggerate some and under play others – availability heuristic, lack of control, short-term effects
    2. Remedy – weigh the costs and benefits, communicate risk transparently, communicate risks as feelings
  8. Other
    1. The opposite of a great truth is also true
    2. How we perceive others reveals something of ourselves
    3. The secretary’s intuition on new hires is often on point
    4. Direct parental nurturing has surprisingly little effect on kids’ personalities and tastes
    5. Nature abhors a vacuum and human nature abhors chaos. Show us randomness and we will find order, pattern, clusters, and streaks. The tendency to impute order to ambiguous stimuli is simply built into the cognitive machinery we use to apprehend the world – illusory coherence, superstition, folly. Random sequences seldom look random, because they contain more streaks than people expect. We are descendants of skilled pattern-detectors. True to our legacy, we look for order, for meaningful patterns, even in random data.
    6. The irrepressibility of expressiveness is why, in seconds, we can typically gauge how outgoing someone is
    7. Interviews aren’t great predictors. Someone’s past track record is their best predictor. Structuring interviews with examples of past job relevant behaviors enhances its reliability and validity and, hence, its usefulness for prediction and decision making
    8. The underestimation of the power of the situation is one of the greatest lessons from social psychology (fundamental attribution error)
What I got out of it
  1. Fun book about how to build, harness, and take advantage of our intuition and when to be wary of it

The HeartMath Solution: The Heartmath Institute’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre, Howard Martin, Donna Beech

Summary
  1. Our heart has an intelligence which impacts our physical/mental/emotional health more than most people realize. This book will teach you how to harness the power of the heart to potentially help you make better decisions, better control your emotions, increase personal productivity, slow down aging, enhance creativity, and many more positive benefits
Key Takeaways
  1. Why the heart and the HeartMath Solution?
    1. Our theory is that the heart links us to a higher intelligence through an intuitive domain where spirit and humanness merge. We can develop the perceptual capacity as we learn to do with stages and philosophers have asked us to do for ages simply listen to and follow the wisdom of the heart. Heart intelligence is truly emotional intelligence and we’ve concluded that intelligence and intuition are heightened when we learn to listen more deeply to our own heart
    2. Too often the relationship of our thoughts and emotions and how they effect physical change is ignored
    3. Health is a delicate balance of rhythm, while disease (“dis-ease”) results from dis-rhythm
    4. The heart is at the core of our body and at the core of how we think and feel. The solution is derived from realizing that the heart is both a physical object, a rhythmic organ, and love itself
    5. By practicing the HeartMath solution, you’ll be able to clearly see when you’re in stress. Then you can use Freeze-Frame to determine your best course of action. But even once you have intuitive clarity on what to do, you may still experience residues of uncomfortable or perplexing feelings. When those residues clog the system, you need to apply Cut-Thru, shifting your emotional state so that you’re not only thinking better but also feeling better. Both intelligence and intuition are heightened when we learn to listen more deeply to our own hearts
    6. Activating heart intelligence + managing the mind + managing the emotions = energy efficiency, increased coherence, enhanced awareness, and greater productivity.
    7. A primary goal of the HeartMath Solution is to increase coherence, bringing us to a state of optimal efficiency. Stress creates incoherence in our system, so increasing coherence necessitates reducing stress.
    8. The goal of HeartMath is to help you learn to generate emotional and mental coherence deliberately – on demand – so that ultimately you spend more of your day at this optimal, regenerative level of energy efficiency
  2. 10 key techniques and tools that govern the HeartMath solution
    1. Acknowledge your heart intelligence and its importance for making choices big and small
    2. Reduce stress and live more often in a state of coherence
    3. Learn and apply Freeze Frame which creates a balance between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic
    4. Accumulate energy assets and decreased energy deficits
    5. Activate core heart feelings such as love compassion courage patients sincerity forgiveness appreciation care and more
    6. Manage your emotions
    7. Care but don’t overcare – when we care too much, it turns into anxiety, worry, insecurity
    8. Learn and apply Cut-Thru – a method to help you stop experiencing emotions that create incoherence and energy deficits
    9. Do heart Lock-Ins – amplifies the power of your heart. Quieting the mind and sustaining a solid connection with the heart – locking into its power – adds buoyancy and regenerative energy to your entire system. it also makes it easier to stay in contact with your heart intelligence and its intuitive messages amidst your daily activities
    10. Actualize what you know – applying all these tools to your daily life
  3. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
    1. Our emotional states are reflected best in our heart rhythms, as seen in HRV measurements. HRV is defined as a measurement of beat-to-beat changes in the heart rate. Loss of variability is actually a sign of disease and a strong predictor of future health problems. In essence, HRV is a measure of the flexibility of our heart and nervous system, and as such reflects our health and fitness. It also allows us to listen in on and interpret ongoing, two-way conversations between our heart and our brain and is an important measurement to how well we’re balancing our lives mentally and emotionally. Disharmony in our heart rhythms leads to inefficiency and increased stress on the heart and other organs, while harmonious rhythms are more efficient and less stressful to the body’s systems. Our heart rhythms affect the brain’s ability to process information, make decisions, and solve problems, and experience and express creativity.
    2. Head is great at pattern recognition but it can easily get locked into set patterns. Getting locked into this closed mindset can often hurt us and cut off our creativity. The intelligence of the heart, on the other hand, processes information in a less linear, more intuitive and direct way. The heart isn’t only open to new possibilities, it actively scans for them, ever seeking new, intuitive understanding. The head “knows” but the heart “understands”
    3. The head often leads us into rationalizing and conceptualizing an issue instead of actualizing what the heart already knows and has communicated. When we react to life from the head without joining forces with the heart, our single-mindedness often leads us into childish, inelegant behavior that we’re ashamed of. If, on the other hand, we get the head in sync with the heart, we have the power of their teamwork on our side and can make the changes we know we ought to make
    4. The lower heart refers to those feelings that are colored by the attachments and conditions placed on them by the mind. Conditional love is a good example. The higher heart is more allowing. It doesn’t hedge or barter. Authenticity is its own reward for the higher heart. But it takes emotional maturity to manifest the heart’s qualities with consistency
    5. When we learn to manage our emotions long enough to stop and shift our attention to the quieter message of the heart, we can gain a wider perspective on any situation, often saving ourselves from hurt, frustration, and pain
  4. Entrainment
    1. The heart is the strongest biological oscillator in the human system and therefore, the rest of the body’s systems are pulled into entrainment with the hearty’s rhythms. The heart communicates with the rest of the body in three ways: neurologically (nerve impulses), biochemically (hormones and neurotransmitters), and biophysically (pressure waves). However, there may be a fourth way – energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). The heart’s EMF is the most powerful produced by the body, it not only permeates every cell in the body but also radiates outside of us; it can be measured up to 8-10 feet away with sensitive detectors called magnetometers. It not only affects our own brains and bodies but can also be registered by the people around us. When your body is in entrainment, its major systems work in harmony. Your biological systems operate at higher efficiency because of that harmony, and as a result you think and feel better
    2. When we get the head in sync with the heart, the power of both works for us and we can make changes that we know we ought to make
    3. Can develop their ability to maintain entrainment by sustaining sincere, heart-focused states such as appreciation and love
  5. Freeze-Frame
    1. A technique to increase and improve the communication between your heart and mind while reducing stress. It is invaluable for managing thoughts to prevent the needless depletion of energy. Because this technique increases mental clarity, it will help you make sound decisions, even in what would formerly have been highly stressful situations
    2. It is important to monitor our inner thoughts and feelings. Some of it adds energy, while others deplete it. Understanding energy assets and deficits provides a key to accessing your heart intelligence. Core heart feelings such as appreciation, non-judgment, and forgiveness increase energy assets and eliminate many deficits.
    3. We can look at life as a high-speed movie. We get so caught up in the momentum of the story that we forge that it’s made up of individual moments. From one minute to the next, we having an astonishing range of thoughts, emotions, and experiences. So, Freeze-Frame enhances your power to stop your reaction to the move of life at any moment. It allows you to get a clearer perspective on what’s happening in a single frame and allows you to edit the next frame from a point of balance and understanding. It can be done anytime, anywhere, whenever you want to stop stress in its tracks and get quick intuitive access. Setting daily alarms and reminders can be helpful
    4. You must learn to entrain your biological systems to your heart. This allows in access to new information and a shift in perfection. By shifting focus toward your heart and away from whatever problem you face, you divert energy from your perception of the problem. When you consciously act from a point of heart balance, you connect more naturally with what real self – not your reactive self – wants to think or do. Listening to your heart isn’t hard, but attuning to its inner signals is different for everyone and often takes a little practice
    5. Don’t underestimate the power of neutral. The ability to find neutral, and stay put there until your heart shows you clearly what to do, is a sign of balance and maturity. The neutral state is a conduit for objectivity in the moment
    6. The 5-step process creates a harmonious relationship between the head and the heart
      1. Recognize the stressful feeling and Freeze-Frame it. Take a time out
      2. Make a sincere effort to shift your focus away from the racing mind or disturbed emotions to the area around your heart. Pretend you’re breathing through your heart to help focus your energy in this area. Keep your focus there for ten seconds or more
      3. Recall a positive, fun feeling or time you’ve had in life and try to experience it
      4. Now, using your intuition, common sense, and sincerity, ask your heart, what would be a more efficient response to the situation, one that would minimize future stress?
      5. Listen to what your heart says in answer to your question. It’s an effective way to put your reactive mind and emotions in check and an in-house source of common sense solutions
    7. When to practice
      1. At transition points (from home to work or work to home) so that you are fully present in the moment
      2. Before conversations
      3. Any time communication is going off-track
      4. At the beginning of the day – set the tone for positive activity, calibrate your system for a coherent day, clear mental and emotional cobwebs
      5. At the end of the day, to feel positive completion of the day and ensure a good night’s sleep
  6. Coherence
    1. The state that makes the difference between a book light and a laser beam. Inner coherence is a benchmark of intelligence and a cornerstone of effective living.
    2. When a system is coherent, virtually no energy is wasted, because all its components are operating in harmony. When every system in your body is aligned, your personal power is at its peak. Learning to cultivate that rewarding state of coherence enhances our ability to adapt, to flex, and to innovate. It allows us to rapidly get back to a feeling of balance and poise after stressful events and to improve communication, health, and overall well-being. A balanced heart and agile mind create access to innate intelligence and an enhanced capacity for greater internal coherence – the optimal state of being
    3. An age of rising complexity, speed, distractions is taking away from our ability to be in coherence so, those who are able to, have a greater advantage than ever before. New research has found that what creates more stress for people than any other is having to shift concepts, intentions, and focus to too many different tasks, many times an hour.
    4. Lack of coherence affects our vision, listening ability, reaction time, mental clarity, feeling states, and sensitivity.
    5. It’s a vicious cycle: stress destroys coherence, and incoherence causes stress. Chronic stress is one of the most prevalent and dangerous situations today and affects every part of our health and psyche. The brain doesn’t know between real threat and perceived threat so the physical and emotional reaction is the same. Indulging anger is harmful in more ways than one. So, if we can’t express it or repress it, what do we do? The answer is to recognize the anger but choose to respond to the situation differently.
    6. The solution to stress management lies in how we perceive the stressors in our lives. It’s not really the events that cause stress; it’s how we perceive those events. Improving the communication between the heart and brain helps one achieve coherence. By paying attention to our perceptions and reactions, we can eliminate the chronic stress that seeps through our bodies like a slow poison. Learning how to alter our standard stress reactions by perceiving life’s events from a place of intuition, balance, poise, and flexibility require a major shift – through a shift from head to heart
    7. Heart + Head = Coherence
      1. The brain is not the sole source of intelligence. We can realize that it’s a  remarkable partner to the heart, not its master
  7. Energy efficiency
    1. Mental and emotional diets determine our overall energy levels, health, and well-being to a far greater extent than most people realize. Every thought, feeling, no matter how big or small, impacts our inner energy reserves
    2. Life is an energy economy game. Each day ask yourself, “Are my energy expenditures (actions, reactions, thoughts, and feelings) productive or nonproductive? During the course of my day, have I accumulated more stress or more peace?
    3. Keeping an asset/deficit sheet for a few days will give you a clear picture of your energy account
    4. Consciously evoking core heart feelings nourishes our bodies at every level
    5. Learning to “just say no” to emotional reactions isn’t repression. Saying no means not engaging the frustration, anger, judgement, or blame. Without engagement, you won’t have anything to repress
    6. By using your heart as a compass, you can see more clearly which direction to go to stop self-defeating behavior. If you take just one mental or emotional habit that really bothers or drains you and apply heart intelligence to it, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your life
  8. Power Tools of the Heart
    1. Sincerity is the generator that brings core heart feelings such as appreciation and forgiveness into coherence and gives them power. By coming into coherence, we learn to take our emotions from a light bulb to a laser beam, applying them with focused intention and consistency. Sincerity is essential, it motivates our heart and aligns our true intentions.
    2. Power Tool 1: Appreciation
      1. Appreciation is a blend of thankfulness, admiration, approval, and gratitude
      2. It is magnetic and highly energizing, helping to bring you into coherence and entrainment
      3. Opening your heart is like putting a wide-angle lens on the camera of your perception. Suddenly, more of the world comes into view
    3. Power Tool 2: Non-judgment
      1. Judgments create stress and incoherence, and these limit the full range of our intelligence. Yet we’re socially conditioned to judge
      2. One of the most important things to note about the downside of judgment is that the person judging is the one who’s hurt the most
      3. Making a mistake and then judging yourself harshly is simply adding fuel to the fire
      4. The heart can give you the awareness needed to become more neutral, letting things unfold. That’s what non-judgment is all about. It allows you to be aware of your opinions but always be open to new thoughts, actions, ideas, people, etc.
      5. When you find yourself in strong judgment, use the Freeze-Frame technique to get neutral and find a more balanced, intuitive perspective
    4. Power Tool 3: Forgiveness
      1. You don’t forgive others for their sake, but for yours. Forgiveness is simply the most energy-efficient option you face, and the only one that will foster health and well-being
      2. The incoherence that results from holding on to resentments and unforgiving attitudes keeps you from being aligned with your true self and blocks you from your next level of quality life experience
      3. Forgiving yourself is often the hardest part but also the most important. Compromised forgiveness means that somehow the effort was incomplete. That lack of completion can mean the difference between a breakthrough into a completely new and different life experience and the same old patterns repeating themselves.
    5. Fulfillment is based on two elements: awareness and performance. Self-development comes from the increased awareness of where you are right now and learning what is needed in order to grow. And self-expression is how you perform, what you do about it
  9. Management of emotions
    1. Emotion = energy in motion. It’s the feeling sensation and physiological reaction that make a specific emotion positive or negative, and it’s our thoughts about it that give it meaning.
    2. Emotional energy works at a higher speed than the speed of thought because your feeling world operates at a higher level than your mind. We evaluate everything emotionally as we perceive it. We think about it afterwards
    3. Heart coherence helps balance our emotional state. It aligns head and heart to facilitate higher brain function, which appears to create a direct link to intuition or super-high-speed intelligence. Intuition bypasses mental analysis and gives us direct perception independent of any reasoning process. Intuition gives us clarity on how to direct and manage our feelings before we invest emotional energy into them
    4. Emotions in themselves aren’t really intelligent but have an organizing intelligence behind them. How we organize our thoughts and emotions and what we do with them reflect our intelligence. When we let our unmanaged thoughts dictate how we respond emotionally, we’re asking for trouble
    5. A benchmark of new emotional management lies in realizing that our past can no longer be blamed for our actions in the present
    6. Biochemistry affects our emotional responses, but our emotions affect our biochemistry in turn as well. Biochemicals are actually the physiological correlates of emotions
    7. Emotional intelligence implies the ability to self-regulate our moods, control our impulses, delay gratification, persist despite frustration, and motivate ourselves. When we’re equipped with these strengths, the twists and turns of life don’t get us down. We roll with them
    8. There are two major mind-sets that quickly compromise efforts at emotional management: justification and principle. These mind-sets trap your emotional energy in hurt, blame, fear, disappointment, betrayal, regret, remorse, and/or guilt, which create cumulative drain and deficits in your system. Any rationalization of deficit emotions traps our emotional energy in hurt, blame, fear, disappointment, betrayal, regret, remorse, or guilt
    9. Taking the significance out of issues and events is second nature to adults dealing with kids but we don’t tend to offer that same help to ourselves. The problem is that when we ignore one deficit emotion and refuse to take the significance out even after we’re aware of it, the emotional depletion builds, undermining our progress in other areas
    10. One of the main keys to emotional management is learning to quickly arrest a draining or deficit emotion and generate an attitude shift from a place of deep heart maturity. To reclaim the energy out of a deficit emotion, we have to take out the significance we’ve assigned to it. To take the significance out, we first make an effort to back off; then the heart can open up.
    11. Emotions liquefied become flow, and mind aligned with heart becomes intuition
  10. Care and Overcare
    1. Care is a powerful motivator. It inspires and gently reassures us. Care feels good – whether we’re giving it or receiving it. Care provides a conduit for your spirit’s expression in the midst of human existence. The more you truly care, the more you’ll come to know of yourself and others
    2. When we cross the line into overcare, our original caring is tainted by stress. It then becomes self-defeating, because it compromises our available energy to perform
    3. Perfectionism, over-attachment, projection of thoughts/mental images about the future, worry, anxiety, insecurity, expectations, comparisons are all manifestations of overcare
    4. Signals from the heart let you know when your care has become overcare, if you’re willing to listen. Every time you eliminate an overcare, the relief is tremendous, and you store away power that makes fighting overcare easier the next time
  11. Cut-Thru
    1. The purpose of Cut-Thru is to help people recognize and reprogram the subconscious emotional memory paths that, through long-term reinforcement, influence our perception, color our day-to-day thoughts and feelings, and condition our responses to future situations. Cut-Thru is for more deeply ingrained emotional issues than Freeze-Frame can help you resolve
    2. Cut-Thru facilitates emotional coherence and allows you to transform emotions you don’t want into new, regenerative feelings. And it does so without resorting to rationalization or repression
    3. Use Cut-Thru to shift out of emotions that are draining your energy, regain emotional balance, and eliminate long-standing emotional issues
    4. Managing emotions with Cut-Thru requires that you first recognize how you’re feeling. Breathing through the heart and solar plexus helps you anchor your emotions. Assuming objectivity leads to emotional maturity
    5. Cut-Thru helps you build your self-motivation, emotional capabilities, empathy, and you’ll begin to move through life at the most efficient speed possible – the speed of balance
    6. The 6 Steps of Cut-Thru
      1. Be aware of how you feel about the issue at hand
      2. Focus on the heart and solar plexus – breathe love and appreciation through this area for ten seconds or more to help anchor your attention there
      3. Assume objectivity about the feeling or issue – as if it were someone else’s problem
      4. Rest in neutral – in your rational, mature heart
      5. Soak and relax any disturbed or perplexing feelings in the compassion of the heart, dissolving the significance a little at a time. Take your time doing this step; there’s no time limit. Remember, it’s not the problem that causes energy drain as much as the significance you assign the problem
      6. After extracting as much significance as you can, from your deep heart sincerely ask for appropriate guidance or insight. If you don’t get an answer, find something to appreciate for a while. Appreciation of anything often facilitates intuitive clarity on issues you’ve been working on
  12. Heart Lock-In
    1. This technique helps you discover that you have your own internal source of regeneration. Quieting the mind and sustaining a solid connection with the heart – locking into its power – adds buoyancy and regenerative energy to your entire system. The more your core heart feelings come into play, the more you realize how much can be gained from a loving, open-hearted perspective. It helps with coherence, entrainment, improves immune functions, helping with mental, physical, and emotional health
  13. HeartMath in school and at home
    1. Heart Lock-In can be done with your children at the start of family time, quality time, or before dinner or bed
    2. Having kids do Freeze-Frame or Cut-Thru helps them calm emotions, better communicate, gain mental clarity, gain wider perspective and better understand what they’re feeling and why. Fostering emotional management from the heart may be one of the greatest gifts you can give children
    3. When emotions run high at school or during sports, performing these same techniques will have similar positive effects
What I got out of it
  1. Some really helpful tips and shows the power of coherence, HRV, entrainment, breathing properly, the power of neutrality. A physical, minimum effective dose to get many (not nearly all!) of the benefits associated with meditation.

Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell

Summary
  1. Change is never “out there”, it can start where you are, right where you are
Key Takeaways
  1. Most of us look for success anywhere and everywhere except right where we stand, and yet that’s where success can be found. It makes not so much difference where you are as who you are.
  2. To make money honestly is to preach the gospel. 98 out of 100 of the richest Americans are rich because they are honest. That is why they care on great enterprises and find plenty of people to work with them. It is because they are honest men
  3. Money is power and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it. You ought because you can do more good with it than you could without it.
  4. Love is the grandest thing on God’s earth, but fortunate the lover who has plenty of money.
  5. A man can judge very well what he is worth by what he receives
  6. The difficulty was that I had not learned then that the foundation of godliness and the foundation principle of success in business are both the same precisely. Treat others as you would be treated, do this kindness and you shall receive rewards yourself which it will be your duty to take
  7. The man who has gone through life dividing always with his fellow men, making and demanding his own rights and his own profits, and giving it to every other man his rights and profits, lives every day, and not only that, but it is the royal road to great wealth
  8. The moment a young man or woman gets more money than he or she has grown to by practical experience, that moment he has gotten a curse. Don’t regard an inheritance as a help. There is no class of people to be pitied so much as the inexperienced sons and daughters of the rich of our generation. I pity the rich man’s son. He can never know the best things in life. One of the best things in our life is when a young man has earned his own living, and when he becomes engaged to some lovely young woman, and makes up his mind to have a home of his own. Then with that love comes also that divine inspiration toward better things, and he begins to save his money. He begins to leave off his bad habits and put money in the bank.
  9. The discipline of a poor boy is worth more than a university education to any man. Just ask Vanderbilt’s son who took a $3/week job after he learned his father earned his fortune all by himself and wouldn’t take any of his father’s money
  10. Known demand. That one thing is the secret of success. You must first know the demand. You must first know what people need, and then invest yourself where you are most needed. When you know what people need you have gotten more knowledge of a fortune than any amount of capital can give you
  11. True greatness is often unrecognized
  12. Lincoln’s rule was this: whatsoever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind into it and held it and held it all there until that was all done. That makes men great almost anywhere
  13. Greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now.
What I got out of it
  1. Every minute of every day allows us an opportunity to change, to take advantage of an opportunity. Known demand is a key rule in business

The Early Days of WL Gore and Associates by Bob Gore

Summary
  1. Bob Gore, son of founder Bill Gore, recounts the early days at WL Gore and what has made the company sustainable and successful
Key Takeaways
  1. Bill Gore was very enthusiastic and did not have a lot of patience for bureaucracy. He was an entrepreneur from a young age and loved to improvise, move quickly and always emphasized product development. He always was experimenting and he got the family involved by trying out new products or materials with them. He was always looking for the practical potential in new materials.
  2. Always believed in the idea of “value pricing” – price products for what they are worth, not what they cost to manufacture
  3. From DuPont he learned and enjoyed the task force approach and the fact that a group of people can come together without titles without a formal hierarchical position.
    1. People just just get the job done as well as working harder and more enthusiastically then when they were in their usual 9-to-5 jobs. This eventually led to the lattice business structure as opposed to the typical pyramid structure. He became wary of corporate structures and believed that standard accounting tended to make bad business decisions
  4. Another chemist at DuPont had a machine shop and Bill was jealous of that. He was not able to just go ahead and make what he needed to make and use it but had to fill in a request for shop work and would be processed according to its place in the queue. That kind of obstacle destroys momentum and destroys enthusiasm which is why Bill set up a shop in his own basement so that he could experiment and follow his passion
  5. My advice to the man who contemplated an individual enterprise is to carefully consider if he has a dream of compelling importance and to follow his dream
  6. Mother served as moral support and encouragement. Never complaining and keeping everyone happy
  7. The emphasis was always on building our own machinery rather than purchasing it
  8. The large order that forced us into a new facility finally came in the summer of 1960. It was for an application that was totally unforeseen and was never to be duplicated
  9. Our staff is unusual in that each member knows he is closely identified with the success of the enterprise. It is the realization of this that is unusual. This realization has been brought about by a carefully considered program Carried out by the officers, managers, and supervisors. Important in this program is the profit sharing policy established by the Board of Directors. In this plan a sum is appropriated by the Board from profits and distributed amongst all employers in proportion to their gross pay for the period. Neither the period nor the sum is specified in the plan, but the principle of rewards in proportion to contribution has been established. Profit sharing by employees amounted to about 5% of gross pay over the past fiscal year. Our pay scales are minimum and all employees look to profit sharing as an important source of future income. Your management believes that the success of our business rests inescapably on the competence, diligence and loyalty of our people. This is the resource that sets both the limitations and potentials of the enterprise.
  10. Hosted open houses to show visitors their new buildings and products
  11. Action was prized. Gores attitude is to encourage any idea that could be tried relatively quickly and inexpensively which did not have a downside
  12. There was considerable informality and this lead to enhanced communication. We tried hard to fit the organization around an individuals capabilities and needs rather than remake the individual to a predetermined slot in a predetermined organizational concept.
  13. 5-year service anniversary pins have been handed out since the early days
  14. Every associate learned to exercise extreme control over intellectual property and pricing. Manufacturing operations were off limits to visitors and pricing was a very serious area where Bill exercised personal control insofar as he was able. He developed a value pricing model where he would price products for what they were worth in the marketplace not what they cost to manufacture
  15. An early vision of Bill’s was that the enterprise would last far beyond his life. He set up a trust which he transferred a significant portion of his shares so that there would be no ruinous estate taxes upon his and his wife’s death
  16. Established a big office in Flagstaff, AZ, far away from customers, source of raw materials and eastern support. However, it was along the Route 66 and a railroad went through it, making LA just an overnight trip away. They didn’t like LA because of the environment – too much traffic, high taxes, and people continually switched jobs. They sensed there was no permanence and little loyalty of the workforce to a company or a community
  17. There was fear of unionization at one point but after a head of a union took a tour through the plant, he determined that they would not have any trouble with unionization. It was the cleanliness, the good order, the pictures of people’s kids on the machines – the whole atmosphere showed the community and loyalty fostered at Gore. Culture is not all written in words, nor is it all spoken in words, but it is also expressed by our facilities, by a walk through the plant.
  18. Troubles with counterparties often stem from a lack of alignment, enthusiasm, and trust
  19. The biggest benefit of thinking in leaps and not incrementally is that it’ll throw off tons of other ideas that you otherwise never would have had
  20. In the immediate aftermath of our founding back in 1958 our sales organization has been established as a collection of independent third-party sales companies who represented us, each with an exclusive sales territory. The use of independent sales companies have been a financial necessity in the early start up days. This was away for Gore to be sure it’s flow of cash was in balance at all times since we paid the independent sales representatives only one there was income from the sales they had made. To keep their cash flow and balance the sales representative Natalie took the opposite point of view. They only wanted to concentrate on producing near term sales to earn near term commissions. They were reluctant to finance long-term, time consuming, and risky sales development efforts in hopes of earning sales commissions I would pay off only far in the future. Unfortunately, many of our products requires long term efforts and this had to be us and so over a period of years, we replaced independent sales representative companies with full time Gore people
  21. Gore dreamed of an enterprise with great opportunity for all who would join in it, a virile organization that would foster self-fulfillment and which would multiply the capabilities of the individuals comprising it beyond their mere sum
  22. Bill Gore was more interested in the organizational and philosophical portions of the company and his son, Bob, was more product oriented
What I got out of it
  1. Passion, hard work, genuine interest, caring, and a win-win mindset has helped make Gore a durable and successful company
More links and info on Gore: