Pebbles of Perception by Laurence Endersen

Summary
  1. Got inspiration from Poor Charlie’s Almanack – understand the main principles in the big fields (law, psychology, business, engineering, physics, etc.) and understand the importance of good choices. This book is Endersen’s take on how to make good decisions
Key Takeaways
  1. Curiosity and character are the foundation of good choices
  2. Must learn how to stay curious – fear of failure is maybe the biggest inhibitor of curiosity
  3. Curiosity – Learning – Listening – Incentives – Consider the Context – Start by considering the end and its opposite – Emotional Intelligence
  4. A questioning mentality is much better than a knowing mentality
  5. Must formulate good questions – ask why, why not, and what if
  6. Knowing the name of something is not the same as knowing what it is (Feynman)
  7. Must be ready to act on new information, especially when it contradicts our world view / opinions
  8. Be interesting by being interested
  9. Must be lifelong learners. Once we reach a basic level of competency, the drive often diminishes but you cannot let this happen. Excessive ego is also terrible for learning. Strive to learn something new every day, no matter how small. This will aggregate into something amazing over a lifetime
  10. Can learn either directly from own experiences or from those of others. Nothing can displace direct learning, but it must be followed by reflection and assimilation. Far better to learn from the mistakes of others
  11. The best way to learn is to teach and to read – have a questioning mindset and childlike curiosity
  12. Communication might be the most important life skill of all – make sure to listen more than you speak
  13. Lens distorters which can lead to miscommunication- inaccurate / vague language, different histories and cultures, different contexts, irrational expectation of rationality
  14. Become a better communicator – have a learning lens on (be a listener), make the other person the center of attention, be courteous, double check your gut feelings, find your words (be able to clearly articulate the contrary view), be conscious of your non verbal communication, choose quality over quantity
  15. Incentives matter a lot – they drive behavior and we underestimate them at our peril. Think through the incentives of people you are dealing with and their second order consequences
  16. Incentives not just monetary – blood donations went down when people were paid as the charitable aspect was reduced
  17. Should appeal to interests, not reason
  18. You usually get the behavior your reward and it’s crazy to incentivize behavior that you don’t want
  19. You must carefully consider the circumstances and the context – absolutes are extremely rare
  20. People are great at comparing alternatives but not what is missing
  21. Aim to be contextually dependent
  22. Ask if there is a better question
  23. Consider what might be missing
  24. For important decisions, don’t think twice. Think thrice
  25. Use checklists
  26. Develop your own decision making frameworks and keep decision journals
  27. Think like a scientist would – the focus of the ‘scientific method’ is on empirical and measurable evidence
  28. Consult others who have real and relevant experience
  29. Widen the diversity of your own experience
  30. Nothing occurs in isolation – consider the context and recognize that it is different for everyone and changes over time. Don’t be dogmatic
  31. Start by considering the end (invert!) – why are we here and what do we want to achieve? – determine what matters most to you, what you want to build and leave behind, what a fulfilling and unfulfilling life looks like
  32. Considering the route to avoid helps reveal the more rewarding road
  33. For better emotional intelligence, strive to improve in the following areas: acceptance, awareness, character, communication, compassion, equanimity (composure), honesty, interdependence, patience, perspective, resilience, sociability,
What I got out of it
  1. A really great book which reflects many things I completely agree with. Worth a re-read at some point

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