How We Think…..!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking

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In the recent years; behavioural economist have focused on various bias in our thinking. Mostly, these are heuristic; developed over generation. If we follow the wisdom of ages, we can certainly stay away from it. Recently, book published by rolf dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly,  summarises all such biases very lucidly. For beginners, article published in fast company. com would provide healthy does of reality check.

 

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Books
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You are a well read bunch so I was looking forward to compiling the second annual look at your favorite reads featured on Farnam Street in 2013.

While I never had any doubt that Farnam Streeters are the smartest people on the internet, the data once again tells that story too.

1. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger

Peter Bevelin begins his fascinating book with Confucius’ great wisdom: “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” From Amazon:

This book is for those who love the constant search for knowledge. It is in the spirit of Charles Munger, who says, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.” There are roads that lead to unhappiness. An understanding of how and why we can “die” should help us avoid them. We can’t eliminate mistakes, but we can prevent those that can really hurt us. Using exemplars of clear thinking and attained wisdom, Bevelin focuses on how our thoughts are influenced, why we make misjudgments and tools to improve our thinking. Bevelin tackles such eternal questions as: Why do we behave like we do? What do we want out of life? What interferes with our goals? Read and study this wonderful multidisciplinary exploration of wisdom. It may change the way you think and act in business and in life.

2. It’s Not All About Me

I’m not quite sure how I came across Robin Dreeke’s It’s Not All About Me but I’m glad I did.

Dreeke is the lead instructor at the FBI’s Counterintelligence Training Center in all behavioral and interpersonal skills training. And he wrote an awesome book on how to master the skills of communication.

This is a modern version of the timeless How to Win Friends and Influence People.

3. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

From Amazon:

How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated.

You are told about the various levels of reading and how to achieve them — from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading, you learn how to pigeonhole a book, X-ray it, extract the author’s message, criticize. You are taught the different reading techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science.

Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests whereby you can measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension and speed.

4. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

From Amazon:

Are you over-extended, over-distracted, and overwhelmed? Do you work at a breakneck pace all day, only to find that you haven’t accomplished the most important things on your agenda when you leave the office?

The world has changed and the way we work has to change, too. With wisdom from 20 leading creative minds, Manage Your Day-to-Day will give you a toolkit for tackling the new challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace.

5. The Moral Sayings Of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave

A Syrian slave, Syrus is full of timeless wisdom. Want an example? “From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.” Here is another “It is not every question that deserves an answer.” Ok, one more? “To do two things at once is to do neither.” And he didn’t even know of Facebook and Twitter. You can read this book in under an hour but spend the rest of your life trying to learn and apply his wisdom.

6. Letters from a Stoic

I came to Seneca a few years ago. It’s clear from reading Seneca that he’s full of wisdom. His letters deal with everything we deal with today: success, failure, wealth, poverty, grief. His philosophy is practical. Not only will reading this book help equip you for what comes in life but it’ll help you communicate with others.

From Amazon:

A philosophy that saw self-possession as the key to an existence lived ‘in accordance with nature’, Stoicism called for the restraint of animal instincts and the severing of emotional ties. These beliefs were formulated by the Athenian followers of Zeno in the fourth century BC, but it was in Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) that the Stoics found their most eloquent advocate. Stoicism, as expressed in the Letters, helped ease pagan Rome’s transition to Christianity, for it upholds upright ethical ideals and extols virtuous living, as well as expressing disgust for the harsh treatment of slaves and the inhumane slaughters witnessed in the Roman arenas. Seneca’s major contribution to a seemingly unsympathetic creed was to transform it into a powerfully moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

7. Meditations

From Amazon:

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (a.d. 121–180) succeeded his adoptive father as emperor of Rome in a.d. 161—and Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. With a profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus provides insights, wisdom, and practical guidance on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity to interacting with others. Consequently, the Meditations have become required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style. In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in a generation—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy: never before have they been so directly and powerfully presented.

8. The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle is a book of three hundred aphorisms for making one’s way in the world and achieving distinction.

It provides advice not only for modern “image makers” and “spin doctors,” but also for the candid: for those who insist that substance, not image, is what really matters. “Do, but also seem,” is Gracián’s pithy advice

 

The book was imitated by La Rochefoucauld, cherished by Friedrich Nietzsche, and translated into German by Arthur Schopenhauer. Nietzsche observed that “Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety.”

9. A Technique for Producing Ideas

From Amazon:

This short but powerful book has helped thousands of writers, artists, scientists, and engineers to solve problems and generate ideas. Now let James Webb Young’s unique insights help you be more creative in every area of life. Advertising mogul William Bernbach wrote, “James Webb Young is in the tradition of some of our greatest thinkers when he describes the workings of the creative process. The results of many years in advertising have proved to him that the key element in communications success is the production of relevant and dramatic ideas. He not only makes this point vividly for us but shows us the road to that goal.”

10. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Pound for pound one of the most important books I’ve ever read. To those of you who claim this book is too expensive I say ignorance is even costlier.

Source : Strategy : By Farnam Street

Universal Advice

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Idea, Self Improvement

No matter what is going on in your career, good advice is universal. No matter what problems you are trying to solve, chances are someone else before you had a similar problem. Over the years, while interacting with numerous people, lot of good advice has come to my way. All of that has led me to conclude that there are certain universal “business truths” — tips and tricks that work for nearly everyone in every business.

They are:

  1. Have a passion for your work. If your work is meaningful to you, your work life will be a joy.
  2. If you can’t be passionate about the work itself, be passionate about the reason you do it. Maybe you don’t love your job/company/career, but the money and benefits are good for your family. Be passionate in your choice to do right by your family.
  3. If something needs changing, be the one to lead the change. If you dislike your job but are stuck, work on getting the skills that will get you unstuck. If there’s a problem at your office, work on being the one solve it.
  4. Start small and build from there.
  5. Do the obvious stuff first, then progress to the harder stuff. (Otherwise known as going for the low-hanging fruit.)
  6. If it’s not broke, don’t fix. Do improve it.
  7. The hardest lesson to learn is when to keep going and when to quit. No one can teach you that. At some point, you have to choose.
  8. The definition of crazy is to do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. If the result isn’t good, change something.
  9. No one succeeds alone.
  10. Ask for help. Be specific when asking. Be graceful and grateful when help comes.
  11. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll have a positive outcome.
  12. Embrace diversity. The best way to compensate for your own weaknesses is to pick teammates who have different strengths.
  13. People experience the world differently. Two people can attend the same meeting and walk away with different impressions. Don’t fight that. Use it.
  14. You don’t have to like someone to treat that person with respect and courtesy.
  15. Don’t “should” all over someone, and don’t let someone else “should” all over you.
  16. No matter what you do or how much you achieve, there are always people who have more.
  17. There will always people who have less, too.
  18. No matter how much you excel at things, you are not a more worthwhile human being than anyone else. No one else is more worthwhile than you, either.
  19. If you spend most of your time using your talents and doing things you are good at, you’re more likely to be happy.
  20. If you spend most of your time struggling to improve your weaknesses, you’re likely to be frustrated.
  21. Practice is the only true way to master a new skill. Be patient with yourself while you learn something new.
  22. The only way to stay fresh is to keep learning new things.
  23. To learn new things means being a beginner, and that means making mistakes.
  24. The more comfortable you grow with making beginner mistakes, the easier it is to learn new things.
  25. You will never have all the resources (time, money, people, etc.) that you want for your project or company. No one ever has all the resources they want.
  26. A lack of resources isn’t an excuse. It’s a blessing in disguise. You’ll have to get creative.
  27. Creativity and innovation are skills that can be learned and practiced by doing your usual things in a new way.
  28. Take calculated risks.
  29. In the early stages of a company, career, or project, you’ll have to say “yes” to a lot of things. In the later stages, you’ll have to say “no.”
  30. Negative feedback is necessary. Don’t automatically reject it. Examine it for the nuggets of truth, and then disregard the rest.
  31. When delivering criticism, talk about the work, not the person.
  32. Think big. Dream big. (The alternative is to think small, dream small.)
  33. Treat your dream as an ultimate roadmap. You don’t have to achieve your dream right away, but the only way to get there is to take many steps toward it.
  34. If you think big, you will hear “no” more than you hear “yes.” They don’t get to decide. You do.
  35. How long it takes you to create something is less important than how valuable and worthwhile it will be once it’s created.
  36. If there is one secret to success, it’s this: communicate your plans with other people and keep communicating those plans.
  37. Grow your network. Make an effort to meet new people and to keep in contact with those you know.
  38. No matter what technology or service you are creating/inventing at your company, it’s not about the product; it’s always about the people and the lives you will improve.
  39. No matter how successful you get, you can still fail and fail big.
  40. Failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s part of the process.
  41. Things always go wrong. The only way to keep that from hurting you is to plan for that.
  42. Learn how to respectfully, but firmly, say “no.”
  43. Say “yes” as much as you can.
  44. In order to say “yes” often, attach boundaries or a scope of work around your “yes.”
  45. 
No matter how rich, famous, or successful another person is, inside that person is just a human being with hopes, dreams, and fears, the same as you.
  46. Getting what you want doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. Happiness is the art of being satisfied with what you already have.
  47. Working with difficult personalities will be a part of every job. Be respectful, do your job well, and nine times out of 10 that person will move on.
  48. For that one-out-of-10 time, remember you aren’t a victim.
  49. Do what you need to get a new job.
As soon as you have something to demonstrate, get an executive champion to back or support your project.
  50. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Source : Business Insider

New Year Resolution

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Idea, Self Improvement

Author Nassim Taleb has a good suggestion for doing New Year’s Resolutions.

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He posted this on his Facebook page:

PLEASE SHARE VIA NEGATIVA RULES.

I am quite certain that new year resolutions don’t really work, are more wishful thinking (gyms are full in January and empty in February)… except that interdicts have worked in history: halal/kashrut dietary laws, etc. I have personally never been successful with positive resolutions, but have been with stated negative year-end rules: in 2007 (never be late for the year 2008 which worked well by injecting redundancies, and seems to have effortless carried over to today) and 2012 (no reading outside of math for 2013, with weak exceptions).

Intuitively this makes sense. Easier to eliminate some bad practice, rather than doing something new. We’ll try in 2014.