Life Books

4 Hour Work Week

This book is a bit gimmicky maybe…and even a bit Vivint Sales Bro, but I think it brings up some really interesting pieces

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*#)

I borrowed this book from my brother-in-law for a few days and really liked the beginning. I then borrowed the audiobook from the library (via Libby) and didn’t like it as much.

I will say I resonate with the idea of us having way to many things going on and the pressure to have to know about them all and care about them all. There are so many things and if you’re going to try to understand and care about all of them, you’re going to run out of F*#&’s.

In life, you’ll always have problems. It’s just a matter of having problems you like and enjoy.

Later in the book he also talks about what brings happiness:

Pleasure? No, talk to a drug addict or someone who is obese. Pleasure alone can’t take you there.

Always being right? No.

Pain is bad? No! Often we’d rather suffer because it brings happiness. Trying to avoid pain and only do painfree things actually brings pain and regret. You’d rather struggle at a start up with friends than buy a new computer. It sucks in the moment, but those are the stories you tell your grand kids about some day.

If someone put a gun to your head and you had to run a marathon, you would hate it. If you trained for months, invited your family, were really excited about it, you’d love it. Same pain, why do you like it? Because you choose it. Pain is more bearable when we’ve brought it upon ourselves.

Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter Most by Steven Johnson

George Washington war story about losing New York, but “this is the great irony of the Battle of Brooklyn: Washinton’s most cunning decision came not in his defense of New York but in the quick confidence of his decision to give it up.” “Humans are wired to loss aversion…resist losses more than to seek gain.s There seems to be something in our innate mental toolbox that stubbornly refuses to give something up we possess, even if it’s in our long-term best interest to do so.” Sometimes you got to give things up to reach what you want.

When making a decision, you have to think about all the good’s and bad’s, some of which are incredibly hard to measure.

Recently the US Government had to think about what is the cost of carbon. They got a big group of people together and talk about how carbon effects weather and rising seas and agriculture and landed on $36 per ton released. The calculation isn’t perfect, “but that calculation made the choice far more farsighted than it would have been without it.” Page 130 - 132.

Steven also suggests that in scenario planning, you have to think about things differently. “Our brains naturally project outcomes that conform to the way we think the world works. To avoid those pitfalls, you need to trick your mind into entertaining alternative narratives, plot lines that might undermine your assumptions, not confirm them.” It’s true; when making a decision, you really need to go through the steps of all your assumptions. If you’re deciding between A and B, think really hard if the assumptions weren’t there, what C might look like. Often a good way of doing this is having a “red-team”. Red-teams are a systematic version of a devil’s advocate where a a group inside the organization is assigned the role of emulating an enemy. One way is having a group of people listen to a plan and say “it failed, guess why it failed”. People are much more creative then if you just said “what could go wrong” when they assume it already has. Eventually, you’ll have “a backup to the failure of the backup, and a backup to the failure of the backup of the back up”. Think Swiss-Cheese protection system. Page 118 - 121.

You can make decisions with the help of “linear value modeling” (LVM). Write down a list of values that are important to you. Give each of those a weight. Sketch out how each scenario might impact you. Get a number and make decision. But remember that “the weights and grades only work if they’re calculated at the end of the full-spectrum investigation of the choice on hand”. Page 133-135.

Google does something very similar with their self-driving car algorithm. Think, it has to make decisions so lightning fast that depend on lives. They do a similar calculation instantaneously. Page 137-139.

Even once you’ve decided, it is still good to “give your mind the free time to mull it over”. This includes “Go for long walks, linger in the shower a little longer than usual, let your mind wonder.” Page 143.

Crushing It

You have to give it your all. But if you do, and you have passion, you’ll be happy.

Give Crush It for friends and family.

Building a personal brand opens up so many doors.

Document, don’t create. Follow your life around with a camera and document everything you’re doing. People like watching the process. Your life is immensely interesting to someone else.

Start small, and start fast. Making some money is better than none. Eventually know your worth. You bring way more value than you realize.

Louis Holmes - LinkedIn guy -> School of greatness. Understand him more.

Data Books

Barely Maps

Barely Maps is I guess the first graphic design purchase I’ve ever made. And I don’t regret it! It is simple. It is fun. It is easy to grasp. It is short. And it’s fun to look at.

Story Telling With Data

Is it easy to make a graph today? Does software make it to easy we don’t even think? Or does it actually remain kinda difficult to make a good graph? “Think Before Graphing” would be a good T-shit. Page ix

I’m reading this book. I actually own two copies. But to be honest, I never learn who Cole is if she never leaves Google. In order to be someone, she had to leave something.

Distill such a good word to describe what you’re good at.

Bar / Gannt charts for timelines with written descriptions? Totally underrated. Really well done. Would go great on a life resume. Page xi.

Very few people are good at data visualization. Often, people are good at the data part but displaying is not something they’re taught much. Certainly no one in school really tells you how to combine math and language. That is data storytelling. Most people don’t know how to deal with data. They don’t know how to graph it. They get scared when people ask them about it. They know average…but that’s probably it. But the skills are becoming more important and more people are going to want them. Page 2-3,7.