Recommended reading for 2019
Atomic Habits – by James Clear
Easy to read, and full of actionable tips. I bought the audiobook, kindle and the hard copy for my dad.
Here are some of my favourite bits
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”.
“Ask yourself, what is the 1% improvement you can make each day?”
If you get 1% better every day, you will be 37X better by the end of the year. However, if you get 1% worse every day, your bad choices compound into toxic results and you end up 0.03X from where you started.
“We undervalue health if we have not recently experienced illness. We undervalue wealth if we have not recently experienced poverty. We undervalue kindness if we have not recently experienced cruelty.”
“Whenever you want to change your behaviour, simply ask yourself:
- How can I make it obvious?
- How can I make it attractive”
- How can I make it easy?
- How can I make it satisfying?”
“If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
The Daily Stoic – by Ryan Holiday
365 short reflections on Stoic philosophy. I have this book on audible and on Kindle.
We study philosophy to break ourselves of rote behaviour. Find out what you do out of rote memory or routine
Know why you do what you do
Do it for the right reasons.
Essentialism – Greg McKeown
“Live by design not by default.”
If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.
“You cannot underestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” A John Maxwell.
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon
It’s not good enough to be good. You have to be findable.
Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Contributing something is better than contributing nothing at all.
Think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others
Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal. Keep a scrap book. Shoot a video of you working.
This isn’t about making art, it’s simply keeping track of what’s going on around you.
Whether you share it or not, documenting and recording your process as you go along has its own rewards. You’ll start seeing the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress.”
Don’t show your lunch or your latte. Show your work.
The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.
Teaching people doesn’t subtract value from what you do, it adds to it.
Originals – Adam Grant
Vuja de => When you look at something familiar with a fresh perspective — gaining “new insights into old problems.”
Successful originals begin by questioning defaults.
Originality is not a fixed trait, it is a free choice.
Originals are not different from any of us. They feel the same fears, the same doubts as the rest of us.
What sets them apart is that they take action anyway.
They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
It’s widely assumed that there is a trade off between quantity and quality. This is not true.
When it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictive path to quality.
Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection.
Non-experts should take time to analyse. Experts should trust intuition.
Products don’t create value. Customers do.
Passionate people don’t wear their passion on their sleeves. They have it in their hearts.
“Argue like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong.” – Karl Weick
Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Originality brings more bumps on the road yet it leaves us with more happiness and a greater sense of meaning.
Emphasise value over rules. Rules set limits. Values teach children to internalise principles.
Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
For the sake of your social well being, Don’t use social media as a tool for low quality relationship nudges.
Put simply, don’t click and don’t comment.
For those who embrace high quality leisure, adopt a strategic approach
Not about tech but about quality of life.
Digital minimalism is much more than a set of rules. It is about cultivating a life worth living in a world of alluring devices.
Wise Guy – Guy Kawasaki
Smoking, drugs, alcohol and using an IBM PC are signs of stupidity. End of discussion.
Fake it till you litigate it.
It’s not who you know, but who knows you.
Do what’s right. Influence comes with a moral obligation to stand up for your principles and to help less fortunate people. This may come at a short term cost but that’s what a moral obligation is.
Don’t get too cocky when things are good or too negative when things are bad. Life regresses to the mean over the long run. The wisdom is to keep working at it to raise the mean.
Sometimes it’s better to go opposite of the crowd that’s going opposite of the crowd.
Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
A wonderful book by Ryan Holiday with three key themes:
- Live with purpose not passion
- Always be a student
- Talk and think less. Do More.
“Man is pushed by drives but he is pulled by values. Ruled by or ruling. Which are you?
Without the right values, success is brief. If we wish to do more than flash, if we wish to last, then it is time to understand how to battle this new form of ego, and what values and principles are required in order to beat it.
Success is intoxicating, yet to sustain it requires sobriety. We cannot keep learning if we think we already know everything. We cannot buy into myths we make ourselves, or the noise and chatter of the outside world.”
“Frank Shamrock has a system he trains fighters in that he calls plus, minus, and equal. Each fighter, to become great, he said, needs to have someone better that they can learn from, someone lesser who they can teach, and someone equal that they can challenge themselves against.
The purpose of Shamrock’s formula is simple: to get real and continuous feedback about what they know and what they don’t know from every angle. It purges out the ego that puffs us up, the fear that makes us doubt ourselves, and any laziness that might make us want to coast.
As Shamrock observed, “False ideas about yourself destroy you. For me, I always stay a student. That’s what martial arts are about, and you have to use that humility as a tool. You put yourself beneath someone you trust.”
This begins by accepting that others know more than you and that you can benefit from their knowledge, and then seeking them out and knocking down the illusions you have about yourself.”
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