Recommended books

The education, ideas and opinions expressed in books are an excellent resource. It is tough to take the time to become better (at everything), smarter, etc. The biggest challenge is the absorption of the material you are reading. Reading a book once will not have the retention that we desire. Reading via an Amazon Kindle allows me to highlight the great points I want to come back to. Part of my daily habits include reviewing the good points of past books I’ve read. If you see something you like in here, buy the book as you will benefit greatly from it. Here they are in no particular order.

Ride far

Rewards can deliver a short-term boost – just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours. But the effect wears off — and, worse, can reduce a person’s longer term motivation to continue the project.

Routine, not-so-interesting jobs require direction; nonroutine, more interesting work depends on self-direction.

In 2009, scholars at the London School of Economics — alma mater of eleven Nobel lauretes in economics — analyzed fifty-one studies of corporate pay-for-performance plans. These economists’ conclusion: ” We find that financial incentives… can result in a negative impact on overall performance.

Rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus.

And what science is revealing is that carrots and sticks can promote bad behavior, create addiction, and encourage short term thinking at the expense of the long view.

The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road.

Allow people to complete the task their own way. Think autonomy, not control. State the outcome you need. But instead of specifying precisely the way to reach it — how each poster must be rolled and how each mailing lablel must be affixed — give them freedom over how they do the job.

Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. Add when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.

Have you ever seen a six-month-old or a three-year-old who’s not curious and self-directed? I haven’t. That’s how we are out of the box. If, at age fourteen or forty-three, we’re passive and inert, that’s not because it’s our nature. It’s because something flipped out default setting.

“Try to pick a profession in which you enjoy even the most mundane, tedious parts. Then you will always be happy.”

But field research at the prestigious medical facility found that letting doctors spend on day a week on the aspect of their job that was most meaningful to them — whether patient care, research, or community service – could reduce the physical and emotional exhaustion that accompanies their work. Doctors who participated in this trial policy had half the burnout rate of those who did not. Think of it as “20 percent time” with a purpose.

Was I a little better today than yesterday?

And if doing this solo isn’t your thing, gather a small group of colleagues for regular peer-based do-it-yourself performance reviews. If your comrades really care, they’ll tell you the truth and hold you accountable. One last question for bosses: Why in gods name are you not encouraging all your employees to do this?

Use noncontrolling language. Next time you’re about to say “must” or “should”, try saying “think about” or “consider” instead.

The better strategy is to get compensation right — and then get out of sight.

One of the best ways to know whether you’ve mastered something is to try to teach it. Give students that opportunity.

No truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite that’s she’s happy. She just is.

The desire for more positive experiences is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience

Life itself is a form of suffering. The rich suffer because of their riches. The poor suffer because of their poverty.

We are wired to become dissatisfied with whatever we have and satisfied by only what we do not have. This constant dissatisfaction has kept our species fighting and striving, building and conquering. So no — our own pain and misery aren’t a bug of human evolution; they’re a feature.

Problems never stop. they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.

True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving

He questions is not whether we evaluate ourselves against others; rather, the question is by what standard do we measure ourselves.

Pleasure is a false god.

You didn’t choose the robbery, but it’s still your responsibility to manage the emotional and psychological (and legal) fallout of the experience.

Instead of looking to be right all the time, we should be looking for how we’re wrong all the time. Because we are. Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth.

The more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.

The more something threatens your family, the more you will avoid it.

As a general rule, we’re all the world’s worst observers of ourselves. When we’re angry, or jealous, or upset, we’re often times the last ones to figure it out.

That’s simply reality: if it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.

Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation

The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner.

Conflict is not only normal, then; it’s absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a healthy relationship. If two people who are close are not able to hash out their differences openly and vocally, then the relationship is based on manipulation and misrepresentation, and it will slowly become toxic.

The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you. This is the basic root of all happiness. Whether you’re listening to Aristotle or the psychologists at Harvard or Jesus Christ or the goddamn Beatles, they all say that happiness comes from the same thing: caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some great unintelligible production. This feeling is what people go to church for it’s what they fight in wars for; it’s what they raise families and save pensions and build bridges and invest cell phones for: this fleeting sense of being part of something greater and more unknowable than themselves. And entitlement strips this away from us. The gravity of entitlement suck all attention in ward, toward ourselves, causing us to feel as though we are at the center of all the problems in the universe, that we are the one suffering all of the injustices, that we are the one who deserves greatness over all others.

The mistake most of us make in our crucial conversations is we believer that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend. We begin believing in the Fool’s Choice from an early age.

Skilled people Start with Heart. That is, they begin high-risk discussions with the right motives, and they stay focused no matter what happens.

When your emotions start cranking up, key brain functions start shutting down.

My goal isn’t to make you feel guilty, and I certainly don’t want to become defensive. What i’d really love is for us to come up with a solution that makes both of us satisfied in our relationship.

Others don’t make you man. You make you mad. You make you scared, annoyed, or insulted. You and only you create your emotions.

What story is creating these emotions? Get back to the facts. Abandon your absolute certainty by distinguishing between hard facts and your invented story.

STATE, it stands for – Share your facts – Tell your story – Ask for others’ paths – Talk tentatively – Encourage testing. The first three skills describe what to do. The last two tell us how to do it.

Ask. Start by simply expressing interest in the other person’s views. Mirror. Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling. Paraphrase. As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you’ve heard to show not just that you understand, but also that it’s safe for them to share what they’re thinking. Prime. If others continue to hold back, prime. Take your best guess at what they may be thinking and feeling. As you begin to share your views, remember. Agree. Agree when you share views. Build. If others leave something out, agree where you share views, then build. Compare. When you do differ significantly, don’t suggest others are wrong. Compare your two views.

When you’re first agreeing on an assignment, clarify up front the exact details of what you want.

Stop acting out your expectations that others won’t take initiative. Instead, talk your expectations out and come to agreements that place the responsibility on the team members while giving you information early enough that you aren’t left high and dry.

The skewness issue; it does not matter how frequently something succeeds if failure is too costly to bear.

As a derivatives trader I noticed that people do not like to insure against something abstract; the risk merits their attention is always something vivid.

I was amused to discover a similar evolutionary argument in mate selection that considers that women prefer (on balance) to mate with healthy older men over healthy younger ones, everything else being equal, as the former provide some evidence of better genes. Gray hair signals an enhanced ability to survive – conditional on having reached the gray hair stage, a man is likely to be more resistant to the vagaries of life. Curiously, life insurers in renaissance Italy reached the same conclusion, by charging the same insurance for a man in his twenties as they did for a man in his fifties, a sign that they had the same life expectancy; once a man crossed the forty-year mark, he had shown that very few aliments could harm him. We now proceed to a mathematical rephrasing of these arguments.

At the end of a busy day you will be emotionally drained. Even if your pleasurable moments of the day are equal to the pleasurable moments of the day. You will feel as if you had a bad day. An pleasurable moment is worse than a pleasurable moment.

Some psychologists estimate the negative effect for an average loss to be up to 2.5 the magnitude of a positive one): It will lead to an emotional deficit.

There is a saying that bad traders divorce their spouse sooner than abandon their positions. Loyalty to ideas is not a good thing for traders, scientists – or anyone.

Let us assume that the reader shared my opinion, that the market over the next week had a 70% probability of going up and 30% probability of going down. However, let us say that it would go up by 1% on average, white it could go down by an average of 10%. What would the reader do? Is the reader bullish or bearish?

I will use statistics and inductive methods to make aggressive bets, but I will not use them to manage my risks and exposure.

The major problem with inference in general is that those whose profession is to derive conclusions from data often fall into the trap faster and more confidently than others. The more data we have, the more likely we are to drown in it.

A small knowledge of probability can lead to worse results than no knowledge at all.

My partner Mark Spitznagel summarizes it as follows: Imagine yourself practicing the piano every day for a long time, barely being able to perform “Chopsticks”, then suddenly finding yourself capable of playing Rachmaninov. Owning to this nonlinearity, people cannot comprehend the nature of this rare event. This summarizes why there are routes to success that are nonrandom, but few, very few, people have the mental stamina to follow them. Those who go the extra mile are rewarded. In my profession one may own a security that benefits from lower market prices, but may not react at all until some critical point. Most people give up before the rewards.

Consider that your brain reacts differently to the same situation depending on which chapter you open to. The absence of a central processing system makes us engage in decisions that can be in conflict with each other. You may prefer apples to oranges, oranges to pears, but pears to apples – it depends on how the choices are presented to you. The fact that your mind cannot retain and use everything you know at once is the cause of such biases. One central aspect of heuristic is that it is blind to reasoning.

Neurobiologists also have their side of the story. They believe (roughly) that we have three brains: The very old one, the reptilian brain that dictates heartbeat and that we share with all animals; the limbic brain center of emotions that we share with mammals; and the neocortex, or cognitive brain, that distinguishes primates and humans (note that even institutional investors seem to have a neocortex).

Percentage moves are the size of headlines. In addition, the interpretation is not linear; a 2% move is not twice as significant as event as 1%, it is rather like four to ten times. A 7% move can be several billion times more relevant than a 1% move! The headline of the Dow moving by 1.3% points on my screen today has less than one billionth of the significance of the serious 7% drop of October 1997. People might ask me: Why do I want everybody to learn some statistics? The answer is that too many people read explanations. We cannot instinctively understand the nonlinear aspect of probability.

Say you own a painting you bought for $20,000, and owing to rosy conditions in the art market, it is no worth $40,000. If you owned no painting, would you still acquire it at the current price? If you would not, then you are said to be married to your position. There is no rational reason to keep a painting you would not buy at its current market rate – only an emotional investment. Many people get married to their idea all the way to the grave. Beliefs are said to be path dependent if the sequence of ideas is such that he first one dominate.

Try not to play victim when diagnosed with cancer (hide it from others and only share the information with the doctor. – It will avert the platitudes and nobody will treat you like a victim worthy of their pity; in addition, the dignified attitude will make both defeat and victory feel equally heroic). Be extremely courteous to your assistant when you lose money (instead of taking it out on him as many of the traders whom I scorn routinely do). Try not to blame others for your fate, even if they deserve blame. Never exhibit any self-pity, even if your significant other bolts with the handsome ski instructor or the younger aspiring model. Do not complain.

Research on happiness shows that who live under a self-imposed pressure to be optimal in their employment of things suffer measures of distress.

Unpredictability is a strong deterrent.

This book would be on my top five books to read when I was 18 years old. If I knew and believed the content of this book, I would have been a better person, earlier in life. Loved all of it. I found this cook via Tim Ferriss. You can find it


You already know that when your energy is right you perform better at everything you do, including, work, sports, and even your personal life. Energy is good. Passion is bullshit.

It’s a good place to be because failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.

My best estimate is that I will personally consume about 10 percent of the total wealth I create over my career. The rest goes to taxes, future generations, start-up investments, charity, and stimulating the economy.

The most important form of selfishness involves spending time on your fitness, eating right, pursuing your career, and still spending quality time with your family and friends.

The way I approach the problem of multiple priorities is by focusing on just one main metric: my energy. I make choices that maximize my personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities.

Priorities are the things you need to get right so that things you love can thrive.

Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system. That’s a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction. There is a lot more in this book about goals vs systems and it is 100% correct. Goals are anticlimactic, systems feel great!

A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to a new and better victories. Success can be habit-forming.

Step one in your search for happiness is to continually work toward having control of your schedule.

Happiness is the natural state for most people whenever they feel healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good.

My guidelines for deciding when to quit is informed by a lifetime of trying dozens of business ideas, most of them failures. I’ve also carefully observed others struggling with the stay-or-quit decision. There have been times I stuck with bad ideas for far too long out of a misguided sense that persistence is a virtue. The pattern I noticed was this: Things that will someday work out well start out well. Things that will never work start out bad and stay that way. What you rarely see is a stillborn failure that transmogrifies into a stellar success. Small successes can grow into big ones, but failures rarely grow into successes.

Business writing is also the foundation for humor writing. Unnecessary words and passive writing kill the timing of humor the same way they kill the persuasiveness of your point. If you want people to see you as smart, persuasive, and funny, consider taking a two-day class in business writing. There aren’t many skills you can learn in two days that will serve you this well.

When you understand your unique strength, gift, and contribution, you can more easily let go of everything else (without guilt) and go about the business of flexing that muscle and doing all you need to continue to build grow, and develop it further. You can also shore up your weaknesses, and fill the rest of the seats on your ride with people who have the strengths you don’t.

Remember Warren’s advice. Don’t get involved with functions that are not in your circle of competency or strength. It doesn’t do you any good, and it certainty won’t make your ride any easier.

It was a coming-of-age moment. Instead of living my life to please my dad, I realized that nothing I could ever achieve would change my father or what he thought of me. In that moment, I let go of the kind of burden that some people carry for a lifetime, the burden of living to please someone else. The plummeting heartbreak I felt standing there with my dad broke the bondage I had struggled against my entire life. I was freed to pursue my dreams for their own sake. Untethered from my father’s approval or disapproval, I finally realized my success had nothing to do with him. That’s the moment I decided I would define success on my own terms. *This paragraph resonates with a lot of people as a lot of us will never live up to whatever our parents expectations are. A bigger problem today, is living up to what you see on your facebook, social media feed!

Pull – don’t push
Investigate – don’t present
Probe – don’t pitch
Ask – don’t assume

Talk less – listen more
Make fewer statements – ask more questions

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. – David Ogilvy, CEO, Olgilvy & Mather

The average business has about 65 to 85 percent of its operating costs consumed by salaries and wages.

“If I am in a meeting with my leadership team and we are discussing a marketing opportunity,” he said, “if I have a better idea than my Marketing Director, we are in a trouble. If I solve a problem my CFO has been stumped with for a week, we are doomed. If I have an operational efficiency solution my COO hasn’t thought of, it’s the beginning of the end. I always hire the best possible people for every chair at my table. Then they deliver the great performance.”

Hire ahead of your growth. Hire to conquer new frontiers. Hire to conquer new frontiers. Hire to launch new initiatives. But don’t hire to put out a fire.

The reason most people don’t make it to billionaire status is because they’re doing the opposite. They are taking on more and more tasks for which they are not the most skilled or best suited. When you are not a specialist at something, results are diminished. And when you’re doing more and more tasks, You’re simultaneously diminishing you ability to do what your real specialty needs to become: lead.
You can’t lead if you’re designing brochures.
You can’t lead if you’re doing accounting.
You can’t lead if you’re managing production.

Here is Warren Buffet’s three-step method for prioritization.
1. Write down all your priorities
2. Narrow it down to the top three.
So far so good, right? Seems simple. No problem. You’ve done that before. It’s the next step where most people don’t have the courage to do what it takes to stay focused. And it’s this final step that separate the simple-achievers from the super achievers.
3. Throw the rest of the list away.

Every dollar you invest in your personal development adds thirty to your bottom line.

You brain is a drama queen. It makes mountains out of molehills. It sees a flea and magnifies it into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I call this the twisted mind effect.

The key to success is massive failure. Go fail!

The first and most important factor in building a successful business is that you have to love it.

A good enemy gives you a reason to get fired up. A nemesis pushes you to reach deep and use your skills, talents, and abilities to their fullest. Having to fight challenges your character can resolve. A fight will lead you to push harder, go farther, and hang on longer than you ever would otherwise.

They are obsessed about what they do, and they have an unrelenting desire to get better and better and better.

The higher you climb on the ladder of success, the more people will dislike you. Climb high enough, and people might even hate you.

The ultimate success of a product or service is 10 percent product quality and 90 percent sales.

The companies that become the biggest are the ones who market themselves the best and sell the most.

The person who knows how to get, keep, and cultivate a customer gets paid the most. Period

Seek out influencers, those who are connected to broader networks of potential customers.

The number one bottleneck or constraint to the growth of any organization is the leader.

Your success vitals boil down to one simple concept: Decide on a few critical things, do them more often, then get better at them.

Sure, ego has worked for some. Many of history’s most famous men and women were notoriously egotistical. But so were many of its greatest failures. Far more of them in fact. But here we are with a culture that urges us to roll the dice.

Humble in our aspirations
Gracious in our success
Resilient in our failures

Think about this the next time you face that choice: Do I need this? Or is it really about ego? Are you ready to make the right decision?

The power of being a student is not just that it is an extended period of instruction, it also places the ego and ambition in someone else’s hands.

Because we only seem to hear about the passion of successful people, we forget that failures shared the same trait.

Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to success: our mind. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride.

An amateur is defensive. The professional finds learning (and even, occasionally, being shown up) to be enjoyable; they like being challenged and humbled, and engaged in education as an ongoing and endless process.

Once you win, everyone is gunning for you. It’s during your moment at the top that you can afford ego the least — because the stakes are so much higher, the margins for error are so much smaller. If anything, your ability to listen, to hear feedback to improve and grow matter more now than ever before.

Keep your identity small

Make use of what’s around you. Don’t let stubbornness make a bad situation worse.

If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place.

Take inventory for a second. What do you dislike? Whose name fills you with revulsion and rage? Now ask: Have these strong feelings really helped you accomplish anything? Take an even wider inventory. Where has hatred and rage ever really gotten anyone?

There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell says that leadership is the ability to get someone to follow you even if only out of curiosity.

Looking at the world through such different prisms helped me separate facts from perception. This ability would serve me incredibly well later when I became an entrepreneur and CEO. In particularly dire circumstances when the “facts” seemed to dictate a certain outcome, I learned to looks for alternative narratives and explanations coming from radically different perspectives to inform my outlook. The simple existence of an alternate, plausible scenario is often all that’s needed to keep hope alive among a worried workforce.

During this time I learned the most important rule of raising money privately: Look for a market of one. You only need one investor to say yes, so it’s best to ignore the other thirty who say “no”.

No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horrible wrong – when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call. Who is it going to be?

“Gentlemen, I’ve done many deals in my lifetime and through that process, I’ve developed a methodology, a way of doing things, a philosophy if you will. Within that philosophy, I have certain beliefs. I believe in artificial deadlines. I believe in playing one against the other. I believe in doing everything and anything short of illegal or immoral to get the damned deal done.”

An early lesson I learned in my career was that whenever a large organization attempts to go anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.

It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about – figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job.

Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, “What am I not doing?”

People often ask me how we’ve managed to work effectively across three companies over eighteen years. Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after awhile. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship.

Startup CEOs should not play the odds. When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer and you cannot pay attention to your odds of finding it. You just have to find it. It matters not whether your chances are nine in ten or one in a thousand; your task is the same.

Being a good company doesn’t matter when things go well, but it can be the difference between life and death when things go wrong. Being a good company is an end in itself.

I learned about why startups should train their people when I worked at Netscape. People at McDonald’s get trained for their positions, but people with far more complicated jobs don’t.

Screening for the right kind of ambition as with any complex character trait, there is no way to perfectly screen for the right kind of ambition in an interview, but hopefully some of these thoughts will prove useful. *This is page 156 in the Kindle book. It is far too long to type up so best to read it in the book itself.

Why do titles matter? Two important factors drive all companies to eventually create job titles;
1. Employees want them.
2. Eventually, people need to know who is who.
*page 169 in the Kindle book. This is a longer highlight that I didn’t type up.

Taking the mystery out of scaling a company
1. Get a mentor
2. Find some “been there, done that” executives who already know how to scale.

As CEO, you must constantly evaluate all the members of your team. However, evaluating people against the future needs of the company based on a theoretical view of how they will perform is counterproductive, for the following reasons
Managing at scale is a learned skill rather than a natural ability.
It’s nearly impossible to make the judgement in advance.
The act of judging people in advance will retard their development.
Hiring scalable execs too early is a bad mistake.
You still have to make the judgement at the actual point in time when you hit the higher level of scale.
It’s no way to live your life or run and organization
Don’t separate scale form the rest of the evaluation
Make the judgement on a relative rather than an absolute scale.
*page 193 for the full write up. Too much good information to type up.

Even if you know what you are doing, things go wrong. Things go wrong because building a multifaceted human organization to compete and win in a dynamic, highly competitive market turns out ot be really hard. If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of 100. This kind of mean can be psychologically challenging for a straight-A student. It is particularly challenging because nobody tells you that the mean is 22.

When analyzing whether you should sell your company, a good basic rule of thumb is if (a) you are very early on in a very large market and (b) you have a good chance of being number one in that market, then you should remain stand-alone. The reason is that nobody will be able to afford to pay what you are worth, because nobody can give you that much forward credit. For an easy-to-understand example, consider Google. When they were very early, they reportedly received multiple acquisition offers for more than $1 billion. *read more about this on page 258.

Appendix: Questions for head of enterprise sales force. *page 277 for excellent interview questions.

Momentum — not experience — is the single biggest predictor of business and personal success. I’ll debunk our common myths about mentorship and paying dues. And I’ll show why, paradoxically, it’s easier to build a huge business than a small one.

Business research shows that this kind of ladder switching generally tends to accelerate a company’s growth. Companies that pivot – that is, switch business models or products – while on the upswing tend to perform much better than those that stay on a single course.

Mentorship is the secret of many of the highest profile achievers throughout history. Socrates mentored young Plato, who in turn mentored Aristotle. Aristotle mentored a boy named Alexander, who went on to conquer the know world as Alexander the Great.

Analysis shows that entrepreneurs who have mentors end up raising seven times as much capital for their businesses, and experience 3.5 times faster growth than those without mentors. And in fact, of the companies surveyed, few managed to scale a profitable business model without a mentor’s aid.

The research showed that experts – people who were masters at a trade – vastly preferred negative feedback to positive. It spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments. “You did well” is less helpful in improving your bowling game than “You turned your wrist too much.” Crucially, experts tended to be able to turn off the part of their egos that took legitimate feedback personally when it came to their craft, and they were confident enough to parse helpful feedback from incorrect feedback. Meanwhile novices psyched themselves out. They need encouragement and feared failure.

“My whole thing was, if I can put in 5 percent of the effort of somebody getting an A, and I can get a C minus, that’s amazing,” he explains. “It’s certainly good enough, right? [Then] I can take the other 95 percent of the time and invest it in something I really care about.”

By the end of 2012 Google’s Gmail service had become the most popular electronic mail provider in the world. That same year, Google’s adsense product accounted for more than $12 billion in revenue, about a quarter of the search giant’s total revenues. Each of those products – smart electronics mail and context based advertising – caught an enormous wave when it launched.
Like Twitter, as we learned in chapter 4, both Gmail and Adsense started off as side projects. Google was in the water when the waves of internet traffic came because it was tinkering with new ideas under the umbrella of Google’s famous “20% time.”
“20% Time” is no Google indigenous. It was borrowed from a company formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, aka 3M, which allowed its employees to spend 15 percent of their work hours experimenting with new ideas, no questions asked. 3M’s “15% Time” brought us, among other things, Post-It Notes.

You’re better off being a fast follower than an originator.

Initially, JJ Abrams helped out better-connected people than himself, and doing so helped him superconnect. But once he was the superconnector, he still helped people. That’s how to tell if someone is a giver, or a taker in giver’s clothing. “If you do it only to succeed,” Gran says, in the long run, “it probably won’t work.”

The answer, it turned out, is simply progress. A sense of forward motion. Regardless how small.

The perception of momentum is often as good as momentum.

“Color is a distraction. Computers are distractions,” Edward says. He forces his students to simplify, drawing concepts in pencil and then using computers and color to bring their designs to life once the architecture is perfect.

We, the genuine person who has shaken off all of the pretenses, all the efforts to become like someone else, who had begun the long road to self-discovery, will be unconquerable because the power is in our uniqueness. Such a person is believed because, at last, a genuine person is believable.

We do not grow much from joy and pleasure, and we do not learn much from winning. We grow and bloom from our pain and from the lessons of the self that we learn from our pain.

Often big words hide incompetence. They also hide the presenter’s fear. But jurors and other decision makers feel put down, minimized by this flouting of a massive technical vocabulary that’s empty of caring and conviction, Big words often hide small minds.

To move others we must first be moved. To persuade others, we must first be credible. To be credible we must tell the truth, and the truth always begins with our feelings.

I say never intentionally set out to frighten an opponent. If we can hold our opponent’s fear to a minimum it will be that much easier to defeat him.

If we begin to realize that their greatness is only our state of mind we will have taken the first large leap toward overcoming our fear of the power person.

The most anxious man in prison is the warden.

We buy an insurance policy on our car or home, what we have really purchased is the right to sue the company for its failure to pay.

It is all right to be afraid. One cannot be brave without fear. Those young fools who love danger and feel no fear are only fools. Courage comes when we recognize our fear, face it, and hurl ourselves into battle.

“Yes, I guess I am one of those greedy lawyers you head about. It’s hard for me to ask you for money for a dead child. Hurts me. But (looking up at the judge) his honor will tel you that money is the only justice I can ask for. No one goes to jail here. We don’t put Kiddie-Corp (the maker of a dangerous toy) in jail for its negligence. There’s no other justice available but money. I wish it were otherwise.

If we are to be successful in presenting our case we must not only discover its story, we must become good storytellers as well. Every trial, every presentation, every plea for change, every argument for justice is a story.

Without a powerful theme we will win no wars, win no cases, sell no products, and advance no causes. A theme becomes the heart of our presentation.

I came away convinced that lying even about the smallest matters, needlessly damages personal relationships and public trust.

The liar often imagines that he does no harm so long as his lies go undetected. But the one lied to rarely shares this view.

Ethical transgressions are generally divided into two categories: the bad things we do (acts of commission) and the good things we fail to do (acts of omission).

This is among the many corrosive effects of unjust laws: They tempt peaceful and otherwise honest people to lie so to avoid being punished for behavior that is ethically blameless.

Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity. Knowing that we will attempt to tell the truth, whatever the circumstances, leaves us with little to prepare for. Knowing that we told the truth in the past leaves us with nothing to keep track of. We can simply be ourselves in every moment.

Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens has thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of river, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and corporations, As time went by, the imagine reality becomes ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagine entities such as gods, nations and corporations.

All result from forcing humans to live in nuclear families and monogamous relationships that are incompatible with our biological software

The agricultural revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and the among theses are life and the pursuit of pleasure.

Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation. Thanks to money, even people who don’t know each other and don’t trust each other can nevertheless cooperate effectively.

Today religion is often considered a source of discrimination, disagreement and disunion. Yet, in fact, religion has been the third great unifier of humankind, alongside money and empires. Since all social orders and hierarchies are imagined, they are all fragile, and the larger the society, the more fragile it is. The crucial historical role of religion has been to give superhuman legitimacy to these fragile structures. Religions assert that our laws are not the result of human caprice, but are ordained by an absolute and supreme authority. This helps place at least some fundamental laws beyond challenge, thereby ensuring social stability.

Banks and governments print money, but ultimately, it is the scientists who foot the bill

Most people don’t appreciate just how peaceful an era we live in. None of us was alive a thousands years ago, so we easily forget how much more violent the world used to be. And as wars become more rare they attract more attention. Many more people think about the wars raging today in Afghanistan and Iraq than about the peace in which most Brazilians and Indians live.

I will never forget the first day I made $5,000 trading. I felt exactly the same way I made five dollars caddying when I was ten years old.

To make the five bucks, I caddied all day long. I made five dollars for ten hours of carrying a gold bag. Fifty cents and an hour. It was the greatest feeling in the world. Then there was the first day I made $10,000. Same feeling. Then the first day I made $20,000, and so on. I remember one Thanksgiving I was at home in Kentucky with my folks and my brother. The Friday after Thanksgiving my brother and I flew to Chicago so he could see what I did for a living. I was long the lumber market and losing about $40,000 or $50,000 on this position when I we arrived in Chicago. We went into the lumber pit and I explained how everything worked. There to demonstrate how things worked, I bought ten contacts. The market went down and I bought some more. After a little while the market turned and roared to the upside and I bought it all the way up. We walked out the the pit with $37,000 in a hour of trading. It was just one of those days when the market going to go up because I was burying it. Some days you just can’t do anything wrong. Including all the money my customers made that day plus all the commissions I generated, we made about $100,000. And it felt just the same as the first day I made five dollars caddying.

If a market is hit with very bullish news and instead of going up, the market goes down, get out if you’re long. An unexpected and opposite reaction means there is something seriously wrong with the position. Two consecutive limit down days following the release of supposedly bullish government report does not indicate a strong market. Faced with that situation, what did these two bold and committed traders do? Get out or confidently hold onto their position and opinion? That’s right! We decide the market was wrong, and we were not going to let them get us out of this great position. Withing the days the market turned and was moving our way again. Break the rules, maintain your conviction, and reap the rewards, Our courage under fire was about to be rewarded.

I told him prices for two-by-fours of white fir, western SPF, and green Douglas fir, and continued reading the news wire. The “green” in green Douglas fir refers to the face that it has been newly cut (it has not been dried), just like someone who is new at something is referred to as green. Siegal looked over at me and said, “I never have understood why they get such a premium price for lumber that they paint green.” I couldn’t believe it. Here was Joe Seigal, easily trading more lumber futures than anyone else on the floor, and he didn’t even know the difference between green and klin-dried lumber in the cash market. I wasn’t sure if he was kidding me or not. But looking back, I can only now see how it was possible for him to be such a successful trader with knowing that green lumber isn’t actually painted green. He was a trader, and he relied on short-term information like order flow and price action to make his decisions because his time frame was short-term. He didn’t let longer-term information more suited for investor types interfere with his trading.

Regardless of the methodology used, before you decide to get into the market you have to decide where (price) or when (time) or why (new information) you will not longer want the position.

If you wait until after the position is established to choose your exit point or begin moving the stop to allow more room for losses or alter the fundamental factors you monitor in your decision making, then you (1) internalize the loss because you don’t want to lose face, (2) bet or gamble on the position because you want to be right, and (2) make crowd trades because you’re making emotional decisions. As a result, you will lose considerably more money than you can afford.

As we saw earlier, people lose in the markets not because of the particular type of method of analysis they use but because of the physiological factors involved in how they fail to apple their particular method. The only way to control those losses is with a preestablished plan. Participating in the markets without a plan is like ordering from a menu that has not prices and then letting the waiter full out and sign your charge card receipt. It’s like playing roulette without knowing in advance how much you had bet and only after the wheel stopped letting the croupier tell you how much you lost or won. If you wouldn’t do that in a restaurant or in a casino, why would you do it in the markets that has so many more variables and so much more money involved? Operating without a plan, give the fact that a market position can continue indefinitely, makes the future even more uncertain, and you are apt to lose a lot of money if you haven’t pre-planned your actions. Without a plan your losses grow while you’re being pushed and pulled around by price movements, random news events, and what other people say. Therefore, the disciplined use of a plan, with the stop-loss defined first, is the only way to prevent the losses due to psychological factors. Losses will still occur due to analytical factors, but those losses are normal course-of-business-type losses. If you find those losses intolerable, deal with them by reexamining your method of analysis and refining your rules, but not while you’re in the market. The point is to keep from compounding those losses with losses due to psychological factors.

Don’t go looking for supporting evidence or reasons to stay in the market. Do what feels good. Get out. There is an inverse relationship between your threshold of pain and success in the markets, so as soon as you feel the pain: get out. What if you have on a long position and prices are going up, does that feel good? Do you know what you’re supposed to do? Keep feeling good; leave it alone. It’s working fine. Stay with positions that make you feel good; get of positions that make you feel bad.

Did I meet you on a trip? Need route advice? Saying hello? I’d love to hear from you!

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