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2012

Crowdsourced
Read|ng
Project
24 Execut|ve Summar|es
Ne|| Strauss
and 23 Inner C|rc|e Members
www.ne||strauss.com
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Tab|e of Contents
CRP #1: lnside a Woman's Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
CRP #2: Social lntelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
CRP #3: On Becoming a Person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
CRP #4: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
CRP #5: The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
CRP #6: The Education of Millionaires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
CRP #7: How the Mind Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
CRP #8: lron John . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
CRP #9: The 33 Strategies of War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
CRP #10: Sex at Dawn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
CRP #11: How to Win Friends and lnfuence People. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
CRP #12: The Art of Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
CRP #13: The Black Swan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92
CRP #14: Predictably lrrational . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
CRP #15: The Year of Living Biblically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
CRP #16: Escape from Cubicle Nation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108
CRP #17: The Red Queen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
CRP #18: Tricks of the Mind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .116
CRP #19: The Fountainhead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127
CRP #20: The Now Habit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132
CRP #21: Switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .142
CRP #22: Self Reliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152
CRP #23: Get Anyone To Do Anything. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
CRP #24: Thinking, Fast and Slow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165
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The Fema|e Bra|n Exp|a|ned
First of all, happy New Year. Today beings our 2012 initiative for the lnner Circle. Our goal: To read
52 life-changing books together over the course of the year. You've hopefully received the email and
know the details by now, so step up and volunteer if you want to provide an executive summary of a
great book.
l'm going to kick things off with The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, a book that l would def-
nitely add to the top Game-related reading list l started here (The Top Game Booksj, along with its
sequel, 7|e Ma|e B|a|n--which, tellingly, is not only 55 pages shorter than her analysis of the female
brain, but the print is much larger.
The Female Brain is written better and more clearly than most science and psychology books. But
despite being a quick easy read, it is packed with quality content. l underlined something on almost
every page, and it supports a lot of the theories and observations we developed while doing our own
version of lab work" in 7|e Game.
Here are a few of the interesting facts, answers, and takeaways from her writing on the female brain,
which she describes as a machine built for connection:
Why Men Are Smarter Than Women
Just kidding. Wanted to get your attention. She does say that the male brain is larger than the female
brain by nine percent (even after correcting for body sizej, but this doesn't mean that men are any
smarter. ln fact, she says, in the brain centers for language and hearing, women have eleven percent
more neurons than men. And that a baby girl is born with a more mature brain, which develops one
or two years quicker than a boy's.
Why Women Are Sadder Than Men
Another shocking headline, but slightly more true: There's a two-to-one ratio of depression in women
compared to men. ln addition, anxiety, she writes, is four times more common in women.
CRP #1. lns/de a Woman's M/nd
Summar/zed by Ne// SIrauss
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Sc|ent|c Ev|dence of the Fr|end Zone
A study scanned the brains of men and women observing neutral scenes of a man and a woman
having a conversation. The male brains' sexual areas immediately sparked--they saw it as a poten-
tial sexual rendezvous. The female brains did not have any activation in the sexual areas. The female
brains saw the situation as just two people talking." Welcome to the life of a guy with oneitis: there's
no sexual possibility to her, just two people talking. But don't give up hope...
How to Get Out of the Fr|end Zone
Okay, follow this: A girl's brains primary goals, says Brizendine, are to forge connections, to create
community, and to organize and orchestrate a girl's world so that she's at the center of it. That's one
of the reasons women enjoy keeping guys with oneitis dancing around them. But at the same time,
a woman is careful, she continues, to walk a fne line between making sure she's at the center of her
friendships and risking pushing those relationships away." The goal is to get what she wants with-
out sacrifcing the relationship."
My biggest mistake as an AFC was to build a relationship with a woman l was attracted to--to give
her everything--thinking that somehow l was going to get sex or romance as a result. She already
had what she needed, and wasn't attracted and didn't want anything more. So to get out of friend
zone, take away the friendship--with no anger, no explanation, no expectation. Just disappear for a
while. When you return, then begin the seduction--and do it right this time. lt's one of the basic strat-
egies in Robert Greene's 7|e A|t of Sed0ct|on.
To quote Brizendine, Men's self-esteem derives more from their ability to maintain independence
from others, while women's self-esteem is maintained in part by the ability to sustain intimate rela-
tionships with others."
Note: A|t|o0g| / q0ote B||zend|ne as a so0|ce fo| t|e |nfo|mat|on |e|e, most of t||s d|d not come
f|om |e| own st0d|es, o0t st0d|es s|e c|tes |n t|e ooo| and |n |ts 130-o|0s oages of endnotes.
Why Women Don't Understand That Men Need to Learn How to Attract Them
According to Brizendine, males in the womb, with only one X chromosome and al lot of extra tes-
tosterone, get more socially handicapped" than women. As a result, men in later life have to learn
social behaviors and nuances that women understand intuitively and take for granted.
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She goes on to say that biologically men are chasers and women are choosers. She paraphrases
Darwin, who said that males of all species were made for wooing females and females typically
chose among their suitors. ln fact, there's actually an area in the hypothalamus known as the area
for sexual pursuit" that's larger in men. lt's called Strauss's Region (no, actually it's notj.
Guys often have to talk women into having sex," she concludes. lt's usually not the frst thing on
women's minds."
Why Approach Anx|ety Makes Sense
Rejection," Brizendine writes, actually hurts like physical pain because it triggers the same circuits
in the brain."
Shou|d Women Who Ta|k Nonstop Be Pun|shed?
On average, says Brizendine, girls speak two to three times more words per day than boys--and at
a quicker pace. Biologically, she continues, connecting through talking activates the pleasure cen-
ters in a woman's brain, especially sharing secrets about romance and sexuality. The dopamine and
oxytocin rush, she goes on to claim, is the greatest neurological reward a woman can get outside of
an orgasm. (And is a good argument for the effectiveness of certain speed seduction patterns.j She
says that in colonial America, women were put in town stocks with wooden clips on their tongues or
dunked for the crime of talking too much." l know what some of you are thinking: keep it to yourself.
Why Women Have Troub|e Lett|ng Go
According to Brizendine, outside of the sexual pursuit area, the hippocampus is larger and more
active in women. And this is the area of the brain where, among other things, emotional memories
are stored. They remember these emotional events and their details-whether a romantic frst date or
a big argument-more vividly and for longer than men. lf only l knew this fact every time a girlfriend
chastised me for forgetting things like what she was wearing on our frst date.
One result of this, however, is it makes it harder for women to let go of a bad relationship because
she still remembers all the positive feelings of the frst months. Another reason why women stay in
unhealthy relationships is because in the wild, a woman may not survive if she loses a relationship
with a protective male provider. So, evidently her reptilian brain supposedly goes, better to be stuck
with this asshole than dead."
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Finally, in both men and women, being dumped, Brizendine goes on to say, actually heightens the
pheromone of passionate love in the brain circuits." And, yes, women may remember things longer,
but men can over-react in the moment. According to Brizendine, men are three to four times more
likely to commit suicide over a breakup.
Eve Came Before Adam
Many of you may also already know this, but if not, all you men were once women. Until we are eight
weeks old in the womb, we all have female" brains and reproductive organs, until, in male babies,
shots of the hormones testosterone and MlS defeminize" (as she puts itj the brain and body.
Why Negs Work on Three-month O|ds
Baby girls are born interested in emotional expressions," she writes. They take meaning about
themselves from a look, a touch, every reaction from the people they come into contact with. From
these cues, they discover whether they are worthy, lovable, or annoying."
Furthermore, she goes on to explain, baby girls interpret an emotionless face as a negative sign that
they're not doing something right, and will go after the person until they get an emotional response.
ln fact, l know women-and some men-many decades older who do this with their partners in rela-
tionships.
Brizendine goes on to say that this instinct is what makes some adult women fall for narcissistic or
emotionally unavailable men.
She adds that key for a young girl as she grows up is being listened to, which validates and grows
her sense of self. lt's interesting, that many negs (like, Where's her off button?"j are based on invali-
dating her feeling of being heard.
When girls hits puberty, Brizendine continues, they become almost exclusively interested in their
appearance, specifcally whether the boys who populate their real and fantasy worlds will fnd them
attractive." Thus, the birth of another class of negs, based on fashion and appearance.
As her brain continues to marinate in estrogen and progesterone, the female-specifc brain circuits,
she writes, become even more sensitive to emotional nuances, such as approval and disapproval,
acceptance and rejection." And so comes another category of negs, the push-pull, punishment-
reward, validation-invalidation games.
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/MPOR7AN7 NO7E 7O PERvER7S: 7|e aoove sect|on |s oy no means |ntended to convey t|at |t's
o|ay to sa|ge t||ee-mont| o| t|||teen yea| o|ds. 7|ese examo|es a|e o|ov|ded so|e|y to exo|a|n t|e
sc|ent|hc oas|s of soc|a| |nte|act|ons w|t| mat0|e women oy exam|n|ng t|e deve|ooment of t|e||
m|nds.
Why Subcommun|cat|on |s Important When Sarg|ng
Brizendine writes that the female brain has been designed to be much more adept at reading subtle
facial expressions, interpreting tones of voice, and registering emotional nuances. This way, women
can pick up nonverbal cues from their infants and anticipate their needs-and also keep both their
children and themselves safe by being able to predict what a larger or more aggressive male is going
to do. They are also designed to bond with other women, in order to protect themselves in the safety
of the group. ln fact, in games, studies show that girls take turns twenty times more than boys, who
are usually fghting for status, power, or territory.
Why Love |s B||nd
Brizendine says that when we are in love, the brain becomes involuntarily illogical. This in-love state
shares the same brain circuits with thirst and hunger--and intoxication. The brain circuits that are
activated when we are in love match those of the drug addict desperately craving the next fx."
E|ther Th|s |s a Typo Or I'm Go|ng to Start Hav|ng Sex D|fferent|y From Now On
Brizendine has a great section on the female orgasm, which takes on average three to ten times
longer than that of a man. As we all know, women generally need to be free of anxiety, stress, and
discomfort in the moment in order to have an orgasm; but she adds that researchers discovered that
women needed to be comfortable and have their feet kept warm before they felt like engaging in
sex." No longer is it necessary for AFCs to get a girl drunk; just give her wool socks. Brizendine goes
on to correlate shortened breath, arched back, and warm feet with signs of a woman's orgasm.
For the record, however, l disagree with a point she makes shortly afterward: that there is no differ-
ence between a vaginal and a clitoral orgasm. She says they're both the same thing. l have no sci-
entifc evidence to prove otherwise, but l do have some experience. And, sure, one can argue that a
different area of the clitoris is just being stimulated vaginally, but most women have two very differ-
ent types of orgasm from these two different types of stimulation.
Another Orgasm Fun Fact
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Women who are seeing other men on the side have a tendency to fake orgasms more with their pri-
mary partner, says Brizendine. This is evidently a subconscious gambit, she says, to make her part-
ner feel she is satisfed by him and faithful.
A Fact That's a Bummer For Me (Though I get to Co|n a New Word|
Many of you may already know that people fnd suitors with symmetrical faces more attractive:
evidently, a lack of symmetry is seen as a sign of disease, malnutrition, or genetic defects. (l won-
der if that's one of the reasons why guys who leer seem creepy.j Anyway, what l didn't know is that
women supposedly have a higher frequency of orgasms during sexual intercourse with partners with
more symmetrical facial features and bodies. Finally, she notes that men with symmetrical features
end up in bed with women they're dating quicker than men who are less symmetrical (regardless of
the rest of their other attractive qualitiesj. These symmetri-men also invest the least amount of time
and money on those they date-- and they cheat more.
Why Looks Matter More to Men Than Women
Some of you may have already read David Buss's The Evolution of Desire. (Any volunteers to write
a report on his book for The lnner Circle?j She cites his discovery that in every culture, Women are
less concerned with a potential husband's visual appeal and more interested in his material resourc-
es and social status." So get out of the gym, and get in the feld.
We've already established this in Rules of the Game, as we have her next point, which is that the
reason men like women who are young and beautiful--with clear skin, bright eyes, full lips, shiny hair,
and victoria Secret model curves--is because these are indicators of health and fertility. ln fact, one
of the subconscious reasons women have those hideous lip injections is because plumped lips are
an indicator to men of higher estrogen.
As a result of being so visual, however, men, she says, have a greater tendency to fall in love at frst
sight than women. Once a person is in love," she continues, the cautious, critical-thinking path-
ways in the brain shut down." Oneitis anyone?
How to Make a Woman--Or Bus|ness Contact--Trust You
According to Brizendine, a rush of oxytocin and dopamine to the brain will suppress anxiety and
skepticism. And one way to release oxytocin in women is hugging and cuddling. Oxytocin is natural-
ly released in the brain after a twenty-second hug, triggering the trust circuits, she says, and increas-
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ing the likelihood that a woman will believe everything and anything" she is told by the hugger.
Now you may not want to hug a business contact, but a study discovered that investors who were
administered a nasal spray with oxytocin offered twice as much money to a project as investors who
weren't dosed.
And, sure, if you don't have the oxytocin spray, you can try hugging your business partner--but it's
going to have to be an uncomfortably special hug. Men, she says, have to be touched two to three
times more frequently to sustain the same levels of oxytocin as women.
ANO7HER NO7E: A|| of t|e statements |n t||s |eoo|t a|e oov|o0s|y gene|a||zat|ons. 7|e|e a|e many
o|a|n and |o|mona| va||at|on oetween |nd|v|d0a| women, and w|at's t|0e fo| one |e|e may oe |ess
t|0e fo| anot|e|. /n add|t|on, most of t|e t|t|es of t|ese oosts a|e even o|oade| gene|a||zat|ons, meant
most|y to catc| yo0| eye--oeca0se t||s |s a monste| of a oost. Hooe yo0'|e gett|ng somet||ng o0t of
|t t|o0g|.
A Seduct|on T|p for Women
After intense physical challenges, Brizendine writes, men will bond quickly and sexually with the
frst willing female they lay eyes on." So standing at the summit of Mt. Everest may be a great place
to meet men.
Brizendine goes on to speculate this may be why soldiers sometimes shock friends and relatives by
bringing home brides after a war. (Maybe that's what happened when Elvis Presley was stationed in
Germany and met his future wife Priscilla.j
However, men beware: this will not work for you. She says women will rebuff" advances or expres-
sions of affection and desire when under stress. Evidently, the fairy tales are wrong: saving the life of
a damsel in distress is not going to make her want to marry you.
Why Men Don't L|ke S|uts
You'd think men, who fantasize about sex constantly, would love easy women. But Brizendine cites
basic evolutionary biology, stating that social reputation is a factor in male selection. This is because
a man wants to make sure a woman mates only with them to insure his paternity--and he also wants
to make sure she sticks around to properly nurture the child.
The Surv|va| of the Smoothes Proven?
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l was originally going to call The Game by the title Survival of the Smoothest. Brizendine would have
agreed. Some anthropologists," she writes, speculate that natural selection favored men who were
good at deceiving women and getting them to agree to have sex."
My New Favor|te Rout|ne
Okay, take this with a grain of salt, because not everyone can do this--or should. But l've been try-
ing, for fun, to guess where women are in their menstrual cycle. Sounds completely insane, but if
you come from a place of curiosity and are NOT threatening, judgmental, or creepy, it can quickly
liven up a conversation.
The key is this: ln the frst two weeks of a woman's cycle, estrogen is high and she is more likely to
be socially interested and relaxed with others. ln addition, there is a 25 percent growth of connec-
tions in the hippocampus, which makes the brain a bit sharper, quicker, clearer, and able to remem-
ber more. ln the second week, when she is the most fertile, she will be the most firtatious.
However, on day 14, at ovulation, progesterone increases and estrogen lessens, and the brain be-
comes at frst more sedated, then gradually more irritable. Finally, in the last few days of the cycle,
we all know what happens to some women (yet are smart enough not to tell them in the momentj:
she becomes more liable to be upset, stressed, negative, hostile, depressed, and have impaired
judgment that tends to lead to uncontrollable, dramatic emotions. So tread lightly if you choose to
make this a conversation piece.
One fnal fun menstrual fact: Be wary if you're in a relationship. Evidently ovulating women with part-
ners prefer the smell of other, more dominant men (though single women don't, which, Brizendine
says, means they are looking more for providers, whereas the women who already have providers
and are looking for studs to mate with; in fact, ten percent of children in a study were not actually
conceived by the man who thought he was their fatherj.
Why Women Tend to St|ck W|th The|r Fr|ends Instead of Go|ng Home W|th a Guy
Women tend to avoid overt confict. Their brains, as we've said, work to preserve relationships. Just
the thought" of a confict is enough to feel threatened. Thus there is an evolutionary concern that a
real confict or disagreement or negative feeling with a friend might end the relationship. So when it
comes to either rejecting a guy or keeping a current friend, many women choose the latter.
YE7 ANO7HER NO7E: Many of t|e co||e|at|ons |n t||s |eoo|t oetween t|e fema|e o|a|n and att|ac-
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t|on, sed0ct|on, and o|c|0o a|e not |n t|e ooo|, o0t my own conc|0s|ons, oased on B||zend|ne's hnd-
|ngs.
Are G|r|s W|th Acne Easy
According to Brizendine, they are. lt's a clue that her androgen levels are high, making her more like-
ly to have sex (lf only l knew this in high schoolj. Other signs of high testosterone in women are body
hair, facial hair growth, and a lower voice. So, um, next time you see that stinky bearded woman with
acne and a deep voice, either it's on or she's a man.
She also adds, in case you haven't already experienced this, that girls taking oral birth control have
lowered sexual drives.
Why Take Aways Work--And Dramat|c Re|at|onsh|ps Drag on
lf you're a girl," she writes, you've been programmed to make sure you keep social harmony. This
is a matter of life and death to the brain." And furthermore, the state of romantic love can be reig-
nited by the threat or fear of losing one's partner."
Why Your Re|at|onsh|p Prob|ems May Not Be Your Fau|t
These differences in the brain often lead to marital problems: Some women get upset that their
husbands don't like being social or having long talks or being emotionally open. But this, Brizendine
says, is not his fault. lt's just his brain chemistry.
More interestingly, if a woman's partner stops talking to her or responding emotionally, she thinks
that he disapproves of her, that she's done something wrong, or that he doesn't love her anymore.
She'll panic that she's losing him or...think he's having an affair." Sound familiar to anyone?
The B|o|ogy Beh|nd Gett|ng B|own Out By a G|r| You're Not Even Attracted To
Ever see a girl in a club who you're just not into. ln fact, you don't think she's attractive at all. Yet
she's strutting around like she's the hottest girl in the room and shooting down guys left and right.
Brizendine explains: Women who were the most outspoken and had the highest self-regard also
had the highest levels of estrogen, testosterone, and androstenedione. They also ranked themselves
above how their peers ranked them." So although you may be put off by her, when closing time rolls
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around, just remember what Brizendine says about women with more testosterone.
How to Game Your W|fe Into Want|ng a Baby
According to Brizendine, the sweet smell of an infant's head" carries pheromones that produce oxy-
tocin in a woman, and create a literal baby lust." Thus, a woman will often be overcome by a deep
desire to have a child soon after cradling someone else's warm, soft newborn. So if, conversely,
you're not ready for children, don't let your signifcant other hold anyone's babies.
Pregnancy Fun Facts
Fun fact number one: Six months into pregnancy, a woman's brain actually shrinks--and doesn't re-
turn to its normal size until six months after she gives birth. (But nature has its revenge: men's brains
in old age shrink quicker than women's.j
Fun fact number two: Morning sickness comes from a heightened sensitivity to smell in the brain
circuits of a pregnant woman--and it is the intensity of everyday odors that creates the nausea.
D|sc|a|me|: 7|e |nfo|mat|on |n t|ese ooo| |eoo|ts comes f|om t|e a0t|o|s t|emse|ves. By o0o||s||ng
t|em, t||s o|og |s ne|t|e| s0ooo|t|ng no| deny|ng t|e|| t|eo||es--|0st s|a||ng t|em.
Why Men Shou|d Keep Work|ng When They Become Fathers
According to Brizendine, maternal aggression" and increased vigilance" can begin to alter the
personality of a new mother. One symptom: Reassessment of her husband's role as provider is not
unusual."
Stressed Out A|| The T|me? B|ame Your Mom
According to Brizendine, adults who received low maternal care as children display increased anxi-
ety, have hyperactive responses to stress, and are more vigilant and fearful.
Why Hav|ng a Baby |s Bad For Your Sex L|fe
Besides the obvious--such as new priorities, her biological changes, and both being exhausted
from taking care of the newborn (a new mother loses 700 hours of sleep in the frst yearj--Brizendine
writes that a man actually has a sympathetic biological reaction to his partner's pregnancy. Just
before birth, the hormone cortisol doubles in the man, increasing sensitivity and alertness (thus the
clich of the over-zealous, over-worried father-to-bej. And in the frst weeks after the baby is born, a
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man's testosterone drops by a third, decreasing his sex drive, as his estrogen level increases.
ln the meantime, Brizendine writes, Mother love and breast-feeding replace or interfere with a moth-
er's desire for her partner." All the skin-to-skin contact with her baby saturates her brain in dopamine
and oxytocin, making her feel loved, deeply bonded, and emotionally and physically satisfed. lt's
no wonder that she has no need for sexual contact," Brizendine concludes. Most of the positive
feelings she usually gets from intercourse are evoked several times daily by meeting the physical
needs of her young children."
Why Pract|ce Makes Perfect--And Why You Can "Reta|n Your Bra|n"
The more you do something," Brizendine writes, the more cells the brain assigns to that task." l
suppose this makes the converse true as well, and all that not-having-sex after a child is born may
cause the brain to reassign those cells elsewhere. (lf any psychologists are reading these book
reports, yes, after hearing scores of married men complain to me that their wives haven't slept with
them in years, l did develop a slight marriage phobia.j
Why "Rea| Man" Don't Cry
At least a quarter of Brizendine's book comes more from evolutionary psychology than neurobiology,
but obviously the two are inter-related. One of the interesting theories she mentions is that women
evolved to cry four times more than men. This is because the male brain, as you'll hear more about
when l get around to reviewing her companion book, becomes less attuned to reading emotion and
interpreting faces in childhood. Consequently, it takes a bigger gesture that's not open to interpreta-
tion or doubt to get a man's attention. Without tears, men pick up the subtle signs of sadness in a
female face only 40 percent of the time, while women can spot the same signs in men 90 percent of
the time.
Why Women Are More Fr|ghtened Than Men by Horror Mov|es
Before reading this book, l thought women were culturally trained to act overly frightened in scary
movies and situations, and play a helpless" role to get attention from men. Turns out, according to
Brizendine, this is biological. The extra estrogen means girls feel gut sensations and physical pain
more than boys do. As a result, according to studies, from childhood, women startle more easily
and react more fearfully."
The Or|g|n of Fema|e Intu|t|on
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Brizendine says this comes from mirror neurons." A woman not only observes what someone else
is experiencing, but will actually imitate or mirror the hand gestures, body posture, breathing rate,
gaze, and facial expressions of someone else--and as a result not will only understand what the
other person is experiencing, but actually feels it. (Score a victory for NLP here.j
Women Are From Mars, Men Are From Rocks
ln a study at Stanford, subjects were shown emotionally-moving images: nine different brain areas lit
up in women, while only two brain areas lit up in men.
Why Women Punch Peop|e (And Th|ngs| Less Than Men
The amygdala, says Brizendine, where, among other things, fear, anger, and aggression occur, is
larger in men; meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex, which controls and checks these emotions, is larger
in women. Add to this women's added aversion to confict that could sever a friendship (reality
shows notwithstandingj, and you have a world in which guys have more rage issues, especially men
with high testosterone
However, Brizendine concludes, although a woman is slower to act out of anger, once her faster
verbal circuits get going, they can cause her to unleash a barrage of angry words that a man can't
match." Been there?
This often leads to a situation where the man feels frustrated by her verbal torrent, and reacts with
anger, which then frightens her and causes her to shut down (the normal responses of fghting or
feeing does not occur because it may cause her to lose her protective mate, Brizendine addsj. And
thus you have the formula for some of the world's worst relationships.
The Advantages of Menopause For Women
Though Brizendine describes the two to nine years before menopause as an unending case of PMS,
menopause also has its advantages. One of them is the end of the many ups and downs a woman
goes through hormonally in a month; instead, she becomes more constant and steady in her moods
and feelings. ln addition, she becomes less concerned with pleasing others and more focused on
herself, something her partner may not relish. This is a result of several hormonal drops in meno-
pause, which make it so that she no longer gets a dopamine rush when talking with her friends or
nurturing others.
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ln addition, despite the stereotype of men leaving their wives for younger women, she says that 65
percent of divorces in couples over the age of 50 are initiated by women.
Why O|der Women Are Less L|ke|y to Cockb|ock
As a result of menopause, the ability to read subtle emotions and then either help out or work to pre-
serve a friendship lessens. Consequently, Brizendine actually writes, older women fnd themselves
less obsessed with things like babysitting drunk friends. Do with this information what you will.
The B|o|ogy And Myth of Cougars
Sure, if you've been in the feld long enough, you've probably had the experience of a much older
woman pawing at you like a piece of meat. Evidently, this is more an exception than the rule of ag-
ing. According to Brizendine, 50 percent of women between the ages of 42 and 52 lose their interest
in sex, are harder to arouse, and have fewer and less intense orgasms. She adds that a woman's
testosterone high comes at age 19 (a man's is at 21--and ten times greater than a woman'sj.
Other women, however, do get postmenopausal zest," as anthropologist Margaret Mead puts it,
and have a new sense of freedom from rules and rejuvenated sexual desire. (Please hold your jokes
about the frst story in R0|es of t|e Game.j For those of you who plan to still be doing it in your sev-
enties, Brizendine recommends testosterone patches, gels, creams, and other treatments for women
who fnd themselves with no sexual interest or libido.
A Fact You Probab|y D|dn't Want to Know
As for that other ffty percent of women who don't lose interest in sex, according to studies, a quar-
ter of women aged seventy to ninety in nursing homes still masturbate.
What a Woman Wants
According to Brizendine, from her anecdotal evidence as a therapist, almost every woman she's
treated says she wants joy in her life, a fulflling relationship, and less stress with more personal time.
An Important T|p For Grow|ng O|d
According to a study at John Hopkins University, women and men over the age of sixty-fve who
have the widest variety of activities have the lowest rates of dementia.
l'm going to make some room for some of your book reports, and then conclude this series on the
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male and female brains with a report on Brizendine's follow-up book, The Male Brain. And if you
want to read Brizendine's book, it's a great, quick read--and unlike in this brief critical summary, all
her facts and studies are cited: T|e Fema|e B|a|n
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Acclaimed brain and behavioral science writer Daniel Goleman, author of Soc|a| /nte|||gence: 7|e
Revo|0t|ona|y New Sc|ence of H0man Re|at|ons||os, wants to tell you about the social brain," or
as he calls it, those extensive neural modules that orchestrate our activities as we relate to other
people."
Before we go any further, please set your NERD ALERT antenna to its lowest setting. Goleman has
earned the right to talk in vocabulary better suited to an academic seminar than to a windows-to-
the-wall-to-the-sweat-drop-down-my-balls nightclub. He's got a Harvard PhD, and fortunately, he
can put into plain words what neural modules" do for you and me.
According to Goleman, through neuroplasticity, you can basically refashion" your brain by adopting
new patterns of interactive behavior. ln other words, you can become a more sophisticated social
creature.
ln Social lntelligence, the word Empathy" surfaces again and again: empathy being the power one
person has to make another person feel felt". (Felt" as in emotionally valued, not felt" as in Tiffany
under the bleachers at the 9th grade pep rally.j
ln this summary, l'm going to cut through the scientifc jargon of Goleman's Social lntelligence and
present to you the book's greatest hits, along with my own observations.
Note: /'ve o|o|en my ana|ys|s down acco|d|ng to t|e s|x oa|ts of t|e ooo|.
Part I- W|red to Connect
Who You Shou/d K/ck Your Bummer Fr/ends Io Ihe Curb
"No0||s||ng |e|at|ons||os |ave a oenehc|a| |moact on o0| |ea|t|, w|||e tox|c ones can
act |||e s|ow oo|son |n o0| ood|es." o.5
Goleman writes that good friendships not only give us good feelings, but they can also activate
T-cells, the immune system's foot soldiers in the constant battle against invading bacteria and vi-
CRP #2. Soc/a/ lnIe///gence
Summary by A/ex Po//ack
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ruses." Meanwhile, such cells are not activated when we're associating ourselves with people who,
quite frankly, make us feel bad.
You /Pod, Your Pr/son
"7|e |Pod wea|e| can |ead||y |gno|e anyone, |oo||ng ||g|t t||o0g| t|em |n a 0n|ve|sa|
sn0o...to t|e extent t|at tec|no|ogy aoso|os oeoo|e |n a v||t0a| |ea||ty, |t deadens t|em
to t|ose w|o a|e act0a||y nea|oy." P.8
lf you're walking through a grocery store, a park, a university campus, or anywhere in public with ear
buds in, you're prone to miss out on potential connections with beautiful women and maybe-busi-
ness acquaintances who pass you by. ln short, don't trap yourself in a dungeon of Bieber Fever.
The Happy Face AdvanIage
"Sm||es |ave an edge ove| a|| ot|e| emot|ona| exo|ess|ons: t|e |0man o|a|n o|efe|s
|aooy faces, |ecogn|z|ng t|em mo|e |ead||y and q0|c||y t|an t|ose w|t| negat|ve ex-
o|ess|ons- an effect |nown as 't|e |aooy face advantage.' P.44
lf you're in a bad mood and you're craving the happy face advantage, try clenching a pencil in your
teeth.
Hear me out.
Goleman suggests that you can, "st|| any emot|on oy |ntent|ona||y sett|ng o0t fac|a| m0sc|es fo| t|at
fee||ng." (p.19j He says that clenching a pencil in your teeth will force your face into a smile, subtly
evoking a positive feeling.
lf you try this at home, please remove the pencil from your teeth before leaving the house.
lI's NoI A// AbouI You, Dude
"Se|f-aoso|ot|on |n a|| |ts fo|ms ||||s emoat|y, |et a|one comoass|on. W|en we foc0s on
o0|se|ves, o0| wo||d cont|acts as o0| o|oo|ems and o|eocc0oat|ons |oom |a|ge. B0t
w|en we foc0s on ot|e|s, o0| wo||d exoands. O0| own o|oo|ems d||ft to t|e oe||o|e|y
of t|e m|nd and so seem sma||e|, and we |nc|ease o0| caoac|ty fo| connect|on." P. 54
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7||s q0ote of Go|eman |em|nds me of a d|st|nct|on Ne|| St|a0ss w||tes of |n R0|es of t|e
Game. 7|o0g| Go|eman |s w||t|ng aoo0t gene|a| emoat|y and Ne|| |s w||t|ng aoo0t em-
oat|y |n te|ms of o|c||ng-0o women, s|m||a| conc|0s|ons a|e d|awn: "7|e g0y w|o fa||s
at t|e game |s t|e one w|o goes o0t |oo||ng fo| women to ma|e ||m fee| good aoo0t
||mse|f," Ne|| w||tes. "7|e g0y w|o s0cceeds at t|e game |s t|e one w|o goes o0t and
ma|es ot|e| oeoo|e fee| good aoo0t t|emse|ves."
Change Ihe Frame, Change Ihe Memory
"/f at t|e t|me of t|e fea| we te|| o0|se|ves somet||ng t|at eases |ts g||o, t|en t|e same
memo|y oecomes |eencoded w|t| |ess oowe| ove| 0s." P. 79
Confession: l used to be afraid of dogs. When l was a kid going on walks with my mom, l would see
her face tighten in the presence of puppies. She would squeeze my hand, and l could practically
hear the acceleration of her heartbeat. For much of my life, l thought that l had adopted her fear
wholesale.
While l have not transformed into The Dog Whisperer, l have defeated my fear of dogs by, as they
say, faking it till l made it." Realizing that when l was scared, l would cross my arms, fold my legs,
and feel my shoulders stiffen, l have purposely changed my physical behavior around dogs: l now
keep my legs at an open stance and leave my arms to the side. Just by arranging my body in a less
closed way, l feel more comfortable around canines. My previous fears have become reencoded"
by new behaviors. l have changed the frame, and therefore changed the memory.
Now if only l could convince my mom that she could too conquer her fear of dogs, l'd really be get-
ting somewhere.
Part II - Broken Bonds
Don'I Say, "Hey, Buddy, Can you Te// l'm Show/ng You EmpaIhy?"
"7|e Jaoanese wo|d amae |efe|s to...emoat|y t|at |s ta|en fo| g|anted, and acted
0oon, w|t|o0t ca|||ng attent|on to |tse|f." P.108
True empathy involves not only listening to the other's words, but also to his body language. lf you
want to demonstrate high value as a person of empathy, it is far stronger to understand what the
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other person actually needs than it is to merely listen to what the other person says he needs.
l goI 3000 Facebook Fr/ends and ??? Rea/ Fr/ends
"Fee||ngs of |nc|0s|on deoend not so m0c| on |av|ng f|eq0ent soc|a| contacts o| n0-
me|o0s |e|at|ons||os as on |ow acceoted we fee|, even |n |0st a few |ey |e|at|ons||os."
P.114
My friend's wife Jennifer has more than 3,000 Facebook friends. They write funny messages on her
wall and like" her new pictures. But according to her husband, Jennifer never sees any of these
friends, much less has a deep conversation with any one of them. For all her Facebook contacts,
Jennifer complains to her husband about how she has nobody to talk to. None of those 3,000 peo-
ple have eased Jennifer's loneliness.
The lesson l take from Jennifer and from Goleman is that popularity is a slippery concept, one that is
not equivalent to the popular person feeling accepted. lf Jennifer had even one person outside her
husband to confde to, she would be happier.
Sorry, Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg has not saved the world.
CauI/on. ProjecI/on /s NoI EmpaIhy
"P|o|ect|on |gno|es t|e ot|e| oe|son's |nne| |ea||ty, w|en we a|e o|o|ect|ng, we ass0me
t|e ot|e| fee|s and t||n|s as we do." P.115
What's the difference between projection and empathy? According to Goleman, projection makes
the other an lt, empathy sees the other as a You." Basically, self-absorbed people tend to tell the
other person what the other person is feeling, whether it is true or not, while empathetic people are
distinguished by searching toward a ft between [their| perception and the other person's reality."
Consider a celebrity gossip-obsessed friend who projects her own craving for fame onto you: Shut
up, you'd love to be on TMZ!" she might say, blind to how she's projecting her own desires onto you,
who has no desire to drink tiger blood like Charlie Sheen. (Thank you, March 2011.j
How NoI Io GeI Punched /n Ihe Head
"/f we |ega|d someone as me|e|y an oo|ect, t|en we can mo|e eas||y m|st|eat t|em,
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ao0se t|em, o| wo|se." P.129
At a bar the other night, l introduced myself to almost all of my friend's friends, except for two peo-
ple, one of whom was the boyfriend of a woman l decided to firt with. l had no idea that the girl, Sa-
sha, and the guy, G, were together. l probably could have learned this fact if l had been a good man
and introduced myself to him. (l'm using Sasha and G as aliases in place of their real names.j
Unfortunately, l was introduced to G seconds after Sasha and l started kissing at the back of the
bar, with G coming upon me like a fash of lightning and socking me in the noggin. When l told him,
Dude, l didn't know," he didn't reply; he just wordlessly jabbed me until l escaped his grasp.
To G, l was not a three-dimensional person; l was the Anonymous guy hitting on his girlfriend. l was
no more than an object of his wrath. lf we'd met each other properly and talked it out, we may have
been able to prevent the ugly scene.
lf we don't want to be seen as objects, we better present ourselves as people.
Part III - Nurtur|ng Nature
JusI Because She HaIed Her Dad Does NoI Mean She W/// HaIe You Too
"Anyone w|o |n c|||d|ood was t|eated oy ca|eta|e|s as an /t |at|e| t|an as a Yo0 |s
|||e|y to oea| s0c| sens|t|v|t|es and emot|ona| wo0nds," o0t, " jUC/A osyc|o|og|st A||anj
Sc|o|e a|g0es t|at n0|t0||ng |e|at|ons||os |ate| |n ||fe can to some extent |ew||te t|e
ne0|a| sc||ots t|at we|e enc|yoted |n t|e o|a|n d0||ng c|||d|ood." o.171
ln the early 2000s, l listened to the radio show Loveline, and was both amazed and saddened to
hear how Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla could so easily peg callers as victims of abusive relationships.
The callers would often admit, or be prodded into admitting, that they were replicating their past by
continuing to attach themselves to partners who reminded them of their past abusers.
Encouragingly, Schore's research, as pointed out by Goleman, suggests that those Loveline callers
are not doomed to a life sentence of being treated as objects rather than as people, as long as they
can fnd and form nurturing relationships (be it with a therapist, a supportive friend, or a loverj. Be-
cause the neural scripts encrypted in their brain can somewhat be rewritten, so too can their futures.
Part IV - Love's Var|et|es
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AIIachmenI + Car/ng + Sexua/ AIIracI/on = RomanI/c Love
"W|en attac|ment entw|nes w|t| ca||ng and sex0a| att|act|on, we can savo| f0||-o|own
|omance. B0t w|en any of t|ese t||ee goes m|ss|ng, |omant|c |ove st0mo|es." o. 189
This equation sounds like a simple one, but turn it into a question: lf you, dear reader, are currently
dating someone, do you feel attached to her? Do you care about her? Are you sexually attracted to
her? lf you hesitated when answering yes or no to any of those three questions, it may be time to re-
evaluate your needs and hers.
"Love aI F/rsI S/ghI," or Dopam/ne Sp/ke?
"W|en a man |ece|ves t|e d||ect gaze of a woman |e hnds att|act|ve, ||s o|a|n act|-
vates a dooam|ne c||c0|t t|at de||ve|s a do||oo of o|eas0|e. S|mo|y |oo||ng at oea0t|f0|
women, o| ma||ng eye contact w|t| someone not oe|ce|ved as att|act|ve, fa||s to st||
t||s c||c0|t|y." P.191
Though Goleman does not specifcally cite the idea of love at frst sight," the mental jump is easy to
make: lock eyes with a woman you fnd attractive, and you'll feel a spike of pleasure. Some call that
feeling love at frst sight," when in reality, it's just a trigger of chemicals. Remember this if you're
having a diffcult time getting over your oneitis" because you can't shake the memory of her looking
into your eyes.
Men D/g BeauIy, Women D/g SIaIus? lI's NoI ThaI S/mp/e
"7|o0g| women tend to hnd a||0|e |n s|gns of a man's oowe| and wea|t|, and men |n a
woman's o|ys|ca| att|act|on, t|ese a|e not t|e o||me d|aws fo| e|t|e| sex-|0st t|e ones
t|ey most d|ffe| on. Fo| men and women a|||e, ||ndness toos t|e ||st." P. 199
At frst glance, this quote may fy in the face of what students of game" have practiced: we have to
neg, we have to disqualify, and we have to tease her until she wants us to please her. While teasing
is indeed an ingredient of sexual tension, there comes a point in the day where, after the attraction
and the seduction, both the man and the woman want somebody who is, gasp, kind.
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Kind is not a sexy word, but it is a word we'd do well not to dismiss.
l WanI Io SweaI You Up
"P|es0mao|y, as co0o|es dance, t|e|| |o|mona| |0g q0|et|y oaves t|e way fo| sex0a|
a|o0sa|, as t|e|| ood|es s0o||m|na||y o|c|est|ate cond|t|ons cond0c|ve to |eo|od0ct|on."
P.201
Thank you, Dr. Goleman, for providing another reason to sign up for salsa lessons.
Hey, Lover. You Look ExacI/y L/ke Me, and ThaI Does NoI Spook Me
"Somet||ng |at|e| |ema||ao|e tends to |aooen w|t| co0o|es w|o ||ve toget|e| fo| de-
cades, hnd|ng |aoo|ness w|t| eac| ot|e|. 7|e|| cont|n0a| |aooo|t even seems to |eave
|ts ma|| on t|e|| faces, w||c| come to |esemo|e eac| ot|e|, aooa|ent|y a |es0|t of t|e
sc0|ot|ng of fac|a| m0sc|es as t|ey evo|e t|e same emot|ons ove| t|e yea|s. S|nce eac|
emot|on tenses and |e|axes a soec|hc set of fac|a| m0sc|es, as oa|tne|s sm||e o| f|own
|n 0n|son t|ey st|engt|en t|e oa|a||e| set of m0sc|es. 7||s g|ad0a||y mo|ds s|m||a| ||dg-
es, w||n||es, and ||nes, ma||ng t|e|| faces aooea| mo|e a|||e." P. 218
ln the song Boombox," the comical music trio Lonely lsland suggests that old people fnd love
through the power of a boombox and a plate of boiled goose. The reality of elderly love is likely less
salacious, but don't feel sorry for that elderly couple you spot on the sidewalk if they look more like
siblings than spouses. lf they're together, they may very well be satisfed with many years of rapport
etched into their faces through much mirroring of each other's facial expressions.
Part V - Hea|thy Connect|ons
G/r/fr/ends Need G/r/fr/ends
"Many s0|veys of Ame||can women s|ow t|at oos|t|ve |e|at|ons||os a|e t|e|| ma|o|
so0|ce of sat|sfact|on and we||-oe|ng t||o0g|o0t ||fe. Fo| Ame||can men, on t|e ot|e|
|and, oos|t|ve |e|at|ons||os |ate |owe| |n |moo|tance t|an a sense of oe|sona| g|owt| o|
a fee||ng of |ndeoendence." P. 241
This quote reminds me again of my friend's wife, Jennifer, who has hopped from job to job, looking
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for satisfaction through networking for a better career rather than stopping to enjoy a friendship as
an end unto itself.
Maybe l should slip Goleman's book into Jennifer's mailbox.
Part IV - Soc|a| Consequence
Some SIress /s Hea/Ihy
"St|ess va||es w|t| c|a||enge, at t|e |ow end, too ||tt|e o|eeds d|s|nte|est and oo|edom,
w|||e as c|a||enge |nc|eases |t ooosts |nte|est, attent|on, and mot|vat|on- w||c| at t|e||
oot|ma| |eve| o|od0ce max|m0m cogn|t|ve efhc|ency and ac||evement. As c|a||enges
cont|n0e to ||se oeyond o0| s|||| to |and|e t|em, st|ess |ntens|hes, at |ts ext|eme, o0|
oe|fo|mance and |ea|n|ng co||aose." P. 271
lf you're reading this article, you're likely interested in self-improvement and pushing yourself outside
your comfort zone. However, if you're the type of person who only reads articles about changing
your life" and does little too actually enact such changes when he leaves the computer, you may
very well feel bored.
The stress involved with reading about changing yourself is a low end" stress, but if you put these
suggestions into action, you'll likely feel a higher-level stress. As long as you feel engaged and fo-
cused in your journey, that kind of stress is healthy. Don't challenge yourself to break bread with
Mark Cuban or be Kim Kardashian's rebound boyfriend; start off slow, but start off somewhere.
Now, drop down and give me twenty.
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On Becom|ng a Pe|son by Carl R. Rogers is a classic text on humanistic and existential psychother-
apy. The book is based on works by Rogers during the 1950's and 60's, yet the material is still highly
relevant today. The book contains some interesting ideas and perspectives on personal growth and
development.
A key point is Rogers' view on what it means to become that self who one truly is, and thus a fully
functioning person. Rogers discusses the process of getting in touch with one's emotions so that
one might live life based on a real self instead of a false, ideal self. The incongruence between these
two selves is a major cause of personal distress according to Rogers.
The book explains what it means to move away from facades and toward self-direction. lt discusses
the trust of self and how to face life's complexities. The good life is a process. Not a state of being.
Rogers emphasizes fexibility and an openness to experience, instead of a rigid, defensive approach
to life. His teachings are all based on an optimistic and positive view of people and the world.
The following is a summary of some core themes in the book that l believe are of most interest to the
lnner Circle members.
To be your true se|f
self-deception or distortion. To be your true self involves a strong awareness of your total life experi-
ence where basic sensory and visceral experiences are strengthened and refned. The opposite, a
false or ideal self, is what most people base their lives on. What do others think l should do in this
situation?" What would my parents or my culture want me to do?" What do l think ought to be
done?" These are all examples of thinking based on a false, ideal self. To be your true self, you need
to ask instead: How do l experience this?" What does it mean to me?"
Being your true self, you are aware of what you are actually experiencing, and not simply what you
can permit yourself to experience after a thorough screening through a conceptual flter. You can
listen sensitively to yourself. You can be what you are - your experience. This is what Rogers would
label a fully functioning human organism.
CRP #3. On Becom/ng a Person
Summar/zed by Henr/ck - MSC Counnse//ng
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Many people are in distress because of an incongruence between their false and their real self. Life
is based on the false self, which contradicts their real life experience. People are most often unaware
that this incongruence is causing their distress, maladjustment etc. Rogers based this assumption
on what he learned from thousands of therapy sessions with people from all walks of life. As people
get to know themselves better and learn to accept their experience, the incongruence diminishes
and suffering is relieved. Accepting all of your emotions as part of the life experience is crucial in be-
ing your true self.
Rogers had an optimistic and positive view of people. He stated that when people's capacity of
awareness is functioning freely and fully, people would not be evil or out of control, but organisms
able to achieve a balanced, realistic, self-enhancing, prosocial behavior. According to Rogers, when
people deny awareness to various aspects of their experience, then we all too often have reason to
fear them and their behavior.
Rogers points out that no one person fully achieves his description of a true self. lt is a life- long goal
to strive toward. Each individual is a separate, distinct and unique person. The following generaliza-
tions of a true self can still be drawn:
Away from facades: lnstead of hiding behind a fa3ade, as if it were yourself, you must
come closer to being yourself - whatever emotions that might involve.
Away from oughts: Upbringing and the relationship with parents is most often the cause
of an unhealthy, compelling image of what you ought to be". Abandon such false, self-con-
cepts.
Away from meeting expectations: Our culture puts many expectations on us to subordi-
nate our individuality to ft into the group needs - we are socialized into society. Be aware how
this might confict with your real self.
Away from pleasing others: Many people form themselves by trying to please others.
Toward self-direction: Be autonomous. Choose your own goals. Become responsible for
yourself.
Toward being process: Be a process, a changing fuidity. Do not be disturbed that you
are not the same from day to day, or don't always hold the same feelings toward a person or
experience. End statements and conclusions are of less importance.
Toward being complexity: Be the complexity of your own feelings. Be all of yourself in
each moment - all the richness and complexity with nothing hidden from yourself, and nothing
feared in yourself. This is diffcult indeed, and in its absolute sense an impossible goal.
Toward openness to experience: Live in an open, friendly, close relationship to your own
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experience of external reality. Experiencing is a friendly resource, not a frightening enemy.
This implies a superior awareness of your own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective
reactions in general.
Toward acceptance of others: value and appreciate others' experience for what it is with-
out arguing or demanding that it be otherwise.
Toward trust of self: Trust and value the process within you. Creative people like Heming-
way or Einstein, were told that good writers or scientists do not do it that way." Still, they
persisted and moved toward being themselves.
Gett|ng |n touch w|th your emot|ons
Becoming aware of your own emotions or feelings is a crucial prerequisite to be your true self. Peo-
ple sense their feelings to varying degrees. Many live their lives with this awareness mostly hidden or
repressed. ln Rogers' therapy, revealing the inner life of the client was a central goal. He described
seven stages in a process leading to a full awareness of one's emotional life. very few clients ever
reached the seventh stage.
Rogers explained the process as one where a person changes from fxity to fowingness. lt is a move
away from a state in which feelings are unrecognized, unowned and unexpressed. lt is a move to-
ward a fow in which ever-changing feelings are experienced in the moment, knowingly and accept-
ingly, and may be accurately expressed.
Here are the seven stages:
1. There is an unwillingness to communicate self. Communication is only about externals. Feel-
ings and personal meanings are neither recognized nor owned. Close and communicative rela-
tionships are construed as dangerous. There is no desire to change.
2. Expression begins to fow in regard to non-self topics. Problems are perceived as external
to self. There is no sense of personal responsibility in problems. Feelings are described as un-
owned, or as past objects. Feelings may be exhibited, but are not recognized as such or owned.
Experience is bound by the structure of the past. Differentiation of personal meanings and feel-
ings is very limited and global. There is little recognition of contradictions.
3. There is a freer fow of expression about the self as an object, and self -related experience as
objects. There is also expression about the self as a refected object, existing primarily in others.
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There is much expression about feelings and personal meanings not now present. There is little
acceptance of feelings. They are seen as something shameful, bad, abnormal, etc. Experiencing
is still described as in the past or as somewhat remote from the self.
4. Descriptions of feelings are more intense, sometimes as objects in the present. Occasionally
feelings are expressed as in the present, but the client distrusts and fears this happening. There
is slightly more acceptance of feelings, and they are not as bound by structures of the past.
There is also an increased differentiation of feelings, constructs and personal meanings. There is
a realization of concern about contradictions and incongruences between experience and self.
There are vacillating feelings of responsibility in problems.
5. Feelings are expressed freely as in the present. Feelings are very close to being fully experi-
enced. They bubble up" or seep through" in spite of the fear and distrust which the client feels
at experiencing them with fullness and immediacy. There is an increasing ownership of self-feel-
ings, and a desire to be these - the real me. Experience is loosened, no longer remote, and fre-
quently occurs with little postponement. Differentiation of feelings and meanings are much more
exact. There is an increased quality of acceptance of self-responsibility.
6. Feelings can fow to their full result and are directly experienced with immediacy and rich-
ness. Feelings are accepted, and not denied, feared or struggled against. There is a quality of
living subjectively in the experience, not feelings about it. A physiological loosening accompanies
this - tears, sighs, muscular relaxation etc. The incongruence between experience and awareness
disappears. ln this stage there are no longer problems", external or internal. The client is living,
subjectively, a phase of his problem. lt is not an object.
7. Feelings are experienced with immediacy and richness of detail in all life situations. The
changing of feelings are accepted, owned and trusted. Situations are experienced and inter-
preted in their newness, not as the past or structure-bound. The self is something confdently felt
in process. lnternal communication is clear with feelings and symbols well matched. Personal
constructs are tentatively reformulated, to be validated against further experience, but even then
to be held loosely. There is the experiencing of effective choice of new ways of living.
Rogers' |essons
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ln his therapeutic work, Rogers came to several important lessons that he summarized in his book. A
few of them are these:
ln my relationship with persons, l have found that it does not help, in the long run, to act
as though l were something that l am not.
l fnd l am more effective when l can listen acceptingly to myself, and can be myself.
My total organismic sensing of a situation is more trustworthy than my intellect.
Experience is, for me, the highest authority.
People have a basically positive direction.
Life, at its best, is a fowing, changing process in which nothing is fxed.
Conc|ud|ng comments
The above describes a deep inward journey of self-discovery. Though originating in a therapeutic
setting, l believe these ideas can be a source of self-help and development for people outside the
therapy room as well. Today, many self-help books and popular psychology is based on cognitive-
behavioral theory, where a simple change in thinking patterns is the remedy for personal distress.
ln my opinion such techniques have limited value if we are unaware of our true self. For lasting and
thorough personal change to occur, we must frst and foremost learn to know ourselves. Then we
have a better foundation to grow and change as people.
A detailed outline of Rogers' therapeutic methods is beyond this report, but a summarizing quote
from his book gives a glimpse of the essence:
/f / can c|eate a |e|at|ons||o c|a|acte||zed on my oa|t:
oy a gen0|neness and t|ansoa|ency, |n w||c| / am my |ea| fee||ngs,
oy a wa|m acceotance of and o||z|ng of t|e ot|e| oe|son as a seoa|ate |nd|v|d0a|,
oy a sens|t|ve ao|||ty to see ||s wo||d and ||mse|f as |e sees t|em,
7|en t|e ot|e| |nd|v|d0a| |n t|e |e|at|ons||o:
w||| exoe||ence and 0nde|stand asoects of ||mse|f w||c| |e o|ev|o0s|y |as |eo|essed,
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w||| hnd ||mse|f oecom|ng oette| |nteg|ated,
w||| oecome mo|e |||e t|e oe|son |e wo0|d |||e to oe,
w||| oe mo|e se|f-d||ect|ng and se|f-conhdent,
w||| oecome mo|e of a oe|son, mo|e 0n|q0e and mo|e se|f-exo|ess|ve,
w||| oe mo|e 0nde|stand|ng and acceotant of ot|e|s,
w||| oe ao|e to cooe w|t| t|e o|oo|ems of ||fe mo|e adeq0ate|y and mo|e comfo|tao|y.
Rogers believed this statement was true of all his relationships, professional and private.
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This book is about worry, stress, and how our minds can be our own worst enemy. The book
teaches us how to deal with the worry, and reduce/eliminate it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could
pursue any challenge in life with the attitude of a carefree child, running your life as an enjoyable ex-
periment without taking failure/upset to heart? This would be a beautiful way to live, not to mention a
great mindset for success with women!
Though the book was written in 1948, it's timeless. Our psychology hasn't changed, so the lessons
are still as fresh today as they were when they were published.
Dale Carnegie wrote, "S|nce wo||y |s one of t|e o|ggest o|oo|ems fac|ng man||nd, yo0 wo0|d t||n|,
wo0|dn't yo0, t|at eve|y ||g| sc|oo| and co||ege |n t|e |and wo0|d g|ve a co0|se on 'How to Stoo
Wo||y|ng'? Yet, |f t|e|e |s even one co0|se on t|at s0o|ect |n any co||ege |n t|e |and, / |ave neve|
|ea|d of |t...t|e |es0|t? Mo|e t|an |a|f of o0| |oso|ta| oeds a|e occ0o|ed oy oeoo|e w|t| ne|vo0s and
emot|ona| t|o0o|es."
ln the book, you will fnd knowledge that, if applied, will take away much of the worry and negative
stress in your life.
Here are some things you can expect to get out of the book, when you apply the lessons:
1. Gives you a number of practical, tested formulas for solving worry situations.
2. Shows you how to eliminate 50 percent of your business worries immediately
3. Brings you seven ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will give you peace and happiness
4. Shows you how to lessen fnancial worries
5. Shows you how to avoid fatigue - and keep looking young
6. Tells you how to add one hour a day to your waking life
And much more! Let's get started:
CRP #4. How Io SIop Worry/ng and SIarI L/v/ng
Summar/zed by Josh L/poveIsky
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A Mag|ca| Formu|a for So|v|ng Worr|es:
Dale Carnegie writes about a sure-fre recipe for handling worry situations - a technique you can
start using right away". l tried the technique, and it really helped me fnd a solution for my problem!
7. Find a problem: Analyze it honestly and fearlessly, fnd out what's the worst that could possi-
bly happen
8. Mentally accept the worst case scenario in your head, in case it actually happens
9. Devote your time and energy/write down and brainstorm solutions that could greatly improve
upon the worst case scenario
Let's try an example:
l have so much diffculty approaching a woman, and l'm terrifed about what could happen if she
rejects me. l feel such an intense nervous tension right in my stomach, and my body almost shivers
when l think about approaching her. When l do approach her, here are some of the worst things l can
think of: l'll say Hi, she'll say Hi, and there will be awkward silence. Her boyfriend will step into the
picture out of nowhere and threaten me. Her friends will laugh at me. She will be very standoffsh,
and not want to talk to me. l will be publicly humiliated in some way.
All of these scenarios seem tough. However, l accept all of them happening to me. l will live through
it, and become a stronger person (even in the absolute worst-case scenario. As a matter of fact, the
worse the scenario, the faster l'll grow! So it's actually a big WlN for me!j
lf there's an awkward silence, l'll have a set phrase in mind, like: So what do you do for fun?" or
something along those lines. lf there's awkward silence after that, it's okay. lf her boyfriend comes
out of nowhere and threatens me, l'll say something like: l didn't know she had a boyfriend, didn't
mean to cause any trouble." lf l get publicly embarrassed, l'll roll with it, and play off of that! lt will be
something that l look back on and smile! All of the experiences are a great chance for me to grow,
and the nervous tension will dissipate the more l approach! WlN!
You get the idea. This approach can help you brainstorm solutions for pretty much any problem in
your life, and lead you to stop worrying!
Another S|m||ar Formu|a that You Can App|y
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What am l worrying about?
What can l do about it?
When am l going to start doing it?
SO SlMPLE! But so effective!
Engagement: A Great Cure for Worry
Marion J. Douglas (fake namej felt the tension of grief". He lost his fve-year-old daughter, and 10
months later, "God gave 0s anot|e| ||tt|e g|||-and s|e d|ed |n hve days.../ co0|dn't s|eeo, / co0|dn't
eat, / co0|dn't |est o| |e|ax. My ne|ves we|e 0tte||y s|a|en and my conhdence gone...B0t t|an| God, /
|ad one c|||d |eft-He gave me t|e so|0t|on to my o|oo|em. He as|ed: "Daddy, w||| yo0 o0||d a ooat fo|
me? 7|at ooat too| me t||ee |o0|s.../ |ea||zed t|at t|ose t||ee |o0|s we|e t|e h|st |o0|s of menta|
|e|axat|on and oeace t|at / |ad |ad |n mont|s/"
Marion found out that being engaged in something makes even the most severe worries disappear!
Let's go back to the problem with women: Do you ever feel worried about your skills with women?
Do you ever worry that you will never achieve the level you want to achieve with women? Well, l bet
most of this worrying is done inside the house, when you're alone. How often do you worry when
you're out and about, talking with women, and being engaged? Not very much, l would think! The
answer to the problem is so, so simple, but sometimes very tough to apply: Be mentally engaged in
something that's meaningful to you, and your worry will dissipate.
Become busy, so that you have no time for worry!
The L|tt|e Th|ngs are the B|g Th|ngs, Unfortunate|y
Human beings are amazing. We can weather pretty much any harsh circumstance that life throws
at us: Tragedy, death, disease, etc. But l fnd it most diffcult, in my experience, to deal with the little
things. My favorite sports team losing again. Little, annoying interruptions throughout the day. Here
is a great metaphor from the book:
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"On t|e s|ooe of /ong's Pea| |n Co|o|ado ||es t|e |0|n of a g|gant|c t|ee. Nat0|a||sts te||
0s t|at |t stood fo| some fo0| |0nd|ed yea|s. /t was a seed||ng w|en Co|0mo0s |anded
at San Sa|vado|, and |a|f g|own w|en t|e P||g||ms sett|ed at P|ymo0t|. D0||ng t|e
co0|se of |ts |ong ||fe |t was st|0c| oy ||g|tn|ng fo0|teen t|mes, and t|e |nn0me|ao|e ava-
|anc|es and sto|ms of fo0| cent0||es t|0nde|ed oast |t. /t s0|v|ved t|em a||. /n t|e end,
|oweve|, an a|my of oeet|es attac|ed t|e t|ee and |eve|ed |t to t|e g|o0nd. 7|e |nsects
ate t|e|| way t||o0g| t|e oa|| and g|ad0a||y dest|oyed t|e |nne| st|engt| of t|e t|ee oy
t|e|| t|ny o0t |ncessant attac|s. A fo|est g|ant w||c| age |ad not w|t|e|ed, no| ||g|tn|ng
o|asted, no| sto|ms s0od0ed, fe|| at |ast oefo|e oeet|es so sma|| t|at a man co0|d c|0s|
t|em oetween ||s fo|ehnge| and ||s t|0mo."
The beetles are the real problems you should be on guard for. Those little annoyances that inevitably
happen every day have the potential to destroy our lives if we don't get them handled.
Remove Worry w|th Stat|st|cs
This is a rational technique, called The Law of Averages". lt's simple: Think about what you're wor-
rying about. Ask: Statically, what's the probability that this will actually happen?" lt's probably pretty
low. And even if it's high, worrying will only make it more likely. lronic!
Cooperate w|th the Inev|tab|e
"W|en / was a ||tt|e ooy, / was o|ay|ng w|t| some of my f||ends |n t|e att|c...As / c||moed
down o0t of t|e att|c, / |ested my feet on a w|ndow s||| fo| a moment-and t|en |0moed.
/ |ad a ||ng on my |eft fo|ehnge|, and as / |0moed, t|e ||ng ca0g|t on a na|||ead and
to|e off my hnge|. / sc|eamed. / was te|||hed. / was oos|t|ve / was go|ng to d|e. B0t afte|
t|e |and |ea|ed, / neve| wo|||ed aoo0t |t fo| one so||t second. W|at wo0|d |ave oeen
t|e 0se?.../ acceoted t|e |nev|tao|e."
Do you have any problems in your life that you would be better off accepting, rather than fghting
against? For example, l have a strong form of Crohn's Disease. lt has changed a lot of things that l
can/can't do in life. l now focus on the things that l can do (it's a long list!j, rather than the few things
that l can't. l don't fnd myself worrying about it, because there are better battles to fght: Like work-
ing on myself, my inner game, my purpose in life, my success with women, and my overall contribu-
tion to the world.
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Our L|fe |s What Our Thoughts Make It
3 men were tested on grip strength: Their average strength was 101 pounds. When hypnotized to
believe that they were weak, their average grip was 29 pounds. When they were hypnotized to be-
lieve that they were strong, their average grip strength was 142 pounds! That's incredible. Though
this lesson is very old, it doesn't ring any less true.
"7|e m|nd |s |ts own o|ace, and |n |tse|f
Can ma|e a |eaven of He||, a |e|| of Heaven"
"A oo||t|ca| v|cto|y, a ||se |n |ents, t|e |ecove|y of yo0| s|c|, o| t|e |et0|n of yo0| aosent
f||end, o| some ot|e| q0|te exte|na| event, |a|ses yo0| so|||ts, and yo0 t||n| good days
a|e o|eoa||ng fo| yo0. Do not oe||eve |t. /t can neve| oe so. Not||ng can o||ng yo0 oeace
o0t yo0|se|f." -Ra|o| Wa|do Eme|son
How can we change our thoughts? Dale Carnegie proposes a little thought trick that may be famil-
iar to you. Act as if you are in a cheerful mood, even if you aren't. Try it as you're reading this. Start
singing, whistling, and humming. Maintain a good posture, and put on a big smile. lt's hard to argue
that this technique doesn't work. You, may, however, look very strange if you do this 100% of the
time in public. But whatever works for you is great!
2 Key Po|nts to Avo|d Frustrat|on When Dea||ng w|th Other Peop|e
People will do things that may stir up anger in you. They may betray you. They may hurt you. They
may cheat you. They may lie to you. lt is absolutely essential that you keep these people out of your
mind. Please forgive them, if only for your own sake (to keep your mental clarity, and to stay focused
on more productive things!j "/ |ea||ze t|at oat||ot|sm |s not eno0g|. / m0st |ave no |at|ed o| o|tte|-
ness towa|d anyone." -Edith Cavell
When you do nice things for other people, it's best not to expect gratitude. People will usually be
thankful, but gratitude is unnatural. lngratitude is part of human nature, like weeds. Please" and
Thank you" must be conditioned through setting examples. Understand that many people have not
grown up with these positive examples; so if other people are ungrateful, just let it go. Try to give for
the true beneft of yourself + others, without expecting gratitude. Easier said than done, but aware-
ness is a good start.
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How to Be Happy for What You Have
"/ |ad t|e o|0es oeca0se / |ad no s|oes,
Unt|| 0oon t|e st|eet, / met a man w|o |ad no feet."
"7|e|e a|e two t||ngs to a|m at |n ||fe: h|st, to get w|at yo0 want, and, afte| t|at, to en-
|oy |t. On|y t|e w|sest of man||nd ac||eve t|e second." -/ogan Pea|sa|| Sm|t|
"/f yo0 |ave a|| t|e f|es| wate| yo0 want to d||n| and a|| t|e food yo0 want to eat, yo0
o0g|t neve| to como|a|n aoo0t anyt||ng." -Edd|e R|c|enoac|e|
"O0g|t" |s t|e |ey wo|d |e|e. We |now on a consc|o0s |eve| t|at we s|o0|dn't oe wo|-
||ed aoo0t anyt||ng. Yet, t|e wo||y seems to s|n| |n, |||e 0nwanted weeds.
"7|me |an an a|t|c|e aoo0t a se|geant w|o |ad oeen wo0nded on G0ada|cana|. H|t |n
t|e t||oat oy a s|e|| f|agment, t||s se|geant |ad |ad seven o|ood t|ansf0s|ons. W||t|ng
a note to ||s docto|, |e as|ed: 'W||| / ||ve?' 7|e docto| |eo||es: 'Yes.' He w|ote anot|e|
note, as||ng: 'W||| / oe ao|e to ta||?' Aga|n t|e answe| was yes. He t|en w|ote anot|e|
note, say|ng: "7|en w|at |n t|e |e|| am / wo||y|ng aoo0t?"
Ask yourself: What in the hell am l worrying about!? l fnd this to be an enlightening question!
Be Yourse|f...but Who am I?
Of course How to Stoo Wo||y|ng and Sta|t /|v|ng has a section that tells you to be yourself. This
concept is very foggy. Who are you?
l came up with an exercise that helps you identify your strongest personality traits. Try it out!
Make an inventory of your most powerful strengths, personality wise. When do you feel best? When
you're in an outgoing/shy state of mind? ln solitude? Giving a speech? At a party? What are some
of your favorite aspects of your own personality? BONUS: Ask your friends/family about what they
believe to be your strongest/most admirable skills and personality traits. lt could open up your eyes
wide to new insights about the clichd proverb: Be Yourself"
Can Re||g|on He|p You Conquer Worry?
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There is a 15-page section in the book that is dedicated towards religion, and how adopting a belief
in God could alleviate many of the worries in your life. Personally, l do believe in God, and this belief
has helped me out so much. However, l highly respect both theists/atheists. Here's an exercise that l
encourage, to help you get in touch with your own religious beliefs:
What are your beliefs on the existence of God? How have these beliefs beneftted your life in the
past? For what reason do you accept/reject God, and how can you use these beliefs to your advan-
tage?
Dea||ng w|th Cr|t|c|sm
A great saying: No one kicks a dead dog. Unjust criticism is often a compliment in disguise. How
would your life look if you adopted this mindset: The more l am criticized, the more successful l am.
l'm sure Neil can attest to this. Obviously, if you are criticized all of the time, and you have no loyal
fans/followers; you may be doing something wrong to piss everyone off. Likewise, if you have no
critics, it probably means you have yet to upset the status quo (or you haven't been noticed on a big
enough scale...YETj.
The Weekly Self Analysis - A Cool Habit to Adopt
"Fo| yea|s / |ave |eot an engagement ooo| s|ow|ng a|| t|e aooo|ntments / |ave d0||ng
t|e day," M|. Howe|| to|d me w|en / as|ed ||m to exo|a|n t|e |easons fo| ||s s0ccess...
Afte| d|nne| / go off oy myse|f, ooen my engagement ooo|, and t||n| ove| a|| t|e |nte|-
v|ews, d|sc0ss|ons, and meet|ngs t|at |ave ta|en o|ace s|nce Monday mo|n|ng. / as|
myse|f: 'W|at m|sta|es d|d / ma|e t|at t|me?' 'W|at d|d / do t|at was ||g|t-and |n w|at
way co0|d / |ave |mo|oved my oe|fo|mance?' 'W|at |essons can / |ea|n f|om t|at exoe-
||ence?' 7||s system of se|f-ana|ys|s, cont|n0ed yea| afte| yea|, |as done mo|e fo| me
t|an any ot|e| t||ng / |ave eve| attemoted."
"Eve|y man |s a damn foo| fo| at |east hve m|n0tes eve|y day. W|sdom cons|sts |n not
exceed|ng t|at ||m|t."-E|oe|t H0ooa|d
What if you set up a once-weekly habit to go over your entire week in your mind, and write down all
of the mistakes you made? This would be very enlightening. Dale Carnegie writes: "/et's oe o0| own
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most seve|e c||t|c."
Some possible questions to ask:
What mistakes did l make in the past week?
What did l do that was right in the past week?
How can l improve next week? What lessons can l apply?
Napp|ng - Prevent|ng Fat|gue and Worry
lt's so easy to worry when you are fatigued. lt lowers your willpower, and makes it easy for you to
forget all of the lessons in this amazing book. Luckily, Carnegie dedicates an entire section to im-
proving your energy. The frst piece of advice is daily napping. He claims that even a 5-10 minute
nap, where you simply relax and close your eyes, has a great effect on your physical energy!
Carnegie makes a bold claim: lf you can sleep for an hour around fve, six, or seven o'clock, you
can add one hour a day to your waking life. Why? How? Because an hour's nap before the evening
meal plus six hours' sleep at night - a total of seven hours - will do you more good than eight hours
of unbroken sleep."
lnteresting! l don't want to go so far as to say this is 100% true for everyone, but it may be true for
you! Like most things in life, you won't gain the wisdom by simply reading. You can try it out, and
see how it works for you.
Are you tens|ng musc|es wh||e you work?
Dale Carnegie also claims that mental work does not make you tired. lt's your attitude toward the
work + your physical posture, that can lead to fatigue. He advocates that you physically relax your
body as much as possible during work, ideally like a limp sock"! Personally, having a good posture
has been amazing for my life. l've been working on it using an interval timer (Gymbossj, and it's great
stuff! l believe Neil also used the Alexander Technique to help his posture. lt's worth it!
Cathars|s - Another Way to A||ev|ate Worr|es
Do you have a great social network? Can you think of a friend or two that you can call up to talk
about what's bothering you? lf you don't have anyone you can vent to, l suggest working on your
social network (Never Eat Alone is a great book for this issuej, or writing down your worries on paper
- using the exercise listed in the beginning of this outline. A combination of both would work best!
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2 Notebook Hab|ts to Prevent Worry
Keeping a journal of inspirational quotes. l have had a quote journal for about 4 years. Whenever l
have a short insight, l write it down. Whenever l'm reading a book, l write down quotes that inspire
me from it. When l stumble upon a nice quote on the lnternet, l write it down. From time to time, l
look at my quote journal, and l always feel much better after l read it. Highly recommended!
Write a schedule for tomorrow's work before you go to bed. This helps you get rid of the stressful
question: What am l going to do today? lt also helps you tell the difference between what's urgent in
your life, and what's important in your life. Many of the items that are of most importance to you, are
also the least urgent on a day-to-day basis! Writing down what you're going to do the night before is
a great way to ensure that the right things get done!
A Coup|e of Good Work|ng Hab|ts
Clear your desk of all papers except those related to the problem at hand - Self-explanatory. lt helps
clear your mind!
Do things in the Order of Their lmportance - l cannot stress this one enough. l have struggled in my
life with productivity, and l fnd that my greatest days are the ones where l do the toughest and most
daunting task FlRST. There is no way around it. l have tried. This is one of the key ingredients to a
good day. Good Days = Good Life
Dea||ng w|th Insomn|a
Dale Carnegie gives a few tips for dealing with insomnia. The usual progressive relaxation", as well
as reading + working until you're very tired. He also states that rolling your eyes in an upward posi-
tion helps trigger fatigue and makes you tired. He also mentions an essential point: lnsomnia doesn't
hurt you as much as WORRYlNG about insomnia. lt's the worry that harms you the most.
And that's the theme of this incredible book. The worry harms you the most, not the problems. l read
this book 3 times over, and l think the lessons in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" are incred-
ibly simple, yet simply invaluable. There are also many inspirational stories about people overcoming
horrible adversities to become less stressed out in their lives.
How can this book help you? l believe that the lessons in this book, when applied, are an excellent
foundation for ANY ENDEAvOR you want to go on. Want to get better with women? This book will
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help. Want to make more money? This book will help. Want to build an amazing network of people?
This book will help. Want to revolutionize your health? How to Stoo Wo||y|ng and Sta|t /|v|ng will
help you out a lot!
This book will help by developing you into the type of person who can handle adversity. Scratch that.
This book will help you develop into the type of person who THRlvES on adversity. ln my experi-
ence, pain and adversity is the quickest shortcut to success. lf you apply the lessons, you'll learn to
handle pain and adversity like a champion. There's no way that your life won't improve drastically.
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So why shou|d I ||sten to Nathan|e| Branden?
Nathaniel Branden is pretty much a guru" on self-esteem. This guy just never quits. Like an artist to
a block of marble, Branden has spent the better half of his life studying and writing book after book
about Self-Esteem, each time chiseling away at all the excess to sculpt the quintessential guide to
Self-Actualization. Branden even admits himself that the topic of self-esteem leaves a lot to be dis-
covered but 7|e S|x P|||a|s of Se|f-Esteem does a great job presenting six basic practices to maintain
a healthy mind and self-image.
"7|e t0|o0|ence of o0| t|me demands st|ong se|ves w|t| a c|ea| sense of |dent|ty, comoetence and
wo|t|," writes Branden. Whether you are trying to attract women, accomplish your career goals, or
simply walk down the street feeling more complete, practicing good self-esteem will only enrich your
life for the better.
Se|f Esteem |s Determ|ned by You and No One E|se.
Early on in 7|e S|x-P|||a|s, Dr. Branden makes an acute observation: To avoid being a braggart,
people attempt modesty in the hopes that others will point out their accomplishments. "7||s att|t0de
|s tyo|ca| of t|ose w|o oe||eve one's se|f-esteem |s o||ma|||y dete|m|ned oy ot|e| oeoo|e".
This is absolutely wrong. While recognition is a great reward, there is nothing wrong with being con-
fdent in one's own right to be happy. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplish-
ments and wanting to share what makes you great with the rest of world. lf we spend all our time
trying to elicit people's admiration and recognition, we diminish our self-worth by not believing we
are worthy of it in the frst place.
The d|fference between Se|f-Esteem and Arrogance.
Many people mistake high self-esteem for bragging or over-confdence but there is a distinct dif-
ference between over-compensating and being self-assured: "Pe|sons of ||g| se|f-esteem a|e not
d||ven to ma|e t|emse|ves s0oe||o| to ot|e|s... t|e|| |oy |s |n oe|ng w|o t|ey a|e, not |n oe|ng oette|
CRP #5. The S/x P///ars of Se/f-EsIeem
Summar/zed by Er/cson
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t|an someone e|se."
l'm not a fan of any metaphor that uses a dog's way of looking at the world but Nathaniel Branden
nails the point on the head when he describes watching his dog play in the backyard: "S|e was not
t||n||ng t|at s|e was mo|e g|ad to oe a||ve t|an t|e dog next doo|. S|e was s|mo|y de||g|ted |n |e|
own ex|stence."
Life is not about being on top but simply enjoying the fortune of your existence. People who are
looking for recognition and envy are usually quite the opposite of self-assured. Those with high self-
esteem are typically just happy to revel in their fortune without measuring it against the fortune of
others.
A|r|ght A|readyI What |s Se|f- Esteem?
That basic principle of self-esteem is summed up in the frst chapter: "7o t|0st one's m|nd and to
|now one |s wo|t|y of |aoo|ness |s t|e essence of se|f-esteem."
Self-esteem is not a competition; it is not a measure of worth but more a measure of how much one
values his own self.
Nathaniel Branden goes even further and breaks self-esteem down into two major components:
Se|f-Efcacy
"7o oe efhcac|o0s |s to oe caoao|e of o|od0c|ng a des||ed |es0|t".
Taking on this project was a challenge for me. l have never been a quick reader and certainly have
never written anything that has been published for a mass audience. So l admit the challenge was
a bit overwhelming since failing would not only let myself down but the people l was writing it for.
At one point l thought l was way in over my head: "W|at ||g|t do / |ave to w||te an a|t|c|e on se|f-
esteem?".
Telling yourself you cannot accomplish things only keeps you from progressing. To maintain self-ef-
fcacy is to believe you have the ability to overcome obstacles and accomplish your goals and doing
so. "Conhdence |n o0| oas|c efhcacy |s conhdence |n o0| ao|||ty to |ea|n w|at we need to |ea|n and
do w|at we need to do |n o|de| to ac||eve o0| goa|s."
Se|f-Respect
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Almost everyone has, at some point, self-sabotaged themselves. Perhaps it was a promotion they
were interviewing for or a relationship with someone they thought was too good for them. Whatever
the stakes, whatever the losses, self-sabotage is usually followed by the same thought: l deserve
this".
This behavior is not only self-destructive. Just as it not the responsibility of others to nurture our
self-esteem, it is not their decision but our own whether we are worthy of happiness. Worthiness is
the other half to having healthy self-esteem. While maintaining the self-effcacy to work towards our
goals, we must also "cons|de| o0|se|ves wo|t|y of t|e |ewa|ds of o0| act|ons".
So What are the S|x P|||ars?
1| The Pract|ce of L|v|ng Consc|ous|y
"7|ose w|o oe||eve t|ey |ave t|o0g|t eno0g| and |ea|ned eno0g| a|e on a downwa|d t|a|ecto|y of
|nc|eas|ng 0nconsc|o0sness."
lt's not an uncommon trend for us to believe we have learned all there is to know. That we are the
way we are and there is no more room for growth. We reach a point in our lives where we think this
is it" and just live day in and day out pondering the past and wishing for the future.
Nathaniel Branden argues (and l agreej that this is counterproductive. ln order to maintain healthy
self-esteem you must focus on the one thing you can control: the here and now. This means being
conscious of what is happening in the moment, being conscious of the direction you are heading
and making the necessary adjustments to make sure it's the direction you want to be going.
2| The Pract|ce of Se|f-Acceptance.
"7o oe se|f-acceot|ng |s to oe on my own s|de."
This may be amongst the hardest of all the pillars. We all have aspects of us that we wish we could
change. They may be aspects of our character, past mistakes, but more often than not they are
physical in their manifestation. But regardless of what we might not like about ourselves, we must
learn to accept them. This isn't fnding enjoyment in our defciencies. lnstead, we acknowledge them
and move past them so that they do not own us.
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"Se|f-acceotance enta||s o0| w||||ngness to exoe||ence-t|at |s, to ma|e |ea| to o0|se|ves, w|t|o0t de-
n|a| o| evas|on- t|at we t||n| w|at we t||n|, fee| w|at we fee|, des||e w|at we des||e, |ave done w|at
we done, and a|e w|at we a|e."
3| The Pract|ce of Se|f-Respons|b|||ty
l think it is safe to assume at one time we have all blamed someone or something for a certain pre-
dicament. Usually it is our parents; they didn't love us enough, support us in our dreams, or treat us
like adults. Maybe it's a boss who won't give us a promotion or a teacher who is not allowing us to
pass a class. ln the end it's all the same thing: we are fnding security in playing out the victim in our
own stories.
Throughout the 7|e S|x P|||a|s, Dr. Branden makes a point to remind us that no one is coming to
save us." We can play the victim all we want but in the end our own actions are the only thing un-
der our control and blaming others for our problems while waiting for another to save us will lead to
nothing but disappointment.
"/f t|e|e |s a o|oo|em, men and women w|o a|e se|f-|esoons|o|e as|, 'w|at can / do aoo0t |t? W|at
aven0es of act|on a|e ooss|o|e to me?' ... t|ey do not o|otest 'o0t |t's not my |oo/'... t|ey a|e tyo|ca||y
so|0t|ons o||ented."
4| The Pract|ce of Se|f-Assert|veness
"7o o|act|ce se|f-asse|t|veness |s to ||ve a0t|ent|ca||y, to soea| and act f|om my |nne|most conv|c-
t|ons and fee||ngs."
Despite disagreement, people tend to respond more to those that are confdent about their opinions
and beliefs. By standing by our words and actions we display a person who is self-assured and con-
fdent in who they are, something a lot of people secretly yearn for.
lt's natural for us to try to modify our behavior in a way that makes us more appealing to those
around us, but it must not come at the cost of being true to our selves.
5| The Pract|ce of L|v|ng Purposefu||y
"7o ||ve o0|oosef0||y |s, among ot|e| t||ngs, to ||ve o|od0ct|ve|y, w||c| |s a necess|ty of ma||ng o0|-
se|ves comoetent |n ||fe."
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Personally, if there was one pillar that someone could adopt to be more self-assured it would be
this one. The majority of the world is flled of people just trying to get by in life; working nine to fve
jobs and maybe another part time gig on the side just to make ends meet. Their leisure time is spent
playing video games, watching movies or passing time drinking with friends. And all of them have
a dream in life of what they'd rather be doing but the opportunity to do so never seems to present
itself.
Living Purposefully" means not only having goals in life but living in a manner that drives you to-
wards completing them. This can be incredibly scary for some but that only underlines its impor-
tance. lf we are too afraid of failure we are lacking both self-effcacy and self-respect by not allowing
ourselves to attempt to reach our full potential.
lt's always important to remember "|f / don't do somet||ng, not||ng |s go|ng to c|ange."
6| The Pract|ce of Persona| Integr|ty
"/nteg||ty |s t|e |nteg|at|on of |dea|s, conv|ct|ons, standa|ds, oe||efs- and oe|av|o|. W|en o0| oe|av|o|
|s cong|0ent and o|act|ces matc|, we |ave |nteg||ty."
l'm sure we all have moments in our life where we could have labeled ourselves as hypocritical. We
may not acknowledge these hypocrisies but we will always notice them as we commit them. Re-
gardless if people know we are acting incongruent to our beliefs, there's that sinking feeling in our
stomach that we are not the person we want to be. The essence of guilt, whether major or minor, is
self reproach."
By living consciously we must also be conscious of our standards and live up to them. While it may
be hard to hold integrity in an world where the amoral continually succeed (corporate deals, shady
politics, etc.j it is important for the sake of self identity to be as true to your values as possible.
Just as we must be self-assertive and vocal about who we are and our beliefs, we must also work
diligently to remain congruent with who we want to be.
The Seventh P|||ar
Essentially Nathaniel Branden's point is that self-esteem is more like a muscle than a blessing. ln-
stead of being something bestowed on us, we must work towards maintaining our self-esteem.
We cannot be lazy in regards to our body as well as our emotional development. Like working out to
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maintain physical shape; there is no ceiling, you are always maintaining yourself. And just like work-
ing out, this may require us to endure discomfort from time to time. But as the saying goes, the
things worth doing in life are hard".
"Se|f-esteem |eq0||es a w||||ngness to end0|e d|scomfo|t w|en t|at |s w|at one's so|||t0a| g|owt|
enta||s."
The frst step in building self-esteem is having the willingness to embrace change; to challenge
oneself to grow beyond his current comforts, to believe l am lovable and capable." lt is a choice,
frst and foremost, to practice the six-pillars of self-esteem, and no one can make that choice except
you.
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Michael Ellsberg: 7|e Ed0cat|on of M||||ona||es. lt's Not What You Think and lt's Not Too Late
Most people, including parents, teachers, and politicians, will tell you that if you don't get your col-
lege degree, you're going to end up as a garbage man. How did you avoid buying into that viewpoint
and having faith in yourself that you could go out and succeed by educating yourself instead?"
This was the frst question Michael Ellsberg asked all the interviewees in his book - except the prob-
ably most successful garbage man in the word, Brian Scudamore, CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?" who
earns more than $100 million in junk hauling business per year.
To succeed in the business world you have to receive good grades, go to a good college, study
hard and hopefully get the essential credentials. This is the most common assumption people make
when they refect on successful careers. Michael Ellsberg doesn't think much of that. ln his opinion
there are many real world" skills college education won't teach you. Practical skills that are, how-
ever, crucial for professional success. But he goes even further: For many people spending time for
a bachelor's or a master's degree is a waste of time and money. To prove his unorthodox thesis he
interviewed a wide range of millionaires and billionaires who didn't study at the institutions of higher
education and in some cases didn't even fnish college. Pink Floyd lead guitarist and songwriter Da-
vid Gilmour and Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, are only two of them.
Why are so many super-successful people out there who never graduated from university or who
are even high-school dropouts? And why are so many BAs and MAs either not working in the feld
they've been educated in or even unemployed? Something with today's formal education has to
be wrong, says Michael Ellsberg, who holds a degree in lnternational Relations from Brown Univer-
sity. One day, at the age of thirty-two, he came to a shocking realization": Not a single penny of
his income was related to anything he ever studied or learned in college. Ellsberg, former wannabe
bad boy in literature" and today a successful author, supports the hypothesis that formal educa-
tion doesn't automatically lead to a well-paid job and fnancial security. ln the business world, street
smarts", acquired through business experience in the real world, are much more important. Our
current educational system is a typewriter", but it could be a Wl-Fl-connected Laptop", claims Ells-
CRP #6. The EducaI/on of M////ona/res
Summar/zed by Johannes Mane/juk
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berg at an early chapter of his book. Therefore, he distilled seven key skills for success":
Making work meaningful and meaning work
Finding great mentors and teachers and building excellent networks
Learning about marketing
Learning about sales
lnvesting for success
Building a brand of you
lnternalizing an entrepreneurial mind-set (vs. an employee mind-setj
THE "Portra|t of the Art|st as a Young Fuckup"
When it comes to his own development, Ellsberg doesn't beat around the bush. Possessed with the
idea that he wanted to publish his frst book and to be a literary superstar, he wrote a manuscript
of creative nonfction. This was at the age of twenty-seven. His idols were Henry Miller, Hunter S.
Thompson and Michel Houellebecq. While he moved back in with his parents again to save money
for the rent he dreamed about joining the table of the bad boys in literature". The twenty-two rejec-
tion letters he received after sending his manuscript titled Rock Star Envy to several editors couldn't
dissuade him from thinking that they just couldn't recognize the genius of Art" within his work. One
of the rejection letters read as follows: l'm going to pass on this project. Mr. Ellsberg's writing is not
strong enough to overcome the simple fact that he is not a very likable person." Over time, however,
his views of this episode changed. Especially the word undisciplined" which was used in many of
the rejection letters, led to the insight that all the rejections were right. He just didn't know where his
trailblazing" work led. ln 2006, after the second submission of Rock Star Envy had been rejected,
he got the message that he wouldn't end up as an enfant terrible of memoir writing". The following
process of realizing that he had to adjust his set of skills (writing and editing nonfctionj to market
realities in order to pay the rent and buy groceries led him to a four-step plan.
The Four Steps to Comb|ne Money and Mean|ng - Or: The Art of Earn|ng Money
Wh||e Do|ng What You Want To Do
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As the author wants to make clear that he doesn't recommend behaviors that he's never proven
to be successful through his own experience, Ellsberg brakes down the process of aligning your
money and your meaning" into four steps:
1. Get on your feet fnancially" - or: feel kinesthetically able to pay your rent
Step one is mostly about learning to walk on your own or - in other words - being able to pay the
monthly bills by yourself which is a good feeling. The goal is to learn to appreciate fnancial stability.
At this phase it doesn't matter if your job is what you want to do for the rest of your life if it pays you
enough to fnance yourself. The frst step is giving up on your dreams, purpose or meaning for a little
while to reach fnancial stability. lf there really is that kinesthetic feeling in your body of how it feels
to have enough money" l don't know, but it's worth trying to get it.
2. Create more room for experimentation" - or: how to disappear appropriately
lf the kinesthetic experiences of the frst step don't fulfll you anymore, it's time for the next level.
The spirit and aims of this step is to fnd a meeting ground" for both your money and meaning.
Therefore experimentation is needed. And experiments take time. As you achieved fnancial stabil-
ity through step one, you are now able to take measured risks" in your life without getting bankrupt
after one failure. ln other words: you bought room for experimentation through your regular job. But
what to do if there is no free time besides your job? You have to free up some time and space for
experimentation in leadership, innovation and marketing - which Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour
Workweek would call the Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Offce". lf your job takes too much
time begin to take some risks at work: Convince your boss to evaluate your work more on results
and less on the time you spent at the bureau. A more fexible schedule or working at home with your
laptop and mobile phone could free up some space and time which you had otherwise spent at your
workplace.
3. Begin experimenting" with your new space in your workday - or: push the start button
Now, with more fexibility at your workplace and with stable fnancial grounding, it's time to push the
start button and start experimenting. Solving problems that weren't your responsibility and contribut-
ing in ways you weren't expected to contribute feels meaningful. Ask yourself whether you are indis-
pensable at your workplace or not. The goal is to become a Linchpin" in your organization. ln sum-
mary, the third step is to apply an entrepreneurial mindset at your work by taking some risks toward
making a difference within your organization" and to dismiss the employee mindset. This is also
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the phase which is suitable for most people to remain in. lf you put step three into practice you will
have a regular job that pays the bills and provides enough free time due to the creative and leading
skills you acquired at work. lt frees up time to follow your passion, whether it is writing, songwriting,
sports or - the most delicate of all - women.
4. Striking out on your own" and become self-employed or: earn your living by following your pas-
sion
The last step is the mastery. lt's about earning your living by following your passion. Starting a small
business on the side, fnding ways to earn money through artistry or other passions or preparing for
self-study to start a career in another feld - the options are infnite. To make a living from that means
to do a deep dive into the success skills" in the book - which are, according to Ellsberg, marketing,
sales, and networking: You're going to have to wrap your own passions, talents, and purpose - the
things you care most about and are best at - in the package of these fundamental success skills".
And he doesn't forget to add a praise of creativity - as often throughout the book: A major pitfall in
this journey is that we are so conditioned to thinking of money and meaning as separate, we over-
look creative ways that we can bring them together."
The Importance of Connect|ons and The Rea| Power of Network|ng
What's the difference between two minutes of time spent by a BA and two minutes of Eben Pagan's
time (better known in PUA circles as David DeAngelo"j? According to Ellsberg, it's rather simple:
Eben's two minutes have much more infuence on the world than the two minutes of an unknown
person. Why is that? ls it because of Eben Pagan's superpowers? Defnitely not. lt's because of his
widely connected network. ln other words: his actions cause much impact because his huge net-
work functions as a multiplier of his actions. The difference between someone who is part of a huge
network and someone who is barely known is that the former has the power to make a difference
in the lives of many people with just one action. (An interesting side-note in the book is that Eben
Pagan found Michael Ellsberg's relationship to his partner Jena la Flamme so strong and healthy that
Eben wanted to get his advice on relationships.j
Why Everyone Shou|d Get Educated |n Market|ng
A very important topic in Ellsberg's book is marketing. ln this chapter one understands why the sub-
title of the book contains the words lt's not what you think". The chapter about the importance of
marketing skills and how to obtain them - namely to be able to teach yourself after reading his book
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- is a very uncommon approach to marketing. Yes, Ellsberg really likes to bash the way marketing is
taught at university and understood by most PhDs and MBAs. Taught and practiced the right way,
marketing has a lot more impact on personal success than most people realize, because it focuses
on the needs and desires of people and tries to bring up solutions to help people - this is the mes-
sage he wants the reader to get: The best marketing is about human connection on a genuine level
and therefore pretty much what the game is about. Aren't we masters of self-marketing when we are
our best self", as Neil Strauss put it in 7|e Game and in 7|e R0|es of t|e Game and aren't we mas-
ters of marketing when we spend good times with girls and make them feel good?
So - Is Forma| Educat|on A|| Bu||sh|t?
Michael Ellsberg's book is defnitely an eye-opener concerning marketing, sales and networking.
Beyond that, his wisdom and comprehension of the world is a remarkable example of self-study on a
highly effective level. Nevertheless, there are some points l would disagree with. As a graduate which
holds a master's degree in Rhetoric and Germanic Literature and Language l can say from personal
experience that there are profts from the academic education. However, especially in a feld like cul-
tural studies these profts are not so obvious and hard to measure.
Therefore you should never stop anyone from applying at a university. lt's not all bullshit courses"
how Ellsberg says in his book. Different perspectives on culture and literature can lead to a higher
level of understanding and refecting the world. ln this respect, Ellsberg stays too focused on the
economic value of formal education. The only studies he recommends without reservation are law,
engineering, and medical science.
The Three Success Sk|||s and the Den|t|on of Leadersh|p
A very insightful part of the book deals with the three success skills": marketing, sales and leader-
ship. What Ellsberg says is that you can't lead without inspiring people. ln his eyes the leader's abil-
ity to control other people is just a myth: Leadership boils down to the ability to change the hearts
and minds of people. Not controlling people; it's a myth that the leader has control." The true power
of a leader lies within his ability to infuence people to do what he thinks is the best. A leader should
always bear in mind that he's dealing with people who exercise their free will. The consequence is:
you can't persuade people of doing something. You can only inspire them so they can persuade
themselves. Leadership, marketing and sales are, according to Ellsberg, dependent on each other.
This leads the author to the following statement: lf you can get people who don't know about you
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to know about you (marketingj, and you can convert them into customers (salesj, and once they're
customers, you can lead them from point A to point B, you can accomplish anything on the planet."
The passage on leadership is a must read, especially for many self-proclaimed or wannabe-alphas
out there who still think that leadership just equals controlling and dominating people without car-
ing about their needs and desires. Ellsberg's defnition of leadership is one of the strongest l've ever
read. His idea of leadership is infuenced by Seth Godin, author of 7||oes: We Need Yo0 to /ead Us
and /|nc|o|n: A|e Yo0 /nd|soensao|e? who says that leadership is the new marketing". ln Ellsberg's
understanding, marketing, sales, and leadership become life skills, highly connected and inseparable
from one another - a viewpoint which is very uncommon and throws overboard our comprehension
of the three words.
The Idea| of the L|fe|ong Learner
One could argue that Ellsberg's depreciation of formal education was a diatribe against education in
general. The opposite is true. What is characteristic of all of the successful entrepreneurs mentioned
in his book is the fact that they are all lifelong learners. All of them acquired their knowledge by
taking action, failing, adjusting, improving, and taking action again until their ideas actually worked
out. They didn't acquire this kind of knowledge at school or at universities but only in real life while
dealing with concrete needs of customers. This is what Ellsberg calls street smarts" - knowing how
things work out in the real world instead of reading and writing about it at universities. The most
successful people, he argues, are constantly investing their resources in their personal growth. This
way they will beneft the most in the future. The ideal of the lifelong learner is refected in the way the
author aims to teach the reader to acquire new skills and wisdom. The principle is teaching to teach
yourself.
The Ph||osophy Beh|nd Th|s Book - Or: Be a G|ver, Not a Taker
One of the strongest reasons why l decided to write a report about this book is the controversial phi-
losophy behind it. Today the fear of not getting a proftable job even with excellent grades and cre-
dentials is widespread. This situation has been further aggravated by the fnancial market crisis. ln
the main chapter of his book, The entrepreneurial mind-set versus the employee mind-set", Ellsberg
lays the groundwork for a major shift in attitude towards the business world.
The entrepreneurial mind-set demands a contributive perspective. lt focuses on what's needed and
not what's requested, on outcome and not on output. lt's about taking responsibility for your actions
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and increasing, not decreasing responsibility. lt should not help to protect your current job but to
work yourself out of it. ln this passage the author reveals his motivation to share his knowledge with
others: One of my main motivations for writing this book is encouraging you, my readers, to see
the world as less fxed - a little more open to creative molding and shaping - than you thought it was
when you frst started reading the book."
What looks like a very risky lifestyle at frst glance turns out to be the opposite if looked at closely.
Safe is the new risky", says Seth Godin, whom Ellsberg interviewed for his book as well. lt's the ex-
pression of the employee mind-set which means hiding behind the masses instead of sticking your
neck out. And this is why many of the 'safe players' lost their jobs during the fnancial crisis: they just
followed instructions.
What l like most about 7|e Ed0cat|on of M||||ona||es is the fact that it leaves the reader with a feeling
of power instead of powerlessness without falling into the usual fuff talk many self-help books suffer
from. lt shows entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking as a self-determined way of life. Al-
though Ellsberg's opinions about bullshit" college classes appear quite radical and in some respect
a bit exaggerated, he can prove his introductory thesis impressively. The bootstrapped education",
the lifelong self-study and the triad of marketing, sales and leadership are insightful and feld tested.
Therefore this book is more than just business guidance. lts underlying concepts and strategies can
be applied to many realms of our lives in which we want to grow, for example to relationships and to
dealing with people. Taking action instead of remaining in quiet desperation" - to cite Thoreau - is,
overall, the key principle to achieve anything in life - whether you want to be a business magnate or
a pickup artist.
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After reading 7|e Game, l eventually read 7|e Se|hs| Gene, 7|e Red O0een, and Soe|m Wa|s. How-
ever, my personal candidate for the best book on psychology ever written is Stephen Pinker's How
t|e M|nd Wo||s. lt covers a lot of the same ground as those other books, but since it's a comprehen-
sive take on the human mind, it provides valuable context for what those other books say.
What we take for granted
One of the central ideas in Steven Pinker's How t|e M|nd Wo||s is that the most interesting features
of the mind are things we tend to ignore because we take them for granted. When we think intel-
ligence, we think Einstein. However, Pinker writers, The difference between Einstein and a high
school dropout is trivial compared to the difference between the high school dropout and the best
robot in existence, or between the high school dropout and a chimpanzee."
From an engineer's point of view, it's easier to build a pocket calculator to save us the trouble of do-
ing long division than it is to build a digital camera that will adjust well to taking pictures in a dimly-
lit nightclub. Humans, however, adjust effortlessly to the club's lighting conditions; it's long division
that's diffcult for us. And compensating for lighting is only one of several diffcult problems our brain
needs to solve to make sense of what our eyes are telling us. Movement--walking on two legs, ma-
nipulating objects with our hands, and so on--presents an entirely different set of problems for our
brains. Our brain solves them all, without our even being aware of it.
The |mportance of evo|ut|on
lt's not hard to guess why humans are so much better at seeing and moving than we are at long
division. The answer is evolution. On the African savanna, vision and movement were crucial to our
survival; long division was not. Thus, long division remains hard for us, even though it's relatively
easy to build a machine that does long division. This is another central idea in How t|e M|nd Wo||s:
Evolution explains a huge range of otherwise puzzling features of the human mind.
The human mind is, in its entirety, the product of evolution, but this does not mean all of our behavior
is adaptive, or that all we really want to do is pass on our genes. One reason for this is that evolu-
CRP #7. How Ihe M/nd Works
Summar/zed by Chr/s
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tion can only give us what worked in the past and is slow (slow, on a human timescalej to adapt to
changes in the environment. Had the Pleistocene savanna contained trees bearing birth-control
pills," Pinker writes, we might have evolved to fnd them as terrifying as a venomous spider." And
few men get terribly excited about the prospect of donating to sperm banks.
Nature vs. Nurture
From what l've said so far, many readers will assume that Pinker comes down on the nature" side
of the so-called nature-nurture debate." ln fact, he argues that the entire debate is confused: lf the
mind has a complex innate structure," he writes, that does not mean that learning is unimportant."
That makes no more sense than saying that if a computer has a lot of special-purpose gadgets, it
will do the same thing no matter what the user types in.
For similar reasons, it also isn't terribly helpful to say things like nature and nurture interact in com-
plex ways." That would be like saying, The behavior of a computer comes from a complex interac-
tion between the processor and the input." Such statements are true but useless"--what we want
to know is what it is about the complex machinery (of either the computer or the brainj that makes
these complex interactions possible.
Emot|on
So far, l've been focusing on general principles; now let's get into specifcs. Because of their rele-
vance to human social life, two of the book's later chapters, starting with Hotheads," Pinker's dis-
cussion of emotion, deserve focus.
Emotions are universal. The same emotions are found in cultures the world over. lntellectuals have
sometimes claimed that some cultures do not have particular emotions, but Pinker argues that they
have been misled by those cultures' establishment propaganda." The Utuku-lnuit claim not to feel
anger, but they recognize anger in foreigners, beat their dogs to discipline them, squeeze their
children painfully hard, and occasionally get 'heatedup.'" Similarly, in some cultures that practice ar-
ranged marriages, the elders will claim that romantic love doesn't exist, but young people generally
have other ideas.
While emotions are not merely the products of culture, they are also not atavistic remnants of our
reptile brain" which we must always struggle to control through our uniquely human faculty of rea-
son. They are, rather, evolutionary adaptations which were quite useful to our recent ancestors and
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which still do us a lot of good today. Fear, for example, keeps us from being bitten by poisonous
snakes and falling off cliffs. Disgust keeps us from eating things that could kill us.
Se|sh Genes
That much may sound obvious, but the emotions really get interesting when we come to the ones
that govern our interactions with other people, like love, anger and gratitude. To understand these
emotions, we need to do away with one more misconception about evolution: that evolution acts for
the good of the group or species. The reality, as Richard Dawkins explained in The Selfsh Gene, is
that evolution will promote whatever genes are good at getting copies of themselves made. lt's pos-
sible to imagine circumstances where this could lead to an animal evolving to look out for the good
of the group, but in practice those circumstances probably never occur.
lt is, however, very much possible for an animal to evolve to look out for family members. Selfsh
genes need not make selfsh organisms. Siblings share 50% of their genes, as do parents and off-
spring, so a gene for looking out for your own siblings, parents, and children will help to make copies
of itself 50% of the time. A similar but weaker principle applies to more distant relations. This is what
makes love of family evolutionarily adaptive.
What about the emotions we feel towards non-family? Well, cooperation can be mutually benefcial
even when the parties don't ultimately have each other's best interests at heart. To that end, grati-
tude can be benefcial if repaying favors leads to a pattern of fruitful interactions, and a tendency
to bear grudges can be benefcial if for no other reason than to prevent you from wasting time on
cheaters.
The Doomsday Mach|ne
However, to explain our most intense emotions, Pinker uses an unlikely analogy: the Doomsday
Machine from the movie Dr. Strangelove. ln the movie, the Soviets had built a machine which would
automatically destroy all life on earth if the Soviet Union were ever attacked with nuclear weapons.
Horrifying as the idea sounds, it actually makes sense as nuclear strategy.
During the Cold War, each side was supposed to be deterred from launching a nuclear frst-strike by
fear of retaliation. The problem with this strategy is that once a frst-strike has been launched, retalia-
tion cannot prevent or undo the deaths caused by the frst strike, it can only cause more deaths. This
might lead the leader of a doomed country to decide not to launch a frst strike. But the possibility
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that a leader might decide not to retaliate makes a frst strike tempting. A Doomsday Machine that
is set to go off automatically in response to an attack, without the need for human decision making,
would solve this problem.
Pinker proposes that some emotions act as a kind of Doomsday Machine. lf we sometimes get
angry, lose control, and seek revenge regardless of whether it is in our own rational self-interest, and
other people know this, it gives them a reason not to cross us. The part about other people know-
ing this is key--it means that this strategy only works if a tendency to have such emotions is hard to
fake, but we all know that emotions are in fact hard to fake.
Romantic love may function on a similar principle, but instead of committing us to retaliation, it
commits us to sticking by our partners even when it is no longer in our own self-interest to do so.
Because being abandoned by a partner as soon as it becomes convenient is potentially disastrous,
the ability to commit on a deeper level is worth having in a mate. This makes calling attention to your
ability to commit--your ability to fall in love--a useful courtship tactic, though as Pinker notes, being
too ready to fall in love reeks of desperation. (So seriously, guys, knock off the obsessing over that
one girl who's never shown any interest in you. There's probably an evolutionary explanation for why
you're feeling that way, but it's still creepy.j
Se|f-decept|on
The fact that it's hard to fake emotions has another important evolutionary consequence: self-decep-
tion. lf you're not the best liar in the world, sometimes it helps to believe your own lies. Typically, our
self-deceptions present us in the best possible light, so as to better sell that image of ourselves to
others. This explains a great many of the insights in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and lnfu-
ence People--including the fact that you can't win an argument (admitting you were wrong looks
bad, so people have reason not to admit that even to themselvesj and the fact that everyone is the
hero of their own story (Carnegie used the example of Al Capone; Pinker instead mentions Hitlerj.
Brother|y Love
The discussion of emotions, however, only scratches the surface of the psychology of social rela-
tions. Pinker goes into much greater depth in the chapter titled Family values"--a somewhat ironic
title, given that Pinker emphasizes that humans have not evolved to live in perfect harmony with one
another at all times. Because social relations are a part of virtually everything humans do, this ends
up being an extraordinarily rich chapter--Pinker notes that a large majority of the world's stock fc-
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tional plots involve problems he discusses.
There's no way to do this chapter justice in the limited space l have here, so l'll pass over some is-
sues with less relevance to modern life, such as the evolutionary logic behind arranged marriages
and tribal warfare. They're still worth reading, though--in fact, if you ever have a copy of How the
Mind Works but don't have time to read the whole thing, l'd recommend starting with this chapter.
Moving on: evolution explains brotherly love, but it also explains a great deal about conficts within
families. You may have heard that you're more likely to be murdered by a relative than a stranger, but
it turns out that the overwhelming majority of people murdered by relatives are murdered by non-
blood relatives (fctive kin."j This is what we would expect on evolutionary grounds, since the evo-
lutionary reasons for loving your blood relatives do not apply to fctive kin, hence the wicked step-
relatives of folklore.
While blood relatives generally refrain from murdering each other, everyone knows they still come
into confict, and evolution explains why. An older brother shares ffty percent of his genes with his
younger sibling, but he shares one hundred percent of his genes with himself." This leads to sibling
rivalry--siblings may not want each other dead, but each would prefer their parents would spend
more time and energy on his or her self, and less on their siblings. (lncidentally, this also leads to
parent-child conficts, since parents will generally want to treat their children more equitably.j
Men and Women
Now for the part you've all been waiting for: men, women, and what makes them different. Pinker
comes down strongly on the side of there being profound innate differences between the sexes,
enough to constitute two human natures." Furthermore, all the prominent differences between
males and females stem from the difference in the minimum size of their investment in offspring." ln
humans, this difference in investment" is quite large: men need only contribute a squirt of semen,
whereas women contribute nine months of pregnancy followed by a period of breastfeeding, which
can last two to four years in hunter-gatherer cultures.
Pinker describes a number of scientifc studies of the evolutionary consequences of these biologi-
cal facts. ln one experiment, researchers hired attractive men and women to approach strangers of
the opposite sex on a college campus" to ask them either Would you go out with me tonight?" or
Would you go to bed with me tonight?" Both half of the men and half of the women agreed to the
date. But for the would you go to bed with me tonight?" question, the percentages of yeses were
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75% and 0%, for men and women respectively. Pinker comments:
Of the remaining twenty-fve percent [of the men|, many were apologetic, asking for a rain check or
explaining that they couldn't because their fanc was in town. The results have been replicated in
several states. When the studies were conducted, contraception was widely available and safe-sex
practices were heavily publicized, so the results cannot be simply dismissed simply because women
might be more cautious about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
None of this is surprising: from an evolutionary point of view, a man who is sexually propositioned
by a strange woman has just gotten a (virtuallyj free shot at reproduction, but when the situation is
reversed, the woman is essentially being asked to embark on a costly endeavor for no particular
reason. Also note Pinker's last sentence, a good illustration of how human behavior is adapted to the
environment we evolved in, rather than the modern environment.
So what do women want? Sometimes, they will trade sex for material resources directly, as in pros-
titution. More commonly, they'll look for a partner who shows signs of both willingness and ability
to provide for any children than result from the union--willingness in the form of dependability and
professions of love, and ability in the form of wealth and status, or at least the talent and ambition to
acquire them.
lt's extremely important to stress, however, that material resources aren't the only factor infuencing
women's choice of partners. Women also have an interest in seeking out the best available genes
for their offspring. They can't directly test genetic quality, but they can, for example (and this is only
one examplej, seek out successful men because the traits that lead to success are likely to be partly
heritable.
Dom|nance and Status
This brings us to a fnal pair of topics: dominance and status. Why do animals engage in intimidation
contests and mock-battles that fail to draw blood? lt has nothing to do with the good of the species.
Rather, fghts to the death are costly, even for the winner, who may be badly injured in the course of
killing his rival. Therefore, it's in the interest of both parties to fgure out who would win a fght to the
death without actually fghting. lf the animals remember each other, the loser will defer to the winner
in the future, and in a group of animals, this eventually results in a dominance hierarchy or pecking
order."
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ln many primate groups, the dominance hierarchy among males takes on extra importance, because
dominant males mate more often. They're able to push other males out of the way, and what's more,
females prefer to mate with them, again because the traits that lead to dominance are heritable. This
is why, in some human cultures, men are willing to kill to avenge an insult, because ending up at the
bottom of a dominance hierarchy can be evolutionarily disastrous. ln our own society, such behav-
ior occurs mainly among poor young men whose prospects teeter between zero and nonzero" and
therefore have little to lose.
Pinker defnes status" as a kind of signal showing who can help you, and in humans, one of its main
forms in both humans and other animals is deliberately wasteful displays, from the peacock's tail to
gold bathroom fxtures. The message they send is simple: l can afford to waste resources on this, so
you know l must have a lot of resources to spare. But this is not the only way humans signal status.
We also have the fashion cycle: the game in which everybody tries to look like people richer than
themselves, except for a few wealthy trendsetters, who struggle to set themselves apart from all the
people trying to imitate them.
The standard fashion cycle is about looking high-class, but sometimes people actively avoid con-
forming or even try to look low-class. Why? Aggressive nonconformity," Pinker explains, is an
advertisement that one is so confdent in one's station or abilities that one can jeopardize the good
will of others without ending up ostracized and destitute." Pinker's book was published in 1997, but
had it been written today, he could have mentioned the ultimate example: hipsters who compete to
like things that no one else likes. There is much that is impressive about How t|e M|nd Wo||s, but
this has to be one of my favorite parts: explaining hipsters before hipsters existed!
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l am originally from Argentina and although l believe my writing ability in English is acceptable, l
apologize in case that the expression of the ideas of the book that l summarized for you is lacking in
some way. l summarized this book for The lnner Circle" because it was a book recommended to me
by a well-known Argentinean Therapist and Psychologist named Guillermo vilaseca, who is an ex-
pert in men's psychology and male gender issues. l hope you enjoy the summary and l wholeheart-
edly recommend reading the book if you do have the time.
The main theme of /|on Jo|n, A Book about Men is male softness and immaturity. The author, Robert
Bly, uses the story of lron John, (an old German fairy talej, as a way to describe and dissect the issue
of male initiation and the lack of it in contemporary culture. Robert Bly argues in favor of a masculin-
ity that goes beyond the macho men stereotype but doesn't end up in the other extreme, the soft
male that is only able to be in tune with the feminine and willing to gain the favor and the admiration
of women but losing sight of his beliefs and wants in the process.
Iron John: Brothers Gr|mm Fa|ry Ta|e, c. 1820
The story begins in a remote area of the forest near the King's castle. Hunters go there and never
come back. A hunter offers helping the King by going to that area and trying to discover the source
of the problem. Upon arrival to the problematic area, the hunter's dog is pulled by a mysterious hand
into a pond. The hunter goes back to the King's castle and gets more people involved and goes
back to the pond to see what is going on in the pond, and they bring buckets with them to dry out
the pond and get to the bottom of the pond. They fnd a hairy man. This hairy man has reddish hair
to his feet. They bring the hairy man to the castle and the King names him lron John and puts him in
a cage. This hairy man is a metaphor for the part of men that is lacking in current male culture. lron
John represents the wild man. The wild man represents the primitive male energy that is associated
with authentic masculinity, which is different from the other extremes: it is neither the macho-man
that is unable to have feelings, nor the receptive and soft male-type.
The rest of the lron John tale explores the relationship between lron John (the Wild manj and the
King's son. Letting the Wild Man out of the cage is a metaphor for the male opening his inner psy-
CRP #8. lron John
Summar/zed by Ram/ro
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chology and letting out the inner Wild Man to achieve complete male maturity.
The following are some of the main concepts and ideas discussed in the book:
Men's Lack of In|t|at|on
The main problem with contemporary men, according to Bly, is that so many of us are not properly
initiated into manhood. ln contrast, most ancient or tribal societies have clear procedures where
older men initiate younger men into adult manhood. The lack of initiation in today's society has led to
men's softness, passivity, and lack of vitality. Women generally mature naturally through the process
of giving birth, which gives clear visual indications of their own transition into maturity.
There |s an Absence of Pos|t|ve Ma|e F|gures and Mentors
Bly argues that men are not properly initiated into manhood, and this lack of maturity is also con-
nected to the various institutions that are part of the lives of modern men. Men go from one hierar-
chical, vertically-governed institution to another (schools, businesses, government jobs, etc.j with no
time or resources to develop from boys to men. Older men - who in ancient cultures would take the
role of initiators of children into mature men - are either not physically present (because they retired
and moved away to a warmer climatej or simply take a passive role. Fathers work long hours, some-
times in remote locations, and are physically and psychologically detached from their sons. Women
end up doing most of the fathering and this is refected in the values that the boys grow up with, with
a general negative attitude toward men. This collective male identity is further disseminated across
the cultural context by the infuence of Tv, movies, and media in general.
Pass|v|ty and Na|vet |n Man
Passivity in men can be seen in the lack of involvement in activities that require energy such as fn-
ishing conversations at home, setting discipline with children, saying what one wants and what one
doesn't want, and fghting for possessions or beliefs. On the other hand, naivet is related to a lack
of boundaries. The naive man takes pain from women and carries it; the naive man is content with
absorbing the pain and recovering in isolation. The naive man shares whatever is in his mind at any
time, from personal plans to last night's dreams, in the belief that each person is basically noble by
nature, and only twisted a little by institutions." ln other words, the naive man is often taken advan-
taged of or subjected to ridicule, easily cheated, or betrayed.
Many Men Fear and D|strust Author|ty
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Fathers have transitioned, since the lndustrial Revolution, from making things with their hands and
being able to show their sons the trade, to abstract labor that makes the relationship between men
and work more vague and diffcult to understand, and communicate between fathers and sons. That
process of physical to intellectual work has created a metaphoric hole in the son's psyche. Most
young men don't know what their fathers actually do in the offce and they become suspicious of
their father's occupation. This disconnect can lead sons to make the assumption that the fathers'
work is inherently evil. This negative attitude toward fathers' occupations is what is behind the gen-
eral disdain for authority in many young males; this lack of knowledge of what the father does is
what underlies the idea that men in positions of authority are suspicious. Robert Bly says, There
is a general suspicion now that every man in a position of power is or will soon be corrupt and op-
pressive. Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy that has accepted author-
ity." This lack of trust and respect in everything that revolves around the father's work is one of the
reasons why boys tend to gravitate more toward the feminine, which is represented by the mother's
values and ways of being.
Why Some Women Prefer Pass|ve Men
Many women today prefer passive men who avoid confict at any confict at any cost. This same pat-
tern is seen in institutions such as corporations, universities, and the church, where men comfortable
with confict are rare and conformity and compliance is encouraged across the board. Team-worker
is often a euphemism to describe the lack of passion required to ft in corporate environments.
The Inner K|ng and How to Br|ng H|m Back
The lnner King represents what we are passionate about and what we desire. At some point during
our childhood, it sometimes happens that our father carries a huge lnner King and our lnner King
is diminished and eventually we become numb to our lnner King. The process turns us from being
boys that are able to freely express our desires, to sulking teenagers that have repressed emotions
because there is only space for one lnner King in the house (typically our father's lnner Kingj. With
our own lnner King being dormant and useless, we can't express our wants and preferences, and
we become passive and dull. To recapture the lnner King later in life, we should pay attention to our
tiny desires and become sensitized to what we enjoy and prefer. The key to being a more active and
persuasive individual lies in developing and nurturing the lnner King, which is another way of saying
that we should make a conscious effort to put our passions and desires frst and reduce our need to
please other people all the time.
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How to Go past Shame and L|berate the Inner Deep Mascu||n|ty
Mainstream culture, through the years, has made it shameful to be a man. Notice the embarrass-
ment that expressing our desires can bring, and the fact that manliness in general is often a source
of ridicule. How can we reclaim our inner King, our Wild man? The frst step would be to understand
the cultural problem and how it affects us individually. The second and subsequent steps need to
entail getting in touch with our deep masculinity and our desires and nurture them. We need to turn
the passive, numb individual that is a guest in his own house, to a person that is in close contact
with his emotions and his passions. We will not be able to fnd this deep masculinity by spending
time watching Tv or drinking alcohol, but we are more likely to grow and mature if we become in
contact with an older man that we admire and try to obtain some guidance on how to be a man.
Top 5 Takeaways
1| Issue of Boundar|es (Or Lack Thereof|
We must build boundaries that are rigid enough to protect our desires and wants from outside psy-
chological aggression (usually in the form of put-downs or ridiculej, while at the same time fexible
enough to be able to sustain relationships with others. ln other words, the boundary has to be semi-
permeable so that some infuence from others is welcomed. But on the other hand, we need to be
frm when it comes to protecting our inner desires. The boundary has to turn into a membrane that
lets good stuff in and keeps the harmful infuences away. This is something that we need to work
on and get better at. The concrete message to take away is that we need to protect our desires and
opinions frmly and not let anyone ridicule us for what we want and believe.
2| Learn|ng to Say No
This is related to the issue of boundaries. Without boundaries, we let others dictate our agenda
and our objectives. lf we are passive and we go with the fow", we are not in control of our life and
how it unfolds on a daily basis. We need to be in touch with our objectives and have a level of self-
respect such that we are able to say no, especially to those that are closest to us.
3| Express|ng Our Des|res
When we are confdent in our ability to protect our inner psychological health from outside attacks,
we are secure and more likely to articulate our desires and express those desires to the outside
world without repression or inhibition, and thus able to someday reach those objectives or simply
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live and affrmative life; a life that is in line with our intrinsic values.
4| Mak|ng a C|ean Break from our Mother and |ater from our Father
We need to cut the umbilical cord that attaches us to our mothers and that stunts our maturity as
men. The break has to be clean and peaceful instead of messy and violent. Many immature boys
mistakenly become hostile to their mothers as a way to create some psychological distance. Robert
Bly talks about stealing the key to lron John's cage from our mother's pillow as metaphor to describe
the need for becoming psychologically independent from our progenitors.
5| Sett|ng the W||d Man Free
Lastly, we need to gradually become in tune with our passions and tiny desires, and expressing
them to the outside world. The sulking boy that many of us have inside has to evolve into a man that
respects himself and is willing to take risks by just listening to our wants and needs and going after
what we want. The key is to go after what we want and do this consistently. We need to be more
expressive, more assertive. As men, we need to understand that we decide the persons we want to
become and that we are not relegated or limited by a stereotype.
Here is an audio version of the book that is free to download: http://archive.org/details/lron_John_
Audiobook
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While we want to believe that fairness and honesty is what must rule the world, we also cannot deny
the fact that it is full of dicks and douchebags. There are also power freaks who don't really give a
fuck about the group's objective. Some are also flled with vanity and they'll do everything to make
themselves look good to an audience. These people are generally clever in the social arts (whether
consciously or notj, which makes them all the more dangerous. These people therefore, must be
neutralized or converted, if not eliminated at all. Whether you believe in a noble cause, a mere po-
litical animal out for personal gain, or simply a person needing more knowledge in order to protect
himself from scumbags, to neglect the reality of strategic interaction is the perfect path to a miser-
able life.
While The 33 Strategies of War is seemingly a book destined to return a man back to his barbaric
tendencies, understanding the essence of the 33 strategies will instead bring you more peace. With
it, you will no longer let yourself be driven by a whirlwind of emotional tantrums from your mom, your
dad, your hot but passive-aggressive girlfriend, or that dickhead in your workplace. lnstead you will
now act your way strategically towards the best possible outcome. By learning the 33 strategies of
war, asking your girlfriend to serve sandwiches and blowjobs is now a possibility-a strategic endeav-
or that provides fow for the creative mind.
PART I: Se|f-D|rected Warfare
This is the most important part of the book which. The ultimate beginning of all endeavors that you
seek to accomplish is none other than you. However, we do not encourage you to become a terrible
narcissist.
1. The Po/ar/Iy SIraIegy.
A war is pointless without an enemy because a war without an enemy is well... not a war and it's
none of our business here. That's the frst thing you have to remember: Find a point of focus in your
campaign. lt can be a person or an abstraction such as douchebaggery, toolmanship or vanity.
When you fnd one, it is generally not recommended to send a mandate declaring war because it
CRP #9. The 33 SIraIeg/es of War
Summar/zed by Domen/c
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looks stupid. Just declare it inwardly. Pickupartistry tells us that we should know what we want to be
but there is still more to life than that - we should also know what we do not want to be. The purpose
of creating a polarity between you and your point of focus is to gain clarity, not paranoia. Many ty-
rants have fallen because they think they have enemies everywhere. You might be doing what Hitler
has done to himself and we're not just referring to his mustache.
2. The Guer///a-War-of-M/nd SIraIegy.
Do not let your mind become static. Kill the sacred cows of your brain. Revisit your most cherished
formulas. Be formless like water. Mystery's top hat may have gotten him laid a thousand times but it
could make you spend a night with your hand and a tissue. Learn to think for yourself. All the things
that you have read from 7|e Game to How to Ma|e F||ends and /nh0ence Peoo|e are just there to
expand your vision of the world. They are just there for you so you can make your own creative ma-
neuver as you see ft.
3. The CounIerba/ance SIraIegy.
Whenever a threatening or unusual situation confronts us, we begin to feel shaken. We feel angry,
intimidated, or rejected, in short, we feel like an ass and it stinks. Understand: Our mind is weaker
than our emotions. The key to counterbalance this natural phenomenon is to gain presence of mind.
lt cannot be acquired by merely reading books or eating courage pills. Through patience, discipline,
and will, acquired it is. That's Yoda speaking to you. One way to do this is to expose yourself to con-
fict. This is not so much as punching people in the face, as diving into situations that you would re-
ally want to be in but feel uncomfortable about (such as approaching women with big boobsj. Unin-
timidate yourself by cutting people down to size. Look at the man (or womanj, not the myth, though
the myth could also help you understand the man. Tiffany, one of Neil's assistants, gave me an
advice to visualize the girl as someone who looks like shit - this may work for you as well, but since
you're a very nice person, you still think she looks fne (Read Mr. Strauss' post on the Hot Girl Relief
Fund | Link: http://www.neilstrauss.com/neil/the-hot-girl-relief-fundj. When you feel shaken, focus
on a simple task such as fxing your sleeves, rubbing your watch, or scratching your head - anything
that can make your mind focus - for a focused mind has no room for anxiety.
4. The DeaIh-Ground SIraIegy.
Soldiers fght at their best when their life is on the line. They fght like hell and they win. Place your-
self in a kind of death-ground, a point of no return, where losing is not just rhetorical but visceral.
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Sign a contract, where if you fail, you have something to lose. You must not just understand, but re-
alize, that you can die at anytime in the most pathetic way such as getting hit by an ice cream truck.
Ponder your death everyday and you will gain a sense of desperation and urgency - a thirst for life, a
sense of clarity - that will keep your life going.
PART II: Organ|zat|ona| (Team| Warfare
ln an organization, not all AMOGs are true AMOGS - some are just power freaks. Remember that
true dominance does not mean being domineering. Harmony and cooperation will lead to success,
not dominance. While people might be a little scared of you, they will also secretly resent you by be-
ing domineering. lf you are faced with such, this is the way to deal with them.
5. The Command-and-ConIro/ SIraIegy.
ln a bunch of people, some are political animals. These political animals are not after the welfare of
the group; they only care for the advancement of their own career. As we all know, this type of peo-
ple are willing to pull any dick move even at your cost. One way to deal with this problem is to infect
them with your actions, not words. By living your principle, you no longer need to think about how to
make them work like you, your actions alone will have the irresistible persuasion that gets to the very
depths of their bones.
6. The ConIro//ed-Chaos SIraIegy.
ln a group that you lead, the worst type of leader that you can be is a control freak. Absolute control
requires a little part of letting go. lnstead of telling your men to follow orders by the letter, tell them to
follow it in spirit. By creating independent units that follow the spirit of the group's task, you will not
only gain control and loyalty, but also save time and energy.
7. Mora/ SIraIegy.
Making the team more group-centered than self-centered is vital. Make them move or work for an
idea. Yet, such a motivation could not last long if their bellies aren't full - survival comes frst. Study-
ing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs could help you in building up your men's morale. You must ensure
that they have their physiological needs moderated or else, they might work half-assed effciency or
much worse, they could betray you. As the leader of the group, your task is not to push them from
behind but to make them run and keep up with you. Trust your judgment and learn when to be ruth-
less with the fools among your group but remember to reward even those in lowest of the ranks.
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Part III: Defens|ve Warfare
8. The PerfecI-Economy SIraIegy.
We all have limitations - this idea can be quite contrary to Neil's lesson on our limiting beliefs so you
decide for yourself, gentlemen - and our energies and skills can only take us as far as that. Perfect
economy is not about spending or using as little as possible - this could lead to boredom and half-
assed results. The key is to look into what you really have and then fgure out what you can do with
it. l will quote the book directly:
"7||n| of |t as hnd|ng yo0| |eve| - a oe|fect oa|ance oetween w|at yo0 a|e caoao|e
of and t|e tas| at |and. W|en t|e |oo yo0 a|e do|ng |s ne|t|e| aoove no| oe|ow yo0|
ta|ents o0t at yo0| |eve|, yo0 a|e ne|t|e| ex|a0sted no| oo|ed and deo|essed. Yo0 s0d-
den|y |ave new ene|gy and c|eat|v|ty. F|g|t|ng w|t| oe|fect economy |s |||e ||tt|ng t|at
|eve| -- |ess |es|stance |n yo0| oat|, g|eate| ene|gy 0n|eas|ed..."
A separate yet more precise explanation of this can be found on Neil's post about the idea of F|ow.
Also, l have a personal favorite quote in this book which reads,
"/||e t|e cat... 7|e|| awa|eness t|at t|e|| days a|e n0moe|ed - t|at t|ey co0|d d|e at
anyt|me - g|o0nds t|em |n |ea||ty. 7|e|e a|e t||ngs t|ey can neve| do, ta|ents t|ey w|||
neve| |ave, |ofty goa|s t|ey w||| neve| |eac|, t|at |a|d|y oot|e|s t|em."
9. The CounIeraIIack SIraIegy.
Learn to hold yourself back, to take time before talking back to someone that makes you angry. We
humans are naturally impatient, we our desires immediately gratifed. This is a handicap on our part
and we should learn to curb this if we are to acquire all the psychological advantages to be gained in
letting your opponents expose their weakness frst. Hold yourself back, settle yourself, and when it's
time hit, hit them hard with all your might.
10. DeIerrence SIraIeg/es.
The strategies of deterrence are generally strategies for the weak. They are designed to prevent
aggressors from attacking in the very frst place. l personally fnd these rarely applicable in non-
physical aggressions so feel free to comment below if you could think of a non-physical application
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of these.
One strategy is to surprise your aggressors with a bold move. This will prevent them from going any
further. Remember, the key here is the element of surprise.
Second, you may reverse the threat by suddenly threatening them back. There is no need to go too
far, just a little pain will do and actions are much more recommended than words.
Third, seem unpredictable and irrational. You may choose suicidal attacks to defend yourself when it
calls for it. By letting go of everything, you will have nothing to lose, which will repel those who have
a lot to lose.
Fourth, play on people's natural paranoia. This is a form of indirect threatening; let your enemies
discover that you are up to something against them. They will believe this even more because they
have discovered it themselves. However, you must be cautious because this could also lead them to
make a counterattack.
The most powerful of all deterrence strategies is to build up a reputation. Be ruthless and calculat-
ing, cold and ruthless or any other reputation that would mean messing with you is diffcult, even
being a nice person can be an option. The process of establishing this reputation is very tasking for
your acts have to be real. Once you're already an established person, the reaction you need comes
even before you arrive.
11. The NonengagemenI SIraIegy.
lt takes prudence and true strength of character to retreat in the face of a strong enemy. When faced
with a situation where you are very likely to lose, resist the tempting rewards of taking on it, such as
a quick reputation boost. Know your current limitations, accept them, and fght another day. ln fact,
there are times when you can actually win by merely doing nothing.
Part IV: Offens|ve Warefare
12. The Grand SIraIegy.
A saying goes like Lose the battles, but win the war". Though this phrase may sound all too over-
used, it is still easier said than done. Go back to the frst strategy, the polarity strategy, to remind
yourself of the point of focus to keep your grounded. Keep your mind focused on what's important
and what will help you achieve or keep it, then weigh everything else according to that. At the same
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time, accept that your emotions might get in the way and could lead to impulsive decisions. Accept
it as they are and that they need not to be repressed but to be used to their best effect.
13. The lnIe///gence SIraIegy.
This one, l believe, is a little diffcult and takes a lot of practice. Enter the mind of your target, which
could be an enemy or a lover. Keep things smooth between you until you fgure out what you needed
to know from him - it could be something he cherishes or a secret you need to discover. Then decide
what you will do after evaluating the information you have gathered. Remember, at the same time,
that there might also be people who are doing this to you - whether consciously or unconsciously -
and the way to counter this is to be as diffcult to read as you allow yourself to be.
14. The B//Izkr/eg SIraIegy.
While you might think that this is the opposite of the counterattack strategy (9j, you will notice that
they aren't really so if scrutinize the properties of both. For example, both strategies require speed.
So to speak, we could say that the counterattack strategy is a form of blitzkrieg. The very point of
this strategy is that by using speed and suddenness, your enemies will feel unbearable pressure and
chaos. With all those, they could no longer keep up and their defeat is just a matter of time. Just
keep the pressure going until then. Use this strategy according to your judgment.
15. Forc/ng SIraIeg/es.
One way to force people on your terms is to keep them on their heels by surprising them, then seiz-
ing that momentary advantage. lt will take time for them to process and evaluate the chaos you
have caused; use that momentary advantage to its maximum effect. Second, as long as you have
the choice, never fght anyone in their terms, never in their own terrain. lnstead of trying to dominate
their every move, work to defne the dynamics of the relationship itself.
Forcing people into your own terms isn't always about coercion. Subtlety could also work, some-
times even more effectively. Make them commit as much mistakes as possible. This can be achieved
by moving a little the factors affecting his plans or even by simply letting them be. There are also
times when you can just let the other party think that they are the ones in control. You can do this by
simply giving up a part of the dynamics which you consider insignifcant and this works particularly
effective on the overly aggressive and the passive-aggressive.
16. CenIer-of-Grav/Iy SIraIegy.
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This one is very simple: hit them where it hurts. Find the source of your enemy's strength. Perhaps
it could be their fnancial supporters, if so, sever their ties with him. lt could also be an accomplish-
ment or attribute that they take pride on themselves; ruin it, ignore it, or even top it if the situation
calls for it.
17. The D/v/de-and-Conquer SIraIegy.
This strategy requires a careful and complete understanding of what or who your adversary is. Af-
ter that, you try to break him down, piece by piece. Ask yourself: What is the structure of his power
base? Figure that structure out and destroy it detail after detail. This strategy will really depend on
the structure of your opponent so be sure to deconstruct and destroy him.
18. The Turn/ng SIraIegy.
Again, this one is very simple. Threaten a false target (although subtly to make it convincingj and
make your moves against your real target virtually invisible. Applying this until the annihilating strike
will make your opponents never know what will hit them. Same thing can be applied can be applied
to seduction, by that, it means that you may not immediately giving them your own lOl's and talk to
them about something unrelated to sex or relationships instead.
19. The Ann/h//aI/on SIraIegy.
Give your opponent no room for retreat or recovery. Destroy him in material, in body, and in spirit. Do
not apply this in seduction, you will be a rapist.
20. The R/pen/ng-for-Ihe-S/ck/e SIraIegy.
This is the offensive part of the Pe|fect-Economy St|ategy (8I. While using the Pe|fect-Economy
St|ategy, create an offensive plan (or a business maneuverj with several branches and thinking about
what could be wrong. This will allow you to make more rational decisions in case things go messy.
Also, do not just give your competitors one problem to solve; all single problems can be solved
systematically. lnstead, give them dilemma and they will think they're already fucked up before doing
anything.
21. The D/p/omaI/c-War SIraIegy.
The key principle of this strategy is that words are just another weapon for creating a fog in the
adversary's vision. This strategy can be used like the Turning Strategy (18j because you can distract
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the enemy's focus while you create a maneuver as the negotiation takes place. Amoral indeed but
these things happen whether you'd do it or not is always your call.
22. The Ex/I SIraIegy.
Always vision things until the end and see your way to it. Remember: You must never end up saying
Ok, it's done. So what now?" and the same time, you should also know if it is already time to give
up and move on to something else. The only real end is death: Everything else - victory or defeat,
marriage or rejection - is just a transition.
Part V: Unconvent|ona| (D|rty| Warefare
Break the codes of morality and forget about honesty and honor; this is a war where anything goes.
Dick moves included.
23. M/spercepI/on SIraIegy.
The perfect deception is not created with pure lies. They are made with a seamless blend of fact and
fction. Reveal true details about your plan along with false stories and instead of sending it directly
to them, make them discover it and it'll be all the more believable. Perception is reality, thus, if you
control their perception, you control their reality.
24. The Ord/nary-ExIraord/nary SIraIegy.
When your enemy expects the unexpected, then what you thought is unexpected is now predictable
- and you lose. Hence, don't just always think of the unconventional because sometimes, the ordi-
nary is what falls in the line of least expectation.
25. The R/ghIeous SIraIegy.
The importance of you and your men's disposition can never be overemphasized. The world is politi-
cal, not just in offces with government seals, but even in a mere workplace. Find the most righteous
cause to fght for then question the cause of your adversary. By occupying the moral high ground,
not only will you be able to keep fghting with ferocity, you will also be able to convert enemies to
your side.
26. The SIraIegy of Ihe Vo/d.
When fghting against a much more powerful enemy, the key to destroy him is to never fght him up-
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front. lnstead, just keep on retreating from him and don't g|ve 0o on |et|eat|ng. He might think your
just being a coward but you're actually draining down his resources - both mental and material.
27. The A///ance SIraIegy.
Create a shifting network of allies that compensate for your defciencies. We know these allies are
what we make friendships with. Thus, a friendship is a contract. Do what they can't and they do
what you couldn't. lf you do your duties as a friend correctly, they could even go as far as to fght
your own wars for you. This will set your defense up if an adversary thought of using some form of
D|v|de-and-Conq0e| St|ategy. On the other hand, you must apply these two hand in hand for the fn-
est effect.
28. The One-upmansh/p SIraIegy.
Yo0 m0st 0nde|stand t||s st|ategy oy |ea|t oeca0se c||c0mstances m|g|t fo|ce yo0 to 0se t||s |n
t|e wo||o|ace. The plot of this strategy is deceptively uncomplicated: (1j Create an extremely subtle
move, one that can be as unattached and passionless as possible. This move will brush his ego and
stroke his insecurities. lt will cause him to react unbecomingly, which will serve as the trigger for your
one-up and his one-down. (2j Keep things cool. You've done your part and all you have to do is to
keep your hands clean. Do not attack him because if you do that, everyone will see you as a dick.
ln fact, you may even act like you seem to be on his side while giving him dubious assistance and
advice. (3j Watch as you witness his downfall without him knowing how the hell it happened.
29. The Fa/I Accomp// SIraIegy.
ln this strategy, you will have two allies - time and the conservative side of human nature. You will
accomplish many things by taking small bites. You may also take big bites of whatever it is that you
are trying to conquer, and then give back part of what you've given. People will only remember your
generosity, not the empire you are slowly amassing. Taking things one step at a time is the general
principle of this strategy.
30. Commun/caI/on SIraIegy.
One's failure to communicate his ideas isn't the fault of the dumb audience but of the unstrategic
communicator. You must remember that most talks can only reach people superfcially without in-
ducing any change in behavior. Because some people are self-indulgent pricks, that's why and you
are not going to be one of them. So if the goal of your communication is to induce change among
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people, make it strategic. lnstead of directly delivering them the conclusion you wanted them to
have, simply hold yourself back, stick your premises, and let them connect the dots towards your
intended conclusion.
31. The lnner-FronI SIraIegy.
Traitors unite - this is the strategy for you. Think of an invisible enemy or a friendly takeover. All wars
can only be fought when the enemy is in sight. Penetrate their social circle, get inside their organiza-
tion and attack them from the inside without you being suspected. Like a lotus waiting to blossom,
you will only be seen when the takeover is perfected or when they're entirely destroyed.
32. The Pass/ve-Aggress/ve SIraIegy.
Of all the 33 strategies, this is the one which has an almost exclusively social application of all. ln
contrast to the /nne|-F|ont St|ategy, this one does not require you to be inside the target's organiza-
tion or social circle and its offensive part is more psychological than tangible. To execute this strat-
egy, you need to be a bitch. You will present a friendly mask with all of your hostile feelings hidden
inside... hidden even from you during your encounters with your targets. For example, with this
friendly surface, you will begin to offer them your help but do their work poorly. Your work is poor but
you did it with the best of intentions, but the truth is not because you're a back-stabbing, two-faced,
sabotaging prick.
33. The Cha/n-ReacI/on SIraIegy.
Fear can be used to your advantage. lt comes in the form of unpredictability and a calculated illusion
of omnipresence. ln violent wars, terrorism has reached its pinnacle at this point in time. By attacking
so suddenly and creating an image that you can be anywhere from the shadows, your enemies will
fear you thereby multiplying your power in the eyes of your enemy. Random, insane, and devastating
is what you have to be. When facing an enemy of this caliber, your most important asset is the for-
titude of your heart; that you will stand and fght the unseen enemy until you restore the peace they
have once taken away. But the heart is not enough. After handling your emotions - the intangible
aspect of the confict - covertly work in fnding the unseen enemy, they must not know the progress
you are making in your search for them, and fnally destroy them.
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Motto: "7|e ma|o||ty of |0soands |em|nd me of an o|ang0tan t|y|ng to o|ay t|e v|o||n." (Hono|e De
Ba|zacI
Some of the questions answered in this summary:
What is jealousy?
What is it to be in love?
How to be a lot more fulflled sexually?
Why men ejaculate prematurely and what is the natural way to handle this?
Are we meant to be monogamous?
What Sex at Dawn teaches the reader has huge implications on our everyday lives: lt helps us better
understand modern sexuality. lt's a long writing full of facts on the real inherent human nature that
has shaped our society, and it's all backed by thorough research.
The aws of the A|pha Ma|e Theory
The common description of our ancestors' tribal lives is utterly wrong: There was no alpha male, and
nobody could force the others into anything, as in that case they simply could ostracize the person
and walk away. During most of our evolution, there was no scarcity of any kind of food (!j, so nobody
was indispensable for gathering or hunting it. The second reason that clarifes the error of the Alpha
Male Theory is that almost no man has a strong enough will to keep to monogamy or celibacy, e.g.
no matter how grave the consequences, presidents, priests and husbands get caught every day.
(And women as well...j lt's evident, that we humans are social creatures; therefore we surely lived
in tribes. There was absolutely no way to keep track of every person any given time, so they could
have no way of knowing who is having sex with whom. Possessing each other sexually was impos-
sible.
CRP #10. Sex aI Dawn
Summar/zed by Gr/v/o
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Therefore, it is wrong to look at women as 'prostitutes' and men as providers and guardians. Sex
is great for everybody, and it had not much to do with sharing food and protection. Family plan-
ning was especially non-existent. ln fact there was no family, but the whole tribe was like an ideal
big family: rarely up to 150 people, sharing everything, bringing up the children together, every-
body knew everybody, shared the same values and much more similar interests than today, nobody
wanted to seriously compete with the others etc. We are not made to compete, but to cooperate! As
perishable food couldn't be cooled and because it took very little effort to acquire food, they happily
shared it (which they expected from each other tooj. ln these circumstances a high level of empathy
and the will to give naturally develops in every member of the community and ill-will barely occurs if
ever. As mostly they lived together happily and knew each other well, why would it? Also, someone
guilty of acting against the welfare of who the person lived with, could have been found out easily
in a small group of people. Humankind is not inherently wicked. We are the victims of our collective,
self-made circumstances and cultures.
Parad|se and the beg|nn|ng of the new age
We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." (Kurt vonnegut,
Jr.j
We think we are lucky to live in these modern times, with all these gadgets, running water, online
shopping, etc, but we are wrong!
Before agriculture began, our ancestors regularly roamed. This ensured a varied and plen-
tiful diet with very little effort.
Sex only happened for the fun of it, and was not regulated needlessly, so it was abundant,
and their lives didn't revolve around it. Aggression rarely formed in people because there was
no sex deprivation.
The whole tribe parented all the children so they were never a big burden on any mother;
they grew up psychologically healthy, and didn't have the disadvantage of growing up in a
broken family.
According to fossil evidence, sickness was also very rare; and contrary to the common
belief, people often lived to a ripe old age.
As they didn't interact with as many people as we are in the present, they knew each other
very well, and were a lot less different from each other. This allowed for joyful social interac-
tions all day long.
Their pretty stress-free lives let them be playful all throughout their lives (different sourcej.
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Humans lived like this over millions of years up until the dawn of agriculture and husbandry, roughly
10 000 years ago. (And in some hidden parts of the world, even until today!j
Agriculture depends on the weather, the farmer's expertise, the lack of pests, weeds and diseases;
therefore famines became regular. This scarcity made selfshness became common and drove
people into living in families and have private properties. The husband wanted to make sure, that he
is working hard to provide food for his own children, and female coyness came to life. This process
constructed monogamy, which had never existed before!
Women Are Ma||eab|e
Women's attitudes towards sex and their sexual behaviors are very malleable, not ingrained in their
instincts so deeply as men's. These are formed by the culture they grow up in and by individuals who
they feel close and look up to, such as their families, friends and boyfriends. Even if this is not what
they feel (and some may be furious to hear itj, there is ample proof supporting it: nuns' actual celi-
bacy, harems in the past, polygamy, polyamory (living in a sexually liberal communityj in numerous
societies.
This has three very important results:
They can adept to monogamy to a lot higher extent than men. (And they don't understand
why men cannot.j
As nowadays people's sets of values are very diverse, women develop different and differ-
ent preferences in choosing partners. For this reason, if a guy wants to attract a certain girl,
physical attraction often doesn't amount to much. The key is to understand what makes her
tick, and to act accordingly.
Women's conscious and subconscious judgments of sexual events are proven to be al-
most entirely independent from each other. Their conscious choices often don't correspond to
what arouse them.
Men are not this adaptable: To avoid the genetic stagnation that would have dragged our ancestors
into extinction long ago, males evolved a strong appetite for sexual novelty and a robust aversion
to the overly familiar." Women also tend to be instinctually more attracted to the 'mystical stranger'
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over an old friend, and often over the long term partner as well. This appetite for novelty is really
important to avoid incest.
Sex at Dawn
"/s sex d||ty? On|y w|en |t's oe|ng done ||g|t." (Woody A||enI
While foragers, humans' sex lives were not only entirely free, but even more different: orgies were the
common form!
Proofs:
Women groan very loudly during sex. The function of this was to call other males to have
sex with her too. Such loud vocalizations are less common among monogamous species.
Women need a lot more time to reach orgasm than men. Multiple men can make her reach
that point effortlessly. Men were not encouraged to try and prolong the intercourse. Surely
women enjoyed sex more back in those days, which made them keener on having sex and
also more often.
Sex between only two people would have made female multiple orgasms superfuous.
lt arouses people, but perhaps men even more, to see others having sex. lf you think
about it, it's not that obvious. lf we had been monogamous, wouldn't it be much more logical
if the same sight made a guy instinctively aggressive?
Human testicles are much larger and human semen also contain a lot more sperm cells
then monogamous species' ones.
Monogamy defnitely doesn't allow for the necessary sexual fulfllment. Even if one has a
partner, after a while they have less and less sex. This insuffciency makes people become ir-
ritable, aggressive, negative, stressed and depressed, and this works against social cohesion.
The biggest advantage our species had, that allowed us to survive for millions of years, was
our endlessly complex interactions with each other". The advantage gained from the com-
plexity of these interactions would be pointless without unity.
The above deprivation has also been proven to cause and exacerbate an array of illnesses.
Sex with multiple members is still common today in remote forager societies.
You might ask how it is possible, that our ancestors didn't end up having too many children and
didn't have trouble with overpopulation. These days, people eat way much more carbohydrates than
what our bodies are prepared for. This causes women's (well, everybody'sj body-fat levels to be
much higher than normal, which affects when they start ovulating (this is the age, from when they
can have babiesj: As it can be observed in the modern age too, women in forager societies don't
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start ovulating until their late teens, resulting in a shorter reproductive life". Also, women rarely
conceive while breastfeeding, and without milk from domesticated animals, hunter-gatherer women
typically breastfeed each child for fve or six years."
Jea|ousy
Jealousy stems from the fear of (temporarilyj losing necessary intimate physical and non-physical in-
teractions and sex. Men who are honest to themselves would admit that most women would be able
to tempt them behaving the right way if the circumstances allowed. lf our conscious thinking and our
instincts weren't subdued by our present culture, women also would feel attracted to most men. This
was essential to keep the integrity of the tribe and avoid people being aggressive, negative and de-
structive. lmagine that: virtually any woman you lust, you can have. All you can eat! As plentiful sex
kept everybody satisfed and entertained, and harmony allowed for the full spectrum of intimacy at
all times, jealousy was rare, not the norm! Don't get me wrong, there were strong sexual and intimate
relationships between individuals back in those days as well, but exclusivity wasn't in the 'terms and
conditions'. After all, the love a person can give is not fnite, only his or her time is. We could live in
a much better and happier world if love between two people didn't affect the love between one of
them and another person.
Being in love is enthusiasm attached to love and attraction in case of men, though many women
have the adaptability to actually feel it, and make it real in themselves.
Poss|b|e so|ut|ons - Somet|mes sex |s just sex
"(...I t||s oe|soect|ve of 0s as |0mans to |oo| at o0| wo||d t||o0g| t|e |ens of 'no|ma|'
|s one of t|e fo|ces t|at stoo 0s deve|oo|ng |ea| so|0t|ons." (J0st|n Ha||-7|oo|ng on t|e
o|oo|ems of t|e wo||dI
The book doesn't advocate one single solution to replace the failing monogamy, but l see two funda-
mental ways:
Open relationship, though it's tough to base a family on it;
Polyamory: Living in a sexually liberal community. This may involve any number of people
with an arbitrary proportion of men and women; and is increasingly common: The estimate is
around 500 000 people living in polyamorous families in the US. However, bear in mind, that
sexual and intimate fulfllment of all parties involved is necessary to make these work! lt's
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worth mentioning though, that if you are already in a monogamous relationship, it's probably
hard to shift to open relationship, because 1j almost certainly neither of you have other people
foating around that both of you can gain fulfllment from (intimacy as well!j, 2j opening the
relationship would feel like losing each other.
Aren't these options a lot better than people constantly ending up in broken families and women
struggling to bring up children on their own? The reason for the majority of the divorces all over the
world is cheating! Aren't these nonconformist relationships also much better than a large proportion
of women barely having orgasms, if at all, as it is the case nowadays?
Think about this next time you are calling a girl easy: lf women weren't praised for being bashful, but
encouraged to enjoy sex (and intimacyj the way they feel like, more people would be fulflled. More
content people means less aggression and crimes, better general atmosphere, and less money, ef-
fort and time wasted on trying to be cool and fashionable. l know that this sounds idealistic, but on
the long run and if the word spreads...
Until then, l would rather oppose public opinion than nature...
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Introduct|on
Dale Carnegie published How To Win Friends and lnfuence People in 1936 yet the lessons it con-
tains are extremely relevant and valuable 75 years later. This book is essential reading for anyone in
a sales or marketing role and will help solidify both business and personal relationships. Essentially,
this book spells out a plan for getting what you want from other people by changing the way you
behave.
What You W||| Learn
ln this summary, you will learn:
Why listening to what other people are saying is more important than talking about your-
self.
How positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate others.
Techniques that you can use to make other people believe what you are telling them.
How to be a better leader.
Fundamenta| Techn|ques |n Hand||ng Peop|e
To get the most out of this book, you'll need to constantly remind yourself about how important
these principles are, review them, and think about how to apply them. Apply them whenever you can
and even ask a spouse or business associate to remind you when you violate one of these prin-
ciples. As you practice, review your progress and keep notes showing when you have used these
methods. ln doing so, you'll be creating your own business feld report" that will help you hone your
infuencing skills.
CRP #11. How Io W/n Fr/ends and lnuence
Peop/e
Summar/zed by Br/an
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The frst basic principle of handling people is being nice. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain about
people. lnstead of judging people or condemning them, try to understand them and why they do
what they do. This way, you can better show support, sympathy, tolerance, and kindness. People
like others who treat them this way and will respond positively to such an approach. You may need
to exercise control to hold back from expressing your negative feelings, but do so. ln fact, if you
have the desire to change others, it's better to begin with yourself.
The second principle is recognizing what others want and giving it to them. There are many things
that people want. Some of the most common include health and the preservation of life, food, sleep,
money and the things money will buy, sexual gratifcation, the well-being of our family, and a feeling
of importance. Most of these wants are usually fulflled, except the desire to feel important and that
is a very strong basic desire. lt's the desire that motivates people to want to be fashionable, drive
nice cars, and seek success. The way to understand a person's basic character is to know what
creates a feeling of importance for them. Once you know that key, you can make that person feel
important. At the same time, avoid saying or doing things that undermine feelings of importance. For
example, if you have someone working for you, use incentives rather than criticism to motivate him
or her. Nothing else kills the ambitions of a person like the criticisms from superiors. Praise where
you can and be hesitant to fnd fault. However, avoid insincere fattery, since that doesn't work well
either. Generally, people will see it as shallow and selfsh. The key is to give honest and sincere ap-
preciation.
The third principle is to arouse an eager want in others. This principle works because we are all
interested in getting what we want. So if you want infuence over other people, fnd out what others
want and how you can help them get it. ln doing so, it helps to understand the other person's point
of view and see things from their perspective as well as your own.
S|x Ways to Make Peop|e ||ke You
There are six basic rules for getting people to like you. The underlying principle is to pay attention to
others and show you are concerned.
The frst rule is to become genuinely interested in other people. By doing so, you can gain the atten-
tion of others and secure their cooperation again and again. By showing this interest in others as a
manager, you can develop loyalty to your company as well, since people see you as a representative
of your company.
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The second rule is to make a good frst impression by smiling. This smile is important, since actions
speak louder than words, and a smile helps to show that you like the person. lt shows you are glad
to see him and want to be friendly. Of course, this smile shouldn't be an insincere grin, which looks
mechanical and people resent it. But a smile that comes from within will help attract people to you.
The third rule is to remember the person's name. A good way to do this is to fx the person's name
and some facts about his or her family, business, or interests frmly in mind when you meet. Then,
when you see that person again, you will remember it. Having this recall is critical because people
value their names highly, as refected in the way that many companies are named after their founders
or the way that donors give large bequests to organizations that name libraries, museums, or other
buildings after them.
The fourth rule is to be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. lt is espe-
cially fattering to pay exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you rather than look-
ing around to see who else might be there. Listening is also very important for someone to provide
proper customer service. For example, if someone comes to complain, just listening attentively can
help to diffuse that person's anger. lt may even make the person's grievances disappear.
The ffth rule is to talk in a way that interests others. Talk about what they care about.
The sixth and fnal rule says to fnd a sincere way to make others feel important. For example, ask
yourself what you honestly admire about the other person. Remember that the psychologist William
James said that, the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." By show-
ing your appreciation for another person; you help nurture their feelings of self-importance. lt is very
important to be sincere when you show your appreciation so your compliments don't come across
as insincere fattery.
W|n Peop|e to Your Way of Th|nk|ng
There are 12 techniques addressed for convincing other people to believe what you are telling them.
Consciously try to apply each of the following methods in your conversations:
1. Avoid arguments, since this is the only way to win an argument. Generally, arguments only
make others defensive, and if a person feels he has lost an argument, he loses face. Once you
get drawn into an argument, you can't win, because if you lose it, you lose it, and if you win it,
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you lose it.
2. Show respect for the other people's opinions. You don't want to make people think you dis-
agree with them with careless words, looks, intonations or gestures. When you challenge other
people's opinions, you make them want to strike back, not change their mind.
3. Admit when you are wrong. lf you make a mistake, acknowledge it quickly. Making such an
admission is especially helpful when you know that the other person is thinking or wants to say
that you are wrong. lt is much easier to listen to self-criticism than criticism from others, and gen-
erally when you admit a mistake, the other person is more likely to be forgiving and supportive.
When you don't, they are apt to be more critical.
4. Even if you are angry, begin discussions in a friendly manner. Use sugar to make the medicine
go down. You can't win over someone who is feeling negative towards you. But if you begin to
soothe that person's feeling, you can start to persuade them to your point of view.
5. Get the other person to say yes" in the beginning. Once you get a no" response, you have
a handicap to overcome, since the person you're talking to wants to remain consistent. Thus, it
helps to start off with questions that will evoke a yes" or a statement that will bring about agree-
ment. Once the person is in the habit of saying yes, you can ask the harder questions.
6. ln the case of complaints, let the other person do the talking. As they do, you will learn more
about their business and problems so you will be in a better position to help. The key is to listen
patiently with an open mind, be sincere, and encourage the other person to express his ideas
fully.
7. lf you are seeking cooperation, let the other person feel the idea is theirs. People have more
faith in the ideas that they discover for themselves.
8. See things from the other person's point of view. The technique here is to put yourself in the
other person's place, so you can better understand what he wants and needs. This can be es-
pecially helpful if you are trying to sell someone a product or service. This exercise will help you
understand what motivates the other person.
9. Show your sympathy to what the other person thinks or wants. This way, even if you disagree
or would do something differently, you show that you understand and empathize. Say something
like: l don't blame you at all feeling the way you do. lf l were you l would probably feel the same.
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10. Appeal to people's higher aspirations and nobler motives. People usually have two reasons
for doing something: the real reason and one that sounds good. Since people are idealists at
heart and like to think they are led to act out of good motives, you will have better luck in chang-
ing people by appealing to these better motives.
11. Express your ideas in a dramatic way. By dramatizing your ideas you make them more power-
ful and persuasive. Use strong illustrations and showmanship to get your ideas across. This ap-
proach works well because merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid.
12. Use a challenge to motivate others. This technique works because every successful person
loves the chance to prove his or her worth. For example, the industrialist Charles Schwab once
drew a big 6" on the foor of a mill to mark down how many items the day shift made. The next
day when the night shift came in, they drew a 7" on the foor to show they had done even better.
That inspired the day shift to work even harder and place a 10" on the foor when they left. By
expressing what he wanted, Schwab encouraged the men to work harder. This tactic was more
effective than if he had just asked for improved work.
Be a Leader
Finally, if you are in a leadership position, there are some techniques that you can use to get people
to change without offending them or creating resentment. The eight most important leadership prin-
ciples are the following:
lf you have to fnd fault with someone, start with praise and honest appreciation.
lf someone makes a mistake, call attention to his mistakes indirectly.
Before criticizing someone else, talk about your own mistakes frst.
lnstead of giving a direct order, ask questions, such as What do you think of this?"
Praise every improvement, no matter how slight.
Give the other person a fne reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest.
Summary of Key Takeaways:
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At an absolute minimum, be aware of the following takeaways: lt may be useful to post these in a
location where you will see them daily.
Be genuinely interested in other people.
Don't criticize, condemn or complain about people.
Encourage others to talk about themselves.
lf you make a mistake, acknowledge it quickly.
Before criticizing someone else, talk about your own mistakes frst.
Praise all improvements, no matter how slight.
lf you want to change others, start with yourself frst.
To feel important is one of the strongest human desires. Always make others feel impor-
tant and never undermine anyone's sense of importance.
Remember people's names. A person's name is the sweetest and most important sound in
any language.
Express your ideas in a dramatic way. Use illustrations and showmanship to get your ideas
across.
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Josh Waitzkin rose to prominence as the inspiration for the chess prodigy portrayed in the flm
Searching for Bobby Fischer. Beginning his chess studies at age six, he spent his childhood and
teen years competing in and winning the world's top chess tournaments. Once the flm was re-
leased, Waitzkin grew wary of the attention and pressure that soon followed, and turned to martial
arts as a way of regaining focus. He would soon rise to the top of the Tai Chi ladder, becoming a
multiple world-title holder. ln The Art of Learning, Waitzkin takes us through the processes he used
to reach the pinnacle of these two very different disciplines, and breaks down how his techniques
can be applied to virtually anything.
Ent|ty Learn|ng vs. Incrementa| Learn|ng
He lays the foundation by describing a research study from developmental psychology researcher
Dr. Carol Dweck which found that people subscribe to one of two different theories of learning: ent|ty
and |nc|ementa|.
ln the ent|ty theory, a person sees their overall intelligence or skill level at a certain disci-
pline [as| a fxed entity, a thing that cannot evolve." They'll try something for a little while, not
succeed quickly enough (if at allj, and then give up. l'm not smart enough for this," they'll tell
themselves, as they move onto something less challenging/rewarding. To entity learners, new
skills can almost never be learned or evolve.
/nc|ementa| learners sense that with hard work, diffcult material can be grasped - step by
step, incrementally, the novice can become the master." They won't back down during those
initial stages of diffculty. They realize that the learning process can take time and that often,
baby steps are necessary. When things get tough, they'll tell themselves, Oh boy, now l'm
really gonna have to try hard."
Knowing and realizing this difference is what distinguishes those who constantly succeed from those
who constantly fall short.
The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to
CRP #12. The ArI of Learn/ng
Summar/zed by Nee/ang Pargh/
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live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity," Waitzkin writes. Usually, growth comes at the expense of
previous comfort or safety."
He uses the analogy of a hermit crab to illustrate his point. As these crabs grow, they need to fnd
bigger shells to live in. When they step out of their shells, they no longer have the security and pro-
tection of their shell. This is similar to the diffcult learning phase that people grow through. lt's not
easy, but you'll be better and stronger once it's over.
Someone with an entity theory of intelligence is like an anorexic hermit crab, starving itself so it
doesn't have to fnd a new shell."
The Importance of Fa||ure
Sure, nobody likes to lose. But why should we dread losing if it will make us better?
Any learner who approaches a challenge with the right attitude will realize that failure and loss are
critical parts of the process. lf you want to be successful, you must be willing to endure this pain so
you can move forward. ln the long run, painful losses may prove much more valuable than wins," he
writes.
One example is a boy Waitzkin knew who was the best chess player in his school, but refused to
play against anyone outside his circle of friends. He was so petrifed of ruining his winning streak"
that he never challenged himself, and thusly, never got to know just how good he could be. For
people like him, [l|osing is always a crisis instead of an opportunity for growth - if they were a win-
ner because they won, this new losing must make them a loser."
Invest|ng |n Loss
Waitzkin's own losses were moments wracked with pain, but they were also defning gut-checks
packed with potential. The setbacks taught me how to succeed."
This is his idea of investing in loss, which means that you can allow yourself to fail over
and over but still stay on the path until you're forced to adapt new habits that allow you to
succeed. Great ones are willing to get burned time and again as they sharpen their swords in
the fre," he wrote.
Michael Jordan made more last-minute game winning shots than any other player in NBA
history, but also missed more last-minute shots to lose the game in history. What made him
great was not perfection, but a willingness to put himself on the line as a way of life."
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Master the Fundamenta|s
Before beginning any type of endeavor, it's important to make sure you master the fundamentals
before progressing. Waitzkin applied this philosophy to both chess and martial arts.
You can practice something as simple as a straight punch over and over until the move-
ment is so internalized that you know through feeling that it was thrown correctly. Once you're
at this level of mastery, you can focus on generating that same feeling using less movement
and power.
You will eventually reach the point where you can deliver a powerful strike with barely any
movement.
When beginning his chess studies, he and his trainer would begin by studying an empty
chess board, and then adding a king vs. a king and pawn, and building from there. Using this
approach, Waitzkin was able to focus on the essentials and build knowledge from the founda-
tion up.
This philosophy allowed him to win his frst national Tai Chi championship after only two
years of practice: Surely many of my opponents knew more about Tai Chi than l did, but l
was very good at what l did know...Depth beats breadth any day of the week."
So when you're involved in any sort of battle, don't rely too heavily on the latest new techniques or
tricks that you just learned. Always remember the fundamentals, and never stop practicing them.
Once this is achieved, then it opens the door for creativity and imagination to come through.
The Importance of Obstac|es
Obstacles and setbacks should never discourage you, but inspire you to press on. Let them become
opportunities for learning and improvement. When something doesn't go as you planned, you're
given an opportunity to look at what went wrong, and do something about it.
You have to make obstacles spur you to creative new angles in the learning process. Let setbacks
deepen your resolve," he writes. You should always come off an injury or a loss better than when
you went down."
lnjuries and setbacks are also important in helping us escape monotony and routines. They force us
to become imaginative. One doesn't have to be injured, though, to experience these sorts of leaps.
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Try focusing on some weakness for a while and see if you can raise your game. Use the adversity to
your advantage and let it be a source of inspiration.
One example described in the book is when the author broke his right hand during a martial arts
tournament. Rather than avoiding training during the recovery, he focused on improving and devel-
oping the weaker left hand. Starting off slowly with simple movements (master the fundamentals!j,
he was eventually able to use his left arm as if it were two arms, giving him a great advantage once
he recovered.
lt's easy to get depressed and mope around when you've been hurt, dumped, fred, etc. but the abil-
ity and willingness to turn these adversities into advantages is what distinguishes those who want to
be the best from those who merely want to be decent.
The Importance of Re|axat|on
Doing anything that requires intense concentration can cause most people to burn out mentally. As a
young chess competitor, Waitzkin had a habit of focusing so intensely on the earlier games at tour-
naments, that he would be mentally depleted later on, when the stakes were much higher. He even-
tually learned that taking some time to pause and relax led to improvements in performance.
Players who are able to relax in brief moments of inactivity are almost always the ones who end up
coming through when the game is on the line," says Waitzkin.
lt's not necessary to remain constantly focused on whatever you're working on. Try relaxing and re-
leasing some tension and see if this leads to renewed energy and focus. lf your concentration starts
to waver, take a break! When you're ready to dive back in, you're focus will be renewed and your
performance will beneft.
Do What Fee|s R|ght For You
Once you've reached the highest levels of anything competitive, you can expect to be surrounded
by great performers. At that stage, when skill levels are virtually equal, the advantage often goes to
whoever can dictate the tone and direction of the battle. To do this, you must be aware of your own
strengths and have a unique style.
Former world chess champ Tigran Petrosyian would quietly observe his own mood each morning
before playing. lf he felt cautious and quiet, he would choose an opening move that took fewer risks.
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lf he felt confdent, he would open with something more creative. lnstead of imposing an artifcial
structure on his match strategy, Petrosian tried to be as true to himself as possible on a moment-to-
moment basis." He kept his mood and his strategy in synch.
Learn how to play on your own strengths and personality. There is more than one solution to virtu-
ally every meaningful problem," he writes. We are unique individuals who should put our own fair
into everything we do."
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Nassim Taleb's book begins with the story about the discovery of the frst black swan in Australia.
Up until that point in history, Europeans had never seen a black swan, thus they believed all swans
were white, and then all of the sudden, there was this black bird that was also a swan, but of the
wrong" colour.
This analogy introduces the concept of Taleb's Black Swan: unexpected, highly improbable events
that have three main properties: 1. They are unpredictable because they lie outside the scope of
our predictions and knowledge; 2. They have huge impact; and 3. Every time we come across an
extremely unpredictable event like the Black Swan, we tend to rationalise and overanalyze it to the
point that we think it was rather predictable.
After explaining a brief outline of the problem of the Black Swan, Taleb embarks on a comprehensive
philosophical diatribe, with the purpose of defying conventional wisdom and our way of thinking. The
author does this by skillfully dissecting our though process and breaking down his argument to deal
with knowledge, prediction, and the role of talent and chance in the success of people.
The conclusion that you might reach after reading this book is that we humans aren't as extraordi-
nary as we might think. There's nothing special about our species.
B|ack Swans and Know|edge
Knowledge, even when it is exact, does not often lead to appropriate actions because we tend
to forget what we know, or forget how to process it properly if we do not pay attention, even when
we are experts". The core of this book is knowledge, and the distorted belief that we have about it.
Epistemic arrogance" is an impediment associated with our handling of knowledge that the author
describes in the book. lt basically represents the belief that we know more than we actually do, and
the arrogance steps in when, because of this epistemic arrogance, we're unable to utter the words l
don't know".
An important part of the book is dedicated to the treatment of history and the way we study it. Basi-
cally, the author explains The Triplet of Opacity", which identifes the main three problems we en-
CRP #13. The B/ack Swan
Summar/zed by Bernardo
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counter when we come into contact with history. These are:
1. The illusion of understanding what's really going on, when in reality we live in a more compli-
cated and complex world than we actually realize.
2. The retrospective distortion: how we're able to assess matters only after they've happened.
3. The over-evaluation of information - our obsession with categorizing facts and pieces of infor-
mation.
These problems also have a lot to do with how we deal with knowledge in general. For instance, our
obsession with categorizing, which can also be called Platonifcation", leads us to compulsively
simplify facts by assigning categories, or tags, to them. ln real life, however, we need this in order
to make information consumption more organized; the real problem is when these categories are
deemed defnitive in our mind, in other words when we remain narrow-minded when exposed to
ideas that defy our preconceptions.
The Platonifcation compulsion is directly related to another mental impediment: the narrative fallacy,
or in simpler terms, our vulnerability to compact stories when dealing with knowledge. We have a
strong predilection for explanations and causal links - Mother Nature gave us this defect because it
helps things make more sense.
To further understand our inability to inability to generalize properties of the world by making single
observations, a concept called knowledge induction", Taleb presents us the story of the turkey be-
fore Thanksgiving - this problem was originally proposed by the philosopher Bertrand Russell under
the name of problem of induction. lmagine a turkey that is fed every day; every single feeding will
confrm the bird's belief that it's the general rule of life to be fed every day by a friendly human. But
then the day before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey - something that
the bird wasn't expecting at all.
To close this short section about knowledge, here's a summary: the things we don't know are ig-
nored, thus we never see what's on the hidden side of things; that's also why we Platonify, because
we like schemes and well-organized knowledge, which leads us to favor our confrmation bias. We
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have a lot of respect for what has happened, but not for what could have happened, that defnes us
as shallow and superfcial.
B|ack Swans and Pred|ct|on
Taleb cleverly comes up with this idea of two different worlds coexisting at this point in time: Medi-
ocristan and Extremistan. The key differences between these two worlds are summarized as follows:
particular events don't play much individually in Mediocristan, while in Extremistan one single vari-
able can have a disproportionate effect on the rest of the population.
What calls for some thought and insight about this is the fact that our world is, day by day, becom-
ing more and more like Extremistan, where events have radical impact on the world around us. Con-
sider the variable income", which belongs to Extremistan; if you get a group of people with rather
similar incomes, and then add to that group the wealthiest person living, then that person will end up
representing more than 90% of the other's net worth.
This leads us to the frst problem of prediction and Extremistan (our current type of environmentj. lf
you try to generalize knowledge, and hence predict what's in store for us, from observation in Ex-
tremistan, you're going to be in trouble, because it's simply too random. One single event in Extrem-
istan can change the appearance of your entire outlook, thus ruining your prediction - it boils down
to the inability to obtain information accurate enough to make our prediction.
Another problem with us predicting so much is the non-linearity of the world. We can attribute this
defect in perception to our education system. We've always been taught that in order to learn some-
thing, we need to study our way from point A to point B, and progress will be directly related to our
studies. However, this is hardly the case; languages are a great example of non-linearity - you can
study hard following a linear scheme, and in the meantime experience no progress whatsoever, until
one day you start noticing that you can put elaborate thoughts together in the target language. The
world is non-linear full stop.
Another faw within our prediction system is caused by a psychological phenomenon called antici-
pated utility", theorized by Daniel Kahneman. lt causes us to fail to predict the outcome of a future
event. Taleb in his book illustrates this bias with the story of a man who dreams of getting a new car,
and thinks only about how great he'd feel once he gets a hold of this new car; it turns out that after
getting the car and driving it for awhile, he no longer feels the same thrill, and forgets that he felt the
same way with his frst car. lt would have cost him much less to stop and refect on this fact before
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purchasing the new vehicle. We're hopeless predictors.
Chance and Ta|ent
The concept of silent evidence is also a fundamental part in this work, because it plays a major role
in talent and other people's success. We tend to look at people who have had success in their ven-
tures and think that it's been because of their skills or motivation, when in reality the silent evidence
argument holds that while there are hundreds of people who have succeeded in something, there are
even more who tried and failed, but we don't see it because they are never accounted for. A great
way to work around this problem is to think before we undertake anything about all the people that
might have failed in the past but haven't come forth, therefore remain silent.
A great misconception is the belief that a result will be achieved in a linear way thanks to focused
effort - notice the word focused and its relation with the mental impediment of tunneling. The truth is
that almost everything we have now, of utility, has been invented by mistake or as a spin-off of other
products. A vivid example of this process is the lnternet, which was designed by the military for mili-
tary purposes, and yet it has become something with a dramatic different set of uses.
Taleb opens the third section of the book with the headline The World ls Unfair", and goes on to ex-
plain why he thinks that way. You see, with his idea of Extremistan, he's describing a world that is far
too random for us to understand, and therefore acquire knowledge from. ln this random world luck"
is everything, and not the focus on skills as leading to success. Arbitrary situations and random out-
comes explain success and prompt people to obtain superstar status.
F|na| Words
This philosophical work is attractive because of its practicality. Taleb throughout the book gives the
reader modest, yet powerful, suggestions to live in this random world; from shutting down the Tv,
to minimizing the time you spend reading newspapers, these ideas will surely make you think about
your habits and become more aware of them.
Being narrow-minded is a sure way to be fooled by unpredictability. Don't tunnel into your predic-
tions or even your knowledge. ln the book we fnd the story of the hedgehog and the fox: the hedge-
hog knows only one thing and lives its life by it, whereas the fox knows many things and remains
open-minded, therefore capitalizing on the random events. The moral of the story is to be open-
minded and be prepared for whatever it may come, seizing opportunities as they present them-
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selves.
Other suggestions, which are a little more philosophical, include learning to control your decisions
by holding your judgement. This has to do with training yourself to use a rational system of thinking,
thereby becoming more insightful about your actions and consequences. Leave the more visceral
part of your brain for unimportant matters.
An interesting proposal in the book is to arrange our lives in order to increase what the author calls
positive accidents" - the key to being exposed to Black Swans of the positive kind is to collect op-
portunities around you, simply to reap the benefts of randomness.
And fnally, my epiphany moment with this inspiring and thoughtful book: avoid the social pressure to
live our lives according to what others expect from us; with the logical result of everlasting unhappi-
ness and discontent, mainly because existence in such conditions becomes painful.
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Sometimes it feels like you're doing everything right, but for some reason everything falls apart. The
girl you're interested in walks off, a business relationship falls apart, a perfect proposal is rejected.
lt's frustrating, draining and a little demoralizing when you see that you've done the right things every
step of the way, but you just couldn't close the deal.
The truth is, you might have done everything perfectly - but none the less, something has tripped
you up. And that something is likely to be one of the many hidden forces that shape our decisions.
lmagine understanding how people are primed for decisions, and how you can prime yourself (and
othersj. lmagine being able to structure your offerings in the way that you can infuence the fnal de-
cisions. This, and why a 50c Aspirin can do what a penny Aspirin can't, are just some of the insight-
ful tricks of decision infuence tackled in Dan Ariely's Predictably lrrational: The Hidden Forces That
Shape Our Decisions.
Ariely's book, written in 2008, will challenge your assumptions about how you and the people you
interact with make decisions. lt will not only show you the biases that you're falling prey to on a day
to day basis, but how you can use those same biases to to infuence others - and get more desirable
outcomes.
One of the most interesting factors of this book is how intertwined all of the concepts are, and how
you can gain a compound effect by using these techniques.
The Top F|ve Irrat|ona| Takeaways
1. Cho|ce Presentat|on Inuences Our Dec|s|on Mak|ng
We'd all like to think that we're in total control of our decision making abilities, but the fact is that we
aren't. We're at the mercy of Relativity of choice and asymmetry.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
CRP #14. Pred/cIab/y lrraI/ona/
Summar/zed by Rob H.
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lf we're planning our honeymoon (all in good time, gentsj and must pick from Paris (free breakfastj,
Rome (free breakfastj or Rome (no breakfast includedj, we are most likely to choose Rome (free
breakfastj.
The reason for this is because we've although been presented with three options, one is a decoy -
Paris - because it cannot be directly compared to the other choices. As a result we remove it from
our sphere of choice and select the best of the remaining two options.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
ln the business world, it makes sense to create three potential offers for individuals. By creating two
easily comparable options (one of which is betterj, and a third 'decoy' choice, you can give a client
the best solution by indirectly infuencing their selection. When the client starts thinking 'How do l
use this guy?' instead of 'do l use this this guy?', the battle is half won.
Note: 7||s can oe ent||e|y 0net||ca| |n t|e w|ong |ands. / |ecommend yo0 on|y 0se |t fo| good, |n-
stead of ev||.
2. Va|ue Is Ent|re|y Re|at|ve.
We purchase goods based on three factors; value, quality and availability. However, each of these
factors is easily infuenced through relative anchoring. The anchoring occurs in two different ways -
through associated value, and through initial value.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
Associated value occurs when something (or someonej is perceived to be high in value because of
it's visible association. To explain this point, Ariely talks of The Tahitian Black Pearl - a total fop when
it was frst put on the market. However, when he convinced a friend (the infamous gemstone dealer
Harry Winstonj to string them up inside his 5th Avenue Store Window and attach a ridiculously high
price tag to them. The result? Their perceived value boomed because of their newly anchored asso-
ciation.
lnitial value anchoring can easily be explained with a MacBook Pro. lf the frst computer you ever
considered buying was a Macbook Pro for $2,500, your judgement of all future computers would be
tied to this amount. They would be more expensive or less expensive based on your initial experi-
ence of the initial value.
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/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
To gain value rapidly, it's clear that your associations matter. lf you want high social status, you need
to associate with others of high social status and steal a bit of their frame. lf you want to be power-
ful, then you can get started by associating yourself with other powerful people.
Alternatively, if you want to alter the perception of your charges as a service provider, it's important
to frst create a value anchor. By saying others in the feld will charge $6,000 for this, which l feel is
outrageous. l only charge $4,700" you make yourself seem affordable - after all, you don't charge
$6,000.
On the fip side, if you say now, others in the feld would try and tell you that this can be done to a
high standard for just $6,000, but this is a case of you get what you pay for. For services, the cost
is $13,700" you re-anchor the price of $6,000 as being equal to cheap and low quality - and your
charge becomes more valuable in the process.
3. We HATE not be|ng pa|d what we're worth, but we'|| do work for free.
When we interact with others, we either do it in the frame of a market norm or a social norm. Mar-
ket norms include wages, prices, rents, cost benefts, etc and social norms are simple requests that
don't require instant payback.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
The best explanation of this is asking Lawyers to provide needy retirees with common services for a
low cost of just $30. Naturally, the Lawyers felt that this was insulting compared to their normal rates
(this is anchoring from The Fallacy Of Supply And Demand in actionj and declined.
However, when asked to provide their services for free as a favor, the frame shifted from being a
Market Frame to a Social Frame... and the lawyers accepted.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
Want someone to do it? Don't use money - it's an expensive motivator. Wherever possible invoke a
social norm to infuence someones behavior. lf you buy someone a gift, don't talk about its cost (this
includes drinksj as it becomes a sign of worth to the receiver and the giver.
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Either ask for or give it as a favor, or work with market rates (preferably market rates that you an-
chored advantageouslyj.
4. Emot|ons He|p Us Make Dec|s|ons We Norma||y Wou|dn't
No big surprises here. Our decisions, no matter how much we try to deny it, are infuenced by emo-
tion. lf we can use emotion to infuence ourselves (or othersj into making decisions, we can be more
infuential as a result.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
Ariely and a friend, George Loewenstein, created a test to assess the infuence of arousal on deci-
sion making. Armed with glad-wrapped laptops developed to stimulate sexual arousal distributed to
young men, they identifed a (rather unsurprisingj truth - when stimulated, young men are more likely
to take actions they normally wouldn't.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
lf you can drive yourself, or others, to take action by using strong emotions, do it. lt's a powerful
way to override the brains analytical approach and inspire them to take a particular course of action.
Powerful emotions include fear, anger and frustration.
5. We Can Stop Procrast|nat|on W|th The R|ght Mot|vators
A natural habit of people is to put off the work that they don't want to do for as long as possible. For
some, procrastination has even become an art form. ln this section Ariely explores a few approaches
that we could use to decrease procrastination and increase results.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
We have two states from which we make decisions - the cold, analytical state and the hot, immedi-
ately satisfed state. Ariely states that proper motivators, such as deadlines and penalties, are effec-
tive at getting people to hit long-term goals or deadlines. They are even more effective when set by
an authority fgure.
Thus, to reduce procrastination you need to increase the stakes.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
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Want to get something done? Have the task set by an authority fgure or have a penalty in place for
not achieving the goal. An example of this is Stickk.com - an online site for setting the stakes" and
deadlines. You can use a service like Stickk.com to bet that you'll achieve your goal, and if you fail it
can automatically pay a friend or donate it to a charity you hate.
Use deadlines and penalties to push yourself and get things done.
6. The Power Of Pr|ce
Price isn't just an indicator of worth. lt's an indicator of the quality we will end up expecting. ln this
chapter, Ariely discusses the use of expensive placebos and whether or not they should hold consid-
eration, as well as the mental relationship between monetary cost, role and perception.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|eo|y
One of the heuristics that we employ in our day to day life is price as a sign of quality, although this
isn't always the case. ln this chapter we here the story of a 2003 study where more than one-third of
patients who received antibiotics for their sore throat were found to actually have a viral infection...
for which antibiotics does nothing (Side note - antibiotics are only good for bacterial infections, not
viral infectionsj.
That's the kicker. The medication they paid for, and took, as a treatment for their throat actually had
no effect. They just believed it did because of the price they paid.
/||at|ona||ty /n 7|e Rea| Wo||d
Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress and Automatic, has been quoted as saying be a painkiller,
not a vitamin."
There's a strong reason for this. vitamins are nice to have, but painkillers will be paid for -even if
they're a placebo.
Your role isn't to help people at a social gathering have more fun - it's to overcome the awkwardness
of the situation and make them feel at ease. Your job isn't to help your business optimize the dollars
that it's already making - it's to stop it losing dollars from the competition. By being perceived as a
'painkiller' you'll be worth more, to more people.
TL,DR - Pred|ctab|y Irrat|ona| |n a Nut She||
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ln life you're either the selection or the selector, and in both instances you're going to be at the mer-
cy of the secret agents of infuence. By understanding the way that yourself and others are affected
by these secret agents, you stand a better chance of positioning yourself against then.
ln this review, l've outlined what l believe are the top six takeaways from the book. Just implement-
ing one of these could have a massive impact on your business, your ability to get things done,
social life or even current relationship.
When you infuence the options, you infuence the outcome.
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/ neve| o|ay o0t ton|g|t /'m on my |nees, yea|.
B|tte|sweet Symo|ony - 7|e ve|ve
Spirituality is no laughing matter. Actually, if you think about it: not only does the Holy Spirit manifest
itself within the believer through laughter, but there are many rules found in the Bible that, if observed
today, could be considered outright funny and absurd. A.J. Jacobs knew about the many pitfalls
surrounding biblical literalism", going back to his uncle Gil: At some point along his spiritual path,
Gil decided to take the Bible literally. Completely literally. The Bible says to bind money to your hand
(Deuteronomy 14:25j, so Gil withdrew three hundred dollars from the bank and tied the bills to his
palm with a thread. The Bible says to wear fringes on the corners of your garment (Numbers 15:38j,
so Gil bought yarn from a knitting shop, made a bunch of tassels, and attached them to his shirt col-
lar and the end of his sleeves".
His premise has current relevance. Millions of Americans say they take the Bible literally", he writes.
According to a 2005 Gallup poll, the number hovers near 33 percent; a 2004 Newsweek poll put it
at 55 percent. A literal interpretation of the Bible --both Jewish and Christian--shapes American poli-
cies on the Middle East, homosexuality, stem cell research, education, abortion--right down to rules
about buying beer on Sunday".
Now, Jacobs did not want to attempt biblical literalism for performance theater-like purposes only
(even though he becomes a spectacle in many ways, along this yearj or just for the sake of writing
this book; he had deeper motives associated with trying to fnd meaning in The Bible, throughout the
most widely known rules (love your neighbor, do not steal, honor your parentsj, as well as those not
only baffing, but federally outlawed. As in: Destroy idols. Kill magicians. Sacrifce oxen". Not only
that: the many contradictory messages, interpretations and rules are part of what the author fnds
disconcerting. A merciful, yet also cruel biblical personifcation of God had swayed him from explor-
ing The Bible in the past. l'm sure most of us have shared (or sharej this skepticism and confusion.
CRP #15. The Year of L/v/ng B/b//ca//y
Summar/zed by Lu/s Fernando ALejos
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Now, his preparation, upon taking on this experiment included:
1. Choosing the appropriate Bible. The frst one he picked up was the Revised Standard version.
Ultimately, Jacobs chose to study from a proverbial stack of Bibles, almost waist high", from
the estimated three thousand English translations available (as well as Bibles friends had sent to
himj. The author, to keep it safe, also ordered Bible commentaries, The Bible for Dummies and
The Complete ldiot's Guide to the Bible.
2. Discovering the meaning of biblical literalism in practice: To take the Bible literally, by defni-
tion, would've been misleading, Jacobs writes. As an alternative, he proposed to fnd the origi-
nal intent of the biblical rule or teaching and follow that to the letter." Taking fgurative passages
aside, he opted to follow the words literally.
3. Obeying the Old Testament, the New Testament, or both: The author split up his experiment: 8
months for Old Testament, and 4 months for the New Testament. He explains that the bulk of the
Bible's rules" is found in the Old Testament. Given his Jewish heritage, he felt more comfortable
living and writing about the Old Testament. (Or, as many Jews prefer to call it, the Hebrew Bible,
since old implies outdated", and new implies improved"j. However, he felt that not exploring the
New Testament would have been to ignore half of the story". Jacobs highlights the sway, both
for the good [...| and, to my secular mind, the notso-good", of the evangelical movement and its
literal interpretation of the Bible.
4. To seek guides during his journey: Jacobs seeks the aid of spiritual advisors in many shapes
and forms: rabbis, ministers, and priests, some of them conservative, some of them one four-
letter away from excommunication", in addition to new acquaintances and referrals. Not only
that, he will seek out guides to provide advice and context, groups that take the Bible literally in
their own way: the ultra-Orthodox Jews, the ancient sect of Samaritans, and the Amish, among
others". The author, nonetheless, will let the Bible have the fnal word, even if it comes down to a
DlY religion" type of endeavor.
Now, just following a set of rules was not going to cut it for Jacobs. He aimed at experiencing the
underlying higher meaning of the rules themselves. As an agnostic, writer and editor of Esquire
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magazine, this would prove to be an everyday challenge. He had already experienced brief quasimy-
stical experiences, as he describes them, during his teenage years: The epiphanies would descend
on me without warning: One came while l was lying on a blanket in Central Park's Great Lawn, an-
other while l was riding the bullet train on a family trip in Japan. They were at once utterly humbling
(my life so piddling and insignifcantj and totally energizing (but it's also part of something so hugej.
The glow from these mental orgasms would last several days, making me, at least temporarily, more
serene and Buddha-like".
Jacobs discovers that these divine experiences can be more than a glitch in his brain. Some fnd
this communion with God or the universe by handling snakes (the author witnesses such an eventj,
through observing the Sabbath or by simple and honest prayer.
Cafeter|a Chr|st|an|ty
One of the writer's most predominant hurdles when it comes to the possibility of biblical literalism in
modern times, is where to draw the line. Upon visiting The Creation Museum, and meeting its host,
group called Answers in Genesis, Jacobs discovers boundaries to what people will believe in. A cre-
ationist astrophysicist, Jason Lisle, lets him know that he's not geocentric --he doesn't believe the
earth is the center of the universe. 'Does anyone anymore?' l asked. He said, yes, there is a group
called 'biblical astronomers'--they believe the earth is stationary because the Bible says the earth
shall never be moved" (Psalms 93:1j. Jason considers them an embarrassment." Jacobs writes:
That was something l hadn't expected: moderate creationists who view other creationists as too ex-
treme. But it will turn out to be one of this year's big lessons: Moderation is a relative term".
Nearing the end of his biblical year, Jacobs refects upon a term called Cafeteria Christianity", a
derisive term, he explains, used by fundamentalist Christians to describe moderate Christians. The
idea is that the moderates pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to follow. They take a
nice helping of mercy and compassion. But the ban on homosexuality? They leave that on the coun-
tertop". Some Jews follow this same approach, commanding to follow the complete Torah, not just
the parts that are palatable".
Jacobs comes to the conclusion that this supposed inconsistency" is practiced even by funda-
mentalists. They can't heap everything on their plate. Otherwise they'd kick women out of church
for saying hello (the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to
speak..."--1 Corinthians 14:34j and boot out men for talking about the Tenessee Titans" (make
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no mention of the names of other gods..."--Exodus 23:13j." There's nothing wrong with choosing,
Jacobs points out.
Look Beyond The We|rdness
The point of a law, rule or ritual can somehow overshadow it. There were a couple of spiritual retreats
that l took part of, a few years ago, when l remember not getting most of the scheduled activities:
the chanting and yelling, the hysterical reactions of some of the attendees. l did, on one occasion,
fall on my back. The brothers" summoned the Holy Spirit and l felt it. l tried to get up, but felt pres-
sure on my chest as if some invincible force was letting me know: it's okay, take a breather, rest".
Jacobs experiences, not unlike me, the collective power of a ritual: observing a Jewish holiday, Sim-
chas Torah (as he points out, lt's not in the Bible per se but it refers to the end of the annual reading
of the fve books of Mosesj, in a dance-flled-vodka-included celebration like a Seattle mosh pit cir-
ca 1992". Though he is not close to his moment of surrender, the writer encounters a breakthrough:
l feel something transcendent, something that melts away the future and the past and the deadlines
and the MasterCard bills and puts me squarely in the moment". His guide for the night comforts him,
when he calls it a night after three hours of dancing: sometimes you have to look beyond the weird-
ness. lt's like the temple in ancient Jerusalem. lf you went there, you'd see oxen being slaughtered
and all sorts of things. But look beyond the weirdness, to what it means."
Lov|ng Your Ne|ghbor
As l was telling my wife yesterday, one of many ironies found in Jacobs's approach: the most widely
known rules are sometimes the hardest to follow. E.g. Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus
19:18j, as the writer recalls, complex and strange mandates are sometimes thrown together with
simple teachings, which constitute what he calls one of the biggest mysteries of the Bible. How can
these ethically advanced rules and these bizarre decrees be found in the same book? And not just
the same book. Sometimes the same page. The prohibition against mixing wool and linen comes
right after the command to love your neighbor. lt's not like the Bible has a section called And Now
for Some Crazy Laws". They're all jumbled up like a chopped salad".
Nevertheless, these simple truths are often passed over, lost in-between rhetoric and dogma. Not
only that, it sometimes happens that we commit one sin while trying to avoid others... and that's
okay. The question of authority, after realizing that we pick and choose from the Bible as we see ft,
arises: doesn't that destroy its credibility?, Jacobs asks. Though there is not one satisfying answer,
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to consider that all possible wisdom is found in the Bible, Robbie Harris (one of his rabbi advisorsj
makes a point that brings me comfort: lf you insist that God revealed himself only at one time, at
one particular place, using these discrete words, and never any time other than that--that in itself is
a kind of idolatry." Jacobs adds:"You can commit idolatry on the Bible itself. You can start to worship
the words instead of the spirit. You need to meet God halfway in the woods".
The answers, as it turns out are not always found when and how you expect them, no matter how
literally you read into the questions.
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Your alarm clock goes off at 7:15 in the morning. You begrudingly swat at it to turn it off. An hour
later, you're in your car and on the way to a job you've done for way too long. You get to work, stare
at your computer for a few hours, and dream about living in Costa Rica until the clock hits 5 pm. ls
this really the way you wanted to live? Do you really want to do this for the next 20 to 30 years? Your
eight-year-old self would be so upset you're stuck in a cubicle all day and not off exploring space or
saving the world from bad guys!
Pam Slim is a lifestyle coach who helps people quit their 9-5 and create your own dream company.
Her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur is a won-
derful breakdown of the steps involved in quitting a job and creating a business (think Tim Ferriss'
4-Hour Workweek, but with more detailed steps as to how to actually create your musej.
What's the beneft of creating your own company? Well, for you, my fellow friends, it leaves you
more time to sarge on your own schedule. ln essence, you get to do things as you want to do them,
without having to answer to all your crazy boss' requests (how many more times can you hear you
need to fnish another competitive analysis by Thursday?j.
Now, in full disclosure, this isn't a cure-all book. A lot of you have the dream of walking up to your
boss, telling him to jump off a tall building, and then, all of the sudden you're sitting on the beaches
of Costa Rica raking in passive income from your cat product business. Well, time for a rude awak-
ening: Creating a business as Pam outlines takes effort. A lot of effort. As Pam says in the intro,
creating a company is, not all glamour" and is, a labor of intense love and sweat and patience."
However, while many of you may have the dream of creating a business, very few of you will actually
do it. Why? Because a lot of you are nervous (which is totally normal!j. There's a fear of losing every-
thing, or as Pam mentions, living in a van down by the river." The frst step Pam outlines is taming
the wonderful beast of fear. How do we calm this fear? Pam offers a wonderful strategy: treat the
fear as a pet lizard. Acknowledge it, be present in it, and become aware that you're afraid (again, it's
only naturalj. ln fact, Pam spends an entire chapter on breaking out of the mental cage of fear with
some pretty useful exercises. As Pam says, uncertainty is powerful and liberating!"
CRP #16. Escape from Cub/c/e NaI/on
Summar/zed by Dav/d
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Unsurprisingly, however, there are risks of running your own business, which Pam goes over in detail
in chapter fve. Some keys to remember:
Always pay attention to your life purpose and business goals, and re-evaluate regularly so
you don't waste time on unnecessary things (the business-savvy readers know this as pre-
venting scope creep"j.
Remember that passion is the ingredient to success, so if you're working on something
you're not passionate about, think of something else!
Get very, very focused with your idea -- research and then research again to determine the
who, what, how, why of your business and customers.
As l briefy mentioned above, running a business takes work; you're probably not going to
successfully create a six-fgure passive income business in the matter of a few weeks. Pa-
tience is a virtue!
lt's very, very important to remember that passion doesn't always equate to success, however. As
noted in chapter six of the book, an intense passion for something isn't always a viable business
plan. l have an intense passion for napping and laying on the beach. Could l make a business out of
that? Probably not. lt is OK, however, to initially fail as you determine which of your passions would
make a good business. As Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. ln this
same chapter, Pam also discusses how to shift from a vague business idea to a concrete goal (and
how to sell to clients!j.
While you scale your business up, it's likely you're going to need some help. As Pam points out,
there's no shame in seeking outside assistance, and, you're not weak if you need people." She
offers tips for fnding mentors, recruiting your team, and growing your business into a successful
group venture.
But what do you do once your business is scaled up, you have a team, and your business is a suc-
cess"? Well, you rethink your position within the company! Some of you may be familiar with Tim
Ferriss (who l mentioned abovej, the popular life hacker who wrote a book that hinged on spending
every waking hour effectively. Pam comes from the same school of thought, and offers words of wis-
dom on evaluating a location independent lifestyle. She also gives a great example of a successful
business called Zen Habits that followed these principles.
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The second half of the book really focuses on the ins-and-outs of running a successful business.
Topics like, do l really need a business plan? (Hint: not necessarily, but Pam mentions that it's vital
to defne your target market and niche so you know who you're selling to.j How do l start with pro-
toypes and samples? There are answers and exercises to dozens of in-depth, late-stage business
questions. Truthfully, the later chapters are too detailed to be included in a review, and will likely only
be useful when you've read (and completed the exercisesj from the earlier chapters. However, there
is very important advice that Pam mentions in chapter 15 that is relevant at the start of your business
venture: take care of everything before you move into creating your own company full-steam-ahead.
She gives a wonderful analogy: taking care of all the small things before you start your business is
like backing up everything from your computer; it's the best way to deal with just in case."
Pam Slim's book is an excellent, detailed breakdown of what a reader can expect if they want to
start their own business. Similar to Tim Ferriss' 4HWW, it's a look inside the life of those that want to
be self-employed (which isn't always glamorousj. lf you're interested in starting your own company,
l strongly recommend you read Pam's book. After all, who wouldn't like to live on a beach and run
their own business?
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ln 7|e Red O0een: Sex and t|e Evo|0t|on of H0man Nat0|e by Matt Ridley, we learn that we're also
shaped by millions of years of evolution.
Understanding the evolutionary nature of attraction and mating, as well as the correlations in the
animal kingdom, is essential in understanding our own sexual strategies.
According to Ridley, the most powerful tool we're evolved when it comes to meeting women is our
mind: Most evolutionary anthropologists now believe outwit and out scheme other men... or be-
cause big brains were originally used to court and seduce members of the other sex," he writes.
Why Men Prefer Beaut|fu| Women
Many men tend to think that women in their particular city or country are different and require a
unique seduction strategy. Not only is this not true today, according to the experiences of tens of
thousands of students, but it's not true evolutionarily as well. Wherever you go, the game largely
remains the same.
Until very recently the life of a European was essentially the same as that of an African," Ridley
writes. He explains that both groups hunted meat and gathered plants, made tools from the same
materials, utilized complex languages, and raised children in similar manners. Advances such as
metalworking, agriculture, and written language, he continues, arrived less than three hundred gen-
erations ago, far too recently to have left much imprint... There is, therefor, such a thing as universal
human nature, common to all peoples."
He cites a study involving more than a thousand subjects in thirty-seven countries. The statistical
evidence revealed that men pay more attention to youth and beauty, women to wealth and status."
These universal principles of selection exist not because human beings around the world are shallow
but because they want to bear as many offspring as possible and have their offspring survive. Thus,
according to Ridley, the male obsession with beautiful women is not so much about form as it is
about function: Prettiness is an indicator of youth and health, which are indicators of fertility."
CRP #17. The Red Queen
Summar/zed by Thomas ScoII McKenz/e
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Even the saying that gentlemen prefer blondes, Ridley claims, goes back to a correlation between
blondness and youth.
Why Women Prefer H|gh-Status Men
Men have it easier than women in the looks department. ln a survey of 200 tribal societies, two
scientists confrmed that the handsomeness of a man depends on his skills and prowess rather than
his appearance," Ridley writes. Study after study has shown that women are attracted to personality,
dominance, and status. ln a monogamous society, a woman often chooses a mate long before he
has had a chance to become a 'chief,' and she must look for clues to his future potential rather than
reply only on past achievements," Ridley writes. Poise, self-assurance, optimism, effciency, perse-
verance, courage, decisiveness, intelligence, ambition--these are the things that cause men to rise to
the top of their professions. And not coincidentally, these are the things women fnd attractive."
Why Popu|ar|ty Matters
Ridley points out that peacocks are among the few birds to gather together in groups for sexual
selection. Scientists call this gathering a lek. The characteristic of the lek is that one or a few males,
usually those that display near its center, achieve the most matings. But the central position of a
successful male is not the cause of his success so much as the consequence: Other males gather
around him."
Elsewhere in the chapter, Ridley writes that in experiments with guppy fsh, when a female is allowed
to see two males--one courting a female, the other not--she later prefers the male who was with the
female, even if the courted female is no longer present.
Female competitiveness and social proof--the idea that individuals emulate what they see others in
their peer group doing--seem to be effective, even in the animal kingdom.
Why Women Get to Choose
The instinctual goal for female animals is to fnd a mate with the genetic makeup necessary to be a
good provider or a good father. Male animals, on the other hand, have a goal of locating as many
wives and mothers as possible.
The reason for these disparate goals is <l>investment<l>. The gender that invests that most in
children (by carrying a fetus for months, for instancej is the one that has the least to gain from extra
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mating. On the other hand, the gender that invests the least in children has the most extra time to
spend searching for additional mates.
These different goals lend a scientifc authority to something every man who's entered a singles club
immediately learns: Males compete for the attention of females.
Ridley continues, The male's goal is seduction: He is trying to manipulate the female into falling for
his charms, to get inside her head and steer her mind his way. The evolutionary pressure is on him
to prefect displays that make her well disposed toward him and sexually aroused so that he can be
certain of mating."
Ridley examines the mating habits that revolve around peacock tails,deer antlers, swallow tail feath-
ers, and the colors of butterfies and guppies. The bottom line is that females choose; their choosi-
ness is inherited; they prefer exaggerated ornaments; exaggerated ornaments are a burden to males.
That much is now uncontroversial."
For many women, high heels, push-up bras, tight clothing, and waxed body hair are just part of
being fashionable and attractive. lf you want to be successful with women, you have to be willing
to carry a similar burden. lt may feel unnatural or uncomfortable sometimes, but wearing clothes
that distinguish you from the herd conveys confdence, leadership and individuality (as long as the
clothes aren't wearing youj. As Ridley puts it, There is no preference for the average."
Why Men Pursue Casua| Sex More Than Women
Ridley argues that our different attitudes toward sex are determined by consequences. Historically
speaking, casual sex for a man was a fairly low-risk activity with a huge potential payoff: a cheap
addition of an extra child to his genetic legacy," as Ridley puts it. Men who seized such opportuni-
ties certainly left behind more descendants than men who did not. Therefor, since we are by defni-
tion descended for prolifc ancestors rather than barren ones, it is a fair bet that modern men pos-
sess a streak of sexual opportunism."
Conversely, women faced massive risks when it came to casual sex. ln the generations before reli-
able birth control, a married woman could be left with a pregnancy and potential revenge from her
husband. lf she was unmarried, then she could be doomed to a life of spinsterhood. These enor-
mous risks were offset by no great reward. Her chances of conceiving were just as great if she re-
mained faithful to one partner, and her chances of losing the child without a husband's help were
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greater. Therefore, women who accepted casual sex left fewer rather than more descendants, and
modern women are likely to be equipped with suspicion of casual sex."
Ridley points to interesting studies that further support his theories on promiscuity, citing research
estimating that 75 percent of gay men in San Francisco have had more than one hundred partners
(25 percent have had more than one thousandj, while in contrast most lesbians have had fewer than
ten partners in their lifetime.
Why Men and Women Cheat
One interesting conclusion suggested by Ridley's book is that human beings are naturally monoga-
mous, but they're also naturally adulterous.
Though Ridley says that women are less inclined toward casual sex, that doesn't men they aren't
promiscuous. But their promiscuity often has a purpose. For examples, Ridley looks to the animal
kingdom--specifcally to the phenomenon of adultery among colonial birds.
Like many human beings, female colonial birds divide men into two different categories: lovers and
providers. When a female mates with an attractive male, he works less hard and she works harder
at bringing up the young," Ridley writes. lt is as if he feels that he has done her a favor by provid-
ing superior genes and therefore expects her to repay him with harder work around the nest. This, of
course, increases her incentive to fnd a mediocre but hardworking husband an cuckold him by hav-
ing an affair with a supperstud next door."
Ridley closes his discussion of this topic with a crude summary of the hunter-gatherer rules that he
claims still exist deep in the minds of women: lt began with a women who married the best unmar-
ried hunter in the tribe and had and affair with the best married hunter, thus ensuring her children a
rich supply of meat. lt continues with a rich tycoon's wife bearing a baby that grows up to resemble
her beefy bodyguard. Men are to be exploited as providers of parental care, wealth, and genes."
Why Men L|ke Porn More Than Women
One of Ridley's more interesting asides concerns studies on male and female arousal.
Men are generally aroused by visual images; hence the success of pornography and Maxim. But
what is the equivalent of pornography for women? His answer: romance novels, which have hardly
varied for decades.
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What turns women on in romance novels, however, isn't their descriptions of dashing men or lurid
sex. Sex in romance novels, he explains, is described mainly through the heroine's emotional reac-
tion to what is done to her--particularly the tactile things--and not to any detailed description of the
man's body."
The point is that women are aroused through emotional reactions, and the key to these are words
and touch. So to become a master seducer, you must become a master of language and the female
body.
According to another study of heterosexual men and women, men are more aroused by group sex,
while women are more aroused by heterosexual couples. Yet both heterosexual women and men are
aroused by lesbian scenes, while neither is aroused by male homosexual scenes. So if you're one of
those men who thinks that sending a woman a close-up naked picture of his abs or his genitalia to
turn her on, think again.
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Learning is for everyone forever. This book is essentially an autobiography by a fairly well known
British mentalist/hypnotist/magician type guy. As well as the usual information about his childhood
etc. he also reveals the techniques behind his seemingly impossible mental feats. The dedication he
has to honing his craft is immense. lt is these parts of the book l will concentrate on, the ones that
are of value to all of us in our daily lives. Covered in this summary are memory techniques, hypno-
tism and spotting deceptive behavior.
Part 1: Mag|c
S|mp|e co|n tr|ck
Everyone loves a decent trick. A quick one described at the start of the book. Sitting across from the
subject, give them a coin to check it is real and have them place it on the table between the two of
you. You slide the coin to the edge of the table on your side. At this point rather than picking it up,
you let it drop into your lap (the slide and fake pick up is all one fuid movementj. However, you act
as if you have picked it up and show the 'coin' to the subject. You then bring your two hands togeth-
er is some over the top 'magician' way, blow on your hands and Magic! The coin is gone. As they are
checking around for it you discreetly pick it up from your lap and pull it from behind your subjects'
ear.
Part 2: Memory
How it works: All of our memories work through using images, color and a combination of humor/
exaggeration. Any time we want to remember something both sides of our brain have to be kept
happy. The left side of our brain likes structure/rules/detail/logic whereas the right hand side of our
brain likes color/imagination.
All of the techniques below use this idea in a myriad of different ways. lmages should be vivid - see
the picture clearly in your head once you have decided upon it. Let yourself emotional engage with
the image. lf it is amusing, look at it and fnd it funny. lf it is disgusting, actually fnd it repulsive.
CRP #18. Tr/cks of Ihe M/nd
Summar/zed by Kev/n Redmond
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The elements of the image should interact with each other in some very strange way. A standing
beside B is no good. lf A could smack, bugger or dance with B, much better
The image should be unusual. e.g. linking man and cup, the image is more memorable if the man
has fallen into a giant cup and is scrabbling to get out.
The ||nk|ng System
To remember lists of words, a simple way is to link words together in images. This is best explained
through example. Consider the following list of words, read through them once, slowly and try to
memorize as many as you can in the correct order:
1. Telephone
2. Sausage
3. Monkey
4. Button
5. Book
6. Cabbage
7. Glass
8. Mouse
9. Stomach
10. Cardboard
11. Ferry
12. Christmas
13. Athlete
14. Key
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15. Wingman
16. Baby
17. Kiwi
18. Bed
19. Paintbrush
20. Walnut
Next, get a pen and paper and write them down. The majority of people from 20 words can memo-
rize between 4-10 on average. Now read the following examples of how these words can be linked
together remembering that our brain uses imagery and structure to remember. We will link the frst
word to the second, the second to the third. Do not do anything other than read and try to see these
images clearly in your mind.
Telephone/Sausage Trying to dial an old fashioned telephone using faccid uncooked sausages. lts
utterly impractical to work the dial. lt feels revolting and cold to the fngers.
Sausage/Monkey Watching footage from a wildlife documentary of a monkey, in the jungle, cooking
sausages over a barbecue. These are rare monkeys, this is frst time they have been captured on flm
Monkey/Button You no longer have to spend valuable time doing up your own shirt buttons. You
now have a trained monkey to do it for you. You stand there in your socks and he works away doing
up your buttons.
Button/Book lt's a book entirely about buttons, and in order to open it you have to unfasten a line
of big colorful buttons down the side. Hugely impractical marketing gimmick. Makes opening it very
irritating.
Book/Cabbage Opening up a book to have a quiet read at lunch time, only to fnd that all of the
pages have leaves of rotten stinking cabbage stuck to them. lt smells disgusting and the pages are
ruined.
Cabbage/Glass A beautiful but enormous cabbage created out of glass. The artist is proudly show-
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ing it off, ficking it with his fngers and making a 'pinging' sound. Everyone is standing around with
glasses of wine appreciating it. Personally, you think it's ridiculous.
Glass/Mouse You go to drink a glass of wine, to fnd that the wine has gone and there is a tiny
mouse at the bottom of the glass. The mouse is clearly drunk and is wearing a party hat with stream-
ers over his shoulder.
Mouse/Stomach lmagine an extremely bad stomach pain which turns out to be a family of mice liv-
ing in your stomach. They all come streaming out of ass. The relief is horrifying.
Stomach/Cardboard A pregnant lady covering her stomach with cardboard from old boxes. Taping it
around her. Now she feels protected.
Cardboard/Ferry lmage the Staten lsland ferry sinking into the Hudson river because in a spectacu-
larly misjudged move to save money, the entire boat was manufactured out of cardboard.
Ferry/Christmas A little ferry sat on top of a Christmas tree, perhaps at a school for the hard of hear-
ing. Little streamers around the hull.
Christmas/Athlete Your grandmother on Christmas day having her annual race against Usain Bolt.
She's doing superbly giving the World Record holder a run for his money.
Athlete/Key The winning athlete is given a 4-foot-long golden key on a ribbon as a prize. She tries to
hold it aloft but it is so heavy she wishes she could just have an ordinary medal.
Key/Wigwam A key hangs unnoticed from the headgear of a Native American lndian who is unable
to get into his wigwam to use the toilet. Hugely frustrating for him. You can see him searching franti-
cally as you watch the key glinting in the sun.
Wigwam/Baby New aged fad, placing your baby to sleep in a wigwam. lmagine a giant baby asleep
inside, snoring, making the sides of the wigwam suck in and blow out.
Baby/Kiwi A baby shoving green furry kiwi fruit into its mouth. One after another. A huge pile of
them waiting to be eaten. Kiwi juice all down his bib, vomiting kiwi everywhere. He loves kiwi fruit.
Kiwi/Bed Tucking up a little Kiwi for the night in a big king-sized bed. Sitting next to it and reading it
a story until it falls asleep.
Bed/Paintbrush You've changed the dcor of your bedroom and the bed no longer matches. So
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rather than buy new covers, you decide to paint them the same colors as the wall. Sloshing paint
over the entire bed. Watching it go hard and uncomfortable.
Paintbrush/Walnut Not owning a nutcracker you're forced to try and open a huge walnut with a
paintbrush. You're using the brush end and it isn't working. There's paint splashing everywhere but
you really want that walnut.
Now grab a pen and paper again and list out the words starting with the frst image of the Tele-
phone.....
Did you improve? Try doing it backwards, starting with Walnut....
The Loc| System
The Loci method works by attaching images to places along a familiar real-life route you know well.
For instance, imagine walking around your own home, as you walk notice 10 different places, e.g.
hall table, stairs, sofa, Tv, freplace, coffee table, dining room table, piano, cooker, fridge.
Now imagine 10 things that you need to remember to do tomorrow:
Buy stamps
Pick up dry cleaning
Make a particular phone call
Get cell phone fxed
Feed to parrot
Phone dave
Record 'Luck'
Buy useless stuff on ebay
Get haircut
Now begin your Loci route. First thing, buy stamps. lmagine a massive stamp covering the hall table,
how did it even get there, it's huge, you start trying to pull it off but it's really stuck on there.
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On your stairs you see someone has set up a dry cleaners business. You're not too happy about it
but maybe you'll get yours done for free. Continue this around your route placing images as you go.
When you are fnished, retrace your steps and recall what you saw at each location. Your to-do list is
taken care of!
The Peg System
l am going to get straight into this system without the build-up in the book. Numbers are not words
so they cannot be visually linked. However if each number could be represented by a letter and then
a word, you would be able to link away quite happily. Listed below are the words Derren uses for the
digits 0-9. The letters are explained in parenthesizes and the word is formed by adding soft vowels.
These letters for 0-9 are used to build up any amount of words and are used to memorize a full deck
of 52 playing cards.
0 - z/s : zoo ('z' |s |n ze|o and so0nds |||e t|e n0moe|I
1 - | : a|e (t|ey |oo| s|m||a|I
2 - n : |en (2 downwa|d st|o|es on t|e 'n'I
3 - m : |am (3 downwa|d st|o|es on t|e 'm'I
4 - | : w|o|e ('|' so0nds |||e fo0'|'I
5 - f/v : ||ve (so0nds s|m||a|I
6 - o/o : oee (|oo|s s|m||a| and 'o' and 'o' |oo| and so0nd a|most t|e sameI
7 - 7 : tea (|oo|s s|m||a|I
8 - c|/s|/| : s|oe (oeca0se of t|e 'g|' |n 'e|g|t' and t|en '|' |s t|e nea|est to t|ese
so0ndsI
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9 - g : goo (|oo|s s|m||a|I
Now, as we get |nto do0o|e d|g|ts we como|ne t|e |ette|s we a||eady |now and fo|m
mo|e wo|ds:
10 : | & z/s : ||ce
11 : | & | : |||y
12 : | & n : ||ne
13: | & m : ||me etc.
This can continue ad infnitum. For example if the 23 thing on your list was a wheelchair
23 : n & m : Nam : Your image might be of the entire Nam war being fought by people in wheelchairs.
When you go to translate your image back into the 23rd word, you think of the war - Nam(23j and
what was happening everyone in a 'Wheelchair'.
Memor|z|ng a deck of cards
lf you have continued the above system to 52 numbers you might like to try applying it to memoriz-
ing a deck of cards. Each card is frst changed into an image and it them interacts with its corre-
sponding position in the deck.
Firstly; converting each card into a word image. Let's say your third card is the nine of hearts (9Hj.
Firstly you say H9 and use the peg letter for '9'....g. You then form a word which could be 'hag' or
'hug'. We then connect 'hug' with our peg for its position (3 : m: hamj. Our image might then be of
hugging a piece of ham as if our life depended on it.
lmagine your forth card is the six of spades (6Sj.
Reverse 6S = S6
Use peg to create a word : S6 = s + b = sob
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Use peg to code the position : 4 (forth cardj = whore
Now link 'sob' (6Sj with 'whore' (4j: our image of a sobbing whore (come up with your own back
story there!j
So at this point if you needed to know what card is 3rd, you would conjure up an image of yourself
hugging a ham. The hug would then be decoded as hearts/nine and you know the third card was
the nine of hearts. lt will take practice but you will not believe how quickly you will get the hang of it.
Face cards do not adhere to this rule but are easily dealt with. E.g.
Ace of hearts = AH : a big love heart
Jack of clubs = JC : young guy at a club
King of spades = KS : head gardener etc.
lmportance of reviewing
Any of these images you create in your mind will inevitably fade over time. lf there is something you
want to commit to your long term memory, reviewing it is key. You must tell your brain that this infor-
mation is important and keep the links strong. To review this information, just think it through once
a day to begin with and once every couple of weeks after that. This is done at any time of the day.
Sitting on a bus, walking to work etc. lt is a very interesting and fun exercise.
Peg system for remembering numbers
Memorizing a deck of cards
Remembering names
Part 3: Hypnosis & suggestibility
Pac|ng & |ead|ng
Hypnosis is based primarily on the understanding of pacing or feeding back the subjects experience
to her and then leading her to the new desired behavior. A simple example works as follows: 'as you
X, so you Y'. The frst piece of behavior X is known to be true, the desired behavior, Y, is connected
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with it as if the two are somehow interdependent.
E.g.
As you sit there and listen to my words, with your eyes closed, feeling your hands there on the arm
of the chair, allowing my words to relax you as your breathing becomes regular and peaceful, l'd like
you to let yourself begin to drift away into a kind of sleep.
Everything up to the word 'chair' is simply feedback. The leading is then snuck in along with those
items of pure feedback.
Presuppos|t|on
ln hypnosis, presupposing something is hugely benefcial. For instance, a sentence such as ' you'll
notice that your eyes start to grow heavy as you listen to me'. lt presupposes that the eyes are grow-
ing heavy and only questions when the subject will happen to notice it.
A nice example of pacing, leading and supposition is the sentence 'As you sit there l want you to
notice that your body is growing heavy'
Tone of vo|ce
Everything must be said with a gentle relaxed tone. lf it sounds harsh, you won't be as effective. Do
not fall for the trap of elongating your words to the point where it is a distraction to the subject. Allow
yourself to fully relax as you talk so that the subject naturally relaxes with you.
Use of |magery
Appeal to all senses by referring to things that you'd like them to see, hear, feel, smell or even taste.
Be sure to allow the subject to fll the gaps themselves and be careful not to contradict something
about a picture you might have suggested.
Structure
Prepare subject and induce light stages of trance. This may involve the suggestion of eye
closure
Deepen the metaphor such as going down stairs
Carry out your hypnotic work
Fully awaken the subject.
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Part 4: Unconsc|ous Commun|cat|ons
Learn|ng to read peop|e/Spott|ng ||es and g|veaway te||s
The most common misconception is that people break eye-contact when they lie. Nonsense: people
break eye contact all the time. When looking for deceit, you are looking for a change in behavior.
Firstly, it is necessary to watch a person in a state of disengagement. This will establish a baseline.
Without this appreciation of the persons 'normal' behavior, it is impossible to note important chang-
es. For example, if a person is already swinging his foot back and forth, it may be the ceasing of the
swinging that suggests a signifcant response to a question. There are three ways to spot deceit: by
looking at non-verbal language, verbal language, and by measuring small physiological responses
such as increases in blood-pressure, heart-rate and sweating of the palms.
Head and Face
This is often the worst place to look for signs for what is going on beneath the words. Generally
people are quite good at controlling their facial expressions. The commonly asserted view that a
smile is not genuine unless the eyes are involved is true. But this can be missed unless a person is
highly trained to spot it.
Hands
People can sometimes unconsciously point to themselves when telling a story. For instance, imag-
ine a person is talking about a problem at work as he says 'l don't know what the problem is' he
gestures to himself. This might suggest that he unconsciously feels he is the source of the issue, in
which case he may very well be.
Feet and |egs
A person may start tapping their feet as a sign that they want to get away. Watch also for the sud-
den crossing and uncrossing of feet when signifcant subjects are brought up. A person may sound
uninterested in you, but if her feet are a little turned out towards you, especially when coupled with a
slight turn of the hands towards you which exposes the wrists, the chances are that she is very open
to you indeed.
B||nk|ng
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These tiny movements seem to correlate to the amount of mental stress we are experiencing and
the frequency of our blinking shows the speed at which we are processing information. ln a normal
conversation where the other person is attuned to you, he will blink at roughly the same rate as you,
often at moments when you pause in your speech. When they have to engage in a lot of cognitive
work in his head - for example, to work out a lie - that blink rate will normally increase.
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There are very few guideposts" in life, The Fountainhead is one of them and will strengthen your
core belief system. Written in 1943 by Ayn Rand, this was her frst literary success. More than 6.5M
copies have been sold, bringing her fame and fortune. lt transcends time and you will feel like a bet-
ter person after reading this book.
12 different publishers rejected her, before a young editor risked his job to get this book printed. So-
ciety as a whole gave mixed reviews, she gained a cult following by word of mouth, and a Hollywood
flm was produced.
lf you're fghting for something, and need a little reaffrmation that what you believe and stand for is
right, this book will give you the confdence to stay the course.
Human Progress
Man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress."
lt is not the nature of any living thing to start out by giving up."
Giving up requires a process of corruption, pressure or pain. Some give up at the frst sign of pres-
sure, some sell out because it's easier, and some just lose their fre and never get it back. This lack
of self-esteem and motivation drains the collective society, even though it is society that betrays us
into believing it is better to blend in and not make noise.
Fountainhead is a confrmation of the spirit of youth, proclaiming man's glory, showing how much is
really possible" Embrace the creativity and desire to achieve that we were born with, we will make a
difference in the world of human progress.
Cast of Characters
Ayn Rand dives deep into the characters, intentionally, so that you don't have time to notice the life
lessons/parallels, ideas and the very moral fber of the book that are being sponged up by your sub-
conscious.
CRP #19. The FounIa/nhead
Summar/zed by Pne//y
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The interaction between the characters is also instructional, going into great detail of work and per-
sonal interactions, hidden and unspoken events and ulterior motives.
Her ideal man: Howard Roark. After Howard gets expelled from architecture school for drawing
outside of the lines, he sets off on the most diffcult career path possible. He deliberately seeks an
architect that he admires for his modernistic and original approach, though he's been disgraced and
outcast. He hops between lowly jobs when his idol goes out of business, is frequently out of work
and forced to live in poverty or hard labor, and suffers greatly at the hands of society because he
refuses to conform to tradition-worship".
Roark is the central fgure in the book, and every other character introduced gets put on a compara-
tive mini-trial for their integrity and independent-mindedness.
Second-handers" are the followers not the creators, and they either assist or hinder his progress,
or both. Roark is a prime mover", or what we would call a frst mover today. He sets out to achieve
pure art in everything he touches and never strays.
One constant suck" on Howard's life is Peter Keating. We all know a Peter; he is the company man,
the boot lick who gets ahead by selling out. Top of his class, handsome, slick and all fa3ade, Peter
is a guy we want to tussle with quickly. Peter also has friends, and his over bearing mom at his side,
and they all play the game.
Toohey writes in a popular newspaper, and is a very opinionated blowhard. Unfortunately, he is gain-
ing the power of the mob (societyj. lf Toohey says its so, it must be so, especially in architecture. All
the weak-minded businessmen and rich women that attend important fakey galas and charity balls
listen to what this outspoken socialist has to say. Toohey knows he can manipulate Peter, but not
Howard, so he sets out to destroy Howard Roark.
At one point, Toohey asks: Why don't you tell me what you think of me?" To which, Roark replies:
But l don't think of you."
To the rescue come a few new characters, one may be Ayn Rand's ideal woman? Dominique Fran-
con. Described as the woman for a man like Howard Roark". She is a stunningly beautiful woman,
sexy as hell, smart as a whip, and a thorn in her big daddy's side. (Her dad, Guy, is a big time archi-
tect that wants to eventually hand over his frm to Peterj She has no problem backing Roark's work,
because she is sick of the status quo and no one else can measure up to her standards.
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Her frst encounter with Roark is a battle of wills, and ends up in a power struggle, with her giving in
to what was called at the time a rape scene. l didn't realize it was rape while l was reading it, but was
defnitely aware of the vivid nature of the writing. Sex is sprinkled liberally through out the book.
A second friend to Howard is Gail Wynand. He is the owner and editor-in-jefe of the newspaper that
Toohey writes for. He meets Roark independently of Dominique and Peter, even though there is a gi-
gantic love rectangle going on. Wynand and Roark are kindred spirits, they both have stood for what
they believe in, both have strong wills, and both came from nothing.
ln the end Wynand has to give up his close friendship with Howard because he realizes he is at the
mercy of the people, the mob that reads his newspaper. His efforts to support what he believes in,
which is Howard's work, fails because he has to chose his business over his beliefs. He sells out.
Shameful, and the description of him is even worse than that of Peter's.
Lessons/L|fe Para||e|s
My life lesson, right now, during an early stage technology startup is to stick out the tough times.
There is always a limit to what we can bear as humans: cost, essential items, family life, safety, secu-
rity, material things and more. But if you believe in something so strongly, so strongly that if you gave
it up it would haunt you for the rest of your life, push on.
This book came to me when l needed it most, the Universe provided it for me. l will work towards the
goal of ultimate success, l will be Howard Roark among a sea of second-handers, and l will create
pure art as l see it.
Thought Provok|ng
What do you care about so strongly that would make you stand up and give everything you've got?
lf you don't have something that drives you like this, why not? What are your goals, dreams, what do
you want to be when you grow up?
Pr|me Mover
Or First Mover is a lifestyle choice. lt is an advantage gained by the frst person to do something dif-
ferent. Think about meeting the opposite sex, on a chance frst encounter making a great frst im-
pression could mean everything. Think about business. lf you or your business is not creating a frst
mover advantage, why will anyone care about you? And why wouldn't you seek out the big bucks
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and exclusive status that is usually linked to owning a space or product category. Of course it can
also get bloody, being the frst to break through a wall or barrier.
First Movers create the world around us. lt's not easy, but it's worth it, and someone has to do it!
(lnspiration from a plaque found at Epcot, in Walt Disney World belowj
Object|v|sm
A philosophy for living on Earth, grounded in reality, and aimed at defning a man's nature and the
nature of the world in which he lives:
"My o|||osoo|y, |n essence, |s t|e conceot of man as a |e|o|c oe|ng, w|t| ||s own
|aoo|ness as t|e mo|a| o0|oose of ||s ||fe, w|t| o|od0ct|ve ac||evement as ||s noo|est
act|v|ty, and |eason as ||s on|y aoso|0te." - Ayn Rand
You can imagine how society might react to this statement 60-70+ years ago. Every belief system on
the planet has been compared to how Ayn Rand sees the world. Ethically, politically, metaphysically,
aesthetically, intellectually, and every other ally" which is a separate subject unto itself.
Instruct|ve
There is an underlying education of architecture within the analogies and ideas she expresses. Com-
paring the old way of doing things, to the new, modern way that things could be done better and
show progress.
lt was said that Roark was based on American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Roark believes that
buildings should be sculpted to ft their location, local materials, and purpose elegantly and effcient-
ly, instead of copying or basing design on historical convention. No cookie-cutter homes or cube
farms.
End|ng
The end occurs in a courtroom because Roark took the ultimate stand, and blew up a building that
he designed. As part of the jury", l deemed him innocent as he had every right to destroy his work
after it was altered to conform to an acceptable standard without his approval.
This courtroom setting provides great meaning and makes a lot of sense. lt is Roark's trial for his life
and the way he wants to live it. We are all defending our individualistic rights at one time or another,
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and to most of us it feels like the weight of the judicial system and more is on our backs. Roark deliv-
ers an academy award winning testimony, one man against the system, which shows if you prepare
your stance and it makes sense at the basic level of the argument, no one can dispute the way you
want to live your life.
Roark is the human spirit personifed, his struggle represents the triumph of individualism over col-
lectivism. We all want to be him, or at least take a few lessons from him, and shape the world with
our own hands.
The Fountainhead is a great lead-in to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Another great piece of literature
that goes even further into the powerful forces at work against our instinctual desire to create, stand
out, and make a difference in our lives.
---
Aoo0t t|e a0t|o| of t||s |ev|ew: PNe||y soends ||s days des|gn|ng, eng|nee||ng, and man0fact0||ng
cons0me| e|ect|on|cs, and |as oa|t|c|oated |n many |ecogn|zao|e and |evo|0t|ona|y o|od0cts.
Not eve|yone got ||s o| |e| names |n Steve Joos' ooo|
Yo0 can hnd ||m @JPNe||y
/0d|c C|ty, S|||con va||ey
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What it lacks in...ehm, graphic swing The Now Habit makes up in constructive content about pro-
crastination. The underlying theme that really sets this book apart is the emphasis on understanding
why we create the need to procrastinate instead of jumping to instant-solutions.
The Now Habit is a method, with practical insights to change individual aspects of yourself in each
chapter. There is quite some soul searching to be done before your procrastination-weapons are
battle-ready. So let's get to it.
Why We Procrast|nate
Fo| a o|g |ewa|d:
Procrastination is rewarding, it rewards us with temporary relief from stress. The more you feel that
endless work deprives you of the pleasure of leisure time, the more you will avoid work. lt is double
rewarding if the work we thought we had to do later proves to be unnecessary.
7o oe a oowe|f0| v|ct|m:
l have to pay the bills or go to jail", l have to give up my vacation or lose my job". lf you feel like a
victim whose life is controlled by others who make the rules, saying l have to" reaffrms your re-
fusal to accept the rules. As a powerless victim you feel you can't openly rebel, because that would
mean risking the probable consequences (anger and punishmentj as well as losing the side benefts
of the victim role. (self- righteousness and martyrdomj. By procrastinating, you temporarily, secretly
dethrone this authority. You can resist by dragging your feet and giving a halfhearted effort to gain
some power and control over your life.
W|en oe|ng too s0ccessf0| (t|e oo|e-va0|te| synd|omeI
lmagine: you work long and hard for a very diffcult goal, such as pole-vaulting sixteen feet. You're
terribly afraid of failing, but the pressure of the crowd and your own expectations push you to try
harder. Barely making the jump and somehow making it over the bar, the applause of the crowd lasts
for a few seconds, and then they're raising the bar to sixteen feet, six inches. And then some more,
CRP #20. The Now Hab/I
Summar/zed by Rob
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until you got no more reserves left. Success raises the anxiety that still more is going to be expected
in the future but procrastination gives some protection against that threat. Fiore calls this the fear of
delayed failure.
How We Procrast|nate
Mon|to| yo0|se|f
Knowing how you procrastinate is even more important than knowing why. You can use your aware-
ness of negative patterns to redirect your energy toward forming positive habits. ldentifying how you
go about doing anything is essential to improving your performance.
C|eate a o|oc|ast|nat|on |og
Procrastinate at your normal level for another week. Observe yourself without judgements. Where is
your time going? What are you doing when you're really productive? Don't judge yourself or analyze
your behavior. Concentrate on becoming aware of your current behavior patterns. Divide your day
into three or four segments, for example: morning, afternoon, and evening to better assess when you
are the most and the least productive. Record the time spent on each activity throughout your day.
Gett|ng awa|e
Your procrastination log will alert you to your inner dialogue and how it is helping or hindering your
goal achievement. Awareness of you inner dialogue and how it connects to your procrastination pat-
terns will allow you to get the most out of the Now Habit.
Exerc|se: Wa|k|ng the P|ank
Situation A: The task before you is to walk a solid board, thirty feet long, four inches thick, one foot
wide. You have all the physical, mental and emotional capabilities necessary to perform this task.
You can carefully place one foot in front of the other, or you can dance, skip, or leap across the
board. You can do it. No problem.
Situation B: Add two buildings and raise up the board between them by 100 feet. lmagine how the
difference in attempting to walk the same board makes you feel;
Situation C: Add some heat behind you, the building supporting your end of the board is on fre!
lmagine the added feelings the situation creates.
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When you procrastinate, it's as if you are the one raising the board off the ground, getting yourself
frozen, and then lighting that fre to create the pressure of a real deadline.
Unde|stand|ng t|e stages:
First, you give a task or a goal the power to determine your worth and happiness (getting this task,
dating this person will change my life and make me happy"j
Second, you use perfectionism to raise the task 100 feet above the ground (any mistakes would be
tantamount to deathj.
Third, you fnd yourself frozen with anxiety as your natural stress response produces adrenaline to
deal with threats to your survival.
Fourth, you then use procrastination to escape your dilemma (which brings the deadline closer, cre-
ating time pressure, anxiety and threat of imperfect workj.
Fifth and last stage, you use a real threat such as a fre or a deadline to release yourself from perfec-
tionism and to act as a motivator.
Situation D: You're back on the board again, 100 feet above the ground and still frozen by procrasti-
nation. But this time there's no fre, only a strong, supportive net, just three feet beneath the board.
You now know that if you fall the worst that could happen is that you might feel a little embarrassed.
Falling no longer means death. You'll need a positive self-statement that will give you the ability to
recover from any mistake, say to yourself: Whatever happens l will survive. l will fnd a way to carry
on. l will not let this be the end of the world for me. l will fnd a way to lessen the pain in my life and
maximize the joy".
Ta|k|ng to Yourse|f
Five self-statements that distinguish procrastinators from producers:
1. Negative thinking of l have to."
Replace with: l choose to."
Choose to work, or accept responsibility for choosing to delay, shift from a negative thought to an
attitude of choice and power.
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2. Negative thinking of l must fnish."
Replace with: When can l start?"
Finishing is in the vague distance, replace agitated energy with a clear focus on what can be tackled
now.
3. Negative thinking of This project is so big and important." Replace with: l can take one small
step."
When feeling overwhelmed, remember: one small step, one rough draft, one small hello. You can
never build a house at once. All you can do now is pour the concrete, hammer a nail, raise a wall.
One small step at a time.
4. Negative thinking of l must be perfect."
Replace with: l can be perfectly human."
As you learn to expect and accept imperfect early steps on your projects, you'll build in the persis-
tence of a producer, and you'll be better prepared to bounce back because you'll have a safety net
of compassion (because of your courageous efforts to create real, imperfect workj.
5. Negative thinking of l don't have time to play."
Replace with: l must take time to play."
lnsisting on your regular time for exercise, dinners with friends, and breaks/vacations you increase
feelings of inner worth and respect for yourself that are at the heart of unlearning the need for pro-
crastination.
Reprogram confusing and counterproductive statements with powerful focus:
l choose to start on one small step, knowing l have plenty of time for play."
The Importance of P|ay
Through play we learn the physical, mental, and social skills necessary for adult life. With toys and
imagination children create scenarios that prepare them for work, relationships, and confict.
Adults use these skills learned in childhood to work alone and sit still for hours in front of a computer
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terminal, a drafting desk, or an accounting ledger. They call upon the mental and physical states of
concentration and creativity that were learned decades earlier while playing in the security of the
home. Later in life they will need these experiences to face tasks that require persistent problem-
solving and the risk of mistakes and rejection.
Overcom|ng B|ocks to Act|on
Tools to combat the three major fears that block action and create procrastination:
1. 7||ee-d|mens|ona| t||n||ng and t|e |eve|se ca|enda|, to comoat t|e te||o| of oe|ng ove|w|e|med.
3D Th|nk|ng
Tackling any large project requires an overview of its size, length and breadth so that you can plan
the direction you will take and decide when and where you will start. lt is the opposite of having your
nose up against a skyscraper with the expectation that you have to get to the top in one exhausting
leap. You will experience stress and anxiety when your body tries to be in several places at once.
The Reverse Ca|endar
The reverse calendar starts with the ultimate deadline for you project and moves back, step by step,
to the present where you can focus your energy on starting.
2. 7|e wo|| of wo||y|ng, to tac||e t|e fea| of fa||0|e and t|e fea| of oe|ng |moe|fect
Worrying can warn you of danger and evoke action to prepare for that danger. Respect your ability to
worry as a means to alert you to potential danger. You need to do the work of worrying to direct the
energy of worry and panic into plans to remove the threat. Ask yourself these six questions as part of
your work of worrying:
What is the worst that could happen?
What would l do if the worst really happened?
How would l lessen the pain and get on with as much happiness as possible if the worst
did occur?
What alternatives would l have?
What can l do now to lessen the probability of this dreaded event occurring?
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ls there anything l can do now to increase my chances of achieving my goal?
True confdence is the ability to say, l am prepared for the worst, now l can focus on the work that
will lead to the best."
3. Pe|s|stent sta|t|ng, to tac||e t|e fea| of not hn|s||ng
Prepare challenges to Negative Statements and Attitudes.
l need to do more preparation before l can start."
Be alert to when preparation becomes procrastination. There's work involved in trying to escape
through procrastination. So why not choose the work of taking one more step forward?
At this rate l'll never fnish."
The rate of learning and accomplishment in the beginning of a project is often slower than you're ac-
customed to. Remember that later on, when you are more familiar with the subject matter and more
confdent in your new situation, it will go faster.
l should have started earlier."
You got started and you need to appreciate that. Make sure you reward every step of progress, re-
gardless how small and keep your commitment to guilt free play.
There's only more work after this."
Keep this work separate from your decision about future projects. Avoid feelings of have to" and
victimhood about work that isn't even here yet. You are in control of when you will face the next
piece of work.
lt's not working."
Rather than hoping for a perfect path with no problems, you can maintain a resolute commitment to
make things work on this path. As a producer, you are focusing on the desired results and making
this path work for you.
l only need a little more time."
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You may fnd it diffcult to accept that others do not hold your high standards of quality. You must
learn to tolerate the anxiety and risks of fnishing even though you know your work isn't perfect.
Acknowledge that valuable time is wasted on polishing in an attempt to ensure perfection. Get your
work out there - out of the fantasy stage and into the real world.
Keep on starting, and fnishing will take care of itself. When you're afraid of fnishing, keep asking,
When can l start?"
The Unschedu|e
ln case nobody told you, there's no such thing as a life of complete play. Trying to escape work by
procrastinating will only increase your anxiety; only work will diminish your anxiety. Neither choco-
late chip cookies nor Tv will lessen tension about a overwhelming task, starting work will. The book
works a little bit towards the Unschedule, it is a great tool to work with if you understand previous
chapters about why and how you procrastinate.
A system built on reversed psychology:
Do not work more then twenty hours a week on this project.
Do not work more than fve hours a day on this project.
You must exercise, play, or dance at least one hour a day.
You must take at least one day a week off from any work.
Aim for starting on thirty minutes of quality work.
Work for an imperfect, perfectly human frst effort.
Start small.
Steps on how to use the unschedule:
1. Schedule only:
previously committed time such as meals, sleep, meetings;
free time, recreation, leisure reading;
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socializing, lunches and dinners with friends;
health activities such as swimming, running, tennis, working out at the gym;
routine structured events such as commuting time, classes, medical appointments;
do not schedule work on projects!
Fill in your Unschedule with as many non-work activities as possible. lt will help you overcome the
fantasy that you have twenty-four hours a day and forty-eight hours on the weekends to work on
your projects. lt will sharpen your perception of actual time available.
2. Fill in your Unschedule with work on projects only after you have completed at least one-half hour
of quality work.
Think of the Unschedule as a time clock that you punch in as you start work and punch out when
you take credit for your progress. Maintain an excitement about how much you've accomplished in a
short period of time.
3. Take credit only for periods of work that represent at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted work.
Do not record the time on your Unschedule if you stop before thirty minutes are up. When you stay
with the discipline of uninterrupted work, you really know that the half hour you earned on your Un-
schedule represents quality work, not trips to get potato chips or to make calls.
4. Reward yourself with a break or a change to a more enjoyable task after each period worked.
You deserve it. You got started! And by overcoming inertia, you have begun to build momentum that
will make it easier to get started next time. With rewards for each positive achievement you create
positive associations with work instead of negative ones.
5. Keep track of the number of quality hours worked each day and each week.
Total them up. Emphasize what you did accomplish. This is rewarding in itself and establishes a
positive pattern by following work with a pat on the back.
6. Always leave at least one full day a week for recreation and any small chores you wish to take care
of.
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Avoid the feeling of resentment and the burnout that can come when there are no holidays because
of work. This day is essential for rejuvenation and maintaining creativity and motivation.
7. Before deciding to go to a recreational activity or social commitment, take time out for just thirty
minutes of work on your project.
Grandma's principle: You can get your ice cream only after you eat your spinach. Or, as Fiore ex-
plains: Any pleasurable or frequent activity you engage in has the power to create motivation for the
activity it follows.
8. Focus on starting.
Your task is to get to the starting place on time. Replace all thoughts about fnishing with thoughts
about when, where, and on what you can start.
9. Think small
Do not aim to fnish a book, write letters, complete your income tax. Aim for thirty minutes of quality,
focused work
10. Keep starting.
Finishing will take care of itself. When it is time to start the last thirty minutes that will fnish the proj-
ect, that too will be an act of starting. lf you must worry, worry about starting. ln order to fnish all
you have to do is to just keep starting!
11. Never end down."
That is, never stop work when you're blocked or at the end of a section. Remember Grandma's prin-
ciple: to create good habits your breaks and treats must follow some work. No treats until you face
what you've been avoiding. Always stay with a tough spot for another fve or ten minutes, trying to
come up with at least a partial solution that you can pursue later.
A |ast Word
Experiment with the above techniques, avoid statements such as l'll try it" or lt's not working,"
which reveal a testing attitude rather than a frm commitment. The feeling behind l'll try" is that you
will make a halfhearted effort and then fail. Defeatist statements such as lt's not working" mean
you've failed to fnd a tool to take away all the anxiety, that once again your problem remains un-
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solved, and that you are likely to rely on your old attempted solution, procrastination to escape fear
and discomfort. How can l make this work for me?" refects a greater commitment and drive toward
success. Get in touch with your own abilities, motivation and inner genius and look forward to having
a positive attitude toward work, control over procrastination, resiliency against setbacks, and a new
identity as a producer!
PS:
Note from the reviewer: when you start your project and work from home. Change your view, literally!
l have a great library nearby in Amsterdam with a view that's superior to the one in my small apart-
ment. l kept pushing this review forward to the point it just became too embarrassing, but when l
took a friday afternoon and saturday (todayj off to really focus on it l nearly fnished the whole thing
in less then 2 days. And l'm convinced the view (and the additional lightj worked wonders. So, fnd a
big building with a view to start your next project!
PPS:
Chapters l didn't summarize:
ln my opinion these are great follow ups for previous chapters, but a bit too in-depth for this sum-
mary. Of course if people want to read more about certain chapters l will make an effort!
Chapter 7. Working in the fow state
The fow state focuses on a method that teaches you how to reach a natural level of calm, focused
energy and attention we experience in shifts during the day. Fiore explains a lot about relaxation ex-
ercises and other ways in creating this state for yourself.
Chapter 8. Fine-tuning your progress
More powerful techniques for overcoming the setbacks and obstacles to your progress from pro-
crastinator to producer.
Chapter 9. The procrastinator in your life
Here Fiore explains how to live, work, and relate to individuals whose own problems with procrasti-
nation affect us negatively.
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How to change things, when change is hard...
That is a great question often unanswered.
And too many guys give up at the frst sign of a setback.
Switch is a very valuable book... but it is also usable in every aspect of our lives (socially, physically,
psychologically...j
lt covers a bunch of personal development concepts and Chip and Dan Heath make them crystal
clear to understand.
They also share helpful tips to motivate you instantly and show you how to trick yourself into suc-
cess.
We all know that change is hard.
And this book is the perfect starting point to help every one of us who wants a change in his life.
For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently.
They came up with 3 surprises" about change:
What looks like a resistance is often a lack of clarity
What looks like laziness if often exhaustion
What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem
From these 3 statements Heath' Brothers, will break down the whole book.
And we are going to use this analogy: We have an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side.
And we've also got to clear the way for them to succeed.
CRP #21. Sw/Ich
Summar/zed by A/ex/s
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ln short, we must do three things:
1. Direct the Rider (rational brainj : Provide crystal-clear direction
2. Motivate the Elephant (emotional brainj : Engage people's emotional side
3. Shape the path: Make it easier to have the right behavior
So, how to do that?
1. D|rect the R|der
Show him where to go, how to act, what destination to pursue.
1.1 F|nd the Br|ght Spots
The question is simple here: What is working right now and how can we do more of it ?"
But for us, weird human beings, we are wired on the negative. We see the negative side and focus
on it. We have to make an intellectual effort to shift our awareness on the positive.
So investigate on what's working already and clone it.
From my own experience, a set of very powerful coaching questions look like this:
What have you already tried to solve your problem and had a meaningful impact?
How can you do more of it?
How can you replicate that?
You will have aha moment from that.
These fashes of success - these bright spots - can illuminate the road map for action and spark the
hope that change is possible.
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Ask yourself: What l've already tried to solve my problem and worked? And how can l do more of it?
1.2 Scr|pt the Cr|t|ca| Moves
This is a key chapter and the easiest to implement.
The more choices the rider is offered, the more exhausted the rider gets
Don't be stuck in decision paralysis.
More options can freeze us.
Ambiguity is our enemy.
Because, change brings new choices that create uncertainty, and when the road is uncertain the
Elephant (emotional brainj is anxious.
When you want someone to behave in a new way, explain the new way clearly. Don't assume the
new moves are obvious. Any successful change requires a translation of ambiguous goals in to con-
crete behaviors.
You don't ask them to eat healthier. You say, Next time you're in the dairy aisle of the grocery store,
reach for a jug of 1% milk instead of a whole milk."
So in order to avoid decision paralysis and kill ambiguity: script the critical moves.
Because clarity dissolves resistances.
Don't think big picture, think in terms of specifc behaviors.
Behavioral goals are more effective than any other kind of goal
As Tony Schwartz says: plan your new ritual in details".
1.3 Po|nt to the Dest|nat|on
lf you want people to change, you must provide a crystal-clear direction.
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Change is easier when you know where you're going and why it's worth it.
Crystal Jones joined Teach For America in 2003. She was assigned to teach the frst-grade class at
tan elementary school in Atlanta. At the beginning of the school year, she announced a goal for her
class that she knew would captivate every student: By the end of this school year, you're going to be
third graders.
You know the feeling you get when you're admiring the grace and power of an Olympic athlete?
That's the feeling frst graders get about thirds graders. And by the end of the year 90% were read-
ing at or above a third-grade level.
To a frst grader, becoming a third grader in nine months is a gut-smacked goal.
This goal directs the rider and motivates the elephant.
To the rider, analyzing phase is often more satisfying than the doing phase and that's dangerous for
your switch." Anyone else feels targeted?
Goal often lacks emotional resonance.
SMART goals have become the norm. lt is still a great cure for the worst sin of goal setting: ambigu-
ity and irrelevance. But they will not ft for change behavior. lf you want to motivate the elephant you
can't bank on SMART goal...
You need a gut-smacking goal, one that appeals to both Rider and Elephant.
As Jim Collins says, in Built To Last: fnd your BHGA - Big Hairy Audacious Goal"
2. Mot|vate the E|ephant
Self-control is a limited resource.
2.1 F|nd the Fee||ngs
Knowing something isn't enough to cause change. Make people feel something.
The core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change hap-
pens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people's feelings. ln highly successful
change efforts, people fnd ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that infuence
emotions, not just thought.
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lf we don't fnd the feeling, the why of our change: we will never change. We will never get the de-
sired outcomes, we will never get the girl we deserve, we will never be able to be appreciated for
what we do and it will be impossible to achieve our goals.
On the other hand, if we can imagine the feeling of control and power we will have or feel the fear,
anxiety or doom of our inaction, we will instantly feel motivated to change, to move away from our
worst scenario, move towards our goals and take massive action.
lf necessary we need to create a crisis to convince people they're facing a catastrophe and have no
choice but to move.
From what l've seen so far in my life: People tend to fnd the courage to change only after an emo-
tional cataclysm.
There is no question that negative emotions are motivating. lf we need a quick and specifc action,
then negative emotions might help.
l've seen that Tim Ferris imagine the worst case scenario if he doesn't act, simply to fnd the motiva-
tion.
Positive emotions does not trigger strong emotions like: feeing or avoiding. But positive emotions
broaden and build.
So, you must provide hope and motivation.
To apply the idea : ask you why you want the desired outcomes and what is going to happen if you
do not act.
2.2 Shr|nk the Change
Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant.
One way to motivate action is to make people feel as though they're already closer to the fnish line
than they might have thought.
That sense of progress is essential, because the elephant in us is easily demoralized. lt's easily
spooked so it needs reassurance, even for the very frst step of the journey.
Remind you what's already been conquered.
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A business clich commands us to raise the bar. But that's wrong if you want to motivate a reluctant
elephant. The elephant hates doing thing with no immediate pay off.
Make the start easy.
Example: l'm just going to clean my room for 5 minutes. l'm just gonna run for 10 min.
Make the change small enough so you can't help but score a victory.
Hope is precious to change effort. lt's elephant fuel.
Once people are on the path and making progress, it's important to make their advance visible.
Small targets lead to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior.
With each step the elephant feels less scared and less reluctant, because things are working. With
each step, the Elephant starts feeling the change. A journey that started with a dread is evolving
toward a feeling of confdence and pride.
lmportant: make the start easy.
2.3 Grow your peop|e
Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset.
lnspire them to be more determinate, more ready, more motivated. And when you build people up in
this way, they develop the strength to act.
lf you don't develop and grow your identity you will never change your self-image. On the other hand
if you grow your personality you will trigger decisions and action that lead to your goal.
You must build a new identity.
Because identities are central to the way people make decisions, any change effort that violates
someone's identity is likely doomed to failure. So the question is: How can you make your change a
matter of identity rather than a matter of consequences?
At Lovelace Hospital Systems in Albuquerque the turnover rata among its nurses was terrible (30%
per yearj. So they start to develop a new orientation program that stressed the inherently admirable
nature of nursing work. They created mentorship programs to help nurses improve their knowledge
and skills.
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The frst hint that something had changed was evident on the annual employee satisfaction survey.
And then the turnover decreased and the patient satisfaction increased.
They cultivated professional pride in nurses.
F/xed M/ndseI VS GrowIh M/ndseI
So to change, you need to become a new you. To have a new identity, new behaviors, new habits...
There is problem, though. lt's awfully hard.
As Carol Dweck said, you need to develop a growth mindset instead of a fxed-mindset. Because
you can't learn without failing. You can't change without failing. And the elephant really hates to fail.
The answer sounds strange: you need to create the expectation of failure en route.
People with a fxed-mindset try to get it right on the frst try, tend to avoid challenge and fear failure.
But the most effective team tends to adopt a learning frame".
lf you want to reach your full potential you need a growth mindset. You will then focus on learning.
All the studies in Carol Dweck's book (Mindsetj shows that successful people have a growth mind-
set.
The elephant has to believe that's capable of conquering the change.
Adopt a growth mindset and learn by action.
My personal understanding of this part (if l can add my personal point of view, in the middle of the
geniusj is summarized by the formula: success = failure + rectifcations.
And as l'm writing this summary, l just had this insight: What was not me" must become the new
me".
3. Shape the path
lf you want people to change, you can provide clear direction (Riderj or boost their motivation or
determination (Elephantj. Or you can make the journey easier. Remove some friction from the trail. ln
short, you can shape the path.
3.1 Tweak the Env|ronment
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When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation.
Eben Pagan explains that to build his habit to drink 50cl of water every morning, he simply put the
bottle in the sink of the bathroom the day before.
Example to tweak your environment:
Have a laptop you use only to work (no Wi-Fi, no browserj
Download a plugin like StayFocusd" to prevent you to go on specifc website that kill your
productivity.
Download GymPact on your iPhone
Make bad behavior impossible. Make the desired behavior inevitable.
Simply tweaks of the path can make dramatic changes in behavior.
To apply the idea: trick yourself to make the behavior inevitable
3.2 Bu||d hab|ts
Habits are behavioral autopilot.
When behavior is habitual, it's free"--it doesn't tax the Rider.
Look for ways to encourage habits.
We are going to see 2 tools:
Use the humb|e check||st. Checklists make big screwups less likely. lt just works. So use
it.
Set Act|on-tr|ggers: you will preload a decision and you will make an instant habit. l fnish
my dinner, l brush my tooth. She gave me 3 indicators of interest, l make her a compliment.
When l remove my suit and tie, l put a short and go for a run. After a coffee break, l call 5
clients.
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Action-triggers are most effective in the most diffcult situations - the ones that are most draining to
the Rider's self control.
The action-trigger help make the behavior habitual.
At the end, the more instinctive a behavior becomes, the less self control from the rider it requires,
and thus the more sustainable it becomes.
To apply the idea : use checklist and action-triggers
3.3 Ra||y the Herd
lt's easier to persevere on a long journey when you rally the herd."
When you are in a new place (new country, frst time at church, special dinner...j , you're not sure
how to behave so you watch other people.
We all want to wear the right clothes, to say the right things, to frequent the right places, because we
instantly try to ft in with our peer group, behavior is contagious. (That's why barista seed the tip jar
before openingj
The Elephant constantly looks to the herd for cues about how to behave.
Behavior is contagious. Help it spread.
To implement the idea: you can hang out with people who already reached your goal, join a club or
have a mentor/coach.
Keep the sw|tch go|ng
To sum up, paraphrase and be clear:
Set specifc behavioral goals
Find your why and make the start easy
Set up your environment so you can help but succeed
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The book is full of examples in the real world. And full of tricks, techniques and strategies to change
for the long run.
Use them to get the change you want in your social, professional and personal life.
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Philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson frst published his perennial essay Self-Reliance" in
1841. Part of the American Transcendentalist, argued for individualism and questioning of society's
norms. Many intertwined philosophical roots from The Game, pop Buddhism, and the counter-cul-
ture can be found in Self-Reliance," as it argues going against the grain, individual thought, focus-
ing on the moment, and improvement of the self. lt begins with the quote, Ne te quaesiveris extra"--
do not seek outside yourself.
Be|ng Yourse|f
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for
all men--that is genius." You have to speak what you feel, no matter how large the opposition may
seem. Geniuses are the ones who are unafraid to voice our own rejected thoughts.
l do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle." Do not need the re-
assurance of others to be yourself. You have to do what matters to you, regardless of other peoples'
wants. As hard as a rule as that may be to follow, you must stick true to it, even when it seems that
others know you better than yourself.
lnsist on yourself; never imitate." Being yourself is the gift you can give to the world. Every great
man is unique," and, if you conform to the rest of the world, you cannot achieve that greatness. You
need to be an outlier.
ln youth, we aren't afraid to push the limits, to fail, to search for new paths. ln adulthood, we lose
that drive, constantly monitoring ourselves to be accepted by others. As we age, we conform more
to the democracy that society necessitates; self-reliance combats that. You have to return to that
youthful mindset.
Focus|ng on the Now
We cannot let the past dictate the present when it comes to ourselves, our cultures, or our religions.
History is an impertinence and an injury if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable
CRP #22. Se/f Re//ance
Summar/zed by NaIhan/e/ Ke//ey
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of my being and becoming." We have to explore the present moment for ourselves, not just accept-
ing what the great minds of the past fgured out about their own moments.
l have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe for purposes or art, of study, and
benevolence, so that the man is frst domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of fnding
somewhat greater than he knows." lf you do not realize that your grass is just as green as everyone
else's, everywhere you go, you grass will always seem less green. You have to rid yourself of that
brown-grass mindset. Maybe you are the person you envy, you just can't see it yet.
Emerson then says one of his most famous quotations: Man postpones or remembers; he does not
live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround
him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with
nature in the present above time."
When you are present in the moment, there is not life, there is not death. There is no joy or hope or
sorrow. There exists a paradox where everything becomes infnite through that singular focus; time
does not matter if you are not contemplating its duration.
Nature, incapable of escaping the now, is self-reliant, ever healing, ever growing. lt does not suffer. lt
just experiences and then reacts accordingly.
Being an lndividual
A man needs to be a nonconformist, not just accepting the rules and laws prescribed for him but
questioning what about those regulations makes them good. Nothing is at last sacred but the integ-
rity of your own mind." Your understanding of good needs to be honest and edgy, or else it falls into
the middling ground that is complacency.
With each undying allegiance you make to a group or tribe, you are tying up your freedom of
thought. Each relationship intangibly affects the others; one allegiance taints the rest of your mental-
ity. lt is about constant evolution. lf you are letting yourself be absorbed in who you are now becom-
ing, and not who you were, you have the greatest room to grow.
You need to untether yourself from people in your life. Be grateful for what they have given you thus
far, and tell them as much, but you need to walk alone to be self-reliant. This way you can truly be
yourself without having to worry about the judgments and expectations of others.
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The best men are those who stand in the middle of the crowd but still maintain the freedom that their
solitude brings, not those who turn to isolation.
Knowing Your Worth
Each man should know his worth, his capacity to transcend his current conditions and become
something greater. Emerson references the fable where the drunkard was picked up in the street,
taken to the duke's house, put in his bed, and told that he was insane-that he was really the duke.
No and then [a man| wake up, exercises his reason and fnds himself a true prince." Your mindset
determines your reality. Don't forget you have that capacity: But perception is not whimsical, but fa-
tal. lf l see a trait, my children will see it after me, and in course of time all mankind--although it may
chance that no one has seen it before me. For my perception of it is much a fact as the sun."
Prayer
Emerson then turns to the topic of prayer. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the
highest point of view...As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see
prayer in all action." The statement, taken away from its Christian context, is very Buddhist. Through
meditation and refection inwards, one can start to see the larger picture.
Soc|ety
Society never advances. lt recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other." Society makes
us reliant on other things: cars, computers, watches. lf they were to disappear, how self-sustaining
would each of us be able to be? (Emergency anyone?j The civilized man has built a coach, but has
lost the use of his feet."
Other thoughts
We live in a world of constant technological stimulation and input. We need to be able to take time
to shut off and refect inwards. Without doing so, we leave ourselves incomplete and uncared for. A
lot of people go into relationships seeking that completion, when really it should be about wanting to
share your whole self with someone else's whole self.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself." lt is only with an understanding of yourself and how you
see the world that you can fnd that both your best self and happiness.
Poem
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Eme|son a|so w|ote a ooem ca||ed "Se|f-Re||ance" w||c| / want to end w|t|:
Hencefo|t|, o|ease God, fo|eve| / fo|ego
7|e yo|e of men's oo|n|ons. / w||| oe
/|g|t-|ea|ted as a o||d, and ||ve w|t| God.
/ hnd ||m |n t|e oottom of my |ea|t,
/ |ea| cont|n0a||y ||s vo|ce t|e|e|n.

7|e ||tt|e need|e a|ways |nows t|e No|t|,
7|e ||tt|e o||d |ememoe|et| ||s note,
And t||s w|se See| w|t||n me neve| e||s.
/ neve| ta0g|t |t w|at |t teac|es me,
/ on|y fo||ow, w|en / act a||g|t.
Octooe| 9, 1832.
And w|en / am entomoed |n my o|ace,
Be |t |ememoe|ed of a s|ng|e man,
He neve|, t|o0g| |e dea||y |oved ||s |ace,
Fo| fea| of |0man eyes swe|ved f|om ||s o|an.
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O| w|at |s Heaven o0t t|e fe||ows||o
Of m|nds t|at eac| can stand aga|nst t|e wo||d
By |ts own mee| and |nco||0ot|o|e w|||?
7|e days oass ove| me
And / am st||| t|e same,
7|e a|oma of my ||fe |s gone
W|t| t|e howe| w|t| w||c| |t came.
1833.
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Why do we need power, and where does it come from?
Every interaction has millions of moving parts. lt's incredibly hard to pinpoint specifc pieces of the
social machine to fx because as we change, each cog in the machine changes. Life is composed
of internal workings under our control, external variables out of our control, and elements we're not
even aware of.
We've all had conversations, meetings, and dates in our lives that couldn't gone better, but we have
no idea what was different between that failed instance and the last stellar interaction.
Here, l'm going to give you the best techniques and tactics found in Get Anyone To Do Anything"
by David Lieberman to help you better understand and control the social dynamics swirling around
us. As this book promises, we'll show you many ways to steer interactions, avoid being taken ad-
vantage of, understand how to lead, infuence, and motivate anyone to your ideas, and control how
others perceive you.
The power here comes in the words you choose, the delivery of your message, and many subcon-
scious factors.
About the Author
David Lieberman, Ph.D., is a leader in the feld of human behavior. His techniques and research are
used by governments, corporations, and professionals in countries all over the world.
The V|be
At frst, most of the tips come across as common knowledge. l thought this book was the fuffy theo-
retical side of social dynamics. l thought most of the techniques mentioned were common sense we
already knew. Then l read it again. Months later, l found that l had unconsciously started using much
of this material successfully.
Lieberman provides examples and applies his advice to real-world situations. The book's chapters
CRP #23. GeI Anyone To Do AnyIh/ng
Summar/zed by AnIhony B/aIner
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are divided into specifc scenarios, and the ones l'm about to share are chapters that l unknowingly
found myself using. Some sound obvious, and l have found that much of its usefulness is how Li-
eberman explicitly articulates the social dynamics that we knew implicitly. lt puts words to the intan-
gibles and brings attention to things that we already knew, but the
explanations, examples, and research serve to emphasize the important pieces. This helps us really
understand why and how it works, and apply it to the rest of our life. Most of the strategies listed in
this book are supported by psychological studies the author references. l'll save you from the hard
science and extract the tangible takeaways.
The author does over promise the ability to apply proven, fast-working psychological tactics to
gain complete and total cooperation from all people in any situation". He says, imagine how easy
life would be if you were able to predict and control the outcome of any encounter". And there is a
slightly ominous vibe when it encourages you to enable your mind to become your greatest weap-
on". Yet, most of the situations are harmless and tactics refer to everyday encounters, and the au-
thor requests that you don't use this info maliciously... but what fun is that.
The Secrets of Psycho|ogy
How Io Make a FanIasI/c F/rsI lmpress/on
Smile. Duh. A smile conveys confdence, happiness, enthusiasm, and shows acceptance. Duh,
again. Well the reason that smiling is important is because of the Primacy effect. A frst impression
of another person causes us to interpret his or her subsequent behavior in a manner consistent with
the frst impression.
Our perceptions have an element of momentum. lf we get a good feeling from frst meeting some-
one, we automatically assume positives about them, but if we get a negative feeling, then as we get
to know them we bias the new information in a negative way.
Think of a time that you've heard, Johnny could have never done that, he's such a nice guy!" Same
idea.
The next piece of advice on frst impressions is to use positive language and emotions around new
acquaintances. Don't be a negative nancy. Duh, yet again. And the reason this is helpful is acces-
sibility and priming, or basically seeding a conversation or interaction. Lieberman says that whatever
emotions are most accessible to a person, the ones they're hearing and feeling, are the emotions
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they associate with a situation or other people. lf you're in a bright room full of happy people, you're
going to be in a better mood than standing in a dim room with depressed people, even if you're not
interacting with them.
Now you can use the primacy effect with the concepts of accessibility and priming for more than just
frst impressions.
GeI anyone Io say whaI Ihey're rea//y Ih/nk/ng
Asking for confrmation won't get you the truth. When you're having a conversation, but want to
challenge to speaker, questioning them with are you sure?" or do you really?" will always get the
same response. People won't contradict themselves.
Here, we see psychological effects of consistency and expectancy. Consistency: people have a need
for continuity in their thinking. Expectancy: people often do what is expected of them. To get around
this, you need to ask the right questions. First, it helps to agree with the speaker, so they don't be-
come defense and feel that they're being challenged. Next, ask them for more input and give them
the opportunity to reveal what they're thinking.
For example:
Designer: Do you like my new designs"
Client: Sure, they're original"
Designer: Ok, what would it take for you to love them?" Client: Well, l'm really into ___ right now..."
Person: Do you like my new car?"
Friend: Sure, it looks good"
Person: Yea, but l feel that it just needs a little something" Friend: Oh, well you could do..."
GeI anyone Io Iake /mmed/aIe acI/on /n any s/IuaI/on
We all procrastinate, but we hate when others procrastinate. These tips are applicable to managing
others, when looking for favors, or leading a group.
Limit options and give a deadline. Fewer choices mean faster decisions. This sounds generalized,
but the fastest decisions are made with three or fewer options. A deadline provides an expectation,
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and allows you to check-in a quarter of the way through, halfway through, etc. Keep them on an
agreed schedule.
Here is also a good place to mention the law of inertia, people in motion stay in motion. When some-
one is presented with a small request and does it, they are much more likely to accept a larger re-
quest later, instead of being initially presented with the larger request. This is the same reason that
the compliance ladder works in pick-up. Similarly, use phrases like while we're out, let's run that
errand on the way" instead of when/if we go out, let's run that errand".
Finally, conveying confdence and expectation that they will comply is important. When you're not
confdent, it's apparent that there's doubt in your mind that they will complete the task. lf there's
doubt, they know there's room to wiggle out of the assignment through this crack in confdence.
GeI anyone Io fo//ow Ihrough on a comm/ImenI Io you
People falsely agree to commitments to get out of a situation or change an uncomfortable topic.
Women give men fake numbers so they go away, friends promise to hangout and then fake. Here's
how to keep them on point or fnd the cracks in their commitments.
What would have to happen for this not to work out?" is a powerful question. For example, instead
of asking your buddy, are you sure you want to marry
her?" rephrase that question and ask, what would have to happen for you to not marry her next
year?" lf there's a crack in that engagement, he's more likely to be honest about a few issues in the
relationship.
To confrm a promise, reinforce it. lf you're making plans, end the conversation with, So l'll see you
next Saturday then, right?" And as the day approaches, send them a text or email letting them know
how much you appreciate their help. Guilt is a strong emotion.
Finding cracks in a plan is about squeezing in through the small problems. Reinforcing a commit-
ment is about repeatedly cementing a promise.
GeI a sIubborn person Io change Ihe/r m/nd abouI anyIh/ng
As we mentioned earlier, consider the law of inertia and the feelings of consistency and expectation.
ln an interaction it would be inconsistent for a person will not change their mind without new infor-
mation. We have a need to be consistent so that we can internally reason with ourselves that what
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we're saying or doing is right and logical.
When attempting to change someone's mind, provide new information and bring in additional social
proof. Yea, l still think you should invest in that company, they just published great new fnancials
today, and even my stockbroker here, Dan, has invested." This gives the person a reason to change
their mind and an opening to make that decision without feeling inconsistent. The reinforcement of
the stockbroker gives a comforting feeling, and can also create social pressure if that person is pres-
ent.
Another example, if a friend says they're going to a different party that will be more fun. Asking
them are you sure" isn't going to work. Again, lt would be inconsistent and unexpected for them to
change their mind without a reason. lnstead the following phrase subconsciously hits the consisten-
cy and expectancy switches, remember how much fun you said you had at our last party, well we're
throwing another one and it's going to be even better. l know you'll love it."
GeI anyone Io do a favor for you
lt's important to have people around you that are willing to help and look out for your best interest.
To get those people on your side, either in work or social situations use these simple ideas.
First is the law of reciprocity. lf l do nice things for you, no matter how big or small, you'll feel the
need to reciprocate and do nice things for me. Else you risk losing a friend because of an unequal
relationship. For example, if l brought you a cup of coffee this morning, and a sandwich tomorrow for
lunch, you will feel expected to bring me something or do a favor l request. Just don't ask when the
other person is preoccupied, as that will give them a likely reason to decline your request.
The second idea when trying to get someone to do a favor for you is to add personal responsibility.
Tell them you have no one else to turn to or that you're really counting on them. Most people (that
have a consciencej will feel more obligated to help you out in your situation. Although, don't give a
reason from your own incompetence, else you'll generate apathy, not empathy. Don't make yourself
look stupid, or they'll think it's your own fault. Focus on the parts of your predicament that were not
your own doing, and don't overuse this second idea or you'll come across as needy.
The #1 m/sIake mosI peop/e make /n //fe
Life is a stream of decisions that we make. Many of these decisions are risks, many we don't know
what the outcome will be, and most we can't undo. The way people gamble in a casino and live their
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lives is usually the same. Most people make the same errors they do in life as they do in gambling,
and it's rooted in their mindset. lt comes down to being on tilt versus being in the zone.
Playing on tilt is when you're losing, yet increasing your bets to make back the ground you've al-
ready lost. This is when you make desperate moves, and it's when emotions drive your decisions, in-
stead of logic. This is when players get themselves in real trouble -- in both gambling and life. When
you feel your emotions taking over, do what gamblers hate to do -- stop. All unsuccessful gambling
strategies are based on fear. When you need to win, when you emphasize the outcome and ignore
the actual game, you'll lose. Never do anything out of fear. When you feel your emotions spark and
confdence waver, then stop and analyze the situation.
On the fip side, the best mindset is one of emotional detachment. Think of the last time you were
in the zone. You were totally present. You may not have even been aware of yourself, but you knew
what to do. You didn't think about your actions, you just performed. You saw the obstacles, and you
handled them. There were no feelings of fear, only responses to stimuli.
GeI anyone Io open up Io you
To create a deeper and emotional connection with someone, you need them to open up. Sometimes
you want information from them, or are just looking for the inside scoop.
With sensitive topics, it's not comfortable to jump right in and question them directly. Start with small
talk and lead the conversation into the direction you want to learn more about. Conversations and
people need to be warmed up. lf it feels like a subject is naturally segued to in a conversation, then
the other parties will be comfortable discussing it. Then once you're on that topic, create a gap in
the conversation. They'll feel expected to fll that gap and tell you the information you're looking for.
Secondly, sometimes it's useful to answer the question you're asking frst and then look for their
input. They'll feel more comfortable sharing after they've heard from you. lt's the law of reciprocity
again. The best part is that your answer doesn't even have to be relevant, and you don't have to give
up sensitive information. Just sharing creates this connection and expectation.
For example, you might not directly ask a colleague or rival if their business received funding. ln-
stead, try the following:
You: Hey, looks like you had a stressful day today"
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Them: Yea, we had a meeting with the investors this morning, it got kind of crazy"
You: Oh man, sounds like there's a good story there"
Them: Yea, ..."
You: And you guys were in that weird shaped room, l never feel comfortable in there. lt must have
been a tough pitch."
Them: Yea, ..."
Here you're commenting on the current situation, how they look, and leading the conversation where
you want, onto their funding. Then you just need to act interested and leave a gap in the conversa-
tion, created by saying sounds like there's a good story". There's an expectation that they'll tell you
the story. lf not, you share something about yourself, and now that you're on the topic you can come
out and ask So... how did it go? Did you guys get funded?"
GeI anyone Io nd you /rres/sI/b/y aIIracI/ve
Attraction is just another emotion. When you do exciting activities, all your emotions are height-
ened and easier to access. Dinner dates suck because they lack excitement, and therefore emotion.
Choose engaging activities, such as amusement parks, scary movies, or even physical exercise. The
excitement a person feels gets unconsciously translated into sexual desire and arousal. This arousal
will be attributed to whomever the person is with. So if you're the person sitting closest to her in a
scary movie, she's going to associate more emotions with you.
These emotions are also affected by outside factors. A study by Elaine Walster Hatfeld showed
that a woman who is introduced to a man will fnd him more appealing if her self-esteem has been
temporarily injured than a woman whose self-esteem has not been impaired. This is why negs work.
Conversely, when her esteem is in high-gear, she's more likely to brush others off or perceive them
as being comparatively lower value. Another reason why you should always open a set with the
same or slightly higher energy.
There are also ways to suggest emotions. Similar to the law of reciprocation is reciprocal attraction.
We like those who like us, and are more attracted to those people once we learn that they are at-
tracted to us. The frst reason is that we don't want to over commit and feel embarrassed if the feel-
ings aren't returned. The second reason is that it puts the emotion in the front of our mind, making it
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readily accessible. The lesson here is that when she begins giving us lOls, it's important to return the
lOls and be more direct.
The people surrounding you affect the vibe you produce. This is the law of contrast and association,
when we see and judge people in comparison to the others they are with. The problem is that it usu-
ally it doesn't work in our favor. For example, if we're with a group of very attractive people, others
will perceive us as less attractive. And if we're with a group of lesser attractive people, the group as
a whole is less attractive, and that includes us. This is why it's best to approach sets solo, because
we will be judged and perceived for who we are. Consider this when meeting someone for the frst
time or out sarging.
Conc|us|on
Get Anyone To Do Anything" provides practical tips and techniques for handling and understanding
many social and psychological situations. Even more importantly, it provides the explanation behind
those techniques and why they work, so they can be applied to any interaction. lt doesn't give you
the powers that the title promises, but it does begin to break down the social matrix. So takes these
techniques and examples, and visualize how they can be applied to your interactions.
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Why this book?
Buy it fast.
Read it slowly.
lt will change the way you think!
Richard Thaler, Author of Nudge
A lifetime's worth of wisdom
Steven D. Levitt, Co-Author of F|ea|onom|cs
What's |t about?
7||n||ng, Fast and S|ow offers an insight into what research has learned about our intuition and
reasoning, through the perspective of Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, Senior Scholar at Princeton
University and is best known for research into judgements and decision making.
Once upon a t|me
When Daniel Kahneman started, the scientifc community believed that:
people are rational and their thinking is normally sound
emotions, such as fear, affection and hatred, mostly explain why people depart from ratio-
nality.
What are heur|st|cs and b|ases?
A heuristic is a shortcut we use to simplify matters for ourselves how we reason. Examples include
using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.
Another way to describe a heuristic is as a substitution of a question we ask ourselves by alternative
questions that are easier to answer.
CRP #24. Th/nk/ng, FasI and S/ow
Summar/zed by Leo
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However, we are often unaware of the question-asking, the substitution, the origin of the answer as
well as what questions we are answering instead.
A bias is a systematic distortion of our reasoning, which are due to either heuristics, motivation (such
as wishful thinkingj or both.
Note: our 'undistorted' reasoning may of course also be plain wrong, for example by not having
suffcient information or having incorrect information to base our reasoning upon, but that's another
topic.
Are heur|st|cs he|pfu|?
The book concludes that our intuitive judgements cannot be seen of as neither good or bad, are a
necessary part of our reasoning skills and sometimes offer other perspectives than logical rationality.
They play part in expert judgements, where just as a two year old says 'doggie!' when it recognizes a
dog, an expert notice familiar experiences immediately in new environments.
How does |t work?
Kahneman lays down a three-step process for how judgements are made:
1. The machinery of intuitive thought does the best it can. lf it has relevant expertise, it recog-
nizes the situation and a solution comes to mind.
2. lf the frst step fails, it may try to solve the problem by simplifying, unconscious heuristics and
forming one's conclusion based on answers to simpler questions instead.
3. Finally, one may go on to slower, deliberate and more effortful thinking.
This is the distinction between fast and slow thinking in the title. This model is popular in psychology
and therefore fast thinking is often said to be done by 'System 1' and the slow thinking by 'System
2'.
Our Two Systems
System 1: operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary con-
trol.
System 2: effortful mental activities with attention, concentration and choices. ls usually in a com-
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fortable low-effort mode.
System 1 continuously generates suggestions for System 2: impressions, intuitions, intentions, and
feelings.
lf endorsed by System 2:
impressions and intuitions turn into beliefs
impulses turn into voluntary actions.
When all goes smoothly, which is most of the time, System 2 acts on the suggestions of System 1
with little or no changes. You generally believe your impressions and act on your impulses, and that
is fne - usually.
When System 1 runs into diffculty, it calls on System 2 for support. System 2 helps out where Sys-
tem 1 does not offer an answer, as probably happens to you if you encounter a multiplication prob-
lem such as 17 x 24.
System 2 is more attentive, but you have a limited capacity to spend on 'paying attention'.
System 1 is good at
modeling familiar situations
short-term predictions, and its
swift reactions to challenges.
But it also
simplifes situations
does not deal well with logic and statistics
cannot be turned off.
Our L|m|ted Ab|||ty to Pay Attent|on
We have a limited capacity for effortful mental activity.
lntense focusing on a task can make you effectively blind to your surroundings.
Exper|ment:
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7|e /nv|s|o|e Go||||a by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.
Showed a short flm of two teams passing basketballs, one team wearing white, the other wearing
black. While counting the number of passes made by the white team (and ignoring the black teamj
halfway through the video a woman wearing a gorilla suit crosses the screen. The gorilla is in view
for 9 seconds. Thousands of people have seen the video, about half notice nothing unusual!
Attent|on and Effort
To experience your System 2 working at full tilt, try an exercise called Add-1:
4. Make up several strings of 4 digits, all different, and write each string on an index card.
5. Place a blank card on top of the deck.
6. Start beating a steady rhythm (or set a metronome at 1 beat per 2 secondsj
7. At each beat, increment each digit by 1 (for example: 5294 -> 6305j.
8. Keep going.
Few people can cope with more than four digits in the Add-1 task. lf you want to try a harder task,
try Add-3 or more numbers.
Body and M|nd
Relative to the amount of mental effort we are occupying, our pupils dilate.
ln parallel, our blood pressure rises, heart rate increases and blood glucose levels drop.
We have natural limits. After that pupil size drops down again, everyone has a natural point
where they cannot cope.
When having strongly dilated pupils, i.e under high strain, missing details such as the
Missing Gorilla was much more likely.
When you become skilled in a task, its demand for energy diminishes.
Highly intelligent individuals need less effort to solve the same problems.
Being distracted" by another task, such as holding one or two digits in memory, makes it
more diffcult to solve the same problems, leading to it easier 'overloading' and thus aborting
the operation.
Effort, Dep|et|on and F|ow
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Most of the time, continuous effort requires a high degree of self-control. A certain amount of your
attention is at all times dedicated to things such as NOT checking your emails while writing book
reports.
At times we are able to enter a state of effortless attention, where we are so absorbed in the task
that we lose sense of time, of ourselves and of our problems.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced six-cent-mihalyj has dubbed this state Flow. lt is
seen as a form of joy, an 'optimal experience'.
Since it requires no self-control to be absorbed in the task, resources are freed up to spend on the
task at hand, thereby improving performance.
The opposite is a concept named ego-depletion (worked by extensively by psychologist Roy Bau-
meister for the googler inside of youj.
Several psychological tests have shown that when you are challenged by a cognitive task and a
temptation at the same time, you are more likely to yield to temptation.
You are also more likely to: make selfsh choices, use sexist language, make superfcial judgements
in social situations, deviate from your typical diet, overspend on impulsive purchases, react aggres-
sively to provocation, perform poorly in cognitive tasks and logical decision making, .
Ego-depletion is worsened by: alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, the time of the day (morn-
ing people perform better in the morning, night people in the nightj, anxiousness over one's perfor-
mance, exerting self-control (trying not to think of, say, purple fairiesj, try to impress people.
Basically, you draw from a 'shared pool of mental energy' and spending it on one thing reduces your
ability to spend it on another task (at the same time or following the frstj.
Takeaway: Being well-rested, not distracted by other thoughts, not self-conscious and well-fed
improves your behavior. At times of great mental strain, allow yourself some slack in other aspects of
your life.
Exper|ments: Eight parole judges decisions were examined. The average proportion of approved
paroles are 35%. After each food break, about 65% of paroles are approved. They are nearly 0%
just before food breaks. Tell that to the next person whose opinion you're asking about in the lunch
queue!
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Persona| Exper|ence: l've remembered this several times when pressured to take decisions in my
daily life, quickly scanned my state of mind (and my belly!j and decided to postpone decisions. Ur-
gent matters turn into even more urgent situations by bad judgements!
When should you trust your intuition?
"He|e |s a s|mo|e o0zz|e. Do not t|y to so|ve |t, o0t |at|e|, say o0t |o0d t|e h|st answe|
t|at comes to yo0| m|nd:
A oat and a oa|| cost S1.10
7|e oat costs one do||a| mo|e t|an t|e oa||.
How m0c| does t|e oa|| cost?"
W|at n0moe| came to yo0| m|nd? Most |||e|y, |t was 10 cents. 7||s |s |oweve| not t|0e/
/f |t was, t|e cost wo0|d oe S1.20.
"/et's test anot|e| s|mo|e game. / state two facts and one conc|0s|on. 7e|| me |f /'m
ma||ng sense to yo0:
A|| |oses a|e howe|s.
Some howe|s fade q0|c||y.
7|e|efo|e some |oses fade q0|c||y."
Again, this is not true, but very many who hear it think it is. Now, here's the interesting part. At high-
ly-ranked schools such as Harvard, Princeton and MlT the typical error rate was about 50%, while at
less-selective" universities, the results were up above 80%. ln fact, it seems that these qualities of
attentiveness and a willingness to engage oneself in mental exertion are stronger related to achieve-
ments that our conventional ideas of intelligence, measured for example by an lQ-test.
Persona| reect|on/takeaway: This is rather inspiring, since we can improve our attentiveness, be-
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come better at recognizing situations that require our undivided attention and, in the end of the day,
our ability to succeed is in our own hands and within our grasp if we are willing to exert ourselves.
Also, hard work pays of more than intellectualizing with a lazy approach to life.
Intu|t|on and Assoc|at|on
Look at the following word:
Bananas vomit
A lot happened while looking at these two words.
Without a particular reason, your mind assumed a connection, in this case of bananas triggering
vomiting. Now, you are experiencing a temporal aversion to bananas (don't worry it will passj.
(This response was quick, it was automatic and it was effortless. You could not stop it. lt was a Sys-
tem 1 response.j
These impressions become a base for the beliefs, choices and actions we do. And often, you don't
even notice them. As psychologist Timothy Wilson would put it, we have been introduced to the
stranger in ourselves. And they also affect the rest of our mindset, an effect psychologists refer to as
o||m|ng.
Exper|ments:
The Florida effect: Two groups of students were asked to assemble sencenses from a list
of words. One group were given words typically associated with age, such as Florida, forget-
ful, bald, gray, or wrinkle. Afterwards, they were asked to walk over to another room for anoth-
er test and in secret the researchers measured the time it took for the students to walk to the
next room. Those who had been primed with simply assembling sentences with a few elderly
words literally walked slower (Researchers have also shown the effect in reversej.
The pencil: Take a pencil, hold it between your teeth for a few seconds with the eraser
pointing to your right and the point to your left. Now hold the pencil so the point is aimed
straight in front of you, by pursing your lips around the eraser end. You probably didn't notice
that one of these actions forced your face into a smile and the other to a frown. College stu-
dents were asked to rate the humor of cartoons. Those smiling" consistently rated them as
funnier than those frowning" (similar effects were seen with shaking your head and not be-
lieving messagesj
Lady Macbeth effect: Consider the word gaps: W_ _H and S_ _ P. lf you have been recent-
ly asked to think of an action in which you were ashamed, you are more likely to complete the
gaps with WASH and SOAP than WlSH and SOUP. Even just being asked to think of stabbing
a coworker in the back brings a similar effect. Feeling that one's soul is stained seems to trig-
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ger a desire to cleanse one's body.
Quotes: The world makes much less sense than you think. Coherence comes from the way the
mind works." They were primed to fnd faults, and that is what they found". l made myself smile
and l'm actually feeling better" His System 1 constructed a story, and his System 2 believed it. lt
happens to all of us."
Takeaways: lf you're primed to fnd faults, you will fnd faults. Primed for inspiration, you will be-
come inspired by situations around you. Most of this happens without you having a say about it, but
you can become better at noticing it.
Persona| exper|ence: While hanging back a shirt, l noticed myself not being fond of it and decided
to throw it. At that moment, l realized it was due to the fact that l bought it with an old girlfriend.
When l recognized that this was a System 1 impulse, l also realized that it was a nice shirt.
Cogn|t|ve Ease
Your mind has a dial of cognitive ease/strain to engage in".
Ease leads to a sense of familiarity, truthfulness, believability, positiveness and effortlessness.
Strain tends to mobilize System 2, shifting to a more engaged and analytic mode.
- Repeated experience: Britney Spears, Coca Cola, Albert Einstein vs David Stenbill, Monica Bigout-
ski, Shairento
- Clear display: Legibility impresses professors, don't believe me, read: Conseq0ences of E|0d|te
ve|nac0|a| Ut|||zed /||esoect|ve of Necess|ty: P|oo|ems w|t| Us|ng /ong Wo|ds Need|ess|y by Danny
Oppenheimer. Or, do you remember the ball and the bat? 90% of those who saw it in a normal font
made at least one mistake, only 35% did so when the text was barely readable.
- Memorable messages: Made up proverbs seem more insightful when rhyming
- Primed ideas: ever heard of the saying that you must see a weapon in a movie three times before it
is used?
- Primed ease/strain: Smiles or frowns from something as unimportant as how you hold a pencil in
your mouth.
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Persona| Exper|ence: l've started to notice many other small things that lead to a state of cognitive
ease or strain, and l'm sure you will to. But l don't want to spoil that experience.
Ease |s the mother of creat|v|ty?
What makes someone creative?
Sarnoff Mednick has proposed that creativity is associative memory working well.
Try:
cottage Swiss cake
You probably thought of cheese.
Now try this:
dive light rocket
lf you got it right, you're belong to the few 20% or so that get it right. There is a single right answer
and that is s|y.
Opposite to the increased skill in analytic tasks brought forth with cogn|t|ve st|a|n, those in a state of
cognitive ease perform better at these tests.
One model to make sense of this is that System 1 (which is more active in cognitive easej works by
a menta| s|otg0n, where it computes more than intended.
Takeaways: Try not to be fooled by packaging: hard-to-read business plans may be great and famil-
iar suggestions may be horrible. Try to be more aware of whether you're in a state of cognitive ease
or strain. For example, if you're in a state of ease, you're more likely to make mistakes and if you're
in a state of strain, you're more likely to be over-critical. Consider splitting up creative writing and
proof-reading.
What's the other side of the story?
While at cognitive ease, we also have an ability to:
Overly focusing on existing evidence, ignoring whether relevant evidence is missing
Believe and confrm
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Overweigh low probabilities
lnfer and invent causes and intentions
Exaggerate emotional consistency (referred to as the Halo effectj
Substitute diffcult questions for simpler ones, i.e. apply heuristics
The F|n|sh L|ne
System 1 may or may not get it right at times. The heuristics of System 1 (as opposed to the exper-
tisej may or may not get it right. Understanding when to listen to each system, and also clearly see-
ing if System 1 has used heuristics or experience is clearly not very easy, but useful for us to know
about and try to notice.
The V|ctory Lap
The interplay between System 1 and System 2 leads to a series of heuristics and biases.
A shorthand list is available on Quora: http://www.quora.com/Psychology/What-are-the-
most-important-cognitive-biases-to-be-aware-of
A more extensive list on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_biases_in_judg-
ment_and_decision_making
lf you are interested in a (biased but interestingj view on how to apply the discovery of
biases in order to fx your thinking", check out http://lesswrong.com
The book goes on to cover
expert intuition: popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, the frst step of the judgement
process outlined earlier is discussed in more depth
overconfdence and false coherency: strongly based on Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan
the experiencing self and the remembering self: shortly put, it has to do with how our cur-
rent well-being is affected and preserved from our memory of previous well-being.
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