I recently read “Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Privacy offers the space to be peculiar, to think for oneself and to live as one wishes.” (7)

“The economist Tyler Cowen once observed that at some point in the 1970s, Americans went from being the country that took literal moonshots to being the people who waited patiently in long lines for gasoline.” (32)

“”When personal gossip attains the dignity of print, and crowds the space available for matters of real interest to the community,” future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis wrote in the Harvard Law Review in 1890, in a piece which formed the basis for what we now know as the “right to privacy,” it “destroys at once robustness of thought and delicacy of feeling. No enthusiasm can flourish, no generous impulse can survive under its blighting influence.”” (33)

“The people who claim the moral high ground, who claim to be about freedom of choice, but who bully everyone who doesn’t choose their way of freedom.” (35)

“There is something popular with ambitious people called the “briefcase technique.” You don’t show up toa meeting with a few vague ideas, you have a full-fledged plan that you take out of your briefcase and hand to the person you are pitching. Even if nothing comes of this plan, the person on the other side is knocked over by your effort, so impressed by the unexpected certainty that they cannot help but see your usefulness to them.” (54)

“The professional son understands what every father wants – a progeny worth his time, someone to invest in, someone who can further his legacy. The professional father wants to see his greatness given a second body – a younger one, with more energy, with the benefit of his hard-won experiences.” (56)

“While it’s dangerous to conspire with people who have a lot to lose, you can’t conspire without someone who is afraid to bet on themselves, who isn’t willing ot take a big stake on something that very well could fail.” (63)

“The great strategist B.H. Liddell Hart would say that all great victories come along “the line of least resistance and the line of least expectation.”” (73)

“THiel’s investment strategy: with the right conditions, a little boldness will make much more progress than timidity will ever protect.” (79)

“When someone categorizes something evil, as Sherman did, as Peter and Mr. A repeatedly did, he implicitly gives himself permission to do what needs to be done to destroy it.” (88)

“Williams James knew that every man is “ready to be savage in some cause.” The distinction, he said, between good people and bad people is “the choice of the cause.”” (89)

“The essential trait of the successful man is not only perseverance but almost a perverse expectation of how difficult it is going to be. It is having redundancies on top of redundancies, so you can absorb the losses you eventually incur. One must not just steel one’s heart but also one’s spirit so that there is no such thing as an obstacle – just information. The earlier you spot and anticipate setbacks, the less demoralizing they will be. We want things to be easy. We want them to be clean. They rarely are.” (126)

“And so it is that even setbacks can contain opportunities within them, if conspirators are patient and resourceful enough.” (129)

“Everyone is a person who settles unless they demonstrate to you over time that they are not a person who wants to settle.” (144)

“Lawrence Freedman had said in Strategy that combining with others was an important strategic move, and so it was for the conspirators early on. The other side of his sentence is that “for the same reason, preventing others from doing the same can be valuable.” (169)

“The line attributed to the management guru Peter Drucker is that culture eats strategy. It’s a truism that applies as much to conspiracies as it does to business. It doesn’t matter how great your plan is, it doesn’t matter who your people are, if what binds them all together is weak or toxic, so, too, will be the outcome.” (179)

“Napoleon describes warfare in that simple way: Two armies are hurled at each other and both are thrown into confusion and disarray by the force of the collision. Victory is simple. It goes to whoever reassembles and redoubles first.” (206)

“Hope is rarely enough. Especially against an opponent who has come to be consumed by their cause, who can see and taste victory now, and will do everything they can to seal it.” (220)

“What matters is who does what needs to be done to finish.” (222)

“The great sin for a leader, Frederick the Great once observed, was not in being defeated but in being surprised.” (238)

“Machiavelli would say that a coup or a conspiracy can succeed only if the will of the people is on its side.” (241)

“Thiel had seen the opportunity where no one else had. He had taken it. Legally. And he had won. He had proven that “nothing you can do about it” is just what people who don’t want to do anything about it like to say to make themselves feel better about their inaction.” (247)

“Loss inherently makes the loser sympathetic. We can easily be made to feel bad for the person on the other side of a true catastrophe, even if just minutes before we thought they had it coming to them.” (255)

“Cunning and resources might win the war, but it’s the stories and the myths afterward that will determine who deserved to win it.” (258)

““There are worse things than being disliked,” the novelist Walker Percy once wrote, “it keeps one alive and alert.”” (275)

“We live in a country where the media would give literally billions of dollars of free publicity to a candidate they despised and were then shocked when the man ended up being elected.” (276)

“When everyone tells you you’re wrong and you turn out to be right, you learn a dangerous lesson: Never listen to warnings.” (282)

“We used to throw bombs, now we throw tantrums – or worse, tweets.” (290)

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I recently read “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote To Chaos” by Jordan B. Peterson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book.

“Telling people you’re virtuous isn’t a virtue, it’s self-promotion. Virtue signalling is not virtue. Virtue signalling is, quite possibly, our commonest vice.” (xx)

“The great stories of the past had more to do with developing character in the face of suffering than with happiness.” (xxvii)

“I couldn’t understand how belief systems could be so important to people that they were willing to risk the destruction of the world to protect them. I came to realize that shared belief systems made people intelligible tone another – and that the systems weren’t just about belief.
People who live by the same code are rendered mutually predictable to one another. They act in keeping with each other’s expectations and desires. They can cooperate. They can even compete peacefully, because everyone knows what to expect from everyone else. A shared belief system, partly psychological, partly acted out, simplifies everyone – in their own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Shared beliefs simplify the world, as well, because people who know what to expect from one another can act together to tame the world. There is perhaps nothing more important than the maintenance of this organization – this simplification. If it’s threatened, the great ship of state rocks.” (xxx)

“It isn’t precisely that people will fight for what they believe. They will fight, instead, to maintain the match between what they believe, what they expect, and what they desire.” (xxx)

“We have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.” (xxxii)

“Dominance hierarchies are older than trees.” (14)

“The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the dominance hierarchy is therefore exceptionally ancient and fundamental. It is a master control system, modulating our perceptions, values, emotions, thoughts and actions. It powerfully affects every aspect of our Being, conscious and unconscious alike.” (15)

“It is far better to render Beings in your care competent than to protect them.” (47)

“The capacity of women to shame men and render them self-conscious is still a primal force of nature.” (48)

“Christ’s archetypal death exists as an example of how to accept finitude, betrayal and tyranny heroically – how to walk with God despite the tragedy of self-conscious knowledge – and not as a directive to victimize ourselves in the services of others.” (59)

“Any idiot can choose a frame of time within which nothing matters. Talking yourself into irrelevance is not a profound critique of Being. It’s a cheap trick of the rational mind.” (87)

“What you aim at determines what you see.” (96)

“You might think, “I will make a different plan. I will try to want whatever it is that would make my life better – whatever that might be – and I will start working on it now. If that turns out to mean something other than chasing my boss’s job, I will accept that and I will move forward.”
Now you’re on a whole different kind of trajectory. Before, what was right, desirable, and worthy of pursuit was something narrow and concrete. But you became stuck there, tightly jammed and unhappy. So you let go. You make the necessary sacrifice, and allow a whole new world of possibility, hidden form you because fo your previous ambition, to reveal itself. And there’s a lot there. What would your life look like, if it were better. What would Life Itself look like? What does “better” even mean? You don’t know. ANd it doesn’t matter that you don’t know, exactly, right away, because you will start to slowly see what is “better,” once you have truly decided to want it.” (100)

“The classic liberal Western enlightenment objection to religious belief: obedience is not enough. But it’s at least a start (and we have forgotten this): You cannot aim yourself at anything if you are completely undisciplined and untutored. You will not know what to target, and you won’t fly straight, even if you somehow get your aim right. And then you will conclude, “There is nothing to aim for.” And then you will be lost.” (102)

“Ask yourself habitually, “What could I do, that I would do, to make Life a little better?” (109)

“People often get basic psychological questions backwards. Why do people take drugs? Not a mystery. It’s why they don’t take them all the time that’s the mystery. Why do people suffer from anxiety? That’s not a mystery. How is that people can ever be calm? There’s the mystery. We’re breakable and mortal. A million things can go wrong, in a million ways. We should be terrified out of our skulls at every second. But we’re not. The same can be said for depression, laziness and criminality.” (125)

“Scared parents think that a crying child is always sad or hurt. This is simply not true. Anger is one of the most common reasons for crying.” (128)

“The fundamental moral question is not how to shelter children completely from misadventure and failure, so they never experience any fear or pain, but how to maximize their learning so that useful knowledge may be gained with minimal cost.” (132)

“If society’s hierarchies are based only (or even primarily) on power, instead of the competence necessary to get important and difficult things done, it will be prone to collapse.”

“We have two general principles of discipline. The first: limit the rules. The second: Use the least force necessary to enforce those rules.
About the first principle, you might ask, “Limit the rules to what, exactly?” Here are some suggestions. Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defence. Do not torture and bully other children, so you don’t end up in jail. Eat in a civilized and thankful manner, so that people are happy to have you at their house, and pleased to feed you. Learn to share, so other kids will play with you. Pay attention when spoken to by adults, so they don’t hate you and might therefore deign to teach you something. Go to sleep properly, and peaceably, so that your parents can have a private life and not resent your existence. Take care of your belongings, because you need to learn how and because you’re lucky to have them. Be good company when something fun is happening, so that you’re invited for the fun. Act so that other people are happy you’re around, so that people will want you around. A child who knows these rules will be welcome everywhere.” (137)

“What is minimum necessary force? This must be established experimentally, starting with the smallest possible intervention. Some children will be turned to stone by a glare. A verbal command will stop another. A thumb-cocked flick of the index finger on a small hand might be necessary for some.” (137)

“Parents have a duty to act as proxies for the real world – merciful proxies, caring proxies – but proxies, nonetheless. This obligation supersedes any responsibility to ensure happiness, foster creativity, or boost self-esteem. It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable. That will provide the child with opportunity, self-regard, and security. It’s more important even than fostering individual identity.” (143)

“If the world you are seeing is not the world you want, therefore, it’s time to examine your values. It’s time to rid yourself of your current presuppositions. It’s time to let go. It might even be time to sacrifice what you love best, so that you can become who you might become, instead of staying who you are.” (170)

“No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to Hell.” -Carl Jung (180)

“I came to understand, through the great George Orwell, that much of such thinking found its motivation in hatred of the rich and successful, instead of true regard for the poor. Besides, the socialists were more intrinsically capitalist than the capitalists. They believed just as strongly in money. They just thought that if different people had the money, the problems plaguing humanity would vanish.” (196)

“What can I not doubt? The reality of suffering. It brooks no arguments. Nihilists cannot undermine it with skepticism. Totalitarians cannot banish it. Cynics cannot escape from its reality.” (197)

“If the worst sin is the torment of others, merely for the sake of the suffering produced – then the good is whatever is diametrically opposed to that. The good is whatever stops such things from happening.” (198)

“If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself.” (212)

“The first of these rules is that the game is important. If it wasn’t important, you wouldn’t be playing it. Playing a game define sit as important. The second is that moves undertaken during the game are valid if they help you win. If you make a move and it isn’t helping you win, then, by definition, it’s a bad move. You need to try something different.” (213)

“All people serve their ambition. In that matter, there are no atheists. There are only people who know, and don’t know, what God they serve.” (225)

“Imagine: you go to engineering school, because that is what your parents desire – but it is not what you want. Working at cross-purposes to your own wishes, you will find yourself unmotivated, and failing. You will struggle to concentrate and discipline yourself, but it will not work. Your soul will reject the tyranny of your will.” (225)

“Memory is not a description of the objective past. Memory is a tool. Memory is the past’s guide to the future. If you remember that something bad happened, and you can figure out why, then you can try to avoid that bad thing happening again. That’s the purpose of memory. It’s not “to remember the past.” It’s to stop the same damn thing from happening over and over.” (239)

“Thinking is an internal dialogue between two or more different views of the world.” (241)

“Freud was a genius. You can tell that because people still hate him.” (243)

“Carl Rogers suggested that his readers conduct a short experiment when they next found themselves in a dispute: “Stop the discussion for a moment, and institute this rule: ‘Each person can speak up for himself only after he has first restated the idea and feelings of the previous speaker accurately, and to that speaker’s satisfaction.’”” (246)

““This is what happened. This is why. This is what I have to do to avoid such things from now on.” That’s a successful memory. That’s the purpose of memory. You remember the past not so that it is “accurately recorded,” to say it again, but so that you are prepared for the future.” (247)

“People, including children, don’t seek to minimize risk. They seek to optimize it. They drive and walk and love and play so that they achieve what they desire, but they push themselves a bit at the same time, too, so they continue to develop. Thus if things are made too safe, people start to figure out ways to make them dangerous again.” (287)

“Of course, culture is an oppressive structure. It’s always been that way.” (302)

“In regard to oppression: Any hierarchy creates winners and losers. The winners are, of course, more likely to justify the hierarchy and the losers to criticize it. But (I) the collective pursuit of any valued goal produces a hierarchy (as some will be better and some worse at that pursuit no matter what it is) and (2) it is the pursuit of goals that in large part lends life its sustaining meaning. We experience almost all the emotions that make life deep and engaging as a consequence of moving successfully towards something deeply desired and valued. The price we pay for that involvement is the inevitable creation of hierarchies of success, while the inevitable consequence is difference in outcome. Absolute equality would therefore require the sacrifice of value itself – and then there would be nothing worth living for. We might instead note with gratitude that a complex, sophisticated culture allows for many games and many successful players, and that a well-structured culture allows the individuals that compose it to play adn to win, in many different fashions.” (303)

“We know from studies of adopted-out identical twins, that culture can produce a fifteen point (or one standard deviation) increase in IQ (roughly the difference between the average high school student and the average state college student) at the cost of a three-standard-deviation increase in wealth. What this means, approximately, is that two identical twins, separated at birth, will differ in IQ by fifteen points if the first twin is raised in a family that is poorer than 85 percent of families and the second is raised in a family richer than 95 percent of families.” (316)

“When softness and harmlessness become the only consciously acceptable virtues, then hardness and dominance will start to exert an unconscious fascination. Partly what this means for the future is that if men are pushed too hard to feminize, they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.” (330)

“Set aside some time to talk and to think about the illness or other crisis and how it should be managed every day. Do not talk or think about it otherwise. If you do not limit its effect, you will become exhausted, and everything will spiral into the ground. This is not helpful. Conserve your strength. You’re in a war, not a battle, and a war is composed of many battles. You must stay functional through all of them. When worries associated with the crisis arise at other times, remind yourself that you will think them through, during the scheduled period. This usually works. The parts of your brain that generate anxiety are more interested in the fact that there is aplan than in the details of the plan. Don’t schedule your time to think in the evening or at night. Then you won’t be able to sleep. If you can’t sleep, then everything will go rapidly downhill.” (351)

“We became trapped in emotional, angry and anxious argument. We agreed that when such circumstances arose we would separate, briefly: she to one room, me to another… Alone, trying to calm down, we would each ask ourselves the same single question: What had we each done to contribute to the situation we were arguing about? However small, however distant… we had each made some error. Then we would reunite, and share the results of our questioning: Here’s how I was wrong…” (356)

“Always place your becoming above your current being. That means it is necessary to recognize and accept your insufficiency, so that it can be continually rectified.” (362)

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I recently read “Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From The Best In The World” by Timothy Ferriss. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“What would this look like if it were easy? Is such a lovely and deceptively leveraged question. It’s easy to convince yourself that things need to be hard, that if you’re nto redlining, you’re not trying hard enough. This leads us to look for paths of most resistance, often creating unnecessary hardship in the process.
But what happens if we frame thing sin terms of elegance instead of strain? Sometimes, we find incredible results with ease instead of stress. Sometimes, we “solve” the problem by completely reframing it.” (xii)

“”Normal” people are just crazy people you don’t know well enough.” (xviii)

“The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.” (569)

Terry Crews:
“Life is not a “young man’s game.” It is an “inspired person’s game.” The keys belong to whoever is inspired, and no specific age, sex, gender, or cultural background has a monopoly on inspiration.” (22)

Dita Von Teese:
“Sometimes our shortcomings can lead to greatness, because those of us who have intense desire but lack natural God-given talent sometimes find roundabout ways of realizing dreams.” (77)

Neil Strauss:
“The outcome is not the outcome. In other words, what we think of as endpoints to a goal are really just forks in a road that is endlessly forking. In the big picture of our lives, we really don’t know whether a particular success or failure is actually helping or hurting us.” (98)

“The secret to change and growth is not willpower, but positive community.” (98)

Jerzy Gregorek:
“When disaster happens, it means that something is being asked of me.” (114)

“I told one of my clients who blamed her husband for everything to take 100 percent responsibility for her part in their interactions. “This way,” I said, “You will be free of trying to control him, and you will be able to find constructive solutions in your relationship.” When She left, I realized that the same advice could help me as well.” (115)

Annie Duke:
“Poker has taught me to disconnect failure from outcomes. Just because I lose doesn’t mean I failed, and just because I won doesn’t mean I succeeded – not when you define success and failure around making good decisions that will win in the long run.” (174)

Hal Boyle:
“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” (184)

Betty Reese:
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.” (204)

Eric Hoffer:
“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” (204)

Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” (204)

Javier Pascual Salcedo:
“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.” (205)

Andy Warhol:
“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you, just measure it in inches.” (205)

Barry Diller:
“Put one dumb foot in front of the other and course correct as you go.” (206)

Walter Chrysler:
“Whenever there is a hard job to be done, I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.” (206)

Yiddish saying:
“Lose an hour in the morning, chase it all day.” (207)

Benjamin Disraeli:
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” (210)

Gary Vaynerchuk:
“Everybody’s impatient at a macro, and just so patient at a micro, wasting your days worrying about years. I’m not worried about my years, because I’m squeezing the fuck out of my seconds, let alone my day. It’s going to work out.” (216)

Tim O’Reilly:
“Money in a business is like gas in your car. You need to pay attention so you don’t end up on the side of the road. But your trip is not a tour of gas stations.” (221)

“Clayton Christensen discovered that breakthrough technologies that are not yet mature first succeed by finding radically new markets, and only later disrupt existing markets.” (223)

Bear Grylls:
“When it starts to get tough, all it requires is for you to get tougher and hold on. The magic bit is that when it gets like this, it often means you are near the end goal! One big heave of focus, dedication, and grit, and you often pop out the other end. Look around you, though, and you see that most people are gone – they gave up in that final bit of hurting.” (231)

Frank Wilczek:
“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.” (253)

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” (338)

BJ Miller, MD:
“Don’t believe everything you think.” (356)

Maurice Ashley:
“Greatness is not a final destination, but a series of small acts done daily in order to constantly rejuvenate and refresh our skills in a daily effort to become a better version of ourselves.” (370)

Leonardo Da Vinci:
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. THey went out and happened to things.” (389)

Darren Aronofsky:
“Most of the game is about persistence. It is the most important trait. Sure, when you get an opportunity, you have to perform and you have to exceed beyond all expectations, but getting that chance is the hardest part. So keep the vision clear in your head and every day refuse all obstacles to get to the goal.” (399)

Evan Williams:
“Be in a hurry to learn, not in a hurry to get validation. In a team environment, you will make a much better impression if it seems like you’re not at all worried about yourself. It’s okay to actually be worried about yourself – everyone is – just don’t seem like it. If you resist asking for too much, you will often get more.” (402)

John Gunther:
“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” (418)

Sun Tzu:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” (436)

Terry Laughlin:
“The key to that satisfaction is to reach the nirvana in which love of practice for its own sake (intrinsic) replaces the original goal (extrinsic) as our grail. The antithesis of mastery is the pursuit of quick fixes.” (441)

Scott Belsky:
“More often than not, great opportunities look unattractive on the surface. What makes an opportunity great is upside. If the potential upside were explicitly clear, the opportunity would have already been taken.” (459)

Whitney Cummings:
“Don’t waste your time socializing with people who you think can help you. Just get better, and opportunities will naturally present themselves once you deserve them. ONly focus on things within your control. And if you don’t know what those things are, find someone who can tell ou. Don’t network, just work.” (485)

Rick Rubin:
“There are so many elements that go into making something successful – all of which are out of your control. You’re in control of making your project the best it can possibly be for you, but you are powerless over most of what happens after that.” (489)

Ben Silbermann:
“Assume that anything worthwhile is going to take five to ten years.” (496)

Stephanie McMahon:
“Before I go to bed, I try to think of three things that made me happy during the day. It’s an evolution of thinking of three things that I’m grateful for.” (511)

Jocko Willink:
“”Discipline equals freedom.” Everyone wants freedom. We want to be physically free and mentally free. We want to be financially free and we want more free time. But where does that freedom come from? How do we get it? The answer is the opposite of freedom. The answer is discipline. You want more free time? Follow a more disciplined time-management system. You want financial freedom? Implement long-term financial discipline in your life. DO you want to be physically free to move how you want, and to be free from many health issues caused by poor lifestyle choices? Then you have to have the discipline to eat healthy food and consistently work out. We all want freedom. DIscipline is the only way to get it.” (538)

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I recently read “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Motivation is triggered by making choice that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control. The specific choice we make matters less than the assertion of control. It’s this feeling of self-determination that gets us going.” (20)

“We should reward initiative, congratulate people for self-motivation, celebrate when an infant wants to feed herself. We should applaud a child who shows defiant, self-righteous stubbornness and reward a student who finds a way to get things done by working around the rules.” (36)

“When we start a new task, or confront an unpleasant chore, we should take a moment to ask ourselves “why…” Once we start asking why, those small tasks become pieces of a larger constellation of meaningful projects, goals, and values.” (36)

“Project Oxygen found that a good manager 1) is a good coach; 2) empowers and does not micromanage; 3) expresses interest and concern in subordinates’ success and well-being 4) is results oriented; 5) listens and shares information; 6) helps with career development; 7) has a clear vision and strategy; 8) has key technical skills.” (43)

“They were all behaviors that created a sense of togetherness while also encouraging people to take a chance. We call it ‘psychological safety…’ a shared belief, held by members of a team, that the group is a safe place for taking risks. It is a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up.” (50)

“The right norms could raise the collective intelligence of mediocre thinkers. The wrong norms could hobble a group made up of people who, on their own, were all exceptionally bright.” (60)

“All the members of the good teams spoke in roughly the same proportion… conversations didn’t need to be equal every minute, but in aggregate, they had to balance out.” (60)

“The good teams tested as having “high average social sensitivity” – a fancy way of saying that the groups were skilled at intuiting how members felt based on their tone of voice, how people held themselves, and the expressions on their faces.” (61)

“For psychological safety to emerge among a group, teammates don’t have to be friends. They do, however, need to be socially sensitive and ensure everyone feels heard.” (64)

“Teams need to believe that their work is important.
Teams need to feel their work is personally meaningful.
Teams need clear goals and defined roles.
Team members need to know they can depend on one another.
But, most important, teams need psychological safety.” (66)

“People who know how to manage their attention and who habitually build robust mental models tend to earn more money and get better grades.” (92)

“If you want to make yourself more sensitive to the small details in your work, cultivate a habit of imagining, as specifically as possible, what you expect to see and do when you get to your desk.” (92)

“Narrate your life, as you are living it, and you’ll encode those experiences deeper in your brain.” (92)

“Mental models help us by providing a scaffold for the torrent of information that constantly surrounds us. Models help us choose where to direct our attention, so we can make decisions, rather than just react.” (101)

“Employees work smarter and better when they believe they have more decision making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success. A sense of control can fuel motivation, but for that drive to produce insights and innovations, people need to know their suggestions won’t be ignored, that their mistakes won’t be held against them. And they need to know that everyone else has their back.” (165)

“At the intermediate level, you want to know as many rules as possible. Intermediate players crave certainty. But elite players can use that craving against them, because it makes intermediate players more predictable.” (173)

“The future isn’t one thing. Rather, it is a multitude of possibilities that often contradict one another until one of them comes true. And those futures can be combined in order for someone to predict which one is more likely to occur.” (179)

“We can always find the right story when we start asking ourselves what feels true,” Del Vecho told me. “The thing that holds us back is when we forget to use our lives, what’s inside our heads, as raw material” (223)

“Creativity can’t be reduced to a formula. At its core, it needs novelty, surprise, and other elements that cannot be planned in advance to seem fresh and new. There is no checklist that, if followed, delivers innovation on demand.
But the creative process is different. We can create the conditions that help creativity to flourish. We know, for example, that innovation becomes more likely when old ideas are mixed in new ways. We know the odds of success go up when brokers – people with fresh, different perspectives, who have seen ideas in a variety of settings – draw on the diversity within their heads. We know that, sometimes, a little disturbance can help jolt us out of the ruts that even the most creative thinkers fall into, as long as those shake-ups are the right size.” (235)

“If you want to become a broker and increase the productivity of your own creative process, there are three things that can help: First, be sensitive to your own experiences. Pay attention to how things make you think and feel. That’s how we distinguish cliches from true insights…
Second, recognize that the panic and stress you feel as you try to create isn’t a sign that everything is falling apart. Rather, it’s the condition that helps make us flexible enough to seize something new. Creative desperation can be critical; anxiety is what often pushes us to see old ideas in new ways. The path out of that turmoil is to look at what you know, to reinspect conventions you’ve seen work and try to apply them to fresh problems. The creative pain should be embraced.
Finally, remember that the relief accompanying a creative breakthrough, while sweet, can also blind us to seeing alternatives. It is critical to maintain some distance from what we create. Without self-criticism, without tension, one idea can quickly crowd out competitors. But we can regain that critical distance by forcing ourselves to critique what we’ve already done, by making ourselves look at it from a completely different perspective, by changing the power dynamics in the room or giving new authority to someone who didn’t have it before. Disturbances are essential, and we retain clear eyes by embracing destruction and upheaval, as long as we’re sensitive to making the disturbance the right size.” (236)

“When Alter conducts experiments, he sometimes gives people instructions in a hard-to-read font because, as they struggle to make out the words, they read the text more carefully. “The initial difficulty in processing the text leads you to think more deeply about what you’re reading, so you spend more time and energy making sense of it.” (247)

“Researchers found that hand writers scored twice as well as the typists in remembering what a lecturer said.” (265)

“Productivity doesn’t mean that every action is efficient. It doesn’t mean that waste never occurs. In fact, as Disney learned, sometimes you have to foster tension to encourage creativity. Sometimes a misstep is the most important footfall along the path to success.” (285)

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I recently read “The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones” by Rich Cohen. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book.

“An artist needs a belief. It does not matter whether that belief is Rastafarianism or Communism. It’s the structure of belief that matters – it gives their work coherence, shape. It’s there even when you don’t know it.” (21)

“There’s a moment when your real life starts, when you realize that what came before was prelude. Old friends and mentors – you shed them like baby teeth and you’re free.” (43)

“No more than a handful of people turned out. Gomelsky puts the number at three. When Brian asked, “What should we do?” Giorgio said, “What do you mean? Play!” You don’t punish the people who showed up for the sins of those who stayed home.” (62)

“There’s tremendous power in being first. In birth order, in the mysterious circle of fame. Being first means being free to invent and go it alone. Being in any place but first means riding the wake. It means being defined in comparison. It means being the next Beatles, the anti-Beatles, the new Beatles, or the shitty Beatles.” (66)

“When I was a boy, my father… told me that life is 99 percent marketing. “You’re better off with a great salesman and a mediocre product, than with a masterpiece and a moron to sell it.”” (78)

“Every now and then, a nation experiences a caesura, a pause between eras. To those who recognize such things, it’s an opportunity. Because a death is a birth and an exit is an entrance. Because you can only weep for so long. Because after tears you need laughter. As America emerged from its nightmare, Americans wanted something untainted with tragedy, fresh and new. It’s no coincidence that the Beatles landed in the United States less than three months after the Kennedy assassination.” (85)

“The Beatles had changed the rules; a band had to write songs. Bob Dylan made it even more important. It was about authenticity. A singer singing his own words is an artist; a singer covering someone else’s words is an actor.” (105)

“American rock stars aspire to immortality. They want to be James Dean and die beautifully. British rock stars aspire to aristocracy. They want to acquire titles and houses with names.” (155)

“In art, you have a choice, though you probably won’t realize it at the time. Posterity or right now.” (173)

“Forget the fact that open G had been around for years – if Richards stole the sound from Ry Cooder, why don’t Ry Cooder songs sound anything like the Stones? Why aren’t they nearly as evocative, menacing? IT gets at a deep unfairness: all the skill in the world does not add up to genius. Ry Cooder is a technically better player than Keith Richards, was goofing with open G first, and was after some of the same effects, but he did not have that same artistic soul.” (191)

“Mick’s showbiz, a pop version of the classic Hollywood diva, for whom the show must always go on, for whom obscurity is even more terrifying than death. It’s a special kind of charisma that generates tremendous light but little heat. People crave that light but get no sustenance from it. It destroys them. Life with Mick is life astride a black hole. Time accelerates. Two years ages you immeasurably. Yet none of it touches him. Because no one else matters. He’s the ego that became the world. He stands before the millions but the millions don’t exist. At the center of the universe, Mick Jagger dances alone.” (200)

“As you get older you’ll notice that no matter what direction you walk, you’re walking away.” (200

“Art is not linear; it’s circular. An artist does not improve, nor progress. He simply rides the wheel, waiting for the clouds to break and the sun to appear.” (230)

“Hemingway said: When they attack, they attack precisely what is strong, unique. What critics really want is a slightly different version of what they already love. If you give them something new, they will hate you. At first. But great work invents its own genre.” (277)

“The moment you build a shrine, you’re saying the past is more important than the present.” (307)

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