“The Undoing Project” Quotes

I recently read “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” -Voltaire

“Daryl Morey suggested a new definition of the nerd: a person who knows his own mind well enough to mistrust it.” (31)

“Danny said, “I’ve always felt ideas were a dime a dozen. If you had one that didn’t work out, you should not fight too hard to save it, just go find another.”” (73)

“Later when he was a university professor, Danny would tell students, “When someone says something, don’t ask yourself if it is true. Ask what it might be true of.” That was his intellectual instinct, his natural first step to the mental hoop: to take whatever someone had just said to him and try not to tear it down but to make sense of it.” (82)

“At some point it didn’t matter: He compelled himself to be brave until bravery became a habit.” (94)

“Amos liked to say that stinginess was contagious and so was generosity, and since behaving generously made you happier than behaving stingily, you should avoid stingy people and spend your time only with generous ones.” (109)

“A banana and an apple seem more similar than they otherwise would because we’ve agreed to call them both fruit. Things are grouped together for a reason, but, once they are grouped, their grouping causes them to seem more like each other than they otherwise would. That is, the mere act of classification reinforces stereotypes. If you want to weaken some stereotype, eliminate the classification.” (115)

“The only way to understand a mechanism such as the eye, Danny thought, was studying the mistakes that it made. Error wasn’t merely instructive; it was the key that might unlock the deep nature of the mechanism. “How do you understand memory?” he asked. “You don’t study memory. You study forgetting.”” (129)

“Danny explained, “Reforms always create winners and losers, and the losers will always fight harder than the winners.” How did you get the losers to accept change? The prevailing strategy on the Israeli farms – which wasn’t working very well – was to bully or argue with the people who needed to change. The psychologist Kurt Lewin had suggested persuasively that, rather than selling people on some change, you were better off identifying the reasons for their resistance, and addressing those. Imagine a plank held in place by a spring on either side of it, Danny told the students. How do you move it? Well, you can increase the force on one side of the plank. Or you can reduce the force on the other side. “In one case the overall tension is reduced,” he said, “and in the other it is increased.” And that was a sort of proof that there was an advantage in reducing the tensions. “It’s a key idea,” said Danny. “Making it easy to change.”” (138-39)

“Someone once said that education was knowing what to do when you don’t know.” (140)

“This is what happens when people become attached to a theory. They fit the evidence to the theory rather than the theory to the evidence. They cease to see what’s right under their nose.” (149)

“Amos liked to say, “When you are a pessimist and the bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.” (155)

“People’s “intuitive expectations are governed by a consistent misperception of the world,” Danny and Amos had written in their final paragraph.” (164)

“Amos had a gift for avoiding what he called “overcomplicated” people.” (179)

“Work, for Amos, had always been play: If it wasn’t fun, he simply didn’t see the point in doing it.” (181)

“He refused to start a paper until he had decided what it would be called. He believed the title forced you to come to grips with what your paper was about.” (182)

“The world’s not just a stage. It’s a casino, and our lives are games of chance. And when people calculate the odds in any life situation, they are often making judgments about similarity – or representativeness. You have some notion of a parent population: “storm clouds” or “gastric ulcers” or “genocidal dictators” or “NBA players.” You compare the specific case to the parent population.” (183)

“The stories people told themselves, when the odds were either unknown or unknowable, were naturally too simple.” (195)

“Man is a deterministic device thrown into a probabilistic Universe.” (197)

“Man’s inability to see the power of regression to the mean leaves him blind to the nature of the world around him.” (203)

“He who sees the past as surprise-free is bound to have a future full of surprises.” (208)

“The problem was not what they (the doctors) knew, or didn’t know. It was their need for certainty or, at least, the appearance of certainty.” (220)

“The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” (230)

“It is sometimes easier to make the world a better place than to prove you have made the world a better place.” (230)

“That number represented the best estimate of the odds. Apparently the foreign minister didn’t want to rely on the best estimates. He preferred his own internal probability calculator: his gut. “That was the moment I gave up on decision analysis,” said Danny. “No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.” (250)

“Happy people did not dwell on some imagined unhappiness the way unhappy people imagined what they might have done differently so that they might be happy. People did not seek to avoid other emotions with the same energy they sought to avoid regret.” (261)

“Danny wrote, “the general point is that the same state of affairs (objectively) can be experienced with very different degrees of misery,” depending on how easy it is to imagine that things might have turned out differently.” (263)

“People did not choose between things. They chose between descriptions of things.” (278)

“After all, what is a marriage if not an agreement to distort one’s perception of another, in relation to everyone else?” (334)

“”The brain appears to be programmed, loosely speaking, to provide as much certainty as it can,” Amos once said, in a talk to a group of Wall Street executives. “It is apparently designed to make the best possible case for a given interpretation rather than to represent all the uncertainty about a given situation.”” (336)

“There was a kind of stoic distance that was astonishing. Amos said, ‘Life is a book. The fact that it was a short book doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book.’”

“Danny made a rule about his fantasy life: He never fantasized about something that might happen. He established this private rule for his imagination once he realized that, after he had fantasized about something that might actually happen, he lost his drive to make it happen.” (352)

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“Tribe” Quotes

I recently read “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” by Sebastian Junger. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, click here to buy the book.

“Surely this was new in the human experience, I thought. How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?” (xiv)

“Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.” (xvii)

“As societies become more affluent they tend to require more, rather than less, (work) time and commitment by the individual, and it’s possible that many people feel that affluence and safety simply aren’t a good trade for freedom.” (16)

“The relatively relaxed pace of !Kung life – even during times of adversity – challenged long-standing ideas that modern society created a surplus of leisure time. It created exactly the opposite: a desperate cycle of work, financial obligation, and more work. The !Kung had far fewer belongings than Westerners, but their lives were under much greater personal control.” (17)

“First agriculture, and then industry, changed two fundamental things about the human experience. The accumulation of personal property allowed people to make more and more individualistic choices about their lives, and those choices unavoidably diminished group efforts toward a common good. And as society modernized, people found themselves able to live independently from any communal group. A person living in a modern city or suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day – or an entire life – mostly encountering complete strangers. They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply, dangerously alone.” (18)

“As affluence and urbanization rise in a society, rates of depression and suicide tend to go up rather than down.” (19)

“People in wealthy countries suffer depression at as much as eight times the rate they do in poor countries.” (20)

“The mechanism seems simple: poor people are forced to share their time and resources more than wealthy people are, and as a result they live in closer communities.” (21)

“Self-determination theory holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others.” (22)

“Communities that have been devastated by natural or man-made disasters almost never lapse into chaos and disorder; if anything, they become more just, more egalitarian, and more deliberately fair to individuals.” (44)

“Charles Fritz’s theory was that modern society has gravely disrupted the social bonds that have always characterized the human experience, and that disasters thrust people back into a more ancient, organic way of relating. Disasters, he proposed, create a “community of sufferers” that allows individuals to experience an immensely reassuring connection to others. As people come together to face an existential threat, Fritz found, class differences are temporarily erased, income disparities become irrelevant, race is overlooked, and individuals are assessed simply by what they are willing to do for the group. It is a kind of fleeting social utopia that, Fritz felt, is enormously gratifying to the average person and downright therapeutic to people suffering from mental illness.” (53-54)

“Women tend to act heroically within their own moral universe, regardless of whether anyone else knows about it – donating more kidneys to non-relatives than men do, for example. Men, on the other hand, are far more likely to risk their lives at a moment’s notice, and that reaction is particularly strong when others are watching, or when they are part of a group.” (58)

“What would you risk dying for – and for whom – is perhaps the most profound question a person can ask themselves.” (59)

“The Iroquois Nation presumably understood the transformative power of war when they developed parallel systems of government that protected civilians from warriors and vice versa. Peacetime leaders, called sachems, were often chosen by women and had complete authority over the civil affairs of the tribe until war broke out. At that point war leaders took over, and their sole concern was the physical survival of the tribe.” (78)

“Whatever the technological advances of modern society – and they’re nearly miraculous – the individualized lifestyles that those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.” (93)

“According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home.” (96)

“Because modern society has almost completely eliminated trauma and violence from everyday life, anyone who does suffer those things is deemed to be extraordinarily unfortunate. This gives people access to sympathy and resources but also creates an identity of victimhood that can delay recovery.” (98)

“The definition of community – of tribe – would be the group of people that you would both help feed and help defend. A society that doesn’t offer its members the chance to act selflessly in these ways isn’t a society in any tribal sense of the word; it’s just a political entity that, lacking enemies, will probably fall apart on its own.” (110)

“Soldiers experience this tribal way of thinking at war, but when they come home they realize that the tribe they were actually fighting for wasn’t their country, it was their unit. It makes absolutely no sense to make sacrifices for a group that, itself, isn’t willing to make sacrifices for you. That is the position American soldiers have been in for the past decade and a half.” (110)

“The last time the United States experienced that kind of unity was – briefly – after the terrorist attacks of September 11. There was no rampage shootings for the next two years. The effect was particularly pronounced in New York City, where rates of violent crime, suicide, and psychiatric disturbances dropped immediately. In many countries, antisocial behavior is known to decline during wartime.” (116)

“We live in a society that is basically at war with itself. People speak with incredible contempt about – depending on their views – the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign born, the president, or the entire US government. It’s a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime, except that now it’s applied to our fellow citizens.” (125)

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“America The Anxious” Quotes

I recently read “America The Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks” by Ruth Whippman. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

America The Anxious Cover“It seems as though happiness in America has become the overachiever’s ultimate trophy. A modern trump card, it outranks professional achievement and social success, family, friendship, and even love. Its invocation deftly minimizes others’ achievements (“Well, I suppose she has the perfect job and a gorgeous husband, but is she really happy?”) and takes the shine off our own.” (3)

“But the more conversations I have about happiness, and the more I absorb the idea that there’s a glittering happy-ever-after out there for the taking, the more I start to overthink the whole thing, compulsively monitoring how I am feeling and hyper-parenting my emotions. Am I happy? Right at this moment? What about now? And now? Am I happy enough? As happy as everyone else? What about Meghan? Is she happier than me? She looks happier. What is she doing that I’m not doing? Maybe I should take up yoga. The whole process starts to become painfully, comically neurotic. Workaday contentment starts to give way to a low-grade sense of inadequacy when pitched against capital-H Happiness. THe goal is so elusive and hard to define, it’s impossible to pinpoint when it’s even been reached, a recipe for anxiety.” (8)

“It appears that somewhere along the line, the joy has been sucked out of American happiness.” (8)

“Happiness should be serendipitous, the by-product of a life well lived, and chasing it in a vacuum just doesn’t really work.” (9)

“Surprisingly, the higher the respondents rated happiness as a distinct personal ambition, the less happy they were in their lives generally and the more likely they were to experience symptoms of dissatisfaction and even depression.” (9)

“These studies concluded that paradoxically, the more people valued and were encouraged to value happiness as a separate life goal, the less happy they were.” (9)

“Increasingly, Americans are chasing happiness by looking inward into their own souls, rather than outward toward their friends and communities.” (18)

“”It was very striking,” Dr. Iris Mauss says. “It’s like a standard – you are supposed to be happy and it’s seen as being under your individual control. Happiness is not seen as something that comes out of living a good life, but an achievement you aim for, like it’s the individual’s responsibility to be happy. It got to the point that if I was in a bad mood, I would feel almost guilty, as though I was falling short of the ideal. It was making me anxious.”” (29)

“”It all comes back to this idea of self-focus,” Mauss says. “People monitor themselves. Am I happy yet? Am I happy enough? They are so focused on their own self and their own happiness that it comes at the expense of social connection. You can spend so much time focusing on what you are feeling that you just don’t have time to focus on others. And when you are with other people you find you don’t enjoy social activities as much because you are constantly worrying about your own emotions and not getting as engaged.” (32)

“The systemic packaging and selling of happiness in the form of books, DVDs, webinars, and courses was last estimated to be worth around ten billion dollars, roughly the same size as Hollywood, the other great purveyors of the happy-ever-after.” (36)

“Therapist Kimberly Knoll says, “Thinking that you have complete control over your emotions and if you don’t feel happy it’s your fault, that can make people feel shame. It’s anxiety inducing.”” (91)

“As soon as an American baby is born, its parents apparently enter into an implicit contractual obligation to answer all questions about their hopes for their tiny offspring’s future with the words: “I don’t care, as long as he’s happy” (the mental suffix “at Harvard” must remain unspoken).” (104)

“A group of German academics found that the average drop in happiness in the two years following the birth of a first child is greater than that after divorce, unemployment, and even the death of a partner.” (119)

“Recent research suggests that the more intensely we approach the job of parenting, and the more strongly we believe that our child’s development and happiness is dependent on our own actions as parents, the more unhappy we become.” (123)

“A growing body of research demonstrates that the stronger a country’s welfare system and social safety nets, the happier the parents of that country are in comparison with nonparents.” (125)

“Religious people are significantly more likely to report being “very happy” than nonbelievers. A wide range of other studies has shown repeatedly that identifying as part of a religious community is a predictor of greater life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, more social ties, and an ability to cope better with difficult life events.” (129)

“It isn’t the inner journey of private religious belief that is making religious people so happy but the community and social connectedness that comes with a religious lifestyle.” (140)

“Almost all the studies that show that religious people are happier than the nonreligious also show that they tend to have a greater number of social ties and stronger and more supportive communities. When the studies control for these increased levels of social connection, the link between religion and happiness almost always disappears.” (140)

“Perhaps having a strict blueprint for how to live actually removes the anxiety from the search for happiness.” (149)

“The more religious states tend to have higher-than-average rates of antidepressant use.” (156)

“People who reported feeling the strongest societal pressure to be happy also reported feeling negative emotions most frequently and strongly.” (165)

“Dr. Brock Bastian commented, “In short, when people perceive that others think they should feel happy and not sad, this leads them to feel sad more frequently and intensely.” (165)

“Happiness is the currency of social media and the loophole in the generally accepted no-bragging rule.” (167)

“In a culture that both insists that we have complete control over our happiness and too often equates unhappiness with inadequacy, social media gives us an unprecedented ability to craft and present a happy front. This shifts the business of bliss away from how happy we feel, to the perhaps more culturally urgent matter of how happy we look.” (167)

“It’s a strange mix of oversharing and undersharing. Because although we increasingly share every aspect of the minutiae of our lives for public appraisal and critique, none of it paints a remotely representative picture.” (169)

“We all post our carefully edited best moments and, although at a rational level we know that other people are doing the same, we somehow believe that everyone else’s life is Really Like That.” (171)

“Although their data showed that people would click on and read both positive and negative stories in roughly equal numbers, people would share far greater numbers of positive stories, and it was almost exclusively positive stories that would go viral. Broadly speaking, the more heartwarming positivity that can be packed into a story, the more likely we are to want to be associated with it and to click the share button.” (181)

“Research carried out in the late eighties on sets of twins showed that around half our happiness can be attributed to our genes. Each of us has a genetic set point to which, like a high-achieving homing pigeon, we tend to return.” (194)

“The idea that our circumstances are trivial to our happiness, that what we really need to do in order to be happy is to think positive, and that keeping a gratitude journal or counting our blessings can potentially have quadruple the impact on our happiness than the love of our parents, whether we live in affluence or poverty, or whether or not we suffer from a debilitating chronic illness seems like a stretch at best.” (196)

“According to Diener, a later analysis of the same data concluded that when it comes to long-term happiness, the figure was actually more like 80 percent, a finding which prompted Diener to write the following sentence, “based on the later heritability estimate, it could be said it is as hard to change one’s happiness as it is to change one’s height,” an observation that is hard to square with the idea that we can transform our happiness by 40 percent by thinking positive and counting our blessings.” (198)

“The more I look into it, the more it seems that the claim that circumstance matters little to happiness might be based on some serious cherry-picking of the evidence.” (199)

“The CDC estimates that rates of depression among poor Americans are roughly three times that in the general population. White people in America consistently report as significantly happier than African Americans, irrespective of income, with the percentage of African Americans reporting that they are “not too happy” roughly double that of white Americans saying the same. Men are significantly happier than women, and the women who do the most “women-y” type things, stay-at-home mothers, are the least happy of all.” (199)

“Above $75,000, money still makes a significant difference to what most people would consider the most important measure of happiness – a person’s satisfaction with is or her life when taken as a whole – and this trend never levels off in the data, no matter how high up the income scale you go. Above an income of $75,000 what does level off is any improvement in the kind of mood that the person was in the day before.” (200)

“Linda Tirado says, “I wouldn’t even mind the degradations of my work life so much if the privileged and powerful were honest about it. Instead, we’re told to keep smiling, and to be grateful for the chance to barely survive while being blamed for not succeeding.”” (203)

“Coyne believes that positive psychology is a closed field, in which everyone is highly invested in showing the interventions in the best possible light and people are reluctant to criticize one another’s claims.” (209)

“Drug trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, for example, more often show favorable results for the drug in question than independent research.” (210)

“I ask the guy in the cafe, whether he would feel the same if, in theory, it could be absolutely definitively scientifically proven that things couldn’t change. He tells me that it wouldn’t matter to him. That he would still read, still try. Then I realize. The product isn’t happiness. It’s hope.” (214)

“I’ve realized over the last year or so of obsessing over this topic, that if we want to be happy, what we really need to do is to stop thinking about happiness.” (219)

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“Open: An Autobiography” Quotes

I recently read “Open: An Autobiography” by Andre Agassi. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

Open Cover“Figuring out your butterflies, deciphering what they say about the status of your mind and body, is the first step to making them work for you.” (12)

“It’s not enough to hit everything the dragon fires at me; my father wants me to hit it harder and faster than the dragon. He wants me to beat the dragon.” (28)

“I’ve been let in on a dirty little secret: winning changes nothing. Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something that very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last as long as the bad. Not even close.” (167)

“When you chase perfection, when you make perfection the ultimate goal, do you know what you’re doing? You’re chasing something that doesn’t exist. You’re making everyone around you miserable. You’re making yourself miserable. Perfection? There’s about five times a year you wake up perfect, when you can’t lose to anybody, but it’s not those five times a year that make a tennis player. Or a human being, for that matter. It’s the other times. It’s all about your head, man. With your talent, if you’re fifty percent game-wise, but ninety -five percent head-wise, you’re going to win. But if you’re ninety-five percent game-wise and fifty percent head-wise, you’re going to lose, lose, lose.” (187)

“Perfectionism is something I chose, and it’s ruining me, and I can choose something else. I must choose something else. No one has ever said this to me. I’ve always assumed perfectionism was like my thinning hair or my thickened spinal cord. An inborn part of me.” (189)

“You know everything you need to know about people when you see their faces at the moments of your greatest triumph.” (196)

“I stand and feel an overpowering urge to forgive, because I realize that my father can’t help himself, that he never could help himself, any more than he could understand himself. My father is what he is, and always will be, and though he can’t help himself, though he can’t tell the difference between loving me and loving tennis, it’s love all the same. Few of us are granted the grace to know ourselves, and until we do, maybe the best we can do is be consistent. My father is nothing if not consistent.” (202)

“This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.” (231)

“It took me twenty-two years to discover my talent, to win my first slam – and only two years to lose it.” (259)

“Unless I can accept that I’m where I’m supposed to be, I’ll never belong there again.” (259)

“It’s not like me to want a win this badly. What I normally feel is a desire not to lose. But warming up before my first-rounder, I tell myself I want this, and I realize precisely why. It’s not about my comeback. It’s about my team. My new team, my real team. I’m playing to raise money and visibility for my school. After all these years I’ve got what I’ve always wanted, something to play for that’s larger than myself and yet still closely connected to me. Something that bears my name but isn’t about me. The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.” (267)

“Scaling down the task makes it seem manageable and makes me looser.” (292)

“Having averted disaster, I’m suddenly loose, happy. It’s so typical in sports. You hang by a thread above a bottomless pit. You stare death in the face. Then your opponent, or life, spares you, and you feel so blessed that you play with abandon.” (297)

“Later I tell her that I don’t understand why I sometimes come apart – still. She gives me insights from her experience. Stop thinking, she says. Feeling is the thing. Feeling.
It’s nothing I haven’t heard before. It sounds like a sweeter, softer version of my father. But when Stefanie says it, the words go in deeper.
We talk for days about thinking versus feeling. She says it’s one thing not to think, but you can’t then decide to feel. You can’t try to feel. You have to let yourself feel.” (328)

“The same court on which you suffer your bloodiest defeat can become the scene of your sweetest triumph.” (333)

“If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that time and practice equal achievement.” (336)

“It’s easier to be free and loose, to be yourself, after laughing with the ones you love.” (342)

“He thinks it’s his day, and when you think it’s your day, it usually is.” (344)

“Losing to Pete has caused me enormous pain, but in the long run it’s also made me more resilient. If I’d beaten Pete more often, or if he’d come along in a different generation, I’d have a better record, and I might go down as a better player, But I’d be less.” (354)

“I play and keep playing because I choose to play. Even if it’s not your ideal life, you can always choose it. No matter what your life is, choosing it changes everything.” (359)

“I think older people make this mistake all the time with younger people, treating them as finished products when in fact they’re in process. It’s like judging a match before it’s over, and I’ve come from behind too often, and had too many opponents come roaring back against me, to think that’s a good idea.” (372)

“Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early. Then recognize the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them.” (384)

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“The Winner Within” Quotes

I recently read “The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players” by Pat Riley. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

Winner Within Cover“When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” -Kikuyu proverb (24)

“Riles’ Rule of Rebirth:
In any dead-end situation, a team’s members are ready for rebirth when:
Survival instinct overrides territorial instinct.
Being a part of success is more important than being personally indispensable.
The team’s energy and enthusiasm take on a life of their own.” (27)

“Every player has a style – a certain collection of choices and tendencies that flows through his entire game. An exceptional player usually demands that the team’s personnel and game plan revolve around his style, so his performance can flourish and he can be recognized as a great star. Whenever a clash erupts within a team, it’s usually over who gets to put his individual stamp on the team’s identity, who will occupy the center ring of the big circus.” (33)

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up.” -Mark Twain (36)

“You’re always just one ego, one disagreement, one rough patch away from disintegration.” (60)

“Never demean the time you spend in the trenches. If you pay attention to what you’re doing, you can learn an awful lot about how an organization behaves, and that can be very useful later on.” (63)

“Use any time when you aren’t on center stage to strengthen your power of perception. Even being on the bench or working around the periphery of the Lakers was like attending a master class is professional basketball. It’s strictly attitude that lets you learn.” (63)

“Keep reminding yourself that attitude is the mother of luck.” (63)

“These people are unlikely to be lucky. Not because they’ve not advanced fast enough. But because they radiate fear, anxiety, and defeat. Luck is literally all how you look at it.” (63)

“The essence of the Core Covenant is totally positive peer pressure. It replaces blaming and finger pointing – two vicious enemies of teamwork – with mutual monitoring and mutual reinforcement.” (72)

“A Thunderbolt is something beyond your control, a phenomenon that one day strikes you, your team, your business, your city, even your nation. It rocks you, it blows you into a crater. You have no choice except to take the hit. But you do have a lot of choice about what to do next. That much is in your power. In the coming years, expect the sky to blaze with Thunderbolts. They’re part of the game of constant change.” (80)

“Sympathy is like junk food. It has no real nourishment. The emptiness comes back very quickly. And nothing gets accomplished in the meantime.” (84)

“If you’re going to be a championship team, you have to think championship thoughts. “It’s OK to lose” will never be one of them. If you hear yourself, or your teammates, starting sentences with “If only” or “I could’ve” or “We should’ve,” you’ve heard thoughts that are going in the wrong direction.” (85)

“Giving yourself permission to lose guarantees a loss.” (85)

“It’s critical to realize that failure is as much a part of the picture as success. No matter how hard you compete, you ultimately have to absorb losses. So you do absorb them, with grace and a determination to learn whatever they might teach. But never be tempted to embrace them. Be angry. Be upset. Be determined to come back stronger next time. But do not be accepting. People who are negatively conditioned accept defeat. People who are positive don’t.” (86)

“The truly great ones can take criticism. Not just from the opponent, but also from their coaches, from the press and the fans.” (127)

“It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired – you quit when the gorilla is tired.” -Robert Strauss (132)

“Competition brings out the very best and the very worst in us. Right now it’s bringing out the worst, but if he sticks with it, it’s going to bring out the best.” (132)

“Anytime you stop striving to get better, you’re bound to get worse. There’s no such thing in life as simply holding on to what you’ve got.” (149)

“Peter Drucker describes how a company has to prey itself out of the strategic mud when a business goes stale. “It requires stopping saying ‘we know’ and instead saying ‘let’s ask.’” (151)

“Excellence is the gradual result of always wanting to do better.” (161)

“The marketing campaign that we have launched over the past two years had to change how people felt about us, not how they thought about us.” (192)

“A business mission is likely to succeed if it puts a clear concept above raking in money; if the mission is updated to keep pace with a company’s own success; if the mission sets out what’s needed to be the best, not just an acceptable, performer in the industry.” (196)

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” -John Barrymore (209)

“Security is always imaginary… deceptive… unattainable.” (215)

“I know one thing. It might be exhilaratingly bad or it might be exhilaratingly good. But I know it’s going to be exhilarating.” (233)

“When you’re playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you’ll fight for the winner’s circle. If you do, someday the cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards will be stacked in your favor.” (249)

“Upstarts don’t win championships unless they score an absolute knockout. Upstarts win the right to come back next time and compete for the championship. That right is the key.” (250)

“The Winner Within’s Ladder of Evolution
From nobody to upstart
From upstart to contender
From contender to winner
From winner to champion
From champion to dynasty” (251)

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