“The Night Of The Gun” Quotes

I recently read The Night of the Gun by David Carr. Below are the quotes I found interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book.

The historical self is created to keep dissonance at bay and render the subject palatable in the present. (8)

Tucked in safe suburban redoubts, kids who had it soft like me manufactured peril. When there is no edge, we make our own. (18)

The pub theory of life, that we are all of a common fabric once we have a pint in our hands. (55)

When I got in jams, got divorced, got fired, slipped after treatment, my mother said the same thing: “You are mine. We choose you no matter what.” (75)

By my reckoning, you are issued about a dozen friends in life, and if one of mine happens to be in a prison jumpsuit, well, better him than me, but that doesn’t erase the bond. (87)

As Daniel L. Schacter wrote in The Seven Sins of Memory, “We often edit or entirely rewrite our previous experiences—unknowingly or unconsciously—in light of what we now know or believe.” (115)

The chronicity of addiction is really a kind of fatalism writ large. 

Call on God, but row away from the rocks. —HUNTER S. THOMPSON (171)

Fate and circumstance, along with a willingness to punch in, is often all that separates the lucky from the luckless. (176)

I had no idea what I was doing, but children teach you how to parent them. (184)

Like most single parents, I was constantly impaled on a fence between making money to meet my kids’ physical needs and being present to meet their emotional ones. (200)

All the theological debate seemed at one remove, and a higher power was in our midst simply because we needed one to be there. (200)

Having been in rooms with people I owed money to—people who had guns and unknown intent—working in an office where people gossiped about what an idiot I was did not make a strong impression. (258)

Memories may be based on what happened to begin with, but they are reconstituted each time they are recalled—with the most-remembered events frequently the least accurate. What one is remembering is the memory, not the event. (266)

Remembering is an act of assertion as much as recollection. (266)

Los Angeles, where people rise and fall based on some secret chart, New York is a place where the wiring diagram is very visible and fundamentally, oddly, just. If you are good at what you do, work hard, and don’t back down, you can make a place to stand on the island. (269)

We all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end any time soon. When I started trying to remember who I was, I bought an external hard drive, a piece of technology that is designed to preserve the past. (309)

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Cory Doctorow Quotes

I recently read a bunch of Cory Doctorow books. While I enjoyed all of them, no book had enough quotes to create a separate post for each, but I still found them interesting and wanted to share them, so here are combined quotes for “With A Little Help”, “For The Win”, “Pirate Cinema” and “Little Brother.” If you like the quotes, please buy the books.

With a Little Help 

“He’d been a bright 14 year old, a genius at 16, a rising star at 18, and a failure by 21.” Location 327-328

For the Win

The fat and comfortable world he’d grown up in was not permanent; scratched in the sand, not carved in stone. Location 1308-1309 

Here’s the dirty secret about gold: there is more gold available through certificates of deposit than has ever been dug out of the ground.” Location 2518-2519 

The important thing about a game isn’t how fun it is, it’s how easy it is to start playing and how hard it is to stop.” Location 2549-2549 

“It’s because if a man is successful at doing one thing, he’s apt to assume that he’ll be successful at anything. He believes he’s a Brahmin, divinely gifted with the wisdom and strength of character to succeed. He can’t bear the thought that he just got lucky.” Location 3464-3466 

“Ghandi admitted to beating his wife. He was a great man, but not a saint.” Location 4677-4677 

Dollars are measures of value, not value itself. If you double the amount of currency in circulation, you double the price of everything on Earth. The amount of stuff is fixed, the amount of currency isn’t. Location 4907-4908 

Pirate Cinema

If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate.Location 700-700

if we’re being honest, it’s easy to define creativity: it’s doing something that isn’t obvious.” Location 4320-4320 

In my mind, Bradford had been a remote village with the cosmopolitan sophistication of a pig-sty. Location 4707-4708 

Some people are great artists — I think all my mates were, of one kind or another — but it takes a special kind of person to be a great audience. Location 7230-7231 

Little Brother

One in a million people has Super-AIDS. If you test a million random people, you’ll probably only find one case of real Super-AIDS. But your test won’t identify one person as having Super-AIDS. It will identify 10,000 people as having it. Your 99 percent accurate test will perform with 99.99 percent inaccuracy. Location 1780-1783 

The police and the demonstrators fought in the streets — they’d done that many times before, but the Chicago cops didn’t have the smarts to leave the reporters alone. They beat up the reporters, and the reporters retaliated by finally showing what really went on at these demonstrations, so the whole country watched their kids being really savagely beaten down by the Chicago police. They called it a ‘police riot.’ Location 2437-2440 

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.'” Location 2471-2474 

“Because it seems to me that the founders of this country said that governments should only last for so long as we believe that they’re working for us, and if we stop believing in them, we should overthrow them. That’s what it says, right?” Location 2482-2483 

There is a term for this dysfunction — it is called an autoimmune disease, where an organism’s defense system goes into overdrive so much that it fails to recognize itself and attacks its own cells. Ultimately, the organism self-destructs. Location 4944-4945 

If you liked the quotes, please buy the books.

“The Biggest Bluff” Quotes

I recently read “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konnikova. Below are the quotes I found most interesting (using Kindle locations). If you like the quotes, buy the book.

I wanted to disentangle just how much of where I’d ended up had been my own doing as opposed to a twist of fate—like so many before me, I wanted to know how much of my life I could take credit for and how much was just stupid luck. (Location 192-194)

Because they thought they knew more than they did, they ignored any signs to the contrary—especially when, as inevitably happens in real stock markets, winners became losers and vice versa. In other words, the illusion of control is what prevented real control over the game from emerging—and before long, the quality of people’s decisions deteriorated.(Location 218-220)

People failed to see what the world was telling them when that message wasn’t one they wanted to hear. They liked being the rulers of their environment.(Location 222-223 )

Here was the cruel truth: we humans too often think ourselves in firm control when we are really playing by the rules of chance. (Location 223-224)

But here’s what psychologists find, over and over: you can show people all the charts you want, but that won’t change their perceptions of the risks or their resulting decisions. What will change their minds? Going through an event themselves, or knowing someone who has. (Location 239-241)

Our experiences trump everything else, but mostly, those experiences are incredibly skewed: they teach us, but they don’t teach us well. It’s why disentangling chance from skill is so difficult in everyday decisions: it’s a statistical undertaking, and one we are not normally equipped to deal with. (Location 247-249)

If there’s anything Mom taught me, it’s that life has no concept of fairness. It’s just tough luck. Deal with it. (Location 258-258)

Luck surrounds us, everywhere—from something as mundane as walking to work and getting there safely to the other extreme, like surviving a war or a terrorist attack when others mere inches away weren’t as fortunate. But we only notice it when things don’t go our way. We don’t often question the role of chance in the moments it protects us from others and ourselves. When chance is on our side, we disregard it: it is invisible. But when it breaks against us, we wake to its power. We begin to reason about its whys and hows. (Location 280-284)

Life is based on making the best decisions you can from information that can never be complete. (Location 318-319)

When the economist Ingo Fiedler analyzed hundreds of thousands of hands played on several online poker sites over a six-month period, he found that the actual best hand won, on average, only 12 percent of the time and that less than a third of hands went to showdown. (Location 528-530)

Understanding probability wasn’t enough to tame the luck factor. (Location 630-631)

Be solid, fundamentally. Cultivate the solid image. And then add the hyper-aggression, but at the right place and the right time. Not always, not continuously, but thinkingly. (Location 786-787)

“You become a big winner when you lose,” Dan says. “Everyone plays well when they’re winning. But can you control yourself and play well when you’re losing? And not by being too conservative, but trying to still be objective as to what your chances are in the hand. If you can do that, then you’ve conquered the game.” (Location 840-842)

When it comes to learning, Triumph is the real foe; it’s Disaster that’s your teacher. It’s Disaster that brings objectivity. It’s Disaster that’s the antidote to that greatest of delusions, overconfidence. (Location 870-871)

We lose early, we have a shot at objectivity. (Location 884)

While practice is not enough and there’s not even close to a magic number for its effectiveness, you also cannot learn if you do not practice. (Location 964-965)

And the thing I’m worried about? Not whether I’m thinking through this correctly, but whether or not I look weak. A good commander never cares what others are thinking. Perception matters only insofar as you’re using it strategically to shape your image for future actions. (Location 1134-1135)

Hanging back only seems like an easy solution. In truth, it can be the seed of far bigger problems. (Location 1403)

You want to be a good player, you must acknowledge that you’re not “due”—for good cards, good karma, good health, money, love, or whatever else it is. Probability has amnesia: each future outcome is completely independent of the past. (Location 1520-1521)

The relationship between our awareness of chance and our skill is a U-curve. No skill: chance looms high. Relatively high skill: chance recedes. Expert level: you once again see your shortcomings and realize that no matter your skill level, chance has a strong role to play. (Location 1594-1596)

“You never can tell whether bad luck may not after all turn out to be good luck. . . . One must never forget when misfortunes come that it is quite possible they are saving one from something much worse; or that when you make some great mistake, it may very easily serve you better than the best-advised decision.” WINSTON CHURCHILL, “MY EARLY LIFE,” 1930 Location 1617-1620 

“Focus on the process, not the luck. Did I play correctly? Everything else is just BS in our heads,” (Location 1840-1841)

How we frame something affects not just our thinking but our emotional state. (Location 1844)

A victim: The cards went against me. Things are being done to me, things are happening around me, and I am neither to blame nor in control. A victor: I made the correct decision. Sure, the outcome didn’t go my way, but I thought correctly under pressure. And that’s the skill I can control. (Location 1853-1855)

“Luck dampener effect: because you’re wallowing in your misfortune, you fail to see the things you could be doing to overcome it.” (Location 1859-1860)

If you think of yourself instead as an almost-victor who thought correctly and did everything possible but was foiled by crap variance? No matter: you will have other opportunities, and if you keep thinking correctly, eventually it will even out. (Location 1862-1863)

“If a man look sharply, and attentively, he shall see Fortune: for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible.” FRANCIS BACON, “OF FORTUNE,” 1625 (Location 1890-1892)

“In everything, stability and support are important components in success.” (Location 1925)

You’re not lucky because more good things are actually happening; you’re lucky because you’re alert to them when they do. (Location 2050-2051) 

How often do we go off on someone for making a decision that we, personally, wouldn’t have made, calling them an idiot, fuming, getting angry? How much time and emotional energy we’d save if we simply learned to ask ourselves why they acted as they did, rather than judge, make presumptions, and react. (Location 2206-2208)

The better you get, the worse you are—because the flaws that you wouldn’t even think of looking at before are now visible and need to be addressed. (Location 2625-2626)

It’s important not to let a minor victory lull you into thinking you’re doing great, when all you’re doing is better than before but not good enough to actually make it count. (Location 2628-2629)

That we often don’t really know why we make decisions—and we justify them with objective-sounding reasons even when, in reality, we were acting based on faulty intuitive reads. (Location 2750-2751)

“A lot of people think that acting robotic at the table is the best way to conceal tells. It’s actually the worst way,” (Location 2937-2938)

Mastery is always a struggle for balance. How much time do you devote to the craft, and how much to yourself? And can you really do one without the other?(Location 3108-3109)

Never feel like you have to do something just because it’s expected of you—even if you’re the one who expects it of you. Know when to step back. Know when to recalibrate. Know when you need to reassess your strategy, prior plans be damned. (Location 3329-3331)

“You need to think in terms of preparation. Don’t worry about hoping. Just do.” (Location 3447-3448)

If our attention is drawn to the actual cause of our mood, it stops having an effect. (Location 3477)

Think of your game as a resting inchworm divided into three sections, A, B, and C, Jared tells me. A is my best game. It is infrequent—I have to be at my peak to achieve it. C is my worst game, which should, at least in theory, also be infrequent. The B game is the bell curve part of the inchworm. It’s the longest and most visible part. To improve my game, I need to move my bell curve the way that an inchworm moves, slowly pushing so that my C game becomes my B game, my A game drifts to B, and an even better A game takes its place. (Location 3507-3511)

I know all the places to go that will give us a more genuine Vegas experience. Here’s a cheat sheet. For sushi, Yui and Kabuto. For dinner close to the Rio, the Fat Greek, Peru Chicken, and Sazón. For when I’m feeling nostalgic for the jerk chicken of my local Crown Heights spots, Big Jerk. Lola’s for Cajun. Milos, but only for lunch. El Dorado for late-night poker sessions. Partage to celebrate. Lotus of Siam to drown your sorrows in delightful Thai. (Location 4294-4297)

We have won the impossible, improbable lottery of birth. And we don’t know what will happen. We never can. There’s no skill in birth and death. At the beginning and at the end, luck reigns unchallenged. (Location 4411-4412)

Here’s the truth: most of the world is noise, and we spend most of our lives trying to make sense of it. (Location 4412-4413)

You can’t control what will happen, so it makes no sense to try to guess at it. Chance is just chance: it is neither good nor bad nor personal. Without us to supply meaning, it’s simple noise. The most we can do is learn to control what we can—our thinking, our decision processes, our reactions. (Location 4420-4422)

Nothing is all skill. Ever. I shy away from absolutes, but this one calls out for my embrace. Because life is life, luck will always be a factor in anything we might do or undertake. Skill can open up new vistas, new choices, allow us to see the chance that others less skilled than us, less observant or less keen, may miss—but should chance go against us, all our skill can do is mitigate the damage. (Location 4461-4464)

And the biggest bluff of all? That skill can ever be enough. (Location 4464)

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“Subliminal” Quotes

I recently read “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book and then read it.

“It can be difficult to distinguish willed, conscious behavior from that which is habitual or automatic.” (12)

“Research suggests that when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.” (19)

“Research supports that “environmental factors” such as package design, package or portion size, and menu descriptions unconsciously influence us.” (20)

“Both direct, explicit aspects of life (the drink, in this case) and indirect implicit aspects (the price or brand) conspire to create our mental experience (the taste). The key word here is “create.” Our brains are not simply recording a taste or other experience, they are creating it.” (25)

“Deep concentration causes the energy consumption in your brain to go up by only about 1 percent. No matter what you are doing with your conscious mind, it is your unconscious that dominates your mental activity – and therefore uses up most of the energy consumed by the brain.” (35)

“Our unconscious doesn’t just interpret sensory data, it enhances it. It has to, because the dta our senses deliver is of rather poor quality and must be fixed up in order to be useful.” (46)

“When we are repeatedly asked to re-create a memory, we reinforce it each time, so that in a way we are remembering the memory, not the event.” (66)

“If your child’s fantasy is a ride in a hot air balloon, research has shown that it is possible to supply that memory with none of the expense or bother of arranging the actual experience.” (75)

“As humans, we are so prone to false memories that you can sometimes induce one simply by casually telling a person about an incident that didn’t really happen. Over time, that person may “remember” the incident but forget the source of that memory. As a result, he or she will confuse the imagnied event with his or her actual past.” (76)

“Whether or not we wish to, we communicate our expectations to others, and they often respond by fulfilling those expectations.” (113)

“Labeling children as gifted had proved to be a powerful self-fulfilling prophecy.” (114)

“It stands to reason that one can also adjust the impression one makes by consciously looking at or away from a conversational partner.” (122)

“One of the major factors in social success, even at an early age, is a child’s sense of nonverbal cues.” (124)

“When asked to rate men they can hear but not see, women miraculously tend to agree: men with deeper voices are rated as more attractive.” (130)

“Speakers with higher-pitched voices were judged to be less truthful, less emphatic, less potent, and more nervous than speakers with lower-pitched voices. Also, slower-talking speakers were judged to be less truthful, less persuasive, and more passive than people who spoke more quickly.” (133)

“A little speedup will make you sound smarter and more convincing.” (133)

“If two speakers utter exactly the same words but one speaks a little faster and louder and with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume, that speaker will be judged to be more energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent. Expressive speech, with modulation in pitch and volume and with a minimum of noticeable pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.” (133)

“Though your evaluation of another person may feel rational and deliberate, it is heavily informed by automatic, unconscious processes.” (156)

“Desire for food and water is the strongest ideology.” (164)

“Your in-group identity influences the way you judge people, but it also influences the way you feel about yourself, the way you behave, and sometimes even your performance.” (170)

“We are highly invested in feeling different from one another – and superior – no matter how flimsy the grounds for our sense of superiority, and no matter how self-sabotaging that may end up being.” (174)

“Emotions, in today’s neo-Jamesian view, are like perceptions and memories – they are reconstructed from the data at hand.” (182)

“When nerve cells send a signal to the pain centers of your brain, your experience of pain can vary even if those signals don’t.” (182)

“An isolated pratfall such as the coffee-spilling incident tends to increase the likability of a generally competent-seeming person, and the anticipation of meeting an individual tends to improve your assessment of that individual’s personality.” (194)

“The “causal arrow” in human thought processes consistently tends to point from belief to evidence, not vice versa.” (201)

“Our unconscious can choose from an entire smorgasbord of interpretations to feed our conscious mind. In the end we feel we are chewing on the facts, though we’ve actually been chomping on a preferred conclusion.” (203)

“They show that when assessing emotionally relevant data, our brains automatically include our wants and dreams and desires. Our internal computations, which we believe to be objective, are not really the computations that a detached computer would make but, rather, are implicitly colored by who we are and what we are after.” (206)

“The subtlety of our reasoning mechanisms allows us to maintain our illusions of objectivity even while viewing the world through a biased lens.” (214)

“We choose the facts that we want to believe. We also choose our friends, lovers, and spouses not just because of the way we perceive them but because of the way they perceive us. Unlike phenomena in physics, in life, events can often obey one theory or another, and what actually happens can depend largely upon which theory we choose to believe.” (218)

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“Solve For Happy” Quotes

I recently read “Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy” by Mo Gawdat. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy and read the book here.

“What I realized was that I would never get to happiness as long as I held on to the idea that as soon as I do this or get that or reach this benchmark I’ll become happy.” (6)

“Happiness is the absence of unhappiness.” (19)

“Success is not an essential prerequisite to happiness.” (22)

“While success doesn’t lead to happiness, happiness does contribute to success.” (23)

“Unhappiness happens when your reality does not match your hopes and expectations.” (26)

“Happiness ≥ Your perception of the events of your life MINUS your expectations of how life should behave.“ (26)

“Once the thought goes, the suffering disappears.” (27)

“It’s the thought, not the actual event, that’s making you unhappy.” (28)

“It all begins when you accept the thought passing through your head as absolute truth. The longer you hold on to this thought, the more you prolong the pain.” (32)

“Happiness depends entirely on how we control every thought.” (35)

“With no thoughts, we return to our default, childlike, state: happiness!” (39)

“In the 1930s, the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky observed that inner speech is accompanied by tiny muscular movements in the larynx. Based on this, he argued that inner speech developed through the internalization of out-loud speech. In the 1990s, neuroscientists confirmed his view.” (53)

“When it comes to thought, you should be in full control. Your brain’s job is to produce logic for you to consider. When the thoughts are presented, you should never lose sight of the question Who is working for whom?” (57)

“You just need to take charge and act like the boss. Correct Descartes’ statement all the way: I am, therefore my brain thinks.” (57)

“There are three types of thought that our brains produce: insightful (used for problem solving), experiential (focused on the task at hand), and narrative (chatter). Those types are so distinctively different from each other that they occur in different parts of our brain.” (57)

“As soon as you master the art of observing an idea and letting it go, your mind will quickly run out of topics to bring up. It can keep going only when you cling to an idea.” (61)

“Once when Aya was around five, she was crying while I was deeply engaged trying to explain to her why she shouldn’t cry about the issue that had upset her. In the cutest way she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Papa, when I’m crying don’t talk to me about the things that make me cry. If you want to make me happy, just tickle me.” (65)

“To observe the physical world, you need to observe from a vantage point outside it.” (83)

“Our expectation that others will buy into our fake image is never satisfied – and we feel unhappy.” (90)

“The egoless child is still calmly sitting inside each of us. Buried in layers over layers of lies, egos, and personas. Happy nonetheless. Waiting to be found.” (93)

“Others will rarely ever approve of your ego because they are more concerned with their own ego than with yours.” (95)

“Entertain the idea that what you’ve spent your entire life learning may not be entirely true.” (117)

“While eternity is commonly understood to be a very long time, it really is the absence of time. It is timelessness.” (132)

“Every time you examine your thoughts you’ll notice that whatever you’re upset about is rooted in a past you cannot change or a future that may turn out to be completely different from what you express.” (141)

“Strive to achieve your goals knowing that the results are impossible to predict. When something unexpected happens, the detachment concept tells us to accept the new direction and try again” (151)

“As Oscar Wilde said, “It is all going to be fine in the end. If it is not yet fine, then it is not yet the end.” (155)

“There is nothing wrong with planning and trying to assume control. THe way we react when something unexpected happens is where we go off track.” (155)

“If you can afford the brain cycles to worry about the future, then by definition, you have nothing to worry about right now.” (172)

“Ninety percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way your brain processes the world.” (213)

“One day I realized that control is not to be gained at the micro level of every detail. It is not to be found in what I need to do, but rather in how I need to do every little thing I do.” (243)

“Please stop looking at what you don’t have. What you don’t have is infinite. Making that your reference point is a sure recipe for disappointment.” (249)

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