FS

FS

Farnam Street (FS) is a blog that aims to help readers develop an understanding of how the world really works, make better decisions, and live a better life. The blog focuses on timeless lessons and insights for work and life, and offers multidisciplinary wisdom through various channels such as articles, podcasts, books, and courses. The blog also offers a comprehensive list of mental models, which are simply representations of how something works, to help readers make intelligent decisions.

1024 Quotes

"Writing is the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. Importantly, writing is also the process by which you figure it out."
FS
Why Write?
"Writing about something teaches you about what you know, what you don’t know, and how to think. Writing about something is one of the best ways to learn about it. Writing is not just a vehicle to share ideas with others but also a way to understand them better yourself."
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Why Write?
"Paul Graham put it this way: “A good writer doesn’t just think, and then write down what he thought, as a sort of transcript. A good writer will almost always discover new things in the process of writing.”"
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Why Write?
"Writing requires the compression of an idea. When done poorly, compression removes insights. When done well, compression keeps the insights and removes the rest. Compression requires both thinking and understanding, which is one reason writing is so important."
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Why Write?
"In the future, information will become even more of a substitute for thought than it already is."
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Why Write?
"Many things can be done by tools that write for you, but they won’t help you learn to think or understand a problem with deep fluency. And you need deep fluency to solve hard problems."
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Why Write?
"“Great work tends to grow out of ideas that others have overlooked, and no idea is so overlooked as one that’s unthinkable.”"
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Unthinkable
"“One of the difficult things about making decisions is it reduces opportunity in the short-term, but that’s the only thing that really creates great opportunity in the long-term.”"
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Unthinkable
"The most practical skill in life is learning to do things when you don’t feel like doing them. Anyone can do it when it’s easy, but most people drop out the minute easy stops."
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Unthinkable
"Muhammad Ali was asked how many sit-ups would do to prepare for a fight. His reply: “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”"
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Unthinkable
"The person who is consistent outperforms the person who is intermittent every time. While inconsistent effort works for some things, for the things that really matter you need to be consistent. If you want to be consistent, you need strategies to keep you going when things are hard."
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Unthinkable
"The key to doing something you know you should do when you don’t feel like doing it is telling yourself that you can quit tomorrow but not today."
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Unthinkable
"“There is room up in organizations to boost performance by amping up the pace and intensity. Considerable slack naturally exists in organizations to perform at much higher levels. The role of leadership is to convert that lingering potential into superlative results.”"
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Unthinkable
"Most of the time, other people can’t correctly guess what we’re thinking or feeling."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"The gap between our subjective experience and what other people pick up on is known as the illusion of transparency."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince"
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"The reality is that other people pay much less attention to you than you think. They’re often far too absorbed in their own subjective experiences to pick up on subtle cues related to the feelings of others."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"If we’re feeling a strong emotion, we assume other people care about how we feel as much as we do. This egocentric bias leads to the spotlight effect—in social situations, we feel like there’s a spotlight shining on us."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"Start with accepting that other people don’t usually know what you’re thinking and feeling. If you want someone to know your mental state, you need to tell them in the clearest terms possible. You can’t make assumptions."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"if you think you know how someone else feels, you should ask them to confirm. You shouldn’t assume you’ve got it right—you probably haven’t. If it’s important, you need to double check."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky"
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"when speakers learned about the illusion of transparency beforehand, they were less concerned about audience perceptions and therefore less nervous. They ended up giving better speeches, according to both their own and audience assessments."
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Illusion of Transparency: Your Poker Face is Better Than You Think
"there is no secret. As simple as it sounds, finding time to read boils down to choices about how you allocate your time. And allocating your time is how successful people increase productivity."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"When reading, I generally take notes. I’m underlining, synthesizing, asking questions, and relating concepts from other things I’ve read."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"If you assume that the average person spends 3–4 hours a day watching TV, an hour or more commuting, and another 2–3 hours a week shopping, that’s 28 hours a week on the low end."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"When I’m not reading, I’m trying to think about what I’ve just read. I don’t pull out a book while I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store. While everyone else is playing the “which line is longer game,” I’m toying with something I’ve read recently."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"Ignorance is more expensive than a book."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"To me, reading is more than a raw input. I read to increase knowledge. I read to find meaning. I read for better understanding of others and myself. I read to discover. I read to make my life better. I read to make fewer mistakes."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"Even Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile, points out that several ancient philosophers grasped the concept of antifragility. Odds are that no matter what you’re working on, someone somewhere, who is smarter than you, has probably thought about your problem and put it into a book."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"In The Prince, Machiavelli writes, “A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savor of it.”"
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"Seneca, on the same subject, wrote, “Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters, but our guides.”"
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"If you’re not keeping what you read, you probably want to think about what you’re reading and how."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"“The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.” — Warren Buffett"
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"Charlie Munger, voracious reader, billionaire, and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, once commented: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.”"
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"Side effects of reading more may include (1) increased intelligence; (2) an uncomfortable silence when someone asks you what happened on Game of Thrones last night and you say “Game of what?”; (3) better ideas; and (4) increased understanding of yourself and others."
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The Best Way to Find More Time to Read
"“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” — Charles Darwin"
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The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place
"The Red Queen Effect means we can’t be complacent or we’ll fall behind. To survive another day we have to run very fast and hard, we need to co-evolve with the systems we interact with."
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The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place
"Species that are more responsive to change can gain a relative advantage over the ones they compete with and increase the odds of survival."
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The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place
"After a while, there will be the same number of frogs on the pond as before, and the same proportion of flies will be eaten each year. It looks as if nothing has changed – but the frogs have got stickier tongues, and the flies have got more slippery bodies."
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The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place
"more and more money is needed just to maintain your relative position in the industry and stay in the game."
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The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place
"Starting [at a young age] he’s read everything that he could find about business. The subject that interests him, he’s read newspapers, biographies, trade press."
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Compounding Knowledge
"What he’s really done is he’s created this immense vertical filing cabinet in his brain of layers and layers and layers of files of information that he can draw back on now for more than 70 years worth of data."
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Compounding Knowledge
"Expiring information is sexy but it’s not knowledge."
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Compounding Knowledge
"When we consume information that doesn’t expire or expires slowly;  is very detailed; and we spend time thinking about it not passing the buck, we can match patterns. This is how you learn to see what other people are missing. The longer you do this, the more advantage you get."
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Compounding Knowledge
"retrieving information is different from having it already in your head. The internet is wonderful for being able to retrieve and get information."
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Compounding Knowledge
"Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have the files in their head. That’s why they aren’t really out there googling all the time looking for, trying to look stuff up, because they already know it."
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Compounding Knowledge
"the lesson that they have, which is that learning yourself, making yourself as smart as you can is extremely valid, and not just relying on a library where you can look something up all the time, because a lot of times when you need to make a decision, and you need 50 pieces of information, you need to know it then."
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Compounding Knowledge
"Will you care about what you’re reading in a month? In a year? In five years?"
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Compounding Knowledge
"Are you focused enough on the same thing to build cumulative knowledge or are you too spread out?"
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Compounding Knowledge
"The Snowball is about learning, lifelong learning. Spending some time with these questions will allow you to find ways to make your own learning and your knowledge base more powerfully productive for you."
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Compounding Knowledge
"Understanding your circle of competence helps you avoid problems, identify opportunities for improvement, and learn from others."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"Circle of Competence is simple: Each of us, through experience or study, has built up useful knowledge on certain areas of the world."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"The concept of the Circle of Competence has been used over the years by Warren Buffett as a way to focus investors on only operating in areas they knew best."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"“I’m no genius. I’m smart in spots—but I stay around those spots.” — Tom Watson Sr., Founder of IBM"
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"You have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you’ve got an edge. And you’ve got to play within your own circle of competence."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"If you want to improve your odds of success in life and business, then define the perimeter of your circle of competence, and operate inside."
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Understanding your Circle of Competence: How Warren Buffett Avoids Problems
"Strong positions are not an accident. Weak positions aren’t bad luck."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"The position you find yourself in today is the accumulation of the small choices that you’ve been making for years."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"Not doing the obvious thing you know you should do — the thing that positions you for future success — rarely hurts you right away."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"For your choices to compound, you need to be consistent. Intensity will only carry you in the short term but if you want compounding results you need consistency. In the absence of immediate rewards, we can keep up the intensity for a while but most of us become intermittent."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"Excelling at the small choices that compound over time perpetually leaves you in favorable circumstances. No matter what happens in the world, you’re never in a position where you are forced into a bad decision."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"When you look below the surface, giant leaps aren’t really giant leaps at all. They’re a series of ordinary choices that suddenly become noticeable. If you look for the magic moment, you’ll miss how ordinary becomes extraordinary."
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The Small Steps of Giant Leaps
"Everyone can manage first-order thinking, which is just considering the immediate anticipated result of an action. It’s simple and quick, usually requiring little effort. By comparison, second-order thinking is more complex and time-consuming."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Second-order thinking will get you extraordinary results, and so will learning to recognize when other people are using second-order thinking."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"before they decide to remove it, they must figure out why it exists in the first place."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"fences are built by people who carefully planned them out and “had some reason for thinking [the fence] would be a good thing for somebody.” Until we establish that reason, we have no business taking an ax to it. The reason might not be a good or relevant one; we just need to be aware of what the reason is."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Many of the problems we face in life occur when we intervene with systems without an awareness of what the consequences could be. We can easily forget that this applies to subtraction as much as to addition."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence.” — Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”"
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"people do not do things for no reason. We’re all lazy at heart. We don’t like to waste time and resources on useless fences. Not understanding something does not mean it must be pointless."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"During times of stress or disorganization, people naturally tend to look to leaders for direction. Without a formal hierarchy, people often form an invisible one, which is far more complex to navigate and can lead to the most charismatic or domineering individual taking control, rather than the most qualified."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"There’s certainly nothing positive about being resistant to any change. Things become out of date and redundant with time. Sometimes an outside perspective is ideal for shaking things up and finding new ways. Even so, we can’t let ourselves be too overconfident about the redundancy of things we see as pointless."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Bad habits generally evolve to serve an unfulfilled need: connection, comfort, distraction, take your pick."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"we don’t always know better than those who made decisions before us, and we can’t see all the nuances to a situation until we’re intimate with it. Unless we know why someone made a decision, we can’t safely change it or conclude that they were wrong."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Observe it in full. Note how it interconnects with other aspects, including ones that might not be linked to you personally. Learn how it works, and then propose your change."
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Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Although interdisciplinary knowledge is valuable, makers do not always need a wide circle of competence. They need to do one thing well and can leave the rest to the managers."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"Getting up at 4 am does not make someone an acclaimed novelist, any more than splitting the day into 15-minute segments makes someone an influential entrepreneur."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"different types of work require different types of schedules. The two wildly different workdays of Murakami and Vaynerchuk illustrate the concept of maker and manager schedules."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"Paul Graham of Y Combinator first described this concept in a 2009 essay."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"A manager’s job is to, well, manage other people and systems. The point is that their job revolves around organizing other people and making decisions."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"A maker’s job is to create some form of tangible value."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"Making anything significant requires time — lots of it — and having the right kind of schedule can help."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"people who successfully combine both schedules do so by making a clear distinction, setting boundaries for those around them, and adjusting their environment in accordance."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"We spend much of our days on autopilot—not giving much thought to what we are doing with our time. This is a problem. It’s difficult to prevent the trivial from creeping into every corner of your schedule if you don’t face, without flinching, your current balance between deep and shallow work, and then adopt the habit of pausing before action and asking, “What makes the most sense right now?”"
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"Paul Graham notes that some managers damage their employees’ productivity when they fail to recognize the distinction between the types of schedules."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"top performers overwhelmingly worked for companies that gave their workers the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said that their workspace was acceptably private, compared to only 19 percent of the worst performers; 76 percent of the worst performers but only 38 percent of the top performers said that people often interrupted them needlessly."
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"Remember Arnold Bennett’s words: “You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use … is a matter of the highest urgency.”"
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Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You
"We are not taught how to learn in school, we are taught how to pass tests."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"“Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.” — Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"As Darwin hinted, it’s not the strongest who survives. It’s the one who easily adapts to a changing environment. Learning how to learn is a part of a “work smarter, not harder” approach to life"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Learning through rote memorization is tedious and—more important—ineffective."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"we are better able to recall information and concepts if we learn them in multiple, spread-out sessions."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” — Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), a German psychologist and pioneer of quantitative memory research, first identified the spacing effect."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Going over the information later, at intervals, helps us remember a greater percentage of the material. Persistence will allow us to recall with 100% accuracy all that we want to remember."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Frequency matters. Under normal conditions, frequent repetitions aid memory."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Intensity of emotion matters, as does the intensity of attention"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Very great is the dependence of retention and reproduction upon the intensity of the attention and interest which were attached to the mental states the first time they were present. The burnt child shuns the fire, and the dog which has been beaten runs from the whip, after a single vivid experience. People in whom we are interested we may see daily and yet not be able to recall the colour of their hair or of their eyes…Our information comes almost exclusively from the observation of extreme and especially striking cases."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"even when we appear to have forgotten information, a certain quantity is stored in our subconscious minds."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"The second learning requires noticeably less time or a noticeably smaller number of repetitions than the first. It also requires less time or repetitions than would now be necessary to learn a similar poem of the same length."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"“There is no such thing as memorizing. We can think, we can repeat, we can recall and we can imagine, but we aren’t built to memorize. Rather our brains are designed to think and automatically hold onto what’s important. While running away from our friendly neighborhood tiger, we don’t think “You need to remember this! Tigers are bad! Don’t forget! They’re bad!” We simply run away, and our brain remembers for us.” — Gabriel Wyner, Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language and Never Forget It"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Memories are not located in any one part of the brain. Memories are formed in a process which involves the entire brain. If you think about your favorite book, different parts of your brain will have encoded the look of it, the storyline, the emotions it made you feel, the smell of the pages, and so on."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Memories are constructed from disparate components which create a logical whole. As you think about that book, a web of neural patterns pieces together a previously encoded image. Our brains are not like computers – we can’t just ‘tell’ ourselves to remember something."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"If we were to take a look at the frontal cortex of those who have mastered something through repetition, it would be remarkable still and inactive as they performed the skill. All their brain activity is occurring in areas that are lower down and required much less conscious control"
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Retrieving memories changes the way they are later encoded. In essence, the harder something is to remember now, the better we will recall it in the future. The more we strain, which is painful mental labor, the easier it will be in the future. There is no learning without pain. Recall is more important than recognition."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Our brains assign greater importance to repeated information."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Some researchers also believe that semantic priming is a factor. This refers to the associations we form between words which make them easier to recall."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Some literature points to the possibility that spaced repetition is not in itself especially efficient, but that massed learning is just very inefficient."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"when repetition learning takes place over a longer period, it is more likely that the materials are presented differently. We have to retrieve the previously learned information from memory and hence reinforce it. All of this leads us to become more interested in the content and therefore more receptive to learning it."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"We need to break up with cramming and focus on what actually works: spaced repetition."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"The difficulty of spaced repetition is not effort but that it requires forward planning and a small investment of time to set up a system."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"Tracking progress gives us a sense of progression and improvement."
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The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention
"In a world where most people play the short game, playing the long game offers a huge advantage."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"“If you do what everyone else is doing, you shouldn’t be surprised to get the same results everyone else is getting.”"
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"The most successful people in any field all play the long game."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"The long game isn’t particularly notable. It doesn’t attract a lot of attention. In fact, from the outside, the long game looks boring. The tiny advantages that accrue aren’t noticed until success becomes too obvious to ignore."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"The long game allows you to compound results. The longer you play the better the rewards."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"The first step is the hardest. You have to be willing to suffer today in order to not suffer tomorrow. This is why so few people play the long game."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"A good place to start is with things that compound: knowledge, relationships, and finances."
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The Surprising Power of The Long Game
"There is a difference between reading for understanding and reading for information."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"A useful heuristic: Anything easily digested is reading for information."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"That means you’re reading for information. It means you’re likely to parrot an opinion that isn’t yours as if you had done the work."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"“Marking a book is literally an experience of your differences or agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.” — Edgar Allen Poe"
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not learning. You need to find writers who are more knowledgeable on a particular subject than yourself. By narrowing the gap between the author and yourself, you get smarter."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Elementary Reading Inspectional Reading Analytical Reading Syntopical Reading"
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"The goal of reading determines how you read."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Inspectional reading allows us to look at the author’s blueprint and evaluate the merits of a deeper reading experience."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Skimming helps you reach to a decision point: Does this book deserve more of my time and attention? If not, you put it down."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Francis Bacon once remarked, “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”"
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Analytical reading is a thorough reading."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"I highly recommend you use marginalia to converse with the author."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Syntopical Reading involves reading many books on the same subject and comparing and contrasting ideas, vocabulary, and arguments."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"The goal is not to achieve an overall understanding of any particular book, but rather to understand the subject and develop a deep fluency."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers."
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"There are four main questions you need to ask of every book: What is this book about? What is being said in detail, and how? Is this book true in whole or in part? What of it?"
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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
"One aspect is mindset—specifically, the difference between amateurs and professionals."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Professionals value consistency."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on getting the best outcome."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs go faster. Professionals go further."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs go with the first idea that comes into their head. Professionals realize the first idea is rarely the best idea."
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The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn."
FS
The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it."
FS
The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
"the more news we consume the more misinformed we become."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"As news has become easier to distribute and cheaper to produce, the quality has decreased and the quantity has increased, making it nearly impossible to find the signal in the noise"
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Page views become the name of the game. More page views mean more revenue. When it comes to page views, the more controversy, the more share-ability, the more enraged you become, the better."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Most of what you read online today is pointless. It’s not important to living a good life. It’s not going to help you make better decisions. It’s not going to help you understand the world. It’s not dense with information. It’s not going to help you develop deep and meaningful connections with the people around you."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"When you stop reading the news the first thing you notice about people who read the news is how misinformed they are. Often, they cherry-pick one piece of information and give it enormous weight in their opinions."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Instead of getting feedback from reality, they crave validation in the printed opinion of others."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Thinking is hard. It’s much easier to let someone else think for you. Without news in my life, I find that I say “I don’t know” more often."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Stepping back from news is hard. We’re afraid of silence, afraid to be alone with our thoughts."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"If you must read the news, read it for the facts and the data, not the opinions."
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Winifred Gallagher: “Few things are as important to your quality of life as your choices about how to spend the precious resource of your free time.”"
FS
Why You Should Stop Reading News
"Nothing will change your future trajectory like your habits."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"When we begin to chase a vague concept (success, wealth, health, happiness), making a tangible goal is often the first step."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"Habits are algorithms operating in the background that power our lives. Good habits help us reach our goals more effectively and efficiently. Bad ones makes things harder or prevent success entirely. Habits powerfully influence our automatic behavior."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia Butler"
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"First off, goals have an endpoint. This is why many people revert to their previous state after achieving a certain goal."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"Second, goals rely on factors that we do not always have control over."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"Habits are better algorithms, and therefore more reliable in terms of getting us to where we want to go."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"The third problem with goals is keeping a goal in mind and using it to direct our actions requires a lot of thinking and effort to evaluate different options."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"unrealistic goals can lead to dangerous or unethical behavior because we make compromises to meet our stated objective."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).” — Stephen Covey"
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"The purpose of a well-crafted set of habits is to ensure that we reach our goals with incremental steps."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"Once we develop a habit, our brains actually change to make the behavior easier to complete."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"According to Duhigg’s research, habits make up 40% of our waking hours."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.“"
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” — Charles C. Nobel"
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"With consistency, the benefits of non-negotiable actions compound and lead to extraordinary achievements."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"When seeking to attain success in our lives, rather than concentrating on a specific goal, we would do well to invest our time in forming positive habits."
FS
Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
"One big mistake people repeatedly make is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome. This is the wrong side of right."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"Most people never work as hard as they do when they are trying to prove themselves right. They unconsciously hold on to the ideas and evidence that reinforce their beliefs and dismiss anything that counters."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"“You should take the approach that you, the entrepreneur, are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.” — Elon Musk"
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"I worked toward achieving the best outcome I came up with myself and not the best outcome that was possible."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.” — Colin Powell"
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"At Farnam Street, one of our principles is that we work with the world as it really is, not as we want it to be. My desire to be right reflected how I wanted the world to work, not how it actually worked."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"the more I give up trying to be right, the better the outcomes get for everyone. I don’t care who gets the credit. I care about creating the best possible work."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.” — Charlie Munger"
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.” — Charlie Munger"
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"You need to be critical and always thinking. You need to do the mental work required to hold an opinion."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"if we hadn’t been continuous learners, the record wouldn’t have been as good. And we were so extreme about it that we both spent the better part of our days reading, so we could learn more, which is not a common pattern in business."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"“We don’t read other people’s opinions. We want to get the facts, and then think.” And when it gets to the thinking part, for Buffett and Munger, there’s no one better to think with than their partners."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"Munger once told a reporter. “We make actual decisions very rapidly, but that’s because we’ve spent so much time preparing ourselves by quietly sitting and reading and thinking.”"
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"In the long term, the investment in learning something new and improving yourself goes further."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"We read a lot. I don’t know anyone who’s wise who doesn’t read a lot. But that’s not enough: You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don’t grab the right ideas or don’t know what to do with them."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"in How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler writes: “The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.”"
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"Another way to get smarter, outside of reading, is to surround yourself with people who are not afraid to challenge your ideas."
FS
The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up
"The three most fundamental sources of knowledge are physics, math, and human history. They offer us endless learning and mental models."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Physics and math, from which we derive the rules the universe plays by; biology, from which we derive the rules life on Earth plays by; and human history, from which we derive the rules humans have played by."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"History is subject to geology."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"To the geologic eye all the surface of the earth is a fluid form, and man moves upon it"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"History repeats itself in the large because human nature changes with geological leisureliness, and man is equipped to respond in stereotyped ways to frequently occurring situations and stimuli like hunger, danger, and sex."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Most importantly, fragile relationships break, but strong win-win relationships have super glue that keeps parties together."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"that a lack of adaptiveness to changing reality is a losing strategy when the surrounding environment shifts enough."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Our various systems of political and economic organization are fundamentally driven by decisions on how to give order and fairness to the brutal reality created by human competition."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Life is Competition. Life is Selection. Life must Replicate."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Knowledge — the kind which can be passed from generation to generation in an accumulative way — is a unique outcome in the human culture bucket. Other biological creatures only pass down DNA, not accumulated learning."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"We live under a constant onslaught of content that is not meant to live beyond the moment in which it appears."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"[T]hose who write for the subject’s sake, and those who write for writing’s sake. The first kind have had thoughts or experiences which seem to them worth communicating, while the second kind need money and consequently write for money."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"The author has a moral duty to not cheat the reader."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"Writing for money [is], at bottom, the ruin of literature."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"The best works of great men all come from the time when they had to write either for nothing or for very little pay."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"The bad drives out the good. The problem is bad writers, offering little timeless value, monopolize the time and attention of people that could be otherwise spent on more profitable pursuits."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"It is because people will only read what is the newest instead of what is the best of all ages, that writers remain in the narrow circle of prevailing ideas, and that the age sinks deeper and deeper in its own mire."
FS
Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait
"It’s how they read. Good reading habits not only help you read more but help you read better."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"“I cannot remember the books I have read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson"
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Passive readers forget things almost as quickly as they read them. Active readers, on the other hand, retain the bulk of what they read."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Active readers have another advantage: The more they read the faster they read."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"it is vital to have a plan for recording, reflecting on, and putting into action the conclusions we draw from the information we consume."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Quality matters more than quantity."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Don’t read stuff we find boring."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Focus on some combination of books that: (1) stand the test of time; (2) pique your interest; or (3) resonate with your current situation."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"The more interesting and relevant we find a book, the more likely we are to remember its contents in the future."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"You have to have some idea of what you want to get from the book. You don’t just want to collect endless amounts of useless information. That will never stick."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Making notes is an important foundation for reflecting and integrating what you read into your mind."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"The best technique for notetaking is whichever one works for you and is easy to stick to. While there are hundreds of systems on the internet, you need to take one of them and adapt it until you have your own system."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"After I am done reading I will often put it aside for up to a week and think deeply about the lessons and key stories that could be used for my book project. I then go back and put these important sections on notecards."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Understanding and absorbing a book requires deep focus, especially if the subject matter is dense or complex. Remember, we are aiming for active reading. Active reading requires focus and the ability to engage with the author."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"if you want to remember what you read, forget about keeping books pristine."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"go crazy with marginalia. The more you write, the more active your mind will be while reading."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Jot down connections and tangential thoughts, underline key passages and make a habit of building a dialogue with the author."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Every concept or fact can be linked to countless others. Making an effort to form our own links is a fruitful way to better remember what we read."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"the very existence of the attentive, critical reader provides the spur for the writer’s work."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"If I had to cut 99% of the words in this book, what would I leave?"
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"As a general rule, people who love reading never, ever finish a crappy book."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"The basic process of learning consists of reflection and feedback. We learn ideas gained through experiences – ours or others – that remain unchallenged unless we make the time to reflect on them. If you read something and you don’t make time to think about what you’ve read, your conclusions will be shaky."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Teaching others is a powerful way to embed information in your mind. This is part of the Feynman technique."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"One of the benefits of our virtual reading group is that people are forced to actually think about what they are learning."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Having a catalogue of everything you learn from reading creates a priceless resource which can be consulted whenever you need an idea, want inspiration, or want to confirm a thought."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Rereading good books is of tremendous importance if we want to form lasting memories of the contents. Repetition is crucial for building memories."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind."
FS
How to Remember What You Read
"It’s slack: excess capacity allowing for responsiveness and flexibility. The slack time is important because it means she never has a backlog of tasks to complete. She can always deal with anything new straight away."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"“You’re efficient when you do something with minimum waste. And you’re effective when you’re doing the right something.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Without slack time, however, we know we won’t be able to get through new tasks straight away, and if someone insists we should, we have to drop whatever we were previously doing."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Without the open space, there is no further possibility of moving tiles at all. The layout is optimal as it is, but if time proves otherwise, there is no way to change it."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Having a little bit of wiggle room allows us to respond to changing circumstances, to experiment, and to do things that might not work."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Slack is the time when reinvention happens. It is time when you are not 100 percent busy doing the operational business of your firm. Slack is the time when you are 0 percent busy. Slack at all levels is necessary to make the organization work effectively and to grow. It is the lubricant of change. Good companies excel in creative use of slack. And bad ones only obsess about removing it."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Slack allows us to think ahead. To consider whether we’re on the right trajectory. To contemplate unseen problems. To mull over information. To decide if we’re making the right trade-offs. To do things that aren’t scalable or that might not have a chance to prove profitable for a while. To walk away from bad deals."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"We are more productive when we don’t try to be productive all the time."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Amos Tversky said the secret to doing good research is to always be a little underemployed; you waste years by not being able to waste hours. Those wasted hours are necessary to figure out if you’re headed in the right direction."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"the best way to improve your Reading Return on Invested Time (RROIT) is to carefully filter the books you read."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"“The more basic knowledge you have … the less new knowledge you have to get.” — Charlie Munger"
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"Get back to basics. Understanding the basics, as boring as it sounds, is one of the key elements of effective thinking."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"Understanding a simple idea deeply, however, creates more lasting knowledge and builds a solid foundation for complex ideas later."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"Understanding the basics allows us to predict what matters. Put simply, people who understand the basics are better at understanding second and subsequent order consequences."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"the Lindy Effect, which is just a fancy way of saying what’s been around will continue to be around."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"For the perishable, every additional day in its life translates into a shorter additional life expectancy. For the nonperishable, every additional day may imply a longer life expectancy. So the longer a technology lives, the longer it can be expected to live."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"Time can predict value. While produce and humans have a mathematical life expectancy that decreases with each day, some things, like books, increase in life expectancy with each passing day."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"The perishable is typically an object, the nonperishable has an informational nature to it."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"The longer something non-perishable has lived, the longer we can expect it to live."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"Older isn’t better, it’s exponentially better."
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"“take a simple idea and take it seriously.”"
FS
How to Choose Your Next Book
"No skill is more valuable and harder to come by than the ability to critically think through problems. Schools don’t teach you a method of thinking. Thinking is one of those things that can be learned but can’t be taught."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"Good decisions create time, bad ones consume it."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"the more people multitask, the worse they are, not just at other mental abilities, but at multitasking itself."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"They were worse at what you might call “mental filing”: keeping information in the right conceptual boxes and being able to retrieve it quickly."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"The best writers write much more slowly than everyone else, and the better they are, the slower they write."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"“It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise” — William Deresiewicz"
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"The busiest people are often the ones who make the worst decisions. Busy people spend a lot of time correcting poor decisions."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"If you want to think better, schedule time to think and hone your understanding of the problem."
FS
How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught
"In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero. Charlie Munger"
FS
Reading Better
"One of the benefits of reading is that it allows you to master the best of what other people have already figured out."
FS
Reading Better
"Start books quickly but give them up easily.  Our desire to finish what we start sometimes works against us. Good books finish themselves. You can’t put them down. Trying to finish a bad book, on the other hand, is like walking through the mud with a wheelbarrow full of bricks. Life is too short."
FS
Reading Better
"Skim a lot of books. Read a few. Immediately re-read the best ones twice."
FS
Reading Better
"Some books only deserve a skim, while others deserve your complete attention. How much effort you put in relates to what you’re reading and why you’re reading it."
FS
Reading Better
"The Levels of Reading offer four different approaches to reading (from easiest to hardest). Most of our time will be spent between levels 2 and 3."
FS
Reading Better
"Reading speed is a vanity metric. No one cares how fast you read or how many books you read last year. In the real world what matters is what you absorb."
FS
Reading Better
"The opportunity cost of reading something new is re-reading the best book you’ve ever read."
FS
Reading Better
"The blank sheet primes your brain for what you’re about to read and shows you what you’re learning."
FS
Reading Better
"Writing is the process by which we often discover we don’t know what we are talking about."
FS
Reading Better
"The point of both conventional notes and the blank sheet is to connect new knowledge to old knowledge and point out gaps in your understanding. Writing about what you read is a great way to see what you’ve learned."
FS
Reading Better
"You can’t get where you want to go if you’re not learning all the time. One of the best ways to learn is to read."
FS
Reading Better
"There are two main mindsets we can navigate life with: growth and fixed. Having a growth mindset is essential for success."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"Your view of yourself can determine everything. If you believe that your qualities are unchangeable — the fixed mindset — you will want to prove yourself correct over and over rather than learning from your mistakes."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"Changing our beliefs can have a powerful impact. The growth mindset creates a powerful passion for learning. “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are,” Dweck writes, “when you could be getting better?”"
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"The legendary basketball coach John Wooden says that you’re not a failure until you start to assign blame. That’s when you stop learning from your mistakes – you deny them."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"Operating in this space — just outside of your comfort zone — is the key to improving your performance. It’s also the critical element to deliberate practice."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"if you get the grade “Not Yet” you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"How we word things affects confidence, the words ‘yet’ or ‘not yet,’ “give kids greater confidence, give them a path into the future that creates greater persistence.” We can change mindsets."
FS
Carol Dweck: A Summary of The Two Mindsets
"Few things have more of an impact on your life and career than the ability to zero in on what really matters. Most information is irrelevant. Most of your time is wasted. Knowing what to ignore is the key to unlocking another level."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"In the process, we skip the most important thing of all: our mind."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"Einstein’s greatest skill was the ability to sift the essential from the inessential — to grasp simplicity when everyone else was lost in the clutter."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"Only a master can make the complicated simple. Only a master can see the simple point that others miss."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"“I soon learned,” Einstein wrote, “to scent out what was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from everything else, from the multitude of things that clutter up the mind.”"
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"The biggest mistake that most of us make is that we try to consume more information without understanding what’s relevant and what’s not."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"The constant search for more is the natural response of someone who doesn’t truly understand what matters and what doesn’t. Often, wanting more information is a sign you don’t understand the problem. If you understood the problem, you’d want specific information."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"Most information is irrelevant. Most of our time spent chasing it is wasted. But only those who can learn to sift the essential from the inessential, only those who can learn to see the simplicity, know what to ignore."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"The skills to better filter and process are within our grasp: (1) focus on understanding basic, timeless, general principles of the world and use them to help filter people, ideas, and projects; (2) take time to think about what we’re trying to achieve and the 2-3 variables that will most help us get there; (3) remove the inessential clutter from our lives; (4) think backwards about what we want to avoid."
FS
Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential
"Pick up the book again and go through all your notes. Most of these will be garbage but there will be lots you want to remember. Write the good stuff on the inside cover of the book along with a page number."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"The first step to taking notes is to figure out why you are taking notes. If you’re studying for an exam your notes are going to look different than if you’re reading for entertainment. The way you take notes depends on the reason you’re taking notes."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"Learning something new as an adult is a function of consuming information (what you read and how you read), the information you retain, and your ability to put what you learned into practice (recognize patterns)."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"When I’m done, I write a brief summary of the entire book and then I do something few other people do. I let the book age."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"I’m not the same person I was the first time I read the book, two things have changed: (1) I’ve read the entire book and (2) I’ve had a chance to sleep on what may have seemed earth-shattering at the time but now just seems meh."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"I’ll create a sort of mental summary of the book’s main arguments and gaps. Sometimes I’ll cross-link points with other books."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"Wait a few days. Then go through the book and copy out excerpts by hand and put them into your repository or commonplace book. I use these notes to connect and synthesize ideas as I read."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"You can see how I connect and contextualize ideas, linking them across disciplines. I find writing about the ideas really helps me develop my understanding."
FS
The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
"Your education shouldn’t end when your schooling does."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"Lifelong learning requires the ability to reflect on your mistakes, a lot of reading, and testing what you know."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” — Confucius"
FS
Lifelong Learning
"experiences (coupled with reflection) can be the richest of all sources of investigation and discovery."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"The ignorant man can’t learn from his own mistake and the fool can’t learn from the mistakes of others. These are the primary ways we learn: Through our own experiences and through the experiences of others."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"The process of thoughtful reflection makes our experiences more concrete, and helps with future recall and understanding."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"“Reading,” writes Endersen, “is the foundation of indirect learning.” Learning how to read and finding time to read are two of the easiest and best changes you can make if you want to pursue lifelong learning."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"Reflect on your experiences. Read regularly. Learn how to read for understanding. Know how to test whether you really understand something by demonstrating that you could teach it in simple terms with a clear analogy."
FS
Lifelong Learning
"learning requires deep focus. When you’re in a distracted state, new information can’t fix itself in your mind, and you end up with gaps in your understanding."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Learning isn’t just knowing something for a day. It’s deep wisdom that allows you to create, innovate, and push boundaries."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"People can end up stuck with a static amount of knowledge because we don’t just passively absorb new ideas and information. Learning something new requires active engagement."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Learning is the act of incorporating new facts, concepts, and abilities into our brains."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Every new bit of knowledge we acquire builds on what we already know and gives us a fuller, richer picture of the world."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"The greatest enemy of learning is what you think you know."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"being willing to admit when you’re wrong and adjust your thinking is the thing that will help you learn the most. The first step to learning is recognizing your ignorance and deciding to do something about it."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Learning requires time to reflect. It requires discussing what you’ve learned and letting your mind wander."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"you enhance your skills the most when you stretch yourself to the limits of your abilities. Pushing yourself to the point that feels challenging yet doable is the foundation of deliberate practice, the technique elite people in every field use to grow their expertise."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"There are two main places we can learn from: our own experience and history, or the experience of others."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Studying the past helps us know how to shape the future. History is one of our biggest sources of fundamental knowledge."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"historical knowledge is something to continuously update as you learn both from what happened and how you choose to look at it."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Reflection allows you to distill experience into learning. Don’t just “do,” think about what you’re doing and what you’ve done."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"Rote memorization doesn’t work. Period. The key to effective learning is spaced repetition, a technique that works with the way your brain naturally retains information, not against it."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"In order to learn something, you need to retrieve it from memory again and again. Retrieval makes information stick even better than re-exposing yourself to the original material."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"all education is self-education."
FS
Accelerated Learning: Learn Faster and Remember More
"The Feynman Learning Technique is a simple way of approaching anything new you want to learn."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Information is learned when you can explain it and use it in a wide variety of situations."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"the point of learning is to understand the world. But most of us don’t bother to deliberately learn anything. We memorize what we need to as we move through school, then forget most of it."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” —E.F. Schumacher"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"There are four steps to the Feynman Learning Technique, based on the method Richard Feynman originally used."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Pretend to teach a concept you want to learn about to a student in the sixth grade. Identify gaps in your explanation. Go back to the source material to better understand it. Organize and simplify. Transmit (optional)."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Step 1: Pretend to teach it to a child or a rubber duck"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"The truth is, if you can’t define the words and terms you are using, you don’t really know what you’re talking about."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Step 2: Identify gaps in your explanation"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Identifying gaps in your knowledge—where you forget something important, aren’t able to explain it, or simply have trouble thinking of how variables interact—is a critical part of the learning process. Filling those gaps is when you really make the learning stick."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Identifying the boundaries of your understanding is also a way of defining your circle of competence. When you know what you know (and are honest about what you don’t know), you limit the mistakes you’re liable to make and increase your chance of success when applying knowledge."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Step 3. Organize and simplify"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Step 4: Transmit (optional)"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"The ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to convey it to another."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"“If you can’t reduce a difficult engineering problem to just one 8-1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper, you will probably never understand it.” —Ralph Peck"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Richard Feynman believed that “the world is much more interesting than any one discipline.”"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” —Mortimer Adler"
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"learning doesn’t happen in isolation. We learn not only from the books we read but also the people we talk to and the various positions, ideas, and opinions we are exposed to."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"the way that I intend to solve the farm problem is to gather around me a lot of people who know something about it, to look at all the experience that we have had with this problem before, to take a certain amount of time at it, and then to come to some conclusion in a reasonable way about it."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"Knowledge is not static, and we need to be open to continually evaluating what we think we know."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"the plural of anecdote is not data."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"many errors people make simply come from lack of information. They don’t even know they’re missing the tools they need."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"being willing and able to question your knowledge and the knowledge of others is how you keep improving. Learning is a journey."
FS
The Feynman Learning Technique
"In every systematic inquiry (methodos) where there are first principles, or causes, or elements, knowledge and science result from acquiring knowledge of these"
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"First-principles thinking is one of the best ways to reverse-engineer complicated problems and unleash creative possibility. Sometimes called “reasoning from first principles,” the idea is to break down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up."
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"It allows them to cut through the fog of shoddy reasoning and inadequate analogies to see opportunities that others miss."
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"“I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!” — Richard Feynman"
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"The difference between reasoning by first principles and reasoning by analogy is like the difference between being a chef and being a cook. If the cook lost the recipe, he’d be screwed. The chef, on the other hand, understands the flavor profiles and combinations at such a fundamental level that he doesn’t even use a recipe. He has real knowledge as opposed to know-how."
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"If we never learn to take something apart, test the assumptions, and reconstruct it, we end up trapped in what other people tell us — trapped in the way things have always been done."
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"When it comes down to it, everything that is not a law of nature is just a shared belief. Money is a shared belief. So is a border. So are bitcoins."
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"After three “whys,” though, you often find yourself on the other end of some version of “we can take this offline.”"
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” — Carl Sagan"
FS
First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge
"What remains are the essentials. If you know the first principles of something, you can build the rest of your knowledge around them to produce something new."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"We cannot keep all of the details of the world in our brains, so we use models to simplify the complex into understandable and organizable chunks."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Mental models are how we simplify complexity, why we consider some things more relevant than others, and how we reason."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"If we’re only looking at the problem one way, we’ve got a blind spot. And blind spots can kill you."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Sharing knowledge, or learning the basics of the other disciplines, would lead to a more well-rounded understanding that would allow for better initial decisions about managing the forest."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Building your latticework is a lifelong project. Stick with it, and you’ll find that your ability to understand reality, make consistently good decisions, and help those you love will always be improving."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"When you are honest about where your knowledge is lacking you know where you are vulnerable and where you can improve. Understanding your circle of competence improves decision making and outcomes."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Thought experiments are powerful because they help us learn from our mistakes and avoid future ones. They let us take on the impossible, evaluate the potential consequences of our actions, and re-examine history to make better decisions."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Hanlon’s Razor states that we should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"By not generally assuming that bad results are the fault of a bad actor, we look for options instead of missing opportunities."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"The explanation most likely to be right is the one that contains the least amount of intent."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"an observer cannot truly understand a system of which he himself is a part."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"if one individual acts on another, the action will tend to be reciprocated in kind. And of course, human beings act with intense reciprocity"
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Archimedes, “Give me a lever long enough and I shall move the world.”"
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"humans are complicated in that their incentives can be hidden or intangible. The rule of life is to repeat what works and has been rewarded."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"We are “fooled” by random effects when we attribute causality to things that are actually outside of our control. If we don’t course-correct for this fooled-by-randomness effect – our faulty sense of pattern-seeking – we will tend to see things as being more predictable than they are and act accordingly."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"a failure in one area can negate great effort in all other areas. As simple multiplication would show, fixing the “zero” often has a much greater effect than does trying to enlarge the other areas."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"A trusting system is one that tends to work most efficiently; the rewards of trust are extremely high."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Human beings are much the same and can feel positive and negative emotion towards intangible objects, with the emotion coming from past associations rather than direct effects."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"We tend to most easily recall what is salient, important, frequent, and recent. The brain has its own energy-saving and inertial tendencies that we have little control over – the availability heuristic is likely one of them."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Human beings have been appropriately called “the storytelling animal” because of our instinct to construct and seek meaning in narrative."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"Even before there were direct incentives to innovate, humans innovated out of curiosity."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"the first idea gets in and then the mind shuts. Like many other tendencies, this is probably an energy-saving device. Our tendency to settle on first conclusions leads us to accept many erroneous results and cease asking questions"
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"We take a small number of instances and create a general category, even if we have no statistically sound basis for the conclusion."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"nearly all studies of human happiness show that it is related to the state of the person relative to either their past or their peers, not absolute."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"In another illustration of our relative sense of well-being, we are careful arbiters of what is fair. Violations of fairness can be considered grounds for reciprocal action, or at least distrust."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"What a man wishes, he also believes. Similarly, what we believe is what we choose to see. This is commonly referred to as the confirmation bias."
FS
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (~100 Models Explained)
"She can always deal with anything new straight away. Gloria’s job is to ensure Tony is as busy as he needs to be. It’s not to be as busy as possible."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"If you ever find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, sinking into stasis despite wanting to change, or frustrated when you can’t respond to new opportunities, you need more slack in your life."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Total efficiency is a myth."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"DeMarco writes, “As a practical matter, it is impossible to keep everyone in the organization 100 percent busy unless we allow for some buffering at each employee’s desk. That means there is an inbox where work stacks up.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"“It’s possible to make an organization more efficient without making it better. That’s what happens when you drive out slack. It’s also possible to make an organization a little less efficient and improve it enormously. In order to do that, you need to reintroduce enough slack to allow the organization to breathe, reinvent itself, and make necessary change.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"“the degree of freedom required to effect change. Slack is the natural enemy of efficiency and efficiency is the natural enemy of slack.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"“Slack represents operational capacity sacrificed in the interests of long-term health.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Slack consists of excess resources. It might be time, money, people on a job, or even expectations. Slack is vital because it prevents us from getting locked into our current state, unable to respond or adapt because we just don’t have the capacity."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Now, even as slack keeps becoming more and more vital for survival, we’re keener than ever to eliminate it in the name of efficiency."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Survival requires constant change and reinvention, which “require a commodity that is absent in our time as it has never been before. That commodity—the catalytic ingredient of change—is slack.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"“Slack is the time when reinvention happens. It is time when you are not 100 percent busy doing the operational business of your firm. Slack is the time when you are 0 percent busy. Slack at all levels is necessary to make the organization work effectively and to grow. It is the lubricant of change. Good companies excel in creative use of slack. And bad ones only obsess about removing it.”"
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Only when we are 0 percent busy can we step back and look at the bigger picture of what we’re doing. Slack allows us to think ahead. To consider whether we’re on the right trajectory."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"To contemplate unseen problems. To mull over information. To decide if we’re making the right trade-offs. To do things that aren’t scalable or that might not have a chance to prove profitable for a while. To walk away from bad deals."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"The irony is that we achieve far more in the long run when we have slack. We are more productive when we don’t try to be productive all the time."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Being comfortable with sometimes being 0 percent busy means we think about whether we’re doing the right thing."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Trying to eliminate slack causes work to expand. There’s never any free time because we always fill it."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"There’s a good chance most of the problems in your life and work come down to insufficient slack. Here’s how slack works and why you need more of it."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Arriving at the (no doubt smoke-filled) office, you’re a little surprised to find it’s far from a hive of activity."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"With a bit more observation, you realize your initial impression was entirely wrong."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"As individuals, many of us are also obsessed with the mirage of total efficiency."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"Let’s call her Gloria."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"All that time Gloria spends doing nothing isn’t wasted time. It’s slack: excess capacity allowing for responsiveness and flexibility."
FS
Efficiency is the Enemy
"The three most fundamental sources of knowledge are physics, math, and human history. They offer us endless learning and mental models. Here’s how mastering the three buckets of knowledge can give you a deeper understanding of the world."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"When we seek to understand the world, we’re faced with a basic question: Where do I start? Which sources of knowledge are the most useful and the most fundamental?"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Similarly, Peter Kaufman’s idea, presented above, is that we can learn the most fundamental knowledge from the three oldest and most invariant forms of knowledge: Physics and math, from which we derive the rules the universe plays by; biology, from which we derive the rules life on Earth plays by; and human history, from which we derive the rules humans have played by."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Our search led us to a wonderful book called The Lessons of History, which we’ve previously discussed."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"The first topic Durant approaches is our relationship to the physical Earth, a group of knowledge we can place in the second bucket, in Kaufman’s terms."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"There are some big, useful lessons we can draw from studying geologic time. The most obvious might be the concept of gradualism, or slow incremental change over time."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"We can also use this model to derive the idea of human nature as nearly fixed; it changes in geologic time, not human time. This explains why the fundamental problems of history tend to recur. We’re basically the same as we’ve always been"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"But in a developed and complex civilization individuals are more differentiated and unique than in a primitive society, and many situations contain novel circumstances requiring modifications of instinctive response; custom recedes, reasoning spreads"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Lastly, Mother Nature’s long history also teaches us something of resilience, which is connected to the idea of grind-ahead change. Studying evolution helps us understand that what is fragile will eventually break under the stresses of competition"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Our nature determines the “arena” in which the human condition can play out. Human biology gives us the rules of the chessboard, and the Earth and its inhabitants provide the environment in which we play the game."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"That’s why this “bucket” of human knowledge is such a crucial one to study. We need to know the rules."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"But because we also know that the spoils of the physical world are finite, the “Big Model” of Darwinian natural selection flows naturally from the compounding math: As populations grow but their surroundings offer limitations, there must be a way to derive who gets the spoils."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"These simple precepts lead to the interesting results in biology, and most relevant to us, to similar interesting results in human culture itself:"
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"This selective survival of creative minds is the most real and beneficent of immortalities."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Knowledge — the kind which can be passed from generation to generation in an accumulative way — is a unique outcome in the human culture bucket."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"With that caveat in mind, the concept of passed-down ideas does have some predictable overlap with major mental models of the first two buckets of physics/math and biology."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"The first is compounding: Ideas and knowledge compound in the same mathematical way that money or population does."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"The second interplay is to see that human ideas go through natural selection in the same way biological life does."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"Intellect is therefore a vital force in history, but it can also be a dissolvent and destructive power."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"It just means, at the risk of being circular, that the ideas most fit for propagation are the ones that survive for a long time."
FS
Peter Kaufman: The Three Buckets of Knowledge
"One big mistake people repeatedly make is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome. I call this the wrong side of right."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"People never work as hard as they do when they are trying to prove themselves right. They unconsciously hold on to the ideas and evidence that reinforce their beliefs and dismiss anything that counters."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"You should take the approach that you, the entrepreneur, are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"I had so much of my identity wrapped up in being right that I was blind to how the world really works."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"At Farnam Street, one of our principles is that we work with the world as it really is, not as we want it to be. My desire to be right reflected how I wanted the world to work, not how it actually worked. Instead of trying to be right, I try to be less wrong."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"The most important lesson I’ve learned from running a company is that the more I give up trying to be right, the better the outcomes get for everyone. I don’t care who gets the credit. I care about creating the best possible work."
FS
The Wrong Side of Right
"A core component of making great decisions is understanding the rationale behind previous decisions. If we don’t understand how we got “here,” we run the risk of making things much worse."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Before changing anything, we should wonder whether they were using second-order thinking."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"It’s best to assume they knew things we don’t or had experience we can’t fathom, so we don’t go for quick fixes and end up making things worse."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Second-order thinking is the practice of not just considering the consequences of our decisions but also the consequences of those consequences."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"By comparison, second-order thinking is more complex and time-consuming. The fact that it is difficult and unusual is what makes the ability to do it such a powerful advantage."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"“If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”"
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Chesterton’s Fence is a heuristic inspired by a quote from the writer and polymath G. K. Chesterton’s 1929 book, The Thing."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"In the book, Chesterton describes the classic case of the reformer who notices something, such as a fence, and fails to see the reason for its existence. However, before they decide to remove it, they must figure out why it exists in the first place. If they do not do this, they are likely to do more harm than good with its removal."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Do not remove a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Until we establish that reason, we have no business taking an ax to it. The reason might not be a good or relevant one; we just need to be aware of what the reason is."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Otherwise, we may end up with unintended consequences: second- and third-order effects we don’t want, spreading like ripples on a pond and causing damage for years."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"As simple as Chesterton’s Fence is as a principle, it teaches us an important lesson. Many of the problems we face in life occur when we intervene with systems without an awareness of what the consequences could be."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"If a fence exists, there is likely a reason for it. It may be an illogical or inconsequential reason, but it is a reason nonetheless."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"However, despite the numerous problems inherent in hierarchical companies, doing away with this structure altogether belies a lack of awareness of the reasons why it is so ubiquitous."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Without a formal hierarchy, people often form an invisible one, which is far more complex to navigate and can lead to the most charismatic or domineering individual taking control, rather than the most qualified."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"However, their approach ignores Chesterton’s Fence and doesn’t address why hierarchies exist within companies in the first place."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Even so, we can’t let ourselves be too overconfident about the redundancy of things we see as pointless."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Attempting to remove the habit and leave everything else untouched does not eliminate the need and can simply lead to a replacement habit that might be just as harmful or even worse. Because of this, more successful approaches often involve replacing a bad habit with a good, benign, or less harmful one—or dealing with the underlying need"
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"that fence went up for a reason, and it can’t come down without something either taking its place or removing the need for it to be there in the first place."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"They grow to the point where it makes sense to hire a Chief Financial Officer. Eager to make an immediate difference, the new CFO starts looking for ways to cut costs so they can point to how they’re saving the company money."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"But suddenly having to is just an unmissable sign that the company’s culture is changing, which can be enough to prompt the most talented people to jump ship."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Attempting to save a relatively small amount of money ends up costing far more in employee turnover. The new CFO didn’t consider why that fence was up in the first place."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Chesterton’s Fence is not an admonishment of anyone who tries to make improvements; it is a call to be aware of second-order thinking before intervening."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"Unless we know why someone made a decision, we can’t safely change it or conclude that they were wrong"
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"The first step before modifying an aspect of a system is to understand it. Observe it in full. Note how it interconnects with other aspects, including ones that might not be linked to you personally. Learn how it works, and then propose your change."
FS
Chesterton’s Fence: A Lesson in Second Order Thinking
"One of the best parts of Garrett Hardin‘s wonderful Filters Against Folly is when he explores the three filters that help us interpret reality."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"No matter how much we’d like it to, the world does not only operate in our circle of competence. Thus we must learn ways to distinguish reality in areas where we lack even so much as a map."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Most geniuses—especially those who lead others—prosper not by deconstructing intricate complexities but by exploiting unrecognized simplicities."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"We need not be a genius in every area but we should understand the big ideas of most disciplines and try to avoid fooling ourselves."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Hardin begins by outlining his goal: to understand reality and understand human nature as it really is, removing premature judgment from the analysis."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"That I might investigate the subject matter of this science with the same freedom of spirit we generally use in mathematics, I have labored carefully not to mock, lament, or execrate human actions, but to understand them; and to this end I have looked upon passions such as love, hatred, anger, envy, ambition, pity, and other perturbations of the mind, not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties just as pertinent to it as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like to the nature of the atmosphere."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"The first filter through which we must interpret reality, says Hardin, is the literate filter: What do the words really mean? The key to remember is that Language is action."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"The first step is to try to understand what is really being said."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"He who introduces the words “infinity” or any of its derivatives (“forever” or “never” for instance) is also trying to escape discussion. Unfortunately he does not honestly admit the operational meaning of the high-flown language used to close off discussion. “Non-negotiable” is a dated term, no longer in common use, but “infinity” endures forever."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Like old man Proteus of Greek mythology, the wish to escape debate disguises itself under a multitude of verbal forms: infinity, non-negotiable, never, forever, irresistible, immovable, indubitable, and the recent variant “not meaningfully finite.”"
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Talent is always desirable, but the talent may have an unfair, even dangerous, advantage over those with less talent."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Hardin is clear on his approach to numerical fluency: The ability to count, weigh, and compare values in a general or specific way is essential to understanding the claims of experts or assessing any problem rationally:"
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Just as “literacy” is used here to mean more than merely reading and writing, so also will “numeracy” be used to mean more than measuring and counting. Examination of the origins of the sciences shows that many major discoveries were made with very little measuring and counting."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Rough and ready back-of-the-envelope calculations are often sufficient to reveal the outline of a new and important scientific discovery"
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"The Delaney Amendment is a monument to innumerate thought. “Safe” and “unsafe” are literate distinctions; nature is numerate. Everything is dangerous at some level. Even molecular oxygen, essential to human life, becomes lethal as the concentration approaches 100 percent."
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems
"Obviously, some numerical limits must be applied. This is the usefulness of the numerate filter. As Charlie Munger says, “Quantify, always quantify.”"
FS
Three Filters Needed to Think Through Problems