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Posts Tagged ‘life’

How to Improve Your Chances for Success in Life

From Stan Hayward on Quora with an answer to “What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about 5 years?

 

  • Keep a diary
  • Write down the key points of what you did for the day. This may be trivial, but it will show how you spend your day.
  • Write down thoughts you have for doing even simple things like buying something. This will show where your money goes.
  • At the end of every month do a summary of what you have done, and mark out things you have achieved for the month, or failed to achieve. This includes your income, health, buying items, fixing things.
  • Put a value on your time. If you assess your time as being worth $20 an hour then assess everything you do at that rate. So if writing and posting a letter takes half an hour, then it costs $10.
  • Give yourself short term goals. Write down what you hope to achieve in the next month. Then assess how well you did it. If you failed then write down why.
  • You need to plan your personal life like you would plan a company. Put a value on what you do, who you know, how much you pay for anything, and how much your possessions and actions further your goals.
  • Get rid of excess baggage. This covers items you don’t need, habits that are distractions, friends who you will not miss, hobbies that absorb your resources.
  • Mix with people who have similar goals to yourself.
  • Do not assume you will ever have time to do things you can’t do now or soon.
  • Learn the difference between Urgent and Important
  • Don’t rely on others to solve your problems. Try to solve all your own problems even if they can be solved with money or help. Learning how to fix a tap washer may seem needless, but it gives an insight into problem solving.
  • Find out how other people solved their problems or failed to.
  • Take an interest  in people. Success comes from knowing how people work, not how things work.

 

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Non-fiction Books Every 20-something Should Read

From Shane Parrish on Quora with an answer to “What are some great non-fiction books a 20-year old should add to his library?

Here’s 10.

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Psychologist  Robert Cialdini introduces the universal principles of influence:  Reciprocation, scarcity, authority, commitment, liking, and consensus.  Sure you can watch the short video,  but it’s not the same. Buy the book. Why do you need to learn these? To  paraphrase Publius Syrus, “He can best avoid a snare who knows how to  set one.” After you read this book, move on to Poor Charlie’s Almanack.

2. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger
The  last time I mentioned this book, Farnam Street readers flooded my  inbox. I’ll try to address the two primary concerns that appeared.  First, if you can’t find it new, just purchase a used copy. Who cares?  Second: Yes, it’s an “expensive” book. Ignorance is more expensive. Just  buy it.

3. Letters from a Stoic
I  came to Seneca a few years after I turned 30. It’s clear from reading  Seneca that he’s full of wisdom. His letters deal with everything we  deal with today: Success, failure, wealth, poverty, and grief. His  philosophy is practical. Not only will reading this book help equip you  for what comes in life, but it’ll also help you communicate with others.

4. The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus
A  Syrian slave, Syrus is a full of timeless wisdom. Want an example?  “From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.” Here is  another: “It is not every question that deserves an answer.” Ok, one  more? “To do two things at once is to do neither.” And he didn’t even  know of Facebook and Twitter. You can read this book in under an hour  but spend the rest of your life trying to learn and apply his wisdom.

5. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Third Edition
I’d much rather recommend Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders (alsofreely available), however, I recognize that most people would be intimidated by its size. In the Essays,  Lawrence Cunningham thematically organizes Buffett’s own words. There  is more than enough here to get a clear picture of the principles and  logic of Buffett and Munger’s philosophy for business, life, and  investing.

6. Cyrus the Great — The Arts of Leadership and War
Amazing. Cyrus was pretty awesome. His insights about leadership have “inspired great men from Julius Caesar to Benjamin Franklin to Lawrence of Arabia.” Peter Drucker called this book — Xenophon’s biography of Cryus — “the best book on leadership.” You’ll learn about Cyrus’ various campaigns as he conquers Babylon. While the story is old, the leadership lessons are as relevant today as they were then. Among other things “Xenophon shows you how to conduct meetings, become an expert negotiator, deal efficiently with allies, communicate by appealing to the self-interest of your followers, encourage the highest standards of performance, ensure your organization has the benefit of specialists, and prove that your words will be backed by your deeds.”

7. Letters From a Self-Made Merchant to his Son
This book has been on my shelf for over a year. I have no idea why. While the letters are over a hundred years old, they are full of timeless wisdom and practical no-nonsense advice to parents and wisdom seekers alike. Something I’m sure to re-read over the years.

8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
This is the best business book I’ve read in a long time. Perhaps one of the best ever. Ben Horowitz has been to hell and back and he’s got the scars to prove it. He’s built billion dollar companies, mentored CEOs, been within weeks of bankruptcy, worked with some of the smartest people in the world, and started a tech company in the middle of the dot com crash. Through it all he’s found there are no easy answers. After reading it, I immediately bought several copies and shipped them to friends of mine.

9. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
A great book for me to read so soon after finishing Fooled By Randomness as they both approach the same subject from vastly different angles. Mlodinow’s book is a gentler, though not necessarily better, introduction than Taleb’s. After walking through some elementary lessons in statistics that even professionals get wrong, the book explores how our lives are more informed by chance and randomness than we think. Along the way he offers some tools to help us make better decisions.

10. Zen in the Art of Archery
The author, Eugen Herrigel, spent time in Japan after World War II and wanted to better understand Zen Buddhism. This is impossible to understand through books and requires an activity. He picked archery and found a Zen master who reluctantly accepted him as a student.  Herrigel, being a Westerner, sought rapid progress and linear improvement through technical mastery. This wasn’t enough and became self-defeating. To truly master an art it has to become an “artless art” where it grows out of unconsciousness. Thus archery became a path to greater understanding.

Of course, I’d also add The Prince and the Origin of Species; Two books people talk about all the time, yet few have read.

If you like reading you can see with What I’m Reading.

How to improve the quality of your life

Life happens - Indexed

From Indexed

Cadillac Addresses American Consumerism and Work-Life Balance

February 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Want to read more about this topic?

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Work Too Hard – The Washington Post

Lessons from Publius Syrus

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Publius Syrus

Publius (Publilius) Syrus was a former Syrian slave who lived in the first century B.C. I just finished “The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave,” a collection of over 1,000 of his maxims on life. Some will be very familiar to readers (“Familiarity breeds contempt,” “He who chases two hares will catch neither”), while many others are less widely known.

If you’re into Stoicism or have enjoyed reading Seneca, Marcus Aurelius or Baltasar Gracián, you’ll probably enjoy this book too. Here are some of my favorite sayings from Publius Syrus:

Communication:

  • Consider what you ought to say and not what you think.

Education and learning: 

  • Better be ignorant of a matter than half know it.
  • The wise man corrects his own errors by observing those of others.
  • The subordinate perceives all the failings of his superior.

Friends:

  • It is harder to judge between friends than enemies.
  • Fear the envy of your friends more than the snares of your enemies.

Generosity:

  • He who boasts of a favor bestowed would like it back again.
  • To be always giving is to encourage a forcible taking when you refuse to give.

Money:

  • We all seek to know whether we shall be rich, but no one whether we shall be good.

Passion:

  • A wise man rules his passions, a fool obeys them.

Problem-solving:

  • Mighty rivers may easily be leaped at their source.

Productivity:

  • An hour sometimes restores the sum of many years losses.

Reputation:

  • A good reputation is more valuable than money.
  • Many consult their reputation, but few their conscience.

MORE LINKS: 

Five Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30 – Farnam Street

Ryan Holiday’s Amazon review

9 Mind-expanding Books of Philosophy That Are Actually Readable (A Guide to Practical Philosophy) by Ryan Holiday


								
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