Book Summaries

Nassim Taleb: Fooled by Randomness Book Summary

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Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb



The Book in Three Sentences

Randomness, chance, and luck influence our lives and our work more than we realize. Because of hindsight bias and survivorship bias, in particular, we tend to forget the many who fail, remember the few who succeed, and then create reasons and patterns for their success even though it was largely random. Mild success can be explainable by skills and hard work, but wild success is usually attributable to variance and luck.

  • According to Taleb, the book’s most popular chapter was Chapter 11, the one in which he compressed all the literature on the topic of miscalculating probability.
  • Important point: “it’s more random than we think, not it is all random.” Chance favors preparedness, but it is not caused by preparedness (same for hard work, skills, etc.)
  • “This business of journalism is just about entertainment, particularly when it comes to radio and television.”
  • As much as we want to “keep it simple, stupid” … It is precisely the simplification of issues that are actually very complex, which can be dangerous.
  • “Things that happen with little help from luck are more resistant to randomness.”
  • “Mild success can be explainable by skills and labor. Wild success is attributable to variance.”
  • One common theory for why people pursue leadership is because of “social emotions” which cause others to be influenced by a person due to small, almost imperceptible physical signals like charisma, gestures, and gait.
  • This has also been shown via evolutionary psychology: when you perform well in life, you get all “puffed up” in the way you carry yourself, the bounce in your step, etc. From an evolution standpoint this is great because it becomes easier to spot the most successful / desirable mate.
  • The concept of alternative histories is particularly interesting. If you were to relive a set of events 1000 times, what would the range of outcomes be? If there is very little variance in your alternative histories (i.e. You chose to become a dentist and you will probably make more or less the same amount of money and live a similar lifestyle all 1000 times), then you are in a relatively non- random situation. Meanwhile, if there is a very wide range of normal results when considering 1,000 variations (entrepreneurs, traders, etc.), then it is a very random situation.
  • The quality of a choice cannot be judged just by the result. (I first learned this in baseball. Just because a pitch you call or play you call doesn’t work out doesn’t make it a poor choice. It could have been the right call, but bad luck. Or vice versa.)
  • “Certainty is something that is likely to take place across the highest number of different alternative histories. Uncertainty concerns events that should take place in the lowest number of them.”
  • You should think carefully about getting more insurance / shielding yourself from events that — although unlikely — could be catastrophic. You essentially want to insulate yourself from terrible random accidents.
  • We have a tendency to see risks against specific things as more likely than general risks (dying in a terrorist attack while traveling vs. dying on your next trip, even though the second includes the first). We seem to overvalue the things that trigger an emotional response and undervalue the things that aren’t as emotional.
  • We are so mentally wired to overvalue the sensational stories that you can “realize informational gains by dispensing with the news.”
  • Fascinating famous Swiss study of the amnesia patient who couldn’t remember doctor’s name but did remember him pricking her hand with a pin.
  • “Every man believes that he is quite different.”
  • It’s better to value old, distilled thoughts than “new thinking” because for an idea to last so long it must be good. That is, old ideas have had to stand the test of time. New ideas have not. Some new ideas will end up lasting, but most will not.
  • The ratio of undistilled information to distilled is rising. Let’s call information that has never had to prove its truth more than once or twice, undistilled. And information that has been filtered through many years, counter arguments, and situations is distilled. You want more distilled information (concepts that stand the test of time and rigorous analysis) and less undistilled information (the news, reactionary opinions, and “cutting edge” research).
  • There is nothing wrong with losing. The problem is losing more than you plan to lose. You need clear rules that limit your downside. (“If any investment loses one million dollars then our firm sells immediately.”)
  • Much of what is randomness is timing. The best strategy for a given time period is often not the best strategy overall. In any given cycle, certain places will be dangerous, certain trading strategies will be fruitful, etc.
  • If you find yourself doing something extraordinarily well in a random situation, then keep doing what’s working but limit your downside. There is nothing wrong with benefitting from randomness so long as you protect yourself from negative random events.
  • Randomness means there are some strategies that work well for any given cycle (an extreme fad diet), but these cycles are often short to medium term successes. More importantly, the strategies that work for a given cycle in the short term may not be the best for long run. They are sub optimal strategies winning over a randomly beneficial short term cycle. The same can said for setting huge goals, following a fad diet, chasing an extreme training protocol, and so on. Unsustainable and suboptimal for the long term. In this way, evolutionary traits that are undesirable can survive for a period of time in any given population. That is, suboptimal strategies and traits can seem desirable in the short run even though they will be resoundingly defeated in the long run.
  • Important point: you can never affirm a statement, merely confirm its rejection. There is a big difference between “this has never happened” and “this will ever happen.” You can say the first, but never truly confirm the second. It just takes one counter example to prove all previous observations wrong. We never know things for sure, only with varying degrees of certainty.
  • There are only two types of ideas. Those that have been proven wrong and those which have yet to be proved wrong. (Feynman said something similar.)
  • Strive to become a man of leisure who can afford to sit with ideas, think properly about them, and gradually provide something of value.
  • Science is speculation. This is important to remember. Scientists are simply creating well-formed and well-educated conjectures about the world. But they are still conjectures that can be proved incorrect by one random event.
  • It’s a difficult standard to demand that you can actually implement ideas and not merely share them (there have been many brilliant philosophers and scientists who have had great ideas they didn’t personally use), but is an idea really that great if you can stick to it? Obviously, everyone has different skills and circumstances, so maybe someone can use your idea even if you can’t. But generally speaking, I think you should be able to live out the ideas you share.
  • Pascal: “the optimal strategy for humans is to believe in the existence of God. For, if God exists, then the believer will be rewarded. If God does not exist, the believer will have nothing to lose.”
    My first thought: “yes, but what if you believe in the ‘wrong’ God?” Should you play a numbers game and believe in the God most people believe in? Or, can we safely assume that of the infinite number of possible Gods humans could have designed it is unlikely that any of the ones we worship are actually the God? So, just believe that a higher power exists? Whew. Tough call here.
  • Social treadmill effect: you get rich, move to a better neighborhood, surround yourself with more successful people, and feel poor again.
  • “Remember that nobody accepts randomness in his own success, only his failure.”
  • Skewness and expectations: you can’t just look at the odds of something happening, but also the payoff you receive if it works (and the cost of it failing). A bet on something very unlikely can be smart if the payoff is large and you have rules to limit the many small losses that are likely.
  • Minor stalemates in life can often be solved by choosing randomly. In many cases it doesn’t really matter so long as you choose something and move forward.
  • We follow rules not because they are the best options, but because they make things fast and easy.
  • Humans are inherently flawed. The cognitive biases that we have are simply a result of how our brains work. Sometimes these biases help us rather than hurt us. But they are always a result of how we are built. That makes them particularly difficult to avoid.
  • We seem to focus too much on “local” changes, not global ones. That is, we care too much about the latest change rather than the overall trend.
  • “Wealth does not make people happy, but positive increases in wealth may.”
  • We do not think, but use heuristics to make decisions.
  • Emotions are “lubricants of reason.” We actually need to feel things to make decisions.
  • Emotions give us energy and they are actually critical to life in the day-to-day world. In other words, the goal here is not to become a robot who can analyze everything with perfect logic.
  • Even if you know about randomness and cognitive biases, you are still just as likely to fall victim to them.
  • How to overcome these biases? We need tricks. We are just animals and we need to re-structure our environment to control our emotions in a smart way.
  • “Most of us know pretty much how we should behave. It is the execution that is the problem, not the absence of knowledge.”
  • “I try to remind my group each week that we are all idiots and know nothing, but we have the good fortune of knowing it.”
  • Do not blame others for your failures. Even if they are at fault.
  • The only aspect of your life that fortune does not have control over is your behavior.
  • Repetitiveness is key for determining if you are seeing skill or randomness at play. Can’t repeat it? Not skillful.
  • “We favor the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, and the tangible. We scorn the abstract. Everything good — aesthetics, ethics — and wrong — fooled by randomness — with us seems to flow from it.”


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50 Words to Your Dreams | Chapter 9: Creativity | Michael George Knight |

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What is Creativity? The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. Such as an idea, theory, invention, a literary work or a painting. The word itself means “to create.” Here’s how you can start to develop your creative mind. Allow yourself to relax and think outside the box. Stimulate creativity by setting aside time to brainstorm, breaking up your routine, and by seeking inspiration from people and places around you. Travel, meditation, and positive thinking can do wonders.


One of the best ways to open up your creativity is by mediation. By practicing mindful meditation, you can help relax, improve your awareness and inspire self-reflection. With time and practice meditation will help you open up your creative juices and make you become clear on what creative endeavours you should pursue.


Another way to strengthen and develop creativity within yourself is to change your daily routine to expand your thought process. Routine can be the enemy of creativity because it removes the need for quick thinking and new ideas. New stimuli will keep you on your toes and open your mind up creatively. Try to shake up your everyday life with a few small changes.


Other great ways to expand your creativity include

  • Positive thinking
  • Go for walks outdoors to encourage creative thought
  • Hang out in different spots to expose yourself to new stimuli
  • Try new hobbies to expand your life experiences and gain new talents
  • Start getting up earlier in the morning to make the most of your time
  • Surround yourself with other creative people to get inspired
  • Read as much as possible to discover new ideas and themes
  • Travel whenever you can to gain new experiences
  • Listen to TED talks or other inspiring lectures





What do you love creating? What talents are you gifted with? Putting together your passions and talents, what is it that you and you alone can create to contribute positively to the world? Is it a book, a song, a business, a great family, a piece of art, a product, an experience, an environment, a life. What do you want to create? Make a short list of things you want to create in your life?



  • A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. (Carl Sagan)
  • A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with, a man is what he makes of himself. (Alexander Bell)
  • A musician must make his music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to ultimately be at peace with himself. (Abraham Maslow)
  • All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born. (Nikola Tesla)
  • Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined. (Unknown)
  • Call yourself an artist. You do after all create things. (Unknown)
  • Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that looks good on the outside. (Unknown)
  • Creation is always happening. Every time an individual has a thought, or a prolonged chronic way of thinking, they’re in the creation process. Something is going to manifest out of those thoughts. (Michael Bernard Beckwith)
  • Creative procrastination is one of the most effective of all personal performance techniques. It can change your life. (Brian Tracy)
  • Creative things have to sell to get acknowledged as such. (Steve Wozniak)
  • Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. (George Lois)
  • Creativity is a critical issue in today’s fast-changing world and imagination is the soul of creativity. (Anon)
  • Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. (Unknown)
  • Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. (Mary Lou Cook)
  • Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. (Steve Jobs)
  • Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death. (Rollo May)
  • Creativity is seeing something that doesn’t exist already. (Michael Shea)
  • Creativity is simulated by 3 things: Intensely desired goals, pressing problems and focused questions. Each of these brings out mental clarity and activates your creative mind. (Brian Tracy)
  • Creativity is the greatest form of rebellion in existence. (Osho)
  • Don’t like the chapter you’re in? Write a new one. You are the author of your life. (Unknown)
  • Either write something worth reading or do something worth being written about. (Benjamin Franklin)
  • Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. (Pablo Picasso)
  • Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. (Stephen R. Covey)
  • Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. (Albert Einstein)
  • Express your unique talents; every human being alive has a unique talent. You have a talent that is unique in its expression. (Deepak Chopra)
  • Good artists copy, great artists steal. (Picasso)
  • Have you given much thought to the fact that you create yourself? You do, to an altogether unsuspected extent, simply by the choices you make; by the things you decide to do, or decide not to do. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Human beings have the remarkable ability to turn nothing into something. They can turn weeds into gardens and pennies into fortunes. (Jim Rohn)
  • I am always doing things I can’t do. That is how I get to do them. (Pablo Picasso)
  • I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success…such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything. (Nikola Tesla)
  • Inspiration breeds creativity and awakens genius. (John Demartini)
  • Instead of competing, all we have to do is create. (Earl Nightingale)
  • Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs. (Nikola Tesla)
  • It is my inner world that creates my outer world. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. (Danny Kaye)
  • Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Link up with intention, use your inner dialogue to stay focused on what you intend to create, and you’ll find yourself regaining the power of your Source. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Make revolutionary art to propel history forward…confront the world as it is and radically dream about how it could be different. (Dread Scott Tyler)
  • Man himself is the crowning wonder of creation; the study of his nature the noblest study the world affords. (Og Mandino)
  • Man of all creatures is more than a creature, he is also a creator. (Maxwell Maltz)
  • Necessity is the mother of invention. (Plato)
  • Nothing is original…everything is a remix. (Kirby Ferguson)
  • Once we realize the extraordinary power we have to compose our lives, we’ll move from passive, conditioned thinking to being co-creators of our fate. (Jason Silva)
  • Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us. (Julia Cameron)
  • People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them. (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Schooling process actually discourages creativity. (Robert Kiyosaki)
  • Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. (Michael Jordan)
  • The best way to predict your future is to create it. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept. (John W. Gardner)
  • The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. (Julia Cameron)
  • The only viable option for the universe is for it to be in a state of creative disequilibrium, holding together sufficiently to not fall apart, but open enough to be expanding. (Thomas Berry)
  • The past isn’t important when you’re creating the future. (Grant Cardone)
  • The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. (Nikola Tesla)
  • The reality we experience will be that of our own creation. Our individual worlds will respond to us in the way in which we see them. They will become for us that which we expect of them. We are the creators of our own surroundings. (Earl Nightingale)
  • The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. (Albert Einstein)
  • The society based on production is only productive, not creative. (Albert Camus)
  • The superconscious mind is the source of all pure creativity. (Brian Tracy)
  • The truth is, no matter what your current circumstances, if you can imagine something better for yourself you can create it. (John Assaraf)
  • They themselves are makers of themselves. (James Allen)
  • Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing. (Salvador Dali)
  • To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. (Osho)
  • To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive. (Matthew Arnold)
  • To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. (Joseph Chilton Pearce)
  • True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • We are here to create history, not repeat it. (Chantelle Renee)
  • Whatever good things we build end up building us. (Jim Rohn)
  • Writing is truly a creative art. Putting word to a blank piece of paper and ending up with a full-fledged story rife with character and plot. (William Shatner)
  • Yet artists are made, not born. (Napoleon Hill)
  • You create your own experience. Acknowledge and accept accountability for your life. (Phillip McGraw)
  • You have the power to create anything you can imagine! With proper action on the ideas produced by your imagination, you will achieve success! (Napoleon Hill)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 9: Creativity

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Stay tuned for Chapter 10 in the series “IDEAS”


50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 28 Energy by Michael George Knight

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The energy I want to discuss is your life force energy which makes you alive and human. This force of energy that dwells within you and emanates through your body is what allows you to live. It is this energy that gives us strength and vitality required for sustained physical and mental activity. Some people have an abundance of energy and some people have a lack of energy. Kids generally have an abundance of natural energy in their early stages and life vs the elderly who generally have a lack of energy. Then there is everyone else in the middle who generally can control the amount of energy they possess if they desire so. You have the power to increase your natural energy levels if you desire the strength and vitality in your life.


You can increase your energy not only by getting enough sleep and eating healthy but by activating your body into gear. To take your energy up another notch take action and get your body moving. Go for a walk, a run, a ride, a swim or a workout. Get your body in shape by putting your body under some stress. Your body will react to the stress by getting fitter and stronger and produce more energy. You will feel better throughout the day both mentality and physically. Activate your muscles and get your blood pumping. Walk faster than normal, have a spring in your step, clap your hands, whistle, sing, listen to music and pump yourself up to perform at your best.



Apart from the physical energy we discussed which we all need for high productivity, mental energy is other major component you need to work on. Having high levels of mental energy include happiness, confidence, focus, and increased willpower, motivation, and productivity. You can develop your mental energy in a number of different ways from being present and grateful, surrounding yourself with great people, thinking positively, decluttering your mind, going outside and having fun, meditating, getting enough rest, drinking caffeine and trying new things. Work on yourself to expand your mental and physical energy to live, thrive and create the life you want. Without the right amount of energy you will struggle to achieve your dreams, as energy is the force that drives your success in life.



  • A person’s energy can tell you more about them than their own words. (Unknown)
  • All things are vibrating energy fields in ceaseless motion. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind it can increase energy. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Don’t hold to anger, hurt, or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love. (Leo Buscaglia)
  • Energy flows where attention goes. (Michael Beckwith)
  • Energy is the currency of the universe. When you ‘pay’ attention to something, you buy that experience. So when you allow your consciousness to focus on someone or something that annoys you, you feed it your energy, and it reciprocates the experience of being annoyed. Be selective in your focus because your attention feed the energy of it and keeps it alive. Not just within you, but in the collective consciousness as well. (Emily Maroutian)
  • Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. (Jim Loehr)
  • Every human being emanates an energy field that corresponds to his or her inner state, and most people can sense it. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Everything around us is made up of energy. To attract positive things in your life, start by giving off positive energy. (Celestine Chua)
  • Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequencies rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence. (Barbara Marciniak)
  • Goals help you channel your energy into action. (Les Brown)
  • Just as a highly magnetized piece of metal can lift another piece ten times its size, so a highly magnetized person, charged with confidence and purpose, can do at least ten times more than another who is not so energized. (Orison Swett Marden)
  • Live with Intensity. You might as well turn it up a notch or two. Invest more of you in whatever you do. Be a little stronger; be a little wiser. Step up your vitality contribution. Put everything you’ve got into everything you do and then ask for more vitality, more strength and more vigor, more heart and more soul. (Jim Rohn)
  • Maximize your personal powers: Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of rest so you can perform at your best. (Brian Tracy)
  • Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets. (Nido Qubein)
  • One of the most important requirements for being happy and productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all times. (Brian Tracy)
  • People who are very clear on who they are and their mission in life tend to be bursting with energy, yet they are also aware of the need for times of quiet and reflection to renew themselves. (Tony Schwartz)
  • Power is predicated upon organized energy. Energy can only be organized through the principle of concentration. It is a fact worthy of serious consideration that all men of outstanding success in all walks of life are men who concentrate the major portion of their thoughts and efforts upon some definite purpose or chief aim. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Success, my nomination for the single most important ingredient is energy well directed. (Louis Lundborg)
  • The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%. (Andrew Carnegie)
  • The first law of success is concentration to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the left. (William Mathews)
  • The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results. (Anthony Robbins)
  • The key that unlocks energy is desire. It’s also the key to a long and interesting life. If we expect to create any drive, any real force within ourselves, we have to get excited. (Earl Nightingale)
  • The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, between the great and the insignificant, is energy invincible determination a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory. (Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton)
  • The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be. (Jim Loehr)
  • The source of all energy is within you. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • There are four kinds of personal energy: Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical. (Tom Hopkins)
  • When you are fully rested, you can get two times, three times and five times as much done as when you are tired out. (Brian Tracy)
  • When you become an action-oriented person, you activate the ‘Momentum Principle’ of success. This principle says that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get going initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going. (Brian Tracy)
  • When your energy level is low, your health and your desirable characteristics may by subdued by the negative. You, like a storage battery, are dead when your energy level is zero. What is the solution? Recharge your battery? How? Relax, play, rest and sleep. (W. Clement Stone)
  • Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing. (Donald (Trump)
  • Your mental energy is limited by your physical energy. How do you develop more energy of all kinds? You start by putting your body in top physical condition. Unless you do that, all your other activities won’t help much, you’ll be stuck with the mental and emotional energy that you have now. (Tom Hopkins)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 28: Energy

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Stay tuned for Chapter 29 in the series “HEALTH”

M. J. DeMarco: Unscripted: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship Book Summary


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Is a sheep who drives a Mercedes to the slaughterhouse still a sheep?

I accept average advice from average people living average lives, can I expect to be anything but average?

In the Lambo, I am presumed rich and noteworthy; in the Toyota, I wait with the rest of the proletariat. Reality is ridiculously distorted.

Hyper-personality is a person’s public image, a facade projected by fame or social media, a carefully crafted mirage that does not represent the real, humanized version of the individual.

Money, the world’s dominant hyperreality, is a mutually shared belief that physical money (a stack of paper bills) or virtual digital money (a number on a computer screen) is valuable and that the person possessing it is equally valuable.

Underneath the SCRIPTED delusion is the idea that success can be bought at a mall, parked in a garage, or cashed on a Friday. Few realize that every dollar owed shortens the leash and tightens the collar around their neck.

The Slowlane is the presumption that decades of gainful employment circumscribed by thrifty living, tortuous saving, and regimented stock market investing will somehow make you a happy millionaire.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. ~ J.K. Rowling, Author

One of the greatest travesties in self-improvement is this notion of the “silver bullet,” a cherished macro-event — or “that one secret” that is error-proof, foolproof, and failure-proof.

When you finance a new Beemer for seventy-two months because you’re cash short (the event), you’re buying success instead of earning success (the process).

After awareness, the next step is realigning expectations: extraordinary results demand extraordinary efforts. That means give up the ghost and kill the shortcut search.

Success is simpler than you think: ax the shortcut, honor the process-principle, and do the necessary work.

What threatens your daily target? In order to hit your targets, identify what will stop you from achieving them. What impedes success and prevents real change?

Furthermore, students praised with participation trophies and “you are special” affirmations don’t do well later in education or in life. Their reaction toward challenge, equally disheartening. They readily admit cheating over studying. After failing, they simply look at someone else who did worse just to make themselves feel better. And in countless study after study, they flee from difficulty.

Bruce Tulgan, the author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy (recommended read) mentions the deficiencies of the millennial generation as seen by today’s employers and recounts one employer’s assessment who said: “It’s very hard to give them negative feedback without crushing their egos…they walk in thinking they know more than they know.”

The Kaizen Principle is to endeavor to create tiny incremental improvements in your daily life with an aim for mastery over performance, while forsaking external comparisons, unless such comparisons inspire. The three key operands here are: 1) Tiny incremental improvements 2) mastery over performance and 3) external comparison.

Think of it this way. Debt, spending more than you earn, is consumption exceeding production. It isn’t money owed; it’s a production deficit.

Chasing a growth rate is a fool’s game, and the last time a 12 percent yield was offered by a financial firm, it was run by a guy now jailed at the Butner Federal Correctional Facility.

Askhole. That’s the name for someone who asks for advice and doesn’t take it.

Podium popping is the ineffective application of various success strategies cherry-picked from individuals who have a broadcast podium. Much like an addict pops pills, a podium popper will “pop” random bits of advice from famous personas spotlighted in the mainstream.

Survival spotlighting, which is similar to podium popping, is when you focus on the survivors of some process because they’re showcased, while overlooking those who are not, usually due to lack of visibility, and hence, you come to an inaccurate conclusion.

Everyone is passionate about one thing or another. The problem is no one interviews passionate failures. Failed passionites have no stage, no audience, no one salivating at their greatness.

In Chapter 18, I confessed that I’m an introvert. That means if you’re a random stranger and email me a coffee offer, I’ll decline. It’s not that I don’t like you; it’s just that I’d rather dive into a good book surrounded by solitude.

And this highlights the ultimate irony: the secret to success isn’t “do what you love” but “do what you hate.” How much pain and anxiety you’ll endure tells me how much success you’re willing to achieve.


The great happiness secret is autonomy. Freedom. The ability to feel in control of your life, to stockpile options, mobility, and whatever else you self-determine and endorse.


While an internal locus is proactive, an external locus is apathetic and reactive, like driftwood with a soul, a hapless casualty of life’s undercurrents.

Entrepreneurship is about problem-solving, creating convenience, satisfying desires, and becoming valuable.


You see, your job is to identify every value attribute in the global pool, with the explicit intent to uncover skewing opportunities. The more attributes skewed without disrupting other skews (say price), the more sales you will win.


The big irony of passive income is it’s anything but passive. Every single entrepreneur I know who enjoys passive income today exercised an extraordinary and committed process yesterday.


Neither 25 (bucks) nor 110 (units) is a large number. And yet these numbers are large enough to eek a millionaire pace in just one year.


The three-three rule says that if any of your investments, whether they be stocks or bonds, appreciates unrealized gains greater than or equal to three years in dividends in any three-month period, SELL and take the profits.


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50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 27 Emotions by Michael George Knight

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Emotions and feelings are your internal compass silently directing your life. Emotions is a big part of what makes us human by being able to experience a wide variety of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise and contempt. These variety of emotions come and go throughout our life journey from times of brief happiness to the deepest sadness. Emotions and feelings can either be positive or negative relative to the emotion we feel at the time and the events happening in our life.



Have you ever been in a rut? When life got repetitive, mundane, boring and same old. When you just went through the motions and experienced very little emotion. We have all been their and will all go through those stages in life. On the other hand, have you experienced times in your life when things are happening and coming together, and you feel amazing? Things are new, upbeat and you are on the go and feeling happy. I’m sure you have had moments in life like this? Compare the two situations and notice how you reacted with your body. How was your posture? Hunched over or standing straight? The pace your walk? Slow or Fast. The look on your face? Frown or Smile. You see when we experience emotions and moments of happiness our body follows suit in a similar motion. Emotion and Motion are connected deeply just like the Yin and Yang, sun and the moon.


Naturally your emotions will flow outwardly through your motion, but you can also do the opposite and create positive emotions by first controlling your motion. A small example will show you the power motion has over emotion. Right now, drop down to the ground and 20 pushups. It should take you 30 seconds. Do it now. Seriously do it. Ok now you have done 20 pushups, do you feel your blood pumping? Heart rate accelerating? Do you feel alittle bit better? Or go for a workout, lift some weights, go for a run, a bike ride or even for a walk and see how your motion effects your emotions and feelings. Start practicing a few simple little tricks such as sitting up straight, walking tall, walking faster and smiling for no reason and notice the changes in your emotion.



Set yourself up to win by attaching strong emotions to your dreams. By breaking your dream down into a goals, and goals down to tasks. Create that winning feeling by rewarding yourself when you hit mini milestones on the way to your dreams. Make winning and working hard towards your dream rewarding and pleasurable. Also harness the power that comes with negative emotions to propel you to take action. Becoming angry with yourself, when you let your standards slip is a useful way to get back on track. Using the emotion disgust as leverage to create massive change is a strong tool and technique winners use to reach their dreams. Feeling deeply the strong negative emotion such as sadness can make you take new actions to generate more happiness in your life. Overcoming your fears is a sign of growth and development through your journey of life. Set yourself up to win by using your internal compass of emotions to direct your life to the direction of your dreams.




  • All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • All that you really want in life is to change how you feel. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Before getting upset always ask yourself. Will this even matter in six months, in a year, or in five years? If the answer is no, just let go. (Unknown)
  • By not giving into your emotions, you were able to delay your reactions and think. (Steve Michaels)
  • Cultivating the pause between stimulus and response, and how, by practicing this pause over time, you can master your emotions. (Dan Sullivan)
  • Disgust, I’ve had it, I don’t want to live like this anymore. That’s a powerful emotion. Emotion gives you the fuel to make life changes. (Jim Rohn)
  • Don’t let other people’s emotions control you. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Ego generated emotions are derived from the mind’s identification with external factors which are, of course, all unstable and liable to change at any moment. The deeper emotions are not really emotions at all but states of being. Emotions exist within the realm of opposites. States of being can be obscured, but they have no opposite. They emanate from within you as the love, joy, and peace that are aspects of your true nature. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Emotion or feelings, rule the majority of people. (Napoleon Hill)
  • Emotional intelligence is also the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. (Daniel Goleman)
  • Emotions are connected to thoughts. That’s why they can be fleeting or continuous. It depends on your thought patterns. (Dexter Yager)
  • Emotions are the most powerful forces inside us. Under the power of emotions human beings can perform the most heroic as well as the most barbaric acts. (Jim Rohn)
  • Every feeling you have, good or bad, is not based on the actual reality of life. But rather you’re interpretation on what things mean. Nothing in life has any meaning but the meaning you give it. So if you don’t like the way you’re feeling change the meaning. Ask a better question like what else could this mean? (Anthony Robbins)
  • Feeling is the language of the soul. (Neale Donald Walsh)
  • Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Human emotion produces effects which defy conventional laws of electromagnetism and their relationship to space and time. (Glen Rein)
  • Humans catch emotions from others. (David DeAngelo)
  • In a study of skills that distinguish star performers in every field from entry level jobs to executive positions, the single most important factor was not IQ advanced degrees, or technical experience: it was EQ. (Daniel Goleman)
  • It’s important to realize just how big a role emotions play in our lives. In fact, if you don’t understand that, you’ll never understand people at all. (Dexter Yager)
  • It’s really important you feel good, the more you can feel good the more you will attract the things that help you feel good, and bringing you up higher and higher. (Joe Vitale)
  • Learn to respond: let life teach you, don’t let it kill you. Let it touch you and move you. Our emotions need to be educated as well as our intellect. (Jim Rohn)
  • Most desired human emotion is that of connection with other souls. (David Deangelo)
  • Most people are not influenced largely by reason; they are swayed by emotions, or feeling. The man who is not capable of arousing his own emotions very deeply is not apt to be able to appeal to others through their emotional nature. (Napoleon Hill)
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • Our own feelings do not depend upon externals, but upon our own attitudes, reactions and responses. (Maxwell Maltz)
  • People will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. (Napoleon Hill)
  • So emotion is the body’s reaction to your mind. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Some people don’t do well because they don’t feel well. (Jim Rohn)
  • The emotions are not immediately subject to reason, but they are immediately subject to action. (William James)
  • The law of reinforcement states that any pattern of emotion or behavior that is continually reinforced will become an automatic and conditioned response. Anything we fail to reinforce will eventually dissipate. (Anthony Robbins)
  • The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood. (Voltaire)
  • The world is ruled, and the destiny of civilization is established, by human People are influenced in their actions, not by reason so much as by ‘feelings’. The creative faculty of the mind is set into action entirely by emotions, and not by cold reason. (Napoleon Hill)
  • There are patterns in human behavior; there are certain things that if you do you are going to feel extraordinary and if you do other things you are going to feel depressed, frustrated and overwhelmed. All you have to do is see these patterns. (Anthony Robbins)
  • There’s only one difference between highly successful and average people – the highly successful use anxiety and stress to spur them on to achievement instead of allowing those feelings to depress them into failure. (Tom Hopkins)
  • Too often common sense deserts us when we most need it and our so-called better judgment is swamped by a tidal wave of emotion. (Arthur Freeman)
  • Unexpressed emotion will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth late in uglier ways. (Sigmund Freud)
  • We know that if you have an emotion, it shows on your face. (Paul Ekman)
  • What is a negative emotion? An emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy – all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • You cannot have a feeling (emotion) without first having experienced a thought. Take away your brain and your ability to ‘feel’ is wiped out. A feeling is a physical reaction to a thought. (Wayne Dyer)
  • You don’t need any special reason to feel good; you can just decide to feel good right now. Simply because you’re alive, simply because you want to. (Anthony Robbins)
  • You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. (Buddha)
  • Your emotions are the energizing forces behind your thoughts. (Brian Tracy)
  • Your emotions have natural movement. This is part of being human. Learn to rest and relax with the ebb and rise with the flow. (Dexter Yager)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 27: Emotions

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The Black Swan Book Summary

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A Black Swan has three characteristics:

  1. It is an outlier beyond the normal range of expectations because nothing in the past could point to it being likely to happen.
  2. It has a massive impact
  3. Despite #1, we create explanations for it after the fact, making it seem “explainable and predictable.”


  • “The payoff of a human venture is, in general, inversely proportional to what it is expected to be.”
  • To make a killing in some industry, you need to do something beyond the currently conceived realm of possibilities (be a chef)
  • “Indeed, in some domains— such as scientific discovery and venture capital investments— there is a disproportionate payoff from the unknown, since you typically have little to lose and plenty to gain from a rare event.”
  • “The strategy for the discoverers and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they present themselves. So I disagree with the followers of Marx and those of Adam Smith: the reason free markets work is because they allow people to be lucky, thanks to aggressive trial and error, not by giving rewards or “incentives” for skill. The strategy is, then, to tinker as much as possible and try to collect as many Black Swan opportunities as you can.”
  • “In general, positive Black Swans take time to show their effect while negative ones happen very quickly— it is much easier and much faster to destroy than to build.”
  • “Recall the distinction between Mediocristan and Extremistan in Chapter 3. I said that taking a “scalable” profession is not a good idea, simply because there are far too few winners in these professions. Well, these professions produce a large cemetery: the pool of starving actors is larger than the one of starving accountants, even if you assume that, on average, they earn the same income.”
  • “This same point can be generalized to life: maximize the serendipity around you.”


  • “We do not spontaneously learn that we don’t learn that we don’t learn. The problem lies in the structure of our minds: we don’t learn rules, just facts, and only facts. Metarules (such as the rule that we have a tendency to not learn rules) we don’t seem to be good at getting. We scorn the abstract; we scorn it with passion.”
  • “What you know cannot really hurt you”
  • “To slowly distill my single idea, I wanted to become a flâneur, a professional meditator, sit in cafés, lounge, unglued to desks and organization structures, sleep as long as I needed, read voraciously, and not owe any explanation to anybody.”
  • “But modern reality rarely gives us the privilege of a satisfying, linear, positive progression: you may think about a problem for a year and learn nothing; then, unless you are disheartened by the emptiness of the results and give up, something will come to you in a flash.”
  • “Have you ever wondered why so many of these straight-A students end up going nowhere in life while someone who lagged behind is now getting the shekels, buying the diamonds, and getting his phone calls returned? Or even getting the Nobel Prize in a real discipline (say, medicine)? Some of this may have something to do with luck in outcomes, but there is this sterile and obscurantist quality that is often associated with classroom knowledge that may get in the way of understanding what’s going on in real life.”
  • “I propose that if you want a simple step to a higher form of life, as distant from the animal as you can get, then you may have to denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs.”
  • As you give someone more info, the more they will refine and create predictions, and the more wrong they will end up being. They will interpret random noise as valuable data.
  • “Sir Francis Bacon commented that the most important advances are the least predictable ones, those “lying out of the path of the imagination.””
  • “In reality, languages grow organically; grammar is something people without anything more exciting to do in their lives codify into a book. While the scholastic-minded will memorize declensions, the a-Platonic nonnerd will acquire, say, Serbo-Croatian by picking up potential girlfriends in bars on the outskirts of Sarajevo, or talking to cabdrivers, then fitting (if needed) grammatical rules to the knowledge he already possesses.”
  • “To borrow from Warren Buffett, don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut— and don’t ask an academic if what he does is relevant.”

The Triplet of Opacity:

  • “The illusion of understanding, or how everyone thinks he knows what is going on in a world that is more complicated (or random) than they realize”
  • “The retrospective distortion, or how we can assess matters only after the fact, as if they were in a rearview mirror (history seems clearer and more organized in history books than in empirical reality)
  • “The overvaluation of factual information and the handicap of authoritative and learned people, particularly when they create categories— when they “Platonify.””

Mediocristan vs. Extremistan:

  • Mediocristan is the linear, limited difference, expectable realm of human height and running speeds.
  • Extremistan is the unexpectable, Black Swan world of financial markets, book sales, and death by terrorism.
  • “Mediocristan is where we must endure the tyranny of the collective, the routine, the obvious, and the predicted; Extremistan is where we are subjected to the tyranny of the singular, the accidental, the unseen, and the unpredicted.”
  • You can’t lose a ton of weight in one day, but you can lose a ton of money.

The Turkey:

  • “Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race “looking out for its best interests,” as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.”
  • “Its confidence increased as the number of friendly feedings grew, and it felt increasingly safe even though the slaughter was more and more imminent.”
  • “If you survive until tomorrow, it could mean that either a) you are more likely to be immortal or b) that you are closer to death. Both conclusions rely on the exact same data.”

Sucker Problems:

  • Black Swans are relative to your knowledge and expectations, what is a Black Swan to some may be completely expected to others. The butcher is not surprised before Thanksgiving, but the Turkey is.
  • Avoid situations where you can be a fool in a huge way, avoid dependence on large potentially harmful predictions.

Domain Specific Knowledge:

  • We can learn things in one area and fail to transfer them to another, knowing that all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares does not seem to help us realize that all muslims are not terrorists.

The Narrative Fallacy:

  • When looking back at history, we tend to construct an interpretation that fits into a nice story, when it’s likely that what actually occurred was much more random and unplanned. We want to believe there was a nice clear progression, and that it was predictable, when really it wasn’t.
  • “The way to avoid the ills of the narrative fallacy is to favor experimentation over storytelling, experience over history, and clinical knowledge over theories.”

Silent Evidence:

  • Rarely do we see the failures of a situation, there’s a strong bias towards the winners or a “survivorship bias.” We see the people who were nudged to shore by the dolphins because they survived, not the people who were nudged away and drowned.

The Danger of Averages

  • When you measure “averages” in extermistan, you run the risk of getting useless and dangerous information. If you cross a river that is, on average, 4 feet deep, you will likely drown.

Taking advantage of serendipity (positive Black Swans)

  • Position yourself in an industry with small losses and huge wins, like venture capital, publishing, scientific research, or movies.
  • Don’t look for the precise and local, don’t be narrow minded, don’t try to predict, just move in the right direction.
  • Seize any opportunity, or anything that looks like an opportunity. Positive Black Swans can only benefit you if you are exposed to them. Work hard in chasing such opportunities and exposing yourself to them. Go to parties!
  • Be skeptical of any precise plan within extremistan (government planning)
  • Do not waste time trying to fight forecasters or other people platonifying extremistan.
  • Put yourself in situations where the favorable consequences are much greater than the negative ones. Not necessarily more likely, but more life changing.

The End

  • Missing a train is only painful if you run after it, if you allow yourself to care
  • You can stand above society and the pecking order by choice. By creating your own idea of success.
  • “Quitting a high-paying position, if it is your decision, will seem a better payoff than the utility of the money involved (this may seem crazy, but I’ve tried it and it works). This is the first step toward the stoic’s throwing a four-letter word at fate. You have far more control over your life if you decide on your criterion by yourself.”

“Seneca ended his essays (written in the epistolary form) with vale, often mistranslated as “farewell.” It has the same root as “value” and “valor” and means both “be strong (i.e., robust)” and “be worthy.” Vale.”


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50 Words to Your Dreams Chapter 26 Change by Michael George Knight

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Change is the one sure thing we all experience and agree upon. We experience the changes in ourselves from change in our body over time, to changes in our understanding, our relationships, our society, technology and the world as a whole. Change will happen whether you like it or not, a fact of life that change will ultimately lead to death. There are two things you can’t control in life, one is being born and the other is dying. What you can control to a degree is what you do in between those two events. You can consciously will your life in the direction of your dreams by simply changing.

You can let change happen to you or you can control the change in your life by being the director of your life. You call the shots in life. You deliberately force a change in yourself, your thoughts and your actions. That is what changes the results in your life.



In life you get to a point in which you realize you can’t control 99.9% of things you see on the 6 o’clock news or the daily newspaper. You can’t control the weather, the world economy, governments, wars, diseases, death and taxes. But you can control yourself. You have more control over yourself than anything else in this world. Answer the below.


Can you control your thoughts?

Can you control your attitude?

Can you control your actions?

Can you control your life?


Do you agree that you can control your thoughts, attitude, actions and life? Or do you disagree and believe that other people have more control of your thoughts, attitude, actions and life? You are either more internally directed in life by yourself or externally directed in life by others. By understanding that you are the main controller of your own life, you can control the change in your life by directing the changes you want to see.



What do you want to change in your life? Do you want to change your bank account and earn more money? Do you want to lose weight? Put on muscle? Improve your health? Change your circle of friends? Change your relationship? Change your job? Change your bad habits? You can come up with a list of a dozen things in your life right now that you want to change. Most of things people want to change in their life are merely wishes with no thought of ever taking action towards the changes they want to see come about. And that’s okay, we all wish for things to happen without wanting to put in the work to see those changes come about. But out of the dozen of things you want to change their might be one or two major things you want to change and are willing to put in the effort to make these changes come about no matter what. What one or two things you want to change in your life in this moment or time? What’s the one thing that you could do or achieve in the next 12 months that would bring you the most happiness? What is this thing? Whatever it is, this should be your number 1 goal



  • A change in your personal definition will instantly change the talents you express, the behavior’s you demonstrate and the aspirations you pursue. (Anthony Robbins)
  • A person needs to chip away everything that doesn’t look like the person he or she most wants to become. (Earl Nightingale)
  • All change is from the inner to the outer. All change begins in the self-concept. You must become the person you want to be on the inside before you see the appearance of this person on the outside. (Brian Tracy)
  • All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. (Anatole France)
  • All conditions are highly unstable and in constant flux. Impermanence is a characteristic of every condition, every situation you will ever encounter in your life. It will change, disappear, or no longer satisfy you. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • All great changes are preceded by chaos. (Deepak Chopra)
  • Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts (Arnold Bennett)
  • At any given moment you have the power to say, this is not how the story is going to end. (Christine Mason Miller)
  • Awareness is the greatest agent for change. (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • By starting to make changes, by growing in bits and pieces, you can slowly but steadily change your life. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Change is inevitable, progress is optional. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life. (Alvin Toffler)
  • Change is the basic fact of existence, awareness of it must be crucial to success. The nature of change is that you never think it could happen to you, yet such denial stops you from taking up opportunities. (Spencer Johnson)
  • Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin. (Denise McCluggage)
  • Change is unavoidable, and how we react to it determines the outcome good or bad. (Jim Rohn)
  • Change your life by literally changing the way you think. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Change your physiology and you change your state. (Anthony Robbins)
  • Choice chance change. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. (Unknown)
  • Clouds are a reminder that life is not stagnate and always changing. (Michael George Knight)
  • Disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change. (Jim Rohn)
  • Everyone naturally fears and avoids change. We want things to stay the same, but simultaneously to get better. However, all growth, all progress, all advancement requires change. And change is inevitable. In spite of anything you do, life never goes on the same way for very long. It is always changing in one direction or another. (Brian Tracy)
  • Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Exercise your will power to change direction, will power to change where you want to go, anybody can change, you don’t have to repeat last year, clean up the errors and invest in the next year. (Jim Rohn)
  • For in the absence of change, things will always stay the same. (Steve McKnight)
  • God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. (Reinhold Niebunhr)
  • He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. (Harold Wilson)
  • I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question. (Harun Yahya)
  • If we wanted to change the situation, we first had to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions. (Stephen R. Covey)
  • If you change, everything around you will change. (Jim Rohn)
  • If you don’t like where you are, move, you’re not a tree. (Jim Rohn)
  • If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. (Maya Angelou)
  • If you resist change, you have frustration and suffering. But if you understand change, you don’t cling to it and you let it flow then it’s no problem, it becomes positively beautiful. (Alan Watts)
  • If you want to change, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable. (Les Brown)
  • If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror. (Unknown)
  • Instead of demanding that others should change, maybe we should accept responsibility and we should change. (Simon Sinek)
  • It’s never too late to change the direction that your life is going in. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Life and business is like the changing seasons, you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. Learn to change yourself. (Jim Rohn)
  • Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. (Margaret Mead)
  • One moment can change a day. One day can change a life. One life can change the world. (Unknown)
  • Only change is permanent. (Osho)
  • Start welcoming the change into your life. You can’t become what you need to be while things remain the way they already are. (Unknown)
  • The ability not only to accept change but to create it is a mark of the dynamic individual. (Robert Kiyosaki)
  • The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. (Alan Watts)
  • The process of life change is not a matter of ability it is merely a matter of will. Everyone can but not everyone will. (Unknown)
  • The starting point of change, of accomplishing anything different or better, is desire, and desire is always personal. (Brian Tracy)
  • There is a huge difference between wanting to change and being willing to change. Almost everyone wants to change for the better. Very few are willing to take the steps necessary to create that change. (John T. Child)
  • To change the visible, you must change the invisible (T. Harv Eker)
  • Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come. (Rumi)
  • What has been will never be again. Coping with that fact is life’s more constant and basic opportunity. If you turn away from change, you turn away from life itself. Welcome change, it’s what living is all about. (Tom Hopkins)
  • When one door closes another opens. But often we look so long so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us. (Alexander Graham Bell)
  • When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. (Viktor E. Frankl)
  • When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. (Wayne Dyer)
  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. (Rumi)
  • You and I can change how we feel in an instant, just by changing our focus. (Anthony Robbins)
  • You can change where you are and what you are by changing what goes in your mind. I am living proof. (Zig Ziglar)
  • You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. (Jim Rohn)
  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)
  • You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler. (Denis Waitley)
  • You want to make massive and lasting change in your life? Change your identity. (Tom Bilyeu)
  • Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. (Jim Rohn)


That’s a wrap on

50 Words to Your Dreams

Chapter 26: Change

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CHAPTER ONE Good-bye, Linear Thinking . . . Hello, Exponential

The Six Ds

  • The 6 Ds of Exponentials: Digitalization, Deception, Disruption, Demonetization, Dematerialization, and Democratization
  • Anything that becomes digitized (biology, medicine, manufacturing, and so forth) hops on Moore’s law of increasing computational power.
  • Once a process or product transitions from physical to digital, it becomes exponentially empowered.


  • What follows digitalization is deception, a period during which exponential growth goes mostly unnoticed.
  • This happens because the doubling of small numbers often produces results so minuscule they are often mistaken for the plodder’s progress of linear growth.
  • Imagine Kodak’s first digital camera with 0.01 megapixels doubling to 0.02, 0.02 to 0.04, 0.04 to 0.08. To the casual observer, these numbers all look like zero.
  • Yet big change is on the horizon.
  • Once these doublings break the whole-number barrier (become 1, 2, 4, 8, etc.), they are only twenty doublings away from a millionfold improvement, and only thirty doublings away from a billionfold improvement.
  • It is at this stage that exponential growth, initially deceptive, starts becoming visibly disruptive.


  • We live in an exponential era.
  • This kind of disruption is a constant.
  • For anyone running a business—and this goes for both start-ups and legacy companies—the options are few: Either disrupt yourself or be disrupted by someone else.


  • This means the removal of money from the equation.
  • Consider Kodak. Their legacy business evaporated when people stopped buying film.
  • Who needs film when there are megapixels?
  • Suddenly one of Kodak’s once-unassailable revenue streams came free of charge with any digital camera.


  • While demonetization describes the vanishing of the money once paid for goods and services, dematerialization is about the vanishing of the goods and services themselves.
  • In Kodak’s case, their woes didn’t end with the vanishing of film.
  • Following the invention of the digital camera came the invention of the smartphone—which soon came standard with a high-quality, multi-megapixel camera.
  • Poof! Now you see it; now you don’t.
  • Once those smartphones hit the market, the digital camera itself dematerialized.
  • Not only did it come free with most phones, consumers expected it to come free with most phones.


  • Democratization is what happens when those hard costs drop so low they becomes available and affordable to just about everyone.

CHAPTER TWO Exponential Technology The Democratization of the Power to Change the World

The Hype Curve and the User Interface

  • After a novel technology is introduced and begins gaining momentum, we tend to envision it in its final form—seriously overinflating our expectations for both its developmental timetable and its short-term potential.
  • Invariably, when these technologies fail to live up to the initial hype—usually in that gap between deception and disruption on our list of the Six Ds—public sentiment for the technology falls into the trough of disillusionment.
  • But when technologies are in the trough, we are again swayed by the hype (this time, the negative hype) and consistently fail to believe they’ll ever emerge, thus missing their massively transformative potential.
  • Take the personal computer. The machines actually arrived, and all most people could do was play Pong. This was the trough of disillusionment.
  • Recognizing when a technology is exiting the trough of disillusionment and beginning to rise up the slope of enlightenment is critical for entrepreneurs.
  • Marc Andreessen, a twenty-two-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, coauthored Mosaic—both the very first web browser and the Internet’s first user-friendly user interface.
  • As a result, a worldwide grand total of twenty-six websites in early 1993 mushroomed into more than 10,000 sites by August 1995, then exploded into several million by the end of 1998.
  • The creation of a simple and elegant user interface gives entrepreneurs the ability to harness this new tool to solve problems, start businesses, and most importantly, experiment.

Made in Space

  • Made in Space’s next iteration is an advanced materials and multiple materials 3-D printer—which means that some time in the next five years 60 percent of the parts in use on the ISS will be printable.
  • “Imagine being able to colonize a distant planet by bringing nothing but a 3-D printer and some mining equipment,

A Toy Story

  • To be competitive, dolls need to be made in bulk, using an injection mold process that requires one mold for each doll part.
  • Given that each mold can cost tens of thousands of dollars to create, the start-up costs for a single doll can run you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • But maybe not.
  • These days, MakieLabs is entirely powered by 3-D printers. “In our offices we have three small MakerBot printers for prototyping,
  • We’re moving to a world of one-stop manufacturing.
  • We’ll either have these tools in our homes and offices or we’ll rent them via the cloud.
  • We’re at the front end of a very creative time—a great time for disruptive entrepreneurs.

CHAPTER THREE Five to Change the World

In this chapter, we’ll overview five more technologies also ripe for entrepreneurial exploitation: networks and sensors, infinite computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, and synthetic biology.

Networks and Sensors

  • There are over seven billion smartphones and tablets in existence.
  • transforming a world that was once passive and dumb into one that is active and smart.
  • Sensors in our cars, in our parking lots, in jet engines

Trillion Sensor Visions

  • This uber-network will generate $19 Trillion in value.
  • Think about this for a moment.
  • The U.S. economy hovers around $15 trillion a year.
  • Cisco is saying that over the ten-year period, this new net will have an economic impact greater than America’s GDP.
  • Talk about the land of opportunity

Infinite Computing: The Beauty of Brute Force

  • Infinite computing is the term Bass users to describe the ongoing progression of computing from a scarce and expensive resource toward one that is plentiful and free
  • “The cloud is democratizing our ability to leverage computing on a massive scale”
  • Until recently, mistakes were too costly for entrepreneurs to make with wanton abandon. Infinite computing demonetizes error making, thus democratizing experimentation.
  • No longer do we have to immediately dismiss outlandish ideas for the waste of time and resources they invariably incur. Today we can try them all

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Expertise on Demand

  • “we will give an AI permission to listen to every phone conversation you have. Permission to read your emails and blogs, eavesdrop on your meetings, review your genome scan, watch what you eat and how much you exercise, even tap into your Google Glass feed. And by doing all this, your personal AI will be able to provide you with information even before you know you need it”
  • Imagine, for example, a system that recognises the faces of people in your visual field and provides you with their names

Robotics: Our New Workforce

  • Robots don’t unionize, don’t show up late, don’t take lunch, don’t go home, and can work an assembly line for the equivalent of $4 an hour
  • Besides replacing our blue-collar workforce, over the next three to five years, robots will invade a much wider assortment of fields. “Already,” says Dan Barry, “we’re seeing telepresence robots transport our eyes, ears, arms, and legs to conferences and meetings. Autonomous cars, which are, after all, just robots, will [start to] chauffeur people around and deliver goods and services. Over the next decade, robots will also move into health care, replacing doctors for routine surgeries and supplementing nurses for eldercare.
  • “If I were an exponential entrepreneur looking to create tremendous value, I’d look for those jobs that are least enjoyable for humans to do. . . . Given that the global market for unskilled labor is worth many trillions of dollars, I would say this is a huge opportunity.”



CHAPTER FOUR Climbing Mount Bold

Motivation 2.0

  • Once we pay people enough so that meeting basic needs is no longer a constant cause for concern, extrinsic rewards lose their effectiveness, while intrinsic rewards—meaning internal, emotional satisfactions—become far more critical.
  • Three in particular stand out: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
    • Autonomyis the desire to steer our own ship.
    • Masteryis the desire to steer it well.
    • And purposeis the need for the journey to mean something.

Google’s Eight Innovation Principles

  1. Focus on the User.
    • We’ll see this again in chapter 6, when Larry Page and Richard Branson speak about the importance of building customer-centric businesses.
  2. Share Everything.
    • In a hyperconnected world with massive amounts of cognitive surplus, it’s critical to be open, allow the crowd to help you innovate, and build on each other’s ideas.
  3. Look for Ideas Everywhere.
    • The entire third part of this book is dedicated to the principle that crowdsourcing can provide you with incredible ideas, insights, products, and services.
  4. Think Big but Start Small.
    • This is the basis for Singularity University’s 109 thinking. You can start a company on day one that affects a small group, but aim to positively impact a billion people within a decade.
  5. Never Fail to Fail.
    • The importance of rapid iteration: Fail frequently, fail fast, and fail forward.
  6. Spark with Imagination, Fuel with Data.
    • Agility—that is, nimbleness—is a key discriminator against the large and linear.
    • And agility requires lots of access to new and often wild ideas and lots of good data to separate the worthwhile from the wooly.
    • For certain, the most successful start-ups today are data driven.
    • They measure everything and use machine learning and algorithms to help them analyze that data to make decisions.
  7. Be a Platform.
    • Look at the most successful companies getting billion-dollar valuations . . . AirBnb, Uber, Instagram . . . they are all platform plays.
    • Is yours?
  8. Have a Mission That Matters.
    • Perhaps most important, is the company you’re starting built upon a massively transformative purpose?
    • When the going gets hard, will you push on or give up?
    • Passion is fundamental to forward progress.


  • Technically, flow is defined as an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.

CHAPTER FIVE The Secrets of Going Big


Peter’s Laws™ The Creed of the Persistent and Passionate Mind

  1. If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
  2. When given a choice—take both!
  3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
  4. Start at the top, then work your way up.
  5. Do it by the book . . . but be the author!
  6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
  7. If you can’t win, change the rules.
  8. If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
  9. Perfection is not optional.
  10. When faced without a challenge—make one.
  11. No simply means begin one level higher.
  12. Don’t walk when you can run.
  13. When in doubt: THINK!
  14. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
  15. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
  16. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.
  17. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!
  18. The ratio of something to nothing is infinite.
  19. You get what you incentivize.
  20. If you think it is impossible, then it is for you.
  21. An expert is someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done.
  22. The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
  23. If it was easy, it would have been done already.
  24. Without a target you’ll miss it every time.
  25. Fail early, fail often, fail forward!
  26. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
  27. The world’s most precious resource is the persistent and passionate human mind.
  28. Bureaucracy is an obstacle to be conquered with persistence, confidence, and a bulldozer when necessary.

CHAPTER SIX Billionaire Wisdom Thinking at Scale

Four Who Changed the World

  • A quartet of entrepreneurs who have already harnessed exponential technology to build multibillion-dollar companies that forever changed the world: Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page.

Characteristics these entrepreneurs have:

  1. Risk taking and risk mitigation
  2. Rapid iteration and ceaseless experimentation
  3. Passion and purpose
  4. Long-term thinking
  5. Customer-centric thinking
  6. Probabilistic thinking
  7. Rationally optimistic thinking
  8. Reliance on first principles, aka fundamental truths

Elon Musk and Life on Mars

  • Musk, like every entrepreneur in this chapter, is driven by passion and purpose.
  • Why? Passion and purpose scale—always have, always will.


CHAPTER SEVEN Crowdsourcing Marketplace of the Rising Billion

Case Study 1: Freelancer—Quantum Mechanic for Hire by the Hour

  • com has become the largest freelancer marketplace on the planet.
  • Over 5.4 million jobs have been posted, representing a total value of $1.39 billion in work.

Case Study 2: Tongal—Genius TV Commercials at One One-Hundredth the Price

  • Tongal process: If a brand wants to crowdsource a commercial, the first step is to put up a purse—anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000.
  • Then, Tongal breaks the project into three phases: ideation, production, and distribution, allowing creatives with different specialties (writing, directing, animating, acting, social media promotion, and so on) to focus on what they do best.
  • In the first competition—the ideation phase—a client creates a brief describing its objective.
  • Tongal members read the brief and submit their best ideas in 500 characters (about three tweets).
  • Customers then pick a small number of ideas they like and pay a small portion of the purse to these winners.

Case Study 3: reCAPTCHA and Duolingo—Dual-Use Crowdsourcing

  • “All told,” says Ahn, “about 200 million CAPTCHA squiggles are typed in a day.
  • Each time you type one of those you waste about ten seconds.
  • If you multiply that by 200 million, that means humanity as a whole is wasting around 500,000 hours every day filling out these annoying CAPTCHAs.
  • This was the birth of reCAPTCHA, a website that serves a dual purpose, both helping to distinguish bots from humans while simultaneously helping to digitize books.

CHAPTER EIGHT Crowdfunding No Bucks, No Buck Rogers

Emergence of Crowdfunding

  • By 2015, experts predict a $15 billion crowdfunding market, which with the passing of the JOBS Act and the addition of equity crowdfunding to the scene could become an incredible $300 billion marketplace over the coming years.

The Types of Crowdfunding

Four main types of crowdfunding, each based on what the investor receives in return for helping to fund a campaign: donation, debt, equity, and reward.

    • This is simply the digital version of traditional charity.
    • Donors get little beyond gratitude and a receipt to claim on their taxes.
    • Examples include DonorsChoose, GlobalGiving, and Causes.
    • Sometimes referred to as microlending or peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, this variety of crowdfunding involves an entrepreneur asking the crowd for a loan, and, in return, repaying that loan with interest.
    • Examples include Kiva and LendingClub.
    • This is the newest type of crowdfunding, a development made possible by recent changes to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.
    • In equity crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can now sell equity in their company online, asking investors for cash in return for stock.
    • Examples include Crowdfunder, Startup Crowdfunding, and (for those who have already raised their first $100,000 in capital) AngelList.
  1. Reward or Incentive.
    • The funder sends money to support the creation of a product or service that inspires him or her and in return receives a reward. Simple as that.
    • Send $25 and get a T-shirt. Send $100 and get a copy of the product you’re helping to fund (technically, a presale).
    • The numbers vary a bit, but in general, reward-based crowdfunding is 60 percent more effective than straight-ahead donor funding.
    • Examples include Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and RocketHub.


“The trillions of hours of free time the population of the planet has to spend doing the things they care about” is how NYU professor Clay Shirky defines the term cognitive surplus.

Case Study 1: Galaxy Zoo—A DIY Community

  • Ten hours a day for five days straight is what it took him to sort through 50,000 images,
  • Within twenty-four hours, they were classifying nearly 70,000 galaxies an hour.

Case Study 2: Local Motors—A DIY Community

  • …the world’s first open-sourced car company to reach production.
  • Able to design and build cars five times faster and with a hundred times less capital than traditional manufacturing companies,
  • If your community can provide a legitimate release valve for people’s incredibly frustrated passion, you are unleashing one of the most potent forces in the history of the world.

Case Study 3: TopCoder—An Exponential Community

  • …we turned coding into a massive multiplayer game. We would post a problem statement, and as soon as a coder opened it, a clock would start ticking down.
  • People got points for how quickly they submitted a solution and how accurate their code was.
  • But how high your rating was, that was a badge of honor.
  • People weren’t competing for the money, they wanted the rating.

CHAPTER TEN Incentive Competitions Getting the Best and Brightest to Help Solve Your Challenges

Case Study 1: Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE

  • Using a combination of traditional methods, cleanup teams managed to remove less than half the oil, approximately 69 million gallons.
  • Natural dispersal and evaporation removed an additional 84 million gallons.
  • But that left a whopping 53 million gallons, about 26 percent of the spill, to pollute the ocean and adjacent shoreline.
  • The finalists were an eclectic group.
  • Six teams were comprised of oil industry veterans with established or developing cleanup technologies, while the remaining four were start-ups with little or no oil background whatsoever.
  • The results were dazzling.
  • Seven teams doubled the industry’s previous best ORE. One of the teams, Elastec/American Marine, won first prize by achieving an ORE of 89.5 percent and an ORR of 4,670 gallons per minute, or a 400 percent improvement over the industry’s all-time best.
  • The lesson here is that in incentive competitions, results can come from the most unusual of places, from players you would never expect, and from technologies you might never suspect.

Case Study 2: The Netflix Prize

  • A movie recommendation engine is a bit of software that tells you what movie you might want to watch next based on movies you’ve already watched and rated (on a scale of one to five stars).
  • Netflix’s original recommendation engine, Cinematch, was created back in 2000 and quickly proved to be a wild success.
  • Within a few years, nearly two-thirds of their rental business was being driven by their recommendation engine.
  • Thus the obvious corollary: the better their recommendation engine, the better their business. And that was the problem.
  • Netflix announced a million-dollar purse for whoever could write an algorithm that improved their existing system by 10 percent.
  • A competitor called ‘simonfunk’ posted a complete description of his algorithm—which at the time was tied for third place—giving everyone else the opportunity to piggyback on his progress. ‘We had no idea the extent to which people would collaborate with each other,

Where Do Prizes Make Sense?

Prizes are not panaceas. Many challenges are too complicated to be prizable and others require teams to raise too much money to compete.

In my experience, prizes make the most sense in the following circumstances:

  1. You have a clear understanding of your target, but not the method to get there.
    • In the case of the Ansari XPRIZE, I knew I wanted a spaceship that could get consumers repeatedly a hundred kilometers into space.
    • I didn’t know (or care) what type of propulsion system, landing system, or materials the vehicle would use.
  2. You have a large enough crowd of innovators to tap into.
    • You want innovators from everywhere. Restricting entrance into a competition to smaller talent pools produces lesser results.
    • The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE attracted 350 teams from around the globe.
    • Had we restricted the challenge only to students at a single university, we would never have achieved our desired goals.
  3. A small team is capable of solving the challenge.
    • The ideal competition can be solved by a reasonably small team. In the case of the DARPA Grand Challenge for autonomous cars, it was a team of graduate students from Stanford.
    • In the case of the Ansari XPRIZE, it was a group of thirty engineers from Scaled Composites.
    • Projects requiring a team much larger will likely run into fund-raising and management challenges.
  4. You are flexible on timeline, types of solutions, and who might win.
    • When using an incentive prize solution, you give up a certain amount of control in exchange for getting unexpected, potentially breakthrough results from nontraditional players. If you specify challenge parameters too narrowly—such as which technologies must be used or where the innovators should come from—you lower your chances of getting the results you seek.
  5. You are flexible on who owns the intellectual property at the end.
    • We’ll discuss intellectual property (IP) in greater length below, but in the case of most XPRIZEs, the IP is retained by the winning team, and the prize sponsor backing the competition is doing so for the purpose of publicity or to bring real change to the world.
    • This is not necessarily the case for HeroX challenges, where the IP can be owned at the end by the challenge sponsor.

The Big Three Motivators

  1. Significance/recognition.
    • There’s a lot of latent talent that wants the chance to prove itself to the world.
    • Prizes, especially those high in MTP and visibility, offer the winning team the chance for rapid fame.
    • While many teams don’t compete only for the money, sometimes the cash can be a real motivator.
    • Such was the case for Dr. Paul MacCready, who designed and built the Gossamer Condor, a human-powered vehicle that flew a figure eight between two markers half a mile apart.
    • MacCready pursued the challenge to win the £50,000 Kremer prize and pay off a personal debt.
    • In many cases, such as with the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup competition, the competing teams are deeply frustrated by the status quo and want to solve the problem.
    • Thus competition gives them a target to shoot toward, and a way to focus their frustration.


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