Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Book: How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth


The art of communication

I recently read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People from Dale Carnegie and decided to post a short summary. The book is about the importance of human communication and discusses many important techniques that people should apply if they want  to be successful communicators.

Motivation from the introduction:

“a fact later confirmed by additional studies made at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. These investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering-to personality and the ability to lead people.”

They came to me because they had finally realized,after years of observation and experience, that the highest-paid personnel in engineering are frequently not those who know the most about engineering. One can for example, hire mere technical ability in engineering, accountancy, architecture or any other profession at nominal salaries. But the person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people-that person is headed for higher earning power.

In the heyday of his activity, John D. Rockefeller said that “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee.” “And I will pay more for that ability,” said John D., “than for any other under the sun. “Education,” said Dr. John G. Hibben, former president of Princeton University, “is the ability to meet life’s situations,” For “the great aim of education,” said Herbert Spencer, “is not knowledge but action.”


Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Remember Professor Oversteet’s advice: “First, arouse in the other person the eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • Men must be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown proposed as things forgot.” – Alexander Pope
  • You cannot teach a man anything: you can only help him to find it within himself.” – Galileo
  • Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.” – Lord Chesterfield
  • One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” – Socrates
  1. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  2. Begin in a friendly way.

Remember what Lincoln said: “ A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

  1. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  2. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  3. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  4. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  5. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  6. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  7. Dramatize your ideas.
  8. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

A leader’s job often includes changing your people’s attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitude or behavior:

  1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that your cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
  3. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  4. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
  5. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.

More summaries of his books can be found here!

Richard Feynman

Richard Phillips Feynman ( May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as inparticle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.

He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb and was a member of the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept ofnanotechnology. He held the Richard Chace Tolman professorship intheoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

Source: Wiki


Video:  Richard Feynman – The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out

Nassim Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Arabic: نسيم نيقولا نجيب طالب‎, alternatively Nessim or Nissim, born 1960) is a Lebanese American essayist whose work focuses on problems of randomness and probability. His 2007 book The Black Swan was described in a review by Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.

He is a bestselling author, and has been a professor at several universities, currently at Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Oxford University. He is also a practitioner of mathematical finance. Taleb has been a hedge fund manager, a Wall Street trader, and is currently a scientific adviser at Universa Investments and the International Monetary Fund.

He criticized the risk management methods used by the finance industry and warned about financial crises, subsequently making a fortune out of the late-2000s financial crisis. He advocates what he calls a “black swan robust” society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events. He favors “stochastic tinkering” as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means experimentation and fact-collecting instead of top-down directed research.

Source: Wiki

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Home Page



David Cameron in conversation with Nassim Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb at Harvard University on social problems Part 1

Part 2

18.10.2011 Nassim Taleb: “OWS Second Generation Marxist Class Struggle”

Stéphane Hessel

Stéphane Frédéric Hessel (born 20 October 1917) is a diplomat, ambassador, concentration camp survivor, former French Resistance fighter and BCRA agent. Born German, he became a naturalised French citizen in 1939. He participated in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.(More info)

Interviews about his book “Empört Euch!”:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is  professor psychology at the University of Chicago. He is the father of the notion of Flow. Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored. He is the author of many books among which I have read two of them:

It has been a few years since I read them , but now I came across very good interviews where he is explaining himself the concept of flow and gives examples with painters and artists. There is even a TED talk from 2004  published in 2008.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

Interview with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Flow & Performing Art

The last 2 videos are interview with him in Dutch, but still it is translated with subtitles:

FLOW – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (part 1/2)

FLOW – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (part 2/2)

The Ascent of Money

I came across a series of four videos about the history of money which are really educative and I strongly recommend you taking the time to watch them.The videos are produced by Niall Ferguson ,who is Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School.

The Ascent of Money part 1

The Ascent of Money part 2

The Ascent of Money part 3

The Ascent of Money part 4

Discussion about his book: “The Ascent of Money”

Globalization: A keynote presentation by Professor Niall Ferguson with an introduction by Professor John Quelch Monday, October 13, 2008