Summary of “How To Be More Productive by Working Less”

No those last three months, I worked less each day than I did the first 12, yet I still accomplished far more.
Every productivity book on the planet, from David Allen to Benjamin Franklin, tells you more or less the same thing: wake up at the ass-crack of dawn and drink some stimulating liquid, segment your work periods into bite-sized chunks organized by urgency and importance, keep fastidious lists and calendars, and schedule appointments 15 weeks in advance and be early to everything.
So working two hours will produce twice the results as one hour.
My wife used to work in the advertising industry and, like many industries, there was a fetish for working insane hours, especially when a major presentation or campaign proposal was due.
So you go from working for diminishing returns to working for negative returns.
Because bad writing isn’t just bad-bad writing creates more work for yourself, because it requires way more time to revise and edit.
When it comes to online content, branding is a leverage point-it’s something that the more you work on and perfect, the more it will have a multiplier effect on everything else-sales will come easier, traffic will stick better, people will talk about you and spread your content more efficiently.
What’s amazing is that this leisure time-this ability to distract one’s brain away from problem-solving and work, actually makes your brain far more effective upon returning to work.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus”

As helpful as focus can be, there’s also a downside to focus as it is commonly viewed.
The problem is that excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain.
The brain operates optimally when it toggles between focus and unfocus, allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and make better decisions too.
Studied for decades by Jerome Singer, PCD activates the DMN and metaphorically changes the silverware that your brain uses to find information.
While focused attention is like a fork-picking up obvious conscious thoughts that you have, PCD commissions a different set of silverware-a spoon for scooping up the delicious mélange of flavors of your identity, chopsticks for connecting ideas across your brain, and a marrow spoon for getting into the nooks and crannies of your brain to pick up long-lost memories that are a vital part of your identity.
If it’s a creative task you have in front of you, you will likely need a full 90 minutes for more complete brain refreshing.
If we built PCD, 10- and 90- minute naps, and psychological halloweenism into our days, we would likely preserve focus for when we need it, and use it much more efficiently too.
Unfocus will allow us to update information in the brain, giving us access to deeper parts of ourselves and enhancing our agility, creativity and decision-making too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The New York Review of Books”

What is the function of the body in consciousness? Am I my body, or my brain, or a part of my brain? Could I ever exist separately from my body, my consciousness downloaded in a computer, for example, or received into heaven?
Tim Parks: Riccardo, if I accept that when I see an apple, my experience simply is the apple, and is external to my body, then we have eliminated the traditional distinction between subject and object and with it the possibility of any experience that is not the material world, any interior “Mental” existence that could be separated from it.
It’s one thing to say, as I certainly do, that you can’t exist without your body and quite another to say that you are your body.
So the body is part of your experience, just as things in the world outside are part of your experience.
Since experience comes from having a body, it can only involve the objects that enter into a causal relationship with that body.
Manzotti: First, precisely because the interaction of body and the surrounding world creates a relative world that is unique to that body and to no other, we each experience a world that is different from what others experience.
Let me get to the second equally crucial misconception; our tendency to confuse the body with the “Person,” or the self, when very obviously the self is not the body.
Parks: So the combination of an early identity of self and body in childhood, together with an awareness that my experience is unique to me, creates, you claim, the illusion that the self is the body, or, since we never see the self, a privileged private space internal to the body, or the head. Whereas, in your view, the self is an ever-expanding accumulation of experiences made up of those external objects, thousands upon thousands of them, relative to our bodies, either immediately present or still causally active on us despite now being in the past or distant from us?

The orginal article.

Summary of “deadspin-quote-carrot-aligned-w-bgr-2”

Take the most computational part of the body, the brain.
Our brains do not “Store” memories as computers do, simply calling up a desired piece of information from a memory bank.
Research into some of these things is underway, but so far much of what it has uncovered is that the body and brain are incredibly complex.
Scientists do hope, for example, that one day brain computer interfaces might help alleviate severe cases of mental illnesses like depression, and DARPA is currently funding a $65 million research effort aimed at using implanted electrodes to tackle some of the trickiest mental illnesses.
After decades of research, it’s still unclear which areas of the brain even make the most sense to target for each illness.
Within a mere two years, Facebook thinks it’ll know whether its plan to send 100-word-per-minute status updates from our brains to our screens is possible.
The technology available today can only measure a fraction of the neural activity necessary to link someone’s entire brain to a computer, or allow them to communicate with another person without speaking.
In his 1958 book The Computer and the Brain, the mathematician John von Neumann stated explicitly that the human nervous system is ‘prima facie digital.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The machine is learning”

All of the updates to the Google Assistant announced today at Google I/O are just hints.
Instead of trying to rush out big promises about the future, Google’s relentless machine is taking a surprisingly measured approach to building the Assistant, betting that AI will slowly overtake everything over time instead of falling into place all at once.
The Google Assistant is meant to someday supplant the icons and text boxes and swipes you currently use, but the AI and machine learning behind it are going to do more than just give you answers: they’re going to participate in the interface itself.
So why would you use the Google Assistant instead of Siri? Mostly because you’re already a heavy Google user.
If you already use Gmail and Google Calendar and even Google Home, the Assistant on the iPhone is automatically tied into that whole ecosystem.
Rather than ask everybody to make a custom “Skill” like Amazon does with Alexa, Google is hoping its Assistant can figure it out using Google’s own ranking algorithms and what it knows about you.
The Google Home may also tell users that more information about a given topic is available in the Google Home app on the phone.
If Google releases enough Google Assistant features it might make it good enough for you to keep using it, even if it doesn’t realize its total potential for a long time to come.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Top Six Sigma Consultant Saves Billions for Clients. Then Explains Why Most Process Improvements Fail Utterly.”

“I have saved companies billions over the years,” says Chowdhury, “And yet I can tell you why most process improvement projects fail. A process is only as good as the culture of the people who choose to adopt it. Without a culture that nurtures a caring mindset, the greatest process in the world will produce lackluster results.”
In his 15th book, The Difference, Chowdhury brilliantly tells emotionally charged stories that vividly illustrate the difference between great process and great culture supported by great process.
The more straightforward you become, the less fear and stress you will have in your business and in every other aspect of your life.
How many companies put process over people? You don’t like it when it happens to you, so be sure you and your team are not putting your own business process over the very real needs of your customers.
Practice random acts of kindness and watch how much your business grows and how much happier you become.
In Chowdhury’s words, “When you take responsibility for your actions, good or bad, you are being accountable.” In his book, Chowdhury goes on to explain the five factors of being accountable: being aware that something needs to be done, taking personal responsibility for it, making a choice or decision to act, thinking deeply about the potential consequences of that choice, and setting high expectations.
In Chowdhury’s words, “Resolve means having the passion, determination and perseverance to find a solution to a problem or improve a situation. To me, resolve requires humility and a willingness to change.” And he notes that Benjamin Franklin said it this way, “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.” And from one of my other favorite authors, Jim Collins, notes that top executives demonstrate “An unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.”
The first from my mentor, Jay Abraham, who says, “Subir has simplified the true meaning of business life with his gripping, haunting – yet disarmingly liberating – book. Readers completing the last page of The Difference will entirely be transformed – you will be quite different from the person you were when you began the journey!”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Overcome Resistance to Change with Two Conversations”

The biggest hurdle to effective organizational change is people.
In our work of leading change in higher education and teaching students and executives about the change management process, we’ve gained a deep understanding of why resistance happens and what leaders can do to overcome it.
A second universal source of resistance is the human need for respect, which frequently heightens during periods of change.
Motivating true change requires unhurried, face-to-face, one-on-one conversation.
If a specific work group or person is very important to your organization’s future, and they are resisting needed change, you have to take the time to talk with them in person, and to do it under as little time pressure as possible.
In the second conversation, your goal is to make clear that you have reflected on what you heard; to outline what will be different, or not, in your approach to the change based on that conversation; and to explain why.
We recommend at least two days, depending on the scale of the change.
Effective change management is critical to the vitality and progress of every organization.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Seneca on True and False Friendship – Brain Pickings”

If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment.
Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul.
In another letter, titled “On Philosophy and Friendship,” Seneca examines the common bases upon which friendships are formed and admonishes against the tendency, particularly common today, toward seeing others as utilitarian tools that help advance one’s personal goals.
A man will be attracted by some reward offered in exchange for his friendship, if he be attracted by aught in friendship other than friendship itself.
One who seeks friendship for favourable occasions, strips it of all its nobility.
How closely flattery resembles friendship! It not only apes friendship, but outdoes it, passing it in the race; with wide-open and indulgent ears it is welcomed and sinks to the depths of the heart, and it is pleasing precisely wherein it does harm.
Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests.
Letters from a Stoic remains a timelessly rewarding read. Complement this particular portion with Eudora Welty on friendship as an evolutionary mechanism for language, Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue on the ancient Celtic ideal of friendship, and the epistolary record of Mozart and Haydn’s beautiful and selfless friendship, then revisit Seneca on the antidote to the shortness of life and the key to resilience in the face of loss.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To Raise Better Kids, Say No”

In one study, researchers asked elementary school children to help Bobo the Bear, a stuffed animal, reach his toy lion using some materials: building blocks, a pencil, an eraser, a ball, a magnet, a toy car and a wooden box.
As children grow older, their brains develop in ways that should make it easier for them to solve this type of problem.
The oldest children in the study reached the correct solution faster, on average, than the younger participants, who were 5.But there was one condition in the experiment when the younger children ended up outperforming the older kids.
Upon seeing the box acting like a container, the older children struggled to expand it to anything beyond a container.
For the younger children, the box remained just as flexible a resource as it was before.
Witness the elaborate coming of age parties people across cultures and income levels throw for their children, even if it means going into debt.
To be sure, I’m not suggesting denying children a generous supply of things they actually need like healthy meals, warm clothes and love.
People assigned to the scarcity group had better solutions compared to the abundance group.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Psychology shows it’s a big mistake to base our self-worth on our professional achievements”

Contemporary society has some very wrong-headed ideas about what constitutes success.
For my book, The Power of Meaning, I spoke to many people who defined their identity and self-worth by their educational and career achievements.
These are the criteria that we should be using to gauge our own success in life and the success of others, especially our children.
As he dealt with the fallout of the failed IPO, Tjan realized that his definition of success had led him down the wrong path.
At the time, he assumed success meant, in his word, “Winning.” He writes: “We’d defined our success, by what an initial public offering could bring us, rather than by any of the meaningful roles or innovations we had created, or their impact on the world.” In time, he realized that true success lies in, he said, “Using your strengths in the service of a higher calling”-in other words, generativity.
“I don’t want my children thinking about success in terms of winning and losing,” Tjan told me.
He had rewritten his story about what success was.
Or we can embrace a different definition of success, one rooted in generativity-in doing the quiet work of maintaining our “Stores” in our own little corners of the world, and making sure that someone will mind them after we’re gone.

The orginal article.