Summary of “Think You’re Special? That Just Proves You’re Normal”

Among the creepier experiences of modern life is one that happens to me, though definitely not just me, on a regular basis: I’ll meet a friend for a drink, he’ll recommend some book or film or product he thinks I’ll like, and then, within days – without searching for it online – I’ll start seeing targeted web ads for it.
There’s another reason Big Tech knows us so much better than we think, which is that each of us is far more normal than we realise.
All that’s really just a distraction from the brute statistical fact: on any given dimension, all else being equal, of course you’re probably normal.
Shorn of any value judgment, that’s all the word “Normal” means.
Your intelligence, your creativity, your tastes in culture or romantic partners, the degree to which the world has mistreated you: the chances are they’re much less quirky or extreme than you think, especially since we’ve each got strong ulterior motives to believe otherwise.
Or to put it another way: thinking you’re special is just one more way in which you’re normal.
This is the famous Lake Wobegon phenomenon known as “Illusory superiority”, which explains why most people think they’re above average at driving, at being unbiased, and various other things.
The trouble is that both the positive and negative forms of thinking you’re less normal than you are lead to misery – either by convincing you you’re unusually bad, or by turning life into an isolating, adversarial exercise in maintaining your sense of being unusually good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Simple Formula for Changing Our Behavior”

I’m always inclined to ask: Why do I react the way I do? The answer is a complicated fusion of reasons including my love for my daughter, my desire to teach her, my low tolerance for messiness, my need to be in control, my longing for her success, and the list goes on.
Because knowing why I act a certain way does not change my behavior.
Practicing a new behavior, showing up in a new way, or acting differently, feels inauthentic.
Changing a dance that’s been danced many times before will never feel natural.
If we want to learn, we need to tolerate the feeling of inauthenticity long enough to integrate the new way of being.
Long enough for the new way of being to feel natural.
Yesterday, my daughter was doing homework late at night and I had to ask her to work in the dining room instead of her bedroom because her younger sister needed to go to bed.
“Sweetie,” I said, “Your sister needs to go to sleep and we need to move you into the dining room. How can I help?” Identify the problem, state what needs to happen, and offer to help.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Ultimate Habit Tracker Guide: Why and How to Track Your Habits”

If you want to stick with a habit for good, one simple and effective thing you can do is keep a habit tracker.
A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit.
No matter what design you choose, the key point is your habit tracker provides immediate evidence that you completed your habit.
Alright, those benefits sound great, but it’s not necessary to fill your habit tracker with every habit that makes up your day.
Habit tracking can help kickstart a new habit or keep you on track with behaviors that you tend to forget or let slide when things get busy.
You can track whatever habits you want in your habit tracker, but I recommend starting with these super small habits to make sure that you are at least showing up in a small way each day.
Again, the Habit Journal offers a proven template and the fastest way to create your habit tracker.
Basically, what we are talking about here is getting in the habit of using your habit tracker.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Be Creative on Demand”

Here are some of the ways I’ve learned to be more predictably creative.
For months before my trip to Nairobi, I carried around a pad of paper on which I had handwritten the following statement: “How, with no outside resources, will we create 300 middle class jobs for the people in our group?” The problem turned in my mind.
Walk away for a bit, and allow the unconscious work – that which draws from a fuller complement of mental resources, experiences, and creative connections – to begin.
If you want to be more creative, you need to have more things to connect.
The best way to build a rich mental database that will help you solve problems later is to honor passing curiosities.
It’s tempting to let these opportunities pass, but you do so at your creative peril.
Another great creative stimulus is to regularly engage in conversations with people from whom you might normally recoil.
At times, a member of our group engaged in the graft so common to their experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Religion for the Nonreligious”

For now, let’s ignore those much higher steps and just focus on the step right above us-that light green step.
Step 1 is the lowest step, the foggiest step, and unfortunately, for most of us it’s our default level of existence.
You can’t get to Step 2 if you don’t know when you’re on Step 1.
If you’re evolving successfully, as you get older, you should be spending more and more time on Step 2 and less and less on Step 1.
That’s why Step 3 is so important-even though no one that I know can live permanently on Step 3, regular visits help you dramatically in the ongoing Step 1 vs Step 2 battle, which makes you a better and happier person.
On Step 3, I feel immensely lucky to be alive and can’t believe how cool it is that I’m a group of atoms that can think about atoms-on Step 3, life itself is more than enough to make me excited, hopeful, loving, and kind.
On Step 2, there’s much more clarity about life, but it’s within a much bigger delusional bubble, one that Step 3 pops.
Step 3 is supposed to be total, fog-free clarity on truth-so how could there be another step?

The orginal article.

Summary of “One year in San Francisco as a Software Engineer”

The software engineers in my company were asked to move to San Francisco.
You can imagine that at those prices, it’s very difficult for many people to live in San Francisco.
The cost of living has exploded in the last 30 years, and many people blame the tech industry for this.
Seeing people shooting up on Market Street is pretty normal.
Some people in the tech industry feel pretty awful about this, others are straight up sociopaths with zero empathy and happily broadcast how they really feel.
The truth is, aside from buying a few sandwiches for people who asked I’ve done almost nothing and feel like a hypocrite for it.
I can’t help wondering though that the only reason Silicon Valley and the Bay Area has been so prosperous is because it’s in a country where generally people are comfortable with having so much wealth, while having so many people live under the poverty line.
So if you’re a software engineer and considering moving to the Bay Area, you’re probably in for a great time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Bobby Bones Is Just Getting Started”

Ninety seconds into his welcoming standing ovation at Austin’s Paramount Theatre, everything Bobby Bones.
His morning program, the freewheeling, often confessional Bobby Bones Show, was born and built in Austin over the course of a decade.
Post-show, the line for Bones merchandise took as long as two hours-which fans endured in order to purchase T-shirts, sweatshirts, ball caps, and baby onesies bearing optimistic messages such as “#Blessed,” “Every Day Is a Good Day,” and “#PIMPIN JOY,” a recurring theme in the Bones universe that urges listeners to have a positive attitude no matter what challenges they might face.
In 2014, a year after the Bobby Bones Show moved from Austin to Nashville, four billboards popped up around Music City.
In his 2016 memoir Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book, Bones revealed that he himself had paid for the $13,000 signs.
Bones spent the rest of that morning’s show marveling at the artist getting his break in real time, and egging on his audience to keep downloading.
Nearly six years after moving to Nashville, Bones has expanded from the daily Bobby Bones Show to add the weekly Country Top 30 Countdown.
Bones has a way of getting where he wants to go.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Skip Bayless: The Real-Life Diet of FS1’s Chief Fitness Enthusiast”

That’s my “Breakfast,” because I’m excited and nervous for the show, so I don’t feel like eating much beforehand.
Three days a week-Monday, Wednesday, Friday-I lift hard.
I come home, eat, and then sleep for an hour and a half.
I just drink it with a straw so it doesn’t eat my teeth.
For the Bayless-is-exaggerating crowd, how do you defend yourself from the not-implausible charge that someone would get extremely sick of eating the same thing for lunch and dinner every night?
For my meal replacements, I eat way too many Quest bars.
I usually wake up once a night, and if I do wake up, I always eat a Quest bar to feed my machine.
When I’m in the gym, I see people talking about these routines, and they’re always asking, “When are the days off?” You should never take a day off.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Empty Brain”

No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies of words, pictures, grammatical rules or any other kinds of environmental stimuli.
Predictably, just a few years after the dawn of computer technology in the 1940s, the brain was said to operate like a computer, with the role of physical hardware played by the brain itself and our thoughts serving as software.
Although he acknowledged that little was actually known about the role the brain played in human reasoning and memory, he drew parallel after parallel between the components of the computing machines of the day and the components of the human brain.
A wealth of brain studies tells us that multiple and sometimes large areas of the brain are often involved in even the most mundane memory tasks.
Because neither ‘memory banks’ nor ‘representations’ of stimuli exist in the brain, and because all that is required for us to function in the world is for the brain to change in an orderly way as a result of our experiences, there is no reason to believe that any two of us are changed the same way by the same experience.
If you and I attend the same concert, the changes that occur in my brain when I listen to Beethoven’s 5th will almost certainly be completely different from the changes that occur in your brain.
Worse still, even if we had the ability to take a snapshot of all of the brain’s 86 billion neurons and then to simulate the state of those neurons in a computer, that vast pattern would mean nothing outside the body of the brain that produced it.
To understand even the basics of how the brain maintains the human intellect, we might need to know not just the current state of all 86 billion neurons and their 100 trillion interconnections, not just the varying strengths with which they are connected, and not just the states of more than 1,000 proteins that exist at each connection point, but how the moment-to-moment activity of the brain contributes to the integrity of the system.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What We Read Into Dinosaurs”

Their attraction to dinosaurs suggests that the giant creatures appeal to something innate, or at least very elemental, in the human psyche.
There are many picture books about dinosaurs, for children that are just learning to read, mechanical dinosaurs, and countless accessories sporting pictures of dinosaurs.
Accordingly, we will be better able to understand the significance of dinosaurs to the contemporary world if we do not think of science as monolithic, much less as a “Realm apart.” It would be more accurate to regard “Science” as a vast area of human endeavor, requiring not only researchers but philosophers, web designers, artists, teachers, journalists, museum professionals, and so on.
Within a very short time of their discovery in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, people had an emotional relationship with dinosaurs that was as complex, ambivalent, multifaceted, and in some ways intimate as our bond with just about any living animal, including the dog and the cat.
Early discoverers of dinosaurs such as Gideon Mantell greatly exaggerated their size, appealing to the public’s taste for both grandeur and novelty.
Since, even with highly sophisticated tools, it is possible to infer only so much information from bones and related objects, those who wish to reconstruct the appearance and habits of dinosaurs have plenty of scope for imagination.
Most popular representations of dinosaurs ignore even the limits imposed by paleontology, while often incorporating a few recent discoveries in order to appear up to date.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dinosaurs were often used to represent big business, though their eventual demise could seem like a proletarian revolution.

The orginal article.