Thoughts on: ‘The Accidental President’ by A. J. Baime

I was going to get a biography of Winston Churchill and ended up with this book (some people don’t read the backside of a book before they buy it, I apparently don’t even read the front cover 😂).

I have this idea that I want would like to read a biography from each american presidents but I think I like the idea of having done it is more appealing than the process itself. 🙃

📝 Truman was Vice President when Franklin Roosevelt died. He was put in office in what might be the most eventful year of recent political history; 1945.

📝 Franklin Roosevelt famous quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

📝 Truman about the presidential workload: “It takes about 17 hours a day and then you get as much sleep as you can. Start over again and do the next 17 hours as best you can. No man can do it as it should be done.”

📝 He gave the order to use the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima.

📝 He started reading at age 5 and read a lot. He studied the heroes of history and was a fan of Plutarch. (Who I’m yet to read…)

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I noticed how clueless I am about how events during this period relate to each other in space and time:

– The defeat of Germany vs. the time of The Bomb.

– How things lead up to the Cold War.

– The raise of Mao.

– When Roosevelt was replaced with Truman. (I didn’t even know who was president at the time to be honest).

Of course I learned all of this in school. But this book highlighted how much of the knowledge has been warped or plainly forgotten. I’ll definitely spend more time with historical biographies in 2019!

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The book is good but, as with most political biographies, I find them getting tedious at times. Like the Marvel movies, I enjoy the raise of the hero/president better than the confrontation with the bad guy.

Which is you favorite biography of a world leader?

3/5

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Thoughts On: ‘On the Shortness of life’ by Seneca

A brief essay on the the duration of life. And about why most people think it’s too short, when it’s actually long enough to if the time is used properly.

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Seneca is a stoic philosopher (4. BC – 65 AD. I won’t go into into much detail about what a stoicism is, since there will be a lot other opportunities to dwell into that in upcoming post (judging from what I’m reading right now). With a risk of oversimplifying, I like how Nassim Taleb put it: “A stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one that says “fuck you” to faith”

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“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficient measure to allow us to achieve the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested…” “…we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

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So, how do people waste their life? By gossiping, overindulgence in food and sex, living life for others (work a job you hate), complaining, etc.

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Also worrying about the future or letting the past disturb ones tranquility. Then, when we find out that these things are unimportant, we only have a few years left to live and wonder where all the time has gone.

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“He who has grey hair has not lived for long, he has existed for long.”

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Being written 2000 years ago, it’s amazing how almost all these thoughts are applicable to contemporary society. ———————————–

My takeaway from this book is to be more protective of my time and be wise in how I spend it. A sad thing would be to spend your life doing things you dislike with a promise of leisure and freedom in the future. Wasting each day as it comes for a future that one are is certain to live to see.

5/5

Thoughts on: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the age of 6 the narrator abandoned his favorite hobby; drawing. Grownups kept mistaking his depiction of Boa Constrictors who swallowed entire elephants, for drawings of hats… 🐍 🐘

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“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”.

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The narrator puts drawing to the side and instead becomes a pilot. After a dramatic crash landing in the Sahara desert he runs into a young boy that he refers to as The little prince. The boy shares his life story with the narrator. He tells tales about his interplanetary travels where he visited all kinds of weird and narrow minded people. All of the grownups, all of them very serious, all of them deeply irrational.

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📝 “Anything essential is invisible to the eye”

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📝“It’s the time you spend on your rose that make your rose so important”

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📝 “You are responsible forever for what you tamed.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book is a great reminder of the foolishness of being so serious all the damn time. Grownups often have an inability to perceive what is really important. Children on the other hand can often see things more clearly.

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Reading this book reminds me of a great quote from Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”.

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I’m going to buy this book in Swedish and read it as a bedtime story together with my son.👌🏻 🤴 it’s short, sweet and quite wonderful!

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What is your favorite children’s book?

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Photo credit: @deepsnow_fromjp

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4/5

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

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“Sapiens”, “Homo Deus” and “Now 21 Lessons for the 21 Century”. REVIEW.

While his other books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, focused on the past and the far future – this book focuses on the present and mankind’s immediate challenges.

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Topics are ranging from how to deal with disruptive technologies, the resurrection of nationalism and the relevancy of religions. Harari wants to shine a light on the fact that we are lacking new idea systems that are capable to help us navigate these new and trying times. Liberalism and the other old ideologies just won’t make the cut anymore.

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📝 The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism is that the money could have be used to fight other threats; like global warming.

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📝 Disruptive technologies will likely create a new “worthless class” of billions. Marxism might make a come back when jobs are being threatened, one might think? But Marxism presumes that the workers labour is of value. That probably won’t be the case with advancements in automation.

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📝 Protect humans not jobs. Finding meaningful pursuit for humans is the most important problem to solve in a future without jobs.

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📝 You don’t need religious text to be moral. Apes learned to take care of the poor and weak well before the Bible told them so.

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📝 “If you want reliable information, pay good money for it.” 👌🏻

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A whole bookshelf worth of topics is crammed into one small volume, which becomes a problems when each chapter deserves its own book.

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Harari don’t have a solution for all the issues. He offers the same advise that wise people and sages always have: sit down on a cushion and observe your sensations. Know thyself, and get to know suffering deeply enough so that you can act in a way that reduces it both your life and in the life of others.

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4/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

This book was really really hard for me to get into. I had a hard time to relating to the his story, and the politics and courtroom drama was a snooze for me. The only thing keeping me going with this book was that I felt is was important for me to familiarize with Nelson Mandela’s achievements in the lifelong struggle against apartheid. He was an extraordinarily man to say the least.

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📝 “Habit makes everything look bland; it is sleep-inducing. Jumping to a different perspective is a way of waking oneself up again.” This quote reminds me of Montaigne, who loved this perspective switching trick all the time in his writing.

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📝 “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor that defines the nature of the struggle.” After using all the tools of non-violent resistance – only to be beaten down hard – the AMC had to turn to violence and fight fire with fire.

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📝 After a successful term as president, he declined not to run again, this was to set an example of power being turned over to the next generation.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Resilience, Forgiveness and Perseverance. These are the traits I associate with Mandela. “We should forget the past and concentrating on building a better future for all”. His focus on the future and forgiveness – rather than revenge – hastened the abolition of apartheid, I think.

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I’m not regretting pushing myself through this tome of a book, quite the opposite, I feel like another missing puzzle piece in my history education is found and put in place.

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What booked bored you, but you felt reading it was important enough to keep going? 🤔

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3/5

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Thoughts on: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg

Rosenberg teaches you practical skills for getting your needs met in a peaceful way. “Nonviolent communication helps us create a more peaceful state of mind by encouraging us to focus on what we truly wanting rather than what is wrong with ourself and others.”

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Mediocre writing and terrible narration aside (for the audio version that is), this gem of a book is likely to change the way speak to yourself and others in a profound way.

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📝 “When my consciousness is forcused on another persons feelings and needs, I see the universality of our experience”.

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📝 In cultures that judge, violence is more prevalent.

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📝 It’s important that we take responsibility for our feelings, and that we in no way imply that what others say and do makes us feel the way we do.

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📝 J. Krishnamurti: “Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence”.

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📝 It might be worth trying to pull out of people what they really mean with what they are saying to find out what needs aren’t met. Your initial interpretation might be wrong! And It’s not our fault, society has not conditioned us to express ourself properly.

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📝 When you find you inner critic getting on your case about something you did, then ask yourself – What unmet need of mine is being expressed through these statements?

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to be precise in our speech.

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“Non-Violent Communication” is the perfect compliment “Crucial Conversations”. Read them both and master the principles (easier said than done!) and you will have saved yourself and the people around you from a ton of unnecessary suffering.

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If you could add one more book to create the holy trinity of communication books, which one would that be? 🤔

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4/5

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Photo credit: @monica.bitar (instagram)

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Thoughts on: “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger

“Tribe” started as an article for Vanity Fair and was later expanded on and turned into this book. It revolves around how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts and how people directly, or indirectly, affected by war have problems readjusting to normal life.

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What really stuck with me with this book was how people in war torn nation look back on war with nostalgia. Many even preferring war times to what they are now experiencing.

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📝 Genetic adaptation takes about 25000 years to accumulate in humans.

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📝 Modern society perfected the art of making people feel unnecessary. “How do you become an adult in a society that doesnt ask for sacrifice?”

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📝 People need 3 basic things in order to be content:

– Feel competent in what they do.

– Feel authentic in their lives.

– Feel connected to others.

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📝 Modern societies lack opportunity for the average man to show his commitment to his community.

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📝 During war: suicides and depression rates goes down. Productivity goes up in bombarded cities.

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💭 Thoughts:

Apart from a feeling belonging and being an asset to society, I think there is one other aspect of war that is not talked about much in this book but that could be a factor in people missing war; people want to be told what to do! The endless possibilities of modern life is taxing on people. War limits opportunities.

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I myself don’t miss conflict, community or brotherhood. I feel like I belong and feel that I contribute. The book reminded me that I haven’t always felt this way and that a lot of people feel alienated in advanced societies. It’s weird how easy it is to forget how things ones where as your outlook on life evolves.

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A bit of a depressing read – but good! -Now I need something completely different!

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Endure” by Alex Hutchinson

We have all seen a world record being broken. The athlete crosses the finish line and a new bar has been set. But you have also seen that the athlete is alive and moving. Which means he/she had more to give!

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What sets the limit of human endurance? Is it mental or physical? What is the absolute limit given we found the perfect athlete and perfect condition? These are some of the questions this book tries to answer.

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Some notes:

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📝 Expectations matter! How many tries you know you have to do something impact how you pace yourself. Even if you’re told to do your max for each rep.

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📝 Gabrselassie (marathon champ) sweats up to 3.6 Liters/hour.

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📝 The extraction of mindfulness from it’s Buddhist context began in the 1970’s with Jon Kanbat-Zinn.

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📝 Central governor, Anticipatory regulation, Pacing instinct – it goes by many names – basically, the theory that the brain stops us from running ourselves to death.

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📝 Pain in training leads to a higher threshold for pain. High intensity training heightens your pain tolerance while medium intensity doesn’t.

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📝 Experiment shows that seeing a smiling face, even subliminally, induces a sense of ease.

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⭐️ Takeaway: Nr.1 advice (except training) is to presue motivational self talk training. Cuz it really works! Training is the cake and believing is the icing.

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🔸Verdict:🔸

My second favorite book with a title that starts with “endure”. 😉 Well, that wasn’t a helpful measuring stick. Haha. To be fair, it’s a good book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people that don’t have a special interest in human performance and endurance. You need a bit of passion to stay focused with all the data being presented. Spoiler: all the conclusions are: “it’s unclear”, “we have to wait for the final data” or “its complicated.” But I rather have that, than oversimplification.

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What’s my favorite book that starts with “endure”? “Endurance” by Lansing! About captain Shackleton’s amazing polar expedition. High stakes endurance! 👌🏻

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3/5

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Raw & Unedited Notes: “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson

I had more note than I could possibly share in my review. Here is the full batch. Raw and unedited!


If we put ourselves in order maybe we will do the same for the world?

Author of “map of meaning”

Wrote an answer of quora and struck a home-run.

Our religious stories where moral rather than descriptive.

Why are shared beliefs so important to us that we are ready to the destroy the world for their cause? (The Cold War). A shared belief systems simplifies everyone and it simplifies the world around them. Making it easier to predict action of others and cooperate. It takes the world.

We as individuals need to take responsibility of all of the world and all of its suffering.

“If we all lived properly, we will collectively flourish”

The poor and stressed always die first. “When the aristocracy catches a cold the working class dies in pneumonia “

1. Shoulder back!

Serotonin: increased by winning. Used in antidepressants. Proud posture.

Prices law: winner takes all, a fraction of the work of a fraction of the people that composed classical music created the music that people still know and love. Mathews law.

Dominance games has been part of lobsters lives for almost an eternity. To the the dinosaurs we are the new kids on the block.

Dominance hierarchy is real! It has survived and been selected for eons. A near eternal aspect of the environment.

If we get defeated too many times we get depressed and can’t muster the energy that society and everyday life demands from us.

Low serotonin means: decreased confidence, lower tolerance to stress, less happiness, more pain and anxiety, shorter lifespan.

The importance of this can hardly be overstated.

The lower you are in the hierarchy the more you have to be on guard. It’s dangerous in the lower ranks and you have to spend a lot of energy reacting to your surroundings.

Routine is necessary, the stuff we do everyday needs to be automatized – it must be turned into stable and reliable habits so that they gain reliability and lose complexity.

If depressed: get your sleep in order and eat a proper breakfast.

Positive feedback loop: example: curing ones hangover with more alcohol.

Acgriophopia: fear of going outside.

One foot in order and one in chaos is the way forward.

Render the people you care about competent not protected

If we want to take care of ourselves we need to respect ourselves, and we don’t..

If they know you can bite you are less likely to have to.

If you say “no!” early and clearly it stops attempt at exploitation and bullying.

You don’t have to be low status! Maybe you can stand up for yourself.

Alter you body expression.

Posture.

If you present yourself as defeated people will perceive you as a loser.

Stand tall and speak your mind! Dare to be dangerous.

Rule 2: treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

Rule 3

Doing anything was not cool! (My childhood)

You are associating with people that are bad for you because it’s easy.

Maybe your default assumption should be that the person has rejected the way upward just because it is challenging and hard?

You should associate with people who aim to make the world a better place. Who’s life’s improves when your life improves. If you surround yourself with people who support your upward movement they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness.

They will instead encourage you when you do good for yourself and carefully punish you when you do not.

People who are not aiming up will do the opposite. They will offer a former smoker a cigarette and a former alcoholic a beer. They will be jealous.

Explore you resentments.

“What you aim at determines what you see”

While a more simple book would say “you will attract what you focus on”

Peterson will say the same thing but going to the root cause of its: how the sight and seeing works and how expensive our sight is to use. How our goals or focus then determines what we see in the world. How the priorities change. If we want to focus on trouble we see trouble, if we focus on opportunity, we see opportunities.

A problem is that we try to individualize problems, no matter how rare, must be solved by societal reconstruction . We try to include smaller and smaller numbers of people, who do not and will not fit in societies ordering structure.

Sometimes it’s the individuals in it that are corrupt. (Bookmarked)

“As hard as it is to believe, a patient adult can defeat a two year old.”

We feel more negative about a loss or a certain size than of a reward of the same size. Pain is more potent than pleasure.

If a child has not learned to behave properly by the age of 4 it will forever be difficult for him or her to make friends.

Rule 6: set your house in perfect order before criticizing the world.

Don’t blame your enemies, capitalism or the leftists. Don’t reorganize the state until you have ordered your own experience!

With time, I came to understand through the great George Orwell that much of such thinking found its motivation in hatred of the rich and successful instead of true regard for the poor.

“Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

Rule: “tell the truth, or at least don’t lie”

Ideologs : “capitalism is bad”. Chooses an axiom and view the world only from that point.

Rule: “assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t”

Straw man argument: oversimplify, parody distort someone’s position

“People organize their brain with conversation. If they don’t have anyone to tell their story to they lose their mind”

Rule 10: “be precise in your speech”

You and I are simple, as long as the world behaves. It’s when I breaks down that complexity is revealed. A working car is a thing that takes us where we want to go. But when it breaks all the complex parts of the machinery that makes it work reveals itself. Society is the same.

“The past is not necessary what it has been even thought it already was” as in the case of a partner being caught having a long going affair.

“Even what is terrible in actuality often pales in significance compared to what is terrible in imagination”

Rule 11: don’t bother children when they are skateboarding

“The smell of the unemployable” – the odor of a body and psyche that is not working right.

“Why does it so often seem to be the very people standing so visibly against prejudice who so often feel obligated to denounce humanity itself?”

“It’s the pursuit of goals that in large parts lends life its sustaining meaning. We experience almost all the emotion that makes life deep and engaging as a consequence of moving successfully towards something deeply desired and valued.” The price we pay for this is inevitable hierarchy. Equality would sacrifice value itself and there would be nothing worth living for. But! Despite hierarchy there are many games to play and many winners!

There are only two major reasons for resentment: being taken advantage of, or allowing yourself being taken advantage of, or whiny refusal to take responsibility and grow up.of you are resentful, look for the reasons.

The eatapel mother: I will do anything for you as long as you’d don’t leave me. The witch in Hans and Gretchen. The terrible mother. Etable?

Too much protection devastates the developing soul.

Deus ex machina: Latin: god from a machine.

Maybe the environmental problem is ultimately spiritual? If we put ourselves in order maybe we will do the same for the world.

“I hope this books revealed things you Knew but didn’t know our knew”

Thoughts on: ”Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull decided to create the first ever computer animated feature film, it took him 20 years, but with the premiere of “Toy Story” he reached he goal. Now he turned to another challenge; to create a sustainable creative work environment.

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This is not a “The 10 Things to Do to Be a Great Manager”-book, instead it tries to describe the enormous complexity and challenges that comes with creative work.

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With creative products, we usually only see the slick final product. In this case with Pixar; a heartwarming and excellently crafted animated movie. This book gives a peak behind the curtains and you will see that chaos and uncertainty rules even there. It’s a part of the process and it’s how you navigate these situations will determine your success.

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📝 When you become a manager you might not see it, but information that was previously available start to disappear. People think more about what they say when you are around and you might not catch those snarky comments about small problems that you used to.

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📝 Cultivate what in Zen is referred to as “Beginners Mind”; An attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would do.

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📝 During the crunch to get Toy Story 2 ready: An employee forgot to drop his kid of at daycare and went right to work. During the day he suddenly realized the child was still in the car on the broiling parking lot. The child was unconscious, but was saved.

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📝 Inspired by Japanese manufacturing: Everyone was expected to report errors and stop production no matter what position you have.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Create mental models that sustains you and keep your doubts at bay. “so much work, so little time to do it” is a constant problem in creative productions. “One director tells himself that he has time even when he don’t. Because he knows that from that space, he is actually in a position to solve the problem at hand.”

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This book is essential for people working on larger creative teams in the movies or games.

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4/5

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