Thoughts on: “The Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow

There were two chance events that stood out to me that night I waled out of the murky cellar bar in central Stockholm where I had discussed this book with four other non-fiction junkies.

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The 1st coincidence was that during the cause of reading the book, one of the group members had unknowingly ended up at a family dinner with the author. Only when seeing the book in the household, and mentioning she was reading the book, the fact became obvious.

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The 2nd coincidence was that during

a discussion about the properties of true randomness—it’s tendency towards repetition- another attendee showed a tattoo he had made all over his left arm, displaying long slithering snake of quantum generated random 1:s and 0:s.

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What are the odds of that? 🤷‍♂️

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📝 Regression toward the mean:

In any series of random events an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one.

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📝 Randomness clusters: here is a random series of 1:s and 0:s. Notice the repetition. Let’s say you are a reasearcher and get random numbers to work with and you end up with a sequence with overwhelming repetition. This is not unlikely. When do you start to doubt the randomness of the sequence?

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1

——

📝 “If you want to succeed; double your failure rate.” – Watson

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📝 Apple had to make their iPods shuffle function less random because people experienced getting the same song twice as ”un-random”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since chance seems to play a bigger role in life than we like to admit, the number of chances you take and the number of opportunities you seize matters.

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The basic concepts of randomness is laid out in this books and how they are often overlooked. We are also served a great history of how the science of probability evolved.

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I recommend this book if you enjoy the work of Nassim Taleb and/or find joy in logic and math problems. Suitable for an aspiring know-it-all!

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3/5

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⁉️ How do you maximize exposure to “luck” & chance?⁉️

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Photo: bombsaway_

For more great books and reviews: check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Let’s face it, successful people and unsuccessful people have the same goals. It’s the systems and strategies you put in pace that makes the difference between the two.

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“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the levels of your systems.”

—-

James Clears book is the ultimate guide to the WHYs and HOWs of those systems.

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🎭 IDENTITY:

Improvements are only temporary until they become who you are. You are not just going to read a book; you are going to become a reader. You are not going to run a Marathon; you are going to become a runner.

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🏞 ENVIRONMENT:

Make bad habits difficult to perform and good habits easy: prep your gym bag the day before and put by the front door. Bring a book everywhere you go. Move candy and snacks from the kitchen to the cellar. Remove the batteries from the remote after watching tv if your struggle with bingeing.

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🚦 SYSTEMS:

Stack new habits on top existing ones! “After I brush my teeth, I floss”

“After I finish’s my morning coffee, l journal for 5 min.”

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🔁 REPETITION:

Don’t ask yourself HOW LONG it takes to build a habit but HOW MANY TIMES it takes to build a habit. Start small and get the reps in.

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📈 PROGRESS:

One of the most satisfying feelings is to make progress. Habit trackers and other forms of visual measurements can make your habits more satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. “Don’t break the chain”: Instagram is a habit tracker for me (“visual reading progress”) and to keep a streak alive (“posting at set intervals”)

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⚖️ VERDICT:

The one-stop-shop for habit building.

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4/5

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⁉️ What habit did you build that you are proud of?!⁉️

For more book reviews and good reads, check out the Reading Lists!

Thoughts on: Never Spilt the Difference by Chris Voss

Except for a few naturals, most of us hates negotiation at first. We get nervous, our hands sweat and our thinking breaks down.
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But it’s not really the person across the table that scares us; it’s conflict itself.
Humans are made for living in tribes and getting along with the group is a natural priority for most of us.
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I’m avoid conflict. I avoid negotiation.
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“The first step to achieving a mastery of daily negotiation is to get over your aversion to negotiating.”
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This book changed my view of negotiation; I’m now in love with it! And a mostly due to the fact that we created Book Club/Implementation Group around this book where really put the tactics into immediate use in real life situation alongside our theoretilcal studies.
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📝 The Pinocchio Effect: The number of words grows with lies. When people lie they use more words.
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📝 “No, is the start of negotiation, not the end of it.” The truth of this simple statement became clear to me when I payed attention to how I negotiated with my son. Once I had said “no” to one of his request was usually the time when I would opened myself to hearing him out. That’s when I was ready to consider the possibles and we could work something out together.
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📝 The real meaning of ‘no’:
🔸I’m not yet ready to agree.
🔹You are making me feel uncomfortable.
🔸I do not understand.
🔹I don’t think I can afford it.
🔸I want something else.
🔹I need more information.
🔸I want to talk it over with someone else.
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
The Accusation Audit is a favorite tool of mine that I used a lot recently (swipe for example). “You make a list of every unreasonable, unfair, crazy, ridiculous accusation your gut instincts are picking up that the other side might say about you.” When we acknowledging negatives they lose their power.
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⚖️ VERDICT:
If Atomic Habits is the definite book on habit building than this is definite book on negotiation. It can seem a bit manipulative, but if you see past that—and make an effort to use the tools in this book in everyday life with no delay—then it might be the most valuable reading you will do this year.
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4/5
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⁉️ What are your favorite negotiation tactic?⁉️


For more amazing reading experiences then check out my Reading List!

Thoughts on: “The Netocrats” by Bard & Söderqvist

I tried to explain this book to a colleague before christmas break; how it utterly fashinated me, even though I feel I only understood it partly, and how it had provided me with a new lens with which to see the world.

It must have caught his interest, cuz when I got back to work we had lunch and he told me he had devoured the book and was working his way through another work by the same authors, Digital Libido, and was enthusiastically urging me to do the same.

The book, written in 2000, talks about a new paradigm. The transition from capitalism to informationalism in the wake of the internet era and how, like any genuine revolution means that the whole Darwinian system of punishment and rewards are restructured, introducing a new over and underclass.

The idea of this new system, the Netocracy, was invented in the 90:s is re-invented in this book by contemporary Internet philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist.

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📝 Before we ran away from strangers that looked strong. Now we engage them and gain mutual benefits.

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📝 The Consumtariat: Consumption rather than production is the role of the new underclass.

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📝 Politicians are selected based on their value as entertainment and what narrative they can fit into. They are elected to to feed the headlines.

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📝 Money will follow attention, not vice versa. The only hard currency on the net is attention.

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📝 Knowledge, contacts and exclusive information replaces capital for the netocrat.

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📝 “Technology plays its own hand”

Take the clock: innocent enough of an artifact. But this infernal little machine, with its introduction of second and minutes, have retrospectively given a whole new meaning to our perception of time.

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📝 “Giving birth is simply not fashionable anymore.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Great book to read before reflecting on how to navigate the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Is what you do professionally raising in value or is it losing its value in this new paradigm?

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⚖️ VERDICT:

A must-read and total mindf*ck. Being outdated is one of the strengths of this book. Because now, 20 years after the books release, we can see its predictions manifest in everyday life.

5/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Time travel, the beginning of the universe, wormholes and string theory. Considering the complexity of some of these topics it is strange that the book has become an international bestseller. Though, I read somewhere that it is one of the most gifted books; but also the least read.


📝 Children dare to ask questions adults don’t: “Why do we remember the past and not the future.” 👶 Be more like a child.


📝 “The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.” 🕰


📝 “There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made out of antiparticles.” My mother used to say that I shouldn’t be so “anti” everything to me when I was a teen. I guess I was one of the antipeople Hawkingtaled about. 👩🏽‍🎤


However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.


✅ TO DO LIST FOR MANKIND: Come up with a complete and consistent theory that combines quantum mechanics and gravity.


⭐️ Most fascinating to me was to learn about the Event Horizon, which is the boundaries of a Black Hole, and Thermodynamic Arrow of Time.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I have read it twice now and it was actually harder to follow the second time. Probably because I did it on audio and the complicated ideas—at least for my limited understanding—made more sense when they where accompanied by pictures, graphs and illustrations. It think there are more accessible books on the topic that N00bs like me should prioritize. The book is too much at times.

3/5


What your favorite book in the genre⁉️

(For me it’s probably Deep Simplicity, a fantastic book about what happens at the edge of chaos. Check it out!)

For more more great reads and insights–check out the Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Joe Dispenza

“Your thoughts have consequences so great that they create your reality.”

How did that quote make you feel? Did you throw up a little in your mouth, or did you get intrigued to know more? That feeling is probably a good indicator for how you feel about this book.

Reality creation and manifestation books comes in a lot of different flavors—the Secret, Transurfing, the Kybalion—this book is attempting scientific route to manifestation.

I have a paradoxical relationship with “reality creation”. I kinda cringe at the explanation of how it works, but at the same time I have seen it work over and over again in my own life and others. So I really don’t care how it works, just that it does. Your attitude and inner state matters.


📝 “When we are truly focused and singleminded the brain doesn’t know the difference between the internal world of the mind and what we experience in the external environment” 💭

📝 Mentally rehearsing an activity gives almost the same growth of neural connections as physical practice. This fact blows my mind every time I hear it. 🤯

📝 Eliminating the gap between who we are and who we present to the world is probably one of the biggest challenges we face in life.

📝 “To know thyself is to meditate.”


⭐️ TAKEAWAYS:

Not much that can withstand sustained focused human effort. Your attitude changes your reality. The placebo effect is real. You experience changes with you focus (Reticular Activating System).


⚖️ VERDICT:

I can imagine a reality where I have give a lower score, but to be honest, it was a great reminder of the importance of ones attitude towards life and that we don’t have to re-live the same emotions and experiences day after day. The power of one’s inner state is real, even if I’m not as sure as Dr Dispenza about the specifics.

4/5


What is your favorite books in the genre and what’s you thoughts on manifestation?⁉️

Photo credit: @whitneyalamb

For more great books check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I don’t think much about race, why would I? Im a white man. I’m the norm. Have you ever played a video game with a character selection screen? I’m the default character.

The book was an emotional rollercoaster of self-reflection. It left my head spinning and I realized how little time I’ve spent contemplating the question of race.


📝 “How can I define white privilege? It’s so difficult to describe an absence. And white privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism.”…“Absence of structural discrimination. Absence of ‘less likely to succeed because of my race’.”

📝 Reflection: I get suspicious when Twitterstorms are used to prove a point in books. Twitter is usually not a good representation of society as a whole.

📝 Reflection: Dividing people into groups has a purpose, I guess, especially when you want to highlight problems like structural racism. But where does it end? Reni talks about white feminists vs. black feminists vs mixed feminist etc etc. If the goal is to unite, then why this obsession with division?

📝 Reflection: What about evolutionary psychology? “Us” vs. “Them”-dichotomies has existed for millions of years. And we tend to like people who are like us. Evolutionary it makes sense; Similar individuals are more likely to share copies of each other’s genes. It would be interesting see this perspective in a book like this one. But then maybe I should look for books written by professors rather than journalists.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

My main takeaways was to learning more about what Eddo-Lodge calls “white privilege”, and also getting a rather overdue reminder that structural racism is still going strong today.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I didn’t enjoy the book; maybe it was the angry tone, the stereotyping or what felt like generalizations (or maybe it’s my ‘whiteness’ that put me in a defensive mode). It left me with a lot to think about. I appreciate that. The book is at its best when it catches you off-guard and challenge your assumptions and beliefs!


3/5

What book challenged you recently?

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Thoughts on: Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

This was the right book at the wrong time for me. I can see myself loving it 10 years ago, when I was had a more gloomy and cynical outlook on life, I can hear myself saying, “This book really gets it”. (It don’t miss those days. 😂)

While I can still see the qualities; the complexity, the prose etc.., I just don’t connnect fully with the existential crisis of the middle aged misanthrope, Haller, around which the story revolves.

Part of me wanted to go up to him and shake some life into the man. “Wake up, go dance! Have a laugh for Christ sake!” And well.. thats just what the characters around him tried to do, whether it was Mozart and Goete (we are dealing with a mix of fictive and historical character in true Hesse fashion..) or Hellers object of desire, a girl named Hermine (his anima?!).

📝 “You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live”.

📝 “For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.” This reminds me of McCandless notion from ‘Into The Wild.

⚖️ VERDICT:

I love me some Hesse— Siddhartha and Damien being two of my favorite novels of all time—but I didn’t fully resonate with Steppenwolf. It’s a solid classic nevertheless!

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to laugh more! Have you ever gauged how many times you laugh out loud each day?

Which is your favorite Hermann Hesse novels?

3/5

(ps… looking for my next classic. I’m looking for recommendations!)

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: ‘Richard Nixon: A Life’ John A. Farrell

Some reading projects are more ambitious than others. On my journey to reading a biography of every American president the time has come for Nixon (I’m on 3 of 45).

This is an excellent biography of a powerful, yet insecure and anxious man, in period of great turmoil historical. Corruption and paranoia; this dense biography really has it all.

Todays notes highlights attitudes have changed since the Nixon days (or have they?! 😉)


📝 Abortion: Abortion encourage permissiveness, Nixon thought, but, “there are times when abortions are necessary…” “..you know, between a black and a white.” he told Colson.

“Or rape.” Colson said.

“Or rape..”, Nixon said, “..you know what I mean.”

📝 Nixon had theories of black inferiority and black prospects: “Most of them are basically out of the threes. I have the greatest affection for them but I know they won’t make it for next 500 years.”

📝 Stress and Self medication: “In the evening, if I have 2-3 drinks I feel good. Do you think that should be knocked off or reduced?” Nixon said to his doctor. Alcohol is a great stress reducer. I have tried it myself haha 😂

📝 “You know one of the reasons fashion has made women look so terrible is that the god damn designers hate women.” Nixon theorized, “Though now they are trying to get some more sexy things going again.”

“Hot pants.” Erlichman added.

“Jesus Christ.” Said Nixon.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I can see where the American publics distrust of government comes from. What a mess this period was! Watergate, the Pentagon papers and projects Moongoose 🤦‍♂️

My next president will probably be Kennedy or Lincoln.


Do you have any ambition reading projects?

Score: 4/5

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Thoughts on: ‘Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction’

After my fast I got sick with the flue. This was by the time I finished the Death of Expertise and I wanted to fill my time with something short, sweet and different before continuing through my To-Read-Pile.

Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction is delivers on its name. It’s a concise history of the cultural hotpot of countries that we all call Southeast Asia.

The books takes us from the time of kingdoms, to the era of colonization, onward to today’s nation states.


Nations:

– Brunei 🇧🇳

– Burma 🇲🇲

– Cambodia 🇰🇭

– East Timor 🇹🇱

– Indonesia 🇮🇩

– Laos 🇱🇦

– Malaysia 🇲🇾

– the Philippines 🇵🇭

– Singapore 🇸🇬

– Thailand 🇹🇭

-Vietnam 🇻🇳


Religions:

* Buddhism

* Islam

* Christianity

* Confucianism


💥 ACTION: Read up on the Thmer Rouge If Cambodia. Any book recommendations?


I don’t think you could do a better job at condensing the history of an area as vast and dynamic as Southeast Asia. It’s bigger than Europe for Europe for one. The problem is that the text can get very dense with names, year and places. But just chill, and you’ll come out of this one with a better understanding of the world.


⁉️ What Southeast Asian countries have your visited?

Now I want to go travelling! 😊

4/5

For more great reading material you should check out my reading lists!