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Books 2022

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Jakub

Reading 40+ books helped me learn a lot again this year. Each of the five clusters below is a new lens to bring out extra detail in whatever you put behind it.

Mind

Your access to objective reality is questionable. Nature and nurture combined with how you feel shape your mind's momentary model of reality. Space and time are the scaffolding for your models. Your memories might be more real than time.

Craving and aversion are two sides of the mismatch between what seems to be the case and your preference. This mismatch is the root of all suffering.

Introverts don't realise their inherent aversion to intense stimuli. Bodily reactions to such imbalances are handled by constructing ideas about how you feel, confined by your language. Whatever you fail to label is the most difficult to handle.

Conversation

Focusing on facts is not helpful if you disagree with someone. The tendency to first pick views and then find facts to support them is nothing to be ashamed of or shame others for. Evolution has made us this way and it is for the good. Reevaluating everything all the time is a recipe for complete dysfunction.

Clearly stating your intentions at the beginning of a challenging conversation is not easy. But it's the first step to making the other person feel safe and ready to let you in on their way of thinking.

There is no reason to believe in one ultimate moral code. What's more universal is how easy it's become to text and not face the unpredictability of talking—including to yourself.

Business

Businesses depend on providing value. Marketing is about communicating what you have to offer to the right people. There's no reason to worry about pleasing everyone.

Politics

Americans believe all other nations would be better off copying their way of living. The Chinese know that only they can be Chinese. As the oldest culture in the world, they value patient execution of long-term plans.

Economic models oversimplify people's motivations. Goods move freely in global trade agreements, but people and money don’t.

Psychological narratives don't have to be right. Like any other type of capital, they are a tool that some people get to use to their advantage.

Tech

Models reflect selected aspects of reality. You evaluate your models based on their utility, rather than truthfulness. Space and time are an example of human models of reality. This doesn't mean they're the most accurate but that they proved favourable in the process of evolution. Building software lets you play mother nature. You get to decide on your program's way of understanding the world.

Besides the reality to represent and the purpose of the endeavour, your software is equally impacted by interactions between everyone involved in building it. If you have a certain shape of your system in mind, design the teams first.

Self-help

With no one to copy, people have no idea what they want. Their desires don't come from within. Without realising it, everyone keeps track of what they think others—often perfect strangers—wanted at some point in the past.

At the same time, you don't look at the people driving expensive cars. You imagine yourself behind the wheel. And that you yourself would then be noticed.

Knowledge workers struggle to do relevant work in environments dominated by email and instant messaging. Giving your undivided attention to the most challenging tasks can earn you the trust you need if you want to get away with being less responsive.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Finding something to practice and keep getting better at is more sustainable than setting and achieving goals.

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