5 more top takeaways from my 2018 reading list

In follow up to previous post here 5 more insights that struck me as unique from this year’s reading list.

1. Seven brief science lessons by Carlo Rovelli

“Past and future are indistinguishable as far as physics is concerned. For example the motion of planets in the past and future is identical. The only thing that distinguishes future from the past is heat caused by friction. And that is because heat is irreversible”. I would add entropy as well always increasing following the same line of thought really – but entropy was not mentioned in the book so take it with a grain of salt.

2. Mindfulness by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

“Thinking a thought and being aware of a thought is different. The difference is mindfulness.”
Another gem i enjoyed for its simplicity: three levels of morality: “lowest is where somebody tells you what to do and you do it so that this somebody does not punish you. Middle level of morality is the same but you impose moral behaviour on yourself. The highest level of morality is to understand the rules for yourself. This requires conquering your fears & desires and the only way to achieve it is through meditation.”

3. Rich dad poor dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

“Get money working for you instead of you working for money.” Once one starts saving, which is really the first step for this method to work, then this advise can make a big difference in the long-term. To always think of the return you are getting for your assets.

4. Learn or die by Edward Hess

The concept of “pre-mortem” as part of project management, where a pre-mortem “is a meeting just before launch, with the project team to discuss al the ways that the project could fail”. Simple and brilliant way to be proactive.

5. The right and wrong stuff by Carter Cast

This book suggests we all “split our time 40-60 rule between learning & performing.” By learning it is meant Reading, Online courses, Out of comfort zone tasks, etc. Also to keep a list of things learnt & make an effort to define how to apply them.
I also appreciated the following feedback method which is made up of these 2 questions and 2 statements.
  • what’s one thing you did you are happy about?
  • Here is one thing I think you did well: xxx
  • What’s one thing you would do differently?
  • Here is one thing i think you should do differently: xxx


That’s it. Please be sure to comment in case you have also read the same books and would like to add more key takeaways that made an impression on you. Or share more insights from other books.

Top 5 takeaways after reading 30+ books in 2018

Whether you like reading or not, here is a list of insights or facts that impressed me most for your own inspiration – or even discovery of your next book to read.

1. Homo deus by Yuval Noah Harari
homo deus

“Evolution theory cannot square with the existence of a soul as the soul has no parts and hence cannot be gradually formed by mutations.”

Does this mean that souls don’t exist or that evolution theory needs to be re-invented the same way that Newton’s gravitation was taken to the next level by Einstein? The book does not go there but still it is a powerful insight.
Also enjoyed the reasoning on why communism failed: “the restrictions communism imposed did not allow the network effect to develop, internally or with the outside world.”

2. Manual for living by Epictetus

manual for living by Epictetus
“Do not care / desire for things in the power of others or just not in our power (wealth, promotion).”
This is the central theme of Epictetus philosophy and the starting point in Epictetus thinking that produce many more rules and advises. A challenging guideline to follow as ‘goals not in your control’ effectively refers to most of one’s goals such as good health, career ambitions, spouse etc. Since one cannot really change the topics that he or she cares about, the idea is to switch from wishes to achievements that one can make without relying on others’ contributions. In the case of career ambitions, one should not wish for good health but achievements that could improve his or her chances to land the next job – but not the actual landing of the next job.

3. The culture code by Daniel Coyle

the culture code

“The 10 red balloon challenge: 10 fed balloons were hidden across USA and awarding prize money for finding them. Various teams tackled it ranging from university teams to random individuals. The team that won managed it within only a few days by creating a pyramid-like reward offering 1,000 EUR to the person that found 1 balloon, 500 EUR to the person that recommended him, 250 EUR to the next etc.”
Impressive demonstration of the power of collaboration and networks.

4. Getting to yes by Roger Fisher

getting to yes
“Method of preparation for a negotiation:
Step 1: state what you want to achieve
Step 2: write down possible agreements that would satisfy both sides
Step 3: try to broaden the pie
Step 4: select your best outcome out of the possible agreements”
Simple, easy-to-follow & to-the-point.

5. Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict

tigger woods
“Tiger spent 1-2 hours per day from age 0 to 2 watching his dad hitting balls while his mother was serving him his dinner. At eleven months as soon as he stood straight he immediately tried the swing on his own.”
Interesting trivial about the most gifted golf player in the history of the game.
Please be sure to comment in case you have also read the same books and would like to add more takeaways that made an impression on you.