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Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up
Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up
by Patricia Ryan Madson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.70
82 used & new from $6.38

5.0 out of 5 stars A great book of wisdom beyond improv, April 24, 2015
Elaborating on her 12 maxims of improv with well selected quotes and stories, the author had written a great book which can benefit even the most demanding self help book lovers, especially those who appreciate the wisdom of zen. In short, highly recommended!

p.s. Below please find the 12 maxims and some of my favorite passages for your reference.

The 12 maxims are:-
1. Say yes
2. Don't prepare (be prepared to let go, be ready to go wherever things are going)
3. Just show up (where we are make a difference. Move your body toward your dreams - to where they're happening)
4. Start anywhere
5. Be average
6. Pay attention
7. Face the facts (don't fight reality. Accept other people as they are. work with what you have been given)
8. Stay on course (ask often "what is my purpose now?")
9. Wake up to the gifts (practice thanksgiving)
10. Make mistakes, please
11. Act now (doing what is needed)
12. Take care of each other
13. Enjoy the ride

The only failure is not doing anything. Why not explore, get moving on your life, kick start your dreams, paint outside the lines? This book will provide inspiration and practical suggestions. Pg17
There are people who prefer to say Yes and there are people who prefer to say No. Those who say Yes are rewarded by the adventures they have, and those who say No are rewarded by the safety they attain. There are far more No sayers around than Yes sayers, but you can train one type to behave like the other. Pg18
We plan when we should execute . We make lists, worry, or theorize (often endlessly) when we ought to be responding. We choose safety above all else. We seem to have lost the knack of looking at the day with fresh eyes or doing anything out of our comfort zone. Pg21
Only dead fish go with the flow. Pg25
Saying yes is an act of courage and optimism: it allows you to share control. It is a way to make your partner happy. Pg27
Imagine a language class in which students sitting in rows are expected to translate a passage. It's natural to count ahead and figure out which sentences you will have to decipher when your turn comes. Your attention fixates on the material ahead, and you are missing what others are saying. Their data is critical to the context of the passage you will be translating, but you don't hear it......Everybody does this to some extent - think ahead, when we ought to be listening. Pg36
To improvise, it is essential that we use the present moment efficiently. An instant of distraction - searching for a witting line, for e.g. - rob us of our investment in what is actually happening. We need to know everything about this moment. Instead of preparing an outcome, ready yourself for whatever may come. Open your eyes, breathe fully, and attend to just this moment. Make it your world. Allow planning or thinking ahead thoughts to pass through if they occur. If your mind gets absorbed in these thoughts, redirect your attention to a detail in the immediate environment.....Substitute attention for preparation. Then you will be working in real time. Focusing attention on the present puts you in touch with a kind of natural wisdom. When you enter the moment with heightened awareness, what you need to do becomes obvious. Pg36
Performance anxiety comes from excessive self-focus. "Everyone is looking at me. I am not good enough. What if I fail? What will everyone think of me if I make a mistake?" The ego takes the stage and holds court. This line of thinking is misguided, anyway. They want you to succeed, to do well. Rarely are you being judged. It is more likely that they are cheering for you and tolerant of mistakes or miscues. Pg42
Fear is not a problem; allowing your attention o be consumed by it is. Pg42
Stop talking. Start walking. - L.M. Heroux pg42
Once it is underway any task seems smaller. Pg59
Talk to your audience. Don't give a lecture. Pg59
The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust pg62
Anyone can walk a plank, but if it stretched across an abyss, fear might glue us to it. Our best strategy might be to treat the abyss as something ordinary and to walk across in our average manner - Keith Johnstone pg62
If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent. - Sir Issac Newton pg67
Life is attention, and what we are attending to determines to a great extent how we experience the world. We are usually focused on ourselves - our problems, desires, fears. We move through life half awake and ruminating, living in our heads - thinking, planning, worrying , imagining. The detail of each day takes place in front of us, moment by precious moment How much are we missing? Almost everything. Pg67
Be like a turtle: stick out your neck to make progress pg113
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. - Thich Nhat Hanh pg137


Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost
Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost
by Shane Claiborne
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from $8.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Fluent. Succinct. Many orthodox and enlightening passages mixed with some controversial ones, April 23, 2015
I am a common Christian. I am not qualified to comment whether the authors have relative better understanding of God's words in the Bible than others as they imply so. Nevertheless, I must praise them for providing such good food for thought, despite the controversy of some messages. Indeed, I would recommend this only to those who have read the whole Bible at least twice. For others, works of Philip Yancey, Jim Cymbala and Rick Warren are safer choices.

p.s. Below please find some favorite passages of mine for your reference.
The Bible is easy to understand. But we Christians...pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. - Kierkegard pg6
Over the past few decades, our Christianity has become obsessed with what Christians believe rather than how Christians live. We talk a lot about doctrines but little about practice. But in Jesus we don't just see a presentation of doctrines but an invitation to join a movement that is about demonstrating God's goodness to the world. Pg9
I'm not saved because I'm good, but I'm trying to be good because I'm saved. Pg11
One of my students once told me, "I know non Christians who are living more Christ like lives than you are living?" My response was, "If they're so wonderful without Jesus, can you imagine how much more wonderful they would be with Jesus? And if you think that I'm so bad with Jesus, can you imagine what I would be like without Jesus?" pg15-6
My task is to bear witness. It's the Holy Spirit's task to convict. And it's God the Father's task to judge. - Billy Graham pg54
In heaven Peter is in charge of checking people in at the gate. Paul....is in charge of keeping track of the people in heaven. It disturbed him that he always found more people in heaven than Peter was admitting. This discrepancy greatly annoyed them both. Then one day, Paul came running to peter and said, "I found out what's been happening! It's Jesus! He keeps sneaking people over the wall!" pg54
Koran has a great deal to say about Jesus, including that he was born of a virgin, sinless, and that he is coming again. The Korean says that Jesus performed miracles and that Mohammed never performed miracles. Pg56
There are two ways to keep your cows in. One is by building fences. The other is by having a really good food source. Then you don't need all those fences. That's what Jesus was doing. Pg63
The world does not consist of 100% Christians and 100% non-Christians. There are people who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves Christians by that name; some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. - C.S. Lewis pg64
God is a God of abundance when we trust, and a God of redistribution when we do not. God's people are not to accumulate stuff for tomorrow but to share indiscriminately with the scandalous and holy confidence that God will provide for tomorrow. Pg67
There's enough for everyone's need but not enough for everyone's greed. - Gandhi pg68
In Acts 5:29, when the governmental authorities demanded that they stop their gospel preaching, their answer was, "We ought to obey God rather than men." ......Throughout movements in history, there is a precedent for humble resistance. During the civil rights movement, Dr. King said repeatedly that we need good laws. You know, we need traffic laws, and a red light is a good thing, but when there is a fire raging, the ambulance has to run through the red light in order to put the fire out. Sometimes urgent crises in our world demand that we go through the red lights in order to save those who are in danger. And we always do that with the humility of Christ. Pg151-2


The Wisdom of Bees: What the Hive Can Teach Business about Leadership, Efficiency, and Growth
The Wisdom of Bees: What the Hive Can Teach Business about Leadership, Efficiency, and Growth
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $14.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Readable. Helpful or not? Depends, April 22, 2015
Whilst I am obliged to praise the author for his good writing and organizing skills, I am not comfortable that he, a social psychologist, decided to pitch his concepts disregarding the many differences between humans and bees, say, quoting Nietzsche, "In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." In short, readable. If you want to read some stuff about how bees do good as a species or some non bee specific management concepts, this is fine. If you want a compeat management book that gives practical advice, please give this a pass.

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.
Recall that Sherlock Homes ultimately retires to Sussex Downs to live the reflective life of a beekeeper and to complete this magnum opus, The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture. When he is later brought back into service to capture the German spy von Bork, Watson is surprised by Holmes's reappearance, thinking that he had withdrawn from society. Holmes eases Watson's concerns by asserting that he has been fully engaged in the details of human interaction by spending many "pensive nights and laborious days" watching the "little workings of gangs". Pg7
Bees don't focus exclusively on the most productive flower patches at any given time, and for good reason. Conditions change rapidly for bees and they can ill afford wide swings in pollen and nectar intake. What is best now probably won't be tomorrow. In the animal kingdom, the "famine" in "feast or famine" is a death sentence. Thus, when a lucrative vein of nectar is discovered, the entire colony doesn't rush off to mine it no matter how enriching the short term benefits. The colony internalized a very important natural rule: someday the nectar in that location will stop flowing and they will need to be prepared to rapidly reallocate resources to other productive sites. In order to do so, they must already know where those sites are and have established operations, however minimal, in those locales. Said succinctly, bees avoid all or none scenarios at all costs. Pg14
We can fool ourselves into believing that idiosyncratic personnel decisions are ultimately harmless to the company as a whole, but individual decisions have a way of adding up. Hire a friend here, promote an ally there, sympathetically overlook performance problems everywhere - and before you know it, you have a compound problem and a mediocre company. Pg25
Internal rot within a company manifests as cynicism. Cynicism spreads and settles when a company's leadership envisions strategies it has little ability to implement or conjures new initiatives monthly without ever finishing anything it starts. Employees soon realize that every undertaking is doomed, and they either "slow-walk" solutions (i.e. go through the motion) or they easily give up at the first sign of difficulty. The collective thought that nothing is possible is the worst of all possible worlds. Thus do not give an order for a new effort unless you mean it and are prepared to see it through. Pg89
Think about the best employees you have ever seen and ask what personal attributes distinguished them from others. I am almost certain you will conclude that mastery of a discipline, or technical ability, was not the decisive factor. Rather, the qualities that most frequently differentiate the top performers from others are the intangibles of creativity, persistence, follow through, attention to detail, empathy and so on. Pg94


The Art of Quantum Planning: Lessons from Quantum Physics for Breakthrough Strategy, Innovation, and Leadership
The Art of Quantum Planning: Lessons from Quantum Physics for Breakthrough Strategy, Innovation, and Leadership
by Gerald Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.03
47 used & new from $0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars One can replace the term "Quantum" with any word and the book will still remain intact, despite its poor quality, April 19, 2015
The book title really captivated me. Pity that the book content did not. It is no exaggeration to say that there had been a gross misrepresentation as my review title suggested. Indeed, this is very likely the worst book about planning I had ever read. In short, not recommended!


Futurescaping
Futurescaping
Price: $20.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful or not, depends!, April 18, 2015
This review is from: Futurescaping (Kindle Edition)
I guess the author targeted this book primiarily at audience of IT/science discipline who had no knowledge about using PEST (political, economic, social, technology), a framework for scenario analysis that business people are so familiar with. Otherwise, he would not have used the full Chapter 8 (from pg 115-195, nearly half the book) to provide elaborate answers to the following questions:-

Should I adopt a dog or not?
Should I stay in my current job or set up a business in a new field?
Should I work for the US State Department or a management consultancy?
Should we relocate to the Netherlands?
Should we move into separate rented houses with friends or buy a house together?
Do I buy a house in Aberdeen or continue to rent?
Should I have a second child?
Should I sell my house or rent it out?

In short, the value of the book is highly conditional. Despite the author's good writing skill, I would suggest people with even the slightest idea of PEST or equivalent to give it a pass.

p.s. Below please find the few favorite passages of mine for your reference.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. - Wayne Gretzky pg2
If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere. - Groucho Marx pg7
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool - Richard Feynman pg54
People don't like rationality, not when it matters - Daniel Kahneman pg63
History would have taught us nothing if not to expect the unexpected. Formal future planning processes such as scenario planning also try to take into account what are known as "wildcards", those far out, highly improbable things which, if they did occur, would have a huge impact on the outcome. Pg82


Good in a Room
Good in a Room
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful or not, depends., April 16, 2015
This review is from: Good in a Room (Kindle Edition)
I had mixed feeling about this book. Whilst the material tailored for enterpreneurs and creative professionals are practical and helpful, I did expect much more interesting and insightful stuff from the author with her expertise gained in Hollywood. I think people who had read less than three books of the same genre will find this ok. For others, "Life's a game so fix the odds: How to be more persuasive and influential in your personal and business life by Philip Hesketh" and "Well Said!: Presentations and conversations that get results by Darlene Price" are better choices.

p.s. Below please find some favorite passages of mine for your reference.
Deliver a pitch the way you would a first kiss.....Your presentation needs to be delivered in the right place, at the right time, in the right way. Pg55
The number one sales trap: talking business too soon pg92
Fifteen principles of asking great questions:- pg142-149
1. Use an indirect approach - Create a climate of warmth and personal connection that allows the buyer to give you information.
2. Keep it simple
3. Maintain neutrality
4. Favor open questions - What would be an ideal outcome? What are the main issues? How would you like to proceed? What's your near term strategy?
5. Make the correct diagnosis - If you could, what's one thing you would change about ____? What has to happen first in order for you to _____?
6. Access thoughts, feelings, and experiences - What are your thoughts on ____? How do you feel about ____?
7. Don't ask why - How did you come up with the idea to _____?
8. Summarize. Then use a closed question to confirm
9. Get specific - Can you give me an example of ____?
10. Consider implications - What effect does ____ have on ____?
11. Be patient - I am not sure I understand. Could you explain it another way? Could you talk a little more about the aspect of ____?
12. Emphasize the positive - What do you think are the key ingredients to your recent success? What was your favorite part of ____?
13. Be on the same team - How might we approach _____? Can you help me understand ____? What would you think if we focused on ____?
14. Asses the value of solutions - How would ____ be helpful to you? When you finish ____, what happens next?
15. Avoid the world's most dangerous question - Could the reason be ____? Are you aware that ____? Isnt it true that ____?


Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions
Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions
by Timothy Keller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.27
73 used & new from $7.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, April 15, 2015
Thank God and the author for such a well written and insightful book! In short, recommended!

p.s. Below please find some favorite passages of mine for your reference.
The operational principle of the natural world is the strong eat the weak.....why do we suddenly turn around when the strong nations start to eat the weak nations and say, That is wrong? On what basis can we do that?....If there is no God, then my views of justice are just my opinion - so how then can we denounce the Nazis? W.H. Auden realized that unless there was a God, he had no right to tell anybody else that his feelings or ideas were more valid than their feelings or ideas. Pg15
Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship...If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship you own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly...Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid...Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Pg30
Who are born again Christians, anyway? It's common nowadays to believe that born again people are different from most of us - emotional or more broken, like drug addicts or emotionally unstable people - and they need a dramatic turnaround to get them on the right path... Salvation is by grace - there are no moral efforts that can earn or merit it. You must be born again. Pg33-4
Sin is looking to something else besides God for your salvation. It is putting yourself in the place of God, becoming your own savior and lord, as it were. That's the biblical definition of sin, the first of the Ten Commandments. Pg 35
If you build your life on your career, or you spouse, or your money, or your morality, and it fails, there is no hope for you. Do you know why? Because every other savior but Jesus Christ is not really a savior. If your career fails, it won't forgive you. It can only punish you with self-loathing and shame. Jesus is the only savior who if you gain him will satisfy you, and if you fail him will forgive you. Your career and your moral performance, by contrast, cannot die for your sins. Pg37-8
What you have in Jesus Christ, then, is something that is pretty hard to believe, and even harder to describe. He's not 50 percent human and 50 percent God....He is God but also absolutely and totally human.....It is this paradox - that he is both God and human - that gives Jesus an overwhelming beauty. He is the Lion and the Lamb. Despite his high claims, he is never pompous; you never see him standing on his own dignity. Despite being absolutely approachable to the weakest and broken, he is completely fearless before the corrupt and powerful. He has tenderness without weakness. Strength without harshness. Humility without the slightest lack of confidence. Unhesitating authority with a complete lack of self-absorption. Holiness and unending convictions without any shortage of approachability. Power without insensitivity. Pg50
Real Christian faith believes that Jesus saves us through his death and resurrection so we can be accepted by sheer grace. That is the gospel - the good news that we are saved by the work of Christ through grace. pg99
Outside of the crucifixion itself, the baptism is the only event of Jesus' life mentioned in all four Gospels. Pg106
God the Father had just said that Jesus's life is perfectly pleasing to him. And the Spirit of God has descended on him to guide him....and then! He is ushered into the clutches of the devil. So here's the order: God's love and power, then evil, temptation, wilderness, terrible hunger and thirst. That little word then is an amazing word. It is almost like Mathew is trying to tell us, "Read my lips: No one is exempt from trial and tribulations. In fact, this is often what happens to people God loves very much, for it is part of God's often mysterious and good plan for turning us into something great." Pg107
If you think of your heart's identity as an engine, you would say there is a kind of fuel that powers it cleanly and efficiently - and a kind of fuel that is not only polluting but also destroys the engine. The dirty fuel is the fuel of fear and the need to prove yourself. Or the need to be needed by someone else. Or the need to express yourself fully and without restraint. There are many "fuels" that motivate us to live for a time - but only one fuel is clean and will not lead to weariness and disappointment. And that is God's love f or you. Any other fuel will become demonic. It will obsess you or at best merely let you down. Pg120
But in general, Satan doesn't control us with fang marks on the flesh, but with lies in the heart. Pg122
According to the Bible, the heart is not just the seat of the emotions but also the source of our fundamental commitments, hopes and trust. And from the heart flow our thinking, feelings, and actions. What the heart trusts, the mind justifies, the emotions desire, and the will carries out. If Satan can get you to consent with your mind to a God of loving grace but get your heart to believe that you must do X, Y, Z in order to be a worthy, lovable, and valuable person, he will be most satisfied. Pg122-3
If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not presume to face the forces of evil in the world without a profound knowledge of the Bible in mind and heart, how could we try to face life any other way? Pg123
Christian peace can be consistent, the world's peace is intermittent, because it is based on circumstances. People like you, the money is coming in, your job is fine, you've just made a deal, you're in a beautiful setting, and you feel peaceful. But when the stock market's down and you've had a failure, you're down. Pg146


Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception
Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception
by Michael Floyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.79
68 used & new from $6.18

4.0 out of 5 stars It makes me a better lie detector. If not, I am sure I have become a better liar, April 14, 2015
A well written and helpful book. It did correct a lot of misperception of mine about how people lie. If the authors had covered a wider range of lie detection techniques and case studies beyond the present ones so criminals and politicians related, even better, although the authors had compensated so with several lists of questions in the appendix targeting at children and spouses!

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.
Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers. - Bernard Haisch pg27
A polygraph machine doesn't detect lies. It detects physiological changes that occur in a person's body in response to a stimulus.....The pens on a polygraph chart record four physiological responses to the stimulus. There are two respiratory tracings, one cardiovascular activity tracing, an don galvanic skin response tracing, which records changes in skin moisture. The polygraph examiner will make precise annotations on the chart to indicate the points at which he begins and finishes asking a question, and the point at which the examinee provides his "yes" or "no" response. Pg29
Human beings tend to be either visually dominant or auditorily dominant....deceptive behavior can come in either or both forms. How do we capture both at the same time? The trick is to train our brains to go into what we call "L-squared mode" - we have to tell it to look and listen simultaneously. We have to say, "Brain, for the next few seconds, you're going to process in both the visual and auditory channels what's being communicated to me." Pg32
A catch all question: "What haven't I asked you that you think I should know about that might be a concern?" pg36
A deceptive person may respond to an allegation with a truthful statement, often one that casts himself in a highly favorable light. It's what we call a "convince vs. convey" situation - an attempt to convince the accuser of one's uprightness, of being the type of person who would never do anything like what he's been accused of doing, rather than to convey information that addresses the facts of the case. Pg45
If you want to know if someone is lying, you need to ignore truthful behavior so that it's not processed. That seems counterintuitive to most people, and downright nonsensical to many. Yet it's one of the core principles. Pg48
The way to combat convincing statement is to neutralize them - to render them ineffective by acknowledging or agreeing with them. This, of course, needs to be distinguished from agreeing with the action. Pg75
A deceptive person will often hide her mouth or eyes when she's being untruthful....We are not referring to blinking here. Pg97
If a person clears his throat or performs a significant swallow prior to answering the question, that's a potential problem. If he does it after he answers, that doesn't bother us. Pg98
When you're in L-squared mode, be on the lookout for anything a person does with his face or in the head region in response to your question. This often takes the form of biting or licking the lips, or pulling on the lips or ears....Beyond these physiological reactions, the body also dissipates their anxiety through other forms of physical activity, most notably "anchor-point" movements. Pg98
A deceptive person might adjust his tie or shirt cuffs, or maybe his glasses. An untruthful woman might move a few strands of hair behind here ear, or straighten her skirt. Pg101
Present a clear stimulus: Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it singular in meaning. Keep it straight forward. "What else?" pg127-131
People standing in line to use a photocopier were approached by individuals with request to butt in line. If the person making the request gave the reason that he was in a rush, he was successful 94% of the time. If no reason was given, the success rate dropped to 60%. What was remarkable is that when a person gave a reason that was essentially meaningless - "because I have to make some copies" - the success rate jumped back to 93%. So people respond to legitimacy statements, even if those statements lack a great deal of substance. Pg143
The last piece of information the person gave you is likely to be the most serious piece, the one he was most reluctant to share. The bottom line is that you don't accept the first thing someone tells you. It's almost as if you didn't hear it. Pg148


Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload
Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction and Overload
by Lucy Jo Palladino
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.99
41 used & new from $13.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful! Well researched, organized and written! A good read even for the most demanding self help book lovers!, April 12, 2015
My review title says it all! Nevertheless, I still have two negative remarks about it. First, the second half of it is not as captivating as the first, which explains why I rate it a four stars instead of five. Second, "How come I read it so late!?"

p.s. Below please find some favorite passages of mine for your reference.
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. - Albert Einstein pg15
When a player comes to recognize that learning to focus may be more valuable to him than a backhand, he shifts from being primarily a player of the outer game to being a player of the inner game. Then, instead of learning to focus to improve his tennis, he practices tennis to improve his focus. - W. Timothy Gallwey pg28
According to Pavlov, when something occurs that is novel to an organism, it stops what it's doing and turns its sensors to the source of stimulation. In humans, the orienting response OR includes pupil dilation, reduce skin resistance, and a momentary drop in heart rate. In other words, our eyes open wised, our skin is more sensitive, and we feel attracted to the novelty. The body wants to receive the novel stimulus and take it in to be processed further. Pavlov called this survival response the "What is it?" reflex. Pg40
Too much information and too many interruptions deplete brain chemicals that take time and rest to replenish.....Your brain tries to conserve energy by slowing down thought processing and decision making. Sometimes, a circuit breaker trips and temporarily shuts those circuits completely; you can no longer focus or make even one more decision. Or you might blow a fuse and lose your temper. In any event, you're far from being in your focus zone where your attention is at its best. Pg44
Attention shapes the brain from the very start. A human infant is born with 200 billion neurons - twice the number she will have as an adult - and immediately starts to lose the neurons she doesn't use. Remarkable as it seems, at birth every infant can clearly distinguish every phoneme of every language. Then, as infants hear only the sounds of their own native tongue, they lose the ability to process the sounds they don't need. This early natural trimming of unused neurons is called pruning. Throughout the life span, "use it or lose it" remain true for synapses, pathways, and even entire regions of the brain. When blind people learn braille, the brain region that corresponds to their fingertips gets larger and takes over parts of the brain that would have been used for vision......Like muscles, thinking skills strengthen with exercise and weaken without it. Pg52
An ancient Buddhist psychology, abhidhamma, teaches that thoughts and feelings are transitory. By calmly observing their rise and fall, appearance and disappearance, you strengthen your sense of distance and detachment from them. This practice of mindfulness has become a basis for schools of both meditation and therapy today. Instead of reacting to thoughts and feelings instantly and automatically, you see them as events of the mind to notice and consider. You are "awake in the moment." Your observer self is mindfulness in action. Freud described it as an "evenly hovering attention" and his students named it the "observing ego." Others call it the "impartial spectator," "witness self," "detached onlooker," "neutral bystander," and "voice of objectivity." "Your observer self accepts "what is" without judgment or editorial comment. It is a reliable, rational crewmate - like Spock or Data of the Starship Enterprise - an emotionally detached voice of friendly awareness. Pg63
The questions that conquer avoidance: Relentlessly ask yourself - What am I not doing now? What don't I want to face? Pg70
We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear - Martin Luther King Jr. pg88
To improve their skills, world class athletes correct their past mistake mentally and physically......in his mind he returned to that critical moment many times and practiced what it would have felt like to have made the shot.....He also imagined his emotional self in a relaxed alert state. He visualized staying in his focus zone and withstanding the pressure of the match. He saw himself made the shot, and he made this vision even stronger than his memory of having missed it. Pg98
When asked what book he would choose if he were shipwrecked on a desert island: A practical guide to boat building. - Bernard Baruch pg141
When you mentally rehearse, it's helpful to use a keyword or symbol to connect yourself back to your rehearsal. For example, if you're practicing how you want to feel during an important sales presentation, you might repeat the word "confident" as you rehearse. Then, on that day, when you say the word "confident," you'll connect back to the confidence you felt when you rehearsed. Pg163
If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent. - Sir Isaac Newton pg255


Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times
Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times
by Chris Zook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.16
76 used & new from $9.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful tutorial from company doctor authors that worths hundreds of times of its price, April 10, 2015
My review title says it all. The authors had filled the book with plenty of good examples and practical questions that even the most pragmatic executives will find itt helpful. Recommended!

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.

The lack of empirical data behind many business "cure-alls" has prompted one Oxford don to proclaim management science a "phony academic subject, a shallow contemporary shibboleth promoting noxious cant. Pg11

Alexander the Great ruled the largest area of the earth ever conquered by a single individual, stretching from Mount Olympus to Mount Everest. Although not everyone's idea of the model CEO, he amassed his kingdom in less than four years, covering more than four thousand miles by foot, and winning 100 percent of his battles - a remarkable record in such a short time. But did he create lasting value? Just a few years after his death, his empire had dissolved and the captured territory slipped away. Alexander's problem was not inadequate initial resources or poor execution. It was the lack of a long term strategy and the inability to exploit and consolidate his extraordinary short term gains throughout the Near East to Nepal, which stretched resources to govern too far beyond the Macedonian core. His sticking point - the failure to anchor in the core business (in his case, governance) and consolidate a rapid expansion - exemplifies the most common problem across all growth strategy. Pg63-4

The ten questions that we believe management teams should periodically ask themselves about their companies and should include at the start of every review of their basic growth strategy. Pg149-50
1. What is the most tightly defined profitable core of our business, and is it gaining or losing strength?
2. What defines the boundaries of the business that we are competing for, and where are those boundaries going to shift in the future?
3. Are there new competitors currently at the fringe of our business that pose potential longer term threats to the core?
4. Are we certain that we are achieving the full strategic and operating potential of our core business, the "hidden value: of the core?
5. What is the full set of potential adjacencies to our core business and possible adjacency moves (single or multiple moves)? Are we looking at these in a planned, logical sequence or piecemeal?
6. What is our point of view on the future of the industry? As a team, do we have consensus? How is this point of view shaping our adjacency strategy and point of arrival?
7. Should major new growth initiatives be pursued inside, next to, or outside the core? How should we decide?
8. Is industry turbulence changing the fundamental source of future competitive advantage? How? Through new models? New segments? New competitors? And what are we monitoring on a regular basis?
9. Are organizational enablers and inhibitors to growth in the right balance for the needed change?
10. What are the guiding strategic principles that should apply consistently to all of our major strategic and operating decisions?


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