Summary: The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman

1.If an unlucky man sold umbrellas, it would stop raining; if he sold candles, the sun would never set; and if he made coffins, people would stop dying. - Yiddish saying

2. Throw a lucky man in the sea and he will come up with a fish in his mouth. - Arab proverb

3.People are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people are, without realising it, using four basic principles to create good fortune in their lives.

4. People who were lucky in their financial lives also reported being lucky in their home lives, and people who were unlucky in their careers were also unlucky in their relationships. 

5. Luck could not simply be the outcome of chance events. There were too many people consistently experiencing good and bad luck for it all to be chance. Instead, there must be something causing things to work out consistently well for some people and consistently badly for others.

6. There are four main differences between the lives of lucky and unlucky people:

  • Lucky people constantly encounter chance opportunities. They accidentally meet people who have a very beneficial effect on their lives and come across interesting opportunities in newspapers and magazines.

  • Lucky people also make good decisions without knowing why

  • Lucky people’s dreams, ambitions and goals have an uncanny knack of coming true.

  • Lucky people also have an ability to turn their bad luck into good fortune.

7. The results indicated that luck wasn’t due to psychic ability.

8. Lucky people are far more satisfied with all areas of their life than unlucky and neutral people. The unlucky people were consistently the most dissatisfied.

9. The results of the experiment were clear – being lucky and unlucky is not related to intelligence. 

10. Lucky people’s expectations of winning were more than twice that of unlucky people.

11. When it comes to random events like the lottery, such expectations count for little. Someone with a high expectation of winning will do as well as someone with a low expectation.

12. However, life is not like a lottery. Often, our expectations make a difference. They make a difference to whether we try something, how hard we persist in the face of failure, how we interact with others and how others interact with us.

13. Principle: Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their life

14. . I discovered that being in the right place at the right time is actually all about being in the right state of mind.

15. What is behind Lynne, Wendy and Joe’s winning ways? Their secret is surprisingly simple. They all enter a very large number of competitions. Each week, Wendy enters about sixty postal competitions, and about seventy Internet-based competitions.

16. Likewise, both Lynne and Joe enter about fifty competitions a week, and their chances of winning are increased with each and every entry. All three of them were well aware that their lucky winning ways are, in reality, due to the large number of competitions they enter. As Wendy explained, ‘I am a lucky person, but luck is what you make it. I win a lot of competitions

17. After years of research, most psychologists agree that there are only five underlying dimensions to our personalities: five dimensions on which we all vary. These dimensions have been found in both the young and old, in men and women and across many

18. These dimensions are often referred to as Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness.

19. Interestingly, lucky people scored no higher on Agreeableness than unlucky people.

20. But once again, there was very little difference in the Conscientiousness scores of lucky and unlucky people.

21. The groups did, however, obtain very different scores on the remaining three personality dimensions – Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness.

22. There are  three ways in which lucky people’s extroversion significantly increases the likelihood of them having a lucky chance encounter – meeting a large number of people, being a ‘social magnet’, and keeping in contact with people.

23. First, in the same way that Lynne, Joe and Wendy increase their chances of winning prizes by entering lots of competitions, so lucky people dramatically increase the possibility of a lucky chance encounter by meeting a large number of people in their daily lives. The concept is simple. The more people they meet, the greater opportunity they have of running into someone who has a positive effect on their lives.

24. ‘Social magnets’ exhibit the types of body language and facial expressions that other people find attractive and inviting.

25. The lucky people smiled twice as much as unlucky people and engaged in far more eye contact.

26. However, perhaps the biggest differences emerged when we examined the degree to which they engaged in ‘open’ or ‘closed’ body language. People exhibit ‘closed’ body language when they cross their arms and legs, and orient themselves away from the person they are speaking to. ‘Open’ body language is exactly the opposite. People point their bodies towards the person that they are speaking to, uncross their arms and legs and often make gestures that involve them displaying open palms.

27. Lucky people tended to engage in three times as much ‘open’ body language as unlucky people.

28. Lucky people are effective at building secure, and long lasting, attachments with the people that they meet. They are easy to get to know and most people like them. They tend to be trusting and form close friendships with others. As a result, they often keep in touch with a much larger number of friends and colleagues than unlucky people, and time and time again, this network of friends helps promote opportunity in their lives.

29. Neuroticism. People who obtain a low score on this dimension are generally calm and relaxed, whilst people who obtain a high score are more tense and anxious.

30. Because lucky people tend to be more relaxed than most, they are more likely to notice chance opportunities.

31. Exactly the same principle applies when they meet and chat with other people. They do not go to parties and meetings trying hard to find their dream partners or someone who will offer them their perfect job. Instead, they are simply relaxed and therefore more attuned to the opportunities around them. They go to parties and listen to people. Lucky people see what is there, rather than trying to find what they want to see.

32. These centre around another important dimension of their personalities referred to as ‘Openness’. People who obtain a high score on this dimension like to have a great deal of variety and novelty in their lives. They love trying new experiences, new kinds of food and new ways of doing things. They tend not to be bound by convention and they like the notion of unpredictability.

33. People who obtain a low score on openness tend to be much more conventional. They tend to like to do things the way that they have been done in the past.

34. Lucky people have much higher openness scores on the personality test than unlucky people.

35. To help disrupt this routine, and make life more fun, he thinks of a colour before he arrives at the party and then chooses to speak only to people wearing that colour of clothing!

36. It is exactly the same with luck. It is easy to exhaust the opportunities in your life: keep on talking to the same people in the same way; keep taking the same route to and from work; keep going to the same places on holiday. But new or even random experiences introduce the potential for new opportunities.

37. Smile when you see someone you know or someone that you would like to make contact with. Don’t try to fake it by putting on a false smile. Instead, think about how you genuinely feel. Also, force yourself to adopt an ‘open’ posture. Uncross your arms and legs, and keep your hands away from your face.

38. Suggested Exercise: Each week for the next month, I would like you to strike up a conversation with at least one person who you don’t know very well, or don’t know at all.

39. Do not try to chat to people who make you feel uncomfortable – instead, only try to initiate a conversation with people who look friendly and approachable.

40. Try to avoid making your opening gambit look artificial and contrived. Instead, capitalise on a naturally occurring situation, such as when you find yourself standing next to someone in a line, or happen to be in the same section of a bookshop as them, or you sit next to them on a train or aeroplane.

41. To break the ice, ask the person for information or help. In a store you might ask them if they know when the store closes, in the street you might ask them for directions or whether they know a good place to eat. Alternatively, find something about the person that you like, or find interesting, and comment on it.

42. Most important of all – don’t be afraid of rejection. Your first few attempts may simply involve a brief interaction and nothing more. Don’t take it personally – perhaps the person was busy or just didn’t feel like chatting – instead, keep on going.

43. Suggested Exercise: Play the contact game Each week, I would like you to make contact with one person who you haven’t been in touch with for a while. Many people find this difficult. Here are some ideas about how to do it: Look through your address book and make a list of the names and telephone numbers of everyone that you haven’t spoken to for a while. Go back over your past school, work and community connections. Make the list as long as possible. Then, each week play the ‘ten-minute contact game’. Give yourself ten minutes to talk to someone that you haven’t spoken to for a while.

44. Be open to new experiences in your life. Many lucky people maximise the likelihood of encountering chance opportunities by being open to new experiences. Many people regularly try different routes to and from work, and sometimes even have fun by making random decisions using dice.

45. Principle: Lucky people make successful decisions by using their intuition

46. The results were fascinating. As you can see in the graph on page 75, a very large percentage of lucky people used their intuition when making decisions in two of the four areas mentioned on the questionnaire. Almost 90% of lucky people said that they trusted their intuition when it came to their personal relationships, and almost 80% said that it played a vital role in their career choices.


Summary: Powers of Two by Joshua Wolf Shenk

1. The pair is the primary creative unit. In his study of creative circles ranging from the French impressionists to the founders of psychoanalysis, the sociologist Michael Farrell discovered that groups created a sense of community, purpose, and audience but that the truly important work ended up happening in pairs, as with Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Fliess.

2. Why is this? For one thing, it’s probably true that we’re set up to interact with a single person more openly and deeply than with any group, given that our psyches take shape through one-on-one exchanges with caregivers.

3. The dyad is also the most fluid and flexible of relationships. Two people can basically make their own society on the go. When even one more person is added to the mix, the situation becomes more stable, but this stability may stifle creativity, as roles and power positions harden.

4. Three legs make a table stand in place. Two legs are made for walking or running (or jumping or falling).

5. Pairs naturally arouse engagement, even intensity. In a larger group, an individual may lie low, phone it in. But nobody can hide in a pair. “The decisive characteristic of the dyad is that each of the two must actually accomplish something,” wrote Georg Simmel, “and that in the case of failure only the other remains—not a supra-individual force, as prevails in a group even of three.”

6. By comparing hundreds of creative pairs, I found that they moved through six stages:

  • Meeting. Looking at the earliest encounter of individuals who will form a pair, the conditions and characteristics that engender chemistry or electricity—unusual similarities coinciding with unusual differences—become clear. 
  • Confluence. Over time, two individuals move beyond mere interest and excitement in each other—they truly become a pair by surrendering elements of their singular selves to form what psychologists call a “joint identity.” 
  • Dialectics. In the heart of their creative work, pairs thrive on distinct and enmeshed roles, taking up positions in archetypal combinations that point to the essential place of dichotomy in the creative process. 
  • Distance. To thrive for the long term, pairs need more than closeness. They must also find an optimal distance from each other, carving out sufficient space in which to cultivate distinct ideas and experiences in order to give a partnership an ongoing frisson. 
  • The Infinite Game. At the height of their work, pairs operate at the nexus of competition and cooperation, a dialectic that reveals the stark nature of power and the potential for conflict. 
  • Interruption. Looking at how pairs end, we see them driven apart by the same energies that pushed them forward. They lose, not their spark, but their balance, often due to some critical change in the context around them. And yet, considering how they remain bound up in each other practically and psychologically, we can also say that creative pairs never truly end.

7. Before we start, you may want to know just what I mean by creativity. I have borrowed a broad definition from the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “to bring into existence something genuinely new that is valued enough to be added to the culture.”

8. Put another way: The individuals in great dyads will be very different from each other and very much alike.

9. Similarity is a good place for us to start, because common interests and sensibilities usually bring future partners together in the first place.

10. Consider a study by the sociologists Duncan J. Watts and Gueorgi Kossinets on how friendships form on a university campus. Roughly 45 percent of new pairs met through mutual friends, and another 41 percent of new pairs met through mutual friends and shared contexts (like classes).

11. The formation of new ties varied with network distance, meaning that individuals who were separated by two intermediaries (that is, they shared neither friends nor classes) were thirty times less likely to become friends than individuals who were separated by just one intermediary.

12. A 2011 study of Facebook found that, of its 721 million users at the time, the average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another was 4.74—less, even, than the “six degrees of separation” made famous in John Guare’s play of that name.

13. But making those links isn’t necessarily easy. In fact, some clusters of society can be devilishly hard to penetrate.

14. A study by the sociologist Mark Granovetter, well over half of a sample of professionals in Newton, Massachusetts, got their jobs through personal connections. And more than 83 percent of the personal connections that led to jobs involved only occasional or rare contact.

15. The second major way people meet vital partners—and enact the loop between personal interest and social connection—is by going to what the sociologist Michael Farrell calls a “magnet place,” or a locus for people with shared interests or yearnings.

16. Schools are obvious magnet places. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the co-creators of South Park, met in an undergraduate film class at the University of Colorado. The psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who would go on to create behavioral economics, first connected when Kahneman invited Tversky to talk to his class at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

17. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the cofounders of Google, met on a tour Brin led in the spring of 1995 for students (including Page) who had been admitted to Stanford’s grad school.

18. Magnet places exude a power even for people who come without any concrete ambition.

19. Indeed, a magnet place needn’t even be an institution; it could be an event that lasts only a matter of hours, like the Atlanta church service in the fall of 1950 where two young preachers, Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr., met, the first contact of a partnership that led to the American civil rights movement.

20. According to a 2010 study of thirty-five thousand papers in biomedicine that had at least one author from Harvard, the work of physically close collaborators resulted in many more citations (an indication of the importance of the research) than the work of collaborators who were farther from one another.

21. And the advantages of personal contact include experiences we can’t consciously register. In a shared space, people plug into what the psychologist Daniel Goleman has called “neural WiFi,” “a feedback loop,” he writes in Social Intelligence, “that crosses the skin-and-skull barrier between bodies.”

22. Of course, many pairs don’t have a first-meeting story that we know about—or even that they know about. Most siblings—Orville and Wilbur Wright, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Joel and Ethan Coen—won’t remember a time they didn’t know each other.

23. The other common feature of early-intimacy pairs like siblings is that, as much as they share a world together from the start, their creative work begins only after a critical separation.

24. The point is that pairs with deeply entwined early lives must also develop disparate experiences, attitudes, or emotional styles. This is the next layer to unpeel in meeting stories. The catalyst is not similarity alone but the joining of profound similarities with profound differences.

25. For primates, familiarities signal safety—and in higher-order brains, this comfort forms the foundation for connection. People report feeling more at ease when there is similarity in factors like income, education, physical appearance, ethnicity, and race.

26. Yet the comfort of similarity is only one ingredient for creative progress. Think about an outstanding dinner party. As guests arrive to the smell of good food and the sight of drinks laid out, there’s instantly a feeling of ease. Some people know one another already—none are farther apart than two degrees.

27. Many have similar interests or backgrounds. The early part of the evening should be weighted toward familiarity, but when the dinner begins, the priority shifts from comfort to stimulation. Disparate experiences are shared; disagreements erupt.

28. We need similarities to give us ballast, and differences to make us move.

29. One study for the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at the two reasons venture capitalists choose partners: for their ability or for their affinity, such as a shared ethnic background or having worked at the same firm. Similarities of ability enhanced performance, but similarities of affinity “dramatically reduces the probability of investment success,” the study found. The problem isn’t the similarity itself. That’s fine as a foundation. The problem is when members of a group look at situations the same way, and fail to appreciate difficulties coming down the pike, loyalty and devotion can outstrip independent thinking.

30. “Bisociation”—“the sudden interlocking of two previously unrelated skills, or matrices, of thought.” This is the stuff of creative breakthroughs, which helps explain why, in the history of innovation, the outsider with critical knowledge and a fresh perspective so often plays a crucial role—why mavericks, for example, and not the pedigreed employees of Western Union or IBM, invented the telephone and the personal computer.

31. The authors of a new paradigm can’t be total strangers to the field or they won’t have the knowledge to do their work, let alone the influence to effect change. But they can’t be vested insiders either, or they’ll be constrained by convention.

32. The best climate for progress is a mix of deference and defiance. Corporate teams do well with a clear mission and a deviant who asks uncomfortable questions.

33. “The two people who have the most creative potential,” the psychologist and management consultant Diana McLain Smith told me, “are the people who are most different. The question is how do they harness that difference in the service of creativity instead of canceling each other out.”

34. Many great pairs do not much like each other at first. When C. S. Lewis initially noticed J.R.R. Tolkien, at an Oxford faculty meeting, he came home and wrote: “No harm in him: only needs a smack or so.”

35. One trope of first meetings is the endless conversation. “Steve and I just sat on the sidewalk in front of Bill [Fernandez]’s house for the longest time, just sharing stories,”

36. According to Carl Jung, when he met Sigmund Freud, they “talked uninterruptedly for thirteen hours.”

37. Both animating conflict and absorbing conversation draw on the same two elements: a shared framework to provide common ground, and sufficient difference to keep things novel and surprising.

38. The movement to true partnership is often slow and meandering.

39. Buffett slowly came around to Munger’s view that bargain hunting (which he had learned as gospel from his mentor Ben Graham) often made less sense than paying a reasonable price for a good company.

40. It’s common to find some sizable gap in time between meeting and pairing. J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis knew each other for three years before they shared their work.

41. For pairs, the most basic thing is a regular meeting time.

42. Many pairs have what we could fairly call a private language.

43. Private language emerges organically from constant exchange. Intimate pairs talk fluidly and naturally, having let go of what psychologists call “self-monitoring”—the process of watching impulses and protean thoughts, censoring some, allowing others to pass one’s lips.

44. “You just get so high-bandwidth,” Bill Gates said about talking to Steve Ballmer, his longtime deputy at Microsoft (and eventual successor). “Steve and I would just be going from talking to meeting to talking to meeting, and then I’d stay up late at night, and write him five e-mails.

45. Asymmetrical. In some pairs, one partner absorbs the other, as when a clear leader works with a deputy or a disciple takes up with a guru. This asymmetry is often signified by the nature of credit.

46. Distinct. In a second type of bond, each partner maintains a separate public identity. There may indeed be no public marker of their confluence, no unambiguous sign of union. C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t jointly credit any of their published work.

47. Overt. In the third type of bond, partners join together in rough equality to produce work with which both are publicly associated.

48. I’ve noticed that three archetypes recur most often—the star and the director; the liquid and the container; the dreamer and the doer—and each speaks to a significant dialectic in the creative life. 

49. Dialectic is a fancy word, but really it just describes the process by which something singular emerges out of an interaction or duality.

50. The star and the director - Many partnerships have one member in the spotlight and another offstage.

51. “But there’s a saying, ‘When two men ride the same horse, one has to be in the back.’”

52. The relationship between order and disorder has been an object of fascination from the time of the ancient Greeks, who extolled the sharp departure from clarity and coherence followed by the pleasing restoration of same. The gods Dionysus and Apollo framed this dialectic. Two sons of Zeus, they embodied the sensual, spontaneous, and emotional aspects of man (the Dionysian) and the rational, ordered, and self-disciplined aspects (the Apollonian).

53. Modern creativity research hits on the same key relation of making and breaking, challenging and refining—the “essential tension,” noted the psychologist Frank Barron, “between two seemingly opposed dispositional tendencies: the tendency toward structuring and integration and the tendency toward disruption of structure and diffusion of energy and attention.” 

54. Though I considered organizer and disrupter and maker and breaker, I settled on liquid and container as the primary way to describe this archetypal pair. In its natural state, liquid tends to disperse. Liquid-type creatives are drawn to make lateral associations rather than linear progressions. They’re often exciting, excitable characters; boundless. They embody the promise and peril of risk and are simultaneously repelled by and drawn to people who impose constraints, who can offer them shape. Without those constraints, they will spill out onto the sidewalk, evaporate in the sun.

55. Creativity is what happens when the dreamer meets the doer.

56. Many dreamer-type creators have enormous strength of character. They generate ideas, start new projects, inspire others to join them. They may also start things they can’t finish and break promises. Doer-type creators are the inverse. Productive, efficient, and dependable, they excel at finishing, have a realistic sense of what’s possible, and can set priorities and make decisions. Yet doers may struggle to be original, to initiate, to see the long view, and to identify a sense of purpose.

57. In a study of 121 major historic events—paradigm shifts in science, reform movements, and political revolutions—Frank Sulloway found that later-born children were roughly twice as likely as earlier-borns to take the radical position, while earlier-borns were more likely to defend the status quo.

58. In a meta-analysis of 8,340 participants in 24 different studies of athletic participation, later-borns were found to be 1.5 times more likely than firstborns to engage in dangerous sports such as rugby, football, and soccer, whereas firstborns and only children preferred safer sports such as swimming, tennis, and track.”

59. My friend Adam Goodheart, while writing 1861, his celebrated study of the origins of the Civil War, had the good fortune to live near the legendary nonfiction writer Richard Ben Cramer. Adam told me that, more than once, Richard gave him this advice: “Don’t be afraid to be a son of a bitch.” Meaning: Say no, ignore phone calls, hole up and do what you need to do.

60. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “they tend to report the highest levels of creativity when walking, driving, or swimming; in other words, when involved in a semiautomatic activity that takes up a certain amount of attention, while leaving some of it free to make connections among ideas below the threshold of conscious intentionality.”

61. Certainly, direct face-offs improve performance in all manner of conditions, an effect that has been validated empirically: One study found weightlifters able to bench-press an average of two kilograms (about four and a half pounds) more when competing with another person than when facing a crowd alone. Another found that people could squeeze a handgrip twenty-one seconds longer.

62. Great work emerges from rivalry.

63. Playing with the best brings out your best, and if the other guy is gunning to beat you, that may be bad for your stress level but it’s ideal for your performance.

64. From my research, I’ve come to see three key benefits rivals offer. First, they push us to work harder. This is motivation, as basic a drive in performance as hunger is in physiology. Rivals quicken the blood, animate the spirit. Second, they model what we need to do. This is inspiration, and whether it comes from an example we want to follow, one we want to reject, or one we want to improve on, the impact is much the same. Third, they keep us in the game. This is dedication—perseverance, persistence, tenacity, the power to not just approach a task with zeal but stick with it even when we want to quit.

65. When researchers studied U.S. presidential debates, they found that in every election between 1960 and 2000, the candidate that adjusted to the other’s timbre lost the popular vote.

66. The chief advantage of power clarity is absence of strife. “Although positions within a hierarchy are born from contest,” wrote the primatologist Frans de Waal, “the hierarchical structure itself, once established, eliminates the need for further conflict. Obviously, those lower on the scale would have preferred to be higher, but they settle for the next best thing, which is to be left in peace.

67. So this is the tension: power clarity can negate conflict but stifle creativity. Along with sufficient clarity, pairs need some fluidity. Thus conflict is an organic part of the process. That’s the bad news.

68. The death knell to real collaboration, he said, is “politeness.”

69. According to the research of psychologist James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas on the word content of correspondence, high indices of conflict are positively associated with an experience of intimacy. Think about the people you can really argue with. They’re often your dearest friends.

70. The marriage researcher John Gottman said couples likely to remain married exchange five positive remarks for every one that’s negative.

71. John Gottman found in a study that peaceful couples early in their relationships reported more marital happiness than couples who bicker. But in follow-ups three years later, the peaceful couples were far more likely to be divorced or headed for divorce, while the bickering couples tended to have worked out their troubles and stuck together.

72. Surprisingly, rigid divisions of power can actually lead to the most fluid exchanges.

73. One of my favorite end-of-relationship studies is by the sociologist Diane Felmlee. She asked people what had initially attracted them to an ex and what repelled them at the end. For about 30 percent of people, both answers were really the same, just cast in a very different light. 

74. One partner was wonderfully “strong-willed” and later obnoxiously “domineering.” A partner with a great “sense of humor” later “played too many jokes.”

75. My therapist gave me the same instruction: “Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your child.”

76. Wagner and Born concluded, “facilitates extraction of explicit knowledge and insightful behavior.” another study, by Deirdre Barrett, a professor at Harvard Medical school, asked seventy-six college students to pick a problem from their lives and focus on it each night before bed. “After one week,” Mcnerney wrote, “Barrett found that about half of the students dreamt about their problem and about a quarter dreamt a solution.”

Summary: Why Pride Matters More Than Money by Jon Katzenbach

1. Money by itself is likely to produce self-serving behavior and skin-deep organizational commitment rather than the type of institution-building

2. But pride is more than simply an emotional reward for high achievement; it also motivates us toward such achievement. Because justifiable feelings of pride are so extremely rewarding, the anticipation of those feelings is also very motivating.

3. Like the best mothers, they realize that the anticipation of feeling proud is a more powerful motivator than the anticipation of being punished.

4. As with most people, “making Mom proud of me” was behind my early efforts to perform well. She always made it clear what would make her proud of me—and what would not.

5. I came away with renewed insights about how to instill pride in myself and those I work with:

  • Set aspirations that touch the emotions: Impossible dreams are a source of pride even though they remain unachievable.

  • Pursue a meaningful purpose: Great organizations whose aspirations are not necessarily “noble” still pursue clear missions that provide a meaningful purpose for their people as well as to their customers and shareholders.

  • Cultivate personal relationships of respect: Probably the most lasting benefits to be gained from a lifetime of work in different occupations come from the personal relationships of mutual trust and respect that one develops along the way.

  • Become a person of high character: Integrity, common courtesy, emotional commitment, and unassuming pride in group performance are the hallmarks of great human beings—not intellect, charisma, power, or personal gain.

  • Look for the humor along the way: As Mary Poppins said, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

6. Richard Cavanagh, an old friend and current CEO of the prestigious Conference Board, makes a point of not hiring people who lack a sense of humor; so do I.

7. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs cannot be ignored. There is a baseline of monetary need and “fairness” beneath which motivation and pride will sink. When people are not paid enough to meet their fundamental human-safety and comfort needs, neither pride nor loyalty prevails.

8. Similarly, institution-building pride can motivate people behaviors that are bad for the enterprise.

9. Good results accrue to the enterprise only when the emphasis is on individual and group efforts that fit with organizational priorities and enhance long-term business success. The best leaders and managers will influence people to take pride in achieving personal goals that align with company goals, building skills that match company needs, and creating teams that achieve important business results.

10. SELF-SERVING PRIDE - This kind of pride encompasses both power and materialism, and the latter is primarily a game of “show me the money”—and the more you can earn, accumulate, and visibly deploy, the better. People who play this game well focus their attention on whatever will reward them the most monetarily, and whatever will position them to control the most resources (human and economic).

11. Institution-building pride is based upon largely intangible values and basic human emotions, rather than tangible compensation and crystal-clear logic.

12. It almost goes without saying that the prospect of earning more money motivates higher performance. In fact, most well-intended managers believe that the best way to reward as well as motivate their employees is by dangling more “coin of the realm” in front of them. Yet this conventional wisdom of “pay for performance” is both incomplete and misleading.

13. Moreover, relying on money as the primary source of motivation can get expensive for the company, particularly if it doesn’t really produce commensurate results.

14. People who are emotionally committed to something—be it a person, a group, an enterprise, a cause, or an aspiration—behave in ways that defy logic and often produce results that are well beyond expectations. They pursue impossible dreams, work ridiculous hours, and resolve unsolvable problems.

15. Monetary compensation is simply not a motivational factor within a true performing team because the extra performance the group achieves results from collective or joint efforts that are rarely recognized by monetary rewards.

16. Self-serving pride is unavoidable because it stems from basic human needs. We must have money to buy the food, clothing, and shelter that

17.Nonetheless, when it comes to generating higher levels of performance over the long term, self-serving pride has many shortfalls, including the following:

  • Money attracts and retains people better than it motivates them to excel.

  • Money works only as long as you can pay more than the competition.

  • A monetary focus can obscure the fundamentals because you cannot easily convert short-term earnings into lasting value.

  • Self-serving employees can take advantage of monetary incentive plans.

  • Money and title differentials work better at the top than at the bottom because the value-added differences are more evident.

  • Money and ego motivate individuals better than they do teams or groups. 

  • Materialism easily turns into greed and self-serving behaviors.

18.  From an enterprise point of view, money only works as long as some other enterprise does not offer your top performers a higher amount. 

19. And as implied before, whenever the company faces tough times, the positive aspects of monetary incentives turn negative. The best people leave just when you need them the most. And the mediocre performers hang on as long as possible, because they fear they cannot find good-paying jobs elsewhere.

20. In the Corps, however, we expect Marine leaders at all levels to worry only about two things. First and foremost is mission accomplishment: you must accomplish your mission—no matter what—unless the person who gave you that mission changes it. 

21. The second thing we want you to worry about is taking care of your troops—each and every one of them. We expect you to bring them home dead or alive under any and all conditions.

22. The following comments excerpted from the focus groups we conducted reflect the different kinds of pride that motivate Microsoft people:

  • The products: “We work on products that everyone is likely to use—and I mean everyone. More than one hundred million people use Office, my product. People will stop me in the middle of a conversation and say, ‘You worked on that [feature]?’ It’s instant respect and a great ego rush.”

  • The project teams: Project teams often came up as a source of pride. “People on my former project were so superexcited to be working on this application technology. They didn’t really care where they were in the organization or what title they had—they just wanted to work with this technology. We still get together whenever a customer has a problem that needs to be solved.”

  • The people: “I really think that it’s all about the talent. We have the best technical talent in the world, and what’s even better is that anyone here can have access to all of it!

  • The impossible dream: One focus group member put it in a much more personal way: “I make products that even my grandmother uses!

23. PRIDE IN HOW YOU WORK The “how” refers to the set of values, standards, work ethics, and commitment you apply to your job.

24. There is a right way to do almost any job, and the best workers take pride in mastering it.

25. While such leaders are in short supply at every level of the company, they do exist. However, it takes much more than lip service to increase the supply and capitalize on its performance potential. You start by encouraging leaders at all levels to pay close attention to, and diligently cultivate, what employees already take pride in.

26. It is important to make heroes and role models out of such people. It is even more important to find ways to transfer their skills and techniques and tools to others.

27. But what motivates upper-level executives and professional leaders is considerably different from what motivates frontline employees and supervisors. This difference is even more pronounced when a company is not doing particularly well.

28. Rich works to reinforce a sense of ownership and pride in his employees by 

(1) communicating constantly to be sure his people understand the broader “why” behind their work, 

(2) tying their day-to-day activities to the larger goals of the unit and the company, and 

(3) showing them how their everyday efforts are progressing toward these larger goals.

29. So whenever someone’s good work receives praise or thanks from a customer, Rich publicizes it among all of his employees. Thus, he gets employees to take pride and ownership in their work along the way as well as when major “pride-inducing” milestones occur.

30. For employees on the front line, however, Brian spends the majority of his efforts on creative recognition and celebration. 

31. Here, Brian is far more a cheerleader than a “numbers guy.” His enthusiasm is as infectious as it is evident as he speaks in detail about the many different programs and the small, mostly nonmonetary incentives that engage frontline employees and make them proud to be part of the Tampa office.

32. He has established numerous trophies, pizza parties, and monthly newsletter features to recognize specific employees for such things as exceptional performance on quality measures, attention to detail, and pride in serving the customer.

33. Some of these originate as managerial, but others are peer-induced. For example, one program encourages employees to send notes of congratulations or “Gotcha’s” to their peers (with a copy to managers), recognizing a job well done or positive feedback from customers. Recognition from peers, of course, is an excellent complement to Brian’s managerial regimen of reinforcement. It enables employees to get actively involved in the celebration, as well as to interpret and better understand the office’s strategic priorities.

34. When Morton was describing some of the leadership teams that I was planning to research, he would often point out that the primary criteria in selecting each member of the group were complementary skills rather than personal characteristics. Others would worry that such groups “wouldn’t get along,” but Morton was confident that their mutual respect for one another’s skills and experience would more than offset any personality differences.

35. In short, money attracts and retains, whereas pride motivates!

36. That pride is instilled and cultivated by a set of processes and metrics that were essentially designed and monitored by the employees themselves.

37. Enterprises such as Hills Pet Nutrition that excel along the P&M path take the process and metrics doctrine one important step further: They insist that the technicians who will be measured against and guided by a particular set of processes and metrics are an active and integral part of designing those elements for the organization. Sounds simple enough, but it is pretty rare to find that principle in practice.

38. His father, a full-blooded Cherokee, taught him about how people listen best to behavior: “Your behavior is so loud I can’t concentrate on what you are saying.”

39. We also found that the best “manager motivators” concentrate their efforts along three fundamental themes: 

(1) always have your compass set on pride (don’t mistake pride in the destination for pride along the journey), 

(2) localize as much as possible (don’t wait for the company or its senior leaders to instill it), and 

(3) integrate multiple sources of pride around a few simple messages (don’t confuse your people with needless complexity).

40. Pride-builders are always in hot pursuit of emotional commitment rather than rational compliance; that is why their compass always points to pride. Four specific techniques are worth mentioning:

  • Clarify exactly what matters and why it matters.

  • Stimulate people’s memories, both real and vicarious. Since people can seldom feel the pride of completion at the beginning of a difficult journey, it is critical for them to remember what it will feel like. Recalling their own experience along earlier successful journeys,

  • Celebrate the “steps” as much as the “landings.”

41. Peter Senge once reminded me that if you have ever been a member of a true high-performance team, you will probably spend the rest of your life searching for another one. And most of us can vicariously recall team feelings of pride when we watch a movie like The Dirty Dozen. Pride-builders use both real and vicarious techniques of recall to great advantage.

42. Localize as Much as Possible Despite the impressive leadership systems in the peak-performance organizations, we have discovered that the best efforts are localized.

43. These local sources of pride provide the kind of flexibility to adapt that is so critical over time.

44. Draw primarily on local analogies and role models. If you have ever watched the Special Olympics on television (or been fortunate enough to attend in person),

45. Tap into family, community, and union events. Pride-builders invariably go outside the workplace to find sources of pride that will be relevant to the workplace.

46. Trigger the “anticipation” of feeling proud locally.

47. When you are trying to instill pride in future performance, it is much easier to get your people to anticipate those motivation feelings by drawing upon stories and heroes that are local and well-known to your people. Triggering feelings of pride that must anticipate future performance is easier to do when the trigger mechanisms are familiar and credible.

48. Develop and repeat your most compelling stories. People seldom tire of good stories that stir up feelings of pride.

49. Perhaps the worst pitfall is the one to conclude on: complexity. Don’t overload the system! Because institution-building pride comes from many sources and utilizes many mechanisms, it is all too easy to try to do it all at once.

Summary: Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

1. Thinking in bets starts with recognizing that there are exactly two things that determine how our lives turn out: the quality of our decisions and luck. Learning to recognize the difference between the two is what thinking in bets is all about.

2. Pete Carroll was a victim of our tendency to equate the quality of a decision with the quality of its outcome. Poker players have a word for this: “resulting.” When I started playing poker, more experienced players warned me about the dangers of resulting, cautioning me to resist the temptation to change my strategy just because a few hands didn’t turn out well in the short run.

3. Hindsight bias is the tendency, after an outcome is known, to see the outcome as having been inevitable.

4. “Our thinking can be divided into two streams, one that is fast, automatic, and largely unconscious, and another that is slow, deliberate, and judicious.”

5. The first system, “the reflexive system, seems to do its thing rapidly and automatically, with or without our conscious awareness.” The second system, “the deliberative system . . . deliberates, it considers, it chews over the facts.”

6. The differences between the systems are more than just labels. Automatic processing originates in the evolutionarily older parts of the brain, including the cerebellum, cerebellum, basal ganglia, and amygdala. Our deliberative mind operates out of the prefrontal cortex.

7. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t control most of the decisions we make every day. We can’t fundamentally get more out of that unique, thin layer of prefrontal cortex. “It’s already overtaxed,”

8. Our goal is to get our reflexive minds to execute on our deliberative minds’ best intentions.

9. The quality of our lives is the sum of decision quality plus luck. In chess, luck is limited in its influence, so it’s easier to read the results as a signal of decision quality. That more tightly tethers chess players to rationality.

10. That’s chess, but life doesn’t look like that. It looks more like poker, where all that uncertainty gives us the room to deceive ourselves and misinterpret the data.

11. But getting comfortable with “I’m not sure” is a vital step to being a better decision-maker. We have to make peace with not knowing.

12. What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of “I’m not sure.”

13. If we misrepresent the world at the extremes of right and wrong, with no shades of grey in between, our ability to make good choices—choices about how we are supposed to be allocating our resources, what kind of decisions we are supposed to be making, and what kind of actions we are supposed to be taking—will suffer.

14. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work on loss aversion, part of prospect theory (which won Kahneman the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002), that losses in general feel about two times as bad as wins feel good.

15. No matter how far we get from the familiarity of betting at a poker table or in a casino, our decisions are always bets.

16. In most of our decisions, we are not betting against another person. Rather, we are betting against all the future versions of ourselves that we are not choosing.

17. In fact, believing is so easy, and perhaps so inevitable, that it may be more like involuntary comprehension than it is like rational assessment.”

18. Two years later, Gilbert and colleagues demonstrated through a series of experiments that our default is to believe that what we hear and read is true. Even when that information is clearly presented as being false, we are still likely to process it as true.

19. We form beliefs without vetting most of them, and maintain them even after receiving clear, corrective information.

20. Truthseeking, the desire to know the truth regardless of whether the truth aligns with the beliefs we currently hold, is not naturally supported by the way we process information. We might think of ourselves as open-minded and capable of updating our beliefs based on new information, but the research conclusively shows otherwise. Instead of altering our beliefs to fit new information, we do the opposite, altering our interpretation of that information to fit our beliefs.

21. Flaws in forming and updating beliefs have the potential to snowball. Once a belief is lodged, it becomes difficult to dislodge.

22. This irrational, circular information-processing pattern is called motivated reasoning. The way we process new information is driven by the beliefs we hold, strengthening them. Those strengthened beliefs then drive how we process further information, and so on.

23. “Wanna bet?” triggers us to engage in that third step that we only sometimes get to. Being asked if we are willing to bet money on it makes it much more likely that we will examine our information in a less biased way, be more honest with ourselves about how sure we are of our beliefs, and be more open to updating and calibrating our beliefs.

24. The more we recognize that we are betting on our beliefs (with our happiness, attention, health, money, time, or some other limited resource), the more we are likely to temper our statements, getting closer to the truth as we acknowledge the risk inherent in what we believe.

25. Admitting we are not sure is an invitation for help in refining our beliefs, and that will make our beliefs much more accurate over time as we are more likely to gather relevant information.

26. By communicating our own uncertainty when sharing beliefs with others, we are inviting the people in our lives to act like scientists with us. This advances our beliefs at a faster clip because we miss out on fewer opportunities to get new information, information that would help us to calibrate the beliefs we have.

27. How we figure out what—if anything—we should learn from an outcome becomes another bet. As outcomes come our way, figuring out whether those outcomes were caused mainly by luck or whether they were the predictable result of particular decisions we made is a bet of great consequence.

28. We have the opportunity to learn from the way the future unfolds to improve our beliefs and decisions going forward. The more evidence we get from experience, the less uncertainty uncertainty we have about our beliefs and choices. Actively using outcomes to examine our beliefs and bets closes the feedback loop, reducing uncertainty. This is the heavy lifting of how we learn.

29. If making the same decision again would predictably result in the same outcome, or if changing the decision would predictably result in a different outcome, then the outcome following that decision was due to skill.

30. If, however, an outcome occurs because of things that we can’t control (like the actions of others, the weather, or our genes), the result would be due to luck.

31. Stanford law professor and social psychologist Robert MacCoun studied accounts of auto accidents and found that in 75% of accounts, the victims blamed someone else for their injuries. In multiple-vehicle accidents, 91% of drivers blamed someone else. Most remarkably, MacCoun found that in single-vehicle accidents, 37% of drivers still found a way to pin the blame on someone else.

32. Blaming the bulk of our bad outcomes on luck means we miss opportunities to examine our decisions to see where we can do better. 

33. Taking credit for the good stuff means we will often reinforce decisions that shouldn’t be reinforced and miss opportunities to see where we could have done better.

34. Human tendency: we take credit for good things and deflect blame for bad things.

35. Black-and-white thinking, uncolored by the reality of uncertainty, is a driver of both motivated reasoning and self-serving bias. If our only options are being 100% right or 100% wrong, with nothing in between, then information that potentially contradicts a belief requires a total downgrade, from right all the way to wrong.

36. Watching is an established learning method. There is an entire industry devoted to collecting other people’s outcomes.

37. When any of us makes decisions in life away from the poker table, we always have something at risk: money, time, health, happiness, etc. When it’s someone else’s decision, we don’t have to pay to learn. They do.

38. When it comes to watching the bad outcomes of other people, we load the blame on them, quickly and heavily. We see this pattern of blaming others for bad outcomes and failing to give them credit for good ones all over the place.

39. When we treat outcome fielding as a bet, it pushes us to field outcomes more objectively into the appropriate buckets because that is how bets are won. Winning feels good. Winning is a positive update to our personal narrative. Winning is a reward. With enough practice, reinforced by the reward of feeling good about ourselves, thinking of fielding outcomes as bets will become a habit of mind.

40. Once we start actively training ourselves in testing alternative hypotheses and perspective taking, it becomes clear that outcomes are rarely 100% luck or 100% skill.

41. If the ship’s navigator introduces a one-degree navigation error, it would start off as barely noticeable. Unchecked, however, the ship would veer farther and farther off course and would miss London by miles, as that one-degree miscalculation compounds mile over mile. Thinking in bets corrects your course. And even a small correction will get you more safely to your destination.

42. Recruiting help is key to creating faster and more robust change, strengthening and training our new truthseeking routines.

43. In fact, as long as there are three people in the group (two to disagree and one to referee*), the truthseeking group can be stable and productive.

44. In combination, the advice of these experts in group interaction adds up to a pretty good blueprint for a truthseeking charter: 

  • A focus on accuracy (over confirmation), which includes rewarding truthseeking, objectivity, and open-mindedness within the group; 

  • Accountability, for which members have advance notice; and 

  • Openness to a diversity of ideas.

45. Win bets by relentlessly striving to calibrate our beliefs and predictions about the future to more accurately represent the world. In the long run, the more objective person will win against the more biased person. In that way, betting is a form of accountability to accuracy.

46. A productive decision group can harness this desire by rewarding accuracy and intellectual honesty with social approval.

47. It is one thing to commit to rewarding ourselves for thinking in bets, but it is a lot easier if we get others to do the work of rewarding us.

48. I experienced firsthand the power of a group’s approval to reshape individual thinking habits. I got my fix by trying to be the best credit-giver, the best mistake-admitter, and the best finder-of-mistakes-in-good-outcomes.

49. “The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.”

50. We should guard against gravitating toward clones of ourselves. We should also recognize that it’s really hard: the norm is toward homogeneity; we’re all guilty of it; and we don’t even notice that we’re doing it.

51. In other words, the opinions of group members aren’t much help if it is a group of clones.

52. When presenting a decision for discussion, we should be mindful of details we might be omitting and be extra-safe by adding anything that could possibly be relevant. On the evaluation side, we must query each other to extract those details when necessary.

53. Just as we can recruit other people to be our decision buddies, we can recruit other versions of ourselves to act as our own decision buddies.

54. When we make in-the-moment decisions (and don’t ponder the past or future), we are more likely to be irrational and impulsive. This tendency we all have to favor our present-self at the expense of our future-self is called temporal discounting.

55. We are built for temporal discounting, for using the resources that are available to us now as opposed to saving them for a future version of us that we aren’t particularly in touch with in the moment of the decision.

56. We’re not perfectly rational when we ponder the past or the future and engage deliberative mind, but we are more likely to make choices consistent with our long-term goals when we can get out of the moment and engage our past- and future-selves.

57. Reconnaissance has been part of advance military planning for as long as horses have been used in battle.

58. To start, we imagine the range of potential futures. This is also known as scenario planning.

59. The idea is to consider a broad range of possibilities for how the future might unfold to help guide long-term planning and preparation.”

60. After identifying as many of the possible outcomes as we can, we want to make our best guess at the probability of each of those futures occurring.

61. By at least trying to assign probabilities, we will naturally move away from the default of 0% or 100%, away from being sure it will turn out one way and not another. Anything that moves us off those extremes is going to be a more reasonable assessment than not trying at all.

62. When it comes to advance thinking, standing at the end and looking backward is much more effective than looking forward from the beginning.

63. The most common form of working backward from our goal to map out the future is known as backcasting.

64. Backcasting makes it possible to identify when there are low-probability events that must occur to reach the goal. That could lead to developing strategies to increase the chances those events occur or to recognizing the goal is too ambitious.

65. Working backward helps even more when we give ourselves the freedom to imagine an unfavorable future.

66. A premortem is an investigation into something awful, but before it happens

67. Backcasting and premortems complement each other. Backcasting imagines a positive future; a premortem imagines a negative

68. Despite the popular wisdom that we achieve success through positive visualization, it turns out that incorporating negative visualization makes us more likely to achieve our goals.

69. We start a premortem by imagining why we failed to reach our goal: our company hasn’t increased its market share; we didn’t lose weight; the jury verdict came back for the other side; we didn’t hit our sales target.

Summary : Little Bets by Peter Sims

1. When success is the only acceptable outcome, Little Bets advocates a bold and radical approach in which failure is good,

2. I had worked before then as a venture capital investor, and in that work, I had learned that most successful entrepreneurs don’t begin with brilliant ideas—they discover them.

3. These creators use experimental, iterative, trial-and-error approaches to gradually build up to breakthroughs. Experimental innovators must be persistent and willing to accept failure and setbacks as they work toward their goals.

4. Little Bets is based on the proposition that we can use a lot of little bets and certain creative methods to identify possibilities and build up to great outcomes. At the core of this experimental approach, little bets are concrete actions taken to discover, test, and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable.

5. They begin as creative possibilities that get iterated and refined over time, and they are particularly valuable when trying to navigate amid uncertainty, create something new, or attend to open-ended problems.

6. When we can’t know what’s going to happen, little bets help us learn about the factors that can’t be understood beforehand. The important thing to remember is that while prodigies are exceptionally rare, anyone can use little bets to unlock creative ideas.

7. Fundamental to the little bets approach is that we: 

  • Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up to creative ideas, like Beethoven did in order to discover new musical styles and forms. 

  • Play: A playful, improvisational, and humorous atmosphere quiets our inhibitions when ideas are incubating or newly hatched, and prevents creative ideas from being snuffed out or prematurely judged. 

  • Immerse: Take time to get out into the world to gather fresh ideas and insights, in order to understand deeper human motivations and desires, and absorb how things work from the ground up. 

  • Define: Use insights gathered throughout the process to define specific problems and needs before solving them, just as the Google founders did when they realized that their library search algorithm could address a much larger problem. 

  • Reorient: Be flexible in pursuit of larger goals and aspirations, making making good use of small wins to make necessary pivots and chart the course to completion. 

  • Iterate: Repeat, refine, and test frequently armed with better insights, information, and assumptions as time goes on, as Chris Rock does to perfect his act.

8. Two fundamental advantages of the little bets approach are highlighted in the research of Professor Saras Sarasvathy: that it enables us to focus on what we can afford to lose rather than make assumptions about how much we can expect to gain, and that it facilitates the development of means as we progress with an idea.

9. Seasoned entrepreneurs, she emphasizes, will tend to determine in advance what they are willing to lose, rather than calculating expected gains.

10. Of course the subject of affordable losses highlights a key issue with the little bets approach—it inevitably involves failure.

11. In almost any attempt to create, failure, and often a good deal of it, is to be expected.

12. Hewlett’s approach to identifying new opportunities using small bets did not come without numerous failures. In 1971, HP featured over 1,600 products in its catalog, none of which averaged sales of more than ten units per day, according to Chuck House. In fact, Hewlett estimated that roughly only six out of every 100 new HP products would become breakout successes.

13. By advocating the little bets approach, I am in no way arguing against bold ambition. Ambitious (dare I employ the overused word audacious) goals are essential.

14. A big vision provides the direction and inspiration through which to channel aspirations and ideas. But one of the most important lessons of the study of experimental innovators is that they are not rigid in pursuit of that vision, and that they persevere through failures, often many of them.

15. Central to Pixar’s success in fostering this growth mind-set through the ranks is the company’s attitude about failure. Pixar’s managers see a host of failures, false starts, and problems as the modus operandi for developing their films. In fact, when Ed Catmull sums up Pixar’s creative process, he describes it as going from suck to nonsuck.

16. Pixar film ideas begin on rough storyboards that suck until they work through thousands of problems throughout the process in order to take films from suck to nonsuck.

17. Of course, just failing is not the key; the key is to be systematically learning from failures.

18. One of the methods that can be most helpful in achieving this balance, in order to embrace the learning potential of failure, is prototyping. What the creation of low cost, rough prototypes makes possible is failing quickly in order to learn fast.

19. Failing quickly to learn fast is also a central operating principle for seasoned entrepreneurs who routinely describe their approach as failing forward. That is, entrepreneurs push ideas into the market as quickly as possible in order to learn from mistakes and failures that will point the way forward.

20. Novelist Anne Lamott believes that every good writer writes what she calls shitty first drafts.

21. The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts,” Lamott writes in Bird by Bird. Just get it down on paper, she recommends. Write like a child, whatever comes to your mind. “All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.”

22. Ed Catmull’s belief that it’s better to fix problems than prevent errors.

23. The level of feedback you get is so much more valuable and impactful…. The problem with showing something to consumers when it’s almost totally done, people don’t necessarily want to give negative feedback at that point because it looks like, “This company has spent a lot of money already getting it to this stage and now I’m going to tell them, ‘It sucks.’” On the other hand, if something hangs together with tape, and it’s clear that it’s an early prototype, the mindset of consumers often is, “These people still need some help, so let me tell you what I really think about it.”

24. Analogous to Limb’s findings, Ansari and Berkowitz found that during improvisation, the right-temporoparietal junctions of the pianists’ brains were deactivated. Neuroscientists associate this area of the brain with the ability to make judgments, particularly about differences differences between self and others. The experienced pianists seemed to be able to turn off a judging part of their mind, freeing them up to create novel melodies. According to Berkowitz, brain scans of nonartists do not exhibit a similar pattern, which suggests that experiencing creative processes could help to build certain creative muscles.

25. There are several major improvisation principles. One is that you should “accept every offer.”

26. So, for example, if two people were performing an improvised skit, Bob might say to Sherry, “I was thinking we could watch Silence of the Lambs tonight.” To which Sherry would accept that offer by saying something like, “Yes, and we can still have time to watch the Late Show afterward.” To which Bob might reply, “Yes, and then we can check email!” It’s a simplified and somewhat silly example, but the point of accepting every offer is that nothing is too silly.

27. After all, if Sherry had spurned Bob’s initial offer by replying, “That’s a stupid movie,” Bob would start thinking and censoring himself, shutting down the possibilities that might come. The effect is deadening.

28. That Bob and Sherry lift one another up relates to another foundation of improvisation: Make your partner look good. Because Bob and Sherry aren’t criticizing one another, it creates a positive atmosphere to generate possibilities. Positive energy drives improvisation, and reduces inhibitions and doubts. By making each other look good, it’s easier for Bob and Sherry to get in a zone.

29. Throughout the Pixar creative process, they rely heavily on what they call plussing; it is likely the most-used concept around the company. The point of plussing is to build upon and improve ideas without using judgmental language. Creating an atmosphere where ideas are constantly being plussed, while maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness, is a central element of Pixar’s magic.

30. Rather than criticize an idea in its entirety (even if they don’t think it’s good), people accept the starting point before suggesting improvements.

31. Instead of criticizing the sketch or saying “no,” the director will build on the starting point by saying something like, “I like Woody’s eyes, and what if we …” Again, notice the use of the word and rather than a word that implies a judgment, such as but.

32. A host of studies indicates that humor creates positive group effects. Many focus on how humor can increase cohesiveness and act as a lubricant to facilitate more efficient communications.

33. One reason for that is that humor has also been demonstrated to increase trust. In order to produce positive mental effects, however, researchers Eric Romero and Anthony Pescosolido found that humor first must be considered funny to the people involved, not seen as demeaning, derogatory, or put-downs.

34. Romero and Pescosolido argued, based on a broad assessment of humor research, should affirm group identities in terms of: who we are, what we are doing, and how we do things.

35. Research evidence suggests a strong link between inquisitiveness and creative productivity.

36. Innovators routinely networked with people who came from different backgrounds.

37. Learning a little bit from a lot of people was one of the main ways Tim identified so many unique ideas and insights.

38. Wiseman’s research is that lucky people pay more attention attention to what’s going on around them than unlucky people.

39. For example, Wiseman found that the lucky people had three times greater open body language in social situations than unlucky people. Lucky people also smiled twice as much as unlucky people, thus drawing other people and chance encounters to them.

40. von Hippel found that one group, which he called active users or lead users, were responsible for developing over 75 percent of the innovations.

41. These people not only serve as cutting-edge taste makers, they actively tinker to push and create new ideas on their own.

42. Since the needs of these active users precede and, according to the research, often anticipate, what the masses will like, they become incredibly valuable as idea development partners.

43. The ideas they help generate can then be tested with broader audiences and commercialized. The same is true for good comedy.

44. For example, singer and songwriter John Legend does so as he develops a new song. The first part of Legend’s songwriting process is to develop a good back-beat working closely with music producers like Kanye West,, or Raphael Saadiq. Once he’s found a beat he likes, Legend will then develop melodies on top of it, often working at a piano, and finally write the lyrics. Kanye West, in particular, is a classic innovator and active user, constantly consuming and tinkering with music. Legend and others consider West to be a creative genius in many respects, with a well-tuned ear for what broader audiences will like. His early involvement in a song routinely drives later success. So, Legend will bounce ideas around with West at all stages of the process, especially at the beginning. It’s strategic trial and error.

45. A small win is “a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance.” They are small successes that emerge out of our ongoing development process, and it’s important to be watching closely for them.

46. Small wins are like footholds or building blocks amid the inevitable uncertainty of moving forward.

47. They serve as what Saras Sarasvathy calls landmarks, and they can either confirm that we’re heading in the right direction or they can act as pivot points, telling us how to change course.

48. It is helpful for alcoholics to focus on remaining sober one day at a time, or even one hour at a time. Stringing together successive days of sobriety helps them to see the rewards of abstinence and makes it more achievable.

49. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”

50. Another benefit of small wins is less immediately obvious: They enable the development of the means to attain goals. Recall from Saras Saravathy’s research how important the development of means is to seasoned entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs use their available means, such as their expertise, networks, or financial resources, to develop their ideas and access additional resources and means. One way that Ed Catmull (and later Steve Jobs) developed Pixar’s means was by steadily bringing in new talent with complementary skills.

51. Additional resources also flow toward winners.

52. One last, yet important, point about small wins is that often, rather than validating a direction we’ve been pursuing, they will provide a signal to proceed in a different way.

53. It is much easier to decide to make a change of approach when we are doing so not because things aren’t working but because something has started to work.

Summary : Mastermind Group Blueprint by Tobe Brockner

1. To describe the Mastermind concept, let me give you a quick analogy. Let’s say that you have an apple and I have an apple. If we trade apples, you still only have one apple and I still only have one apple. But, let’s say that you and I both have an idea. If we exchange ideas, then you have two ideas and I have two ideas. That is, you have your original idea plus my idea, and I will have your idea plus my original idea.

2. Hill stumbled upon this particular principle while researching the life of Henry Ford. He found that Ford met formally with a group of men who did not work at Ford Motor Company at least once per month with the intent of sharing ideas, solving problems, and identifying opportunities.

3. In this eclectic group, Ford found solace, like minds, and inspiration. When asked about the secret of his success, he said on several occasions that his monthly group meetings with these four men were pivotal in helping him reach the heights to which he arose.

4. Why You Should Join or Start a Mastermind Group:

  • The Ability to Work “on” Your Business Instead of Just “in” Your Business

  • Camaraderie and Understanding - I have long said entrepreneurs are some of the loneliest people on the planet.

  • Unique Perspectives

  • Motivation - When you surround yourself with business people who are excited, passionate, and energetic about the challenges they’re presented with, you can’t help but feel the same way.

  • Accumulated Experience - No two people will ever see the same events the same way.

  • Ability to Serve - I know it sounds cliché and it probably is, but it is still true: the more you give, the more you receive.

  • Accountability

5. It is much easier to recruit potential members when limiting group membership to only one company per industry. Think about your own industry. If you were in a group with one or two of your biggest competitors, would you be as open when it comes to sharing ideas and strategies? Probably not. So, do your best to find members from different industries.

6. Commitment - For the group to be as effective as possible, individual members must be committed to it. If attendance is sporadic or inconsistent, there will be subpar results. Besides that, it’s not really fair to other members if one or two don’t attend regularly. The whole point is to have a collaboration of ideas. When people aren’t there, collaboration suffers.

7. Membership Dues One of the most effective ways to ensure group commitment is to charge membership dues. These can range from $25 up to $1,000 or more a month. There will be some costs involved in running a group such as food, beverages, handouts, printing costs, room rental, and marketing materials. Apart from having the funds to pay for these items, there is also a psychological reason for charging dues.

8. If someone is paying to be a part of your group, he or she is much more likely to stick with it and take it seriously. I currently charge $297 per month for members to join our Mastermind Group, and members rarely miss a meeting.

9. Charge whatever you want, but make sure it is enough to keep them committed.

10. Similar Situations - Although you should only have one person per industry in your group, you should also make sure that everyone is relatively similar in where they are in their business’s growth stage.

11. You don’t want a member who has a fifty-million-dollar, twenty-year-old company partnered with a company that has been in business for three years and is barely making five hundred thousand dollars annually.

12. Optimism and a Positive Attitude - It’s okay to plan for worst-case scenarios and create alternative plans, should your Plan A not work out, but there is no room for the eternal pessimist. Find members who have a generally positive outlook on life and business.

13. The pessimists of the world are fairly easy to spot, and you need to be on the lookout for them within your group. This is the guy (or gal) who complains about every little detail, from the venue to the food to the topics being presented.

14. Remember, one of the main benefits of the Mastermind Group is to be inspired and motivated by smart, sophisticated, passionate business owners. One bad apple can spoil the bunch, and nothing will make your group disintegrate faster than negativity.

15. If you encounter a pessimist in your group, you will need to take quick action to rectify the situation. I recommend first having a frank discussion with that person. If things do not improve, you may have to ask them to leave the group.

16. Absolute Discretion It is critically important that you instill a grave sense of discretion among your Mastermind members. This goes beyond the whole “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” concept. Your members (and you) are going to be sharing intimately personal details about themselves, their employees, their competitors, their business practices, and their trade secrets. It is absolutely imperative that the group members treat this with the utmost respect and care. Trust is mandatory.

17. My Mastermind members are required to sign nondisclosure agreements that have stiff violation penalties. Fortunately, I have never had to use any of the penalties against anyone, but the simple fact that I take it so seriously with my members goes a long way in fostering a culture of openness and trust. I strongly suggest you do something similar.

18. Finally, traditional Mastermind Groups consist of no more than six people, each from different industries.

19. Concentrate on keeping your group to a total of around four to six members, including you. Keep in mind that you can set up as many of these groups as you want, depending on the kind of time commitment you can make. My colleagues in other areas of the country are running anywhere from five to eight Mastermind meetings at once.

20. If you ask people to shell out $300 to $1,000 a month to attend your Mastermind Group, then you need to make it a GREAT event. Catered food is virtually mandatory.

21. The way you sell this thing to people is by making it an elite, exclusive club into which they are being invited. It’s not something just anyone can join. There is a screening process and possibly a waiting list. Reality is perception. Every little component—every little component—has to be congruent with this positioning, including the food. Maybe even especially the food.

22. There’s a time and a place for casual dining, but your Mastermind Group meeting is not one of those times or places.

23. Along with the food, make sure you provide plenty of drinks. I usually buy a few types of soda, juices, teas, and then also have plenty of bottled water on hand.

24. However, our traditional Mastermind Groups are held in a large conference room at a local credit union.

25. Venue layout is important to the overall flow of your meetings. For a smaller group (four to six members), a round-table-type layout tends to work well. You don’t want members sitting in rows where some sit behind others. For high group interaction, a layout like that is highly inconvenient. Members should sit in a circle or half circle where everyone is facing inward, towards everyone else, making group discussion much easier.

26. Any large room free from distractions will work. If in a large conference room, make sure you can close the doors to limit the amount of noise and distractions.

27. Other options for meeting rooms are hotel conference rooms, universities, public libraries, corporate offices, or executive suites. (Executive suites often provide a large conference room to its tenants, and these can sometimes be rented for less than one hundred dollars.) Look into various options, and you should be able to find an acceptable venue without too much trouble.

28. Depending on how many people are in the group, I will go over a marketing topic for the first thirty to forty-five minutes of the meeting. We then take a quick restroom break and start with the first group member. That group member then has about forty-five minutes to talk about three or four challenges they are having in their business. The whole group participates in making suggestions, giving ideas, or fleshing out concepts related to the particular challenges under discussion.

29. Someone, usually my assistant, will take notes of the interaction and create checklists, to-do lists, and action items for that member to complete during the next month. This gives that member something tangible to take home and implement in business during the next thirty days. These meetings are not just about theory or ideas. They are about action.

30. After the first member is finished, we move on to the second person and the cycle repeats itself.

31. A lot of the real growth in the group comes from hearing about a successful strategy in one business or industry and then applying it to another business or industry, with only minor modifications. In this way, we all get to have a chance at shortcutting the learning curve, and more importantly, we get to implement something in our own businesses that has already been proven in another business.

32. At the end of each meeting, I will usually take five to ten minutes to leave the group with a motivational or inspirational thought. This ends the meeting on a positive note and gets everyone excited to get back to work and start implementing their ideas through the next month until we meet again.

33. Every new member receives a copy of a welcome letter (a letter welcoming him or her to the group and providing the necessary contact information to get in touch with me), a copy of the nondisclosure agreement (which must be signed and turned in before the meeting starts), and a copy of the ground rules (which I will cover here).

34. Ground Rules for the Meeting:

  • Attend Every Meeting - I am pretty firm about this one. If you can’t make a meeting, then you need to have a very good excuse. It’s just not fair to the rest of the group (or to you) to miss a meeting. I have actually instituted a “Two Strikes, You’re Out” policy, where if you miss two meetings during a calendar year, then you are gone.
  • Stay for the Whole Meeting - The group is only as strong as the members’ willingness to give to one another.
  • Silence/Turn Off Cell Phones - This is the one place where you give yourself permission not to be at the mercy of the daily distractions that plague you. The group needs everyone’s full attention, so turning off cell phones is a must.
  • Actively Participate - If members just sit there without offering anything to the group, I will usually try to gently draw them into the discussion with a friendly, “Well we’ve heard from everyone so far except for you, Jack. What do you think about this problem?”
  • Constructive Criticism Only/Be Positive
  • Don’t Interrupt One Another
  • Keep Your Comments Concise. Don’t Be a Time Hog.

35. A basic meeting agenda will look like this: 

  • 9:00 a.m.–9:45 a.m. Presentation to Group 

  • 9:45 a.m.–9:50 a.m. Break 

  • 9:50 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Member 1 Speaks 

  • 10:30 a.m.–11:10 a.m. Member 2 Speaks 

  • 11:10 a.m.–11:15 a.m. Break 

  • 11:15 a.m.–11:55 a.m. Member 3 Speaks 

  • 11:55 a.m.–12:05 p.m. Lunch 

  • 12:05 p.m.–12:45 p.m. Member 4 Speaks 

  • 12:45 p.m.–1:00 p.m. Wrap Up/Q&A/Etc. 

36. This agenda assumes you have at least four members in your group. The times will have to be adjusted if there are more or fewer members.

37. Talk About During Their Allotted Time? The short answer is “whatever they want.”

38. In the event they need a little guidance to get started, ask them to come prepared with three challenges or opportunities they are facing right now.

39. Marketing generally isn’t sequential, but here is a basic process you can follow: identify, find, attract, and convert.

40. The biggest thing you want to look for are business owners who read a lot of self-help books, business books, and any other nonfiction works designed to help them improve their lives or business.

41. The second character trait you want to look for in a business owner is aggressive marketing. These entrepreneurs are the ones actively and aggressively trying to grow their business and aren’t afraid of spending money to do it.

42. Finally, you want to find those business owners who are somewhat established. Entrepreneurs involved with very young companies or startups are pinching every penny and may balk at spending money to join your group, even if it will benefit them.

43. Referrals: This is the best place to begin your efforts. Keep in mind that like attracts like. In other words, we tend to associate with and attract those who are similar to us. Even if you only have a few Mastermind members right now, you’ll want to start by getting them to refer their friends and colleagues to you.

44. Chances are, they are friends with and can positively influence potential members who would be a great fit for your group.

45. Members will come and members will go, so you will always need to keep your pipeline full of potential prospects.

46. Keep this in mind when recruiting members for your Mastermind Group. You want those individuals who have a great work ethic and will be master implementers. Their natural enthusiasm for work will spread to the other group members and everyone in turn will benefit.

Summary : How to Host a Party and Handle House Guests By Judith Brown

1. Keep a record of the parties and get-togethers you've given, along with guest lists and menus and what aspects of the event were-or weren't-a success. It will make useful reading next time you plan to entertain.

2. If you plan a menu of limited courses, everything can be set out buffet style. That way you'll be able to enjoy the meal along with your guests, instead of running back and forth to serve.

3. Remember to keep non-alcoholic drinks- juices, soda, etc.-on hand for guests who don't drink alcohol.

4. An easy and pleasurable way to entertain is to invite friends to your home for a relaxing Sunday brunch.

5. Invite your friends to a make-a-pizza party and see how creative you all can be.

6. Don't try out a new recipe on guests. Prepare it first for family members or close friends.

7. Make your buffet convenient for you and your guests by wrapping place settings of silverware in napkins and placing them in a basket.

8. Ice will last longer for a party if you first freeze an inch of water in the bottom of the ice bucket.

9. Your guests will always remember your parties if you send them picture postcards of themselves. As each person enters the party, snap a photo. But only send flattering photographs.

10. For a festive holiday get-together, have a Christmas cookie exchange. Invite neighbors and friends and ask them to bring some of the favorite cookies.

11. Holiday shopping won't seem a hassle if you can schedule your shopping excursions at off hours: right after the stores open, in mid-afternoon (2:30-4:30 P.M.), or late enough in the evening to avoid the after-work crowd. Try to avoid the crowds on weekends and lunch hours.

12. You'll always have little gifts on hand if you remember to buy doubles of things you need yourself. Such items as jellies and preserves, correspondence notes, and toiletries make suitable gifts. You can also take advantage of sale items and specials that look like suitable standby gifts.

13. Make a loaf of bread and wrap it up along with a jar of homemade preserves as a delicious and practical gift.

Summary: Who not How by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy

1. Results, not effort, is the name of the game. You are rewarded in life by the results you produce, not the effort and time you put in.

2. It can be easy to focus on How, especially for high achievers who want to control what they can control, which is themselves. It takes vulnerability and trust to expand your efforts and build a winning team. It takes wisdom to recognize that 1) other people are more than capable enough to handle much of the Hows, and 2) that your efforts and contribution (your “Hows”) should be focused exclusively where your greatest passion and impact are. Your attention and energy should not be spread thin, but purposefully directed where you can experience extreme flow and creativity.

3. If you’re ready to realize a much bigger and more powerful future, then you must stop asking yourself, “How can I accomplish this?” That question, although common, leads to mediocre results, frustration, and a life of regrets. A much better question is: “Who can help me achieve this?”

4. That’s what real leadership is: Creating and clarifying the vision (the “what”), and giving that vision greater context and importance (the “why”) for all Whos involved. Once the “what” and “why” have clearly been established, the specified “Who” or “Whos” have all they need to go about executing the “How.” All the leader needs to do at that point is support and encourage the Who(s) through the process.

5. You don’t get preferential treatment with Hows, but with Whos who know what they’re doing.

6. It is critically important to understand that Who Not How goes both ways. Yes, Tucker, Reid, and I are Dan’s Whos on this book. But Dan is also a Who to each of us.

7. Ultimately, Who Not How is about teaching you how to focus on what you can do, and then finding other Whos to do what they can do.

8. In every “Who” relationship, you will have Whos, and you will also be a Who. No Who is viewed as better or more important than the other. All Whos are essential to getting the project done. There is love and respect among Whos. Each member of the team views the other as a collaborator on a shared mission, and each member wants to be a hero to the others.

9. Not only must the Who fully own the How, but they must have complete permission to do so.

10. If you’re going to apply higher levels of teamwork in your life, you’ll need to relinquish control over how things get done.

11. A core aspect of leadership is being explicit about the vision. The more explicit you are in what you want, the faster you’ll attract the right Whos to help you achieve that vision. The leader explains the “What” and “Why” and then allows the “Who” to execute the “How.”

12. “How” is linear and slow. “Who” is non-linear, instantaneous, and exponential.

13. TIME - Today Is My Everything.

14. Your Whos manage themselves; they aren’t managed by you. They have full responsibility for how they handle themselves because you’ve made the vision abundantly clear and exciting. You’ve then given them full ownership over executing and achieving the vision in whatever way suits them.

15. As it turns out, this isn’t just a fancy idea. Research shows that only 16 percent of creative insight happens while you’re at work. Instead, ideas generally come while you’re at home or in transit, or during recreational activity.

16. You need time and space, and most important, relaxation and recovery, to allow ideas and solutions to ferment and form.

17. The point here is, as you engage in relationships, you expand your efficacy as a person. Your efficacy is your ability to produce results, and it is based on the resources you have to put toward those results. Resources can be financial, but they can also be so much more than that. Encouragement, time, and focus are just as essential as monetary support. Resources not only expand your ability to produce results, but can have a transformational effect on you as a person—on your identity, worldview, and skill level.

18. For example, if you want to improve your health, you could simply get a gym membership. Or you could hire a personal trainer. Yes, this would be an investment, one you may not think you have the capacity to make. However, by hiring a personal trainer, your capabilities and potential in your health and fitness will expand. You’ll be able to produce better results because you’ll get the coaching and support you need. Additionally, by being invested, you’ll be more motivated and focused, not semi-committed.

19. Again, getting Whos is how you get committed.

20. Meta-analytic research shows that confidence is the by-product of recent performance or recent progress toward your goals. By growing your confidence, your imagination and future will simultaneously grow as well.

21. Procrastination doesn’t only stop your confidence from growing. You also limit your imagination, preventing you from seeking out bigger and bigger goals. Your identity or self-concept becomes limited. You stop believing you can achieve big goals, because your identity is largely shaped by your behavior. And this pattern will cause you to assume the same for your future. Thus, procrastination leads to a small self-image and an increasingly smaller future for yourself. You stop trusting in yourself. You stop believing in yourself.

22. Paradoxically, procrastination is actually a form of wisdom. Procrastination is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when you really want something more for yourself, but you lack the knowledge and capability to do it.

23. Procrastination is a very powerful signal telling you that it’s time to get another Who involved. You’re stuck. You need help.

24. Applying Who Not How, and thus killing procrastination, requires two essential steps: 

  • Be radically explicit about your goals. 

  • Ask yourself: Who can help me accomplish this goal?

25. Dan has created a tool that helps to define the vision, what successful completion of the project looks like, and why it is so important. He calls this tool the Impact Filter.

26. The Impact Filter, as a one-page document, solves this most pervasive leadership conundrum, and is comprised of the following questions: 

  • What is the project? 

  • Purpose: What do you want to accomplish? 

  • Importance: What’s the biggest difference this will make? 

  • Ideal Outcome: What does the completed project look like? 

  • Best Result: If you do take action? 

  • Worst Result: If you don’t take action? 

  • Success Criteria: What has to be true when this project is finished?

27. Now that you’ve clarified and become explicit about your goal, you must refrain from trying to figure out “How” to accomplish it.

28. You’ll try to convince yourself why other people may not want to get involved. You may think you can’t afford the right Whos, or that you’re not a great leader. All sorts of limiting beliefs will flood through your mind, trying to get you to focus on the Hows, not the Whos. Without question, it takes courage to tell people your vision. It takes courage and leadership to get other people involved.

29. Dan often says, “The purpose of the Impact Filter is first to sell yourself on the vision, because you can’t sell other people unless you’re sold yourself.”

30. There are plenty of incredible and capable people who want to and will help you. All you need to do is tell them your vision. Spell it out for them. The Impact Filter actually does that for you. Then ask yourself: “Who can help me accomplish this goal?”

31. Once you’ve identified the needed person to help you accomplish your goal, it’s time to get that person engaged and executing the needed Hows. In order to do so, you’ll need to ensure your vision also matches their vision for themselves, and that you can clearly become a powerful Who to them. If you can, and if helping you achieve your vision will help them simultaneously become who they want to be, then you’ve got your Who.

32.  Unless you’re brilliant at finding Whos, you should probably find a Who to find your Whos.

33. You can start small. Each small win builds confidence and an increased sense that you can create the life you want. Start by simply eliminating all tasks or distractions that are unnecessary to your future self. Often, we engage in tasks simply out of habit. If it can be eliminated altogether, then eliminate it. Your future self will thank you.

34. Challenge: Add at least one Who to your goals in the next 90 days in whatever area of your life you choose. By adding a Who, your commitment will increase and your behavior will improve.

35. By investing in Whos you not only utilize their time and resources, but also free yourself up to focus your time and attention on your most high-value activities.

36. Some people don’t invest in Whos like Connie because they don’t view them as an investment, but as a cost. They worry about the amount of money they’ll have to pay their Who, rather than thinking about how that Who could elevate their vision and free up their time.

37. The time I spend writing books and recording podcasts is worth at least 10X or even 100X the time I spent scheduling podcasts.

38. Escalation of Commitment: Every time you invest yourself in something, you become more committed to it.

39. Our culture has brainwashed us into avoiding costs rather than making powerful investments in ourselves and our futures.

40. You’re either in the “Time and Effort Economy” or the “Results Economy.”

41. Whos, when selected properly to fit within your vision, are never a cost. Whos are an investment.

42. “You can survive without a community, but you can’t thrive without one.”

43. First and foremost, when it comes to connecting with someone, you should want to be connected with them. It shouldn’t be a chore. There shouldn’t be any desire to avoid contact or escape from them.

44. “I don’t want to work on a relationship. I just want a relationship that works,”

45. The moral to the story: Don’t reach out to someone unless you have something meaningful to offer them. That “something” needs to be real and relevant, not just a compliment or flattery. True and real value.

46. It’s a back-and-forth process. Rather than sitting by yourself, trying to perfect the idea without feedback, it’s far more effective to throw your ideas out there fast, get feedback from your team, and then adjust as you go. The faster you get at throwing out incomplete work, the faster it will transform into something great. Dan calls this the 80 percent rule. You can get to 80 percent of a project very quickly, such as writing a rough draft. However, going from 80 percent to 90 percent is exponentially more work than going from 0 to 80 percent. Going from 90 to 100 percent is a mountain.

47. It all starts by setting a goal, a new and bigger version of your own future. Then your next step is to ask, “Who can help me do this?”

Summary: 10-Minute Toughness by Jason Selk

1. The 10-Minute Toughness program is simply about identifying and utilizing a handful of mental tools that are proven to help people perform more consistently.

2. Athletes using 10-MT spend approximately four to five minutes after each practice and competition to focus on strengths and goal-related thinking. They also spend five minutes a day completing a five-step mental workout prior to the next day's training and/or competition to help develop a pinpoint focus on what they are trying to improve and what it takes to make it happen.

3. The field of sport psychology has identified self-efficacy (self-confidence) as the most influential mental variable in controlling performance. This means that if you have a strong belief in your ability to perform well, then the chances of your actually performing well greatly improve. This program is specifically designed to help athletes improve self-confidence. The two most effective ways to develop self-confidence are to perform well and to physically and mentally prepare to perform well.

4. The program works because it has two primary strengths. First, it forces athletes to identify the "process of success." The process of success is a clear and concise assessment of what it takes for the athlete to perform well. This assessment is done daily after training and competition. Second, a mental workout provides a vehicle for mentally training the identified process of success. In addition, athletes visualize success outcomes to enhance self-confidence. They identify the most beneficial thoughts to have and then condition their minds to be able to maintain those thoughts more fully throughout training sessions and competition. It is certainly not rocket science, but it absolutely works!

5. There are three essential phases in the 10-MT mental-training program. Phase 1 is what I refer to as the mental workout. This individualized mental-training plan helps athletes identify and focus on their "control points," or what it takes for success.

6. 10-Minute Toughness Mental Workout:

a. The Centering Breath. A fifteen-second deep breath designed to control arousal states. 

b. The Performance Statement. A specifically tailored self-statement useful for increasing training and competitive focus. 

c. The Personal Highlight Reel. An advanced form of visualization allowing athletes to increase skill refinement and consistency. 

d. The Identity Statement. A concrete self-statement proven to enhance self-image and performance confidence. 

e. The Centering Breath. As in step one, a biologically established relaxation technique used to increase the potential to perform well under pressure.

7. Phase 2 comprises developing and utilizing an effective goal-setting program:

Vision clarity: Ultimate goal accomplishment associated with sport. 

Product goal: A result-oriented goal that is clearly measurable and is usually most effective if it emphasizes accomplishments in the next twelve months. 

Process goal: The daily action needed to accomplish both product-and vision-level goals. 

Success Log: Questions that encourage the identification of personal strengths and specific desires for improvement.

Personal Rewards Program Questionnaire: Questionnaire that identifies the athlete's motivational preferences. 

Personal incentive style: The motivational preferences of athletes that enhance training and competition intensity.

8. Phase 3 teaches individuals how to develop a relentless focus on solutions. 

9. Athletes and coaches are able to realize the small difference between good and great by asking, What is one thing I can do that could make this better?

10. Centering Breath = Diaphragm Breathing - I have tried to simplify diaphragm breathing by qualifying a good centering breath as one that lasts fifteen seconds. The formula is 6-2-7: breathe in for six seconds, hold for two, and breathe out for seven seconds. Individuals under the age of twelve should try to have the centering breath last eleven seconds (4-2-5).

11. One core aspect of training is known as arousal control. The heart rate is a primary control of a person's arousal state. It is important to control heart rate because using the mind effectively becomes increasingly more difficult as the heart rate rises. Once the rate gets to 120 beats per minute, the mind will not be nearly as sharp (unless proper conditioning and mental training has occurred), and at about 150 beats per minute, the mind will essentially shut down and go into survival mode. (In this state, even the best athletes will lose the ability to maintain mental acuity.)

12. A performance statement is a specifically designed form of self-talk. Self-talk is the conversation that goes on in a person's head throughout the day. It is said that the average person has up to sixty thousand thoughts per day—that's a lot of self-talk. The unfortunate thing about those thoughts is that the majority tend to embody self-doubt or negativity. If we do not choose our thoughts carefully, they can (and many times do) have a negative impact on performance.

13. From a mental standpoint, the most tried-and-true way to increase performance is to improve confidence. Self-talk is one of the most influential agents for honing self-confidence.

14. Extensive research in the sport psychology world confirms that an athlete's internal dialogue significantly influences performance. Athletes who have negative self-talk will generally experience poor performance; conversely, when athletes keep their minds focused on positive performance cues, they are more likely to experience success.

15. A performance statement is a type of self-talk designed to help athletes zoom in on one specific thought to enhance performance consistency. It is a simple, yet concrete, thought that specifically identifies the process of success, or what it takes to perform at your best.

16. For the baseball player, there may be a performance statement to emphasize hitting (track the ball, smooth and easy) and defense (set, stay down, watch it into the glove). A basketball player may choose to combine both offense and defense into one performance statement (hustle every possession; attack every rebound; drive, drive, drive), while the gymnast may have a performance statement for every event she competes on (floor: quick hands, tight legs, squeeze; vault: top speed, feet in front; bars: hollow handstands and elbows locked).

17. In my opinion, the essence of mental toughness is the ability to replace negative thinking with thoughts that are centered on performance cues or that contribute to improved self-confidence.

18. The more often negative thoughts are replaced with positive self-talk, the more successful and mentally tough a person will be.

19. The most helpful method to stop self-doubt and negative thinking is thought replacement. Effective thought replacement occurs when you decide what you want to have happen and then think more often about what it will take to make it happen. Whenever unproductive thoughts ("don't" thinking or mental clutter) infringe, replace them with productive ones.

20. The performance statement serves two principal purposes. First, it is a way to avoid self-doubt, negativity, or mental clutter(thought replacement). Second, it helps you perform at your best by directing your thoughts toward targeted areas of strength.

21. A client trying to prioritize exercise had this as his performance statement: "Three days on, one day off; dedicated and committed; I clear my own path." His highlights aren't as much about the technical aspects of doing it right as they are about his desire and ability to be healthy.

22. The personal highlight reel is an advanced form of visualization in which you create your own mental "SportsCenter" highlight reel.

23. People learn faster by visualizing success rather than by watching it on tape. Of course, there is considerable value in watching success on tape. In fact, during film sessions, Bear Bryant, the famous football coach at Alabama, showed his players only footage of themselves playing well.

24. Coach Bryant contended that showing his players what they did well helped them repeat the performance, whereas showing them what they did wrong would only increase the likelihood of their exhibiting more poor play in the future.

25. According to some studies, in fact, every minute of visualization is worth seven minutes of physical practice.

26. Visualizing is the act of watching something in your mind before actually doing it.

27. There are eight essential guidelines for visualization success:

Choose One of Three Camera Angles - whether 1. as if the camera is in the stands recording someone other than you performing the skill; 2. you are watching the mental video as if the camera is in the stands filming as you perform the skill and 3. you watch the mental video as if your eyes are the camera lens (or as if you're wearing a helmet camera). From this perspective, you would see whatever you actually see while you are performing the skill.

Pay Attention to Detail - Try to pay attention to three of the five senses while performing the skill: sight (What do you see on the surrounding field, court, or arena?); sound (Do you hear crowd noise, coaches, teammates?); and feel (What does the ball, bat, racket, club, etc., feel like? Also, what does your body feel like as it performs successfully?).

Frequent and Brief Is the Ticket - Visualizing many times for short stints is far more effective than visualizing for extended periods.

Visualize from Beginning to End - Make sure to view the skill or action in its entirety. Creating a comprehensive mental video helps to reduce distraction and eliminate potential problems with emotional control.

Emotionally Feel the Way You Want to Feel - Be aware of how you want to feel before and during competition, and then train yourself to feel just that way.

Replay Until You Get It Right

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due - Upon finishing each successful visualization, take a brief time-out to congratulate yourself on a job well done. A mental pat on the back or a few kind words to yourself after visualizing success will help keep you on an even keel.

Operate at Game Speed - Finally, watch the mental clip at the desired speed. While it is helpful sometimes to slow the mental video down to figure out some of the more complex skills, you should always visualize at the desired speed prior to the physical performance, or else the timing of the action may be off.

28. Camera angle number three is the most beneficial, because with this approach, your muscles can actually get stronger and muscle memory can develop. Many athletes refer to muscle memory as the ability to perform successfully while on autopilot.

29. Although I just told you that all three camera angles are helpful, I do not want you to use more than one camera angle when you visualize. Pick one angle to employ, trusting your instincts on which of the three is most appropriate for you.

30. The personal highlight reel is made up of three parts. The first part emphasizes a successful performance from your past, and the second and third parts address how you want to perform in the future.

31. Part 1: Sixty-Second Mental Video Clip of Excellent Past Performance - There are two options to consider when creating the first part of your personal highlight reel. The first option is to identify the best performance or game you have had in the past (the more recent the better). Imagine that the entire performance was videotaped; select three to five personal highlights from the videotaped performance, each lasting from ten to twenty seconds. The second option is to identify a few of your best performances and choose a combination of your best highlights from those performances. Choose the three to five best personal highlights, each lasting between ten to twenty seconds.

32. Parts 2 and 3: Sixty-Second Mental Video Clips of Upcoming Big Games or Competitions - The second and third parts are also sixty-second mental video clips, but instead of re-creating the past, you imagine what you want to have happen in your future.

33. Be sure to really hone in on what it physically feels like to emphasize your performance statement and emotionally focus on your ideal arousal state as you go through parts two and three of your personal highlight reel. By doing so, you will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your visualization.

34. Sean Townsend's Personal Highlight Reel 

Part 1 (Successful Past Performance): World Championships '02  

Good training leading up to World Championships  

Felt calm and confident in warm-ups; everything was smooth and fluid  

Hit four solid routines on the first day of competition

Superhit P-bars to win the gold  

Personal greatest moment in sport: gold medal ceremony (freeze frame: standing at the top of the podium) 

Part 2 (Next Elevated-Pressure Competition): USA Championships '08  

Good, solid warm-up, feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time  

Hit all six routines on day one while feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time  

Hit all six routines in finals while feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time

Part 3 (Next Competition): WOGA Invitational  

Good, solid warm-up, feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time  

Hit all six routines on day one while feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time 

 Hit all six routines in finals while feeling calm and confident and taking one skill at a time, one routine at a time

35. An identity statement is a self-statement designed to improve self-image. Your self-image is essentially how you view yourself—what strengths and weaknesses you believe you possess. It has been demonstrated that what people believe they are capable of accomplishing largely determines how much they will actually accomplish.

36. Self-image is a proven agent of behavior control.

37. The effect of self-image is one reason why 80 percent of lottery winners file for bankruptcy within five years of winning. Even though their financial situation has dramatically changed, typically the self-image hasn't. For people who see themselves as not good with money, no matter how much money is given to them, they will generally find a way to lose it.

38. As pointed out previously, largely what determines people's self-image is the things they continually say to themselves, and unfortunately, much of our inner dialogue regards what we can't do rather than what we can do.

39. The key is to create the self-image desired—decide who you want to be and how you want to live—and then continuously tell yourself that you have what it takes to be that person. The self-image will guide and direct actions and behaviors until the self-image becomes the reality.

40. In the words of Maxwell Maltz, "You will act like the sort of person you conceive yourself to be. More important, you literally cannot act otherwise, in spite of all your conscious efforts or willpower. This is why trying to achieve something difficult with teeth gritted is a losing battle. Willpower is not the answer. Self-image management is."

41. I encourage athletes to create a two-part identity statement. The first part indicates a strength you currently have or want to have. Be sure the strength you choose to accentuate makes achieving success more likely. For example, your strength might be that you are a really hard worker. Whether it is already true or is something that you want to be true, the first part of your identity statement might be "I am the hardest worker on the team."

42. The second part of your identity statement addresses what you want to accomplish. It is OK to stretch a bit here. According to research on affirmations, the more imposing the desired task, the more impact it will have on the self-image. Frame both parts of your identity statement as though the objectives have already been achieved.

43. My own personal identity statement is "I am more motivated than my competition; I am the most effective sport psychology consultant in the world."

44. Examples of Identity Statements  

Baseball. I am the hardest worker on the team; I am a dominant major-league hitter.  

Basketball. I am intelligent and I know this game better than anyone; I am the most prolific scorer on the court.

45. Remember: the centering breath is a deep breath used to physiologically control heart rate and arousal. Taking a centering breath at the end of the mental workout is necessary for athletes because completing the personal highlight reel may cause the heart rate and arousal state to elevate.

46. I tell athletes that doing the mental workout one time a day is great. Some clients prefer to do it a couple of times a day, and that is OK, but there is no need to do it more than twice a day.

47. Give it a try. Complete the mental workout for two weeks, and judge for yourself if it helps you to improve focus, ability, and consistency.

48. The three levels, or types, of goals that I discuss with clients are ultimate goals, product goals, and process goals

49. Ultimate goals. Ultimate goals are the culmination of what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. When identifying your ultimate goals, imagine being able to look into the future and witness your retirement dinner. What accomplishments do you want to hang on the wall, and what would you like the speaker to say about you regarding how you played the game and how you conducted yourself?

50. Product goals. Product goals are result-oriented goals. They are clearly measurable and usually are most effective if they emphasize accomplishments in the next twelve months. I have found that the best formula is to assign yourself up to three product goals for the next competitive season in which you will participate and, again, up to three product goals for the upcoming off-season. For example, a basketball player may have the following three product goals for the season:

1. Score at least ten points per game 

2. Have a free-throw percentage of 80 percent or better 

3. Grab at least six rebounds every game

51. Process goals. Process goals are the "what it takes" to achieve the product goals you set. Process goals also must be specific enough to be measurable. For example, the same basketball player may believe that two of the best ways for her to score ten points per game are by being mentally prepared for each game and by aggressively driving to the hoop (within five feet) at least four times per game.

52.It is important to write your goals down and let others know of your intentions. Writing and talking about your goals will also increase your accountability and motivation for achieving them.

53. "What does Coach Wooden say about excuses?" He replied, "Never make excuses. Your friends won't need them, and your foes won't believe them."

54. For goals to work, they must become a part of daily training.

55. After practices and games, you will take about three to four minutes to fill out a Success Log. The Success Logs ask athletes to answer the following questions:  

What three things did I do well today?  

Based on today's performance, what do I want to improve?  

What is one thing I can do differently that could lead to the desired improvement?

56. Just before doing your mental workout, you will take one minute to review your Success Log entries from the previous day.

57. In my experience, athletes who establish a "personal rewards" system find it easier and more enjoyable to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their goals.

58. Research strongly suggests that pushing to reach a goal provides more happiness than actually reaching the goal.

59. It is also important to set new goals once a goal is achieved. Remember that you stand to experience more joy and satisfaction from striving to reach your goals than from actually achieving them. So, keep replacing achieved goals with bright, shiny new ones.

60. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, discovered after years of research on thousands of people is that the most successful men and women in the world use goals as their primary method of motivation.

61. Being solution focused means keeping your thoughts centered on what you want from life and what it takes to achieve what you want, as opposed to allowing thoughts of self-doubt and concern to occupy the mind.

62. "Every time I catch myself feeling angry or scared or depressed it is because I am thinking about what I don't have in my life or about something that is wrong with me. The instant I catch myself feeling uncomfortable I ask, 'What is one thing I can do right now that could make my situation better?,'

63. Bolster yourself. Surround yourself with people who want to scale the same heights. If your training companions are always complaining and wallowing in their problems, your solution focus is sure to waver.

64. Attitudes are contagious; people tend to take on the attitudes and actions of the individuals in their circle. A good attitude is just as contractible as a bad one. If you habitually conduct yourself with a solution focus, those around you will start to follow your model.

65. I consider an individual to be mentally tough when the mind is in control of thoughts that help the body accomplish what is wanted.

66. Let's review how the three phases of 10-MT can help you choose the right mental attitude.

Phase 1: The Mental Workout

Step 1: Centering Breath The centering breath is a fifteen-second breath in which you breathe in for six seconds, hold for two, and then breathe out for seven.

Step 2: Performance Statement After taking your centering breath, repeat to yourself the statement that most effectively focuses you on what it takes for you to be successful in competition.

Step 3: Personal Highlight Reel After reciting your performance statement, spend about three minutes visualizing what it looks like to be successful.

Step 4: Identity Statement Upon completing your personal highlight reel, repeat to yourself your identity statement to help mold your self-image.

Step 5: Centering Breath The mental workout ends the way it begins, with a fifteen-second deep breath. This breath resets your heart rate to a level of controlled arousal and increased mental focus. Use success logs to keep your daily training focused and precise. As best as you can, try to identify just one thing you want to improve prior to each training day.

Phase 2: Goal Setting for Greatness - When you know what you want to accomplish, write it down, and spread the word. Talking about your goals will spring them from your subconscious into your consciousness.

Phase 3: Adopt a Relentless Solution Focus - Anytime you are in the presence of adversity ask yourself, "What is one thing I can do that could make this better?"

Summary : On Mental Toughness by Harvard Business Review

1. The main obstacle to achieving “the impossible” may be a self-limiting mind-set.

2. You can’t stay at the top if you aren’t comfortable in high-stress situations. Indeed, the ability to remain cool under fire is the one trait of elite performers that is most often thought of as inborn. But in fact you can learn to love the pressure—for driving you to perform better than you ever thought you could. To do that, however, you have to first make a choice to devote yourself passionately to self-improvement.

3. People who are as self-motivated as Jack or Darren Clarke rarely indulge in self-flagellation. That’s not to say that elite performers aren’t hard on themselves; they would not have gotten so far without being hard on themselves. But when things go awry, business and sports superstars dust themselves off and move on.

4. Much of star athletes’ ability to rebound from defeat comes from an intense focus on long-term goals and aspirations.

5. The trick here is to meticulously plan short-term goals so that performance will peak at major, rather than minor, events.

6. Use the Competition - It’s common in track-and-field sports for two elite athletes from different countries to train together.

7. If you hope to make it to the very top, like Murray, you too will need to make sure you “train” with the people who will push you the hardest.

8. Smart companies consciously create situations in which their elite performers push one another to levels they would never reach if they were working with less-accomplished colleagues. Talent development programs that bring together a company’s stars for intensive training often serve precisely such a purpose. If you want to become a world-class executive, getting into such a program should be one of your first goals.

9. Shotton had an insatiable appetite for feedback—a quality I have seen in all the top business performers I have worked with. They have a particularly strong need for instant, in the moment feedback.

10. Celebrate the Victories - Elite performers know how to party—indeed, they put almost as much effort into their celebrations as they do into their accomplishments.

11.  I once worked with a professional golfer who, as he worked his way up the ranks to the top of his sport, would reward himself with something he had prized as a young player—an expensive watch, a fancy car, a new home. These were reminders of his achievements and symbolized to him the hard work, commitment, and dedication he had put into golf for so many years.

12. Indeed, our recent research has led us to conclude that one of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.

13. In the late 1960s I was part of the team that discovered “learned helplessness.” We found that dogs, rats, mice, and even cockroaches that experienced mildly painful shock over which they had no control would eventually just accept it, with no attempt to escape. It was next shown that human beings do the same thing.

14. Strangely, however, about a third of the animals and people who experience inescapable shocks or noise never become helpless. What is it about them that makes this so? Over 15 years of study, my colleagues and I discovered that the answer is optimism.

15. We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable. (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”)

16. That suggested how we might immunize people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure: by teaching them to think like optimists.

17. In the living laboratory of sports, we learned that the real enemy of high performance is not stress, which, paradoxical as it may seem, is actually the stimulus for growth. Rather, the problem is the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery. Chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leads to burnout and breakdown, and ultimately undermines performance.

18. Body language also influences emotions. In one well-known experiment, actors were asked to portray anger and then were subjected to numerous physiological tests, including heart rate, blood pressure, core temperature, galvanic skin response, and hormone levels. Next, the actors were exposed to a situation that made them genuinely angry, and the same measurements were taken. There were virtually no differences in the two profiles. Effective acting produces precisely the same physiology that real emotions do.

19. All great athletes understand this instinctively. If they carry themselves confidently, they will eventually start to feel confident, even in highly stressful situations.

20. That’s why we train our corporate clients to “act as if”—consciously creating the look on the outside that they want to feel on the inside. “You are what you repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit.”

21. We have found that individuals who adopt a “stress is enhancing” mind-set in their lives show greater work performance and fewer negative health symptoms than those who adopt a “stress-is-debilitating” lens.

22. We’ve identified four lenses through which managers can view adverse events to make this shift effectively.

23. Control. When a crisis hits, do you look for what you can improve now rather than trying to identify all the factors—even those beyond your control—that caused it in the first place? 

24. Impact. Can you sidestep the temptation to find the origins of the problem in yourself or others and focus instead on identifying what positive effects your personal actions might have? 

25. Breadth. Do you assume that the underlying cause of the crisis is specific and can be contained, or do you worry that it might cast a long shadow over all aspects of your life? 

26. Duration. How long do you believe that the crisis and its repercussions will last?

27. The first two lenses characterize an individual’s personal reaction to adversity, and the second two capture his or her impressions of the adversity’s magnitude.

28. Control Questions : 

  • Specifying: What aspects of the situation can I directly influence to change the course of this adverse event? 
  • Visualizing: What would the manager I most admire do in this situation? 
  • Collaborating: Who on my team can help me, and what’s the best way to engage that person or those people?

29. Impact Questions:

  • Specifying: How can I step up to make the most immediate, positive impact on this situation? 
  • Visualizing: What positive effect might my efforts have on those around me? 
  • Collaborating: How can I mobilize the efforts of those who are hanging back?

30. Breath Questions:

  • Specifying: What can I do to reduce the potential downside of this adverse event—by even 10%? What can I do to maximize the potential upside—by even 10%? 
  • Visualizing: What strengths and resources will my team and I develop by addressing this event?
  • Collaborating: What can each of us do on our own, and what can we do collectively, to contain the damage and transform the situation into an opportunity?

31. Duration Question:

  • Visualizing: What do I want life to look like on the other side of this adversity? 
  • Specifying: What can I do in the next few minutes, or hours, to move in that direction? 
  • Collaborating: What sequence of steps can we put together as a team, and what processes can we develop and adopt, to see us through to the other side of this hardship?

32. You won’t become more resilient simply because you’ve read this far and have made a mental note to pull out these questions the next time a destabilizing difficulty strikes. To strengthen your capacity for resilience, you need to internalize the questions by following two simple precepts:

33. Various studies on stress and coping with trauma demonstrate that the act of writing about difficult episodes can enhance an individual’s emotional and physical well-being. Indeed, writing offers people command over an adverse situation in a way that merely thinking about it does not. It’s best to treat the resilience regimen as a timed exercise: Give yourself at least 15 minutes, uninterrupted, to write down your responses to the 12 questions.

34. When you’re learning any new skill, repetition is critical. The resilience regimen is a long-term fitness plan, not a crash diet. You must ask and answer these questions daily if they are to become second nature.