10 Nuggets from: "Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity"

1. GOOD IDEAS ALTER THE POWER BALANCE IN RELATIONSHIPS. THAT IS WHY GOOD IDEAS ARE ALWAYS INITIALLY RESISTED.


2. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will give the work far more power than the work’s objective merits ever will.

[From the chapter: The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours]


3. The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task at hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.[From the chapter: Keep your day job]


4. “The first rule of business,” he said, chuckling at my naïveté, “is never sell something you love. Otherwise, you may as well be selling your children.”


5. That means hanging out more with the creative people, the freaks, the real visionaries, than you’re already doing. Thinking more about what their needs are, and responding accordingly.


6. Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay, etc., especially if you haven’t finished it yet. And the ones who aren’t too busy you don’t want in your life anyway.


7. Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.


8.  If you’re looking at a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to you, then go do something else. Writer’s block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you should feel the need to say something.


9. The best way to get approval is not to need it. This is equally true in art and business. And love. And sex. And just about everything else worth having.


10. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs. [THE LATE BRITISH BILLIONAIRE JAMES GOLD-SMITH once quipped, “When a man marries his mistress, he immediately creates a vacancy.”]

Highlights from "Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success" by Adam Grant

1.       According to conventional wisdom, highly successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity.

2.       Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of others’ needs.

3.       But Hornik is the opposite of a taker; he’s a giver. In the workplace, givers are a relatively rare breed. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. Whereas takers tend to be self-focused, evaluating what other people can offer them, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them.

4.       According to research led by Yale psychologist Margaret Clark, most people act like givers in close relationships. In marriages and friendships, we contribute whenever we can without keeping score.

5.       But in the workplace, give and take becomes more complicated. Professionally, few of us act purely like givers or takers, adopting a third style instead. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.

6.       But evidence shows that at work, the vast majority of people develop a primary reciprocity style, which captures how they approach most of the people most of the time. And this primary style can play as much of a role in our success as hard work, talent, and luck.

7.       Research demonstrates that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder. Across a wide range of important occupations, givers are at a disadvantage: they make others better off but sacrifice their own success in the process.

8.       In the world of engineering, the least productive and effective engineers are givers.

9.       In a study of more than six hundred medical students in Belgium, the students with the lowest grades had unusually high scores on giver statements like “I love to help others” and “I anticipate the needs of others.”

10.   There’s even evidence that compared with takers, on average, givers earn 14 percent less money, have twice the risk of becoming victims of crimes, and are judged as 22 percent less powerful and dominant.

11.   As we’ve seen, the engineers with the lowest productivity are mostly givers. But when we look at the engineers with the highest productivity, the evidence shows that they’re givers too.

12.   The worst performers and the best performers are givers; takers and matchers are more likely to land in the middle.

13.   Belgian medical students with the lowest grades have unusually high giver scores, but so do the students with the highest grades.

14.   I found that the least productive salespeople had 25 percent higher giver scores than average performers— but so did the most productive salespeople. The top performers were givers, and they averaged 50 percent more annual revenue than the takers and matchers. Givers dominate the bottom and the top of the success ladder.

 

 

15.   In this book, I want to persuade you that we underestimate the success of givers

16.   Although we often stereotype givers as chumps and doormats, they turn out to be surprisingly successful.

17.   Successful givers recognise that there’s a big difference between taking and receiving. Taking is using other people solely for one’s own gain. Receiving is accepting help from others while maintaining a willingness to pay it back and forward.

18.   When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses. Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch. In contrast, when givers like David Hornik win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than gunning for them. Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.

19.   It takes time for givers to build goodwill and trust, but eventually, they establish reputations and relationships that enhance their success.

20.   “Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.”

21.   In the 1980s, the service sector made up about half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). By 1995, the service sector was responsible for nearly two thirds of world GDP. Today, more than 80 percent of Americans work in service jobs.

22.   Hornik responds personally to e-mails from complete strangers.

23.   But that was the only year of medical school in which the givers underperformed. By their second year, the givers had made up the gap: they were now slightly outperforming their peers. By the sixth year, the givers earned substantially higher grades than their peers.

24.   A giver style, measured six years earlier, was a better predictor of medical school grades than the effect of smoking on lung cancer rates (and the effect of using nicotine patches on quitting smoking).

25.   Why did the giver disadvantage reverse, becoming such a strong advantage? Nothing about the givers changed, but their program did. As students progress through medical school, they move from independent classes into clinical rotations, internships, and patient care. The further they advance, the more their success depends on teamwork and service. Whereas takers sometimes win in independent roles where performance is only about individual results, givers thrive in interdependent roles where collaboration matters.

26.   successful givers have unique approaches to interactions in four key domains: networking, collaborating, evaluating, and influencing.

27.   Alan Fiske, an anthropologist at UCLA, finds that people engage in a mix of giving, taking, and matching in every human culture— from North to South America, Europe to Africa, and Australia to Asia.

28.   For centuries, we have recognized the importance of networking. According to Brian Uzzi, a management professor at Northwestern University, networks come with three major advantages: private information, diverse skills, and power.

29.   Extensive research demonstrates that people with rich networks achieve higher performance ratings, get promoted faster, and earn more money.

30.   “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

31.   Research shows that as people gain power, they feel large and in charge: less constrained and freer to express their natural tendencies. As takers gain power, they pay less attention to how they’re perceived by those below and next to them; they feel entitled to pursue self-serving goals and claim as much value as they can.

32.   In another study spearheaded by Kahneman, people had a choice between splitting $ 12 evenly with a taker who had made an unfair proposal in the past or splitting $ 10 evenly with a matcher who had made a fair proposal in the past. More than 80 percent of the people preferred to split $ 10 evenly with the matcher, accepting $ 5 rather than $ 6 to prevent the taker from getting $ 6.

33.   In networks, new research shows that when people get burned by takers, they punish them by sharing reputational information.

34.   In the animal kingdom, lekking refers to a ritual in which males show off their desirability as mates.

35.   First, when we have access to reputational information, we can see how people have treated others in their networks. Second, when we have a chance to observe the actions and imprints of takers, we can look for signs of lekking.

36.   “When you meet people,” says former Apple evangelist and Silicon Valley legend Guy Kawasaki, regardless of who they are, “you should be asking yourself, ‘How can I help the other person?’”

37.   Strong ties provide bonds, but weak ties serve as bridges: they provide more efficient access to new information. Our strong ties tend to travel in the same social circles and know about the same opportunities as we do. Weak ties are more likely to open up access to a different network, facilitating the discovery of original leads.

38.   According to the distinguished psychologist Brian Little, pronoia is “the delusional belief that other people are plotting your well-being, or saying nice things about you behind your back.”

39.   The dormant ties provided more novel information than the current contacts.

40.   Dormant ties offer the access to novel information that weak ties afford, but without the discomfort.

41.   “You should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.”

42.   When takers build networks, they try to claim as much value as possible for themselves from a fixed pie.

43.   Cutting-edge research shows how Rifkin motivates other people to give. Giving, especially when it’s distinctive and consistent, establishes a pattern that shifts other people’s reciprocity styles within a group. It turns out that giving can be contagious. In one study, contagion experts James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found that giving spreads rapidly and widely across social networks. When one person made the choice to contribute to a group at a personal cost over a series of rounds, other group members were more likely to contribute in future rounds, even when interacting with people who weren’t present for the original act. “This influence persists for multiple periods and spreads up to three degrees of separation (from person to person to person to person),” Fowler and Christakis find, such that “each additional contribution a subject makes … in the first period is tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who are directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more as a consequence.”

44.   By giving often, engineers built up more trust and attracted more valuable help from across their work groups— not just from the people they helped.

45.   “I’ll sum up the key to success in one word: generosity,” writes Keith Ferrazzi. “If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.”

46.   The star investment analysts and the cardiac surgeons depended heavily on collaborators who knew them well or had strong skills of their own.

47.   This is a defining feature of how givers collaborate: they take on the tasks that are in the group’s best interest, not necessarily their own personal interests.

48.   Extensive research reveals that people who give their time and knowledge regularly to help their colleagues end up earning more raises and promotions in a wide range of settings, from banks to manufacturing companies.

49.   Glomb found that highly talented people tend to make others jealous, placing themselves at risk of being disliked, resented, ostracized, and undermined. But if these talented people are also givers, they no longer have a target on their backs. Instead, givers are appreciated for their contributions to the group.

50.   In a classic article, the psychologist Edwin Hollander argued that when people act generously in groups, they earn idiosyncrasy credits— positive impressions that accumulate in the minds of group members. Since many people think like matchers, when they work in groups, it’s very common for them to keep track of each member’s credits and debits. Once a group member earns idiosyncrasy credits through giving, matchers grant that member a license to deviate from a group’s norms or expectations. As Berkeley sociologist Robb Willer summarizes, “Groups reward individual sacrifice.”

51.   Just as matchers grant a bonus to givers in collaborations, they impose a tax on takers. In a study of Slovenian companies led by Matej Cerne, employees who hid knowledge from their coworkers struggled to generate creative ideas because their coworkers responded in kind, refusing to share information with them.

52.   Salk had broken the ‘unwritten commandments’ of scientific research,” which included “Thou shalt give credit to others.”

53.   “Even when people are well intentioned,” writes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, “they tend to overvalue their own contributions and undervalue those of others.” This responsibility bias is a major source of failed collaborations.

54.   This is known as psychological safety— the belief that you can take a risk without being penalized or punished. Research by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson shows that in the type of psychologically safe environment that Meyer helped create, people learn and innovate more.*

55.   in one study, engineers who shared ideas without expecting anything in return were more likely to play a major role in innovation, as they made it safe to exchange information.

56.   This is a perspective gap: when we’re not experiencing a psychologically or physically intense state, we dramatically underestimate how much it will affect us. For instance, evidence shows that physicians consistently think their patients are feeling less pain than they actually are. Without being in a state of pain themselves, physicians can’t fully realize what it’s like to be in that state.

57.   In a series of studies led by the Dutch psychologist Paul van Lange, givers had more siblings than the takers and matchers. The givers averaged two siblings; the takers and matchers averaged one and a half siblings. More siblings meant more sharing, which seemed to predispose people toward giving.

58.   Interestingly, van Lange’s data showed a sister effect, not just a sibling effect. The givers didn’t have more brothers than the takers and matchers, but they were 50 percent more likely to have sisters.

59.   Teachers’ beliefs created self-fulfilling prophecies. When teachers believed their students were bloomers, they set high expectations for their success.

60.   The teachers looked for ways to make piano lessons enjoyable, which served as an early catalyst for the intense practice necessary to develop expertise. “Exploring possibilities and engaging in a wide variety of musical activities took precedence” over factors such as “right or wrong or good or bad.”

61.   When Bloom’s team interviewed eighteen American tennis players who had been ranked in the top ten in the world, they found that although their first coaches “were not exceptional coaches, they tended to be very good with young children… What this first coach provided was motivation for the child to become interested in tennis and to spend time practicing.”

62.   grit: having passion and perseverance toward long-term goals. Her research shows that above and beyond intelligence and aptitude, gritty people— by virtue of their interest, focus, and drive— achieve higher performance.

63.   Of course, natural talent also matters, but once you have a pool of candidates above the threshold of necessary potential, grit is a major factor that predicts how close they get to achieving their potential.

64.   This is why givers focus on gritty people: it’s where givers have the greatest return on their investment, the most meaningful and lasting impact.

65.   Over the past four decades, extensive research led by Staw shows that once people make an initial investment of time, energy, or resources, when it goes sour, they’re at risk for increasing their investment. Gamblers in the hole believe that if they just play one more hand of poker, they’ll be able to recover their losses or even win big.

66.   Research suggests that due to their susceptibility to ego threat, takers are more vulnerable to escalation of commitment than givers.

67.   Other studies show that people actually make more accurate and creative decisions when they’re choosing on behalf of others than themselves.

68.   “Good givers are great getters; they make everybody better,”

69.   Research suggests that there are two fundamental paths to influence: dominance and prestige. When we establish dominance, we gain influence because others see us as strong, powerful, and authoritative. When we earn prestige, we become influential because others respect and admire us.

70.   Psychologists call this the pratfall effect. Spilling a cup of coffee hurt the image of the average candidate: it was just another reason for the audience to dislike him. But the same blunder helped the expert appear human and approachable— instead of superior and distant.*

71.   Asking questions opened the door for customers to experience what the psychologist James Pennebaker calls the joy of talking. Years ago, Pennebaker divided strangers into small groups. Imagine that you’ve just joined one of his groups, and you have fifteen minutes to talk with strangers about a topic of your choice. You might chat about your hometown, where you went to college, or your career. After the fifteen minutes are up, you rate how much you like the group. It turns out that the more you talked, the more you like the group.

72.   Asking questions is a form of powerless communication that givers adopt naturally. Questions work especially well when the audience is already skeptical of your influence, such as when you lack credibility or status, or when you’re in a highly competitive negotiation situation.

73.   The expert negotiators spent much more time trying to understand the other side’s perspective: questions made up over 21 percent of the experts’ comments but less than 10 percent of the average negotiators’ comments.

74.   New research shows that advice seeking is a surprisingly effective strategy for exercising influence when we lack authority.

75.   Advice seeking tends to be significantly more persuasive than the taker’s preferred tactics of pressuring subordinates and ingratiating superiors. Advice seeking is also consistently more influential than the matcher’s default approach of trading favors.

76.   Advice seeking is a form of powerless communication that combines expressing vulnerability, asking questions, and talking tentatively.

77.   “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

78.   Selfless givers are people with high other-interest and low self-interest.

79.   Selfless giving is a form of pathological altruism, which is defined by researcher Barbara Oakley as “an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one’s own needs,” such that in the process of trying to help others, givers end up harming themselves.

80.   If takers are selfish and failed givers are selfless, successful givers are otherish: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests.

81.   Being otherish is very different from matching. Matchers expect something back from each person they help. Otherish givers help with no strings attached; they’re just careful not to overextend themselves along the way.

82.   Researchers have drawn the same conclusion in health care, where burnout is often described as compassion fatigue, “the stress, strain, and weariness of caring for others.” Originally, experts believed that compassion fatigue was caused by expressing too much compassion. But new research has challenged this conclusion. As researchers Olga Klimecki and Tania Singer summarize, “More than all other factors, including… the time spent caregiving, it is the perceived suffering that leads to depressive symptoms in the caregiver.”

83.   In numerous studies, Carnegie Mellon psychologist Vicki Helgeson has found that when people give continually without concern for their own well-being, they’re at risk for poor mental and physical health.*

84.   Imagine that you’re going to perform five random acts of kindness this week. You’ll be doing things like helping a friend with a project, writing a thank-you note to a former teacher, donating blood, and visiting an elderly relative. You can choose one of two different ways to organize your giving: chunking or sprinkling. If you’re a chunker, you’ll pack all five acts of giving into a single day each week. If you’re a sprinkler, you’ll distribute your giving evenly across five different days, so that you give a little bit each day.

85.   The chunkers achieved gains in happiness; the sprinklers didn’t. Happiness increased when people performed all five giving acts in a single day, rather than doing one a day. Lyubomirsky and colleagues speculate that “spreading them over the course of a week might have diminished their salience and power or made them less distinguishable from participants’ habitual kind behavior.”

86.   One hundred seems to be a magic number when it comes to giving. In a study of more than two thousand Australian adults in their mid-sixties, those who volunteered between one hundred and eight hundred hours per year were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who volunteered fewer than one hundred or more than eight hundred hours annually.

87.   Weinstein and Ryan measured changes in energy from day to day. Giving itself didn’t affect energy: people weren’t substantially happier on days when they helped others than on days that they didn’t. But the reasons for giving mattered immensely: on days that people helped others out of a sense of enjoyment and purpose, they experienced significant gains in energy.* Giving for these reasons conferred a greater sense of autonomy, mastery, and connection to others, and it boosted their energy.

88.   Taylor’s neuroscience research reveals that when we feel stressed, the brain’s natural response is to release chemicals that drive us to bond. This is what the firefighters did: when they started to feel exhausted, they invested their limited energy in helping their colleagues.

89.   The economist Arthur Brooks tested the relationship between income and charitable giving. Using data from almost thirty thousand Americans in the year 2000, he controlled for every factor imaginable that would affect income and giving. He adjusted for education, age, race, religious involvement, political beliefs, and marital status. He also accounted for the number of times people volunteered. As expected, higher income led to higher giving. For every $ 1 in extra income, charitable giving went up by $ 0.14.*

90.   But something much more interesting happened. For every $ 1 in extra charitable giving, income was $ 3.75 higher. Giving actually seemed to make people richer. For example, imagine that you and I are both earning $ 60,000 a year. I give $ 1,600 to charity; you give $ 2,500 to charity. Although you gave away $ 900 more than I did, according to the evidence, you’ll be on track to earn $ 3,375 more than I will in the coming year.

91.   It seems that giving adds meaning to our lives, distracts us from our own problems, and helps us feel valued by others.

92.   There’s a wealth of evidence that the ensuing happiness can motivate people to work harder, longer, smarter, and more effectively. Happiness can lead people to experience intense effort and long hours as less unpleasant and more enjoyable, set more challenging goals, and think more quickly, flexibly, and broadly about problems.

93.   Studies led by Columbia psychologist Adam Galinsky show that when we empathize at the bargaining table, focusing on our counterparts’ emotions and feelings puts us at risk of giving away too much.* But when we engage in perspective taking, considering our counterparts’ thoughts and interests, we’re more likely to find ways to make deals that satisfy our counterparts without sacrificing our own interests.

94.   Once successful givers see the value of sincerity screening and begin to spot agreeable takers as potential fakers, they protect themselves by adjusting their behavior accordingly.

95.   Peter’s experience offers a clue into how givers avoid getting burned: they become matchers in their exchanges with takers. It’s wise to start out as a giver, since research shows that trust is hard to build but easy to destroy. But once a counterpart is clearly acting like a taker, it makes sense for givers to flex their reciprocity styles and shift to a matching strategy— as Peter did by requiring Rich to reciprocate by adding value to the business.

96.   In generous tit for tat, the rule is “never forget a good turn, but occasionally forgive a bad one.” You start out cooperating and continue cooperating until your counterpart competes.

97.   As the psychologist Brian Little puts it, even if a style like giving is our first nature, our ability to prosper depends on developing enough comfort with a matching approach that it becomes second nature.

98.   Common ground is a major influence on giving behaviors. In one experiment, psychologists in the United Kingdom recruited fans of the Manchester United soccer team for a study. When walking from one building to another, the soccer fans saw a runner slip on a grass bank, where he fell holding his ankle and screaming in pain. Would they help him? It depended on the T-shirt that he was wearing. When he wore a plain T-shirt, only 33 percent helped. When he wore a Manchester United T-shirt, 92 percent helped. Yale psychologist Jack Dovidio calls this “activating a common identity.”

99.   Brett Pelham, a psychologist at the University at Buffalo, noticed that we seem to prefer people, places, and things that remind us of ourselves.

100.  Cialdini finds that people donate more money to charity when the phrase “even a penny will help” is added to a request. Interestingly, this phrase increases the number of people who give without necessarily decreasing the amount that they give.

101.  I announced that we would be running an exercise called the Reciprocity Ring, which was developed by University of Michigan sociologist Wayne Baker and his wife Cheryl at Humax. Each student would make a request to the class, and the rest of the class would try to use their knowledge, resources, and connections to help fulfill the request.

102. In one study, managers described times when they gave and received help. Of all the giving exchanges that occurred, roughly 90 percent were initiated by the recipient asking for help. Yet when we have a need, we’re often reluctant to ask for help. Much of the time, we’re embarrassed: we don’t want to look incompetent or needy, and we don’t want to burden others. As one Wharton dean explains, “The students call it Game Face: they feel pressured to look successful all the time. There can’t be any chinks in their armor, and opening up would make them vulnerable.”

103. Influence is far more powerful in the opposite direction: change people’s behaviors first, and their attitudes often follow.

104. Psychologists have found that on average, people whose names start with A and B get better grades and are accepted to higher-ranked law schools than people whose names start with C and D— and that professional baseball players whose names start with K, the symbol for strikeouts, strike out 9 percent more often than their peers.

105. Professional baseball players with positive initials (A.C.E., J.O.Y., W.O.W.) live an average of thirteen years longer than players with negative initials (B.U.M., P.I.G., D.U.D.). And in California between 1969 and 1995, compared with neutral initials, women with positive initials lived an average of 3.4 years longer, men with positive initials lived an average of 4.5 years longer, and men with negative initials died an average of 2.8 years earlier.

 

 

1.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 4). Orion. Kindle Edition.

2.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 4). Orion. Kindle Edition.

3.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 4-5). Orion. Kindle Edition.

4.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 5). Orion. Kindle Edition.

5.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 5). Orion. Kindle Edition.

6.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 6). Orion. Kindle Edition.

7.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 6). Orion. Kindle Edition.

8.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 6). Orion. Kindle Edition.

9.       Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 6). Orion. Kindle Edition.

10.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 7). Orion. Kindle Edition.

11.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 7). Orion. Kindle Edition.

12.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 7). Orion. Kindle Edition.

13.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 7). Orion. Kindle Edition.

14.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 7). Orion. Kindle Edition.

15.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 9). Orion. Kindle Edition.

16.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 9). Orion. Kindle Edition.

17.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 10). Orion. Kindle Edition.

18.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 10). Orion. Kindle Edition.

19.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 16). Orion. Kindle Edition.

20.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 16). Orion. Kindle Edition.

21.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 17). Orion. Kindle Edition.

22.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 17). Orion. Kindle Edition.

23.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 17-18). Orion. Kindle Edition.

24.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 18). Orion. Kindle Edition.

25.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 18). Orion. Kindle Edition.

26.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 25). Orion. Kindle Edition.

27.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 26). Orion. Kindle Edition.

28.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 29-30). Orion. Kindle Edition.

29.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 30). Orion. Kindle Edition.

30.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 32). Orion. Kindle Edition.

31.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 33). Orion. Kindle Edition.

32.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 33-34). Orion. Kindle Edition.

33.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 34). Orion. Kindle Edition.

34.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 34). Orion. Kindle Edition.

35.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 37). Orion. Kindle Edition.

36.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 45). Orion. Kindle Edition.

37.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 47). Orion. Kindle Edition.

38.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 48). Orion. Kindle Edition.

39.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 50). Orion. Kindle Edition.

40.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 51). Orion. Kindle Edition.

41.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 55). Orion. Kindle Edition.

42.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 56). Orion. Kindle Edition.

43.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 56-57). Orion. Kindle Edition.

44.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 59). Orion. Kindle Edition.

45.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (pp. 59-60). Orion. Kindle Edition.

46.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 72). Orion. Kindle Edition.

47.   Grant, Adam (2013-04-11). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (p. 74). Orion. Kindle Edition.

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Why early wins matter

“Chester, I heard you are the guy to beat”, said my classmate.  Her statement came from the fact that in the first week of doing my master’s degree, I had finished reading one of the textbooks.  You see, I wanted to set an expectation of myself to be hard working and diligent.

Previous to starting the master’s degree, I had studied a little psychology, and had come across something known as cognitive dissonance theory.  The essence of cognitive dissonance is that people tend to act in a consistent manner.  By finishing reading the book on the first week, I was setting an expectation of myself to consistently act in such a disciplined manner.

This behaviour of performing exceptionally at the beginning of  a task, I call early wins.  One of the reasons, I kept blogging is simply because I had early wins.  In a time long ago, I had a blog with over 150k views and 100+ posts, but even before this, I had a blog post with over 30k views within my first ten posts.  I think this formed the impetuous for even further writing.

Benefits of early wins:

1.       Gives Hope – If you are undertaking something that is very demanding, having an early win can give hope that you can achieve the rest of your goal.

2.       Set Other’s Expectations – If you perform well, others will notice and will be expecting such future performance from you, and it is harder to let others down than yourself.  It’s also probably good to note that if people have poor expectations of you, you should probably move away from these people.  As with positive expectations, we also tend to live up to our negative expectations.

3.       Other’s follow your lead - Given that you are ahead of the pack, others will defer to your judgement in unsure situations.

67 Highlights From Susan Pinker's "The Village Effect: Why Face-to-face Contact Matters"

So, New Year's day I read one of the many unread books on my kindle.  What follows is my highlights on my kindle for the book: The Village Effect: Why Face-to-face Contact Matters.  I BOLD highlights that I found really interesting.




“John was rich in one important way: he had amassed a committed circle of friends, most of whom knew each other and regularly crossed paths— a feature of the most powerful and effective social networks.” 1

“Digital networks and screen media have the power to make the world seem much smaller. But when it comes to certain life-changing transformations, they’re no match for face-to-face.” 2

“If we don’t interact regularly with people face-to-face, the odds are we won’t live as long, remember information as well, or be as happy as we could have been.” 3

“women’s tendency to put a premium on their social connections is one of the main reasons they live longer.” 4

“Research shows that playing cards once a week or meeting friends every Wednesday night at Starbucks adds as many years to our lives as taking beta blockers or quitting a pack-a-day smoking habit.” 5

“Sardinian villages are the only places in the world where men live nearly as long as women. Everywhere else there is a gender gap in lifespan of about five to seven years.” 6

“Steve Cole and his team at UCLA discovered that social contact switches on and off the genes that regulate our immune response to cancer and the rate of tumor growth.” 7

“For example, if you’re surrounded by a tightly connected circle of friends who regularly gather to eat and share gossip, you’ll not only have fun but you’re also likely to live an average of fifteen years longer than a loner.” 8

“a quarter of Britons of all ages feel emotionally unconnected to others, and a third do not feel connected to the wider community.” 9

“The evidence tells us that about a third of us now feel lonely, sometimes acutely.” 10

The Importance of being Reliable

Have you ever known a store to sometimes stock what you require and it was nearby, but there is this distant store that always have what you need? I head straight to the store that is guaranteed to fulfil my needs even if it is farther away.  As humans, we gravitate towards things that will be working when we need them to.  Intuitively, we know we save time and money by going straight to a guaranteed source.  For this, we are even willing to pay a premium to get a certain amount of guarantee for a particular service.

Imagine playing chess, and somehow the pieces have emotions and the queen decided today that she doesn’t want to act like a queen, but instead wants to act like a pawn.  This is totally within her powers to do so.  The queen deciding only to play as a pawn just totally handicapped your game.  Likewise, not being reliable in the real world can make your life and others handicapped.

It’s clear that reliability is a good thing, but what should we be reliable for? It’s true we can’t be reliable for everything; I suggest you be reliable for one thing.  For instance, make it be known amongst your friends anything they are doing you are willing to support with your time; they can rely on you for this.  Being reliable in one area prevents you from being stretched too thin.  Also, it allows you become an expert in that area.

Let’s go back to the game of chess. You will find pieces with simple moves can form complex patterns/behaviours, so much so, that there are more possible chess games than all the atoms in the universe.  In a similar vein, you being reliable can fit into someone else’s complex scheme… and by and large gain the benefits of being in that scheme.

Forget about other’s schemes, what about your grand machination for success? My advice is have people roles in your life well defined, and well compensated.  Different adventurers in life requires different roles being fulfilled.  For instance, I don’t have transport, but there is a Taxi-man I could call and be most assured I get to where I want to go.  You are saying he is a Taxi-man; that is his job. And this is my point, give everyone a single explicit job with an explicit compensation [need not be financial].

The System made me

Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language outside of school? How did that work out for you? Are you now proficient in the second language as your native language? My best guess is that you haven’t. Now think about all the stuff you learnt in school, all the stuff you became proficient at because of the school system. I learnt Statistic, Pure Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and a whole bunch of other stuff. The system made me.

When I say system, what do I mean? I mean structured activity with set time and place. System tends to be graduated with rules and punish for break those rules. Systems also, tends to rank its members and also reward high achieving members i.e members who best adhere to the system. My thesis is that engaging in systems is an easy way to gain proficiency in a field which would lead to success in that field, not the only way, but an easy way.

I was born into a very structured family. We went to church on Sundays, School during the week, Bring and buy on Saturdays, we got up around 6, went to bed around 8:30pm or near there. Now looking back, we were really structured. I remember neighbourhood kids laughing that we weren’t allowed to play on Sundays. I was born into this System, and it came as natural. It didn’t occurred to me to question the chains that was the system I was born into.

You will notice, that the activities we engaged in had a specific time and place, and they were repeated on a periodic basis whether weekly or daily. I never tried escaping the system to find out the consequence of going out of my Familial system. But, it would be reasonable to assume I would be spanked back into obedience to the system. So, yes the system did have punishment. Rank in the family was determine by birth order. Also, there were competition for academic success… my dad would reward us with $100 if we came 1st in Secondary School.

So, our family has all the hallmark of a good system; the chief of which was structure. Another good hallmark of a system is it incorporate other good systems. You will notice that the family system required me to engage in other systems such as the Church, School, and After Classes. I remember as a kid my grandmother telling me what Secondary School I should want to pass to, Antigua Grammar School. Antigua Grammar School, I would consider it to be in the top two schools in Antigua at the time I went, if not the top school. My point being good systems know other good systems and know the requirements of entering these systems.

At Antigua Grammar School we had structure, rules, reward and punishment. You had to be at class by 8am(I think, this was a while back) and school finishes at 1:30pm. Each class was a hour with 15 minute breaks somewhere in the day. For being late to class, you were either given a demerit, caning[six of the best] or sent to pickup garbage. There were five forms, from third form you were allowed to wear your shirt out of your pants, ie the system was graduated with recognition going to higher levels. Also, at the end of year top students were rewarded with a prize at the annual speech day. My point being Antigua Grammar School had the hallmarks of a good system.

Why do systems produce success

Social — Some members would realise that they would never be in top position to be reward. What’s in it for them to be a part of your system? The social aspect is sufficient enough for them to be a part of a system. Just imagine being Einstein best friend in University. Not only do they have a chance at being someone successful, they also have a chance at being friends with the highly successful people by engaging in your system. This keeps the system self-perpetuating. System produces highly successful members, potential members want to join because they can be highly successful too or be friends with highly successful people or both.

Feedback from success members — Hopefully, teachers and some of the students will have gain some measure of success in their field. From the information they gain they can direct the system as what it needs to do to ensure the success of future members of the system.

Obligation — system are good that require members to take desirable actions at a particular time, space and standard or face consequences of the short comings. In essence, obligation prevent members from slacking and also from quitting. Our school system was enforce by a legal requirement to attend until you are 16. Also, education is kinder of a social obligation too; it is required for jobs. Quitting a good system isn’t easy.

Rewards — Obligation only requires members to meet a standard, rewards drives members to go beyond anything any other member has done before. Rewards creates the super successful. Because there is competition for rewards, members will tend to want to out do each other, and in doing so set new bars for standards and expectations of the system.

Standards — Systems know what it takes to succeed after finish their system. They also recognize the survival of their system hinges on people being successful after their system is finished. In order to ensure the requirement for subsequent systems are met, they would need to keep standards high.