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Published: March 28, 2018 (5 years ago.)
Tags:  Education

The book in...
One sentence:
Don't think about your problems, 'put it down' proclaims Pauling, 'learn to play the violin', declares Drucker, let your brain do the thinking for you.

Five sentences:
To solve a problem you mustn't focus on the problem, the more narrow you see the less solutions you get. Incentives and hard work don't produce better results and focusing too hard might stress you out and make you perform worse! Trust yourself, others will, when you ask for their advice, always find fault in your ideas leaving you both unsure, and with yet another, contrived, problem to contend with. The other side to this is group think, where, without a red-man (someone designated to take the opposite view), people, you included are much more willing to go with the flow rather than make waves, even when you have a better idea. Finally, you should try to look at your problem from opposite direction since those who classify the world in opposites rather than similarities proved more creative, maybe the problem is a actually a boon.

designates my notes. / designates important.


This is basically a bunch of 1-2 page stories, some interesting, some not-so-much, but all of them, to varying degrees, describe a problem that is overcome, sometimes ingeniously.

It was an absolute breeze to read, interesting enough to keep my attention, and was a nice break from heavier reading. While not terribly insightful, it wasn’t totally worthless either.

Given that you could easily pick it up and put it down at a moments notice without depriving yourself of anything, the book itself could be useful for helping you put down your problems for a little bit. Read this and let your mind take a break from whatever it is your ciphering and, after an hour, who knows, maybe you’ll have a epiphany.

Exceptional Excerpts

“Deci concluded that there is a giant hole in the equation Incentive + Harder Work = Better Outcome. That is, incentives don’t produce harder work, and harder work doesn’t produce better outcomes. An engaged mind beats the best incentive and the hardest worker every time. Engagement is sustaining, he said, while incentives and pure effort are limiting."

“We are twice as likely to stick to a challenge without an incentive."

“Study where participants pick lines based on length. All but one is an actor. The actors pick the wrong line and the one person being studied goes along with the obviously wrong answer 75% of the time."

“Linus Pauling’s advice to anyone trying to do something big amounted to three words: Put it down."

"“Learn to play the violin” was business guru Peter Drucker’s memorable and surprising advice on how to best prepare to run a company."

“With the formation of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, the army assembled a battalion of warriors who fought with their imaginations. Recruited from art schools and ad agencies, architecture firms and movie studios, their job was to conjure a fictional army battalion wherever it might be needed."

“Problems cannot stop you in your tracks if you can see the opposite."

Table of Contents

· Introduction

page 9:

· 01: Imaginary Philip and the Problem of Problems

· 02: Humans, Swamp People, and the Survival Problem

page 29:

· 03: Power and the Farb Problem

page 42:
page 48:

· 04: Don’t Come Home for Christmas and Other Lessons on Trying Harder and Making It Worse

page 54:
page 57:

page 62:

· 05: Would You Get on the Bus to Abilene?

page 64:
page 70:

page 78:

· 06: Four Points and the Wrongness of Always Being Right

· 07: Miss Iceland, the Gangster, and the Cat: What Happens When You Burn the First Draft

page 107:

· 08: The Knowledge Is Like a Toothache: The Value of Taking the Long Way

page 113:

page 122:

· 09: Dark, Soft, Smooth, and Slow: The Power of Opposites

page 130:
page 133:

page 135:

· 10: What Are These Bells For? The Art of Listening to Yourself

· Conclusion: What Do You Do with Water?