The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Jun 20, 2016
- Books
What if a Lunar colony rebelled against Earth? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (1966) is really a book about revolutions, colonialism and alternative family structures. There is some science fiction like the setting and the fact that one of the characters is an AI but they feel secondary to the main topics. **WARNING: Spoilers ahead** The plot centers around a human Lunar colony that decides to rebel against Earth because it’s exploiting all of its resources.

What to say when you talk to yourself

Jun 10, 2016
- Books
What to say when you talk to yourself is the most effective book on personal growth that I’ve read in the last year. The premise of the book is that our behavior, feelings, attitudes and beliefs are all a direct product of our mental programming. And our mind’s programs get recorded not based on whether they are true or false but simply by how many times and with how much attention we listen or “experience” the programming which, most of the time, happens as we talk to ourselves in our heads.

Ancilliary Justice

Jun 7, 2016
- Books
What if an entity whose consciousness spans thousands of bodies suddenly gets restricted to a single body? And what if we lived in a world with only one gender? Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie is a sci-fi story about spaceships, AIs, colonization and the moral struggle between doing what you know is right and face death or follow unjust orders. The story felt more like sitting on the Assembly of Ancient Greece than an adventure because of so much philosophical dialogue but I found the exercise of imagining myself owning multiple bodies very interesting.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life

May 27, 2016
- Books
#kaizen #self-improvement This is one of the two most valuable books that I’ve read in the last year about self improvement. In recent weeks I’ve put it into practice multiple times and it’s helping me get over bad habits that I haven’t been able to make a dent before. Recommended to anyone frustrated with repeated failed attempts at getting rid of bad habits. There are two basic approaches to changing things: big steps (innovation) and small steps (kaizen).

The Enchiridion

Nov 21, 2015
- Books
The Enchiridion of Epictetus is a compilation of 51 tips on how to live a happy life based on stoic ideas. Here are two of the tips: Upon every accident, remember to turn toward yourself and inquire what faculty you have for its use. If you encounter a handsome person, you will find continence the faculty needed; if pain, then fortitude; if reviling, then patience. And when thus habituated, the phenomena of existence will not overwhelm you.

Simple rules for learning more effectively

Aug 31, 2015
- Books
In How we Learn journalist Benedict Carey presents us with a collection of research-backed findings to help us learn better. Here are some of the ideas that I found most interesting: 1. If you vary your practice you will appear to progress more slowly in each practice session but you will actually improve your performance faster. Transfer is what learning is all about: it’s the ability to extract the essence of a skill or formula or word problem and apply it in another context, to another problem that may not look the same, at least superficially.

Risk Savvy or how to make decisions in an uncertain world

Aug 17, 2015
- Books
I started reading Risk Savvy this book because I noticed that I have become more and more averse to making decisions for fear of not finding the optimal choice. This was either because I felt that I didn’t have enough information or because I didn’t have the mental energy to follow my adopted ten steps way to making smart decisions. Enter Gerd Gigerenzer, author of Risk Savvy. Most of the decisions we face in the real world are full of uncertainty which our brains have been conditioned to rebel against.

How to read more when you have no time

Aug 14, 2015
- Books
For a long time I have shunned audiobooks. I considered them a lazy and inefficient way of going through a book. My mom suggested them to me months ago but my mind objected: “it’s inefficient and this is the digital domain, don’t listen Juan”. Then I recently came across another recommendation, this time from a 34 year old US Army four stars general with a love of reading but no time who listened to audiobooks during his workouts and morning routines.

How to be happier

Nov 7, 2014
- Books
If there is one thing that we can all agree on is that we want to be happier. While many of us may believe that happiness is a byproduct of being successful Shawn Achor, in his book The Happiness Advantage, argues that the opposite is true; choosing to be happy and positive leads to more success: For untold generations, we have been led to believe that happiness orbited around success.

Moonwalking with Einstein

Nov 6, 2013
- Books
Interesting ideas from Moonwalking with Einstein: Our memories are associative. If you want to maximize the strength of a newly formed memory spend a few seconds coming up with related ideas and associations. For extra support involve multiple senses. Chunking information means reducing the number of items we have to remember by increasing their size. If you want to remember more and use your knowledge more effectively chunk it.