Seth: Measuring The Right Thing

And then generals starting measuring body count…

When you measure the wrong thing, you get the wrong thing. Perhaps you can be precise in your measurement, but precision is not significance.

On the other hand, when you are able to expose your work and your process to the right thing, to the metric that actually matters, good things happen.

We need to spend more time figuring out what to keep track of, and less time actually obsessing over the numbers that we are already measuring.

Numbers (and the magic of measuring the right thing) by Seth Godin

Seth: Measuring The Right Thing

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Tim Ferriss’s podcast with BJ Miller is required listening. Dr. Miller specializes in palliative (a word I only learned this year) care.  The bullshit ends when a human enters the The Zen Hospice Project where the doctor practises. The doctor’s description of the flower ceremony at the hospice left me weepy.

The end is coming up on me faster than I’d like, and this podcast is a good reminder that I need to focus on the right things. What will my final thoughts be? They certainly won’t be concerned with a fucking server in New Jersey.


Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Moonwalking with Einstein

Finished Joshua Foer’s adventure in memory palaces.

Books purchased while reading it:

  • Mind Map Handbook – Tony Buzman’s techniques for learning, speed reading, and memorizing intrigue me. I like learning hacks.
  • Rhetorica ad Herennium – Source material for the memorizers.

YouTubes I found as a result of reading it:

  • How to Learn A Language in Six Months, Chris Lonsdale. He provides rules of the road for learning a language. He stresses understanding what is being said and making yourself understood. Not quite like Duolingo, which stresses proper spelling and conjugation up-front. They definitely do not take baby steps. Also, he suggests having a language parent.
  • The Power of A Mind to Map, Tony Buzan. Slick as shit presenter. He’s a showman, but that doesn’t make him bad or his information poor. He’s a proponent of the limitless mind. His illustration of a small child demonstrating the scientific method naturally sticks with me.
  • Ed Cooke at TEDxObserver. Where Buzan is slick, Ed is energetic and raw. Main take-away was being playful and having fun with one’s memory. Childlike. Ed’s book, Remember, Remember.

The book gave me confidence that with diligence, discipline, and technique that I could accomplish my goal of learning Spanish. I’m tossing in memorizing Strunk & White’s book as another goal because I’ve been weak with explaining style and grammar. While the goals seem lofty for an old man with a bad memory, I think they are possible with the right techniques.

Yes, the techniques. The hacks. While I understand the concepts of memorization, I have not grasped the how of it. It isn’t quite gelling for me.

Back to Foer. He was able to accomplish a lot of memorization by practicing less than an hour a day. Duolingo suggests that frequent short sessions is more effective than fasting and binging. I don’t recall where, but this has been tested in several studies that came to the same conclusion. Cal Newport practically screamed from the pulpit that cramming is ineffective — it’s what ‘C’ students do. ‘A’ students schedule their work and play, and figure out the minimum effective dose (h/t Tim Ferriss) of material to cover.

Once again, stretching and pain come up when discussing learning.

Ed sent me a quote from the venerable martial artist Bruce Lee, which he hoped would serve as inspiration: “There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you.” I copied that thought onto a Post-it note and stuck it on my wall. Then I tore it down and memorized it.

Foer, Joshua (2011-03-03). Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (p. 185). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


Moonwalking with Einstein