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10 Books That Will Change How You See The World

10 Books That Will Change How You See The World

Henry David Thoreau once said “a book should contain pure discoveries.” Some books can do even more and change how you see the world. Here are 10 eye-opening books that might just do that for you. Many of the themes in these books connect and while reading any one will give you some new insights, reading all of them may just revolutionize how you see the world and your place in it.

The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons

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    You don’t see everything you think you see. Through a series of experiments Chabris and Simons show that, due to attention blindness, we often fail to see what is right in front of our eyes. The implications of this are important. We may be missing very useful information and failing to make connections. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to improve our intuitive and observational skills.

    Think Like a Freak Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

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      To solve problems you need to be willing to change how you think. This entails changing how you see the world in several important ways. Among these, they discuss the importance of thinking like a child, saying you don’t know, and learning how incentives work to affect behavior. Their tips often seem counter intuitive because they are based on seeing connections among events in non-obvious ways. As you learn to think like a freak you will learn to see these non-obvious connections everywhere.

      Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Dan Ariely

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        Everyone assumes they act rationally most of the time, but as Dan Ariely points out there are many cases where we do not.  We base our decisions not on rational considerations but irrational ones.  Often our mistakes are simple and predictable.  That means knowing more about them can actually help us create rules and incentives to improve our lives.  We can learn about how we make decisions and how to improve them by seeing our lives as experiments.

        The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives Leonard Mlodinow

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          We think what happens to us is the result of our education, skills, and deliberate decisions. We often see patterns to events where there are none and we see causes and work when the reality is much more random. It is difficult to see randomness at work not because it is rare but because our minds are biased to see order, correlation, and causation. However the role of chance and randomness in our lives is much greater than we realize.

          How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life Roman Krznaric

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            We’ve all been taught that we can learn how to live from studying the past but this lesson is rarely taught in concrete ways, which makes it difficult to see the truth in this. With concrete examples of ideas from the past in such areas as love, work, dealing with death, raising children, and travel it becomes clear that the past is a wealth of knowledge that we can use to improve our lives.

            The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands Eric Topol

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              Major disruption is coming to health care and you will benefit. One of the biggest changes this will bring is that you will collect and control your own medical information using your smartphone. Armed with this information you will have greater control over your health decisions and greater choice about how to improve your health. Doctors will have to adapt or patients will choose other options. The doctor will no longer be in control of your health, you will.

              Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes Mark Penn

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                On an individual level it is almost impossible to see trends as they unfold because we mostly base our ideas about what is going on in the world on our own limited perception. The places we go and the people we know serve as our data set. But, since many large social changes start out as small micro-movements we often miss these trends until they explode on the scene seeming to come out of nowhere. By examining these microtrends up close we can learn more about how societal change happens and how to predict which microtrends will become major social changes.

                Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think Viktor Mayer-Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier

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                  We can now see the world in vastly new ways because we now have the ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data. This data will show us how seemingly unrelated events are connected, help us determine whether those connections are mere correlations or cause and effect relationships, and even allow us to predict future events in ways we’ve never been able to before.

                  How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World Steven Johnson

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                    We have a very linear view of history – especially the history of inventions. But these inventions rarely arise in a completely deliberate fashion as the result of intentional effort. As often as not, they arise as the result of accident or chance connections. Innovations in one area of life can trigger changes that seem entirely unrelated. The most ordinary things in our lives such as glass, the clock, and air conditioning not only arose in surprising ways but led to surprising changes as well.

                    The Knowledge Web James Burke

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                      Schools teach us that academic subjects are discrete entities with no relationships between them but this is untrue. In reality, you can pick any person, place, or event and connect it with virtually any other because they all exist together and connected on the knowledge web. The internet reveals this better than ever but it has always been so. Seeing how the stories of the past relate to each other helps you see that you too are connected to these same people, places, and events. You are part of the knowledge web too. Creativity and problem solving both involve making connections. This takes good examples to draw upon, practice, and an awareness of our cognitive biases and how to address them. Each of these books provides insights and examples to help improve your ability to make connections. The more connections you can make, the more knowledge you have. And, as James Burke once pointed out, when a big enough part of your knowledge changes how you see the world also changes.

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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2019

                      30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

                      30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

                      What do your 3pm fridge raid and perfectly alphabetised bookshelf have in common?

                      You most likely did both of them when you should have been doing work.

                      Procrastination is one of the most human behaviours. We’re all guilty of putting off what we know is important from time to time, and it seems the more pressing the task at hand, the better we are at avoiding it.

                      Sure, it means that every time we have an important deadline we end up with a spotlessly clean house and a completely empty inbox, but the real work gets left until the very last minute and is finished in a frenzy of stress and caffeine.

                      But we can gain control over procrastination by noticing it as soon as possible and stopping it in its tracks. On the contrary, you know you have a bad habit when you’re aware you’re putting something off, and you continue avoiding it anyway.

                      To start you off with combating procrastination, here are a few quotes to get you in a motivated frame of mind, because if procrastination has any enemies, it’s motivation to work harder.

                      A Few Home Truths

                        “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
                        ― Mark Twain


                        “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
                        ― Leonardo da Vinci


                        “Someday is not a day of the week.”
                        ― Janet Dailey


                        “Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in instalments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.”
                        ― Israelmore Ayivor


                        “The man who waits to know everything is the man who never does anything.”
                        ― Craig D. Lounsbrough


                        “Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.”
                        ― Richie Norton, The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live without Regret


                        “Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.”
                        ― Noelle Hancock, My Year with Eleanor


                        “Doing things at the last minute reminds us of the importance of doing things at the first minute.”
                        ― Matshona Dhliwayo


                        “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
                        ― Abraham Lincoln


                        “A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
                        ― Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere


                        “By what right do I, who have wasted this day, make claims on tomorrow?”
                        ― Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes


                        “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
                        ― José N. Harris


                        Some Practical Advice

                          “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
                          ― Hilary Mantel


                          “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
                          ― Robert Herjavec, The Will To Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding


                          “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
                          ― Pablo Picasso


                          “It is only by working the rituals, that any significant degree of understanding can develop. If you wait until you are positive you understand all aspects of the ceremony before beginning to work, you will never begin to work.”
                          ― Lon Milo DuQuette, The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema


                          “Do first what you don’t want to do most.”
                          ― Clifford Cohen


                          “How often do you find yourself saying, “In a minute”, “I’ll get to it” or “Tomorrow’s good enough” and every other possible excuse in the book? Compare it with how often you decide it’s got to be done, so let’s get on and do it! That should tell you just how serious your procrastinating problem really is.”
                          ― Stephen Richards, The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination


                          “How to stop procrastinating starts with believing you can overcome procrastination.”
                          ― Robert Moment, How to Stop Procrastinating


                          “Never put things off…you will wake up and find them gone.”
                          ― James Jones


                          Some Tough Love

                            “Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.”
                            ― Paulo Coelho, Aleph


                            “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.”
                            ― George Bernard Shaw


                            “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
                            ― José N. Harris


                            “What is deferred is not avoided.”
                            ― Thomas More


                            “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work”
                            ― Chuck Close


                            “If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
                            ― Roy Bennett


                            “Your ideas have legs and just as they run through your head, they could be running through someone else’s head and it’s just a matter of who gets to the finish line first. Nothing is new under the sun so act on your ideas.”― Sanjo Jendayi


                            “You may not be punished for your procrastination, but for sure you will be punished by your procrastination.”
                            ― Debasish Mridha


                            When You Need Pulling out of Procrastination

                              “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
                              ― Denis Waitley


                              “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
                              ― Karen Lamb


                              Print these quotes out, stick them on the wall in front of your desk – do whatever it takes to remember why you shouldn’t be putting your work off, or getting distracted by a desire to rearrange your socks into colour order.

                              It won’t be easy, but being aware of how detrimental procrastination is to your longer-term goals is the first step towards overcoming it.

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                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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