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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 January 25, 2021

                      How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

                      How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

                      So you have a dream, but you have no idea how to get there? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people are in the same boat. They know what they want, but sometimes they don’t even believe it’s possible. So what happens? They either don’t try, or, if they do, they give up before they achieve their goal.


                      If you’re one of those people, here are 7 things you can do to visualize your results and make them happen:

                      1. Focus on what you can do now.

                      Let’s say you have no money in savings because you are literally living paycheck-to-paycheck. How is it possible to ever imagine having a few thousand dollars in savings when all you see is money going out the door? You may not think it is. But you don’t have to start big. Reach in your purse or pocket and grab that spare change. Put it in a jar. Make a habit of doing this. If you do it long enough, it will add up. Then move up and put a dollar in the jar–then five. If you get a tax refund, stick some of it in savings. I think you see the point. Just do something. Any little action toward your goal makes a difference in helping you get there.

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                      2. Break down your goal into small steps.

                      Maybe you want to start your own business. And you might be great at seeing the end result. You get excited about it, but then you realize that your big vision is at least 10 years off. Then you get overwhelmed, frustrated, and you convince yourself that you can’t do it. Think in terms of baby steps. Start by building a website. Educate yourself on how to attract clients. Slowly, you will make your way toward your end result. Remember, it’s not a race. No one is judging you for how fast you get there.

                      3. Turn your steps into a chronological plan.

                      Once you have the small steps broken down, prioritize them. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. You have already completed the first step by eliminating one particular food from your diet that will cut out a lot of calories. Then you listed out the other foods you can eliminate and calories you can count. Now, for step three, put them on your calendar. For example: “by June 1st, I will have eliminated these three foods from my diet. By July 1st, will be eating 1,700 calories a day.” You get the point. Put your goals on a calendar and stick to it.

                      4. Pretend that it has already happened.

                      With any of the three scenarios above, you can act like your goal is already accomplished. Get your bank statement out and write in the amount of money you want to see in your savings account. Hang it up somewhere. Talk to yourself about how awesome it is to have $2,000 in your savings. Or pretend that the business you just started is a smashing success. Clients are breaking down your doors. Or see yourself feeling great after losing all that weight. Trick your mind into believing it has already happened.

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                      5. Figure out what proof you need that you have achieved your goal.

                      It is so easy to get frustrated and give up. But if you do, you’ll never get where you want to be. How much money do you need in your savings to feel like you are actually making progress? How many clients or website traffic do you need to feel like your business is on its way to success? How many pounds do you need to lose to get excited and feel like you don’t want to give up? It’s up to you. But you need to figure it out so you don’t quit.

                      6. Visualize it.

                      If you are visual person, close your eyes, and see it done. Do this in the morning before you get out bed, and when you go to sleep at night. Or meditate on it at your convenience. The key is to do this every day. The more you can do it, the better. Not only does it get you into the habit of focusing on the end result, it really does trick your subconscious mind into thinking it is reality. If you’re not a visual person, write down affirmations and repeat them every day. However you choose to do it, the key is consistency. Keep doing it.

                      7. Talk about it to everyone.

                      Telling other people about your goals makes them real. And it represents a commitment. If you tell your friends, “I’m starting a business,” then they will keep asking you how it’s going. Or if you want to lose that weight, your friends and family will most likely support you. The more you talk about it, the more you get caught up and excited about the end result. It will go from fantasy to reality.

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                      Remember, everyone gets discouraged at some point when they try to achieve a goal. It’s normal. But the difference between the people who succeed and the people who don’t is commitment and consistency. They don’t give up. They keep going. You can too, if you follow these seven simple steps.

                      Featured photo credit: on a way to horizon/Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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