September 2020


Archimedes once quipped, Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. ‘. The most successful people in the world are masters in the use of leverage to achieve their goals; they use other peoples money (debt), other peoples time (team), other peoples failures (study), etc. Success always leaves clues, there is nothing new under the sun, it is not what you do but how it is done.

Your time is limited and finite but you can leverage your time by amplifying your efforts by using other peoples resources like debt, creating a great team, use the internet as a lever, use your talent to create a product such as a book (royalties), master a craft/be exceptional on a domain (Play basketball at Lebron James level and you could leverage that skillset to be extremely wealthy but the challenge is most of us want Lebron kind of wealth but we are not ready to be obsessed or practice at his level.

How does a 19 year Harvard drop out create one of the most profitable businesses in recorded history? Mark Zuckerberg surrounded himself with smart people like Sean Parker (Napster) who connected him to people like Peter Thiel (Paypal) and studied people like Donald E. Graham (Washinton Post). He Sought out mentors and employed the smartest people around him. This strategy is common among ultra-successful and wealthy people, they only work with the best and leverage resources masterfully.

In his book The Fastlane Millionaire, MJ DeMarco shared a great story on the power of leverage, he shared the insight through a great parable:

There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software. – Edward Tufte

I have a love-hate relationship with social media because it has some very significant advantages and also some very worrying qualities. I got very interested in the way social media is affecting the world after I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I had a paradigm shift after reading that book, which led me to delete Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin (not deleted but deleted all posts)

I have since read Irresistible by Adam Atler, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicolas Carr, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by  Jaron Lanier, and looking forward to reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by  Shoshana Zuboff, Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil, among others. The Arguments of the authors are both chilling and thought-provoking; Social Media is great but use with discretion and in moderation.

The Social Dilemma is a 2020 docudrama directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. Released via Netflix on September 9, 2020, the film explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, how its design is meant to nurture an addiction, its use in politics, its impact on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates), and its role in spreading conspiracy theories and aiding groups such as flat-earthers and white supremacists.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke.  

Here are my favourite takeaways from watching the Social Dilemma Netflix documentary:

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The object of life is not to be on the side of the masses, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.~ Marcus Aurelius

MJ DeMarco had an epiphany when he had a chance encounter with a Lamborghini Countach owner; the meeting led him to have a paradigm shift about wealth. The Millionaire Fastlane is the belief that creating wealth need not take 50 years of financial mediocrity devoured by decades of work, decades of saving, decades of mindless frugality, and decades of 8% stock market returns

The book has a get rich scheme title, but it is not the theme of the book; the Fastlane is just a metaphor on the path to creating wealth, which the author classified as the sidewalk, the slow lane, and the Fastlane. The author deliberately chose the name of the book because he knows the society as we have it structured is attuned to shortcut, quick fixes, and immediacy.

“The goal of the book is to change your perception about wealth and money. Believe that retirement at any age is possible. Believe that old age is not a prerequisite to wealth. Believe that a job is just as risky as a business. Believe that the stock market isn’t a guaranteed path to riches. Believe that you can be retired just a few years from today.”

Here are my favourite take aways from reading, The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco.

“Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do.” – W. H. Auden.

When most successful people get asked what quality they would attribute most for their success, a common theme in their answer is Hardwork and Luck. They attribute their success to been in the right place at the right time; they labored under correct knowledge, committed to their plan, and executed. From Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Bob Iger, Jamie Dimon, Mark Zuckerberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cristiano Ronaldo, to name but a few.

Successful people create their luck by preparing for the opportunities that take them to the next level; they started at an early age, they read the books, study the programming language, trained at the gym, studied their craft, obsessed with the little details. When the opportunities showed up, they prepared, and they executed.

Here are some great quotes on luck:

Learning is lifelong: It doesn’t end at graduation. It’s your responsibility; you have to do it consistently, all the time. I spend about 50-60% of my time learning.

Jamie Dimon (born March 13, 1956) is an American business executive. He is chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest of the big four American banks, and was previously on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Dimon was included in Time magazine’s 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 lists of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Dimon was born in New York City, one of three sons of Greek immigrants Theodore and Themis (née Kalos) Dimon, and attended The Browning School. His paternal grandfather was a Greek immigrant who changed the family name from Papademetriou to Dimon to make it sound more French

In his address to Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2009, Class Day, Jamie Dimon emphasized the value of life long learning and Self Awareness:

Learning is lifelong

It doesn’t end at graduation. It’s your responsibility; you have to do it consistently, all the time. I spend about 50-60% of my time learning. While reading is important, so is talking to other people. You also learn by observing other people and how they operate in very difficult circumstances. I’ve learned both what to do and what not do by watching others.

History is humbling and inspiring, It puts you in your place.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca

Luck is said to be when preparedness meets opportunity; successful people always create their luck through hard work, persistence, perseverance, and consistency. Warren Buffet often attributes his success to winning the gene lottery and Hardwork (Nature Nurture). Others like the sports stars we adore, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lebron James “Laboured Under Correct Knowledge” to achieve their mastery and success.

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.’ – Archilochus

The successful among us, they worked relentlessly, they grinded, had sleepless nights, watched less TV, they had a vision, and they executed. They had doubts, fears, resistance but they followed through with routine, self-discipline, habits, execution and they eventually created their luck.

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your [preparation:]. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.― Joe Frazier

A lot of the people that we adore in life have an unrivaled work ethic; they are always the hardest workers in the room, they are the first to get to the gym or library, but they are the last to leave. As Will Smith and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would often say, “You would not outwork me.” Their work ethic gives them the result in the long run as they profoundly understand that we either have the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The successful ones among us always choose the self-discipline, which leads to them creating their luck and success.

Shallow men believe in luck. . . . Strong men believe in cause and effect. –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the area of our knowledge growsso too does the perimeter of our ignorance.

Neil is, best known as the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium and an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. Between his decade writing a column for Natural History magazine, bestselling books (including 2017’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry), his podcast and TV show StarTalk, his many television and radio appearances, and his nearly 14 million Twitter followers, he’s become perhaps the world’s most recognizable living scientist. He’s a Carl Sagan for the 21st century but with an even wider reach. 

Neil has said repeatedly that more important than the general public recognizing the names of individual scientists—his included—is a basic level of science literacy. These cultural appearances are part of his effort to spread that literacy and infectious curiosity to a wider audience. 

While Neil is dedicated to facts, rigor, and objective truth, he’s not divorced from other aspects of the human experience; he recognizes that not everything about our lives is purely rational. (For example, he notes that art is a vital and fundamental expression of what it is to be human but it doesn’t need to be anchored in scientific truths.) 

Science literacy is not so much about what you know, but about how your brain is wired for thought, how your brain is wired to ask questions.

Here are my favorite takeaways from viewing 

Paul Rosenzweig, J.D., is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he lectures on cybersecurity law and policy. He is a cum laude graduate of The University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Rosenzweig has an M.S. in Chemical Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (a department of the University of California, San Diego) and a B.A. from Haverford College. Following graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable R. Lanier Anderson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

In his non-academic endeavors, Mr. Rosenzweig is the founder of Red Branch Consulting, PLLC, a homeland security consulting company, and a Senior Advisor to The Chertoff Group. He formerly served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and he is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. Mr. Rosenzweig is a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, a Senior Editor of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and a Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Here are my favorite takeaways from watching, Dr. Paul Rosenzweig’s Great Courses Class: The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You.

What makes therapy challenging is that it requires people to see themselves in ways they normally choose not to. A therapist will hold up the mirror in the most compassionate way possible, but it’s up to the patient to take a good look at that reflection, to stare back at it and say, “Oh, isn’t that interesting! Now what?” instead of turning away.

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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a witty and thought-provoking memoir by Lori Gottlieb, where she takes the reader on a journey of being a therapist, her patients, and her therapy session with another therapist. The book reads like a frequently asked question on psychotherapy, the therapy process, vulnerabilities, suffering, pain, childhood trauma, shame, and all the things we deal with as humans.

Lori Gottlieb is an American writer and psychotherapist, who writes the weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column for The Atlantic. ABC Studios is developing a television series based on the book with Eva Longoria.

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” – Carl Jung

Lori shares some great insights through her therapy sessions with her clients and her therapy session with her own therapist. She delivers the lessons, anecdotes, rants, jokes, and insights through the following characters:

  • Lori Gottlieb: therapist and a patient
  • John is a self-absorbed Hollywood producer
  • Julie is a newlywed around the age of thirty, diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • Rita is a senior citizen who wants to end her life on her birthday
  • Charlotte is a twenty-year-old woman struggling with damaging relationships and alcoholism
  • Wendell is Lori Gottlieb’s psychotherapist

“The nature of life is change and the nature of people is to resist change.”

Therapy is about understanding the self that you are. But part of getting to know yourself is to unknow yourself—to let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you aren’t trapped by them, so you can live your life and not the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life.

Here are my favorite takeaways from reading, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: by Lori Gottlieb:

“Somewhere in the tangle of the subject’s burden and the subject’s desire is your story.”—Alex Tizon

“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway:
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good day!”

“Who stuffed that white owl?”

No one spoke in the shop,
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The “Daily,” the “Herald,” the “Post,” little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;
Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion;
And the barber kept on shaving.

“Don’t you see, Mr. Brown,”
Cried the youth, with a frown,
“How wrong the whole thing is,
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is —
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ‘t is!
I make no apology;
I’ve learned owl-eology.

Anyone who has survived childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. ~Flannery O’Connor

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Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird
is a very great and funny book for aspiring writers, the book contains lots of advice she normally gives her creative writing workshop participants such as Getting started as a writer, Short Assignments, Shitty First Drafts, Writing as a gift, False Starts, Perfectionism, Writers Block, publication, among other insights.

The genesis of the title, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

Here are my favorite takeaways from reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott:

It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.-Seneca

Time is the greatest equalizer as we have the same amount of time, the billionaire, the homeless man, the parent, the children, the doctor, the patient, everyone the same time: 24 hrs a day, 168 hrs per week, 720 hrs per month, 8,760 hrs per year, 365 days per year, 12 months per year, 1,440 minutes per day, 86,400 seconds per day. How rich our lives become is determined by how well we use our time.

In No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, Brain Tracy writes:

“There is perhaps no area of your life in which self-discipline is more important than in the way you manage your time. Time management is a core discipline that largely determines the quality of your life.

“You cannot manage time; you can only manage yourself.” – Peter Drucker

Time management is really life management, personal management, management of yourself rather than of time or circumstances.

Time is perishable; it cannot be saved. Time is irreplaceable; nothing else will do. Time is irretrievable; once it is gone or wasted, you can never get it back. Finally, time is indispensable, especially for accomplishments of any kind. All achievement, all results, all success requires time.

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers

Here are some great quotes on time:

“Life’s a lot more fun if you treat its challenges in creative ways.”

Bill Gates is an American Entrepreneur, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; it went on to become the world’s largest personal computer software company.

Bill Gates is one of my favorite people in the world; I grew up adoring Bill not only for his wealth but also for his relentless learning habit and work ethic. He has attributed his success to his relentless learning curiosity and maniac hard work. Bill Gates is one of the biggest testaments to the truism: “To earn more, you must learn more.

The most significant investment you can make in your lifetime is on yourself by becoming a lifelong learner and be curious to figure things out like Maria Forleo argued in her excellent book: Everything Is figureoutable. Someone might say that Bill can read that many books because he is Bill Gates, which I would say; instead, he is Bill Gates because he read important books voraciously.

“There are three different departments in the idea store. There’s experience, memory, and imagination.”

Robert Lawrence Stine, better known as R.L. Stine, is one of the most recognized authors of children’s horror novels alive today. He’s been called “the Stephen King of children’s literature,” has penned more than 300 books for kids aged 7 to 15 years old. 

Originally from a small suburb of Columbus, Ohio, Bob discovered the art of suspenseful storytelling through old radio programs and classic films like It Came From Beneath the Sea and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1965, he moved to New York City to be a humorist. It was only through a chance turn of events that he began writing horror. 

Since then, he has mastered the craft of simultaneously frightening and entertaining young readers. His prolific catalogue includes the popular Fear Street and Goosebumps series, and is widely appreciated by kids, parents, and teachers across the globe.

Over 400 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and they have been translated into 35 languages—making him one of the best-selling authors of all time. His Goosebumps TV show was the most popular children’s program in America for three consecutive years, and the Goosebumps movie (2015), starring Jack Black, became the #1 movie in the U.S. upon its release. A Goosebumps movie sequel is in the works.

Privacy is not keeping things secret; it is deciding who to share what information with, at what time, and in what context. 

Jennifer Golbeck is a Professor in the College of Information Studies and Director of the Social Intelligence Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received an AB in Economics and an SB and SM in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, as well as a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Professor Golbeck began studying social media from the moment it emerged on the web, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field. Her research has influenced industry, government, and the military. She is a pioneer in the field of social data analytics and discovering people’s hidden attributes from their online behavior, and she is a leader in creating human-friendly security and privacy systems. 

Here are my favourite takeaways from viewing Dr. Jennifer Golbeck’s Great Courses Class:

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