Best of what I consumed in 2018 Q1

Key points from the videos, articles, books, and audio books I consumed in 2018 Q1.

I read, watched, and listened a lot in these three months. I took copious notes. Here are the key points from the videos, articles, books, and audio books I consumed in this quarter.


  • Shapes of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut

    • All stories can be drawn in two-axis — vertical axis is G-I (good fortune / ill fortune) and horizontal axis is B-E (beginning / end)
  • Freedom is difficult, but be careful of wishing for fences

    • Be aware of the thief in your mind who can steal your promises
    • Animals are safe in their cages, the fence keeps out predators and competition.
    • Freedom is a choice to do or not do. It is the heaviest burden on the humans.
    • Freedom is being responsible for the consequences.
    • Discipline comes from inside to do something. Obedience is because of fear.
    • Discipline and indiscipline pays in the long-term.
    • Judas got the money, but at what price. When he realized the price, he hanged himself.
    • Don’t make a masterpiece, make your life a masterpiece
  • Seven habits of highly ‘creative’ people by Dr. Pavan Soni; Slideshare

    1. Multiple affiliations
    2. Curiosity
    3. An opposable mind
    4. Experimental mindset
    5. Taking hobbies seriously
    6. Taking half-chances
    7. Cultivating humor ( have low inhibition)


  • Tools for Systems Thinkers: The 6 Fundamental Concepts of Systems Thinking

    • Interconnectedness - Everything needs something else, often a complex array of other things, to survive
    • Synthesis - combining of two or more things to create something new
    • Emergence - emergence is the natural outcome of things coming together (There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it will be a butterfly — R. Buckminster Fuller)
    • Feedback loops - Reinforcing loops causes instability but exponential growth; balancing loops are self-correcting and brings stability
    • Causality - one results in another in a dynamic and evolving system
    • Systems mapping - identify elements within a system to understand how they act and interact
  • VAPOUR its where great ideas come from

    • Versatility
    • Application
    • Positivity
    • Open
    • Understanding
    • Reduce
  • The four elements of entrepreneurship

    • Entrepreneurial behavior is about a desire for a certain kind of journey.
    • What do people do when they’re acting like entrepreneurs?
      1. They make decisions.
      2. They invest in activities and assets that aren’t a sure thing.
      3. They persuade others to support a mission with a non-guaranteed outcome.
      4. They embrace the work of doing things that might not work.
  • Why You Should Have (at Least) Two Careers

    • By committing to two careers, you will produce benefits for both: Subsidizing your skill development, make friends in different circles, discover real innovations;
    • By doing more than one job, you may end up doing all of them better.
  • Making Sense vs. Being Right

    • People care about something making sense than something that is right.
    • Stories beat statistics.
    • Storytelling is an exponential fuel.
    • An OK idea told persuasively is more powerful than a good idea told poorly.
    • The CEO who understands everything about their field except the most important thing – rallying employees behind a mission and vision.
    • Virtually every job is a sales job, especially as you move up the ladder.
  • Ironies of Luck

    • Luck & risk are cousins. They both happen because the world is too complex to allow 100% of your actions dictate 100% of your outcomes.
    • Realizing that both luck and risk are ever-present makes you accept that not everything is in your control, which is the only way to identify and focus on whatever is in your control.
    • There are all kinds of quotes that belittle luck – “It wasn’t luck, it was hard work and persistence,” and whatnot. I get the temptation. But can you imagine how crazy someone would look saying the same thing about risk? “The earthquake wasn’t a risk, we just didn’t work hard enough to predict it.”
  • Career Advice

    • Capitalism rewards things that are both rare and valuable. You make yourself rare by combining two or more “pretty goods” until no one else has your mix of skills.
  • Use This Equation to Determine, Diagnose, and Repair Trust

    • Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Authenticity) / Perception of self interest
    • Credibility = to have the knowledge, experience, and familiarity to perform a particular role well
    • Reliability = do what you say you’re going to do
    • Authenticity = do and say what you mean
    • Perception of Self Interest = taking credit, fighting for executive attention, pushing for more money and status; this variable is more about optics
  • The 5 Key People in a SaaS Sales Process

    • There are Proponent, Opponent, Decisionmaker, Other stakeholders, and of course Salesperson.
    • Understanding the relationships in the sales process is key to creating a playbook


  • The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levin and others

    • I have read many summaries of this book and they had huge impact on the way I looked at work, marketplaces, and future of work. So I decided to read the whole book.
    • Two of the thesis in this book stand-out for me: Markets are conversation; Hyperlinks subvert authority. I don’t think I have grasped the full impact of even these two theses out of 95 theses in the book.
  • Thou shall prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

    • This is an insightful book but lacks good editing. It is unnecessarily loose, making the book a drag in few places.
    • Rabbi distills centuries of wisdom about money making into ten points:
      1. Believe in the Dignity and the Morality of Business
      2. Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People
      3. Get To Know Yourself
      4. Do Not Pursue Perfection
      5. Lead Consistently and Constantly
      6. Constantly Change the Changeable While Steadfastly Clinging to the Unchangeable
      7. Learn to Foretell the Future
      8. Know Your Money
      9. Act Rich: Give Away 10 Percent of Your After Tax Income
      10. Never Retire
  • The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark

    • Paras Chopra asked in Twitter, “Is there any book chronicling the growth hacks that made Christianity #1 religion in the world?” I got interested in the question and searched for books, which led me to this book.
    • Stark overturns lot of common misperceptions about Christianity’s growth. Ex: Constantine embracing christianity diluted the religion rather than strengthening it. Medieval Christians weren’t pious as we imagine they were.
    • Luther’s “heresy” is called the Reformation because it survived (because winners write history)
    • Religions fare when there is religious pluralism. (Every right-wing religious leader, who is trying to annihilate other religions should understand. It is better for their religion that there is religious pluralism)
    • I listed out few others in my reply to Paras.

Audio Books

  • Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

    • Whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the debate, we lose.
  • To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

    • If your role demands “moving people”, you are in sales. That means, all of us are in sales.
    • New ABCs– Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity
    • Attunement = understanding the context and perspective of the buyer
    • Buoyancy = grit of spirit plus sunny outlook
    • Clarity = distill your offering and simplify what you are offering; give the buyer clear next action to take.


  • You get paid linearly for analyzing and solving problems. You get paid non-linearly for spotting and seizing opportunities. @farnamstreet
  • Your company will move at the speed of trust. @kevinbehr
  • What’s on the outside sells tickets. What’s on the inside wins games. @EdLatimore
  • We are very good lawyers for our own mistakes, and very good judges for the mistakes of others. - @paulocoelho
  • Ask not “how are we going to test this?” Ask rather “how are we going to ensure this goes out with the necessary levels of quality?” - @flowchainsensei
  • The quest of a lifetime is to find the context to which you are best suited to thrive and feel alive. Every person has a unique set of genes that are perfectly designed to excel in the right context—if you can only find it. — @james_clear
  • Have you ever considered that your bottleneck is a lack of knowledge not a lack of ‘resources’? @KirstenMinshall
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Under: #wins , #insights , #retro