Tuesday, March 3, 2009

David Allen - Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done (commonly abbreviated as GTD) is an action management method created by David Allen, described in this book (download the pdf here).

GTD rests on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks. By thus relying on external memories, GTD can be seen as an application of the scientific theories of distributed cognition or the extended mind.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Timothy Ferriss - The Four Hour Workweek (2007)

From Amazon:

What do you do? Tim Ferriss has trouble answering the question. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer:

“I race motorcycles in Europe.”
“I ski in the Andes.”
“I scuba dive in Panama.”
“I dance tango in Buenos Aires.”

He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the “deferred-life plan” and instead mastered the new currencies—time and mobility—to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now.

Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world. Join Tim Ferriss as he teaches you:

• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and freuent "mini-retirements"
• What the crucial difference is between absolute and relative income
• How to train your boss to value performance over presence, or kill your job (or company) if it’s beyond repair
• What automated cash-flow “muses” are and how to create one in 2 to 4 weeks
• How to cultivate selective ignorance—and create time—with a low-information diet
• What the management secrets of Remote Control CEOs are
• How to get free housing worldwide and airfare at 50–80% off
• How to fill the void and create a meaningful life after removing work and the office

You can have it all—really.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Noam Chomsky - What We Say Goes (2007)

Download the first 2 disks here, or buy from Amazon (book, audio).


Following the New York Times bestseller Hegemony or Survival—an indispensable set of interviews on foreign policy and domestic issues with “America’s most useful citizen” (Boston Globe)

Linguist, philosopher, and political activist Chomsky has long been critical of U.S. foreign policy and has authored many books expressing his views, These conversations cover many topics frequently in the news, including the Middle East and Iraq, Latin America, trade and globalization, and Israel. Despite the format, statements are extensively footnoted, with references to both mainstream media and the web sites of relevant organizations. The basic points are not new: that the United States regularly, through many administrations, violates international law, assuming that as sole superpower it can do whatever it chooses whenever it decides to. Chomsky criticizes those journalists and public intellectuals who, in reporting and commenting on events, do not question the assumptions under which the country acts and have framed the debate so that only the details are fodder for discussion. Chomsky's points are challenging and will make readers uncomfortable, yet most libraries will want to acquire this.


Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous bestselling political works, including Hegemony or Survival and Failed States. A professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.

Source: Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Richard Koch - Living the 80/20 Way - 2004

Although I am currently reading "The 80/20 Principle" by Mr Koch, I have this one in electronic format, so I thought I'd post it for your reading pleasure (download).

From Amazon:

If you already have read the "80/20 Principle" by the same author, then this book will provide you with only 20% additional information. Mind you, the "80/20 Principle" contained 80% of the most valuable information you need to know about the 80/20 Principle. If you have yet to read the first book, however, this book will contain most of the valuable information contained in the first one and some more.

The additional 20% information is related to how you can APPLY the 80/20 principle to improve your life. Most of it is common sense, but it may help some. The author claims he wrote this book becaue one man told him he couldn't understand the 80/20 principle. If you are one of those, this book is a better read than the "80/20 Principle" since this book seems to be written for those with 8th grade reading level.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ray Kurzweil - The Singularity is Near - 2005

"Ray Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations - transforming our lives in ways we can't yet imagine" - Bill Gates

(download) At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.

For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he presented the daring argument that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, computers would rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now, in The Singularity Is Near, he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Geoffrey Miller - The Mating Mind - 2001


The booming but controversial field of evolutionary psychology attempts to explain human feelings and behaviors as consequences of natural selection, using plausible analogies from the animal kingdom to show (for example) why we have the capacity to enjoy music, or why men commit violent crimes. Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at University College-London, argues that much of human character and culture arose for the same reason peacocks have beautiful tails: mating purposes. A peacock that can find enough to eat and avoid being eaten despite such an enormous appendage must have very good genes; by displaying its tail, then, a peacock displays its potential to be a good mate. Miller looks at several kinds of sexual selection. "Romantic" behavior like the making of complex art wouldn't have helped our ancestors find more food or avoid predators. It might, however, have helped display the fitness of proto-men for the proto-women with whom they wanted to mate--and vice versa. If we like to show off our large vocabularies, it's at least in part because our ancestors sought smart partners. Miller's enjoyable book also surveys animal kingdom parallels and recent theoretical arguments about sexual selection. Like most popular evolutionary psychologists, however, Miller doesn't always distinguish between a plausible story and a scientifically testable hypothesis. And some of his arguments seem covertly circular, or self-serving: Do we really need Darwin to explain why men publish more books than women? Still, picturing "the human brain as an entertainment system that evolved to stimulate other brains," Miller provides an articulate and memorable case for the role of sexual selection in determining human behaviors.
Geoffrey Miller (born 1965) is an American evolutionary psychologist; his work is in the tradition of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Steven Pinker.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tom Butler-Bowdon - 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do; Insight and Inspiration from 50 Key Books - 2007

Butler-Bowden provides concise summaries and commentaries on fifty of the most influential works on the human mind and behavior, along with special features to provide additional context.

The 50 Classics concept is based on a belief that every subject or genre will contain at least 50 books that encapsulate its knowledge and wisdom. By creating a list of those landmark or representative titles, then providing commentaries that note the key points and assess the importance of each work, awareness of these key writings is spread to readers who may not otherwise have known of their existence.

Each summary also includes a brief biography of the author.

The books covered are listed
  1. Alfred Adler Understanding Human Nature (1927)
  2. Gavin de Becker The Gift of Fear (1997)
  3. Eric Berne Games People Play (1964)
  4. Edward de Bono Lateral Thinking (1970)
  5. Robert Bolton People Skills (1979)
  6. Nathaniel Branden The Psychology of Self-Esteem (1969)
  7. Isabel Briggs-Myers Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type (1980)
  8. Louann Brizendine The Female Brain (2006)
  9. David D Burns Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy (1980)
  10. Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (1984)
  11. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Creativity (1997)
  12. Albert Ellis & Robert Harper A Guide To Rational Living (1961)
  13. Milton Erickson My Voice Will Go With You (1982) by Sidney Rosen
  14. Erik Erikson Young Man Luther (1958)
  15. Hans Eysenck Dimensions of Personality (1947)
  16. Susan Forward Emotional Blackmail (1997)
  17. Viktor Frankl The Will to Meaning (1969)
  18. Anna Freud The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (1936)
  19. Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams (1902)
  20. Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983)
  21. Daniel Gilbert Stumbling on Happiness (2006)
  22. Malcolm Gladwell Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005)
  23. Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence at Work (1998)
  24. John M Gottman The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999)
  25. Harry Harlow The Nature of Love (1958)
  26. Thomas A Harris I'm OK – You're OK (1967)
  27. Eric Hoffer The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951)
  28. Karen Horney Our Inner Conflicts (1945)
  29. William James Principles of Psychology (1890)
  30. Carl Jung The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (1953)
  31. Alfred Kinsey Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953)
  32. Melanie Klein Envy and Gratitude (1975)
  33. RD Laing The Divided Self (1959)
  34. Abraham Maslow The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1970)
  35. Stanley Milgram Obedience To Authority (1974)
  36. Anne Moir & David Jessel Brainsex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women (1989)
  37. IP Pavlov: Conditioned Reflexes (1927)
  38. Fritz Perls Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality (1951)
  39. Jean Piaget The Language and Thought of the Child (1966)
  40. Steven Pinker The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (2002)
  41. VS Ramachandran Phantoms in the Brain (1998)
  42. Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person (1961)
  43. Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1970)
  44. Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less (2004)
  45. Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness (2002)
  46. Gail Sheehy Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life (1974)
  47. BF Skinner Beyond Freedom & Dignity (1953)
  48. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen Difficult Conversations (2000)
  49. William Styron Darkness Visible (1990)
  50. Robert E Thayer The Origin of Everyday Moods (1996)

Robert Cialdini - Influence, Science and Practice - 4th Ed. - 2000

Influence: Science and Practice (download here) is an examination of the psychology of compliance (i.e. uncovering which factors cause a person to say “yes” to another's request).

Written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research, Cialdini combines evidence from experimental work with the techniques and strategies he gathered while working as a salesperson, fundraiser, advertiser, and in other positions inside organizations that commonly use compliance tactics to get us to say “yes.” Widely used in classes, as well as sold to people operating successfully in the business world, the eagerly awaited revision of Influence reminds the reader of the power of persuasion.

Cialdini organizes compliance techniques into six categories based on psychological principles that direct human behavior: reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
  • Reciprocation - People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.
  • Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. See cognitive dissonance.
  • Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more accomplices would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
  • Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents, such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
  • Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
  • Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.

Robert B. Cialdini is a well known social psychologist who is currently a professor of psychology at Arizona State University.

Edward Bernays - Propaganda - 1928


"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." - Edward Bernays, Propaganda

"Bernays' honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies." - Noam Chomsky

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays, pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed "engineering of consent." During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.

Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995) nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, was considered the father of the field of public relations. Combining the ideas of Gustave LeBon and Wilfred Trotter on Crowd psychology with the Psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the psychology of the subconscious.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described.

Sources: Wikipedia, Amazon