The Order of Time (Book Review)

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli is a lucid description of what time is and how it flows. It is based mostly on our best (and consensus) understanding of physics but also interlaced with so conjecture and his own work.

One of the main ideas is that time is not set as one moment, it depends on where you are (and how quickly it goes by depends on how far away we are from mass, e.g. the earth).

See for more a review by The Guardian.

One thing I really liked was how lucid he wrote, like David Deutsch with The Beginning of Infinity.

Exhalation (Book Review)

The awesome short stories of Exhalation by Ted Chiang.

I forgot to add this somewhere in mid/beginning September. I will write a review some other time. Discussed twice on Very Bad Wizards Podcast.

The Great Mental Models (Book Review)

The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts by Shane Parrish (of Farnham Street blog fame) is a short (3,5 hours) read/listen that introduces some awesome and useful mental models. Here a very short summary I found:

Maps are not the territory – All models are wrong, but some are useful
1. Reality is the ultimate update
2. Consider the cartographer
3. Map can influence territory

Circle of competence
If you want to improve your odds of success in life and business then define the perimeter of your circle of competence, and operate inside. Over time, work to expand that circle but never fool yourself about where it stands today, and never be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

Inversion – Approach situation from the opposite end of the natural starting point

Occam’s razor – simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones. “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras”

Hanlon’s razor – Don’t attribute to malice that which is explained by stupidity. It’s less likely for two things to be true than one 

Hacking Darwin (Book Review)

Hacking Darwin by Jamie Metzl is an interesting look at the future (that is already partly here) of us hacking our genes (lives and more). Metzl doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. The book ends with a recommendation to start a global conversation, I think it’s a very good suggestion.

One interesting topic is that of genetically engineering our kids. We don’t have a very distinct line to draw in the sand (although we might want to believe so) between bad/ill and good/improvement. In the end I think we will have a framework of compromises, but still the rich and influential will be able to edit/change their babies. And before you think only of productivity and beauty, some might opt for very different skills/abilities.

May we live in interesting times.

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide (Book Review)

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide by James (Jim) Fadiman gives you an overview of what we know today about using psychedelics for therapy/self-care/self-exploration.

I liked that it gave a good overview and added to my knowledge base around the topic. It was less structured/logical than I expected, but that was ok.

It does feature some very useful links and I think it’s a good stepping-stone to learning more.

– Presents practices for safe and successful psychedelic voyages, including the benefits of having a guide and how to be a guide
– Reviews the value of psychedelics for healing and self-discovery as well as how LSD has facilitated scientific and technical problem-solving
– Reveals how ultra-low doses improve cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina

This year 600,000 people in the U.S. alone will try LSD for the first time, joining the 23 million who have already experimented with this substance.

Called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,” James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose), and problem-solving (low dose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience–from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the setting and pre-session intention.

Fadiman reviews the newest as well as the neglected research into the psychotherapeutic value of visionary drug use for increased personal awareness and a host of serious medical conditions, including his recent study of the reasons for and results of psychedelic use among hundreds of students and professionals. He reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including extremely low doses for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the internet. Exploring the life-changing experiences of Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Huston Smith as well as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, Fadiman shows how psychedelics, used wisely, can lead not only to healing but also to scientific breakthroughs and spiritual epiphanies.

The Box (Book Review)

The Box by Marc Levinson is an interesting history of the shipping container. It’s got nothing to do with what I’m working on, but nonetheless it was very interesting. The story takes place on a global scale, it’s well researched, and shows how unpredictable the future can be.

The book gave me a better understanding of how the global economy operates, it’s history, and gave some more ‘power’ to the tides of history (vs the great man theory). This is because although there are some very important players, the timing should have been right and that is what matters most.

Ohh and that government intervention almost never helps (and hurts in most cases). Yet in the end, Dubai is a very good counterexample. The question there is, how much is that government and not just ‘business’ doing it’s thing (and maybe a lot of luck too?).

Max Rage (Book Review)

Genetically Engineered.

Physically enhanced.

Mentally conditioned.

This should say it all, right? It’s a fun, lighthearted, book about intergalactic battles, romance (read: sexytime), blood, fighting, being ‘cool’, etc.

It’s just fun. That’s it. Lots of fun. And rage, Max rage.

Breng me de neushoorn (Book Review)

Breng me de neushoorn” by John Tarrant is a book full of zen-koans. I’ve read it in April 2013 and that is now (September 2019) quite a while ago.

I did get some things out of it and wrote things like this “Live in the now, don’t have a view of/about yourself, frame of reference” (be like water?)

Eckart’s Notes (Book Review)

Eckart’s Notes is a Dutch book by Eckart Wintzen. He was an inspiring entrepreneur to many. His core idea was that you could run a company by having many autonomous cells. I think it could compare to an ant colony, your body, or many other bottom-up systems.

In the book, he argues for independence mixed with strict guidelines from the holding (queen bee, your cognition). This allows for independent and creative thought from the cells, with a uniform representation and way of doing things.

Some things are very strict, like what font to use and the size of plants in the office. But a cell is responsible for its own acquisition, making a profit, etc.

This system prevents many back-office processes from starting/growing. Because the cell has to do it themselves (and of course don’t want to do it, but have to).

There are many more ideas in the book and it reminded me of ReWork quite a bit.

Not everything might apply to your organisation, but I can recommend most entrepreneurs (especially with (the ambition to grow beyond) 20 people or more).