The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness

by Morgan Housel

Financial success is a soft skill, writes Morgan Housel, “where how you behave is more important than what you know.” This is a book about developing the mindset of a long-term investor, with a realistic attitude towards risk and reward. The book is conspicuously free of financial jargon and math. Here are some key points.

Continue reading “The Psychology of Money”

The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions

The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions

by Dan Markovitz

As a management consultant, Dan Markovitz has seen too many executives waste money on “Ready, Fire, Aim” decisions which yield no benefit—and sometimes even make things worse. “Frankly, I’m tired… of seeing leaders jump to conclusions and taking action without really understanding their problem.” This concise 67-page book resonates with me and I think it applies not only to business, but also more broadly to political policy on many of society’s complex issues, such as education and healthcare.

Continue reading “The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions”

Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation

Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation

by Emmanuel Probst 

Assemblage is a French word that refers to the art and science of blending different eaux-de-vies (brandies) before bottling cognac. It is the craft of the maître de chai (also known as the master blender or cellar master) to select brandies from dozens of samples and craft a unique cognac… Assemblage is also a metaphor for building successful brands.”

Continue reading “Assemblage: The Art and Science of Brand Transformation”

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

by Oliver Burkeman

We live in an era where appliances and software supposedly make our lives easier. “Yet, paradoxically, you only feel busier, more anxious… And becoming ‘more productive’ just seems to cause the belt to speed up.”

We all have a finite amount of time in our lives—in the neighborhood of 4,000 weeks, assuming an 80-year lifespan and rounding to 50 weeks per year. “Our limited time… what Heidegger calls our ‘finitude’… isn’t just one among various things we have to cope with; rather, it’s the thing that defines us, as humans.”

“The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.”

Continue reading “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals”

The Little Book of Confusables

The Little Book of Confusables: Simple spelling and usage tips to help smart people avoid stupid mistakes

by Sarah Townsend

This book disambiguates 600 commonly confused words. Examples include: aggravated, agitated; a lot, allot; assume, presume; coherent, cohesive; discreet, discrete; enervate, innervate, innovate; faze, phase; feasible, plausible; flaunt, flout; fortuitous, fortunate; historic, historical; hoard, horde; indolent, insolent; literal, littoral; loath, loathe; sleight, slight; tack, tact; tortuous, torturous; unkempt, unkept; vain, vane, vein; and wet, whet.

I was happy to learn that French quotation marks are called « guillemet ». I’ll be careful not to confuse that with guillemot, “a sea bird that nests on cliff edges.”

Continue reading “The Little Book of Confusables”

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change York Life

by Amy E. Herman

“Leonardo da Vinci attributed all of his scientific and artistic accomplishments to the same concept, which he called saper vedere—‘knowing how to see.’ We might also call his gift ‘visual intelligence.’”

Amy Herman, who has degrees in law and art history, teaches a course called the Art of Perception to police officers and FBI agents. The book is about how to assess, analyze, and articulate what we observe. To practice these skills, the author presents numerous works of art. She also discusses real-life crime and business cases.

Continue reading “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception”

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide

Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide

by John Cleese

The central theme of this short book is tapping into your subconscious thoughts for ideas which you can then develop consciously and analytically. Cleese writes, “I began to realize that my unconscious was working on stuff all the time, without my being consciously aware of it.”

Continue reading “Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide”

Broken Windows, Broken Business

Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards

by Michael Levine

Broken windows theory came up in a recent conversation. The person I was speaking with said he read the book, but it quickly became apparent that we were talking about two different books. I was talking about Fixing Broken Windows, a book about crime control which I have previously reviewed. He was talking about Broken Windows, Broken Business, which takes the premise of the crime theory and applies it to business.

Continue reading “Broken Windows, Broken Business”