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Focus to Win

Anyone can say no to bad ideas, but only a focused person can say no to good ideas. Focus is about saying no. When talking about one of the biggest lessons he learned from Steve Jobs, Jonny Ive said it was focus. This sounds really simplistic, but it still shocks me how few people actually practice this, and it’s a struggle to...

Tit For Tat

Tit for tat is a strategy which, according to game theory, is the most effective choice for iterated games based on mutual cooperation or defection. Both players benefit if they cooperate, but one benefits and the other loses out if only they defect, and both lose out to a lesser extent if they simultaneously defect. As abstract as such games sound,...

Reciprocity: Getting What You Give

This article is an excerpt from the bestselling book The Great Mental Models Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry and Biology Reciprocity teaches us why win-win relationships are the way to go, why waiters leave candies with the bill, why it’s a good idea to use the least force possible to secure an outcome, and why a lot of companies don’t permit...

Evaluating Information: Find the Signal in the Noise

We are drowning in information. Most of that information is irrelevant. If only we could sort what matters from what doesn’t. The good news is that you can train your brain to evaluate the quality of information. Not only can you quickly determine if someone knows what they are talking about but you can sort the important information...

Math Makes Life Beautiful.

Math has long been the language of science, engineering, and finance, but can math help you feel calm on a turbulent flight? Get a date? Make better decisions? Here are some heroic ways math shows up in our everyday life. *** Sounds intellectually sophisticated, doesn’t it? Other than sounding really smart at after-work cocktails, what could be...

The Small Steps of Giant Leaps

One of the most beneficial skills you can learn in life is how to consistently put yourself in a good position. The person who finds themselves in a strong position can take advantage of circumstances while others are forced into a series of poor choices.  Strong positions are not an accident. Weak positions aren’t bad luck.  Telling...

How to Remember What You Read

It happens all the time. You read an amazing book, one so packed with wisdom that you think it’s going to change your life forever. Then…it doesn’t. Why? Because when you’re finally in a situation where you could use its insights, you’ve completely forgotten them. Time is our most valuable resource, so we shouldn’t waste it. The investment we make in...

Why Math Class Is Boring—and What to Do About It

There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoyed mathematics class in school, and the other 98% of the population. No other subject is associated with such widespread fear, confusion, and even outright hatred. No other subject is so often declared by children and adults alike to be something they “can’t do” because they lack an innate...

How Description Leads to Understanding

Describing something with accuracy forces you to learn more about it. In this way, description can be a tool for learning. Accurate description requires the following: Observation Curiosity about what you are witnessing Suspending assumptions about cause and effect It can be difficult to stick with describing something completely and...

Mirror Your Audience: Four Life Lessons From Performance Artist Marina Abramović

Imagine it is a Saturday. You are in New York and decide to go to the Museum of Modern Art. There is a special exhibit on called The Artist is Present. Performance artist Marina Abramovic is sitting in one of the galleries. You wait in line to sit across from her, noticing that hundreds of people are lined up for the experience. Anticipation slowly...

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