life

The Emperor of All Maladies

I’ve just finished this interesting book on the biography of cancer. On one hand, it’s a depressing story, as we are still losing many battles.
On the other hand, there are many ways that progress have been made and hopefully, we are in a phase (e.g. genomics research and the cost reduction in analyzing DNA) that will bring us more victories. It is a story about the  history of research with eureka moments and decades of despair.

The author, Dr Mukherjee does a great job in describing the history from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago (when the Greek historian Herodotus records the story of Atossa the queen of Persia and the daughter of Cyrus, who noticed a lump in her breast.) through the progress in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. 

I found somewhere this encouraging answer he gave to the question “With all that you have learned up to this point, are you hopeful in terms of cancer research and possible cures?”
Mukherjee: “I feel pathologically hopeful!
The opposite of hopeful is hopeless.
How can you be hopeless?
Discoveries have occurred, and discoveries are occurring.
Look at history, does that mean that every move becomes the most brilliant discovery or the universal cure for cancer? No.
But history clearly shows a track record of progress. Medicine is caught in this moment of pulling out from a sea of uncertainty these little pieces that are more certain than others. I often tell fellows and residents, to me there is no discipline we practice as human beings that manage this level of complexity. Not just statistical or scientific complexity, but emotional complexity. That’s what makes it one of the most unbelievably moving professions that exist.”



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life

How to Be Happy Without Getting Lucky

Perfect spot for thinking and breathing

A perfect spot for thinking and breathing

 

All the great ideas here are from @Naval
I just edit it so I could comeback and read it from time to time.

1. Seek wealth, not money or status.

Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep.
Money is how we transfer time and wealth.
Status is your place in the social hierarchy.‏

2. Understand that ethical wealth creation is possible.
If you secretly despise wealth, it will elude you.‏

3. Ignore people playing status games.
They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.‏ Continue reading

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Business, life

Make Better Decisions

The lake and clouds near HWY 92&280

Thanks to @farnamstreet for these great points that he posted on Twitter. It reminded me of a good conversation I had with a friend about the ‘right’ decision and a ‘good’ decision.

A good decision is the best decision you can make based on the evidence at hand at the moment you need to decide. If it will be the ‘right’ one – only time can tell. Btw, it is good to remember that many decisions are reversible. With those types of decisions, you can use a light-weight process. You don’t have to live with the consequences for that long if you can change it (which is easy to say and hard to do). You should improve your skills to recognize quickly that a decision is wrong. When you become good at course correction, you will be able to ‘fail quickly’ and move forward fast. If you wish to get better and increase the odds to have good decisions that turn out on the right side, here is a list of rules to help with the process.

How to take a better decision?

Continue reading

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JavaScript, life

The Monty Hall Problem

The Monty Hall problem is a brain teaser loosely based on the American television game show “Let’s Make a Deal” and named after its original host, Monty Hall.

I wrote a little web app that show you what is the right choice with a simulator. It’s a bit hard to explain the correct solution as it’s going against ‘common’ sense. Continue reading

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life

Important Books That Are Delight To Read

books we love

There are around 130 million books around the world.

Let’s say that you can read 2 books a week. In a year, you will be able to read ~100 books and if you keep this pace for the next 80-90 years you have a chance to read ~9000 books which is only 0.007% from the total amount.

So a good question would be:

Which books would you choose to read?

I am collecting suggestions, so please feel free to share.

Btw, If you wish to understand why your kids are hooked on Fortnite? check The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I’m still amazed how Epic game (the company the behind Fortnite) took so many great ideas from these books and baked them into the game.

Want a few more that I really enjoyed?

  • Wish to laugh?
    • Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
    • Yes please! by Amy Poehler
  • Think?
    • Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Where Good Ideas Come from, by Steven Johnson
  • Learn about health and the cutting edge of our knowledge about cancer?
    • The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene: An Intimate History both by Mukherjee Siddhartha
  • Learn (more) about great thinkers?
    • Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci or Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
    • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight
    • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and 21 lessons for the 21st centery by Yuval Noah Harari

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life

The Evolution of Everything – Book Review

the evolution of everythingLast week I finished an interesting book by Matt Ridley (the author of several good books on genetics and evolution) – “The Evolution of Everything”.

The main idea from the book is simple, yet to many people disturbing: government, technology, society, religion and other areas evolves without any real control over the process. Although we neglect and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world in many aspects. Continue reading

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Business, life

Weapons Of Math Destructions

Weapons Of Math Destructions book

 

I have just finished this book “Weapons Of Math Destructions” by Cathy O’neil.

It’s an important book that deal with mathematical algorithms and models that control our modern life and where they threat to change many aspects of our social interactions. Think about cases like who is being selected to a certain collage and all the implications. She gives good stories and background to each example in the book.

To me, the bottom line is a call to developers, product managers, scientists (and anyone else who contribute to the creation of these systems) to take more responsibility when they building algorithms. I know it’s a real challenging aspect, as most people are not even aware to the tendencies that they got and influence their decisions. It’s also a call for the regulators to think and ask the hard questions about modern ‘AI‘ systems.

Overall, it’s a good book that is full with good stories and examples that drive her main points about the dark side of big data.

Give it a try.

You might like it as much as I did.

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