life

The 2022 Year Summary – Books And Running

In the past few years (2019201820172016201520142013) I’ve been summarizing the year on sports events (Ironman, running, biking, snowboarding, etc.) and books.

Here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed most in 2022.

A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini – I first read it around 2010 or 2011, but early this year, I went back. It is a sad and powerful story of love, friendship, and the enduring human spirit. It is a testament to the resilience and strength of women and a moving depiction of the struggles and triumphs of life in Afghanistan. Yes. You will cry (just like I did).

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens – A beautifully written and moving story about the power of survival, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring mystery of human connection. It is a captivating and heartwarming tale that will stay with readers long after they finish the last page. Yep. There is a Netflix movie that you can watch but like the known phrase, “the book is much better!”

Numbers don’t lie by Vaclav Smil is an exploration of the key global trends shaping the world today and how they will impact the future. Smil, a renowned scientist and author (whom I need to thank Mr. Gates for the intro), examines a wide range of issues, including population growth, economic development, energy, resource use, and environmental change. He uses data and statistical analysis to provide a clear and nuanced view of the key trends shaping the world today and the implications of these trends for the future. Throughout the book, Smil discusses the challenges and opportunities presented by these trends and offers insights on navigating them. He also highlights the importance of addressing these trends in a holistic and integrated way and the need to consider their complex interactions and implications. This is a thought-provoking and engaging book that offers a fresh perspective on the key global trends shaping our world. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the forces shaping the future and how we can prepare for and address them.

Noise by Daniel Kahneman explores the concept of “noise” in decision-making and how it can lead to flawed judgment and poor outcomes. Kahneman, a Nobel laureate in economics, argues that noise is a pervasive problem in decision-making and can lead to biased and irrational conclusions. He defines noise as random or unpredictable variations in judgment that can distort or obscure the underlying reality. Noise can come from various sources, including individual biases, the influence of emotions, and the complex and uncertain nature of the world. Through examples and case studies, Kahneman demonstrates how noise can lead to flawed judgment and poor outcomes in various contexts, including business, finance, and politics. He also offers practical strategies for reducing noise and improving decision-making, including using statistical analysis and developing more robust decision-making processes. It is a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of the role of noise in decision-making and how it can be addressed to improve judgment and outcomes.

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life, Sport

Favorites Books And (Virtual) Ironman 2020

It’s been a challenging year.
A year that caused lots of misery and the long term implications are still going to be discovered in the future. Nevertheless, I’m trying to focus on the hope we see just around the corner.

As for books and running/biking and swimming, it was all ‘virtual’ events. The Ironman race I was registered to do at Santa Rosa was first ‘pushed’ to ‘later this year’ and a after few months it was canceled.
As we learned during this year, it’s best to have patience (and endurance). Looking backward, there were quite a lot of new events that we managed to do. Both Strava and Zwift saw their platform taking an uplift. The new (or old) way to do a group ride: Zwift and Discord is quite cool. It won’t replace the real thing, but with the ‘new norm’, it’s quite a nice option.

Virtual Races

This year moved ‘everything’ into ‘virtual’. Sports events are just one example.
Since all the official races were canceled I did some virtual ones.

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life

Reading Recommendations From @naval

A list from @naval talks/podcasts and tweets.
It’s mainly for my personal usage when I’m buy new books (or ordering some from the library).

  • Poor Charlie’s Almanac: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. This one is the biggest book (for real) you will have in your library. Find a special and strong shelf for it.
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I wrote about here in the past.
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle (@EckhartTolle)
  • The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age by James Dale Davidson
  • Incerto Series by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb): All 5 books are great but not an easy read. I had to re-read some parts in the books again and again and I’m still not sure I got to the bottom of the idea(s).
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life

What It Takes – Book Review

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence” is a book I enjoyed in the last two flights. It’s a classic entrepreneurship story and half of the book is talking about his path in starting, building and expanding Blackstone. The other half is composed of stories in his life.

Who is Stephen Schwarzman?

Well, he manages over $500 billion as the co-founder/CEO of Blackstone.
He also wants to teach readers “how to grow organizations, and do positive things, and how to help their careers”. 

I felt through the book that there are some good lessons.

One lesson is around the same (more or less) rules that Buffet coined around:

  1. Don’t lose money.
  2. Go back to confirm you are executing rule #1

A few little details make the book fun to read. For example, when he explained how Angela Merkel raised her hands to imitate a locust and how he mimics her. Another good one is when he tells of why he earned the nickname “Farmer Blackstone” in China. It is because he promised that the company’s stock price was like a seed that would grow in time.

I also liked this suggestion:
“There is nothing more interesting to people than their problems. Think about what others are dealing with, and try to come up with ideas to help them. Almost anyone, however senior or important, is receptive to good ideas provided you are thoughtful.”

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books
life

2019 Favorite Books And Runs

In the past few years ( 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013) I’ve been summarizing the year both on sports events (running, biking, snowboarding, etc’) and on books.

This year is no different.

Let’s start with the books I’ve enjoyed most in 2019.

Books – Learning and thinking

  • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know – Malcolm Gladwell
    This is another masterpiece from Gladwell. He knows how to tell a story and to take you from A to B in a fascinating way.
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
    I enjoyed this one as it’s not ‘just’ talking about the importance of Grit but also on how to deal with the complexity of life.

  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari
    If you read the first two books you got the main ideas. However, it’s a great book with many good internal stories. I liked it a lot.
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Business, life

Decisions And Intuition – Daniel Kahneman

Psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reveals the actions we can take to overcome the biases. He talks in this podcast about the things that cripple our decision-making, damper our thinking, and limit our effectiveness.

Some gems from his conversion:

First one, is thought provoking as you take it to your personal or professional life.

“I think changing behavior is extremely difficult. There are a few guidelines about how to do that, but anybody who’s very optimistic about changing behavior is just deluded.”

The second is about incentives and it’s putting more light to Charlie’s perceptions.

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life

Factfulness – Book Review

It’s one of the best books I read during 2018. 

Hans Rosling was a great author (and a speaker) and he expressed his ideas in a very clear way. One of the great things that open this book, is the test that he gives you at the beginning. It comes to prove you, how little you know about the world we live in. It drives the point home very clearly.

Don’t believe?

Try it for yourself:

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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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