Business, life

Improve Your Decisions

I find the topic of decisions making to be a fascinating one.
In the past few years, I wrote about it several times and this is the post I keep returning as the ‘checklist’.
However, it’s great to have quick and simple rules that you can use.

Three rules to improve your decisions (that I ‘borrowed’ from @naval):

  • If you can’t decide, the answer is no – It might be a bit tricky in cases where you don’t have a Yes/No decision. However, the idea (IMHO) is that you should have a hunch on what will be the right path and if you can’t feel it, try to base the decision on the best data you can find.

  • If two equally difficult paths, choose the one more painful in the short term (pain avoidance is creating an illusion of equality) – This is a clever one, as it’s pointing you in the direction of
    ‘Easy choices → Hard life. Hard choices → Easy life’.
    I’m not sure, this rule will be valid in all cases, but even if it’s holding for 80% it’s a good one to remember.

  • Choose the path that leaves you calmer in the long term – Smart way to validate which is the better decision for a given challenge.

Also, it’s good to remember that
“It’s extremely hard to make good decisions in a poor environment.”

So do your best to improve the environment (e.g. company, friends) before taking important decisions.

The original tweet:

Have a great weekend.

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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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Business

Charlie’s Thoughts on Decision Making

I read a few years ago the Poor Charlie’s Almanack and found it to be a really great book for many areas in life. It’s also a long and heavy book so you might wish to get it it to your Kindle. Charles Munger is a brilliant thinker and it’s no surprise that the book is full of practical wisdom.

Some of the points I took and used many times:

Incentives – He talks about the incentives and how they are in the root of many systems. One of the more powerful statements is: “If you wish to see what people will do – look at their incentives”. It holds true both to people and to teams & companies.

Bias – How the human mind is closing itself after it ‘knows’ something. That might be really hard when you want to change your thoughts on a topic. You should embrace people who think differently and aren’t agree with you on every topic. It’s not easy but rewarding and will improve your decisions. Continue reading

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