Maand: september 2015

The rich mindset, the idea muscle and on-the-side-business

A whole book in James Altucher’s typical style. the-rich-employee

Packed. Informative. Entertaining. A little chaotic. Jumping quickly between styles, digressing, then getting back on track. Interlaced with stories illustrating his points.

Do expect the “rich” in the title to be taken literally. Although the book offers monetary advice, the “rich” mostly relates to a mindset.

And it is not just aimed at employees either.

Typical James. Very commercially smart title to broaden the audience for the book. It suggests richness is also achievable for the employees. And of course there are many more employees than non-employees (probably implying entrepreneurs). And these employees are craving to be rich. In many ways.

I am thinking how you would summarize his main idea. Independence comes to mind. Make yourself independent from your employer. Make your value independent from where you work. Make sure you have plan B and C. Prepare for disaster.
Become antifragile, comes to mind (Nassim Taleb).antifragile
Even become independent of your own streams of thought, I mean do not let them dominate you. Get on top of them.
That is probably a very buddhist idea.

If you have read James’ post you may have seen a lot of the content already.

Start a business on the side.

Refers to Cialdini a couple of times. Read that one some time ago. Influence. Recommend that too.influence

Read about this idea muscle, how important it is to train it. And then how lazy i am writing down the stuff racing through my mind during the day. Ideas I then forget because I don not write them down. I think starting to even write down ideas you have even how stupid they may sound is a great idea.

One of these is an idea for an internet media company. Any media but video. Well, also video, but not just. Podcasts, radio, whatever.
I do not understand why cable companies do not heavily invest in this. The carrier is commodity. Content is king. That is what they said in 2000 about the internet, refering to web sites, when the carier was still important (or rather: limited. It was important because badnwidth was so scarce). And today it is even more true, now all deregulation of cables has been realised. Sorry, I mean with the disappearance of the big state owned telephone / cable companies.
That was one of my ideas today.
It probably exists already, but I am too lazy to go find out now.

Another idea, for Amazon kindle. You can put books purchased elsewhere on your Kindle (using Calibre for that great stuff), but notes will not be sync-ed with your Provide it. I guess it is a stupid measure to make sure you purchase your books on amazon. Is there already a service extracting notes from your kindle? O I googled and found Calibre might be able to. Will check that out.

Another one: be able to search books and add to wishlist from Kindle.

Another one: integration with Evernote (typing this in evernote).

James tosses the idea of choose yourself meetups. AA type gatherings. Might work, but definitely not for me. Nor James I am sure. Too shy.

References in the back great: to Fedora training creation – O now I have a new business idea for courses. I can turn any business problem from my job, generalise it and create a (micro) course out of it. In the media company too? Was just talking to my wife last night how out of date the current system for higher education is, with all the new media courses (for free) coming online.

That’s it.

Nice read.

The Monk and The Riddle and Rework and others

The one is more imperative the other more loose.monk-and-riddle

Both are No BS.

I read The Monk and The Riddle and then Rework shortly after eachother.

The Monk etc is a great book about how startups really work. From the mouth of a top advisor of VCs in Silicon Valley. That sounds strong and confident and so is the book.
Illustrated with great real life example and stories around that –, the Amazon of funeral goods, for heaven’s sake…
Talks about the business side, but also discusses the need for a vision the founders need on what they want the startup to achieve.Rework

What are investors really look for. For them your business plan is one in very many.

Is there a big market? Can the product win and defend a large share? (Peter Thiel – look for a monopoly in Zero to One). Can the team do the job?

They are looking for passion. Money should not be the driver. Passion should.

Make plans, but don’t assume you can stick to them for very long. Be flexible. Also the investors should recognize this.

“In a Brave New World startup, there’s no existing market, no incumbent competitors, and no economic model, you’re literally investing the business as you go along.”

I take that opportunity to link to Fried and Heineman say in Rework – a plan is ok but it is all guesswork, they say, so do not worry too much if it needs changing; actually expect it to change (or you would be psychic).

Jason Fried and David Heineman Hansson are furthermore a lot less stern but and take a more relaxed standpoint. But they are from the other side of the table.

Their book has a number of nice bangs:
Learning from mistakes is overrated. I like that one against the “fail fast” silicon valley hype.
Do it for yourself – ignore the world (Ignore Everybody from Hugh Macleod).
Do not listen to your customer they do not know either (read Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma“).
Working too hard is stupid.
Small is fine – big not an objective.
Entrepreneur, a word that it sounds like a members-only club.

I like that.

Very practical no-nonsense advice.
In short: don’t bullshit around, do the work (Do The Work – Steven Pressfield).

Both very informative, funny. Read like a novel.

Tony Robbins, an abundance of words

Tony Robbins, Money Master the Game. A big book on peronal finance, from a big hyperactive master the game

First time I say him was at TED. I thought he was a kind of Schwarzenegger but talking way faster.

And that voice. Scared me like hell.

Then Tim Ferriss interviewed him for his podcast. What are these rules he promised in Tim Ferriss’ interview. Well, mmm. But I decided to read this book after the interview.

The introduction is lengthy. Very lengthy. And so many “I”’s … I thought this is full of himself. (Still do, after having read the book.)

Oh, then I read he does this on purpose, this repetition and long-windedness: it’s his method. Irritating, was my first impression, but I read on, it might work.

It does make the book readable and lively.

But it goes on. So much repetition… but also lots of valuable information for the layman looking invest for his pension.

Undressing complicated investment products. Use a cheap index fund instead. Or simple and cheap annuity which is investing in index fund.

Then it gets somewhat technical and very US oriented talking about the 401(k) pension rules.

I am skipping pages.

The book not only covers investment improvements, and advice on tax. More importantly good savings advice. Where to cut costs.

And the big big secret that Tony drags you with through a number of chapters: invest in a diversified set of portfolio, comprising domestic and international stocks, real estate and treasuries.

Some interesting numbers for the layman, actually basic math. If your investment grow 10% annually, the money will have double in 7.2 years. If 5%, it is still 14.4 years. Simple things like that give you another view on saving.

Of course we want stuff now. Therefore the idea to save salary increases instead of just adding them to your salary is a good one. Hope my wife agrees.

The abundance of words continues to make the book hard to read. Information density is so low. It keeps going on and repeating the message. But I  admit: it makes me shift my view on a money machine, as Tony calls it. And the calculations grounding the machine.

Then I am done with it. I skimmed through the last chapters. Interesting, but the abundance is nauseating and the material too US oriented.

We should have something like this for every country or for Europe, but we don’t have a Tony. If we get one, I hope he is a bit more concise.

Van Dijck in the Prado, a short note on blood, Habsburg jaws and ruthlessness

Some time ago now, I visited the Prado in Madrid.The young Van Dijck
There was a special exhibition on Van Dijck, called El Joven Van Dijck  – The Young Van Dijck.

An incredible assembly of masterpieces. The 2 hours I had in between other activities was massively insufficient.

My winner is The Lamentation over the Dead Christ is my winner. Blood drips from the canvas. The reflection of the light on the skin.  Lamentation Van Dijcke

It is full of Habsburg Jaws. In the paintings, in the sculptures. After a while this becomes corny and funny. All of these great emporers with theseThe Habsburg Jaw massive chins express an sickly absence of joy and compassion. If there is an emotion they express, it is one of detachment and ruthlessness.

El Greco shows he is an expressionist avant la lettre.

Velazquez is also greatly present. His monstrously large horses and people with far too small heads seems to be taken from the perspective of a child or a dwarf.diego-velazquez-horse

What Is The What at Foyles Southbank

One evening I was walking along the south bank of the Thames in the evening. Joggers, skateboarders, tourists and bussinessmen and women were trying to push me off the Thames Path.

At Foyles, the book shop on the south bank of the Thames, What is The WhatI stumbled in and browsed through the shelves. I was surprised to find a new title from Dave Eggers, unknown to me until that moment: What Is The What.

I am not especially attracted to refugee stories, although I Moses Isegawa’s Abyssinian Chronicles is an incredible book, so I had to overcome an initial hesitation, but when I had read a page I was sold and bought the book for an amazing price of £13.

At the counter, one of the bookies (guess that is not what call these guys behind the counter in a abyssinian chroniclesbookshop) told me he had ordered only 10 copies because the book was not officially announced in the UK, or so. He complimented me on my choice and said half of the London underground literary books junks would now envy me.

I asked him what the street value of the book might be then; he said it could well be £50. I told him I’d give it a try then, after I finished reading it.

No news that What Is The What is a incredibly great book (review by Francine Prose). I finished it in 2 days and probably could have sold it  for the amount if I would have hustled with one of the Eggers’ addicts. But I am too lazy for that – or probably do not need the money badly enough.

Having googled up that review by Francine Prose reminds me to finish her reading like a writerbook Reading Like a Writer, which I started off enthusiastically but got distracted from by novels. I started off as a good book though and not the category “book that does not hold my attention so not going to spend more time on it” (yet).

Maybe more on that later.

12 tomorrows from 2014

I ordered Twelve Tomorrows. I never really liked science fiction (excTwelve Tomorrows 2014eptions like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – not even sure even that would qualify for science fiction). But I wanted re-evaluate my taste.

The twelve futures in summary:

  1. Instead of getting electronic detention, limiting the freedom of hitchhikersmovement, persistent criminals are blinded. as a replacement for their natural eyesight they get electronic glasses through which they can only observe a pre-filtered reality. In this augmented reality, criminals are tagged, or branded, and everyone can see these brands as a warning sign.
  2. Biological modification of humans, first under “acupuncture anesthesia”, then in next generations through DNA modification.
  3. Cybercrime 22h century. Electronically (remotely) scanning a person’s digital identity information to get access to a bank account.
  4. Genetically manipulated life forms start leading their own life and thus become a threat to human life.
  5. Modification of human behavior through electronics implants in the human brain, also allowing remote control over a person.
  6. Human life has moved into space, to other planet amongst which Mars and the Moon. Technology like human hibernation made possible.  (A bit of 2001 A Space Odyssee, hmm).
  7. The internet of stuff, a second internet smart devices, unregulated and avoiding dictatorial suppression (already exists).
  8. Cyborg man is synthesized with his intelligent leg and can survive his body. His personality is transferred to another computer by the soul of the leg.
  9. Man cures from a hyperactive damaged brain, chemical drugs (SMOOTH  TM) is surpassed by a nanotechnology that can enter the body through the skin when wearing a medical t-shirt.
  10. Talented, intelligent young girl in Afghan invents a new kind of semiconductor in a repressive Afghan society.
  11. Internet surveillance in hyperconnected world. Secret services can follow everything you see, through your eyes, extract experiences and take over control. Everybody is under this kind of surveillance.
  12. Gene modification aimed at producing fossil gas, turns out to thrive also in the human body. But not for long, people start exploding

I found it difficult to get through the stories. Most of them sketch a dark, unpleasant future. I am trying to understand why that is. Is it because we generally tend to expect the worst of the future? Or is it maybe simply because of the dramatic needs for a story or book. Also, the science factor was not very original, and the writing not very good.

limitIf you like Science Fiction advanced, find the very latest on MIT’s twelve tomorrows web site.

I decided to not touch Science Fiction for some time.
While I got Frank Schatzing’s Limit as a present. More on that later. That’s a 1000+ pages book.