Stealing Fire PDF Summary

Stealing Fire PDFHow Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

Steve Jobs once said that taking LSD was not merely “a profound experience,” but also “one of the two or three most important things” he had done in his life.

Stealing Fire” may hold the answer as to why.

Who Should Read “Stealing Fire”? And Why?

If you are living on this planet, you probably know who Malcolm Gladwell is and what the rule of 10,000 hours he popularized refers to. Put plain and simple: if you want to become a master at something, be sure to spend years and years training to do that something.

Well, “Stealing Fire” is about those who believe in shortcuts: according to Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, high performance is nowadays much more linked to states of altered consciousness than it is with grit and habits.

Those who simply want to learn more about altered consciousness are welcomed to read this book as well.

About Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

Steven KotlerSteven Kotler is an American journalist, author, and entrepreneur.

One of the leading experts on high performance, he is most famous for his several nonfiction books, three of which are already considered classics in the field: “Bold,” “The Rise of Superman” and, especially, “Abundance.”

He is also the co-founder of the Flow Genome Project.

Jamie WhealJamie Wheal is an American author, an expert in leadership and peak performance.

He has advised numerous executives, owners of sports teams and athletes.

A historical anthropologist by degree, Wheal’s studies have been published in peer-review academic journals and anthologies.

“Stealing Fire PDF Summary”

The myth of Prometheus stealing the divine fire and gifting it to mankind is probably one of the most famous myths in history.

No wonder it has inspired numerous authors to call Prometheus a champion of mankind and think of fire as the fundamental building block of progress and civilization.

In “Stealing Fire,” Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal use this myth as the underlying metaphor to make a rather controversial case: just like Zeus in Greek mythology, the governments and the corporations of today are keeping “the fire of altered consciousness” to themselves – and we need a few Prometheuses to steal it!

Why?

Because we have science on our side, and they are consciously preventing us from experiencing one of the most beautiful states a person can experience in his or her life: a state the Greeks referred to as ecstasis, and one that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi decided to rechristen it as “flow.” (Kotler and Wheal stick to the ancient terminology.)

Namely, the state of fully immersing yourself in the present in such a way which will make you experience it in all of its richness, completeness, and timelessness:

In case you still don’t know what we’re talking about, ecstasis is something you have/can/will experience while having sex or, if you practice it, during a session of deep meditation.

And, yes – after taking psychedelic drugs.

All of these things lead to a state of altered consciousness which is defined by four characteristics, neatly grouped under the acronym STER:

#1. Selflessness: your prefrontal cortex is a quite recent formation designed to separate you from the rest. However, this means that it is constantly anxious; in the state of ecstasis, people shut off their selves and are capable of experiencing “collective awareness.”

#2. Timelessness: unfortunately, no matter how many books have been written about the power of now, we are evolutionarily designed much too imperfectly to be able to live in the present:

Under normal conditions, with an active prefrontal cortex constantly scanning scenarios in the past and the future, we spend very little time living completely in the present… When our attention is focused on the present, we stop scanning yesterday for painful experiences… We quit daydreaming about a tomorrow that’s better than today. With our prefrontal cortex offline, we can’t run those scenarios.

In the state of ecstasis, however, time is suddenly non-existent, and everything there is in the world is the present moment. Already breathing a sigh of relief, ha?

#3. Effortlessness: in ecstasis, your brain releases six neurochemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and anandamide. These make you feel as if you are a master of your craft and as if you are on your way to producing a masterpiece.

#4. Richness: in the state of ecstasis, you are able to make connections much faster than in a normal state; thus, you are able to see things in a new light and bring disparate ideas together in a way which should help you generate an abundance of completely original solutions and new ideas.

We have terabytes of information available to us,” note Kotler and Wheal; “we just can’t tap into it in our normal state.

Now, before you say “a completely unsubstantiated apology for using psychedelic drugs,” bear with us for a few more moments!

First of all, do you know that humans are not the only animals who take drugs? (Before you say anything: yes, we are animals!)

Strangely enough, despite the potentially adverse health effects, it seems that many members of the animal kingdom use drugs in one way or another.

That’s the reason why dogs lick toads and why cats like catnip so much. Goats have been known to eat magic mushrooms since the dawn of times. And bottlenose dolphins toss puffer fish back and forth to, well, get high: the process helps them ingest micro-doses of the puffer fish’s neurotoxins!

Much more interestingly, it seems that some drugs are not as harmful as some other substances, which, for some reason, have been legal for centuries.

And this is not a claim merely thrown out there, but something David Nutt, one of the most respected British neuropsychopharmacologists maintains, backing it up with proper studies and data.

It seems that alcohol does more harm to both its consumers and society than do even heroin and crack cocaine, while tobacco is unhealthier than both cannabis and LSD!

See for yourself:

So, why are tobacco and alcohol allowed and LSD and cannabis forbidden?

Possibly because, unlike the former two, the latter pair tends to make people less manageable and more empowered, just like sex does, just as meditation does. And not because psychedelic drugs are more harmful than cigarettes or whiskey!

Now, don’t get us wrong: everything comes with a caveat.

Even sex.

But, then again,

The ecstasy will always come with the agony; that’s the human condition.

Key Lessons from “Stealing Fire”

1.      The Altered States Economy
2.      Eric Schmidt and the Burning Man
3.      Constant State of Flow

The Altered States Economy

At a time when you are expected to deliver great results on a daily basis, not only distractions aren’t your friend, but also the normal, default state of your mind may be your enemy.

That’s why, everybody wants to experience something more, obtaining a state of ecstasy and euphoria, a state of the perfect workflow.

Many of the ways to achieve this are perfectly legal: sex, meditation, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, legal drugs, VR, other types of immersive experiences, social media.

Combined, these account for about $4 trillion of the US economy on an annual basis.

And that’s how fabulously much “the altered states economy” is worth.

Eric Schmidt and the Burning Man

You probably know who Eric Schmidt is.

If not, here are the two most important highlights: he is one of the richest people in the world and the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2015, as well as Alphabet Inc. the next two years.

Now, do you know how Sergey Brin and Larry Page finally settled on him?

Believe it or not, because he was able to prove his courage and determination by attending the Burning Man festival.

Don’t know what that is?

Bearing in mind the subject of this book, you already know that it’s an altered-consciousness related festival.

But, please, google it to find out more. And while doing that, have in mind that it’s where Elon Musk’s hyperlink train was first conceived!

Constant State of Flow

Ecstasis is a state during which one is able to experience selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness. Needless to add, it’s something few would argue to experience at least five to ten times a day.

But, try to imagine having sex as many times, and you’ll see why a constant state of flow is not a goal to be desired. In the cases of some other ecstasies-inducing experiences, it may be even worse: a lot, lot worse.

Which is something you should never forget, since, nowadays, ecstasies lie within your grasp and it is just too tempting?

So, choose your moments of ecstasy wisely. And use them to enrich your life – not destroy it.

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“Stealing Fire Quotes”

The human brain remains the most complex machine on the planet. Click To Tweet

Advances in science and technology are giving us unprecedented access to and insight about the upper range of human experience. Click To Tweet

If you train your body and brain, and manage your energy and attention, you’ll be able to get into the flow more frequently and perform better at work and at home. Click To Tweet

Once we step beyond taboos and social conditioning, it’s easier to see that access to ecstasis has been hardwired into us. Click To Tweet

The ecstasy will always come with the agony; that’s the human condition. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Controversial and provocative, “Stealing Fire” is – to quote its blurb – “a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.”

Well worth (at least) a read.

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United Breaks Guitars PDF Summary

United Breaks Guitars PDFThe Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media

By now, you are surely aware that “United Breaks Guitars.”

And that’s all because of one man, songwriter Dave Carroll.

The full story ahead.

Who Should Read “United Breaks Guitars”? And Why?

In case you don’t know, “United Breaks Guitars” is a trilogy of protest songs by Canadian musician Dave Carroll written soon after United Airlines broke one of his guitars and refused to admit it had been their fault and apologize or reimburse him for the damage.

This book recounts that story, so it’s definitely the one you should read if you are a fan of the songs and want to find out more about the story behind them.

However, despite the subtitle, this book won’t be able to teach you something especially new about the relation between social media and corporate culture.

If you are interested in the theoretical aspects of this relation, then try a book in the vein of “The Art of Social Media.”

About Dave Carroll

Dave CarrollDave Carroll is a Canadian musician.

In 1989, he and his brother Don formed a band called “The Don and Dave Show.” Four years later, in honor of their father, they changed the name of the band to Sons of Maxwell, under which they tour to this day.

A volunteer firefighter in his free time, Dave Carroll has so far written only one book: “United Breaks Guitars.”

“United Breaks Guitars PDF Summary”

In the spring of 2008, Dave Carroll embarked on a trip from his hometown Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was supposed to have a concert with his band, Sons of Maxwell.

Carroll had to change flights in Chicago where the staff of United Airlines wanted him to check both his Taylor guitar and his backup Ovation Elite as baggage.

Which is why Dave’s blood froze when a fellow passenger exclaimed “Oh my God, they’re throwing guitars out there” as the United Airlines’ plane stood parked at O’Hare.

When Dave arrived at Omaha he realized that his worst fears had become true: his beloved Taylor guitar had been broken by the United Airlines baggage handlers.

Naturally, Carroll complained to United, but they refused to compensate him for the damage. In fact, they refused to apologize or even discuss with him the nuances of the matter for six or seven months.

Finally, a certain Ms. Irlweg did, but her final answer was a “no”: even though Dave did nothing wrong, apparently the fact that he hadn’t filed a complaint within 24 hours was enough for his request for compensation to be turned down.

If Michael Moore was a singer-songwriter,” Carroll asked himself sometime around this point, “what would he do?

Dave’s answer?

He would sublimate this negative energy into a creative endeavor.

So Carroll told Mrs. Irlweg that he would compose three songs about his experience with United Airways and that he would share them on YouTube:

My goal of being compensated had evolved into a goal of sharing my story with as many people as were interested in hearing it.

And on July 6, 2008, the first of the three songs was uploaded on YouTube.

The Internet went wild: in just one day, the video had garnered more than 150,000 views and thousands of likes and, soon enough, it became a viral sensation, amassing millions of hits.

In Dave’s opinion, this happened because “United Breaks Guitars” was a catchy country song which recounted his story through relatable, humorous lyrics and an amusing low-budget video.

See for yourself:

United Airlines couldn’t ignore Carroll anymore.

So its representatives approached Dave with a request for a conference call during which Carroll was offered $1,200 in coupons for future flights and $1,200 in cash – the sum he had paid to have his Taylor guitar fixed.

However, by this time, Dave couldn’t care any less for compensation; in fact, he was very much aware that accepting a compensation would damage his integrity. “I changed gears,” he writes, “from someone who wanted something to someone who was going to do something.”

So, he requested that, instead of reimbursing him, United Airlines give the money to someone else and immediately change its policy.

Such thing didn’t happen, so “United Breaks Guitars 2″ and 3 followed – and went viral as well.

What could have been solved with merely a thousand dollars and an apology turned into a nightmare for United Airlines, whose stock price fell by 10% within 4 weeks of the day Carroll posted the first video online.

What amazed Carroll the most was not United Airlines’ incompetence in dealing with the matter, but its policy that as long as cases such as his are rare, they are statistically insignificant and can be dismissed.

Thankfully, he proved them wrong!

Key Lessons from “United Breaks Guitars”

1.      The Story of Dave Carroll and His UBG Trilogy
2.      An Apology Worth $180 Million Dollars
3.      Marketing Campaigns Shouldn’t Exclude Anyone

The Story of Dave Carroll and His UBG Trilogy

During a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Canadian singer/songwriter Dave Carroll’s Taylor guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers back in the spring of 2008.

In July, after spending months unsuccessfully demanding an apology and compensation from the disinterested United Airlines staff, Carroll wrote a song, “United Breaks Guitars” (UBG), which became a viral hit and amassed millions of views in just a few days.

Even so, United Airlines refused to change its policy, so things went from bad to worse for them, because soon UBG 2 and 3 appeared.

A PR disaster for the airline giant!

An Apology Worth $180 Million Dollars

“Sometimes saying you’re sorry is not only the right thing to do but also the least expensive” – writes Dave Carroll.

Indeed, if United Airlines had done that effectively, Dave Carroll wouldn’t have written the UBG trilogy, and the company could have even gotten away without reimbursing Carroll.

4 weeks since the first UBG video went viral, United Airlines’ stock price fell by 10%, resulting in losses for its stockholders which have been estimated at about $180 million!

Marketing Campaigns Shouldn’t Exclude Anyone

The message of Dave Carroll’s book is twofold.

First of all – as should be obvious by now – that individuals matter and that the voice of one can be echoed by the hearts of multitudes: “A victory for me,” writes Carroll, “was a victory for everyone who has ever flown and a victory for customers everywhere who have felt disempowered by giant companies performing badly.”

On a slightly different note, Carroll also has great advice for companies as well: “I am suggesting that marketing campaigns not be designed to exclude anyone. Targeting customers is wise. Excluding people you assume would never be your customers is not.”

Because who knows – maybe the excluded guy will be the next Dave Carroll!

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“United Breaks Guitars Quotes”

The good news about having a viral video is that everyone wants to talk to you. The bad news is that everyone wants an exclusive. Click To Tweet

What should have been a routine business trip became a comedy of errors the likes of which far too many people continue to experience each day. Click To Tweet

United was completely ill equipped to handle a customer-service nightmare in the age of social media. Click To Tweet

United was caught flat-footed in an outdated culture that embraces statistical insignificance. Click To Tweet

By embracing social media, companies have an opportunity to engage directly with their customers. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Just like the songs themselves, “United Breaks Guitars” is a charming little book which does tend to grow a bit less and less interesting as it progresses.

The main story, however, is so humble and inspiring that it’s definitely worth the read.

If you ask us, there should be more people like Dave Carroll on this planet.

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Lean UX PDF Summary – Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX PDF Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

You know what lean methodology is, but not sure how to apply its principles in your design & development firm?

Enter Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden to give you a lesson or two in “Lean UX.”

Who Should Read “Lean UX”? And Why?

O’Reilly’s “Lean Series” – edited by none other than Eric Reis – brings us a new title: “Lean UX.”

Obviously, designers and developers should benefit the most from reading – and applying – the content of this book.

However, project and program managers should find interesting advice here as well.

About Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf is an author, designer, and Agile practitioner.

A sought-after international speaker, he is one of the world’s leading voices on topics such as Agile UX and Lean UX.

Together with Josh Seiden, he has co-authored one more book, “Sense & Respond.”

Josh Seiden is an author and UX designer.

He is the founder and past CEO of the Interaction Design Association and is currently a principal at NEO.

Prior to this role, he has held the positions of product design at Liquidnet, and design leader at Cooper.

“Lean UX PDF Summary”

The lean methodology has been stirring up quite a buzz ever since it was first introduced by Eric Ries in his 2011 bestselling book, “The Lean Startup.”

In the meantime, O’Reilly Media has published a series of related books – such as Ash Maurya’s “Running Lean” or Yoskovitz and Croll’s “Lean Analytics” – and quite a few companies have explicitly adopted the lean methodology in their ways of working, General Electric and Dropbox probably the most famous names of the bunch.

Some other companies implicitly use lean business models and practices, since, well, in many cases it is reasonable to use them.

Amazon, for example, makes updates, on average, 5 times in a minute – and what is “lean” if not shortening development cycles through experimentation and iterative product releases?

Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden claim that it’s about time we translated Eric Ries’ vision more methodically in the terminology of user experience design.

It’s only appropriate that we start off with Gothelf’s and Seiden’s disclaimer:

Lean UX is not a set of rules. Instead, it’s an approach that you adopt.

And just like Ries’ lean startup methodology had a precursor in Taiichi Ohno’s lean manufacturing system of the 1990s, Lean UX can firmly plant its roots in the history of the design thinking method, whose five main principles (learning from people, finding patterns, using design principles, making things tangible, and iterating relentlessly) serve as more than just an inspiration for Lean UX.

Its definition?

In the words of the authors,

[Lean UX is] the practice of bringing the true nature of a product to light faster, in a collaborative, cross-functional way.

We work to build a shared understanding of the customers, their needs, our proposed solutions, and our definitions of success.

We prioritize learning over delivery to build evidence for our decisions.

Next, Gothelf and Seiden go over the numerous principles on which Lean UX is more specifically based, and these are all, in turn, organized into three groups:

#1. Principles to Guide Team Organization

A Lean UX team is a small, dedicated, collocated and problem-focused team.

This means that its few members (never more than 10) should collaborate closely and share a similar focus, related to one specific problem.

Also – and this is very important – a Lean UX team should be cross-functional which would grant it just enough autonomy: all Lean UX teams should be self-sufficient and empowered.

#2. Principles to Guide Culture

The Lean UX culture of your company starts with you labeling everything as an assumption until proven otherwise by the Lean UX process. This will allow you to move from a state of doubt to a state of certainty through actual work, instead of through a debate.

Since “Lean UX measures progress in terms of explicitly defined outcomes,” these become more important than outputs. As opposed to outputs (features and services), outcomes are meaningful and measurable changes in customer behavior.

Having your outcome in mind should help you remove waste (i.e., anything that doesn’t lead to the outcome) and, moreover, reach a shared understanding.

Because Lean UX is always about the team and never about the rock stars, gurus and ninjasthey usually create poisonous work environment.

Finally, Lean UX is also about a company’s permission to fail; this permission inspires experimentation and contributes to ultimate greatness.

#3. Principles to Guide Process

All processes should be chunked up in small units, or batches; this mitigates risk in that it allows for changing course at almost all times without ever going too far.

In addition, all processes should be based on the idea of continuous discovery, i.e., doing research “on a frequent basis and a regular rhythm.”

Speaking of research: since it should be user-centered, you should GOOB! If you still don’t know what you should do, it would be only fair on our part to add that GOOB is Steve Blank’s fancy way of saying get out of the building.

Externalizing your work is a must: the earlier it gets to the public, the earlier you know which changes you should make.

This is closely related to the fifth process-guiding principle, i.e., staying away from over-analysis: “there is more value in creating the first version of an idea than spending half a day debating its merits in a conference room.”

Finally, getting out of the deliverables business means shifting from documenting processes to achieving desirable outcomes.

Now that you know the principles of Lean UX design let’s see how you can put them into practice in our “Key Lessons” section.

Key Lessons from “Lean UX”

1.      Drive Your Vision Through Outcomes and Collaboration
2.      Lean UX Is All About MVPs and Feedbacks
3.      Integrate and Support Lean UX: The 10 Rules

Drive Your Vision Through Outcomes and Collaboration

Lean UX begins with a concern for the outcome – and going straight for it!

So, no deliverables, definitions, and “requirements”; just assumptions and results.

After determining your hypotheses (based on the outcome) – create multidisciplinary teams and proto-personas of your potential buyers.

Then, chunk up the project into small batches and start externalizing as soon as possible, so that you can move from assumptions to facts, from doubt to certainty.

Don’t worry about the details: everything will come in its place in time.

Lean UX Is All About MVPs and Feedbacks

Testing your hypotheses means building MVPs, i.e., minimum viable products.

You don’t need to design the perfect weekly newsletter if you want to test the hypothesis whether a weekly newsletter will increase your market share!

Just design a simple sketch and/or design it online using the simplest possible wireframes.

If it works – you’ll do it better as soon as possible.

If it doesn’t – why waste time and energy to design a cutting-edge weekly newsletter when you can use it for something else?

That’s basically how feedback helps: every iteration is better than the last one because you have more and more info on what should make it perfect.

Integrate and Support Lean UX: The 10 Rules

To integrate, adjust and optimize Lean UX, it’s good if you follow these 10 simple rules:

#1. You can’t be a prophet: test your ideas and assumptions.
#2. Focus on outcomes, not deliverables.
#3. Break down silos by creating cross-disciplinary teams.
#4. Everybody should collaborate with everybody: teams should be physically together or, if necessary otherwise, use collaborative online tools. Work is no place for ninjas, gurus and rock stars.
#5. Small problems should be handled by small teams.
#6. Big Design Up Front is a myth – and it may cost you a lot of money; so don’t worry about appearances.
#7. Start with notes and sketches and experiment!
#8. Improve and iterate constantly.
#9. Consider the perspective of the others.
#10. Communicate.

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“Lean UX Quotes”

Collaborative design is still a designer-led activity. It’s the designer’s responsibility to not only call collaborative design meetings but to facilitate them, as well. Click To Tweet

Focus on maximizing two factors: increasing collaboration between client and agency, and working to change the focus from outputs to outcomes. Click To Tweet

MVPs help us test our assumptions – will this tactic achieve the desired outcome? – while minimizing the work we put into unproven ideas. Click To Tweet

The most effective way we found to rally a team around a design direction is through collaboration. Click To Tweet

If you want your stakeholders – both those managing you and those dependent on you – to stay out of your way, make sure that they are aware of your plans. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Lean UX” has a lot to offer – from applying lean principles to improve UX (as the subtitle of its first edition looks like) to designing great products with agile teams (as the second edition of the book is subtitled).

All in all, a great introduction to UX (even if you have not been introduced so far) and an even better manual for those who are stuck in a less systemic UX approach, which, ironically, means also much more rigorous and more prone-to-failure approach.

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Mapping Innovation PDF Summary – Greg Sattel

Mapping Innovation PDFA Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age

With the digital revolution, a new era of innovation begun, brutally and succinctly summed up in the dictum “innovate or die.”

In “Mapping Innovation,” Greg Satell provides a lifeline for the companies on their deathbeds or in the maternity ward, by systematizing “the strategies of the world’s most inventive startups, corporations, and scientific institutions.”

Your only job: to apply them.

Who Should Read “Mapping Innovation”? And Why?

“Mapping Innovation” is not especially innovative in its first part – where it counters innovation “Eureka” fairytales with stories of collaboration and combination – but it is satisfactorily novel in Parts 2 and 3, where it offers a powerful framework for mapping innovation space and introduces you to the challenges of innovating in the digital age.

Read the first part if you are interested in the history of innovation and memorable anecdotes; read the latter two for their applicability and practical value.

Greg SatellAbout Greg Satell

Greg Satell is a bestselling author and innovation advisor.

After spending a decade and a half building and managing business in Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey), he got a job as SVP at Moxie Interactive, a division of Publicis Groupe.

He is currently a regular contributor to “Inc” and “Harvard Business Review.”

“Mapping Innovation” is his first and, so far, only book.

“Mapping Innovation PDF Summary”

On December 9, 1968, something miraculous happened at the Association for Computing Machinery / Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ACM/IEEE) in San Francisco.

About thirty years later – when, retroactively, many could see the revolutionary significance of the event – Steven Levy (in his book about the life and times of the Macintosh, “Insanely Great”) would dub the happening “the mother of all demos.”

So, what was it?

Some Dr. Strangelove-inspired Doomsday weapon capable of trouncing the Soviets in a second? A Vietnam-related report which resulted in the Vietnamization program? The key insight which helped NASA go from Apollo 8 (about to be launched) to Apollo 11 in half a year?

No, of course not – you would know if it was one of those!

And, believe it or not, “the mother of all demos” was something even more notable.

Namely, a demonstration of “augmented human intellect” by “a mild-mannered engineer” named Douglas Engelbart.

To understand the context, just don’t forget that it is 1968 and that, in those days, very few people had ever seen a computer, let alone used one. To almost everybody on the planet, computers were about as mysterious then as, say, quantum physics is today.

But here was Engelbart, dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt and a thin black tie, standing in front of a 20-foot-high screen and explaining in his low-key voice how ‘intellectual workers’ could actually interact with computers. What’s more, he began to show them. As he began to type a document on a simple keyboard, words started to appear, which he could then edit, rearrange, and add graphics and sound to, while all the time navigating around the screen with a small device he called a mouse. Nobody had seen anything remotely like it before.

Unsurprisingly, the people present in the audience were fascinated.

Two of them – Bob Taylor and Allan Kay – would use Engelbart’s ideas to develop the Xerox Alto, which, when introduced on March 1, 1973, became the first computer capable of supporting an operating system based on GUI, aka, the first truly personal computer.

Six years later, in exchange for Apple stocks, Steve Jobs would receive a demonstration of the technology behind the Xerox Alto, and, with great fanfare, the Macintosh was launched in 1984, 16 years after the mother of all demos!

Add to all of this the fact that Engelbart himself was inspired by Vannevar Bush’s 1945 essay “As We May Think” which, in turn, could have only been written at the time John von Neumann was working the Von Neumann architecture model and only after Alan Turing devised the concept of the “universal computer.”

We could go on, but the point should be already blatantly obvious by now:

Innovation is never a single event, and… rather than following a linear path, effective innovators combine the wisdom of diverse fields to synthesize information across domains. If a problem is difficult enough, it needs to borrow from multiple fields of expertise. Innovation, more than anything else, is combination.

As Walter Isaacson has beautifully shown, rather than a recent radical event in the mind of a single intellect, the digital revolution was actually a process lasting for more than two centuries and needing the brilliance of “a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks.”

Ironically, owing to the success of this very same revolution, now you and your company don’t really have the luxury of innovating (or recognizing innovation) with such a slow pace anymore.

On the contrary, you have to act as fast as possible.

And “Mapping Innovation” offers a few valuable tools which can help you do that.

We look over them in our “Key Lessons” section.

Key Lessons from “Mapping Innovation”

1.      Innovation Is All About Defining the Problem
2.      The Four Innovation Domains
3.      The Innovation Playbook

Innovation Is All About Defining the Problem

As Greg Satell notes, “it is only by framing problems effectively that you can find the approach most likely to solve them.”

Consequently, all innovation starts with you defining the “innovation space” particular to your needs and expertise, by giving an answer to the question: “How well is the problem defined?” Only then you can answer the second question of crucial importance: “Who is best placed to solve it?”

For example, the iPod was invented when Steve Jobs relayed his personal vision to the Apple team with the sentence: “I want to carry 1,000 songs in my pocket.”

This, obviously, meant two things: a hard drive small enough to fit in a person’s pocket, but with sufficient space for 1,000 mp3 files. One company – Toshiba – could provide that, so Apple formed a partnership with the Japanese conglomerate.

The rest is history.

The Four Innovation Domains

Once a problem is identified, its solution should be assigned to the most appropriate innovation “domain” your company has.

In the optimal case, it should have four:

#1. Basic research. Unlike, say, IBM and Microsoft, most firms don’t have the money to establish this domain, which is not really a problem, since basic research is constantly done by scientists and academics, so companies are able to simply monitor it. Use either strategy.

#2. Sustaining innovation. If you want to stay competitive, you need to constantly upgrade your technology. “New and improved” is the modern way of saying “we’re still in the game.”

#3. Breakthrough innovation. Charles Darwin formulated the theory of evolution under the influence of Thomas Malthus, and Albert Einstein was inspired by David Hume for his theory of relativity. IN a nutshell, everything evolves – but some of the steps along the ladder spell “breakthrough.”

#4. Disruptive innovation. Clayton Christensen devised the concept of “disruptive innovation” in his 1997 classic “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” demonstrating that successful companies may lose their market leadership even if they do everything right, on account of some other less successful startups capable of offering brand-new business models through their products.

The Innovation Playbook

You can build your own innovation playbook, but, when doing that, be sure to adhere to these six basic principles:

#1. Actively seek out good problems. As we stated above, innovation is all about defining the right problem.

#2. Choose problems that suit your organization’s capabilities, culture and strategy. There’s no point in copying someone just because that someone is successful.

#3. Ask the right questions to map the innovation space. Then, just choose the right domain.

#4. Leverage platforms to access ecosystems of talent, technology and innovation. In that order.

#5. Build a collaborative culture. You need a cross-disciplinary team. Emphasis on both words.

#6. Understand that innovation is a messy business. Or: you’ll fail many times before you reach a breakthrough. To quote Thomas Edison: “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

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“Mapping Innovation Quotes”

A disruptive strategy is fundamentally iterative. It is not a purposeful march toward a set of tangible strategic objectives but thrives on experimentation and agility. Click To Tweet

It takes more than a single big idea to change the world, and it can take decades after the initial breakthroughs for the true impact of an idea to become clear. Click To Tweet

Big thoughts are fun to romanticize, but it’s many small insights coming together that bring big ideas into the world. Click To Tweet

We teach people that everything that matters happens between your ears, when in fact it actually happens between people. (Via Sandy Pentland) Click To Tweet

Our brains are, in fact, a billion times more efficient than today’s computer architectures. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Mapping Innovation” is a pretty neat innovation manual that should be helpful to both start-ups and large firms.

And it’s well-written, so you should have no problems differentiating theory from practice or understanding which parts of it refer to your needs specifically.

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The Four Lenses of Innovation PDF Summary

The Four Lenses of Innovation PDFA Power Tool for Creative Thinking

Want to become an innovator?

The trick is to look at the world a bit differently.

And Rowan Gibson says that all you need to do that are “The Four Lenses of Innovation.”

Who Should Read “The Four Lenses of Innovation”? And Why?

There’s an innovator inside all of us,” writes Rowan Gibson, adding that “literally everyone on Earth has the potential for creative thinking because it’s an innate human capability.

“The Four Lenses of Innovation” attempts to awake this innate capability and is for everyone who wants to make the world a more advanced or, simply, a better place.

Rowan GibsonAbout Rowan Gibson

Rowan Gibson is a consultant and bestselling author, one of the world’s leading experts on business innovation.

Labeled “Mr. Innovation,” “the Innovation Grandmaster,” and “the W. Edwards Deming of innovation” Gibson has delivered keynote speeches and seminars in over 60 countries and has authored three books translated into over 20 languages.

In addition to “The Four Lenses of Innovation,” these are “Rethinking the Future” and “Innovation to the Core.”

Gibson is also the co-founder of http://innovationexcellence.com/, one of the world’s most popular innovation websites.

“The Four Lenses of Innovation PDF Summary”

Most ancient cultures had no discernible concept of genius whatsoever.

In fact, that’s why we don’t know the name of the author of, say, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” the very first work of literature in history.

It’s not that it was difficult to put the name of the poet above the first line of the work!

However, according to the Sumerians and many other cultures throughout history, this would have been all but a blasphemy.

After all, talents were the very definition of divine gifts, and presenting something that doesn’t belong to you as yours, is certainly not something people would admire.

Hell, even the Ancient Greeks weren’t that much above this notion!

Plato specifically, who not only didn’t like poets but also believed that it is quite easily demonstratable that they had absolutely no control over their artistry, being nothing more than simple “instruments of the Muses.”

The Romans inherited this belief, modifying it a bit and eventually ascribing all creative powers of an individual to his tutelary deity suitably named genius, i.e., household guardian spirit.

Put simply, the Romans believed that each person is part human, part divine, and that, logically, his divine nature (the genius) is the one responsible for all great works of the mind or the heart.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church ruled most of Europe for the following ten centuries, now appropriately remembered as the Dark Ages.

Following the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Catholic Church made sure that it transformed into vice all of the things we now consider virtues: individuality, originality, innovation.

During this period, it was sinful not to conform, and it was egotistic to think that you are capable of creating something: God was the only Creator, and artists and scientists were merely mediums of His Will.

And then the Renaissance came and radically changed everything!

Suddenly, God stopped being the center of the Universe, and inventiveness, all-embracing curiosity and a yearning for to-the-ends-of-the-world exploration became highly desirable traits:

Whereas the medieval mind had been severely suppressed, the Renaissance mind was set free to discover the beauty and the wonder and the significance of every possible phenomenon.

It is to the great thinkers of the Renaissance that we owe the four modes of innovative thinking or, as Rowan Gibson labels them, the four lenses of innovation which you can still use today to break through the known barriers.

These are: “challenging orthodoxies,” “harnessing trends,” “leveraging resources” and “understanding needs.”

Let’s have a look at each of them.

Key Lessons from “The Four Lenses of Innovation”

1.      The First Lens: Challenging Orthodoxies
2.      The Second Lens: Harnessing Trends
3.      The Third Lens: Leveraging Resources
4.      The Fourth Lens: Understanding Needs

The First Lens: Challenging Orthodoxies

Etymologically, “orthodoxy” means “right opinion” or “right belief” – and there’s a reason why it was considered reasonable to be orthodox for millennia.

Orthodoxies codify concepts, ideas, and best practices and they work great on the collective level.

After all, why should you question the way something is done if millions of people before you have used the same method to do it?

Orthodoxies eliminate the need to think which is great if you like to preserve mental energy for something else.

However, it is obviously not if you want to be an innovator.

And this is where many innovators start: challenging conventional modes of thinking.

Have this in mind every time somebody says that “some things are done certain way for a reason.” Analyze: what could that reason be? Is there any other way to do it? Has technology changed in the meantime to make this other way a feasible solution?

And that crazy idea that guy had some time ago… well, let’s see if it was crazy enough to work!

The Second Lens: Harnessing Trends

You don’t have to be the first to be the best.

The iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, the Apple Watch – these are all merely adaptations of products which existed before them.

And, don’t know if you remember, but Yahoo was here before Google.

The point – in many cases – is to recognize the emerging trends and focus your attention in their direction.

Innovators have been doing this for centuries: in the 1870s, no less than 23 people worldwide worked on inventing the light bulb!

In other words, be perceptive!

Analyze the trends and discover which product seems most likely to revolutionize and/or disrupt an industry.

Then, simply go for it!

The Third Lens: Leveraging Resources

They say that necessity is the mother of invention for a reason!

Case in point: when Steven Spielberg realized that he didn’t have enough money to make a mechanical shark, he decided to film the action of “Jaws” from its viewpoint!

The result?

Some of the scariest scenes ever filmed!

Similarly, even though Corning developed its Ribbon Machine process to make light bulbs, soon it started using it to make radio vacuum tubes.

So, reevaluate your resources, reexamine your skills and assets!

See what you have and whether some of the things you already own or have devised can be readapted in a way which will help you take advantage of the new markets.

More often than not, you’ll be surprised to see how much of your potential you’re not using!

The Fourth Lens: Understanding Needs

Understanding needs basically means “innovating from the customer backward.”

Or: instead of using the third lens – selling what you already have – you can also use the fourth one: providing what the others would buy.

After all, that’s why even McDonald’s is not the same everywhere: in India, you can buy Paneer Wraps from its restaurants, and in Japan there’s also a chicken veggie burger on its menu!

Why?

Because the Indian and the Japanese people said so!

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“The Four Lenses of Innovation Quotes”

Creative ideas don’t just occur to us spontaneously. (Our minds actually build them from a unique chain of associations and connections, sometimes over a considerable period of time.) Click To Tweet

Our brains save mental energy by learning and storing familiar patterns for automatic recognition and use. Click To Tweet

Many executives are afraid of the kind of reflective thinking that could lead to disruption. Click To Tweet

Try to identify and systematically question the fixed patterns that exist inside your own company and across your industry. Click To Tweet

Innovators try to solve common problems and frustrations in ways that make life easier, more convenient and more enjoyable for the customer. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Four Lenses of Innovation” demystifies innovation as something much more methodical and systemic than it is usually thought and presents itself as a power tool for creative thinking.

That may be true, but we kind of feel that it treats innovation as something much simpler than it actually is and that it inadvertently starts from a position it takes someone years to achieve.

Namely, the position of the highly competent and skillful intellectual with at least some kind of a vision for the future.

And that is not everyone.

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Happy Accidents PDF Summary

Happy Accidents PDFThe Transformative Power of “YES, AND” at Work and in Life

Sometimes, finding the perfect mix of freedom and dedication may seem hopeless. Many people just can’t get out of the way fast enough because they are afraid of change.

Learn more about how to adopt the right winning mentality.

Who Should Read “Happy Accidents”? And Why?

Every now and then, we fill trapped in the circle of mediocrity. We wonder what’s wrong with us and why we haven’t indulged in activities that bring us joy!

Happy Accidents” puts a label on this reality and tries to understand people’s behavior regarding the same issue.

We believe it’s suitable for the wider audience!

About David Ahearn, Frank Ford and David Wilk

Four Day WeekendWell, evidently David Ahearn, Frank Ford, and David Wilk are the co-founders of the Four Day Weekend comedy group.

“Happy Accidents PDF Summary”

What’s the deal with comedians? Well mostly, these entertainers draw on their personal experience and surroundings to think of hilarious and sarcastic jokes. Their performance is also affected by the type of audience, which is on the receiving end!

For the most part, they are solo workers. However, communication as a group has led to satisfactory results.

Working together as one means that they’ll either succeed od stumble as a group. Spending so many hours together sparks mental proximity and interdependent connection.

Betting the bottom dollar on collaboration is one of the few ways for putting an end to shallow limitations. Embracing the “Yes, I can do it” mentality chases away the negative mindset which profoundly influences a person’s ability to amuse the crowd.

Improvisation Is Key for Reaching the Stars

Even Bear Grylls – an adventurer and TV presenter said on numerous occasions that doing things off the top of your head is beneficial. If you ever end up in the wild, without proper gear or tools – the most important thing is to keep your morale up by improvisation and adapting to the environment.

In 1996, when Four Day Weekend was starting off their joint endeavors, they had to face a series of obstacles. These guys put in a lot of hard work, which eventually converted into a mentality to make good use of any happy accident.

The business community and the local authorities wholeheartedly endorsed their innovative idea, which made the path to success a bit easier. Nonetheless, there was a long road ahead of them.

How to seize every opportunity? The members of Four Day Weekend settled in Dallas. Over this transit period, they remained open to any scenario, without advocating for one turn of events. When someone offered them Fort Worth, they packed their bags and went on an adventure.

Think of spontaneity

People stuck in the daily routine, day in and day out hate to admit that opportunities are hidden behind every action. These symbols occur all the time, but not everyone has the guts to follow the same life-intensity.

Ask yourself the following question – What does that other person has that I don’t have? Probably, the one and only answer would be – ATTITUDE! Don’t let excuses stand in the way of success. A flashback to teenage years, where we bet that you’ve dismissed dozens of ideas, which could have infused some freshness into your life!

The members of Four Day Weekend after a large-scale search eventually laid their eyes on a theater which accommodated their needs. They even made a deal with the manager to take a percentage of the sales, in exchange for not paying rent.

Look at the possibilities, don’t be shooting in the dark

It’s no surprise that your colleagues or friends would like to see the organization flourish as well. The spiritedness and togetherness must be fueled with the “Yes” attitude. When you do treat people in a similar manner, you are sending positive vibes and encouragement!

Every person on this planet is eager to prove its worthiness to the world and show why their ideas should be taken into consideration. By understanding this mindset, you may be able to see the reality with different eyes.

For instance, Four Day Weekend’s members were extremely worried that their audience was using their cellphones during the show.

They later found out, that these people were just calling or texting other people, to share how amazing the show was!  

So, during the breaks, the troupe encourage the audience to post pictures of the show on their Social Media profiles. As a result of this strategy, the popularity of the comedy went from OK to WOW. In other words, the group became an overnight sensation.

Four Day Weekend’s acclamation went through the roof, which made the group aware that the success they’ve reached up to 2016 now has to be maintained.

They continued welcoming the “Yes” attitude as part of their game plan and made an effort to boost each member’s status and reputation.

Now, their focus is fixated on finding new audiences, which know how to appreciate a good joke.

Focus on Partnerships and Relationships

Prosperous businesses must be open to various relationships and links. According to Four Day Weekend having a good time and making new friends counts the most.

It’s also critical to mention that after the devastating 2001 attacks, the members of Four Day Weekend agreed to perform for the military and other groups for free.

Key Lessons from “Happy Accidents”

1.      Don’t rely on your vanity
2.      Don’t undervalue anyone
3.      Excitement springs from right actions

Don’t rely on your vanity

Put your ego to the side and show why there’s no such thing as a bad idea. If you are firm in your opinion to cooperate with other parties and show them the respect, they are due.

Most people forget this mind-blowing but straightforward concept that yields impressive results.

Don’t undervalue anyone

As you can see, everyone deserves high-merits for their involvement in a certain activity. Doing the things, you wish others should do for you, is a great way to stay humble and on the right track.

Perhaps, the bottom line is – it’s never easy to destroy someone’s restrictions including yours.

Excitement springs from right actions

First and foremost, create an atmosphere of support, where people could present their ideas without becoming a laughingstock.

Even if you dislike the proposal, work on your rejection-skills to make everyone feel like part of the team.

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“Happy Accidents Quotes”

Always remember: If this were easy, everyone would do it. Click To Tweet We never explore the exact same material, or the exact same show, or the exact same audience. There’s always a fresh space for improvement, learning, and growth. Click To Tweet We all have a unique perspective…when we honor the unique perspective of others, we are often provided a glimpse of the potential that would otherwise go unseen. Click To Tweet True collaboration teaches us to let go of our preconceived notions and instead deal with the reality of what is being offered. Click To Tweet Passion and loyalty are the two most central components to the success or failure of an organization, and both…come from feeling heard. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Well, this storytelling book filled with practical tips can make all the difference if you know how to make use of it. We were thrilled and amazed by the sense of excitement and uniqueness in each sentence.

We sincerely advise everyone to dive into this storyline and learn the benefits of adopting the right attitude.

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You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF“I’m no expert” shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid tackling a big problem.

On the contrary – it should be a stimulus.

Because, Tapiwa Chiwewe says in an inspirational 2017 TED Talk, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems.”

Who Should Read “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”? And Why?

A nine-minute lesson in anything is always worth the time.

Hell, you need more just to take a shower!

So, do yourself a favor and skip the rationales in this case: just listen to Tapiwa Chiwewe’s inspiring TED Talk.

Even if you don’t like it, you’ll lose nothing more than 518 seconds!

Tapiwa ChiweweAbout Tapiwa Chiwewe

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a manager at IBM Research Africa with a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Pretoria.

He began his career in academia, serving as a junior lecturer at his alma mater, but soon he moved on to CSIR (the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), where he worked as a senior engineer in the mechatronics and micro manufacturing group.

In 2015 he joined IBM Research, where he has worked on several large-scale projects, related to solar system design, asset maintenance optimization, and, most relevantly, air quality management.

“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary”

Let’s start this summary with some staggering statistics.

Namely, according to data from the World Health Organization, in 2012, household and ambient pollution was responsible for one in seven deaths worldwide, mostly, of course, in low- and middle-income countries.

Yes, that means that malaria and HIV/AIDS bring about fewer deaths than pollution; and that even in Africa, more children die from air pollution than from, say, childhood malnutrition and unsafe sanitation.

Even more, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, this comes to a huge economic cost as well: almost half a trillion US dollars in 2013 alone!

Now, Tapiwa Chiwewe is a South-African computer engineer, who works as a manager of the advanced and applied AI group at IBM Research Africa, and, really, shouldn’t know – or even, as brutal as it may sound, care about – these things.

After all, there are many people in the world who are much more competent than him in the field and who, consequently and deservedly, earn money from doing just that.

And that’s what Tapiwa Chiwewe believed as well for most of his life.

However, one day, while driving to work in Johannesburg, he noticed “a haze hanging over the city,” and, as he soon realized, this haze was actually “an enormous cloud of air pollution.”

Appalled by the possibility that his beloved city of “bright and vivid sunsets” may be overrun by “a dull haze” in the future, Chiwewe decided to do something.

Of course, knowing absolutely nothing about pollution, the first thing he could do was fairly simple: learn.

And that’s how he discovered the information we listed in the introduction to this summary – in addition to, we suppose, hundreds and hundreds of similar facts.

But, obviously, that wasn’t enough: it merely proved to him that air pollution was a serious problem, and that, if untreated, it may result in an ecological catastrophe of biblical proportions.

So, Chiwewe started consulting city officials and local scientists to get to the bottom of the problem and help them find a solution together.

What he learned during the process was something nobody should ever forget:

Even if you’re not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. That’s the only way you’ll ever know.

So, you already know that this story has a somewhat happy ending.

Unsurprisingly – let us not forget, we’re dealing with a computer engineer here – the happy ending, in this case, is an “online air-quality management platform.”

Designed by Chiwewe and fed with weather and air pollution records provided by the experts, the platform uses AI and ML algorithms to detect and predict pollution trends in real-time.

Its success?

A 120-day pilot program demonstrated “a tight correlation” between the forecasting data and the data gathered on the ground.

In other words, the platform could indeed see into the future!

The benefits are numerous, and it would suffice to merely list them:

Citizens can make better decisions about their daily movements and about where to settle their families. We can predict adverse pollution events ahead of time, identify heavy polluters, and they can be ordered by the relevant authorities to scale back their operations. Through assisted scenario planning, city planners can also make better decisions about how to extend infrastructure, such as human settlements or industrial zones.

Chiwewe’s beautiful point:

The platform was the product of a collaborative effort.

Just as he couldn’t do it without the experts, the experts wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

And he was – and still is – no expert.

So, the next time you come across a big problem – especially one which may affect you or the wellbeing of your children – don’t absolve yourself from responsibility because of a lack of expertise.

As Chiwewe’s actions have shown, you really don’t have to be an expert to help others solve even the biggest problems out there.

Key Lessons from “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”

1.      Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem
2.      Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems
3.      We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem

The World Health Organization attributed almost 14 percent of all deaths worldwide to household and ambient air pollution.

In other words, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, malaria, or malnutrition.

It’s a serious problem – and it needs to be solved!

Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a computer engineer, but he didn’t want to sit idly aside once he noticed the smog-covered skyline of Johannesburg.

So, he contacted experts and government officials to get to the bottom of the problem.

The result?

He learned a lot from them, but they learned a lot from him too!

Namely, that it is possible to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to predict pollution trends.

So, together, they built an online air-quality management platform which basically works the same way the weather forecast does!

And that magnificent thing happened because Chiwewe didn’t want to remain quiet, freeing himself from responsibility with phrases such as “I’m no expert.”

He actually wanted to do something.

And he got the opportunity.

We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Just as genius isn’t born in isolation, great ideas rarely emerge where there is no interaction and collaboration.

So, when they read the story of our times, may future generations remember not exceptional men with extraordinary biographies, but united humanity with life-affirming goals and imperishable dreams.

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“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems Quotes”

Even if you're not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Click To Tweet

Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. Click To Tweet

Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen. Click To Tweet

Our willpower and imagination are a guiding light, enabling us to chart new paths and navigate through obstacles. Click To Tweet

So… the next time you find that there's some natural curiosity you have that is being piqued, and it's about something you care about, and you have some crazy or bold ideas… ask yourself this: Why not? Click To Tweet

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Our Critical Review

Even though Tapiwa Chiwewe oversimplifies some of the barriers non-experts face when moving from one field to another, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems” is still a powerful message.

The bottom line is you lose nothing if you try.

And resistance and motivation shouldn’t distract you; on the contrary, they should motivate you even further.

Concise and thought-provoking.

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A More Beautiful Question PDF Summary

A More Beautiful Question PDFThe Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

Why do teachers award children points for giving them the right answer, and not for posing a good question?

What if the point of it all is to ask a more beautiful question?

How should you do that?

Well, let’s just ask Warren Berger.

Who Should Read “A More Beautiful Question”? And Why?

Contrary to what we’ve been taught at school, the learning process is less about memorizing answers and much more about asking questions.

Warren Berger’s book is interested in finding the best ones.

Consequently, it should be an essential read for anyone who wants to become an innovative thinker, since, after all, innovation stems from asking the right questions.

And since innovation is what drives all aspects of society, dear company leaders and entrepreneurs, even dearer scientists and artists – to quote Seth Godin – “what’s keeping you from reading this book right now?”

On a side note: dearest teachers, take copious notes!

Warren BergerAbout Warren Berger

Warren Berger is an American journalist and a bestselling author, who mainly writes about topics such as creativity and innovation.

Berger has written for a wide variety of publications, among others, the “Harvard Business Review” and “Fast Company.” He was also a longtime contributor at both “The New York Times” and the “Wired” magazine.

He has authored and co-authored 11 books, one of which was the critically acclaimed “Glimmer” which “Business Week” named one of the “Best Innovation & Design Books of 2009.”

A More Beautiful Question” was published in 2014, and recently it was announced that, by the end of the year, it should be joined by a companion piece, “The Book of Beautiful Questions.

Find out more at http://warrenberger.com.

“A More Beautiful Question PDF Summary”

Computers are useless,” said Picasso about half a century ago. “They only give you answers.

The point is – says Warren Berger, borrowing a line from the American poet E. E. Cummings – to find “a more beautiful question.”

That’s what people such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs did throughout it certainly did whole humanity a favor:

The author Stuart Firestein, in his fine book ‘Ignorance: How It Drives Science,’ argues that one of the keys to scientific discovery is the willingness of scientists to embrace ignorance – and to use questions as a means of navigating through it to new discoveries.

‘One good question can give rise to several layers of answers, can inspire decades-long searches for solutions, can generate whole new fields of inquiry, and can prompt changes in entrenched thinking,’ Firestein writes. ‘Answers, on the other hand, often end the process.’

So, in a nutshell, humanity profits more from a beautiful question than from a beautiful answer.

Then, why are we living in a world of answers?

In other words, why do the inquiring children in us grow to become the adults afraid of admitting that they don’t know the answer to some question?

You’ve guessed it already:

It’s our schools’ fault!

Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day,” states Professor Kyung-Hee Kim, “By middle school, they’ve pretty much stopped asking.

And it’s not like they’ve learned all the answers in the meantime!

They’ve just memorized the answers to the questions their bosses want them to know.

In other words, schools were never meant to be outlets of creativity, but merely preparatory courses for a worker’s career.

And even though Google and Wikipedia have rendered memorizing answers practically useless, children are still awarded at our schools for knowing the correct answer to a specific question.

News flash: that’s only a mouse click away!

What’s not – is the beautiful question!

And according to Warren Berger – and a series of interviews with over 100 creative thinkers in science, technology, business, and entertainment – there are three kinds of beautiful questions: why, what-if, and how queries.

Key Lessons from “A More Beautiful Question”

1.      The Naivety of a Child: Behind the Zen of a “Why?” and a “Why Not?”
2.      Dream Your Way Out of a Problem: Ask Yourself “What If?”
3.      Acquire the Perseverance of the Realist: Experiment Through the “How?”

#1. The Naivety of a Child: Behind the Zen of a “Why?” and a “Why Not?”

I know one thing,” claimed Socrates. “And that is – that I know nothing.

Well, contrary to what they’ve taught you at school, it turns out that this is a great way to think about the world – naïvely, with a fresh mind.

Take, for example, Edwin Land, the guy who co-founded the Polaroid Corporation, widely considered the Steve Jobs before Jobs.

On a family vacation in the 1940s, his three-year-old daughter asked him why she couldn’t see the photo just taken by her father.

Edwin Land knew why: the only way you could develop the film was in a dark room. But he also knew that there was another bigger why in his daughter’s question.

And that was the one which – many years later – led to the invention of the Polaroid camera.

The actual Steve Jobs – the Edwin Land after Land – firmly believed in the power of this why-oriented beginner’s mind.

And he was influenced to do so by a 1970 Zen Buddhism classic written by Shunryu Suzuki, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.”

The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert,” writes Suzuki in the book. Such a mind, he adds, is “open to all possibilities” and can see things as they are.

Knowledge imposes limitations, and that kinda helps when dealing with mechanical tasks.

Want to get creative?

Step back from it by asking why.

And you can even add a great twist: why not?

#2. Dream Your Way Out of a Problem: Ask Yourself “What If?”

Once you’re done with the whys and why nots, it’s time for some dreaming.

In other words, it’s time to ask yourself the what ifs.

Discovery depends on questions such as these.

Because a “what if” question gives you the right mental foundation for a few processes which are essential when it comes to creativity, invention, and imagination: mixing, connecting, and recombining ideas.

We mentioned Einstein and Jobs before.

Do you think that their grand ideas came to them out of the blue?

Of course not!

They just recombined some old ideas in a new way, once they had the step-back luxury of a “why” or a “why not.”

Einstein’s revelation came when he asked himself a fairly childlike question: “What if you could travel on a motorcycle at the speed of light?”

#3. Acquire the Perseverance of the Realist: Experiment Through the “How?”

Of course, once you’ve dealt with the whys and the what ifs – and moved from freshness of naivety to the endlessness of dreaming, it’s time that you transform your knowledge into something much more tangible.

In other words, it’s time for the how.

Of course, this third stage of the “actionable inquiry” process is the most difficult one, since it requires time, knowledge, experimentation, and a lot of endurance.

But, persevere long enough – and the sky is your limit.

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“A More Beautiful Question Quotes”

Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything. Click To Tweet

The main premise of appreciative inquiry is that positive questions, focusing on strengths and assets, tend to yield more effective results than negative questions focusing on problems or deficits. Click To Tweet

Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Click To Tweet

I’ve always been very concerned with democracy. If you can’t imagine you could be wrong, what’s the point of democracy? And if you can’t imagine how or why others think differently, then how could you tolerate democracy? Click To Tweet

What if our schools could train students to be better lifelong learners and better adapters to change, by enabling them to be better questioners? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The best way to get the answers you need is to ask the questions you want to have answered.

And asking the right questions – as Warren Berger demonstrates in this book – is an art, and one of the highest order.

Thought-provoking and practical, rife with real-world examples and inspiring anecdotes, “A More Beautiful Question” is a fascinating book.

Possibly even of the kind that may make you question your present and inspire you to start working toward a better future.

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Perceptual Intelligence PDF Summary

Perceptual Intelligence PDFThe Brain’s Secret to Seeing Past Illusion, Misperception, and Self-Deception

Rest assured that the brain will process the information, as accurately as possible. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Our mental concepts that we acquired or developed are significantly affecting our judging notion.

In this book summary, you’ll rub your face in the dangers of adopting a tendentious point of view.

Who Should Read “Perceptual Intelligence”? And Why?

By now, you probably understand that there is more than one type of intelligence. People differ from one another in all aspects, and that includes the mental capabilities.

Perceptual Intelligence concerns us all, and in truth, we should be worried as well. We believe that this book is a great asset for all people, especially those who are trapped in the circle of biased decision-making.

If you are aware of your misleading agenda, this masterpiece will open your eyes.

About Brian Boxer Wachler

Brian Boxer WachlerBrian Boxer Wachler currently works at Cedars Sinai Medical Center as a staff physician.

“Perceptual Intelligence PDF Summary”

Is your reality, the actual truth? Can it be that we all have shown just a glimpse of our perspectives? Perhaps, it’s just our imagination, around which we build our lives and future.

What if, these tendencies have deluded you, and your real perception is biased? – Taking into account all these matters is the perfect recipe for discovering the Perceptual Intelligence from another angle – PI.

This discipline meets both science and philosophy on controversial grounds. It takes personal experience as well as mental sharpness to combine these branches of knowledge that are likely to generate sympathy and acceptance.

Let’s put it in plain English – Each person responds/reacts differently to the same situation. PI has a massive role in developing a mindset, which serves as an engine for perceiving the world and then conducting in-depth processing of the data collected through the senses.

PI can be subdivided into two aspects:

  • Perception
  • Interpretation.

Here’s how the process is set in motion: As we mentioned, through the senses (consisting of receptor cells), a person perceives the outer world or the worldly sensations.

Afterward, the information gathered is transformed into some kind of “electrochemical signal,” which is then passed on to the brain.

To streamline this process, we have unconsciously developed mental concepts, to process the information much quicker.

In other words, when a certain electrochemical signal arrives at the desired destination, the brain already has a reaction in place, without diving into too much evaluation.

As far as the psychological aspect is concerned, many people still remain skeptical, and unwilling to climb on board. Distorting reality as a process, not always can be separated from periodical illusions, which are mind driven.

It is of critical value to underline some conditions that may affect these tendencies such as “physical status,” “sleep deprivation or paralysis,” and others. So, how high or low is your PI, depends on only one thing – How well do you deal with false impressions and figments of your imagination!

The philosophy of the human existence also plunges into the discussion about Perceptual Intelligence. For instance, what are your thoughts on death, and whether your religion does the job for you?

Take your time, and make up your mind, but don’t jump into conclusion, without taking the facts into account.

Perceptual Intelligence has a pivotal role in many other areas such as athletics. As a matter of fact, are you one of these people who’ll start off next Monday? – All joking aside, this type of intelligence, adds to your laziness or energizes you to jump off that bed and start the workout.

People feel great after a workout, because the brain releases endorphins, as a reaction to physical and mental efforts. Team sports, on the other hand, also rely on the high PI.

What this does is digging up the external factors which can affect the PI, and shape the process of analyzing the information.

Believers and Non-Believers are forming a mental image and are forcing their minds to see the patterns, which they consider trustworthy and relevant.

If you are not primed to fill in, as a long-lasting solution, you can at least try to see the truth from an impartial standpoint. Only then you can be regarded as a person of High PI.

Scarcity is undoubtedly affecting and influencing the level of your PI. For instance, you so badly want to buy a new car, but you don’t have any money.

This exaggerates the value of the vehicle, by making it look more appealing, majestic and impressive. Or, if you are not given access to a certain area, that makes you even more eager to look behind that door.

Remember Dee Dee, from Dexter’s laboratory – well it’s the same thing. If something is prohibited, it makes us wonder what would happen if we don’t follow the rules.

It would be totally ignorant of the author to neglect the performance in the office because it is a relevant element have a part in determining PI. Are you familiar with the saying – We are just sheep in the herd? – It’s true; people would do almost anything (even blindfolded) to be accepted by the group.

Individuals with higher Perceptual Intelligence disregard these warnings and act on their own. The idea is not to stand out from the rest of the group but to avoid imitations of others.

People with a lower PI, tend to mimic the environment, without casting doubt upon the collective practices.

Being yourself is in fact, the only advice that’s worth anything, to be marked as a high PI person.

Key Lessons from “Perceptual Intelligence”

1.      The dangers of following an agenda
2.      Stay away from religious conclusions
3.      Team sports in the spotlight

The dangers of following an agenda

Cult leaders have managed to brainwash members and young people, and thus influenced their judgmental abilities. This way, they create a new sense of reality, one that matched the group’s intentions and agenda.

They are no longer capable of separating facts from opinion because everything they do is not self-directed.

Stay away from religious conclusions

In the light of many examples Brian Boxer Wachler has expressed, it can be said that religion also adds to the misinterpretation of reality.

People are willingly giving their contribution to the collective cause, which deteriorates the Perceptual Intelligence.  

Team sports in the spotlight

The goal is to spark that team cohesion and synergy, without which the group cannot put a great display of their capabilities.

Perceptual Intelligence can enhance team performance, and lead to better long-term results.  

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“Perceptual Intelligence Quotes”

I’ve seen different definitions of perceptual intelligence…but I like to think of it as how we interpret and occasionally manipulate our experiences to distinguish fantasy from reality. Click To Tweet Interpreting what we experience…requires something much greater than perception alone. Click To Tweet Daily we are surrounded by images that get tucked away in our memory banks. Click To Tweet We all sense reality through our own perceptual filters. Click To Tweet The key is being aware and accepting of ideas that strike us (and others) for no reason, even if they seem crazy or go against the grain. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The value of Perceptual Intelligence is a foregone conclusion. We have to fight with this ignorance that has swept the world and expand our wisdom with the right actions.

Staying flexible, and open to all possibilities because that will give you the edge in any situation.

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The Seat of the Soul PDF Summary

The Seat of the Soul PDFWho can identify the location of the soul? – Even if you are an atheist, you must have asked yourself – What’s the purpose of this existence?

What am I doing here?

We encapsulate Gary’s most profound revelations and key takeaways.

Who Should Read “The Seat of the Soul”? And Why?

Extolling the virtues of others or yourself doesn’t quite reflect your politeness. The real strength derives from silence, and the ability to plunge into psychological war and drill down to the core of your intentions.

The Seat of the Soul” deserves all the praises, and as such, it’s suitable for the broader audience, regardless of cultural, personal, or religious background.

About Gary Zukav

Gary ZukavGary Zukav is an award-winning author of several best sellers. He has appeared on numerous occasions on Oprah Talk Show, sharing his views and main findings.

He also wrote:  Self-Empowerment Journal, The Mind of the Soul, Soul Stories, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, etc.

“The Seat of the Soul PDF Summary”

The Seat of the Soul gives the readers a highly unusual mix of disciplines, which endorse the idea of discovering the primary purpose of this existence.

The blend of spirituality, knowledge (science) and philosophy allows each and everyone to get a glimpse of the evolutionary process, which signifies the human development in psychological and spiritual terms.

Behind closed doors, the author emphasizes the value of getting the big picture regarding the internal shift that is about to take place.

Switching off the external perspective, and embracing the broader sense of self, best illustrates what the author is trying to convey.

Generally speaking, all the knowledge acquired through the capabilities of the senses, represents what is known as – the external power. According to Gary Zukav, this influence is variable, and it can be changed in a flash.

To put it in other words, whatever is floating around, can be absorbed by various individuals. Furthermore, this process defies the concept of uniqueness and opposes the idea of self-knowingness. Generally speaking, this know-how or expertise can evaporate just as easy, as it once came.

Changing the world begins with the very personal process of changing yourself, the only place you can begin is where you are, and the only time you can begin is always now.

It’s in the interest of the society to put an accent on the internal forces because that’s the only way to find our hidden treasure.

A down-to-earth approach is not sufficient to handle the difficulties that are just waiting to pop up. Hardship and struggle can be erased only if you have a clue about your inner powers and how to use them.

The evolution that we talk about so often, and what the kids learn in school, is in fact, the same process of human development – referred to as a physical enhancement.

The process of progression from single-cell organisms to conscious human beings is merely an illustration of this evolution.

The body and mind of all creatures on this planet have reached a phase, which either supports or neglects their superiority over other beings.

For instance, a cow is much more evolved than a worm or a fish. To get to the bottom of this enigma, one must thrive on digging deep and finding unknown secrets.   

The author puts in the spotlight the authenticity of knowing thyself and encourages you to dig deep until you find the roots of existence. Unfortunately, this authentic power can neither be traded nor earned. It’s neither inherited nor found, it’s simply there, where the core of your being is.

An authentically powered person lives in love. Love is the energy of the soul. Love is what heals the personality. There is nothing that cannot be healed by love. There is nothing but love.

A person who identifies with this revelation is unmistakably empowered to change the human behavior, by neither acting nor portraying anyone as a victim.

Being an easy target doesn’t make you an authentic person at all. If you are bold and eager to identify with your deepest self, nothing can stop you.

We are inclined to agree and go along with many concepts that don’t apply to our views. The real question is – Is evolution restricted to the lifespan, and does it have beginnings and ends?

There are two sides to any story, and this theory is no different.

The external reality that is promoted and shared through the senses is attached to the body and its life-period. This personality can’t go beyond the superficial existence as a form and rubs its face into the five-sensory perspective.

From another point of view, what any monotheistic religion refer to as a soul, can outlast this lifetime, and extended the evolution by a fraction.

The immortality of the soul and its synchronization with an identity proves that beyond the physical form, there’s a higher source of power.

Gary expands on karma and reincarnation, and how these two abstract phenomena are intertwined with evolution. The physical battlefield is filled with shallow energies, whose intentions don’t allow the real power to kick in.  

The critical level in understanding the full picture of evolution can be reached, only if you pay exclusive attention to your deepest intentions. If you are aware of them, you’ll never be at the mercy of negative people and evil agendas.

Key Lessons from “The Seat of the Soul”

1.      Love conquers all
2.      Lead the way
3.      Think smart, and find the deeper meaning in everything

Love conquers all

Every experience in life subtly is bringing your personality closer to your soul. A perfect alignment would clear the path to internal harmony and mental stability.

The physical aspect, on the other hand, must not be sidestepped, especially if you intend to explore the meaning of love.  

Lead the way

No matter how bitter the truth is, it’s always much more beneficial than comfortable lies.

If you want honesty to back up your decision-making, you must be willing to push yourself to the limit and destroy the hidden fears.

Think smart, and find the deeper meaning in everything

We form our opinion in correlation with the outer and the inner world.

You must gird your loins to get the most out of this existence and free yourself from ignorant thinking patterns.

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“The Seat of the Soul Quotes”

Eventually, you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is. Click To Tweet Nonsense is that which does not fit into the prearranged patterns which we have superimposed on reality...Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense. Click To Tweet If you want to have the kind of relationship that your heart yearns for, you have to create it. You can't depend on somebody else creating it for you. Click To Tweet What is nonsense, and what is not, then, may be merely a matter of perspective. Click To Tweet Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Gary is no stranger to the public, and his words have touched millions of hearts. From the bottom of ours, we believe that this book has a story to tell.

Even though it discloses many scientific secrets, the main philosophy is fueled by simplicity and broadness.

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