This Is Water PDF Summary

This Is Water PDFSome Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

The world doesn’t revolve around you.

That’s the gist of what David Foster Wallace wants you to never forget.

He explains why in his beautiful 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech “This Is Water.”

Who Should Read “This Is Water”? And Why?

If we are to take these questions literally, then the most appropriate answer – in our opinion – is “nobody because it’s a speech and it was always meant to be one.”

If, however, the question we are to discern from the general title is “who should hear ‘This Is Water,’ and why?” then the answer abruptly changes: “everybody because this speech can change your life.”

Especially if you are young and inexperienced.

David Foster WallaceAbout David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was an American postmodern author, “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last twenty years.”

He attracted attention already with his first novel, “The Broom of the System,” but it was his second novel, “Infinite Jest,” that brought him nationwide fame and made him one of the most revered authors of the modern age.

He left his third novel, “The Pale King,” incomplete; even so, the book was published in 2011 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize the year after.

After struggling for years with depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, on September 12, 2008, Wallace committed suicide at the relatively young age of 46.

“This Is Water PDF Summary”

This Is Water” is a book-length essay which Little, Brown and Company published in April 2009, half a year after David Foster Wallace decided to take his own life.

The book is, basically, an elongated version of the commencement speech the famous author gave on May 21, 2005, to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College.

As opposed to the book which was criticized as being too stretched for its own sake, the commencement speech has been widely praised and was even selected by the “Time” magazine as one of the 10 best commencement speeches in history.

So, we’ve opted to summarize the latter, sharing everybody’s opinion that the book makes the very same points, but in a rather overextended manner, which bereaves quite a few of them of their power.

As for the speech – it can change (and, in fact, has changed) numerous lives. And if you want to, you can hear David Foster Wallace now-poignant delivery of it below:

After greeting the students and congratulating them, Wallace begins his speech with a memorable parable, as he says, “the standard requirement of US commencement speeches”:

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

The point of the fish story,” Wallace quickly points out, “is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

In other words, we are all living in the water we can’t see or don’t know, unaware of its existence, but, still, somehow absolutely confident that our worldview is the correct one.

Well, Wallace says, we are wrong for most of the time.

And it’s the job of a liberal arts education to tell us that we are wrong: not by filling our heads with unnecessary knowledge, but by making us aware of the fact that there is water around us.

Education is not about facts – it’s about humility.

It doesn’t mean knowing when Caesar was born; it means “learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”

Real education teaches us “to be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about [ourselves] and [our] certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that [we] tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”

Educated people are, to put it in a word or so, conscious enough to be alive and infuse some meaning in the ultimately boring and unfulfilling lives almost everybody is doomed to lead.

And these lives are the lives nobody talks about in commencement speeches!

An average adult day isn’t even remotely comparable to the ones promised in self-help books and entrepreneur manuals.

An average adult day means getting up in the morning, going to “your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job,” working hard for eight or ten hours, and ending up so tired and stressed by the end of the day that all you want to do is just have a good supper and “hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again.”

And it gets even worse from there, because there’s a high chance that you don’t have your lunch prepared (because of your busy life) and because this means getting stuck in traffic while going to the supermarket where you end up stuck in the aisle together with numerous people who have experienced the same day as you.

Now, there are two paths you can go from there: you can choose to think that it’s all about you and be angry at everyone or understand that you’re just a little drop in the ocean and that everybody has some problem (or thousand).

Most of the people operate at the former, “default setting,” and don’t even think that there are other people who experience at least the same things as them.

But,” Wallace notes, “if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Wallace’s point is the same the Stoics tried to make over and over again:

The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

So, choose wisely.

Key Lessons from “This Is Water”

1.      Don’t Live by Default
2.      The Real Value of Education: This Is Water
3.      You Get to Decide What to Worship

Don’t Live by Default

Most of us operate at the default setting – namely, automatically. We leave our lives as if robots programmed to feel what we are told we should feel, or (to use Wallace’s parable) fish unaware of the surrounding waters.

The really important kind of freedom,” notes Wallace, “involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

The Real Value of Education: This Is Water

In the opinion of Wallace, “the real value of a real education” has nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with awareness:

…awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: ‘This is water.’ ‘This is water.’ It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.

You Get to Decide What to Worship

In the ultimate scheme of things, your life has no meaning.

But you can give it one, and that’s a most wonderful thing.

Worshipping money, power or physical beauty is pointless because you will never have enough of any of them.

So, simply put, worship something else.

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“This Is Water Quotes”

’Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. Click To Tweet

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. Click To Tweet

The most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about Click To Tweet

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out. Click To Tweet

Capital T-truth is about life before death. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We have summarized two quite famous commencement speeches before: J. K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech of 2008 and Admiral William H. McRaven’s 2014 “Make Your Bed” address at the University of Texas.

We feel that “This Is Water” is better than both: humbler and wiser, more theoretical but ultimately more practical as well, poetical, straight-to-the-point, and exceptionally profound.

Don’t read the book. In fact, don’t read the speech either.

Just hear it once.

Chances are you’ll end up hearing it over and over again.

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Turning Pro PDF Summary

Turning Pro PDF SummaryTap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

Just because you earn money to do a job doesn’t mean that you are a professional.

But you can become one if you follow Steven Pressfield’s advice.

Turning Pro” has never been easier.

Who Should Read “Turning Pro”? And Why?

It’s there in the title: “Turning Pro” is about everyone who wants to become (and stay) a professional!

If “The War of Art” was all about the why and the how of becoming a professional, “Turning Pro” is about the when and the what if of being one.

True, Pressfield is a writer and writers may profit the most from his advice, but, compared to his previous books, “Turning Pro” is the most generic one, so it can be read as a standalone.

So, dig in!

About Steven Pressfield

Steven PressfieldSteven Pressfield is an American novelist and non-fiction author.

He debuted with the “golf novel” “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which, in 2000, was turned into a successful movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron.

Most of Pressfield’s other novels deal with subjects derived from ancient history: “Gates of Fire” is about the Battle of Thermopylae,” “Tides of War” about the Peloponnesian War, while “The Virtues of War” and “The Afghan Campaign” are both about Alexander the Great’s late conquests.

Pressfield’s debut nonfiction book, “The War of Art” was a huge hit – which inspired us to include it in our list of “6 books that will turn you into a great writer.” “Do the Work” and “Turning Pro” are its follow-ups.

“Turning Pro PDF Summary”

One of the key concepts in analytical psychology – Carl Jung’s idiosyncratic vision of a person’s wholeness – is the shadow, Jung’s attempt to root Freud’s id within our unconscious.

Basically, the shadow is the entirety of the repressed aspects of our personality, the unconscious facets of what we are which are so profoundly internalized that even our ego is unaware of their existence. Even so, helped by the superego, it works hard on eliminating them altogether.

Except, that’s not possible.

The result?

We live one life on the outside, and a completely different life is happening in our unconscious!

Now, in most cases, the shadow is fairly negative: it is the place which contains all our fears and anxieties, the least desirable qualities of our personality.

However, as Jung himself has implied in “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” the shadow can sometimes be the seat of creativity as well: “the dark side of our being, our sinister shadow,” Jung notes, “may represent the true spirit of life as against the one of the arid scholar.”

Pressfield talks a lot about our Shadow Life.

Because, unfortunately, most of us live one.

The Shadow Life is the life of denial and addiction. In a nutshell, it means living the superficial aspects of the life we actually want – and can – live.

To extend on Jung’s note above – while still using Pressfield’s examples – living a shadow life means getting a Ph.D. in Elizabethan studies even though you are actually someone who’s got the writing itch inside you and would much rather write a tragedy or a comedy.

On the addiction’s side, it means drinking and using drugs – aka “living the drugs-and-booze half of the musician’s life” – without ever writing a song!

But it goes beyond art as well: you may be the next Tesla, working in a support capacity for an innovator!

All of these – they are traces of our true calling; but, since mere traces, they are essentially nothing more but a shadow calling.

And when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, that’s what we end up with: pursuing a shadow calling and living a shadow life.

That is the life of the amateur:

Being amateur means being stuck in the past circumstances of your life and never growing up.

The amateur fears to define himself and this fear is what keeps him an amateur.

Whereas an amateur spends his time writing “shadow novels” (in his head) while publishing critical studies of other people’s novels in real-life, the professional says: “I’m a writer” and may even give up on his studies to finally start penning his real-life masterpieces!

The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.

We can never free ourselves from habit. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.

In other words, giving up on your studies doesn’t mean not working – it means working more. That is if you want to be a professional.

And working more is always related to finding the right habits to guide you through the process.

Each and every one of us is a Minotaur: part artist and part addict.

If you want to become a professional, the point is to face your fears, find the thing which makes you an addict, and start pursuing it, thus activating the part of you which is an artist.

The rest is just building a routine around the right habits and enduring.

Key Lessons from “Turning Pro”

1.      Living in the Shadows
2.      Stop Being an Addict
3.      Become a Professional

Living in the Shadows

According to Freud, each of us has an id (our instinctual drives), an ego (an “I” which communicates our id in real-life terms: the reason why you’re not walking naked) and a super-ego (internalized culture and tradition).

Carl Jung added quite a few new agents to this psychic apparatus, all stemming from our unconscious, something Freud completely ignored. One of these agents is the shadow, the repressed aspects of our being.

Whether by longings, addictions, or superficial professions, these repressed aspects of our being try to communicate with us all the time, telling us, in no uncertain terms, that in fact, everything but them is our shadow life.

Stop Being an Addict

Once you face your fears and embrace your shadows, you may finally be able to transform your shadow life into something bigger and more important:

When we turn pro, the energy that once went into the Shadow Novel goes into the real novel. What we once thought was real — “the world,” including its epicenter, ourselves — turns out to be only a shadow. And what had seemed to be only a dream becomes, now, the reality of our lives.

Become a Professional

Being an amateur means living a shadow life.

Being a professional means going beyond that.

It’s usually a thorny path: it means adapting the right habits, working hard, passing through a membrane and giving birth to somebody else.

But it’s the right path because it’s the only one which will result in you finally living the life of the real you.

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“Turning Pro Quotes”

The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow. Click To Tweet To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence. Click To Tweet Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It's a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day. Click To Tweet Many artists are addicts, and vice versa. Many are artists in one breath and addicts in another. What's the difference? The addict is the amateur; the artist is the professional. Click To Tweet The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Turning Pro” is not a magic wand which will help you become a professional in the blink of an eye.

In fact, it’s anything but: it’s a book which elucidates that becoming a professional is actually a messy process, which has nothing to do with buying products or taking courses – but everything with changing the state of your mind and embracing your shadows.

Consider it more of a psychological preparatory class in professionalism than a how-to manual.

And since we sincerely believe that only the former are actually possible – we both appreciate Pressfield’s honesty and recommend this book.

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An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary

What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Do you want to learn how to become an astronaut?

Or how life in space can alter your perspective about living on Earth?

Then, read our summary of Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.”

It answers both of these questions.

Who Should Read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”? And Why?

If you are interested in astronauts – or dreaming of becoming one – then you should buy “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as soon as possible.

However, Chris Hadfield’s autobiography should be your choice even if you are merely looking for a book to help you live a better and more fulfilled life – one that has nothing to do with astronomy and spacecrafts.

After all, just look at the title.

About Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut, the first Canadian to walk in space.

Both an engineer and a former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot – one of the very best – he first flew in space in November 1995 as a mission specialist. Six years later he went back and walked in space for the first time.

In December 2012 he flew for a third time, after which he served as a commander of the International Space Station from March until May 2013.

He is a member of the Orders of Ontario and Canada and has received both the Canadian Forces Decoration and the Meritorious Service Cross.

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth PDF Summary”

When I was young – that is, before I turned 12 or something – when asked what I would like to be, when I grow up, I’d always answer “astronaut.”

I mean, what could be better than being an astronaut, right?

Floating through space, zero gravity and all, strange planets and beautiful stars all around you, the Earth just a pale blue dot in the far distance

The best possible profession a guy can have.

Well, if that ten-year-old me could have read “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” the autobiography of Col. Chris Hadfield, aka the first Canadian to walk in space, he would have probably had at least a few second thoughts.

Because – who would have guessed? – being an astronaut isn’t what the dictionaries teach you (that is, something along the lines of “a spacewalker” or “a member of a spacecraft”), but, actually, merely a person trained to do those things.

But wait: Hadfield has an even better definition:

An astronaut is someone who’s able to make good decisions quickly, with incomplete information, when the consequences really matter.

Wait a moment, you say – there’s nothing about planets and stars, space and spacecrafts in this definition; nothing at all! And these things are there in the very word, be it “astronaut” or “cosmonaut”! You can’t fool me: they mean star- or space-sailor!

Where’s the sailing in Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut?

Well, there is some sailing – true – but most of it is stationary, and it happens on Earth. As Hadfield points out, in general, you need several months of training to prepare for one single day in space!

And you’ll get your first mission only after several years. And – surprise! surprise! – you’ll have to spend the next two to four years training for that specific mission.

The really heartbreaking part of this all is that no matter how good you are and how much you want to go into space, the chances are stacked against you from the start!

After all, it only fits three people in a Soyuz spacecraft, which means that not only each of them should be exceptionally well-prepared, but also that the three chosen ones should be experts in mutually compatible categories.

Well, Hadfield was one of these lucky few.

And the main lessons he learned in space – and which he believes are applicable everywhere, let alone Earth, are these three:

#1. There’s no such thing as over-preparation. That’s actually the background of Hadfield’s definition of an astronaut; an astronaut, simply put, is one who has prepared for everything in advance and who is capable of acting fast even when something unpredictable happens. After all, it’s not like there’s a rescue crew near you!

#2. The more they criticize you, the safer you are. Even the smallest blunder can be a crucial one when you’re in space; so, at NASA, everyone is – and should be – a critic; in other words: you should pray that they criticize you so that you can learn what not to do the next simulation.

#3. Make up for the lost time with your loved ones. Being an astronaut means spending a lot of time away from your family; Hadfield tried making up for that by prearranging the delivery of Valentine gifts for his wife or lighting the biggest candles (the rocket’s engines) for his son’s 16th birthday (which was on the very same day as Hadfield’s launch)

By the way, we forgot to mention (in case you don’t know):

Chris Hadfield is a great and exceptionally funny John Cleese lookalike, and you should really check him out on YouTube, debunking space myths or sharing his experiences at TED.

Or, channeling his inner Bowie:

Thanks, Chris: that video never fails to make our day!

Key Lessons from “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”

1.      Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking
2.      The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism
3.      The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

Preparation Is Everything: The Power of Pessimism and Negative Thinking

Astronauts have a saying: “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.”

However, once you’re in space, a problem means certain death in 1 out of 35 cases – which are not chances you’d like to see aggravated.

Can you improve them?

Of course: by taking a trick from the old Stoic book and visualizing everything in a negative light.

Use the same strategy in life as well: because when you’re prepared for something in advance, you can be a lot calmer.

“It sounds strange, probably,” writes Hadfield, “but having a pessimistic view of my own prospects helped me love my job.”

The Importance of Making Mistakes and Accepting Constructive Criticism

“A man of genius makes no mistakes,” wrote James Joyce once, “his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

Pretentiousness aside, Joyce is right about the second part: making a mistake is actually the best way to learn new things. Just think about the way people learn to play an instrument! They make many mistakes, and they try until they stop making them.

If you go on playing your guitar the same away after making a mistake (i.e., appropriating it), your brain will think it’s the right way and will engrave it as a habit.

In other words, making a mistake is just a part of the learning process; seeing the mistake is the other. And since we are incapable of seeing our mistakes as clearly as impartial observers, constructive criticism should be a big part of every apprenticeship.

So, instead of saying “oh, shut up,” say “thank you” the next time someone points out a mistake of yours.

The Only Thing You Can Control Is Your Attitude

As we pointed above, even if you want to become an astronaut in the customarily accepted meaning of that word, there’s a high chance that you won’t.

After all, only 561 people from no more than 40 countries have gone into space so far.

However, Hadfield never gave up.

He just reframed his state of mind:

I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.

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“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth Quotes”

I never stopped getting ready. Just in case. Click To Tweet In order to stay calm in a high-stress, high-stakes situation, all you really need is knowledge. Click To Tweet Each time you manage to do that your comfort zone expands a little, so if you ever face that particular problem in real life, you’re able to think clearly. Click To Tweet Rehearsing for catastrophe has made me positive that I have the problem-solving skills to deal with tough situations and come out the other side smiling. Click To Tweet Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We really like Chris Hadfield, so we loved this book from start to finish.

And so did almost each and every reviewer, describing “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” as “a satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut” (Kirkus Reviews) and as “a very human glance into a rarified world” (WSJ).

Allow us to include one more quotation at the end: “Houston, we have a superstar!”

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How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDF Summary

How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDFHesitant to share an accomplishment with your loved ones so as to not sound too irritating?

Time for a brief lesson by Alexandra Franzen:

How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying.”

Who Should Read “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying”? And Why?

If you have accomplished something, and you want to share it (and your joy) with your friends, but don’t want to toot your own horn (so as to not disturb the delicate balance of the universe), you can use Franzen’s tips and tricks and actually do all of those things.

Don’t believe us?

Read ahead!

Alexandra FranzenAbout Alexandra Franzen

Alexandra Franzen is a Portland-based writer and consultant.

Mostly interested in topics such as productivity, creativity, goal-setting, communication, and entrepreneurship, Franzen has had her writing featured in magazines such as “Time,” “Forbes” and “The Huffington Post.”

She has written two books so far: “50 Days to Say You’re Awesome” and “You’re Going to Survive.”

“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying PDF Summary”

Alexandra Franzen may not have a Wikipedia article just yet, but she does have a pretty visited webpage, an ever-growing fanbase, and few books to her name.

Even so, one day, soon after having her first book, “50 Days to Say You’re Awesome,” published, when asked by a friend of hers “So what’s been going on for you lately?,” she replied the same way most of us regular Joes would do: “Oh, you know… things… and stuff.”

Fortunately, this friend of hers was one who knew about her book, so she (or he) didn’t want to accept that kind of nonsensical answer, pressing Alexandra to say something more about her book.

But Franzen wouldn’t give in: “It’s really just an illustrated book. Barely any writing. Plus, it’s not like it’s a bestseller or anything…”

And then her friend said something that struck the author of “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” to her very core:

‘Alex, you wrote a book, and it’s being sold in bookstores,’ she said, matter-of-factly. ‘That is amazing. I’m proud of you. Let me be happy for you. Stop downsizing your joy.’

However, as you are about to learn, in social conventions and friendly conversations, the opposite of downsizing isn’t aggrandizing, but, well, being nice while joyful.

And Franzen shares her five rules on how you can do just that.

And we have our “Key Lessons” section reserved just for them.

Key Lessons from “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying”

1.      Keep It Simple
2.      Whenever Possible, Use “Because”
3.      Discuss the Future of Hard Work Ahead of You
4.      Make It a Conversation, Not a Monologue
5.      Shift the Conversation… Even Further

Keep It Simple

Accomplishing something doesn’t mean using every opportunity to go off on an hour-long rant (or, to use Franzen’s word “ramble-fest”) about how you showed your high school classmates that you’re better them.

And it doesn’t mean overstating the accomplishment or glorifying your discipline and dedication.

Be simple and matter-of-factly: “I just got promoted at work. I think I am capable of rising up to the challenge.”

No exclamation marks!

Whenever Possible, Use “Because”

Franzen informs us that a Harvard research study has all but proved that using the word “because” results in people agreeing with you much more likely.

So, to use Franzen’s example, say something along the lines of:

I’m really excited about my promotion to a senior-level position because I want to live in a world where 50% of CEOs are female, instead of just 4.6%.

Discuss the Future of Hard Work Ahead of You

Staying still with our promotion-related example (we think you can easily translate the strategy into almost every other situation when you have to talk about your accomplishments).

For most people, telling them that you’ve just been promoted to a senior-level position is not much different from telling them that you’re about to earn much more money for doing a lot less work.

So, counter this from the start: “I just got promoted at work to a senior-level position. It’s a lot more challenging and time-consuming job, but I think I have the right motivation and state of mind. And I’m going to prove to them that they made the right choice.”

Make It a Conversation, Not a Monologue

And… stop there.

If you go on talking about yourself after these few sentences, you’ve broken rule #1, i.e., you’ve not kept things simple.

Now, it’s time to engage your friend in this (so far) quite boring discussion which includes him/her not one bit.

So, start talking about your friend’s recent accomplishments.

In case there are none, and he/she hates his/her job, ask him/her something like “What would be your dream job?” or “Do you have a fantasy career?”

This should open up the conversation and earn you some friendship points.

Shift the Conversation… Even Further

Don’t stop there.

In case you notice that the news about your accomplishment has made your friend even less happy – be even more generous!

And spend as much time as you need to get him/her to talk about something positive and upbeat.

The world, after all, doesn’t revolve around you.

So, never forget that when things go your way, there are many people around you whose lives haven’t been as generous.

It’s your turn.

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“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying Quotes”

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Via Maya Angelou) Click To Tweet

People may forget your accomplishments and career successes, but if you can make someone feel valued and appreciated, like they’ve got a real friend and cheerleader on their team? Click To Tweet

Stop downsizing your joy. Click To Tweet

So often, in life, we downplay our accomplishments because we don’t want to be irritating, sound braggy, or take too much credit for making big, exciting things happen. Click To Tweet

Your friends, your colleagues, your future employer, new people at your local industry mixer—they’d all love to hear something excellent and inspiring. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” may be nothing more than one more uninspiring article compiling in a list few commonsense things everybody should know and do, but – since the latter is not the case – the former is certainly not the case either.

In other words, for all its brevity, “How to Talk About Your Accomplishments Without Sounding Braggy and Annoying” should inspire you to become a better and more caring person.

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Go Put Your Strengths to Work PDF Summary

Go Put Your Strengths to Work PDF6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

Have you discovered your strengths?

Well, then, Marcus Buckingham says:

Go, Put Your Strengths to Work!”

Who Should Read “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”? And Why?

Best-case scenario:

Those who have done their homework and are already familiar with “First, Break All the Rules” and “Now, Discover Your Strengths.”

But, even as a standalone, “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” could be helpful for anyone.

Marcus BuckinghamAbout Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a motivational speaker and consultant, best known as one of the founders of the strengths movement.

Founder of the Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC), he has made numerous TV appearances and has made a name as one of the top management trainers in the world.

He is most famous as the co-author of “First, Break All the Rules” (with Curt Coffman) and “Now, Discover Your Strengths” (with Donald O. Clifton).

“Go Put Your Strengths to Work PDF Summary”

If you know Marcus Buckingham, you certainly know the drill so far:

First, break all the rules!

Now, discover your strengths.

And finally, go put your strengths to work!

In six simple, but powerful steps, each one an answer to some of the most dreaded questions you’ve ever had to answer.

Step 1: Bust the Myths
So, what’s stopping you?

There are many myths which may hinder your growth to greatness.

However, three of them are especially dangerous:

Myth 1: As you grow, your personality changes.

The truth is – it doesn’t: growth comes from you investing your energy to build on what you already have.

A cat will never become a lion no matter how much it trains to roar.

Just as well: you will never become an expert in someone else’s field.

To quote William Blake:

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

Myth 2: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest weakness.

Even though it may seem like it – after all, there’s more room for maneuver in an empty area – the truth is that you can only grow effectively in an area of strength.

Myth 3: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.

Sometimes this may be true, but most often it is not.

Simply put, if you’re not giving your best, you’re not doing the best for your team either.

Just ask yourself:

How much would Michael Jordan have helped the Chicago Bulls win a title if he had been forced to play in the position of a center?

Step 2: Get Clear
Do you know what your strengths are?

People usually know much more about their weaknesses than about their strengths:

Our strengths are the very qualities that could make us look our best, and yet when asked to detail them we lack, well, detail.

Well, it’s time to change that!

Because capturing, clarifying and confirming your strengths is a prerequisite to living the life of your dreams.

How can you do that?

By making an analysis of yourself and checking your supposed skills and talents against Buckingham’s four SIGNs of strengths:

Success: Which activities do you do most successfully?
Instinct: Which do you feel like doing most intuitively?
Growth: Are you continually getting better in these activities, in an almost natural way?
Needs: Do these activities matter to you, making you feel fulfilled and content?

Step 3: Free Your Strengths
How can you make the most of what strengthens you?

Now that you’ve discovered your strengths, it’s time to FREE them and put them to work. This is a process which – as the acronym gives away – consists of four strategies:

Focus: first, you need to understand which of your strengths you actually employ while at work; understand when you need it, how much you need it, and how often you use it;
Release: start doing the things which may bring the most of your skillset, even if that means doing someone else’s job;
Educate: bring your knowledge up to date and become even more skillful in what you’re already best.
Expand: redefine your job in terms of your newfound and updated strengths; your team needs the best of you.

Step 4: Stop Your Weaknesses
How can you cut out what weakens you?

Just like your strengths, you should clear, capture and clarify your weaknesses as well.

Obviously, the objective now is different.

Namely, to STOP them from reaching your full potential:

Stop: this is selfexplanatory: cease doing anything you dislike; sometimes this may be something so irrelevant that nobody will notice; other times, explain your rationale;
Team up: now that you’ve stopped doing some activity you dislike, team up with the person who actually likes doing it;
Offer up: time for a swap – in exchange for helping you with your least favorite activity, offer your partner to help him with the one you’re best at;
Perceive: now, look at your weakness anew; does it matter that you have it?

Step 5: Speak Up
How can you create strong teams?

Now, that you know there may be a way to make yourself more essential to the team while getting rid of those activities you don’t like to do – a win-win of the highest order – it’s time for a talk with your boss.

Conversation 1: To prepare, have a strengths chat with your colleagues, rummaging for work examples to back up your talk, and devising a plan what to say to your boss once he invites you to his office;

Conversation 2: Time for the discussion. It will go well if you manage to answer the “how I can help you” question. Try putting your presented plan into practice.

Conversation 3: The weakness chat (same as 1 – but different objective).

Conversation 4: This should be the pinnacle of your efforts: the “how you can help me” chat with your boss.

Step 6: Build Strong Habits
How can you make this last forever?

Michael Jordan didn’t remain Michael Jordan because he relied on his strengths but because he continually used them and built upon them.

Do the same.

First, introduce a daily routine to identify the three strengths you are/like to be using and the three weakness you like to get rid of.

Then, start a weekly routine to identify two actions which may help you strengthen your strengths and shut down your weaknesses.

Finally, do a personal quarterly review to see how things are going.

Key Lessons from “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”

1.      Strengths Before Weaknesses
2.      The 6 Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance
3.      Stand Out

Strengths Before Weaknesses

Less than half of surveyed Americans think that they should build on their strengths, preferring to overcome their weaknesses instead.

However, this may be one of the worst things you can do if you want to be successful.

Because life is just too short to focus on your weaknesses.

No matter what, you will always have a few of those.

Hell, even Richard Feynman sucked at art history and music!

The point is to spend as much of your time as you can to strengthen your strengths.

And shut down your weaknesses altogether.

The 6 Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

To put your strengths to work, you need to follow these 6 steps:

#1: Bust the myths which hinder your growth.
#2: Get clear, i.e., capture, clarify, and confirm your strengths by checking them against the four SIGNs (success, instinct, growth, and needs).
#3: FREE your strengths, by focusing and releasing them, and then by educating yourself in the field and expanding upon them.
#4: STOP your weaknesses. Literally: first stop doing them, and then team up with someone whose strengths are your weaknesses, and whose weaknesses are your strengths; once you do that, offer up to swap the tasks and finally, start perceiving your weakness with some fresh eyes.
#5: Speak up. Arrange a meeting with your boss and inform him of your strengths.
#6: Build strong habits. You’re in this for the long run. Constantly repeat this process.

Stand Out

Now, that you’ve mastered your strengths, it’s time to make the next step.

Discover your strength role and start excelling.

Time to stand out!

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“Go Put Your Strengths to Work Quotes”

The strengths movement says that all we learn from mistakes are the characteristics of mistakes. If we want to learn about our successes, we must study successes. Click To Tweet

The radical idea at the core of the strengths movement is that excellence is not the opposite of failure, and that, as such, you will learn little about excellence from studying failure. Click To Tweet

Your strengths are defined by your actual activities. They are things you do, and more specifically, things you do near perfectly. Click To Tweet

Start with your own life, and to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, be the change you want to see in your team. Click To Tweet

Your teammates need to know where they can rely on you the most. The most responsible thing you can do is tell them. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Go Put Your Strengths to Work” is Marcus Buckingham’s attempt to complete his tentative strength’s trilogy, but he doesn’t do a fairly good job.

True, the first two books set a very high standard – we, for one, featured them both in our list of top 15 management books in history – but this one feels just too repetitive and simplified.

And, in our opinion, it refers too often to the book’s website (http://simplystrengths.com/), on whose SET tests (now, supposedly, outdated) it relies just too much for its own benefit.

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All About Kindle: What you need to know before buying one (+ hacks)

KindleCan you imagine carrying a suitcase full of books when you travel? We don’t think so. So, we want you to know everything about Kindle so you are more practical at these times.

As much as physical books have not completely disappeared, reading has become much more practical after the emergence of e-readers. Amazon’s Kindle is still the best known of all. Launched in 2007, the device has become indispensable for avid readers. With several versions available in the market, it can be a bit difficult to choose without first making some research.

For this matter, we make it easy for you and we prepare this complete guide with everything you need to know before you buy a Kindle!

Why side with Kindle?

In the era of tablet popularization, having an e-reader seems unnecessary. In fact, everything depends on your needs and goal. Tablets are functional for various actions, including for readings, but the Kindle ends up taking advantages over in other characteristics.

  • For those who enjoy spending hours reading, the battery of the Kindle is much longer. It can last for more than a month. You will not have problems, for example, in that longer flight you need to stop reading because the battery of the device died;
  • Everything on the Kindle is fit for reading, from the size and weight to one of the main features: the internal light;
  • Screen illumination. The illumination and colors of an e-reader are made for reading and are usually kinder to the eyes, avoiding the eye fatigue in longer uses. If you want to read in the open and very bright with a tablet is almost impossible.

You’ll find many other functions of the Kindle. See the tips of this video:

Now that you’ve discovered a little more of what is a Kindle, we want to present the models that are available in the market.

What is the best Kindle? Know the Kindle models

Amazon now offers 4 different Kindle models. At this time we want you to know everything about Kindle, knowing each one of them is essential. The reading power, durability, and functions differ slightly from one another.

Prices range from $ 299.00 to $ 1,149.00 and in addition to being available on Amazon’s website, the Kindle can be purchased at other major stores such as Ponto Frio and Walmart.

Screen size, storage capacity, and Wifi access are features present in all four models. Some other features change and we want to highlight them below.

Kindle – R$299

Amazon’s simpler model is no disappointing. Among the main characteristics, we’ve highlighted:

  • The device does not have a screen illumination, looking like real paper;
  • The battery of this model is one of the most durable;
  • The screen is touch sensitive;
  • It weighs only 161g.

Kindle Paperwhite R$ 479

Paperwhite hacks:

  • Paperwhite has a unique function free 3G;
  • It’s the heaviest model, with 217g in the 3G version;
  • The internal light has 4 LEDs;
  • The device has dimensions of 169 x 117 x 9.1 mm;
  • It has the differential that is the resolution of 300 ppi, against 167 of the New Kindle.

Kindle modelsKindle Voyage R$899

The Voyage version also comes with exclusive features:

  • It has more LEDs than Paperwhite – there are 6 light sources;
  • It is equipped with automatic lighting, which changes according to the environment;
  • To flip pages, it has the technology PagePress – just press the edge of the device to change.

Novo Kindle Oasis – R$1.149

The most expensive model of the four, the Kindle Oasis also has the most powerful battery plus other features:

  • The internal illumination is performed by 10 LED;
  • Has buttons to make it easier to change pages;
  • Its weight is 20% lower than the Voyage, with 131g;

Now that you’ve heard everything about Kindle, you need to consider, beyond the price range, what your needs really are. Don’t have access to WiFi networks often and will need the 3G connectivity function? Buy a Paperwhite. Want the lightest model possible? Choose Oasis.

For anyone you choose, be sure to buy a cover to protect your purchase. Only the Kindle Oasis already comes with one, but it is possible to purchase Kindle covers from the Amazon store.

Increase battery life

With a Kindle, you won’t need to keep the device plugged in or recharging constantly. As we mentioned before, the battery life of the device can be up to one month, depending on your reading frequency.

If you, for example, read 30 minutes a day, with the brightness at level 10 – for those devices with a bright screen – and with the internet turned off, the duration can reach 8 weeks.

Background lighting is not available on your Kindle. Newer versions of the other models have brought the lighting at the top of the screen, instead of being behind, which further avoids eye fatigue.

Supported formats and how to convert files

When you buy an e-book from the Amazon store, it already comes perfectly formatted for the Kindle. Within the site itself, you can send directly to the Kindle, without the need to connect the USB cable.

For those who already have books in other formats and want to view them in the e-reader, Kindle supports files of type .mobi, .prc, .txt, and .tpz. If your texts are in .epub or .pdf format, for example, you need to convert them.

The best program currently to do this is Caliber. In addition to the conversions, it is an e-book manager that works with almost all formats and for all available e-readers.

The program even offers a cloud library that you can access from anywhere, plus the ability to download articles from the web and turn them into an e-book.

Other ways to transfer files

In addition to buying Kindle eBooks in the Amazon store and transfer them with Caliber, you can download the texts to your Kindle with the USB cable or directly from the Amazon library.

But something that not everyone knows is that when your registration on Amazon is created an email from your Kindle. You can send files to this email and they are added to the library automatically. To find out which one is yours, click here.

The email also allows download from other platforms. 12Minutos has a library of microbooks that can also be read from your Kindle.

Free Library and Kindle Unlimited

Amazon still offers an affiliate club, Kindle Unlimited, where you pay only $ 20 a month and have access to a variety of titles, including free ones. In addition to this club, the site already has a free e-book collection for you to start putting together your Kindle library.

If you haven’t already checked out the free Amazon store listing, take a look there and you’re sure to find some amazing works. Works such as The Crowdfunding Bible by Scott Steinberg and How to Work for Yourself by Brian Cohen, all these can be read without paying anything.

There you also find works on the best-selling list at very low prices. For example The Daily Entrepreneur, S. J. Scott, for only R$ 1.99 and Master Focus, I. C. Robledo, for R$ 5.99.

Bonuses: Kindle hacks

Comics and manga

One of the advantages of Kindle is being able to view image files, such as manga and comics. Who is a fan should know that the Kindle is almost the same size of physical issues and its color also favors the artwork?

You can still optimize the experience with a program called Mangle. It formats the manga and comic files, in which you have to name each image to organize on the Kindle.

Custom screen saver

To customize your screen saver, you will have to unlock your Kindle. Some websites offer instructions for this, such as EbookBR. After doing this, you can select the screen saver you want. If you want to choose one, we suggest the Kindle Blog Wallpaper.

Kindle easter eggs

Do you think you’ve found out everything about Kindle? This tip just a few knows.

If you are reading a very dense book and need to relax a bit, the Kindle has some hidden games. In the main screen, press ALT+SHIFT+M and after opening the first game press G to load the other.

Read articles from the internet on Kindle, there are lots of amazing Kindle books

Caliber offers this option, as we talked about before, but the Kindle itself also has a function to read articles from the internet.

Go to Menu -> Experimental -> Web browser and place the link to the article you want to upload.

Reading will probably be better than reading on your phone, with images disrupting page loading.

All About Kindle

So, what did you think about everything you just learned about Kindle? Do you know how to buy Kindle? Any questions? Leave your comment!

And now, how about checking out a guide on how to find good books to read?

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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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The Culture Map PDF Summary

The Culture Map PDFBreaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business: How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done

Some time ago, business went global.

Culture, however, didn’t.

Erin Meyer’ “The Culture Map” is your guide to effortlessly transcend the cultural barriers and acquire the much-needed skills to “decode cultures foreign to your own.”

Who Should Read “The Culture Map”? And Why?

It’s only common knowledge that cultures significantly differ from each other and what’s complimentary or conventional in one may be rude and eccentric in another.

If you are a business executive, failing to address this issue may cost you deals worth millions of dollars.

However, even though “The Culture Map” is explicitly written for leaders of international teams who want to rise above cultural clashes in the workplace, Erin Meyer’s exceptional book may help anyone who wants to improve his or her communications skills as well.

Erin MeyerAbout Erin Meyer

Erin Meyer is a Minnesota-born American author and a professor of Cross-Cultural Management at INSEAD in Paris, where she currently lives with her husband and two sons.

She developed her interest in cultural differences while volunteering for Peace Corps in Botswana. Before moving to Paris, Meyer also worked at McKesson, HBOC, and Aperian Global.

In 2013 “Business Inc.” selected her as one of the ten best business school professors worldwide. “The Culture Map” – her only book so far – was published the following year and was met with wide critical acclaim.

In 2017, Meyer was selected as one of the most influential thinkers worldwide by both “Thinkers50” and “HR Magazine.”

“The Culture Map PDF Summary”

At the heart of Erin Meyer’s exceptional book, “The Culture Map,” is an “eight-scale model” which should help managers and leaders of culturally diverse teams improve their effectiveness by offering them a platform to analyze the positioning of one culture relative to another and, thus, correctly decode the meaning of some actions and gestures.

The eight scales in question – and the two extremes between which Erin Meyer scatters many of the world’s countries – are the following:

  • Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
    Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
    Persuading: principles-first vs. applications-first
    Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
    Deciding: consensual vs. top-down
    Trusting: task-based vs. relationship-based
    Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoids confrontation
    Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time

Meyer dedicates a chapter to each of these eight areas.

And so should we a key lesson – each one borrowing the title of the relevant chapter!

Key Lessons from “The Culture Map”

1.Listening to the Air: Communicating Across Cultures
2. The Many Faces of Polite: Evaluating Performance and Providing Negative Feedback
3. Why Versus How: The Art of Persuasion in a Multicultural World
4. How Much Respect Do You Want? Leadership, Hierarchy, and Power
5. Big D or Little d: Who Decides, and How?
6. The Head or the Heart: Two Types of Trust and How They Grow
7. The Needle, Not the Knife: Disagreeing Productively
8. How Late Is Late? Scheduling and Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Time

Listening to the Air: Communicating Across Cultures

Communication is a complex thing.

Just listen to a British comedian comparing American and British movies, or an American comparing the humor of both countries.

According to Erin Meyer, the reason why Americans have trouble understanding British humor and the British consider American humor all but stupid is fairly simple.

Namely, the US is a low-context country (in fact, the lowest one), and the UK is a middle-context nation. In other words, Americans say everything they mean, and the British leave some of it to the context.

Japan is on the other side of the spectrum: it’s the highest-context country, closely followed by other East Asian nations, such as Korea, China, and Indonesia.

In their cases, most of the communication is implicit.

The Many Faces of Polite: Evaluating Performance and Providing Negative Feedback

If you’ve happened upon the Anglo-Dutch translation guide so far, you probably know that what the Dutch hear when the British say “That is an original point of view” is “They like my idea!” even though what the British actually mean is “Your idea is stupid!”

This is because different nations evaluate differently – anywhere from giving direct to indirect negative feedback.

Interestingly enough, the evaluation scale doesn’t coincide with the communication scale, i.e., some nations (such as Israel) may be high-context (implicit) nations but still give direct negative feedback – in fact, “the directest.”

You’ll get direct negative feedback in Russia and Germany too, but the Americans, just like the British, will sugarcoat it.

There’s a high chance you won’t even know what kind of a feedback you’ve gotten from a Japanese executive since Japan is not only the highest-context country but also the least direct one in giving negative feedback.

Why Versus How: The Art of Persuasion in a Multicultural World

Persuasion is an art – but what kind of art depends on the country you’re in.

In fact, Erin Meyer says that there’s so much difference between Asian countries and European-influenced cultures, that “an entirely different frame of reference, unrelated to the Persuading scale, comes into play” when we’re talking about Asia.

In a nutshell, Asian countries are more holistic and want to know how things connect with the environment (the big picture), while Western countries are more specific and react better to detailed instructions.

Within the latter, old countries such as Italy and France are why-oriented (principles-first), and the newest countries (US, Canada, Australia) are more concerned with the how’s (application-first).

(And Simon Sinek is interested in both!)

How Much Respect Do You Want? Leadership, Hierarchy, and Power

While analyzing 100,000 management surveys at IBM in the 1970s, Geert Hofstede, the most famous cross-cultural researcher in history, developed the concept of “power distance,” i.e.,

the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.

However, ask a Scandinavian what “a power distance” is, and he’ll probably laugh the subject right off the table: for the Danish, the Norwegian, and the Swedish “the best boss is a facilitator among equals” and “organizational structures are flat.”

Unlike the egalitarian North, the East is strictly hierarchical: in Japan, it will be a mindless act to disagree with your superior.

Big D or Little d: Who Decides, and How?

Expectedly, egalitarian cultures usually make important decisions consensually and respect the opinion of every member in the group; however, so do the hierarchical Japanese, who actually rank highest at one end of the deciding spectrum, since their directorial boards are flat structures.

Their nearest neighbors, China, is on the other end of the spectrum, just second to Nigeria in terms of top-down deciding.

There – as well as in India and Russia – decisions are made by individuals, and the others simply follow.

The Head or the Heart: Two Types of Trust and How They Grow

There are two types of trust: cognitive and affective.

Cognitive trust stems from knowledge: you know that someone is capable of doing a job based on his previous record. Affective trust has a lot more to do with the future: you expect someone to do a good job, merely because you’re close to him and her and you believe that, for personal reasons, he/she will not disappoint you.

Cognitive trust is task-based, and if you are an American, you know what it means: business is business. Affective trust is relationship-based and is shared through meals and drinks over the long term in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, India, and China.

The Needle, Not the Knife: Disagreeing Productively

The art of disagreement may be dying – or, who knows, it may have just taken a different form!

Because, historically and traditionally, nations disagree differently.

In Israel and France – and to a lesser extent in Germany and Russia – you are expected to get confrontational, and this will not impact the relationship in any negative way.

However, you are better off avoiding confrontation altogether in East Asian countries, since it is harshly frowned upon.

How Late Is Late? Scheduling and Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Time

You can be on time if you live in Switzerland, Germany, and Japan – countries which respect the idea of linear time and believe in sequential steps, promptness and strict adherence to deadlines.  

However, that’s not the case with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, and India, where adaptability is much more important and time is flexible.

In other words, as strange as it may sound to you, if you are a German in Nigeria, your Nigerian friend isn’t wrong if he/she comes 32 minutes after the agreed time.

You are wrong to have expected him/her to come on time.

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“The Culture Map Quotes”

Unless we know how to… avoid easy-to-fall-into cultural traps, we are easy prey to misunderstanding, needless conflict, and ultimate failure. Click To Tweet

The vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work. Click To Tweet

Just as fish don’t know they’re in water, people often find it difficult to see and recognize their own culture until they start comparing it with others. Click To Tweet

If you don’t know what your behaviors signify, you’ll have no control over the signals you send, and the results can be disastrous. Click To Tweet

When in doubt, the best strategy may be to simply let the other person lead. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Culture Map” is a unique book – so it’s unsurprising that it was met with positive reviews from the public and professional reviewers alike.

In fact, according to “The Huffington Post,” “whether you’re a corporate or traditional diplomat, global traveler, government official, or passionate world citizen, this is the one book you should not miss.”

“Inc.” called it “superb,” and we share the magazine’s opinion. And that’s even though we are not leaders of an international team or CEOs of a multinational conglomerate.

But thanks to Meyer – now we can travel much more safely and relaxed!

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The Soul of Money PDF Summary

The Soul of Money PDFReclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources

Do you have what it takes, to transform your life, by changing your perspective?

As much as we hate to admit it, we are inclined to believe that “Sufficient” is a concept for the weak. When it comes to finances, there’s no such thing as “Enough.”

Sufficiency is precise. It means that things are sufficient, exactly enough.

Let’s find out more about our incentives and social stimulus to pursue wealthiness.

Who Should Read “The Soul of Money”? And Why?

This book is speaking to every person, whoever had a few dollars in its pocket. That means, we highly recommended to all people, especially to those who put faith in money, as the ultimate source for handling problems.

The Soul of Money” is perfectly aligned with modern concepts, which disregard moral values, and prioritize the material context.

About Lynne Twist

Lynne TwistLynne Twist is an author, activist and the co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance. The Hunger Project has raised over $150 million, to help the poor communities and bring about comfort and happiness.

“The Soul of Money PDF Summary”

Money is actually an exchange paper, without real value except the one assigned by the bank monetary systems. Finances were created or invented to help people more easily and effectively change their goods, for other commodities.

Achuar People use this “tool” to be in the saddle and control the flow in the community. Killing one another is a regular practice, and the battle for power or the struggle to influence others leads to suppression and hardship.

Defining money is not straightforward, and as a tool that has come out of the quantitative loop, and entered into a more qualitative frame, it penetrates all spheres of influence. This includes all spiritual matters that are not complementary to the process of acquiring wealth.

The same supremacy sucked the author Lynne Twist, and alongside her husband Bill, they too drew in the material side of things, until the Hunger Project emerged.

She didn’t feel such motivation and incentive since childhood, and she answered the cry of the poor by conveying a powerful message.

She decided to change her lifestyle from top to bottom, and thus remodel her priorities. The mindset of her closest ones also shifted and embraced her perspective, which advocates for placing the needs of others in the spotlight.

Money is a current, a carrier, a conduit for our intentions.

The right amount of caution supported by moral actions gave her the edge to encourage generosity, philanthropy, and compassion.

She was no longer driven by the fear of “not-having-enough,” and this scarcity problem evaporated in a flash. The truth is, the world has enough food to feed every soul, but out of selfishness, greed, and longing for more money, we close our eyes to this terrible reality.

Is it a cultural thing? – We kind of think of it as an integral element of the egoic consciousness, which is constantly worrying about its survival.

Take wolves, for instance; we have a habit of saying – I am hungry like a wolf. This means that we eat, even if our bellies are full because we don’t know what tomorrow brings.

This symbolic meaning, explains why people put their self-interest above everything else. The history has taught us, that you must snatch everything that is within your reach and neglect the needs of others. Is this necessary, do we really need to behave immorally? – Of course, not!  

Here’s what you should take into account to tackle this scarcity mindset, and diminish its influence over you:

  • There’s not enough for all people – Believe it or not, the waste of resources as a process, costs us dearly. We continue to build weapons of mass destruction while putting to the side the basic human necessities.
  • Strive for more – If you are not deprived of any basic need, you should not worry. More is not always better, and you don’t need any insurances to become an ethical and moral person. Stop accumulating wealth as if you are about to die of hunger.
  • The world sets the tone, not me – People are social creatures, and their urge to fit into the group can sometimes trigger the scarcity mindset. It’s utter nonsense to believe that there’s nothing that can be done.

If you are enthusiastic and psyched up to adjust your money-limit, then allocating money wouldn’t be a problem.

Make every effort to improve the well-being of others, and for once, put your comfort in the second place. In other words, tackle your second nature by questioning your habits.

Anyone who has decided to embark upon this beautiful journey is well-aware of the satisfaction that derives from spending money for a greater good. Donating, and assisting others will raise your moral as well because acting with such audacity showcases your inner peacefulness.

Striving for a combined approach, in a scarce environment, can straighten things out, and provide comfort to those who are struggling to make a living.

It comes as no surprise that, on the other side of the fence, partnership and collaboration, can instill a new behavior, and call attention to “sufficiency.” It’s okay to bring your individuality into full-view, but on the long-run, working together is what incites creativity, and inspiration.

You don’t have to be at the mercy of every trend; follow your native wit and stand up for yourself. The public doesn’t endorse such odd mentality, but unacceptance and isolation mustn’t fear you.

In reality, your inner beingness is kept on a leash by the community. Break those chains and run free. At the end of the day, it all comes down to – Are you setting an example for others to follow?

Key Lessons from “The Soul of Money”

1.      Cast doubt upon your beliefs
2.      Find a higher purpose
3.      Balance the scales

Cast doubt upon your beliefs

The creative skillset is often the biggest culprit for drifting over to the material side of the world.

Nonetheless, even the best talent crafted in the fire of endurance, and knowingness, cannot work its magic on you unless you give the go-ahead.  

Find a higher purpose

Individuals working or performing such services are giving positive vibes, which are filling the air with hope and compassion.

Philanthropy is more of a lifestyle than a concept, wallowing in the righteousness of such movement, generates joy and appreciation.

Balance the scales

No one is forcing you to give up on all your money. As it turns out, people are often repelled by purposeless actions, and investing can’t be counted among them.

In the same manner, you ought to find the perfect balance between giving and having.

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“The Soul of Money Quotes”

The power of money is…derived from the intention we give it and the integrity with which we direct it into the world. Click To Tweet When you let your money move to the things you care about, your life lights up. That’s really what money is for. Click To Tweet Scarcity as a chronic sense of inadequacy about life becomes the very place from which we think and act and live. Click To Tweet There is a principle of sufficiency…When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up immense energy to make a difference with what you have. Click To Tweet The harder we try to get it, or even try to ignore it or rise above it, the tighter money’s grip on us grows. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The bottom line is – let’s label money as the greatest source of evil and reject our role in this madness!

That would be ignorant of us, so before passing the blame on something/someone, you must doubt your intentions.

Such broader view will show you the real picture of what’s adding to poverty and conflicts.

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Managing Conflict PDF Summary

Managing Conflict PDFA Practical Guide to Resolution in the Workplace

Managing employees is a difficult job.

And sometimes even having a justified reason to dismiss an employee may not be enough since it’s still unfair if you don’t use the correct procedures.

The best way to avoid all that – preventive mediation.

David Liddle explains the benefits of this and many other similar strategies in his indispensable conflict resolution guide, “Managing Conflict.”

Who Should Read “Managing Conflict”? And Why?

As its title suggests, “Managing Conflict” is a must-read for HR officers and other executives who have similar jobs, whether it is managing people or establishing conflict resolution practices.

However, many other people can benefit from it, since, as they say, half of the solution to a problem is understanding it – and “Managing Conflict” offers a great shortcut to understanding why we tend to have so many unnecessary conflicts and what is the best way to transcend them.

David LiddleAbout David Liddle

David Liddle is one of the leading conflict mediators in the United Kingdom, with a twenty-year-long experience in the field.

In 1994, he established one of the first community mediation schemes in the UK, Leicestershire Mediation Service, a scheme he ran for the next eight years when he established CRISP, the Conflict Resolution in Schools Programme.

In 2001, David established the Total Conflict Management Group (TCM group), which has, ever since, been the UK’s leading consulting company for mediation, conflict management, and leadership development.

See more at www.thetcmgroup.com.

“Managing Conflict PDF Summary”

According to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) companies in the United Kingdom spend over $44.5 billion annually to battle conflict costs.

Now, that’s a lot!

And that doesn’t even include all the immaterial damages – like, for example, reputation – which can theoretically hurt a company much more in the long run.

The simple premise of David Liddle’s book “Managing Conflict” is that this all can be avoided – or, at least, substantially alleviated – if companies put a little more emphasis on conflict management.

Unfortunately, they almost never do that.

So, they spend their pounds on cures, even though an ounce of prevention (a specific kind for a specific stage) may be all that they need:

The simplest, quickest and most effective way to prevent a harmful and costly conflict from escalating is to have a direct conversation with the other person as early as possible.

Now, most leaders are uncomfortable talking conflicts, and their idea of arbitration is basically just turning to any one of the conventional grievance strategies.

However, as most employees who have filed formal complaints have learned by now, they usually don’t work.

Most because they are outdated and are based in a dynamic of power which doesn’t lead to a resolution satisfactory for both sides, but to a temporary hushing and implicit assertiveness of control by the employer, which actually deepens the initial problem with the employee.

Some of the grievance strategies – such as early resolution, facilitated roundtable conversations, or resolution triage assessments – are actually okay, but companies don’t use them properly.

Mediation has always been – and still remains – the best strategy for tackling conflicts.

It’s integrative and just, as it allows both parties to tell their side of their story while giving the power to a more objective and neutral third side to assist them to settle their disagreements.

The best part of a mediation is the fact that it transforms conflicts into a breeding ground for progress, converting the dysfunctions of a team into a set of learning lessons for both managers and employees.

As Steven Covey demonstrated in his testamentary book, the third alternative shouldn’t be just an HR practice – it can be a way of life!

Job contracts don’t take into consideration the unpredictable work environment and the emotions, desires, beliefs, and motivation of an individual worker.

Conflicts stem from these incongruities.

Consequently, the resolution must try to overcome them, and the only way it can do that is by moving from generalizations to particularity, from the way companies work to the actual way individual people behave in the workplace and outside it.

Simply put, conflicts do not arise out of people reasoning properly; most conflicts are the result of wrong assumptions, which, by definition, makes them a grey area, where there is hardly ever a right or wrong side, but where there’s always some kind of a profound misunderstanding.

In fact, David Liddle says that:

In over 90% of the cases that I mediate, the parties realize that their perceptions, while valid, were incorrect; they had wrongly assumed malintent by the other.

And that’s what mediators usually do: they encourage the discussion until it reaches the point where both employees and employers understand that there’s another side to the same story and that it is wrong to attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by some other cause; and this cause can be anything from fear and prejudice to lack of information and even incompetence.

Institutionalizing mediation may be the best thing a company can do since this act shows the employees dedication to conflict resolution which makes them feel a lot safer and more comfortable in their job positions.

Key Lessons from “Managing Conflict”

1.      The Six F’s of Management Theory
2.      The Five Stages of a Conflict’s Life Cycle
3.      Implement a Great Meditation Program in 10 Steps

The Six F’s of Management Theory

Curiously, most of management theory is built around the six F’s: fights, feelings, fear, failure, forgiveness, and flow.

If you want a functional company, you must learn to manage fights productively, which basically means understanding your employees’ feelings and fears.

It also means creating an environment, where their worst fears will be annulled, or, in other words, a place where failures are met with forgiveness and considered stepping stones to success.

All of this inspires a flow both in terms of work processes and dialogue, which are the prerequisites of a successful company.

The Five Stages of a Conflict’s Life Cycle

Almost every conflict in a company follows a similar pattern which involves five stages: pre-conflict, early conflict, mid-conflict, late conflict, and post-conflict.

Now, all of these stages ask for different approaches and, moreover, different strategies for resolution.

So, the most important thing when mediating a conflict is to first identify the stage in which it is.

Only then, you should move to finding an appropriate resolution, based on a pre-prepared strategy.

Implement a Great Meditation Program in 10 Steps

If you want to implement a meditation program in your company, try to follow these steps.

First – obviously – pick an expert; then, gather data and prepare the field for the introduction of mediation.

It’s necessary to build the program in close association with management, HR, and even unions. Only then you can develop a program which will suit everybody and move on to building a team of internal/external mediators.

Once you do that – it’s only obvious that you’ll need to select a mediation coordinator and train all parties in the use of mediation practices and tools.

Ensuring that everyone is up-to-date and spreading awareness of mediation within the organization shouldn’t be just marginal tasks.

Finally, monitor the impact of mediation and see where – and even if – you can improve.

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“Managing Conflict Quotes”

The world is less certain than it was, and our organizations are microcosms of this uncertain world. Conflict is at the heart of that uncertainty: both a cause and a symptom. Click To Tweet

Due to a lack of an intervention to address the issues at source, situations quickly escalate into a more serious conflict. Click To Tweet

Conflict is not logical; it is irrational. Conflict is not black and white; it is grey. Click To Tweet

Some managers’ lack of empathy, compassion, flexibility and self-awareness can come across as rudeness, hostility, abuse, prejudice and intimidation… classic signs of ‘bullying.’ Click To Tweet

The only way to address conflict is to find a shared meaning, a shared solution and a way forward – together. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Managing Conflicts” primarily deals with UK firms – after all, David Liddle is British – so there may be some case studies (from legal and similar perspectives) which are limited to his home country.

However, most of the book is, fortunately, not – and works a great manual, which includes tips, tricks, tools, charts, exercises – an even links to additional online materials.

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