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.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

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.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Towards a Reskilling Revolution PDF Summary

Towards a Reskilling Revolution PDFA Future of Jobs for All

Are you afraid that robots may take your job?

If not, unfortunately, you should be: it’s only a question of time before that happens.

But, where does that leave you? Can you do something to adapt?

It turns out you can.

The World Economic Forum – in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group – guides us “Towards a Reskilling Revolution.”

Who Should Read “Towards a Reskilling Revolution”? And Why?

In 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne published one of the most important studies of the last decade, titled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?”

The study includes an appended table which ranks over 700 different occupations, “according to their probability of computerization,” starting with the least computerizable (probability 0.0028), recreational therapists, and ending with the most computerizable (probability 0.99), telemarketers.

After a while, BBC translated the study into a very neat tool which can help you find out how much your job is threatened by the rise of the machines in one second.


Click here, type your job (or select the most similar one from the full list) and find out how easily you can be replaced.

If it’s anything above 50% – then you really, really need to read this article.

Sorry to say, but there’s 1 in 2 chances that it will be.

World Economic ForumAbout the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based non-profit foundation, “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

The Forum is most famous for its annual meeting in Davos, at which over 2,500 of the most influential people in the world discuss “the most pressing issues facing the world.” These include Nobel Prize-winning economists, political and business leaders, journalists, and even celebrities.

The people who attend the Davos meeting are usually called pejoratively “Davos men,” which should mean something along the lines of “wealthy supranational members of the global elite.”

“Towards a Reskilling Revolution PDF Summary”

Whether you like it or not, ever since the Internet revolution, the global labor market has been changing by the day.

Opportunities for finding stable, meaningful work that provides a good income have increasingly become fractured and polarized.

You may have had the luxury to ignore this so far – going about your business and all – but with the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, everybody agrees that it’s only a matter of time before these changes start affecting you personally.

So, it’s better to think now and act fast than have to act when there’s no option B.

Say you’re a taxi driver!

With Uber, Google, and Tesla all constantly working on perfecting autonomous vehicles – are you really still sleeping on both ears and doing nothing to counteract the inevitable?

And what if you are a telemarketer or anything which includes calling people as part of your most important job activities?

Even worse: at Google Duplex, the Internet giant just demonstrated that they’ve perfected the Google Assistant to a level which makes it all but indistinguishable from a human!

How long before you’re told that you’re obsolete – by every single company in the world?

If you want to remain employable, you need to do something about it now; obviously, by something, we mean learning a new, more relevant skill:

The individuals who will succeed in the economy of the future will be those who can complement the work done by mechanical or algorithmic technologies, and ‘work with the machines.’

Leaders and CEOs, governments and policy-makers, mustn’t turn a blind eye as well: the future of companies and countries may depend upon “reskilling and retraining the existing workforce.”

And that’s where this article comes in handy.

Its authors have developed a new tool which uses bid data to find solutions for job disruptions and map appropriate “job transition pathways and reskilling opportunities” whether for individuals or whole occupations.

The tool is US-based and employs two distinct sources: the list of 958 job types prepared by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Information Network (O*Net) and Burning Glass Technologies’ database of over 50 million job postings in the US over the last two years.

Using them, the authors of this article were capable of quantifying the viability and desirability of a job transition between numerous possible pairs of jobs.

A viable transition is a transition between jobs which requires minimal training and education; a desirable one is in a direction which offers enduring stability and a wage similar to the one the worker is currently receiving.

The article is rife with tables and analyses which should help many different people orient themselves better in a highly volatile job market.

For example, if you’re working on an assembly line, it’s a good idea to start thinking about finding a new job in construction and extraction.

Also, if you are an inspector, tester, sorter, sampler and/or weigher, then think about becoming a production, planning and expediting clerk.

Some of the links are surprising!

For example, who would have guessed that if you are a printing press operator, you should reskill for becoming a farm/ranch manager!

Be sure to check out the article and find the most relevant to you.

Key Lessons from “Towards a Reskilling Revolution”

1.     The Job Market Is Changing by the Day
2.      A Robot Wil Probably Take Your Job in the Next Decade
3.      Reskill Without Much Effort in the Desirable Direction

The Job Market Is Changing by the Day

IT has changed so many aspects of our lives for the better, that we’ve all but forgotten about the one which may change them for the worse: the job market.

Namely, it’s only a matter of time before a substantial percentage of the world’s jobs are irretrievably replaced by machines.

In fact, the process has already started: think about autonomous vehicles and phone assistants!

A Robot Wil Probably Take Your Job in the Next Decade

According to a 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, 800 million jobs will be automated by 2030 – and the rest are not safe in the long run.

Which means that at least 1 in 5 people will have to find a new job – most probably in another sphere – during the course of the next decade.

Are you that person?

Reskill Without Much Effort in the Desirable Direction

“Towards a Reskilling Revolution” presents a data-driven tool which analyzes all 958 jobs registered by the O*Net and uses one of the most advanced databases of job market opportunities to quantify the viability and desirability of a job transition between any pair of jobs.

So, if you live in the US – don’t be afraid to use it!

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“Towards a Reskilling Revolution Quotes”

The path to a good life appears increasingly difficult to identify and attain for a growing number of people. Click To Tweet

Data-driven approaches can bring speed and additional value to reskilling and job transitions. Click To Tweet

It is our hope that Towards a Reskilling Revolution will become a valuable tool to move beyond the current impasse of polarized job prospects. Click To Tweet

The data-driven approach… may help to created greater transparency and choice for workers. Click To Tweet

No single actor can solve the job transition and reskilling puzzle alone. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In assessing reskilling pathways and job transition opportunities in such detail and at such scale, write the authors of “Towards a Reskilling Revolution” in the article’s preface, “we aim to move the debate on the future of work to new—and practical—territory.”

It’s difficult to overemphasize how important

Everybody knows that automation is here to change the job market radically and irretrievably, but nobody likes to bother explaining how that affects the average Joe.

This article does exactly that.

And we can only wish that someone else follows in its footsteps.

(Eagerly awaiting the subsequent publications which, if we are to believe the authors’ promises, should extend the methodology “to include additional perspectives and geographies and applied in collaboration with government and business stakeholders to support workers.”)    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

How Complicated Is Your Company? PDF Summary

How Complicated Is Your Company? PDFNot satisfied with how productive your employees are?

Willing to restructure processes in order to make them more efficient?

Well, authors Reinhard Messenböck, Yves Morieux, Jaap Backx, and Donat Wunderlich from the Boston Consulting Group believe that you should start with a simple question:

“How Complicated is Your Company?”

Who Should Read “How Complicated Is Your Company?”? And Why?

As a rule of thumb, the more complicated your company is, the less productive and satisfied your employees are.

However, going simple is not as easy as it sounds.

Hence, this article should be a must for every owner, CEO, upper-level manager and leader of a company who knows he/she should keep things simple but doesn’t know how to do that.

About Reinhard Messenböck, Yves Morieux, Jaap Backx, and Donat Wunderlich

Jaap Backx

Reinhard Messenböck and Yves Morieux are both involved in several projects at the Boston Consulting Group as senior managers.

Donat Wunderlich

Jaap Backx is currently one of the leading partners of the organization where Donat Wunderlick absorbs the role of a principal.

“How Complicated Is Your Company? PDF Summary”

In the words of Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, “productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run, it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”

Now, many factors can influence productivity – everything from erratic political instability to predictable business cycles – but, none of them have been found to properly explain the global economic decline of late.

in the opinion of Reinhard Messenböck, Yves Morieux, Jaap Backx, and Donat Wunderlich – global management consultants at the Boston Consulting Group – “the underlying cause of the recent slowdown has been the ongoing, long-term rise of complicatedness.”

Its definition?

Complicatedness is… the increase in organizational structures, processes, procedures, decision rights, metrics, scorecards, and committees that companies impose to manage the escalating complexity of their external business environment.

A wide-ranging survey of executives and employees at over 1,000 companies led the authors of “How Complicated Is Your Company?” to few interesting conclusions.

First of all, that complicatedness can be found in eight different dimensions and that, consequently, there are at least eight ways to simplify an organization.

#1. Leadership
#2. Strategy and Transformation Agenda
#3. Structure
#4. Activities and Roles
#5. Processes, Systems, and IT
#6. Decision Making
#7. Performance Management
#8. People and Interactions

Leadership is, by far, the most crucial dimension, since it “binds together and affects each of the other areas.”

Leaders often create complex procedures and structures which seriously affect productivity.

If you want to simplify, the best way to do this is via leading by example when hiring, promoting and firing. This reinforces desired behaviors in your employees and inspires cooperation and transparency.

In the area of strategy and transformation, the key objective is to “translate strategy into concrete must-win initiatives,” since that’s the only way to ensure consistency between overall goals and lower-level initiatives.

As far as the company’s structure is concerned the solution one should be a no-brainer: simply remove unnecessary layers.

This streamlines top-to-down communication and, moreover, it gives low-level managers just enough freedom, empowering them to make minor decisions quickly and independently.

Eliminate duplication of activities and roles: be sure that each and everyone of this adds value to your company by itself.

It’s the 21st century, so it should be fairly easy for you to completely abolish handoffs between departments and streamline processes and systems via IT.

This simplifies and speeds up communication and boosts end-to-end responsibility.

Give each and every one of your managers strictly delineated area of responsibilities and mandates so that you are able to take decision making back to first principles.

Not only this promotes understanding and cooperation, but it also eliminates conflicts and accelerates the workflow.

So that you can help your managers lead and ensure appropriate recognition for the most cooperative employees, you must master the art of performance management.

Introduce proper collaboration-fostering KPIs should be a great start!

If you want to maximize the output of your employees, then silo mentality is one of your worst enemies!

So, to simplify things in the people and interactions dimensions, try eradicating silos altogether, by creating an unhostile work environment.

The key word – if you ask us – is fun.

In conclusion,

Rooting out complicatedness is possible but only with a structured and focused simplification effort. Business leaders following this road will harvest the fruits of improved productivity and gain a competitive advantage for their companies.

Key Lessons from “How Complicated Is Your Company?”

1.      Productivity Is Stifled by Excessive Complicatedness
2.      Complicatedness Can Be Found in Eight Dimensions
3.      The Simplified Four-Step Simplification Solution

Productivity Is Stifled by Excessive Complicatedness

Even though many factors can affect productivity, it seems that one of the most important ones – if not “the underlying cause” – in relation to the recent economic falloff is the growing complicatedness of companies.

It’s easy to blame external factors, but a survey of the executives and employees of over 1,000 companies has pinpointed complicatedness as the main obstacle to faster growth.

And this is especially true for companies which operate in regulated environments, such as the healthcare industry and the public sector.

Those in the IT world are much simpler and, consequently, agiler.

Complicatedness Can Be Found in Eight Dimensions

Complicatedness can take root in any of eight different dimensions: leadership; strategy and transformation agenda; structure; activities and roles; processes, systems and IT; decision making; performance management; and people and interactions.

The Simplified Four-Step Simplification Solution

The authors recommend “a four-step approach to implementing a lasting solution” for complicatedness-related problems:

#1. Smart Start. Identify the complicatedness dimensions which need to be remedied by, for example, conducting belief audits.

#2. Diagnosis. In-depth employee interviews should help you understand the root causes of unproductive behavior.

#3. Solution Design. Develop appropriate interventions which address the root causes. We’ve gone over some sample actions in the summary above to help you understand how this part works.

#4. Implementation. Now, apply the interventions.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“How Complicated Is Your Company? Quotes”

The underlying cause of the recent slowdown has been the ongoing, long-term rise of complicatedness. Click To Tweet

Complicatedness is… the increase in organizational structures, processes, procedures, decision rights, metrics, scorecards, and committees that companies impose to manage the escalating complexity of their external business environment. Click To Tweet

Companies that develop strategies and design processes to respond quickly and effectively to their complex business environments can gain a significant competitive advantage over their peers. Click To Tweet

Striving for simplicity involves more than addressing a single dimension of complicatedness. Click To Tweet

Rooting out complicatedness is possible but only with a structured and focused simplification effort. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Since it addresses a complex problem, “How Complicated Is Your Company?” is too simple for its own sake.

True, companies should streamline processes and structures, but this is not as innovative as the article makes it sound.

And, somehow, we are not convinced that complicatedness is “the underlying cause” for the economic decline.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF Summary

The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF‘I Made Steve Bannon’s Psychological Warfare Tool’: Meet the Data War Whistleblower

Since about two months ago, Cambridge Analytica Ltd. Is a “was.”

Specifically, on May 1, 2018, the now notorious consulting firm and its parent company (SCL Group) filed for insolvency and announced publicly that they are closing their operations.

We have no doubts that you know why!

But do you know the whole story?

In “The Cambridge Analytica Files” (aka “I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool”), Christopher Wylie, its main protagonist, reveals it all.

Who Should Read “The Cambridge Analytica Files”? And Why?

If you are feeling a bit left out of the story behind the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and you think that – for once – the relevant Wikipedia article is not structured well (or substantial) enough, then this article in “The Observer” is just for you.

As a bonus, here you’ll hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth – Christopher Wylie – framed beautifully by the investigative journalist who lift the lid on the matter first, Carole Cadwalladr.

Carole CadwalladrAbout Carole Cadwalladr

Carole Cadwalladr is a British investigative journalist and novelist.

Twice shortlisted for the British Press Awards, Cadwalladr is a former “Daily Telegraph” journalist who is currently a features writer for “The Observer,” most famous as the author of a series of articles on Brexit and the 2016 US Presidential elections, for which she recently (June 2018) won “The Orwell Award.”

She is also the author of one well-received novel, “The Family Tree,” which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize back in 2006.

“The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF Summary”

Christopher Wylie was born on June 19, 1989 – which means that about a month ago he celebrated his 29th birthday.

Even so, he’s already one of the most famous whistleblowers in history!

We wonder if he could have predicted that when he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a child or when he became a high school dropout a decade later.

Well, based on how he described his “probable destiny” in his school yearbook at 16, not really:

Politician. Well, that, or just another dissociative smear merchant peddling backroom hackery in its purest Machiavellian form.

One year later, Christopher was working for Michael Ignatieff, the former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. At 19, he taught himself to code, and the very next year he came to the United Kingdom to study law at the London School of Economics.

Soon after, he was recruited by the Liberal Democrats to help them with voter targeting.

He felt quite comfortable in this new-found career of his, and, by the age of 24, Wylie was already studying for a Ph.D. in fashion trend forecasting.

Unsurprisingly, it was at this time that he was offered a job as a research director by a company specializing in defense and elections operations.

The company’s name?

SCL Group, one of whose subsidiaries, SCL Elections, would go on to found the much more infamous Cambridge Analytica.

However, as Carole Cadwalladr says, “for all intents and purposes, SCL/Cambridge Analytica are one and the same.”

Wylie accepted the job.

How could he not?

SCL Election’s CEO Alexander Nix told him that he would have total freedom and be able to test out all of his crazy ideas!

Retrospectively scrutinizing the chronology, it’s easy to see how things went from bad to worse when Wylie was introduced to Steve Bannon, then editor-in-chief of the “alt-right” news network Breitbart, and it was through him that Wylie met one of Breitbart’s and Cambridge Analytica’s main donors, Robert Mercer.

Now, Wylie had already devised

a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

What the plan needed to function was money.

And Robert Mercer, a pioneer in AI and machine translation, had lots and lots of it!

Together with Nix, Wylie pitched Mercer his plan, and soon enough, the wheels were in motion.

The final piece of the puzzle?

Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born Cambridge-based research psychologist, whose company Global Science Research (GSR) had already used apps to obtain personal profile information of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users for academic purposes.

After reaching a deal with Cambridge Analytica, Kogan replicated the effort: he invited people to participate in a (supposedly) scientific personality survey, which resulted in GSR obtaining the information of 320,000 survey participants, in addition to all of the profiles of their Facebook friends.

This information was passed to Cambridge Analytica, which meant that now a political consulting firm had full access to the personal profiles of about 50 million Facebook users!

Facebook’s fault?

In the words of Swiss-based data expert Paul-Olivier Dehaye:

It has misled MPs and congressional investigators, and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law. It has a legal obligation to inform regulators and individuals about this data breach, and it hasn’t. It’s failed time and time again to be open and transparent.

The worst thing is that Cambridge Analytica – if we trust Wylie – are “mercenaries” and will “work for pretty much anyone who pays.”

And work they did: first for Senator Ted Cruz, then for Brexit, then indirectly for the Russian oil company Lukoil (i.e., Putin, it’s always Putin) and then for Donald Trump!

Now, to be fair, there’s no way to know how much microtargeting voters profits those who employ it.

However, it’s all but obvious that it is an unfair advantage.

And that, moreover, it should be unlawful – since it presupposes manipulating with the personal data of millions and millions of unsuspecting people.

Key Lessons from “The Cambridge Analytica Files”

1.      The Cambridge Analytica Files Scandal Was a Serious Breach of Privacy
2.      Facebook Is “Abusive by Design”
3.      Silicon Valley Has Turned on Itself

The Cambridge Analytica Files Scandal Was a Serious Breach of Privacy

Christopher Wylie was a 24-year-old research director at SCL/Cambridge Analytica when he pitched his idea of microtargeting voters through the use of their Facebook profiles to Steven Bannon and Robert Mercer.

Soon enough, Cambridge Analytica partnered with Aleksandr Kogan and through its company, Global Science Research (GSR), it was given access to the profiles of millions of Facebook users under the premise of using them for psychological research.

The data was instead used by Cambridge Analytica to target voters on behalf of its clients: Ted Cruz, the Russian oil company Lukoil, the Brexit campaigners, and Donald Trump.

Facebook Is “Abusive by Design”

None of this would have happened if Facebook cared for the privacy of its users.

However, time and time again, it has demonstrated that it doesn’t care one bit.

In fact, in the opinion of Christopher Wylie, the Facebook project has been allowed to exist and “become as vast and powerful as it has because of the US national security establishment.”

Because it’s obviously designed in a way which makes it, for lack of a better word, easily 2hackable.”

Silicon Valley Has Turned on Itself

Silicon Valley became what it is today due to substantial government investments during the Cold War. And it is only natural that the government will have an interest in its products, Facebook being one of the most powerful.

However, Christopher Wiley notes,

It’s a form of very deep but soft power that’s been seen as an asset for the US. Russia has been so explicit about this, paying for the ads in roubles and so on. It’s making this point, isn’t it? That Silicon Valley is a US national security asset that they’ve turned on itself.

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“The Cambridge Analytica Files Quotes”

Millions of people’s personal information was stolen and used to target them in ways they wouldn’t have seen, and couldn’t have known about, by a mercenary outfit, Cambridge Analytica, that, Wylie says, ‘would work for anyone.’ Click To Tweet

The Facebook data is out in the wild. And for all Wylie’s efforts, there’s no turning the clock back. Click To Tweet

It showed these odd patterns. People who liked 'I hate Israel' on Facebook also tended to like KitKats. Click To Tweet

If you do not respect the agency of people, anything you do after that point is not conducive to democracy. Click To Tweet

Facebook has denied and denied this. It has failed in its duties to respect the law. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Cambridge Analytica Files” – more properly titled “’I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower” – is an article which, we believe, everyone should read.

Also – one which will be quoted over and over again in the recent future.

Hopefully, we’ll also learn something from it while quoting it.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: