To experience life in kairos, not just chronos

Nonessentialists tend to be so preoccupied with past successes and failures, as well as future challenges and opportunities, that they miss the present moment. They become distracted. Unfocused. They aren’t really there. The way of the Essentialist is to tune into the present. To experience life in kairos, not just chronos. To focus on the things that are truly important—not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now.

Very good book.

Greg Mckeown – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

In a fraction of a second

We assess race, gender, and age in a fraction of a second. We aren’t as good at guessing sexual orientation, but, to the extent we see it, we see it right away: when students are shown a photo of a man and asked if he is gay, they are about as accurate within one hundred milliseconds as they are after longer periods.16 For these reactions, we don’t need anything close to two seconds. But for other questions, two seconds isn’t nearly long enough. If we are asked to tell whether someone is friendly or dangerous, we do better with more time. To accurately assess whether someone is sociable, we need at least a minute, preferably five.17 The same is true if we are judging complex aspects of personality, such as neuroticism or open-mindedness.18 For these decisions, our impressions during the first two seconds fail us. We need more time.

Frank Partnoy – Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

Your memory is wrong

Cognitive psychologists have provided mountains of evidence over the last twenty years that memory is unreliable. And to make matters worse, we show staggering overconfidence in many recollections that are false. It’s not just that we remember things wrongly (which would be bad enough), but we don’t even know we’re remembering them wrongly, doggedly insisting that the inaccuracies are in fact true.

Daniel J. Levitin – The Organized mind

If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save

Her grandma tells him a very deep anecdote from the end of World War II, trying to escape a nazi camp:

A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me.” “He saved your life.” “I didn’t eat it.” “You didn’t eat it?” “It was pork. I wouldn’t eat pork.” “Why?” “What do you mean why?” “What, because it wasn’t kosher?” “Of course.” “But not even to save your life?” “If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save.”

Jonathan Safran Foer – Eating animals

Few of us are remotely normal sexually

In truth, however, few of us are remotely normal sexually. We are almost all haunted by guilt and neuroses, by phobias and disruptive desires, by indifference and disgust. None of us approaches sex as we are meant to, with the cheerful, sporting, non-obsessive, constant, well-adjusted outlook that we torture ourselves by believing that other people are endowed with. We are universally deviant – but only in relation to some highly distorted ideals of normality.

This book puts sex in the right perspective. Recommended reading.

Alain de Botton – How to think more about sex

Planning fallacy

One of the best book I read during 2014:

Have you ever underestimated how long a task will take? If you have, you are far from alone. The term for this very common phenomenon is the “planning fallacy.”6 This term, coined by Daniel Kahneman in 1979, refers to people’s tendency to underestimate how long a task will take, even when they have actually done the task before. Whatever the reasons, the result is that we tend to be later than we say we will be: later to meetings, later to deliver things at work, later in paying our bills, and so on. Thus execution becomes frustrating when it could have been frictionless. One way to protect against this is simply to add a 50 percent buffer to the amount of time we estimate it will take to complete a task or project (if 50 percent seems overly generous, consider how frequently things actually do take us 50 percent longer than expected). So if you have an hour set aside for a conference call, block off an additional thirty minutes.

Greg McKeown – Essentialism