I first heard about Jocko from Tim Ferriss's podcast episode with him. I just finished reading his first book and really liked it: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink.
In some ways it reminded me of No Easy Day by Mark Owen, which I had read a while ago, also about lessons learned by a Navy SEAL, though Jocko's is much more about the application of the lessons to leadership in general and business.
The book was well written and had lots of great examples of its ideas, both on the combat side and the business side. Many of his ideas resonated a lot with me: extreme ownership, admitting blame, and taking responsibility for everything that happens in your world/department/group, and how that attitude trickles down and up around you to affect everyone. I see counterexamples of this all the time, and I like Jocko's no-excuses approach to this.
The example from the intro really hit home with me: swapping the leaders of the best and worst performing teams in a competition completely reversed their performance. Leadership matters.
I also never knew there was so much process, paperwork, and PowerPoint in the military. And I see how that illustrates his idea of "leading up" the chain of command and how discipline around process creates freedom.
This was a really great book and very inspiring. I definitely look forward to checking out his other books.
My main notes and takeaways are below.
As we were touring way too many preschools, I got to take a peek into many of their teacher and parent libraries (or their directors' offices), and one book I kept seeing was Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. I got a chance to read it recently, and I found it has a good concise summary of much of the research on childhood learning to date and many of the lessons I had read in other books. I personally learned more from Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (whom Ellen cites many times in her book), but Ellen's book was still informative and interesting.
The parts that I found most useful were the concrete examples of games and activities that can help develop some of the "essential life skills" she mentions. It's always a balancing act between letting kids just follow their own self-directed learning adventures and coming up with suggestions of activities or games as the parent. This book provides lots of ideas to consider when needing to be more of a guide or when helping to foster a child's personal interest, which Galinsky calls the child's personal "lemonade stand."
My full notes on the book are below.
I'm a huge fan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's work and thinking.
My favorite (most mind-altering) book from a few years ago was Antifragile. I also enjoyed his book of aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes.
Where Antifragile leaves off, there begins Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I found that this last book builds on and combines a lot of the lessons in Fooled by Randomness, Black Swan, and Antifragile. It was really good.
I also felt in many ways personally humbled and called out because I have, in the past and certainly in some ways in the present, fallen into the traps of scientism, IYI-ness, brain porn, etc. -- all the ways that our thinking can go wrong when not driven by skin in the game and survival-focused rationality.
The concept of ergodicity was the toughest to grasp, and I felt like it could have been explained more clearly and in more depth with more examples, but after doing some careful re-reading, I think I got the essence of it. It presents a very useful lesson for thinking about real-world decisions and which class of probabilities the risks fall in: ergodic (not subject to absorbing barriers of ruin) or non-ergodic (subject to scenarios of total ruin, where traditional cost-benefit analysis and simple [academic] "probabilistic reasoning" doesn't make sense). It's so easy to forget this and keep going along doing the same type of pseudo-rational thinking that was drilled in us in college in "decision theory" classes.
I like the counterbalance in his writing between intense technical rigor (see the technical appendix filled with formulas and proofs) and street smart "tawk" (calling on the wisdom of grandmothers and the ancients to point out what obviously makes sense in some situations rather than what "scientism" can delude us into believing [GMOs, etc.]).
I wasn't a big fan of all the political name bashing and calling out of Monsanto shills, Hillary Monsanto Malmaison, and other such things, but I do get that this is part of the system of virtue where he cares a lot about calling out frauds by their true name and not caring what others think.
There were a lot of valuable and practical lessons in the book, and some of my main takeaways are here:
I keep wondering how I can keep these fresh in my mind going forward and keep applying these to make tangible changes in my life (especially via negativa-wise) and become less of an IYI over time.
Other (somewhat unresolved) questions this book has prompted me to think about:
My full notes on the book span 35 pages, but a collection of the points that were most relevant for me is below.