I'm a fan of Michael Lewis's books, and I just finished reading The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis. I had enjoyed his book The Big Short before as well as some of his later ones.
This one focused on the unique relationship between Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who conducted some of the most impactful psychological research over the past 50 years, coining now-famous effects like framing, endowment, and others. Daniel's book Thinking, Fast and Slow was an amazing treatise in psychological research and cognitive biases and errors.
This book by Lewis had its focus less on the research and more on the backgrounds of the two protagonists and their intensely creative and productive relationship, as well as the problems it eventually ran into. The title refers to how our minds often use fantasy to try to "undo" parts of reality, and that creates various feelings like frustration, regret, and envy (and how a lot of this wishful thinking is very human but not very rational).
I enjoyed the book and reading the stories about how these guys got started, met, and worked together. My full notes are below.
My friend, fellow entrepreneur, and software engineer Jimi Smoot interviewed me on his Prior Transformation Podcast about "How Investors Think about Risk." I love podcasts in general, and it was the first time someone asked to interview me. It was fun having a casual conversation with my friend, and maybe some tidbits came out of it that could be useful for others.
Check out Jimi's post about the episode or listen to it below.
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.