Showing posts with the label Psychology

Book Review: Atomic Habits

I recently finished a good book,  Atomic Habits , by James Clear.  It is clear by now that my book reviews have also been doubling as book summaries for future reference.  This is a delightful read as the author uses his personal experience to illustrate his theories.  The arguments are logical and generally well explained.  Here are some key points to note:   What is a habit? It is a solution to a recurring problem in life. A habit helps us solve problems with as little energy as possible.  Habits consist of four parts: cue, craving, response and rewards.  To create a good habit, make the cue obvious, the craving attractive, the response easy and the reward satisfying.  To lose a bad habit, simply do the reverse Never underestimate the compounding effects of habit : Habits are usually small changes in our behavior that may not bring immediate benefits when deployed.  However, just like compound interest for your money, when applied over time, good habits will yield wonders for your li

Book Review: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

I have always prided myself on leading a meaningful life.  Neither a Nobel laureate nor celebrity, but there is a sense of "balance" that makes my days mostly enjoyable.  A strong career, adequate finances, a loving family and fun hobbies all contribute to the experience.  Though not by design, I have perhaps a become a "generalist" in life.  I finished the book,  Range , a couple months ago and enjoyed it immensely.  David Epstein did a superb job highlighting the importance of generalists in today's world. Here are my key takeaways:  The book started by comparing two schools of thoughts on raising successful athletes.  Tiger Woods vs Roger Federer , two undisputed all-time greats in their respective genres. What is more, Woods represented the deliberate training camp while Federer was exposed to a range of sports both from a young age.  This clever comparison intrigued me to find out whether range can prevail over focused deliberate training. Epstein believes

Book Review: Out of the Maze

It has been five years since my last post.  The 9 to 5 and life in generally have taken my attention elsewhere.  However, I still do my best to pick up the pen from time to time.  Although time is a luxury, I recently managed to squeeze in a quick read called Out of the Maze , by the famous author Spencer Johnson, who co-penned the bestseller  Who Moved My Cheese  some years ago. If Who Moved My Cheese challenges us to embrace change, then Out of the Maze tells us just how to do it.  While it is easier said than done for most people, the ideas preached are surprisingly easy to grasp. Some points may seem overly obvious but perhaps this is why so many overlook them.  The story of the mice, Hem and Haw, continue to take center stage in this sequel. A new star, Hope, joins the mix and becomes Hem's new companion in their quest to finding a new food supply.  The underlying message is to challenge our beliefs, especially those that are so deeply entrenched as facts in our mind.  We

Money and Happiness

This article  attempts to portray the general belief that money cannot buy happiness.  I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion of the experiment and its validity has since been questioned.  Here is a more comprehensive article  explaining how you can still enjoy the various luxuries in life that have become routines because of money. They key lies in your attitude. I agree with most of the arguments here, but we can go one step further. I believe if you look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, once materialistic desires are met in life, there are other needs you can satisfy.  For instance, sitting atop the hierarchy are self-actualization needs.  Questions like Why was I put on this Earth? How can I live to the fullest? have been begging for answers since the beginning of humanity. These are also the precise reasons that this blog was created in the first place! My message to the rich: Direct your energy to making yourselves better, and more importantly, making this world a

Profanity for Pain Relief?

Thanks to this recent study , now we all have an excuse to swear! According to the findings, cursing not only is an expression of agony, but also a means to pain relief. I must admit my reservations about the experimental results. In a race to see who could keep their hands in uncomfortably cold water, subjects were allowed to mutter an expletive of their choice or use a neutral word. IMHO, the free use of profanity in the experiment -- as opposed to any social situation -- could have created intrigue or amusement in the swearing subjects, which in turn swayed the results in thier favour. However, I did like Steven Pinker's theory that "swearing taps into the defensive reflex in which an animal that is suddenly injured or confined erupts in a furious struggle, accompanied by an angry vocalization, to startle or intimidate an attacker." What's the verdict? Cursing is good for you if you mean it with vengeance. Don't over do it though, as the soothing effec