Month: March 2017

Book Notes – Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Book Notes – Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Seven Brief Lessons On Physics

Rating: 4/5

Book notes:

  • Science shows us how to better understand the world, but it also reveals to us just how vast is the extent of what is still not known.
  • Space is material. It bends where there is matter.
  • Black hole = where space plummets to form an actual hole.
  • Electrons only exist when observed.
  • Science is a journey between visions: seeing things differently continuously.
  • Space is not flat, but curved.
  • Everything around us is made of less than 10 different elementary particles.
  • Heat passes from hot to cold objects, but not the other way around.
  • The difference between past and future only exists when there is heat.
  • It is impossible to predict everything exactly, but it is possible to predict probability.
  • The present does not exist in an objective sense any more than ‘here’ exists objectively.
  • For a supersensible being there would not be a flowing of time, but the universe would be a block of past, present and future.
Book notes – I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Book notes – I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Rating: 5/5

Book notes:

  • “When it comes to weight loss, 99.99 percent of us need to know only two things: Eat less and exercise more.” This is the case with all things in life. People get stuck in the minutiae, while a lot can be solved by obvious solutions.
  • The reason for this is that “People love to argue minor points, partially because they feel it absolves them from actually having to do anything.”
  • The paradox of choice: “with too much information, we do nothing.”
  • “A lot of your [financial] problems are caused by one person: you”
  • “The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert.”
  • “Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.”
  • “I have met with thousands of millionaires in my years as a financial counselor[…]. They all lived on less than they made and spent only when they had cash.” Focus on the big wins if you want bigger results.
  • On rate chasing: “That’s a colossal waste of time for most of us, since a 0.5 percent difference equals just a few dollars per month more in interest. Plus, interest rates change over time, so rate chasing doesn’t even make sense. I plan on sticking with my bank for the next few decades, and I’m sure you have better things to do with your time. So focus on the big problems, not on rate jumping.”
  • “you need to optimize your checking and savings accounts. This means you shouldn’t be paying fees or minimums”, because “If your Big Bank charges you a $5 monthly fee, that basically wipes out any interest you earn.”
  • The way you phrase your questions matters: “As a customer, don’t make it easy for companies to say no.”
  • “If you’d invested ten years ago, wouldn’t it feel good to have a lot more money right now? Well, the next best time to invest is today.” This is generally applicable for everything you regret.
  • “more is lost from indecision than bad decisions.”
  • “Conscious Spending Plan. What if you could make sure you were saving and investing enough money each month, and then use the rest of your money guilt-free for whatever you want? Well, you can—with some work. The only catch is that you have to plan where you want your money to go ahead of time (even if it’s on the back of a napkin). Would it be worth taking a couple of hours to get set up so you can spend on the things you love? It will automate your savings and investing, and make your spending decisions crystal clear.”
  • Frugal is not the same as cheap: “Frugality, quite simply, is about choosing the things you love enough to spend extravagantly on—and then cutting costs mercilessly on the things you don’t love.”
  • “A Conscious Spending Plan involves four major buckets where your money will go: Fixed Costs, Investments, Savings, and Guilt-free Spending Money.”
  • “You save money so that you can spend it later on the things that make you happy. You don’t save money just to watch your account balance grow.”
  • “Habits don’t change overnight, and if they do, chances are it won’t be sustainable.” so: “try making the smallest change today.”
  • “the minute [a] system becomes too oppressive for you to use is the minute you stop using it.”
  • Building systems means you follow an effort curve: “The Curve of Doing More Before Doing Less”.
  • The myth of expertise: Experts weren’t able to distinguish two glasses of the same red wine, but even “more damning, the wines were actually both white wine—the “red wine” had been colored with food coloring”! “Expertise is about results”.
  • “But over the long term, the overall stock market has consistently returned about 8 percent.”
  • investors should “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffet
  • Investing guidelines: “more than 90 percent of your portfolio’s volatility is a result of your asset allocation” and “Your investment plan is more important than your actual investments.”
  • “if you’re twenty-five and just starting out, your biggest danger isn’t having a portfolio that’s too risky. It’s being lazy and overwhelmed and not doing any investing at all”
  • “Remember, if your goal is less than five years away, you should set up a savings goal in your savings account.”
  • An “emergency fund should contain six months of spending money.”
  • Being rich is about freedom.
  • When giving advice: “it’s not about criticizing or noting things that are being done wrong—it’s about figuring out ways to help each other so you can grow together.”
  • “Your starting salary is even more important than you think because it sets the bar for future raises and, in all likelihood, your starting salary at future jobs. “
  • Tips for asking for a raise:
    – Avoid a yes or no, avoid mentioning numbers: “Let’s find a way to arrive at a fair number that works for both of us.”
    – Have another job offer
    – Come prepared
    – Practice negotiating with multiple friends.
  • When buying a car:
    – Pick a reliable car, maintain it well, and drive it for as long as humanly possible
    – Buy a car at the end of the year (sales targets)
    – Maintain your car
  • When buying a house:
    – Think of it as a purchase, not an investment: since the return on residential real estate was just about zero after inflation.
Book notes – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Book notes – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Rating: 5/5

Book notes:

  • The word ‘corporation’ is derived from ‘corpus’ (Latin for body), though paradoxically, this is the one thing corporations lack.
  • Humans form bonds (of over 150 people) through fiction –> stories people actually believe in. There is immense power in making millions of people believe the same story (World War II).
  • Realize:
    Human Rights are fictive.
    Google is an imagined entity.
    These things do not physically exist!
  • Sapiens act according to fictional rules, only because we all agreed to believe the same fictions, for example: the concept of money.
  • On the quality of life of foragers:
    Foragers work 35 to 45 hours a week to gather food. They had no dishes to wash, no rugs to vacuum, no floors to polish etc. Compare this to people in modern society.
  • Before the arrival of humans, America hosted camels, horses, mastodons, mammoths, sabre tooth cats and 6 meter high sloths.
  • The third wave of extinction: we are still rapidly killing off animal species.
  • The agricultural revolution was history’s biggest fraud: it left farmers with generally more difficult and less satisfactory lives. “Hunter gatherers spent their time in more stimulating and varied ways, and were less in danger of starvation and disease.”
  • Wheat made humans their bitch. Humans did a lot to spread wheat around the globe: “Wheat didn’t like rocks and pebbles, so Sapiens broke their backs clearing fields. Wheat didn’t like sharing its space, water and nutrients with other plants, so men and women laboured long days weeding under the scorching sun. Wheat go sick, so Sapiens had to keep a watch out for worms and blight. Wheat was attacked by rabbits and locust swarms, so the farmers built fences and stood guard over the fields. Wheat was thirsty, so humans dug irrigation canals or lugged heavy buckets from the well to water it. Its hunger even impelled Sapiens to collect animal feces to nourish the ground in which wheat grew.
  • The luxury trap. Once people get used to a certain standard of luxury, it is almost impossible to go back.
  • The principles from Hammurabi’s code, or the Declaration of Independence only exist in the fertile immaginations of Sapiens. They have no objective validity.
  • People believe in imagined orders because:
    They never admit it was imagined
    They are thoroughly ‘educated’ from birth.
  • There exist innumerable invisible scripts in life. For example: most of peoples desires are programmed (marketed) by an imagined order (companies). People lavishly spend on holidays because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism.
  • The term ‘natural’ originates not from biology, but Christianity: ‘in accordance with the intentions of the God who created nature’.
  • Male and female are biological concepts, as they are dependent on biology. Man and woman are cultural concepts that differ between time and region. For example, being a woman means you are not allowed to vote in some places, but it is allowed in others.
  • The world is moving towards one unified order based on either money, religion or conquest (imperial factors).
  • Everyone wants money, because everybody else wants money.
  • Money is the only created trust system that can bridge culture and discrimination.
  • Contrary to religion: modern science is driven by the fact that we admit NOT to know everything.
  • The hindsight fallacy: the future is like a fog, but in hindsight the culmination of history seems obvious.
  • A type 2 chaotic system reacts to predictions made about it.
  • The truth is a poor test for knowledge. The real test is utility. A theory that allows us to do new things constitutes knowledge.
  • We are our own Messiah: end all wars, famine and death. Humankind could do so by discovering new knowledge and inventing new tools.
  • Science is an expensive affair, shaped by:
    Political (What is important?)
    and religious (What is good?) interests.
  • As with everything. there exists enough evidence to support both claims:
    European empires were evil monstrosities
    European empires improved conditions of their subjects
  • The economy of make-believe money is funded by technological improvement.
  • The industrial revolution turned the timetable into a template for almost all human activities.
  • The state is the mother and father of the ‘individual’.
  • Realize that even nations are imaginary.
  • Our times seem more dangerous than ever, but our time is peaceful. Wars are rare and therefore attract attention.
  • Real peace is not the absence of wars, but the implausibility of wars.
  • Happiness is determined by nothing but serotonin.
  • “If you have a ‘why’ to live, you can bear almost any ‘how'” – Nietzsche
A small tip to break bench press plateaus

A small tip to break bench press plateaus

Being stuck at 65kg for reps for over a year, I tried everything to break through my bench press plateaus: benching once a week, twice a week, three times a week. Doing al types of tricep work, such as dips, close grip bench press, skull crushers. All without results, even during periods of eating more.

Recently my bench press has been increasing consistently and I will attempt 75kg for reps next week. Until now there are no signs that I will not be able to continue this rising trend. So what did I change to make my bench press numbers start increasing again?

Simple: I started doing daily pushups and tracking my progress.

So the daily pushups are probably increasing strength but more importantly the mind-muscle connection of my pectoral and tricep muscles. The tracking part helps me to consistenly do these pushups. During the first three months of the year, I am doing 30 pushups daily. In April I will increase this number to 40, in July to 50 and to 60 in October. I am planning to do over 16.000 pushups this year. These numbers are high enough to help me increase mind-muscle connection and increase stability of the shoulders, scapula and back, but not too high so that it will not cause fatigue or negatively affect training.

I am guessing this strategy will be applicable to things like pull-ups as well, perhaps even squats. It was Pavel Tsatsouline who introduced me to a Russian saying: “To press a lot, you must press a lot”. This isn’t a novel idea, but it seems to be working magic on me.

On a bonus note: I have been struggling with tricep dips forever. Perhaps being able to do only 2 or 3 good reps before fatigueing. Yesterday I attempted dips for the first time in months, easily completing 4 sets of 8 reps.