Random Notes!

From quotes from books I’ve read, to random musings that I didn’t put in a blog post from some reason. I dated the entries so you don’t have to dig through git history to figure out what was written when. In all likelihood, I’ll keep the entries in reverse-chronological order.

For your reading pleasure:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Robert M. Pirsig

2017 June 10

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 6

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 17

Chapter 22

Chapter 24

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Payoff Podcast

2017 June 3

The Birthday Rule

For asset allocation in your retirement and investment funds.

  1. Start with your age.
  2. Subtract from 100.
  3. That number is the percentage of your portfolio that should be in stocks.
  4. The rest should be in bonds.

The idea here is that you can generally handle more risk in your investments when you are younger. Since stocks are inherently riskier than bonds, you want more stocks (and more risk) when you’re younger. You then want to decrease the risk of your investments (by taking on more bonds) as you age, since you have less time to recover from a bad investment or market downturn.

I have not verified this, but apparently the formulation of this rule is credited to the founder of Vanguard, an extremely popular index fund.


Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt

2017 April 15

Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life.

The conventional wisdom is often wrong.

Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes.

“Experts” … use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda.

But, fret not! The Internet causes this information gap to shrink daily.

Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Meik Wiking

2017 April 8

White Rage

Carol Anderson, PhD

2017 April 2

Think Like a Freak

Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt

2017 March 26

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister

2017 March 19

The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.

The “make a cheeseburger, sell a cheeseburger” mentality can be fatal in your development area.

[Y]ou need to take turnover into account whenever you set out to attain higher productivity.

People under time pressure don’t work better; they just work faster.

Whenever strong emotions are aroused, it’s an indication that one of the brain’s instinctive values has been threatened.

[T]he client’s perceived needs for quality in the product are often not as great as those of the builder.

Quality, far beyond that required by the end user, is means to higher productivity.

Parkinson’s Law is a long way from being axiomatic.

There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back.

The only method we have ever seen used to confirm claims that the open [floor] plan improves productivity is proof by repeated assertion.

When the office environment is frustrating enough, people look for a place to hide out. They book the conference rooms or head for the library or wander off for coffee and just don’t come back. No, they are not meeting for secret romance or plotting political coups; they are hiding out to work.

Frequent interesting opportunities for private self-assessment are a must for workers in a healthy organization.

The purpose of a team is not goal attainment, but goal alignment.

[B]ureaucracy hurts team formation.

[W]e don’t work overtime so much to get the work done on time as to shield ourselves from blame when the work inevitably doesn’t get done on time.

The fundamental response to change is not logical, but emotional…. [W]e need to celebrate the old as a way to help change happen.

Companies that downsize are frankly admitting that their upper management has blown it.

Learning is limited to the ability of an organization to keep its people.

The ultimate management sin is wasting people’s time.

Fragmented time is guaranteed to waste the individual’s time.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie Kondo

2017 February 25

People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.

Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.

Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.

To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is … the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy.

The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is … a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.

What things will bring you joy if you keep them [in your life]?

In the end, you are going to read … few of your books again.

The moment you first encounter a … book is the right time to read it.

No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.

By handling each sentimental item …, you are processing your past.

[P]ursue ultimate simplicity in storage.

Everyone needs a sanctuary.

[E]liminating … visual information that doesn’t inspire joy … can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.

Putting your house in order is a great way to discover [the things you really love].

[O]ne of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity.

The question of what you want to own is actually a question of how you want to live your life.

[I]f you like yourself for having [something], then ignore what other people think.

[P]our your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.