Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL Officer, I read this great book by him recently, and here are my notes on it. The lessons in it are mainly on leadership.

  • There are no bad teams only bad leaders.
  • Take full Ownership of your Life. You have to take full responsibility for everything you do, there is no one to blame but you.
  • The Leader has to believe in his vision. Without that believe he can’t inspire people, especially when the goal is something outside most people’s comfort zone.
  • People have to have a Why for doing anything. Dont just give orders but give them a meaningful answer to “Why?” doing X.
  • Keep the Ego in check, go forward with humility. keep your Ego in check.
  • prioritize and execute. When shit hits the fan prioritize the next best step and move on, don’t get paralyzed by chaos. Just take the first step.


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A Few Lessons from Sherlock Holmes, Peter Bevelin

A fantastic book I recently read, here are my notes on it:
What distinguishes Holmes from most mortals is that he knows where to look and what questions to ask.
Holmes first gathered all the evidence he could that was relevant to his problem. At times, he performed experiments to obtain fresh data. He then surveyed the total evidence in the light of his vast knowledge of crime, and/or sciences relevant to crime, to arrive at the most probable hypothesis. Deductions were made from the hypothesis; then the theory was further tested against new evidence, revised if need be, until finally the truth emerged with a probability close to certainty.
But only what is useful – it can be dangerous to know too much
All the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him.
With every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
It is useful to know something about human nature and what motivates people
Work is the best antidote to sorrow,
Sorrow is often wisdom’s companion but it is better to learn from others sorrow to prevent our own
Note: Learn from the mistakes of others
Never jump to conclusions and try to collect facts as open-minded as possible
Dont make hasty judgments.
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
The fatal mistake which the ordinary policeman make is this, that he gets his theory first, and then makes the facts fit it,
Observation – Start with collecting facts and follow them where they lead
More is missed by not looking than not knowing.
We can’t observe or collect facts without some kind of view – what to look for, how to look and how to interpret what we see
Make sure “facts” are facts – Is it really so? Is this really true? Are there exeptions?
Don’t miss the forest for the trees – It is not the amount of information that counts but the relevant one.
More information isn’t necessarily better information but it may falsely increase our confidence – What is not worth knowing is not worth knowing
“A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.”
– Montaigne
We need to both observe the big picture – forest – and the details – trees.
Reasoning backwards – working back from observations/effects to causes
Note: Reverese Engineering
Before you try a complicated hypothesis, you should make quite sure that no simplification of it will explain the facts equally well.
But don’t try to over-simplify complex matters – especially when we deal with systems with complicated interactions
History often repeats itself There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before. So look for lessons in history
But sometimes we learn more by looking for differences – not similarities – in situations
But remember that we see what we are looking for – if we look for similarities, this is what we see, if we look for the differences, that is what we find.
Eliminate possibilities – What can we exclude? – Assuming the true solution or explanation is among the considered possibilities old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
These deductions, gentlemen, must however be confirmed by absolute and concrete evidence…Never neglect to ratify your deductions.
Facts don’t lie but we may have interpreted or stated them wrong and therefore drawn the wrong conclusion
Distance gives perspective – Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the problem and get a fresh perspective
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
It we could see the world the way others see it, we easier understand why they do what they do
A rule is only a rule if it’s always true!
Watch out for overconfidence
Do we really have an important case? Deal with things that really matter and that we can do something about
Don’t think about how to get things done, instead ask whether they’re worth doing in the first place

Lessons from Elon Musk

  • The Things that will affect the future the most are Genetics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Have a sense of purpose in everything you do. Have a meaningful Worldview.
  • Our state of Innovation is very low because people work for the most part on the same problems in the same industries.
  • Elon is a software maker at heart, he applies that to machines, in effect he merges atoms and bits.
  • “He does what he wants, and is relentless about it”
  • Elon was not considered the brightest students, his classmate didn’t saw a future billionaire. That debunks the Genius by birth myth.
  • Make a list of interesting people you want to meet, then contact them (relentlessly in Musk´s case) until you get on their calendar.
  • “When Elon gets interested in something he develops a different level of interest in it that other people. That is what differentiates him”
  • Hard Work is required to make it big.
  • Musk reinvested almost all the money he made in pervious ventures into his next one
  • He never got bothered that he knew nothing about the industry he got in at first. His formula was reading books and talking to smart people.
  • His level of stamina and an ability to deal with levels of stress that would have broke most people, set him apart.
  • Startup Life according to Musk is like: ” eating glass and staring into the abyss”
  • An optimistic outlook is essential
  • His ability to stay focused and keep a cool head is what saved his companies multiple times. He was able to make clear long-term decisions even under the danger of losing his lives work (Tesla and SpaceX). Also his ability to endure pain and work through it.
  • Elon would quiz experts until he knew everything they knew. That is how he learned how to build rockets.
  • He has a sense of urgency about everything
  • All of Elon’s companies are interconnected in the short and long-term.
  • “He is not chasing momentary opportunities (Money) in business. He’s trying to solve big problems”
  • What makes him also special is that he combines engineering /physic with business thinking.
  • “Musk just seems to have a level of conviction that is so intense and exceptional as to be off-putting to some people.”
  • Dont be afraid to think Big even world changing
  • Output more valuable than Input equals Profit
  • Ask if there is a Law of Nature that stands in your way, if not it is possible.

Lying by Sam Harris

Lying by Sam Harris, Book Notes

Is lying ever justified? This book goes to solve that question. Here are some of the quotes/ notes I got out of it:

We often behave in ways that are guaranteed to make us unhappy. Many of us spend our lives marching with open eyes toward remorse, regret, guilt, and disappointment.And nowhere do our injuries seem more casually self-inflicted, or the suffering we create more disproportionate to the needs of the moment, than in the lies we tell to other human beings. Lying is the royal road to chaos.


Endless forms of suffering and embarrassment could be easily avoided by simply telling the truth


The Mirror of Honesty

Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity.

Avoiding a wide range of long-term problems, but at the cost of occasional, short-term discomfort.

Lying is the lifeblood of addiction.

Telling the truth can also reveal ways in which we want to grow, but haven’t jet.


Two Types of Lies

Two categories: the bad things we do (acts of commission) and the good things we fail to do (acts of omission)

We tend to judge the former far more harshly.

To lie about one’s age, marital status, career, etc. is one thing; to fail to correct false impressions whenever they arise is another.


White Lies

What could be wrong with truly “white” lies? First, they are still lies. And in telling them, we incur all the problems of being less than straightforward in our dealings with other people. Sincerity, authenticity, integrity, mutual understanding—these and other sources of moral wealth are destroyed the moment we deliberately misrepresent our beliefs

By lying, we deny our friends access to reality—and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate. A white lie is simply a denial of these realities.

False encouragement is a kind of theft: it steals time, energy, and motivation a person could put toward some other purpose.

When we presume to lie for the benefit of others, we have decided that we are the best judges of how much they should understand about their own lives

These silences are lacerating. Wisdom remains unshared, promises unmade, and apologies unoffered. The opportunity to say something useful to the people we love soon disappears, never to return



We have already seen that children can be dangerous to keep around if one wants to lie with impunity.


Faint Praise

“Honest feedback could have spared me an immense amount of wasted effort”


Lies beget other lies.

Lies must be continually protected from collisions with reality.

When you tell the truth, you have nothing to keep track of.

Lies require an extraordinary amount of work—all of which comes at the expense of authentic communication and free attention

The liar must weigh each new disclosure, whatever the source, to see whether it might damage the facade that he has built.


Research indicates that liars trust those they deceive less than they otherwise might—and the more damaging their lies, the less they trust, or even like, their victims



Vulnerability comes in pretending to be someone you are not.

Rumors, even if disproven, are always kept in our minds when we interact with that person. They sick essentially

“illusory truth effect.” Familiarity breeds credence



Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act.

It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. T

By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is.

We also force upon ourselves subsequent choices—to maintain the deception or not—that can complicate our lives. In this way, every lie haunts our future.

How would your relationships change if you resolved never to lie again? What truths might suddenly come into view in your life? What kind of person would you become? And how might you change the people around you?

Want to buy the Book?



Some great Videos on that topic:

Sam Harris Talk

Tai Lopez Book Review

What makes Ideas stick?

What makes ideas stick and what makes them worth sharing? How can we make our Message stick? In the great book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath we get an answer, they call it the stickiness Factor:

Ideas must be

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Tell a Story
  1. Simple: Strip the Idea to the core! What is the most important thing you want people to take away from it? What is the main problem your idea seeks to solve? Keep it Simple
  2. Unexpected: Things that are boring don’t get shared so we have to grab attention by suprising people! How to do that?
    • Break a pattern people are used to
    • Pose a Question or a puzzle
    • Use a mystery story
    • Open a knowledge Gap, people get curios when they feel that they don’t understand something
  3. Concrete: Your Idea should be grasped and remembered! Be clear in your message.
  4. Credible: Make sure that your idea is believable! Some ways to do that:
    • Borrow someones credibility
    • Create stories with real people
    • No lies
    • Details matter
    • Give them something they can test themselves
  5. Emotional: People love drama so provide them with it. What emotions do I want to invoke in people?
  6. Story: Empower people to use an idea through narratives! Tell a story, the more hocks it has the more it will stick. Make sure to tell a compelling story.

These are the six factors that give your idea the biggest chance to get shared by other people.

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Related Blog Posts:

How to Fascinate?

How to be Fascinating …

Fascinating things/ people do/ are :

  • Provoke strong Emotions
  • Create Advocates
  • Become a cultural shorthand for a set of actions or values
  • Incites Conversations
  • Force the competition to conform to them
  • Are not afraid to challenge status quo

Triggers of Fascination:

  1. Alarm: Provocing a alarming signal in people does
  2. Lust: Talking to the senses. Sex sells.
  3. Trust: The only strategy to build long term commitment to something/ to someone is by establishing trust.
  4. Power: The show of Authority
  5. Prestige: What makes to the product/ person stand above the rest?
  6. Mistique: Sending mixed signals
  7. Vice: We like things that are forbidden, play with that

These are the 7 triggers that acording to the author make us fascinated of something, he recommends to use them wisely and never all at once.

Book on the subject: Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

On Stoicism

Looking back at 2016 at what had the biggest impact on my thinking and behavior. It was without a doubt finding out about stoiscm. Tim Ferriss once called it his “operating system” and I couldnt agree more.

Some of the main “rules of life” stoicism can teach us:

  1. Negative Visualisation, thinking about our death can be extremly motivationg and it at the same time puts things into perspective. So the main idea here to visualize not only our death but the worst things that could happen to us to gain gratitude for the present.
  2. Distinguish between what you can and what you can`t effect. This might the most fundamental lessons I got out of it. Not everything is in our power so focus your energy only on the things you actually can change. Quote: “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Epictetus
  3. Always prepare, but accept whatever happens. Preperation is key but when things dont turn out as you wanted them to accept it.
  4. Live only in the NOW, learn from he past and plan for the future but focus on the present. (Good book on that: The Power of Now)
  5. Dont take insults personally, or better take nothing personally.
  6. Keep your emotions in check, try to keep them balanced never in extremes. Emotions cloud your vision.
  7. Voluntary Discomfort. Put yourself into uncomforable positions regulary to experience that special feeling. This could mean take cold shower or talk to strangers etc.
  8. Simplify your lifestyle. Most things we do are not nessesary or even bad for us, keep it simple.
  9. Gratitude for what you have. I personally write down three (different!!) things everyday that I am thankful for.
  10. There is nothing more valuable than time. (See The Shortness of Life)

These are only some of the lessons the can get out of stoic philosphy.

The best books I found on Stoism were: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Shortness of Life and Letters of a Stoic by Seneca and as a overview The Guide to the Good Life by William Irvin and lastly The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

The 50th Law by Robert Greene, Book Summary

I recentyl read the 50th Law by Robert Greene, here is my complete summary of the book
There are two ways of dealing with fear—one passive, the  other active. In the passive mode, we seek to avoid the  situation that causes us anxiety.
The 50th Law, however, states that there is one thing we can actually control—the mind-set with which we respond to these events around us.

CHAPTER 1 See Things for What They Are-Intense Realism
 ability to focus intensely on reality and see things for what they were. He was a living testament to the power of realism.
 Can stand as an individual bulwark to this trend and create power for yourself. You were born with the greatest weapon in all of nature—the rational, conscious mind. It has the power to expand your vision far and wide, giving you the unique capacity to distin guish patterns in events, learn from the past, glimpse into the future, see through appearances.
You must turn outward and become a keen observer of all that is around you. You are doing battle against all the fantasies that are thrown at you.
Experiment. Force yourself to hold the opposite opinion or see the world through your enemy’s eyes. Listen to the people around you with more attentiveness. See everything as a source for education—even the most banal encounters. Imagine that the world is still full of mystery.
Get a fingertip feel for everything going on in your environment—the complete. Get Ideas from everyone.
How could they have been foreseen? Generally there are signs that seem so obvious afterwards. Now imagine those very same signs that you are probably ignoring in the present.
In general, looking at people through the lens of your emotions will cloud what you see and make you misunderstand everything.
proper sense of detachment from yourself and from life. It is not that you want to feel this detachment at every moment. There are times that require you to act with heart and boldness, without doubts or self-distance. On many occasions, however, you need to be able to assess what is happening, without your ego or emotions coloring your perceptions. Moving to a calm, detached inner position to observe events will become a habit and something you can rely on amid any crisis.
Realism is in fact the ideal we must aspire to, the highest point of human rationality.

 CHAPTER 2 Make Everything Your Own—Self-Reliance
True ownership can come only from within. It comes from a disdain for anything or anybody that impinges upon your mobility, from a confidence in your own decisions, and from the use of your time in constant pursuit of education and improvement.
This should not be a source of fear but of freedom. When you prove to yourself that you can get things on your own, then you experience a sense of liberation.
Think of it this way: dependency is a habit that is so easy to acquire just above water. It is hard to resist. But once you give in, it is like a prison you enter that you cannot ever leave. You continually look outward for help and this severely limits your options and maneuverability. When the time comes, as it inevitably does, when you must make an important decision, you have nothing inside of yourself to depend on.
It is a kind of exercise you must practice on a daily basis—weaning yourself from dependencies, listening less to others’ voices and more to your own, cultivating new skills.
 Your life must be a progression towards ownership—first mentally of your independence, and then physically of your work, owning what you produce.
  2. STEP TWO: CREATE LITTLE EMPIRES:  While still working for others, your goal at some point must be to carve out little areas that you can operate on your own, cultivating entrepreneurial skills.
  4.  STEP FOUR: MAKE YOUR ENTERPRISE A REFLECTION OF YOUR INDIVIDUALITY; Understand: you are one of a kind. Your character traits are a kind of chemical mix that will never be repeated in history. You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.
 People who are self-sufficient are generally types who are more comfortable with themselves. They do not look for things that they need from other people. Paradoxically this makes them more attractive and seductive.

CHAPTER 3 Turn Shit into Sugar—Opportunism
 This is a common occurrence in history: almost all great military and political triumphs are preceded by some kind of crisis. That is because a substantial victory can only come out of a moment of danger and attack. Without these moments, leaders are never challenged, never get to prove themselves. If the path is too smooth, they grow arrogant and make a fatal mistake. The fearless types require some kind of adversity against which they can measure themselves.
  When things are going well, that is precisely when you must be concerned and vigilant. You know it will not last and you will not be caught unprepared. When things are going badly, that is when you are most encouraged and fearless. Finally you have material for a powerful reversal, a chance to prove yourself. It is only out of danger and difficulty that you can rise at all. By simply embracing the moment as something positive and necessary you have already converted it into gold.
The truth is that for the human mind, everything that crosses its path can be a potential tool for power and expansion.
This attitude is what we shall call “opportunism.” True opportunists do not require urgent, stressful circumstances to become alert and inventive. They operate this way on a daily basis. They channel their aggressive energy into hunting down possibilities for expansion in the most banal and insignificant events. Everything is an instrument in their hands, and with this enlarged notion of opportunity, they create more of it in their lives and gain great power.
One opportunity you can always bank on is that a younger generation will react against the sacred cows of the older generation. I move before you think you are ready. It is as if you are making it a little more difficult for yourself, deliberately creating obstacles in your path. But it is a law of power that your energy will always rise to the appropriate level. When you feel that you must work harder to get to your goal because you are not quite prepared, you are more alert and inventive.

CHAPTER 4 Keep Moving—Calculated Momentum
The fearless types in history all reveal a greater capacity to handle chaos and to use it for their purposes
Understand: it is not only what you do that must have flow, but also how you do things. It is your strategies, your methods of attacking problems, that must constantly be adapted to
circumstances. Strategy is the essence of human action—the bridge between an idea and its realization in the world. Too often these strategies become frozen into conventions, as people mindlessly imitate what worked before. By keeping your strategies attuned to the moment, you can be an agent of change.
  • MENTAL FLOW, This comes from widening your fields of study and observation, letting yourself be carried along by what you discover.
  • EMOTIONAL FLOW: Day to wash over you, to never hold on to one single emotion for very long. You are able to let go of any kind of obsessive feelin
You come to view periods of stability and order with mistrust. Something isn’t moving in your life and in your mind. On the other hand,
Moments of change and apparent chaos are what you thrive on—they make your mind and spirit jump to life.
Whenever you feel rooted and established in place, that is when you should be truly afraid.

CHAPTER 5: Be Bad at the right times
The first step in overcoming this is to realize that the ability to deal with conflict is a function of inner strength versus fear, and that it has nothing to do with goodness or badness
You are willing to occasionally displease people and you are comfortable in taking on those who stand against your interests. From such a position of strength, you are able to handle friction in an effective manner, being bad when it is appropriate.
This means that in your daily life you must assert yourself more than usual—you take on an aggressor instead of avoiding him; you strategize and push for something you want instead of waiting for someone to give it to you.
You are sending signals to others that you have limits they cannot cross, that you have interests you are willing to defend or advance.
When you submit in spirit to aggressors or to an unjust and impossible situation, you do not buy yourself any real peace. You encourage people to go further, to take more from you, to use you for their own purposes.
Develop the opposite—a fighting stance that comes from deep within and cannot be shaken. You force some respect. The paradoxical law of human nature, trying to please people less will make them more likely in the long run to respect and treat you better.
 When the situation calls for it, he must be the lion—aggressive and direct in protecting his state, or grabbing something to secure its interests. At other times, he has to be the fox—getting his way through crafty maneuvers that disguise his aggression. And often he must play the lamb—the meek, deferential, and good creature exalted in culture. He is bad in the right way, calibrated to the situation, and careful to make his actions look justified to the public, reserving his nastier tactics for behind the scenes
Instead of taking this personally or concerning yourself with people’s intentions, you must simply work to protect and advance yourself in this competitive game, this bloody arena. Focus your attention on their maneuvers and how to deflect them.

CHAPTER 6: Lead from the front
The greatest generals in history, however, are invariably those who lead from the front and by themselves. They can be seen by the troops at the head of the army, exposing themselves to the same fate as any foot soldier.
it is much better to be feared and respected than to be loved
Roles I have to fill:
  1. THE VISIONARY It means seeing something practical and achievable several years down the road, and mapping out how this goal can be achieved. It means thinking in branches, coming up with several paths to get there, depending on circumstances. It means being emotionally attached to this idea, so that when a thousand distractions

CHAPTER 7: Connections the Environment
Understand: the opposite approach is the way to power in this world. It begins with a fundamental fearlessness—you do not feel afraid or affronted by people who have different ways of thinking or acting. You do not feel superior to those on the out side.
Your first move is to open up your spirit to these differences, to understand what makes the Other tick, to gain a feel for people’s inner lives, how they see the world. In this way, you continually expose yourself to wider and wider circles of people, building connections your ability to know everything that is going on around you, to be sensitive to changes, aware of the power structures that are imposed from without and within. There is no time or room to escape to some inner dreamland. You have a sense of urgency to stay connected to the environment and the people around you—your life depends on it.
 In any event, what you are seeking is maximum interaction, allowing you to get a feel for people from the inside
  •   RECONNECT WITH YOUR BASE: Keep your associations with it alive, intense, and present. Return to your origins—the source of all inspiration and power.
  •   CREATE THE SOCIAL MIRROR: A physical mirror turns you into an object; you can see yourself as others see you
  Your ego cannot protect you—the mirror does not lie. You use it to correct your appearance and avoid ridicule.

CHAPTER 8: Self-Mastery
The effort to be a master at what you are doing.

CHAPTER 9: Beliefe in Oneself
Who you are is much more chaotic and fluid than this surface character; you are full of untapped potential and possibility.
You must experiment and feel the sensation of not concerning yourself with what others think or expect of you. You do not advance or retreat with their opinions in mind.
Understand: people will constantly attack you in life. One of their main weapons will be to instill in you doubts about yourself—your worth, your abilities, your potential. They will often disguise this as their objective opinion, but invariably it has a political purpose—they want to keep you down. You are continually prone to believe these opinions, particularly if your self-image is fragile. In every moment of life you can defy and deny people this power. You do so by maintain ing a sense of purpose, a high destiny you are fulfilling.
Understand: people judge you by appearances, the image you project through your actions, words, and style. If you do not take control of this process, then people will see and define you the way they want to, often to your detriment.

CHAPTER 10: Confront Your Mortality—the Sublime
The fearless approach requires that you accept the fact that you have only so much time to live, and that life itself inevitably involves levels of pain and separation seeing death as something that you carry within. It is a part of you that cannot be repressed.

Continue reading “The 50th Law by Robert Greene, Book Summary”

Regret Minimization

Regret especially when we can’t do anything about it is the worst that can happen. What is worse than being 80 and full of regrets. Because we all should strive to avoid that at any cost, there is a certain strategy we can take to make better life decisions.

I call it the Regret Minimization strategy which simply means doing the thing you will regret the least when you are 80. Now obviously we don’t know that in advance but we often can make a pretty good guess.

For the most part that means doing instead of not doing. We regret the things we never did much more than the things that we did and a failed at. Passivity is much more painful. Therefor once you identified something worth doing just do it. Rather fail than to live with the feeling it might have worked.