Welcome, defenders of Atomic Habits.
Allow me to preface my title. James Clear has written a fantastic book. I have listened to it multiple times, and it’s a rare mix of informative, entertaining, and actionable advice. Where Charles Duhigg laid the groundwork of research in The Power of Habit, James Clear built an impressive monument on those foundations with Atomic Habits. It rightly sits on various bestseller lists with over 3 million copies sold worldwide.
But with all the hype around habits and how to build them, it’s easy to overlook their two major drawbacks. This is that they are…
The ‘Founder’ Ray Kroc’s Lessons For Aspiring Entrepreneurs
When Ray Kroc signed a deal in 1954 with the McDonald brothers, he was a 52 year old, milkshake multi-mixer salesman. The brothers had just 8 restaurants in operation.
When Ray Kroc died in 1984, McDonald’s had 7500 stores across the globe with a combined sales figure of over $8 billion. The brothers were out of the picture, and divested of their namesake company.
Yes, the story of McDonald’s is the microcosmic tale of American capitalism. It’s a story of blood, sweat, and tears; of lawyers, law-suits, and contracts; of finance, greed…
How do you win two Pulitzer prizes, two National Book awards, and a slew of other medals to your name? This is what Robert A. Caro has achieved in his life, and I believe he is the greatest biographer of his generation. Through the lives of his two subjects, Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Caro surveys the age of America that produced such characters, while explaining the intricacies and intrigues of the political power they harnessed.
I am a passionate fan of Robert Caro’s books, clearly. Yet my purpose here is not to expound the joys of his writing, but…
Steve Jobs’ approach to work that turned an annual loss of $1.03b into profit.
“We can only do three.”
It was 2001, and Steve Jobs had just slashed the seven other ideas from his whiteboard. The list was marked ‘ten things we should be doing next’ — a list his top employees had been deliberating over. Better to do three things perfectly, he believed, than ten things well enough.
This was nothing new to those who worked with him. Drastic simplifications on a whiteboard were just part of Job’s method; it focused the mind and prioritised what was important. Nor…
We have all seen the activities of Extinction Rebellion.
Shutting down train stations. Blocking main city centre roads. Mass ‘Die-ins’.
Their methods are provocative, yes. That’s the point. But it is for a worthy cause.
Yet I feel the movement has faced more hostility and negativity from their actions than is warranted. There is not as much widespread support for this movement as there should be, even when most people do believe that more needs doing to handle climate change.
Could the group have done better to elicit greater support, if not at least greater sympathy, for their cause?
The Government Tells Us We’re at ‘War’. Here’s Why I Believe That’s Wrong.
“Cry ‘Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war.”
Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
I often think of this immortal line when the topic of war is brought up. Spoken by Marc Anthony in Julius Caesar, from the mind of our finest English playwright, it is a glorious way of describing the onset of war as the unleashing of vicious hounds.
It is the untethering of our civil restraints that gird society in times of peace. …
Assessing the reasons why so many people fail to pick up the paper.
A heuristic worth living by: the greatest investment you can ever make is in yourself.
It stands today that the cheapest, most accessible, and least painful method for self-investing is through books. I invest in myself daily through reading, and I know I am primed to see sizeable returns on the time and money employed.
Yet many people do not read. They choose to deal in externalities and react to what life throws at them. To continue the investing parlance, these people lack the foresight to plan…
Why do we look for the summaries of books and articles online? Why do we search for the ‘key takeaways’ of things we feel we should have read, or the ‘key highlights’ of a Medium article?
We want to save time, right? We want the easy way out. We want the reward and not the effort. We feel we are being smart by distilling the key ideas from an unnecessarily bloated body of text. We’re skimming the cream from the milk, the wheat from the chaff, are we not?
For a long time I aligned with this way of thinking…
There are two quotes worth keeping in mind as you read this post:
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
Epictetus, The Enchiridion
“It is the duty of governments, and of individuals, to form the truest opinions they can; to form them carefully, and never impose them upon others unless they are quite sure of being right.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
2019 was the year I started writing this blog. 2019 was also the year I failed to keep up to it. Not a great start, I’ll admit. Yet first attempts rarely…
It seems old news to talk about the former Conservative MP Rory Stewart’s decision to step down from his decade-long representation of Penrith and The Border and run as an independent for the mayoralty of London. Old news indeed given our force-fed media diet of evermore breathless updates about Brexit from delighted political pundits being well compensated for their ‘insights’ day to day. For if they say that a week is a long time in politics, then a fortnight must be doubly so. …
“Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson