(Book) The Courage Solution

Some of major points in the book.

True To Yourself – Everybody Lies Especially to Ourselves

“Telling the truth” gets short shrift in corporations. Being honest requires courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to others, but it confers many surprising benefits.

First, your career success depends on your relationships: “with yourself, your boss, your peers and those you lead.” To move ahead, work to improve these relationships, especially your relationship with yourself.

Own It

Hold yourself accountable and take ownership of everything you do, say and accomplish – or don’t accomplish, as the case may be. Your relationship with yourself demands courage and “truth telling.” Accept the fact that you create your own reality.

Successful leadership depends on authenticity, which demands being honest with yourself. You will never be truthful with others if you can’t be truthful with the person in the mirror.

Face up to who you are and what you can become. See yourself as a work in progress. Everything comes down to the choices you make – today, tomorrow and in the days ahead. To see more on the choices I made, take a look at my #365 challenge. I am a work in progress.

Positive change starts with being willing to transform yourself.

Men have a tendency to avoid critical self-analysis. Many men are more comfortable with self-satisfaction than any kind of self-discovery. Women can be immensely self-critical.

For men generally, the most effective self-improvement tactic is to exhibit the humility typical of many women; the best plan for women generally is to adopt the bravado typical of many men.

Create Personal Declaration

Create a Personal Declaration, a written statement that distills important information about yourself and your priorities. This working document enables you to define yourself and develop natural, conversational talking points. You want to capture “what makes you tick.” Write down details about your parents and siblings, your spouse or partner and any children, your philosophy of life (in a sentence), your guiding principles and values, your strengths and weaknesses, what you would do if you had all the money you need, and your personal and professional goals.

I record it on my blog, although it is password protected.

Define in writing exactly what you want to accomplish, for instance, where you’d like to be in your family life and career in five or ten years. Revisit your personal declaration as you refine your self-awareness and goals.

As you build your self-portrait, consider these tips:

  • Mentors can be invaluable. Explain to your mentor the assistance you need.
  • Be conscious of the impression you make. Invest in quality clothing and personal tailoring to always look your best.
  • To operate at peak effectiveness, use the “Pomodoro Technique.” Your brain can maintain focus for only 25 minutes. Pomodoro calls for taking 5- to 15-minute breaks after 25 minutes of concentrated work. Try working on this schedule: “25-5-25-5-25-15.”
  • Also take time away from work to enjoy a “worry-free, unplugged vacation.”

Your Very Own Mastermind Group

Organize a mastermind group to assist you in life and work. A smaller group is best; limit your group to six people. Select people you trust, and spend time cultivating them. Help the members of your personal crew as you’d like them to help you.

Boss Management

I a bit worry that my boss might be reading this though. Nonetheless, the notes are quite great guide for everyone.

If your relationship with your boss is rocky, adjust the way you act to try to create a more positive, rewarding interaction. Understand that changing things for the better is your job. To transform this relationship, lead your boss. Share your information from your Personal Declaration during a scheduled one-on-one meeting, the earlier in your relationship the better.

Divulging personal details about your life requires courage, but courage often brings success.

“As long as you choose to work for your boss, your job is to get in sync with that person – not the other way around.”

Find out about your boss.

Consider his or her “greatest strengths, greatest weaknesses, pet peeves or hot buttons,” as well as how decision making processes and tactics for coping with conflict.

Examine the real person behind the facade. Learn what energizes him or her.

To get your boss on your side, think and act like a business owner. That means rigorously investigating your firm. “Why does your company exist?” How does it make money?

Learn about its customers; profit margins; and production, marketing and overhead costs. Learn how your department contributes to your company’s goals.

Study and embrace your firm’s culture.

Such investigative work helps you develop an “enterprise-wide mind-set” that will impress your boss. Treat your supervisor the way you want people on your team to treat you. Go out of your way to anticipate issues before they become problems. Deliver your work on time and according to specifications. Always give your boss the benefit of the doubt.

“No matter how direct your leader’s communication style, remember that just because they can dish it doesn’t mean they can take it.”

Note – I learnt this the hard way. I suggest none of you to try to do the same. I was simply, naive and dumb.

If you aren’t on your supervisor’s wavelength, get on it – quick. You may think your manager is a “jerk” and you might blame personality issues as the reason you don’t get along. Whether he or she is a jerk makes no difference.

Your boss isn’t going to be the one who changes; you will. It’s either that or try to move along to a new boss. Don’t bother your boss with what’s on your mind. Learn what’s on his or her mind instead.

You and your boss will disagree. Don’t post a challenge, at least not initially. First develop a positive working relationship. Once you establish goodwill, then you can disagree. Your boss won’t hear you if you haven’t first created a reservoir of amicable dealings.

Use these techniques to provide “genuine affirmation” of your boss’s daily actions:

  1. “Compliment in private” – For example, you might say, “It really inspired me when you stood up in front of the organization and delivered that tough message with such compassion and balance. Great job!”
  2. “Praise in public” – Compliment your boss to the next person up the ladder.
  3. “Say thank-you” – Whenever your manager does something nice on your behalf, show your appreciation with a hearty thank-you. Deliver this message in person if you can; if not, a “quick text message, email or phone call will work.

Lead Your Peers

“Leading your peers requires you to lead by example. One incredibly important way to do that is to ’fess up when you mess up.”

People who must work or live closely together develop tensions. Don’t let tensions build. Be forthright and deal honestly with whatever is happening. Speak up for yourself if a co-worker treats you poorly.

“Building a great team, just like cooking a great meal, takes planning, time and effort. When well done, the result is delicious.”

When you plan how to handle things this way, think carefully before you speak. Make sure you feel rested and psychologically prepared for your encounter. Dealing with the incident and your colleague in a straightforward and truthful manner usually forestalls future ill treatment.

Sometimes, the problem doesn’t spring from someone else’s actions, but from your own. When you’re at fault, don’t feel bad. Everyone makes mistakes. When you are at fault, recognize your mistake and apologize quickly. To make an effective apology, establish eye contact, include this phrasing: “I was wrong…but more importantly you were right,” and finish by asking, “How can I fix this?” The last question is essential. For an apology to be authentic, you must make an effort to fix the situation.

“There is nothing better than a well-timed, honest, positive statement of appreciation from another human being.”

Build lasting relationships with your peers by:

  1. Asking for their assistance – Demonstrate your vulnerability in areas where they have skills and abilities that you lack. Let your colleagues know you recognize their expertise.
  2. Giving them a platform – For instance, ask them to address a session you’re leading.
  3. Offering assistance – Ask if you can do anything to provide support.
  4. Endorsing and encouraging them – Assure your colleagues that they’d done a good job or suggest ideas that support their projects. This is a deposit in “your mutual relationship’s bank account.”

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(Book Review) Ask More

Buy the Book : Amazon ($5.99) | Kinokuniya Malaysia (RM 110.25)

The ability to know what to ask and how to ask is a crucial life skills and this book is a great help on that. Former CNN anchor and White House correspondent Frank Sesno spent his career asking questions.

Based on his “taxonomy of questions,” he explores the value of inquiry and its power when properly put to use. Each chapter covers a different type of question, including “diagnostic, bridging, confrontational, mission, interview, legacy,” and more.

I would rate the book at 8/10 ⭐ purely on the wonderful insight the book covers. Great read indeed.

Key Reading Notes

  • Diagnostic questions help you get to the heart of the matter and zero in on the problem.
  • Bridging questions act as connectors between a reluctant subject and needed answers.
  • Confrontational questions demand accountability and uncover the truth. I used too much of this. Currently learning to take a step back and try to be patience. It’s harder than it’s seems.
  • Mission questions identify shared values and goals.
  • Interview questions can be helpful or can intimidate both employees and employers. But when used properly can produce meaningful revelations.
  • Legacy questions give you the opportunity to reflect back on your life.
  • Asking questions promotes personal growth.

Diagnostic Questions

Essential when we need to assess a situation quickly. Some professionals such as air traffic controllers, reporters, health care providers, plumbers, electricians and the likes do this for a living.

How to ask diagnostic questions

Diagnostic questions start out open-ended, but they gradually become more close-ended as you home in on the answers you seek. To ask diagnostic questions properly, pace the progression you want to use as you narrow down your inquiries.

Outline your diagnostic questions in a logical sequence with the goal of describing and defining an issue.

Useful strategies for arranging questions to diagnose a problem include:
  • Ask for the most damaging or negative information first.
  • Review the pertinent history to provide a baseline of experience.
  • Ask the same or similar questions for confirmation.
  • Request different sources for clarification.
  • “Connect symptoms and specifics.”
  • Challenge the experts. A second or third opinion may be necessary. (*Note: Thread carefully as not to undermine the experts)

Professionals in any field are experts at narrowing down options to find solutions.

You might have to ask –
  • What are you telling me?
  • What does this mean?
  • What aren’t you telling me?

List each question you want to ask.

Don’t let your expert get away with being evasive.

Bridging Questions

The judicious use of bridging questions can open doors. Know what you want and avoid triggers and accusations.

Instead, affirm and validate the person you are questioning.

The book shares an awesome example on the “bridging questions” based on the work of Barry Spodak.


Barry Spodak is a master of bridging questions. He trains FBI and Secret Service agents and knows how to assess dangerous situations. As a grad student in the late 1970s, Spodak was interested in violent criminals found not guilty because of insanity. He worked at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, then a premier psychiatric facility. To get admitted there or to any psych ward, patients had to be a danger to themselves or others. But, at that time, little research validated the accuracy of assessments of how much of a threat someone posed.

Spodak’s patients included John Hinckley Jr., who thought he could impress actress Jodie Foster by killing then-US-president Ronald Reagan, which Hinckley attempted on March 30, 1981. Hinckley said little in group therapy sessions and didn’t interact with other patients. Spodak got him to open up in one-on-one discussions after group therapy by listening and speaking softly. Because they were about the same age, Spodak felt Hinckley didn’t feel threatened by him.

Spodak follows Nobel-Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s theories about how the human brain works. Kahneman says the brain has two main systems: System One kicks in when you make decisions quickly and easily without much thought – like a type of autopilot. In System One, you are relaxed and comfortable. But System Two represents your brain’s warp speed, triggered when you must respond to difficult, frightening, unfamiliar or complicated situations.

Spodak’s work involves helping law enforcement officers shift their subjects from System Two to System One. He begins by asking suspects innocuous questions about shared experiences.

For example, if you are about to interrogate a man in his house and you notice a piece of art on his wall, you might start by asking him who the painter is or why he bought the art. This gives your subject the opportunity to discuss something he cares about in his own space. Such bridging questions are like social icebreakers.

“The principles behind bridging questions support a specific and clear outcome: getting a closed person to open up.”


Other tactics for moving people into System One thinking include using “micro-affirmations” – that is, asking questions without question marks. Micro-affirmations are small gestures designed to affirm or validate the other person.

These might include leaning forward, making eye contact or offering a verbal confirmation such as, “That’s really interesting” or “That’s a good point.”

*Definition: Questions without question marks are declarative statements that sound less threatening than typical questions.

These may include statements such as, “Tell me more. Explain that to me. Go on.” Such conversations encourage someone to open up.

Confrontational Questions

“Sometimes you can’t build bridges. You’re not looking for empathy or trust. You just need an answer.”

Use confrontational questions to demand accountability.

They work best when you have a specific goal, know your facts, ask precisely, care about what you’re asking and expect hostility – perhaps in the form of defensiveness, confrontation or evasiveness.

Politicians and celebrities may try to dodge questions rather than giving a straight answer or admitting faults.

On “Confrontational Questions”, lets consider the example of Jorge Ramos;


Jorge Ramos, an anchorman for the Spanish-language network Univision, known as the “Hispanic Walter Cronkite,” doesn’t pull any punches with world leaders. Despite his years of confronting Latin American dictators and others in power, even Ramos was surprised when he was thrown out of a news conference during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump had made headlines by saying, “Mexicans were bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Ramos wanted to ask Trump about his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and his immigration policy.

Ramos, a Mexican-American immigrant himself, sought answers to questions that directly affected him. “I have a question about immigration…,” Ramos began. Trump told him to sit down and didn’t call on him. Ramos continued, “I’m a reporter, an immigrant and a citizen…I have the right to ask a question.” That was as far as he got before Trump had his security people escort Ramos out.  After a few minutes and some prodding from other reporters, Trump let Ramos back in. Ramos continued with his line of questioning. He said, “You cannot deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. You cannot deny citizenship to the children of these immigrants.” They continued in a heated exchange.

Ramos feels comfortable confronting those in power because of his background. He had a strict father, attended Catholic school and grew accustomed to facing up to authority figures.


Mission Questions

When you define your mission, you clarify your goals, encourage your team members to work together and forge connections with others.

The example in the book on “Mission Questions” is based on Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield


Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first met in seventh-grade gym class. They admitted to being the “slowest, fattest kids in the class” and, by high school, they were best friends. After Jerry graduated from college (Ben dropped out), they briefly considered a bagel business before realizing the equipment was too expensive.

They both liked ice cream, so they took a $5 correspondence course in making ice cream. They started their company, Ben & Jerry’s, with a sense of purpose and built a successful firm based on their mutual values and mission.

In 1978, they opened their first store in Shelburne, Vermont. By 1990, their company had grown around a set of shared values gleaned through employee surveys. They publicly promoted a variety of causes by putting their names on ice cream packages. They also made sure their compensation plan reflected their beliefs.

For instance, one Ben and Jerry’s rule says the bosses can’t make more than five times the lowest employee salary.

“Mission questions ask more of everybody. They help you draw people into a genuine conversation about shared goals and what everyone can bring to the task.”


Interview Questions

People tend to fear interviews. It could be tough on both the interviewer and the candidates.

Job candidates are afraid of giving the wrong answer and looking foolish; supervisors fear not asking the right questions and hiring the wrong person. Successful job interviews feature a range of queries meant to gauge an applicant’s talents, abilities, personality, judgment, and so forth.

Some questions will be straightforward – such as “Why are you interested in this position?” or “Why should we hire you?” – and some won’t.

Candidates should prepare for interviews and be ready to respond to questions about their successes and failures. The interviewer may ask, for example, how they handle failure, which is useful for assessing whether they’re a good fit.

Candidates should be prepared, in turn, to ask interviewers questions that convey their interest in the job, department and company overall.

Examples might include: “How has your digital strategy affected your retail strategy?” or “How do your employees translate the corporate social responsibility you promote into their own work lives?”

Well-prepared candidates can ask relevant questions about the company to demonstrate their interests and passions. Never start by asking questions about salary or benefits.

Job interview questions come in one of these formats:

  1. introducing yourself,
  2. sharing your vision,
  3. acknowledging setbacks and challenges, and
  4. answering “curve ball” questions.

Curve balls are designed to test quick thinking, spontaneity and creativity.

Such questions can “come out of nowhere,” and are designed to provoke an unrehearsed response, a bit of humor or some humanizing insight into the candidate’s personality and thought process.

Job interviewers generally ask candidates to look back on what they’ve accomplished or to discuss how they’d handle a hypothetical situation.

“Some of the most important questions in a job interview come from [the applicant’s] side of the table.

Curiosity and compatibility are mutual.”

Legacy Questions

You may reach a point in your life when you want to reflect back on what you’ve done and whose lives you’ve touched. This is the type of questioning I asked myself when I decided to ditch my online business for blogging. What’s my legacy will be? How would my existence would affect or improve others? Is the world a much better place when I’m on it? Or would the world be better off without me? Tough decision with some significant financial impact. But I’m hopeful that I’ve made the right decision.

Legacy questions center on meaning, spirituality, lessons learned, regrets and gratitude.

These questions might come after a major illness or at the end of life, and to be honest I’ve faced 4 near death experience in my lifetime – 2 times almost drowned and 2- car accidents. This lead me to question “What have I accomplished?” and “How do I want people to remember me?” .

They encourage reflection and allow you to take stock of your life. On top of that, the type of books I read also prompt me to reflect and consider such queries. Among awesome reading materials for life purpose, I would recommend, read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and The Secret Letters Of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. (*Note: Yes, letters of the monk who sold his Ferrari, rather than the original, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari)

Legacy “questions open the door for reflection and resolution.

They seek context.”

Summary

In summary, it’s a awesome book, hence the 8/10⭐. It will be an awesome weapon in my arsenal 🙂

Can’t wait to put this knowledge to test and see up to what extend I can put it to use. Hahahaha. Okay, now I might seem evil.


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(Book Note) Social Startup Success

Buy Now: Amazon ($18.36)| Kinokuniya (MY) (RM 137.21)

A book by philanthropy expert Kathleen Kelly Janus which bases her research on the best practices of America’s most successful nonprofits. And she derives her compelling sections on ideas testing and experimenting from the funding models of innovators in the tech sector.

She also offers counsel for small nonprofits that struggle to grow past their stage of initial seed funding. Throughout the book, she details the aspirations of the social entrepreneurs she covers,  recounting their passion and dedication to spearheading change. Her accounts of how nonprofit leaders transform lives in their neighborhoods and around the world will inspire readers interested in nonprofits and social service.

Reading Notes Points

  • Avoiding costly mistakes: test your ideas first!
  • Practice transparency and accountability. Share the lessons you learn from failure. This remind me of Ray Dalio’s principles.
  • Correlate your vision with the use of “theory of change” model with its program activities which you can track.
  • Develop a funding model that incorporates donations and earned income.
  • When collaborating, try to offer complementary services.
  • Empower your staff.
  • Craft compelling stories to reinforce institutional memory and connect with donors.
  • Beneficiaries can be great ambassadors, but be ethical in using their stories.

Human-Centered Design

Nonprofits don’t have access to angel investors unlike private businesses. Their stakeholders include governments, other organizations, nonprofits doing similar work, researchers, activists and beneficiaries.

Therefore, in order to grow, nonprofits must maximize funding using “human-centered design” which is a cost-effective, responsive cycle of research, brainstorming and prototyping.

New nonprofits should keep costs low when developing their prototypes. 

For example, Aspire Public Schools, a nonprofit delivering preschool education to low-income neighborhoods, made a prototype for its Preschool Bus Project using a carpet and some tape, and then furnished it with cheap IKEA furniture. So, they might healthily run their operation at lowest possible Capital Expense and Operation Expense.

Lessons Learned Actually Learned

Any innovation involves trial, error and, often, failure and trying again. No great leap in any industry has been done without significant amount of failing and not giving up. This is the main ingredient on which success is build.

Unsuccessful nonprofits hurt beneficiaries which make ability to learn from mistakes and failing crucial. Therefore, when nonprofit organization can’t admit their failure, their organization will suffer. Since this rob them of the opportunity to actually learn the from their mistakes. And if the culture does not change, the organization will suffer in the long run.

Silicon Valley offer a model for embracing failure in term of its innovators need tolerance for risk. The only way to know if your service is successful is to test it in the field. In addition, change of perspective on how success looks like might also need to change since success might come in stages, and failures have lessons to teach.

For example, GiveWell shares its failures on its website so other nonprofits might learn from its mistakes. Share missteps within your organization; discuss expectations versus real results and problems.

“Keep the focus squarely on solving the problem, as opposed to falling in love with a particular solution.”

Outputs Versus Outcomes

I used to think that outputs and outcomes are synonyms. I was wrong.

Here is an example to illustrate the difference,

Instead of focusing on “outputs,” such as how many people attended a training program, rely on “outcomes,” such as how many attendees go on to get better-paying jobs, or the like.

In order to measure our ‘output’ and ‘outcome’, we need a great deal of sound data, relevant metrics and qualitative analysis. All the fun good stuff. The “theory of change” model sets a goal and defines metrics to track progress over time on a dashboard. So, lets focus more on ‘outcomes’ rather than ‘outputs’. ‘Outputs’ usually just make us look busy with minimal impact.

Earned Income

Self-sustainability is very important. Therefore, the biggest barrier to scaling up is attracting funding. Which involves developing an earned-income strategy, where your organization sells products or services, can help. With subsequent growth, earnings can make up an average of 30% of the budget.

Funders can’t expect nonprofits to follow business models. The Sierra Club, for example, has found that charging membership fees is the funding method best suited to its needs. 

The strongest sectors for testing earned-income strategies are education, global development and youth development. Nonprofits in human rights, criminal justice and environmental protection have less access to earned income for ethical reasons.

Tell Compelling Stories 

As my studies on social media marketing goes, our ability to compellingly tell a story would define how well we do or lack of it. So, needless to say, we need to learn how to be a storyteller.

Inspiring stories abound in the nonprofit world. Your organization should always be the protagonist working against the problem it seeks to solve. The problem is the antagonist. Tell a story that incorporates universal themes, such as the journey of discovery or shared personal challenges.

Think about a ‘hook’.

Ask yourself what your audience wants to hear, what entrenched ideas you’d like to challenge and what you’d like the audience to learn. Connect to your community’s cultural narrative by scanning the media for stories that link to your organization’s mission.

Tell stories that speak to the head and the heart. Beneficiaries’ personal stories have power, but for ethical reasons, do not exploit them. To create “institutional memory,” have employees share stories at meetings.

Again, if you’re into nonprofit organization, this is the book for you.

Buy Now: Amazon ($18.36)| Kinokuniya (MY) (RM 137.21)

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(Book Review) The Lost Art of Closing

I would rate the book at 7/10★ . A great reading material for salesman, network marketing agent or any aspiring businessman.

Anthony Iannarino believes that many salespeople have no practical knowledge on how to make a productive conversations with clients. It is kind of odd since the salesperson words can either make or break the sale.

I used to be able to close a tremendous amount of sales per day selling products (electronics, gadgets and computers) which I trust and personally used. But were horrendously terrible at selling stuff which I didn’t used or even confident it. I believe it is a part of lessons learn and still being learnt. So, it seems that the seller confidence is monumental in closing a deal.

The typical salesperson might say, “What’s it going to take to get you to sign this contract?” In contrast, the salesperson could say, “Can you share your concerns with me so I can make sure this works for you?”

This question focuses on the client’s needs and should result in useful information that leads to a sale.

Iannarino’s bestseller outlines his well-developed closing strategies, provides numerous field-tested conversational nuggets salespeople can use to encourage clients to sign up.  Although, try not to look like you’re reading a script. That would definitely put people off.

Therefore, if you have anything to do with sales, get this book. It’s awesome!


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(Book Review) The Social Organism

I would rate the book at 6/10★. A lovely read.

I would rate the book at 6/10★. A lovely read.

The book focus on one intriguing concept where they apply biology (the working of evolution, immunology and epidemiology) in order to explain how social networks behave and adapt. This analogy resonates and may impel you to rethink on how you regard social networks and their impact on human culture.

The Social Organism

The analogy is that the network of social media works like a living thing. Where its cells are those who create and share ideas in posts, articles, videos and other content. Successful ideas replicate an spread across the networks like viruses. Or Viral, as we know it.

Meme

“Meme”, a term coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 refers to anything that conveys an idea. A highly successful meme can carry an idea that could reach millions of people. Ideas that replicate morph into memes and spread further, changing the culture in small but meaningful ways – just as successful viruses burst out from their host cells, infecting other cells and changing the organism.

Organized religion was among the first groups to understand the power of memes, as seen in its use of bells, powerful imagery and text, like the Bible. The printing press radically changed this power, as did public education. Radio, newspapers, TV and movies expanded public access to information. Mass, open control of information didn’t arrive until the Internet and social media.

However, meme is also like a weapon, misused, the impact could be devastating. Think of the image of dancing Jesus. It destroy the sanctity of a holy figure. The main reason why Muslims don’t have picture / pictorial representation of our holy prophet Muhammad SAW.

Social Organism Needs Oxygen

As in any organism, they need oxygen or basically other necessities.

And oxygen here is referring to the oxygen of open sharing.

Take for example, Facebook tops social media with 1.5 billion users. But its proclivity to censorship and control means that a more open system might surpass it in the future.

Newer social media, like Twitter, remain less policed but bend to advertisers and investors. Snapchat, where photos and messages disappear soon after receipt, may have found an edge that attracts younger users. Vine, using Twitter’s approach, permits videos no longer than six seconds and boasts more than 200 million users.

As social networks combine with distributed super-computing, the potential for instantly sharing the best ideas – crowd-sourcing everything – increases.

“The…content that best succeeds within the social media architecture is not based in fear, sadness or fury. What works is optimal, positive emotional resonance.”

Understanding Social Media

Only a rarefied few make a living on social media. And, normally, their grip slips swiftly. They must constantly stay ahead of what their audiences want. 

Read more:

“It’s hard to predict how content will be received and treated. Often what seems like a harmless, open-minded message can prompt an unexpectedly negative backlash.”

Serotonin and Oxytocin

Happy memes, like jokes and cute videos go viral so often because they trigger the release of rewarding neurochemicals, serotonin and oxytocin, which inspire people to pass them along. Anger works because it releases adrenaline which is also an equally addictive drug.

“If you want to create an appealing persona and a positive impression among certain people or target markets, then the content you feed them should convey that positivity.”

To make messages that will last a long time, use a classic storytelling structure in your messaging and memes so people will recognize your tales and welcome them.

Social media provide the greatest mechanism yet for involving more people in storytelling. You can take on other personas, see others’ perspectives, and escape the confines of race, gender and sexuality.

“With the right connections, planning and money, it’s possible to build a social media distribution network to push content out to the masses.”

Read more:

In summary, the book is quite an interesting reading. You should consider getting one and experience a new perspective on social media from a biological analogy and perspective.


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The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet (Book review and Summary)

Manufacturers promote omega-6 fats as “heart-healthy,” when the opposite is true: these fats promote heart disease and directly interfere with the numerous benefits of omega-3 fats.

Book Title:

The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet, Maximize the Power of Omega-3s to Supercharge Your Health, Battle Inflammation, and Keep Your Mind Sharp

A little bit about the author:

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD is an award-winning registered dietitian, with a nutrition counseling practice in Newport Beach, California. She has a passion helping people create a healthy relationship with their food, mind and body; whether it’s through one-on-one counseling, writing, speaking or media appearances.

Summary on some key reading points:

All Fats “Are Not Created Equal”

Omega-3 fats do great things, such as helping to prevent heart attacks and cancer, and mitigating the effects of arthritis and depression. But how can a fatty substance be healthy? Everyone knows vitamins promote good health, but few people know that omega-3 fats are an essential component of every cell in your body and assist in almost every bodily function. These fats are required for good health. When they were first discovered, they were even referred to as Vitamin F.

Omega-3 fats are found in a variety of sources, including fish, flaxseed oil, canola oil, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, seaweed and hemp. Most people do not consume enough omega-3 fats and consume too much of a harmful type of polyunsaturated fat called omega-6, found in various vegetable oils (soybean, corn, sunflower and safflower) and in margarine. Omega-6 fats are impossible to avoid completely, since they are found in almost all foods. Manufacturers promote omega-6 fats as “heart-healthy,” when the opposite is true: these fats promote heart disease and directly interfere with the numerous benefits of omega-3 fats.

“Omega-3 fats [offer] far-reaching benefits, from preventing cancer and heart attacks to treating depression and arthritis.”

Saturated fats, which clog arteries and raise cholesterol levels, are derived primarily from animal products, such as fatty meat, dairy products and eggs. They serve no useful bodily function, unlike healthful unsaturated fats, which can be polyunsaturated (omega-3) or monounsaturated (found in olive and canola oils, avocados, almonds and peanuts). Trans fats are created when oil is hydrogenated, such as in the production of most margarine. They are completely useless and you should avoid them.

“No fat that you eat, whether oil or butter, is made up of just one particular type”

Most people consume fats their ancestors never ate. This means you probably consume about 20 times more omega-6 fats than your great-great-grandfather. You probably also do not consume enough omega-3 fats, whereas your ancestors most likely did.

Before 1850, cattle grazed for years on grass that was naturally rich in omega-3 fats. People who ate that beef regularly got full helpings of omega-3 fats unknowingly. Today, cattle are slaughtered at about a year old. In their short life spans, they accumulate less omega-3 in their meat than cows did 150 years ago. Today, commercial growers feed cows and commercially raised chickens, pigs, lamb and fish a diet rich in omega-6 fats but poor in omega-3 fats.

“Omega-3 fats are involved in nearly every key function in the body and are an important structural part of every cell.”

The widely promoted polyunsaturated fats are better for you than saturated ones. But the polyunsaturated fats most people consume contain primarily omega-6 fats, so again you end up with loads of omega-6 and not enough omega-3 fats. This imbalance is dangerous. A good balance of the two is necessary to ensure proper heart and brain function, as well as other important functions, such as normal blood pressure, a proper heartbeat and elevated mood.

The best dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 1 to 1, but the typical American’s ratio is 11-1.

“The problem with eating too much omega-6 fats is that they are disease-promoting.”

If you have a too much of omega-6 fats in your body, they will eat up your limited supply of some crucial enzymes you need to manufacture important biological compounds and to process omega-3 fats. This causes problems because omega-3 fats promote the manufacture of substances in your body that ultimately reduce stress, deter blood clots, fight inflammation and thereby help ward off serious diseases.

“Those popular low-carb, high-fat diets actually cancel out the good effects of Omega-3 fats.”

A diet heavy on omega-6 fats significantly raises your risk factors for major health problems, such as cancer, clogged arteries, mood disorders, obesity, and vision problems associated with accelerated aging. Omega-6 makes recovery from illness slower, decreases healthy brain function, and increases sleep and stress problems. Omega-6 fats contain arachidonic acid (AA), a substance that turns on cancer genes, increases heart attacks and triggers mood disorders. An omega-6-omega-3 imbalance can also lead to Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, and breast and colon cancer.

“Omega-3 fats play key roles in maintaining the health of your organs.”

The Inflammation Domino Effect

Heart attacks and many other serious medical problems involve inflammation. Your body responds to inflammation by raising your body temperature to kill bacteria and by creating blood clots to stem blood loss. But a blood clot can lead to a stroke or heart attack. So, indirectly, your body’s response to inflammation puts you more at risk of serious conditions and can actually kill you.

Heart disease is initially caused by inflammation resulting in blood clots, that is why your body depends on eicosanoids, which are chemicals that derive from fat and act as healing compounds. Unfortunately, eicosanoids from omega-6 fats help to increase – not calm – inflammation. Conversely, eicosanoids from omega-3 fats help eliminate inflammation. So when you consume omega-6 fats, you are more inflammation-prone; the opposite is true when you consume more omega-3 than omega-6s. Therefore, omega-6 fats promote heart disease while omega-3 fats protect against it. Similarly, omega-3 helps lessen the risk of cancer while omega-6 increases it.

“Mothers who eat foods rich in omega-3 fats during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and continue to feed their babies such a diet (after weaning) may reduce their daughters’ risk of developing breast cancer later in life.”

What do you do when you have a headache or fever? You take anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen. They block pain, swelling, cramping and fever. Omega-3 fats do the same thing for you – but naturally.

Consider fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fats.

“Even if you are not under stress, omega-3 fats play a remarkable role in learning.”

High blood pressure is a major factor in heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests that you eat fish twice a week and take an omega-3 fish oil supplement daily. Omega-3 fats help smooth the flow of blood, lower the blood’s fat content, keep arteries flexible and work against blood clots. They help maintain a steady, normal heartbeat. Conversely, omega-6 fats tighten blood vessels and clot the blood, increasing the chance of heart disease.

“The decline of omega-3 fats in the Western diet parallels a large rise in psychiatric disorders over the past century.”

Give Your Baby a Head Start

Omega-3 fats contribute to proper brain and heart function in fetuses and babies, as well as in adults. In the last stage of pregnancy, the brain of the fetus increases its omega-3 fat content by 300% to 500%, so an expectant mother’s diet is crucial to her baby’s brain development. It directly affects her child’s health, including its intelligence.

Consuming omega-3 fats during pregnancy also helps lengthen gestation and thus prevent premature birth. Studies show that children of women who regularly consumed fish during pregnancy have better language skills and score higher on IQ tests.

“Omega-3 fats may help prevent obesity by switching off the genes that make fat, lowering hormones associated with obesity (insulin and leptin) and preventing omega-6 fats from making their fat-making compounds.”

Children of mothers who took supplemental DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in fish) during lactation appear to have improved eye-hand coordination and vision. Children who consume higher quantities of DHA have better memory skills and lengthened attention spans. On the other hand, a deficiency of DHA may cause sudden infant death syndrome.

Unfortunately, since nursing mothers often eat too much omega-6, saturated and trans fats, the DHA count in breast milk has fallen radically in most countries during the past 10 years. DHA counts in vegetarian mothers who don’t eat fish are three times lower than normal. For these reasons, many scientists believe that DHA should be considered an essential nutrient.

“Fats commonly thought of as healthful are not necessarily so.”

Feeling Moody?

Omega-3 fats have a direct, positive impact on stress, learning, memory and mood. A direct parallel exists between a decline in omega-3 fats in the diet and an increase in mental disorders. An omega-3 deficiency can lead to mood disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

The consumption of large quantities of fish helps limit bipolar disorder and postpartum depression. The American Psychiatric Association suggests that patients who suffer from impulse control, mood disorders or psychotic episodes should consume one gram of EPA (another omega-3 fatty acid) plus DHA daily. Fish oil supplements help ensure that you get the correct amount of EPA and DHA.

Studies indicate that people who take DHA supplements feel less aggression and anger. Omega-3 fats help to prevent dementia, increase the speed with which your brain processes information, and counter dyslexia and autism.

“Margarine is one of the primary sources of fat in the American diet – and a top source of omega-6 fats.”

When you’re feeling stressed, you produce too much cortisol, a hormone that prevents the brain from storing ideas and retrieving long-term memories. This makes you feel confused and unable to think straight, and it can damage the part of the brain that is critical to learning and memory.

Omega-3 fats reduce stress and slow down this effect. At the same time, they stop the depletion of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps you remain happy. All this makes sense when you consider that your brain is largely made up of fat (60%), and that its approximately 100 billion neurons have a high omega-3 fat concentration.

Omega-3 fats are essential to proper brain chemistry, yet saturated fats negatively affect it by making brain cells harder and less fluid, while excess cholesterol hardens brain cell membranes.

“It doesn’t take drastic changes to omega-optimize your diet, nor do you suddenly have to become a fish lover (although that clearly would be an asset).”

Keeping Skin Clear and Warding Off Obesity, Diabetes and Cancer

Omega-3 fats help keep your skin clear and healthy, alleviate PMS symptoms, and prevent obesity, allergies, diabetes and high blood pressure. Studies show that animals with omega-6-rich diets become fatter than animals that consume less omega-6.

Conversely, omega-3 fats help avert obesity by switching off fat-making genes, stopping omega-6 fats from developing eicosanoids, reducing leptin (a compound made by fat cells) and increasing the level of fat-burning in the abdominal region.

Omega-3s also lower levels of – and improve resistance to – insulin, thus helping to prevent diabetes. When it comes to cancer, omega-3 fats slow tumor growth, inhibit the blood vessel development that is needed to feed cancer cells, counterbalance estrogen levels raised by omega-6 fats and restore the body’s ability to “clean house,” that is, to eliminate damaged or sick cells.

Omega-Optimizing Your Meals

You need an adequate amount of all three types of omega-3 fats in your diet. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), with a “short chain” of fat molecules, is the “parent fatty acid” of the “long-chain” omega-3-type fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoix acid (DHA), which are derived primarily from fish. For optimal health, you need a combined daily total of EPA and DHA of at least 650 milligrams.

ALA comes mostly from plants, including beans, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and flax meal, and from such oils as canola, flaxseed and mustard oil. One teaspoon of flaxseed oil (2,420 milligrams) provides your daily ALA requirement. Foods with healthy ALA counts include pinto beans, kidney beans, raspberries and canola oil.

If you eat just one meal with fish weekly, your brain will function as if it were three to four years younger. Try eating four fatty-fish-based meals (halibut, salmon and sardines) weekly. This will supply the daily 650 milligrams of EPA and DHA. Seafood is an excellent source of EPA and DHA. For example, three ounces of Atlantic-farmed salmon have 590 milligrams of EPA and 1,240 milligrams of DHA. As you buy fish, remember to avoid mercury and other contaminants, and do not exceed an EPA and DHA intake of 3,000 milligrams daily.

A Healthy Lifestyle

If the hustle and bustle of life keeps you from consuming your daily omega-3 requirements naturally, opt for omega-3 enriched foods. Supplements also work, but avoid the ones that contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

In fact, try to keep your omega-6 fat intake at only 2% to 3% of your total fat calorie intake. If you eat meat, take an interest in where it comes from, how the animal grazed and which cuts of meat are lower in saturated fat. Free-range meat is naturally lower in omega-6 fats. Dark poultry meat is higher in arachidonic acid and sausages are high in omega-6 fats.

It is easy to improve your diet and get healthier. Whole grains are full of nutrients and beans are a terrific source of protein. Consume three servings of calcium-rich foods daily. Keep your overall fat content at 20% to 35% of your total food intake. The omega-3 fat percentage of your total fat intake should be around 1% for ALA and 0.3% for EPA/DHA.

Choose fish (not fried), and stick to olive or canola oil salad dressings.

Rating & Should you read the book:

I would rate the book at 9/10★. And now I’m off to buy some fish oils. You should do the same too.

Awesome read.


For more thorough Weight Loss Tip read the article below.

How to Lose Weight?