(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.


More Book Reviews


Recommended Social Media Marketing Guides

If you’re interested in starting to make money online or even starting a blog. Please read How to start a Blog.

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


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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)

More Book Reviews


Recommended Social Media Marketing Guides

If you’re interested in starting to make money online or even starting a blog. Please read How to start a Blog.

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


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(Book Review) Mobilized

The mobile formula = BODY + SPIRIT + MIND

I would rated this book at awesome 7/10 ★ .

Mobile Conquered the World

The mobile revolution is a momentous change that overlaps artificial intelligence, personalized marketing and “sticky” technology. You always keep your mobile device close by which can be seen by the fact that most people check their phones as soon as they wake up. Most of the time, I did.

The mobile revolution uses technology, but it centers on people. Great “mobile products” embrace “human-first principles.” They are designed to enhance people’s capacity for social and creative interaction.

As mobile technology develops further, your device will get smaller and neater. Soon, mobile tech will embed in everyday objects and, perhaps, in the near future even within your body. Although I would be sternly against it.

A Gold Rush

People now use mobile devices more than they use desk-based computers. Like a new gold rush, the mobile boom creates losers and winners. Innovative companies adopt a “mobile-first” strategy, though some fail to understand or implement it well.

Overall, the mobile industry contributes an average of 5% of gross domestic product in many countries.

The smartphone app is the linchpin of mobile success. Today, nearly 90% of people who access online services do so through “dedicated” apps, not web browsers. These apps secure customer loyalty, allow “push notifications” and enable tracking of marketing campaigns.

With a dedicated app, your firm can sell more without buying ads, though an app’s upfront costs daunt many companies. Developing a great app that works across multiple platforms including various brands of cellphones and tablets would takes a substantial investment.

But, it pays you back in greater customer interaction with your products and services. For example, shoppers now can design customized T-shirts on a smartphone app just part of the “smart apparel” trend. And at the end, it Call-To-Action would suggest user to pay to print the designed customized T-shirt.

The “Mobile Formula”: Body – Spirit – Mind

The author suggest that for success in the mobile revolution, firms need to follow the Mobile Formula, a trio of rules which govern the development and nature of mobile products:

1. The Body Rule (How its look)

User wants beauty and effectiveness in the design of mobile products. They want that “wow” factor.

Perceiving beauty whether you think it is objective or subjective will generates a “primal response: that wow reaction. In the mobile revolution, beauty also resides in efficiency. Designers use the “thumb test” to ensure that their devices and apps are easy to operate. Pandora and Instagram created simple interaction experiences. GreenOwl Mobile uses voice recognition technology so drivers can use its app hands-free. Simplified as much as possible, interfaces can become beautifully invisible.

Simplicity of usage also matters; a steep learning curve can hinders users’ fluid interaction with mobile products. Good apps and devices must pass what Flipboard founder Mike McCue calls “the mom test.” He asks his staffers to consider whether their mothers would struggle to use the product.

Our mobile products are new extensions of ourselves.

In “building for beauty,” designers create mobile products that extend the human body. Their designs add both “focusing” and “expanding” functions.

Five clear, concise “design elements” draw users’ pinpointed attention and build trust. These focusing functions are: “onboarding,” as with tutorials; “single task” functions, like “call-to-action” buttons; “navigation,” like side menus; “performance,” as in reliable functioning; and “gesture,” such as the standard swipe.

Establishing users’ trust opens the door to permission-based personalization, like push notifications and location tracking, which can broaden an app’s interactions with its customers but could also come at the expense of user personal privacy. Users reacted favorably when Airbnb simply changed its “like” symbol from a star to a heart; they gave it 30% more wish-list bookmarks. See, these little changes helps.

Expanding design elements would come in two types that is “Pull” and “Push“:

Pull” expansion elements pop up to ask for user permission; “Push” elements deliver notifications. For example, Instagram focuses users with simplicity and clear navigation, allowing them to create photos easily. With users’ permission, the app accesses their address books to enable sharing.

2. The Spirit Rule (Human Needs for Meaning)

The disruptive aspect of mobile devices is that users keep them close at hand all the time. This touches on the spirit rule of the Mobile Formula.

This rule dwells on meaning, individually and in communities. To mean something to people in order to touch their spirit with mobile devices use “internal” and “external filters.” These filters connect with what matters to the individual user (internal) and with what matters to their social identity (external).

Psychologist Roy Baumeister explains that having to exert willpower all the time makes people burn out. Highly personalized mobile products ease such stress and tone down “decision fatigue.” For example, Uber soothes the tension of getting a ride. Tinder eases the stress of finding a date. Such services make people feel looked-after and indulged.

“Every mobile designer has an impossible mission: They have to delight billions of people 110 times a day with something they can only touch or talk to.

3. The Mind Rule (Learning Ability)

Mobile companies must learn “fast” to survive and learn “slow” to refine, revitalize and “reinvent” their offerings and their corporate missions. The good companies pursue human-first goals, but all mobile firms must learn quickly.

Even mobile products learn and adapt, tailoring themselves continually to users’ needs. Mobile users demand a blistering pace of innovation with their ever-changing habits, interests and fads. Technology must do more than keep up; it must provide novel, improved experiences to users who upgrade every 18 to 24 months.

“Beautiful things create empathy. If a viewer finds a painting beautiful, it is beautiful. If a listener is touched by a symphony, it is a moving piece of music.”

Mobile companies can’t learn without the right mechanisms. They use both “scientific” and “artistic tools” to learn and implement lessons from users. On the scientific side, “funnels” open tech pathways and “goals” quantify the desired results. Scientific tools facilitate big data analysis and smart business approaches. Artistic tools provide users with fresh, creative pathways. They include “shortcuts” that shorten pathways by letting users skip steps, “hooks” that broaden funnel openings by playing to users’ curiosity and “layers” that make the entire funnel bigger by adding enticing new channels.

In summary

What we should expect from [our mobile products] is what we wish for ourselves: an attractive body, a meaningful life and becoming smarter about the things that count. This is the foundation behind successful mobile products.

Good examples of mind-centered learning include Nokia’s giving small teams the freedom to incubate ideas independently and Facebook’s having a random sample of users test its push notifications. People now regard web access almost as a “human right.”

In developing countries, secondhand mobile devices give people Internet access to health, education and work. People use their phones to find jobs, read, seek medical care and conduct trade.

Read more:

With their savvy, inquisitive, always-connected behavior, millennials drive the mobile revolution. Devices still matter, but apps matter more.

Getting on Facebook easily is the main draw for most mobile users. Facebook packages all the elements of the Mobile Formula: fast- and slow-learning; human-first; and mind, body and spirit. From that perspective, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fathered the present-day mobile revolution.

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(Book Review) Radical Technologies

I would rate the book at 7/10 ★ . Awesome reading material which makes you think a lot about the future of technology.

The Smartphone in Our Daily Life

Smartphones is the most swiftly and universally accepted technology in history. They rapidly became an essential high-tech accessory for daily life. Nowadays, you can use your phone to call and text people, read and send emails, take photographs, find a restaurant or a shop, order rides, or book a place to stay. You can even open your garage door or switch on the lights with your smartphone.  

The smartphone supplanted a wide variety of physical objects: telephone booths, address books, maps, guidebooks, cameras and even money which is part of a worldwide movement toward “dematerialization”.

The smartphone itself depends on a complicated infrastructure of base stations, cables and microwave relays designed, manufactured and built for profit, but the public doesn’t know the interests and incentives involved. Every time you use a smartphone, you generate data. The people who store that data leverage it for their own purposes.

Read more: How Europe’s New Privacy Rule Is Reshaping the Internet

The Internet of Everything

In the wireless world in which nearly everyone has a smartphone, the Internet absorbs virtually everything. The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t a single technology but a variety of linked devices that record and process events as they occur. These events instantly become data that network companies gather and leverage.

The IoT includes devices designed to monitor your bodily functioning, creating a “quantified self.” It also monitors the spaces in which people live and the cities they inhabit, creating the “smart home” and the “smart city.” Wearable biometric sensors, like Fitbit and the Apple Watch, document biological data you can use to regulate your exercise. Such devices promote the quantified self, touting self-awareness based on statistics to bring the data revolution to fitness and health.

You can observe the condition of your body and the progress you’re making in hard numbers. The idea of the quantified self may be a harmless fixation for Silicon Valley tech geeks, but applying it to society as a whole is more problematic. Major health insurance companies have lowered premiums for users of biometric device who document enhanced, consistent levels of exercise.

Like biometric sensors, virtual assistant devices provide forms of convenience that supplant the need for time-consuming careful thinking and considered decision making. With Amazon’s Dash Button app, users can reorder ordinary household items, like soap or diapers, on the fly. You press a single command, and the company promptly ships them to your home. The busy consumer gains convenience, but the provider picks up a rich stream of copious data on the user’s needs and habits, which it can analyze and reproduce as product recommendations.

Companies use this data to develop models of consumer behavior they then deploy in marketing. While biometric sensors and virtual assistants give consumers modest benefits, they encourage people to avoid reflecting on how they spend their money and fulfill their needs.

Digital Fabrication

Virtual reality (VR) technologies, which require head-mounted equipment, generate computer graphics that create all-encompassing experiences. By contrast, augmented reality (AR) technologies, like the popular game Pokémon GO – which you can play on a mobile device like a smartphone and provide “location specific” information about objects in the visual field. Rather than creating an experience in a wholly alternative world, Pokémon GO transforms existing reality without the need for any special equipment.

Other forms of AR are less whimsical and more useful: They can provide directions or replace guidebooks by supplying information about the history of a particular landmark, like a building or a battlefield. This brings the vast store of information available on the global network to bear on the objects and places of day-to-day life, whether the user is on vacation, taking a walk or going to work. AR fundamentally augments people’s senses and minds.

Augmented reality delivered via smartphone is inevitably limited and doesn’t wholly mediate reality. To remedy this situation, companies developed “wearable mediators,” mostly headsets such as the poorly received Google Glass. A wearable AR device displays the “informational overlay” that users are familiar with from the smartphone directly in front of their eyes.

Apart from the usual tech challenges, wearable mediators raise other issues. If they become as central to daily life as smartphones, how long will someone be able to wear such an apparatus? People haven’t yet adopted wearable mediators at the level of the smartphone, but early reports suggest users become disoriented when they remove their headset. Over time, they develop a form of “dependence”: They find it difficult to function without the device.

The mass use of wearable devices might amplify narcissism, reduce the attention people pay to each other and degrade any sense of a “shared public realm.”

The Technological Future

Companies that introduce new technologies like the smartphone, AR technologies, 3D printers and bitcoins often assert that these advances will “spontaneously produce the conditions of equity, justice or freedom.” Proponents say similar things about automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

None of these technologies alone can end “scarcity, capitalism” or “oppression.” Bringing about a revolution simply with the advent of a new technology is difficult, no matter how profoundly that technology changes how people live. People widely, if not yet universally, use the smartphone, and it’s changed how people negotiate their lives. But the smartphone and its elaborate infrastructure, like other new technologies, fit neatly into existing “ways of doing, making and selling” and into traditional structures of power. While technologies like the smartphone may be helpful, society must pursue social change directly.

“The price of connection is vulnerability, always and in every context.”

Networked technologies now mediate human life. “Networked processes of measurement, analysis and control” shape daily life and affect the way people get directions, find restaurants or buy groceries as well as how they learn history. This turns their environments into data that interested parties can use. Human life in all its aspects disperses across the vast and complicated infrastructure of the global network.

People who grow accustomed to this don’t ask questions about either the “institutional processes” or the interests that underlie how designers create technology or what impact these technologies will have on how humans live together.

New technologies no matter how forward thinking their designers and promoters simply fall back on traditional politics and economics. Networked technologies can lead to different politics and economics and ultimately to social change only if society’s leaders first are willing and able to analyze these mechanistic factors closely.

Buy Radical Technologies

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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. 

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“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.”

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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 Way to Wealth (Book Summary & Review)

Book Title:

The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

A little bit about the author:

Benjamin Franklin, born in 1706 is a Founding Father of the United States. He was a statesman, revolutionary, author, inventor, scientist, firefighter and chess master. 

He co-founded one of the earliest volunteer firefighting companies in America and served as governor of the state of Pennsylvania. Franklin became a fervent abolitionist, freeing his slaves and opposing slavery in the United States and elsewhere. A tireless public servant, Franklin risked his fortune and his life opposing England’s rule over the American colonies. He was a leader of the American Revolution and contributed to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. He was the first Postmaster General of the United States and helped establish its postal service. During the Revolutionary War, Franklin lived in Paris as the American ambassador to France. After the war, he attended the Philadelphia Convention, which produced America’s Constitution. Franklin is a signatory of the US Constitution as well as of the Declaration of Independence.

Key Reading Points:

  • The book was published as preface to Poor Richard’s Almanack, a book of advice.
  • This book showcase Franklin’s insight and thoughts which includes
    1. “Poverty will catch those who move with the slow speed of Laziness.”
    2. If you buy what you don’t need, soon after you will sell what you need the most.
    3. To learn the true worth of money, try to borrow. Be aware that going into debt means giving your creditors power over your life.
    4. Debt saps a person of honor and vitality.
    5. If you don’t pay on time, your creditors can have you thrown into jail or sold as a servant.
    6. Financial gains are fleeting, while necessary expenses endure and seldom diminish.
    7. Telling people how to act won’t change their behavior.
    8. Experience teaches hard lessons, but those are the only lessons “fools” learn.

Summary on some key reading points:

Franklin’s insight on Procrastination

Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep.”

Which means turn focus and effort to immediate tasks now because you don’t know what obstacles the future might bring.

As Franklin put it

one today is worth two tomorrows.”

Sitting around and worrying about your problems gives them a chance to grow. Diligent work reduces every difficulty, whether it is spiritual or financial. But tending to your work means doing each task when it should be done and avoiding procrastination.

“Never leave ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.”

You would feel ashamed if your boss caught you doing nothing. In this world, regardless of the task, whether it is menial or important, you are always your own boss. You should feel a similar shame when you are idle, even if you work for yourself.

“Keep thy shop and thy shop will keep thee.”

The job before you may seem hard to do and unending, but if you stick to your tasks every day, you will see “great effects.” The more you slack off, the more work will await you when you finally labor as you should. Make “diligence and patience” your by words.

You know that “little strokes fell great oaks,” but when all those little strokes face you, you might wonder if you could take a small break. No; “since you are not sure of a minute, throw away not an hour.” Leisure comes to those who use time efficiently, and you should spend it doing something useful. Only the diligent worker can attain that kind of leisure. A lazy person will yearn for it always. “Many…would live by their wits only, but they break for lack of stock.

“Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.”

Franklin’s insight on Trust

Those who spin their cloth without ceasing can wear as many garments as they wish. Being industrious means giving “steady, settled and careful” attention to your work and life, and using discrimination in trusting others.

The best situation is to have your own business, because “he that by the plough would thrive himself must either hold or drive.”

In your daily labors, you can choose to be the plowman (employer) or the mule(employee). And if you are the mule, you will be under someone’s yoke. However if you choose to be the plowman, you must plow every single day. Meaning, entrepreneurship is not as easy as our modern social media shows as it is.

You need to tend to that which is yours, for “want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.” Keep your eye on your workers. Leaving them to do as they please is like leaving your wallet open so they might take whatever they want. Trusting others too much is a sure path to ruin.

If you take care of your own affairs, then you know you have a supervisor you can trust. “If you would have a faithful servant, serve yourself.”

But if you supervise affairs for yourself, make sure you don’t neglect any aspect. “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost; for the want of the shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.” What might seem like a tiny moment of carelessness or disregard can have profound, far-reaching negative effects.

“Always taking out of the meal tub and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom.”

Franklin’s insight on Frugality

Even if you are industrious and watch your affairs carefully, all will be for naught if you are not frugal. Spending what you earn on fleeting pleasures is deceptively easy, but “a fat kitchen maketh a lean will.”

If you want wealth, you must earn money and save it. Saving is far more difficult than acquiring. You should dispense with “expensive follies,” because “Women and wine, game and deceit / Make the wealth small and the want great.”

Little expenses add up. If you engage in many small indulgences, you will drain your pockets.

“Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.”

“When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.”

At the door of the auction house, Father Abraham reminds the members of the crowd that they have gathered to buy things they do not need. “You call them goods, but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you.”

If you repeatedly buy things you do not need, before long you will have to sell that which you need. And I thought Warren Buffet was the one whom came up with this quote.

Vanity is a great source of foolish spending. Many people go about looking quite fine and fashionable, but with their stomachs crying out for food. “Silks and satins, scarlets and velvets, put out the kitchen fire.” Fine clothes and wares are not necessities; they’re not even “conveniences.”

By such indulgences the genteel (characterized by exaggerated or affected politeness, refinement, or respectability) sink to being beggared, and then must borrow from those they would not ordinarily bother to greet on the street. If you are industrious and frugal, then you need never borrow, since borrowing is the ruin of honor.

“A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.”

Franklin’s insight on Pride and Debt

To learn the true value of money, “go and try to borrow some.”

Someone who tries to find a loan will meet only anguish. Pride can push you past any reasonable sense of expenditure. If you acquire one lovely item, you will want 10 more. Squelching the first urge to buy is far easier than fulfilling all the desires that your first purchase will trigger. Keep to your station. Dressing above your status makes your peers envy you and your betters think you foolish.

What good is being proud of fancy clothes when they bring suffering to your family?

Pride won’t make you healthy, “ease your pain” or make you a better person.

“Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.”

Going into debt means giving away your freedom, dignity and power.

“The second vice is lying, the first vice is running into debt.”

You might like the idea of buying now and paying over a six-month span, but during those six months and likely beyond, your creditor has the true control of your life and affairs. If you must pay late, you will be too embarrassed to see the person you owe, and will sneak about, making excuses and sacrificing your honor for pennies. If you are free, you shouldn’t be fearful or mortified to encounter any other individual. But being in debt robs you of your character and your moral fiber.

“It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”

“A small leak will sink a great ship.”

What if the government issued a law saying you could not “dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman,” or eat a fine meal? You would argue strenuously that you should be able to wear what you please and dine as you like. Yet when you put yourself in debt, you subject yourself to an identical “tyranny.” All authority over your life resides with your creditor, who can put you in prison for debt or sell you as a servant to earn back what you owe.

You may think you have a bargain when you sign your debtor’s contract, and, with all the time the terms of your debt provide, you’ll have no problems paying. But when you owe money, time seems to move faster than usual, and money accrues more slowly.

Remember, too, “Creditors have better memories than debtors.”

Creditors pay close attention to the calendar and are ever mindful of the date. You may hope your creditors will forget the day your note comes due, but they never will. The term of your debt will inevitably feel and then prove to be much shorter than you would like it to be.

“Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter.”

“For age and want save while you may, No morning sun lasts a whole day.”

Acquiring funds will always be difficult, but expense is perpetual – the only certainty you will face aside from death.

“It is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.”

You are far better off going to bed hungry than waking up owing anything to anyone.

“Get what you can, and what you get, hold.”

“In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by their want of it.”

Franklin’s insight on Knowledge and Good Advice

“Reason and wisdom” should form the basis of the “doctrine” you follow. Even if you practice being thrifty, practical and conscientious, you still need “the blessing of heaven.” Ask for this blessing with humility, and do not neglect those who clearly lack that blessing.

Act with modesty, be charitable and aid the less fortunate.

Experience “keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” You can offer wise counsel, but “they that cannot be counseled cannot be helped.”

Just because someone hears your advice does not mean that he or she is going to change. At this point, Father Abraham ceases talking and goes on his way. The people gathered had listened to him with great attention and nodded their approval at much of what he had to say.

“If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.”

The minute the old man leaves their company, however, everyone who has so enjoyed his speech immediately does the opposite of everything he had advised. The doors to the auction open, the crowd rushes in and everyone begins to bid and spend.

Some spend money they possess, and others spend money that belongs to them only for a day or a month or six months, depending on the terms they could negotiate.

Richard Saunders, the author of Poor Richard’s Almanack, considers buying cloth for a new coat, after some reflection, he decides thriftily to keep wearing his old one. He leaves the auction, telling those who would read his thoughts, “I am, as ever, thine to serve thee.”

Rating & Should you read the book:

I would rate the book 10/10 for all the wonderful lessons learnt. But for language I would rate it at 7/10, the language is quite similar to the first published version of The Richest Man in Babylon. Quite difficult for speed reading but the book was awesome nonetheless.

The book full of timeless wisdom, hence, I would greatly recommend this book for everyone who want the riches the world has to offer.