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Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights

Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights Hardcover

by Gary Klein (Author)

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Insights—like Darwin’s understanding of the way evolution actually works, and Watson and Crick’s breakthrough discoveries about the structure of DNA—can change the world. We also need insights into the everyday things that frustrate and confuse us so that we can more effectively solve problems and get things done. Yet we know very little about when, why, or how insights are formed—or what blocks them. In Seeing What Others Don’t, renowned cognitive psychologist Gary Klein unravels the mystery. Klein is a keen observer of people in their natural settings—scientists, businesspeople, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, family members, friends, himself—and uses a marvelous variety of stories to illuminate his research into what insights are and how they happen. What, for example, enabled Harry Markopolos to put the finger on Bernie Madoff? How did Dr. Michael Gottlieb make the connections between different patients that allowed him to publish the first announcement of the AIDS epidemic? What did Admiral Yamamoto see (and what did the Americans miss) in a 1940 British attack on the Italian fleet that enabled him to develop the strategy of attack at Pearl Harbor? How did a “smokejumper” see that setting another fire would save his life, while those who ignored his insight perished? How did Martin Chalfie come up with a million-dollar idea (and a Nobel Prize) for a natural flashlight that enabled researchers to look inside living organisms to watch biological processes in action? Klein also dissects impediments to insight, such as when organizations claim to value employee creativity and to encourage breakthroughs but in reality block disruptive ideas and prioritize avoidance of mistakes. Or when information technology systems are “dumb by design” and block potential discoveries. Both scientifically sophisticated and fun to read, Seeing What Others Don’t shows that insight is not just a “eureka!” moment but a whole new way of understanding.

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A Technique for Producing Ideas

A Technique for Producing Ideas

by SHANE PARRISH on SEPTEMBER 4, 2013

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In the foreward to James Webb Young’s book, A Technique for Producing Ideas, Keith Reinhard asks “How can a book first published in the 1940′s be important to today’s creative people on the cutting edge?” The answer lies in the question that inspired Webb’s book, “How do you get ideas?” The book is a concise description of the creative process. Young offers both guidance and assures that coming up with an idea is a process, not an accident.

The production of ideas.

[T]he production of ideas is just as definite a process as the production of Fords; that the production of ideas, too, runs on an assembly line; that in this production the mind follows an operative technique which can be learned and controlled; and that its effective use is just as much a matter of practice in the technique as is the effective use of any tool. Read more of this post

Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio: We are “going to have the emerging market crisis”; EMs face “a major balance of payments problem” that will eventually lead to significant problems; “I want no one in the audience to be polite with me. Let’s have a thoughtful disagreement.”

Hedge fund chief says Japan needs another ‘big round’ of stimulus

Filed Fri Sep 6, 2013 5:02pm EDT

By Katya Wachtel and Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK – Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio said on Friday the Japanese economy will need another big round of stimulus to boost sluggish growth, and some emerging markets are on the path to crisis. Dalio, chairman and chief investment officer of $150 billion firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, was speaking at the Japan Society in midtown Manhattan. In April the Bank of Japan pledged to inject about $1.4 trillion into its flagging economy in an effort to end two decades of stagnation. The monetary easing, coupled with reflationary, pro-growth policies championed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sent stocks rallying and the yen tumbling. Japan emerged from recession in 2012. “The effects are going to wear off,” Dalio said, referring to prior stimulus measures. Japan’s central bank is “going to have to do another big round of purchases,” he said. In a thirty-minute talk, Dalio addressed trouble in economies from China to France. He sounded a cautious note about investing in emerging markets, especially in equities, which have plunged in value this year. Emerging markets will not be an “an attractive place” to invest in the near future “given flows and pricing.” He said emerging markets face “a major balance of payments problem” that will eventually lead to significant problems. We are “going to have the emerging market crisis,” Dalio said during a question and answer period. India should “prepare for the worst” since it has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of foreign capital flows that are already bypassing emerging market equities, he added. As for Europe, Dalio said that France is of particular concern to him since “it has not dealt properly with debt to income ratios rising.” Dalio is one of the $2.25 trillion hedge fund industry’s best known managers, known not only for his solid long-term returns but also for a unique culture at his Stamford, CT-based firm, where employees are encouraged to challenge each others’ and their bosses’ ideas publicly.

“I want no one in the audience to be polite with me,” Dalio said during the question and answer segment. “Let’s have a thoughtful disagreement.”

Finding Time to Read

Finding Time to Read

by SHANE PARRISH on SEPTEMBER 2, 2013

“The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.” — Warren Buffett

Charlie Munger, voracious reader, billionaire, and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, one commented “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.” Read more of this post

The Surprisingly Simple Mix Of Qualities That Make People Influential

The Surprisingly Simple Mix Of Qualities That Make People Influential

JENNA GOUDREAU SEP. 6, 2013, 11:31 AM 4,610 3

How does Oprah Winfrey captivate millions? What’s the secret behind Bill Clinton’s infectious charisma or Richard Branson’s powerful charm?  According to one new book, “Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential” by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut, the art and science of influencing people comes down to a surprisingly simple combination: seeming at once strong and warm. “When you meet someone, they’re sizing you up on two fundamental qualities: strength and warmth,” says Kohut, a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based KNP Communications, which specializes in preparing public figures for speaking events. “Strength measures how much people can affect the world, and warmth shows how much people are concerned about our interests.”  Read more of this post

The Art of Thinking Clearly: Guard Against Chauffeur Knowledge; Guarding Against Survivorship Bias

The Art of Thinking Clearly

by SHANE PARRISH on SEPTEMBER 6, 2013

Rolf Dobelli’s book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, is a compendium of systematic errors in decision making. While the list of fallacies is not complete, it’s a great launching pad into the best of what others have already figured out.

To avoid frivolous gambles with the wealth I had accumulated over the course of my literary career, I began to put together a list of … systematic cognitive errors, complete with notes and personal anecdotes — with no intention of ever publishing them. The list was originally designed to be used by me alone. Some of these thinking errors have been known for centuries; others have been discovered in the last few years. Some came with two or three names attached to them. … Soon I realized that such a compilation of pitfalls was not only useful for making investing decisions but also for business and personal matters. Once I had prepared the list, I felt calmer and more levelheaded. I began to recognize my own errors sooner and was able to change course before any lasting damage was done. And, for the first time in my life, I was able to recognize when others might be in the thrall of these very same systematic errors. Armed with my list, I could now resist their pull — and perhaps even gain an upper hand in my dealings. Read more of this post

The Value of Suffering? Calamity cracks you open, moves you to change your ways. Sometimes.

September 7, 2013

The Value of Suffering

By PICO IYER

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NARA, Japan — Hundreds of Syrians are apparently killed by chemical weapons, and the attempt to protect others from that fate threatens to kill many more. A child perishes with her mother in a tornado in Oklahoma, the month after an 8-year-old is slain by a bomb in Boston. Runaway trains claim dozens of lives in otherwise placid Canada and Spain. At least 46 people are killed in a string of coordinated bombings aimed at an ice cream shop, bus station and famous restaurant in Baghdad. Does the torrent of suffering ever abate — and can one possibly find any point in suffering?

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