Skin in The Game

If you take a look at my twitter timeline, many of the retweets are from Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

His work focuses on problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty, and have read his books multiple times. I was tinking of rereading his last book “Skin in the Game”.

The embedded youtube video is his summary of the book for talks at google. Bookmark this and spend and hour to soak some of this ideas,

Few of the important bits from the book.

• For social justice, focus on symmetry and risk sharing. You cannot make profits and transfer the risks to others, as bankers and large corporations do. You cannot get rich without owning your own risk and paying for your own losses. Forcing skin in the game corrects this asymmetry better than thousands of laws and regulations.
• Ethical rules aren’t universal. You’re part of a group larger than you, but it’s still smaller than humanity in general.
• Minorities, not majorities, run the world. The world is not run by consensus but by stubborn minorities imposing their tastes and ethics on others.
• You can be an intellectual yet still be an idiot. “Educated philistines” have been wrong on everything from Stalinism to Iraq to low-carb diets.
• Beware of complicated solutions (that someone was paid to find). A simple barbell can build muscle better than expensive new machines.
• True religion is commitment, not just faith. How much you believe in something is manifested only by what you’re willing to risk for it.

Have you read this book?


This is the word cloud of the books I have read in 2019.

Here’s the list of the books.

  • Atomic habits by James Clear
  • My India by Jim Corbett 
  • Scale by Geoffrey West (A)
  • The happiness equation by Neil Parsricha
  • Think like Sherlock by Peter Hollins
  • Science of likability by Patrick king
  • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Alchemy of air by Thomas Hager
  • E=mc2 by David Bodanis
  • The secrets of happy families by Bruce Fieler
  • Wine by Rod Philips
  • The ghost map by Stephen Johnson
  • No one at the wheels by Sam Schwartz
  • Digital minimalism by Cal Newport
  • Farsighted by Stephen Johnson
  • Skin in the game by Nassim Nicolas Taleb
  • Gold by Mathew Hart
  • India conquered by Jon Wilson
  • When by Daniel H Pink
  • What Adam Smith can teach you Russ Robert
  • Science of food by Marty Jobson
  • The flight attendant by Chris Bohjalian (F)
  • Power of moments by Dan and Chip Heath
  • Spy school by Stuart Gibbs (F)
  • The memory code by L Kelly 
  • Fibre by Susan Crowford
  • An appetite for wonder by Richard Dawkins
  • How to have a good day by Caroline Web
  • The perfect bet by Adam Kucharski
  • The inmitibale Jeeves by P G Wood house (F)
  • The neuroscience of mindfulness by Stan Rodski
  • Humble pie by Matt Parker
  • The doomsday machine by Michale Lewis
  • Humans a brief history of how we f*cked it all up -Tom Philips
  • The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin
  • The ape that understood the universe by Steve Stuart Williams (A)
  • The Little Book of String Theory by Steven Scott Gubser
  • Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact by Vaclav Smil
  • The passengers by John Marrs(F)
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
  • Our mathematical universe by Max tegmark
  • The big shot by Michale Louise
  • The one by John Marrs (F)
  • I contain multitudes by Ed Yong
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  • Logic of life by Tim Hartford
  • It all adds up by Mickale Launy
  • Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure by Cédric Villani
  • Digital minimalism by Cal Newport
  • Cubed secret history of the office by Nikil Saval
  • Cities the first 6000 years by Monica L Smith 
  • Ultralearning by Scott young
  • Everyday biases by Ross Howard J
  • Rebel ideas by Matthew Syed(R)
  • Why we sleep by Matthew Walker
  • Pleased to meet me by Bill Sullivan 
  • The greatest show on earth by Richard Dawkins
  • Math on the back of the envelope by Rob Eastaway
  • Idiot brain by Dean Burnnet
  • Pig wrestling by Pete Lindsay
  • Replay by Kin Grimwood (F) 
  • Elon musk by B Storm
  • Meet your happy chemicals by Loretta Buenning
  • Genesis by Robin Cook (F)
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal

My top favorites

  • Why we sleep by Matthew Walker
  • Replay by Kin Grimwood
  • Rebel ideas by Matthew Syed
  • The ape that understood the universe by Steve Stuart Williams
  • India conquered by Jon Wilson
  • The ghost map by Stephen Johnson
  • Skin in the game by Nassim Nicolas Taleb
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Books Read in 2018

I completely agree with Paul Graham when he said “Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you’ve lost the source of. It works, but you don’t know why”

2018 was a good year for reading; I traveled a bit that year, so there is lot of non-fiction, some old some new in the list for this year.


  • Think twice by Michael Mauboussin

Quotes- Three ways to add value

If I have to lose all the blogs that I follow, read, and just choose one, it will be Seth Godin’s blog.

It’s concise and the most consistent outside thing in my life.  I admire the consistency of the posts.

Here are few quotes or highlighted texts collected over last year.

  • The key question to ask in the meeting is: Are we increasing value or lowering costs? -SG
  • Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible –SG
  • A small thing, repeated, is not a small thing. –SG
  • Science is not something to believe or not believe. It is something to do. –SG
  • Nurturing and investing in the things we need and count on needs to be higher on the agenda. –SG
  • One clue that someone does not understand a problem is that they need a large number of variables and factors to explain it. –SG
  • Everyone has feelings and opinions, but the future ignores them. -SG
  • Bad decisions happen for one of two reasons: A. you’re in a huge hurry and you can’t process all the incoming properly. But more common… B. The repercussions of your decision won’t happen for months or years. -SG
  • The goal isn’t to clear the table, the goal is to set the table. –SG
  • 3 ways to add value: Tasks, decisions, and initiation… Doing, choosing, and starting… Each of the three adds value, but one is more prized than the others. -SG
  • We always have a choice, but often, it’s a good idea to act as if we don’t. -SG
  • Writing a sentence is easy. Deciding what to write in the next sentence is hard. -SG
  • The local requires less commitment, feels less risky, doesn’t demand a point of view. The express, on the other hand, always looks like a better idea after you’ve embraced it and gotten to where you meant to go. Express or local? -SG
  • There are people who can cut corners better than you, work more hours than you and certainly work cheaper than you. But what would happen if you became the person who was smarter, better at solving problems and cared the most? -SG
  • The simplest antidote to a tough day is generosity. Waves are free, and smiles are an irresistible bonus. -SG
  • New days require new decisions. –SG
  • The thing about responsibility is that it’s most effectively taken, not given. –SG
  • …When in doubt, do the generous thing. It usually works out the best. -SG
  • When leading a team, it’s tempting to slow things down for the people near the back of the pack. It doesn’t matter, though. They’ll just slow down more. They like it back there. In fact, if your goal is to get the tribe somewhere, it pays to speed up, not slow down. They’ll catch up -SG
  • We notice what we care about and work hard to ignore the rest. You can change what you care about by changing what you notice –SG
  • If you’re the kind of person that needs a crisis to move forward, feel free to invent one. Take the good ideas that aren’t going anywhere and delete them, give them away, hand them off to your team. -SG
  • When we can see these glitches as clowns, as temporary glitches that are unrelated to the cosmic harmony of the universe or even the next thing that’s going to happen to us, they’re easier to compartmentalize. -SG

5 Book Recommendations for the summer.

From the books, I have read so far, here are the five I think should be worth a read.

From how your vegetarian friend is changing the world, to getting to know Mendel. From X chromosomes to placing bets, the recommended books have lot to offer.

All of them are enjoyable read. Books should be able to take you to a different place and time and these books all deliver on that.

  1. The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives by David Bainbridge
  2. Adopt by Tim Hartford
  3. The Gene An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  4. Skin in the Game – The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Taleb
  5. Thinking in Bets – Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by Annie Duke

All links point to good reads, if you want to know more.

Books in 2017

In 2016, I read close to 75 books. In 2017, the goal was to read half that much and I managed to do more.  Thanks to the 3 mile daily commute to office.  Don’t  know about the waistline, but brain really did get some exercise during those walks. I love these walks. This is one thing will miss the most when I get back.

Here’s the list of books. More latter

  • A field guide to lies by Daniel J Levinit
  • Messy by Tim Harford
  • Proof-The science of Booze by Adam Rogers
  • Everything Is Bullshit: The greatest scams on Earth revealed by Priceonomics
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth
  • Made in America by Sam Walton
  • The little book of common sense investing By John C Boggle
  • Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu
  • The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins
  • A Mind For Numbers by Barbara Oakley
  • Your inner fish by Neil Shubin
  • The theory that would not die by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne
  • Pre suation by Robert Chaildini
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  • The dance of the possible by Scot Berkun
  • Margin of safety by Seth Klarman
  • Unweaving the rainbow by Richard Dawkins
  • The Wisest One in the Room by Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross
  • Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras
  • The Agile Gene by Mat Ridley
  • The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos
  • Think Simple by Ken Segall
  • Mindwise By Nicholas Epley
  • Think, act and invest like Warren buffet by Larry Swedroe
  • Ignorance by Stuart Firestein
  • The world is flat by Thomad Friedman
  • How we got to now by Steven Johnson
  • The Little Book of String Theory by Steven Scott Gubser
  • A million years in a day by Greg Jenner
  • Superforecastors by Philip E Tetlock
  • Infinitesimal by Amir Alexander
  • Brain briefs by Mat Markman
  • Wining the brain game by Mathew E May
  • Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian
  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Attention Merchants by  Tim su
  • The undoing project by Michael Lewis
  • Super crunchers by Ian Ayres [A]
  • Idiot brain by Dean Burnet
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • Sex at dawn by Christopher Ryan
  • The checklist manifesto by Atul Gawande
  • Every data by John H. Johnson, and Mike Gluck
  • How the Zebra Got Its Stripes by Leo Grasset
  • The man who knew infinity by Robert Kanigel
  • Vertical by Stephen Graham
  • Everything bad is good for you by Steven Johnson
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Money machine by Gary Smith
  • The most human human by Brain Christian
  • Predictably irrational by Dan Airely
  • Wonderland by Stephen Johnson
  • A fortunate universe by Geraint Lewis
  • Damned lies and statistics by Joel Best
  • Origin by Dan Brown
  • Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
  • Emergence by Stephen Johnson
  • Unlucky 13 by James Patterson
  • 50 things that shaped the modern economy by Tim Hartford
  • Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland
  • Tao of Charlie by David Clark
  • Money the unauthorised biography by Felix Martin
  • Barking at the wrong tree by Eric Barker
  • A History of the World in Sixteen Ship wreck – Stewart Gordon
  • The power of moments by Dan and Chip Heath
  • The stone rose by Jacqueline Rayner [P]

Books in 2016

Book reading wise, 2016 was great. Learning new things, it was fantastic. Everything else, it was so so.

Here’s the word cloud of the book names. Looks like a brain. Really nice!

Here’s the full list of the books. A mix bunch of books but unfortunately not many on investing that I would have liked to see.

Data a love story

Amy Webb

59 seconds think a little, change a lot

Richard Wiseman

The Reluctant Mr Darwin

David Quammen

Darwin among machines

George Dyson

Math Geek: From Klein Bottles to chaos theory

Rosen, Raphael 

Letters from a Father to His Son Entering College

Charles Franklin Thwing


Guns, germs and Steel

Jared Diamond

Give and Take

Adam Grant

Packing for Mars

Mary Roach

The ISIS  apocalypse

Willam McCants

Respecting truth

Lee McIntyre

Why sex is fun

Jared Diamond 

Deep work

Cal Newport 

When to Rob a Bank

Steven D. Levitt



Ian Leslie

The Making of the Fittest

Sean B. Carroll

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer

The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton M. Christensen

Value Investing: A Value Investor’s Journey Through The Unknown

Neely, J. Lukas

The Tell-Tale Brain

Ramachandran, V. S.

Black Box Thinking

Matthew Syed

Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Johnson


The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

Gertner, Jon

The Wisest One in the Room

Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross

Smarter Faster Better

Duhigg, Charles

I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford

Richard Snow

Pebbles of Perception

Laurence Endersen

The black swan

Nicolas N Taleb

The human advantage

Suzana Herculano-Houze


Jonathan Glancey

Food Rules

Michael Pollan


Made to Stick

Chip Heath

A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind

David J. Helfand

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Anders Ericsson

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Stone, Brad

Brain Bugs

Dean Buonomano

The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them

Peter Mallouk

Fooled by Randomness

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A Little History of Science

William Bynum


Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)

Tom Vanderbilt


Matthew Syed

The Halo effect

Phil Rosenzweig

Methods of Persuasion

Kolenda, Nick

Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules

Jeremy C. Miller

I Don’t

Susan Squire


Ego Is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday

How to teach quantum mechanics to your dog

Chad Orzel


Jared Mason Diamond

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Richard Rhodes

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Richard H. Thaler


The art of doing twice the work in half the time

Jeff Sutherland 

The Ascent of money

Niall Ferguson


Chip and Dan Heath

The Red Queen

Matt Ridley

Creativity Inc.

Ed Catmull


Move your bus

Ron Clark

Concentrated investing

Allen C Belleno 


Adam Grant



Yuval Noah Harari

Do gentlemen really prefer blondes

Jena Pencott


The memory code

Lynne Kelly

The evolution of everything

Mat Ridley

How Not to Be Wrong : The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Jordan Ellenberg 

Bad Science

Linda Gimmerman

Eureka How inventions happen

Gavin Weightman

How memory works

Robert Madigan

From the Big Bang to Your Cells: The Remarkable Story of Minerals

Raye Kane


Naked money

Charles wheels

On intelligence

Jeff Hawkins

One to nine

Andrew Hodges


Robert Cialdini



Dan Brown


Allan Chapman

100 baggers

Christopher Mayer

What technology wants

Kevin Kelly

Homo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari



What are you favourite data science books?


Recently someone on my the blog asked me about some book ideas on data science and today I saw this post on ebooks available on data science, so here you go.

Please visit the link for the freely available ebooks.

A good shout out for the good folks at parralledots. (I like the name!!)

My pick, definitely the think Bayes, and think stats. What are your favourite data science books?


Machine learning: Thou aimest high.

Was reading the book Why Nation fails by by Daron Acemoglu and found this anecdote. This reminded me of similar thoughts, many have advocated about artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In 1583 William Lee returned from his studies at the University of Cambridge to become the local priest in Calverton England. Elizabeth I (1558–1603) had recently issued a ruling that her people should always wear a knitted cap. Lee recorded that “knitters were the only means of producing such garments but it took so long to finish the article. I began to think. I watched my mother and my sisters sitting in the evening twilight plying their needles. If garments were made by two needles and one line of thread, why not several needles to take up the thread.”

This momentous thought was the beginning of the mechanization of textile production. Lee became obsessed with making a machine that would free people from endless hand-knitting. He recalled, “My duties to Church and family I began to neglect. The idea of my machine and the creating of it ate into my heart and brain.” Finally, in 1589, his “stocking frame” knitting machine was ready. He travelled to London with excitement to seek an interview with Elizabeth I to show her how useful the machine would be and to ask her for a patent that would stop other people from copying the design.

He rented a building to set the machine up and, with the help of his local member of Parliament Richard Parkyns, met Henry Carey, Lord Hundson, a member of the Queen’s Privy Council. Carey arranged for Queen Elizabeth to come see the machine, but her reaction was devastating. She refused to grant Lee a patent, instead observing, “Thou aimest high, Master Lee. Consider thou what the invention could do to my poor subjects. It would assuredly bring to them ruin by depriving them of employment, thus making them beggars.”

Crushed, Lee moved to France to try his luck there; when he failed there, too, he returned to England, where he asked James I (1603–1625), Elizabeth’s successor, for a patent. James I also refused, on the same grounds as Elizabeth. Both feared that the mechanization of stocking production would be politically destabilizing. It would throw people out of work, create unemployment and political instability, and threaten royal power. The stocking frame was an innovation that promised huge productivity increases, but it also promised creative destruction.

I am not smart enough to know if the apprehensions are right or wrong, but as a machine learning enthusiast, I am fascinated with the field. 

Deep learning, AI, ML are tools like knife and hammer that we are now beginning to understand better and put them to practical use.
Exciting times.

Switch from Discrete Mathematics to Probability, Statistics

From the book Foundations of Data Science by John Hopcroft and Ravindran Kannan

Computer science as an academic discipline began in the 60’s. Emphasis was on programming languages, compilers, operating systems, and the mathematical theory that supported these areas. Courses in theoretical computer science covered finite automata,regular expressions, context free languages, and computability.

In the 70’s, algorithms was added as an important component of theory. The emphasis was on making computers useful. Today, a fundamental change is taking place and the focus is more on applications.

There are many reasons for this change. The merging of computing and communications has played an important role. The enhanced ability to observe, collect and store data in the natural sciences, in commerce, and in other fields calls for a change in our understanding of data and how to handle it in the modern setting. The emergence of the web and social networks, which are by far the largest such structures, presents both opportunities and challenges for theory

All this entails, there is the switch from discrete mathematics to more emphasis on probability and statistics.

Amazing Machine Learning in 1950!! 

Watch this excellent videos from the 1950’s that demonstrates machine learning. Amazing!

Learnt about this from the book on Bell Labs that’s one of my top recommended read for anyone.

If you are interested in Machine Learning, don’t miss this other video on Algorithms and Techniques that are changing our world




From birth of transistor to tell tale brain

In the last post I listed my reading list for the year. Someone asked, which books will I recommend from this stack?
The books that come to the mind are…

1. The bell labs

Engrossing account of the birth of transistors and otheri bell lab inventions. Loved the way how the chapters were framed and how each was organized. 

2. Gun germs and steel

Long book but fascinating in many ways. Takes you back in time and unfolds the history bit by bit. Highly recommended. 

3. The tell tale brain

Another fascinating book. I thought I knew enough about the brain and this book explained everything I knew with a neurological twist. Loved it. After reading this you will never see brain with the same eyes. 

4. Survival of the fittest

Evolution from a genes perspective. Loved it and many a times, turned to YouTube to experience and learn more. 

5. Black swan

This is again a long book but fascinating. Read it for the longest time and still marinating on some of it idea. Cryptic language but love the way the author was playing with the reader throughout the books narrative. 
6. I built the Industrial Age Henry Ford

Started the book thinking I know the crux of the topic but found lot of new perspective. The author transforms the reader to a time when cars were just introduced. It reminds me of the digital and mobile transformation that is happening now. Loved the entire book although felt the organisation of chapters was a bit off for me.

Do you have any recommendations?

Reading for the summer 

I didn’t realise the power of a daily routine until the time I sat down to jot down this list in excel. 

After reading so many reading list type blog posts in my social media newsfeed, I decided to collate my reading so far. Here’s the list. A significant increase from the past and all because of two decision made in January.

A daily reading habit for 30 minimum minutes and no TV in the evening.  

  • Data a love story by Amy Webb
  • 59 seconds think a little, change a lot by Richard Wiseman
  • The Reluctant Mr Darwin by David Quammen
  • Darwin among machines by George Dyson
  • Math Geek: From Klein Bottles to chaos theory by Rosen, Raphael
  • Letters from a Father to His Son Entering College by Charles Franklin Thwing
  • Guns, germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • Give and Take by Adam Grant
  • Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
  • The ISIS apocalypse by Willam McCants
  • Respecting truth by Lee McIntyre
  • Why sex is fun by Jared Diamond
  • Deep work by Cal Newport
  • When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt
  • Curious by Ian Leslie
  • The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll
  • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Value Investing: A Value Investor’s Journey Through The Unknown by Neely, J. Lukas
  • The Tell-Tale Brain by Ramachandran, V. S.
  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
  • Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
  • The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Gertner, Jon
  • The Wisest One in the Room by Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross
  • Smarter Faster Better by Duhigg, Charles
  • I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford by Richard Snow
  • Pebbles of Perception by Laurence Endersen
  • The black swan by Nicolas N Taleb
  • The human advantage by Suzana Herculano-Houze
  • Concorde by Jonathan Glancey
  • Food Rules by Michael Pollan
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath
  • A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age: Scientific Habits of Mind by David J. Helfand
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Stone, Brad
  • Brain Bugs by Dean Buonomano
  • The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them by Peter Mallouk
  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • A Little History of Science by William Bynum
  • Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
  • Bounce by Matthew Syed
  • The Halo effect by Phil Rosenzweig
  • Methods of Persuasion by Kolenda, Nick
  • Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules by Jeremy C. Miller
  • I Don’t by Susan Squire

What are you reading right now? 

The secret to balancing work and play

BooksToReadI like google photos on my smart phone. Love the way it organises the photos. I particularly like the feature “This day a year ago”…

Wish I had similar feature in my ebook reader, until that time, I will keep revisiting my notes from the already read books.

Here’s a note I stumbled across today. This is from book The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun, which was one of the last year’s read..

The secret to balancing work and play is thinking of the mind as a filter. Instead of binary switches—open vs. closed, creative vs. routine—we want a sliding scale of openness that we can control.

If you want new ideas, you have to slide toward openness, turning some filters off, exploring thoughts you’d ordinarily reject offhand. Do this until some interesting ideas are found; then, gradually turn more filters on until you’re left with a handful that are both good and practical for the problem at hand.

Choosing which filters to apply when has much to do with successful innovation; it’s not just having an open mind, it’s also knowing when to postpone certain judgements, and then when to bring them back in.

If a mind is always open, it never finishes anything; if a mind is never open, it never starts.

Google are you listening!!!

Four Thoughts For 2016

Four thoughts from the readings (including books) in 2015 for 2016.


Sharing it here. 
Think Long Term

If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue. 

-Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said this in an interview in 2011

Be a Learning Machine

As far as knowledge is concerned, Charlie Munger says – “The more basic knowledge you have, the less new knowledge you have to get.”

It’s not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning. And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here. [Source: Munger; USC 2007]

Life is long enough

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

-Seneca wrote

Be thankful for what you got

I am sometimes taken aback by how people can have a miserable day or get angry because they feel cheated by a bad meal, cold coffee, a social rebuff or a rude reception. We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance of occurrence of monstrous proportions. Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of earth. The speck of dust represents the odds in favor of your being born; the huge planet would be the odds against it. So stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t be like the ingrate who got a castle as a present and worried about the mildew in the bathroom. Stop looking at the gift horse in the mouth – remember you are a Black Swan. 

[Source: Taleb; The Black Swan]

Books 2015

Almost all the blogs I follow had a book post this week, that reminded me to look at my reading list for this year. 

So here is it from top to bottom. 

This year was an interesting mix of books and I see an increased focus on investing.

  • The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
  • Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd
  • Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
  • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
  • The Little Book of Economics by Ip, G.
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal
  • The Little Book of Big Profits from Small Stocks by Hilary Kramer
  • The Little Book of Valuation: How to Value a Company, Pick a Stock and Profit (Little Books. Big Profits) by Damodaran, Aswath
  • In Defense of Food by Pollan, Michael
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, Daniel
  • The Element by Ken Robinson
  • The Armchair Economist -Economics & Everyday Life by Landsburg, Steven El
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You By Newport, Cal
  • Purple cow by Seth Godin
  • Being Mortal Atul Gwande
  • Seeking wisdom from Darwin to Charlie Munger by Peter
  • The Warren Buffet Portfolio by Robert G
  • The Myth of innovation by Scott Berken
  • Permission marketing by Seth Godin
  • The little book of big dividend investing by Charles B. Carlson and Terry Savage
  • The road less travel by M. Scott Peck
  • The Wright Brothers By David McCullough
  • How to drive a tank and other everyday tips for the modern gentleman – Frank Coles
  • The Wandering Mind by Michael C Cornallis
  • Rise of robots: technology and the threat of a jobless future by Martin Ford
  • All marketers are liars by Seth Godin
  • Irrationally yours: on missing stocks, pickup lines and other existential puzzles by Dan Ariely
  • The road to character by David Brooks
  • Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman by Ralph Leighton
  • The selfish gene by Richard Dawkins
  • Misbehaving: the making of behavioral economics by Richard H Thaler
  • Carrots and Sticks by Ian Ayres
  • The invisible gorilla by Chistopher Chabris
  • Standard Deviations by Gary Smith
  • Think twice by Michael J. Mauboussin
  • Stumbling on happiness Daniel Gilbert
  • The rational optimist by Mat Ridley

If I have to choose choose top 5 among the lot then this is the list in no particular order.

  1. Charlie Chaplin
  2. Surely you are joking Mr Feynman
  3. Rational Optimist
  4. Think Twice
  5. Stumbling upon happiness. 

What are your fav reads for 2015?