Note to self: How to Read Business Books in an hour

(Photo: Flickr)

Inc. has an article that suggest a system to read business books in an hour or less. The concept is somewhat simple. I definitely will try this on the next book.

Guidelines

  • Many business books are broken into thirds. The first third focuses on the context and core ideas, the second third provides an application, and the final third give examples and case studies.
  • Take only 3-5 interesting ideas from it since you won’t remember more within about a week. 

System

1. Read the front and back of the book jacket as well as the introduction.

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The truth about straightforward

Did you know that, even as of today, over a century after cars first invented, driverless-car is still considered one of the challenges remained unsolved by mankind?

Yet, we, human, have been able to drive it from our teen age. One activity that would require super-computers with years of training is mediocre enough for underage nowadays. This is one example of “straightforward” things which is nothing even remotely close to simple to do. We, human, are normally good at seeing broad-picture rather than small details per pixels, thus enabling us to process information with small amount of data at extremely fast rate.

Did you know on NASCAR driver’s brain processes around 100 trillion instructions per second! It’s faster than any computers in the world (Discovery Channel - Brain Power).

Another example would be recommendation. We recommend things, whether it’s books, foods, movies, songs, articles, etc, to our friends. And most of the time, it requires minimum amount of effort on our part. Why? Because we “know” which one is the better than the rest. But, imagine computer program recommending articles for us to read. How would the computer know which is better? On what basis? They can’t even taste the food the way we do. They can’t even listen to the songs the way we do.

Sure, there are other benchmark to produce reliable recommendation, such as peer-reviews, contextual or interest proximity calculation, etc. But the point is, next time you see something and say to yourself that it’s simple enough and should be quite straightforward, stop for a second and think it through. Sure it’s doable, but writing a detailed procedures might not be that straightforward after all.

What Brain Science Says About Leadership

  • At moments of insight, the brain experiences 40Hz oscillations (gamma waves) over the right anterior temporal lobe and just above the right ear.
  • Inspiring leaders use less metabolic energy in the right temporal lobe and cingulate gyrus, which are associated with creativity and speech, among other functions. This may give them moreresources to allocate to specific tasks. 
  • Individuals high in testosterone and low in cortisol are more likely to be seen as dominant and confident. Low testosterone and cortisol levels are linked with nervousness and hesistancy. 

Biblical-style Poking

Sometimes we nudge or poke our friend to reminder or warn them if they’re doing something wrong, or to warn them about something lies ahead. Like when you’re crossing the road, and your friend was messing around with his mobile phone along the way, you poke them to warn them the possible of imminent dangers.

When I was reading a book about Ignatian discernment, I came across one of my favorite verse of God’s way of poking us, which is in the book of Numbers chapter 22.

21Balaam got up and saddled his donkey and set out with the chiefs of Moab.

22His going kindled Yahweh’s anger, and the angel of Yahweh took his stand on the road to bar his way. Balaam was riding his donkey and his two servants were with him.

23Now the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, and she turned off the road into the open country. Balaam then struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.

24The angel of Yahweh then went and stood on a narrow path among the vineyards, with a wall to the right and a wall to the left.

25The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh and scraped against the wall, scraping Balaam’s foot against it, so he struck her again.

26The angel of Yahweh then moved and stood in a place so narrow that there was no room to pass either to right or left.

27When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam flew into a rage and struck the donkey with his stick.

28Yahweh then gave the donkey the power to talk, and she said to Balaam, ‘What harm have I done you, for you to strike me three times like this?’

29Balaam answered the donkey, ‘Because you have been making a fool of me! If I had been carrying a sword, I should have killed you by now.’

30The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey, and have I not been your mount all your life? Have I ever behaved like this with you before?’ ‘No,’ he replied.

31Yahweh then opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed his head and threw himself on his face.

32And the angel of Yahweh said to him, ‘Why did you strike your donkey three times like that? I myself had come to bar your way; while I am here your road is blocked.

33The donkey saw me and turned aside because of me three times. You are lucky she did turn aside, or I should have killed you by now, though I would have spared her.’

34Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, ‘I have sinned. I did not know you were standing in the road to stop me. But if what I am doing displeases you, I will go home again.’

Had it not been the donkey to lead him astray, Balaam would be faced with severe punishment. We plan things and expected that it turned out just the way we want it, but many times it ended up with different outcome, or even the exact opposite. One thing that I always keep in mind, is that God cares and wants the best for each one of us. Like a good, loving Father, He knows what’s best for us, despite what we want for ourselves that aim for short-term pleasure, He has long-term and the best plan that we have yet to grasp. Jesus Himself taught us to pray and express our desire, but in the end, Thy will be done.

Always remember, when your plan didn’t go as you want it, it could be a gentle way of God poking you to lead you to another path. Gotcha Father!

Finally, We Have Passed Marriage Canon Law Investigation

As the final phase of my holy matrimony preparation in the Catholic Church, me and my fiancé had to meet with her parish priest for Canon investigation. As the day gets closer to the appointment, we’re getting a little nervous having heard testimonies of several couples having hard times, and some even have to rearrange the appointment because they couldn’t answer the question properly.

On the appointment date, we came early and prayed for a moment in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle praying for wisdom, and we went to the administration office to see if the priest is ready. Having waited for almost half hour (because we’re early), the priest greeted us and asked us to come with him. It was Fr Agustinus MSC, but I forgot his full name though.

He began by explaining that this session is a formal investigation according to the Canon law of the Catholic Church to check the validity of the marriage to be celebrated. To my curiosity, canon came from Greek word kanon, meaning “straight”, rule. He mentioned that it is “Canon” because the rule is fixed and undeniable. We proceed by making the cross-sign, and making vow on the Holy Bible that we will tell the truth. If my memory serves me well, the word goes like, “I, Ferry, shall tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God”. Kinda cool phrase, like the court witness oath. Then, the investigation began. The first three questions are to make sure that we acknowledge the characteristic of Catholic marriage, which are monogamy (one man and one woman), fruitful (open to the possibility of having children), and indissoluble (one for a lifetime and cannot be separated for any reason). Having answered this question, he asked us why we want to have Catholic Marriage? Our answer were quite similar, that we believe in a marriage, there are not one, not two, but three aspects - that is - man and woman united by God, under God, where Christ reigns and become the head of the local Church (Family is often related as local/small Church).

The next question was emphasized by the priest, so much, that he even asked us to explain our answers. The question was: Do you acknowledge that in the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament? He then asked us each the meaning of a sacrament. I went first to answer, that a sacrament is concrete God’s presence in our life through the Church through the participation of priests as the God’s minister on earth according to what Jesus verbally instructed his disciples to do. My fiancé described that there are 7 sacraments in the Church divided into three category: Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), Service (Matrimony and Holy Order), and Healing (Anointing of the Sick and Penance or Reconciliation). Each person has unique calling on how they suppose to serve with their lives. Some are called to be priests and serve God’s kingdom by being the ministers; these men are called to receive the Sacrament of Holy Order. Some are called to marriage lives, and ran God’s tasks to build families and became His tool to bring new life to the world; these couples (one man and one woman) are called to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony.

It seems that he was quite happy with our answers, and he went on to ask, usually in a sacrament, there is a sign or a medium; water in Baptism, host (unleavened bread) in Eucharist. The question was: what is the form of sacrament in Matrimony. Our answer was, that in Sacrament of Matrimony, the husband and wive become sacrament to one another; the husband to the wive and vice versa. There you have it, the hard part of the interviews is over. The rest of the questions is quite basi, ensuring that the marriage is done with full consent, without force from other parties, and we were qualified to receive this sacrament, that is, having no mental illness, capable of making decisions, and meet the physical criteria.

All and all, we think that the Canon investigations are highly over-rated by many couples. In our opinion, the most important thing is to prepare mentally and spiritually, and ultimately, pray for wisdom and courage =)