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Derek Sivers just posted more book reviews. That makes today a good day.

So, I've mentioned Derek before around these parts. He's a very sharp guy. Actually, I think his book reviews here - http://sivers.org/book - are basically the best on the internet.

You can get more nuanced, flowery, beautifully written reviews elsewhere. But you can't find as much raw distilled practicality as you will in Derek's reviewing. He takes notes and excerpts as he's reading, and puts his notes online when he's done with the book. 90% of one of his reviews are excerpts, with only 10% commentary.

This in and of itself is actually kind of rare, but other people do that too. What really sets Derek's reviews apart is that he picks the right stuff to excerpt. He's able to separate the fluffy parts of a book from the most actionable and impactful parts. A long, fluffy story that's meant to rouse the heart might get a single line in a Sivers review, but then he'll distill down the most practical elements into a mixed summary checklist that becomes extremely valuable. Since I personally look for practical advice rather than flowery emotional content, this suits me very well.

For instance, check out his review of Chet Holmes "Ultimate Sales Machine" - http://sivers.org/book/UltimateSalesMachine - first, I gotta agree with him on the 10/10. It's one of my top five favorite business books. But then look at how he chooses to excerpt -

TEN STEPS TO IMPLEMENT ANY NEW POLICY: 1. Get everyone to feel the pain 2. Hold a workshop to generate solutions 3. Develop a conceptual solution or procedure 4. Leader personally performs procedure or task 5. Set a deadline for testing the conceptual procedure 6. Document step-by-step procedure or process 7. Have show-and-tell role playing 8. Have another workshop on how to improve 9. Monitor the procedure directly 10. Measure and reward the outcome

Philsophy as an extension of mindfulness

On Shane Dowling's Blog

Recently I read a very interesting mini-tutorial on Marcuse and his book One-Dimensional Man, an apparently brilliant merge of both Freud and Marx. I’d suggest reading the link and forming you’re own opinions on him. I myself found the tutorial brought on convincing points, but more than that I found myself falling back a re-ignition of my own rambling interest in philosophy.

Having been away from it for quite some time, it was nice to put another filter onto reality, to take a political or socio-economic theory, sit it behind my eyes and consider the world around me. If it’s worth reading I almost always gain new insights and it helps to formalise my viewpoints and more importantly take action. I'm well aware I'm not nearly smart enough to contribute to such a debate but I can make significant personal decisions with a renewed clarity. Mindfulness is a wonderful thing, but I’m beginning to realise more and more there’s an extension to this. Not as a directly similar practice but a value in deeper understanding.

Much like the mind-body awareness a daily meditation practice brings, we are also within structures, processes and systems that demand our awareness and not simply passive acceptance at face value. Do this and we risk getting swept up into the norms and that’s an easy way to get manipulated without even realising it. Confused? Check out the link and you’ll understand.

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