Resources For Everyone

Foundational skills are under-valued. These can seem trivial and basic, and thus not worth studying. “I learned to read when I was a kid!” This mentality is exactly why “How to Read a Book” spawned the satirical “How to Read Two Books.”

Yet, the lower levels skills produce exponential value and growth. Execution is a constant value (execution ability * Time). Learning how to execute better improves your execution by X. Being more effective in the learning you do results in a multiplier of X*Y = (execution ability * Time * X * Y).

If your foundation is strong then everything else will happen faster. These are skills worth investing heavily in.


Understanding how the brain stores and connects facts enables approaches to digesting information that improve its connection to other topics.

It is wasteful to read a book slowly that deserves only a fast readingHow to Read a Book

Having a map of a new concept lets smaller pieces (“chunks”) of knowledge fit into a broader whole, and gives structure to the details you learn later. When reading a book, get a map by first reading the Index and Glossary, then skimming the book. When you then read the book slowly, your understanding will fit into that map and chunks of knowledge will connect together naturally.

To understand more about how your brain learns, Learning How to Learn (Summary) is one of the most popular MOOCs ever for a reason. “Chunking” is a core concept, as is “diffuse thinking,” which is likely what you’re doing as you skim through a book.

It pairs well with How to Read a Book, a classic written in 1940. Its suggested approach to reading surely takes real work, because truly incorporating something into the structure of your brain is not trivial to do. The results can be truly rewarding, however.

Look no further than the combination of these two resources. How to Read a Book describes “Syntopical Reading” — reading two or more books at once — which is exactly what you’d be doing if you read it at the same time as going through Learning How to Learn. Given that How to Read a Book was last revised in 1972, you’ll have to forgive it for not including MOOCs in its options for Syntopical learning.

If your foundation is strong then everything else will happen faster. These are skills worth investing heavily in.


It’s easy to get lost in making tweaks to your productivity system, quickly hitting diminishing returns. Approach your personal systems, including productivity, incrementally: rarely go looking for problems. Instead, focus on identifying and solving real problems you actually have.

How to Be Productive

Getting Things Done is a classic for a reason. Read it, adopt what makes immediate sense, forget about the rest. Come back to it some months later and do the same thing again.


When communication is good, stress melts away. High emotions and blocked communication skyrockets perceived difficulty.

Ironically, the way we communicate often leads to the reactions we are most afraid of. This is usually a self-reinforcing system: we speak that way because we are afraid of the very reactions we will inevitably get. One way to get out of this loop is to learn new skills, such as those taught by Non-Violent Communication (audio version). Don’t be put off by the “violent” misnomer: it’s really saying that the way we communicate has an impact on other people.

It’s a human bias to judge ourselves by the situation, and others by their character, resulting in generalizing a behavioural observation into a broader judgment. This can lead our communication to shift from a complaint (about behaviour or situation) to criticism (evaluation or judgment). The core of Non-Violent Communication is about being objective in your observation of other people, talking about its impact on you or the situation, and doing so in a way that cannot be argued with.

This approach to communicating broadly is also useful for giving feedback, especially from managers to their direct reports. Although they never mention it, Manager Tools has hours of in-depth recommendations on Giving Feedback (all four parts) that is clearly inspired by Non-Violent Communication. If you’ve ever spent hours worrying that someone you’re responsible for managing will (or will not) do something, this approach offers a way to take that weight off your shoulders.


[[TODO: Add more about writing here]]

When someone starts their work by contrasting their viewpoint against others’, and especially when they are contrarian about it, it’s always worth paying attention.



Physical health impacts mental health, and both enable your best work.

If you sit all day, you probably have APT and that’s likely to cause discomfort and/or pain anywhere from your feet to your back. Fix Your Posture

Do your eyes get strained and/or dry after looking at screens all day? Follow the 20-20-20 rule with an app timer.

New Posts by Email