Book: Make Trouble by John Waters

John Waters commencement speech at the Rhode Island School of Design was turned into the book, Making Trouble. One famous graduate of the school was Seth MacFarlene, the creator of Family Guy.

Here are the ten quotes I enjoyed from the book:

  1. He’s been able to do what he loves best for fifty years without ever having to get a real job.
  2. Gets up every day at 6 a.m. Monday to Friday and thinks up insane stuff.
  3. Ask for the world and pay no mind if you are initially turned down.
  4. All you need is one person to say “get in,” and off you go. And the confidence begins.
  5. Play is equally import to your education as work
  6. REMEMBER: You must participate in the creative world you want to become part of.
  7. Read, read, read!
  8. Today may be the end of your juvenile delinquency, but it should also be the first day of you new adult disobedience.
  9. Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully.
  10. It’s your turn to make trouble.

Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems

This book is as boring as it sounds and I’m someone who creates systems for a living. The book is about Systems Thinking with the goal of teaching you to become aware of Systems Thinkers. According to the book, there are two main schools of thought when comes to thinking about complex systems when it comes to thinking about large systems. There is Systems Thinking, which is a holistic approach that analyzes the entire system, and Reductionism, which focuses on breaking a system down for further analysis.

I’m fine

I’m fine

This past weekend, I watched the new documentary on Robin Williams. It was brilliant in portraying the Robin Williams we knew and loved. It also showed many of the issues that eventually lead him to take his life.

I’m always surprised when people like Robin take their lives. People who I feel have everything in life. Their doing something they love, they seem to have people who love them, their wealthy, and seem to have every opportunity to do what ever they want.

It’s not just Robin Williams. It’s really celebrity that takes their own life. It’s incredible sad to see someone take their own life when many people would view themselves as ultimate successes if they would have achieved this kind of accomplishments.

I think many of these issues seem to strike men the hardest. It seems to happen due to our, “I’m fine,” mentality. That’s the response most men respond when ever someone asks them how their feeling. It’s how many responded to my inquires about his heart issues. He was gone a few weeks later.

It makes me rethink my attitude towards mental and physical health. There is a terrible stigmatism about mental health. It’s considered a weakness. Really, most men view any kind of sickness as a weakness.

What if we quit saying, “I’m fine?” What if we started recognizing our issues or concerns?

We might face some temporary embarrassment but it least they’d be with us.

Photo: Pellinni

Bayesland

Bayesland

I’ve finally got around to reading Nate Silver’s, The Signal and the Noise, book dealing with predictions. It digs into different areas of business, and the world, people are trying to predict a given event. Nate interviews people in weather forcasting, baseball, seismologists, gambling, stock market, climate change, and politics. Much of the book deals with Bayes’s Theorem, named after Thomas Bayes an English minister born around 1701, which still holds up today. It’s a topic you’ve probably at least heard about if you’ve taken some graduate level courses like an MBA or in your statistics class. They teach the basic equation during the CFA exam. Though I’ve went over the equation a few times, I’ve felt like I’ve had a hard time grasping the details of it to the point where i could recall it on the spot. That’s one of the most beneficial parts of this book. It not only describes Bayes’s Theorem but gives mutliple examples of how people are trying to use this formula in the the real world. It’s driven home the point of how to implement this theorem when dealing with almost any situation whether it’s gambling, terrorist events, cheating boyfriends, or chess tournaments. This theorem is simple yet powerful. We all make predictions on a daily basis. We might not be managing stocks or making million dollar sports bets but we’re deciding the best way to get to work, what should we do with our time, how to handle a situation at work, or whether to buy an item at a particular price. This can all be solved using Bayes’s Theorem.

It’s something you should understand.

See the below breakdown, from Nate Silver’s book, of the different parts of Bayes’s Theorem:

Bayes’s Theorem is concerned with confitional probability. It tells us the probability that a theory or hypothesis is true if some event has happened.

You can answer many questions if you know, or willing to estimate, the below three quantities:

  • Condition of the hypothesis being true: Given new evidence, what is the probability the event did occur?
  • Conditional on the hypothesis being false: Given new evidence, what is the probability the event did not occur?
  • Prior probability: This is your initial estimate of an event happening before you have any new information. Also called, prior.

After estimating the above three values then you can apply Bayes’s theorem to establish a posterior possibility.

  • Posterior possibility is the revised estimate of the event occurring after learning the new information.

15 minutes a day

15 minutes a day

When I’m planning out my daily goals, I like to look at them in 15 minute increments. Instead of looking at a task or goal I still need an hour to complete. I break the task up into 15 minute increments because 15 or 30 minutes of something is better then nothing throughout the day.

That’s my main goal. To get something accomplished each day. I know blocking out an hour of your day for reading might be daunting for many people because most people like to say, “Who has the time?” It’s much more manageable to get 15 minutes accomplished in the monring, 15 minutes during lunch, 15 minutes at the end of the day, and then completing the final 15 min before bed.

15 mintues could usually leads to more than 15 minutes. Sometimes you might end up spending 20 or 30 minutes if you get lost in the task. The hardest part is to start. Breaking tasks into 15 minute increments helps me to start more tasks on my to do list.

15 minutes can help change your life.

Making Lists

Making Lists

The other day i was listening to a talk by Barbara Cochran, from Shark Tank. She mentioned that she starts and ends her day with a list of what she needs to accomplish. A to do list. Then she reviews the list and ranks them priority using ABC method. A’s being the highest priority. For the past few years, i’ve started my day writing out my goals and an action item for each goal. I’ve found it’s useful to completing my tasks towards my goals but often there are nongoal related items that need to get accomplished that i sometimes have a difficult time tracking or getting motivated to achieve. For example, items like taking my car into service, returning a package, or doing soemthing around the house.

I’m going to try the simple method Barbara uses and start making a list every morning and night then ranking my list based on importance.

Weekly Reading 5/21

Some of the articles I’ve been reading this week: