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Sunday, July 31, 2016

PERSONAL SPECIAL......................... People Who Learn Faster Have These 2 Characteristics

People Who Learn Faster Have These 2 Characteristics
here are many types of intelligence, from emotional to bodily-kinesthetic, linguistics, and beyond. There are also just as many learning techniques. Anyone who turns to the internet for tips on tricks on how to learn faster will find a staggering number of views on the subject. It’s trendy to want to learn more, better, and faster. It’s a hot topic and the experts have a lot to say.
If you want to learn faster but are tired of the hype, take note of these two common traits among individuals who learn faster.

1. They have growth mindsets and pursue knowledge with curiosity.

Growth mindset individuals believe in possibility, including their ability to grow. Aware that they can develop and change their intelligence, these learners are less likely to shy away from challenging things. Fixed mindset individuals, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid subjects in which they struggle. They also despair when they are overlooked for promotion or receive negative feedback from bosses or coworkers. When it comes to learning, those who develop growth mindsets have a clear advantage.
Inquisitiveness serves another important role in the making of a fast learner. Their curiosity leads them to new subjects. The more they learn, the greater their appetite for novelty. Sure, a fast learner might double as a walking encyclopedia when it comes to specialized topics like the RMS Titanic, but these knowledge seekers also pursue the unique, and the brain thrives on challenge. Giving the brain new material makes it sharper and faster, and therefore more sensitive to error. The brain is truly capable of change. Fast learners become increasingly faster with practice.

2. They are more sensitive to errors and then to learn from them.

Fast learners are able to deduce meaning from abstract or obscure information through reason. For example, they can approach a convoluted argument, identify the key points, and extrapolate the essential meaning. Individuals who excel at learning use deductive reasoning to problem solve, judge positions based on evidence, and manipulate information to develop new arguments. They synthesize new material by drawing connections to other pieces of knowledge they’ve acquired. The ability to infer also allows these learners to guess more quickly and accurately than average learners.
Growth mindset individuals also demonstrate differences in the brain from those with fixed mindsets. Numerous studies have shown that people learn more effectively when their brains exhibit two properties. 
These learners have larger error-related negativity (ERN) signals, suggesting a bigger initial response to mistakes. They also show more consistent error-related positivity (Pe) signals, which indicates that they are probably paying attention to the error and, therefore, trying to learn from it.

The Value of Hard Work

Arguably the most critical quality for quick learning is the willingness to work hard. You may be the next Einstein in terms of natural ability, but your talent is of little value if you don’t work diligently to improve your learning. Having some grit is one of the qualities that distinguishes amateurs from experts across all fields.
Having grit is like having a strong immune system. It prevents us from giving up when met with adversity. For example, if we make a mistake and misread the instructions on a test, having determination helps us learn from the experience. We’re much less likely to make the same mistake twice if we’ve paid attention and adjusted our behavior accordingly. People with sticktoitiveness are definitely members of the growth mindset camp. They persevere with their inquisitions because they have allowed themselves to make mistakes.
Fixed mindset, perfectionist people of the world beware! Hard-working and investigative thinkers are out-learning you in big ways. They believe in their ability to learn and defy the fear of failure. With greater feelings of self-worth, they remain committed to their interests. Growth mindset learners approach life with more creativity and are always up for a challenge.

COMMUNICATION SPECIAL........................... Doctors Say Your Word Choice Can Hugely Change Your Brain

Doctors Say Your Word Choice Can Hugely Change Your Brain
Be careful because the next word you say could determine how your day is, or the rest of your life might pan out. Doctors at Thomas Jefferson University explained that the choice of our words could actually have more impact on our lives than we actually think. Think the words of “I can’t”, “I won’t” or “it’s tough”, are harmless? Use them long enough and it will literally change your brain and here’s why.
Positive words strengthens frontal lobe
Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldmen, authors of life-changing book, “Words can change your brain”, wrote that “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” By using more positive words in our daily lives, the areas of our frontal lobes are exercised, making it more effective.
By stimulating frontal lobe activity, you are developing an area that is in charge of telling you what is right from wrong and the ability to override and suppress socially unacceptable responses. As a result of frequent use of positive words, it will then give you the motivation to take charge of your life and your choices.
Negative words increase stress hormones
So what happens when we use too much negative words? The use of negative words activates the fear response in us which raises the levels of our stress hormones which the Amygdala is responsible for. Too much negativity and we become edgy as the stress hormones take over our body.
Although it might be true that a little stress is good for our bodies, but too much of it can cause many problems to our physical and mental health.
Changing the way we view ourselves and others
The doctors added further that the use of positive language can start to change the functions of the parietal lobe which is in charge of how we view ourselves and others. With a positive view of ourselves through the use of positive and encouraging words, it will make us lean towards seeing the good in others too.
However, a negative self-image brought about by negative use of language can fill us with suspicion and doubt causing us to be more wary of others which changes the way we behave socially.
The experiment
Studies were conducted to see whether it is true that using uplifting words can help to rewire our brain and thought processes. A group of adults ranging from age 35 to 54 were tasked to write down three things every day for the next 3 months that make them the happiest and why they chose those three.
Three months into the study and it showed that these adults felt more happy and less depressed. The study was also able to tell us that we are all capable of rewiring our brains to become more positive by focusing on the events that make us happy instead of events that don’t.
Practical methods of using positive language
When we’re angry, there are many times when we use words which we regret using once we cool down. Experts say that this is because when angry words are used, they partially shut down the areas of logic and reasoning located in our frontal lobe. The amygdala which is our center for ‘fight or flight’ responses will then take over. This explains why most of us are not able to think before reacting when we are angry. Some experts term it, ‘amygdala hijacking’.
With the habit of using positive language, we can train our frontal lobes to be more effective even when we’re angry so that we become more logical when dealing with heated situations.
If you are currently unaware of whether you are using more positive words than negative words, start to pay attention to your word choice and write them down if you can. Also, to put yourself in a more positive frame of mind, try writing down 3 things that makes you happy every day and start to see that positive change in your life.

BOSS SPECIAL....................... 2 Words Every Great Leader Says Constantly

2 Words Every Great Leader Says Constantly
When you don't say these words, you rely entirely on your own power and control.
I had asked one of my employees to come into work early.
I was managing a small team of graphics professionals, those people who know how to use Photoshop to create works of art and can design websites in their sleep. I always felt a little unqualified. (If you must know, my college background and training are in journalism, not graphic design or computers.) She was not that excited about the idea and she let me know by berating me for 30 minutes straight.

My big mistake? I forgot to say two simple words.
I'll hold you in suspense here for a bit, because I have another example.
I made a major mistake on an article once, but a copy editor caught it before it went to publication. It would have been embarrassing for all of us, and I was incredibly indebted to this person. This time, I had learned my lesson. Not only did I say the two words, I copied everyone else on the staff and even posted about it on Twitter.

That's right, every great leader says "thank you" constantly. Here's why.

Good leaders rose to a position of power and control by their own innate resourcefulness. They used the old expression to pull yourself up by the bootstrapsand maybe took the phrase a little too seriously. Good leaders are smart, make good decisions, and tend to run a tight ship. From what I've seen, these leaders are a bit isolated because, you know--they're the only ones who know how to do the work. They sit in a corner office and make silent commands by email. They pull levers that create cogs within the business ecosystem (or send people to the unemployment line). The one common trait of average leaders is they work alone.
Great leaders don't rise to a position of power and control at all. In fact, you might not even notice them. Why is that? Because they blend right into the team and work alongside everyone else. They don't say "thank you" because it's the right thing to do, or a smart business decision, or a way to promote their own rapid propulsion into the upper ranks of management. They say thank you in the same way you might say "thanks" to an Uber driver for reaching your destination on time or you might show gratitude to a waiter who brings the food out while it's actually hot.
What creates a great leader is this sense that there is no way you could ever do anything great and magical in any job unless it was a team effort. Great leaders blend in because they are literally only one of the people on a great team. Just because you write the checks doesn't mean you get to treat people like you write the checks. In fact, the act of "writing the checks" itself is a way to say "thank you" to employees. So is the primo coffee in the snack room. Gratitude, as I've said before, is an attitude. It's particularly important in business. Without it, bad things happen.
Like, for example, getting berated. The employee who came into work early didn't see me as a great leader. She saw me as acurmudgeon. I had hired her, trained her in the job, set her salary, and gave her performance reviews, but because I never said the two words that matter, she didn't really see me as the boss. She didn't work that hard. She did the job and that's it, because my inability to recognize her efforts meant she didn't bother makingany efforts. She eventually left for a better job, likely seeking someone who would recognize what she had to contribute.
Who do you need to thank right now? Take the time to do it. Then, do it again. And again. And again. Look for ways to thank those around you and to realize that you wouldn't be running the accounting department or handling the big PR campaign if it wasn't for the people around you. When you say two simple words, you suddenly unlock a wellspring of goodwill among every single employee.

PERSONAL SPECIAL ........................10 Techniques Used by Manipulators (and How to Fight Them)

10 Techniques Used by Manipulators (and How to Fight Them)

Psychopaths walk among us. Here's how to resist their evilness.
t Pictures/Photofest
Psychopaths aren't just the villains in slasher movies and Wall Street morality tales. They walk among us in offices every day, appearing at first like normal colleagues. One study found that a small but significant portion of business leaders--3 to 4 percent--meet the clinical definition of a psychopath.
The same goes for narcissists. Science shows a touch of narcissism can actually aid business success, but spend any time at all in the world of work and you quickly discover some professionals let their self-love run wild.
The long and short of it is this: In the course of a normal business career you're almost guaranteed to run into a few truly toxic narcissists and psychopaths who will try to abuse and manipulate you. Which is what makes a hugely in-depth Thought Catalog article on the subject so valuable.
Not only does it lay out a whopping 20 techniques toxic people use to get what they want, it also provides suggestions on how to counter their manipulations. The excerpts below might seem extensive, but these 10 short summaries are actually just a small fraction of the advice available in the complete post.
1. Gaslighting
"Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: 'That didn't happen,' 'You imagined it,' and 'Are you crazy?'" Thought Catalog explains. "Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment."
How can you fight back? "Ground yourself in your own reality--sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend, or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect," suggests the post.
2. Projection
You know when toxic people claim all the nastiness that surrounds them is not their fault, but yours? That's called projection. We all do it a little, but narcissists and psychopaths do it a lot. "Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one's negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else," notes Thought Catalog.
The solution? "Don't 'project' your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and don't own any of the toxic person's projections either," the article recommends. "Projecting our own conscience and value system onto others has the potential consequence of being met with further exploitation."
3. Generalizations
You said a co-worker sometimes fails to consider the long-term ramifications of a certain financial decisions. The office psychopath claims you called him "a loose cannon." You noted the deal could possibly go south if X, Y, and Z conditions occur. Your narcissistic colleague tells the boss you said the deal is "a disaster."
What's going on? It's not just that your nemesis didn't understand what you said. It's that he or she had no interest in understanding.
"Malignant narcissists aren't always intellectual masterminds--many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that don't acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives you've paid homage to," Thought Catalog says, summing up this behavior.
To counter it, "hold onto your truth and resist generalizing statements by realizing that they are in fact forms of black and white illogical thinking."
4. Moving the goal posts
"Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as 'moving the goalposts' in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after you've provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof," says Thought Catalog.
Don't play that game. "Validate and approve of yourself. Know that you are enough and you don't have to be made to feel constantly deficient or unworthy in some way," advises the article.
5. Changing the subject
Switching conversational topics sounds innocent enough, but in the hands of a master manipulator, a change of subject becomes a means to avoid accountability. "Narcissists don't want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them," notes Thought Catalog.
This sort of thing can go on forever if you let it, making it impossible to actually engage on the relevant issue. Try "the "broken record method" to fight back: "Continue stating the facts without giving in to their distractions. Redirect their redirection by saying, 'That's not what I am talking about. Let's stay focused on the real issue.' If they're not interested, disengage and spend your energy on something more constructive."
6. Name-calling
Just because you've been dealing with this one since you encountered your first playground bully doesn't make it any less destructive (and apparently it continues all the way up to presidential politics).
Simply don't tolerate it. "It's important to end any interaction that consists of name-calling and communicate that you won't tolerate it," Thought Catalog says. "Don't internalize it: Realize that they are resorting to name-calling because they are deficient in higher level methods."
7. Smear campaigns
"When toxic types can't control the way you see yourself, they start to control how others see you; they play the martyr while you're labeled the toxic one. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name," explains Thought Catalog.
Sometimes true evil geniuses will even divide and conquer, pitting two people or groups against each other. Don't let them succeed. "Document any form of harassment," advises the post, and make sure not to rise to the bait and let the person's horribleness provoke you into behaving in just the sort of negative ways they've falsely attributed to you.
8. Devaluation
Beware when a colleague seems to love you while aggressively denigrating the last person who held your position. "Narcissistic abusers do this all the time--they devalue their exes to their new partners, and eventually the new partner starts to receive the same sort of mistreatment as the narcissist's ex-partner," says the post. But this dynamic can happen in the professional realm as well as the personal one.
Simple awareness of the phenomenon is the first step to countering it. "Be wary of the fact that how a person treats or speaks about someone else could potentially translate into the way they will treat you in the future," Thought Catalog cautions.
9. Aggressive jokes
The problem isn't your sense of humor, it's the hidden intention of that cutting joke. "Covert narcissists enjoy making malicious remarks at your expense. These are usually dressed up as 'just jokes' so that they can get away with saying appalling things while still maintaining an innocent, cool demeanor. Yet any time you are outraged at an insensitive, harsh remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor," the post says.
Don't let the office abuser gaslight you into thinking it was all innocent fun--it wasn't.
10. Triangulation
One of the smartest ways truly toxic people distract you from their nastiness is by focusing your attention on the supposed threat of another person. This is called triangulation. "Narcissists love to 'report back' falsehoods about what others say about you," warns Thought Catalog. To resist the tactic, realize that the third party in the drama is being manipulated as well--he or she is another victim, not your enemy.
You can also try "reverse triangulation," or "gaining support from a third party that is not under the narcissist's influence."


AI SPECIAL............................. An Advocate of Deep Learning Digital Leadership

An Advocate of Deep Learning
Digital Leadership

Andrew Ng, chief scientist of Baidu Research, sees artificial intelligence as part of a larger socially valuable endeavor.
In the field of artificial intelligence, the phrase deep learning applies to software that improves its model of reality with experience. Consider, for example, a project developed at Google in 2012, in which a neural network running on 16,000 computer processors, browsing through 10 million YouTube videos, began on its own to identify and seek out one of the most popular YouTube genres: cat videos.
The then director of that project, Andrew Ng, went on to become the founding chief scientist at Baidu Research, an innovation center run by the giant Web services company Baidu. The parent company owns the largest search engine in China, along with Chinese-language browsers, online encyclopedias, social networks, and other Web-based services. According to the company, Baidu responds to more than 6 billion search requests from more than 138 countries every day. Because search engines and advertising placement platforms (such as Baidu’s Phoenix Nest) depend on artificial intelligence (AI) to satisfy vague or ambiguous requests, the company — along with Google, Microsoft, and other providers of internet guidance — has a natural interest in machine learning. Thus, Baidu Research, formed in 2014 in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a nexus of leading global AI research; it contains three facilities: Big Data Lab, the Institute of Deep Learning, and the Silicon Valley AI Lab.
Cooperation between human and machine intelligence is a motif in Ng’s career. As a computer science professor at Stanford University in 2008, he began teaching an online course in machine learning. This eventually developed into a flagship class in the university’s much-heralded MOOC (massive open online course) platform. Enrollment in this and similar classes grew rapidly, reaching more than 100,000 students within a few years. In 2012, Ng and his Stanford colleague Daphne Koller founded Coursera, an educational technology company that offers students free online courses from top-tier universities. Ng remains its chairman and has also kept his affiliation with Stanford.
Ng is a leading advocate of technological development, speaking regularly about the benefits of having smart devices in everyday life. These devices can recognize and obey voice commands; conduct precision operations in agriculture, finance, manufacturing, and medicine; and prevent motor vehicle accidents. In recent essays on autonomous vehicles, Ng has openly described Baidu’s plan to put commercial, self-driving cars on the road by 2018, pending expedited regulatory approvals. Citing the way that railroads were introduced in the 19th century, Ng suggests that policymakers, technology companies, and government agencies collaborate in public–private partnerships. The parties could test solutions, modify transportation infrastructure, and educate the public about autonomous vehicles and how they will affect society. To address fears about job loss through automation, he favors a similarly comprehensive approach: a universal basic income, which would provide financial support for people who committed themselves to being lifelong learners.
Ng sat down with strategy+business after his talk at the San Francisco Structure Data conference in March. In conversation, he continually returned to the same theme he had emphasized at the conference. Companies would benefit most, he said, from an end-to-end strategy that is optimized for a higher return on value — to the individual, to the enterprise, and ultimately to the world.

S+B: What is deep learning, and what value does it bring to an organization?
 Deep learning is a new take on ideas that have been around for decades. People first began experimenting with artificial neural networks, loosely inspired by the brain, years ago. But only recently have we had the computing power, data, and expertise to create networks that learn a hierarchy of concepts in an emergent manner without guidance or design by a human programmer. [These deep learning networks] can help extract patterns from, and make sense of, the complex data inside today’s organizations.
Several years ago, we saw deep learning beginning to work really well compared with more traditional AI approaches. Older generations of AI algorithms didn’t know what to do with all the data we now have.
In the last five years, we finally have developed the scale of computation needed to build neural networks that are large enough to exploit the huge amounts of data that we collect through internet and mobile usage. By building huge neural networks, we can measure the performance of our deep learning algorithms, and their performance just keeps going up as we feed in more and more data. This means we can make far more accurate predictions and models, and use the huge amounts of data we gather to address problems in companies.
For quite a few companies, deep learning is driving tremendous amounts of revenue. Web searches and online advertising are probably the most important short-term applications. The search results are much more relevant to users, which is good for advertisers, good for users, and good for us.
S+B: How do you see this evolving during the next decade?
 I see the leading edge of deep learning shifting toward high-performance computing. My teams and I have been building very large supercomputers to take advantage of the huge amounts of data that we have.
Most of the short-term economic value from deep learning today is what we call supervised learning. For example: When given an email, the program predicts whether it is spam. Or given an ad, it predicts whether the user will click on this ad. We’ve already created tremendous value from supervised learning. And I think we’re on a clear path over the next several years to create amazing amounts of additional value.
But looking a little further out, I see many projects, such as image recognition and speech recognition, where deep learning is already making tremendous progress. These will not just drive huge economics for companies, but also help us make the world a much better place.
Just by developing deep learning for self-driving motor vehicles, we can make travel much safer and more convenient, and add years to almost everyone’s lives in terms of both life expectancy and time saved. Depending on whose numbers you believe, the risk of car accidents may shorten our children’s average life expectancy by three years. People in the U.S. also spend an average of three years in a car over their lifetime. Potentially, we can give back six years of worthwhile time to an individual. That seems like a big goal.
S+B: You’re talking about self-driving cars. Are those really feasible anytime soon?
 Yes. I hope that we’ll be able to commercialize self-driving cars in about three years and mass-produce them in five years. These time frames are difficult to predict, but this is our best guess right now.
When I look at the state of self-driving cars today, an analogy [to today’s human-driven cars] seems apt. When your car drives into a construction zone, it must behave differently than when it’s on a regular street. It must drive more slowly, and pay attention to construction workers.
I don’t see it being feasible in the near term for computer vision to reliably distinguish among the hand gestures (like stop, go, and slow down) made by construction workers. But we could solve the problem by making modest infrastructure changes. Give the construction worker a wireless beacon. With modest changes to societal expectations and the way we design and build the roads, we can make self-driving cars a reality. And they will be much safer than human-driven cars.
I want to build a better society with AI, with intelligence embedded throughout the environment’s devices. Speech controls today are like touch screens were in the early 2000s: too rudimentary to be effective. But with the development of the iPhone, Steve Jobs and Apple figured out how to make the touch screen work well. Speech controls will have an equally transformative effect. They will affect every aspect of society. I imagine robot security guards and robots that follow spoken instructions. Someday I hope to have grandchildren who are mystified at how, back in 2016, we would have to adjust the dial on our thermostat, instead of simply telling the house that we were cold.
S+B: You’ve been involved in four major organizations: Stanford, Coursera, Google, and now Baidu. As somebody who has been thinking about deep learning, how do you think we can make a better corporate algorithm?
 I’ve spent a lot of time trying to design a research organization that is responsible for making sure that the technology it invents can really help hundreds of millions of people. We thus refer to Baidu Research as an end-to-end research organization. For example, we have people inventing neural networks, and then figuring out where the data they use will come from and how to incorporate it into products. And, ultimately, how this will improve daily life.
At Coursera, some of my proudest moments happened when top management would face a tough decision, and someone else, not me, would stand up and say, “Let’s go back to basics. Let’s figure out what’s best for learners and do that first.”
I really value it when people step back to think that way. Too many individuals get caught up in doing something because they’ve always done it that way or because others do the same thing. They end up with activities that look useful, but that may not really accomplish much.
S+B: To positively affect the world with AI and technology, humans need to trust the systems. But trust in large systems is eroding. How do you face that issue?
 I think it’s important that we step up to helping government and society address some of the problems associated with AI. For example, one of the biggest challenges is job displacement. As technologists, we should speak openly about that. There are 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States.What will self-driving vehicles do to them? Similarly, what will AI do to specialists in medical imagery? Or to some roles in agriculture? Few people have started to plan for this future.
Generally, new technology creates new, meaningful roles for people, and that will probably happen this time as well. But there is a problem in the interim period. That’s why I support the idea of a guaranteed basic income for people who cannot find jobs. But we should require people who receive that income to study and keep learning. If we could pay the unemployed to gain skills, it would be better for them and for society. The world is changing faster than ever before, and in order to keep up, it’s important that everyone keep learning. 
by Juliette Powell

Saturday, July 30, 2016

BOOK SPECIAL ......................Steve Blank’s Required Reading

BOOK SPECIAL Steve Blank’s Required Reading
From black ops to lean startups, it seems there has never been a dull period in Steve Blank’s career — except, perhaps, the one semester Blank spent at the University of Michigan before dropping out and enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, where he did a stint repairing avionics in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
Blank landed in Silicon Valley in 1978, where he did classified intelligence work for ESL, a government contractor in national reconnaissance. He quickly internalized the entrepreneurial ethic of the valley. By the time he retired two decades later, he had been involved with eight startups, including software company E.piphany, which he cofounded in his living room.
Like an increasing number of baby boomers, Blank didn’t actually retire. He invested in and advised new startups. He wrote a book about building early-stage companies, The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win (K&S Ranch Press, 2003), which is now in its fifth edition. It details Blank’s “customer development process,” a parallel process to product development aimed at ensuring that startups discover viable markets, locate their first customers, validate their product assumptions in their targeted markets, and adapt their products when necessary. And he began teaching classes in entrepreneurship at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University.
These strings all came together when Blank invested in a company cofounded by Eric Ries, who read his book and took his class. Ries incorporated and popularized Blank’s thinking as a cornerstone in the lean startup movement. Blank, to his own surprise, became something of a guru. He wrote a second book, with Bob Dorf, The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company (K&S Ranch Press, 2012), and a third, a collection of his articles titled Holding a Cat by the Tail: Lessons from an Entrepreneurial Life (K&S Ranch Press, 2014).
Blank also designed the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, which has become a standard for science commercialization in the U.S. And his Hacking for Defense class at Stanford applies the principles of lean startups to national security issues for the U.S. defense and intelligence community.
I asked Blank about the books that have influenced him and the books, aside from his, that best explain the lean startup concept. He shared the following titles.
Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the Industrial Enterprise, by Alfred D. Chandler (MIT Press, 1962). “Strategy and Structure, like everything Chandler wrote, is brilliant — turgid (you can read one out every five pages and still get it), but brilliant. The fact that organizational charts were not found chiseled on the pyramids and the notion that structure follows strategy changed my life. Read it because we haven’t quite come up with an organizational model that solves the strategic problems we are facing today with the internet and disruption and speed.”

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, by Clayton M. Christensen (Harvard Business Review Press, 1997). “Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma is the foundational read for managing disruptive innovation. Since then, Christensen, who was channeling Schumpeter, [the inventor of the term ‘creative destruction’], has bounced between arguing that innovation comes from startups and that innovation comes from corporations. The answer, of course, is that he is right in both cases.”

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries (Crown Business, 2011). “Eric is the best student I ever had. He’s the Johnny Appleseed of lean startup, and if it wasn’t for him, I’d be a semiretired teacher who came up with a nice little theory about customer development. He took my work, coupled it to agile engineering, and launched the lean startup movement. His book shows big companies how to become more entrepreneurial.”

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers (Wiley, 2010) and Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want(Wiley, 2014), by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, et. al.“Any idiot can make a complicated thing sound complicated and it takes an artist to make a complicated thing simple, but it takes a genius to make a complicated thing something that someone else can explain — and that’s what Alex enabled us to do with lean startups. He gave us a canvas for the framework. The ratio of number of words to impact is incredible in these books. They are quick, insightful, tactical reads that are respectful of executive time.”

Theodore Kinni

PERSONAL SPECIAL ..................10 Easy Ways to Start Thinking as a Minimalist

10 Easy Ways to Start Thinking as a Minimalist
Minimalism is not only an aesthetic trend about organization and a certain amount of possessions; rather, it is a mindset and an attitude toward life. Thinking as a minimalist means to stop wondering about things you don’t have, what you need, or what could make your life better simplifying your thoughts.
Here’s how.

1. Show gratitude.

Don’t wait to have a certain thing, age, work, or relationship to be grateful for what you already have.

2. Learn to complain less.

Do an experiment and record all the times you complain during the day: while you are driving, being late, if you didn’t like what you ate, if your boss gave you extra work, etc. How many times have you complained? How many of those times did complaining have good result or solve the problem?

3. Stop thinking only about the future.

It’s OK to visualize and plan ahead, but don’t overlook things you can’t control, it is impossible to know what other people will think or feel about you or about certain situations.

4. Exercise.

It’s proven that exercise helps with releasing stress, keeps us healthy, and improves self-confidence. Make your body and well-being a priority and give yourself 30 minutes to move.

5. Never regret.

If you think you did something wrong, don’t just think about it; find a way to fix it and prevent it from happening again. Say what you think and don’t hide your opinion or thoughts without a reason; if you feel love for someone say so!

6. Stop criticizing.

Criticizing others or yourself wont give you any benefits, so why are you wasting your time?

7. Think abundantly.

If you think you have very little time, not much money, and no friends, then that’s what you’re going to attract; however, if you think abundantly and positively, you may find opportunities and reasons to change this mindset easily.

8. Do something that makes you happy every day.

Do this whether it’s having a cup of coffee, cooking a good breakfast, reading, watching a TV series, or whatever — the key is doing it consciously.

9. Enjoy the mornings.

It’s the first part of the day, so having a good attitude toward it can set your mood for the rest of the day. Embracing a morning routine can help you enjoy waking up early. Take some time to do something you like before 9 a.m.

10. Beware of the time you spend on internet.

Although it’s a very entertaining thing to do, watching videos of people doing weird stuff and browsing memes can take away the time you could spend talking to someone special, or doing something productive or creative.

Most of us tend to compare ourselves with what other people are doing, thinking the only way to be successful is by doing what others did, and what’s socially accepted, but having a minimalist mindset and focusing only on what we like to do and what we want bring us a clearer vision of the actions we can perform every day to get closer to our goals.
And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
Time is the one thing we can never be certain about, so there’s no point wasting your present thinking about all the things we’re missing, thinking we’re going to be finally happy when we get that desired job, desired relationship, or whatever it may be; minimalist people significantly reduce their negative thoughts by focusing on what truly matters, investing their time being present, and feeling grateful for what they already have. And even if you don’t live a minimalist lifestyle by owning few possessions, thinking as one can brighten up your days.