Currently Reading: The Theory That Would Not Die By Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

I am about halfway through and this was not what I expected when I began. However, I am thrilled to get the history of Baye’s Theorem and the upheaval that it caused and is still causing. In my line of work, I can see tremendous benefits in understanding and using Baye’s Theorem in quite a few areas. This book has given me, thus far, the upside of the theorem as well as possibly some of the negatives at this point in my reading. I have read The Signal And The Noise by Nate Silver, but this is going to make me go back and syntopically read this, so that I have a much better understanding of this theorem. The author has a great reading list at the end of the book, but if one of our readers has a suggestion of a recent book on the practical use of Baye’s Theorem for a beginner with some knowledge of statistics, it would be much appreciated. I will report on this book more fully when I finish it (hopefully this week!).


Books Of Interest: Education, Autism, And The History Of Ideas, August 24, 2015

The Prize: Who’s In Charge Of America’s Schools? Dale Russakoff

This book tells the story of how Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey received an education from the overseers of education in Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Zuckerberg gave $100 million dollars to turn around the school system, but through our author’s eyes, the fore-mentioned men are taught the power of the charter school movement, extreme economic inequality as well as the power of grass-roots opposition for various reasons. I am trying to understand more of education in general and am coming to the conclusion that it starts in the home and not the other way around.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism And The Future Of Neurodiversity Steve Silberman

I am fascinated by autism after reading Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon and I want to understand exactly what is autism and why the number of diagnoses recently has skyrocketed. Mr. Silberman delves into the history of autism research and gives the reader some answers in why there was persecution of parents all the way up to the thinking of neurodiversity today.

The Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas And How They Made The Modern World Scott L. Montgomery and Daniel Chirot

I am always fascinated by book about ideas and this one looks to hit the nail on the head. This book through Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Darwin and Karl Marx used their ideas and ideals in moving forward our beliefs and in some cases twisting these beliefs in some of our most recent generations for there own personal benefits. I am interested to see if this reinforces or changes my belief that big ideas and how they are used can change our world.

What is a Mastermind Alliance?

I have been doing quite a bit of reading about mental models in helping me in areas of decision-making, relationships and investing. I have been drawn to people such as Charles Munger, Michael Mauboussin and most recently Shane Parrish and his Farnam Street Blog

As I have been absorbing all these mental models (over 100 and counting), I realized that, in my opinion, there was not enough emphasis put on the MasterMind Alliance or even if it was considered to be a mental model. In my humble opinion, it should be the most important one and most powerful. This concept goes back to Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill and there are numerous websites and information on this. Exactly what is a mastermind alliance?

According to Napoleon Hill the definition is:

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind (the master mind).”

In recent times we see such alliances as Warren Buffet and Charles Munger, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates and Paul Allen. There are certainly more and I would be interested in seeing the length of time that a mastermind alliance would normally last. Of course, in the case of Warren Buffet and Charles Munger that would be an extraordinary length of time for the alliance to last.

This subject has opened up an entirely new avenue for me to explore and how I can use this information to become as I stated earlier a better decision-maker, investing in relationships and working on the process as compared to the outcome of my investments. I am going to be writing more on this subject and mental models shortly.

Here is a video about mastermind alliances from Napoleon Hill for your enjoyment:

Books Of Interest: Arriving In My Pile: August 15th, 2015

Up in the Old Hotel

Up In The Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell

After reading Man In Profile, the biography of Joseph Mitchell by Thomas Kunkel, it has made me want to read any and everything by Mr. Mitchell. I absolutely love his interest in everyday, ordinary people.

Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam

Our Kids

Mr. Putnam stimulated me in attempting to understand what is truly causing some of our social woes and I wanted to understand from his point of view why people are so disinterested in service to our communities in areas such as P.T.A., civic projects as well as government service.

The Halo Effect

The Halo Effect by Philip Rosenweig

These next two books intrigued me because they were recommended by Michael Mauboussin due to my interest in behavioral economics as well as understanding mental models in the areas of investing and decision making.

The Winners Curse

The Winner’s Curse by Richard H. Thaler

After reading Misbehaving by Mr. Thaler, as I stated above, I want to understand behavioral economics better and also understand why we do what we do in decision making and what causes us to make the decisions that we make.

Finished Reading: Man In Profile: Joseph Mitchell Of The New Yorker

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Man In Profile:Joseph Mitchell Of The New Yorker is a real page-turner. If you have heard of Joseph Mitchell and knew of his writings, this most likely filled in some gaps in your knowledge of him. If you did not know anything at all about him like myself, you found a fascinating story of a man with tremendous ambition, work ethic and yet the author brings out numerous issues that Mr. Mitchell faced such as his writer’s block, which hindered his writing for around thirty years.

This biography made me strive to read some of his work such as McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom Of The Harbor, Joe Gould’s Secret, and Up In The Old Hotel, and Other Stories. I get the sense from the author, Thomas Kunkel, that Mr. Mitchell thought the best of people and no person was above another. That may have been brought about by his Christian upbringing in rural North Carolina.

In some biographies and memoirs that I have read, the authors build the subject into some type of superhero. However, here, Mr. Kunkel shows us the true character of Mr. Mitchell, his strengths, and most of all, his struggles. I believe this is what lead me to love this book and to highly recommend it. Mr. Mitchell was shown in a light in which we all can relate, in that we are all messed up in some shape or form, and we must learn to handle it in our own way. This one characteristic of the book makes me relate to Mr. Mitchell and all his cast of characters, which are described brilliantly by the author.

I have included this video which I hope you enjoy!

Some Thoughts About Reputation From Anonymous

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“Take care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself.”

“Everyone should fear death until he has something that will live on after his death.”

“You can trust any number of people with your money, but very few with your reputation.”

“When a man has a reputation for telling the truth, he doesn’t have to prove everything he says.”

“What people say to your back is your standing in the community.”


Books Of Interest: Biographies and Memoirs August 9th 2015

I have found that I am interested in biographies and memoirs of people that I have very little knowledge in fields that I have very little background and I recently purchased these three that I think our readers may find of interest. The first, I  have recently started:

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Man In Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker by Thomas Kunkel

I have read approximately two-thirds of this book and the author has a writing style that makes you feel as if you knew Mitchell and all the cast of characters that he wrote about for the New Yorker magazine. Kunkel brings out Mitchell’s quirks and other character traits that enable you to empathize with Mitchell and understand the pressure of being a writer during the decades of the 30’s through 60’s. I am so glad that I picked this up and hopefully will finish it this week. I have included a video featuring Thomas Kunkel discussing the book from St. Norbert’s College where he is the president.

The second is:

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The Story Of Alice: Lewis Carroll And The Secret History of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

I never read Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass as a child but I became fascinated about the story between Alice and Lewis Carroll in real life. I am interested in mental models and the telling of the story of the Red Queen and Alice is one in which I have very little understanding. I want to understand how this story came into being and the creativity that lead to it. It looks to be a very interesting study into the mind of Lewis Carroll.

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The final book is:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

I have recently discovered Dietrich Bonhoeffer in my Christian studies and as I have stated previously, I want to discover people and eras in which I know very little and discover what influences lead them in the direction in which life took them. Of course, for him living during the times of World War II, that is fairly easy to understand, but I want to find out what lead him to return to Germany during the War. There are numerous videos featuring the author talking about the book and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and here is one for your enjoyment.