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Why Track Your Habits?

I first became interested in tracking my habits after reading by James Clear. While habit tracking is nothing new, the benefits of doing so cannot be understated. As Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets managed.”

What makes habit tracking so powerful is it solves one of the biggest problems of building any new habit: slow feedback.

Building positive habits is hard because it can take weeks, months, or even years before you start to see any results from sticking with it. You need a way to stay motivated in the short-term when your desired results still feel out of reach. …


Understanding the models derived from physics, chemistry, and biology

The Great Mental Models Vol. 2 by Shane Parrish
The Great Mental Models Vol. 2 by Shane Parrish

Book Notes

Volume two of series explores the core mental models derived from the fundamentals of science: physics, chemistry, and biology. Understanding these models will help you improve your understanding of how the world works so you can learn to make better decisions.

Part 1: Physics

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

— Marie Curie

Relativity

Relativity helps us to understand that there is more than one way to see everything. …


A shortlist of the best books and articles to elevate your reading for the upcoming year.

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This year I read 26 books and hundreds of articles. My interests ranged from behavioral psychology, mental models, note-taking, health, wealth, design, and much more. In no particular order, these are the five books and five articles I found most valuable.

A quick note: These are the best books and articles that I read in 2020; it doesn’t mean that they were published in 2020.

The Best Books I Read in 2020

by Keith Johnstone


Here’s how I improved my metabolic health by wearing a CGM (and even lost 8 pounds!)

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The box I received in the mail before starting the 28-day challenge.

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. I’m not a doctor nor pretend to be one, so please do not qualify this as medical advice. This article’s content is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

For the past 28 days, I’ve had a tiny needle stuck in the back of my arm, reading my blood. And no, I’m not diabetic nor pre-diabetic. …


“A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.”

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“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

— Francis Bacon

I used to be proud of . I thought it was the key to gaining a competitive advantage in a world that rewards those who seek to discover and act upon good ideas. But in my constant pursuit of discovering the next “big idea,” I never took the time to digest what I’d just read.

Three years and 100 books later, I eventually realized I had been playing the wrong game. In my quest to read as many books as possible, I lost sight of what actually mattered: learning from the ideas that the best books had to offer. …


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“Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action.”

— David Kekich

Even though our quality of life has never been better, we continue to add to our stress levels. We’re too distracted, take on more than we can handle, and our standards continually rise, making it hard for us to play catch-up.

What’s missing in our culture of knowledge work is a foolproof system for keeping track of what needs to be done, what should be done, or what should consider being done. What’s missing is a system for managing what’s on your mind.

Most often, the reason something is on your mind is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and…


How Roam makes connecting ideas easy so you can become a better thinker and writer

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“Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is the practice of capturing the ideas and insights we encounter in our daily life, whether from personal experience, from books and articles, or from our work, and cultivating them over time to produce more creative, higher quality work.”

—Tiago Forte

I’ve tried a lot of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tools, but none of them stuck. They were either too rigid or too complicated for quickly capturing notes and the ideas running around in my head. My notes stayed separate; connections between ideas never got made.

My desire to find a flexible system that worked quickly and promoted a cross-pollination of ideas lead me on a three-year journey to find a tool that worked like my brain. …


How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

The Art of Reading

“Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level.”

— Mortimer J. Adler

There are three possible goals for reading. You’re either reading for information, reading for understanding, or reading for entertainment.

Reading for Information occurs when you read newspapers, magazines, or online articles. The content you consume may increase your store of information or affect your emotional state, but it doesn’t improve your understanding of the material.

Reading for Understanding requires reading material that is initially “superior” to your level of knowledge. There is an inequality in understanding between the writer and reader, but the content is clearly communicated. It’s up to you to overcome the inequality in understanding to learn something. …


The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

The Psychopathology of Everyday Things

The two most important characteristics of good design are Discoverability and Understanding. Discoverability asks what actions are possible of the product and where and how to perform them. Understanding asks how the product is supposed to be used.

Design is concerned with how things work, how they’re controlled, and the nature of the interaction between people and technology. When done well, the results are brilliant, pleasurable products.

But when done poorly, it can lead to frustration and irritation. Bad design of more complex commercial and industrial products and machines can even lead to accidents, injuries, and death.

When accidents happen, often, the operators are the ones blamed for not understanding the machine. But the situation should be reversed. It’s the duty of machines and those who designed them to understand people, not the other way around. …


How I overcame the four most popular excuses for not learning so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.

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Learning how to code is something I’ve thought about doing for some time but always found an excuse for putting it off. Then the pandemic happened, flipping my schedule upside-down. If I was serious about wanting to learn, then this was the perfect opportunity. It was time for my next .

In 30 days, I went from being a complete beginner who didn’t know what a programming language was to a budding developer who was getting comfortable with building landing pages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I summarized my learn-to-code journey with the following tweet.

Defining My Why

So why did I choose to spend a full month learning how to code? While some people are motivated to learn programming to “get rich”, there are other reasons why I or anyone else would want to learn how to code. Some popular reasons…

About

Blake Reichmann

Engineer & Writer | Writing about the best books, tools for thought, and systems for maximizing creativity at

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