Blog

2013-05-12

Montessori Madness

Watch this quick video for a quick overview of the motivating and energizing power of Montessori. (read more)

2012-12-31

John Boyd

John Boyd, widely regarded as among the most influential of modern military thinkers, developed a theory of effective action in dynamic situations. Called by Boyd the "OODA Loop" it consists of four steps

  • Observe -- Using your senses, pay attention to current reality.
  • Orient -- Conceptuualize, determining the identity and significance of the entities and actions you observed.
  • Decide -- Choose what you will do.
  • Act -- Take action.

The loop is run in an iterative process to stay in context with reality, no matter how rapidly a context is changing, adjusting the speed of iteration to the dynamism of the context, so that one is alsways conceptualizing, deciding, and acting on the basis of reality.

2012-12-29

Antifragile

  • Antifragile, Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb is one of the few modern thinkers seriously considering how to act and thrive in a dynamic world. For most of history, people have feared change per se and tried to suppress it, for example, the 3,500 year, static Ancient Egyptian culture. Today, people may seek safety rather than growth in their jobs, or favor government policies that appear to deliver stability at the expense of liberty. Taleb argues that dynamism is necessary to life, and details a strategy to capitalize on variety and change. One can arrange one's affairs to benefit from a dynamic future, even while not knowing what that future will be!
  • 2011-10-08

    New Books in Thinking Skills, October 2011

  • Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Some people have a mindset in which they believe that change, growth, learning, and improvement are both possible and normal. These people learn from experience, deal with setbacks more resiliently, and gain in skill and power over time. But other people look upon talent as a fixed attribute, impervious to change. These people are threatened by challenges and setbacks. They, even if of great initial ability, do not grow. Carol Dweck believes that all people have the potential to grow and change, provided they adopt the right method and put in the work. This book describes the research behind her thesis and a program that anyone can use to enter the growth mindset.
  • New Books in Investing, October 2011

  • Probable Outcomes by Ed Easterling. Investment climates are not uniform but nor are they random. Financial history contains periods, from a few years in duration to decades, of marketdly different character. During periods of one character, most stocks perform well above their long term average; during the opposite type of periods stocks perform poorly or even lose substantially. Easterling identifies the principal causes of the differences, describes how to recognize current conditions, and identifies what investment returns are likely over the next decades. Easterling primarily identifies causes as financial, such as interest rates and divident yields. He would have a richer analysis if he expanded it to recognize other political factors such as the degree and trend of government regulation and respect for (or lack of) property rights generally.
  • Sustainable Wealth by Axel Merk. Financial planning requires recognizing which factors we have more control over (e.g. our spending rate) versus less (e.g. the amount and pattern of our income) and adjusting both our plans and our investments to bring more under our control.
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    Links

    Victorious Athlete

    Victorious Athlete

    John Boyd's OODA Loop restated and expanded in Objectivist terminology

    John Boyd's OODA Loop restated and expanded in Objectivist terminology

    Bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti

    Bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti

    Battle of Salamis, in which the Athenians defeated the navy of Xerxes.

    Battle of Salamis, in which the Athenians defeated the navy of Xerxes.

    Aristarchus's (310 BC to 230 BC) diagram, On the Distances and Sizes of the Sun and Moon in which he shows that the sun is at least between 18 and 20 times the distance of the moon.

    Aristarchus's (310 BC to 230 BC) diagram, On the Distances and Sizes of the Sun and Moon in which he shows that the sun is at least between 18 and 20 times the distance of the moon.

    Galileo Galilei's drawings of the phases of the moon, as observed through one of his telescopes, 1610.

    Galileo Galilei's drawings of the phases of the moon, as observed through one of his telescopes, 1610.

    The Ecstacy of St Theresa by Bernini

    The Ecstacy of St Theresa by Bernini

    Pocahantas, from painting by Wm. Sheppard

    Pocahantas, from painting by Wm. Sheppard