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Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally. Written by Matt C Reynolds.

 

Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally.

Browse by category: Art & Architecture, Creativity & Habits, Design & Typography, Fiction & Literature, Landscape & Memory, Technology & Society or View All

 
 
Posts in Creativity & Habits
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

Thinking in terms of probability rather than “yes” or “no” triggers a more open-minded exploration of alternative hypothesis, making us more likely to explore the opposite side of an argument more often and more seriously. The people with the most legitimate claim to a bulletproof self-narrative have developed habits around accurate self critique. Sharing your uncertainty with others invites collaboration in the same way scientists share their experiment methodology.

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Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris

In the era of smartphones and pocket-sized screens, we post and comment to feel less alone and reassure ourselves that we are quantifiable. A culture of self-tracking has emerged and turned formerly solitary moments into an online commentary. While algorithmically defined notions of your own taste might feel personal, you need to be exposed to challenging new ideas and content to grow.

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Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Clutter is costly: commit to being more intentional, think about how you’ll use technology, and understand if the benefits outweigh the negatives. If you prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption, use your skills to produce valuable things in the physical world, and seek activities that require structured interaction, you’ll find yourself with fresh ideas and a stronger connection to those you care about. The key to sustained success with a Digital Minimalist philosophy is accepting that it’s more about the quality of your life, not the technology.

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Deep Work by Cal Newport

You don’t need a rarified job, you need a rarified approach to your work. The ability to concentrate intensely is a skill that must be trained; creative insight in professional life is about making a commitment to training this ability every single day. To make the most out of your deep work sessions focus on only a few important goals, build strict rituals, and implement a fixed-schedule to determine what rules and habits are needed to satisfy your constraint.

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So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Don’t make the mistake of thinking big, looking for a world-changing mission without the career capital to back it up or you’ll get stuck making little progress. If you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau and fail to get any better. Developing work you love means patiently building ‘Career Capital’ (rare and valuable skills) towards a tentative mission through deliberate practice.

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Waking Up by Sam Harris

We spend our lives lost in thought, not knowing what is actually happening in the present moment. Meditating is not merely thinking with their eyes closed, it is a skill that takes training to distinguish between being lost in thought and seeing thoughts for what they are. During the normal course of life your mind will determine the quality of your life; changing your perception of the world is often as good as changing the world itself.

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Start with Why by Simon Sinek

People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it. Defining why you do something is difficult, as we usually rely on metaphors, imagery and analogies in an attempt to communicate how we feel. Therefore, guiding principles have to be actionable verbs: “always do the right thing” (integrity), or “look at the problem from a different angle” (innovation).

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The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner

Experiencing impatience is one of the first symptoms of not being in the present moment, not doing what you are doing, and not staying process-oriented. Become a good observer of your own actions: instead of focusing on an abstract end goal—which adds a lot of undue pressure—focus on the process, observe how you do, and make a corrective action. Understand that perfection is relative, and everything that you spiritually acquire expands your true self and becomes part of you forever.

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Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel

Eric Maisel provides twenty-two categories of anxiety management techniques to combat our tendency to incorrectly appraise situations as more important, more dangerous, or more negative than they in fact are. People waste enormous amounts of time avoiding things that make them anxious, sometimes a lifetime; the first step is to remember that you get to do the appraising. We need to worry less about looking good to ourselves and spend more time honouring our commitments to ourselves, fulfilling our goals, and realizing our dreams.

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