The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements is a popular book among coaching circles. It talks about four agreements that you need to make with yourself:

  1. Be impeccable with your word: What resonated with me was noticing the power of the language we use and the words we pick, that it can be self-fulfilling if we speak negatively about ourselves. Being impeccable is not going against yourself, not using words against yourself, not judging or blaming yourself. It’s a powerful agreement to make with yourself.
  2. Don’t take anything personally: It’s important to remember that the other person has their own set of beliefs, trauma, mood, things going on in their lives etc. and their actions or reactions are not necessarily because of us.
  3. Don’t make assumptions: Noticing that you’re making an assumption is also very powerful. The easiest way to not make assumptions is to ask questions. For me, the challenging part with this approach is in situations where there is a lack of trust or incentive to lie.
  4. Always do your best: Knowing that you’ve done your best gives you peace of mind regardless of the outcome.

Overall, these are powerful principles, being able to stick to them requires awareness.

April 30, 2020

The Great CEO Within

Matt Mochary is a CEO coach and probably one of those unknown heroes of Silicon Valley. He coached CEOs of several Silicon Valley startups, such as Steve Huffman, Sam Altman and Justin Kan. His book, The Great CEO Within, is on how to run a company as a CEO. The information density is amazing, it’s an excellent reference book with 200 pages of pure practical information. It’s been really refreshing to come across a business book without all the story telling and filler fluff.

I usually have a hard time applying things I’ve read in a book and building new habits, but I’ve been able to apply two individual habits described in the book:

  • Applying a simple version of GTD to my Gmail inbox: having an inbox with multiple sections: unread, to-do and awaiting reply. Details here
  • Scheduling time each morning to wok on your top goal only

I’ve found decision making, conflict resolution, company culture, areas of responsibility and key performance indicator sections informative for my engineering management days. Having run an engineering team at Facebook, a lot of the practices described in the book were very familiar – speaks to how Facebook implemented good management practices in the company.

Overall, if you manage a team or run a company, this book is pure gold!

March 3, 2020

The Algebra of Happiness

Scott Gollaway is an entrepreneur and professor of marketing at NYU Stern Business School. The Algebra of Happiness contains his ramblings and life advice on success, love and happiness.

  • On success:
    • The trait most common among CEOs is that they exercise regularly.
    • The definition of “rich” is having passive income greater than your burn.
    • Big cities are Wimbledon, even if you aren’t Rafael Nadal, your game will improve by being on the court with him.
  • On happiness:
    • Being “in the zone” is happiness.
    • On a balanced scorecard, the happiest people are those in monogamous relationships who have children.
  • On love:
    • The most important decision you’ll make is not where you work or who you party with, but who you choose to partner with for the rest of your life.
    • Like someone who likes you.
    • Male monkeys have higher ranks and more mating success if they have more social bonds, rather than being bigger or stronger.
    • Love and relationships are the ends, everything else is just the means. In the end, relationships are all that matters.

What resonated with me was the overwhelming importance of relationships in our happiness. This 10 minute video is a good summary of the main points in the book and will get you 80% there.

March 1, 2020

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sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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