Shut the shutters and shit shilent. The naughty journalist in me.
This book does not have a specific theme, but it is a portray of the authors’ obsession with numbers, and the hidden stories behind data. Fascinating read and very enlightening. This is one of the books behind my decision to consider everything we read on the internet as false, until proven otherwise. Find it on Amazon.
Consider the folktale of the czar who learned that the most disease-ridden province in his empire was also the province with the most doctors. His solution? He promptly ordered all the doctors shot dead.
That’s how the authors start off, information; and data is irrelevant of the conclusions made based upon them. They also make a similar argument that some cities with more police officers end up with more crimes, which may drive you to wonder, is it that more police cause more crime, or the chicken brought the egg?
a thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.
In this segment the authors bring statistics and numbers to old philosophy, whether people tend to be good by nature. They discuss the issue of incentives and how unexpected the outcome would be. So offering money for donated blood is an incentive to the dishonest people to take advantage, as well as imposing punishment as an incentive to attend meetings on time, which unexpectedly reliefs peoples from the pressure of guilt, thus is a invitation for them to be as late as they can afford.
people will pay different amounts for the same item depending on who is providing it.
Discussing a business plan of Feldman, who sold bagels in his office by making them available in the kitchen, with a basket for money, and a sign of “$1″ next to it. But when he went public, since other companies’ employees did not know him in person, and he wasn’t around to rise the feeling of guilt, the rate of payment went lower than he expected. Well, not surprisingly.
Glaucon’s story posed a moral question: could any man resist the temptation of evil if he knew his acts could not be witnessed? Glaucon seemed to think the answer was no. But Paul Feldman sides with Socrates and Adam Smith—for he knows that the answer, at least 87 percent of the time, is yes.
And there you go, Socrates no longer abstract. I wonder if the fact that the experiment took place in a democratic, peaceful, and well functioning country had any effect on results.
there are few incentives more powerful than the fear of random violence—which, in essence, is why terrorism is so effective.
Detailing the acts of Ku Klux Klan of the forties, and how it came down to few random acts, a lot of secrecy and intimidation, but very little killing acts.
the Klan’s bible, which was called the Kloran.
It is unknown why they named their bible a name very much resembling Koran, but the authors thought Koran and Kloran were the same! Talking about research!
Within five minutes, a zooming market had tanked.
A true story about a man trying to buy a house, the agent was bargaining around the fact that the market was about to zoom, when the man accepted to buy, the agent offered his service to help him sell his previous house, claiming the market was about to tank! The authors were still discussing how fear of random acts prevented us from getting a good deal, fear of under selling or not selling at all.
standard capitalist enterprise: you have to be near the top of the pyramid to make a big wage.
In crack business, statistics show that 2.2% of the dealers earn something around $66 an hour, while the rest of the army around them can’t afford to move out of their mothers’ house. Just like burger business.
The worms never get satisfied, regardless of how much food you give them,” she said when Romanians complained about the food shortages brought on by her husband’s mismanagement
A new chapter opens with the story of the Romanian dictator forcing a rule to ban abortion. In this chapter the authors look into the possible reasons behind the sudden decline of crime in USA during the 90′s. This story is so interesting I read about it in multiple books.
One of the opposition leaders, a forty-one-year-old professor, later said it was his thirteen-year-old daughter who insisted he attend the protest, despite his fear. “What is most interesting is that we learned not to be afraid from our children,” he said.
The dictator wanted Romania stronger by adding more human resources, but he brought them into a life of despair, and misery. In 1989 those same kids took to the streets and brought him down. Does these events ring a bell? History is known to repeat itself in large segments, like every 100 years, but to see this resemblance in very short periods? Surreal!
Abortion in USA was granted in mid 70′s. As the 80′s arrived anyone born before 75 became a teenager, and there were many of them towards the end of the decade. Crime peaked. By early 1990s, those kids became adults, and there were suddenly shortage of teenagers. So crime rates fell.
if someone breaks a window and sees it isn’t fixed immediately, he gets the signal that it’s all right to break the rest of the windows and maybe set the building afire too.
The broken window theory. It was one of the innovative measures the police used to fight crime. They stopped over-looking smaller crimes, which were an invitation for bigger crimes. I wish the police learn that theory here in Amman. For so long, Amman was known among its neighbors as the most strict in applying traffic laws. Lanes were lanes, and red lights were feared. My dad told me once that when he was younger, the police fined him 10 piasters for crossing the road from an illegal passage. That stopped, thus we have hanging walk bridges that… beautify… the city! Now the police had turned a blind eye to red light challenges, and even outright crossings. Not only is it increasing, but the fear of punishment of any other crime is on the decrease.
So does having a teenage mother. Another study has shown that low maternal education is the single most powerful factor leading to criminality.
Abortion law was used excessively by teenage girls who got themselves with child in recklessness. Thus they were going to be the mothers of the criminals-to-be. But of course not all teenage women are not up to the job. A steady house is the best insurance against future crime.
genes alone are responsible for perhaps 50 percent of a child’s personality and abilities.
In this chapter they dive into numbers and statistics to find out what makes good parenting, and how much of it really affects our personalities and directions.
school choice barely mattered at all.
As proven by statistics, the choice of school did not affect how well the kids performed academically, or on the long run. Phew, that’s a relief!
mothers who offer up their children for adoption tend to have significantly lower IQs than the people who are doing the adopting.
More on discussing what matters and does not matter in forming our kids’ performance. It appears that we inherit our IQ test results from our biological parents. That creates a negative correlation between good performance and adoption.
There are other factors the authors discuss, like low birth-weight, domestic violence, cultural environment… etc. It is quite interesting what numbers show as a correlation, and what does not matter.
But what is more interesting is the authors’ invitation to look beyond these numbers to understand better. For example, kids born for mothers above 30 do better at school. This could on the surface drive us to think it’s better to have children after 30. But the real reason behind it is that women above 30 are more driven to success that they delayed they’re conception till after 30. It is not about what is right or wrong, it is simply the type of person she is, her drive, her intelligence, and sense of responsibility.
The Peter principle was written in 1969 yet still is very much valid. It might sound harsh on some, as it attacks our perception of “9 to 5″ jobs, career paths, full time employment and promotion. I hope you all read it, and learn something from it. The book is fairly short (150 pages). Find it on Amazon.
In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence
Here is an example to elaborate: an exceptional teacher would be considered time and again for promotion, and he keeps performing well as long as he is promoted into something he is good at. Like teaching. But when he is finally promoted into an executive manager, he under-performs. So much that he is never considered for another promotion. Year after year, that once-exceptional teacher, is stuck as an incompetent executive manager.
Incompetence knows no barriers of time or place
In defense, the author states it is not “the old, contemporary, and out of date” that is incompetent, nor it being the “original state of the art” is competent. Incompetence knows no barriers of time or place. You sell your best product as long as you do your best in producing it. When your product line increases, and more incompetence is introduced to it, it stops selling. And you’re stuck at that level.
You have heard the nurse who says, ‘wake up! It’s time to take your sleeping pill.’
The Peter Inverts as he calls them, are those who always obey, and never decide. Those are perfect for the system, and they are eligible for promotion, even though the paperwork they cherish so much stopped serving the purpose they were designed for. But when this already-incompetent official is finally promoted into a spot where he has to make the shots, he finds his level of incompetence. And like a waterfall, the drag in making decisions takes on all lower levels, creating bank officials who won’t cash travelers checks, customer service who won’t answer a finance related question, and nurses who would wake you up for your sleeping pills, for no other reason than “it’s regulations!”
Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
True. Some examples are to prove that what we see as “competent” in the eyes of the system, is really totally incompetent.
These cases illustrate the fact that, in most hierarchies, super competence is more objectionable than incompetence.
This is a very important section in the book. The first commandment in a hierarchical life: the hierarchy must be preserved. Thus incompetency is a bar to promotion, super competency disrupts the hierarchy, it proves it wrong, it shows people a better and more efficient way to get things done faster, it is a cause of dismissal! In today’s terms: over qualification won’t get you the job, but under performing would get you stuck at one level!
It is very sad! Note that this book was written in late ’60s, where hierarchy was much more honored than today. Nowadays, there are more small businesses and freelancers coming to life, breaking free of the hierarchy, proving it is not the way to go. But for those who are stuck with it, it is a reminder, that if you get fired, it could be because you are over qualified!
Never stand when you can sit, never walk when you can ride, never Push when you can Pull.
Referring to the Push and Pull techniques in acquiring a promotion. Not sure how the subject got turned into that, but mainly the author exhibits that pushing yourself into acquiring higher level and a better position is usually the wrong way to go. It is more tedious and exhaustive. Pulling is about finding patronage, or building relationship with the one higher up in rank, who can “pull” you up the scale. This -according to him- is what has been proven to work more often than pushing. So never push when you can pull. Unless you are on a diet and want to lose some weight!
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try something else.’
As opposed to the well-known saying: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Why do people still repeat that stupid saying? This book was written some decades ago, and I could trace the same belief in most start-up entrepreneurs and large corporates. If you try to do something and it does not work, do not hesitate to change, adapt, and try something different. Beating a dead horse is not going to bring it alive. Be flexible. Move on.
In “First, break all the rules” book, the author states that a talent, is doing the same practice over and over again, without feeling exhausted, or degrading in excellence. What you are talented in, never dictates what you should do. But if you do get exhausted doing something (and become incompetent), that is a sign for you that you never had the talent to do it.
Sooner or later (usually sooner) these employees become aware of, and feel distressed at, their own unproductivity.
Did you ever feel that way? You have reached your level of incompetence, and it is time for you to take a step. The authors describe more evident physical signs of distress, like headaches, muscle spasms, insomnia, dizziness, ulcers, fatigue, and the whole list of medical leave excuses.
Good advice is equally ineffective.
‘take it easy.’
‘Don’t work so hard.’
‘Learn to relax.’
Such soothing suggestions are useless.
These are some of the pieces of advice someone with physical alarming signs receive. It does not work because employees are in fatigue because of how little use they make of their time. Asking them to make even less use of it won’t fix it.
The only treatment, my survey shows, which gives any relief to the FPS is distraction therapy.
‘Learn to play bridge.’
‘Start a stamp collection.’
‘Taking up gardening.’
‘learn barbecue cookery.’
‘paint pictures by numbers.’
FPS is Final Placement Syndrome as authors would like to call it, which refers to the physical symptoms that accompany reaching your incompetence level. So what employees tend to do is drive their attention away from the loathing job they have. To me though, doing Jigsaw puzzles is more of a distraction treatment, when my Lizard brain kicks in.
General purpose conversation, or, in the case of public figures, general purpose speeches.
That’s what we call jargon. So if your colleague increases the dose of those jargon words, he/she needs help. If you get any of those symptoms yourself, you need help.
He assumes that he is not working hard enough, so he feels guilty.
Someone who now knows he or she has reached their final placement, may argue that it’s about laziness, which intensifies the feeling of guilt. So he works harder to convince himself that it just needs time, he drivers himself to the limit, and … here it is said 4 decades ago: takes work home on weekends! If that is you my dear employee friend, you either quit, or ignore. Ignorance is a bliss.
Personally, I do reach that point towards the end of any freelance project, that’s when I start to feel inept, and completely useless. My warning signs, just as the authors predicted, so much false fatigue to the point of producing zero work in a day. That’s when I know, my time to move on has come.
The blunt refusal of and offered promotion is known as Peter’s Parry. To be sure, it sounds easy enough. Yet I have discovered only one instance of its successful use.
He gives an example of some accountant who apparently deliberately loses paperwork, to prevent his superiors from promoting him into a position he knew he would not be as competent. I have pulled that trick quite a few times in my career. Seems like “I need to move on” is not good enough to some of those I worked with, slipping on few deadlines (not enough to smudge my reputation) sometimes did the trick. But it isn’t easy. And it does take insights to refuse a promotion. Know yourself.
The computer, like a human employee, is subject to the Peter Principle. If it does good work at first, there is a strong tendency to promote it to more responsible tasks, until it reaches its level of incompetence.
So now that we expect our computers to do more, they become incompetent. Makes sense.
It has been my decision a long time ago to disassociate myself of the career hierarchy and follow my own path. I do not quite know what tipped me back then, but I know now as I understand more about myself, that it was all a decision to perfect. I am reviewing this book as I am ending a phase of current long term project, and I could immediately relate to a lot of what I am reading.
My one advice to give to all people reading these books (and all the books I reviewed and about to review), is know yourself. Most of the value I add into any project is during inception, I know by the time they become more mature I would have less value to add. Not because of the type of work I do, but rather because of who I really am. I have learnt to quit when I my value was about to deteriorate. Right before I became a burden, and a drag on the project. There was no point in taking it further, that would have only worsened by reputation. And it would have meant I should stick around long enough to fix the trail of problems I would create. In other words, be stuck at my level of incompetency.
Not a chance.
I read this book a year ago, and thought of reading it again because it did leave a very distinctive emotion of “where were you 10 years ago?” It s written by those behind 37signals; the company behind the great Basecamp application. Their Signal2Noise blog is rich and very interesting.
Ignore the details early on
The authors advice that we should use a thick marker instead of ballpoint pen, to put ourselves in the mindset of “the bigger picture” and stop wasting our times in picking the tiles of the bathroom, of the building we intend to build. Build the damn thing first, then worry about details.
Meetings are toxic
Amen! Those who know me well have given up trying to drag me into another useless meeting. From my experience, most efficient meetings are those unplanned, immediate, on the spot, and with at most three people, and one computer attending. The computer being their meeting facilitator.
They go on to give a powerful “capitalist” evaluation of the time really wasted in meeting, by saying a one-hour meeting of ten people is actually a ten man-hours for an hour’s worth. I didn’t like that, we are not cows!
But the biggest problem they mentioned was distraction. No, not during the meeting, before and after. Knowing that I must be in a meeting at 10 Am, there goes couple of hours from 8 to 10 doing nothing serious! What is worse? Cancelling that meeting!
Pour yourself into your product
Nice section, they give two examples of companies that stamped their businesses with their own identity making hard for it to be copied. Zappos and their love for customer service, and Polyface and their strong stand towards healthier meat.
These early days of obscurity are something you’ll miss later on, when you are really under the microscope. Now is the time to take risks without worrying about embarrassing yourself.
You do not want to start a business in front of an audience of one million! I’ve seen that happen many times, when a company starts out, it takes a lot of risks with little side effects, then it grows, and the boat becomes heavy, and rocking it becomes more dangerous! There is no magic solution for this problem (although big corps can afford to test the markets) but the authors suggest that you take advantage of the early days.
In web based applications, your first audience, if you have any shots at all, is in 100 of thousands suit, if not more. So start with invite-only, then beta, then soft launch, then launch. At least you can save face.
As a business owner, you should share everything you know too. This is anathema to most in the business world. Businesses are usually paranoid and secretive.
Most businesses tend to be secretive about their artifacts, or trade secrets. Authors are suggesting that the most well known businesses are those who share the knowledge, simply because they are confident that it isn’t enough to beat them at their own game. Of course, they state the book as an example, but I believe Hansson created Ruby on Rails and opened its source, right?
So hire slowly. It’s the only way to avoid winding up at a cocktail party of strangers.
So that you don’t end up year-round with polite people who are too shy to say “your idea sucks!”
If someone sends out a resume to three hundred companies, that is a huge red flag right there. There is no way that applicant has researched you. There is no way he knows what is different about your company.
They state the obvious, which every applicant must really know, that the cover letter is 10 times more important and revealing than your jargon-filled Word template resume. Always write a personalized cover letter to communicate with the business owners. If you do that, there’s noway you can send your resume to 300 companies.
That is because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate.
I see this pitfall more often among Jordanian applicants. The IT business is an English-language business (unfortunately), so get your act together, learn how to speak it, and pay attention to your pees and bees.
You don’t need more hours; you need better hours.
So if you want something done, ask your busiest person. Those who have a life outside work tend to use their time more wisely at office. Or not! If they work in a 9 to 5 dull government job they wouldn’t care less about what gets done. That’s my take on the subject.
There are four-letter words you should never use in business. They’re not [*] and [*]. they’re need, must, can’t, easy, just, only, and fast. These words get in the way of healthy communication. They are red flags that introduce animosity, torpedo good discussion, and cause projects to be late.
They create black or white situations that aren’t accurate. Like: we need to add this feature now, or we can’t launch with that, that should be easy for you to add, right? In addition to “everyone, no one, always, and never.” Words that could be toxic if not used wisely. There isn’t much that we really need, or can’t do, there is no such thing as easy and fast, and everyone is not a person.
Reading this book and some other books, it is really clear to me that there is no one way to do business. You should stop following the trend and do it your way. If you are comfortable asking investors to exercise enough pressure to get things done, do it, more comfortable raising the money yourself? Do that! Perform better working from home? Go home. Find it distracting? Go to the office. But whatever you choose to do, always adapt. The market is changing constantly, and the audience of automobiles are nor the same as those of mobiles. You can afford to go beta with a web-service, but not with medication!
And, always get your pees and bees in order.
I read at least five stories last year. It is always easier and faster to read a story, my favorite genre did not change: Mystery, thriller, detective, and always, always a story with an end. I hate stories that have no ending!
But it’s an awful temptation to be a bully, especially if people won’t stand up to you.
Agatha really knows a lot about human nature. Not everyone is like that of course, but she drew a character, and fiction writers have the liberty of making politically incorrect statements, as controversial as they might get.
Agatha Christie was and still is one of the best detective and mystery story tellers. She created this line of art that we take for granted nowadays, where the hook and the core of the story, is not the action, nor narrative, but the the story itself. There aren’t many writers who choose to write a compelling mystery without putting the star in danger. Even mystery stories written for kids revolve around the action and thriller that goes along with detective work. Agatha is different. You never feel while reading the stories that the characters are endangered, or vulnerable. You do not sit at the edge of your seat reading the next line in a hurry to see what happens next. But what you do instead, is stop reading, retrace a bit, dwell upon few words, and dive in your own thoughts, trying to figure out how it happened, and why, before Agatha tells you.
If you like Agatha’s stories, chances are you can tell the victim and the killer after few pages of Ms Marple’s, and it takes you longer to read one of Poirot’s.
A phobia would be a fear, of course, possibly of commitment or entanglement. A philia would imply love, possibly of freedom or opportunity.
I have phobia, no I have philia! This this the only Lee Child I read (Amazon kept recommending him for me because I am a Grisham fan!) and it is one of Jack Reecher’s series. At first I did not know Jack was a series star, I really thought he was the culprit. But once I realized he wasn’t, it was pretty clear to me who was, and why. I did not appreciate the violence detailed in putting up the lines of the story. There isn’t much intelligent work, it is more like building a new Bourne character, only slower, dumber, and less articulate.
Prison riots are rare. Like revolutions in a nation’s history. The conditions have to be exactly right
And exactly right for millions of people. That’s why wars and revolutions cannot be onset by man alone.
‘Eventually you’ll want to stay somewhere.’
‘Hasn’t happened so far.’
‘See how you feel thirty years from now.’
‘That’s a far horizon.’
‘It will come faster than you expect.’
I feel like both parties of this conversation!
This novel has been written in 1981, and I did not realize it until some chapters down the road. The thing that bothered me was the lack of mobile phones! And what set me off at last was that the author never told us why the characters wouldn’t use any mobile phones. That was when I decided to check the date!
There was first a TV series in the ’80s about the character, before the movie in 2003. The novel is very different from the movie. The movie I can only say is a lot better. It is always a mistake to read a story about technology that has been written or set in the past. Big mistake.
Bureaucratic mentality had not changed in several millenniums. At the mention of a superior officer’s name, one followed orders.
Determined killers avoided taking the wrong life, not from compassion but for practicality; in any ensuing panic the real target might escape.
Tell me the truth; I’ll know if you’re lying.
My favorite line, he keeps repeating it as if it really works:
The identity of your employer. A name and sufficient proof to have sealed in an envelope and given to an attorney, to be held throughout your natural life. But if your life were to end unnaturally, even accidentally, he’d be instructed to open the envelope and reveal the contents.
I think this trick was used in the Firm, the movie. When Mitch dumps all that he knows in a boat that sails indefinitely, if something may happen to him, it should land. A TV show aired last couple of years based on the Firm only set in 2003. That mistake again! The show was canceled.
A philosopher teaching you about life, when he knows very little about it as it seems. I do not take my advice from someone still in search for the truth. So generally speaking I did not appreciate this story, nor did it bother me much.
If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Goes back to my old motto, I’m good at washing the dishes, I know, but doesn’t mean I want to be a dish-washer.
Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.
This is a dangerous statement to make, as it’s not always true. I wanted to be a photographer when I was young! Some people find their “personal legends” after 40.
If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it.
Many psychologists agree. If you share your plans with third-party that would hold you back as you would consider sharing it part of of the achievement. So:
استعينوا على قضاء حوائجكم بالسر والكتمان
Everyone in the market fell to their knees, touched their foreheads to the ground, and took up the chant.
Paolo should have spent a little more time researching Muslim prayers, this is absurd!
You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.
Yikes, I am driven towards -and by- distraction!
life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend
I have to say I was waiting for a novel like that for a while, forget about story telling skills, we all know Grisham is excellent at that, but I was waiting for somehow a plot, some legal thriller, a bit of court-room thriller. Although this isn’t one of Grisham’s better ones, but it is different, and I loved it, loved reading it, loved the surprises, and the details. Of course, like in all thrillers and movies of this kind, there are quite some stretches and what I think are plot holes. But it’s part of the thrill really.
Grisham was previously a lawyer. He creates plots making every use of his law knowledge. Court-room thrillers are nothing like how Grisham makes them. Some of his best are A Time to Kill, The Firm, A Few Good Men, and my favorite is Runaway Jury.
يقولون أن العرب لا يقرأون, ولكن أقول لهم ما يقرأون؟
في نظري هناك أسباب عديدة جعلت من الأمة لا تقرأ, إذا ثبت ذلك أصلا. ليس لدي أرقام وبيانات, ولكن القليل من المنطق (تعرف ايه عن المنطق؟). بعيدا عن الأسباب السياسية والتي هي محرك رئيسي لما يحدث لنا، الكتاب في هذا الزمن إما أن يكون شديد القبح، فتنازع نفسك لقراءته فتغلبك عشرات المرات، أو سيّء اللغة وركيكها أو عديم الموضوع والفائدة، أو كل ذلك مجتمع. فإن أردت أن تقرأ كتاب بغير العربية، كان باهظ الثمن وصعب المنال، فإن أنت حصلت عليه كان صعب اللغة، أو لا يتّفق مع ماتؤمن به، فساعة يحدّثونك عن أسرار الحياة وهم لايؤمنون بما بعد الحياة، وساعة عن أسرار الرزق والرزق في السماء وما يوعدون! ولكن في الآونة الأخيرة أصبحت الكتب غير العربية سهلة المنال (بواسطة كيندل خاصة) وأصبح الكثير ممّن تغلبه نفسه على قراءة الكتب القبيحة يتناولها (مثل محسوبتكو). إذن العرب قارئون! ولكن لا يدرون ما يقرأون.
والكتاب العربي مازال يعاني. أكبر معناته ليست هي القبح، بل ركاكة اللغة! اللغة العربية الأصيلة جميلة جدًّا حدّ السكر! ومن يتحدثها بطلاقة هو كثير الحظ وهو يعلم، ومن يقرأها بسلاسة ويفك رموزها سياقًا لا يعلم كم هو محظوظ. والجدير بالذكر -عزيزي القارئ العربي- أن العرب يستطيعون القراءة بدون تشكيل، وبدون تنقيط.
ولهذا تراني أشدّ للكتب العربية القديمة، أود لو يطلق لساني فأتكلم مثل أولئكم في خراسان، أولئكم البخلاء، الذين تحدث عنهم أحد رموز الأدب العربي القديم: الجاحظ. وإليكم ماجمعته، أو قدرت على فهمه منه.
قالوا: واحتقن عمر بن يزيد الأسدي بحقنة فيها أدهان. فلمّا حرّكته بطنه كره أن يأتي الخلاء فتذهب تلك الأدهان، فكان يجلس في الطست ويقول: صفّوا هذا، فإنه يصلح للسراج
هذا من أحاديث الأصمعي وأبي عبيدة والمدائني، وهي بضعة عشر حديثًا عن البخلاء، وهذا الحديث هو أضحكهم مما فهمت!
قيل فيه أيضا: لو كان في كفه كر خردل، ثم لعب به لعب الأبلّي بالأكرة، لما سقطت من بين أصابعه حبّة واحدة. وقيل له أيضا: كيف سخاؤه على الخبز خاصة؟ قال: والله لو ألقي إليه من الطعام بقدر ما إذا جدس نزف السحاب لو ثرّ، ما تجافى عن رغيف.
قال ذلك أبي الحارث في وصف محمد بن يحيى، مش مهم! المهم كيف وصف بخله، فلو لعب بحب الخردل كما يلعب البهلواني بالكرات المتتالية، ما سقطت منه حبة! ولو ألقي إليه طعام كثير، إذا يبس شرب المطر كلّه مهما كثر (كناية عن شدّة يبسه وكثرته) ما ترك رغيفًا واحدًا!
قيل لبعض هؤلاء، وقدامهم خبيص: أيّما أطيب، هذا أو الفالوذج أو اللوزينج؟ قال: لا أقضي على غائب!
والخبيص نوع من الحلويات يصنع من السمن والتمر والدبس والأرز (موش عارف كيف!)، والفالوذج حلوى تصنع من الماء والدقيق والعسل، واللوزينج هي القطائف أو ما يشبهها.
حدّثني أبو إسحاق بن سيّار النظّام قال: قلت مرة لجار كان لي، من أهل خراسان: أعرني مقلاكم، فإني أحتاج إليه. قال: قد كان لنا مقلى ولكنّه سرق. فاستعرت من جار لي آخر. فلم يلبث الخرساني أن سمع نشيش اللحم في المقلى، وشمّ الطباهج، فقال لي، كالمُغضب: ما في الأرض أعجب منك، لو كنت خبّرتني أنك تريده للحم أو لشحم لوجدتني أسرع إليك به، إنما خشيتك تريده للباقليّ، وحديد المقلى يحترق إذا كان الذي يقلى فيه ليس بدسم. وكيف لا أعيرك إذا أردت الطباهج، والمقلى بعد الرد من الطباهج أحسن حالًا منه وهو في البيت.
وهذه من طرائف أهل خراسان، والطباهج هو البيض والبصل واللحم، ولا أعرف الباقلاء إلّا أنها أشبه بالفول وشعبية في العراق.
قالوا: كان للمغيرة بن عبد الله وهو على الكوفة جَدي وضع على مائدته بعد الطعام. ولم يكن أحد يمسّه، إذ كان هو لا يمسّه. فأقدم عليه أعرابي يومًا، ولم يعرف سيرة أصاحبنا فيه، فلم يرضَ بأكل لحمه حتى تعرّق عظمته. فقال له المغيرة: يا هذا تطالب عظام هذا الجدي بذَحْل؟ هل نطحتك أمه؟
وتعرّق العظم إذا أَخذ اللحم عنه بأَسنانه نَهْشًا. وذحل أي ثأر، فكأنّه تعجب من الأعرابي أكله الجدي كأنّه يثأر لنفسه من أم الجدي!
وشهدت ثمامة، وأتاه رجلان قال أحدهما: لي إليك حاجة، فقال ثمامة: ولي إليك أيضا حاجة، قال: وما حاجتك؟ قال لست أذكرها لك حتى تضمن لي قضاءها، قال: قد فعلت، قال: فحاجتي ألا تسألني هذه الحاجة، قال: إنك لا تدري ما هي، قال: بلى قد دريت، قال: فما هي؟ قال: هي حاجة. وليس يكون الشيء حاجة إلا وهي تحوج إلى شيء من الكِلفة، قال: فقد رجعت عمّا أعطيتك، قال: لكنّي لا أرد ما أخذت!
هنا بدأت الغلاسة…
وكان بالكوفة رجل من بني عبدالله بن غطفان يسمّى طُفيل: كان أبعد الناس نجعة في طلب الولائم والأعراس، فقيل له لذلك طُفيل العرائس، وصار ذلك نبزًا له ولقبًا لا يعرف بغيره. فصار كل من كانت تلك طعمته يقال له طفيلي، هذا من قول ابي اليقظان.
وذاك هو الطفيلي الأصلي!
قالوا: وإنك لتعرف المكدّين؟ قال وكيف لا أعرفهم؟ وأنا كنت كاجار في حداثة سني. ثم لم يبق في الأرض مخطراني ولا مستعرض الا فُقتُه، ولا شحاذ ولا كاغاني ولا بانوان ولا قرسي ولا عواء ولا مشعب ولا فلور ولا مزيدي ولا أسطيل، إلا وقد كان تحت يدي. ولقد أكلت الزكوري ثلاثين سنة. ولم يبق في الأرض كعبيّ ولا مكدّ إلا وقد أخذت العِرافة عليه حتى خضع لي إسحاق قتال الحر، وبنجويه شعر الجمل، وعمرو القوقيل، وجعفر كردي كلك، وقرة أيره، وحمّويه عين الفيل، وشهرام حمار أيوب، وسعدويه…
وهكذا كان فن التعريط في زمن البطء والإطناب، يشبه ذاك التعريط في زمن السرعة، الذي يختصر العرط بجمل أقل من 140 حرف! “احنا اللي خرمنا التعريفة وصفينا البيكم عالرصيف.” والمكّدين هم الشحاذين والمختلسين.
بعض مما ذكر كان من الأحاديث الجادة والمقولات المأثورة، ذلك أن الجاحظ لم ينو كتابة أحاديث الناس المضحكة بل أحاديثهم وأعمالهم وطرق حياتهم من باب التوثيق. كل الأسف حين علمت أن البخلاء هو أحد بضعة كتب للجاحظ نجت من الضياع.
ورأيت أنا حمّارة منهم، زهاء خمسين رجلًا، يتغذون على مباقل بحضرة قرية الأعراب، في طريق الكوفة، وهم حجاج. فلم أر من جميع الخمسين رجلين يأكلان معًا، وهم في ذلك متقاربون، يحدّث بعضهم بعضًا. وهذا الذي رأيته منهم من غريب ما يتّفق للناس.
هذا من طرف أهل خراسان، وما أشبه البارحة باليوم. غير أن الجاحظ استغرب هذا النمط من الحياة، أمّا نحن! بل أعرف أناسًا لا يمدون أيديهم إلى وعاء مشترك لأن الآخرين استخدموا ملاعقهم الخاصة للسكب منه! يقال أن انتظار الألم، أوجع من الألم.
اعمل لدنياك عمل من يعيش أبدًا، واعمل لآخترك عمل من يموت غدًاز
قالها عمرو بن العاص.
جمع الشر كله في بيت، وأغلق عليه، فكان مفتاحه السكر. وقال: لو أن لابن آدم واديين من مال لابتغى ثالثًا، ولا يشبع ابن آدم إلا التراب، ويتوب الله على من تاب.
يدّعي زبيدة بن حميد أن الأول حديث رسول الله، إذ سكر، فوهب قميصه ولم يستطع أن يردّه، ولكني لم أجد دليلا على صحة الحديث، غير أنه ذكر من باب النصيحة على لسان العلماء. وأما الثاني فهو حديث نبوي ورد في الصحيحين والنسائي. وقيل في رسالة طويلة كتبها ابن العاص الثقفي يوبخ أحدهم على استحسانه البخل وأقوال البخلاء.
وقع بين رجلين أُبـليّين كلام. فأسمع أحدهما صاحبه كلمة غليظا، فرد عليه مثل كلامه. فرأيتهم قد أنكروا ذلك إنكارًا شديدًا، ولم أر لذلك سببًا. فقلت: لم أنكرتم أن يقول له مثل ماقال؟ قالوا: لأنه أكثر منه مالًا. وإذا جوّزنا هذا له، جوّزنا لفقرائنا أن يكافئوا أغنياءنا، ففي هذا الفساد كله. وقال حمدان بن صباح: كيف صار رياحٌ يسمعني ولا أسمعه؟ أفهو أكثر مالًا مني؟ ثم سكت.
الأُبلّة مدينة قديمة تقع على شاطىء دجلة، ومنها يخرج نهر الأُبلّة الذي كان يعتبر من أجمل المتنزّهات. والمقصود بـالمكافأة المعادلة والتكافؤ، وليس الجائزة. وسبحان الله، يحسب الإنسان أن ماله أخلده!
أنا تئق وصاحبي مئق
التئق هو الممتلئ غيظًا، السريع إلى الشر، والمئق السريع إلى البكاء. وهذا مثل جميل يضرب للمتنافين في الخلق.
الكثير الكثير من الكلمات الغريبة والقديمة، رأيت أن أسردها كما وردت، علّها يومًا تسعفني أو ترجع حيّة.
كم أجمجم: جمجم في الكلام: لم يبيّنه، وجمجم في صدره: أخفى. والمراد كم أخفى.
العشرات تفتح عليك أبواب المِئين و الِمئون تفتح عليك أبواب الألوف.
المِئون جمع مذكر سالم من مئة، ونحن لا نعرف إلّا المئات. ولكن هذه الكلمة بحر! فأصلها مأي (لسان العرب)، ولها معانٍ كثيرة تدور حول الامتداد، والمبالغة والزيادة عن الحد. وأيضًا ماءَ السنّور (القط) مواءًا اذا صاح (يعني صار يموّي!). ومن جموعها المِئِيَّ. وأَمْأَى القومُ: صاروا مائةً، وإذا أَتممت القومَ بنفسك مائةً فقد مَأَيْتَهم، وشارطْتُه مُماآةً أَي على مئةٍ. أمّا الألف الزائدة فلا تنطق، وسببها أن العرب لم يُحدثوا النقاط والهمزة حتى زمن قريب، فبعض الكلمات تشابهت، فكانوا يضيفون أحرفًا لتمييزها، مثل الواو في عمرو.
أنا والله أحتمل الضيف والضَيْفن، ولا أحتمل اللُّعموط ولا الجردبيل. والواغل أهون عليّ من الراشن.
والضَيْفن من يجيء مع الضيف متطفّلًا، واللعموط (حلوة هالكلمة) من لعمط اللحم إذا انتهشه من العظم ملء الفم، أو الطفيلي. إذًا اللّعموط هو الطفيلي! الجردبيل هو الذي يضع يده على الطعام حتى لا يتناوله غيره، أو الذي يأكل بيمينه ويمنع بشماله. الواغل من دخل على القوم فشرب معهم دون أن يدعى (طفيلي يعني!) والراشن الذي يأكل كل ما على الخوان.
هنيدة: تصغير هند، واسم للمئة من الإبل وغيره.
شيئة: الإسم من شاء.
وكنّا كما قد علمت نخبز في كل يوم مرّة، فإذا اجتمع من ذلك مكّوك بعته.
والمكّوك: طاس يشرب به او مكيال يسع ثماني أواق.
وكما كان يقول السلف، انتهى
I read two books by Seth Godin, Linchpin, and Meatball Sundae. Godin is also a public speaker on TED. Although his main focus is on marketing, the first book is inspirational in many terms. I like all books that drive people to stop being their regular “9-5 employees” into career owners, no matter how small, by doing something they are good at, to become great at what they do.
If you build a business filled with rules and procedures that are designed to allow you to hire cheap people, you will have to produce a product without humanity or personalization or connection. Which means that you’ll have to lower your prices to compete. Which leads to a race to the bottom.
He has a legitimate point, and I agree, but other writers have been arguing that the most successful businesses in the decades of last century belong to visionaries who decided to do things a bit differently: hire a lot of cheap labor, for each to do a single task that is absolutely no-brainers, to shorten the time it takes to produce a product to market. It worked! But probably on products that have long production lines, like automobiles.
“Not My Job” Three words can kill an entire organization.
Three words can kill me! What bothers me even more is living the fact, and assume everybody believes it too, so it goes without saying. Just around deadlines and rebounds do they actually mention it:
consumption is not the answer to social problems
Talking about how we invented the need to keep up with the Joneses, within two generations of pushing for consumer products, that we barely needed.
If the game is designed for you to lose, don’t play that game. Play a different one.
Referring to companies hiring paper, or resumes of people, instead of people. He goes on by saying that you should avoid trying to get a job at a typical company, resist, present yourself in your work, be patient, and you will soon find yourself standing out, instead of fitting in.
Volunteering to do emotional labor–even when you don’t feel like it, and especially when you’re not paid extra for it–is a difficult choice.
Terrific, being a flight attendant who repeats the script with no extra emotional labor, then being more frustrated when losing airline replaces script with audio, then losing more money forces then to lower wages… That attendant that followed guidelines is now dispensable. I like this argument, that in order to be a linchpin at your work, you have to drop the instructions manual and do seemingly unpaid-for labor. I say seemingly, because when you become irreplaceable, that is what you were paid for.
Artists Are Optimists The reason is simple: artists have the chance to make things better. Other people often make the choice to be victims. They can be the flotsam and jetsam tossed by the waves of circumstance.
No comment, just like the quote.
Get scared early, not late. Be brave early, not late. Thrash now, not later. It’s too expensive to thrash later.
After explaining two ways to get projects to launch fast, first is to involve as few people as possible to reduce coordination efforts, and second is to hire one linchpin to get it done. So be brave early on, when you can afford it, and break the corporate rule and screw policy.
no matter how successful or acclaimed you are, the lizard will seek you out and probably find you.
This was my favorite section, about the lizard brain. The lizard brain is metaphoric for resistance, out natural animalistic tendency towards survival. Your creative mind floats around, breaking rules to invent new ideas, and the only thing standing in its way is fear, resistance, hunger, laziness… the lizard brain. That’s why artists get blank slates, and writers’ blocks. I experienced this as I brought myself to write this post, had I remembered this part, it would have been faster to go live!
I also experience my lizard brain resistance at the beginning of every new project I take, where I have to stretch my imagination and be at my extreme creative edge, it’s so tedious, I end up taking more naps, playing more jigsaw, and tweeting more rubbish than any other phase of the project. And the scariest part is when Godin says:
The resistance is nefarious and clever. It creates diseases, procrastination, and most especially, rationalization. Lots and lots of rationalization, some of which you might be experiencing right now.
I was! I was thinking that distraction, taking naps, fighting against ideas, was part of my creative processes. That it always works out eventually. Rationalizations!
The funniest part though, was that I had just recently created a twitter app to serve the purpose of reducing distraction on twitter, and -oddly- named it sekrab lizard! I had no encounter with the term Lizard brain before, it just came to me.
I recommend you read this section of the book. It starts at page 134.
Don’t ship on time. Late is the first step to never. Procrastinate, claiming that you need to be perfect.
Here he talks about signs when the lizard brain kicks in. He goes on with a long list, I could easily relate to almost all of them.
So in essence, the lizard brain is all about excuses, blame game, victimization, and resistance.
Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
Seth goes on explaining how to get things done in a section titled “the Cult of Done.” He mentions perfection as a reason why we never get things done. Gosh! That’s an all-time favorite excuse!
Trivial art isn’t worth the trouble it takes to produce it.
Trivial art is what you choose to work on that is beneath you, if the path to create art is not hard and fruitful, the result isn’t worth it. Your lizard brain will kick in and win.
Check my e-mail box to see what people think of my work. Answer them. Check the tribes online site to see what’s going on. Adjust if necessary. Check my e-mail box. Check my blog feeds to see what’s happening. Read the relevant ones; comment if appropriate. Check the status of my Squidoo pages. Repeat.
He goes on in describing his day when the lizard brain kicks in. Sounds any familiar?
The biblical proscription against usury goes all the way back to Moses.
Didn’t know that.
If their airline started using hidden cameras and customer report forms to push them to do it more, they’d actually do it less. Manipulated art (even the art of service) ceases to be art.
That is an example about how the best workers are givers. Godin, throughout this book compares linchpins to artists, claiming good work is an art. The common factor between artists and linchpins is that they are both givers. They do whatever they do because it makes them feel good and happy that it makes others feel good and happy.
Because we humans tend to give gifts for no exchange, being good at what you do should constitute part of the gift culture. I totally agree with him on the statement that he eventually makes: that the real payoff of your work isn’t the paycheck, it’s the appreciation of it, and how it changes people. It just isn’t easy to convince people to take that path. They all seek “stability!”
Fundamentalist Zealot. He is attached to the world as he sees it.
Those are the ones that spend hundreds of millions of dollars to sue people downloading and listening to music for free. They just are passionate about keeping things the way they are.
The bureaucrat is a passionless rules follower, indifferent to external events and gliding through the day.
Passive and unattached, lethal combination.
The whiner has no passion, but is extremely attached to the worldview he’s bought
Everybody hates those. Godin thinks generally the newspaper industry is full of whiners, they define the world as they want it, but won’t do anything about it!
And what the linchpin who leads change is able to do is just that: leap.
So a linchpin, or that irreplaceable worker we all need to be, is someone who sees the world as it really is, but instead of wasting his efforts in whining and litigation, creates a solution. This comes to mind in recent economic turmoil, I find more of my friends out of job, and incapable of finding another dream post, simply because it is too small, irrelevant, a downgrade, or completely different than what they do; their own words. A linchpin would leap!
Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.
I could be more creative if only . . .
The challenge in filling the statement forces us to fix the reason we think is stopping us from being what we want until we have no excuses left.
The only thing that separates great artists from mediocre ones is their ability to push through the dip.
Hard work, this is the last stage of excellence, to my belief. First comes talent; the familiar ability to do a certain job over and over again without boredom. Then comes knowledge, it isn’t good enough to be a talented cook if you don’t know what makes bread. Then skills, that you build with experience, and require training. Finally, what will set you apart, is hard work. Exercise. Wake up early. Do extra hours. Give away. And don’t whine.
That’s how desperately we want to be touched by another person. That’s how much the gift of attention from a person means to us.
He mentioned a story of a “Frank Eliason” who tweeted back to an angry customer to help him, the twitter community rejoiced when they found out that the twitter account had a real person behind it. Frank did not have it in his manual or company guidelines that he should respond to help, it was a gift to give, it was his art.
We have everything we need, so we’re not buying commodities. We’re not even buying products. We’re buying relationships and stories and magic.
This is why the corporate world is failing, they package their commodities with lies and insincere emotions. When was the last time you clicked or even looked at a full-color banner ad full of jargon promoting the “most innovative accounting solutions for your growing business?”
The resistance, our fear of standing out, rears its ugly head every time we’re on the hook for this sort of work.
Delivering unique creativity that is. Being passionate enough to survive rejection.He lists that as one of seven abilities a linchpin possesses.
This isn’t a gift you’re born with. It’s a choice.
On managing complex organizations at tough time. I must disagree though. It is a lot of practice, which is by choice, but if you are not born with the seed, watering the land forever cannot yield the tree you desire.
Do your art. But don’t wreck your art if it doesn’t lend itself to paying the bills. That would be a tragedy.
Sometimes, the art you find yourself in love with doing, isn’t making any money, Godin suggests you should not only look for a job where you love what you do, but also do what you love, on the side, without payoff expectations. Writing blogs, painting, making free music… Etc. You never know, it might be the one thing that pays off eventually. Making open source projects is definitely an art that software developers should seek out, as it builds your reputation like no resume, or slideshow, or portfolio can do.
I can’t say enough about this book. I already am doing what I love, and when I stop loving it, I move on, I did consider myself a linchpin in the places I worked for, but the lizard brain theory was a complete shocker to me! It matches perfectly. Now I have to re-think my situation, and re-evaluate my gift.
Because of my memory leakage, I decided to keep notes of all books I read through 2012. Looking back at my EverNote, I realized I did forget a lot already. Those notes brought back some “good” memories. So in an effort to further enhance my memory, I thought I could go back to these notes, and blog about them, and may be read parts of the book again, who knows? I might have a decent recollection of at least one book!
This is a biography of an American Syrian named Abdel Rahman Zeitoun, during Hurricane Katrina. The story first defines the life of Zeitoun, and how hard working and determined he was when he got to America some 30 years ago. Here are the notes, and my comments, if I had any.
Anyone who had a problem with rainbows, he said, would surely have trouble with Islam.
Zeitoun said that after neighbors pointed out that his painting business rainbow-based logo printed on his van and business cards held connotations of gay-friendly business, and he did not wish to spend more money to fix a problem with another problem. Racism knows no color! Ironic isn’t it?
One day, when Zeitoun was already in danger of being late, the bike blew a tire. After riding on the rim for half a mile, he gave up. He needed to get four miles across the city in twenty minutes, and it was looking like he would be late for work for the first time in his life. He couldn’t leave the bike and run—he needed that bike—and he couldn’t ride on the flat tire, so he threw the bike over his shoulders and started jogging. He was panicking. If he was late for this job, what would happen to his reputation
A man is about a reputation. This is true. I always believed that your time is what you train it to be. If you are always on time for meetings, next time you run into an accident, it will work out for you and you will -somehow- be on time. If you never break a promise, one day that will come in handy.
Zeitoun always thought of the people Ahmad had asked to take the pictures. Ahmad must have met a thousand people during these trips…
This reveals a specific kind of personality, a totalitarian, someone who thinks of the farmers of low income cropping rice, before he eats lunch.
it had been unlike anything she’d expected. First there was the snow. Snow in Damascus!
Referring to Zeitoun’s American wife visiting Damascus for the first time, way before social media, before YouTube, probably before the Internet too, when people rode camels in Damascus!
It surpassed the most surreal accounts he’d heard of third-world law enforcement.
Talking about his ordeal when the army came into town to enforce law upon news that looters were all over the place. But it does reveal something else, this American prejudice, brought by their media. How did we ever come to accept such a “culture-void” nation dub us as third world?!
“Phones don’t work,” a guard told them. “You guys are terrorists. You’re Taliban.”
An army soldier said! It has been said a lot that if you are a loser, unemployed, and have little future, you join the army! Then they brain wash you, and break you forever.
We thought we were in a third-world country.
So if there were a huge weather catastrophe in a developed country, that would be enough to degrade it. That is a nation that brags about too much freedom to the point of no ethics, and too much capitalism to the point of worship.
They might “build on public panic to further destabilize the system by disseminating rumors” and therefore “increase media coverage” and “stress the public health system.”
Referring to how the enemies may use such a catastrophe to their side. The American national security system is that fragile.
That there could be trials without witnesses, that her government could make people disappear. “It broke me.”
Said his American wife, about her ordeal to bring her husband out of jail. Enough said.
Although this book was to bring light to the flaws in the American security system, but my personal conclusions are: that enemy of ours has got one dumb army, and that the American dream is not inclusive to all, it’s exclusive to those who look like Brad Pitt basically. And that a civilization not built on religion and ethics, won’t be able to differentiate between right and wrong when the pressure mounts.
When last year started, my new-year-resolution (or one of them anyway) was to read a book of 250 pages a week. I got to this number by calculating the number of pages I could read in 15 minute blocks, it turned out to be roughly 5 pages. If I could save eight 15-minute slots in a day, I could read 40 pages a day. In 7 days that would add up to roughly 280 pages. So 250 pages is a good guess (taken into consideration Hommos day!). That means I should be able to read 52 books in a whole year. Averaging on the number of pages books come by, it would be more like 40 to 45 books. Well, 2012 is over, and I have read (or tried to read) 28 books! So what’s going on?
In the beginning, and as usual, I was excited, full of energy, knowing I can do it, and not having to convince myself of it. I did get on with a bunch of books and kept on target. I had a lot of books on the shelf and it was easy to choose the next one. Come June, and as I expected, my interest, my thrill, my passion started to die down. I knew this was going to happen, but I usually stay sharp by convincing myself that I can do it, and I usually do it. But what made things worse was that the number of available books was becoming less.
On the other hand, because I knew my drive was destined to die down, I kept the more interesting books for later. So I still had something to go on with until… August. And what happened in August? Ramadan! I thought I could do it, but my time schedule looked absolutely different. I woke up earlier than usual, had to rest a bit before heading to work, then napped during the day to keep my head straight. At 6 PM, the only thing you would be thinking about is how to prepare breakfast. Problem is, you eat throughout the year and it doesn’t take you more than 5 minutes to prepare your meal and 5 minutes to eat it. But when your whole family decide to gather for one meal, it becomes more like 6 individuals times 5 minutes, thirty minutes to prepare. Add “friction,” that becomes one hour. After breakfast, you have to help in cleaning up and “folding back the dinner table!” Then we spent like one hour to rest, drink tea, and watch television before we headed to the mosque.
So I came to realize that August was not the month for reading books, and I would have been okay with it. But being the easily-distracted person I am, I knew it was going to take a while to get back on track after Ramadan. And it did… I haven’t picked a book to read until late October.
Having a lot of work to do on my freelance job always kept my head buzzing and looking for some rest inside books. Having a pretty busy schedule always meant I could find time to do one extra thing. I am a pressure-cooker! I blossom under pressure. Unfortunately, work is not always around the corner. By November, I had so little work to do, I spent days doing nothing but stare at the ceiling. Had no urge to read more books, nor do anything really. So I read less books than I was supposed to.
So I guess, with that, I must know what limits me in terms of reading as many books as I could during a year:
- Choose boring books first
- Have a list of mystery novels, just in case passion really dies down (incredible lifters).
- Stop during Ramadan
- Don’t expect much on low-pressure days
I decided early on, that I should gather the notes of every book and keep them on my EverNote account for public use. That way, I can at least remember what I read a year ago. My brain suffers from a memory leakage, or may be it is a selective memory. Whatever it is, I found myself on many occasions having to read the book again, just to remind myself what it was about. These notes are here: https://www.evernote.com/pub/ayyash/booksof2012.
I hope in the coming weeks I would be able to blog about each book – the ones I read and finished anyway, in a serious attempt to keep that information in a safe place in my damaged memory, but I won’t make a commitment to that, not because I am not serious, but because some of these books are not worth keeping!
I am going to rate these books once I am done re-remembering them to know which comes first, and which sucked! But off the top of my head, my most favorite book on that list is oddly an oldie:
And yet another four years go by, and the world meets again for another spectacular clean entertainment that brings a little of happiness to a lot around the world. This time, now that we are in the round of 16, what did Africa offer us?
Escorted out on the noise of Vuvuzilas, France and Italy recorded historical exits. The old horses were finally put down and topped by South America. Oh well, the century is still young!
For the first time in Fifa history: Africa hosts the tournament, the host -unsurprisingly- does not make it to the knockout stages, England draws with an African team: Algeria, Slovakia makes it to the round of 16, New Zealnd tops the world champions, and USA heads its group.
Argentina -a very strong candidate- falls under the radar and goes undetected. History repeats itself as they are about to face Mexico (as in 2006), and it might double-repeat itself when they face Germany next. Watching Messi play is a true pleasure, a pleasure we are still waiting for. What makes 2010 so special however, is who is not playing: Maradonna. With a big hug per player, the argument to settle in Africa is: can passion be a deciding factor in winning it?
With a Serbian-made smashed ego, the German Maschine is as sharp as ever. Their first opponent; Australia, ran out of luck twice in a row, and their next opponent; England, is maintaining a reputation of chaos.
Switzerland showed the Spaniards -who passed the ball a little too well to score any goals- what football is really about! Honduras is the only American team of eight that does not make it to the next round, and Ghana is the only African team of six that makes it.
Reading a Portuguese-to-Brazilian-Portuguese dictionary would have been less boring than the match between the two nations, with pronunciation!
Fifa still believes Video technology takes away too much of the game, besides controversial red cards, lost penalties and absurd diving!
The least impressive teams, who made the cut to the next round, were Netherlands and Portugal, you’d expect more of world-class players.
Skipped few matchies to catch some sleep, thus I have no clue how Japan and South Korea made the cut. Kudos for both nations, I will be watching out for Yamahari Teeshirtato!
The even (or uneven) ball was a good excuse by some for the lack of goals, and the vuvuzilas was a great excuse! Love it or hate it, this is World Cup South Africa.
Fifa’s intention to allow better teams to go forward seems to be working so far, the only unpredictable match coming up is Spain versus Portugal! Yet, odds are as random as a dice throw! And the world cup is as good as we all know it and love it: controversial, dramatic and full of surprises.
Do you spend hours (on end) naming your computer folders only to forget what they were for the next morning? Welcome to the popular club of the driven to chaos. But before you rush to the store to buy the latest invention in data backup and storage utilities, let me offer you few tips of my experience, about how to put chaos into order.
Categorising is undeniably a great method for handling an ever-growing pile of information. You can find all kinds of category-making merchandise; folders, paper clips, labels, drawers, boxes, etc. But after two weeks, if you wonder where to place your new item, you need to reconsider this technique.
If you want your categories to last a long time, flexibility is the key. Keep them generic, and limited to five. (I find five categories sufficient for most things in IT professions.) For example, instead of having four small drawers, for bills, bank statements, salary slips, and receipts, have one large drawer for “serious letters,” and another for “small papers.”
In the computer world, stick to one level of folders in your inbox. Think about what task you need to accomplish when you create a folder, rather than what it contains. For example; a folder for “act now” emails, another for “act later,” and a third for “FYI.”
Generic categories remove the stress of having to make a decision every time you put something away.
“I have two boys, Harbour Conceived Blond 4.0, and July-04 Hyper Active." How would you feel if you had a name like that? In real life, no matter how many tall and blond employees are in the office, Sara is one, and very distinguished. If that is how we name the most important things in our lives -our babies- then that is how we should name everything else.
Instead of dwelling upon a name for a new object (or group of objects), throw in the first name that comes to your mind. It may not be indicative, but “Sara” isn’t either, yet we all know who Sara is! It works because you force a visual connection that does not need any further verbal expression. For example, you may name your drawers: “Apples” for the serious letters and “Tomatoes” for the small papers. (Tomatoes rot after a while, get rid of them!)
Additionally, abstract naming allows you to throw more unrelated objects to the same group. For example, important notes you want to separate from the rest of your inbox are under Achilles, so are security emails, and upcoming deployment plans. (The category for those items would be “short emails that don’t occur often.”)
In 2005, I came up with a file backup system based on city names. Not so indicative, nor restrictive. Four years down the road, I can tell you my cooking videos are on one of London backup DVDs and my old emails are on Dublin. (I added backup dates to the label to distinguish them.)
In my family’s house, my mum used to constantly complain about the clutter (around). Trying to help, I bought more containers and fixed more shelves in the kitchen. But I realised that the more space I was creating, the more junk there was to dump.
The first serious step towards eliminating clutter from our lives is to change our attitude towards it. We love to sort it when we should be disposing of it. I took that lesson with me when I moved into my own apartment. Here is one tip to keep the beast away
Have a large container that is easy to reach, whenever you have items lying around; feel free to throw them in. Every other week, get rid of the items that you haven’t used in a while. A while is about three months for a hand bag, two weeks for a wallet, half a year for an old telephone set, and so on. The general rule is to remind yourself of how many times you promised to use an item. If you did that three times in a row, dump it, you are never going to use it.
Computer clutter grows much faster, but we almost never open a saved file (document, article or bookmark) twice! Save new items in one generic folder, fight the urge to create sub folders. Every once in a while, burn them on a DVD, label it and put it out of your sight. (My junk folders are all saved in Frankfurt!)
Do you feel guilty for messing with the pattern you spent hours sorting out? Don’t. It’s not your fault. Not only is it the age of knowledge and information, but also technology has made it more available. If you had the tendency to drift away, a web browser that puts millions of bits of knowledge a click away will devastate you, but instead of fighting it, try to channel it. The best way to avoid wasting much time in putting things in order is to spend less time trying! Keep it simple, accessible, and easily expendable.