Monday, October 29, 2012

How to live 15 months per year

I like arguing with people about the usefulness of cars. That's because I have no permit, and don't want to have one, so here is my favorite argument.

-How much time in car do you spend per day to go to work ?
-2H
-Are you getting paid for this time ?
-No, but my company pays transport fees
-Ok so let's do the math. 2H per work day in a month is about 20 * 2 = 40H spent in your car, freely given to your company to go to work.  40H is approximately how much time you are really working in a week.

If you were using this time to do something else, you would earn 1 week per month. For 12 months, you earn 12 weeks, or 2 month, so in total you will have 15 months per year.

What can you do with 2 months, just for yourself per year ?

The problem with this argument is that few people is able to give a response.
So I ask, what will you do when you retire ? And most of the time, there is no response, because they never thought about it. This make me really sad, but I prefer to not talk about it when I'm arguing.

The best answer is : If I was in retirement, I would do what I do now.
Anything less is having a miserable life, anything less is delegating the important choices of your life to your boss or whoever will decide for you, and ultimately giving the key of your happiness to people that don't know you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mastery is awareness

You might think that mastery on a subject comes from having massive knowledge in a subject.
That's wrong.

Massive knowledge is like local cached database. It is just pure information.

Mastery is about using this knowledge to maximize deduction while minimizing incoming information. In other word : awareness.

In an age where we suffer information overload, the true master is the one that percieve whispers and can tranform them into wealth.

I  finished Reversing lately, I see the same assembly code than the author, but he is capable of deduce lot more from the very same information. I might say : from less information, because he is able to filter noise better than I can.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Everybody and Somebody

Don't be like Everybody.

Everybody is mean.
Everybody is noisy.
Everybody is average in Everything.
Everybody wants to do what Everybody does.

That's not very interesting to be like him.
If you are like him, you can't change him.
If you can't change him, you will not convince him to give you his money.
Yelling stronger will not change Everybody. He talks a lot and louder than you, he won't listen.

Instead, be like Somebody.

He is generous.
He listens.
He has deep knowledge.
He does what Everybody fears the most.

Somebody is the one who shapes the road that Everybody will take.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cross reading and scientific method

The first mistake that you can make is to take the wrong book.
Reading a book takes lots of time, reading only the best and brightest will save you time and neurons.

The second mistake you can make is to read only one book about the subject you want to learn.

The scientific method first makes hypothesis, test them, then review of confirm the hypothesis, turning it into a theory.
Our mind do exactly the same thing. It has a model of the world, experiment, and redefine the model.

Reading is an experiment, it challenges what you already know (your model) and redefine or confirm it.
Needless to say, only redefinitions make you grow. The more redefinition you make to your model, the more you learn.

When you are reading a book, you are copying the model that the author has.
The problem is that, once you read the book, reading the same book twice, will not redefine your model very much.

Mastery means that whatever you can read about the subject, it does not redefine your model very much.

The best way to keep redefining your model, is to read several of the best material about the same subject. That's what I call cross reading.
You know you get into mastery when reading more of these different material does not redefine your model.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading, Learning, Drawing

As my job is to assimilate lots of knowledge, play with it, and then share with people the cool things, I become more and more aware of how my brain works when I learn.

As I read, my brain is trying to draw a picture of the concept.
Even if the concept is not material, as software or mathematics.
Every sentence draws a more accurate picture or extends it.

When the picture is done, the text become irrelevant.

The picture is big, and it tell me the whole story. I can zoom in for details or zoom out, and move to parallel topics. As I browse, I recall the story that goes with the parts and explain it.
I know that I don't fully understand a concept when I can't visualize it.

However, I can't use the picture as is to transfer the knowledge. Some parts of it are interconnected with knowledge irrelevant to my audience.

Reading is a linear activity but learning is not it's up to you to decide when to zoom in, zoom out or move. The book can suggest you the order, but the real order will come from what you already know and which part of the picture you want to extend.

I am a big fan of mind maps, this permits me to remind me quickly all the image that come with a node and its transitions. My mind maps are irrelevant to someone else, because they relate to my own picture.

Some people suggests that note taking should be the process of drawing this mental picture down to paper. But I have a problem with paper : it is linear and my picture is not, it get extended on all side as I read books... not just at the end.

But computers overcome this limitation.
So I will give a try to graphic tablet as a tool for drawing my mind maps and images.