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Book Notes

Book Notes – Predictably Irrational

Pretty good and interesting read overall – mostly touches on some of the repeatable unusual things in human behavior. Definitely worth the read. Some of the notes:

  • We judge value on things based on the context of other things around it – making it difficult to judge the value of something absolutely.
  • Question your repeated behaviors – and make sure they aren’t just happening out of habit (ex. getting a regular coffee, do you need to get it)?
  • Things being free gives the image of not having a loss associated to it, although there is always a cost of owning things.
  • Between market (cash) and social (gift) norms, try to keep social norms as long as possible. Gifts make for a good social lubricant.
  • Avoiding temptation is easier than trying to overcome it.
  • Running around and trying to keep everything open as an option ends up making for a shallow experience. Better to pick a few focuses and stick with them (I’ve read this in a few places).
  • Expectations affect experience (if you are told something will be good/bad before experiencing, you will be biased).
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Book Notes

Book Notes – The Total Money Makeover

Over the last few days, I decided to re-read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover just to skim it and go through anything I might have missed. I read this book about 8 years ago when finances were more tight, and a lot of the information is pretty helpful.

The takeaway I got after reading a second time was that this book works well for someone that doesn’t have much of an idea on how to handle finances. For someone without any opinion on how to manage their money, this provides a pretty simple workflow to get yourself on the right track.

However, if you’re someone who has more experience, you’ll probably find this book doesn’t teach anything new. Re-reading it the second time, nothing notable came out to me as something I was missing in my financial management. Another issue is that there are a few somewhat controversial ideas that don’t apply if you have decent discipline (avoiding credit use, paying down a house 100%, or only using 15 year mortgages come to mind) that can end up hurting you in the long run.

A couple major points:

  • The snowball method of paying down debt (paying down lowest balance first) I do think has some merit – although you lose out on some interest paid, I think in the long run you end up more motivated to keep on track.
  • Staying debt-free is promoted as the best way to build wealth, which I think makes sense – avoiding regular payments and using the income provided to build wealth.
  • Valuable to think long term as possible, especially with overall cost of items (think “how much”, not “how much a month?”)
  • Important types of insurance to have:
    • Auto & Home – high deductibles for lower premiums
    • Life – 20 year term equal to about 10x income, don’t place savings in life insurance here
    • Disability – purchase through work if possible
    • Health – high deductibles for lower premiums, alongside use of HSA
    • Long-Term Care Insurance – if >60 years old
  • Large tax return? You need to adjust your withholding to allow use of that money throughout the year.

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Book Notes

Book Notes – Hackers & Painters

This is a book written almost 15 years ago that makes some comparison to the workstyle painters has and how it correlates to programming. A case study is shown about Viacom, one of the first pieces of software to be served via server side code.

A lot of the ideas presented in this book talks about the perks of serving applications via the web, which is common today. Also, a lot of promotion towards using Lisp.

A lot of this seems obvious to me now, but it definitely wasn’t at this time. Some of the points including:

  • Programming is more painting or gardening then it is engineering (software is constant work in progress)
  • Outsourcing IT might be a good idea (kind of what happens when using a vendor as opposed to being in house).
  • Get version 1.0 out ASAP, improve in iterative steps, and use your own software.
  • Software is best written in small teams (<10)
  • Always work to have working code.
  • Many new trends fade away – don’t always need to try and adopt everything

Lastly, the book makes a point of promotion dynamic typing, and as someone that prefers static typing, it makes an interesting point. Dynamic typing allows for more flexibility and using tools in ways they may not have been intended.

That makes for someone like TypeScript having a certain appeal. I still think having specific types makes for cleaning up APIs and such, but an interesting viewpoint.

Another interesting idea is the fact that wealth is no longer a zero-sum game. Making software that makes loves better is a form of “creating wealth” per say. Wealth isn’t just money, so there’s definitely some value in that. I think with software, a lot of that comes in automation and saved time.

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Book Notes

Book Notes – Squat Every Day

Wanted to try writing some notes to recap some of the books I’ve been reading as a means to rehash the knowledge and have a means to understand what I read, as well as have a reference if I need to look back later.

Squat Every Day by Matt Perryman provides a training philosophy around frequent training over the standard minimalist high intensity training used by many strength athletes.

His approach looks closer to what I’ve seen in high level weightlifting as opposed to powerlifting.

Training Structure

Base Structure:

  • 5-6 workouts a week
  • 1 hour each
  • 1-2 main lifts (squat, press, etc.)
  • 1-3 assistances (core, arms)

Hit a benchmark “minimum” for each lift, and work past that. Focus on smooth movement over grindy and slow.

When jumping up in lifts, two general styles:

  • Big jumps – good for exercises frequently done (squats)
  • Smaller jumps – provides extra practice at cost of energy & time

Think practice, not working out.

Start using 2-3 back off sets when feeling ready (if in doubt, say no).

Advice

  • Reductionism (act of breaking things down and simplifying) doesn’t always apply in all systems. Too many things going on to explain each detail.
  • Willpower is ultimately finite but can be trained over time.
  • Goal is to reduce emotional intensity – lifting should be level, not up and down. Relaxation is a skill since it conserves emotional energy.
  • Body is a garden, not a factory (use a bottom-up approach for experimentation, not top-down approach (highly planned)). Guiding a process as opposed to managing.
  • Do your best not to have total stoppage in training (better to go very light than to completely take time off). Hurts motivation much more, and falling out of habit is hard to recover from.
  • Focus on the process, not the achievement.