Archive for the ‘Best Practices for Thinkers’ Category

Some Great Books About Intelligence

November 3, 2012

Thought I would share comments on a variety of books that speak to the questions, What is intelligence, and how can you develop more of it?

The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential, by Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan has written many books, but this is one I have actually read. Buzan is known as a memory guru. Mind mapping (similar to a method sometimes called idea mapping) is an extremely useful tool for planning, outlining, and note-taking. It is also inherently a memory aid. I use mind mapping constantly in my work as a teacher, student, writer, and consultant. It is probably the most useful tool I know.

On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins is the creator of the PalmPilot. The interesting thing is that he was cross-trained as both a computer scientist and a neuroscientist. He merges those two disciplines in this book about how the brain works. He also discusses artificial intelligence and puts forth some useful ideas about what a truly intelligent machine might be like.

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

Goleman introduces here the important concept of emotional intelligence and how it translates into productivity in the workplace. Emotionally intelligent people are those who exhibit such qualities as empathy, a collaborative spirit, and ambition.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshue Foer

A delightful exploration of memory — what it is and how it can be developed. This book has helped me to understand more clearly the concept of the “memory palace” and how to use it as a memory tool. Foer describes his year-long effort to train himself to be a “mental athlete.”

ARB — 2 Nov. 2012

Great Idea-Mapping Tool — Giant Stickies

March 14, 2012

This video from Daniel Pink provides a great demo for how to use giant stickies. Pink has started using these instead of whiteboards. One important benefit is that you don’t have to erase your previous work — you have an archive of the thinking process that led you to where you are now.

The product he demonstrates here looks like the Staples Stickies restickable tabletop easel pad.

My Favorite Tools, Episode 1: Ginormous Stickies from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

AB — 14 March 2012

Avoiding High-Risk Practices With Keys

January 15, 2012

I’ve noticed that people often increase the risk in their lives by the way they deal with their keys. Here are some of the practices that I think are high-risk and some comments about them:

1. Loaning your keys to other people

I worked for several years in a residential treatment program for psychiatric patients. The person who conducted my orientation gave me some advice I’ll never forget: “Your keys are your authority. Never loan your keys to a resident [patient].” In that program, we trusted our residents and allowed them a lot of freedom. But this was good advice.

I view any lock as an important responsibility. I do keep a spare house key on my key chain, in case I need to loan one to a family member or friend for some important purpose.

2. Having your keys out of your pocket anywhere near a storm sewer or grate.

Obvious what the risk is here.

3. Setting your keys down when you come into any house

This especially applies to someone else’s house. This is a recipe for losing your keys. However, it also applies to your own house. Suppose you have to run outside briefly? It would be very easy to forget to bring your keys with you, shut the door, and lock yourself out. Even in my own house, I don’t take my keys out of my pocket unless I am almost 100 percent certain I’m not going outside.

4. Carrying your keys outside your clothing

I see guys walking around with their keys hanging on a chain outside of their pockets. This looks very risky to me.

5. Buying clothes without pockets

This is one of my pet peeves about women’s clothing. What’s wrong with having at least one small, discreet pocket in a dress or skirt? Having no pockets decreases your power, in my opinion.

6. Not making spare keys

As soon as I become the owner of a lock (on a house or car), I have spare keys made — at least one for each person who will be responsible for that lock, and at least two extras. In spite of precautions, keys get lost; when that happens, the person responsible needs a replacement immediately.

Best practice is to never use the only original key that comes with a lock. Keep at least one original in storage so you can make more copies when they are needed. That brings me to another high-risk practice:

7. Keeping your original keys just any old place

I store all my original keys in a box kept only for that purpose. When I purchase a new lock, the original key and any extra copies go in that box and the key gets labeled. Best practice is to designate one place where all keys will be kept.

AB — 15 January 2012

Why You Really Need to Carry a Pocket Notebook

August 26, 2010

One of my all-time best practices as a thinker is to carry a pocket notebook. This allows you to capture ideas at the moment they occur to you. Recording an idea at the moment of inspiration is crucial, as you will lose most ideas if you wait to write them down later.

A great article on this topic appears on Brett and Kate McKay’s Art of Manliness web site — see “The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook.” The McKays found some great historical quotes about pocket notebooks, such as this one from a doctor, written in 1918:

When I started in practice, I got in the habit of putting many of my spare moments (had plenty of them!) into studying up some of the rarer diseases that we had to deal with. I would read up all I could find on one subject, then I would take some time in thinking it over, then I would formulate a plan of treatment and write it out in a pocket-notebook. In after years, that old notebook helped me out of a good many difficult situations; and some of the best work I have ever done has come from those notes.

From Toothpaste for Dinner comes this great cartoon:

Why you need to write down your ideas

AB — 26 August 2010