Beeminder Forum

Beeminder book club?


#1

Hi folks!

I recently finished The Willpower Instinct and thought about Beeminder at least every few pages. It’s packed full of actionable things we can do to improve our goals and reduce weaseling.

I was thinking of doing a Beeminder-centric reread and taking notes for a Beeminder blog post, but I had an even better (maybe…) Idea. What about doing a Beeminder book club?

If people are worried about getting around to actually following along, I know of a tool that can help! :wink:

  1. Have you read this? What did you think?

  2. Would you be interested in participating in a Beeminder book club where we pick a book and a pace, and discuss weekly on a thread or something?

  3. Any suggestions for other books or articles? Please include if you’ve read it yet or if it’s still on your list.


#2

Maybe the book Triggers would be another good one.


#3

Great idea, although I have yet to find a way of Beeminding my reading/Kindle that I didn’t instantly dismiss as the weaselling/faking would be so easy.


#4

I’m interested! My ideas here:


#5

I’d be very interested.

I recently came across a Less Wrong post where they list the best textbook for every subject. There’s so much throw away trash content in the form of Medium articles, ebooks, etc that I’m always up for getting good thoughtful recommendations from people. I am a total sucker for the promise that all the headlines bring.

I also like the idea of sharing how the insights from a particular book translate to action or better decision making devices IRL.


#6

“If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?”


#7

I’ve been thinking about reading it. Skeptical if there is something significantly “new” in it that will “fix” something…


#8

“when do we start the book club?”


#9

What about the War of Art? Deals with deeper issues involved in procrastination.


#10

I recently read ‘Thinking in Bets’ by Annie Duke (she is a professional poker player) and it is an interesting view on habits, situation analysis and motivational techniques. The book is not too deep (or very scientific) and in many cases she refers to Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow (which has its own share of problems in reproducibility department ), but I thought about Beeminder a lot while I was reading, since there’s definitely an intersection between assigning bets to probabilities and assigning fines to pledges.


#11

I have not read the Willpower Instinct, thank you for sharing.

I would be interested in the book club.

It’s been awhile since I read most or all of “The Now Habit” but I remember it having a positive impact on how I thought about and dealt with my procrastination, etc., so that would be my suggestion for a book.


#12

Ditto on book club interest! I have two English degrees and haven’t ever been in one.

Also, guessing everyone has read this, but just a mention of Power of Habit as a possible one to read. Really helped at my last startup gig.


#13

Hi! Long-time Beeminder user, first time poster. It’s kind of strange to me to start thinking of Beeminder as a social thing, but I like it! And a book club sounds like a lot of fun :slight_smile:

If anyone’s interested in some fiction options as well, “Legend” by David Gemmell is a book I haven’t read in a few years but would like to reread. I always think about when facing a challenge that seems overwhelming. Like finishing the DuoLingo Italian tree, which I tracked with Beeminder, in time to meet my boyfriend’s visiting parents from Italy :slight_smile:


#14

I think we can make this both synchronous and asynchronous, and with little overhead.

It tends to be useful to have discussion questions, but not always. I actually suspect this group doesn’t really need them, but let’s start with some until we find out we end up skipping them and driving the cnoversation without them.

  1. Anyone can add to the list of upcoming books and articles.

  2. We can generate and collect a set of pointed-for-Beeminder-users-but-generic questions. If you want to read a book from the list on your own and answer the questions, awesome. Your answers may spur other people here to read it, which would then get you some discussion! You can also add new questions specifically for this book after you’ve read it.

  3. We can also choose a book, a rate, and a starting date, and anyone who wants a more traditional book club experience can join in. One or two people will pre-read and generate questions per section, and we can discuss them via the forum at some predetermined schedule. If folks have already read it and already generated specific questions, great–less work for the organizer!


#15

What about Deep Work, Thinking Fast and Slow, or Eat That Frog?


#16

Tim Pychyl’s “Solving the Procrastination Puzzle” is not only short (a little over 100 pages) but full of Aha! moments. It’s the first place I’ve ever heard procrastination likened to a habit behaviour.

It also has the benefit of having concrete strategies for overcoming procrastination. When people review or discuss procrastination books they focus on the ideas but the important thing is to focus on what you tried and what actually worked or didn’t work (and why).

Here’s an example. The first Amazon review for The Now Habit begins “I really should wait until I’ve finished the book, but I’ve already seen enough results that I can’t procrastinate on this review!” It’s much more about the promise for the future than the actual slog of getting things done. Being inspired in the moment by a self-help book and doing something good once is different from forming a long-term habit.

So I think that any book club on procrastination has to be different than normal book clubs. Instead of focussing on the ideas raised in a book it should focus on actual, real-life, long-term implementation of those ideas. What worked and what didn’t. What modifications had to be made. Ways to beemind the change. Follow-ups after a month or a year.


#17

@nevan, thanks for the suggestion and the ideas.

I also think actionable advice is very important, and “Does this book provide actionable advice?” “Does this book require you to distill actionable advice from its contents?” and “Do you think it would be hard to distill actionable advice from this book?” are three excellent screening questions. I do not think that not having actionable advice make a book worthless, but I suspect many folks will prefer books with actionable advice.


#18

(Do you have that Less Wrong list, by the way?)


#19

BANG: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/xg3hXCYQPJkwHyik2/the-best-textbooks-on-every-subject


#20

So I’m digging into a book that’s addressing pretty much all of the topics/challenges that we are talking about here. I would love to have some reading partners to discuss the book with, because it’s quite intense and full of amazing content. When I say amazing, I mean rooted in science, very informative, and actionable.

The book is called Cognitive Productivity, and it’s all about using knowledge to become more effective, or Meta-Effective as the book calls it.

I’ve been an avid reader for so long, but this book has me changing everything about how I choose the right knowledge resources, how I process that knowledge, master the right parts, and implement them to become more effective/better person/etc etc.

“This book, however, rejects intellectual defeatism in favour of cognitive productivity. It is designed to help effective people systematically use knowledge and technology to become ever more effective. It does this by leveraging the most progressive attempt humanity has made to understand the human mind: broad cognitive science.”

There’s also a follow-up book that details workflows in macOS which I read through first, and then realized I wanted more theory to backup the foundations of the book.

Let me know your thoughts on whether this book might be interesting to y’all.