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