The ultimate archive

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Books I've read in the last decade

Biographies:

The ride of a lifetime by Robert Ige:

Rating: 4 stars. Notes: The wild tale of how Disney turned into this huge culture shaping company we know today, told through the lens of its CEO for the past 15 years, Robert Ige.Robert compiles lessons of Leadership that became an essential part of his identity and how he runs businesses. The story starts at Shangahai amid the opening ceremonies of the largest disney land ever in China, and him recieving the news of two accidents near their park in the US. He demonstrates the essential skill of focusing on the task at hand when the stakes are high,amd only diverting your attemtiom if you can change things about the arising situation.Robert's journey starts at ABC group at the very bottom, then through his hard work, amd wit, ascends the ladder to take on more responsibilities in the company which culminated in his success with Twin peaks. Robert talks about several acquisitions Disney made, which he was a key part of, starting with acquiring ABC groups, citibanks, Pixar( Man, the creative work at Pixar led by Ed Catmull described in the tour Ribert had of their facilities is particularly impressive.Pixar had helped revitalize the animation at Disney), Marvel(the success they had with introducing diversity in films like Captain Marvel and Blank Panther was unprecedented) Lucasfilm( starwars and the heavy work of keeping loyal to George Lucas' Legacy) and finally 21st century fox. Before becoming a CEO of Disney, Roberts managed several departments at Disney, serving as head of disney international, and negotioating all sorts of deals. He talks about the struggle inside the company between people at the top, mainly Micheal Einser and two other people, and how the performance declined because of that. In the beginning, few were warm to the idea of him becoming CEO. But no sooner than he was appointed CEO that he made a plan with 3 goals; to make great content, acquire new tech, and grow profits. Robert walks us through the many difficult decisions he had to make for a better future for the company,all while pointing out the leadership qualities he'd implemented,like when he'd fire someone,he'd do it personally and give an explanation.
Few leadership lessons from Disney's CEO for the last 15 years:

- Disrupt and adapt to the new tech infrastructure, anticipating a long term rewards, at the expense of a painful  short term.

- Identify your priorites amd deliver it to the employees to remove indecision and save energy

-Don't be in power for long cause it makes you unattentive and less likely to listen

-Do the work, be present

- Don't accept mediocrity

- Bring out the best in people by putting them in right places

- If something doesn't feel good to you,than its not good for you- value your instinct

- Put your efforts where they will pay the most

- People at the top shouldn't be in dispute

- No one will follow a pessimist. If you wanna innovate, embrace failure.

.. Value ability over experience

.. make those woking for you eager to take on more responsibilities. Teach them what you know.

Overall a great story. Particularly recommend the Appendix to read a summarized version of the leadership qualities that makes a successful manager/CEO. I guess i will be revisiting that section when i become a CEO or a manager of any sort.

Einstein: his life and universe:

Rating:5 stars. Notes: People think Einstein had some sort of a super power but all the studies done on the stolen chunks of his brain long after his death didn't say very much: maybe it is the grooves in his brain, they have a slightly different size, one paper says. Maybe it is the glial cells, another claims, or maybe it is his expansive spatial reasoning capabilities. There is a great podcast by Radiolab that does a thorough investigation of what made Einstein Einstein. They theorize that the inspiration came in parts: his early philosophical readings, the prior similar thought experiment to that of walking besides a beam of light, the times being ripe for the fruition of his imaginings, the help of his wife, and other collaborators. But we shouldn't spend much time going into what made him him  It is better to listen to what he thinks is responsible for the genius in him. It is his being "impassionaltely curious".  Einstein was known for his defiance of authority as a young man, his love for classical music,and his "happy thought". But Einstein's story provides us with a cautionary tale too. Throughout his quest for a unified field theory, a theory of everything, he obstinately refused to accept the theory of quantum mechanics, asserting that god doesn't play dice with the universe,and there is an objective reality independent of the observer.
Even toward the end of his age, when his aneurysm and stomach problems took hold of him, he was still devising equations and trying to come up with that theory of everything that was to reconcile quantum mechanics with the general theory of relativity.  Einstein despised war and through his endeavours promoted world peace and was against states posessing nuclear weapons. Einstein lamented his inpetitude in all matters mathematical. He wished he'd had more mathematics in him for, without the help of mathematicians, he wouldn't have been able to complete his special and general tbeories of relativity. As for religion, Einstein's religion was his awe and deep appreciation to what lies behind all that immensity of space and time. He was religiously spiritual.

Poor Charlie's Almanack:

Rating: 5 stars. Notes: The internet is awash with quotes and advices from the richest man alive, Warren Buffet. Warren has enjoyed the fame and he reveled in it. But, Berkshire Hathaway is the product of a joint effort of two of the most unique minds in the planet: Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger.
Charlie is the silent, wise guy in the room known for his "nothing to add" comments during the annual shareholder meetings. But Charlie as Warren describes him has the fastest 30 sec mind on the planet, making connections at a breakneck speed before Warren even finished the sentence. What made Charlie the perfect partner for Warren? What is so special about him?
Charlie had started his career as a lawyer before buying shares in Berkshire and finally owning enough to make the biggest decisions with Warren. Charlie had accumulated a strong background in physics, chemistry, went to the military and dabbled in many other fields when he was young.
Throughout the book and his 11 talks, Charlie emphasizes what he thinks made him successful. Charlie argues that in order to succeed in life you have to build a latticework of mental models in your mind that contains the biggest ideas in various different fields( physics, engineering, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, economics...) and upon which you integrate the experience you acquire in real life amd the learnings you accumulate through people you study and learn from vicariously. Charlie underlines the importance of learning from others mistakes amd not committing the same mistake. Hence the value of reading: " ". Here is Charlie praising Warren for his constant learning: " ".
The main premise prevalent in Charlie's philosophy is that Man shouldn't fool himself and he is the easiest man to fool. So lattice work of mental models following a multidisciplnary approach to learning, learning vicariously as much as possible and through experience. And now comes the duty to seek worldly wisdom as Charlie puts it. Charlie thinks that there is removable ignorance everyone can excorcise out of themselves by a bit of effort. Doesn't matter if you deem yourself intelligent or stupid, there are areas where, if you removed this tiny ignorance you have, you'll fare much better in life. Speaking of not being confident of how intelligent you are, Charlie talks about how one should pursue areas where he is competent. He calls it the circle of competence, where you operate in a cricle where you're the best of something and you know where your limitations are and where high risks start. You can of course seek out ways to enlarge your circle of competence.  When thinking what to pursue, think of it this way: 1third of people are talented at some narrow skill like golf,tennis, and these games that you know you just don't have the necessary aptitude to excel at. You don't force it here,you seek out what the 2 third of people can do but don't. Choose the multidisciplinary approach. When making investment decisions, Munger and buffet work under this framework: they think of life as a 20 slot opportunities. Now,if you only have 20 big opportunities in life, you'd think more about how you'd spend those opportunities. So, Berkhire Hathaway invest in companies that will make the biggest return on investment( think Cocacola). Charlie argues that over your life you'd be lucky to have more than 15 insights or so where you see something others are oblivious to. You need to use these insights wisely across your given 20 slots. Charlie and buffet make these decisions when they see a mispriced opporunity or where the win is virtually guaranteed, of course when all the decisiom pass all Charlie's filters( what are the immediate benefits for the two parties, what subconscious biases are playing a role here, what are the incentives of the two, what are the second order consequence of this acquisition, are in our circle of competence?...). Berkshire Hathaway is known as the compund interest machine. Charlie thinks that business should defer taxes until 20-30 years later, as opposed to every year tax which over time compounds and the rate of return declines overall. Charlie's influences included the intelligent investor's Ben Graham amd Benjamin Franklin. He didn't stop at what Ben Graham had to teach him but adopted newly developed strategies of his own: you make a big acquisition and you "sit on your ass" for the rest of your life. In one of his talks, Charlie criticises the way the educational system is balkanized into isolated fields. He reiterates how important it is we have more multidisciplinary teachers.
In another talk, Charlie brings up economics complexity and how it has become isolated as well. He mentions Adam smith's invisible hand, the pin factory, and Keynes's the tragedies of the commons to illustrate the extent to which today's economics has failed the rest of society. In another talks, one of the fields where data are messed up and professors are not doing a good job is psychology. Charlie thinks that psychology despite being the most important field one can learns is poorly communicated. He sheds the light on our psychological biases and he lists 25 psychological tendencies we're unconscious of and how we can correct for them: the liking/hating tendencies, the pavlovian conditioning/endowment effect tendency, social proof tendency, deprival superresponse/ award superresponse tendencies, availability misweighing tendency, pain avoidance psychological denial tendency, over self appraisal tendency, authority misinfluence tendency, free association, reason respecting tendency, twaddle tendency( not getting the job done) LALLAPALLOZA effect, a term charlie coined which means a combination of several paychological tendencies which causes some huge impact negative or positive. One should make a checklist of these 25 psychological tendencies before making a rational,objective decision.
Charlie warns of folling of one self by having a chauffeur knowledge, as in the story where Max Plank did so many lectures that the chauffeur once asked him to lecture in his stead and when asked a follow up question he freezes. One should have the physicist's knowledge not the chauffeur's who thinks he knows stuff.
Surprisingly enough,Charlie thinks of his younger self a bad role model for the young. He thinks that smart people should not waste their years managing money, cause that is not a good use of one's life. One better gets into the hard sciences and solve engineering problems that create wealth,increase the gdp of the world economy and advance civilization. The world of finance and managing money is a place where a huge amount of capital is criculating between traders, one loses on the expense of the other, with no real value for society.
This book is a wealth of worldly wisdom. Charlie munger is witty, funny, and wise. He left a big impression on me and I'm now ready to do my duty and acquire as much worldly wisdom as I can.

Benjamin franklin: an American life:

Rating: 5 stars. Notes: Benjamin Franklin, ever since he founded Junto( people gathering to improve themselves and society) at 21, espoused practicality. He wanted his actions to have an immediate impact on his surrondings. Although a man with fertile imagination, he didn't spend much time in his mind, imagining what it is like to travel near the speed of light,he was pragmatic.Through industry, frugality,and pragmatism,he turned from a poor youngman newly arrived in Philadelphia to a wealthy man. He promoted the middle class and shined the light on its role in advancing society through being industrious and improving one's self incessantly. Being the entrpreneur he is,he imparted through his writings, inventions( lightinig rod, stove,secret scientific experiements involving flying kites...) and political ideals the foundations upon which the american soul is erected. When i look at a perfect America,i can see Benjamin Franklin all throughout.

Principles by Ray Dalio:

Rating: 4 stars. Notes: A leading company that manages investments for other companies and corporations, Bridgewater achieved incredible milestones and attracted the attention of world media in the 42 years since its foundation thanks to the principles its founder,Ray Dalio had put in place. Ray Dalio looks at himself and his organization as "The machine", a term he coined in an effort to approximate his approach to life. The machine is akin to the process/operating system,with inputs and outputs. The machine( you,the organization) is expected to act as a bridge to the other side of what you aim to accomplish. Idealy, The machine feeds on principles one develops through a constant loop of pain/outcomes followed by reflection on what works and what doesn't.
Two main components of the machine are people and culture( in case of an organization, or the design as it pertains to one's own life). For optimal functioning of the machine, the people and the right culture/design should be calibrated in a way that ensures the best outcomes. You choose the right people for the job that needs to be done,not vice versa. One should be able to distinguish abilities from skills/training, from values in people. The first two can be acquired but the last is sort of hard to change. People should be accountable and held responsible for the outcomes they produce. People you include in your machine obviously priortize the best outcomes for your machine. As for the culture, it is important that the culture underwhich you operate is a culture that promotes transparency, honesty, growth and alignement of values, and goals. It is not enough to get the machine running,you need to oversee things constantly from the top down to the granular details. To opimize for this,you use tools that monitor people's outcomes, you detect cause-effect relationships, you find root causes of the problems, and how the goals are affected( aka the 5 step process). The design and the people can change but the principles are stable mostly. Ray Dalio's principles are the following:
-Radical open mindedness
- Dealing with reality as is
-Radical honesty
- Transparency
- Making decisions based on idea meritocracy( Believability  weighted system)

Ray Dalio emphasizes several terms in this book: the necessity of "getting in sync" with the people, meaning being on the same page in terms of knowing where the ship is heading and what's at stake; thinking in systems, idea meritocracy, and the outsourcing of making decisions to computer algorithms based on fed principles and values.  When Ray Dalio talks about making good decisions he underlines expected value return, which is a method of making decisions whereby you look at alternatives as probabilities and you multiply those probabilities by the expected ratio of their return: let's say you're faced with two decisions,buying shares in company A, buying shares in company B. The shares of company A has a probability of 80% appreciating in the next 90 days, where you make 3× return, whereas shares at company B has a probability of 20% appreciating but with a return of 10×. In this case the expected value return for A is 0.8×3(X) vs 0.2×10(X) for company B. Sometimes you want to take high risks but what strikes me from other readings as well is that people like Ray Dalio, Charlie Munger, and warren Buffet, Nassim Taleb( take lower risks with high returns) is that none of them takes uncalculated risks; what's more,they choose the paths of least resistance mostly,where the win is almost guaranteed. Back at the shares we're trying to buy. The wiser choise is to choose buying shares in company B for, its expected value return is higher. So that's nice to keep in mind. At Bridge water, since metrics, meeting tapes, and track records of every employee are available, decisions are made according to a believebility wieghted system aka idea meritocracy, depending on your expertise and your believability( determined by your past performances and the problems you've solved), and the culture of welcoming disagreements( at Bridgewater, even the CEO get emails from employees shining the light on areas where he made mistakes or can improve things), the best idea win,and thus the best decision is made.  One of the core causes of Bridgewater's success is owed to their computers. Ray Dalio, even at an earlier time,has grasped the insdispensability of computers for optimal performance. Although big on understanding things deeply, he still saw it fit to integrate algorithms to his decision making. He is not super worried about AI taking over but rather, emphasizes how crucial it is to know how to work with them.
The book has three parts: Dalio's life, life principals, and work principles. I enjoyed the first two parts the most and had a hard time leafing through the last part. For me, it is always enlightening to have access to the minds of veterans like Dalio and see how they operate. If someone who's had skin in th game all their lives and chose to compress it all in a book like this, then it is definitely a book worth studying.

The innovators by Walter Isaacson:

rating, 4 stars . Notes: Great book that bust the myth of the lone innovative genius and argues that innovation is the results of efforts accumulated over the years by a group of individuals, bouncing off ideas off of each other and contributing to the development of ideas that concludes with an innovation/invention and even then what would make such an innovation possible is the infrastructure and the support already established by the government and the urgency with which it wants something done. If you wanna understand how the internet came about and all the subsequent tech we now habitually see around us in the world today, reading this book is a must.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: rating, 4 stars

The everything store by Brad stone: rating, 4 stars

Elon musk by Ashlee Vance: rating, 5 stars. Notes: This book had probably ruined my life in a good way.

Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk by Ilber Ortayli: rating, 4 star. Ataturk is underrated. Super impressive character.

Losing my virginity by Richard Branson:

rating, 4 stars. Notes: Richard Branson knows how to have fun and do business at the same time. I read lots of biographies about great achievers,all did what they did sacrificing the balance in their life; like none of them could make time to family or fun, but Richard Branson has all time for fun and family alike. The business model of his businesses is sort of like let's have fun with our families doing it.  

The periodic table by Primo levi: Rating, 3 stars. Notes: The BBC radio 4 does a great dramatization of this book which I highly recommend listening to.
Anyways. Primo Levi, a chemist in fascist Italy, recounts in short stories named after the elements, some of his struggles through the war, but in a way that sheds a light on the role of the various elements on the periodic table in these stories and how they weave together to define his life. You learn a thing or too about the elements and you see things from someone else's perspective. Nice.

Man's search for meaning:

rating, 5 stars. Notes: Sometimes we feel like we're unlucky and don't seem to have a purpose, a direction in life. We shouldn't have been born; Life is unfair, we'd say, but when you read this book and look at the amount of misfortunes the author had gone through you think: how the hell did he see a light in all that darkness. Why did he not kill himself. Despite all the torture, depression, and hopelessness the author went through he kept going and he kept picturing that world outside of the dire situation he is in.. It is really amazing that he actually made it and wrote this book to us.

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Youtube channels

Smarter Every day, Nerdwriter, Baris Ozcan, PeterMckinnon, Jake Roper, Vsauce, Vlogbrothers, CGP Grey, Every frame a painting

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Favourite Documentaries
  • Grizzly man
  • Senna
  • The salt of the earth
  • Cosmos
  • Planet earth
  • Indie games
  • Kumare
  • Jiro dreams of sushi
  • Bill Cunnigham Newyork
  • The great hack
  • Three Identical Strangers
  • Up series
  • Cave of Forgotten dreams
  • Free Solo
  • The story of India
  • Abstract: the art of design
  • The social dilemma
  • Jodorowsky's Dune
  • Samsara
  • The farthest
  • Tower
  • The century of the self
  • Dear Zachary
  • Alive inside
  • BBC: the pleasure of finding things out
  • BBC: the fantastic Mr Feynman
  • Speilberg 2017
  • The kingdom of Dreams and Madness
  • Living in the age of Airplane
  • Notes on Blindness
  • Pina
  • Inside Bill's brain: Decoding Bill Gates
  • Bitterlake
  • Do you trust this computer
  • Jiro's dreams of Sushi
  • Tim's vermeer
  • The price of everything
  • Alphago
  • Miss Americana
  • Vitamania
  • Becoming Warren buffet
  • Baraka
  • The work
  • This film is not yet rated
  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • The price of everything
  • The last man on the moon
  • The crash reel
  • Jim and Andy: the great beyond(2017)
  • Icarus
  • Speedcubers
  • BBC's the human face
  • Crash Reel
  • For Sama
  • One child nation
  • Foosballers
  • One strange Rock
  • White light/Black light: the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
  • the business of being born
  • Revenge of the electric car
  • looking for richard
  • Blackfish
  • Sherpa(2015)
  • Helvetica
  • Apollo 11
  • Into eternity(2010)
  • Mike Wallace is here
  • Hypernormalisation
  • 20000days on earth
  • Maidentrip
  • Triumph of the will
  • Homecoming
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Curated list of movies

Movies I like:  

Being John Malkovich
Run Lola Run
Monty Pyton and the holy grail(1975)
The Return(2003)
Force Majeur
Departures(2008)
Atonement
Enter the void(2009)
Angst(1983)
Battle Royale(2000)
Baahubali2: The conclusion(2017)
The man from earth(2007)
A moment to remember(2004)
The birds(1963)
Planet of the apes (1963)
Troy(2003)
A history of Violence(2005)
Dancer in the Dark(2000)
before sunrise(1995)
watchtower(2012)
The darjeeling limited(2007)
Pacific rim(2013)
A Taxi driver(2017)
the insult(2017)
Sorry to bother you(2018)
Story of Ricky(1991)
Winter sleep(2014)
S1mOne(2002)
12 anngry men
The pledge(2001)
I,tonya(2017)
Big Eyes(2014)
Children of heaven(1997)
Frances Ha(2012)
Dreams(1990)
The secret world of Arrietty
The one I love(2014)
Hardware(1990)
Sonbahar/Autumn(2008)
The sunset limited(2011)
Wild Tales(2014)
The bandit(1996)
The iron Giant(1999)
Time to hunt(2020)
The small Town(1997)
District 9 (2009)
Journey to Agartha(2011)
The breakfast club(1985)
Timelapse(2014)
NightCrawler
The Raid:redemption(2016)
Carnage(2011)
Pleasantville(1998)
Spirited Away
Before we go(2014)
Get out(2017)
Nausicca of the valley of wind
Mommo(2009)
Phonebooth(2002)
Hero(2002)
Me,Earl, and the Dying girl(2015)
Waking life(2001)
Gattaca(1997)
Sound of metal(2019)
The best Offer(2013)
Captain Fantastic
A Promising young woman(2020)
A clockwork Orange(1971)
Pretty Woman(1990)
Memento(2000)
Lost in Translation(2003)
Capernaum(2018)
Speed(1994)
A tale of two sisters
The princess and the warrior(2000)
Nocturnal Animals
Knives out(2019)
Galaxy Quest(1999)
Mr. Nobody(2009)
The game(1997)
Your Name(2016)
Blackadder(1982-1983)
Legends of the fall(1994)
Moneyball(2011)
The big Short(2015)
The thing(1982)
The Apartment
Full metal Jacket(1987)
El cuerpo/the body (2012)
Office space(1999)
Good will hunting
Under siege(1992)
Big(1988)
Rise of the planet of the Apes(2011)
The painted veil(2006)
Once upon a time in Anatolia(2011)
the sticky fingers of time(1997)
The art of racing in the rain(2019)
Midnight in Paris(2011)
Winter Sleep(2014)

Fav podcasts of all time:
Radiolab
Making sense
The tim ferris show
Flash forward
the infinite monkey cage
Hello internet

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Audible

BBC's bleak expectations; BBC's Cabin pressure; Ars Paradoxica; Limetown; Saturday night Fry; Life after; The graveyard book; The message; the hitchhicker's guide to the galaxy;

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Podcasts
Up-to-date list of pods i've listened to in 2022 
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Useful articles
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Music

Some of may favorite bands:

  • John Jopkins
  • Gidge
  • Bjork
  • Sigur Ros
  • M83
  • Of monsters and men
  • Anathema
  • Gunship
  • Kalipo
  • Fka Twigs
  • Goldfrapp
  • Laurie Anderson
  • Health
  • Dead can dance
  • Olafur Arnlads
  • Luca D'Alberto
    ...


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