Book Freak

By Mark Frauenfelder

Short pieces of advice from books

Short pieces of advice from books

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Issue #95: How to Find Your Focus

“Like it or not, we are constantly forced to juggle tasks and battle unwanted distractions—to truly set ourselves apart, we must learn to be creative amidst chaos.”


Book Freak Issue #94: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wo…


Book Freak Issue #93: Highlights From My Favorite Books

"After all, in this fleeting world where suddenly one day a wealthy dentist jumps in front of a train, or a brilliant scholar who graduated from Tohoku Imperial University dies in a nursing home with no one to bear witness, it was hardly a surprise for a form…


Book Freak Issue #92: The Secrets of Happy Families

“One of the things that happens in the world is that people try to avoid conflict. Whereas in the home, you can't. You'll end up getting divorced or becoming estranged from your kids. Keep in mind, the hardest part of any negotiation is agreeing to start it. …


Book Freak Issue #91: How To Get Through the Day

“If you want to create something worthwhile with your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions.”


Book Freak Issue #90: How to Embrace Your Insecurity

“This, then, is the human problem: there is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. By remembering the past we can plan for the future. But the ability to plan for t…


Book Freak Issue #89: Think Like a Freak

“Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do.”


Book Freak Issue #88: How to Be a Better Listener

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as a journalist is that everybody is interesting if you ask the right questions. If someone is dull or uninteresting, it’s on you.”


Book Freak Issue #87: How to Breath

"The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you’re inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation speeds up, your body gets hotter, and cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all increase. This happens because breathing through the right side of th…


Issue #86: The Courage to Be Disliked

“The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.”


Issue #85: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

“When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there... just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.”


Issue #84: Four Pieces of Advice for Improving Your Writing

“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”


Issue #83: How to Talk to Anyone

“Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone, as though anyone who walked into your line of sight would be the beneficiary. Instead, look at the other person’s face for a second. Pause. Soak in their persona. Then let a big, warm, responsive smile f…


Book Freak - Issue #82: How to Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

“An especially good way to gain weight is to have dinner with other people. On average, those who eat with one other person eat about 35 percent more than they do when they are alone; members of a group of four eat about 75 percent more; those in groups of se…


Book Freak - Issue #81: Advice for People who Tend to Clutter Up Their Space

"One of the worst things, among an almost infinite number of shitty things, about depression is that it makes you feel hopeless and worthless and like you can’t do anything at all, let alone anything right. Setting yourself up for even the smallest positive a…


Book Freak - Issue #80: How to Use Algorithms to Make Better Decisions

“Don’t necessarily go for the outcome that seems best every time. Make a mess on occasion. Travel light. Let things wait. Trust your instincts and don’t think too long. Relax. Toss a coin. Forgive, but don’t forget. To thine own self be true.”


Book Freak - Issue #79: Recognize Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

“‘No' is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you... Declining to hear ‘no' is a signal that someone is either seeking control or refusing to relinquish it. With strangers, even those with th…


Book Freak - Issue #78: Kelly McGonigal’s Advice for Getting More Self-Control

"The willingness to think what you think and feel what you feel — without necessarily believing that it is true, and without feeling compelled to act on it — is an effective strategy for treating anxiety, depression, food cravings, and addiction. As we consid…


Book Freak #77: Daniel Kahneman’s Advice on How to Think More Effectively

“You are more likely to learn something by finding surprises in your own behavior than by hearing surprising facts about people in general.”


Book Freak #76: Daniel Pink’s Advice On How to Get Motivated

“People can have two different mindsets. Those with a 'fixed mindse' believe that their talents and abilities are carved in stone. Those with a 'growth mindset' believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a…