Derek Sivers beschreibt das Buch sehr treffend: “Deep philosophy. Interesting voice. Great uncommon insights. 1st chapter had me talking about this book with friends immediately, loving it. 2nd chapter onwards, it was a tougher read. Needs a ruthless editor.”
Rule I – Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or creative achievement
We think by talking
- “[…] people depend on constant communication with others to keep their minds organized. We all need to think to keep things straight, but we mostly think by talking. […] We need to talk about the nature of the present and our plans for the future, so we know where we are, where we are going, and why we are going there. We must submit the strategies and tactics we formulate to the judgement of others, to ensure their efficiency and resilience. We need to listen to ourselves as we talk, as well, so that we may organize our otherwise inchoate bodily reactions, motivations, and emotions into something articulate and organized, and dispense with those concerns that are exaggerated and irrational. We need to talk — both to remember and to forget.” (S. 3)
- ⇒ Ich brauche einen Coach, der ein exzellenter Zuhörer ist. Damit ich denken kann.
- ⇒ Es wird immer Bedarf für Gründungsberatung (auch NB/UB) geben, weil Gründer*innen beim Reden sich selbst und ihr Business organisieren.
We compete for attention
- “We compete for attention, personally, socially, and economically. No currency has a value that exceeds it. […] To have others attend to what you find important or interesting is to validate, first, the importance of what you are attending to, but second, and more crucially, to validate you as a respected center of conscious experience and contributor to the collective world.” (S. 7)
- Aufmerksamkeit = Währung
It cannot just be good for me
- “If I value something [..] I must determine how to value it so that others potentially benefit. It cannot just be good for me: it must be good for me and the people around me.” (S. 9)
Good people are ambitious
- “But good people are ambitious (and diligent, honest, and focused along with it) [..] because they are possessed by the desire to solve genuine, serious problems. That variant of ambition needs to be encouraged in every possible manner.” (S. 26)
Den Sabbath (= die Regeln) brechen
- Lukas-Evangelium: “On that same day, observing one working on the Sabbath, [Jesus] said to him Oh Man, if indeed thou knowest what thou doest, thou art blest; but if thou knowest not, thou art accursed, and a transgressor of the Law.” (S. 46)
Rule II – Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that
You do not chose what interests you
- “You do not choose what interest you. It chooses you. Something manifests itself out of the darkness as compelling, as worth living for; following that, something moves us further down the road, to the next meaningful manifestation — and so it goes, as we continue to seek, develop, grow, and thrive.” (S. 65)
- “[…] the fundamentally social nature of our cognitive categories. That is why everything is personified in children’s books, the Sun, the Moon, toys, animals — even machines. We see nothing strange in this, because it so profoundly mirrors our preceptual tendencies.” (S. 68f)
- “[…] we directly and naturally perceive reality as personified, and then must work very diligently to strip that personification away, so that we can detect “objective reality”. We understand reality, therefore, as if it is constructed of personalities.” (S. 69)
- vgl. Inneres Team: Personifiziert verstehen wir uns selbst besser.
- vgl. Fixkosten-Monster: Personifiziert verstehen wir selbst betriebswirtschaftliche Konzepte besser.
The threat is real
- “The threat is real. Even truth, virtue, and courage are not necessarily enough, but they are our best bet.” (S. 82)
Every story requires an end place
- “Every story requires a starting place that is not good enough and an ending place that is better. Nothing can be judged in the absence of that end place, that higher value. Without it, everything sinks into meaninglessness and boredom […].” (S. 85)
- = “the spirit of creative transformation”
- Gilt auch für Rahmengeschichten in der Lehre.
The healthy soul will let die
- “The healthy, dynamic, and above all truthful personality will admit to error. It will voluntarily shed — let die — outdated perceptions, thoughts, and habits, as impediments to its further success and growth. This is the soul that will let its old beliefs burn away, often painfully, so that it can live again, and move forward, renewed. This is also the soul that will transmit what it has learned during that process of death and rebirth, so that others can be reborn along with it.” (S. 86)
Rule III – Do not hide unwanted things in the fog
Get what repeats right
- “Do not pretend you are happy with something if you are not, and if a reasonable solution might, in principle, be negotiated. Have the damn fight. […] Life is what repeats, and it is worth getting what repeats right.” (S. 91)
If you truly wanted, you would receive
- “If you truly wanted, perhaps you would receive, if you asked. If you truly sought, perhaps you would find what you seek. If you knocked, truly wanting to enter, perhaps the door would open.” (S. 108)
Rule VI – Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated
Do the work. Do the reading.
- “If you want to become invaluable in a workplace — in any community — just do the useful things no one else is doing. Arrive earlier and leave later than your compatriots (but do not deny yourself your life). Organize what you can see is dangerously disorganized. Work, when you are working, instead of looking like you are working. And finally, learn more about the business — or your competitors — than you already know. Doing so will make you invaluable — a veritable lynchpin. People will notice that and begin to appreciate your hard-earned merits.” (S. 112)
Gute Menschen finden Helfer
- “And do not forget that there is no shortage of genuinely good people who are thrilled if they can give someone useful and trustworthy a hand up. It is one of the truly altruistic pleasures of life, and its depth is not to be underestimated […].” (S. 113)
Remaining passive in the face of life
- “People are more commonly upset by what they did not even try to do than by the errors they actively committed while engaging with the world. At least if you misstep while doing something, you can learn from doing it wrong. But to remain passive in the face of life, even if you excuse your inaction as a means of avoiding error — that is a major mistake.” (S. 115)
What is a truly reliable source of positive emotion?
- “What is a truly reliable source of positive emotion? The answer is that people experience positive emotion in relationship to the pursuit of a valuable goal. Imagine you have a goal. You aim at something. You develop a strategy in relationship to that aim, and then you implement it. And then, as you implement that strategy, you observe that it is working. That is what produces the most reliable positive emotion.” (S. 129)
- vgl. Personal Project Pursuit
The cost and benefit of (not) betraying yourself
- “If the cost of betraying yourself, in the deepest sense, is guilt, shame, and anxiety, the benefit of not betraying yourself is meaning — the meaning that sustains.” (S. 131)
Rule V – Do not do what you hate
The good that people do
- “I believe that the good that people do, small though it may appear, has more to do with the good that manifests broadly in the world than people think, and I believe the same about evil. We are each more responsible for the state of the world than we believe […].” (S. 147)
Rule VI – Abandon ideology
Rule VII – Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens
Rule VIII – Try to make one room in your home as beautiful as possible
A relationship with beauty
- “Making something beautiful is difficult, but it is amazingly worthwhile. If you learn to make something in your life truly meaningful — even one thing — then you have established a relationship with beauty. From there you can begin to expand that relationship out into other elements of your life and work. That is an invitation to the divine.” (S. 202)
Buy a piece of art
- “Buy a piece of art. Find one that speaks to you and make the purchase. If it is a genuine artistic production, it will invade your life and change it. A real piece of art is a window into the transcendent, and you need that in your life, because you are finite and limited and bounded by ignorance.” (S. 203)
- “[…] stop thinking about it as an option, or a luxury, or worse, an affectation. Art is the bedrock of culture itself. […] “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4,4). That is exactly right. We live by beauty. We live by literature. We live by art.” (S. 203)
- Vgl. auch Konzerte: Konzerte sind kein Luxus, kein billiges Vergnügen. Ein Konzert ist für mich erlebte und gespürte Kunst. Ein Fenster in die Unendlichkeit (”Der perfekte Moment”).
Rule IX – If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely
Rule X – Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationship
- Modern people “vastly overestimate their tolerance for freedom and choice”. (S. 289)
Rule XI – Do not allow yourself to become resentful, deceitful, or arrogant
Is the world a story?
- “Could it be that we communicate in stories (and everyone else understands them) because what everyone is doing in the world is fundamentally a story? Could that mean that the world of experience is, in truth, indistinguishable from a story — that it cannot be represented in a manner more accurate than that of a story?” (S. 307)
Our world is animated
- “Part of this thinking in stories is our tendency to see the world as a selection of characters, each of which represents either where we are or are going, the unexpected occurrences we may encounter, or ourselves as actors. We see animated intent everywhere — and we certainly present the world that way to our children. That is why Thomas the Tank Engine has a face and a smile, and the sun has a face and a smile. That is why — even among adults — there is a man on the moon, and deities scattered across the stars. Everything is animated.” (S. 308)
- Das ist auch der Grund, warum “Prinzessin Geld” bei mir so gut funktioniert hat und die Kinder Kommissar Fuchs & Co so lustig finden.
- vgl. meine Notizen zu Rule II (”Personifizierung wirkt”)
Konzepte brauchen Storys
- “Conversely, if someone is telling you a story, it attracts your attention immediately. It can be a complicated and cognitively difficult story — something requiring hours of concentration. It might even be the story of how the periodic table and the elements were discovered, and the triumphs and difficulties that accompanied the process. It does not matter. If it is well told, it is gripping, and likely to be remembered. If you want to teach a child something and get them to attend, tell them a story. They will repeatedly ask you to do that. They do not grab your pant leg and beg, “Dad, on more line from the periodic table of the elements before bed!” But they are highly motivated to hear a story — sometimes even the same one every night.” (S. 309)
- Schlag nach in der Bibel: Jesus ist ein großartiger Geschichtenerzähler. Er (und die Evangelisten) verwenden Geschichten, um seine (schwierigen und revolutionären) Konzepte zu vermitteln.
Taking the easy way out
- “Adam takes the easy way out — just as you might, when you say to yourself, “I do not need to have this fight with my wife. I do not have to stand up to my tyrannical boss. I do not have to live by what I believe to be true. I can get away with avoiding my responsibilities.” Some of that is inertia and cowardice, but some of it is also motivated by a deep sense of disbelieve in your own personal ability. Like Adam, you know you are naked. You are intimately aware of your flaws and vulnerabilities, and the faith in yourself dissolves. This is understandable, but neither helpful nor, in the final analysis, excusable.” (S. 349)
Rule XII – Be grateful in spite of your suffering
Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?
- “In the Christian tradition, even God Himself, in the form of Christ, despairs of the meaning of life and the goodness of His Father in the agony of His Crucifixion. At the peak of his suffering, just before death, He utters the words “Eli Eli lama sabachthani” — “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). This appears to strongly imply, in its narrative way, that the burden of life can become so great that even God Himself can lose faith when confronted with the unbearable reality of injustice, betrayal, suffering, and death.” (S. 362)
People on their deathbeds
- “My impression has been [..] that people tend to feel guilty on their deathbeds (because of their apprehension about the grief and trouble they will cause those left behind). Thus, their most fervent wish, I believe, is that those whom they love will be able to move forward and live happily, after a reasonable time of mourning.” (S. 366)
- “Grief must be a reflection of love. It is perhaps the ultimate proof of love. Grief is an uncontrollable manifestation of your belief that the lost person’s existence, limited and flawed as it might have been, was worthwhile, despite the limitations and flaws even of life itself. […] You grieve because something that you valued is no longer in existence. Thus, in the core of your Being, you have decided that the person’s life was valuable, despite whatever trouble they caused you — and themselves.” (S. 372)