Friday, September 11, 2009

How to Think

I'm reading several books simultaneously these days, including prep work for the CFA exam this December, rereading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle for fun, working my way through everything Don Norman has published on design theory, and now, Tyler Cowen's book, Create Your Own Economy, which contains more about autism and Web 2.0 material than one might expect from the title. Nonetheless, it's packed with engaging tidbits: I'd love to have a collapsible Caravaggio to carry around to parties, for instance.

He also points the reader toward a really good 2007 blog post by Media Lab professor and Technology Review blogger Ed Boyden, who heavily annotates and organizes his life. Boyden's post details 10+2 recommendations for effectively organizing your life:

  1. Synthesize new ideas constantly
  2. Learn how to learn (rapidly)
  3. Work backward from your goal. Or else you may never get there
  4. Always have a long-term plan. Even if you change it every day
  5. Make contingency maps
  6. Collaborate
  7. Make your mistakes quickly
  8. As you develop skills, write up best-practices protocols
  9. Document everything obsessively
  10. Keep it simple
  11. Use logarithmic time planning. Use greater detail for the near future
  12. Compose conversation summaries. Photograph and store for easy retrieval

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