Notes on Abundance by Peter Diamandis – Chapter 1

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abundance

The first book I want to feature in my booknotes section is “Abundance: the Future is Better than You Think” by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler.

I discovered Peter Diamandis through one of my favorite podcasts, the Tim Ferriss Show where Tim Ferriss interviewed the author. Peter Diamandis is a multi-billionaire, who has been named one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine. He is also the founder, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and of the Singularity University.

If you want to be impressed further, Mr. Diamandis was very instrumental in bringing the Space Race to the private sector through the X-Prize. There are now private companies who are developing spaceships and technologies that will bring people to space, where before, that was the exclusive domain of government agencies such as the NASA in the USA.

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others.

Here are my notes and my thoughts on Chapter 1 of this book.

Link to my public notes on this book: https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights_and_notes/B005FLOGMM

* * * * *

Just a quick note. I used the following notation and labels for the following notes. Follow along and keep in mind of my note-taking system:

[Q] – Quote
[I] – Insight
[Id] – Ideas from the book (but not direct quotations)
[Qu] – Question
[RW] – Related Works
[A] – Action Item

* * * * *

[Q] “Scarcity is often contextual.”

[Q] “Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce the now abundant.”

I Sometimes scarcity is not even the problem, rather it could be a problem in terms of accessibility and the lack of technology to harness such scarcity.

[Q] “When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. Yet the threat of scarcity still dominates our worldview.”

[Q] “Within a generation, we will be able to provide goods and services, once reserved for the wealthy few, to any and all who need them. Or desire them. Abundance for all is actually within our grasp.”

[Q] “We are now living in a world of information and communication abundance.”

[Id] Three forces at work:

  • A Do-It-Yourself revolution, especially as it relates to technology;
  • Money spent in a very particular way. (philanthropy from the biggest tech billionaires);
  • The very poorest of the poor will become the “Rising billion”, and will have access to internet, microfinance, and wireless communication technologies.

[RW]  A similar work by Rob Salkowitz, Young World Rising also explores three set of trends that are helping shape the world of the 21st century. He cited 1) youth, 2) Information & Communications Technology; and 3) Entrepreneurship. Both works certainly look at the role of technology in the world today, but Mr. Salkowitz’s book looks more deeply into the role of young people in this rapidly-changing world.

I cited Young World Rising in my leadership book for young people: “May Powers Ka to Be #SuperEpic” (this book uses a combination of Tagalog and English languages).

[I] – Mr. Diamandis is an optimist. While reading the book, I found myself agreeing with some of his assertions, but I was also cautioning myself against becoming too optimistic, because there are many difficulties and challenges that the world faces, particularly in very dire situations in developing countries–in Africa and in Asia.

How to Implement a 30-Day Fitness Challenge

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This month, February 2015, I decided to go work on my fitness goals. What better way to do it than to start a 30-day Fitness Challenge. So I prepared my gym clothes, look for free fitness programs online, signed up at the gym, and start working on my goals again.

Fitness is very important for any professional. It helps reduce stress and keeps the body in tip-top shape and performance. Of course, summer is coming and I want to look better during the beach season. :)

Here are the steps I followed. If you want to do it, too. Then try doing the following steps and implement a 30-day fitness challenge. But before going to the gym, I suggest listening to The Happy Yuppie Podcast episode with Coach Chappy Callanta.

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image credit: terrapincrossfit.com

 

Look for a gym near you.

You don’t need to sign up for a premier gym such as Fitness First, Gold’s Gym, or Slimmers World. You could just sign up for a community gym. Everything you need can be usually found in your friendly neighborhood gym. The attendants in a local gym are also friendly and will assist you with your questions and your workout routine.

By the way, TheFitPinoy.com reviewed several high end gyms in his blog. Check out the following links:

Gold’s Gym Review by TheFitPinoy.com
Fitness First Review by TheFitPinoy.com
Slimmers World Review by TheFitPinoy.com

Before signing up, look for deals online.

If you still want to go to those high end gyms, then look for ways to save some money. Search at Group Buying Sites such as MetroDeal.com. You just might get a discount for a month’s use of the gym. In my case, I ended up paying only P1,400 for unlimited use of Gold’s Gym. That’s a big discount from the P4,000 regular rate. This works for only one month’s worth of membership. It’s also a great way to test if you can sustain your discipline to go to the gym regularly.

Choose a program for your fitness challenge.

If you want to lift weights, I strongly Stronglifts 5X5. It’s a simple system that even beginners can do it. Even those with some weightlifting experience can do it. It makes use of compound exercises, and none of those complicated workout routines. You can even download the app for the program and guide you through the process.

When I started my 30-day fitness challenge, I didn’t start with the Stronglifts program. I decided to do a daily routine. But on Week 2, I needed a simpler routine and went back to it. So far, so good!

Now, if you just want to run or jog for 30 minutes everyday, you won’t need a gym membership. You can just run around your neighborhood and you should be fine.

Set goals.

Don’t set impossible goals. You won’t get a six-pack abs within 30 days, unless you’ve been working out regularly in the first place. My goal isn’t really to lose weight, although, it would be great if I did. My goal is to instill the discipline of going to the gym, and gaining some muscles. It would become the foundation of more fitness challenges in the future.

Also, do your measurements: Weight; Waistline; and Body Fat percentage if you can get that. Just search online how you can do that.

Put a start date and an end date.

It’s a 30-day challenge right? So you need a start date and an end date. For me, I started in February 9, 2015 and will end on March 12th. I’m on Week 3. I don’t see big results just yet, but I’m feeling stronger and better.

Also, decide on a schedule. if you want to go to the gym once a day for 30 days. Why not? But you should workout at least three times a week. You should get some results by the end of your 30-day challenge.

Show up.

This is the biggest challenge of all. You might be pumped up and excited during the first week. But as you progress through the challenge, and you get busier by the minute, you may come up with a lot of excuses–you’re busy, you’re tired, you’re not in the mood.

But, DON’T GIVE IN TO THOSE EXCUSES! If you want results, then push and persevere. Make lifestyle changes if you need to. Give up some of your commitments, if you have to. Show up!

 

If you are committed to this 30-Day Challenge, you will benefit greatly–not just in terms of your physical fitness. But you will realize that discipline also enriches other areas of your life. You just might find that your mind is clearer and you have better mental stamina to work towards achieving your goals.

As of 26 Feb 2015, here are the maximum weight levels I can lift for 5 sets of 5 reps

Squats: 60 kg (132 lb)
Bench Press: 55kg (121 lb)
Row: 35kg (77 lb)
Overhead Press: 35 kg (77 lb)
Deadlift: 60kg (132 lb)

Stay tuned for another blogpost by the end of my 30-day challenge.

A Note-Taking System for Books I Read

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I recently blogged about taking notes from the books I read. I’ve been experimenting on a note-taking system lately. Back when I was still reading lots and lots of print books, my habit was to use a 3X5 index card as a bookmark and take notes from there. Sometimes I would also write on the margins of the book, underline the statements that strike me and put big exclamation marks on the pages that get to me.

But these days, I’m reading ebooks most of the time. I have a Kindle Fire 8.9 and I have the Kindle app installed on my laptop, my desktop, and in my Android phone.

I’m trying a new way of taking notes–I want to gather the highlights, comments, insights, and questions that occur to me while reading a particular work… and put them here in the blog. For PinoyYuppie.com, I will post notes on books related to business, career, and anything about a young professional’s life. If you want to check out my notes on any other book I read, you may need to check out my personal blog, MightyRasing.com.

takingnotes

image credit: danielfoster via Flickr

For each book notes blog post here, you should expect the following types of notes:

Quotes [Q] – Direct statements and actual words used by the author in explaining the ideas in the book. I hope to build my own library of quotes that may or may not be popular to the rest of the Internet.

Insights [I] – These insights would, most likely, be my reactions and “Eureka” as it relates to my own life and the work I do. Some of these insights might be applicable for yuppies, or they might not. They may be specific to me only. But nonetheless, I will put them here in the blog for discussion and/or reference.

Questions [Qu] – Obviously, I will not agree with everything I read. In fact, I actively try to look for loopholes and other problematic areas that I need to investigate and read about further.

Related Works [RW] – I would like to believe that I am a wide-reader with a really wide set of books in my reading list. Chances are, I may have encountered a similar, related, or tangential book to the one I’m presently reading. They will be labeled this way for easy reference.

Action Item [A] – Lastly and most importantly, I need to look for practical, actionable item. As I said in a previous post about books, ideas are a dime dozen; what changes lives and moves the world are not ideas, but well-executed ideas.

My Kindle app made doing all these so much easier. All I need to do is to go to my Kindle account and check out my Highlights, Notes, and Bookmarks, and I can easily export, sort, and eventually publish them here in the blog.

If you want, you can also follow my reading and check out the notes I take, I suggest following me in two sites:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23968682-mighty-rasing

Amazon: https://kindle.amazon.com/profile/Mighty-Rasing/30178345

You’ll need to create an account in each of these websites. Just a fair warning: I read a lot of totally unrelated stuff. For fiction, I tend to read lots of Science Fiction and Fantasy. You’ve been warned. :)

Why You Should Take Notes from Every Book You Read

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Learning is never over, especially after College. You need to train for your job. If you want to advance in your career, you also need new skills and new set of knowledge to pound into your brain.

They say that experience is the best teacher. Most of the time, they assume that it should be your OWN experience. But that’s not true. A lifetime isn’t enough to experience every lesson there is to learn.

To make the most of one lifetime, you better talk to people, ask about their experiences and the lessons they learned. While face-to-face conversion is great, there is another way, which can sometimes be more efficient and just as effective: Reading books.

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Just an aside, here’s my previous post on how I choose books; and another one on WHY I read books in the first place.

A lot of us read books for different reasons–to be entertained, to learn new things, to kill boredom. But throughout history, lives changed, wars erupted, and the world was never the same, thanks to books and the ideas behind them.

If you are into reading books, you should take your book-reading experience to the next level. TAKE NOTES! Here’s why.

Show off.

You could quote famous authors while conversing with your crush, or somebody you want to impress. There’s that scene in “That Thing Called Tadhana” where the male character quote the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald: “There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.” Awesome, right? Who would have thought that you could quote nice lines in the real world?

ttct

Some of these quotes could also come in handy when you are engaged in a debate and you need to bolster your argument. While you’re at it, you can even make use of your book notes when you are writing blog posts or you’re just showing off how widely read you are.

I try to do that with my wife every now and then, but she just shrugs and tells me “Whatever.” This should also come with a fair warning. If your point is to just show off, people might be turned off and write you off as one more bookish person who knows more about books than good social interaction.

Learn something new and connect it with other pieces of lessons you’ve learned over the years.

Here’s the first big reason why you should take notes. Learn something new. Then connect it with other lessons you’ve learned. The world of ideas is inter-connected. Ideas usually lead to other ideas, and as you think more deeply about an idea, you will also come to think of other ideas.

In a world where ideas are a dime dozen and accessible within a few clicks, what matters is how you bring ideas together to come up with something new; not necessarily original, but a new incarnation and amalgam of older ideas.

Get new quotes that are not yet too popular.

If you have a Tumblr account, then you’d know that there are perhaps tens of millions of nice, feel-good, touchy-feely quotes lying around. A lot of them had been rehashed and attributed to the wrong person a million times, too. But we tend to forgive those atrocious picture-quotes because the picture is good or the quote is so applicable to us at the moment.

But if you read and take notes, you can introduce quotes that may not have been abused to the ground, yet. You just might put some collection of words that will make the Internet a little better.

Remember wise words from authors and writers.

While you’re reading a book, you may nod and agree with the lessons and ideas presented to you. But as soon as you close that book, you might not remember it at all. Sayang. To help you remember those wise words, copy them. Keep them. Tweet them. So that at some point in the future, you could go back and apply the lessons to your own life.

Change your life.

Lastly, ideas are pretty useless unless acted upon. The best reason why you should take notes, is to look for ways to improve and change your life. Ideas keep changing us. They inform our beliefs–about ourselves, the world we live in, and our role in the world. Ideas could change all that. Ideas are dangerous things because once they take root in your heart and your mind, it can set the direction of your life.

 

How I Choose Books to Read

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I’m a big reader, having read 40 books in 2014 as I revealed in a previous post. But how do I choose books to read, you may wonder.

I don’t really have a secret, but I do have several sources of great books to include in my reading list. Here’s how I choose the books that goes into my reading list.

 

Books exploring skills I want to acquire and topics (or genre for fiction) I’m interested in.

If I want to develop specific skills such as Mind mapping, Outlining, some people skills, my default mode of learning is to grab a book, read, read, read, and then look for actionable items.

Currently, my taste in fiction is in the area of post-apocalyptic works and Young Adult fiction. That’s why I enjoyed the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins; Steelheart and Firefight, both from the Reckoners Series of Brandon Sanderson, and of course, I also read the first Percy Jackson series last year.

Since reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy back in College, (thanks in no small part to my friend Butch!), I am pretty sure that I’ll be reading Fantasy and Science Fiction for the rest of my life.

Books mentioned and referenced by books I’ve already read.

If I want to learn more deeply about any topic, then I’d look at the reference section of the book I’m reading and I will consult those books, too. For example, I discovered the 10,000 Hours rule of becoming an expert in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Since I was so enamored with the topic, I also read Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, and it also led me to read books related to Mental toughness and psychological training.

Books mentioned by my favorite podcasts and blogs.

In addition to books, I rely on podcasts for those times that I have to wait for 5 minutes and more. Some podcasts are no more than 8 minutes while others explore topics deeply and could go from 30 to 90 minutes at a time. They are also the perfect companion for a long drive or a long bus ride. For podcasts I recommend, click here.

Every now and then, the podcasts I listen to mention books that get me intrigued. So I end up going to Amazon to check out the book, read some reviews and before I knew it, I bought it!

The Bryan Callen Show guested Howard G. Buffet & Howard W. Buffet, son and grandson of billionaire Warren Buffet, respectively. I got intrigued about their quest to fight hunger all over the world. I ended up buying 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.

Tim Ferriss had Peter Diamandis as a guest on his podcast and after listening to the show, I subscribed to Mr. Diamandis’s blog, and bought his two books: Abundance: the Future is Better than You Think plus I also got a copy of his recently launched book “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World“.

Bottom line is, if I trust a blog or a podcast, I also trust the recommendations they make in terms of books and other resources to consume.

Popular, well-reviewed books at Goodreads and Amazon.

Sometimes, I also check titles that are related to the books I loved. Amazon does this well. It shows similar titles and works that other readers have found and liked, too. If I spot a title that has great reviews and the description fits my interest at the moment, I could get that book. But before buying it, I try to look for it in a library, or if it is available somewhere else (reading books could be an expensive hobby, you know).

Just because… (or the power of serendipity)

If you haven’t noticed it yet, most of the books I buy these days are ebooks and it’s usually through Amazon. I still love print books, mind you. Before installing the Kindle app on my phone, and long before I bought my Kindle Fire Tablet, I’m a frequent visitor of Booksale, National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and other top bookstores in Metro Manila.

But after becoming familiar with my favorite e-readers, I made the switch and read e-books about 80% of the time. I probably buy 1 print book for every 8 ebooks I buy.

That means that most of the print books I buy are based on chance and serendipity. I spot a good title or a good cover in a bookstore and after reading the description, I just might get it. Or not. Depending on my mood, and my book budget at the moment.

So that’s how I choose books. How about you? Do you intentionally read books? What’s your usual criteria?