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Getting Things Done (GTD) and what I made of it

I finally got to read the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I have read quite several books on time management and related topics, so I was almost surprised that it took me so long to get to this particular one, which is considered by many as a classic. I got to this book more or less by mistake. A while back I started using a command-line task management tool called TaskWarrior, another old Linux tool that has been known to anyone but myself for decades. This tool referred to the “Getting Things Done” methodology that was taught in the book, so I ended up reading the book as well, out of appreciation for some of the features that were inspired by this book.

I am not going to summarize this book now, nor the GTD methodology. There are dozens of write-ups about it by now. I am also not going to describe that TaskWarrior program, because this would not be the best use of your time or mine. Instead, I will discuss my most important findings: those relatively novel ideas of task management that I adopted from either the book or the software, or even just from my own experience with the two (even if not directly taught by any of these). So it’s not really a book review, but just my own takeaways that were either written in the book or were somehow inspired by the book, or by the software that I am using.

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Book review: "Decisive"

I recently read the book Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This is one of the better growth books I’ve read lately, because it nicely combines scientific truths with actionable guidelines. Most growth books are either purely motivational, repeating shallow inspirational mantras with small tweaks, or they present solid logic that explains how things could be better, just without much hints on how one can put this logic into practical use. This book, on the other hand, explains well-substantiated pitfalls in our decision-making logic and also offers simple mental hacks to help us overcome those pitfalls. I also liked that each chapter concludes with a single-page summary that makes it easy to recap what was taught and the conclusions of each chapter. I find this immensely useful because I’m the type of person who reads very little each day, and not every day, so reading a single chapter can sometimes take me weeks.

The rest of this post lists my key takeaways from this book.

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TEDTalk: "The counterintuitive way to be more persuasive"

This is a brilliant TED Talk by Niro Sivanathan.

It introduces the dilution effect. Information that is less relevant is not merely discarded, but rather dilutes the impact of the information that is relevant. So next time you bring up arguments for something, remember that your arguments don’t add up – they average out.

TEDTalk: The counterintuitive way to be more persuasive

Book review: "Think Like a Rocket Scientist"

The book “Think Like a Rocket Scientist” by Ozan Varol (a real rocket scientist, actually), has nothing to do with Security. However, I do have the habit of sharing recommendations on such resources as well, and this piece is certainly worthy of such a recommendation.

The text promotes the deployment of thought processes that are often used in engineering and science (primarily in rocket science, where mistakes are costly), by everyone. The motivation of this book is probably a quote brought by Carl Sagan: “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge”; a statement with which I could not agree more.

The book covers a few principles and delves into each one of them with excellent examples and historic facts, all written in an engaging style. Some of the topics that the author discusses are:

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