Sunday, March 31, 2019

Selection List, Features in TheBrain

What is the Selection List and why would it ever be used?

As a Brain database grows, there will be times when you will need to mass edit thoughts, links, or other data associated with thoughts.  When the selection list is activated, it will automatically appear in on the left side of the screen.

Selection List with three items in it
The Selection list with 3 selected items

Within the working window, the thoughts selected will have dashed outlines.
Three selected thoughts
Dashed lines around Thoughts that are selected
The use of the Selection List can be a powerful feature when you have a Brain database with more and more thoughts.

How to add and remove from the Selection List

Adding thoughts to the Selection List

Thoughts can be added via multiple methods
  • With the mouse
    • Add Thougths one at a time
      • ⌘-Click on the thought name in MacOS
      • Ctrl-Click on the thought name in Windows
    • Selecting a group of thoughts
      • ⌘-Click and Drag to select Thoughts in MacOS
      • Ctrl-Click and Drag to select Thoughts in Windows
    • Add all the Parents, Jump, or Child Thoughts attached to a given Thought:
      • ⌘-Click the Parent, Jump, or Child Gate for the respective direction in MacOS
      • Ctrl-Click the Parent, Jump, or Child Gate for the respective direction in MacOS
  • From the Edit Menu
    • By choosing Select Related Thoughts from the Edit menu, a large number of Thoughts can be added from the direction of the Parent, Jump, and/or Child Gates.
Select Related Thoughts Dialog
Select Related Thoughts Dialog

  • Search
    • Using the Search Textbox narrow the results down to the items you want to add to Selection List.
    • Open the popup menu in the search results dialog and click "Add Search Results to Selection" accessed by clicking the "☰" button.

  • The Report
    • If not already open, click the "Report" button 
  • Manipulate the report options until the Thoughts, Thought Tags, and Thought Types desired are in the results section.
  • Once the desired results are shown select "Add All to Selection" from the popup menu accessed by clicking the "☰" button
  • The Selection List popup Menu


    • If you any Thought added to the Selection List that has a Child Thought you can select "Show Common Children." 

  • This will bring up a popup dialog like the one below:


    • Clicking on a "common child Thought" in the list makes it the active Thought
    • "Replace selection" replaces any Thoughts in the Selection List with the Thoughts in the "common child Thoughts" list
    • "Expand generations from $x to $y" will add one generation of children to the "common child Thoughts" list.  
      • This is a one-way operation and will increase one generation deeper every time it is clicked
  • If only two Thoughts are in the Selection list "Select Path Between" becomes available.  Clicking this option will add all Thoughts between the original two Thoughts. 


Removing thoughts from the Selection List

Repeating any of the "addition" steps above will remove items from the selection list.  But you can also remove all items by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner of the Selection List.

What can be added to the Selection List?

Now that multiple Thoughts are selected what can be done?

Once you have filled the Selection List with the Thoughts, Thought Types, and Thought Tags wanted a right click on the selection list will bring up a popup menu.


The popup menu options are as follows:

  • Copy $X thoughts
    • This is an excellent way to copy Thoughts from one Brain to another
    • Remember: Copying Thoughts from one part of a Brain to another Thought of the same Brain will duplicate thoughts.  It is recommended to link the existing Thoughts to the new part of the brain - see "Link Selection as $X" Below.
  • Copy as Text Outline
    • When pulling data out of TheBrain, this option will provide a hierarchical text that can be pasted into other software
  • Copy as Text Outline with Notes
    • Just as with the "Copy as Text Outline" option this allows pulling text data out of TheBrain however if you have notes attached to a Thought they will appear as children to their related thoughts.
  • Forget $X Thoughts
    • This will cause all thoughts in the Selection List to be forgotten.  You can still recover them if you need to.
  • Set Selection Tags
    • Selecting a Thought Tag from the popup menu will add that Thought Tag to all Thoughts in the Selection List.  If a Thought has already been assigned that Thought Tag it will not be altered
      • I often use this when I decide to add a new Thought Tag.  This allows me to quickly add that Thought Tag to most of the Thoughts that it should be applied to... I don't always get all of them, but enough to allow my future searches to be relevant
    • If all Thoughts in the Selection List have the same Thought Tags, a check will appear next to the common Thought Tags.  Selecting a Thought Tag with a check next to it will remove that Thought Tag from all the thoughts in the Selection List
  • Set Selection Thought Type
    • As one would expect this sets the Thought Type of all the thoughts in the Selection List.
      • This is very useful when moving thoughts from one Brain to another with different Thought Types in each Brain.
  • Set Selection Privacy
    • Use this option to set all items in the selection list to public or private
  • Unlink Selection
    • This option will remove any links between any of the thoughts in the Selection List.  Warning this can lead to orphaned Thoughts
  • Link Selection as Children of "$ActiveThought"
    • To make all Thoughts in the Selection List a child of the current Active Thought.  Note if any Thought in the Selection List is a Jump Thought or a Parent Thought they will be converted to a Child Thought of the Active Thought
  • Link Selection as Parents of "$ActiveThought"
    • To make all the thoughts in the Selection List Parents of the current Active Thought chose this option.  Like before any Thought that was a Child Thought or Jump Thought of the Active Thought will no longer be after this option is selected
  • Link Selection as Jumps of "$ActiveThought"
    • Selecting this option will connect all the Thoughts in the Selection List to the Jump Thought Gate for the current Active Thought.  As expected any Thoughts that were Parent or Child Thoughts will now be Jump Thoughts.
  • Show Common Children 

  • If you any Thought added to the Selection List that has a Child Thought you can select "Show Common Children" 

  • This will bring up a popup dialog like the one below:

    • Clicking on a "common child Thought" in the list makes it the active Thought
    • "Replace selection" replaces any Thoughts in the Selection List with the Thoughts in the "common child Thoughts" list
    • "Expand generations from $x to $y" will add one generation of children to the "common child Thoughts" list.  
      • This is a one-way operation and will increase one generation deeper every time it is clicked
  • Select Path Between
    • If only two Thoughts are in the Selection list "Select Path Between" becomes available.  Clicking this option will add all Thoughts between the original two Thoughts. 

Additional Information

For additional information here are some links from TheBrain Technologies:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Thought Tags, Features in TheBrain

What is a "Thought Tag"?

When working with TheBrain by TheBrain Technologies LP one of the most challenging features for me to understand was how to properly leverage "Thought Tags." The first question you might ask is "Justin, what is a Thought Tag?".

Thought Tag is an attribute that can be added to one or more Thoughts in TheBrain software to help identify commonality between Thoughts.  A Thought can have more than one Thought Tag, whereas a Thought can only have one Thought Type.



Above you can see how the thought "David Allen" has three Thought Tags attached to it.  They are a pencil, checkmark of approval, and a U.S. Flag.  In this case, they allow me to know that David Allen is an author (the pencil), one of my influencers (the checkmark of approval), and from the U.S. (the U.S. Flag).

Jump down to the Example Thought Tag section below for more examples of Thought Tags.

How do you assign a Thought Tag?

I am aware of four ways to assign Thought Tags:

  1. Thought Properties Dialog
  2. Dragging a link
  3. Toolbar Menu Selection
  4. Right-click menu

Thought Properties Dialog

When the Thought Properties dialog is open a "Tags" button is available that will allow the addition or removal of any thought tag in the brain.

This method is recommended if you have a lot of Thought tags to modify for an old thought, or if you are adding a new thought that needs a lot of Thought Tags. Don't forget if you are using the "Semicolon Method" to add multiple thoughts you can assign one or more Thought Tags in that dialog.

Dragging a link

By either selecting the thought tag from the Thought Tag menu or by searching for the Thought Tag with the search field you can make a tag the selected thought.  Once it is the active Thought, you can drag from the "Child Connector" and type in the name of a Thought you want to assign the said tag to. 

If the thought you want to assign is one of your pinned thoughts you can just click and drag from the child connector to the pinned thought

This process only allows the addition of one Thought Tag to a Thought in a single operation.

Toolbar Menu Selection

In the "Thought" menu there is an entry labeled "Set Tags."  Choosing "Set Tags" allows the addition or removal of a Thought Tag, one at a time.

This process only allows the addition of one Thought Tag to a Thought in a single operation.

Right Click Menu

By right clicking on any Thought, the popup menu has an entry labeled "Set Tags."  Choosing "Set Tags" allows the addition or removal of a Thought Tag, one at a time. This is the same menu that you can find in the "Thought" menu on the toolbar

This process only allows the addition of one Thought Tag to a Thought in a single operation.

Keyboard Shortcuts

To quickly activate the Thought Tag menu to start searching for a Thought Tag press:
  • ⌘-G in MacOS
  • Ctrl-G in Windows

Example Thought Tags

I have been working with Thought Tags for a while now and have come up with my own system that you are free to borrow, extend, or ignore.  I brake my thought tags into five major types:

  1. Actions and Status
  2. Ranking
  3. Personal Attributes & Skills
  4. Company Attributes & Properties
  5. Items and Products
Before I get to the examples, please keep in mind that Thought Tags sort alpha-numerically so you may want to choose names that allow things to logically group together

Action and Status

These statuses allow me to quickly add information to the database and know I can get back to it later for refinement or cleanup.  These Thought Tags act almost as tasks so that I can "close my loops" a la GDT and I will pick up all the outstanding items during my weekly review
  • Cleanup, Data Dump
  • Cleanup, Mobile Entry
  • Decision
  • Idea - Infancy
  • Idea - Needs refinement
  • Todo

Ranking

Finding the correct image for these can really help
  • 1 Star
  • 2 Star
  • 3 Star
  • 4 Star
  • 5 Star

Personal Attributes & Skills

I use these Thought Tags on people that I add to my database.  These are intended to help me look up people or remember something about them
  • Hobbies - list the ones you care about
  • Professions
  • Personal Influencers (This is a stand-alone tag)
  • Speaks, $X
  • Zodiac Sign (If you, and/or the person in question, are into that kind of thing)

Company Attributes & Properties

As a businessman, I need to remember a lot of information and data about companies I do work with.  As an IT person, the things I most often need to remember is what enterprise software or carrier services they are using.  As such I create Thought Tags for the following:
  • Uses $X Product
  • Uses $X Company (Usually a service company, else I would just use the appropriate product tag)
  • Uses $X Service

Items and Products Attributes & Properties

Just as I need to know what companies are using, I also need to know what features products may have.  This includes software or physical products.
  • Feature $X
  • Made of material $X

Thought Tag Attributes

To make Thought Tags more useful, you can modify the following for a thought:
  • Image 
    • This makes the thought much more useful if the appropriate stock image, clipart, or external image is used
  • Abbreviation
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Notes & Attachments
    • This means you can further clarify what a Thought Tag means to a given database.

Additional Information

For additional information here are some links from TheBrain Technologies:

Monday, September 3, 2018

Tips to Capture more often with TheBrain, Procedures in TheBrain 9

Use It or Lose It

Like many practices, tools, or caches of knowledge ones skill with TheBrain software will increase or decrease with deliberate use. [For more information on "Deliberate Practice" see Talent is Overrated by Geoffery Colvin. A book that will be reviewed at a later time].  But sometimes, just a few tips or tricks that allow you to use a practice, tool, or knowledge base more often is needed to help give you that push.  This article is intended to help with that very subject.

For those short on time the list is as follows:
  • Use the mobile apps
  • Use tags to mark entries that need to be cleaned up later
  • Create a "Random & Unsorted" thought to quickly add thoughts to

Use the Mobile Apps

With apps for iOS and Android users of TheBrain 9 Pro Service,  Pro Combo, or TeamBrain can use the mobile apps to sync back to TheBrain Cloud Services an thus, back to any desktop applications you might be using.

This means thoughts and ideas can be added or extended from anywhere.  With the latest versions of the mobile apps supporting automated sync, the use of the mobile apps becomes more and more advisable.

I myself have used apps on my phone and tablet in every mode of transportation, while walking, even between meetings when an idea strikes me.

Tags

Well thought out Thought Tags can help to ensure that you are not just throwing information into a never-ending pit.  Sure, if you just record thoughts and never clean them up, you might be able to search out the small morsel of information you were looking for, but that is not the purpose of TheBrain software.  There will be no relevant links to help you draw a bigger picture. You will not have had a second exposure to the information to strengthen your unaided knowledge and understanding.  Getting in the habit of using tags, like these, will minimize the number of underdeveloped thoughts in your Brain.



I use the following three "quick tags" to help me enter data fast without worrying that I am throwing data down a hole:
  • _Cleanup - Data Dump
  • _Cleanup - Mobile Entry
  • _ToDo
It should be noted that all of them start with an underscore "_" to ensure that they are sorted to the top.  This makes them fast and easy to select when using from a phone or tablet as mentioned in the prior section.  The ease of use should be simple to see in the image below:



_Cleanup - Data Dump

Sometimes you have access to a bunch of data on a Thought, and you just need to paste it and run.  Rather than risking coming across this information weeks or months later using this tag can give you an opportunity to go back in your downtime and clean the data up.  I do this as part of my weekly review as inspired by the GTD process.

_Cleanup - Mobile Entry

As of this article, the mobile apps are limited in many of the things they can do.  Links cannot be labeled or typed. Attachments can be challenging to accomplish.  Horizontal Rules cannot be added.  Though these features may make their way to the mobile versions, it will most likely still be faster to do much of this from a desktop application for some time.  As such, a "_Cleanup - Mobile Entry" gives a clear indication of the need and the reason for the required cleanup.

_ToDo

I use this one in all forms of TheBrain UI's - phone, tablet, and desktop.  This allows me to know that I need to pull more data, link a wiki page, get input from a customer or colleague. Having this tag enables me to "close a loop", GTD again, and focus on my thought flow rather than getting everything perfect the first time.

I pare all of the tags above with software engineering style notes:

//* ToDo: note link all thoughts underlined above *//

This allows me to quickly find them in the Notes section of a Thought.

Random & Unsorted

I often come by random pieces of information that I just want to save, am not sure where it should be initially attached to, or can't find the parent thought or thoughts I would most like to connect the information to.  This is where the "Random & Unsorted" thought and Thought Pin comes into play.



Create a thought called "Random & Unsorted."  I have created mine directly off of TheBrain's "Home Thought."  Then you can pin the thought by right clicking on "Random & Unsorted" and select "Create Pin" from the popup menu.

Once created and pined you know have a quick natural place to "catch" all of the little things that will help build depth into your brain.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Habits - Entry 3 - Scaling back when needed

Overburdened 


If you have found my articles interesting enough You may have tried to look at the other items I have written for this Blog and quickly found out that there are some significant gaps between articles.

How can this be? You might ask - isn't this the guy that writes about habits and task list and other things that should keep me on track churning out copy every week? And you would be correct to ask that question.

Hopefully, this will be a good segue into one of the most significant habit lessons I have learned:

How to scale back when life adds pressure to your time and energy resources

The answer is not complicated to figure out Evaluate, Prioritize, Execute.  But it is essential to go through the process.

Evaluate

The "Getting Things Done" crowd will be familiar with the weekly review.  This is where I often do my evaluation.  As I go through this process I usually try to sort my habits into groups:

  • Professional habits
  • Health habits
  • Mental habits
  • Social habits

and classify each habit within the group as

  • Positive -Foundation
  • Positive - Working
  • Negative - Foundation
  • Negative - Working
With this philosophy, I can sort the current habits (good and bad) into one of 16 groups.

It is critical that you are honest with your self as you build this list.  It may be easier if you use a habit app like Todoist, so you already know what habits you are tracking.  It may also be useful to listen to others to determine what habits you have that you don't even know about.

The major groups -Professional, Health, Mental, and Social - are not to hard to make out, but there are some clarifications I would like to put out there.  First, I use all four groups because they seem to balance out well.  One works well with the other three.  If you don't work on your Health, you won't have the energy for Social, Profesional, or Mental habits.  If you are not improving your Metal capabilities, you will be left behind in Social groups, passed up in your Professional life, and may execute your Helth strategies all wrong.  I could go on to all four, but I think you get the picture.

As for the sub-categories, they are just the realization that we have positive and negative habits, and we have habits that support all that we do (Foundation), and practices that we are working on (Working).  Some may call Foundation habits "Keystone habits".  These are habits that either allow other habits to be more beneficial or enable other habits to be formed.  For example, the Profesional habit of "getting up at 5:00 AM" provides the time for the Health habits of "working out" or "meditating."  Due to this even if I have to stop working out or meditating I might keep getting up at 5:00 AM for the many other benefits.

Prioritize

Though this process is going to be based on your own needs, it should be as simple as ranking your habits in most to least significant. Then, based on your time and energy budget, determining which practices you can keep, which you will do less frequently, and which you will 'let go' for the time being.

Due to an increase in opportunities at work at the end of 2017 I had to go deep into this process.  I found it easiest to drop most of the habits that were in a "working" group, both positive and negative. I had to be very careful with what I chose to keep.  Too much and I would not be able to get the work done to take advantage of the opportunities.  Too little and I would cause myself to burn out, unable to sustain the work pace and quality needs.

It was clear many of the things I would keep.  From Health - Diet, and Excercise.  From Social - My weekly ballroom dance get-together. This allowed me to keep both my wife and my friends happy.  Mental - I halved my reading load but increased the amount of fiction I was reading.  This was enough to keep me from feeling like I had abandoned my mind, by not stopping my reading, while giving me additional distractions to allow my mind to reset, by reading more fiction than I normally would.  As the goal was to take advantage of a Professional opportunity I dropped the least here - really only my working habit of improving my handwriting and working on adding "Sketchnoting" skills. I type all day so these are a vanity habits.

Execute

By far the easiest part to say had hardest to do.  You have to allow the things you said you will not work on this week to go by the wayside, you can work on them when your energy allows.  You have to stay disciplined in ensuring you perform all of the habits you said you would keep.

But it is not all discipline and sacrifice.  Hopefully, you will have marked your weekly review as a Profesional Postive Foundation Habit and will have chosen to keep it.  This means that in only a few days you can Evaluate and Prioritize again. Giving you the ability to adjust each week as demands change.

Summary


As I the challenges I accepted are coming to a close I am taking the habits I put on hold, such as writing in this blog, and adding them back into my weekly lists.  By ensuring that I kept the most important habits, I have come to the end of this opportunity with better health, a good mental feel, little to no damage to my social standing, and the professional respect of my company and coworkers.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Habits -The Healthy Habit Revolution - Book Review

I can be wrong

I don't remember how "The Healthy Habit Revolution: Create Better Habits in 5 Minutes A Day" by Derek Doepker ended up in my Kindle library, but I know my first impression was that this was another self-help/me-too kind of book.  I went to Audible to check a sample of the audio and found out it was read by the author.  The author is a fitness and life coach.  I could just hear the "bro"ness in his California accent. I was convinced this would be a bad read and that I would be able to poke holes in his methods and techniques.  I even thought I could make a game out of counting the "Dude" and "Bro" quotes in the book

Maybe I should not even take the time to read this book and move on to something more intellectually stimulating like "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies"  by Nick Bostrom.  That surely would make me smarter.

But I decided I was at the pool and my Kindle said the book would take me less than 3 hours to read. Why not risk it.  I am glad I did.

I was pleasantly surprised very quickly at Mr. Doepker's referencing of other books like "The Power of Habit" on how to make - and break - habits.

An Action Oriented Book

Many habit books I have read have been full of theory, biochemistry, and studies.  This book references several of those.  But this book is not about that.  It is about getting you moving.

The core of the book is a 21-day plan to get your first "micro-habits" going.  The book is intended to be read over 22 or 23 days (not the 3 hours I took). One chapter per day so that you can reflect on your journey to that point and educate your path going forward.

The breakdown 

Though not directly named by the author this book has three major sections.

  1. Background and Introduction to Micro-Habits
  2. Daily Chapters
  3. Review and Going Forward 

Background and Introduction to Micro-Habits 

After a quick yet concise history of how Mr. Doepker used the methods described in this book to improve his life and the life of his clients, he goes into a breakdown of the basics of creating a few small habits, micro-habits, that the reader would use during the 21-day exercise of this book. 

As someone that has built many good habits in my life, I found myself nodding in agreement with Mr. Doepker's definitions and methods. If you follow them, you will select good initial micro-habits to start with. 

Daily Chapters


The daily chapters are short.  Something you could read in less than 10 minutes per night.  So they would not be much of a burden on even the most hectic schedule. Chapters seem to include another small bit of advice that would be well timed for that portion of the habit building journey.

Each daily chapter builds off the one before it. Though direct in the advice given, there is a building set of sub-lessons, what the author calls "hidden lessons," that are pointed out in the final section of the book.

Review and Going Forward 

In the final segment of the book, Mr. Doepker directly covers the "hidden lessons" in the daily chapters. But more importantly, he gives good advice on how to take this start and build on it. There is a good preview of the mistakes one can make in the building process, like being too inflexible.

Finally, there is an excellent reference section so that ones newly formed habits can be taken even further by reading the biochemistry, philosophy, and lessons from others.

References

If you had to start with one book on habits to be able to find many other good books, I would have to recommend this one.  It has references to no less that 12 other books and authors in the habit building space. (There are actually 17 books and 9 recommended articles).  I can even forgive him that three of the books he recommends are his own books.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Why we get Fat: and What to do About It - Review

At the end of 2016, I read Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes introducing me to the concept of a biochemistry and hormonal reason for weight management.  I will be writing a review on that book at a later date.  It was an eye-opening book but not one that I would recommend to the casual reader. You have to want to understand EVERYTHING to do with the biochemistry of nutrient storage and the history of nutrition advice in the US if you are going to read that book.

Luckily Mr. Taubes has a more recent and more approachable book Why We Get Fat: And what to do about it.

Insulin and Carbs

If you read either book, you will learn about the mechanisms that insulin uses to move nutrients (fats and glucose (sugars)) into cells.  You will also learn that the constant use of this process will eventually lead to insulin resistance in cells - namely muscle cells.  Meaning that fat cells are much more likely to take in nutrients while muscle cells atrophy.  This means your fat cells are getting bigger while your muscles starve.

I can not do all of the biochemistry justice in this simple review.

Not all fats are the enemy?

For anyone raised in a western country, we have been indoctrinated for years that fat is a four-letter word.  It will kill you and everyone you know.  This book touches on why there is no good science to back that up.  (For a deeper understanding of how nutritionist in the 50's used partial data sets and miss-correlated colesterol to heart desease to come up with this theory I recommend reading Good Calories, Bad Calories).

The book talks about how natural fats found in meat, avocados, butter, and cheeses not only don't cause heart disease in most people, they allow you to feel full so you can stop eating.

Cortisol


The book also added new biochemistry items I did not know about.  Namely how Cortisol affects the body.  The quote I highlighted is: "cortisol makes us store fat both directly (through LPL) and indirectly (through insulin). But then it works to release fat from our fat cells, primarily by stimulating HSL, just like other hormones."

I translated this to mean: Cortisol primes the pump such that if we have any nutrients that can be crammed into a fat cell (or noninsulin resistant cell), it will get crammed.  However, if nothing is present Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL) will break down the stored triglycerides in fat cells to allow them to be released into the body.  So if we are fasting during this process, and have only converted glucose in our system as our stress decreases, we will have mobilized a bunch of fat that our liver can turn into ketone bodies.  Much of the body can run on ketone bodies rather than glucose.  The liver can create glucose as needed for the other parts of the body that can only run on glucose.

But if you reach for that cookie, or beer, or other comfort food, LPL and insulin will not only prevent the freed fat from being used, but it will push more into your fat cells.

My experience

In the past six months since reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes I have lost over 40 pounds. The word "Hangry" can no longer be used to describe me. I have eaten more bacon, eggs, and steak than I ever thought was possible in the past. I also eat a lot more green leafy vegetables too (ten-year-old me would die).

I have made mistakes by eating too much protein, too many carbs, and not enough fat.  There have been weeks where my diet has been dialed in, and I feel like a racehorse.  And there have been weeks where I have just wanted to eat a pint gallon of ice cream.

Luckily, thanks to the fact that I log my food into MFP (My Fitness Pal) (allowing a review of what has been eaten, what the nutrients were) combined with the biochemistry I have learned has allowed me to understand what could be happening and make corrections for it.

With these two books doing so well at educating me how to leverage my biochemistry I am going to have to read The Case Against Sugar (Gary Taubes' latest book) soon.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck - Review

One of the things about traveling for work is that you get a chance to read - a lot.  Generally, I read technical books, history books, diet & exercise books, or business books. In this case, I could not help but wonder what knowledge a book titled "The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck" could contain. At a minimum I expected I might get a laugh or two - I was not wrong

Though there is a significant amount of language that any former sailor would feel comfortable with, this is actually a serious book written in a language that feels more approachable to the people that probably need it most.  I see the use of "adult" language as a means for the author to keep readers that are so frustrated with things in life that they most likely swear regularly to release the tension that is built up in them.  This tension prevents them from being able to see a good plan to go forward.  They can not see what to prioritize.  And when everything is a priority - nothing is a priority.  When nothing is a priority one does not improve their lot in life.

However, you might be surprised that there is actual wisdom in this book.  Here are just a few of the quotes I found in this book that I did not expect:

  • Self-improvement and success often occur together.  But that doesn't necessarily mean they are the same thing.
  • After all, the only way to overcome pain is to first learn how to bear [the pain].
  • ... there is no value in suffering when it's done without purpose
  • Happiness is therefore a form of action; it's an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you,
How many of us needed to hear and understand that happiness was an action we took rather than something that someone or something gave to us?  I think this is something every goth kid needed to hear in the 80's, every grunge kid needed to hear in the 90's, every emo kid needs to hear in the 00's. (Disclaimer: neither me nor the author are claiming this is a cure for actual depression just a way to shock some people just enough to look at the world in a slightly different perspective to ejoy what they already have)

And my favorite excerpt from the book:
  • Problems add a sense of meaning and importance to our life. Thus to duck our problems is to lead a meaningless (even if supposedly pleasant) existence.
I don't know how many people I know that try to live a problem free life.  My favorite people are always the ones that have had a ton of problems and have successfully solved some of them and learned valuable lessons when they could not solve others.

So if you are not offended by adult language, are looking for a different and frank look on how to get your life's priorities in order try out this book.