Book for 2019: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

I was inspired by my high school teacher to share the books I’ve been reading and plan to read for 2019 here on my blog. Last year I finished 50 books, and although I did discuss a few of them, I think it would be good for me to reflect on each book I finish.

Meditation is weird because people often think that it is difficult (as I did too), which is a paradox. Meditation is perhaps the only time during the day that I actively try to DO NOTHING and allow my mind to be free.

This book, written by the Founder of Headspace, was a great introduction to the world of meditation and mindfulness and is also one of Bill Gates’ top 5 books of 2018.

As I’ve been using the Headspace app for the past 3 months (almost daily), I did already know many of the teachings that were written in this book. So, for those that don’t currently meditate, and would like to dive into the world of mindfulness and Headspace, I would totally recommend you pick up this book to learn more and hopefully drive you to continue on this path.

I would have to say that meditation and mindfulness practice has been the best habit I’ve picked up recently, and I will no doubt continue to consider this one of the best habits of my lifestyle that I hope may continue for many years. It’s amazing how 10-minutes a day can change your life.

Get it here on Amazon:


Grow up

I think the worst thing you can say to a kid is “grow up”

It implies that the creativity they have as a “kid” is not important.

It implies that they need to concern themselves with “matters of consequence” like money, and jobs, and numbers.

When in fact, the most important thing is to see life with your heart and not your eyes.

I spent my whole life being told to “grow up” and think about my future and become “successful,” but I don’t care if you are 5 years old, or 50 years old—no one should ever completely “grow up.”

Now I’ve been spending my days learning how to think more like a child, how to see life through the lenses of creativity and wonder. I think it’s important because a child sees with his heart, not his eyes. It’s quite magical.

If you are wondering why I am ranting, you should read the best book I’ve read this year, “The Little Prince”. It’s 90 pages long. Do yourself the justice of reading this masterpiece of a novel. Be prepared to think like a kid again.

[Book Review] Freakonomics

[Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side to Everything] – by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt was a great book. 

It was different. And I liked it.

Freakonomics makes you look at the world in a different way.  The book explores the real reasons for the 1990s crime drop, information asymmetry, real estate agents, correlation vs. causation, and, most importantly, in the introduction, which discusses the fundamental principles of incentives. From then on, each chapter focuses on answering, or more so addressing an unusual question.

Continue reading “[Book Review] Freakonomics”

[Book Review] Originals – Adam Grant


I am a big believer of self-learning through books. An autodidact. Elon Musk-esque, if you will.

But there is an important factor that I’ve noticed to understanding the contents of a rich book: writing about it.

It’s not enough to just blow through books; you have to truly grasp the content, and writing about it is one way that I’ve discovered is a great way to do so. Materialising what I’ve learned is important to me so I can, for one, understand the concepts as I read the book, and two, create a historical documentation that I can always turn back to for review.

So this is my book review of the book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, — by Adam Grant.

An intro to Dr. Grant: Adam Grant, who is rated the best professor at UPenn Wharton Business school, is an organizational psychologist who has written several #1 NYT books. In Originals, he discusses how Non-conformists (procrastinators, slow people, and other different personality traits) succeed in life with their increased creativity. Adam Grant also wrote the book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives our Success (Which I highly recommend you check out as well!)

These are 15 points that are mentioned throughout the book (and at the end, I believe) on how to be original.

How to Champion Originality and be Successful:

  1. Question the defaultPhoto by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

Don’t take the status quo; ask why they exist in the first place and how to improve upon what is currently accepted as “the norm.”

Leonardo Da Vinci supposedly carried around with him a ledger, where he would write down “playfully curious” and, to most people’s standards, weird questions. Apparently, he would wake up and ask himself a type of question, at one point, posing the question: “What does the tongue of a woodpecker look like”

Another classic question: Why is the ocean blue?

Science teaches us that the ocean is not blue just because it wants to be blue, but because water reflects the color of the sky.

So, then why is the sky blue?

What is color?

Questioning the default leads us to generate original ideas and thoughts of approaching otherwise widely accepted and mundane aspects of life.

2) Triple the number of ideas you generate

Every innovator swings and misses; more swings, more hits!

Baseball players hit 1/3, and that is considered a good ratio.

Content creators are the same. Seth Godin is a large proponent of this concept too–that no idea is perfect, but the importance is to create content to test it out. Because how will you know the idea is crap if you don’t try it?

The most successful composers, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, has way more failed musical compositions than successful ones. There is a correlation between originality and number of “swings.” (I won’t say causation though. Shoutout to my statistics nerds)

3) Immerse yourself in a new domain

Photo by Gez Xavier Mansfield on Unsplash

Broaden your frame of reference. It’s all about perspective. When you get a position at a company, see if you can go on periodic job rotations to understand the how the rest of the company runs. Work in another country — important emphasis on work, because simply traveling and vacationing in other countries doesn’t provide the same contextual insight. Be a scientist who takes dancing lessons; no, seriously!

Nobel-prize winning scientists are much more likely to be involved in the arts, a contrasting skill, compared to ordinary scientists

22x more likely to be involved in performing arts, amateur acting, dancing, magic

12x more likely to be involved in writing, poetry, plays, novels, short stories, books, essays

7.5x more likely to be involved in crafts, mechanic, wood making, electronics, glass blowing

7x more likely to be in visual arts: Illustration, drawing, sculpting, painting, printmaking

2x more likely to be involved in music: instruments, composing, playing, conducting

4) Strategic Procrastination

In the midst of generating ideas, stop midway


Allow yourself to incubate your current ideas and give time to foster more while on break.

It is important you give yourself time to relax.

Then, when you attack the problems again, your ideas will be ready to hatch!

5) Seek feedback

Photo by Ivan Sean on Unsplash

Accept and champion feedback from both peers and enemies. Don’t be afraid of a little bit of criticism. In fact, you should crave it, build off it, and improve. Feedback is the only way you can receive more objective answers on how you are doing — you can’t always trust yourself!

If you want to learn more about radical transparency and the importance of feedback, try the book ”Principles” by Ray Dalio (The greatest hedge fund manager)

*Must be constructive feedback that is meant to improve you, not spiteful.

6) Balance your risk portfolioPhoto by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Balance your risk areas. Many successful entrepreneurs, before their business fully takes off, will have a day job.

Even Bill Gates, who famously “dropped out” of college, technically took a leave of absence, and then formally dropped out after he realized Microsoft would take off.

It’s important to mitigate risk in many aspects of your life so you can TAKE huge risks in those areas you really want to pursue.

7) Highlight reasons NOT to support your ideas to make virtues clear

Dr. Grant found that people who were pitching a business idea and began their sales pitch by describing the 3 biggest weaknesses of the idea made investors more inclined to work with the partners.

What you realize is that after the biggest weaknesses are known, the virtues become much clearer. And if they don’t, well maybe you don’t have many virtues in the first place!

8) Make Ideas more familiar…with analogies!

It’s important to consistently repeat yourself when presenting unconventional ideas. The more exposure people have, the more likely they are to adopt the concepts.

Think of the adoption of the internet, and compare that to what is happening with the blockchain revolution.

Many people argue that they don’t understand blockchain, so they opt not to use it. But who truly understands the internet? That’s what I thought.

Another important aspect is using analogies. I’ve often used the Shared Google Docs analogy to explain the basic concepts of blockchain — a ledger open to all who want to see the transactions (distributed, or shared to all parties), and a way to track, document, and secure such transactions so it is readily “shared.” It increases trust, just like a Google Docs — you see what I see, and I know that I see what you see.

9) Speak to a different audience

Speak to disagreeable people who share your methods and use their input.

Then, challenge authority and use your enemies to help shape you

Tough people with similar approaches and methodologies will make you tougher, and make you adapt. In the end, if your audience has the same mindset or end goal, it will champion your ability to create more innovative approaches in a tougher environment.

10) Be a tempered radical

Manage your emotions, but also be ready to make radical advancements. After all, you are trying to be original, right?

11) Motivate yourself differently when committed vs. uncertain

When determined and ready to attack your tasks head-on, focus on how close you are to reaching your goal. Think: Just a bit more!!!

When unmotivated and disheartened, focus on how far you’ve ALREADY gone. You’ve done so much; don’t quit now!

12) DON’T try to calm down

When nervous, turn anxiety into excitement and enthusiasm instead of trying to suppress it

Don’t say “just calm down” instead say “I am excited”

Have you noticed that many interviewers ask athletes or performers, before a big show, if they are “nervous”?

And they usually respond with something like: My hands are a bit sweaty, slight tremble, heart beating fast.

They are not nervous. They are excited. Use that excitement and enthusiasm. So not only is the concept of “calming down” useless, and actually produces worse results, it’s also an extremely triggering sentence…

So no, I will not just “calm down” Patrice.

13)Focus on the victim who is harmed, NOT the perpetrator

Focusing on perpetrator fuels anger and wrath and negativity, instead:

Focus on the victim. This translates to positive anger and thus channels into positive action instead of revenge.

Instead of harming the harmer, help the harmed.

14) Realize you are not alonePhoto by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

Even just 1 ally who believes in your vision can tackle the problem together will make you much more successful.

I am an introvert myself, but I know how important it is that I have such a supportive network of people I can count on. (Family, best friends, colleagues)

Finally, 15) If you don’t take initiative, status quo will persist

There are 4 ways to respond to dissatisfaction: Exit, Voice, Persistence, Neglect.

Persistence, and neglecting the problem, are both passive methods of dealing with stress. If they don’t work, it might be good to take action by speaking up (voice), or removing yourself from the situation (exit). Don’t let the status quo persist. You are better than that.

Now go out there and create.

Champion some originality.

Good Luck.

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Hi, thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed reading my writing, please let me know by sending over some likes, and comment down below! Would love any feedback as well.(#5)

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[Book Review] The Wealthy Barber Returns – David Chilton

wealthy barber returns

David Chilton sounds like me, but trapped in a 40-year-old body.

His writing style is extremely informal, and he often uses sarcasm, puns, and incredibly badly timed & cringe-worthy jokes…

Basically me!

Either way, his books, The Wealthy Barber & The Wealthy Barber Returns are both great finance books.

As the name suggests, the book teaches you how to be wealthy, even if you were a barber.

The concepts are basic and fundamental; great for anyone!

Save more, spend less, invest and compound, and don’t get yourself in debt.

But Chilton not only provides great examples and humorous tips on how to do all those things, but he also understands that although the theory is simple, it is hard to execute.

The chapters are short (often 2-4 chapters each).

The book is broken down into many segments so it feels like actually a really short read.

I aspire to be a financial advisor or someone who helps the general population with financial advice…and although I do think that I know a good amount of information on finance, it seems awkward to take the advice for an 18-year old, doesn’t it?

I hope for a world where everyone, my friends, family, and the general population is financially literate and is not burdened by the concept of money. And I think a great way to spread financial knowledge is through reading.

And that’s why you need to read his book…Read this book if you want to be a Wealthy Barber.

Good Luck and always reach out! I am always free to share my investment journey


Harry Baker: Real Men

Harry Baker is an inspiration to me

He is a young poet, having recently finished his studies in Math and German at the University of Bristol

His love for Math and rapping lead him to write his first slam poem called “59”, a love poem about prime numbers which he still performs to this day as one of his most popular poems.

Today, I was reminded by his genius through his performance of “Real Men”

Here is an excerpt:

I say, if something is real, it’s something you can feel. An
d that can be love, religion, fear or uncertainty.
Cause real men have issues, and real men cry,
That’s why they make man-sized tissues for their man-sized eyes.
And I cry quite a lot.
And in this day and age,
whether a man’s eyes are dry or not determines that he may be gay…
But I am not.
I like a girl, I just cry like a girl at certain things.
And my main form of catharsis is pixar flicks.
The rea
son that I see them in the cinema is
So you cannot see my tears behind these 3D glasses.
Cause I broke down in Up, I wept in Toy Story 3, was on the brink in Monsters Inc and Cars did the same thing to me. When watching Wall-E I wasn’t worried about which of my friends’ willies was bigger
Cause something in the animation pulled an emotional trigger
And yo
u may snigger, if you see these guns are not the manliest
But I figure that ain’t the best way to measure manliness.

I envy his ability to use his passion in a positive way. He writes poems about relatable topics to inspire people like me and equally performs them in an inspirational way. But even more amazing is he found a way to share his passion in a unique way. He likes Math, and he likes rapping, and by sticking those two together he was introduced to poetry and used it as his medium of exchange. He now does poetry for a living.

I can’t help to wonder how we can use our talents and passions to do the same…how we can take our passions or hobbies and turn them into something more. Perhaps some of us just haven’t found a unique way to mash our skills together yet, but I am sure we can all find our own poetry.

Right now, I am trying to mash up my love for magic and business…I am not yet quite sure what the product will be.

If you’d like to read Harry Baker’s amazing poetry book, buy it here: The Sunshine Kid