The Bed of Procrustes

A man with hammer, sees every problem like a nail. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book The Bed of Procrustes, writes –

Procrustes, in Greek mythology, was the cruel owner of a small estate in Corydalus in Attica. He had a peculiar sense of hospitality: he abducted travelers, provided them with a generous dinner, then invited them to spend the night in a rather special bed. He wanted the bed to fit the traveler to perfection. Those who were too tall had their legs chopped off with a sharp hatchet; those who were too short were stretched.

We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on occasion, has explosive consequences.

Source: The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

It represents Taleb’s view of modern civilization’s hubristic side effects — modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery.

You can read the review of this book here and here.

 

The Power Of Less by Leo Babauta

dont-you-wish-life-was-this-simple

I wish life was simpler.

This is something I’ve said to myself many times before and I’m sure you have too. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unmotivated is often a product of our own doing. We try to do too much, too fast, and too soon.

Short Answer is Simplify. For detailed answer please read the book The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua.

“Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty — it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.”
– from The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua

True to its name, the Power of Less is short. 170 pages, this non-fiction work follows the traditional how-to book formula to employ numbered lists of steps.

The main principles he outlines are as follows:

  1. Set limitations. By setting limitations, we must chose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.
  2. Choose the essential. By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.
  3. Simplify. Eliminate the nonessential.
  4. Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective.
  5. Create new habits to make long-lasting improvements.
  6. Start small. Start new habits in small increments to ensure success.

My favorite line in the whole book is “Simplify. Eliminate the non-essential.” I think if that is all you get out of the whole book it will have been worthwhile.

Still go ahead buy the book and read it fully, it’s full of ideas. The best parts were when the author wrote of his own personal experience and used specific details of life changes he made and how he went about that.

Simplicity boils down to two (very simple) steps:
1. Identify the Essential
2. Eliminate the rest

All in all, this is a good little book with some great logic in it, as well as links and suggestions on how to use today’s tools to make your life better. A short book that combines technology advancements with wisdom of the ages is just the kind of focus that we multi-taskers need to help us calm the chaos that surrounds us online and off.

Learn to move at a slower pace and you will be happier, and just as importantly, you will become more effective and productive.

Bonus: You can visit the this link to read the 10 big ideas from this book.