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“Subliminal” Quotes

October 31st, 2018

I recently read “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book and then read it.

“It can be difficult to distinguish willed, conscious behavior from that which is habitual or automatic.” (12)

“Research suggests that when it comes to understanding our feelings, we humans have an odd mix of low ability and high confidence.” (19)

“Research supports that “environmental factors” such as package design, package or portion size, and menu descriptions unconsciously influence us.” (20)

“Both direct, explicit aspects of life (the drink, in this case) and indirect implicit aspects (the price or brand) conspire to create our mental experience (the taste). The key word here is “create.” Our brains are not simply recording a taste or other experience, they are creating it.” (25)

“Deep concentration causes the energy consumption in your brain to go up by only about 1 percent. No matter what you are doing with your conscious mind, it is your unconscious that dominates your mental activity – and therefore uses up most of the energy consumed by the brain.” (35)

“Our unconscious doesn’t just interpret sensory data, it enhances it. It has to, because the dta our senses deliver is of rather poor quality and must be fixed up in order to be useful.” (46)

“When we are repeatedly asked to re-create a memory, we reinforce it each time, so that in a way we are remembering the memory, not the event.” (66)

“If your child’s fantasy is a ride in a hot air balloon, research has shown that it is possible to supply that memory with none of the expense or bother of arranging the actual experience.” (75)

“As humans, we are so prone to false memories that you can sometimes induce one simply by casually telling a person about an incident that didn’t really happen. Over time, that person may “remember” the incident but forget the source of that memory. As a result, he or she will confuse the imagnied event with his or her actual past.” (76)

“Whether or not we wish to, we communicate our expectations to others, and they often respond by fulfilling those expectations.” (113)

“Labeling children as gifted had proved to be a powerful self-fulfilling prophecy.” (114)

“It stands to reason that one can also adjust the impression one makes by consciously looking at or away from a conversational partner.” (122)

“One of the major factors in social success, even at an early age, is a child’s sense of nonverbal cues.” (124)

“When asked to rate men they can hear but not see, women miraculously tend to agree: men with deeper voices are rated as more attractive.” (130)

“Speakers with higher-pitched voices were judged to be less truthful, less emphatic, less potent, and more nervous than speakers with lower-pitched voices. Also, slower-talking speakers were judged to be less truthful, less persuasive, and more passive than people who spoke more quickly.” (133)

“A little speedup will make you sound smarter and more convincing.” (133)

“If two speakers utter exactly the same words but one speaks a little faster and louder and with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume, that speaker will be judged to be more energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent. Expressive speech, with modulation in pitch and volume and with a minimum of noticeable pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.” (133)

“Though your evaluation of another person may feel rational and deliberate, it is heavily informed by automatic, unconscious processes.” (156)

“Desire for food and water is the strongest ideology.” (164)

“Your in-group identity influences the way you judge people, but it also influences the way you feel about yourself, the way you behave, and sometimes even your performance.” (170)

“We are highly invested in feeling different from one another – and superior – no matter how flimsy the grounds for our sense of superiority, and no matter how self-sabotaging that may end up being.” (174)

“Emotions, in today’s neo-Jamesian view, are like perceptions and memories – they are reconstructed from the data at hand.” (182)

“When nerve cells send a signal to the pain centers of your brain, your experience of pain can vary even if those signals don’t.” (182)

“An isolated pratfall such as the coffee-spilling incident tends to increase the likability of a generally competent-seeming person, and the anticipation of meeting an individual tends to improve your assessment of that individual’s personality.” (194)

“The “causal arrow” in human thought processes consistently tends to point from belief to evidence, not vice versa.” (201)

“Our unconscious can choose from an entire smorgasbord of interpretations to feed our conscious mind. In the end we feel we are chewing on the facts, though we’ve actually been chomping on a preferred conclusion.” (203)

“They show that when assessing emotionally relevant data, our brains automatically include our wants and dreams and desires. Our internal computations, which we believe to be objective, are not really the computations that a detached computer would make but, rather, are implicitly colored by who we are and what we are after.” (206)

“The subtlety of our reasoning mechanisms allows us to maintain our illusions of objectivity even while viewing the world through a biased lens.” (214)

“We choose the facts that we want to believe. We also choose our friends, lovers, and spouses not just because of the way we perceive them but because of the way they perceive us. Unlike phenomena in physics, in life, events can often obey one theory or another, and what actually happens can depend largely upon which theory we choose to believe.” (218)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

The post “Subliminal” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Solve For Happy” Quotes

October 30th, 2018

I recently read “Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy” by Mo Gawdat. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy and read the book here.

“What I realized was that I would never get to happiness as long as I held on to the idea that as soon as I do this or get that or reach this benchmark I’ll become happy.” (6)

“Happiness is the absence of unhappiness.” (19)

“Success is not an essential prerequisite to happiness.” (22)

“While success doesn’t lead to happiness, happiness does contribute to success.” (23)

“Unhappiness happens when your reality does not match your hopes and expectations.” (26)

“Happiness ≥ Your perception of the events of your life MINUS your expectations of how life should behave.“ (26)

“Once the thought goes, the suffering disappears.” (27)

“It’s the thought, not the actual event, that’s making you unhappy.” (28)

“It all begins when you accept the thought passing through your head as absolute truth. The longer you hold on to this thought, the more you prolong the pain.” (32)

“Happiness depends entirely on how we control every thought.” (35)

“With no thoughts, we return to our default, childlike, state: happiness!” (39)

“In the 1930s, the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky observed that inner speech is accompanied by tiny muscular movements in the larynx. Based on this, he argued that inner speech developed through the internalization of out-loud speech. In the 1990s, neuroscientists confirmed his view.” (53)

“When it comes to thought, you should be in full control. Your brain’s job is to produce logic for you to consider. When the thoughts are presented, you should never lose sight of the question Who is working for whom?” (57)

“You just need to take charge and act like the boss. Correct Descartes’ statement all the way: I am, therefore my brain thinks.” (57)

“There are three types of thought that our brains produce: insightful (used for problem solving), experiential (focused on the task at hand), and narrative (chatter). Those types are so distinctively different from each other that they occur in different parts of our brain.” (57)

“As soon as you master the art of observing an idea and letting it go, your mind will quickly run out of topics to bring up. It can keep going only when you cling to an idea.” (61)

“Once when Aya was around five, she was crying while I was deeply engaged trying to explain to her why she shouldn’t cry about the issue that had upset her. In the cutest way she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Papa, when I’m crying don’t talk to me about the things that make me cry. If you want to make me happy, just tickle me.” (65)

“To observe the physical world, you need to observe from a vantage point outside it.” (83)

“Our expectation that others will buy into our fake image is never satisfied – and we feel unhappy.” (90)

“The egoless child is still calmly sitting inside each of us. Buried in layers over layers of lies, egos, and personas. Happy nonetheless. Waiting to be found.” (93)

“Others will rarely ever approve of your ego because they are more concerned with their own ego than with yours.” (95)

“Entertain the idea that what you’ve spent your entire life learning may not be entirely true.” (117)

“While eternity is commonly understood to be a very long time, it really is the absence of time. It is timelessness.” (132)

“Every time you examine your thoughts you’ll notice that whatever you’re upset about is rooted in a past you cannot change or a future that may turn out to be completely different from what you express.” (141)

“Strive to achieve your goals knowing that the results are impossible to predict. When something unexpected happens, the detachment concept tells us to accept the new direction and try again” (151)

“As Oscar Wilde said, “It is all going to be fine in the end. If it is not yet fine, then it is not yet the end.” (155)

“There is nothing wrong with planning and trying to assume control. THe way we react when something unexpected happens is where we go off track.” (155)

“If you can afford the brain cycles to worry about the future, then by definition, you have nothing to worry about right now.” (172)

“Ninety percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way your brain processes the world.” (213)

“One day I realized that control is not to be gained at the micro level of every detail. It is not to be found in what I need to do, but rather in how I need to do every little thing I do.” (243)

“Please stop looking at what you don’t have. What you don’t have is infinite. Making that your reference point is a sure recipe for disappointment.” (249)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

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“The Drunkard’s Walk” Quotes

October 29th, 2018

I recently read “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy and read the book.

“The human mind is built to identify for each event a definite cause and can therefore have a hard time accepting the influence of unrelated or random factors.” (xi)

“Successful people in every field are almost universally members of a certain set – the set of people who don’t give up.” (11)

“We should expect, by chance alone, about 1 in 10 of the CEOs to have five winning or losing years in a row.” (100)

“It is more reliable to judge people by analyzing their abilities than by glancing at the scoreboard.” (100)

“Voting is also a kind of measurement. In that case we are measuring not simply how many people support each candidate on election day but how many care enough to take the trouble to vote.” (1260

“Studies have shown that even flavor-trained professionals can rarely reliably identify more than three or four components in a mixture.” (132)

“In the months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when travelers, afraid to take airplanes, suddenly switched to cars. Their fear translated into about 1,000 more highway fatalities in that period than in the same period the year before – hidden casualties of the September 11 attack.” (159)

“Because the myriad of foreseeable and chance obstacles that must be overcome to complete a task of any complexity, the connection between ability and accomplishment is far less direct than anything that can possibly be explained by Galton’s ideas (of genetics).” (161)

“Psychologists have found that the ability to persist in the face of obstacles is at least as important a factor in success as talent.” (161)

“Events whose patterns appear to have a definite cause may actually be the product of chance.” (173)

“One of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves is to look for ways to exercise control over our lives – or at least to look for ways that help us feel that we do.” (185)

“If events are random, we are not in control, and if we are in control of events, they are not random. There is therefore a fundamental clash between our need to feel we are in control and our ability to recognize randomness. That clash is one of the principal reasons we misinterpret random events.” (186)

“Although statistical regularities can be found in social data, the future of particular individuals is impossible to predict, and for our particular achievements, our jobs, our friends, our finances, we all owe more to chance than many people realize.” (195)

“We can focus on the ability to react to events rather than relying on the ability to predict them, on qualities like flexibility, confidence, courage and perseverance. And we can place more importance on our direct impressions of people thanon their well-trumpeted past accomplishments.” (203)

“In complex systems (among which I count our lives) we should expect that minor factors we can usually ignore will by chance sometimes cause major incidents.” (204)

“That is the deterministic view of the marketplace, a view in which it is mainly the intrinsic qualities of the person or the product that governs success. But there is another way to look at it, a nondeterministic view. In this view there are many high-quality but unknown books, singers, actors, and what makes on or another come to stand out is largely a conspiracy of random and minor factors – that is, luck.” (205)

“Realizing that “few people would engage in extended activity if they believe that there were a random connection between what they did and the rewards they received,” Lerner concluded that “for the sake of their own sanity,” people overestimate the degree to which ability can be inferred from success.” (210)

“We tend to see what we expect to see. We in effect define degree of talent by degree of success and then reinforce our feelings of causality by noting the correlation. That’s why although there is sometimes little difference in ability between a wildly successful person and one who is not as successful, there is usually a big difference in how they are viewed.” (212)

“Thomas Edison observed that “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” (216)

“What I’ve learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized. For even a coin weighted toward failure will sometimes land on success. Or as the IBM pioneer Thomas Watson said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” (217)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

The post “The Drunkard’s Walk” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Elastic” Quotes

October 28th, 2018

I recently read “Elastic: Flexible Thinking In A Time of Change” by Leonard Mlodinow. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“The rational, risk-avoiding part of a person’s brain doesn’t fully develop until about the age of twenty-five.” (27)

Logical thought can determine how to drive from your home to the grocer most efficiently, but it’s elastic thought that gave us the automobile.” (42)

For most situations, those who accept options that are good enough, rather than feeling compelled to find the optimal one, tend to be more satisfied with their choices and, in general, happier and less stressed individuals.” (56)

“Many recent studies in social psychology suggest ath monetizing creative output can disrupt the processes that lead to innovation.” (63)

“Offering an extrinsic reward for an intrinsically enjoyable behavior can be counterproductive. Difficulty in original thinking arises, says psychologist Teresa Amabile, when you “try for the wrong reasons.” (63)

“Women’s desirability ratings of the creative but poor men were strongly correlated with their degree of fertility, while fertility had no effect on their rating of the non-imaginative but rich men.” (64)

“When their fertility was high, 92 percent of the women chose artistic ability over wealth, but when it was low, only 55 percent did so.” (64)

“Cramond decided to administer what was essentially a test of elastic thinking to children diagnosed with ADHD and, conversely, to administer a test for ADHD to a group of children in a “scholars’ program.” She found astonishing overlap.” (65)

“When an ADHD brain comes upon a task it finds truly interesting – that is, a task that briskly stimulates the reward circuits – it obsesses over it and becomes hyper focused.” (66)

“I sometimes engage in a little mental flexibility exercise. I list some of my strongly held beliefs on slips of paper. I fold them, pick one, and imagine someone telling me that the belief written on it is false.” (94)

“Poet Friedrich Ruckert:
Each man faces an image
OF what he is meant to become.
As long as he does not achieve it
He cannot achieve his full measure of peace.” (116)

“If the act of walking or running can free your mind, so can taking a few minutes in the morning after you wake up to simply lie in bed. Don’t think about your schedule that day or ponder your to-do list but, rather, take advantage of your quiet state to stare at the ceiling, enjoy the comfort of your bed, and relax a little before popping up to face the world.” (126)

“When you reach an impasse, you may feel frustrated and be tempted to give up, but that is precisely the moment when, if you keep struggling, your ACC may kick into action and your most original ideas can being to surface.” (145)

“Research shows that sitting in a darkened room, or closing your eyes, can widen your perspective; so can expansive surroundings, even high ceilings. Low ceilings, narrow corridors, and windowless offices have the opposite effect.” (149)

“If you are striving for insight, interruptions are deadly. A short phone call, email, or text message can redirect your attention and thoughts, and once you are there, it can take a long while to get back.” (149)

“In life, once on a path, we tend to follow it, for better or worse. What’s sad is that if it’s the latter, we often accept it anyway – not because we’re afraid of change, but because by then we are so accustomed to the way things are that we don’t even recognize that they could be different.” (156)

“Scientists enlisted 119 patients in geriatric nursing homes. Their subjects had been taking an average of seven medications each day. With careful monitoring, the researchers discontinued about half the medicines. No patients died or suffered serious side effects from stopping the drugs, and almost all reported an improvement in health. Most important, the death rate among those in the study was far lower than that of a control group whose members had continued their medications.” (160)

“What we know can put a constraint on the possibilities we can imagine.” (168)

“Our conscious brains can process about forty to sixty bits per second, roughly the information content of a short sentence. Our unconscious has a much greater capacity. Your visual system, for example, can handle about ten million bits per second. As a result, your primary visual cortex can pass only a small fraction of that to your conscious mind.” (173)

“To have original thoughts, you have to let the ideas flow first and worry about their quality (or appropriateness) later. (183)

“The value of an idea can be difficult to ascertain, for it is one of the ironies of science and the arts that the brilliant and the nutty are not always easily distinguished.” (183)

“Ursula K. Le Guin is often quoted as having said, “The creative adult is the child who has survived.” (187)

“Belief in the supernatural declines as children mature and their lateral prefrontal cortex becomes more fully developed; conversely, in old age, as the vigor of the lateral prefrontal cortex declines and cognitive inhibition decreases, belief in the supernatural increases.” (193)

“You could be better at generating imaginative ideas if you do that kind of thinking after working on a chore that involves a period of tedious, focused effort that strains your powers of concentration.” (209)

“The nuns who’d been the most positive lived about ten years longer than those who’d been the least.” (211)

“Because negative emotion creates an instant focus on some particular behavioral response, it narrows the scope of possibilities that your cognitive filters allow through. As a result, a bad mood discourages elastic thinking.” (212)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

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How To Put Together A Great College Comedy Show

September 13th, 2018

Hey there College Activities Programming Board Person! Congrats on deciding to have a comedy show at your school! Now relax and know your students will have a great time. Especially if you follow the tips below that were gained from years of performing at lots of different colleges.

 

Booking

Book a comedian that’s right for your school! If you’re at a religious seminary in the South, the type of comedian most students will enjoy might differ from what students at a small liberal arts college in the northeast will respond to. All the comedians that I know who perform at colleges are funny professionals who’ll do a good job in almost any environment, but watch a few comedian’s videos and try to guess the best fit. For example, Jerry Seinfeld is great, but he probably won’t be the best fit for Live at The Apollo. If you have any language or content restrictions, make sure to let the comedian know that at least one week before the show so they can plan their material accordingly. Don’t announce restrictions minutes before the show starts, when the comedian has already decided on the material they will be doing at the show!

 

 

Promotion

Once you choose a comedian and a date is set a few months into the future (don’t schedule events during midterm or finals week!), start doing your online marketing, except for email blasts. Add the comedy show to your school’s calendar of events and other such places.

 

When it’s two weeks to show time:

– Send your first email blast. Students don’t make plans months into the future, so if you email too soon, you risk getting ignored.

– Make sure to create and put up nice looking flyers all over campus. Especially at social places like dining halls, dorm lounges and on bulletin boards outside of large lecture halls. The more students that come to the show, the better the energy, the bigger the laughs, the better time everyone has. While you can still have a great comedy show for ten or twenty students, it’ll be much better for everyone if you can get fifty or five hundred. I recommend having the minimal amount of text possible and making that font size very large. All you really need is the comedian’s photo and name, the location and date, and clarify if there’s an admission fee or if the event is free.

 

Example flyer text:

 

Comedian Ben Rosenfeld

Fri Sep 24 @ 8pm

Scott Hall Theatre

FREE

 

^That’s all you need!

 

 

The Room

This is the most important and underrated part of the show. How a room gets setup for comedy makes a huge difference for how well the show goes. The best practices:

  • If you can reserve a theatre or lecture hall with a stage, do that. Rooms that are already setup for performance are better than cafeterias, classrooms or multipurpose rooms because everything is already perfectly configured.If you can’t have the show in a theatre space or lecture hall with a stage, do the following:
  • Make sure there’s a microphone, a spotlight and maybe even a stage.
  • You have to a microphone that’s connected to working speakers. I highly recommend using a corded microphone. Cordless mics are great ideas, until something goes wrong and ruins the momentum of the show. If you insist on a cordless mic, have a backup wired mic hidden towards the back of the stage so that the comedian can quickly switch over without causing distraction.
  • If you don’t have an actual spotlight, at least make it so only the front of the room is lit. The best comedy is when the audience feels like one cohesive unit and too much lighting and being aware of other audience members will lessen this affect.
  • If you’re in a multipurpose room and can’t procure a real stage, most colleges usually have little risers that are easily transportable. Even a 4’ by 8’ stage that’s a foot off the ground makes a big difference. That said, of the three requirements above, the stage is the least important.

 

  • Focus on seating and stage arrangement
    • Have the seats as close to the stage as possible. A twenty-foot gap from the stage to the first row destroys energy. Plus comedy is enhanced when the audience can see the comedian’s facial expressions. The first row of seats should be no more than two feet from the front of the stage.
    • Assuming you’re not in a preconfigured theater space or lecture hall, minimize aisles. One long, connected row of seats is better than an aisle splitting chairs down the middle. Of course, this depends on the size of the room and specific fire codes (always follow those!) but as a general rule, connect all the seats in one row if possible.
    • Place the stage so the room feels wide, not long and narrow. If you’re in a rectangular room, the stage should go in the middle of the wide wall, not on the narrow wall.
    • Have someone from student activities guide audience members to sit in the front first. It’s much harder for a comedian when the first two rows are empty and everyone is sitting in the back. Comedy is about connection, and physical proximity enhances that connection. Don’t worry about the comedian picking on students, that happens very rarely (and usually only if students keep interrupting), this isn’t the 80s, well behaved audience members don’t get picked on for no reason
  • Play music as students come in to grab seats. Comedy is about energy, so get the mood positive before the show starts.
  • Have someone from the activities board introduce the comedian with a few words. Comedians will usually tell you exactly what to say. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Make your upcoming programs announcements AFTER the comedian finishes. Reading announcements from a piece of paper before the comedy show starts kills the energy and makes the start of a show harder. Do it at the end when everyone has had a good time and wants to learn more about your hard planned upcoming events.

 

That’s it! Ten years of experience distilled into less than a thousand words! Enjoy the show!

 

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“The Warner Loughlin Technique” Quotes

June 27th, 2018

I recently read “The Warner Loughlin Technique” by Warner Loughlin. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Master the character first, and then put the character in the circumstances of the scene.” (19)

“That is how you make a strong choice. Give it an emotional reason to exist while making sure that it is both appropriate to the character and the story.” (57)

“Unless the screenplay lays out for you the events that happened in the character’s life, you will want to invent them. You can’t truly know someone unless you know their ‘life story,’ so to speak.” (57)

“The darker the material and characters are, the darker your choices can be… Let the life events you choose be dictated by the material.” (63)

“Choose excellence, vow to practice it consistently, and soon excellence becomes habit.” (88)

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” -Frank Outlaw (91)

“To oversimplify: The Base Human Emotion is an emotion caused by an event that leads the character to perceive the world in a certain way. When he perceives the world in a certain way, he then reacts to the world in a certain way.” (97)

“The interesting thing about Base Human Emotions in characters and in real life relationships is that people will often choose a partner who soothes their Base Human Emotion.” (98)

“Here is where a child will make a choice. He will choose a behavior in order to cope with the situation and his emotions. Will he choose to stay away from those awful bullies and bury his head in the books so that at least the teacher will like him? Or will he choose to be the class cut-up so the other kids will accept him? Choosing a behavior determines a path. One of these chosen paths could produce a world-class physicist. The other might produce a stand-up comic.” (100)

“A character’s behavior, particularly patterns of behavior, are the best indicators of what the Base Human Emotion might be.” (103)

“When your imagination is in full gear, you are drawing from an infinite well, as it were. When we limit ourselves to our own singular experiences, we draw from a finite and limited well.” (105)

“Create events and scenarios, placing yourself – as the character – n this moment and experiencing this event in the present time. Avoid creating the event as if it’s a character memory. Instead, you, as the character, are living in this moment, experiencing the event as it unfolds and all the subsequent emotions that arise from it. You’re not watching this movie – you’re in it.” (106)

“To begin creating the character’s world, start out small and expand. I find it helpful to start out imagining an object that the child is holding in his/her hand. Then my imagination will justify why “I” am holding this object at this particular time.” (110)

“Create for your character fresh, new and imaginative details that are not exact copies of the details from your personal life experiences.” (118)

“Don’t command yourself to “feel” something. Just live in the Emotion with Detail, moment to moment. It’s only then that you will feel. Don’t try to chase the emotion. Anything you chase flies away.” (126)

“We never want to “play at the scene.” Instead, we are able to create nuance and texture in a character by building the life, experiencing the life and then dropping this fully formed life into the circumstances of the scene. Just like real life works.” (193)

“For auditions, read the scene as if you have all the time in the world and are not in fact panicking. Read it from an objective viewpoint, avoiding at all costs thinking about how you’re going to play it. I know that’s hard, but you can do it. Determine what kind of scene this is and what is central to making it work. Is it a relationship scene? A break-up scene? A fight scene? A deep revelation? What’s the relationship that lies at the core of this scene? Is it with a lover? Brother/sister? Parent? Friend? Take time to do some quick Hows of Behavior to determine specific character traits, paying attention to patterns of behavior that emerge. From those patterns, quickly pick a Base Human Emotion, and stick with it. Then build a loose and quick Core KNowledge. Create several brief Emotion with Detail events that explore the central elements you’ve identified.” (199)

“For auditions, ask yourself, “Why did casting choose this scene? To show what aspect for the character? What books this job?” Then choose those aspects of the character to focus your limited time on.” (200)

“Find the emotional differences at the top of the scene versus the end of the scene.” (201)

“Remember that when you are acting, you must be thinking character thoughts rather than personal thoughts during the scene.” (201)

“Take care not to memorize your lines before developing your character.” (201)

“When you memorize lines in a rote fashion, without emotional fuel behind them, prior to character exploration, you are forcing your brain to store those lines in the rote memory section of the brain. This is a different section of the brain than the section that stores images, concepts, and memories to which you are emotionally connected.” (201)

“When you anticipate an emotion, chances are you’ll rarely feel it in the moment.” (204)

“In a Prior Instant, you are literally switching off a personal thought, and switching on a character thought. You can’t think two things at the same time. The Prior Instant is comprised of the precise thoughts and exact words the character is thinking in this moment, as if you’ve spoken the thoughts out loud, yet they are silent. I call this exact character thought, in the character’s own words, a “hard” inner monologue.
If you know exactly what your character is thinking, your mind and body will follow. A Prior Instant gets you out of the gate, so to speak, in exactly the way you need. Just make sure you are not anticipating what is about to happen in the scene; the actor knows what is about to take place, but the character does not.” (205)

“Don’t strive for the perfect take. Just be willing to go on the journey of the character.” (208)

“Think a character thought about anything, and you’ll be back in the scene. You cannot be in two places at one time. So choose to be in the character’s mind rather than in your own head beating yourself up. Seeking to have character-related thoughts at all times during your scene is hugely important. If you think it, camera reads it.” (210)

“All of your research and character work should be done before you set foot on the lot or location… having the character deeply inside you allows you to mold, shape and change on a dime according to what your director says… There’s nothing you can’t do if you have a firm grasp of your character.” (212)

“There is no right choice. Simply give the object an emotional reason to exist. This will help ground you in the moment. For example, the ruge is not just a ruge; it’s the rug your beloved dog used to sleep on at the foot of your bed. Or perhaps it was handed down to you when your sister’s room was redecorated; yours wasn’t, and you resent it. When you give objects an emotional reason to exist, they become clearer in your mind. You have made them specific.” (227)

“Walk into that audition room to give something – never to get something.” (227)

“Think of auditions as collaborative meetings.” (227)

“When it comes to homework on your character, it is most important to know how he or she responds to the other characters in the scene and to look for patterns. Is there a type of person that seems to tweak your character’s Base Human Emotion repeatedly? Or perhaps a certain behavior on the part of another character is always a trigger.” (229)

Like the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Skin In The Game” Quotes

June 7th, 2018

I recently read “Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Hammurabi’s best known injunction is as follows: “If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house – the builder shall be put to death.”” (17)

“The Golden Rule wants you to Treat others the way you would like them to treat you. The more robust Silver Rule says Do not treat others the way you would not like them to treat you. More robust? How? Why is the Silver Rule more robust?
First, it tells you to mind your own business and not decide what is “good” for others. We know with much more clarity what is bad than what is good.” (19)

“Rabbi Hillel the Elder drawing on Leviticus 19:18. “Do nothing to others which if done to you would cause you pain. This is the essence of morality.”” (19)

“Isocrates wrote, “Deal with weaker states as you think it appropriate for stronger states to deal with you.”” (20)

“Isocrates managed a rare dynamic version of the Golden Rule: “Conduct yourself toward your parents as you would have your children conduct themselves toward you.” … More effective, of course, is the reverse direction, to treat one’s children the way one wished to be treated by one’s parents.” (20)

“Yogi Berra said, “I go to other people’s funerals so they come to mine.”” (20)

“The general and the abstract tend to attract self righteous psychopaths.”) (21)

“The deep message of this book is the danger of universalism taken two or three steps too far – conflating the micro and the macro.” (21)

“Avoid taking advice from someone who gives advice for a living, unless there is a penalty for their advice.” (23)

“You do not want to win an argument. You want to win.” (24)

“What matters in life isn’t how frequently one is “right” about outcomes, but how much one makes when one is right. Being wrong, when it is not costly, doesn’t count – in a way that’s similar to trial-and-error mechanisms of research.” (25)

“Every single person I know who has chronically failed in business shares that mental block, the failure to realize that if something stupid works (and makes money), it cannot be stupid.” (26)

“Things designed by people without skin in the game tend to grow in complication (before their final collapse).” (29)

“As a Spartan mother tells her departing son: “With it or on it,” meaning either return with your shield or don’t come back alive (the custom was to carry the dead body flat on it); only cowards throw away their shields to run faster.” (33)

“There is actually an argument in favor of duels: they prevent conflicts from engaging broader sets of people, that is, wars, by confining the problem to those with direct skin in the game.” (33)

“This form of entrepreneurship (selling the company or going public) is the equivalent of bringing great-looking and marketable children into the world with the sole aim of selling them at age four.” (36)

“People fail to realize that the principal thing you can learn from a professor is how to be a professor.” (38)

“It may be cruel to cheat people of their profession. People want ot have their soul in the game.” (39)

“If you can’t put your soul into something, give it up and leave that stuff to someone else.” (42)

“Whenever the “we” becomes too large a club, things degrade, and each one starts fighting for his own interest.” (59)

“A saying by the brothers Geoff and Vince Graham summarizes the ludicrousness of scale-free political universalism.
I am, at the Fed level, libertarian;
At the state level, Republican;
At the local level, Democrat;
And at the family and friends level, a socialist.” (61)

“No amount of advertising will match the credibility of a genuine user.” (63)

“Legend has it that three high-ranking delegations (bishops, rabbis, and sheikhs) cae to make the sales pitch. The Khazar lords asked the Christians: if you were forced to choose between Judaism and Islam, which one would you pick? Judaism, they replied. Then the lords asked the Muslims: which of the two, Christianity or Judaism? Judaism, the Muslims said. Judaism it was; and the tribe converted.” (77)

“Roman pagans were initially tolerant of Christians, as the tradition was to share gods with other members of the empire. But they wondered why these Nazarenes didn’t want to give and take gods and offer that Jesus fellow to the Roman pantheon in exchange for some other gods. What, our gods aren’t good enough for them? But Christians were intolerant of Roman paganism. The “persecution” of the Christians had vastly more to do with the intolerance of the Christians for the pantheon of local gods than the reverse. What we read is history written by the Christian side, not the Greco-Roman one.” (81)

“The more brilliant one’s mind, and the higher one’s ability to handle nuances and ambiguity. Purely monotheistic religions such as Protestant Christianity, Salafi Islam, or fundamentalist atheism accommodate literalist and mediocre minds that cannot handle ambiguity.”” (82)

“An intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy. Actually, it will eventually destroy our world. So, we need to be more than intolerant with some intolerant minorities. Simply, they violate the Silver Rule. TI is not permissible to use “American values” or “Western principles” in treating intolerant Salafism (which denies other peoples’ right to have their own religion). The west is currently in the process of committing suicide.” (84)

“Alexander said that it was preferable to have an army of sheep led by a lion than an army of lions led by a sheep.” (87)

“So far we have no fucking idea how the brain of the worm C. elegans works, which has around three hundred neurons. C. elegans was the first living unit to have its genes sequenced. Now consider that the human brain has about one hundred billion neurons, and that going from 300 to 301 neurons, because of the curse of dimensionality, may double the complexity. So the use of never here is appropriate.” (90)

“The dog boasts to the wolf all the contraptions of comfort and luxury he has, almost prompting the wolf to enlist. Until the wolf asks the dog about his collar and is terrified when he understands its use. “Of all your meals, I want nothing.” He ran away and is still running.
The question is: what would you like to be, a dog or a wolf?
The original Aramaic version had a wild ass, instead of a wolf, showing off his freedom. But the wild ass ends up eaten by the lion. Freedom entails risks – real skin the game. Freedom is never free.” (102)

“Whatever you do, just don’t be a dog claiming to be a wolf.” (103)

“What matters isn’t what the person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.” (105)

“Cursing today is a status symbol, just as oligarchs in Moscow wear blue jeans at special events to signal their power.” (105)

“It is much easier to do business with the owner of the business than some employee who is likely to lose his job next year; likewise it is easier to trust the word of an autocrat than a fragile elected official.” (106)

“Jean de La Bruyere wrote that jealousy is to be found within the same art, talent, and condition.” (136)

“A good rule for society is to oblige those who start in public office to pledge never subsequently to earn from the private sector more than a set amount; the rest should go to the taxpayer. This will ensure sincerity in, literally, “service” – where employees are supposedly underpaid because of their emotional reward from serving society. It would prove that they are not in the public sector as an investment strategy.” (139)

“You can define a free person precisely as someone whose fate is not centrally or directly dependent on peer assessment.” (144)

“As an essayist, I am not judged by other writers, book editors, and book reviews, but by readers. Readers? Maybe, but wait a minute… not today’s readers. Only those of tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. So, my only real judge being time, it is the stability and robustness of the readership (that is, future readers) that counts.” (145)

“Being reviewed or assessed by others matters if and only if one is subjected to the judgement of future – not just present – others.” (145)

“Contemporary peers are valuable collaborators, not final judges.” (145)

“I learned to avoid honors and prizes partly because, given that they are awarded by the wrong judges, they are likely to hit you at the peak (you’d rather be ignore, or, better, disliked by the general media.)” (145)

“Showing off is reasonable; it is human. As long as the substance exceeds the showoff, you are fine.” (147)

“Consider the chief executive officers of corporations: they don’t just look the part, they even look the same. And, worse, when you listen to them talk, they sound the same, down to the same vocabulary and metaphors. But that’s their job: as I will keep reminding the reader, counter to the common belief, executives are different from entrepreneurs and are supposed to look like actors.” (156)

“What can be phrased and expressed in a clear narrative that convinces suckers will be a sucker trap.” (158)

“You can tell if a discipline is BS if the degree depends severly on the prestige of the school granting it.” (165)

“Journalists worry considerably more about the opinion of other journalists than the judgment of their readers. Compare this to a healthy system, say, that of restaurants. Restaurant owners worry about the opinion of their customers, not those of other restaurant owners, which keeps them in check and prevents the business from straying collectively away from its interests. Further, skin in the game creates diversity, not monoculture.” (181)

“If your private life conflicts with your intellectual opinion, it cancels your intellectual ideas, not your private life.” (185)

“Matthew 6:1-4, where the highest mitzvah is the one done secretly:
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (186)

“Sticking up for truth when it is unpopular is far more of a virtue, because it costs you something – your reputation. If you are a journalist and act in a way that risks ostracism, you are virtuous. Some people only express their opinions as part of mob shaming, when it is safe to do so, and, in the bargain, think that they are displaying virtue. This is not virtue but vice, a mixture of bullying and cowardice.” (189)

“Reading a history book, without putting its events in perspective, offers a similar bias to reading an account of life in New York seen from an emergency room at Bellevue Hospital.” (195)

“Different people rarely mean the same thing when they say “religion,” nor do they realize it. For early Jews and Muslims, religion was law.” (199)

“For early Jews, religion was also tribal; for early Muslims, it was universal. For the Romans, religion was social events, rituals, and festivals.” (199)

“Religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and, to some extent Shiite Islam, evolved (or, rather, let their members evolve in developing a sophisticated society) precisely by moving away from the literal. The literal doesn’t leave any room for adaptation.” (202)

“Christians and Jews in practice were not too differentiated from other Semitic cult followers, and shared places of worship with one another.” (205)

“Priesthood was quite a lucrative position since in the pre-Christian, Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, the offices of high priests were often auctioned off.” (206)

“Nobody in the Vatican seems to ever take chances by going first to the Lord, subsequently to the doctor, and, what is even more surprising, nobody seems to see a conflict with such inversion of the logical sequence.” (208)

“Most Christians, when it comes to central medical, ethical, and decision-making situations do not act any differently than atheists.” (210)

“Rationality resides in what you do, not in what you think or in what you “believe” (skin in the game), and rationality is about survival.” (210)

“It is therefore my opinion that religion exists to enforce tail risk management across generations, as its binary and unconditional rules are easy to teach and enforce. We have survived in spite of tail risks; our survival cannot be that random.” (217)

“If medicine is progressively improving your life expectancy, you need to be even more paranoid. Think dynamically. If you incur a tiny probability of ruin as a “one-off” risk, survive it, then do it again (another “one-off deal), you will eventually go bust with a probability of one hundred percent. Confusion arises because it may seem that if the “one-off” risk is reasonable, then an additional one is also reasonable. This can be quantified by recognizing that the probability of ruin approaches 1 as the number of exposures to individually small risks, say one in ten thousand, increases.” (227)

“One of the defects modern education and thinking introduces is the illusion that each one of us is a single unit. In fact, I’ve sampled niney people in seminars and asked them: “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you?” Eighty-eight people answered “my death.”
This can only be the worst-case situation for a psychopath. For after that, I asked those who deemed that their worst-case outcome was their own death: “Is your death plu sthat of your children, nephews, cousins, cats, dogs, parakeet, and hamster worse than just your death?” Invariably, yes. “Is your death plus your children, nephews, cousins (…) plus all of humanity worse than just your death?” Yes, of course. Then how can your death be the worst possible outcome/” (228)

“I have a finite shelf life, humanity should have an infinite duration.” (229)

“I am renewable, not humanity or the ecosystem.” (229)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “Skin In The Game” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Conspiracy” Quotes

April 25th, 2018

I recently read “Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Privacy offers the space to be peculiar, to think for oneself and to live as one wishes.” (7)

“The economist Tyler Cowen once observed that at some point in the 1970s, Americans went from being the country that took literal moonshots to being the people who waited patiently in long lines for gasoline.” (32)

“”When personal gossip attains the dignity of print, and crowds the space available for matters of real interest to the community,” future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis wrote in the Harvard Law Review in 1890, in a piece which formed the basis for what we now know as the “right to privacy,” it “destroys at once robustness of thought and delicacy of feeling. No enthusiasm can flourish, no generous impulse can survive under its blighting influence.”” (33)

“The people who claim the moral high ground, who claim to be about freedom of choice, but who bully everyone who doesn’t choose their way of freedom.” (35)

“There is something popular with ambitious people called the “briefcase technique.” You don’t show up toa meeting with a few vague ideas, you have a full-fledged plan that you take out of your briefcase and hand to the person you are pitching. Even if nothing comes of this plan, the person on the other side is knocked over by your effort, so impressed by the unexpected certainty that they cannot help but see your usefulness to them.” (54)

“The professional son understands what every father wants – a progeny worth his time, someone to invest in, someone who can further his legacy. The professional father wants to see his greatness given a second body – a younger one, with more energy, with the benefit of his hard-won experiences.” (56)

“While it’s dangerous to conspire with people who have a lot to lose, you can’t conspire without someone who is afraid to bet on themselves, who isn’t willing ot take a big stake on something that very well could fail.” (63)

“The great strategist B.H. Liddell Hart would say that all great victories come along “the line of least resistance and the line of least expectation.”” (73)

“THiel’s investment strategy: with the right conditions, a little boldness will make much more progress than timidity will ever protect.” (79)

“When someone categorizes something evil, as Sherman did, as Peter and Mr. A repeatedly did, he implicitly gives himself permission to do what needs to be done to destroy it.” (88)

“Williams James knew that every man is “ready to be savage in some cause.” The distinction, he said, between good people and bad people is “the choice of the cause.”” (89)

“The essential trait of the successful man is not only perseverance but almost a perverse expectation of how difficult it is going to be. It is having redundancies on top of redundancies, so you can absorb the losses you eventually incur. One must not just steel one’s heart but also one’s spirit so that there is no such thing as an obstacle – just information. The earlier you spot and anticipate setbacks, the less demoralizing they will be. We want things to be easy. We want them to be clean. They rarely are.” (126)

“And so it is that even setbacks can contain opportunities within them, if conspirators are patient and resourceful enough.” (129)

“Everyone is a person who settles unless they demonstrate to you over time that they are not a person who wants to settle.” (144)

“Lawrence Freedman had said in Strategy that combining with others was an important strategic move, and so it was for the conspirators early on. The other side of his sentence is that “for the same reason, preventing others from doing the same can be valuable.” (169)

“The line attributed to the management guru Peter Drucker is that culture eats strategy. It’s a truism that applies as much to conspiracies as it does to business. It doesn’t matter how great your plan is, it doesn’t matter who your people are, if what binds them all together is weak or toxic, so, too, will be the outcome.” (179)

“Napoleon describes warfare in that simple way: Two armies are hurled at each other and both are thrown into confusion and disarray by the force of the collision. Victory is simple. It goes to whoever reassembles and redoubles first.” (206)

“Hope is rarely enough. Especially against an opponent who has come to be consumed by their cause, who can see and taste victory now, and will do everything they can to seal it.” (220)

“What matters is who does what needs to be done to finish.” (222)

“The great sin for a leader, Frederick the Great once observed, was not in being defeated but in being surprised.” (238)

“Machiavelli would say that a coup or a conspiracy can succeed only if the will of the people is on its side.” (241)

“Thiel had seen the opportunity where no one else had. He had taken it. Legally. And he had won. He had proven that “nothing you can do about it” is just what people who don’t want to do anything about it like to say to make themselves feel better about their inaction.” (247)

“Loss inherently makes the loser sympathetic. We can easily be made to feel bad for the person on the other side of a true catastrophe, even if just minutes before we thought they had it coming to them.” (255)

“Cunning and resources might win the war, but it’s the stories and the myths afterward that will determine who deserved to win it.” (258)

““There are worse things than being disliked,” the novelist Walker Percy once wrote, “it keeps one alive and alert.”” (275)

“We live in a country where the media would give literally billions of dollars of free publicity to a candidate they despised and were then shocked when the man ended up being elected.” (276)

“When everyone tells you you’re wrong and you turn out to be right, you learn a dangerous lesson: Never listen to warnings.” (282)

“We used to throw bombs, now we throw tantrums – or worse, tweets.” (290)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

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Ben’s Sketch Goes Viral

April 4th, 2018

I’m excited to report that my latest sketch has gone viral on Facebook!

6 days after posting, it’s at 424,000+ views and 11,000+ shares.

Check it out for yourself:

Hipster vs Old School

Posted by Ben Rosenfeld on Thursday, March 29, 2018

The post Ben’s Sketch Goes Viral appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Ben’s Newest Sketch Video: The Slice

March 29th, 2018

I just released a new sketch video, check it out:

The post Ben’s Newest Sketch Video: The Slice appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

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