Call the New York Comedy World Hotline at 212-501-3766 for the latest open mic, new talent and industry showcase news! Updated daily!

book quotes

“I Must Say” Quotes

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

I recently read I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short. Here’s the quotes I found most interesting:

“What I discovered, through Ed, was that I simply needed to commit: to not worry about jokes. The reaction seemed to get the biggest lagush, not the action. I didn’t need to be a stand-up comedian delivering punch lines. If I just sincerely devoted myself to Ed’s panic with every fiber of my being, the audience would commit to him.” (5)

“Something terrible can happen to you, and yet, the day after this something terrible, the sun still rises, and life goes on. And therefore, so must you.” (49)

“What we all learned at Second City was to trust the concept that our comedy wasn’t about jokes. Rather, it was about situations and characters – the peculiar moments that we encounter in life, the peculiar people that we meet, and how we (and they) react to these moments and meetings.” (142)

“Don’t telegraph, don’t oversell – that was how you created an absurd yet three-dimensional character.” (143)

“The working pace at SCTV was so civilized. We’d take six weeks to write and then six weeks to shoot, followed by another cycle of six weeks writing and six weeks shooting. The writing breaks were crucial, for they allowed inchoate ideas to develop, mature, ripen, and, on occasion, ferment into total, utter originality, all without the SNL-style pressure of “Whaddaya got for this week/” (159)

“I wasn’t above poking fun at Jerry Lewis, but I brought affection and a sense of tribute to my Lewis bits too… Yes, you had to show the warts, but you also had to prove why the subject was worthy of your attention.” (163)

“The way I see it, you spend the first fifteen years of your life as a sponge, soaking up influences and experiences, and the remainder of your life recycling, regurgitating, and reprocessing those first fifteen years.” (163)

“After each take, we’d all crowd around the monitor and watch the playback, and everyone would discuss how to recalibrate the scene for the next take: “Okay, maybe a little less from John, a little more form Andrea, and a lot less from Marty.” (174)

“Manic energy, I learned as the season went on, was the key to success on SNL, and a big differentiator from SCTV: the need for insane, unexpected, can’t look away energy.” (179)

“You can be incredibly talented comedically, but on the unforgiving stage of Saturday Night Live, if you don’t bring that immediate energy, you just won’t connect with the audience.” (179)

“In Hollywood, you’re hottest at the point when you’re all about anticipation: when everyone in the business knows you have product pending, but none of it is out yet. You’re busy, in demand, hectically jumping from one job to the next, energized by a sustained industry murmur.” (193)

“I have this philosophy around people I don’t know but am excited to meet that I call “immediate intimacy”: I do an impersonation of someone who is relaxed, loose, and not at all intimidated, in the hope that this impersonation will ultimately become reality.” (196)

“Critical favor, talent, and tenacity are only part of the formula for a hit. You also need luck and good timing.” (206)

“Damage’s creators, Daniel Zelman and the brothers Todd and Glenn Kessler, liked using comic actors in serious roles, trusting them to be looser and more inventive with dialogue.” (284)

“When you start your career, you worry about how you’re going to pay the rent. But when that’s covered, you feel an even greater pressure: How do you stay interested? For me, the answer has always lain in the theater. Live performance – in its potential for danger, fun, and anarchy – is what sustains me.” (311)

“A sermon by Oxford theologian Henry Scott Holland has evolved over time into a funeral prayer:
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.” (316)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “I Must Say” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Hit Makers” Quotes

Monday, January 7th, 2019

I recently read Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson. Here are the quotes I found most interesting:

“The most basic human needs – to belong, to escape, to aspire, to understand, to be understood – are eternal.” (6)

“Most consumers are simultaneously neophilic – curious to discover new things – and deeply neophobic – afraid of anything that’s too new. The best hit makers are gifted at creating moments of meaning by marrying new and old, anxiety and understanding. They are architects of familiar surprises.” (7)

“The deeper question for people with a new product or idea is: How can I make something that people will share on their own – with the audience of my audience?” (8)

“Content might be king, but distribution is the kingdom.” (8)

“The story of a product’s distribution is as important as a description of its features. It is rarely sufficient to design the perfect product without designing an equally thoughtful plan to get it to the right people.” (9)

“The most famous moviemaking corporations in the world, like the Walt Disney Company and Time Warner, have for years made more profit from cable channels like ESPn and TBS than from their entire movie divisions.” (11)

“In the big picture, the world’s attention is shifting from content that is infrequent, big, and broadcast (i.e. millions of people going to the movies once a week) to content that is frequent, small and social (i.e. billions of people looking at social media feeds on their own glass-and-pixel displays every few minutes).” (12)

“There are simply too many “good-enough” songs for every worthy hook to become a bona fide hit. Quality, it seems, is a necessary but insufficient attribute for success.” (37)

“One third of the White House staff works in some aspect of public relations to promote the president and his policies.” (38)

“The average presidential soundbite on the news shrank from forty seconds in 1968 to less than seven seconds in the 1990s.” (38)

“When people see an artwork that reminds them of something they’ve been taught is famous, they feel the thrill of recognition and attribute the thrill to the painting itself.” (43)

“This is the “less is more” or “less is better” effect. It means that less thinking leads to more liking. A cheeky UK experiment found that British students’ opinion of former prime minister Tony Blair sank as they listed more of his good qualities. Spouses offer higher appraisals of their partners when asked to name fewer charming characteristics. When something becomes hard to think about, people transfer the discomfort of the thought to the object of their thinking.” (44)

“Fashion, as we know it, was not written into human DNA. It is a recent invention of mass production and modern marketing. People had to be taught to constantly crave so many new things.” (49)

“One the one hand, humans seek familiarity, because it makes them feel safe. On the other hand, people are charged by the thrill of a challenge, powered by a pioneer lust.” (49)

“Creative people often bristle at the suggestion that they have to stoop to market their ideas or dress them in familiar garb. It’s pleasant to think that an idea’s brilliance is self-evident and doesn’t require the theater of marketing. But whether you’re an academic, screenwriter, or entrepreneur, the difference between a brilliant new idea with bad marketing and a mediocre idea with excellent marketing can be the difference between bankruptcy and success. The trick is learning to frame your new ideas as tweaks of old ideas, to mix a little fluency with a little disfluency – to make your audience see the familiarity behind the surprise.” (62)

“To sell something familiar, make it surprising. To sell something surprising, make it familiar.” (70)

“The central insight of MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable) is that people actually prefer complexity – up to the point that they stop understanding something.” (71)

“People sometimes don’t know what they want until they already love it.” (71)

“Repetition is powerful, not only for music, but for all communication.” (86)

“Most people love original storytelling, provided that the narrative arc traces the stories we know and the stories that we want to tell ourselves.” (111)

“Every great story is more than its plot. It is a self-enclosed universe of life, or as Tolstoy wrote, a vehicle for the delivery of all feelings from sorrow to ecstasy.” (116)

“Distribution is a strategy to make a good product popular, but it’s not a reliable way to make a bad product seem good.” (142)

“Plato proposed that laughter was an expression of “superiority” over a person or character in a story.” (146)

“Even the biggest hits often need the light touch of fortune’s tailwind.” (163)

“In this way, all hits can ironically sow the seeds of their own demise, as over-imitation ultimately renders the trend obsolete.” (179)

“If this makes the business of hits seem hopeless, then good. Making complex products for people who don’t know what they want – and who aggressively cluster around bizarrely popular products if a couple of their friends do the same – is unbelievably difficult work.” (180)

“The franchise strategy might be a prudent way to mitigate the uncertainty of the moviemaking process. But it carries specific negative consequences, both creative and financial. Writers who observe Hollywood’s abandoning of smart, complex dramas for superhero franchises have moved on to television. It’s not a coincidence that the “golden age of TV” coincided with the “franchise age of movies.”” (182)

“The blockbuster strategy guarantees that the flops will be spectacular – and, for film executives, devastating. All but three of the thirty biggest box office bombs in Hollywood history were released since 2005.” (182)

“The business of creativity is a game of chance – a complex, adaptive, semi-chaotic game with Bose-Einstein distribution dynamics and Pareto’s power law characteristics with dual-sided uncertainty. You, the creator, are making something that doesn’t exist for an audience that cannot say if they will like it beforehand.” (183)

“Dealing with this sort of uncertainty requires more than good ideas, brilliant execution, and powerful marketing (although it often requires those things, too). It also begs for a gospel of perseverance through inevitable failure.” (183)

“There is no antidote to the chaos of creative markets, only the brute doggedness to endure it.” (183)

“The most successful storytellers are often collage artists, bringing together never-before-assembled allusions to create a story that is both surprising and familiar.” (186)

“Viral disease tend to spread slowly, steadily, across many generations of infection. But information cascades are the opposite: They tend to spread in short bursts and die quickly. The gospel of virality has convinced some marketers that the only way that things become popular these days is by buzz and viral spread. But these marketers vastly overestimate the reliable power of word of mouth.” (193)

“It became a hit not because of fifteen thousand one-to-one shares, but in large part because three celebrities had the power to share the video with a million people at once.” (195)

“A “viral” idea can spread between broadcasts. For most so-called viral ideas or products to become massive hits, they almost always depend on several moments where they repad to many, many people from one source.” (203)

“Some consumers buy products not because they are “better” in any way, but simply because they are popular. What they’re buying is not just a product, but also a piece of popularity itself.” (206)

“For many cultural achievements, the art itself is not the only thing worth consuming; the experience of having seen, read, or heard the art for the purpose of being able to talk about it is its own reward. Such consumers are not just buying a product; what they’re really buying is entry into a popular conversation. Popularity is the product.” (207)

“Vincent Forrest told me, “The nature of the in-joke is that it creates an opportunity for people to get to know each other. If a button says, ‘I like reading,’ there’s no conversation there. Plenty of people like reading. But a specific Jane Eyre joke is only going to go noticed by a smaller number of people who love Jane Eyre and can genuinely connect over something.” The smaller, densely connected audience beats the larger, diffuse group.” (210)

“People purchase and share all sorts of things because they want people to see that they have them. Vincent Forrest sells buttons to be worn in public. He sells 1.25-inch baubles of identity.” (211)

“An inside joke is a private network of understanding. It crystallizes an in-group, a kind of soft cult, where unique individuals feel like they belong. Vincent Forrest’s physical products are buttons and magnets. But what he’s really selling is something else: a sentiment that feels so personal that you simply have to talk about it.” (215)

“The average white American has ninety-one white friends for every black, Asian or Hispanic friend. The average black American has ten black friends for each white friend.” (216)

“Introverts, like all people, love sharing within their clique evidence that they are distinct from the mainstream.” (218)

“Wolfe said, “I’m a firm believer that a person can only be advertised so many times in the same format before they become cynical.”” (223)

“The most important element in a global cascade isn’t magically viral elements or mystical influencers. Rather it is about finding a group of people who are easily influenced. It turns the influencer question on its head. Don’t ask, “Who is powerful?” Instead ask, “Who is vulnerable.”” (223)

“Successful creations grow most predictably when they tap into a small network of people who do not see themselves as mainstream, but rather bound by an idea or commonality that they consider special. People have all day to talk about what makes them ordinary. It turns out that they want to share what makes them weird.” (223)

“A 2012 Harvard study found that people use about one third of personal conversations to talk about themselves. Online, that number jumps to 80 percent.” (226)

“Nine of the ten most popular stories have the words “you” or “your” which to each reader, mean “me” and “mine.” (226)

“Facebook is tapping into the natural narcissism of all broadcasts. One to many, we sculpt, smooth, and sand our life stories; mammal to mmall, we’re more likely to relate.” (228)

“Publicly, they want to be interesting. Privately, they want to be understood.” (229)

“If 40 percent of respondents say they are aware of a new show, and 40 percent of that 40 percent say they want to watch it, and 20 percent of that 16 percent say they are passionate about the new show, NBC can confidently predict that the program will be a hit. This is the 40-40-20 test, and it works.” (239)

“The value of a hit television show is greater than its ratings or its ad rates alone, because those don’t account for an even more important feature: their ability to support other shows.” (240)

“Even in the early 2000s, more than 90 percent of original series on broadcast and cable were renewed the following season. In 2015, however, the number of original shows has exploded, and now only 40 percent of them survive to see another year.” (242)

“In 2000, there were 125 original scripted series and fewer than three hundred unscripted cable series, or “reality shows.” By 2015, there were four hundred original scripted series and nearly one thousand original reality series – an across the board tripling.” (243)

“In 1979, twenty-six shows surpassed that lofty threshold (of a 20 Nielsen rating). In 199, only two shows hit the mark: ER and Friends. In 2015, none did. As television watching options expanded, the threshold for hits lowered.” (243)

“Imitation is not a sign that people know the secret of popularity. It is a sign that there is no secret, and the only thing people know is the last thing that succeeded.” (250)

“People are good at telling you their feelings. But they’re less dependable at reporting their habits or projecting their future wants and needs.” (261)

“Given time to reflect, people prefer to talk about the person they want to be, not the person they are.” (261)

“The greatest threat to newspapers wasn’t better newspapers. It was bad television.” (264)

“Merely considering something that’s “good for you” satisfies a goal and grants license to indulge. People say they want hard news in their social media feeds, but mostly click on funny photos. People say they want to eat greens, but mostly order greasy sandwiches at salad-serving restaurants. People aren’t lying – they do want to be the sort of person who reads news! They do want to see salad options! – but mere proximity to good behavior satisfies their interest in behaving well.” (271)

“There is a Japanese word “Tsundoku” which means the piling up of unread books.” (272)

“Facebook “will be probably all video” in five years, said head of Facebook operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”” (273)

“Culture isn’t just what people do. It’s also what people say they do.” (279)

“Pierre Bourdieu argued that taste is partly a performance, a show of “cultural capital.” The elite do not just like opera because they have been exposed to it; they are exposed to opera because they think it makes them elite.” (279)

“The best writers also knew to just do the work and forget, for a moment, that anyone would ever read their reverie.” (281)

“The paradox of scale is that the biggest hits are often designed for a small, well-defined group of people.” (285)

“Narrowly tailored hits are more likely to succeed, perhaps both because of their inherent qualities – they are focused works – and because of their network qualities. People are more likely to talk about products and ideas that they feel unusually attached to.” (286)

“These artists and teams produced their most resonant work after they had already passed a certain threshold of fame and popularity. Perhaps genius thrives in a space shielded ever so slightly from the need to win a popularity contest. Rather, it comes after the game has been won, after the artist can say, essentially, “Now that I have your attention…” (287)

“People’s basic needs are complex, but old. They want to feel unique and also to belong; to bathe in familiarity and to be provoked a little; to have their expectations met, and broken, and met again.” (290)

“Hollywood thought that toys were advertisements for movies. Hollywood was wrong; the opposite was true. The films were proofs of concept. The future of the movie business was everything outside the movie theater.” (294)

“In 1920, there were no Sears department stores in the United States. By 1929, there were three hundred.” (294)

“In the two months after its 1938 premier, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the movie made $2 million from the sale of toys – more than the actual film made in the United States that entire year.” (296)

“Often, the difference between success and failure, he decided, was the quality of the people surrounding the artist.” (305)

“Ryan Leslie says, “If you want to be a popstar, you need a pop star’s top five. If you want to be a politician, you need a politician’s top five. Your network needs to match the quality of Obama’s inner circle, or Clinton’s, or a Bush. If you want to be the best tennis player in the world, the five tennis people in your life have to be better than the five people around Serena Williams.”” (305)

“Most hits bear the indelible imprint of not only their maker, but also some forgotten enabler along the way.” (306)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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

“Actor For Life” Quotes

Friday, January 4th, 2019

I recently read Actor for Life: How To Have An Amazing Career Without All The Drama by Connie de Veer and Jan Elfline. Here’s the quotes I found most interesting:

“For one week, start your days with two minutes of power. Stand in one or the other of the power poses (“Superman” pose – feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips, and the second pose, stand with your arms stretched out above you and to the sides, so your body forms a four pointed star – like athletes crossing the finish line), or mix the two. Spend two whole minutes. That’s a fourteen minute investment, total. Give it a try.” (57)

“Imagine yourself walking into the audition room with beliefs like this: “I love what I do.” “I get an opportunity to share my gifts with others, right now in this audition.” “I’m well-prepared for this.” “I’ve done enough.” “I’m ready.” “Aren’t they nice people/” “We’re equal partners, those interesting people over there and me.” “I’m so grateful I get to be here doing this.” “Whatever comes of this audition, it’s all good. I will have met inspiring people, shown them what I can do, and gained experience. Most of all, I will have used my time to prepare for and then do the thing I love.”” (63)

“You want a belief to move you forward, not away from something. “More peace” is toward. “Less worry” is away from. “Feeling motivated” is toward.” “Not procrastinating” is away from.” (64)

“Concern yourself with being good first, and how to move through your career second. Have the product, have the goods, have the chops, and then worry about where it’s going to take you.” (89)

“Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d.” -Cymbeline, Act 4, scene 3 (106)

“The brain’s neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being increases more in the person who gives a gift than it does in the recipient.” (124)

“I increase the sum total of human happiness.” If we all used that as a guide, what kind of world would we create?” (130)

“Come in with your own interpretation. Because that interpretation might open a door and shine a new light on the character, and provide something the writers, director, and casting director haven’t thought of.” (143)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “Actor For Life” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Subliminal” Quotes

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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.

The post “Solve For Happy” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“The Drunkard’s Walk” Quotes

Monday, 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

Sunday, 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.

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

“The Warner Loughlin Technique” Quotes

Wednesday, 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.

The post “The Warner Loughlin Technique” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Skin In The Game” Quotes

Thursday, 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.

“12 Rules for Life” Quotes

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

I recently read “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote To Chaos” by Jordan B. Peterson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book.

“Telling people you’re virtuous isn’t a virtue, it’s self-promotion. Virtue signalling is not virtue. Virtue signalling is, quite possibly, our commonest vice.” (xx)

“The great stories of the past had more to do with developing character in the face of suffering than with happiness.” (xxvii)

“I couldn’t understand how belief systems could be so important to people that they were willing to risk the destruction of the world to protect them. I came to realize that shared belief systems made people intelligible tone another – and that the systems weren’t just about belief.
People who live by the same code are rendered mutually predictable to one another. They act in keeping with each other’s expectations and desires. They can cooperate. They can even compete peacefully, because everyone knows what to expect from everyone else. A shared belief system, partly psychological, partly acted out, simplifies everyone – in their own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Shared beliefs simplify the world, as well, because people who know what to expect from one another can act together to tame the world. There is perhaps nothing more important than the maintenance of this organization – this simplification. If it’s threatened, the great ship of state rocks.” (xxx)

“It isn’t precisely that people will fight for what they believe. They will fight, instead, to maintain the match between what they believe, what they expect, and what they desire.” (xxx)

“We have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.” (xxxii)

“Dominance hierarchies are older than trees.” (14)

“The part of our brain that keeps track of our position in the dominance hierarchy is therefore exceptionally ancient and fundamental. It is a master control system, modulating our perceptions, values, emotions, thoughts and actions. It powerfully affects every aspect of our Being, conscious and unconscious alike.” (15)

“It is far better to render Beings in your care competent than to protect them.” (47)

“The capacity of women to shame men and render them self-conscious is still a primal force of nature.” (48)

“Christ’s archetypal death exists as an example of how to accept finitude, betrayal and tyranny heroically – how to walk with God despite the tragedy of self-conscious knowledge – and not as a directive to victimize ourselves in the services of others.” (59)

“Any idiot can choose a frame of time within which nothing matters. Talking yourself into irrelevance is not a profound critique of Being. It’s a cheap trick of the rational mind.” (87)

“What you aim at determines what you see.” (96)

“You might think, “I will make a different plan. I will try to want whatever it is that would make my life better – whatever that might be – and I will start working on it now. If that turns out to mean something other than chasing my boss’s job, I will accept that and I will move forward.”
Now you’re on a whole different kind of trajectory. Before, what was right, desirable, and worthy of pursuit was something narrow and concrete. But you became stuck there, tightly jammed and unhappy. So you let go. You make the necessary sacrifice, and allow a whole new world of possibility, hidden form you because fo your previous ambition, to reveal itself. And there’s a lot there. What would your life look like, if it were better. What would Life Itself look like? What does “better” even mean? You don’t know. ANd it doesn’t matter that you don’t know, exactly, right away, because you will start to slowly see what is “better,” once you have truly decided to want it.” (100)

“The classic liberal Western enlightenment objection to religious belief: obedience is not enough. But it’s at least a start (and we have forgotten this): You cannot aim yourself at anything if you are completely undisciplined and untutored. You will not know what to target, and you won’t fly straight, even if you somehow get your aim right. And then you will conclude, “There is nothing to aim for.” And then you will be lost.” (102)

“Ask yourself habitually, “What could I do, that I would do, to make Life a little better?” (109)

“People often get basic psychological questions backwards. Why do people take drugs? Not a mystery. It’s why they don’t take them all the time that’s the mystery. Why do people suffer from anxiety? That’s not a mystery. How is that people can ever be calm? There’s the mystery. We’re breakable and mortal. A million things can go wrong, in a million ways. We should be terrified out of our skulls at every second. But we’re not. The same can be said for depression, laziness and criminality.” (125)

“Scared parents think that a crying child is always sad or hurt. This is simply not true. Anger is one of the most common reasons for crying.” (128)

“The fundamental moral question is not how to shelter children completely from misadventure and failure, so they never experience any fear or pain, but how to maximize their learning so that useful knowledge may be gained with minimal cost.” (132)

“If society’s hierarchies are based only (or even primarily) on power, instead of the competence necessary to get important and difficult things done, it will be prone to collapse.”

“We have two general principles of discipline. The first: limit the rules. The second: Use the least force necessary to enforce those rules.
About the first principle, you might ask, “Limit the rules to what, exactly?” Here are some suggestions. Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defence. Do not torture and bully other children, so you don’t end up in jail. Eat in a civilized and thankful manner, so that people are happy to have you at their house, and pleased to feed you. Learn to share, so other kids will play with you. Pay attention when spoken to by adults, so they don’t hate you and might therefore deign to teach you something. Go to sleep properly, and peaceably, so that your parents can have a private life and not resent your existence. Take care of your belongings, because you need to learn how and because you’re lucky to have them. Be good company when something fun is happening, so that you’re invited for the fun. Act so that other people are happy you’re around, so that people will want you around. A child who knows these rules will be welcome everywhere.” (137)

“What is minimum necessary force? This must be established experimentally, starting with the smallest possible intervention. Some children will be turned to stone by a glare. A verbal command will stop another. A thumb-cocked flick of the index finger on a small hand might be necessary for some.” (137)

“Parents have a duty to act as proxies for the real world – merciful proxies, caring proxies – but proxies, nonetheless. This obligation supersedes any responsibility to ensure happiness, foster creativity, or boost self-esteem. It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable. That will provide the child with opportunity, self-regard, and security. It’s more important even than fostering individual identity.” (143)

“If the world you are seeing is not the world you want, therefore, it’s time to examine your values. It’s time to rid yourself of your current presuppositions. It’s time to let go. It might even be time to sacrifice what you love best, so that you can become who you might become, instead of staying who you are.” (170)

“No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to Hell.” -Carl Jung (180)

“I came to understand, through the great George Orwell, that much of such thinking found its motivation in hatred of the rich and successful, instead of true regard for the poor. Besides, the socialists were more intrinsically capitalist than the capitalists. They believed just as strongly in money. They just thought that if different people had the money, the problems plaguing humanity would vanish.” (196)

“What can I not doubt? The reality of suffering. It brooks no arguments. Nihilists cannot undermine it with skepticism. Totalitarians cannot banish it. Cynics cannot escape from its reality.” (197)

“If the worst sin is the torment of others, merely for the sake of the suffering produced – then the good is whatever is diametrically opposed to that. The good is whatever stops such things from happening.” (198)

“If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself.” (212)

“The first of these rules is that the game is important. If it wasn’t important, you wouldn’t be playing it. Playing a game define sit as important. The second is that moves undertaken during the game are valid if they help you win. If you make a move and it isn’t helping you win, then, by definition, it’s a bad move. You need to try something different.” (213)

“All people serve their ambition. In that matter, there are no atheists. There are only people who know, and don’t know, what God they serve.” (225)

“Imagine: you go to engineering school, because that is what your parents desire – but it is not what you want. Working at cross-purposes to your own wishes, you will find yourself unmotivated, and failing. You will struggle to concentrate and discipline yourself, but it will not work. Your soul will reject the tyranny of your will.” (225)

“Memory is not a description of the objective past. Memory is a tool. Memory is the past’s guide to the future. If you remember that something bad happened, and you can figure out why, then you can try to avoid that bad thing happening again. That’s the purpose of memory. It’s not “to remember the past.” It’s to stop the same damn thing from happening over and over.” (239)

“Thinking is an internal dialogue between two or more different views of the world.” (241)

“Freud was a genius. You can tell that because people still hate him.” (243)

“Carl Rogers suggested that his readers conduct a short experiment when they next found themselves in a dispute: “Stop the discussion for a moment, and institute this rule: ‘Each person can speak up for himself only after he has first restated the idea and feelings of the previous speaker accurately, and to that speaker’s satisfaction.’”” (246)

““This is what happened. This is why. This is what I have to do to avoid such things from now on.” That’s a successful memory. That’s the purpose of memory. You remember the past not so that it is “accurately recorded,” to say it again, but so that you are prepared for the future.” (247)

“People, including children, don’t seek to minimize risk. They seek to optimize it. They drive and walk and love and play so that they achieve what they desire, but they push themselves a bit at the same time, too, so they continue to develop. Thus if things are made too safe, people start to figure out ways to make them dangerous again.” (287)

“Of course, culture is an oppressive structure. It’s always been that way.” (302)

“In regard to oppression: Any hierarchy creates winners and losers. The winners are, of course, more likely to justify the hierarchy and the losers to criticize it. But (I) the collective pursuit of any valued goal produces a hierarchy (as some will be better and some worse at that pursuit no matter what it is) and (2) it is the pursuit of goals that in large part lends life its sustaining meaning. We experience almost all the emotions that make life deep and engaging as a consequence of moving successfully towards something deeply desired and valued. The price we pay for that involvement is the inevitable creation of hierarchies of success, while the inevitable consequence is difference in outcome. Absolute equality would therefore require the sacrifice of value itself – and then there would be nothing worth living for. We might instead note with gratitude that a complex, sophisticated culture allows for many games and many successful players, and that a well-structured culture allows the individuals that compose it to play adn to win, in many different fashions.” (303)

“We know from studies of adopted-out identical twins, that culture can produce a fifteen point (or one standard deviation) increase in IQ (roughly the difference between the average high school student and the average state college student) at the cost of a three-standard-deviation increase in wealth. What this means, approximately, is that two identical twins, separated at birth, will differ in IQ by fifteen points if the first twin is raised in a family that is poorer than 85 percent of families and the second is raised in a family richer than 95 percent of families.” (316)

“When softness and harmlessness become the only consciously acceptable virtues, then hardness and dominance will start to exert an unconscious fascination. Partly what this means for the future is that if men are pushed too hard to feminize, they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.” (330)

“Set aside some time to talk and to think about the illness or other crisis and how it should be managed every day. Do not talk or think about it otherwise. If you do not limit its effect, you will become exhausted, and everything will spiral into the ground. This is not helpful. Conserve your strength. You’re in a war, not a battle, and a war is composed of many battles. You must stay functional through all of them. When worries associated with the crisis arise at other times, remind yourself that you will think them through, during the scheduled period. This usually works. The parts of your brain that generate anxiety are more interested in the fact that there is aplan than in the details of the plan. Don’t schedule your time to think in the evening or at night. Then you won’t be able to sleep. If you can’t sleep, then everything will go rapidly downhill.” (351)

“We became trapped in emotional, angry and anxious argument. We agreed that when such circumstances arose we would separate, briefly: she to one room, me to another… Alone, trying to calm down, we would each ask ourselves the same single question: What had we each done to contribute to the situation we were arguing about? However small, however distant… we had each made some error. Then we would reunite, and share the results of our questioning: Here’s how I was wrong…” (356)

“Always place your becoming above your current being. That means it is necessary to recognize and accept your insufficiency, so that it can be continually rectified.” (362)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

The post “12 Rules for Life” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Mission Statement

New York Comedy World strives to be a one stop show for everything in the New York Comedy scene…It is a site where you can purchase tickets to some of New York’s best Stand Up venues…We also sell tickets to New York’s best Improv, Sketch and One-Person shows…

There is a Comedian Resource section…This is a place where comics may be able to see choices in Comedy Schools, Seminars, Open Mics, New Talent Showcase & Industry Showcases…It also features Gigmomma, a new and innovative site that matches performers with people looking for talent…

It is also filled with additional content…You will find info on stand up comedy festivals, great podcasts, featured articles by great columnists about the comedy business. And some very funny videos…We hope you enjoy!