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“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.

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“Mastering Stand-up” Quotes

Monday, March 26th, 2018

I recently read “Mastering Stand-Up: The Complete Guide To Becoming A Successful Comedian” by Stephen Rosenfield (no relation to me, Ben RosenFELD without an “i” – although his publisher did send me a complimentary review copy of this book). Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Comedy is not nice. It is unflinchingly, unapologetically honest. Comedy looks unblinkingly at life and says, “A lot of this sucks. Let me be specific.” Adn a lot of life does suck. Always has, always will. Comedy is an entertainment hat calls out the bad stuff. It ridicules the bad stuff. By taking the things we struggle with and worry about, and by ridiculing these things, comedy transforms them from overwhelming to laughable. It enables us to laugh at the struggles and problems we share. And when we can laugh, we know we’re OK. And when we hear other people in the room laugh, we know we’re not alone. For a glorious moment the comedian lifts our worries off our shoulders and unites us in laughter. The underlying message of comedy is this: You have problems; I have problems. But we’re OK. You are not alone. We’re in this damn thing together.” (40)

“Comedy has a much higher purpose than being nice. It helps us survive.” (40)

“Ultimately, what gives an audience the license to laugh at your problems is a clear signal from you that you’re OK with them. If they feel you’re devastated by your problems, the audience can’t laugh.” (61)

“PHyllis Diller achieved what all great comedians achieve: she found her story. Her story way, I’m an oddball, I’m not hiding it. I’m putting it in your face. I don’t fit in at all and I find that absolutely hilarious.” (63)

“When a comedian creates a persona that embodies a shortcoming, this form of stand-up comedy is called the comic flaw.
There are two keys to creating this form on stand-up. The comic flaw comedian must not be aware of his or her flaw. The cheap person doesn’t know he’s cheap, the dumb person doesn’t know he’s dumb, and so on. We know it, but they don’t…
The second key is that if the shortcoming is a malicious one like bigotry, it must be clear in the writing that it’s being held up for ridicule. It’s there to be laughed at, not taken as a valid, albeit controversial, point of view. Otherwise, the audience will detest the comedian.” (73)

“Audiences often love comedians who master the comic flaw – in part because their vulnerability is so out there. They make no attempt to disguise their flaw because they don’t know they have it. This creates a persona that is so very human and identifiable… Audiences also enjoy feeling superior to flawed comedians: we know them way better than they know themselves.” (76)

“The really great edgy stand-ups shock audiences as a means of jolting them into confronting inconvenient truths about themselves and their ways of living.” (92)

“Talent is work, and brilliance is obsession with work.” (106)

“Writer’s block is not caused by your sense of humor disappearing; it’s caused by you rejecting your sense of humor. The problem isn’t that you’ve stopping coming up with funny ideas but that you’re snuffing them out as soon as you have them. You’re not letting them see the light of day. You’re not doing what you need to do to discover if something is funny or not: write it down and try it out.” (114)

“The cure to writer’s block is to stop editing yourself.” (114)

“A performer who has talent but lacks joyous communication may be admirable but ultimately in a live performance is a stage weight.” (156)

“Focusing your mind on realistic, positive thoughts will enable you to consistently enter the emotional sweet spot that is joyous communication. Make it an essential part of your warmup. When you’re up next, consciously think this: I’m going to go out there and have a great time talking to these people. Make it your mantra.” (157)

“Don’t wait for the audience to show you affection. Bring the affection onstage with you, and because they feel what you feel, they will give it back to you in return.” (157)

“Remember that every setup should be clear about its subject and about your attitude toward it.” (159)

“If you can’t define the emotion, you need to rethink the joke. Adjust the writing so that it expresses how you feel about your subject.” (160)

“A stand-up always performs the form of the emotion, not the real emotion.” (161)

“For a comedy club audience to give its full attention to a stand-up, they need to feel that he or she is talking not at them or even to them but with them, as if they are in a conversation with the stand-up.” (163)

“When an audience is unable to see how you feel about what you’re saying, you lack personality.” (168)

“You will find your way into the zone by replacing your preshow thoughts with this thought: I’m going to have a great time talking to these people. I’m going to have a great time expressing myself. I’m going to have fun!” (184)

“If you have a good time when a joke works, your audience will have a good time. If you have a good time when a joke doesn’t work, your audience will still have a good time. They feel what you feel., remember? People go to comedy clubs to have fun, not to evaluate each of the stand-ups’ jokes.” (188)

“The final and ultimate way of moving a joke up to an “A” is to change the attitude underpinning the joke to its exact opposite.” (198)

“The question to ask yourself when a joke gets a big laugh is What attitudes did I play on that joke?” (204)

“Don’t feel that you need to be nice. Nie has nothing to do with likability.” (214)

“Whatever you’re talking about in your stand-up, strive to make it personal; make it clear how strongly you feel about it and why it matters to you. And position it so that it’s something you’re struggling with not in the past but right now – this moment on stage. When an audience sees your wrestling with something that really matters to you, they laugh and they love you, because you’ve just made their own struggles easier to bear.” (215)

“We like comedians with struggles because we identify with them. All of us, in some ways, are struggling. When stand-ups speak about their struggles, we identify and laugh. And we hear other people laugh. We realize we are not alone in our struggles. We’re in this thing together.” (216)

“It’s important to realize that having a struggle does not make you a victim. It makes you the leading character in your comedy. It makes you the person the audience is rooting for. And make no mistake, you want the audience to root for you.” (216)

“You causing a struggle for someone else makes you an unlikable bully. You in a struggle makes you a likeable hero.” (216)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

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“Tribe of Mentors” Quotes

Friday, February 16th, 2018

I recently read “Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From The Best In The World” by Timothy Ferriss. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“What would this look like if it were easy? Is such a lovely and deceptively leveraged question. It’s easy to convince yourself that things need to be hard, that if you’re nto redlining, you’re not trying hard enough. This leads us to look for paths of most resistance, often creating unnecessary hardship in the process.
But what happens if we frame thing sin terms of elegance instead of strain? Sometimes, we find incredible results with ease instead of stress. Sometimes, we “solve” the problem by completely reframing it.” (xii)

“”Normal” people are just crazy people you don’t know well enough.” (xviii)

“The secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard.” (569)

Terry Crews:
“Life is not a “young man’s game.” It is an “inspired person’s game.” The keys belong to whoever is inspired, and no specific age, sex, gender, or cultural background has a monopoly on inspiration.” (22)

Dita Von Teese:
“Sometimes our shortcomings can lead to greatness, because those of us who have intense desire but lack natural God-given talent sometimes find roundabout ways of realizing dreams.” (77)

Neil Strauss:
“The outcome is not the outcome. In other words, what we think of as endpoints to a goal are really just forks in a road that is endlessly forking. In the big picture of our lives, we really don’t know whether a particular success or failure is actually helping or hurting us.” (98)

“The secret to change and growth is not willpower, but positive community.” (98)

Jerzy Gregorek:
“When disaster happens, it means that something is being asked of me.” (114)

“I told one of my clients who blamed her husband for everything to take 100 percent responsibility for her part in their interactions. “This way,” I said, “You will be free of trying to control him, and you will be able to find constructive solutions in your relationship.” When She left, I realized that the same advice could help me as well.” (115)

Annie Duke:
“Poker has taught me to disconnect failure from outcomes. Just because I lose doesn’t mean I failed, and just because I won doesn’t mean I succeeded – not when you define success and failure around making good decisions that will win in the long run.” (174)

Hal Boyle:
“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” (184)

Betty Reese:
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.” (204)

Eric Hoffer:
“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” (204)

Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” (204)

Javier Pascual Salcedo:
“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.” (205)

Andy Warhol:
“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you, just measure it in inches.” (205)

Barry Diller:
“Put one dumb foot in front of the other and course correct as you go.” (206)

Walter Chrysler:
“Whenever there is a hard job to be done, I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.” (206)

Yiddish saying:
“Lose an hour in the morning, chase it all day.” (207)

Benjamin Disraeli:
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” (210)

Gary Vaynerchuk:
“Everybody’s impatient at a macro, and just so patient at a micro, wasting your days worrying about years. I’m not worried about my years, because I’m squeezing the fuck out of my seconds, let alone my day. It’s going to work out.” (216)

Tim O’Reilly:
“Money in a business is like gas in your car. You need to pay attention so you don’t end up on the side of the road. But your trip is not a tour of gas stations.” (221)

“Clayton Christensen discovered that breakthrough technologies that are not yet mature first succeed by finding radically new markets, and only later disrupt existing markets.” (223)

Bear Grylls:
“When it starts to get tough, all it requires is for you to get tougher and hold on. The magic bit is that when it gets like this, it often means you are near the end goal! One big heave of focus, dedication, and grit, and you often pop out the other end. Look around you, though, and you see that most people are gone – they gave up in that final bit of hurting.” (231)

Frank Wilczek:
“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.” (253)

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis:
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” (338)

BJ Miller, MD:
“Don’t believe everything you think.” (356)

Maurice Ashley:
“Greatness is not a final destination, but a series of small acts done daily in order to constantly rejuvenate and refresh our skills in a daily effort to become a better version of ourselves.” (370)

Leonardo Da Vinci:
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. THey went out and happened to things.” (389)

Darren Aronofsky:
“Most of the game is about persistence. It is the most important trait. Sure, when you get an opportunity, you have to perform and you have to exceed beyond all expectations, but getting that chance is the hardest part. So keep the vision clear in your head and every day refuse all obstacles to get to the goal.” (399)

Evan Williams:
“Be in a hurry to learn, not in a hurry to get validation. In a team environment, you will make a much better impression if it seems like you’re not at all worried about yourself. It’s okay to actually be worried about yourself – everyone is – just don’t seem like it. If you resist asking for too much, you will often get more.” (402)

John Gunther:
“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” (418)

Sun Tzu:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” (436)

Terry Laughlin:
“The key to that satisfaction is to reach the nirvana in which love of practice for its own sake (intrinsic) replaces the original goal (extrinsic) as our grail. The antithesis of mastery is the pursuit of quick fixes.” (441)

Scott Belsky:
“More often than not, great opportunities look unattractive on the surface. What makes an opportunity great is upside. If the potential upside were explicitly clear, the opportunity would have already been taken.” (459)

Whitney Cummings:
“Don’t waste your time socializing with people who you think can help you. Just get better, and opportunities will naturally present themselves once you deserve them. ONly focus on things within your control. And if you don’t know what those things are, find someone who can tell ou. Don’t network, just work.” (485)

Rick Rubin:
“There are so many elements that go into making something successful – all of which are out of your control. You’re in control of making your project the best it can possibly be for you, but you are powerless over most of what happens after that.” (489)

Ben Silbermann:
“Assume that anything worthwhile is going to take five to ten years.” (496)

Stephanie McMahon:
“Before I go to bed, I try to think of three things that made me happy during the day. It’s an evolution of thinking of three things that I’m grateful for.” (511)

Jocko Willink:
“”Discipline equals freedom.” Everyone wants freedom. We want to be physically free and mentally free. We want to be financially free and we want more free time. But where does that freedom come from? How do we get it? The answer is the opposite of freedom. The answer is discipline. You want more free time? Follow a more disciplined time-management system. You want financial freedom? Implement long-term financial discipline in your life. DO you want to be physically free to move how you want, and to be free from many health issues caused by poor lifestyle choices? Then you have to have the discipline to eat healthy food and consistently work out. We all want freedom. DIscipline is the only way to get it.” (538)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Smarter Faster Better” Quotes

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

I recently read “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Motivation is triggered by making choice that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control. The specific choice we make matters less than the assertion of control. It’s this feeling of self-determination that gets us going.” (20)

“We should reward initiative, congratulate people for self-motivation, celebrate when an infant wants to feed herself. We should applaud a child who shows defiant, self-righteous stubbornness and reward a student who finds a way to get things done by working around the rules.” (36)

“When we start a new task, or confront an unpleasant chore, we should take a moment to ask ourselves “why…” Once we start asking why, those small tasks become pieces of a larger constellation of meaningful projects, goals, and values.” (36)

“Project Oxygen found that a good manager 1) is a good coach; 2) empowers and does not micromanage; 3) expresses interest and concern in subordinates’ success and well-being 4) is results oriented; 5) listens and shares information; 6) helps with career development; 7) has a clear vision and strategy; 8) has key technical skills.” (43)

“They were all behaviors that created a sense of togetherness while also encouraging people to take a chance. We call it ‘psychological safety…’ a shared belief, held by members of a team, that the group is a safe place for taking risks. It is a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up.” (50)

“The right norms could raise the collective intelligence of mediocre thinkers. The wrong norms could hobble a group made up of people who, on their own, were all exceptionally bright.” (60)

“All the members of the good teams spoke in roughly the same proportion… conversations didn’t need to be equal every minute, but in aggregate, they had to balance out.” (60)

“The good teams tested as having “high average social sensitivity” – a fancy way of saying that the groups were skilled at intuiting how members felt based on their tone of voice, how people held themselves, and the expressions on their faces.” (61)

“For psychological safety to emerge among a group, teammates don’t have to be friends. They do, however, need to be socially sensitive and ensure everyone feels heard.” (64)

“Teams need to believe that their work is important.
Teams need to feel their work is personally meaningful.
Teams need clear goals and defined roles.
Team members need to know they can depend on one another.
But, most important, teams need psychological safety.” (66)

“People who know how to manage their attention and who habitually build robust mental models tend to earn more money and get better grades.” (92)

“If you want to make yourself more sensitive to the small details in your work, cultivate a habit of imagining, as specifically as possible, what you expect to see and do when you get to your desk.” (92)

“Narrate your life, as you are living it, and you’ll encode those experiences deeper in your brain.” (92)

“Mental models help us by providing a scaffold for the torrent of information that constantly surrounds us. Models help us choose where to direct our attention, so we can make decisions, rather than just react.” (101)

“Employees work smarter and better when they believe they have more decision making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success. A sense of control can fuel motivation, but for that drive to produce insights and innovations, people need to know their suggestions won’t be ignored, that their mistakes won’t be held against them. And they need to know that everyone else has their back.” (165)

“At the intermediate level, you want to know as many rules as possible. Intermediate players crave certainty. But elite players can use that craving against them, because it makes intermediate players more predictable.” (173)

“The future isn’t one thing. Rather, it is a multitude of possibilities that often contradict one another until one of them comes true. And those futures can be combined in order for someone to predict which one is more likely to occur.” (179)

“We can always find the right story when we start asking ourselves what feels true,” Del Vecho told me. “The thing that holds us back is when we forget to use our lives, what’s inside our heads, as raw material” (223)

“Creativity can’t be reduced to a formula. At its core, it needs novelty, surprise, and other elements that cannot be planned in advance to seem fresh and new. There is no checklist that, if followed, delivers innovation on demand.
But the creative process is different. We can create the conditions that help creativity to flourish. We know, for example, that innovation becomes more likely when old ideas are mixed in new ways. We know the odds of success go up when brokers – people with fresh, different perspectives, who have seen ideas in a variety of settings – draw on the diversity within their heads. We know that, sometimes, a little disturbance can help jolt us out of the ruts that even the most creative thinkers fall into, as long as those shake-ups are the right size.” (235)

“If you want to become a broker and increase the productivity of your own creative process, there are three things that can help: First, be sensitive to your own experiences. Pay attention to how things make you think and feel. That’s how we distinguish cliches from true insights…
Second, recognize that the panic and stress you feel as you try to create isn’t a sign that everything is falling apart. Rather, it’s the condition that helps make us flexible enough to seize something new. Creative desperation can be critical; anxiety is what often pushes us to see old ideas in new ways. The path out of that turmoil is to look at what you know, to reinspect conventions you’ve seen work and try to apply them to fresh problems. The creative pain should be embraced.
Finally, remember that the relief accompanying a creative breakthrough, while sweet, can also blind us to seeing alternatives. It is critical to maintain some distance from what we create. Without self-criticism, without tension, one idea can quickly crowd out competitors. But we can regain that critical distance by forcing ourselves to critique what we’ve already done, by making ourselves look at it from a completely different perspective, by changing the power dynamics in the room or giving new authority to someone who didn’t have it before. Disturbances are essential, and we retain clear eyes by embracing destruction and upheaval, as long as we’re sensitive to making the disturbance the right size.” (236)

“When Alter conducts experiments, he sometimes gives people instructions in a hard-to-read font because, as they struggle to make out the words, they read the text more carefully. “The initial difficulty in processing the text leads you to think more deeply about what you’re reading, so you spend more time and energy making sense of it.” (247)

“Researchers found that hand writers scored twice as well as the typists in remembering what a lecturer said.” (265)

“Productivity doesn’t mean that every action is efficient. It doesn’t mean that waste never occurs. In fact, as Disney learned, sometimes you have to foster tension to encourage creativity. Sometimes a misstep is the most important footfall along the path to success.” (285)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones” Quotes

Monday, January 29th, 2018

I recently read “The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones” by Rich Cohen. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book.

“An artist needs a belief. It does not matter whether that belief is Rastafarianism or Communism. It’s the structure of belief that matters – it gives their work coherence, shape. It’s there even when you don’t know it.” (21)

“There’s a moment when your real life starts, when you realize that what came before was prelude. Old friends and mentors – you shed them like baby teeth and you’re free.” (43)

“No more than a handful of people turned out. Gomelsky puts the number at three. When Brian asked, “What should we do?” Giorgio said, “What do you mean? Play!” You don’t punish the people who showed up for the sins of those who stayed home.” (62)

“There’s tremendous power in being first. In birth order, in the mysterious circle of fame. Being first means being free to invent and go it alone. Being in any place but first means riding the wake. It means being defined in comparison. It means being the next Beatles, the anti-Beatles, the new Beatles, or the shitty Beatles.” (66)

“When I was a boy, my father… told me that life is 99 percent marketing. “You’re better off with a great salesman and a mediocre product, than with a masterpiece and a moron to sell it.”” (78)

“Every now and then, a nation experiences a caesura, a pause between eras. To those who recognize such things, it’s an opportunity. Because a death is a birth and an exit is an entrance. Because you can only weep for so long. Because after tears you need laughter. As America emerged from its nightmare, Americans wanted something untainted with tragedy, fresh and new. It’s no coincidence that the Beatles landed in the United States less than three months after the Kennedy assassination.” (85)

“The Beatles had changed the rules; a band had to write songs. Bob Dylan made it even more important. It was about authenticity. A singer singing his own words is an artist; a singer covering someone else’s words is an actor.” (105)

“American rock stars aspire to immortality. They want to be James Dean and die beautifully. British rock stars aspire to aristocracy. They want to acquire titles and houses with names.” (155)

“In art, you have a choice, though you probably won’t realize it at the time. Posterity or right now.” (173)

“Forget the fact that open G had been around for years – if Richards stole the sound from Ry Cooder, why don’t Ry Cooder songs sound anything like the Stones? Why aren’t they nearly as evocative, menacing? IT gets at a deep unfairness: all the skill in the world does not add up to genius. Ry Cooder is a technically better player than Keith Richards, was goofing with open G first, and was after some of the same effects, but he did not have that same artistic soul.” (191)

“Mick’s showbiz, a pop version of the classic Hollywood diva, for whom the show must always go on, for whom obscurity is even more terrifying than death. It’s a special kind of charisma that generates tremendous light but little heat. People crave that light but get no sustenance from it. It destroys them. Life with Mick is life astride a black hole. Time accelerates. Two years ages you immeasurably. Yet none of it touches him. Because no one else matters. He’s the ego that became the world. He stands before the millions but the millions don’t exist. At the center of the universe, Mick Jagger dances alone.” (200)

“As you get older you’ll notice that no matter what direction you walk, you’re walking away.” (200

“Art is not linear; it’s circular. An artist does not improve, nor progress. He simply rides the wheel, waiting for the clouds to break and the sun to appear.” (230)

“Hemingway said: When they attack, they attack precisely what is strong, unique. What critics really want is a slightly different version of what they already love. If you give them something new, they will hate you. At first. But great work invents its own genre.” (277)

“The moment you build a shrine, you’re saying the past is more important than the present.” (307)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Unstoppable: My Life So Far” Quotes

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

I recently read “Unstoppable: My Life So Far” by Maria Sharapova (and Rich Cohen – which is the reason I started reading the book). Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“By toughness, Yudkin meant persistence, the quality that makes you lock in and focus when asked to do the same thing a million times. If you ask most kids to do something, they will do it once or twice, then get restless, shut down, and walk away. To be great at anything, Yudkin believed, you had to be able to endure a tremendous amount of boredom. That is, you had to be tough.” (17)

“You have a good day, it’s a good day. You put together a string of good days, you have a good career.” (46)

“If you don’t have a mother to cry to, you don’t cry. You just hang in there, knowing that eventually things will change – that the pain will subside, that the screw will turn.” (47)

“That’s what people do not understand about tennis. You do not have to be the best player in the world to win. You only have to be better, on that day, than the person across from you.” (50)

“What made my career possible? IT was not all those times he embraced challenges and said yes. Way too much credit is given to the art or act of saying yes. It was all those times he said no that made the difference. Up to this point, yes – beyond this point, no.” (68)

“At the moment of temptation – by which I mean the appearance of an easier path – he always said no. ANd he did not despair about it. Because he’s determined, and because he believed.” (68)

“Anyone can be composed and cool while winning, when everything is going according to plan. But how do you deal with a losing streak? That’s the big question – that’s what separates the professionals from the cautionary tales.” (117)

“Without those parents, you would not have the Williams sisters or Andre Agassi or me. The tennis parent is the will of the player before the player has formed a will of her own.” (127)

“Having a two-year-old around when you play a big match is great because the two-year-old is interested but does not really care, and that not caring, that happy not caring, reminds you that, in the end, all of this is nothing. There are champions now; in ten years, there will be different champions. It’s fleeting, so have fun – that’s what you get from a two-year old.” (158)

“As hard as I practice, I have learned that doing nothing is just as important as doing everything.” (161)

“I know what losing does to you. I’d learned its lessons on tennis courts all over the world. It knocks you down but also builds you up. It teaches you humility and gives you strength. It makes you aware of your flaws, which you then must do your best to correct. In this way, it can actually make you better. You become a survivor. You learn that losing is not the end of the world.” (195)

“Winning fucks you up. First of all, it brings all kinds of rewards, which, if seen from the proper perspective, reveal themselves for what they really are: distractions, traps, snares. Money, fame, opportunity. Each laurel and offer and ad and pitch takes you further from the game. It can turn your head. It can ruin you, which is why there are many great players who won just a single Grand Slam, then seemed to wander away.” (195)

“It’s the first big test of a long career – yes, you can win, but can you win again? That’s an even tougher task. The history books are littered with names of athletes who got that single big win but never got a second Grand Slam. One-hit wonders. Not because they were not great, or won by luck. But because they never figured out how to adjust after everyone else has made their adjustments.” (202)

“What sets the great players apart from the good players? The good players win when everything is working. The great players win even when nothing is working even when the game is ugly; that is, when they are not great. Because no one can be great every day. Can you get it done on the ugly days, when you feel like garbage and the tank is empty?” (247)

“I’ve worked harder with Sven than I’ve ever worked in my life. That’s how it has to be when you get a little older. You need to go twice as hard to look half as natural. You need to double your effort to get the same result. In other words, practice is everything.” (268)

“There is no perfect justice, not in this world. You can’t control what people say about you and what they think about you. You can’t plan for bad luck. You can only work your hardest and do your best and tell the truth. In the end,it’s the effort that matters. The rest is beyond your control.” (288)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Are You Anybody?” Quotes

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

I recently read “Are You Anybody?” by Jeffrey Tambor. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Yo-Yo Ma once said that you have to have fire in the belly to be an artist. Same goes for being an actor. It’s not enough to want to be an actor, you have to have that fire. One of the things that provided that fire for me was that moment with my family. I loved my dad, but I was going to prove him wrong. I woke up each morning with a mission, with fire in the belly.” (8-9)

“There are three kinds of Jews: Orthodox Jews, who only read Hebrew; Conservative Jews, who read Hebrew and English; and Reform Jews, whose only requirement is to sing show tunes.” (12)

“I keep a photograph folded in my wallet of a little Jewish boy being marched out of the Warsaw ghetto at gunpoint. When I lose my nerve, I take the photo out and look at it. I am that boy. We are all that boy.
A reporter once asked me if I put my Jewish roots in my performances.
“All my characters are Jewish,” I said.” (24)

“A late friend of mine came up to me one day with tears in his eyes and said, “I used to be somebody. Now I’ve become somebody else. God help me, what have I done?” (27)

“When I do my talk, I choose a moment in the evening to have the audience close their eyes and imagine someone in their lives who is having a bad time of it, someone who is failing. I caution them not to use themselves, because it’s too close and it’s hard to be objective.” (29)

“The very definition of being an actor is: Don’t keep your nose clean – your mission is to get into trouble and stay there.” (29)

“I have a theory that we come into this world with a set of sealed orders. It’s not just our physical DNA, but a sort of spiritual DNA. You could call it your purpose or your groove or whatever word you like. Joseph Campbell called it bliss. George Saunders calls it “one’s primary reason.” Whatever you call it, it’s your obligation to yourself to find it. It’s not a whim, nor a wish, buta need. It wakes you up each morning with almost a sickness in your stomach to get on with it.” (42)

“If you comment on it, you kill it. If there’s a hat already on your head, why in God’s name would you put another hat on top of it? The audience doesn’t like to see you wink.” (48)

“Jack was adamant about this one: You must come to the first rehearsal off book – with your lines memorized.” (49)

“Forcing us to confront the text made us get ready in thought and character. We had begun the process. We weren’t waiting for his direction. We were co-creators. It wasn’t about learning the lines, it was about learning the part.” (50)

“About two weeks into the four or five week rehearsal period, Jack would leave. Let me repeat: the director would leave. For a week.
We were blocked, which means we had all the stage movement learned, and were up on our feet. He’d say, “Okay, see you in a week. Start running it.” That’s it. No advice, no notes. Not even a wave at the door. We would rehearse with the stage manager while he was gone.
I’ve never seen any other director do this, but it worked extremely well for him. He believed in his cast, and he believed in the play, and he believed in his process.” (50)

“He taught me to seek out other mentors in my life and career who would also give me confidence.” (51)

“There are actors in those local companies who kill in show after show, and they never leave because they are already doing exactly what they want to do.” (61)

“If you don’t get better in the first two weeks of your acting class, for which you’ve plunked down a good amount of money, get the fuck out of there as fast as you can.” (82)

“When people ask me for one salient piece of life advice and I tell them, “Adore everything,” they are usually disappointed. But it’s a true thing, and you should do it.” (95)

“Orson Welles put it: “You have to make the actor believe he is better than he is. That is the job. More than confidence, give him arrogance. He really has to think he’s great, that he is extraordinary.”” (100)

“I start every single day reading. This is my ritual: I make a cup of coffee before bed and put it on my nightstand. This routine goes all the way back to my college days. When I wake, I drink the cold coffee and read for thirty minutes. I don’t get out of bed until I’ve completed this sacred ritual.” (113)

“I like to say, Judith is so good she gets a Tony when she goes to the theater.” (123)

“By the mid-1980s, I had a recurring role on a top television show, and people were noticing me – and I noticed them noticing. Under that gaze, I became not myself but this actor with this built-in expectancy. It’s what happened when I first did Sly Fox in front of Larry Gelbart. “Wait till you see the kid” ruined me. I was trying to be perfect to impress people, but that’s not where the “good stuff,” as they say, comes from. To find your purpose – or your “primary reason,” as George Saunders so aptly describes it, or as we used to say in the ‘60s, your “thing” – I believe you first must be willing to wreck it.” (141)

“The author Henry miller said his teacher told him he knew what he sounded like when Miller tried to write well, but what did it sound like when he tried to do it badly? And that’s when Henry Mill said he found his “voice.”” (142)

“Errors are essential and need to be welcomed. They are the opposite of perfection and yet can lead to genius and revelation.” (142)

“In movies and television, the director might have you do many takes of a scene until it’s done, and then say, “now do one for yourself.” Inevitably – ask any actor – that’s the take that’s full of play and creativity and joy and is the one that has the most freedom and life. On the Transparent set, Jill Soloway starts us with that take. That is, indeed, our premise.” (144)

“Dopamine and serotonin flow through the body when you play. It makes you joyful and fearless. When you submit to the eyes being on you, the work ceases to be play and becomes something else, something rigid, something expected.” (144)

“There is no such thing as a straight line to success, in life, in love, or in career. You’re going to fuck up somewhere along the way. You might make a bad decision, a stupid choice, an ill-informed move. You might choose to do something good, but for the wrong reason. You might choose something bad for the right reason.” (151)

“Milton said, “You’re a good boy. You’re the first one off book. You’re the first one to rehearsal. You like to please people. That’s a good thing, and a bad thing.”” (161)

“The crazy part is, the audience doesn’t know you’re in their thrall. You’re in thrall to no one and nothing, to something that doesn’t even exist. And that thrall is the death of spontaneity and invention.” (169)

“I think this ability [to eliminate any sense of subservience to the audience] is not just a necessity, but it is one of the keys to the kingdom. To be clear, dear reader, the phrase is “fuck ‘em.” It’s not “fuck them.” It’s not “fuck you” – especially not “fuck you,” never “fuck you.” It’s “fuck ‘em.” It really should be written fuckem actually. It’s an attitude – not of hatred or aggression – but of freedom from self-censorship and the need to please.” (169)

“It’s not that you don’t give a shit – you do give a shit. It’s not that you’re relaxed; it has nothing to do with relaxed.” (171)

“It’s not being unafraid; who’s not afraid. It won’t slow your heart rate down; in fact, it will increase it because “fuck ‘em” brings more tasks and makes you use even more of the colors on the palette. It won’t make you happy; who’s happy? I’m the Jewish son of Russian Hungarian parents – it’s not even an option.” (171)

“It will make you more effective when you put down the heavy luggage being a good boy or girl; that’s when your talent will come through.” (171)

“It’s an attitude. It is confident.
It applies even in the quotidian routines of everyday life. A friend of mine used to being his day by aying, “I’m going to work to get fired today.” That was his version of muttering through the peephole. He assumed an attitude that said, “Fuck it. Fire me if you don’t like it.” It freed him to do his work unfettered by fear.” (172)

“This is how you get a role. You walk into an audition with this attitude: “If you were to pay me, this is how I would do this role. If you agree with that, hire me. If you don’t agree with that, adjust my performance. If you don’t agree with that…then let’s part ways as professionals and move gently on with our lives.” It’s called an audition, a word that literally means a “hearing,” not a do-you-like-me or do-you-think-I’m-talented or do-you-think-I-have-a-future-in-show-business.” (175)

“My attitude showed them that I had confidence, a word I take very seriously. Con = with; fidence = loyalty to oneself. Loyalty to oneself. Fuck’em. And confidence spreads in the room: if the actor is confident, the director is more confident as is the producer and, oh boy, the casting director, and maybe, just maybe, the guy doling out chili on the set.” (175)

“I met them in the office of the high priest of ABC for this high-pressure pitch meeting. My partners started to do their spiel, and I could see they were being timid and it was not selling. I thought, Fuck it, my mom just died. I just didn’t feel like being cowed and afraid that morning – so I grabbed the script and read a long paragraph, acting it with everything I had. Their mouths were hanging open. By the time my partners and I got down to the lobby, we got the call: the network bought it. They bought my confidence more than even the concept.” (176)

“Brian Grazer told me the best thing: “This is what a career sounds like: No, no, no, no,no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no.”” (186)

“I tell my students, “If you are any good, you will be fired.” I must have made it sound good, because I regularly receive emails from students who tell me they can’t wait to graduate and get fired. If you’re ever stuck at a dinner party with actors and the conversation lags, just ask, “have you ever been fired?” and you will be regaled with stories of dismissal for the rest of the evening.” (187)

“Pay attention. God is in the details, as every good writer knows. People are not generalities or abstraction; they are a collection of specifics, detail upon detail upon detail. In observing those details, you will discover this axiom: People are ridiculous.” (216)

“It’s my theory that you don’t get a role by just reading a part well. There’s a moment in a reading where you get a role, and you have to hit that moment.” (225)

“The thing that I loved about doing The Larry Sanders Show was that not everyone got it at first. The writing was remarkable – Garry never went for the easy joke, he went past the joke to the character reveal. If you were a writer who got that, you excelled.” (228)

“As a young actor, I would plan my performance in my office or in my room. I would get up the next day to shoot, and I would get in my car and will the world away. It was as if I had a body prophylactic on. I wanted nothing to affect me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want anything. And when I got to whatever set I was working on, I presented this pristine, rehearsed, performed character. I didn’t just learn my own lines, I learned everybody’s lines. I showed up two and half hours before curtain and ran through the entire play.
What Garry was doing was a revelation, just as it had been when I first saw him on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show years earlier. With Garry, you didn’t hide; you brought the day – what was affecting you right then, right there – no hiding, you brought “the day.” It was like the crossroads of jazz and existentialism, as composer Ben Sidran once said, by “being yourself in the moment” and “open to what comes next.” (233)

“There’s a wonderful thing that happens when you know you’re a day player. I think everyone should go to work every day thinking they’re a day player. You know that at the end of the day, you can go on to the next job or you can go on safari. There’s a certain liberation to that.” (241)

“I’ve noticed something that happens to me when I teach. My life gets better. I get better. Not my acting per se, but my life. It’s what Milton and other teachers had said to me: when you teach, you’re basically talking to yourself.” (267)

“To be an actor, I believe, you have to be personal and you must act as if your life depends on it.” (267)

“Acting and comedy are about saving lives. My dad used to say, “be useful. This was useful.”” (268)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Black Privilege” Quotes

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

I recently read “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It” by Charlamagne Tha God. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book.

“Opportunity truly does come to those who create it.” (xx)

“When you stop complaining about where you are physically and start focusing on where you are mentally, that’s when you will start to transcend your circumstances.” (1)

“When I’m stuck, I reconnect with my core. That means getting on a plane to Charleston and then heading straight to Moncks Corner. I will literally drive to my mom’s house and go sleep in my old bedroom.” (30)

“When I can reconnect with the dreams my younger self used to have, whatever little drama or doubt that was getting me down quickly becomes irrelevant.” (30)

“During the cultural revolution in China, wearing glasses often got people killed because they were a symbol of elitism>” (40)

“Fuck your dream (If it’s not really yours.)” (98)

“It’s critical that you be able to tell the difference between someone telling you “Fuck you dreams” in order to get you on the right path or simply telling you “Fuck your dreams” because they’ve already given up on their own.” (105)

“You can talk about all the magazines and blogs you’ve read, or discuss what rappers are dissing each other, but ultimately sharing your own life is what will take you to the next level. Honesty and intimacy is what forges a real connection with the audience.” (132)

“Very few things will center you and recharge your spirit like caring for your child.” (136)

“I don’t keep any personal items in my office. Because you just never know.” (When they might fire you) (141)

“When someone offers to help you, tell them exactly what you want. Don’t beat around the bush. If you’re not crystal clear about what your ask is, chances are you won’t get anything.” (148)

“You can never – even if the situation blows up in your face – hurt yourself by helping others.” (151)

“Success is a process: there are no cheat codes, no life hacks, no shortcuts, and no half steps. Opportunity always comes before money, but sadly a lot of us don’t recognize it unless there’s a paycheck attached. Don’t make that mistake.” (153)

“When you’re just starting out, put yourself in the position to be a part of the process, and THEN get that money.” (153)

“If you want to see a person’s true character, watch how they treat people who seemingly can’t help them.” (153)

“Too often we’re given bad advice on what it takes to get from where we are to where we want to be. We’re taught that the only accurate sign that we’re moving toward success is making money. We get caught up sweating the results instead of embracing the process. Even though embracing the process is the only way you’re ever going to get what you want out of life.” (157)

“Tommy Buns was telling them to slow down and focus on the work in front of them, no matter how small the job might seem, instead of immediately looking forward to the big scores. If they couldn’t even put the weed in the bag first, how were they going to go out and become major players/” (157)

“You’re supposed to be busting your ass for “nothing” when you’re in your twenties. And sometimes even your thirties. That doesn’t mean you’re being exploited. It means you’re building up the skills, connections , and reputation to eventually build a platform on your own.” (160)

“If hard work is the best quality an intern can display, ambition is definitely one of the worst. That doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious… but I guarantee their employers weren’t too aware of that ambition when they were interning. They all knew how to keep that ambition in check until the time was right” (163)

“In order to be a great intern, you must have blinders on and stay focused on the work that’s in front of you, instead of the work you want to be doing down the road. This is because the program directors, managers, producers, and supervisors don’t care about your dreams. They’re focused on their own. So don’t waste their time making noise about what you want or what your master plan is.” (163)

“Your only value to them is the work you put in. If you’ve handled your internship correctly, when it’s time to move on, your superior should come to you and say, “So, what are you trying to do with your career?” And when you tell them, it should be their first time hearing your plans.” (164)

“I’d rather take less money now if it helps set me up to get more in the long run. I’m focused on creating opportunity for myself, not wring every last penny out of a deal.” (166)

“I asked Paul, “Tell me how people who’ve achieved fame manage to fall off?” “Their attitudes and managers,” he replied. “Bad attitude speaks for itself, But you know, you get these managers that speak for you and they take a bunch of your money and they create drama where there is no need for it,” he told me. “The most dangerous thing they do is gas up the talent. They make you feel like you’re bigger than the company, which you never are. I don’t care how famous you are, or how much press you get, you’re never bigger than the company. And if a manager makes you feel like you are, they’re doing you a great disservice.”” (171)

“Measure your success by the opportunities you’re presented with and the opportunities you’re creating for others. Not the amount of zeroes in your paycheck. When that’s your sole measurement, you’re going to come up short in the end.” (172)

“Being active on social media can amplify the work you’re already doing, but it is not work unto itself.” (174)

“He just had that combination of charisma and work ethic that made him stand out despite his surroundings.” (178)

“Too many radio jocks and writers don’t share their true opinions because they’re more concerned with making friends in the industry than being advocates for their audiences.” (216)

“Opening up was the turning point. Instead of dissing me, they began to root for me. They wanted to walk my journey with me.” (219)

“It’s insane to expect to be further along in life if you’re still acting and thinking the same way that you always have.” (243)

“There are a lot of people whose main talent is their ability to coach.” (262)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

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