52 in 52 Book Summaries

Book Summary: Mindfire by Scott Berkun | Forces of Habit

Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds by Scott Berkun

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The Essence

A collection of various tidbits about life. After years of experience as a writer and public influencer, Scott address the questions we ponder in our everyday lives. Mindfire is a collection of Scott’s best digitally published works, made to challenge our conventionally driven minds to start thinking the ‘right’ way. And the right way is to reevaluate how you spend and think about the concepts of time, creativity, and criticism. Become intentional with your time, set limits on yourself to foster creativity, and take all the criticism you can get.

Mindfire Summary Journal Entry:

This is my book summary of Mindfire by Scott Berkun. My notes are a reflection of the journal write up above. Written informally, the notes contain a mesh of quotes and my own thoughts on the book. The Journal write up also includes important messages and crucial passages from the book.

  • “Hate is easy.” When we choose to hate something, we are refusing to be compassionate to someone else's cause. Instead of hate, try to change your perspective on an issue. See it from another person viewpoints. You will find the one you disagree with is not so crazy under different guiding premises; this is the better way for understanding someone's cause. 
  • A desire for something has little bearing on the desired outcome occurring. You need to understand that a hope in itself does not yield results. To misplace your beliefs in this way will not lead you to wisdom.
  • Looking for passion? Just pick something. Do it. And do it wholeheartedly. If you are having trouble keeping your heart in it, do another thing. We must repeat this process until our last day; that is how we continue to live intentionally.
  • “An idea is a combination of other ideas.” Innovation steams from a mesh of the conventional wisdom of the past.
  • We always have time. You are not too busy for anything. You simply do not want to allocate the 24 hours you are given to that specific task. “If you can’t do something, it’s not about the quantity of time. It’s really about how important the task is to you.”
  • You are the only one who can reinforce what matters to you in the entire universe.
  • Stop confusing popularity with goodness. Popularity is pricey: you accept what is bland, predictable, and meaningless, in exchange for what is interesting surprising and meaningful.
  • When you confine your mind to a single way of thinking you are harming yourself. Depledge your allegiance to any ideas, and put faith in your ability to learn.
  • Minimize worrying by:
  1. Understanding some choices really aren’t that deep—they matter less then you value them.
  2. Keep in mind what worrying does. You will not make better decisions just because you have decided to worry about them—in fact, you’ll probably make worse.
  3. Confer with others if need be. A second opinion concerning your worry can be liberating just as long as you are honestly assessing the situation. You will notice how needless the worry is after you explain it to someone.
  • “A small idea, applied consistently, can have disproportionately large effects.”
  • Wise people love mistakes and aren’t afraid to share them with others. Most of the best lessons, if not all, stem from learning valuable lessons through mistakes. They will accelerate your progress in any endeavor.
  • Try the PNP Sandwich: PNP stands for positive negative positive and is used when giving constructive criticism. By starting with something nice, the person you are critiquing will open up to what you are saying. Use the opening as an opportunity to give the bad news. Finish up by saying something positive again. You do not want to break someone’s spirits or cause them to believe you are just complaining, so you say something nice to offset the positive-negative-positive ratio.
  • Feedback is the key to developing ideas. Without it, we are having a never-ending conversation with our preconceived notions—improvement becomes unattainable.
  • Be Bold. Boldness gets people’s attention.
  • Good criticism serves one purpose: it gives the creator of the work more perspective. A newfound perspective then functions as a priceless tool for making the next set of choices.
  • Misconception: The bigger the idea, the bigger the value.
    What tends to actually hold people back from achievement is not these big ideas, but the small things. When we consistently overlook the tiny stuff, we miss out on the compounding effects of the seemingly insignificant.  
  • Learn to appreciate effort. With enough effort, you can always outwork someone better than Always.
  • STOP READING, START DOING! This is a recent lesson for me. Part of the reason I now write these book summaries is due to my eclectic reading habits. I read and read, but what is the use of constantly taking in more information if I was not going to put it to good use.
  • Fight for your right to think things over. Do not be pressured to make quick decisions that will impact you in the long term.
  • Law of lost attention: the value of something you spend attention on is dependent on how much attention you spend on it. Single Task. When you are executing a task or engaging in an activity, be with that and only that. By doing this you give it the attention it deserves. Even the most tedious things can become quite intimate when you give them the entirety of your attention.
  • If you want to be creative start be changing your assumptions on what it creativity encompasses. “Creativity has more to do with being fearless then intelligent or any other adjective superficially associated with it.”
  • A sure-fire way to spark creativity is to set constraints. With limits, humans tend to look at whatever they have at their disposal and use it in strange new ways. It is in part due to our natural tendency to adapt.
  • To learn from our mistakes, we need 3 things
  1. Putting yourself in situations where you can make a range of unique mistakes.
  2. Have the self-confidence to admit to the mistakes.
  3. Being bold enough to make the necessary changes.
  • Ask more questions. Period. Do not take information at face value no matter the source. Investigate every assumption. Over time, you may come to realize that fact of the matter is still subjective.
  • It takes hard work to free our minds. “Being free has never been easy, which explains why so few, despite what they say, truly are.” Do you remember the last time you were truly free? Our lives are saturated with categorized systems that rule our minds. Take a step out of the glass box and begin to observe and listen to what reality has to offer.

Reading Recommendations

If you liked what you saw. Here are 3 titles that I recommend based on what discussed in Mindfire.

1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

2. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

3. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

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