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I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]

This book traces the sometimes harrowing migration (as related first hand to the author and supported by corroborating testimonies, documents, scholars, and contemporary news articles) of 3 families--one each from the orange groves of Eustis, Florida to Harlem (New York City); from the cotton fields of Chickasaw County, Mississippi to the south side of Chicago; and from the town of Monroe, Louisiana to Los Angeles. They followed the railroads from the South to the North and the highways from the South to the West Coast.

Download this file (the_warmth_of_other_suns.pdf)the_warmth_of_other_suns.pdf75 kB

The most effective leaders score high in both confidence and humility. Achieving excellence in school often requires mastering old ways of thinking. Building an influential career demands new ways of thinking. Good teachers introduce new thoughts; great teachers introduce new ways of thinking. Collecting a teacher’s knowledge may help us solve the challenges of the day but understanding how a teacher thinks can help us navigate the challenges of a lifetime. We don’t know how time and circumstances will change what we want or want to be. The more people value happiness, the less happy they often become. Meaning is healthier than happiness. Passions are often developed, not discovered. [This is a sequel to Give and Take]

Download this file (Think Again.pdf)Think Again174 kB

Foreword: This is an extensive work describing recent developments in thinking about thinking. It includes many useful suggestions to improve decisions. [It also explains why people seek out investment advisors and prefer a CFP® to other investment models with higher returns.] We documented systematic errors in the thinking of normal people and traced them to the design of the machinery of cognition rather than corruption of thought by emotion. Intuition is recognition. The essence of intuitive heuristics is that when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution. We have excessive confidence in what we believe we know and are apparently unable to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance. We can be blind to the obvious and blind to our blindness. Laziness is built deeply into our nature. Familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. The idea of money primes individualism: a reluctance to be involved with others, to depend on others, or to accept demands from others. When in a good mood, people are more intuitive and creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors. Heuristic: a procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions. We are pattern seekers, believers in a coherent world in which regularities appear not by accident but as a result of mechanical causality or of someone’s intention.  . Regression to the mean is an explanation but not a cause.  We pay people well to provide explanations of regression effects, [including investment advisors]. Confidence is determined by the coherence of the best story you can tell from the evidence at hand. We do not learn to understand regression from experience. Even when a regression is identified, it will be given a causal interpretation that is almost always wrong.  The ultimate test of an explanation is whether it would have made the event predictable in advance. Paradoxically, it is easier to construct a coherent story when you know little, when there are fewer pieces to fit into the puzzle. The core illusion is that we believe we understand the past, which implies that the future also should be knowable. But in fact we understand the past less than we believe we do.  Once you adopt a new view of the world, you suddenly lose much of your ability to recall what you used to believe before your mind changed. We usually assess the quality of a decision not by whether the process was sound but by whether its outcome was good or bad. The worse the consequence, the greater the hindsight bias. Declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true. We cannot suppress the powerful intuition that what makes sense in hindsight today was predictable yesterday. The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future. The idea that large historical events are determined by luck [or the hand of God] is profoundly shocking to most. The clinical psychologist, investment advisor, and pundit have intuitive skills in some of their tasks, but they may not have learned to identify the situations and the tasks in which intuition will betray them. People are often risk seeking in dealing with improbable gains and risk averse in dealing with unlikely losses. [This is why most investors would rather lower risk by spreading investments among assets in preference to clearly demonstrated higher gains of funds like Sequoia and GIN.] In fact, CFP professionals are required to adhere to such a philosophy of risk reduction vs maximizing gains.

Download this file (Thinking, Fast and Slow2.pdf)Thinking, Fast and Slow234 kB

Only as we learn to love God and others do we gain real freedom and autonomy in a society in which most people live in a state of slavery to their own needs and desires. Movement toward God moves us closer to others. Grace is God's help in seeing and knowing the world, ourselves, God, and others in such a way that love is made possible. Vainglory is essentially you selling yourself to others. Prayer is the fundamental activity of the Christian; to be in the image of God means to communicate with God. Prayer is a process that needs you to let images speak to your heart before they reach your head.

Download this file (To Love as GodLoves.pdf)To Love as God Loves174 kB

Computer science has become central to everything. Decision-making about war and peace needs to be reserved for humans. The move from horses to cars was the main contributing factor to the Great Depression. The combination of cars, trucks, and farm machinery between 1920 and 1930 led to a sharp reduction in the nation’s horse population—from 19.8m documented in the 1920 census to 13.5m a decade later. Farmers took 18m acres of land that had been devoted to horse feed and used it for the production of cotton, wheat, and tobacco. The total revenue earned by farmers from the 3 crops fell from $4.9b in 1919 to only $857m in 1932

Download this file (Tools and Weapons.pdf)Tools and Weapons187 kB

By reading and applying this book you can eliminate all of your business-related frustrations, have great employees at all levels who share your vision, communicate with each other, solve their own problems, and demonstrate accountability. The EOS identifies 6 Key Components of any organization. What drains your energy is unresolved issues. Create a 90-Day World; 90 days is about as long as a human being can stay focused. IDS. This is where the magic happens.

Download this file (Traction--Get a Grip on your Business.pdf)Traction243 kB

If we are truly to know joy, we cannot afford to shut down our experience of pain. Commit to persevere with reflection. Reflection is a powerful antidote to the helplessness we may feel as a result of trauma exposure. We call into our lives the teachers we most need to learn from. The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Kids have a preternatural capacity to read your natural state, because their survival depends on intuitively reading the emotional state of the adults in their lives. If you’re emotionally shut down, they’ll know it.

Download this file (Trauma Stewardship2.pdf)Trauma Stewardship186 kB

We need to belong. Being in a tribe is part of how we see ourselves. They make our lives better. Marketing is the act of telling stories about the things we make—stories that sell and spread. Leaders give people stories they can tell themselves. Great leaders focus on the tribe. When you lead without compensation, sacrifice without guarantees and take risks because you believe, you demonstrate your faith in the tribe and its mission. Caring is the key emotion at the center of the tribe.

Download this file (Tribes.pdf)Tribes161 kB

An Unfair Advantage is a condition, asset, or circumstance that puts you in a favorable business position. Partner up with somebody with unfair advantages that balance out yours. Investors and venture capitalists (VCs) expect you to be able to articulate what they call “your personal edge,” or your unfair advantage. At the core of your mindset is your “why.” Small is a key to calm. Luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often. Expertise is a self-taught process where you learn by doing. The goal is to reach the stage of learning by doing. [My Unfair Advantage is relentless learning and refining of ideas and processes].

C. S. Lewis spoke of George MacDonald as the one he is most eager to meet in heaven. The Bible nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word. The main object in God’s idea of prayer is the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of himself. They love their poor existence as it is; God loves it as it must be—and they fear him. God owes himself to the creature he has made in his image, for so he has made him incapable of living without him. Christ died to save us, not from injustice, nor justice, but from being unjust. Jesus did not die to save us from punishment, but to save us from our sins.

Download this file (Unspken Sermons.pdf)Unspoken Sermons171 kB

Capitalism remains the most moral choice among the world’s economic systems. By allowing individuals to experience the full range of outcomes produced by their choices, capitalism advances the virtue of responsibility for the entire society. The New Testament commends self-interest but mandates that it be balanced by concern for the interests of others. Every time a profit is made wealth is created.  God does not hate inequality, but injustice and oppression. Economic matters are moral issues that deserve our attention and passion in the same way that abortion captures our focus. Certain conditions and social structures must be present in a society in order for capitalism to flourish, as well as some virtues for capitalism to function as intended to introduce free-market capitalism.

Failure is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. The people I was trying to show Jesus’ love to were better at showing love than I was. An active hope is the greatest indicator of an individual or community’s potential success. Helping from a distance is different from helping from within. If we were to place education as our highest value, there would be no way any of us would put our children in local area schools. Being a mother means protecting life in a community. Healing is usually something we notice in the rear-view mirror. Blending in with the local people allowed me to experience what it was like to be overlooked, ignored, and hidden in plain sight.

Download this file (Voices Rising.pdf)Voices Rising.pdf175 kB

Capitalism creates abundance precisely because of its moral foundations and depends on a golden rule of enterprise: The good fortune of others is also your own. Entrepreneurs can only keep what they give away. Capitalism is a system that begins not with taking, but with giving to others. The essence of giving is not the absence of all expectation of return, but the lack of a predetermined return. Giving is the vital impulse and moral center of capitalism.  Capitalism offers a practical way of living a life of effective charity, transforming the gift impulse into a disciplined process of analysis of the needs of others. The spirit factor is best elicited by ownership. Free will is ultimately self-ownership. The very conscience of capitalism is the awareness that one must give to get, supply in order to demand. “Give and you will be given unto.” This is the secret not only of riches but also of growth. The central secret of capitalistic success is its ability to convert the search for security, embodied in savings, into the willingness to risk, embodied in enterprise. The greater aggressiveness of men accounts for much of their earnings superiority. All creative thought is thus in a sense religious, initially a product of faith and belief. The essence of the universe is creative consciousness, continually generating new energy and thought. Capitalism succeeds because it is founded on giving, which depends on sensitivity to the needs of others.  Success is always unpredictable and thus an effect of faith and freedom.

Download this file (Wealth and Poverty.pdf)Wealth and Poverty195 kB

{This major work is a narrative curation of the history of the world which traces how geography influenced culture, which influenced relative processes of prosperity—including both their rate and their lack.} The discomfort of heat exceeds that of cold. A law against property is a law against industry. The persecutor’s greatest loss is self-inflicted. Literate mothers matter. The best clue to a nation’s growth and development potential is the status and role of women. Europe’s development difference was culture, values, and initiative. Good government is not to be had for the asking. It took Europe centuries to get it. Motive matters less than consequences. Reason will triumph because reason pays. If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference. Temptation marks all societies, and only moral training and vigilance can hold it in check.

Download this file (Wealth and Poverty of Nations1.pdf)Wealth and Poverty of Nations 371 kB

Your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. Virtues are what you do, while values are merely what you believe. What you are is what you do. What you do is who you become. The required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust. Most people can absorb new information several times faster and more effectively by reading information than listening to it. A culture is a set of actions. When you take an action that’s inconsistent with your culture, the best fix is to admit it, then move to overcorrect the error. The “why” of every decision is what gets remembered. The samurai are the taproot of Japanese culture to this day--a system not of values but of virtues. Culture is a consequence of actions rather than beliefs. Nothing signals the importance of an issue like daily meetings about it. If you want to change who you are, you have to change the culture you’re in. You can’t change reality, but you can assign it a new meaning. The shining example of assigning meaning was what Abraham Lincoln did in his Gettysburg Address.

Download this file (What you do is Who you are2.pdf)What you do is Who you are263 kB