Micro-Summary of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto in ONE WORD

The complete history of human imagination and the book (Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto) summarised in ONE WORD

Summary of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto 

Summary of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

The acclaimed historian, Felipe Fernández-Armesto, takes us on a journey through the history of the human imagination, from the dawn of civilization to the advent of social media in his new book Summary of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It 

To imagine – to see that which is not there – is the startling ability that has fuelled human development and innovation through the centuries. As a species, we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the pictures in our minds.

Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Felipe Fernández-Armesto in his latest book, Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps – from the first Homo sapiens to the pioneers of the digital age. Through ground-breaking insights into cognitive science, he explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalising glimpse into who we are and what we might yet accomplish.

So the micro-summary of  Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto in ONE WORD… is divergence (with an additional word to give a complete picture – keep speed reading…). It takes a genius to capture the history of humanity and where we are going with just one word+.

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Summary of 1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell Summary

1984 by George Orwell Summary

1984 by George Orwell (1903-1950)

Published 70 years ago, this seminal classic has every generation captivated, especially in the times of political turmoil. Big Brother’s long shadows and the vital defence of truth as well as newspeak, doublethink and thought police – refresh your memory of the past and future with the summary of 1984 by George Orwell.

Type of work Futuristic, cautionary novel
Setting London, in the mythical country of Oceania; 1984 (in the future)
Principal characters Winston Smith, a rebel against society, Julia, his lover, Mr Charrington, an elderly antique shop owner, O’Brien, the only member of the Inner Party Winston trusts

Story overview
As Winston Smith entered his apartment building, he passed a familiar poster. “It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.” Then Winston opened the door to his flat to be greeted by a voice on his “telescreen” – a device he could dim, but never shut off completely. Telescreens broadcasted government propaganda and served as the eyes and ears of the Thought Police, who scrutinized everyone for any possible deviation from acceptable thought or action.

In the flat was a tiny alcove just out of sight from the telescreen’s vision. Winston sat down to write in his diary, an act that was not officially illegal, “but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death. …” While he sat writing, a recent memory stirred in his mind; that day’s “Two Minutes Hate,” a government-sponsored work break in which every worker at the Ministry of Truth was required to participate, had consisted of an interlude when everyone raged and screamed as the telescreen alternately flashed images of enemy Eurasian soldiers and Golstein, an abhorred traitor. That morning, Winston had noticed a “bold-looking girl of about twenty-six” who worked in the Fiction Department. This particular girl – wearing the bright scarlet sash of the official anti-sex league – gave him “the impression of being more dangerous than most,” and Winston had the unnerving feeling that she was watching him.

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Summary of the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Summary of the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo Victor Hugo

Summary of the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo Victor Hugo

Type of work Gothic Romance
Setting Paris, France; 1842
Principal characters
16-year-old gypsy girl
Pierre Gringoire, a poet and writer
Claude Frollo, an archdeacon who desires Esmerelda for his own
Phoebus, captain of the guard, loved by Esmeralda

Story Overview
It was the Festival of Fools day in Paris. A boisterous crowd had gathered to witness the performance of a play written by poet Pierre Gringoire – and to choose the Prince of Fools, the title bestowed on the ugliest person in all Paris. Several acts into the play, however, the Parisians grew restless and demanded that the “Prince of Fools” be elected immediately.

To Gringoire’s consternation, the crowd turned its attention from his production to the contestAfter several hideous contestants had shown their faces, one particularly grotesque figure appeared before the judges. His huge head was “covered with red bristles [and] between his shoulders rose an enormous hump.” This candidate had a forked chin and lip from which protruded a tusk, and one eye was covered by a wart. In spite of his deformities, he was surprisingly strong and agile. This hideous creature was unanimously acclaimed Prince of Fools.

“It’s Quasimodo,” the crowd roared, “the bell ringer of Notre Dame.” Placing a jester’s hat on his head, a miter in his hand, and a robe on his rounded back, they paraded him through the streets of the city, singing and playing instruments. Quasimodo was overcome; this was the first time he had ever felt “the gratification of self-love.” Deaf from long years of ringing Notre Dame’s massive bells, he grinned in dignified muteness at the spectacle around him.

The procession paused when the crowd reached a spot where a trained goat danced gracefully to the enchanting sounds of a beautiful young gypsy girl’s tambourine. The girl was named Esmerelda. Suddenly, the Archdeacon Claude Frollo barged through the crowd, snatched the scepter from Quasimodo’s hand, and ripped off the hat and robe. The gathering stood aghast at the Archdeacon’s harsh treatment – yet they knew Quasimodo would submit himself to the master who, many years earlier, had taken in a deformed, unwanted baby left in the foundling box at the gates of the cathedral.

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Summary of Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz is a 1966 advertising classic and since it’s out of print, the price for this very detailed marketing manual is quite steep, starting from $125 upwards.

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

“The greatest mistake marketers make is trying to create demand.” writes Eugene M. Schwartz
One of the core messages of the book is to capture the attention of the existing audience that is already interested in your product or service. So the market research is key. So not much point wasting time to convince people who don’t want your product/service. Position your product/service to sell it only to those who do want it already.

A scattergun approach is a common mistake of general advertising where advertisers try to appeal and resonate with a broad audience, “so that we get the most interest.” Market research should be focused on understanding and articulating the audience’s “hopes, dreams, fears and desires,” which are emotional hot buttons responsible for purchasing decisions instead of guessing about them all. So exploiting and channelling people’s needs and desires is the purpose of marketing according to Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz.

The key message of the book is contained in this quote:
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it. Actually, it would be impossible for any one advertiser to spend enough money to actually create this mass desire. He can only exploit it. And he dies when he tried to run against it.”
Eugene M. Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising

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Summary of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Summary of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Summary of 21 Lessons for 21 Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Summary of 21 Lessons for 21 Century by Yuval Noah Harari

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari – the third book by the acclaimed author of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. This time he focuses on the present time and the problems and issues we’re facing (terrorism, fake news and immigration) and offers some solutions. 21 chapters/lessons are organised into five categories/parts: Part I: The Technological Challenge, Part I: The Political Challenge, Part III: Despair and Hope, Part IV: Truth and, finally and Part V: Resilience — and has tips on how to navigate the future we face – with the power of clarity. Some critics may argue that we’ve heard all this before but hopefully this time we’ll listen to the present-day voice of Cassandra. 

368 pages and Kindle typical time of non-speed reading of it is 7 hours and 6 minutes but with this in-depth summary, you’ll be up to speed on it in minutes (especially if you just read the micro-summary of this summary at the end of the blog or watch Harari talk about his new book).

On your future career prospect: soon you might not have one

“No remaining human job will ever be safe from the threat of future automation.” Critics or sceptics will say to this, that there has always been a talk of amazing futuristic innovations that haven’t really actualised yet. Say that to all candle makers who missed the memo that electricity was going to disrupt their business. The revolution of automation and AI will make humans redundant from all sorts of fields from truck-drivers to lawyers to accountants to teachers and so on.

“Once AI makes better decisions than us about careers and perhaps even relationships, our concept of humanity and of life will have to change.”

On future education: change is the only constant and learning to learn is the top skill to master

“The now century-old model of production-line school education is bankrupt.” AI the ultimate master machine learning algorithm will be able to do everything. Forget teaching kids programming, the best skill you can teach them is reinvention. “So what else should we be teaching? Many pedagogical experts argue that school should be switched to teaching ‘the four Cs’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.” And how to deal with constant change in the constantly changing world. “To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and a great reserves of emotional balance.”

This chapter on education is most interesting to me because of my interest in accelerated learning and education. In it, Harari charts the past and future of the education and what we should be doing now to ensure that the quality of education, information and knowledge is enhanced as opposed to degraded. The advice he gives to a 15-year old is: “don’t rely on the adults too much. Most of them mean well, but they just don’t understand the world.” What should you rely on then? Technology? Not really. Biotechnology, machine learning and algorithms? No. Should you rely on yourself then? If you know yourself, maybe – by most people don’t know themselves and are products of external influences because we’re living in the era of hacking humans. “To succeed in such a daunting task, you need to work hard on getting to know your operating system better.” But hurry, because your competition (Google, Amazon, Coca-cola, Facebook, Baidu, Netflix, Match or eHarmony, governments, religions, etc) is racing to hack you first.

Learning to learn or self-learning is the most important skill you’ll be relying on in order to reinvent yourself and face uncertainty and unknown leading to 2040.
Speed reading is a part of the accelerated learning methodology. Speed reading courses for kids as young as nine are available.

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Top 100+ Books on Prosperity and Wealth Creation

Prosperity booklist 

Prosperity, money and wealth creation – mean different things to different people. Whatever it means to you and if you want to have more of it, there is plenty of advice from people who have mastered the art of wealth creation. And what’s the best, easiest and cheapest way to learn how to do it – speed read their books or at least read the summaries of the books which counts as speed reading (we’ve summarised some of them for you). In an interview with Bill Gates, he was asked, “If you could have one superpower what would it be?” He responded with, “The ability to read super fast.”

Our personal choice for the top 6 books on prosperity

Richard Wiseman The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind (2004) – Read the summary
Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer Creating Money: Attracting Abundance (2008)
Anthony Robbins book Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (2014) – Read the summary
Paul McKenna I can make you rich (2007)
Deepak Chopra Creating Affluence (1998)
Shakti Gawain Creating True Prosperity (1997)

From: 50 Prosperity Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon

Master the inner game/mindset of wealth and abundance with books such as

James Allen The Path of Prosperity (1905)
In short: You will only become truly prosperous when you have disciplined your mind. Paradoxically, wealth (and happiness) comes most easily to those who forget themselves in their service to others.
Genevieve Behrend Your Invisible Power (1921)
Rhonda Byrne The Secret (2006)
T. Harv Eker Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (2005)
Charles Fillmore Prosperity (1936)
Esther Hicks & Jerry Hicks Ask and It Is Given (2004)
Napoleon Hill The Master-Key to Riches (1965)
Catherine Ponder Open Your Mind to Prosperity (1971)
John Randolph Price The Abundance Book (1987)
Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer Creating Money (1988)
In short: If you know the universe to be an abundant place, you won’t fear not having the resources to pursue your purpose or mission in life.
Marsha Sinetar Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow (1987)
Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–5)

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Books that changed my life and inspired me (Jan Cisek)

Why I read, speed read and spd rdng?

Many successful people are avid readers and speed readers such as Bill Gates who releases an annual list of his favourite books every year or  Barack Obama who said that reading helped him survive his two terms as President.

Over the years many books and authors have inspired me and changed the course of my life (thousands and thousands of books – I’ve lost count). I read for knowledge and wisdom as well as for pleasure (I am a bookaholic). The key difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom has better longevity and is possibly timeless as opposed to knowledge which as has an expiration date or if you like, it’s updated all the time. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ (prevention is better than cure) was relevant 100 years ago and probably will be relevant 100 years from now on. On the other hand, human understanding that the Earth was flat didn’t last long. Also, as an expert in some fields, I read for difference and new information, since difference gives me new learning, as opposed to reading for sameness which only increases my understanding and confirms what I already know. Some books have transformed my life to a new level and some books only clarified my existing life and made it better. We need both: understanding (repetition, sameness) and learning (difference, new). For example, Zen transformed my life because as a child and teenager I had no idea about such a domain and it expanded and increased my consciousness and my freedom as well as boosted my creativity. Books by Gilles Deleuze have transformed my life by making me a better thinker. On the other hand, books by Yuval Noah Harari clarified and confirmed my existing understanding – in a better, more concise way. (When I just mention authors, I’ve read all their books and books about their books as well – I did mention I’m a bookaholic, right?)

My timeless books list

I’m speed reading some of these timeless (for me) books, from time to time – not all but, just thin-slicing some of them again.

Fairy Tales by Grimm Brothers and any other fairy tales (when I was a child)

Sherlock Holmes (When I was a child 8-11, Sherlock was my mentor and teacher training me in deductive thinking. Mastermind by Maria Konnikova is the book about that kind of thinking if you want to think like Sherlock Holmes which I highly recommend.)

Teoria i metodyka ćwiczeń relaksowo-koncentracyjnych / Theory and Methodology of Relaxation-concentration Exercises compilation by Wiesław Romanowski (this was my first book on personal development I read when I was about 11 and it’s about the importance of relaxation as a way of dealing with stress and about meditation, autogenic training and Zen)

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
J.K. Rowling

Cybernetyka i charakter (Cybernetics and Character) by Prof Marian Mazur (This book I read several times when I was 14 and didn’t understand it, because I haven’t developed my mathematical intelligence enough but when I picked this book again when I was 15, I got it immediately. It’s about systems thinking and neurofeedback and presents a cybernetic theory of human character. The key argument is that our ‘character’ (not to be confused with the psychological term ‘personality’ relating to symptoms of human behaviour, not its source) cannot be changed by compulsion or persuasion or even self-persuasion. Therefore, in order to establish conformity between one’s character and one’s situation the only possibility (according to cybernetics) is to change the situation or environment, not the character, which is now been confirmed by genetics. Prof Mazur was nominated for the Nobel prize for his work and that’s why I got interested in this discipline at that young age.)

Poe, Musil, Kafka (from the age of 12 to 15 I was reading lots of literature by Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and similar)

Huna by Max Freedom Long (At 14 I was reading everything that was mind-expanding, extraordinary and about unlimited human potential. Huna was very trendy at that time in Poland.)

Introduction to Zen Buddhism by DT Suzuki (when I was 17, this book enlightened me to spirituality beyond Catholic religion)
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Speed Reading Trends: Micro-summaries of Books

Micro-summaries of books – the latest speed reading trend

Shortage of reading time sparks a trend of micro-summaries for people who don’t have time even to read regular summaries. I guess 240 characters could suffice to summaries almost anything as Twitter made it possible. Originally, started by Woody Allen’s famous quote “I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It involves Russia.”

Microsummaries are good examples of thin slicing of books.

 “Brevity is the soul of wit.” William Shakespeare

A few tongue-in-cheek macro-summaries

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Simile. Listen. Look interested. Remember people’s names. Repeat.

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Stop thinking about the past, stop anticipating the future. In fact, stop thinking. Now.

The 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Harris
Maximise results while minimising time spent. Decides to work less, then find a way to do that. Delegating is useful.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
Because they keep moving the cheese, you really need to be ready for the cheese to move. Got it? A business category for two mice, two little people in a maze seeking cheese.

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
If you had a black box (like on a plane), you’d see how you failed and how to succeed.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Ask ‘why’ questions and you’ll be more innovative, influential and profitable than others.

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Focus on your top five talents or capabilities (after you’ve done a Gallup test online) to thrive.

Outliers: The Story Of Success by Malcolm Gladwell: Get born at the right moment, in the right place, to the right family and then still you have to work really hard.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell  is number 6 on The 100 Best Books of the Decade according to The Times

Book summary of ‘Thin slicing’ of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers: The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell’s books summarised

Anthony Robbins book Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom: earn more, spend less and automate the investing process

Micro-summary of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
There are three main threats to human civilisation:
1) nuclear war,
2) climate change/ecological collapse and
3) technological/biological disruption.
The key suggestions are:
• to start the conversation about all the above threats because these global problems can have only global solutions,
• get real – throw off the false faiths of institutional religions and
• meditate.
Speed read the full version of the summary of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It by Felipe Fernández-Armesto: DIVERGENCE
(with an additional word CONVERGENCE)

Read the best book summaries

How to speed read 365 books/year

The importance of reading summaries first – speed reading technique #26

Errornomics – The Science of Making Errors and How to Avoid them – Summary

Summary of Errornomics by Joseph Hallinan and why we make errors and what we can do to stop them.

Errornomics: Why We Make Mistakes and What We Can Do To Avoid Them

Errornomics: Why We Make Mistakes and What We Can Do To Avoid Them

Hallinan began working on this book by collecting cuttings involving human error. ‘Some were funny, some were tragic. There was one from Britain where people had ransacked the home of a baby doctor because they had mistaken the word paediatrian for paedophile.’

So why do we make mistakes? According to Hallinan, an assumption is the mother of all cock-ups. “People have a poor understanding of how perception works and they tend to think it’s more foolproof than it is actually the case. In certain forms of perception, there are consistent, provable, biases and those biases predispose us to making errors.” A good example of this is taking exams. The perceived wisdom is to go with your first answer because it’s most likely to be right. In fact, academic research form past 80 years has shown the opposite to be true. It’s much better to go with your second guess but people don’t do that.

5 top tips for avoiding mistakes

1) Make a list.
A leading medical journal recently reported that when surgeons used a pre-surgical checklist, the death rate from surgical error plunged by 47%.

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Malcolm Gladwell’s books summarised

“Indeed, Gladwell’s three lucrative theses are deceptively simple — even superficially simplistic.
His first book, The Tipping Point, noted that at a point of critical mass . . . things change, and that certain people have outsize influence in making that happen.
The second book, Blink, points out that first impressions and gut feelings matter.
And now his third, Outliers, makes the case that to be successful you need to work hard and have some lucky breaks. To which one could certainly say, “Duh”.

Read the article about Malcolm Gladwell in the TimesOnline

Read the best book summaries

‘Thin slicing’ and summary of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers: The Story of Success

The secret of how to master anything: 10 000 hours of training. Summary and thin slicing of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success

A fair slice of his latest book might be summed up in the old saw about genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. His own favourite figure is that to be genuinely good at anything, from writing a book to being a Beatle, takes a magic total of 10 000 hours of intensive training – that’s about 3 hours/day for 10 years (like in this joke: “Excuse me, how do I get to Carnegie Hall? “Practise.”).

Plus you have to be born at the right moment, at the right place, to the right family and then still you have to work really hard. That’s about it. I just saved you £17.

By the way, thin slicing is a term used by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Blink’, which means taking the smallest slice of cake vertically in order to find out what the cake is like. Similarly the spd rdng techniques are designed to allow you to focus on the smallest amount of information possible to understand a subject or text. Summaries and micro-summaries are examples of thin slicing.

And AI machine learning algorithms can train themselves in minutes as opposed to humans who would take 10 000 hours. Soon humans will become irrelavent as one of the top Cassandras Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century predicts.

Only-ness Principle from Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier

Only-ness principle comes from Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier

Only-ness statement reads like this: “Our brand (offering) is the only … (category) that … (benefit).”

The only-ness test

The only-ness test

Simple branding process to put it all together to position your brand well is to ask: WHAT is your category? HOW are you different? WHO are your customers? WHERE are they located? WHY are we important? And WHEN do they need us (underlying trend)? The only-ness statement provides a framework for your brand. Once you’ve defined your point of differentiation, you will have a decisional filter for all your company’s future decisions. By checking back against your statement you can quickly see whether any new decision will help or hurt, focus or clutter, purify or modify your brand. The brand positioning is about one simple, starting fundamental question: What makes you the “only”? Onlyness is the secret of brand’s positioning.

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Summary of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

‘Thin slicing’ and summary of Blink – The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

The key concept of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by (and Spd Rdng) is ‘thin slicing’which is our instinctual or intuitive ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, spontaneous decisions are often as good as – or even better than – carefully planned and considered ones. Gladwell draws on examples from science, advertising, sales, medicine, and popular music. However, your ability to thin slice can be corrupted by your likes, dislikes, prejudices and stereotypes, and you can be overloaded by too much information.

The key message is to learn when to trust your gut reaction. A key strategy for getting the gist of a book is to ‘thin slice’ the cross-section of the book to get as much of the message as possible without reading it from cover to cover.

How do you slice a cake in order to find out what it’s like?
(Obviously, you cut a vertical slice  – but most people read books as if they were eating a cake layer by layer)


Speed read microsummaries of Malcolm Gladwell’s books