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Old 05-09-2018, 09:08 AM   #31
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Default Robert Frost & Learning

Robert Frost reputedly said, "The great value of education is to teach you that whatever you are interested in there's a book about it." See this Quote Investigator piece about Frost and what he might have said https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/07/07/self-education/

Here's my next book:
The Paranoid Corporation and 8 Other Ways Your Company Can Be Crazy: -- Advice from an Organizational Shrink

The interest: when thinking about my latest client I return repeatedly to this place is acting like a depressed person. This led to thinking about the depressed organizaiotn which led to this book.

It came out in 1993 and my local academic library owns a copy to borrow. Used on abebooks it's under $6. If I like it I might get one for myself and a one for the client.

R

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Old 05-16-2018, 08:14 AM   #32
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Default wed may 16

Up very early (awake at 4:30, out of bed around 5:45) to facilitate a challenging first workshop with a new client. The client atmosphere feels depressed, so I'm deliberately dialing down my customary buoyant self.

Remembering to breathe and getting a solid breakfast in me. These events take lots of energy. Right now feeling calm yet a bit of stage awareness, let's say.

Before I go hope to get started on a google forms for putting in the evaluations. Trying this because it can compile stats for the group with built-in stat routines.

Speaking of routines, got Algorithms to Live By from the library yesterday. Maybe it will be as life changing as Metaphors to Live By was a few decades ago!

R
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Old Yesterday, 01:59 PM   #33
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Default Optimism

I'm reading Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. Got it from my nearest university library: BF 39 *C4885 2016. I thought it would be nearly as life changing as Metaphors to Live By. Not really. I once made card stacks I call Megoarithms™. My stacks were more generally useful.

The interesting thing about this book is it's mainly the discussion among math folks that have daily implications. There are no true algorithms as I understand the term: a series of discrete steps to do which lead to an expected result. A recipe is an algorithm for assembling ingredients, preparing them in a particular order and combination, processing them (with blades, heat, cold, or time) and voila! your dish is served.

On page 45 I found this affirming quote about optimism. I stopped calling myself that in public as most people, even ones with delightful lives, make a public todo about "what's there to be optimist about ... " mostly keyed to corrupt political processes and reports of coming disasters covered in the daily press of news.

45/ Upper Confidence Bound algorithms implement a principle that has been dubbed "optimism in the face of uncertainty." Optimism, they show, can be perfectly rational. By focusing on the best that an option could be, given the evidence obtained so far, these algorithms give a boost to possibilities we know less about. As a consequence, they naturally inject a dose of exploration int the decision-making process, leaping at new options with enthusiasm because any one of them could be the next big thing. …

The success of Upper Confidence Bound algorithms offers a formal justification for the benefit of the doubt. Following the advice of these algorithms, you should be excited to meet new people and try new things—to assume the best about them, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. In the long run, optimism is the best prevention for regret.
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What's interesting to me about this is (1) all optimism, and pessimism, for that matter, deals with the face of uncertainty. Pessimists really don't like feeling let down, that they failed, or that events disappointed them. The hold the expectations low. Optimists tend to the polar expectations because they don't mind risking the sadder feelings.
Here's the rub: pessimists and optimists then behave in ways that partially self-fulfill their stance. Pessimists, in my experience, semi-wait for things to happen to them and test against their expectations; optimists semi-make things happen to test against their experience. The mix might vary per persons, but say even a 20 point swing for a couple, person P is 60-40 wait-to-make ratio while person W is 40-60 wait-to-make ratio, how will this play out in their living or working together?

Pessimist and "realists" or pessimists in disguise trying to pretend to straddle the two, use evidence in different ways than optimists. Here's Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the topic:

It is more prudent to be a pessimist. It is an insurance against disappointment, and no one can say “I told you so,” which is how the prudent condemn the optimist. The essence of optimism is that it take no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy. Of course there is a foolish, shifty kind of optimism which is rightly condemned. But the optimism which is will for the future should never be despised, even if it is proved wrong a hundred times. It is the health and vitality which a sick man should never impugn. Some men regard it as frivolous, and some Christians think it is irreligious to hope and prepare oneself for better things to come in this life. They believe in chaos, disorder and catastrophe. That, they think, is the meaning of the present events and in sheer resignation or pious escapism they surrender all responsibility for the preservation of life and for the generations yet unborn. To-morrow may be the day of judgement. If it is, we shall gladly give up working for a better future, but not before.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thank you Rev. Bonhoeffer.
R

Note: The "present events" were the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930s.
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