Hearing something regularly doesn’t make it true

Do you know what the “illusory truth effect” is? It’s our tendency to treat a false or misleading statement as fact after repeated exposure. You see, as humans, we tend to take shortcuts when assessing if what we hear is true or not. Instead of racing out to collect facts, we evaluate statements based on prior knowledge and how familiar we are with them. Researchers have shown that people who are exposed repeatedly to statements, even when false, are more likely to believe they are true.

How does this work you ask? Let’s take a look at a specific example.

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Book review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Book cover for The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

If you’ve been following my latest business book reviews, you’ll notice they’ve been mostly of the storytelling type. They include The Energy Bus, The Go-Giver Leader, and Get A Grip. I like business books written in this style. They’re much easier to read than business books written like academic textbooks. They’re more entertaining, obviously. Best of all, when they’re written well, I learn from them.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that my latest business book read was also of the fable variety. My nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine, has clearly figured me out. It suggested The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, multiple times. I finally relented, purchased the book, and added it to my reading list.

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Sweeping the Floor

We’re 2 weeks into the new decade. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

From what I see at the gym in the morning and around my neighborhood, a lot of people are doing a good job sticking with it. As I do every year, I’m seeing new faces at the gym, and new people walking and jogging around the neighborhood. While most will dwindle away, some will stick with it. The new routines will become habit, which is when they will start to notice changes in their body.

When people set resolutions for the year, they are always around diet and fitness. People want to eat better and work out to improve their health and lose weight, which are both great goals. Why don’t people place the same attention on their mental health as their physical health?

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Book review: Get A Grip – An Entrepreneurial Fable

Book cover for Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton

Most business books tend to be dry and boring. An author introduces a framework or set of concepts. These are explored in detail. Theoretical examples of how to apply them are given. Every once in a while, I’ll come across a business book in this format that is well written and reads easily. For the most part though, these books are a slog and take me a long time to read.

The business books I like are those that weave the framework or concepts into a story. They are easier to read and entertain at the same time. While I may not be able to apply or use the concepts presented, more often than not, I read through this style of business book faster. It feels a lot less like work and is way more enjoyable.

My latest business read, Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton, uses the story-telling style to introduce their Entrepreneurial Operating System framework, or EOS for short.

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2019 – Year in review for the blog

2019 marked the 7th year that I’ve maintained a blog. Since the overwhelming majority of blogs don’t make it past the 6-month mark, I’m happy that I’ve been able to stick with it for this long, and I plan to continue.

As I’ve done each year, here’s the review of the blog’s performance in 2019 and my blogging goals for 2020. It’s a fun state of the union exercise to look back and see how things have went, traffic levels, popular posts, and more.

If you’re interested in past year’s performance, click on the year to see the review for that time and the forward looking goals:

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Book review: Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again – The Way of Living Generously

Book cover for Giving It All Away...and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

What do you do when your mother gives you a book recommendation? You read it, of course.

I don’t get a lot of book recommendations from my mom. One of the last ones that I remember getting was Boys in the Boat, which I enjoyed. So when I get a recommendation from her, I take it seriously.

The most recent recommendation I got was for Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green. If you don’t know who David Green, don’t be ashamed. I didn’t know who he was either until I started reading the book.

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2020 Fitness Goals

Every year I like to review my fitness goals for the prior year and set new ones for the upcoming year. I’ve found that setting measurable goals and then publishing them keeps me on track and holds me accountable.

In 2019, my goals were focused around three areas – working out, walking, and diet. These were the same 3 areas of focus for 2018, and they will be the same for 2020.

When looking back over the last year, things went well for the most part. There a couple of adjustments I’d like to make. Otherwise, it’s going to be more of the same in the upcoming year. Sometimes it’s best not to fix it if it isn’t broken, if you know what I mean.

Here’s the look back at 2019, and the look ahead at 2020.

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Book review: Jesus Calling

Book cover for Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

In 2018, I added a daily reading to my morning routine. I read The Daily Stoic, which had a short passage by an ancient Greek or Roman Stoic philosopher, followed by a written summary that provided more insight into the passage. It was similar to a daily devotional, although it was more secular than spiritual in nature.

For 2019, I decided to read a ‘true’ daily devotional. I’ve always wanted to read, learn, and understand more about The Bible, and a devotional seemed like a good way to get started. I chose Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which was recommended to me by a close business associate.

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Books to read in 2020

As I like to do every year, here are my book recommendations for you to consider adding to your 2020 reading list. I like to break the recommendations into sections – general recommendations, personal development, business reads, and fun reads.

I read 32 books in 2019, which is more than I usually read. For some reason, the books leaned more towards non-fiction, so this year’s list will be a bit light on the fiction side. I’m planning to read a more balanced selection of books in 2020, which I addressed when creating my reading list for this year.

Here are this year’s recommendations:

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Book review: Future Crimes

Book cover for Future Crimes by Marc Goodman

When I was growing up, my parents taught me to be wary of strangers. “Don’t take candy from strangers” was ingrained in my memory. My parents also taught me to avoid dark alleys and the areas of town where danger lurked. They taught me how to stay safe in the real world.

While I’ve passed those lessons on to my children, a new danger has emerged. It’s the danger of the online world, of surfing the internet. It affects all of us, both young and old.

Criminals, who are always looking for ways to exploit weaknesses, have moved online to carry out their nefarious activities. Not only are the weaknesses easier to exploit on the internet, they are also easier to scale. In the real world, a thief has to rob a person or a store one at a time to make their money. They take the risk of doing it face-to-face hiding behind a mask. In the online world, a thief can write a script that can steal the credit card information for thousands of people at one time. The internet makes it easy for them to hide their identity and cover their tracks. They can also carry out their attacks from anywhere in the world, which can make it difficult to bring them to justice in the countries where the victims are located.

In Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World, Marc Goodman looks at how criminals are carrying out their online attacks, the risks posed by future technology, and what can we do to improve online security now and in the future.

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