1. Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious by Gerd Gigerenzer
I’m kind of obsessed with intuition. It’s a mystery to me, but a powerful mystery. I don’t understand it yet I trust it at the same time. I tend to get overwhelmed quickly especially when I have to make a decision and I’ve found that listening to that nagging feeling in the gut helps with the overwhelm. I’ve found personally that using my intuition reduces my propensity for over thinking, worrying and waffling.
Gerd Gigerenzer backs up what I discovered on my own in Gut Feelings. He defines intuition or gut feelings as a judgment:
1. that appears quickly in the consciousness
2. whose underlying reasons we are not fully aware of, and
3. is strong enough to act upon
His book argues that these strong, quick judgments have an intelligence of their own based on rules of thumb or heuristics, which is just a fancy schmancy way of saying a fast problem solver. These rules of thumb that make up our intuition are simpler, easier, faster and sometimes more accurate than rational decision-making.
Interestingly, he offers examples of times when having less choice, being ignorant, and forgetting helps one make better decisions.
The thing about intuition is that everyone already uses theirs and more often than they realize. Gigerenzer doesn’t think intuition is better than or should replace logic. His point is that they each have their necessary place and use in our very complex world. He writes that in general:
Intuitions based on only one good reason tend to be accurate when one has to predict the future (or some unknown present state of affairs), when the future is difficult to foresee, and when one has only limited information. They are also more efficient in using time and information. Complex analysis, by contrast, pays when one has to explain the past, when the future is highly predictable, or when there are large amounts of information.
The book was fascinating if not a bit academic and strengthened my believe in my intuition. I’ll probably be writing more about it in the future. The next book is the reason why I’ll be writing more about it.
2. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
If you’re reading this right now, I’m going to guess you’re probably a writer. Even if you’re not and you just have a pulse and a fire in your belly to do something, then you’re going to want to get Turning Pro immediately. Actually, get Turning Pro and the book that preceded it The War of Art. After reading both books, you will never be the same again. Pressfield convinces you in a very direct, no-nonsense way to get to work, stop messing around and take your life seriously. If you want to be an artist instead of an addict, a creator instead of a consumer, a professional instead of an amateur then read this book. Here’s a little taste:
What we get when we turn pro is, we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.
The book is short but powerful. It’s almost impossible not to turn pro after reading it.
3. The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
Maybe every one or two months I wonder. I get restless and irritated and I wonder “what’s the point?” or “what’s it all about?”. I feel like an alien a lot of the time, especially when I look at the culture we live in and I need anything or anyone with a different way of looking at things. This usually happens around major holidays (I could start a rant here but I won’t). This week I discovered Alan Watts and his writing as I was searching out more info on intuition. I found an excerpt from The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are online and I found it fascinating.
I’ll sum it up: WE ARE ALL ONE. Actually, it’s more than that. WE ARE THE UNIVERSE. I liked this:
For ‘you’ is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.
Deep. I’ve thought about that everyday since I read it. It’s better than thinking we’re bodies that shop, spend, consume, then die.
I’m going to read the whole book as soon as I can find it.
I read a lot so I’ll have regular “What I’m Reading” posts. If you have any books to recommend strongly, please do!