Sunday, March 30, 2014

Read: Dance with Chance

Title: Dance with Chance: Making Luck Work for You
Author: Spyros Makridakis, Robin Hogarth, Anil Gaba
Publisher: OneWorld Publication, 2009

This book was on a list of recommended books to read. When I was at the library, I decided to borrow this book. It took me close to two weeks to finish reading this book.

I find this book quite interesting to read. My favourite chapter is that of "The inevitability of decisions".

In the preface, the authors stated that the goal of the book was to help people make better decisions in situations where accurate forecasting is just not possible. There is uncertainty and limits to predictability. When we can recognize what exactly can and cannot be predicted, can we manage realistically the uncertainty in our lives.

This book seems to discuss partly on risk management. The authors pointed out two kinds of risks: subways and coconuts. The former is predictable most of the time whereas the latter cannot be predicted and planned for. It seems like there are some things we cannot predict. The authors suggested a "Triple A" strategy to handling uncertainty:
1) Accept that there are things beyond our control in an uncertain world.
2) Assess the level of uncertainty that we are facing using the available inputs, models, data.
3) Augment the assessment of the level of uncertainty that we are facing. This can be done in two ways. One way is by exploiting the hindsight to imagine what could be a realistic-sounding situation if we were to fast forward into the future and look back at what had 'happened'. The second way is to obtain the data and double the range that is obtained.

For myself, the concepts of the use of sminking (for repetitive decisions), effective thinking (for unique decisions), using experts, blinking, use of emotions so as to make better decisions were pretty intriguing.

In a world filled with uncertainties, this book lends us insights on the illusion of control and the issue of how luck operates. I am pleased with this read.

Also read: The illusion of control: dancing with chance by Cynthia Owens, 4 May 2009

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Teach a Life, for Life


One of my friends, Eileen Chai, is writing a book entitled Teach a Life, for Life, and producing an original song that is live looped on violin with vocals Enjoy the Ride. Both the book and the song will be launched in June 2014.

This book and song project is intended to inspire people to discover their strengths and overcome difficulties, to encourage the young ones to understand the meaning of resilience, commitment and friendship, in their life journey, and to motivate people to embrace challenges as there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

The process of publishing the book will require editorial work, illustration of cover, book formatting, printing, binding, distribution and promotion. To produce the song, funds will be needed for recording, editing, mixing and mastering. If the cause of this project moves you and you would like to make a pledge towards a part of the funding of this project, please refer to these URL links for more information: 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Places: Reliving Haw Par Villa

Photo courtesy of Belinda Tan.

If you have missed this weekend's Reliving Haw Par Villa, you may wish to set aside time for this event the following weekend. Here is an account of my visit to Haw Par Villa this weekend: Places: Reliving Haw Par Villa.

Reliving Haw Par Villa

262 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore 118628

15, 16 , 22, 23 March 2014

9.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.

Admission is free.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Read: Harford's Adapt

Title: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure
Author: Tim Harford
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This is a book that I had picked from the library shelves. I could have caught glimpses of this book a few years ago at the bookstores yet did not get to read it. Although this book cover and the content did not look attractive, I decided it was worthwhile to read the book.

In this book, Tim Harford discusses new and inspiring approaches to solving the most complex and pressing issues in our life. It appears that the world has become far too unpredictable and profoundly complex. The notion that is put forth is that we must learn to adapt.

Harford presents many case examples to explain the necessary ingredients for turning failure into success.

One of my take-aways from reading the book was the Palchinsky principles:
1) First, seek out new ideas and try new things. (variation)
2) Second, when trying something new, do it on a scale where failure is survivable. (survivability)
3) Third, seek out feedback and learn from your mistakes as you go along. (selection)

This unexpected read has not been one of the most accessible reading since I was not familiar with a number of the examples. Nevertheless, it has brought me to look at failures in a slightly different way.

Friday, March 07, 2014

10 Jul 2013: Salzburg's exploration

10 Jul 2013:

We reached Salzburg in the afternoon after spending some hours on the coach. The first thing to do was to unload our luggage in the hotel room. Thereafter, I joined a group of friends to head towards the Mirabellgarten (Mirabell Garden). We came across a food station that serves sausages and more, so we indulged ourselves.

After savouring the sausages and more, we continued our journey to Mirabell Garden. This is one of the filming locations of the Sound of Music. A beautiful place to visit.

Mirabell Garden

After spending a considerable amount of time there, we found our way to the Mozart Residence. We learnt that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived in that house from 1773 until 1780. Photography is not allowed in the exhibition galleries of the Mozart Residence. What I remember viewing in the Mozart Residence is many portraits of Mozart. The unfinished portrait of Mozart by Joseph Lange is said to most resemble Mozart. If time is a constraint, I would prefer to visit the Mozart's Birthplace to the Mozart Residence.

In the background is Mozart Residence in Salzburg.

My most memorable views of Salzburg seem to revolve around the river Salzach. Life seemed to calm itself down in Salzburg. Our next destination would be Mozart's Birthplace.