015-2020 Extreme Ownership

Title: Extreme Ownership (How US Navy Seals lead and win)

Author: Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Good morning my fellow readers.

It’s been quite a week already, and now bringing the book review on this book to you will also be quite a treat.

This book was authored by two Navy Seals that have been tried and tested in battle and leadership, and with this book they want to bring those lessons to you to learn from. Quite frankly, I believe that one can learn a few things by going to the military which you might not have learnt otherwise if you weren’t taught them directly.

I started with this book last week Sunday, and managed to finish it off on Friday. With that I don’t mean to brag at all. In fact, I’m only pointing out that I read it in that period because I got hooked quite well from the start of the first chapter, and tried to cover some proper ground every day.

Every chapter was written in the following structure:

  • Scenario in Ramadi (Iraq)
  • Principle learnt (ie. moral of the story)
  • Application in business

Meaning, he plots a few stories in Iraq he faced with his brothers, and slips in the lesson he learnt in that story. Then he takes that principle and breaks down the importance and value of that principle, before applying it to the business life the rest of us find ourselves in.

Also, every chapter brings you a separate principle, so with every chapter you learn one additional thing, but in summary see how all those principles link up to the main principle stated in the book: Extreme Ownership.

Without wanting to give away too much from the book, these are the principles I took away from the book:

  • Extreme Ownership – take ownership of everything within your control
  • There’s no such thing as bad teams, only bad leaders
  • Only if leaders believe in the mission can they make their teams believe as well
  • Don’t let your ego cloud your judgement
  • Cover and Move – teamwork
  • Simple – keep plans and instructions simple, not complex
  • Prioritize and Execute – faced with multiple situations, prioritize and then execute them in order
  • Decentralize leadership – giving lower ranks a voice (and confidence to contribute)
  • Plan for the mission
  • Leadership requires hard decisions – make decisions that best follow the mission

The big message I took away from the book was Extreme Ownership. Take accountability for everything around you so you can lead your team better to achieve ultimate success. This mind-set will break away the habit of becoming defensive and not taking responsibility when something didn’t go right, and maybe even blaming others. It makes you take responsibility as the leader of the group for the failure, and learn from those mistakes to correct your actions for the future.

Summary:

The book is easy to read, easy to understand and associate the principle with the real-life events. The principles taught are true pointers of what we could see a good leader to possess, and have respect for. Even if we don’t all strive for the ultimate leadership role, small leadership roles can also benefit from these principles in order to exhibit the best leader we can still be. Therefore, the book will take my rating of 4.9/5.

In my opinion, you will get the best value from the book when you read the full story that goes with each principle, and not just any summary. I strongly recommend this to anyone that feels they got a nudge from my review to buy a copy, and really buy yourself a copy, and take notes from all chapters for proper application.

Until next time, keep well!

014-2020 Currency Wars

Title: Currency Wars (The making of the next Global Crises)

Author: James Rickards

This is my second book with this author (the first being “Aftermath”), and just as with the first book, he has given me more to think about regarding our finance system.

Our currency system, exchange of paper money in return for goods or services, is based on the mutual trust we have that the paper money is representative of value. As long as we maintain that trust in the currency, the society can continue to function the way it currently does. But, once we lose that trust, people make a run for the banks to get out as much as possible.

In the kingdoms of the past our currency system was made up of coins, which were minted from real commodities. Additionally, the coin that was issued by the kingdom had the assurance from the king that the coin would be accepted as legal tender to take part in trade in that kingdom. Then, the invention from Asia was brought to the West, paper money, which proved much easier to carry around, and therefore a lighter coinpurse. However, that paper only had value because it must have been backed by something that held value in such a kingdom, this was gold. For a fixed amount of paper you could buy a specified amount of gold, or other commidity.

Therefore, as long as we had trust that for the paper money we used there was gold for which it could be exchanged, a simpler currency system could be used in daily circulation.

Entry, the chapters to the book.

Prior to the First World War, different countries had set a fixed exchange rate. One was allowed to exchange currency for a certain amount of gold. Every nation had fixed a different rate to gold, and thereby indirectly created an exchange rate between different currencies. Then, the war broke out and countries took out loans to finance the war from their side.

After the wars ended via an armistice, the winners wanted the losing countries to paid for all their debts which they had incurred to run the war. England and France were eyeing the erves of the losing country, whilst America wanted them to be afforded the chance to repay reparation costs through future economic output returns. Thereby, the losers would be able to build up their economy again, and also be able to repay reparation costs, rather than losing their ability to generate any economic output at all, and be in ruin.

Germany then underwent a currency devaluation (ie. making the purchasing power of other countries in Germany stroonger) to become an attractive country to manufacture goods. France followed soon after, since they wanted to regain the competitive advantage that Germany had gained, and afterwards countries like England and America experienced their Great Depression. The purchasing power of the currencies dropped significantly, and many people lost savings and were financially ruined.

Throughout all this Germany became stronger again, and a strong economic player in the world trade. Sadly, the country engaged in war again in 1939, and led to World War 2.

After the end of the second war, the different countries came together and decided that all the different currencies of the different countries should be pegged to one currency, the strongest currency, which had value for the other currencies since that currency was backed by gold reserves. This was settled in the Bretton Woods conference, where the US Dollar was then set as the pegged currency.

Since that day, the US Dollar was backed by gold, and other countries that traded with the US Dollar in their transactions had the assurance that for every Dollar in circulation there is a certain amount of gold stored somewhere. Some countries, however, became stronger than after the war had ended, and decided to build up their gold reserves. It became so bad that in 1971 the then President of America decided to take the US Dollar off the gold standard, and no one was allowed to exchange their dollars for physical gold. This was done in order to preseve the gold levels in the country. Further, America wanted to devalue their currency against other countries, because it felt the Dollar was overvalued, which would make other suppliers in other countries cheaper to buy from, and result in loss of jobs to America. By devaluing the US Dollar, the purchasing power was dropped in relation to other countries, in order to improve its competitiveness against other trading countries.

Another way the purchasing power of the US Dollar was dropped was when during the Financial Crash (2007-2009) the Federal Reserve printed money from thin air, which should be injected into the economy to get trade going again (called Quantitative Easing – QE). Since more paper money was in supply the demand for it wasn’t as strong as when there were fewer, so the price to acquire a Dollar dropped.

Now, you may want to ask me, when am i will come around to write the review on the book. Well, what I have recounted above is what the book is about. It elaborates the hsitory of the US Dollar in the 20th century, and how volatile paper currency is as money. Our paper money can have one value associated with it one day, and the next lose it, which means saving all our money in the bank is not necessarily equivalent to becoming rich, or ensuring ones financial future. Our modern day currency is so susceptible to lose its value that we actually need to consider more than one way to maintain wealth, and not through saving money in the bank only.

Summary:

The book gave me really more perspective on the matter of currency, and how important it is not to rely on something like paper to sustain our future retirement. We need to become financially educated and never rely on another person to take care of us, but work and build our asset columns. Book takes my rating of 4.3/5

I hope that when you decide to read this book one day you will also get a shock, and wake up to realize just how volatile our modern-day currencies are, and that more than savings in the bank will do the job of securing a financially securer future.

Happy future reading!

013-2020 Who stole my pension

Title: Who stole my pension

Author: Robert Kiyosaki & Edward Siedle

I might have finished this book last week, but I only bring you my review today. Last week we had quite the weekend and so I just decided to postpone for a short while.

I am still young and hope to have a few more decades to live and earn enough to build up my asset column until the day that I call it quits and start receiving payouts from my pension. Therefore, you may say that you don’t need to spend too much time on checking in on your pension.

What the idea is behind the book is that it explains to you that you should actually not rely on the idea that you will be taken care of with the pension that you built up in your years of work. Rather, you should take more control, and make sure that the overseers of your pension you are relying on are doing their jobs properly right now, and not mismanaging your funds.

The first half of every chapter is written by Edward, and then Robert closes off the second part with his contribution. Edward explains that pension funds which he has looked into have not been doing their jobs well enough, and to rectify for their mistakes they cut benefits to the beneficiaries, you. I’ll be honest, that sounds like that may be happening, and that is really sad that people do this to other people.

Us youngsters may think that we don’t need to worry too much about this right now, because still have a while to go, and that if the pensions of the older retirees go bust right now, that it won’t be our problem. Well, I think you may be surprised. I don’t believe that we will get off that easily. I think that if their pensions are lost, the government may intervene and bring in policies to help them get something out of the collapsed system. Maybe taxes, maybe something else. And if you have parents that could lose their pensions, they might just fall back on us to take care of them.

So, as much as we may think we are not impacted by this, it could just be that we get hit by this in a way we didn’t think about before, and by then that will have become our new reality.

Summary:

Although I received the message which they wanted to convey to us as readers, that people managing pension funds are being reckless, and to make up, they cut pension benefits (pay-outs) to its beneficiaries, and that we should therefore take a more active role to keep them in line, the book didn’t really feel like it gave very much new information. I didn’t get much more value than I did when I bought the other books from Robert (“Rich dad, poor dad” and “Fake”) and therefore don’t rate this book as highly among my reading list.

I therefore rate this book with a 2/5, because it does bring attention to the mismanagement issue for our pensions, but it doesn’t give very much helpful information in the book to learn much more.

Regardless, I still think the message they are relaying to us is important for all of us, and that we should take steps to ensuring we can become financially independent.

012-2020 7 skills for the future

Title: 7 skills for the future

Author: Emma Sue Prince

Hi there fellow readers,

it seems another week has come to pass, another week with another good book done and dusted.

This is a book I picked up in the store, only after the third time of seeing it in the store. Even though it did catch my attention when they first displayed it, I didn’t see the value in it as I do now.

The book (as the title gives it away) lists 7 soft skills that the author believes need to be honed by every one of us in order to cope better in the new environment we find ourselves in. These skills are the following seven:

  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Optimism
  • Being proactive
  • Resilience

The structure of each chapter is as follows:

  • Giving us the definition of what the skill means, and what it’s all about;
  • Listing reasons why the skills was selected as being necessary for the environment we live in these days;
  • Methods and steps we can adopt to apply the skill better in our daily life; and
  • A hypothetical case study of a person who is not utilizing the skill described in the chapter; explanation how this is not helping the person; and then a glimpse of the person’s life a few weeks/months later after the person made the conscious choice to improve that skill for themselves

As you read it it sounds like another one of those self-help books. Those where you feel inspired after reading a few chapters, and then also after finishing the last page. Then, a few weeks/months have passed, and we didn’t apply the principles of the book (or we haven’t applied them consistently to have grown a new habit). Then you take up the next one, just to get that inspiration again.

I didn’t immediately get that perception from this book. It stresses the importance of making conscious effort to keep the habit, and skill, part of our lives.

As I read through the individual chapters, I tried to reflect on how I might be experiencing a lack of these skills in my daily life, and whether I could potentially improve upon that area in my life. The one I’ll share, is the one that really hit me the hardest recently, adaptability.

  • I moved to another country, and believed that I could fit in without much effort. Turns out, this was not the case. The culture, work ethic, and people are quite different, and therefore I had to learn that the only way to really have this work out is to make an effort to adapt to this environment.
  • You cannot move somewhere and expect someone to change for you. If you came to them, it is you that needs to adapt.
  • I learned this the hard way, but at least I became self-aware of my lack in this area, and I have then made effort to change and work to fit in with how the rules and customs works in this country.

One good thing about these skills is that once you adopted them, you can work on teaching them to your own children (once you have some), and then make it a little easier for them. But first you must put in the effort to work on yourself, and that is the parting message I wish to leave with this book.

Summary:

The skills noted in the book are very important to be learnt, especially in the environment we are living in, and what it may become in the future. The author writes the chapters in a methodical way, and give clear explanations for each skill. The book gets my 4.75/5

I hope you learn as much as I have from this book if you do decide to get yourself a copy!

Until next time, have a great day!

011-2020 7 Secrets to investing like Warren Buffet

Title: 7 Secrets to investing like Warren Buffet

Author: Mary Buffett & Sean Seah

Good afternoon everyone,

Today, I give you a review of a book that a friend recommended to me a while ago, which I haven’t previously gotten around to reading yet. We regularly exchange information on companies we feel have the potential for growth, as well as what we think could be something we should be looking out for in the next few years. I would say he is the first member of my Master Mind Group. (if you want to find out where that reference comes from, I would recommend the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill)

The book is split between two topics, intentionally. Between becoming a person (habits and mindset) that is happy, healthy and up for the game of investing ; and then of course the investment strategy part.

The order in which the chapters were structured are clear, because they wish to get you to understand that you can change small things to get into a good state of mind before taking part in the game of investing. Then they introduce you to the term ‘value investing‘, which itself is the strategy adopted to approach buying shares in companies.

The idea of applying a strategy of course is to approach a situation as best prepared as we possibly can be, and mitigate the risks as much as possible, rather than going in unprepared and exposed to the full impact of all risks combined.

With this favoured approach, you are taught a whole bunch of lessons, some of which you may have even heard from interviews with Warren Buffet. Among them are the following:

  • Circle of Competence
  • Economic Moat
  • Financial Statement Analysis
    • Is the Equity growing over time?
    • Does the business have huge debt? (Debt-Equity ratio)
    • How consistent are the company profits?
    • Is the company using its returns efficiently? (Return on Equity)
    • What is the Net cash from Operating Activity position?
    • What is the Free Cf position of the company?
  • Valuation
    • Net – Net Valuation (current A vs current L)
    • Price to Book Value (stock price vs company book value)
    • PE Ratio (stock price relative to latest earnings)
    • Dividend Yield (dividend pay-out relative to stock price)
    • Graham’s Growth Formula (calculate value to include earnings expected of the future)
  • Margin of safety
  • Portfolio Risk Management
  • etc.
  • They also have a website where you could advance you training, which I haven’t tried but just thought I can mention as a bonus (www.buffettonlineschool.com – search for the name in Google and you should be able to find it)

Not giving away too much, a brief summary from my side of some of the topics listed above:

  • You shouldn’t follow with the crowd and invest in what everyone else is investing, just because that’s what the crowd is doing. You should invest in what you believe holds the greatest value, and will continue to do so. That said, you generally can only make such a call if you understand what the product/service is that they are offering.
  • Since an investment holds some risks, it would be ideal to know of some factors that mitigate those risks to support you to move ahead with the decision to invest.
  • As much as it is important to consider the factors above (qualitative factors), we cannot conclude on a big decision without also performing some sort of financial analyses, to establish whether the company is able to carry on with its trading activities.
  • Finally, when a decision was made to invest, we need to further consider whether we hold that same belief in the coming years, for all the companies we invested in. We check back in our portfolio to see whether the value we expected the company to have still exists present day, and whether the future prospects are what is in line with our investment approach.

I had already read some other finance material in the past, and thus even wondered if I would gain more financial insight if I read this as well, or whether it would just be a refresher of what I already knew. However, I believe it was of benefit to read this little booklet as well, as the authors really broke down the finance jargon into easily understandable lingo, and even made some clarifications to some of the jargon that I had previously over-complicated.

Summary:

Good intro read for anybody that is interested to get started with investing in the stock market. Chapters are short and straight to the point, without long complex explanations. The book for me deserves a good 4.5/5, since it is very good to help a large audience to enter another industry, vital for anyone that wishes to improve their financial independence.

Until next time, happy reading!

010-2020 The Infinite Game

Title: The Infinite Game

Author: Simon Sinek

Good day fellow readers,

this is my first read of a book published by this author. Before, I had only watched a clip on Facebook where he was interviewed on a show where he discussed something about why the young generation today was failing with something. That some will blame it on the parents for not having raised their children the right way. But that in fact it wasn’t the kids or the parents who were to blame, because we are all growing up in a different kind of society (where technology dominates more of our lives than when our parents were raised) and that the parents therefore didn’t have an idea how to raise them in such a different society.

It was something great to listen to, and when I find it I’ll add the link right here.

Anyway, coming back to this book, I already had a good opinion of the author and was therefore excited for this newly released book of his.

The book first introduces you to the concept of ‘The Infinite Game’. A ‘Game’ that is actually our daily life among everyone else in society. Whereas a normal game as we know it has a time zone, a set of rules all players have to follow, and then at the end of the game one player wins. The Infinite Game is different because it is not bound by time or rules or players.

Then it jumps to the next page, where he wants to make you familiar with the concept in the business world. Since the business world is ongoing, it represents one such ‘Infinite Game’. There are new players that can enter at any time, and others that will leave if they don’t adapt. The way you conduct business is somewhat regulated by the laws of the country, however, they don’t restrict you or direct you on how and what you may sell…….. Are you seeing the pattern?

Next we’re getting into the real good stuff on what the book is really on to.

If you haven’t noticed it before, I hope you will notice it after this. Companies have for a very long time focused very much attention on solely making profits and high returns for their companies, more specifically their shareholders (the owners of the companies). However, there is a shift that has been going on for while in the business world. Companies are changing their business in that they have come to see it as a social responsibility to give back as well to the community, and not only create profits for their owners.

Have you noticed any of these social projects? One big one is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s quite a large one, but not the only one. Other smaller companies are also doing their part by doing community service and teaching children from poorer communities with some school subjects, or with computer technology.

If you ask me, this shift is one that comes at a good point in time since in many countries the inequality gap has advanced much too far, and in poorer countries the living conditions are truly troubling. So, companies that have made the decision to include such projects in their business model are true models for new entrants and current players of our age.

But, how could a company implement such a change in their business?

Step in, the book.

The book gives you great suggestions that the leadership teams can look at and think through, and use to develop one of their own social responsibility projects. You need to consider all of them, and in the order that the author has listed them, because I believe it’s crucial to clearly understanding how each of them comes together.

They are: 1) Find a Just Cause ; 2) Building Trusting Teams ; 3) Finding a Worthy Rival ; 4) Being open to a Existential Flex and 5) Having the Courage to Lead.

I don’t want to give too much away what each one is about, but I’ll give you few small bits to hopefully get you interested in this book.

  • Finding a Just Cause – this incorporates that your business doesn’t operate solely for the purpose of producing and selling products, but that generating money should be an enabler for you to be able to give back to society.
  • Building Trusting Teams – This concerns working with people who will help you advance the Just Cause, who have a stronger interest in helping the firm to achieve its goals than only receiving their monthly paycheck.
  • Finding a Worthy Rivals – Here, it concerns itself with finding a company, not to measure yourself against financially, but who challenge you to up your performance.
  • Being open to Existential Flex – This factor links closely with the last factor, because it is a one that can be quite significant. When your business is conducted, but slowly goes off the path that follows a Just Cause, your firm needs to consider changing its conduct to come back to the path it had initially laid out to follow.
  • Having Courage to Lead – This factor brings all of the factors together, because it is the leadership team that need to make decisions to keep up on the path of the Just Cause.

I hope that slowly more businesses will change their business models to all incorporate some social responsibility in their business conduct, and that more of society can benefit and maybe even advance to something better.

Summary:

This book introduces a powerful shift in the business environment that will hopefully make a lasting impact on all our societies. When a government is overwhelmed or not doing their work the private sector is showing that they can make an impact from their side.

The guidelines introduced by this book are true value adders, and are something that other businesses could consider looking at if they wish to implement such a project for their firm. The book for me gets a rating worth 4.8/5.

Until next time, happy reading!

009-2020 I will teach you to be rich

Title: I will teach you to be rich

Author: Ramit Sethi

Hello my dear fellow readers,

I know it’s been a while since I posted a book review on my page. Let me tell you a little where this is coming from…

Usually, when we were going about our daily lives (before COVID-19 put a halt to us strolling to work every morning) I would go to the tram and commute to work, during which time I would read up on a chapter or two. Weekends I would also indulge in a few more chapters whilst visiting the local coffee shop.

Now, I don’t have that commute time in my schedule, which is what has caused the dent in finishing the book as timely as I usually manage.

But, moving away from that, and right back to the book we’ve been sitting on edge about.

In our modern day most people want to strive to become rich. Some become it by inheritance, some become it by working their way up, and some just try and get there but just stay out of reach.

Before I carry on, I want to ask you a very important question that you should keep in mind throughout reading the rest of the review: What does “being rich” mean to you?

  • Does rich mean being in possession of a large volume of assets?
  • Does it mean being financially independent?
  • Does it mean being richer than the next person?
  • Can you put a number ($) to what would be rich for you?

Really sit back and think about this, because when someone wants to teach you how to become rich, you should know what that (being rich) actually means to you.

Going into the book, I have some background to investing in shares, and also do not enjoy spending excessively. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of having a credit card, because that is just me.

Then I came about this book in the store and looked at the index, and thought this could be something new to try out. The reason is that most other finance books try and sell you an idea of building a portfolio (mostly shares or real estate), and because we may not go into more detail to learn about these things, we end up not following the advice from the book.

Switch to this book, where the author comes down to a level of things you know about (credit cards, bank accounts, budgets on what to spend money on weekly/monthly) and suggests ways for you to change some mechanics here and there to start you off on becoming more conscious what is happening to your money, and how you can actually save money from silly things (ie. late fees). He also brings in the reminder that you can make contributions to your pension plans where your employer also makes a contribution, and how you can get your employer to make a larger contribution, by changing your contribution rate to increase from the minimum that can be contributed.

Then, after you have become a little psyched that you managed to reduce some of your outflows, he comes in with the introduction to share portfolio (as one example) into which you can invest those (and other) savings, to build your assets, and thereby become little by little richer.

So, he says these are the areas you need to look at to utilize them in the most efficient way, and where you need to become money-conscious:

  • Credit Cards – with points and service right for you
  • Bank Accounts – with the right bank for you
  • Pension Fund contributions – increase the value that you’re contributing, so that your employer contributions become bigger as well
  • Conscious Spending (*my fav) – really dig deep into your spending habits and cut spending in useless spots

The points mentioned above are things that pretty much most people have been exposed to in their working life, and therefore I strongly support his approach to point out that there is a way to get these costs under control, and to work to your benefit.

Then he jumps to the next level which many of us dread to talk about because the lingo can be confusing at first. But, he breaks it down nicely, saying that you need to look at what method you think is best for you to follow to become rich and protect your assets. This is an important building block to your asset portfolio.

However, I won’t try and break it down, because trying to summarize it all in a small paragraph might just make you even less convinced to follow through with this.

Summary:

Enjoyed the writing style. Believe that the author took a clever approach to get the audience’s attention, by talking to them about something they do know well enough (reeling them in), explaining to them how they can optimize those financial tools and maybe even getting them to get to the point that they consciously decide to make a change and improve their asset portfolio. The structure is well thought through.

For this reason, I believe the rating of 4.7/5 is well-deserved.

For more book reviews, stay tuned for the next report. And if you cannot wait that long, indulge in anyone of my previous reviews 🙂

Keep well!!!

008-2020 Atomic Habits

Title: Atomic Habits (Tiny changes, remarkable results)

Author: James Clear

Hi all, I’m back with another review, and I’m telling you upfront that this was a great reader that you should definitely have on your wish list.

One thing that has come to haunt us are our new years resolutions that we only uphold for a few months. Eventually you might just stop making them because you felt that you tried it a few times already and you mostly ended up not sticking with them.

Maybe, we have approached them all the wrong way…..

The book brings in a different approach that you should try, and that is to create small habits, improve on them, and then eventually their results could be the same outcome what you had wanted with that new year resolution.

The idea behind the habit is that it should not follow an outcome-based approach, but rather an identity-based approach. Meaning, you should adopt habits based on an identity you wish to live, rather than only working towards a goal. If you think about it this way, it is actually a better approach, since if you’re working towards an identity (a way to live – ie. fitness, healthy eating habits, etc.) rather than a goal (losing some weight) it tends to motivate you a little more for the long term as well, since your identity is a long-term perspective, whilst a goal can be achieved in the short(or medium)-run, whereafter you could easily default back into bad habits.

Working towards this identity, the author suggests that you should build small habits that support that identity, and then improve (or upgrade) those after you have mastered them.

The four steps to master a new habit are 1) cue, 2) craving, 3) response and 4) reward.

For each step he introduces you to what the step represents, and how you can implement a certain strategy to include a good habit into the equation, which should help you reach that identity you are striving to achieve.

A personal message from myself for switching from outcome-based approach to an identity-based approach. Really consider adopting this with your next big life decision, because making a decision to achieve a goal, will have you focus your attention to achieving that goal, which results in a commitment to a short-term or medium-term. Whereas making a decision for your identity, it is considered somewhat more significant, and lasting, and is therefore a long-term matter. And because it is long-term you would strive to live up to that much longer.

Summary:

Great read, great tips, and definitely something that I will try and implement into my daily lifestyle. Rated as 5/5 🙂

Until next time, keep well!!!

Feedback

Hey all,

Hope you are enjoying the reviews that I have posted so far.

I just thought I’d reach out and ask you guys if you think they are good, and I should keep going as they are, or if there is something not quite right that you really want me to make it more attractive /informative to you.

You could also give me some tips on books you think I could benefit from, or even ask me to review something you have had your eyes on but not come around to yet and I’ll see if I can make it happen 🙂

Looking forward to hearing from you!

007-2020 It all adds up

Title: It All Adds Up (The story of People and Mathematics)

Author: Mickael Launay

I’m going to tell you from the start that this is about mathematics. If that scares you off, rather face that monster today and see mathematics how it evolved to what we know it be today.

In fact, after finishing off the book I thought that mathematics taught in school should get a face-lift, by not just teaching how something is done, but include critical thinking and have them ask why is something done that way, or why is it done. Because when you understand how it came to be, rather than only how it works, you understand the background and maybe even appreciate it more.

I actually re-read this book now for the first time, but didn’t write a post before, because I actually thought I had done one already. Just when I scrolled through my list of posted works I noticed it was absent quite by chance. So now I’m making up for past mistakes and getting back into it.

The book is written by a mathematics Phd from what I read in the book, and is about the author walking through the museum (for some of the historical mathematical context) on different occasions and then telling us the historical background and how mathematics came into the picture in that time.

Something as simple as counting the number of sheep was recorded by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia on clay tablets with a picture of the sheep and a figure to represent a quantity. Today known as tokens…… Hmmm, where have we heard that in the modern day before? Video games!

Other topics include friezes, geometry and then we start heading to the first celebrities of mathematics, Thales, Pythogoras and Archimedes. The Greeks were the first to present their works in the form of theorems, whose aim was to present an idea, give proof and then conclude. These would then be attributed as their works, and contributions to the science.

The works of authors include:

Pythagoras’ theorem 5square = 4square + 3square (z2 = x2 + y2)

Archimedes method 3,14 (pie) sequence

Bhaskara I 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (known as Arabic numbers, but originated in India)

Brahmagupta Description of zero and negative numbers

Arab mathematicians trigonometry (study of the measurement of triangles – i.e. cos, sin, tan)

Muhammad al-Khwarizmi algebra (methods that make it possible to solve mathematical equations)

Leonardo Fibonacci Fibonacci sequence (value is equal to the sum of the two values before it)

Renaissance era Invention of the operations ‘+’, ‘-‘, ‘x’ and ‘./.’

Rene Descartes a, b, c should represent known quantities in equations, whilst x, y, and z should denote unknown quantities

Isaac Newton F = G * (m1*m2 /d square)

Blaise Pascal Probability theory

And so many more…..

If you look at the list above you will note that the mathematics we have today pulls its roots from different ages, and from thinkers of different nations.

The author takes you on a different mathematical trip than you would find on a field trip, because he lists most of the people’s contributions to the science, and how the theorem had been developed, which I thought was also quite interesting, than just learning how to use the method to a given set of facts.

Now, you might not be hyped about the idea about reading about mathematics. However, this is quite a different mathematics text than others you would have encountered. And, the author writes it very well to the audience by not getting lost with jargon that our professors like to talk in when their having a good day at work with like-educated fellows.

Summary:

Quite a different text to what I usually read. Good approach from the author to follow the historic timeline and then gradually introduce the creator of the theorem, and its application in their daily lives. I rate this as a 4.5/5

Give it a try.