Brain Food Newsletter

Brain Food, a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas to help you in life and business.


If you’re trying to gain a rapid understanding of a new area, one of the most important things you can do is to identify common mistakes people make and avoid them. Here are some of the most predictable errors we tend to make when thinking about statistics.

— Common Probability Errors to Avoid


Randall Stutman, the real life leadership whisper with some advice on priorities:

“A priority is something that’s shifting all the time. It basically says, it’s my focus right now. It’s maybe my highest focus, never my day job, if it’s truly a priority, because that’s an ongoing commitment, but there’s always something that I should have as a higher focus of my intention, my time, my energy, and that I’m more fully engaged on. What we have found is over and over again, that when you get people’s priorities right on the short term, a lot of the longer term goals and issues take care of themselves.”

— Source: Improving Performance

Venture capitalist Code Cubitt on the difference between A CEOs and B CEOs:

“An A CEO is an executive who sees change coming, six, nine, 12 months ahead of everybody else and has the ability to change course in the face of opposition from everybody else who is happy with the status quo.”

— Source: What Makes a Visionary CEO

Neuroscientist, psychologist and author, Lisa Feldman Barrett defines emotion:

“The way I would define emotion is the way I would define thinking what is a thought or what is a belief, what is memory? Your brain is conjuring all of these events in exactly the same way. It’s just using different information to make sense of what’s going on in the immediate moment.”

— Source: What Are Emotions?


“We are living through an innovation famine, not an innovation feast—particularly in areas other than digital … We’ve not been developing enough vaccines; we’ve not been finding ways of developing vaccines faster; we’ve not been developing enough diagnostic devices. When you look at why not, you find that there is 17 to 20 months of delay to get a license to sell a new diagnostic device. This is enough to deter most entrepreneurs from even trying to go into that area. I hope one message people take is that, if we can do more innovation, we will not destroy the planet. It’s quite the reverse. It’s the safest way of saving the planet.” — Matt Ridely speaking with Naval Ravikant

“If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard way. The show was successful because I micromanaged it—every word, every line, every take, every edit, every casting. That’s my way of life.” — Jerry Seinfeld on Making Something Great

“Genius requires giftedness (consisting essentially of some special aptitude or talent, such as mathematical, spatial, musical, or artistic talent). But obviously there are other antecedents that are elusive to us. Nonetheless, we do know of at least two key attributes, beyond ability, that appear to function as catalysts for the creation of that special class of behavioral products specifically indicative of genius. They are productivity and creativity.” — Arthur Jensen on Giftedness and Genius


A lot of problems happen because of your internal state. When you’re calm, happy, and fulfilled you don’t pick fights, create drama, or keep score.

— Share on Twitter


We all have the same amount of time in a given week. What matters is how we us it.

If you find you’re not as productive as you want to be, it’s not time you’re lacking, but focus.

If you find you’re breathing but not living, it’s not time you need, but love.


Heyo, Nik here with your free summary of the day.

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1-Sentence-Summary: Reasons To Stay Alive shows you the dangers and difficulties surrounding mental illness, uncovers the stigma around it, and identifies how to recover from it by sharing the story of Matt Haig’s recovery after an awful panic attack and subsequent battle with depression and anxiety.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Reasons To Stay Alive Summary

At just 24-years-old, while living in sunny Ibiza, Spain with his girlfriend, Matt Haig had a terrible panic attack that left him in bed for three days. It also began a long road to recovery from the depression and anxiety he’d been silently experiencing. 

While it seemed sudden at the time, Haig looked back and noticed the signs were always there. From an anxiety-filled camping trip as a youth, to a college presentation that made him hyperventilate, his mental illness was always there.

But like most people with depression, and especially men, social isolation kept Matt from getting the help he needed until it was almost too late. Thankfully, he learned a few strategies to cope and now lives a happy life with his wife and kids.

We can’t pin down the exact cause of mental illness and its impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all fix to it. But Haig discovered some simple strategies that helped him get through it.

He outlines these tips, along with his entire story, in Reasons to Stay Alive.

Here are 3 helpful lessons I got out of this book:

  1. If you’re depressed, reading books to get out of your own head can help.
  2. There are some benefits to mental illness, which even some of the world’s greatest leaders experienced.
  3. Recovery won’t be as straightforward as you think, but it is possible.

Are you ready to discover some powerful lessons on mental health? Let’s go!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

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Lesson 1: Get out of your own head by reading books if you want some help to get through depression.

Have you ever tried to explain a complicated concept to a friend? While you know how to do everything from opening your mouth to saying the words, they often just don’t get it. 

It’s frustrating to not be able to make yourself understood, which is just what the author experienced after his panic attack. He couldn’t adequately express his feelings to family and friends in a way they could comprehend. 

Because his paradigm was so different from theirs, it was like “trying to describe earth to aliens.” Even more frustrating was the fact that he didn’t really know how to explain what was going on to himself.

Haig’s perspective was completely drowning in depression and anxiety.

But hope came in the form of an unlikely hero: books. Although many use literature as a way to escape their reality, the author experienced the opposite. The right books helped him find himself once more.

As he discovered characters that felt alienated, he began to realize that he wasn’t as alone as he thought. He felt that he could relate to these authors, who knew what it felt like to be as lonely as he was. 

Even the very language of books, which can sometimes be perplexing, helped Haig understand what he was going through. The purpose-filled protagonists lent him their direction when he didn’t feel like he had any.  

And now his book provides that for those who read it!

Lesson 2: Even some of the greatest leaders in the world have experienced mental illness, which does have some benefits.

Did you know that Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln both struggled with depression? Behind their inspiring and ambitious careers was this silent struggle with mental illness. 

Most of us would consider their achievements in spite of their struggles admirable. But do we ever consider that maybe their demons were the entire reason these two leaders were so successful?

The truth is, there are benefits of mental illness, like improved empathy and perception, but we usually don’t talk about them.

Someone who has experienced depression, for example, knows well know painful life is sometimes. That might have been the reason why Lincoln was so understanding of the awfulness of slavery. 

In Churchill’s case, he was among the few European leaders who had a bad feeling about the Nazi’s from the beginning. If it weren’t for the sensitivity that he got from his mental illness, he might not have picked up on how dangerous they were.

Even the author used to resist the thin skin that he felt his depression gave him. But as he began to embrace it, this ability helped him become the successful writer he is today.

Because of his ability to remain close to his feelings, Haig also has deeper joys in the little things like spending time with his kids.

Lesson 3: Recovery is possible, but won’t be as clear of a path as you might think.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that the healing process will be linear. But the reality is, you don’t just slowly improve and eventually get “cured.”

It took Haig fourteen years after his breakdown to realize this. He doesn’t wait for complete recovery but instead lives his life with the mental illness. That means a recognition that his mood will change and still be low sometimes.

He knows that moments of intense worry won’t last. And he realizes that there is a lot more to enjoy about life than he could ever dream of.

While he recognizes there is no magic pill to cure his mental state, Haig does have a few tools he uses to feel better. 

Eating well and getting enough sleep are important on that list. He also goes running to help him relax. Incorporating yoga and meditation into his routine further helps him reduce the intensity of his racing thoughts.

Limiting social media is another vital tool that Haig uses to combat mental illness. He replaces those time and energy wasters by spending time with his wife and kids.

Haig also continues to enjoy reading and travel. These powerful habits unlock the ability to get out of his head and see how others view the world. 

All of these are Haig’s reasons to stay alive.

Reasons To Stay Alive Review

I really enjoyed reading Reasons To Stay Alive and I’m so impressed with Matt Haig’s courage to write it. As one who has had bouts with mental illness in the past, I can appreciate so many aspects of this. It’s vital that we as a society shed light on this silent killer, the stigma around it, and how to properly treat it other than just throwing meds at it.

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Who would I recommend the Reasons To Stay Alive summary to?

The 28-year-old who is going through a rough time and isn’t sure why they’re having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, the 57-year-old who has adult children that suffer from depression but isn’t certain how they can help, and anyone that struggles with mental illness in any form.

The post Reasons To Stay Alive Summary appeared first on Four Minute Books.Keep learning,

PS: Get more of the two most valueable things in life: time & knowledge. Check out Four Minute Audio Books.​ 

Receptive, ADOPT and Adapt

/rɪˈsɛptɪv/. It is an adjective means
open-minded open to new ideas open to suggestions open responsive
amenable sympathetic well disposed interested attuned flexible willing favourable approachable accessible friendly welcoming susceptible impressionable suggestible pliable pliant susceptive acceptive acceptant
Consider also the following words that are opposite in meaning. 
Opposite words: resistant unresponsive, receptive(adj) able to absorb liquid (not repellent) “the paper is ink-receptive” Antonyms: imperviable, nonabsorptive, closed, impervious, unsympathetic, unreceptive, motorial, efferent, nonabsorbent.
able to receive signals or stimuli.
“the goldfish’s vision is receptive to a wider band of light than almost any other animal”(of a female animal) ready to mate.“only the dominant male would have had access to the receptive female”
What does it mean when someone is receptive?
adjective. having the quality of receiving, taking in, or admitting. able or quick to receive knowledge, ideas, etc.: a receptive mind. willing or inclined to receive suggestions, offers, etc., with favor: a receptive listener. of or relating to reception or receptors: a receptive end organ.

Adaptation process: The adaptation process is a critical part of cognitive development.

Through the adaptive processes of assimilation and accommodation,people are able to take in new information, form new ideas or change existing ones, and adopt new behaviors that make them better prepared to deal with the world around them.

Adopt -and Adapt :

Adopt is to take something over,

and to adapt is to change something to suit your needs. …

e.g. The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, adopt methods that have proved so sound in the past, adapt them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, improve them.


Puerperalpyoo-ER-per-əlPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin, early 18th century
1During or relating to the period of about six weeks after childbirth during which the mother’s reproductive organs return to their original nonpregnant condition.
Examples of Puerperal in a sentence “Therese and her baby had a lot of support during the puerperal period.” “The OB/GYN instructed the couple to check in often during the puerperal period.”

Quotes of the week

e. e. cummings“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

via Today’s Quote November 02, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed Bernard Shaw“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

via Today’s Quote November 03, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed McLaughlin“The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.”

via Today’s Quote November 04, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed Pascal“You always admire what you really don’t understand.”

via Today’s Quote November 05, 2020 at 11:59AM
via RSS Feed Camus“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”

via Today’s Quote November 06, 2020 at 11:58AM
via RSS Feed Will“Voters don’t decide issues, they decide who will decide issues.”

via Today’s Quote November 07, 2020 at 11:57AM
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Our times…

“We live in times where composure, valour and stoicism are devoid of all meaning. We inhabit a weak and flabby society, overlaid with sentimentality, one that has made individual exhibitionism its flag of modernity. A society in which the slightest setback or frustration requires the assistance of an army of psychologists along with innumerable and ridiculous therapies, obsessively centred on what one is or feels; on what one has been, will be and either wills to be or not to be”.
Patrick Leigh Fermor.