questions

Freakonomics (book 10 of 26)

Freakonomics (book 10 of 26)

May 20, 2018
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FreakonomicsFreakonomics – A rogue economist explains the hidden side of everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I like this book. It’s fun, provocative, asks some super-odd questions that I’d never have come up with myself, and generally makes my mind bend in new and intriguing ways. Levitt (the economist in the pair, Dubner is the writer) certainly has made some significant inroads to what he himself sees as a shortage in the field of economics: As Levitt sees it, economics is a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of interesting questions. 

While crunching data to get at the answer to the query of what schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common, data from Chicago was used, resulting in this mind boggling statement: An analysis of the entire Chicago data reveals evidence of teacher cheating in more than two hundred classrooms per year, roughly 5 percent of the total. This is followed up with an in-depth account of ways teachers cheat (in standardized testing), and how the data set available can show this. Quite amazing, I must say. Fortunately, the algorithms used to crunch the data also revealed the best teachers in Chicago. The analysis was used, the worst of the cheating teachers were sacked, and the best teachers were rewarded.

Another thing Steven and Stephen make very clear, is the difference between correlation and causality, the former being a statistical term that indicate whether two variables move together or not, whereas causality proves cause (x can cause y; y can cause x; or some other factor is causing both x and y). The chapter on What makes a perfect parent give ample evidence to how conventional wisdom is not necessarily true. For instance, everyone knows that parents should read to their kids, right? The more, the better. Well. No. It actually doesn’t matter that much, as there is no direct causality between reading to one’s kid every day and his/her school grades and success further on in adulthood.

Huh! Who would have known? Not me, that’s fore sure. I have most definitely bought into the conventional wisdom (is the modern name for it alternative fact?!) that parents must read aloud to kids, and since I’ve always been really bad at that, there’s been this little nagging thought, that I should have read more, I must be such a bad mother, have I condemned my kids to eternal failure…

An enjoyable read, humorous, odd-ball, giving me insights into things I’ve simply never ever considered before, I mean, these are the questions (and hence, chapters) of the book:
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real-estate agents?
Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?
Where have all the criminals gone?
What makes a perfect parent?
Perfect parenting, part II; or:Would a Roshanda by any other name smell as sweet?

So yes, quite possibly the result of me reading this book will be just what Steven and Stephen hope for: The most likely result of having read this book is a simple one: you may find yourself asking a lot of questions. Many of them will lead to nothing. But some will produce answers that are interesting, even surprising. 


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

 

 

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Key person of influence (book 7 of 26)

April 8, 2018
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Key person of influenceKey person of influence, by Daniel Priestley. A book gifted to me by my friend Michael Sillion, aka Captain Future. He gave it to me with the sweetest inscription, with the hope that it would inspire me as much as he has been inspired by me. And yes Michael, this is a book that inspires me. There are a few threads that stick out for me from this first read (yes. This is a book I will reread.):

  1. I will get going with my podcast plans. (Plans that have been plans for far too long, it is time to get started.)
  2. The distinction between resources and resourcefulness. This is an angle I have not previously come at the concept of resources from, and it makes for quite an interesting perspective I must say. Love it!
  3. This is a book full of questions that I would like to sit with – ponder, reflect upon, throw out there and see what comes back… (hence the re-reading intention!)

As for the second thread, here’s a paragraph from the book, with a sassiness (of course!) that puts a smile upon my face:

No matter what you need in your business or your life, getting it will be a function of your resourcefulness rather than whether the resources are available. Of course they are available. 

The three biggest factors that determine your resourcefulness are:

  • The questions you ask.
  • The people you know. 
  • Your willingness to stretch into the unknown. 

All of these factors are things I’ve been very actively working on.

The questions you ask.
A very dear friend of mine recently reflected on the fact that she now asks many more questions than she did upon meeting me (in 2013). The mantra “the questions you ask are more important than the answers you give (or receive)” is a way to be in the world that I’ve been hammering home (for me as well as for those I spend time with) these past years.

The people you know.
Ever since the same time that I met both of the people I’ve referred to above, I’ve “collected” people that inspire me, people that make me strive to be my better self. Matthew Kelly says it perfectly in The rhythm of life, a book I’ve yet to read, but definitely want to:
The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. 

We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves.

Your willingness to stretch into the unknown.
I used to fear the unknown. I had the mistaken belief that my worth, my value as a person, resided in my ability to know, to be wise, knowledgeable, a veritable Encyclopedia Helenica… So for me to admit to not knowing, scared me senseless. I still struggle with this, there’s a lot of long-lived patterns of automatic responses for instance, giving the impression that I know full well what’s being talked about, even though I don’t have a clue, but a lot of it’s gone. Perhaps helped along the most by two aspects of my personal development these past five-ten years or so; my ability to be gentle with myself (and not knock myself upside the head with a mental shovel whenever I make a mistake or don’t live up to high inner standards) as well as my curiosity (also a trait I’ve actively cultivated).

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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Doing gentle – 41 – Ask questions

October 23, 2016
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Having gone gentle on myself, I am much more curious about myself, and hence, also ask myself all sorts of questions these days, questions which I never would have dared voice even inwardly five-ten years ago. With my gentle approach towards myself, I’ve let go of a lot of the judgment which means I allow myself the freedom to ask, and answer, all sorts of questions and queries, and truly be open to whatever answer pops up.

Because of that, I have gotten much better at asking questions. Both of me and those around me. One such question is How does this serve me?, which I’ve asked myself over and over again the past years. And yes, How does this serve you? is also a question I’ve asked of many others, especially my coaching clients. duoFunnily enough, the most common answer seems to be Hm. It doesn’t serve me. Why on earth am I doing this?

However, I notice that the hardest questions to ask, are to those I feel very close to, those who are important to me. I’ve recently realized I hold myself emotionally captive with regards to what Others, those important others, think. Or as it were, what I think they might be thinking…

And off I go, believing I am a great mind-reader. Clearly not something which serves me. So. It’s time for me to ask more questions, and stop holding myself hostage.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Rooms of insight

July 28, 2016
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I got pinged on Facebook by Iwan Karlsson. He wrote:

Please. Read this. It’s important. Helena Roth Give me some input.

The blogg post he was asking me and others to read was by Judy Sedgeman, called Ask the deeper questions. Please read the blog post before you carry on reading here.

I answered Iwan:

Wow. 
Thank you ever so much for pinging me here! I absolutely loved this blogpost. I agree, 100% with it. We have the answers within ourselves, and I believe children to a large extent have the capability to live with their thoughts. Then society, norm, schooling etc set in, and gradually shut those innate systems down. 

It’s time to
1) show people they have it all inside, the inside-out revolution!
2) ensure we create systems, norms etc that do NOT diminish ourselves, but rather ensures we learn how to truly live in peace, understand ourselves and our perception of the world around us. 

Thank you Iwan!

I have been asking questions for some time now. As I surge ahead asking questions, it’s as if I open up new doors within me, to rooms of insights and even more curiosity. This then triggers even more questions, and off I go, in a positive upward spiral.

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The more questions I ask, the deeper they become. And boy, am I happy to be in this discovery phase within myself, where my perception of the world becomes clearer by the minute. Writing a blog post every day is one way I have of both asking and answering questions, and I am so happy I have gotten into this habit.

Where are your deep questions?

Since 2012 I have blogged over at herothecoach.com in a jumble of Swedish and English. This post is a sample of what I’ve been writing – in English – there over the years. As of 2016 all my English posts appear here instead. 
I hope you enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday, originally published here, and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts. The fun part about this post, is that I’ve gotten to know Judy since I first published this blog post, and she is one awesome and wise woman, let me tell you!
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