A few weeks ago, K. Anders Ericsson of deliberate practice fame released a new book (which I haven’t yet read) called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. The main challenge with reading these types of popular science/psychology books is taking action. They are written to be enjoyed, but there’s nothing forcing you to make any life changes once you finish the last page.
One way to avoid the passive reader trap is to maintain an idea list. Advice books are packed with words and stories, but are usually built around a few core ideas. Many of these ideas come up repeatedly in different books and articles. So as you come across them in your reading, maintain a master list of ideas that seem useful. The purpose of this list is to serve as a reminder of practices that you find effective. Try them out one at a time, and adjust as necessary to fit your work style.
Items on this list should be more actionable than guiding philosophies like “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” But they shouldn’t be too specific, or your list will get unwieldy. This isn’t the place for tiny life hacks about secret Gmail features. The goal is to make a list that will remind you to follow principles that you have found to be effective.
With that in mind, here’s my list: