Sunday, June 30, 2013

By the Numbers 26/52

Half way through the year. Probably time to try some of those graphs I talked about way back in week 1. Look for something tomorrow

Net Cash: -$288.12
I splashed out and bought some stuff for my place, the main one of which was a robot vacuum cleaner.
Jobs applied for: 4

Net Calories: -4058
A good result, combination of exercise and lack of eating, although I suspect I got too much credit for rock climbing today
Fitocracy points: 2030
Weight: 95 kg

Bike riding: 204 km
Books read: 1
Neil Gaiman's new book Ocean at the End of the Lane. A bit disappointed, mainly in that their was not more of it, and also that it seemed more "I'm Neil Gaiman, I write stories of people who get caught up in a world that's bigger and weirder than they knew and it changes their life" than "I have an interesting idea for a story." I would also agree with the person on twitter who said it was really a young adult novel, not a novel as American Gods or Neverwhere were. Today I picked up 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (of Red, Green, and Blue Mars fame) mainly on the basis of one of the blurbs on the back being from Iain M Banks.
Games Played: 8 x Dominion (Guilds + Intrigue x 2, Guilds + Prosperity, Dark Ages x 3, Dark Ages + Hinterland, Dark Ages + Alchemy)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

By the Numbers 25/26

Another week. We're at 5 squared, and according to wikipedia there's not much more interesting about 25.

Net Cash: $255.77
Yay for living cheap.
Jobs applied for: 3
Still not hitting the 1 a day I'm aiming for

Net Calories: -4952 Calories
Living cheap is also living on low calories (Calories = $?)
Fitocracy points: 1989
Fitocracy level: 14
Weight: 95 kg

Bike Riding: 178 km
Books Read: 3
Finished rereading the Amtrak Wars. Now starting on the new Neil Gaiman book
Games played: 10: Dominion Guilds x3, Notre Dame, Troyes, Through the Ages, DnD, Settlers of Catan, Monty Python Fluxx x2

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thoughts on Winning Friends and Influencing People

I finally finished reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carneggie a while ago. I can't say I was really enthused by the book, as evidenced by the fact that it took me over a month to read it. My main interest in reading it was due to it having percolated into popular culture as The Book for learning how to deal with people successfully. Whether this is just due to it's age or the name recognition of the author vs it's actual merit is something I am not sure of, although I'm less inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt now that I've read it.

So why do I feel like I've not learnt much from this book that so many people swear by? Part of it is presentation. Each point is only illustrated with a series of anecdotes, and as we all should know, the plural of anecdote is not data. This is a collection of feel good stories, and if presented as such I wouldn't be so unsatisfied, but the claims it made starting out were of scholarship and research and on that basis the book oversold itself (I'll admit my background might make me view research in a more mathematical orientated way, but even loosening those standards I still feel it didn't meet the standards it claimed). Overall, it's made a claim that this is a good way to deal with people, but hasn't backed up the claim.

Another reason I didn't like the message conveyed in the book from a number of stories such as the salesman who found out a potential buyer's son liked stamps, so went out and bought a rare stamp as a gift and so got the sale, which to me feels like a bad message. The person didn't get the sale because he was selling a good product at a good price that met the needs of the buyer, but because they did something nice that was irrelevant to the transaction. I don't think it's cynical to say that if you're making a large purchase on behalf of your company, giving the sale to the guy who was nice to you just because he was nice to you is a dereliction of duty. Some of the tactics suggested in the book do seem cynical, or at least some of the applications described are. A salesman finding out the needs of the business he's trying to sell to and altering his pitch to suit is sensible and a good thing. A salesman finding out the manager is a baseball fan and spending the meeting talking baseball with the potential client is being manipulative rather than standing on his merits.

The last problem I have with the book is a message that I partly find contradictory and partly makes me feel as though I fail at being a human being. Several times the book stresses that when showing an interest in people it must be sincere, and not just flattery, but then gives examples where the interest is insincere. The part where this makes me feel like an incomplete person is that in general I don't find people interesting. Specific individuals yes, but it generally takes me quite a while to get there, and it usually requires some sort of context where I have the time to get to know them (university, work, board gaming, etc). So being told that the essential key to good interactions with people is something I don't have (and that faking it is bad) is discouraging at the least (at the most it makes me feel like a failure as a person that something fundamental to the human experience is missing in me).

So what can I gain from all this? Be nice to people? I already try to do that. Start with a positive and then move to the negative? The "You're doing this thing great but need to work on this other thing" routine just makes the first part sound phoney. Do something that doesn't come naturally to me but don't fake it. The final section on tips for married life quote clearly dates the book quite markedly. I get the point the book is trying to make but the implementation it suggests seems flawed and impractical.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

By The Numbers 24/52

A less than stellar week

Net cash: -$241.59
This is a two week figure as I didn't keep track of things as well as I should have last week. Based on a rough idea of where I should have been last this works out to about +$100 or so for the week.
Jobs Applied for: 1
Yeah, I got slack after getting back from Bordercon.

Net Calories: 1640 Calories
More slackness I'm blaming on Bordercon. I got back after a delayed flight to no food and ordered pizza, which then meant I had enough pizza for three days. Bad Kevin.
Fitocracy points: 734
Weight: 95 kg

Bike Riding: 227 km
Books read: 1
Book 3 in the Amtrak Wars
Games: 11: Glory to Rome x 3, Ad Astra, Hanabi, Ricochet Robots, Race for the Galaxy, Mamma Mia, Sole Mio, Dominion x2

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

By The Numbers 23/52

Later than I expected due to Bordercon and after a delayed flight back to Brisbane I felt watching the season finale of Game of Thrones was a higher priority than doing this.

Net Cash flow: ?
a significant negative number, but I don't have a precise figure (on the order of -$300). I wasn't careful enough keeping track over the weekend and while I now have everything up to date, back tracking to get a figure for where things were on Sunday evening would be a lot of hassle. I will post a two week figure next week that will once again be exact.
Jobs Applied for: 3
A new record, tripling previous best results. I am again planning to improve on this.

Net Calories: 298 Calories
This figure is probably low as I ate out a lot and so couldn't just scan barcodes of what I ate to get the actual numbers.
Weight: 95 kg
This has crept back up again. Need to hit the treadmill some more, as dumbbell exercises score points by don't burn much calories
Fitocracy points: 1430
Not bad considering I was away for half the week
Fitcracy level: 13

Bike riding: 9 km
Books read: 2
I'm going through the Amtrak Wars series in one go, as while I've read the complete series, there were significant gaps in time between books due to availability at different libraries, so this time I'm going to go straight through.
Darts: skipped this week
Games Played:  25 (woo Bordercon) Zombie Flux, For Sale (x2), Shadow Hunters, Cartagena, Fantastiqa (x2), Glory to Rome, Hanabi (x3), Innovation with both expansions, King of Tokyo, Merchant of Venus, Vanuatu, A Study in Emerald, Clubs, Klunker, Mamma Mia, Potion Making Practice with both expansions, Win Lose Banana (x3), Love Letter, Tichu,

Sunday, June 02, 2013

By The Numbers 22/52

Next week may be a day or two late, as I will be going away to Bordercon next weekend.

Net Cash: $129.22
Not great, but after the last two weeks it's good to be positive again
Jobs applied for: 0
Look for this to be higher next week

Net Calories: 321
I slacked off with the diet and exercise this week, but it could have been worse.
Fitocracy points: 1386

Bike Riding: 353km
Books read: 0
Darts: 501 in 9 rounds
I got lucky
Games played: 6 Roll Through the Ages, The Hanging Gardens, Maori, Masons, St Petersberg, Factory Manager (all but the last were played online)
This will be higher next week (see earlier note about Bordercon)