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Master the Fundamentals: Why Old Ideas Are a Secret Weapon

Executing Of Old Ideas

  • While fitness fads come and go, the fundamentals of basic weight lifting or daily walk remain strong.
  • Companies executing fundamental selling practices, like making more calls to increase sales, seem to do better.
  • Old books offering time-tested knowledge are still in print, while newer bestsellers disappear after a short time.

Implementing fundamentals is often the difference between success and failure.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Master the Fundamentals: Why Old Ideas Are a Secret Weapon

Master the Fundamentals: Why Old Ideas Are a Secret Weapon

https://jamesclear.com/old-ideas

jamesclear.com

2

Key Ideas

Old Fundamentals

There is a tendency to undervalue old ideas and fundamental wisdom, based on an assumption that old ideas will provide an average result.

In reality, old fundamentals are those great and time-tested ideas that have outlasted other bad ideas.

Executing Of Old Ideas

  • While fitness fads come and go, the fundamentals of basic weight lifting or daily walk remain strong.
  • Companies executing fundamental selling practices, like making more calls to increase sales, seem to do better.
  • Old books offering time-tested knowledge are still in print, while newer bestsellers disappear after a short time.

Implementing fundamentals is often the difference between success and failure.

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Jane Jacobs and her biginnings
Jane Jacobs and her biginnings

Born in a Jewish family in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jane Jacobs is considered a founder of the New Urbanist movement.

What made her vision particular was the fact that s...

Engaging in urban planning
  • The writer and journalist Jane Jacobs is mainly known for her writings on urban planning.
  • Through magazines such as Architectural Forum or Fortune, she explained her perception on what was wrong with the approach to redevelopment in New York City, for instance.
  • After having attended courses on urban planning, she launched her most famous book 'The death and life of great American cities', which was both highly praised and criticized.
Jane Jacobs' activism

The writer Jane Jacobs has always taken a high interest in urban planning, emphasizing the necessity to take into account community's needs.

She was particularly involved in redevelopment projects such as the ones concerning the Greenwich Village and Toronto, where she participated in demonstrations against changes that did not focus on community, but on individual interests of the 'master builders'.

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The two tales about houses

The one story we tell ourselves about homeownership is it is a path to a more stable, equitable future. The idea is that it is a responsible decision that requires commitment and hope. It is center...

Owning a suburban home

The idea of owning a suburban home was fed to Americans by people in power: Suburbia has always been suitable for industry.

Big houses = big appliances. This fed the coal, steel, and automaking industries. With it came cars and oil that made the postwar American suburb possible. It is all as much a creature of government as of the market.

Reconsidering the suburban house 

The climate crisis and carbon dependency make potential homeowners reconsider the effects of suburban sprawl.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the market crash of 2008 sowed a sense of instability and propagated fears.

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Consequences Of Too Little Sleep
Consequences Of Too Little Sleep

It is common knowledge that we need to sleep to be our best. And constant sleep loss has serious effects, including death.

Sleep is a neurological activity, and still, sleep-deprived cr...

No Sleep = No Restoration

Sleep, according to deep research on flies, has a function of reversing the ancient biochemical process of oxidation. Without sleep, there is no restoration possible.

Sleep studies prove it is worse than starvation, as early studies (19th century) conducted on puppies showed that they died in about five days if deprived of sleep and kept in motion.

Reactive Oxygen Species

... or ROS is a molecule that builds up in the intestines of animals that are denied sleep.

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  • Antioxidants, when given to sleep-deprived flies, made them healthy and active again, proving that the artificial restoration is possible.

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Food Memory

Eating specific foods which were consumed in our early years can evoke powerful and emotional memories, lying dormant in our subconscious for decades. This is possible even if the food was first re...

Chocolate Cupcakes

Food memories are formed unconsciously and can create certain curious associations and preferences in our life. It adds nostalgia and emotional meaning to our recollection of the experience.


The smells and tastes of the past infuse wonder, colour and depth to our life.

Our culture of work

Our culture claims that work is unavoidable and natural. The idea that the world can be freed from work, wholly or in part, has been suppressed for as long as capitalism has existed.

Exploring the abolition of work
  • In 1885, socialist William Morris proposed that in the factories of the future, employees should work only four hours a day.
  • In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that advances in technology would lead to an age of leisure where people might work 15 hours a week.
  • Since the early 2010s, these ideas have been developed further, creating a growing critique of work as an ideology, and exploring alternatives to work.
  • Post-work offers enormous promises: In a life of much less work, life would be calmer, more equal, more communal, more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more politically engaged, more fulfilled.
Work ideology

The work ideology is not natural nor very old.

  • Before the modern era, all cultures thought of work as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Once the modern work ethic was established, working patterns started to shift. Between 1800 and 1900, the average working week shrank from 80 hours to 60 hours, and in the 1970s to roughly 40 hours.
  • In 1979, Bernard Lefkowitz related in his book that people who had given up their jobs reported feelings of "wholeness." During the same period, because wages were high enough, it became possible for most people to work less.
  • During the 80s, work ideology was reimposed by aggressively pro-business governments who were motivated by a desire for social control.
  • By the early 21st century, the work culture seems inescapable.

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    Disneyland: The beginning
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    The opening day of the Disneyland

    The amusement park opened on 17th of July 1955 and was watched by 90 million of citizens, out of a total of 169 million.

    Even if the day went by with quite a few issues, by September the millionth visitor had stepped into the alleys of the park. Nowadays there are 12 parks worldwide, however, the only one that bears the signature of his big creator remains the one in Anaheim.

    Walt Disney

    While presenting himself as extremely sociable and friendly to the audience, Walt Disney was quite the demanding and irritable boss when it came to his employees.

    However, he was both open to the others' ideas, which totally paid off when improving the park, and a supporter of Jewish people, even though at some point individuals took him for an anti-Semite.

    Two of the biggest innovations
    Two of the biggest innovations

    Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

    Innovation is driven by incentives

    There are three types of incentives:

    1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
    2. "If I figure this out, I might help people and make a lot of money." It will produce creativity.
    3. "If we don't figure this out now, our very existence is threatened." Militaries deal with this, and it will fuel the most incredible problem-solving and innovation in a short time.

    During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

    The conditions for big innovations to happen

    The biggest innovations seldom happen when everyone's happy or safe. They happen when people are a little panicked and worried, and when they have to act quickly.

    In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.

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    Talking out loud about a problem allows you to better understand the problem, provides a certain detached view of the problem by framing it differently and can help identify possible solutions.

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    Teaching someone makes us learn the subject well, and we can identify our areas of improvement.

    Similarly, self-talking is a great way to learn, as it makes us slow down and be single-minded. This is especially helpful while doing an online course or preparing for an exam.

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    The Parkour Performance
    The Parkour Performance
    • Parkour (or route) is a concept embraced by thrill-seekers and martial-art adepts and is a commando-style system of jumps, rolls and landings designed to navigate through any obstacl...
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    The concept of Parkour was thought of by a then-teenager named David Belle in a small place called Lisses, near Paris, France. His father, Raymond Belle was a hero fireman and acrobat. This was in the 90s, and the teenager was greatly influenced by Spiderman and Tarzan. His acrobatic ways made him a celebrity and created a huge fan following.

    Parkour is a made-up word, cousin to the French parcours, which means “route.”

    Parkour "language"

    The world of climbing walls without stairs and jumping off rooftops without any rope or parachute is filled with risk, thrill and adventure.

    It also has its own naming system. Someone practising parkour is called a ‘traceur’, someone who traces David Belle’s footsteps. A female traceur is called a traceuse.

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    Human history is often framed as a series of episodes, representing sudden bursts of knowledge. The Agricultural Revolution, the Renaissance, and the Industrial Revolution are a few examples where ...

    Pseudo-Science 

    Much of the knowledge about the natural world during the middle ages dates back to the teachings of the Greeks and Romans. Many did not question these ideas, despite the many flaws.

    • Aristotle taught everything beneath the moon was comprised of four elements: earth, air, water, and fire.
    • Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy thought that heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon, planets and various stars all revolved around the earth in perfect circles.
    • The ancient Greeks and Romans held to the idea that illnesses were the result of an imbalance of four basic substances and was related to the theory of the four elements.
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    • During the Renaissance, there was a renewed interest in the arts and literature. It led to a shift toward more independent thinking.
    • In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther promoted his thoughts by printing and distributing them, encouraging churchgoers to read the Bible for themselves. This led to the Protestant Reformation.
    • In the process, the criticism and reform led to placing the burden of proof ahead in understanding the natural world, paving the way for the scientific revolution.

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