Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 28, 2023

The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.
The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.

So, let’s go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 – How Do We Learn Complex Skills? 
#2 – How to Write Email with Military Precision
#3 – Charlie Munger’s Reading Strategy Changed My Approach to Books


How Do We Learn Complex Skills? Understanding ACT-R Theory

Source: Scott Young Website
Author: Scott Young

Summary: The ACT-R theory proposes a broad picture of how we learn complicated skills. Its paradigm case for cognitive skill is problem-solving, particularly in well-defined domains like algebra or programming. The theory claims that we have two different memory systems: declarative and procedural, and it explains complex skills as an ongoing interaction between these two systems. The declarative system represents the outside world, your inner thoughts, and intentions, while the procedural system acts on those representations to make overt actions or internal adjustments that move you closer to your goals.

3 Highlights:

“… ACT-R argues that we have two different memory systems: declarative and procedural. The declarative system includes all your memories of events, facts, ideas and experiences. Everything you consciously experience is part of this system. It contains both your direct sensory experience and your knowledge of abstract concepts. The procedural system consists of everything you can do. It includes both motor skills, like tying a shoelace or typing on a keyboard, and mental skills, like adding up numbers or writing an email…”

“… ACT-R explains complex skills as an ongoing interaction between these two systems. The declarative system represents the outside world, your inner thoughts and intentions. The procedural system acts on those representations to make overt actions or internal adjustments that move you closer to your goals…”

“… The basic units of skill are productions. Practice generates new productions and strengthens old ones. Skills transfer to the degree to which these productions overlap…”

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How to Write Email with Military Precision

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Kabir Sehgal

Summary: Military email etiquette offers useful tips for structuring clear and effective emails in a range of settings. For example, it emphasizes the importance of keyword subjects that make clear what type of response is expected from the recipient. It also recommends using a “Bottom Line Up Front” (BLUF) statement that presents the central point of the email succinctly and clearly. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of brevity, active voice, and attaching files via links to maximize the effectiveness of emails. When applied appropriately, these tips can help recipients to engage more effectively with the content of emails.

3 Highlights:

“… The first thing that your email recipient sees is your name and subject line, so it’s critical that the subject clearly states the purpose of the email, and specifically, what you want them to do with your note. Military personnel use keywords that characterize the nature of the email in the subject…”

“… Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF). Military professionals lead their emails with a short, staccato statement known as the BLUF….”

“… Military personnel know that short emails are more effective than long ones, so they try to fit all content in one pane, so the recipient doesn’t have to scroll…”

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Charlie Munger’s Reading Strategy Changed My Approach to Books

Source: Medium
Author: Jake Wilder

Summary: The author of this Weekly Pulse item discusses how Charlie Munger’s reading strategy impacted his approach to books. Munger advised that one should not feel compelled to finish every book they start but instead should expose themselves to as many books as possible and quickly recognize which ones are not for them. By doing this, the chances of finding a book worth one’s time increase. The author suggests that this approach goes beyond reading books, as we learn by experiencing a wide range of new things.

3 Highlights:

“… But going through chapter after chapter of example is probably overkilling. Sometimes you just need to grab the idea, put it into practice, and develop your own experience rather than reading about everyone else’s…”

“… The key isn’t to finish every book you start, it’s to expose yourself to as many books as possible. Then quickly recognize which ones aren’t for you and move on. Have a low bar on which books you try, but a high bar on those you finish...”

“… Start a lot of books. But only finish a few. Don’t burden yourself with bad books….”

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