Book Review: Riveted – The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies | Stephen Diagram

The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies

The 6 Rules To Making Your Ideas Go Viral: The Science of Compelling Ideas

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The Six Foundations of Being Compelling and Riveting

  1. Our interest in people
  2. Hope gives us pleasure. Fear Demands Attention
  3. Love for patterns. Regularities help us understand the world
  4. Incongruity – finding nuances and slight variations in the world
  5. The nature of our bodies – pushing the limits – sports and competitions
  6. Various psychological tendencies and biases

Sports are Riveting Because We are Drawn to Competition

  • Tribal Combat
  • Athletic Performance displays human strength
  • Revealing the character of a team and it’s people
  • Finding out where others stand and who they group with
  • Beauty in the ideal form
  • Olympics show the Hunter / Gatherer skills in exhibition

Why Humans Love Gossip

  • Humans lived in small groups / clans / tribes
  • Gossip helps us learn about each other’s morals, strengths and weaknesses
  • We use gossip to keep people in line
  • Monitor changes in social status
  • 80% of conversations are about social topics

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Book Review: Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud | Stephen Diagram

Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud

The 3 Sources of Unhappiness in Your Life

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Society / Civilization restricts our natural impulses and inclinations; making us unhappy and frustrated.

Freud argues that people’s perceived purpose in life is to

  1. Maximize Happiness and Pleasure
  2. Minimize Pain and Discomfort

Our Main sources of unhappiness is our social relations with others

  • We are unhappy because of society and our civilization
  • Society restrings our natural desires and inclinations

Most people are aggressive by nature; we had to look for food every day, hunting animals and killing them to satisfy our needs.

Most people desire sexual satisfaction; there weren’t any sexual restrictions in primitive times.

  • Current society / civilization restricts free / open sexual desire
  • Causing discomfort, unhappiness and frustration

Sigmund Freud argues that Religion is an Illusion

Religion exists to alleviate the harshness of life. There are 3 ways to escape this pitfall

  1. Science “Powerful Deflections”
  2. Art “Substitutive Satisfactions”
  3. Alcohol and Drugs “Intoxicating substances”

Three Main Sources of Suffering and Pain

  1. Our own bodies – doomed to decay
  2. The external world – Natural Sources and Disasters
  3. Our relationship with people – the most painful

Strategies for finding Happiness and Pleasure

  1. Voluntary Isolation “Happiness of Quietness”
  2. Participating in the community / engaging social relationships
  3. Influencing our body and mind through drugs, intoxication OR through meditation
  4. Physical and Intellectual Work – Creating Art or solving Scientific problems

Civilization has not made Man-Kind Happier

  • Primitive men and women had fewer wants and needs
  • Technology and science has failed to make us happier
  • Restricting our freedom of the individual and his satisfaction of powerful instincts

Families Were Based on 2 Things

  1. Compulsion to work together to deal with the external world
  2. The Power of Love – Genital and Universal aim-inhibited Love ( Close Friendships )

Restricting Our Primal Aggressive Urges is Against Our Nature

  • Creating unhappiness in the individual
  • Inducing a sense of Guilt

Current Society / Civilization Makes Us Feel Guilty for Being Aggressive

  • Guilty if we are violent
  • Guilty if we have freedom of sex
  • Causing us to internalize our frustrations

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Book Review: Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris | Stephen Diagram

“There are people who make things happens, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened.” – Jim Lowell

“Everything around you was created by people who were no smarter than you.” – Steve Jobs

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Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris is split up into 5 sections.

  1. Successful People Make Things
  2. Meet Hate
  3. Fight Hate
  4. How to be Creative
  5. Today’s Task: Make Something

Success is random and unpredictable

  1. You can’t understand others if you don’t make an attempt to understand them
  2. Don’t rush to judge others
  3. Judge less, understand better
  4. Notice Empathy. Notice curious people. Notice people who don’t talk about themselves.
  5. Spend more time with others in person.
  6. Talk less, listen more
  7. Create more things. You’ll be less quick to judge others and more appreciative of their creations
  8. Realize empathy and sympathy are very different
  9. Optimism can hurt empathy
  10. The more you talk, the less you listen
  11. Learn to become a better listener and communicator
  12. Try to empathize with the difficult to understand
  13. Practice reading emotions and body language

Timing is a huge factor that is rarely acknowledged. It can be the different between complete failure and monumental success. What a person starts with, who their friends are, and what they have access to are all factors that determine success.

“The only thing I do know about successful people is that they create things.”

“To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t.”

“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.” – Chuck Palahniuk

“It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing & criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais

Anytime you engage in negativity, you feed hate and starve create.

“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

If you can fail quickly and without worry, you can correct course quicker, improve quicker, learn more, and achieve more.

“Hate will have you see a 97% chance of failure as a reason not to try. Creators will use it as a motivator to start now and get to work.”

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said, but since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”


  1. Understand you have two choices: to create or consume.
  2. Create so much they can’t ignore you
  3. A change of scenery and a relaxed mind can help increase creativity

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Book Review: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie | Stephen Diagram

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  6. Make the other person feel important; and do it sincerely

Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re Wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  4. Begin in a friendly way
  5. Get the other person saying “yes,yes” immediately
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas an desires
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives
  11. Dramatize your ideas
  12. Throw down a challenge

Give me six hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax. – Abraham Lincoln

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Let the other person save face
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  8. Use Encouragement; Make the fault seem easy to correct
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

Dale Carnegie on Criticism

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain; and most fools do, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Thomas Carlyle said, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.”

Dale Carnegie on Dealing with People

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion; creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

Dale Carnegie on Influence

The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Dale Carnegie on the Secret of Success

“Success lies in the ability to see their point of view and their angle, as well as making them see yours.

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Book Review: When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead – Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub | Stephen Diagram

When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub

  • Actor
  • Producer (The Karate Kid and the Ocean’s Eleven Trilogy)
  • Promoter (Took Elvis Presley on tour) (Responsible for Frank Sinatra’s Comeback)
  • Agent
  • Friends with Presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter

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At 12 years old, Jerry Weintraub was delivering Dry Cleaning for tips. He soon discovered another additional laundry business to deliver for. He asked if he could delivery for that place too. He then discovered 4 very important lessons.

  1. People will pay you to make their lives easier
  2. Always take the time to make the pitch
  3. Personal Service is the name of the game
  4. Never get paid for doing the same thing twice

After a dream of taking Elvis Presley on tour, he decided to find the manager of Elvis and asked if he could take Presley on tour. The manager said no. Jerry Weintraub called back almost every day for a year; receiving the same denial. After a year, the manager ended up calling Weintraub back and asked if he wanted to take Elvis on tour. Jerry accepted the offer, but was then presented with a giant hurdle to overcome. Presley’s manager asked for one million dollars by tomorrow morning, and Jerry was able to find it, but here’s what he learned.

  1. Persistence is key
  2. Be dogged and determined
  3. Keep knocking on the door until you break it down
  4. The breakthrough usually comes late.

Jerry figured a few things out.

Know thyself and thy enemy; you will never have to be afraid.

You have to touch people an average of 12 times before they become a buyer. Jerry is an example of this. He talked to Elvis Presley’s manager everyday for year before finally convincing the manager to bite the bait.

Weintraub ended up making 10 million dollars from his 1 million dollar investment; which was actually a loan from a big time Elvis fan. The one million dollar deal was signed with a handshake. He could have become completely scammed.

After the Elvis deal, Weintraub was presented with the offer to take Frank Sinatra on tour for a comeback revival. This made Weintraub well-known in Hollywood and beyond.


The Temptation to Give Up is Greatest right before you are about to Succeed.

Leaders find a way to win. Sometimes you have to be persistent about the path to your destination. Sometimes you have to be persistent about the destination and not so much about the path. Smart leaders, smart mentors and smart coaches may advise you take a new path to your destination. You must be able to take their suggestion and refuse your own stubbornness. Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.

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Book Review: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind – 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms Hardcover by Vishen Lakhiani | Stephen Diagram

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind – 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms Hardcover by Vishen Lakhian

  1. Step out of the Culturescape
  2. Toss away the Brules (Bullshit Rules)
  3. Grab your toolkit for consciousness engineering
  4. Pick up your empowering models of reality
  5. Don’t forget to pack your system for living
  6. Keep your mind firmly on Bending Reality
  7. Walk With Blissipline (Discipline for Blissful Living)
  8. Hold your end goals firmly in your head
  9. Be Unfuckwithable
  10. Open that door, and march firmly toward your quest

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Level 1: Living in the Culturescape

  • Life Happens TO you

Level 2: The Awaking

  • Life Happens as you CHOOSE

Level 3: Recoding Yourself

  • Life Happens FROM you

Level 4: Becoming Extraordinary

  • Life Happens THROUGH you

The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.


  1. A JOB is a way to pay the bills. It’s a means to an end. You have little attachment to it.
  2. A CAREER is a path toward growth and achievement. Careers have clear ladders for upward mobility.
  3. A CALLING is an important part of life and provides meaning. People with callings feel satisfied.

Sometimes you have to destroy a part of your life to let the next big thing enter.


  1. Kensho is growth from pain.
  2. Satori is growth from awakening.

Six-Phase Mental Hack to Becoming Extraordinary

– Happiness in the Now –

  1. Compassion – Be kind toward yourself and others; a powerful self-love tool.
  2. Gratitude – Appreciate what we’ve accomplished; well-being & happiness.
  3. Forgiveness – Be at peace. Maintain Blissipline. Be Unfuckwithable

– A Vision for the Future –

  1. Future Dreams – Have a vision pulling you forward
  2. The Perfect Day – Sense of control. Attainable goals with baby steps
  3. The Blessing – Feel safe ans supported in our quest

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Baby Steps to Success: Common Habits to Live a Happy Life

If our goals had obtainable baby-steps for us to take, then we could happily walk that path to success.

When we have a goal in mind, we should try to decide the most efficient plan of attack. You don’t want to complete the first five steps, just to realize you need to go back try to correct steps two and three.

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms


In cooking, we often need to prep certain ingredients before others; take a stir-fry for example. When trying to make this simple dish, I first have to consider whether to slice my meats or cut my veggies.

If you try to slice the meat before you chop your vegetables, then you have to wash your hands and cutting board. I find it more efficient and relaxing to prep my veggies because it saves time and energy in the long run.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life


In college, you have to decides which assignments are worth more points; which class should you really spend more time studying for?

If you learn to prepare your steps before you walk, then you’ll find life more enjoyable and worth living.


I’m not saying we should remove the challenge from life; we should definitely give ourselves obstacles worth working toward, but it’s no doubt that we often set ourselves up for failure before even given a chance to get up and start moving.

You can learn more about living a happy life in my newest book Siren Song

Siren Song: Stay Stay Stay

Happiness & Your Health: How to Demand a Positive Life

“The world is out to punish those who refuse to demand happiness out of their own lives.”

I recently wrote this line not thinking very much out of it, but as I returned to it, I couldn’t help but sit and let it soak in a little more. Being happy shouldn’t have to be this huge undertaking that we’re required to remain conscious about; instead it should be a right, no?

The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun


I questioned whether happiness is something we earn, or something we are owed.

Then I just wrote the line; that the world punishes those who don’t seek comfort, who don’t seek happiness.

Though you shouldn’t stress yourself too much with difficult tasks; you should find simple bits of joy throughout the day.

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill


They always say it’s the baby steps that lead to the largest leaps.

How to Stay Young: Explore a Life Worth Living

An explorative nature is vital to holding a youthful mind.

I learned this while in high school and it’s helped me grow at such an exponential rate.

I feel more alive and productive because I’m always after the frontier of discovery.

This could be as simple as getting happily sidetracked on Wikipedia pages or actually pursuing a career that enables you to learn and even create new things.


In preparation of my new book, I’m releasing quotes and articles to help demonstrate large over arching themes present in my new work.

I challenge you to burn new trails and try something new, because it will keep you young, alert, happy and productive.

Check out my latest book for more inspirational life lessons
Siren Song: Stay Stay Stay By Stephen Stilwell

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