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Cheapskates know that we must become our own top financial advisers. It's too important a job to trust to someone else or to rely on formulas that rarely apply to us, the way we live, and--most of all--the way we spend and view money so differently. Sure, seek any outside professional help you may need, including fee-only finance advisers, tax professionals, legal counsel, and so on, but you need to be the world's leading expert on your own finances and retirement plans. You need to be the CFO (Chief Frugal Officer) of your own life.

Particularly when it comes to knowing and controlling (or deciding not to control) the spending side of your personal finances, no one--no matter what their education or professional background--can be more of an expert than you.

9780307956422 Taken from: How to Retire the Cheapskate Way: The Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement by Jeff Yeager, Crown Business, 2013
A successful, healthy retirement is about coordinating all aspects of your life, while continuing to pursue your passions and your family life. Financially you need to know "when" you can retire. And knowing your retirement number, which Social Security option to take, or seeing up a tax-efficient cash flow are all-important components. But beyond the financial are the emotional and physical elements, such as...dealing with your newly found free time, downsizing into a new life, finding a place to live, dealing with your partner in this new chapter of life, and so much more.

41gteojfmvl._sl160_ Taken from: The 6 Secrets to a Happy Retirement: How to Master the Transition of a Lifetime by Mark Singer, Ed., ATA Press, 2013
First...ask questions about yourself. All of us fall into unproductive habits, sometimes unconsciously. Good managers therefore are always asking themselves and others about what they could do better or differently. Finding the right time and approach for asking these questions in a way that invites constructive and candid responses is critical.

Cover-sub-tout-0514 Taken from: "The Art of Asking Questions" by Ron Ashkenas, Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 2011
I ask probing questions because my people want to look good and I want them to look good. The goal is to get them to learn on their own. Whatever they want to accomplish is what I help them do. The questions are the catalysts for learning what's already in their minds. The abstract thinkers...need to be made aware of the details. Their thinking is in patterns, and I want them to understand the "detail" thinkers--the people they may have to convince--the people who think in details and linearly.

9781118658130 Taken from: Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask by Michael J. Marquardt, Jossey-Bass, 2014
A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something–and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change.

9781620401453 Taken from: More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger, Bloomsbury, 2014
Humble Inquiry maximizes my curiosity and interest in the other person and minimizes bias and preconceptions about the other person. I want to access my ignorance and ask for information in the least biased and threatening way. I do not want to lead the other person or put him or her into a position of having to give a socially acceptable response. I want to inquire in the way that will best discover what is really on the other person's mind. I want others to feel that I accept them, am interested in them, and am genuinely curious about what is on their minds regarding the particular situation we find ourselves in.

9781609949815 Taken from: Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar H Schein, Berrett-Koehler, 2013
Tightly focused attention gets fatigued--much like an overworked muscle--when we push to the point of cognitive exhaustion. The signs of mental fatigue, such as a drop in effectiveness and a rise in distractedness and irritability, signify tat the mental effort needed to sustain focus has depleted the glucose that feeds neural energy.

The antidote to attention fatigue is the same as for the physical kind: take a rest. But what rests a mental muscle?

Such restoration occurs when we switch from effortful attention, where the mind needs to suppress distractions, to letting go and allowing our attentions to be captured by whatever presents itself. But only certain kinds of bottom-up focus act to restore energy for focused attention. Surfing the Web, playing video games, or answering email does not.

9780062114860 Taken from: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman Harper, 2013
The good news is the benefits of mindfulness training are already naturally generalizable or, put another way, easily incorporated into all areas of our lives. For example, your attention naturally gravitates toward things that are either very pleasant or very unpleasant, so if you can train yourself to keep your attention on anything else. Your breath is like New York City for your attention--if your attention can make it here, it can make it anywhere. Hence, if you become very good at settling attention on breathing, you may find yourself able to pay much better attention in class or at meetings.

9780062116925 Taken from: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade Meng Tan, HarperOne, 2012
The work of developing leadership presence through mindfulness begins by recognizing how much time we spend in a mental state that has come to be called continuous partial attention. If you're like most of us, you probably take pride in your ability to multitask, to be incredibly efficient by simultaneously listening to a conference call, writing a few e-mails, and eating your salad at your desk.

9781620402474 Taken from: Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership by Janice Marturano, Bloomsbury Press, 2014
Sally_cropKBSally the start of every day I work up with the question: What do I really want for--and from--myself today? before turning to the needs of others. The outcome of that practice was mind-boggling.... I began to connect more deeply. I began to look and feel stronger. Even as the day ran away from me, I came back to my intention. Like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, setting intention boosted my energy. It was my first sustainable practice, helping me focus my attention....

9780804138871 Taken from: Centered Leadership: Leading with Purpose, Clarity, and Impact by Joanna Barsh & Johanne Lavoie, Crown Business, 2014
The point is that every question mark adds to our cognitive workload, distracting our attention from the task at hand. The distractions may be slight but they add up, especially if it's something we do all the time like deciding what to click on.

And as a rule, people don't like to puzzle over how to do things. They enjoy puzzles in their place--when they want to be entertained or diverted or challenged--but not when they're trying to find out what time their dry cleaner closes.

9780321965516 Taken from: Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug, New Riders Publishing, 2013
Luck in business is different from regular old luck, like when you find $20 on the sidewalk. First of all, "being lucky" in business has an intoxication underbelly called "being smart." No one actually believes that he should take credit for finding $20 on the sidewalk. But when people get lucky in business, they are often convinced that it is not luck at all that brought them good fortune. They believe instead that their business venture succeeded thanks to their own blinding brilliance. The number-one killer of start-ups is when entrepreneurs confuse "being lucky" with "being smart." You must possess the humility to distinguish one from the other.

Lucky_or_smart Taken from: Lucky Or Smart?: Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life by Bo Peabody, RandomHouse, 2005
Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features, less paperwork, less of everything that's not essential (and most of what you think is essential actually isn't).

Getting Real is staying small and being agile.

Getting Real starts with the interface, the real screens that people are going to use. It begins with what the customer actually experiences and builds backwards from there.

9780578012810 Taken from: Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, 37signals, 2006
The ideal picture is as simple as a clear sentence. It enters our eye and tells a story. It doesn't call much attention to itself.

To help, we should limit detail, color, shading, and 3-D effects. These tend to draw attention to the picture rather than to the idea.

The ideal picture is just the essence of an idea made instantly visible, and nothing more.

9781591846857 Taken from: Show & Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations by Dan Roam, Portfolio, 2014
There's nothing simple about simplicity. It is a concept with many nuances and lines. A second pass suggests that clarity makes for simplicity--something with clear intent that quickly conveys its purpose or use. With even greater magnification, you find that it's about essence--cutting to what matters, delivering substantive content that seems to speak to an audience of one. Lastly, it's not about what is there but what you take--a feeling of confidence, of trust, of satisfaction. So for us, simplicity has no synonym--it's not just convenience, clarity, usability, timeliness, or beauty. It's the sum of all of those, and that's why it is so rare. 9781455509669 Taken from: Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity by Irene Etzkorn and Alan Siegel, Twelve, 2014
No plan survives contact with the enemy. No doubt this principle has resonance for people who have no military experience whatsoever. No sales plan survives contact with the customer. No lesson plan survives contact with teenagers.

It's hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictably, chaotic environment. If we're to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. Not simple in terms of "dumbing down" or "sound bites." You don't have to speak in monosyllables to be simple. What we mean by "simple" is finding the core of the idea.

9781400064281 Taken from: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random House, 2007
The magic ratio here is roughly three to one. The amount of time you dedicate to listening to your clients and discussing their challenges should be three times what you spend talking about yourself. The key strategy here is to play a match game. Identify what the new client needs most to achieve his or her goals. Then find a successful case study to show you've provided something similar. The extent of your pitch could be merely, "A few months ago, we helped one of our clients through a situation very similar to what you're going through. Fortunately, the issue is resolved and they're back on track. So if you ever want us to give you a hand with that, just shout. It's something we're very familiar with." 9780062273222 Taken from: Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan, HarperBusiness, 2014
This suggestion that structure and creativity are two sides of the same coin is often an eyebrow-raiser for my clients. There is a persistent myth that creativity results only from complete lack of boundaries and total freedom. The reality is that we are not capable of operating without boundaries. We need them in order to focus our creative energy into the right channels. Total freedom is false freedom. True freedom has healthy boundaries.

9781591844013 Taken from: Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry, Portfolio, 2011
Back in the 1970s many psychologists argued that creativity was just another name for problem solving. We now know they were wrong, because most successful creativity comes through the process that led to Instagram and Starbucks: you begin without yet knowing what the real problem is. The parameters aren't clearly specified, the goal isn't clear, and you don't even know what it would look like if you did solve the problem. It's not obvious how to apply your past experience solving other problems. And there are likely to be many different ways to approach a solution.

These grope-in-the-dark situations are the times you need creativity the most. And that's why successful creativity always starts with asking.

9781118297704 Taken from: Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer, Jossey-Bass, 2013
Creative Intelligence competencies are designed to help you amplify your creativity. Separately and collectively, they increase your creative capacity. The model here is not the light bulb going off in the mind of a genius but the improved ability that comes with training in sports or yoga. Each of us can learn to be more creative. Most of us can get really good at it.

9780062088420 Taken from: Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire
by Bruce Nussbaum, HarperBusiness, 2013
At IDEO and the, we seldom say, "That's a bad idea" or "That won't work" or "We've tried that before." When we disagree with someone else's idea, we push ourselves to ask, "What would make it better? What can I add to make it a great idea?" Or, "What new idea does that spur?" By doing so, we keep the creative momentum going instead of cutting off the flow of ideas. Throwing cold water on one person's contribution can bring the conversation to a halt..." Taken from: Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by David Kelley, Tom Kelley, CrownBusiness, 2013
The late Peter Drucker, in his 1999 book Management Challenges for the Twenty-First Century, suggested a practical reflection method that amounts to a daily routine of recording in a personal journal you key decisions and actions, along with a projection of the expected outcome. You then review your performance and satisfaction--comparing outcomes to expectations. He suggested getting additional input from a superior, peer, or subordinate. Over time, trends show up that point out strengths and weaknesses.

9780470769508 Taken from: Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change by Matthew May, Jossey-Bass, 2010
Sure, there's something to be learned when we look inward to explore our attitudes, preferences, and decisions. But much of the information that introspection generates is fleeting, on-the-fly construction at a particular point in time: how we think we feel; why we guess we've made the choices we have. By looking inward, we don't gain access to a stable set of impressions regarding an unwavering, authentic self. We produce a temporary status report.

In other words, the gurus of self-help got it wrong. Our sense of who we are is no less context-dependent than the behaviors of everyone else around us. Book sales, Nielsen ratings, and Oprah appearances notwithstanding, introspection just isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

9781594488184 Taken from: Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World by Sam Sommers, Riverhead, 2011
You aren't listening to be polite. You aren't listening because the giver is right or because you're necessarily going to accept or take the feedback. And you aren't listening because your own view doesn't matter.

You are listening to understand. The first order of business is archeological: You're digging under labels, clarifying contours, and filling in pieces you didn't initially see. You're assembling all the relevant evidence and background to make sense of the size and shape of the feedback from the giver's perspective. After that you and your internal voice can convene to decide what to do with what you've unearthed--how it fits together with your own view, and whether or not you are going to take their advice.

9780670014668 Taken from: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you're not in the mood) by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, Viking/Penguin, 2014
Talking about difference is hard. It’s imperative that we develop a shared vocabulary for talking through difference in a productive way so that we can initiate these basic and necessary conversations. It’s the first step toward fully understanding one another’s perspective and positions.

9780062248527 Taken from: Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences by Jane Hyun and Audrey Lee, HarperBusiness, 2014