How to Guard Against Anything You May Inadvertently Overlook

The World is More Inundated with Uncertainties and Errors Than Ever Before

Checklists can help you learn about prospective oversights and mistakes, recognize them in context, and sharpen your decisions.

I am a big fan of Harvard surgeon and columnist Atul Gawande‘s The Checklist Manifesto (2009.) His bestseller is an engaging reminder of how the world has become so complex.

The use of the humble checklist can help you manage the myriad of complexities that underlie most contemporary professional (and personal) undertakings—where what you must do is too complex to carry out reliably from memory alone. Checklists “provide a kind of a cognitive net. They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness.”

'The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right' by Atul Gawande (ISBN 0312430000) Gawande begins The Checklist Manifesto with an examination of the characteristics of errors from ignorance (mistakes you make because you don’t know enough—“much of the world and universe is—and will remain—outside our understanding and control”), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes you make because you don’t apply correctly what you know.) Most human and organizational failures involve the latter.

The philosophy is that you push the power of decision making out to the periphery and away from the center. You give people the room to adapt, based on their experience and expertise. All you ask is that they talk to one another and take responsibility. That is what works.

The surgery room, Gawande’s own profession, is the principal setting for many of the book’s illustrative examples of how the introduction of checklists dramatically reduced the rate of complications from surgery. He also provides handy stories from other realms of human endeavor—aviation, structural engineering, and Wall Street-investing.

Getting Things Right, Every Time

Checklists are particularly valuable in situations where the stakes are high enough, but your impulsive thought process could lead to suboptimal decisions.

'Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition' by Michael J. Mauboussin (ISBN 1422187381) The benefits of checklists also feature prominently in the thought-provoking Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition (2012.) The author, Credit Suisse Investment analyst and polymath Michael J. Mauboussin, argues that checklists are more effective in certain domains than in others:

A checklist’s applicability is largely a function of a domain’s stability. In stable environments, where cause and effect is pretty clear and things don’t change much, checklists are great. But in rapidly changing environments that are heavily circumstantial, creating a checklist is a lot more difficult. In those environments, checklists can help with certain aspects of the decision. For instance, an investor evaluating a stock may use a checklist to make sure that she builds her financial model properly.

A good checklist balances two opposing objectives. It should be general enough to allow for varying conditions, yet specific enough to guide action. Finding this balance means a checklist should not be too long; ideally, you should be able to fit it on one or two pages.

If you have yet to create a checklist, try it and see which issues surface. Concentrate on steps or procedures, and ask where decisions have gone off track before. And recognize that errors are often the result of neglecting a step, not from executing the other steps poorly.

In addition to creating checklists that are specific enough to guide action but general enough to handle changing circumstances, Mauboussin recommends keeping a journal to gather feedback from past decisions and performing “premortems” by envisioning that a imminent decision has already been proven wrong, and then identifying probable reasons for the failure.

No Matter How Proficient You May Be, Well-designed Checklists Can Immeasurably Improve the Outcomes

Checklists Can Immeasurably Improve the Outcomes The notion of making and using checklists is so plainly obvious that it seems impracticable that they could have so vast an effect.

Investor Charlie Munger, the well-respected beacon of wisdom and multi-disciplinary thinking, has said, “No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use his checklist.” And, “I’m a great believer in solving hard problems by using a checklist. You need to get all the likely and unlikely answers before you; otherwise it’s easy to miss something important.”

Idea for Impact: Checklists can prevent many things that could go wrong in the hands of human beings, given our many well-documented biases and foibles. Well-designed checklists not only make sure that all the can-be-relied upon elements are in place in complex decision-making, but also provide for flexibility and room for ad hoc judgment.

Gambler’s Fallacy is the Failure to Realize How Randomness Rules Our World

Gambler's Fallacy is the Failure to Realize How Randomness Rules Our World

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the misleading belief that the probability of a specific occurrence in a random sequence is dependent on preceding events—that its probability will increase with each successive occasion on which it fails to occur.

Suppose that you roll a fair die 14 times and don’t get a six even once. According to the Gambler’s Fallacy, a six is “long overdue.” Thus, it must be a good wager for the 15th roll of the dice. This conjecture is irrational; the probability of a six is the same as for every other roll of the dice: that is, 1/6.

Chance Events Don’t Have Memories

In practical terms, the Gambler’s Fallacy is the hunch that if you play long enough, you will eventually win. For example, if you toss a fair coin and flip heads five times in a row, the Gambler’s Fallacy suggests that the next toss may well flip a tail because it is “due.” In actuality, the results of previous coin flips have no bearing on future coin flips. Therefore, it is poor reasoning to assume that the probability of flipping tails on the next coin-toss is better than one-half.

Gambler's Fallacy: Chance Events Don't Have Memories A classic example of the Gambler’s Fallacy is when parents who’ve had children of the same sex anticipate that their next child ought to be of the opposite sex. The French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827) was the first to document the Gambler’s Fallacy. In Philosophical Essay on Probabilities (1796,) Laplace identified an instance of expectant fathers trying to predict the probability of having sons. These men assumed that the ratio of boys to girls born must be fifty-fifty. If adjacent villages had high male birth rates in the recent past, they could predict more birth of girls in their own village.

There Isn’t a Lady Luck or an “Invisible Hand” in Charge of Your Game

The Gambler’s Fallacy is what makes gambling so addictive. Gamblers normally think that gambling is an intrinsically fair-minded system in which any losses they’ll incur will eventually be corrected by a winning streak.

In buying lottery tickets, as in gambling, perseverance will not pay. However, human nature is such that gamblers have an irrational hunch that if they keep playing, they will eventually win, even if the odds of winning a lottery are remote. However, the odds of winning the jackpot remain unchanged … every time people buy lottery tickets. Playing week after week doesn’t change their chances. What’s more, the odds remain the same even for people who have previously won the lottery.

Gambler’s Fallacy Coaxed People to Lose Millions in Monte Carlo in 1913

Gambler's Fallacy Coaxed People to Lose Millions in Monte Carlo in 1913 The Gambler’s Fallacy is also called the Monte Carlo Fallacy because of an extraordinary event that happened in the renowned Monte Carlo Casino in the Principality of Monaco.

On 18-August-1913, black fell 26 times in a row at a roulette table. Seeing that that the roulette ball had fallen on black for quite some time, gamblers kept pushing more money onto the table assuming that, after the sequence of blacks, a red was “due” at each subsequent spin of the roulette wheel. The sequence of blacks that occurred that night is an unusual statistical occurrence, but it is still among the possibilities, as is any other sequence of red or black. As you may guess, gamblers at that roulette table lost millions of francs that night.

Gambler’s Fallacy is The False Assumption That Probability is Affected by Past Events

The Gambler’s Fallacy is frequently in force in casual judgments, casinos, sporting events, and, alas, in everyday business and personal decision-making. This common fallacy is manifest by the belief that a random event is more likely to occur because it has not happened for a time (or a random event is less likely to occur because it recently happened.)

  • While growing up in India, I often heard farmers discuss rainwater observing that, if the season’s rainfall was below average, they worry about protecting their crops during imminent protracted rains because the rainfall needs to “catch-up to a seasonal average.”
  • Gambler's Fallacy in soccer / football penalty shootouts In soccer / football, kickers and goalkeepers are frequently prone to the Gambler’s Fallacy during penalty shootouts. For instance, after a series of three kicks in the same direction, goalkeepers are more likely to dive in the opposite direction at the fourth kick.
  • In the episode “Stress Relief” of the fifth season of the American TV series The Office, when the character Jim Halpert learns that his fiancee Pam Beesley‘s parents are divorcing, he quotes the common statistic that 50% of marriages wind up in divorce. Halpert then comments that, because his parents are not divorced, it is only reasonable that Pam’s parents are getting divorced.

The Gambler’s Fallacy is a Powerful and Seductive Illusion of Control Over Events That are Not Controllable

Don’t be misled by the Gambler’s Fallacy. Be aware of the certainty of statistical independence. The occurrence of one random event has no statistical bearing upon the occurrence of the other random event. In other words, the probability of the occurrence of a random event is never influenced by a previous, or series of previous, arbitrary events.

Idea for Impact: Be skeptical of most judgments about probabilities. Never rely exclusively on your intuitive sense in evaluating probable events. In general, relying exclusively on your gut feeling or your hunches in assessing probabilities is usually not a reason to trust the assessment, but to distrust it.

Top Blog Articles of 2017, H1

Top Blog Articles of 2017 As this blog’s readership grows, popular articles posted in the first half of the year get left behind in my end-of-year list (2016, 2015) of popular posts. Here are the top 10 popular posts from the first half of this year based on email- and feed-subscribership:

  • Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments of Honest Thought and Discourse. The celebrated British mathematician, logician, and political activist wrote, “The essence of the liberal outlook is a belief that men should be free to question anything if they can support their questioning by solid arguments.”
  • Book Summary of “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” Journalist Nicholas Carlson chronicles the fabled legacy internet company’s slide to irrelevance. Despite her extraordinary credentials, drive, technical savvy, celebrity, and charisma, Marissa Mayer arrived too late to right the ship.
  • Six Powerful Reasons to Eat Slowly and Mindfully. Cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Dedicating time to eat slowly, mindfully, and intentionally—and enjoying the pleasure of food—can make an enormous difference in your diet and health.
  • Learn from the Great Minds of the Past. If you wish to succeed in your life, there is no better source of inspiration than in the lives of those who have changed our lives and our world for the better. Biographies stimulate self-discovery.
  • Be a Survivor, Not a Victim: Lessons on Adversity from Charlie Munger. Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice-Chairman overcame “horrible blows, unfair blows” on the road to success. Munger counsels, “Feeling like a victim is a perfectly disastrous way to go through life.” Don’t operate life on the assumption that the world ought to be fair, just, and objective. You are neither entitled nor unentitled to good treatment.
  • The Only Goal You Need for 2017: Doing Is Everything. Most folks know what they should do: lose weight, start exercising, stop smoking, get serious about managing careers, find a romantic partner, start saving money, and so on. Yet they can’t seem to make themselves do. One of the most insidious obstacles to your success in life is the chasm between knowing and doing.
  • Competition Can Push You to Achieve Greater Results. Tennis legend Andre Agassi wrote in his interesting autobiography, “There were times my rivals brought out the best in me; there were times they brought out the worst. They probably helped me win things I never would have otherwise; they also cost me titles.” A certain amount of competition can be helpful when it motivates you and doesn’t result in stress or hurt your personal relationships.
  • Addiction to Pleasure is a Symptom of Fear. Whenever you seek pleasure, not only do you become dependent on the eagerness to find it, but also you create an existence of suffering, because pleasure is impermanent and fleeting. Buddhism encourages you to purge yourself of your attachment to pleasure or to any source of satisfaction that could trigger distress in seeking to make it permanent.
  • The Cost of Leadership Incivility. Steve Jobs’s advice to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to “throw tantrums” at employees and “certain words a little bit more freely” to express passion is abhorrently misguided. Steve Jobs could throw temper tantrums because he could! However, a leader’s tone is the foundation upon which the culture of her organization is built.
  • How to Deal with Upset Customers. Nine guidelines that can result in a constructive interaction with an angry customer and restore his perception of satisfaction and loyalty. A failure to recognize and quickly respond to the needs of angry customers can make them feel ignored, frustrated, and powerless.

And here are articles from 2016 that continue to be popular:

  1. How Smart Companies Get Smarter.
  2. Stop asking “What do you do for a living?”
  3. What Will You Regret?
  4. Make Decisions Using Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process.”
  5. Destroy Your Previous Ideas (Lessons from Charlie Munger.)

Books I Read in 2015 & Recommend

In addition to a number of Rick Steves’ and Lonely Planet books for my summer-long travels across Europe, here are a few books that I read in 2015 and recommend.

  • Biography / Business: Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon is an engrossing chronicle of the obsessive hard-driving personality of its founder-CEO and the company that has played the pivotal role in the shift from brick-and-mortar retail to online retail.
  • 'Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul' by Howard Schultz, Joanne Gordon (ISBN 1609613821)Biography / Leadership: Starbucks founder Howard Schultz’s Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul is an interesting depiction of Starbucks’ turnaround after Schultz returned as CEO in 2008. Read Onward for a case study of the founder’s syndrome in action and a self-congratulatory portrait of a charismatic entrepreneur and brilliant corporate cheerleader. Read my summary.
  • Biography / Business: Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a biography of America’s current most audacious entrepreneur and Silicon Valley’s most prominent innovator. While the book details Musk’s bold leadership decisions, it also serves as a great reminder of how an extreme personality and intense success are not without their costs. Read my comments.
  • Decision-Making: Phil Rosenzweig’s Left Brain Right Stuff delineates distinct but complementary skills required for making winning decisions: logical analysis and calculation (left brain skills) and as well as the willingness to take risks, push boundaries, and go beyond what has been done before (right brain skills.)
  • 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' by Richard Feynman, Ralph Leighton (ISBN 0393316041)Biographies / Mental Models: Physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s scientific curiosity knew no bounds. His academic life, acuity, life-philosophy, and ability to communicate science are inspirational to anyone pursuing his/her own life’s fulfillment. The following biographies capture his many scientific achievements, playfulness, varied interests and hobbies, and—perhaps most notably—his many eccentricities.
  • 'Sam Walton: Made In America' by Sam Walton (ISBN 0553562835)Biography / Business: Sam Walton’s bestseller autobiography Made in America is very educational, insightful, and stimulating. Walton inspired legions of other entrepreneurs who thrive on managing costs and prices to gain competitive advantage. Read about an important lesson from this book about cost and price as a competitive advantage.
  • Decision-Making: Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 Rule advocates considering the potential positive and negative consequences of all decisions in the immediate present, the near term, and the distant future: or in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years. Read my summary.
  • Biography / Mental Models: Walter Isaacson’s A Benjamin Franklin Reader is an excellent collection of the writings of Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most beloved founding fathers. Franklin was a polymath renowned for his lifelong quest for self-improvement.
  • 'The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere' by Pico Iyer (ISBN 1476784728)Philosophy: Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness argues the importance of taking a timeout from busyness. Iyer contends, “In an age of speed … nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing could feel more luxurious than paying attention.” Read my summary.
  • Biographies / Art / Philosophy: Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith’s Van Gogh: The Life and Michael Howard’s Van Gogh: His Life & Works in 500 Images paint a vivid picture of the artistic genius and the troubled personal life of Vincent van Gogh. Ever Yours is an absorbing anthology of correspondence between Vincent and his brother Theo. Ever Yours sheds light on Vincent’s shifting moods, turbulent life, and philosophical evolution as an artist.
  • Management: Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s One Minute Manager is a best-selling introductory business book about goal-setting and giving feedback. Read my summary.
  • Biographies: Tenzing Norgay’s autobiography Man of Everest and Yves Malartic’s Tenzing of Everest portray the personal triumph of a poor and illiterate but ambitious, deeply religious explorer.

On a related note, read my article about reading hacks: How to Process that Pile of Books You Can’t Seem to Finish. Also see books I read in 2014 & recommend.

Books I Read in 2014 & Recommend

Other than a number of Rick Steves’ books for my summer-long travels in Europe, here are a few books that I read in 2014 and recommend.

Even though I read few works of fiction, I read a number of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” books, including the enthralling “Death on the Nile”. Christie describes her characters brilliantly with superb detail.

Books on Business, Operations, & Finance

Books on Skills for Success

Four Timeless Books I Re-Read Every Year

'Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits' by Philip A. Fisher (ISBN 0471445509) Benjamin Graham’s “Security Analysis”, Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor”, and Phil Fisher’s “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” discuss two complementary schools of investment analysis. Graham’s quantitative approach to value investing comprises of buying stocks below what they are worth and then selling them once they are fully priced. In contrast, Fisher’s qualitative approach to growth investing considers the intangibles (products and services, management, competition, growth prospects, etc.) and paying a premium for growth. Graham’s and Fisher’s viewpoints are a significant part of Warren Buffett’s approach to investments. He’s described himself as “85% Graham, 15% Fisher” (I think Buffett is more “15% Graham, 85% Fisher.”)

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the granddaddy of all self-help books that spawned the self-improvement industry. I discovered that the 2011 update, “How to Win Friends and Influence People Digital Age”, references my blog article on the art of remembering names.

Viktor Frankl on The Meaning of Suffering

Viktor Frankl, Austrian Existential Psychiatrist

The Austrian existential psychiatrist Viktor Frankl suggested that, generally, the need for meaning is a crucial force in people, from the time we’re born until our last breath. He continued to feel this way when his family was murdered by the Nazis and he himself was sent to Auschwitz. Frankl frequently quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s remark that “he who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

In “Mans’ Search for Meaning”, Frankl describes suffering as a potential springboard both for having a need for meaning and for finding it:

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation—just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer—we are challenged to change ourselves.

'Man's Search For Meaning' by Viktor Frankl (ISBN 0671023373) Frankl also suggests that the one freedom allowed in us, irrespective of our circumstances, including his horrid subjugation at a Nazi concentration camp, is the freedom to pick our way of thinking in accepting our suffering. This might mean that meaning can be found in becoming a role model for others dealing with similar problems, or utilizing our suffering as a channel for changing for the better in particular aspects of our lives:

It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning.

Frankl’s story is worth the read: (1) as a reminder of the depths and heights of human nature, and the nature of hopes and despairs that rule our existence, (2) for the idea that life is primarily about the search for meaning and the kinds of choices we can make to establish significance in our lives (logotherapy technique.)

Book Summary of Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Man's Search for Meaning » Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl makes the case that the primary motivation in one’s life is neither pleasure (as proposed by Sigmund Freud) nor power (as proposed by Alfred Adler), but meaning and purpose.

Viktor Frankl is the pioneer of “logotherapy,” a psychotherapy system that carries out an existential examination of a person and consequently helps him/her discover purpose and meaning in his/her life.

Principal ideas from “Man’s Search for Meaning”:

  • Based on his experience as an inmate at many Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War, Viktor Frankl observed that those who survived the longest in the Nazi concentration camps were not those who were physically strong, but were those who maintained a sense of control over their environment by finding meaning in their existence and their torments.
  • Even in the toughest of circumstances, life can be given a meaning, and so too can suffering. A person can learn how to cope with suffering and move ahead with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning.
  • Meaning in life can be discovered by taking responsibility and through “right conduct” by,
    • Contributing meaningfully to the world through self-expression and resourcefulness,
    • Experiencing the world by connecting meaningfully with others and with our environment, and
    • Probing our attitudes and changing our approach meaningfully when we face situations that we have little control over.

Book Summary of Nassim Taleb’s “Fooled by Randomness”

'Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (ISBN 1400067936) In “Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets,” Lebanese American essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses cognitive biases and irrationalities that drive human behavior and decision-making.

Principal ideas:

  • Luck, chance, and randomness play a larger role in the happenings of the world than most people acknowledge.
  • People tend to justify random outcomes as non-random and rationalize chance outcomes as results of deliberate actions.
  • Correlation does not translate to causation.
  • People tend to assume patterns in their analysis even when such patterns do not exist.
  • Variations in performance and ability can cause disproportionate rewards, difficulties, punishments, or returns.

David Ogilvy on Why It Pays to Advertise

I’ve been reading Ogilvy on Advertising, written by David Ogilvy (1911–1999,) the founder of Ogilvy & Mather.

Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy (1911--1999) Ogilvy is one of the founding fathers of modern advertising and spent his life preaching the benefits of research in salesmanship, long informative copy, creative brilliance, and results for clients. Ogilvy famously said, “It is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

Ogilvy on Advertising provides excellent sage advice into the art of selling smart. Many of the principles in this book are dated, but the ideology and creative thought processes discussed are timeless.

Ogilvy cites this anonymous poem on why it pays to advertise.

The codfish lays ten thousand eggs,
The homely hen lays one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you what she’s done—
And so we scorn the codfish
While the humble hen we prize.
It only goes to show you
That it pays to advertise!

John Bogle’s “Little Book of Common Sense Investing” [Leadership Reading #2]

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, John Bogle “In investing, the winning strategy for reaping the rewards of capitalism depends on owning businesses, not trading stocks,” argues John Bogle in making a strong case for low-cost index funds in his text, “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing.” With statistics and graphs, Bogle rationalizes that low-cost index funds outperform most investment professionals and offer better-than-average returns for investors over the long term.

John Bogle is the legendary founder of the investor-owned Vanguard Group, currently the world’s largest mutual fund company by total assets under management. Over the course of 25 years at the helm of Vanguard, until his retirement in 1999, he focused the efforts of Vanguard on offering cost-conscious investment choices to the masses. John Bogle is the bestselling author of many other books on investment advice.

Superiority of Low-Cost Index Funds

John C. Bogle, Founder of The Vanguard Group John Bogle founded the world’s first index mutual fund, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund in 1975. Since then, “Saint Jack” (as critics labeled Bogle mockingly) has untiringly promoted the virtues of low-fee, no-load, low-turnover, passively-managed index (or more precisely, index-tracking) mutual funds. Investing in such funds, he contends in “The Little Book,” is the simplest and most effective way to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and profit from earnings growth of businesses and the dividends they yield.

John Bogle methodically discusses every theme relevant to successful investing: the myths of speculation and market timing, inflation, frictional costs (fees charged by brokers and investment advisors, costs of transactions, front-end and back-end loads,) and the effects of compounding and taxes. He then convincingly counters arguments against investing in total market index funds through easy-to-follow quantitative appraisals of investing in individual stocks and bonds, actively managed funds, hedge funds, and sector-specific funds. At the end of each chapter, Bogle reinforces his position with words of wisdom from some of the greatest minds in economics and investing: Ben Graham, Warren Buffet, John Maynard Keynes, Peter Lynch, and the like.

Invaluable Insights for Investors

The majority of people do not have the time, energy, determination, or aptitude for understanding economics, examining investments, managing risk, and building wealth for themselves. They are either overly cautious, or they invest heedlessly, submit to market trends, or engage in speculation. In reading John Bogle’s authoritative book, modest investors will recognize that low-cost index funds offer them broad diversification, reasonably good returns over the long-term, and the ability to outperform a majority of investment professionals.

Informed investors will find, notwithstanding many drawn-out discussions, a great reiteration of John Bogle’s now-familiar, commonsensical ideas on the merits of index investing.

Leadership Reader’s Bottom-line