The author has explained various methods & logic to free you from the doubts that prevent you from leading the good life. His explanations of various aspects of life are well analyzed; but at a certain level, it is a clever book.

He calls his observations as intellectual tools & admits that these may NOT give you a good life but may give you a fighting chance.

Suggestion no. 1-The fine art of correction

Thousands of times in a second, the autopilot of an aircraft recalculates the gap between where the plane is & where it should be & issues corrective instructions. Similarly, even on a dead straight road, you can’t take your hands off the wheel without veering out of your lane & risking an accident.

Hostile viruses & bacteria are constantly mutating, & our defenses can only function through perpetual correction. Frankly, anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in a relationship should already know that without ongoing fine-tuning  & repairs, it doesn’t work.

The good life is only achieved through constant readjustment & not through a stable state.

“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” It’s not about having a fixed plan, it’s about repeated re-planning- an ongoing process.

Even country’s constitutions are not cast in stone. They too are revised.

We have got to get rid of the stigma attached to correction. There is no perfect business strategy, no optimal stock portfolio, no one right job. They’re all myths. The truth is that you begin with one set-up & then constantly adjust it.

It’s no accident that I am typing these lines in Word 14.7.1. Version 1.0 hasn’t been in the market for years.

Suggestion no. 2- How to turn a loss into  a win

Parking tickets used to infuriate me. These days I pay them with a smile. I just debit the sum from the account I have earmarked for donations.

Living a good life has a lot to do with interpreting facts in a constructive way. ( After all, the value of my stock portfolio fluctuates every minute by thousands of rupees.) This is good mental accounting.

Suggestion no. 3 – Black box thinking

No industry takes mistakes more seriously than airlines.. Everything we know in aviation, every rule in the rule book, every procedure we have, we know because someone somewhere died.

The term black box thinking was coined by Matthew Syed, who dedicated a whole book to it.

For living a good life, you’ll have to deal with your fair share of failure, & it’s okay to put a foot wrong every now & then. The key is to discover why it happened & tackle the issue at its root.

Suggestion no. 4- Why time-savers are often time-wasters

Counterproductivity refers to the fact that while many technologies seem at first glance to be saving us time & money, this saving vanishes into thin air as soon as you do a full cost analysis.

Take e-mail- viewed in isolation, it’s brilliant. You can type & send it off within seconds– & for free. But appearances can be deceptive. Every e-mail address attracts spam that has to be filtered out. Worse yet, most of the messages landing in your inbox are irrelevant, but you still have to read them in order to decide whether they require action on your part. It’s hugely time consuming. Strictly speaking, you should factor in a slice of the cost of your computer & smartphone, plus the time it takes to update your software. A rough estimate puts the cost at one dollar per relevant e-mail-just as much as an old fashioned letter.

In 1990, Powerpoint launched into the market. All at once, millions of executives starting spending hours into their presentations, adding garish colours, bizarre fonts & animation effects. The hidden costs of counterproductivity came into play- learn the software, installing upgrades, designing & prettifying slides.

Digital cameras- Liberation; no more expensive film, no more waiting for it to be developed, no more unflattering photos. It looks like a huge simplification. But today we are sitting on a mountain of photos & videos, 99% of which are superfluous, without the time to sort them through. And the problems of transfers once you buy a new computer.

What do you think is the average speed of your car? My on-board computer says 50 km/hour.This is incorrect. Take into account- the number of hours you had to work in order to buy the car; pay for insurance, maintenance, fuel & parking tickets.

A basic rule of the good life is that if it genuinely doesn’t  contribute something, you can do without it.

Suggestion no. 5- Avoid negatives

These factors jeopardise the good life: Alcoholism, drugs, chronic stress,noise, a lengthy commute, a job you despise, unemployment, a bad marriage, stupidly high expectations, poverty, debt & financial dependence,loneliness, over reliance on external validation, constant self comparison with others, thinking like a victim, self-loathing, chronic sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, rage & envy.

Systematically eliminate the downside of your life- then you will have a real chance of achieving a good life.

Suggestion no. 6-Your success may not be yours

Getting rid of pride may be the way to a good life. Because the things that make you proud may not actually be due to you but due to circumstances.

Your successes are fundamentally based on things over which you have no control whatsoever. You haven’t really “earned” your achievement. What proportion of success would you ascribe to your own achievement?

What you are, you owe to your genes & the environment in which your genetic blueprint was realised. Even your level of intelligence is largely determined by your genes.

Imagine there are two identical twins in the womb, both equally bright & energetic. And the genie says to them, ” One of you is going to be born in the US, & the other in Bangladesh. And if you wind up in Bangladesh, you will pay no taxes. What percentage of your income would you bid to be the one that is born in the US? We are talking of the ovarian lottery.  Most people interviewed by the author say 80%. The fact that your place of birth is worth that much money to us makes it clear how greatly it influences our success. Imagine if you were born in a particular postcode & into a particular family. None of this is within your control. You have been given values, behaviors & principles that help or hinder you in everyday life, & again these are beyond your control. You got sick or were not, & again not in your control. You slipped into a series of roles & you made decisions- based on what? Perhaps you read a book that changed your life- how did you come to hear about it? Say you met somebody who opened the doors for you, without which you wouldn’t have got where you are today. Who do you have to thank for this acquaintance?

Even if you’ve had you fair share of tussles with fate, you’ve got to admit that you’re enormously lucky. Six percent of all people who have ever lived on earth are alive at this moment. Which means that six percent of all people who have been born since the last 300,000 years- since humans populated the earth- are alive in the present day. 94% were living earlier & you could have been a slave or a servant in ancient Egypt. How many of your inborn talents would have been worth much in those environments? Imagine a life without modern medicine?

You are result of a combination of genes too complex to envision. None within your control.

Be kind to people with the wrong genes or postcodes. This will lead to a good life.

Suggestion no 7: Self-Pity is not good

Self-pity is one of the most useless responses to life’s trials. Self-pity does not change anything. It does the opposite, in fact, because self-pity is an emotional whirlpool, a spiral that sucks you deeper down the longer you’re in it.The moment you notice self-pity in yourself, swim away from its dangerous pull. “If you find yourself in a hole stop digging.”

What point is there in being unhappy, just because once you were unhappy?

Whenever you think that some situation or some person is ruining your life, it is actually you who are ruining your life … Feeling like a victim is a perfectly disastrous way to go through life.

Suggestion no 8- A meaningful (with purpose) life is needed

Should one have a life of pleasure or meaning?

One option is to have all the pleasures. This is the hedonistic life.

The other option is to have a purpose or meaning in life.

Hollywood makes most movies based on sheer entertainment & some of these become hits. But they are now realizing that the movie must have meaningful component, something besides sheer gratification. Life is Beautiful or A Beautiful Mind were films with meaning & became blockbusters.

Finding the correct mix between pleasures & meaning can lead to a good life.

Suggestion no. 9 – Take a Pledge

Sometimes taking a pledge is a good way of motivating oneself to adhere to an activity. Once you have pledged something, you do not have to weigh up the pros & cons each & every time you are faced with a decision. It’s already been made for you, saving you mental energy.

You do become inflexible but you build up a reputation. By being consistent on certain topics, you signal where you stand & establish the areas where there is no room for negotiation.You communicate your self-mastery, making yourself less vulnerable to attack.

If you lead a life consistent with your pledges-whatever those look like-people will gradually leave you in peace.

Suggestion no 10 – Focus in a broad way

Each city has its plus & minus features. By taking a narrow view (traffic), one may disapprove of a city but if one takes a broad view, one will take a more balanced view.

We often take a narrow view & can make ourselves unhappy.

Whatsoever the issue, take a more broad & balanced view. A good life is only attainable if you look through a wide angle lens.

Suggestion no. 11-Know your limits

Know your circle of competence & stick within it. The size of the circle is not important, knowing its boundaries is vital. Figure out where your talent lies. If you try to succeed in what you are worst at, you will have a lousy career.

Obsession drives people to invest thousands of hours into something. Obsession is an engine, not an engine failure. Every hour spent within your circle of competence is worth a thousand spent elsewhere.

Suggestion no. 12- Be persistent

Classic investors buy shares in only a handful of companies, which they know thoroughly. The opinion of the market means nothing to them. Their commitment is long-term. To avoid transaction costs, they buy & sell as infrequently as possible.

Such investors take the advantage 0f long time-spans. Do not over emphasize doing over not doing, zeal above deliberation, & action above waiting.

In the book world, there are best sellers & “long-sellers”. The latter sell more in the long term.

The most successful car of all times? The Toyota Corolla, continuously available as new since 1966- now in its 11th generation.

Slow, boring, long-winded processes lead to the best results.

Many people are convinced that for a life to be good it must be one long highlight reel of adventures, travels & relocations. Actually, the more peaceful the life, the more productive.

Kant is said never to have been more than 10 miles from his home, in all his life.

Perseverance , tenacity & long term thinking are highly valuable , yet underrated.

You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long long time

Suggestion no. 13- Don’t idolize great men

Events are the accidental by-product of an infinite number of trends & influences. It works like traffic, not like cars. There is nobody directing it. World history is fundamentally disorderly, fortuitous & unpredictable. Key to the good life is not idolizing great men.

The great men may be big inventors but remember: Technology will find its inventors, not vice versa. Take the CEOs of great companies- a few years after their retirement, nobody even remembers their names. Even their companies’ strong results have less to do with their decisions than with market trends as a whole.Don’t mimic the behaviour (or dress code or their kind of pomp & ceremony) of successful people without fully understanding what made them successful in the first place.

Your personal impact on the world is minute. The only place where you can really make a difference is in your own life. Not believing too much in your own self-importance is one of the most valuable strategies for a good life.

Suggestion no. 14- It is not a fair world

All basic human beliefs are based on the fact that if you do good, the result will be good. It is an excellent coping device.

In real life this may not happen. So accept unhappiness & misfortune with stoicism & calm. Treat incredible success & strokes of luck exactly the same.