How a Genius Solves Problems (by putting details second)

Amazing article on solving problems by first understanding essentials of the problem (not the solution). Simplify and focus on the big picture or “core” of the problem before jumping into details.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Claude Shannon: How a Genius Solves Problems

Finding the true form of the problem is almost as important as the answer that comes after.

I practically want to copy and past the whole article in here, but here are a few select highlights.

Finding the core problem

…it is to get the bigger picture right before you go chasing after the details. Otherwise, you start by pointing yourself in the wrong direction.

Shannonโ€™s reasoning… was that it isnโ€™t until you eliminate the inessential from the problem you are working on that you can see the core that will guide you to an answer.

Looking at the problem in different ways

One of Shannonโ€™s go-to tricks was to restructure and contrast the problem in as many different ways as possible. This could mean exaggerating it, minimizing it, changing the words of how it is stated, reframing the angle from where it is looked at, and inverting it.

In every day life

Much of lifeโ€Šโ€”โ€Šwhether itโ€™s in your work, or in your relationships, or as it relates to your well-beingโ€Šโ€”โ€Šcomes down to identifying and attacking a problem so that you can move past it.


Think something positive? Voice it.

Great article about building better relationships (of all kinds).

Want a Happier, More Fulfilling Life? 75-Year Harvard Study Says Focus on This 1 Thing

It basically comes down to expressing gratitude towards people you appreciate.

When you think something positive and you genuinely believe it, voice it.

And this habit tends to circle back to you.

When you practice Positive Alacrity, youโ€™re not only uplifting others. Above all, youโ€™re uplifting yourself.


To Reduce Travel Stress, Plan Less

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to reduce stress while traveling is to just plan less and let spontaneity take over.

I love that someone is actually saying this. Sure, plan the first part of your vacation. But leave some time for discovery, spontaneity, and to plan as you go. And you don’t necessarily have to leave that amazing place you found just yet . โ˜บ๏ธ

There is another way: Book only the first few days. While I know for most travelers, particularly those with families, such an extreme lack of planning seems impossible, even unadvisable, I strongly recommend considering planning less, even if thatโ€™s leaving just a few days ope

Software Dev

33 and โ…“

As noted in this post , I’ve been swimming at a pool that is 33 โ…“ yards (100 feet) long instead of the usual 25 years. I had been tracking this length as 33 yards on my Apple Watch. But recently they added an actual “33 โ…“” length between 33 and 34. Even though that โ…“ of a yard doesn’t make a real difference to me in terms of health tracking, this still made my day because they were thinking of me and this weird pool. ๐Ÿ‘

It shows what kind of impact attention to detail can have in a user interface. What can I say? I feel understood. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ


The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer is one of those songs I thought was “weird” or at best “okay” when it came out when I was 12 years old in 1984. I didn’t really understand what the heck he was singing about, and the sound of the song had a weird tension to it that made me uncomfortable. Plus it had one of those overly artsy black and white music videos!

These days I love the song. Now I know exactly what he’s talking about. I feel like I’ve lived this song myself. I love the black and white video because it’s overlay artsy. And the the weird little drummer boy is perfect. Now I really appreciate the weird tension in the song. It makes the song unique and edgy. And even with the musical tension, Don Henley sings in such a cool, nonchalant way.

The other tension is lyrical, between sadness and hope. The words paint a picture of a lonely beach town at the end of summer, a beautiful woman, and a broken heart. The lyrics stand pretty well on their own.

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach.

Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home.

But I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone.

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley

This song features one of the most beautiful outtros I’ve ever heard. The melodic, almost twangy guitar layered over a warm rhythm guitar counters the fierce electronic drums as the song fades out. Love it (these days).