Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, June 5, 2017

"You are not so smart" book/ "Beware of linearity: The shortest distance to your future may not be a straight line"

May 21, 2015:

Edmonton Examiner: I remember last year I was like: "Is the Edmonton Examiner still here?"  Yes, it is.

Master of Communications and Technology: I went to an information session for this at the University of Alberta Extension in Aug. 2014.  I had taken notes like how there were 8 people including me.  I didn't know it was a masters program.  In the advertisement it was communication and technology.

I went there last year and now I'm writing about it.  Well it's not time sensitive. I did write
a lot about the college programs I researched into my weekly emails/ blog posts last year.
Now some time has passed and I can look at it again differently.

"It was for professionals with experience in communications and technology fields."  It examines internet, social media, and mobile devices.   

Theory- application to practice
Knowledge- use in problem solving
Critical thinking- foundation of leadership skills
Research- basis for innovation and change 

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace Hardcover:   

MACT gave this book out in a draw:
by Ronald J. Deibert (Author):

"Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain."

Black Code is terrifying. It effortlessly chronicles threats ranging from individual privacy to national security…[highlighting] the shadowy, lucrative war online, behind closed doors and in the halls of power, which threatens to control, censor, and spy on us, or worse.”
National Post

“Gripping and absolutely terrifying. . . . Black Code is a manifesto for the 21st-century form of network stewardship, a sense of shared responsibility toward our vital electronic water supply. It is a timely rallying cry, and sorely needed.”
—Cory Doctorow, Globe and Mail

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself Paperback: This is another book they gave away in the draw.

"Every chapter is a welcome reminder that you are not so smart-yet you're never made to feel dumb. You Are Not So Smart is a dose of psychology research served in tasty anecdotes that will make you better understand both yourself and the rest of us. It turns out we're much more irrational than most of us think, so give yourself every advantage you can and read this book."—Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of

The course topics are:

-history/ theory of human communication
-social impact of new media
-understanding social networks
-knowledge management and organizational communications
-applied research methods

The students graduate and can go to become:

-govt. relations
-education administrators
-instructional designers
-web developers
-IT managers
-corporate communications

-PR and marketing
-art and design
-govt. education
-communication consultant and strategist

Moondog: I looked up what a communication strategist does and found Moondog:

"Communications channels are everywhere and seem to be expanding. The Net, email, presentations, telephones, newsletters, Twitter. The list is seemingly endless.

A communications strategist can help you get the most out of these channels by looking at the way you or your company uses them and the kind of messages you send out. After all, the way you write and speak effects the way people receive and respond to you."

It turns out I did research this job in Nov. 2012:

Jan. 27, 2016 Bin there, dump that: I was looking for a job on the internet and I found this company.  I thought it was a funny name.  The company rents out dumpsters.

Dec. 9, 2016 "Beware of linearity: The shortest distance to your future may not be a straight line": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Also in this compendium: Rethinking humility, apologies and honesty in a Trump world

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
But perhaps not in business.

The problem is that concept – call it linearity – dominates our thinking as we tackle problems. “Western thinkers are so habituated to thinking in terms of linear models that we allow them to inform not just what we think, but the fundamentals of how we think. Little wonder. Linearity is a critical and – apparently – inherent part of our cultural DNA,” Ryan Mathews, CEO of Black Monk Consulting, and Jim Singer, a partner at A.T. Kearney, write in the Ivey Business Journal.

They say such horizontal thinking underlies strategy, with chevrons, arrows, and Gantt charts assuming everything – even in a world of political, economic and digital disruption – moves in straight-line fashion. But it doesn’t and such thinking, they argue, “rarely succeeds, especially over the long haul.”

Here are five fatal flaws they cite in the linear model:

– It is demonstrably wrong: The predictable rarely happens. “Take this simple example:

Based on our experience with past technologies like the steam and internal combustion engines, computerization was supposed to eliminate paper, reduce person-hours, and create a surplus of leisure time. Anyone still want to sign up for any of those assumptions?”

My opinion: It did eliminate paper.  Lots of medical offices are going electronic.

– It assumes past is prologue: The thinking is that event A leads to event B which in turn is the foundation of event C. But they insist there are tens of thousands of examples of why this is wrong, especially in business, not that those examples slow us down.

“Perhaps the most limiting aspect of a linear view is that it assumes a predictable end state and therefore incorrectly eliminates any and all potential alternative conclusions. If you assume you know the answer, why bother asking the question?”

– It diminishes discontinuities: Unexpected exponential change happens and can create much greater growth and profits than simply betting on trends.

– It imposes old patterns rather than discovers new ones: It’s the kind of thinking that led traditional food retailers to believe they had nothing to fear from Wal-Mart or bookstores to argue that what people wanted was a better in-store shopping environment.

– It minimizes the role of feedback in an interconnected world: At the heart, linearity assumes we are passively and placidly moving to a more or less inevitably predestined end.

“Perish the thought of establishing a dialogue!” they say. “A non-linear view of the future assumes a bit of randomness and chaos, of fuzziness, feedback, and interaction, and, as such, opens up vast new horizons of possibility.”

It’s not easy to forsake linearity, they concede. But it’s essential to guard against slavishly following its tantalizing direction. Start by reading trade journals from another industry or studying a topic you have no interest in. Look for the less obvious interconnections around you.

Think like a songwriter: Choruses and bridges signal a break with the preceding verse or the patterns that come before. But a true bridge, unlike a chorus, never repeats. They urge you to look for bridge moments rather than assume past is prologue.

2. Rethinking humility, apologies, and honesty

After Donald Trump’s election, consultant Susan Fowler is beginning to question some of the leadership truths we hold dear.

For example, in Good to Great, management researcher Jim Collins seemed to prove conclusively that the corporate leaders who took the top companies to greatness combined humility with determination. Well, Donald Trump likes the word great, but humility is not him.

“It makes sense that a humble leader is also an empathetic leader who can relate to people’s feelings and better meet their needs. I wonder, Jim, are we wrong about this?” she writes on Smart Brief blog.

Ken Blanchard wrote a book called The One Minute Apology. It included this advice:

“Apologize not for the outcome, but because you know you were wrong and it’s the right thing to do. Every one-minute apology makes you more aware of how much your behavior affects others.” Perhaps Mr. Trump didn’t read that book. Ms. Fowler wonders if perhaps apologies make people look weak and are thus counter-productive: “I wonder, Ken, should we apologize to all those leaders who have fessed up to making a mistake or for being imperfect?”

Leaders are supposed to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. But fact checkers found Mr. Trump consistently at odds with the truth. And his supporters didn’t seem to care, assuming leaders lie anyway.

TV host Stephen Colbert used the term “truthiness” to cover believing something that feels true even if it isn’t supported by fact. Says Fowler: “I wonder if truth-telling matters when people are interested in bigger issues?”

She also wonders, in this unique political season:

– Do a leader’s values really matter?

– Does trust matter?

– Is there a difference between being authentic and saying whatever you’re thinking in the moment?

– If people can benefit from a leader’s self-orientation, is it okay to be self-serving?

Overall, she wonders if anything we’ve believed about leadership is true.

3. Moving beyond Your Most Important Thing

One of the highly touted productivity approaches is to tackle your most important thing (MIT) at the start of the day. Get it done before the chaos of the day overwhelms you.

But productivity writer Cal Newport, a Georgetown University computer science professor, feels the approach is insufficient – calling it “amateur ball” while the professionals play a more textured game.

The problem is that it implicitly concedes that most of your day is out of your control. But someone who plans every minute of their day and every day of their week will inevitably accomplish far more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective.

The key, he feels, is to put enough buffers in your day to handle the unplanned stuff that hits you. With those slices of times and a spirit of adaptability you will find your work life not as unpredictable as you assume.

“More importantly, you’ll also likely discover that a proactive schedule that requires multiple on-the-fly adjustments is still significantly more productive than the MIT approach of tackling one pre-planned task then relinquishing the reins to whomever happens to be filling your inboxes at the moment,” he writes on his blog.

“In other words, don’t settle for a workday in which only an hour or two is in your control. Fight for every last minute. Even if you don’t always win, you’ll end up better off.”

4. Quick hits

– Columbia Business School Professor Rita Gunther McGrath says in her e-newsletter that we are dealing these days with two management control systems and that is overwhelming us. The first is traditional bureaucracy, which we have yet to bury. The second is the horizontal system of networks, communications and instantaneous messaging that occupies so much of our work life.

– The yeasayer, says entrepreneur Seth Godin, is the opposite of the naysayer, somebody who will find 10 reasons to try something, embracing the possibility of better. Could that be you?

– Check e-mail at the top and bottom of the hour, advises trainer Dan Rockwell.

– When travelling, carry less stuff, advises blogger James Clear. In reducing what you take, consider weight and usefulness. When faced with two useful options, select the lighter one. As well, opt for items that have multiple uses.

Andrew from Toronto
2 days ago

“Take this simple example: Based on our experience with past technologies like the steam and internal combustion engines, computerization was supposed to eliminate paper, reduce person-hours, and create a surplus of leisure time. Anyone still want to sign up for any of those assumptions?”

Person-hours HAVE been reduced, and leisure time HAS been increased. Unfortunately, this is reflected in unemployment, underemployment, and jobless youth, as the benefits go to the top rather than being distributed to those whose jobs have been automated.

2 days ago

MP3's came along people said it would devastate the music industry.
What we see now is how fake and poor commercial music was- we were sold a bill of goods. People are now discovering all types of music for free and with out marketing. They don't care what they look like or who says they are talented.
The writers in the newspaper are not hired because they are great, people assume they must have gone through a vetting process of many people and therefore they must be the best journos in the world. No we see it is not true.
We see many people on youtube who are greater philosophers, greater writers and greater researchers: they were just never given the spot light. They never played the right game. The popular journos were hire not because of merit but because of politics.
So, what we believed to be greatness was just dumbed down thinking in many cases. We assumed the people at the top got there because of merit. A wrong assumption.

2 days ago

Isn't it a riot when a couple of not-highly-mathematically trained business guys latch onto a mathematical term and start applying it to other people's thinking in a highly mathematically imprecise manner? But the use of a technical word adds the veneer of greater sophistication to whatever idea they might be peddling. And when we are lucky, what is being peddled is common sense. I've seen this selling technique used by consultants so many times, that I have imagine it is taught in business marketing programs.

My week:

May 29, 2017:

Alacrity-brisk and cheerful readiness.

May 30, 2017 "Ontario to introduce $15 minimum wage ": Here are some excerpts:

TORONTO - Ontario is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing the minimum vacation entitlement as part of a major labour overhaul.

Wynne also announced that part-time workers will get equal pay for doing work equal to full-time staff, and that the minimum vacation entitlement will be increased. Instead of getting two weeks of vacation, workers will be able to get three weeks of paid vacation a year after five years with a company.

The changes to workplace laws will also establish fairer rules for scheduling, including making employers pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.

I wrote about minimum wage before:

May 31, 2017 Job search:

2nd restaurant job: I don't know if you can tell, but I only work at the first restaurant job.  I've been there for 6 yrs. 

In 2015, I worked at the home installation place for 3 months on the weekdays and was at the first restaurant job on the weekends.  The home installation place was kind of hard, and both jobs was kind of tiring.

After 3 months, I was dismissed from the home installation.  Months later I emailed my boss an apology and am Facebook friends with her.

I then got my 2nd restaurant job after 2 and a half months of looking for it.  I was dismissed by the end of Jan. 2017 after a year and a half of working there. 

My manager M was getting annoyed at me for calling to ask if I can go and work at my 1st restaurant job whenever the 1st restaurant job needs my help.  The 1st restaurant job pays more because there are tips added to every shift.  The 2nd restaurant job pays tips twice a yr.

The last 4 months I was looking for an office job, and a restaurant job that paid with tips.  I was working at the 1st restaurant job too.

However, 2 weeks ago, my manager M called me and asked if I can work for them.  I said yeah and worked for 2 weeks.  An employee J who got hired in Jan. 2017 had quit.  M had also fired S.  E had quit to be full-time residential manager.  E had that job when working at the restaurant. 

The employee Ni was going on maternity leave, and I thought I could work her shifts.  This Mon. was pretty quiet there.  Then my manager M told me they didn't need me anymore.  They had enough people to cover Ni and the summer time is pretty quiet.  So I have to look for a 2nd job.  I thought I was like hired back or going to be permanent.

Well it's been a good two weeks.

The plan: I was to get a restaurant job that provides tips.  I went to downtown, 124 st. and West Ed mall.  I went on the internet of course.  I get interviews and I don't get hired.

I will now look for a food counter attendant job.

Jun. 1, 2017: At the Soup place, S was fired and E quit.  2 people were then hired to replace them.

J quit, and I then I replaced her for 2 weeks.

I can hope that someone quits at either of these places so I can get more hours.

The lesson: Also I learned that when I am scheduled to work at a 2nd restaurant job, I should go to work on that day.  When the 1st restaurant job calls and asks if I can work there on that morning, I should say I can't and I have to work at my 2nd restaurant job.

I always asked my manager M: "Do you really need me today?  Because I want to work at the other job."

That's why I was looking for a restaurant job that paid with tips.  If 1st restaurant calls me that day, I would turn it down because I would already have a 2nd job that paid tips.

May 31, 2017 "Food Banks Canada working to combat food insecurity in the summer": Today I found this article by Dave McGinn in the Globe and Mail:

What is the goal of the campaign?
We know that food banks will be providing 26 million meals over the summer. The goal of this campaign is three million meals, which means raising three million dollars. For every dollar that gets donated that will equate to three meals.

One dollar buys three meals? How is that possible?
It’s possible because food banks are very efficient. A lot of the support from food banks is done by volunteers, a lot of their food is donated, so that money is really leveraged through donated support and that’s why it goes as far is it does.



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