Derek Sivers
book cover

Useful Not True

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  1. What’s this about?

Almost nothing people say is true

  1. What time is it?
  2. Perspectives feel real
  3. No picture is the whole picture
  4. People share perspectives, not facts
  5. Separate events and interpretation
  6. Bridge guard
  7. Rules are a starting point, not the final answer
  8. Obligations are not true
  9. Cultural meanings
  10. Try to find their incentives
  11. The brain invents explanations
  12. Memories are not accurate
  13. The past is not true
  14. Wanna bet?
  15. Even science isn’t true
  16. Fake or real? True or false? So what?
  17. Bridge guard, revisited
  18. That was about you, not them

Your thoughts aren’t true

  1. You are the strange one
  2. Who planted those seeds in your head?
  3. You can’t trust your mind
  4. Re-edit your mind’s movies
  5. Hanging inherited paintings
  6. Make believe
  7. Beliefs are not facts
  8. The more emotional the belief, the less likely it’s true
  9. Your first thought is an obstacle
  10. Fill your senses with reality

Ideas can be useful, not true

  1. Bowling: curve into the target
  2. A daily run and imagination
  3. Beliefs → emotions → actions
  4. Useful?
  5. Religion is action, not belief
  6. Carpenters’ tools
  7. Judge the contents, not the box
  8. Which perspective empowers you?
  9. Magic mirror shows what you need to believe
  10. Placebo meanings
  11. Life is _______
  12. What is “the truth” really for?
  13. Philosophies are instruments

Reframe: find better perspectives

  1. The most useful part of this book
  2. Who chooses your (next) thoughts?
  3. Answer great questions
  4. Diamond in the trash
  5. Traits of useful beliefs and perspectives
  6. Five tiny tales of reframing
  7. An awesome collection of great questions

Adopt what works for you now

  1. How to decide and make the best choice
  2. From explorer to self-leader
  3. No new instructions for the computer
  4. Private journal to internalize it
  5. Talk with friends to solidify it
  6. Why your choice is wrong
  7. Take the first step immediately
  8. Keep tuning and adjusting
  9. You are what you pretend to be


  1. Reframing death
  2. What next?
  3. More books on this subject

More books on this subject

A soon-to-be awesome collection of great questions

When something goes wrong

When changing direction

When stuck

To make peace with what’s out of your control