Productivity for MacBook users. Updated for 2020.

I’m sharing my “Mac Stack”, the list of apps and tools I’ve added to optimize my Mac workflow. This list was created to help you optimize your own MacBook. All free.

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This is a come-up for anyone with a touchbar. Brings the volume up/down & brightness up/down to the top-level making it just like the old days. No more needing to tap twice.

It also displays “now playing” for audio management (so nice) and it allows you to have your Dock in the touchbar. Double press control for the regular touchbar.

Make sure you customize it to your liking in Preferences. …

My experience with the sacred medicine, ayahuasca.

Last night, I died and met God.

These were the first words in my journal the morning after the first of three ayahuasca ceremonies last month.

My readers know that I’ve been grappling with existentialism and purpose.

Could the point of life really be something like a donut of endless suffering with happiness sprinkled on top?

Are we just cogs in a system that doesn’t care about us—something like a concept of the human batteries in the Matrix… Useful as we feed the machine energy and given a simulation with ephemeral pleasures that always kept us wanting more, thus staying alive. …

This post first appeared on Sleeping Less, my email blog. Check that out here:

Sleeping Less

The other day I tweeted out the following:

everything is an iteration — it’s not about immediately getting it right, but trusting the process.

patience and lightheartedness are our main allies in life.

Allow yourself to be imperfect. It’ll make you human.

Humans are pretty good at critiquing things and others.

And for many of us, especially those of us with good taste, we are pretty good at critiquing ourselves.

Too good, in fact.

We notice the gap between what is and what we want things to be, be it ourselves or others. …

An in-depth summary of Josh Kaufman’s book, The Personal MBA. Written by Stefan Leon.

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Finished reading: Jan. 29, 2019; 417 pages.
Tags: business, startups, education
Rating: 10/10

Who should read this book [or summary]: Everyone setting out to start a business or considering getting an MBA.

Synopsis: An extremely high-level book outlining:

  • all the moving parts of most businesses
  • what you need to know in order to operate a business effectively
  • key definitions of business terms and concepts
  • the fundamentals of being an owner and working with others
  • creating, analyzing, and improving systems for business

Personal Note: This book was incredibly easy to read but very dense with information. Since this book is basically a summary itself, a lot of the text included here is meant to be a searchable reference to key terms, ideas, and concepts. That said, I tried my best to put things in my own words, reinforce certain concepts with real-world examples, and include some of my own analysis. …

A book summary of Bounce by Matthew Syed.

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Bounce by Matthew Syed

286 pages

A book about high achievement and what we can learn about it by studying some of the world’s highest achievers both past and present. Talent isn’t what we think it is. Most examples were from sports, since Syed himself was a table tennis master. His book is divided into two parts. In Part I, Syed really crystalizes the work of other researchers in this field such as Anders Ericsson, Malcolm Gladwell, and Carol Dweck, in order to prove the point that purposeful practice, intrinsic motivation, [and a little luck] create world-class performers. …

A neat little summary for a phenomenal little book on when to quit things in life.

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Rating: 10/10

Who should read: Everyone, ever. We will all need to quit things.

Summary: If you can’t be the best at something, quit.

If you are in a dip never quit, unless you are in a cul-de-sac (dead-end), in which case quit immediately.

Settling for average / trying to wait out the dip is worse than quitting in the dip.

Establish the conditions of quitting before starting.

Determine resources necessary to get through the dip before starting and assess the overall cost so that you can decide to start or not.

Quit the wrong stuff

Stick with the right stuff.

by Scott Adams

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finished 07/23/17; read completely

primary objective [SL]: Remember the good shit.

rating: 10/10 would recommend

Who should read this: Every college entrant, young adult, or any “unsuccessful” adults (so, everyone)

Summary: Scott Adams (SA) leads a less than interesting life only to stumble upon his own happiness and talents, mostly by adopting systems that allowed him to fail-forward. Peppered with his wit, Dilbert cartoons, and authentic stories from his life recounted in a way that only someone with his experience could, this book was both entertaining and insightful.

Reading notes (from SL): Not all things are properly attributed to the author (which I indicate with “ ”) but assume if it’s good writing, that it’s from the author and not I. [If anything is in brackets[]/parentheses()/braces{} those are my 2 cents/references explained/personal notes, although they will not be exclusively found in this format]. …

A preface to any summary of mine you might read.

I started to read books in 2015 at the ripe age of 22. I was finally out of college and had just returned home after going through the first leg of the evolving storyline that is my first start-up company. The imperative to catch up on my own education was all the more pressing in my mind. Finally, I could decompress from an almost 5 year journey of undergraduate study, and hustling to become, in my eyes, a multi-millionaire by the age of 25 [I am not that, yet] and devote some of my new time to reading. I was mature enough to want to learn and had heard just enough counsel to know that I’d find some of the knowledge I sought in books, particularly ones that have stood the test of time. I began by suggesting that I began to read books for the very first time in my life because, before that, all my reading was forced upon me at times where my mind wanted to be anywhere but between the pages of dull textbooks, barring a few good reads in my economics coursework. The last good book I voluntarily read might have been Harry Potter. …

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I’m a pretty fearless (or confidently arrogant) individual. If I ever see people do something remotely dangerous and live, it’s validation that I, in theory, can do it too — at least once. While that does not mean I will try hot sauces with three skulls and a small prayer printed on the label, I have wandered down the rabbit hole and tried drugs that I have come across (I said no to crack, FTR). & can you blame me? Drugs have been incepted in all generations through its proliferation through music, movies, and pop culture. It’s demonized by systems that are meant to keep us in order, and so getting involved in drugs is a rite of passage in any young rebel’s life — which almost all teenagers and young adults naturally are. …

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These were words I uttered last week in what was perhaps my most candid conversation with God to date. It was prompted by the surfacing of my deepest thoughts brought out by ayahuasca and the take over of my conscious mind by my inner Self. There was so much I wanted to know and I felt like I was in a state where I could receive some answers. I was laying down looking up at a slightly distorted sky nearing dusk and had a chat with the big guy himself out loud for him to hear.

Having grown up in a secular home, I wasn’t really brought up talking to God. It was only last year that I aligned with my mother’s Judaic roots. As I’ve grown older, exited the formal school system, and freed my life of many distractions, I’ve had more time to objectively view the world we live in and get to asking deeper questions about it. My reflection indicates I direct thoughts to God, but I don’t really expect responses or humanize him in my mind. I thank God, aka the Universe, daily for his presence in my life and for my blessings. I ask him for things I want and ask him to look out for people I love. I apologize and try to recognize poor choices I make in an effort to relieve my conscious. & how many times have I yelled out “Oh My God!’? But conversations are not one way roads and the experience I had was different. God was my boy for something like 20 minutes and got my full authenticity and unfiltered questions. So, of course I asked God ‘what’s good?’. I laughed at jokes I made about him and with him, asked about my confusions with this world and even my own life, and told him to talk to me. …


Stefan Leon

Focused creative.

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