FREE to IEEE Members
Terence Yeoh loves cars. The author makes it clear from the very opening paragraphs of his first book in the new IEEE-USA e-book series: The Ultimate Upgrade Essentials Book 1: The Human Condition. Yeoh starts by drawing parallels between cars and the human body. He notes that just like cars, “Our bodies always leave something in the back pocket,” and that “Our human potential far exceeds our day-to-day performance.”
In this book, Yeoh draws from both his engineering experience, and from his YouTube series, Yeoh on the Go, to offer suggestions on performing at peak levels. He notes that as everyone is bombarded with more and more information, we need to understand how we can process and act on information in parallel tracks — while cutting out information or tasks that are less important. The author points out that humans are generalists by nature, but are most able to become expert (or at least competent) in multiple areas. In the face of even more information and the maturing of artificial intelligence, he suggests we “strive to grow in this manner — to be more human, not less.”
Yeoh warns that we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, one where big data threatens to replace human creative insights. He concludes that “what the internet did to knowledge, big data will do to wisdom.” The author urges us all to have a clearly defined purpose, lest we risk having technology and society determine our purpose for us…
In Book 1, Yeoh delves deep into S-curves and multiple S-curves as they relate to learning. The author draws on three experiences from his professional life to illustrate the value of S-curve analysis: scaling a national intern program from 40 to 300 interns; establishing an innovation incubator; and launching what he calls “compact mentoring.” He ties these efforts together with the same goal — of creating a development culture and establishing a “natural pipeline from idea to implementation.”
Yeoh divides the S-curve learning process into three components. During the first phase of the S-curve, one has many interrelated concepts to learn, and you are pushed to stretch your cognitive thinking. He views an architect mindset to be ideal for this phase — requiring vision, creativity, and the ability to develop something new from scratch.
The author views the second phase is the one best-suited for an engineer’s mindset. He points out this phase is when the greatest amount of learning takes place; when you must focus on practicality, and match creativity with capabilities.
In the third phase, Yeoh, writes — learning slows down. He emphasizes you must shift your focus to refining your learning systems — making sure that they are robust, resilient, and sustainable.
From these experiences, Yeoh concludes you should work on projects in parallel — utilizing various parts of your brain — to maximize your potential. “This has been my secret for increased productivity. Always seek to pair very different tasks together, so each becomes a cognitive break from the other,” he writes.
However, Yeoh is not an advocate of constantly working so many tasks, that you have no time away from work. He notes that rest is a critical component of work, and in fact, is “perhaps the most important part of performance.” The author urges people to build in time for rest — from regular short breaks to long sabbaticals.
The Ultimate Upgrade Essentials – Book 1: The Human Condition is available to IEEE members for free at IEEE-USA’s online shop at https://ieeeusa.org/product/the-ultimate-upgrade-essentials-book-1. Non-members pay $4.99
An IEEE Senior Member, Dr. Terence Yeoh has been a technical and career development contributor to IEEE since 1999. He has held a variety of career roles in systems engineering, R&D portfolio management, program management, and corporate strategy. Yeoh holds eleven patents in such areas as infrared microscopy, compressive sensing, and artificial intelligence. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, writing code, and driving his mustang. This e-book was based on his YouTube series: Yeoh on the Go, Seasons 1 & 2.