Sunday Wisdom No. 11

Happy Sunday!

Trust you had a good weekend. I’m feeling particularly grateful to have you reading this email. Thank you for sharing your precious time with me every Sunday.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of Sunday Wisdom — a newsletter on the principles of life, strategy, and antifragility.


My New Article

Action Bias: Why Waiting and Watching Is Torture — Action Bias or Do Something Syndrome is the outcome of our tendency to always do something by intervening when, in fact things should be left as they are.

This bias is a mix of a lack of patience and a strong desire to intervene without thinking, or even considering the possibility of a downside. Knowing about this bias would help you understand that there are better methods than always defaulting to action.

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 1009, and 08.


An Idea For You

Practice humility.

If you are humble, people would empathise with you. They would root for you. They would want you to succeed. If you are selfish, they would detest you. They would want you to fail.

Being humble is not only a virtue, but also a very good PR strategy.


I Enjoyed Watching

The Game Changers (Netflix) — Did you know that the ancient Roman gladiators were mainly vegetarians? This documentary takes a look at the benefits—athletic, medicinal and even sexual—of plant-based diets. Nutrition is a bit of a controversial subject, so don’t take the ideas presented as hardcore scientific advice. But it’s a good starting point to do your own research.


I Recommend Reading

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things (NPR) — “In general, when we think about bad behaviour, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.”

Is Sending Text Reminders Behavioural Economics? (Psychology Today) — “…labelling this intervention behavioural economics seems like a stretch; more fitting might be to call it design, communication, or common sense, and I can’t see how the design of such an intervention is helped by any specialised knowledge of behavioural economics.”

Turing As a Runner — “I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard; its the only way I can get some release.”


Worth Thinking About

“A good leader doesn’t need to have the answers: they just need to identify problems and make sure they are addressed.”

— Dave Bailey (CEO Coach)


As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note!

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


☕️ FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE

My work is free. But it takes me hundreds of cups of coffee a month to research, write, and record the content for coffeeandjunk. If you find joy and value in what I do, please consider buying me a cup. Buy Me Coffee.

Sunday Wisdom No. 10

Happy Sunday!

Welcome to a new edition of Sunday Wisdom—a newsletter on the principles of life, strategy, and antifragility.


My Latest Article

The Benjamin Franklin Effect: Why It’s Better to Ask For a Favour Than Do One — In his 84-year life, Benjamin Franklin was America’s best scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and business strategist. He was also a master in the game of personal politics. To climb the social ladder, he had a latticework of secret weapons, one of which was the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

According to it, you tend to like the people to whom you are kind and dislike the people to whom you are rude. So the correct way to build rapport is to ask for a favour, not do one.


Documentary Worth Watching

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (YouTube) — This depicts the life of Aaron Swartz — an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, and Internet activist. He’s also credited as one of Reddit’s cofounder. Swartz’s work focused on civic awareness and activism. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I was crying in the end.


An Idea For You

You don’t change people. People change themselves.

Forcing change, or trying to guilt people into changing aren’t effective strategies.

Therefore, articulate your thoughts so that people question their own beliefs. Let them decide independently. Devoid of any force or pressure. Let them come to the conclusion on their own. Then it’ll be a permanent change.


Articles Worth Reading

Schadenfreude with Bite — “The troll has it both ways. He is magnificently indifferent to social norms, which he transgresses for the lulz, yet often at the same time a vengeful punisher: both the Joker and Batman. The troll acts as a self-appointed cultural critic in a tradition of clowns and jesters, while simultaneously plausibly maintaining that it’s all in good fun and shouldn’t be taken (too) seriously.”

Adam Neumann and The Art of Failing Up — While WeWork’s future looks morbid, former CEO Adam Neumann exited the company with $1Bn. It’s a good lesson on how we often get fooled by show and tell. It’s also a lesson on banking upon one’s qualities, and how not to be a sucker.


Worth Thinking About

“There is no more unmistakable sign of failure than that of a middle-aged man boasting of his successes in college.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb


As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note!

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 0908, and 07.

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


DONATING = LOVING

My work is free. But it takes me hundreds of cups of coffee a month to research, write, and record the content for coffeeandjunk.com. If you find joy and value in what I do, please consider buying me a cup. Buy Me Coffee.

Sunday Wisdom No. 9

Happy Sunday!

A very Happy Diwali to you all! Diwali is the festival of lights, and it’s one of the most popular festivals in India. Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

However, instead of staying home, this time I took and impromptu trip to Goa. If you have restaurant recommendations, please send them my way.

In the meantime, I'm excited to share this email with you. Here’s your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom.


Latest from Coffee&Junk

Take Some of Your Own Time For Yourself TooWe often get more engrossed in the balance-sheet of a business than that of our own life. We convince ourselves that we’ll live for ourselves later, after we have accomplished what we have set out to do.

Externalities: Handling Things That Are Out of Your Control — An externality is something that affects us without us agreeing to it. Externalities can be both positive and negative. Understanding the types of externalities and the impact they have in your lives can help you improve our decision making, and how you interact with the world.


Worth Your Time

Buffet Lines Are Terrible, But Let’s Try to Improve Them Using Computer Simulations — “My company has a buffet every Friday, and the lines grow to epic proportions when the food arrives. I’ve suspected for years that the “classic” buffet line system is a deeply flawed and inefficient method, and every time I’m stuck in the line has made me more convinced.”

Fear is boring, and other tips for living a creative life — “We’re all creative souls already, we just need to figure out how to harness inspiration and unleash the creative spirit within.”

Cached Thoughts — “It’s a good guess that the actual majority of human cognition consists of cache lookups. This thought does tend to go through my mind at certain times.”


An Idea For You

Rather than saying, “I cannot do that,” try asking, “How can I do that?” Rather than accepting a statement, as yourself a question you can answer.

“How can I get wealthy?” over “I cannot get wealth”. 

“How can I run 10 km?” over “I cannot run 10 km.”

“How can I start a business?” over “I cannot start a business.”

This is small change in language, but a great shift in perspective.


Quote to Ponder

“If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you.”

Jonathan Haidt (Social Psychologist)


As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today's edition? Let me know. Just send me a note! 👋

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 0807, and 06.

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


SHARE WITH A FRIEND

If you enjoy this newsletter, please tell a friend about Sunday Wisdom. Share on WhatsAppTwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or via email.


THANKS PATRONS

Thanks to all my patrons for supporting this project. Coffee&Junk wouldn't exist without you. You can support Coffee&Junk's development with a small pledge.

Sunday Wisdom No. 8

Happy Sunday!

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Wisdom. Here I share many little bits of wisdom in a single email. The past three editions: 0706, and 05.

Now, it’s time for your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom.


Latest from Coffee&Junk 🎉

Are You a Miserable Entrepreneur? 😓

The Minimum Validation Principle: How to Stay Motivated in Life and Business — When you create something new, you put immense pressure upon yourself to make it grow. But this mentality has major side-effects. When you pressurise yourself so much, you might start questioning your creation. In turn, you might question yourself. This is not a healthy place to be. Self-doubt can be ruinous. What you should do instead is try the Minimum Validation Principle. You can read the full story here, or save to Pocket.

How Does The Brain Make Decisions? 🧠

Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman on How We ThinkA bat and ball cost 1,100 bucks in total. The bat costs 100 bucks more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? What’s the immediate answer that comes to you mind? According to renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman, We've got two modes of thinking: System 1 (fast and less efficient) and System 2 (slow and more efficient).


Worth Your Time ☕️

Do New Year Resolutions Work? 🗓

The Fresh Start Effect: How to Use New Beginnings to Persuade PeopleWhy do gyms give special membership discounts on new years and birthdays? Why do meditation and other health apps do the same? Why do you make new-year resolutions? Do they work?

Are You an Unproductive Employee? 👨‍💼

Is Your Workplace Decreasing Your Productivity?When it comes to making decisions, your ability to think through problems is important. Consider this as your raw mental horsepower. But most of us never tap into our available horsepower because we are hampered by one important aspect: our environment. The sad truth is that most of us make decisions in an environment where it is very hard for us to behave rationally.

Are You Afraid to Die? ☠️

Terror Management TheoryA basic psychological conflict results from having a self-preservation instinct while realising that death is inevitable. This conflict produces terror, and the terror is then managed by embracing cultural beliefs, or symbolic systems that act to counter biological reality with more durable forms of meaning and value.


A Damn Good Read 📖

Poor Economics is written by 2019 Nobel laureates, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. I read it a couple of years back after a friend recommended it to me. It is a good read for anybody who has even the slightest interest in psychology and economics.

This book will give you a good idea about why poverty isn’t just about money or wealth. As with all things that involve human beings, thing are never this simple. Poverty isn’t a money problem. It’s a human problem. This is why top-down policies by institutions and policy-makers often don’t work.

These are people, and people have habits, nuances, and biases. Unless you consider human behaviour, no people problem can really be solved. If you have some basic understanding of behavioural economics, you would thoroughly enjoy this book. Most likely, you would see it from a very different perspective.

“All too often, the economics of poverty gets mistaken for poor economics: Because the poor possess very little, it is assumed that there is nothing interesting about their economic existence. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding severely undermines the fight against global poverty: Simple problems beget simple solutions…To progress, we have to abandon the habit of reducing the poor to cartoon characters and take the time to really understand their lives, in all their complexity and richness.”


Quote to Ponder 🤔

“If you want to understand someone, figure out the narrative they tell themselves about themselves. If you want to change your behaviour, change your narrative. If you want to change someone else’s behaviour, offer them a more compelling narrative they can tell themselves.”

—  Shane Parrish

We all have stories we tell ourselves. More than often, they are false.

We build narratives to understand something, explain something, fool ourselves into doing or believing in something. We love drama. We add drama into our stories. The more we articulate, the more we storify.

Eventually, what remains is the narrative, sometimes devoid of facts, and it shapes our lives. 


As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note! 👋

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


SHARE WITH A FRIEND 👫

If you enjoy this newsletter, please tell a friend about Sunday Wisdom. Share on  WhatsAppTwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or via email. 🎗


THANKS PATRONS ✌️

Thanks to all my patrons for supporting this project. Coffee&Junk wouldn’t exist without you. You can support Coffee&Junk’s development with a small pledge. 😇

Sunday Wisdom No. 7

Happy Sunday!

Welcome to a new edition of Sunday Wisdom. Here I share many little bits of wisdom in a single email. The last three editions: 0605, and 04.

My Instagram feed is full of digital artwork and comics related stuff. I am not addicted, but I was randomly firing it up every now and then. Today I deleted the Instagram app from my phone.

I figured I’ll be able to save some time this way. Even 15 minutes saved a day would be worth it. As Charles Darwin said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

Now, it’s time for your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom.


📝 Are You Cashing In On a Human Addiction?

Reid Hoffman says that he never invests in companies that don’t exploit one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It makes good business sense. A lot of successful consumer-focussed products do exploit some form of human weakness. Facebook and Instagram exploit pride and envy. LinkedIn exploits greed. Tinder exploits lust. Swiggy (India) and DoorDash (US) exploit gluttony and sloth.

Weakness leads to addiction. If you are monetising some form of human addiction, you have to think hard about whether you are making the world a better or worse place. Humans often become addicted to products that are very harmful.

Even when you aren’t cashing in on a human addiction, you are often manipulating users to use your solution. Only you can decide if your product is really making the world a better place, or if you are here only for the money.

You need to ask three questions. First, “Will I use it myself?” Second, “Will I let my family/kids to use it?” And third, “Will it help users improve their lives?”

👉 You can continue reading the article now, read it later, or WhatsApp it to a friend.


🎥 How to Think Backward to Solve Problems?

What makes you happy? As simple as it sounds, it’s not so simple to answer. You might spend a lifetime figuring out what are the various things that make you happy. But one thing you are sure of right now, at this very moment, is what makes you unhappy.

We have a better sense of things that are bad, harmful, or plain wrong. This is usually how we think and ideate. Brainstorming, for example, involves the process of removing a lot of bad ideas, to reach a good one. Even Sherlock Holmes says, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

So, a better way to be happy is to ask what makes you unhappy, and simply removing them from your life. This process is called Inversion. Inversion helps you turn a problem upside down, and reframe it so that you can look at it backward. It’s a powerful Mental Model that is immensely helpful when you are stuck and there’s no way to move forward.

👉 You can watch the video now, watch it later, or WhatsApp it to a friend.


☕️ Worth Your Time

👉 Can Obedience Make You Stupid?

Why does a nurse put ear drops in a patient’s anus? How was Hitler able to organise a mass genocide? Why don’t you go ahead and correct your boss in a meeting when they say something that is absolutely wrong? Authority Bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure and be more influenced by that opinion, even if it makes no sense. Read the article.

👉 How Do You Persuade Others?

When it comes to persuasion, we often employ facts in arguments thinking they will change the mind of the other person. Well, that’s not how it works. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. That’s not all. Your reputation is far more important than your argument. Do they like you? Also, when it comes to changing our minds, we are more likely to do something if we see a lot of people doing it. Do you have some social proof? Watch the video.

👉 Is IQ an Indicator of Intelligence?

IQ measures extreme unintelligence, rather than intelligence. Low IQ is a good indicator that you might be Forrest Gump. But a high IQ doesn’t mean that you are an Einstein. A theoretical exam does not determine how well you fare in the real world. If you want to detect how well someone does at something, say starting a business, or playing tennis, make them do it. Read the article.


💡 Find a Better Job

Every time you get a new job, immediately start looking for a better one.

Chances are that the best job for you won’t become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready.

Your best bet is to always be looking for a better deal. The better deal has its own schedule. Your job is not your job. Your job is to find a better job.


🤔 Quote to Ponder

“In reality, a lot of the times we’re most productive is when we listen to ourselves with our own cues, rather than following prescriptions from other well-intentioned people.”

—  Paul Jarvis

People often share anecdotes and personal learnings. Their intention might be good, but often well-intended advice might not help you. It’s however important to listen to them, even if you don’t follow them.

Take advice from others, but couple them with your own cues. If your creative energy is maximum at night, there’s no point in taking the advice of becoming an early riser. If you work better amidst chaos, you don’t need advice on deep work. If you are temperature sensitive, an advice to take cold showers might harm you.

Having said that, not all advice is meaningless. Most age old advice is good. For example, reading books was a good advice a thousand years ago. It’s good advice today. It will be a good advice thousand years from now. As a rule of thumb, try to follow advice that has survived the test of time.


👋 As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note!

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


👫 SHARE WITH A FRIEND

If you enjoy this newsletter, please tell a friend about Sunday Wisdom. Share on WhatsAppTwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or via email.


🎗 THANKS PATRONS

Thanks to all my patrons for supporting this project. Coffee&Junk wouldn’t exist without you. You can support Coffee&Junk’s development with a small pledge.

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