Sunday Wisdom No. 27
Mediocristan and Extremistan—compare ourselves to others—rise of the Hindu nation—brainstorming business ideas—100 mental models—neither money nor poverty makes you happy—an orangutan learns to fish
Here’s your weekly dose of multidisciplinary reading to upgrade your thinking and decision making. If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.
📝 What I Wrote
In the last two editions of Sunday Wisdom, I talked about building virtuous feedback loops and the hidden risks of oversimplification. Today I’m going to discuss why the argument that more people die from car accidents than COVID-19 is a logical error.
Mediocristan and Extremistan: The Two Categories of Random Events
Only a couple of weeks back, all “experts” were in strong denial of the effects, severity, and speed of coronavirus. “It is no more dangerous than winter flu,” they all announced. Even after its recent escalation “doctors” and “analysts” are still not agreeing that we need to worry. The mortality rate is very low, nothing to worry, they say. You have a bigger risk of you drowning in your bathtub than being killed by coronavirus, they claim. But what they don’t understand is that not all risks are equal.
💡 An Idea For You
Most of us inevitably compare ourselves to others at some point. But chronic comparing only leads to misery.
What matters is not what we do compared to what someone else does. What matters is what we do compared to what we’re capable of doing.
We need to pay attention to this gap.
📑 I Enjoyed Reading
Intimations of An Ending: The Rise And Rise of The Hindu Nation — “Here is a continent seeking to shrink itself into a country. Not even a country, but a province. A primitive, ethno-religious province. This is turning out to be an unimaginably violent process—a kind of slow-motion political fission, triggering a radioactivity that has begun to contaminate everything around it. That it will self-destruct is not in doubt. The question is what else, who else and how much else will go down with it.”
How to Brainstorm Great Business Ideas — “It’s been said that ideas don’t matter, execution does. I wholeheartedly disagree. You need both to succeed, but you can only get so good at execution. A great idea gives you much more leverage.”
100 Little Ideas — A list of mental models (such as Berkson’s Paradox and False Uniqueness Effect) that help explain how the world works.
🤔 Worth Thinking About
Money doesn’t make people happy. But neither does poverty. The secret, then, is to have as much as you need—or maybe a little more—and then share what you have.
— Ruskin Bond, A Book of Simple Living
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