Sunday Wisdom No. 30
Knowing something—you don‘t save others—Modi's speech—black death—startup in bad economy—Coronavirus explained—exploring COVID-19—Hanlon‘s razor—luck v skill—just world fallacy—on death—buying coffee
These are, no doubt, testing times. I hope you are doing okay. I hope you are out of COVID-19’s harm. I hope that you will be out of harm in the future as well. My best wishes are with you.
The next couple of weeks (if not months) are crucial, not only for a country, but also for the world, and for the human race as well. But I’m hopeful. I believe that we’ll get through this. I believe we’ll come out stronger than before.
Like me, if you are spending most of your time at home, I’ve added some extra content in this newsletter to make your time a bit more interesting. If you are practising social distancing, regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, kudos! Here’s a virtual high ten from me. 🙌
Now, it’s time for your weekly dose of multidisciplinary reading to upgrade your thinking and decision making. And 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 wrote about the most common logical fallacies and how to think in bets. Today I’m going to talk about an interesting concept about learning from none other than Richard Feynman.
Richard Feynman On The Difference Between Knowing the Name of Something and Knowing Something
Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was no ordinary genius. He believed that the world is much more interesting than any one discipline. Here I talk about how Feynman differentiated between knowing the name of something and actually knowing it.
According to him, knowing the name of something doesn’t mean you understand it. In order to talk to each other, we have to have words, but we often talk in fact-deficient, obfuscating generalities to cover up our lack of understanding.
💡 An Idea For You
You can give others advice, understanding, compassion, and encouragement. But what they eventually do with it is completely up to them.
You are like a gardener scattering seeds and caring for them, but only they can drive their own growth.
You don’t save others, unless they want to save themselves.
📑 I Enjoyed Reading
Modi’s Coronavirus Speech: Straight Out of The Digital Marketer’s Playbook — “On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a televised address to the nation about the coronavirus pandemic. While there were only skeletal details about India’s preparedness to combat the crisis, what was particularly illuminating and interesting is how much Modi thinks like a digital marketer.”
The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever — “Ole J. Benedictow describes how he calculated that the Black Death killed 50 million people in the 14th century, or 60 per cent of Europe’s entire population.”
Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy — This was written by Paul Graham back in 2008, but this makes lotta sense now as well. Economy is cyclical after all. “The economic situation is apparently so grim that some experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the mid seventies. When Microsoft and Apple were founded.”
📹 I Enjoyed Watching
The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do — “In December 2019 the Chinese authorities notified the world that a virus was spreading through their communities. In the following months it spread to other countries, with cases doubling within days. This virus is the ‘Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2’ that causes the disease called COVID19, and that everyone simply calls Coronavirus.”
🎙 I Enjoyed Listening
Balaji Srinivasan: Exploring COVID-19 — “In this special episode, we explore the origin of COVID-19, what’s being done to contain it, (including possible second and third-order consequences,) how to find reliable information in a constant stream of sensational news headlines, and how we can thoughtfully prepare for what’s coming with a rational and level head.”
📑 Worth Rereading
Here’s a bunch of my previously written articles that I think you would enjoy reading.
Hanlon’s Razor: Why Not Everybody is Out to Get You — “When you spend a large part of your day communicating with others and making choices based on that, somewhere or the other things are bound to get out of control, or go against you.”
The Role of Luck, Skill, and Serendipity in Your Success — Here I discuss two very different takes on the dichotomy of luck and skill by two eminent personalities—Peter Thiel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
The Just-World Fallacy: There is No ‘Just’ Plan For The World — “Do you believe in karma? Then you most likely believe that one day all the good karma you are generating will lift you higher up in the social hierarchy to join the others who have what they deserve.”
🤔 Worth Thinking About
This is our big mistake: to think we look forward to death. Most of death is already gone. Whatever time has passed is owned by death.
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Until next time.
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