Sunday Wisdom No. 39
Before starting to learn something, you hunt for the best book, the best blog post, the best video, the best tutorial, the best online class before you even begin to learn. This method is flawed!
It’s the time for your weekly dose of multidisciplinary reading to upgrade your thinking and decision making skills. 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 importance of healthy friction and discussed my philosophy of living deliberately. Today I’m going to address a common problem that we all face whenever we start learning something.
Where Do I Begin?
I’ve recently taken a bit of interest in nutrition. To get started I was searching for “the best book on nutrition” when suddenly I realised that I had fallen into that same old cliched trap.
This is one of the most common practices when one decides to learn something. You hunt for the best book, the best blog post, the best video, the best tutorial, the best online class before you even begin to learn. This is flawed! While you do get a list of good resources, it’s not the right head start. More than meticulous planning, you need thrill and fun. Continue reading…
Once you are done reading, I would love to hear what you think about it. If you agree and want to add to it, I’m all ears. If you disagree, I look forward to hear your point of view. We can have collective growth only through a collective exchange of dialogues and ideas. Therefore, do share your thoughts in the comments.
💡 Little Bit of Wisdom
Never change yourself for somebody else, no matter who that person is. You would regret it later.
Change yourself only for yourself—perhaps with the help of somebody else.
📑 I Enjoyed Reading
How Pandemics End — “An infectious outbreak can conclude in more ways than one, historians say. But for whom does it end, and who gets to decide?”
Patio11’s Law — “It’s not surprising. Of the 3,000+ software companies acquired over the last three years, only 7% got TechCrunch, Recode, HN, or other mainstream tech coverage.”
Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage — “I had just read about their $400 million Series F and it was among the WeWorkian class of companies that, for me, represented everything wrong about startup evolution through the 2010s. Raise a ton of money, lose a ton of money, and just obliterate the basic economics of an industry.”
When “Grin and Bear It” Isn't the Right Answer — “When the First Round Review team asked me to write something about staying healthy in the time of COVID-19, I spent a sleepless night on a post about how to create behaviour change during this stressful season. You can’t really blame me — I’ve been a behavioural scientist for more than 15 years and like everyone, when pressed, I default to what I know.”
The Passion Economy and the Future of Work — “The top-earning writer on the paid newsletter platform Substack earns more than $500,000 a year from reader subscriptions. The top content creator on Podia, a platform for video courses and digital memberships, makes more than $100,000 a month.”
🔍 An Interesting Find
I’m reading Why We Sleep and I was surprised to find that some people are genetically hardwired to be night owls (people who sleep late and wakeup late) and morning larks (the opposite).
For some people, their peak of wakefulness arrives early in the day, and their sleepiness trough arrives early at night. These are “morning types,” and make up about 40 percent of the populace. They prefer to wake at or around dawn, are happy to do so, and function optimally at this time of day. Others are “evening types,” and account for approximately 30 percent of the population. They naturally prefer going to bed late and subsequently wake up late the following morning, or even in the afternoon. The remaining 30 percent of people lie somewhere in between morning and evening types, with a slight leaning toward eveningness.
From an evolutionary context, this definitely makes a lot of sense. Having different wakeful hours would make people go to sleep at different times. This effectively increased our chances of survival back in the days when we were living in the African savanna.
Honestly I was a bit surprised after learning about it. All this time I thought it was a lifestyle choice. I mean, I’ve been both a morning lark and a night owl. I do believe that going to bed late comes more naturally to me, but I should also mention that my morning lark days have been much more productive.
I like having a morning ritual. It’s simple: wake up, do some light exercise, take a shower, write something, or read a few pages with a cup of tea. (I used to be a coffee person but my girlfriend loves tea, and these days I’m in charge of breakfast, so I’ve kind of shifted towards tea.)
Waking up late ruins this morning ritual completely. I believe that conquering your morning gives you a lot of energy. It’s a small win, and you get off to a great start for the day. As much as I love this practice, I haven’t been able to maintain it on a regular basis, especially during the lockdown.
📹 I Enjoyed Watching
Vectors, What Even Are They? — My friend Noel shared this video with me. Do you know that scalar refers to scaling? This video teaches you how to specifically think about vectors in the context of linear algebra.
The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory — If you don’t know it already I’m a huge huge fan of Daniel Kahneman. His very ideas got me so much interested in human behaviour. In fact, my first ever article is titled Thinking, Fast And Slow.
In this talk, “Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioural economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our ‘experiencing selves’ and our ‘remembering selves’ perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy—and our own self-awareness.”
The Surprising Science of Happiness — Dan Gilbert is another psychologist I adore. “Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our ‘psychological immune system’ lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.”
Knowing vs. Understanding — Richard Feynman, another favourite of mine, on the differences of merely knowing how to reason mathematically and understanding how and why things are physically analysed in the way they are. It’s so much fun to watch Feynman explain. He always seems to be having a lot of fun.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Skin in the Game — Since I’ve been posting favourites, why not another one! Here he talks about his then latest book, Skin in The Game. You need to read/listen to Taleb once in a while, even if you don’t agree with all of what he says. He is the necessary alarm to jolt you up if you are sleepwalking through life.
🤔 Worth Thinking About
“We are terrible at seeking evidence that challenges our own beliefs, but other people do us this favour, just as we are good at finding errors in other people’s beliefs.”
— Maria Konnikova, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
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