Sunday Wisdom No. 56

In the real world, it’s very hard to know if a decision is right even if the outcome is positive.

Hi, I’m Abhishek. Each week I introduce you to multidisciplinary wisdom—in the form of original essays, bite-sized lessons, book reviews, article recommendations, quotes, and more. If you are loving Sunday Wisdom, consider buying me a coffeebecoming a patron, or sharing this newsletter with a friend.

Welcome to Issue 56!

As a leader, friend, or colleague, I go out of my way to make sure people are honest with me. I make them comfortable enough to give me both positive and negative feedback.

All creative work have their fair share of criticism. Therefore I don’t get defensive when I receive negative feedback. I deal with smart people. They are allowed to have their point of view. I’m not foolish enough to believe that I’m always correct.

Surround yourself with people who would cheer for your success, but wouldn’t shy away from pointing out holes in your plans. They are the secret to your growth.

Let me know if it makes sense, or if it’s total BS. I’m looking forward to your ‘feedback’.

— Abhishek


In the real world, it’s very hard to know if a decision is right even if the outcome is positive. Due to randomness, the positive outcome might just be a fluke. If you flip a coin to make an investment decision, not matter how much money you make, it’s still a bad decision.

— Alternative Histories: How to Judge The Quality of a Decision

I realise there are bunch of people (among my friends) who love my ideas, but hate reading my essays. Turns out all of them love watching videos. Here’s a treat for them and all my true fans (who love both my essays and videos): an impromptu repurposed version of the essay in video format.



“Eight years earlier I had begun living without money in what was originally intended to be a one year experiment into what anthropologists call ‘gift culture’. I wanted to see if it were possible and, if it were, what it looked and felt like.”

— Not So Simple: Notes from a Tech-Free Life


“Turner’s late creations are now widely recognised as works of incomparable brilliance. The same could be said of art from Cézanne, Titian, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt.”

— How Creativity Changes as We Age


“We have so many medical devices, so of course we’d need, and have, machines that help us to breathe. But there’s a strange, and deeply human, story behind how we learned to breathe for each other.“

— Life and Breath


“The original Aladdin is one of the greatest animated films of all time and a lot of this is due to the genie. Sure the songs are great, but what’s most memorable is Robin Williams’ performance.”

— Why You Still Remember The Genie So Well


“Pixar’s Wall-E is a masterpiece of animated film-making about two adorable robots falling in love, though I’d argue it also serves as an excellent example of sociological storytelling.”

— Wall-E as Sociological Storytelling


If you are a Feynman fan—there’s no reason you shouldn’t be—you gots to read this book once you are done with “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”.

Unlike the previous book, Feynman talks about his wife Arlene and her early death in great details. Warning: it would make you cry. You also get the first-hand information about the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion as he narrates it in his characteristic Feynman tone with a lot of fun and drama.

“You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about humans in different places, and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing—that’s what counts. (I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.)”

Feynman was always very good at asking tough questions and at describing things as they are, not as they are supposed to be. He famously revealed the space shuttle disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. This book is full of such nuggets, mostly about how not to fool yourself—because you are the easiest to fool.

— “What do you care what other people think?” by Richard P. Feynman


“The Utopian attempt to realise an ideal state, using a blueprint of society as a whole, is one which demands a strong centralised rule of a few, and which is therefore likely to lead to a dictatorship.” 

— Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies

👋 That’s All!

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