2017-09-18 concepts

Dialectical thinking, memento mori, the 60/40 rule, tax avoidance

Hey all -

I noticed that I have been reflecting more in the past year than over any other one-year period, and this highly correlates with how much I spam my friends with emails (be they about ideas, awesome readings or puppy photos). Spamming is annoying so I’m trying to do less of that.

I decided that I’ll just aggregate all my thoughts into a single, structured email every 2 weeks or month, rather than the historical scattershot status quo. Which means it’s basically a newsletter now.

Whenever I read something (such as the news, blogposts, books), I tend to immediately extract mental models and concepts. So I figured a newsletter I’d like to read is one that just distills concepts and backs them up with related readings. Terminology plus a fairly comprehensive description of what it means and why it matters - not for some esoteric domain like programming - but instead for life (admittedly grandiose). These concepts and frameworks would include things like optionality, simulated annealing, criticality, mindfulness, the Campbellian monomyth or biases & heuristics.

Shane Parrish is much better at this, so if you only want a single newsletter, I’d go for his.

I’ll repeat this again the end, but this is the last email you’ll get unless you opt-in at this link (since I’m really trying to figure out who I’m spamming versus who is interested). All previous newsletters will be saved on my blog here.

Ok: so what would a newsletter look like? Basically the following:


what I learned, rediscovered or reconsidered recently


here’s something I wrote


parting thoughts

I think people think I read a lot (which is true). But I definitely don’t read most of the material my eyes scan over - I skim like crazy, hunting for concepts and associations to other things I know. I skim almost everything that people I know send me, and then end up actually reading when I see things which catch my interest (aka. breadth over depth, at least initially). If I rate a concept/reading highly, I’d definitely recommend at least skimming it - then evaluating on your own terms if it is actually worth reading.

Feedback (i.e. respond to this email) would be super helpful - it is a huge reason why I’m doing this. Above are my syntheses, which are often wrong and incomplete. I really appreciate being corrected when I write something that is surprisingly ignorant.

Finally, if you want to receive this in the future, you have to opt-in here.

Thanks,

Alex