No. 440 — October 3, 2021
Welcome to Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.
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We spend hours consuming news because we want to be informed. The problem is news doesn’t make us informed. In fact, the more news we consume the more misinformed we become.
— Why You Should Stop Reading News
The Great Mental Models
Volume 3 of The Great Mental Models: Systems and Mathematics is now available!
The Great Mental Models series (Volume One: General Thinking Tools, Volume Two: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) captures the timeless ideas from all the core disciplines and shows you how to use them in everyday life to understand how the world really works. For example, we’ll teach you all about relativity (that sleepy concept from physics you learned in grade 9) but also show you how it can help you solve the problem you’re grappling with right now (which is something your physics teacher didn’t do!). The books aren’t for everyone. They are written and styled like a reference book you can turn to over and over. The physical copies are what we think books could be — great design and timeless content.
Explore Your Curiosity
“Put together these two forces – the inherent difficulty of making predictions in the exponential age, and the inherent slowness of institutional change – and you have the makings of the exponential gap. As technology takes off, our businesses, governments and social norms remain almost static. Our society cannot keep up.”
— The Exponential Age will transform economics forever (Still curious? Dig deeper.)
“When it comes to networks, the bigger the better, right? Not necessarily. Carefully curate your most trusted, inner circle and you’ll be surprised at how much more valuable you’ll become to the larger community of people in the world who care about the same things you do.”
“I belong everywhere I go, no matter where it is, or who I am with, as long as I never betray myself. The minute I become who you want me to be, in order to fit in and make sure people like me, is the moment I no longer belong anywhere.”— Brené Brown
Ebenezer Scrooge played by the scoreboard that many of us play by. The one where points come from status, power, and money. points for status, power, money. But as he neared the end of his life, Scrooge realized none of these things mattered.
The second we get money, status, or power we’re not satisfied. We just want more. We think these things mean something, but they don’t.
Who hasn’t experienced this? I remember when I first started working in a large organization. I told myself that if I just got a promotion, I’d be happy. Well, promotions came and went and none of them made me happier. All of them only left me wanting more.
While we tell ourselves that the next level is enough, it never is. The next zero in your bank account won’t satisfy you any more than you are now. The next promotion won’t change who you are. The fancy car won’t make you happier. The bigger house doesn’t solve your problems.
Pay attention to what you are chasing because, in the end, you just might get it. And the cost of “success” might be the things that really matter.
“Never risk what you have and need,” wrote Warren Buffett, “for what we don’t have and don’t need.” In pursuit of our goals, we inevitably give up things that matter. We sleep less. We spend less time with our friends. We eat unhealthily. We skip workouts. We cancel dates. We miss dinner with the family.
When it comes to living a meaningful life, the only scoreboard that matters is yours. Don’t let your ego get in the way of the person you really want to be or the life you really want to live.
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“At the root of most fear is what other people will think of us.”
Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday
A new book by the prolific writer. I’m a fan (and friend) of Holiday’s and eagerly awaited the release of this book, the first in his series on the four Stoic virtues. One of the many things I love about Holiday’s writing is the range of examples from the book. I simply can’t read any of his books without picking up a new Autobiography. (For the curious, this is the latest one I’m reading.)
I’ve also been reading a lot of ancient philosophy lately. While the Romans and Greeks certainly didn’t have every problem solved, they knew a lot more than we give them credit for. If you’re curious about philosophy but are not sure where to get started, I’d recommend The Obstacle is the Way.
- In memory of Walter Scott — “You have to give something back to your community that will allow people in the future a better education, a better opportunity, a better start in life. Wherever we are today as a society is built upon the past experiences of people and what they did to create a better world.”
- Why you should practice failure.
- Perseverance solves more problems than brilliance.
P.S. Love to see kids learning like this, although that flank looks awfully exposed.