Brain Food – No. 543 – September 24, 2023
Timeless ideas and insights for life. (Read the archives).
Practical Thought about Practical Thought: Turning $2 Million Into $2 Trillion
A long read that shows how to apply mental models to solve a problem.
Paul Graham on new ideas:
“The best new ideas always have unanticipated benefits. So it’s stupid to require people who want to do new things to enumerate the benefits beforehand. The best you can do is choose smart people and then trust their intuitions about what’s worth exploring.”
Richard Wiseman on luck:
“Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.”
The key to productivity is doing more of what matters and less of what doesn’t. When you concentrate your mental and physical energy in one direction, you have the most impact.
One way to reduce the surface area of your attention is to ask yourself the difficult question of whether what you are doing really matters to the outcome you want. If you are ruthless, you can eliminate 20-40% of what you are doing today without impacting the most important things.
All the time you spend on the least important things comes at the expense of the most important things.
Asking the question is easier than answering it honestly. Admitting you’re doing something that doesn’t matter means you’ve been wasting your time. It’s much easier to keep doing what we’ve been doing and tell ourselves that if we just had one more productivity hack, we’d make more progress.
Being busy and being productive are not the same thing. Running around in circles is busy. Going toward your destination is productive. It’s easy to be busy. It’s hard to be productive.
The real “work” of productivity is less about improving efficiency and more about improving effectiveness.
Being productive is not about doing more; it’s about concentrating all your energy on the few things that matter.
A case for the practical, yet unbeautiful, standardized housing:
“Yet practically every building there was designed, engineered and developed as bespoke, conducting the entire pre-development process from scratch and carrying over little information between projects. It seems as inefficient, time-consuming, and costly as going to a tailor every time you need to buy new clothes. We asked ourselves, if the outcome is so similar, wouldn’t it make sense to standardize building design and streamline some parts of the pre-development process?”
Q: Is it better to target a small market or a large one?
“Once you’re a minnow in a vast ocean, that’s not a good place to be. It means you have tons of competitors, and you don’t even know who all of the competitors are.”
Random parking fact:
“On average, in U.S. cities with over 1 million people, 22% of land in the city center is used for parking.”
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Unexpectedly insane memory skills.