Be Kind, Reading

11/11 - What's Next

Hey, it is 11/11. Have a great week! Enjoy the newsletter.

Articles to Read.

It’s Not Enough to Be Right—You Also Have to Be Kind

There is a story about Jeff Bezos from when he was a young boy. He was with his grandparents, both of whom were smokers. Bezos had recently heard an anti-smoking PSA on the radio that explained how many minutes each cigarette takes off a person’s lifespan. And so, he proudly explained to his grandmother, as she puffed away, “You’ve lost nine years of your life, Grandma!”

The typical response to this kind of innocent cheekiness is to pat the child on the head and tell them how smart they are. Bezos’ grandmother didn’t do that. Instead, she quite understandably burst into tears. It was after this exchange that Bezos’ grandfather took his grandson aside and taught him a lesson that he says has stuck with him for the rest of his life. “Jeff,” his grandfather said, “one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

When I look back at some of my own writing, I see versions of that same mistake Jeff Bezos made as a kid. I thought if I was just overwhelmingly right enough, people would listen. If I humiliated my opponent, they would have to admit I was right and they were wrong. I’ve even said in interviews that the goal of my first book was to rip back the curtain on how media really works so people could not turn away. But guess what? A lot of people still did. Of course they did. I was right, but I was also being an asshole.

Being clever is easy. Humiliating someone in the wrong is easy too. But putting yourself in their shoes, kindly nudging them to where they need to be, understanding that they have emotional and irrational beliefs just like you have emotional and irrational beliefs—that’s all much harder. So is not writing off other people. So is spending time working on the plank in your own eye than the splinter in theirs. We know we wouldn’t respond to someone talking to us that way, but we seem to think it’s okay to do it to other people.

Why not to do a startup

Some days things will go really well and some things will go really poorly. And the level of stress that you're under generally will magnify those transient data points into incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude.

In a startup, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen.

You get told no -- a lot.

You're going to get told no by potential employees, potential investors, potential customers, potential partners, reporters, analysts...

And when you do get a "yes", half the time you'll get a call two days later and it'll turn out the answer has morphed into "no".

Better start working on your fake smile.

Dying for a better life: South Koreans fake their funerals for life lessons

A South Korean service is offering free funerals - but only to the living.

More than 25,000 people have participated in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012, hoping to improve their lives by simulating their deaths. “Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee, who participated in a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare center.

Everything is Amazing, But Nothing is Ours

I got to thinking about all this the other week after hearing news that Yahoo Groups was shutting down, and wiping out two decades of content – sending online communities and archivists into a scramble to preserve their spaces and history before it all disappears. It’s a huge bummer, for sure; and also a reminder of a hidden price we pay for modern technology. Everything is amazing, but nothing is ours.

Up until the mid 2000s or so, it felt like the collective goal of software and the internet was to create digital versions of all the stuff that worked well in real life – documents became Word, slides became Powerpoint, and mail became email. It’s also why files are called files, and why we got rid of them by dragging them into the trash can. Software was pretty skeuomorphic in design and in function. The file as an atomic unit for productivity made sense. It’s a solid, distinct object you could understand, and that was yours. You had to take care of it, name it properly, and save it in the right place, just like a paper file.

But for the last ten years, we’ve been undoing all of that. The constraints of mobile, plus a new generation of users that’ve never really known life without the internet, meant the benefits of skeuomorphism were no longer worth the cost. Ditching it as a philosophy, both in design and in function, freed us to go out and reinvent everything as a service. Abstract everything away into databases, links and logic, and provide it as a consumer service with all the topology and complexity hidden out of sight.

The ugly, gory, bloody secret life of NHL dentists

When the puck finally came to rest, it was almost entirely inside Craig MacDonald's mouth. It was Dec. 21, 2007, and with 1:51 left to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning winger, working in his own zone, stepped in front of an errant, elevated slap shot that instantly cleaved a grisly, bloody and impossibly wide swath of carnage through MacDonald's lips, gums and tongue before reducing nine of his teeth to dust. He spat out the 6 ounces of vulcanized frozen black rubber like it was a rotten MoonPie to reveal a fractured lower gum line and his half-cleaved tongue, hanging by a thread. Even in a sport synonymous with dental trauma, where the enduring image of hockey has long been the disturbing-but-endearing shot of Bobby Clarke's toothless grin reflected in the shiny silver of the Stanley Cup, MacDonald's injury was gruesome enough to earn an on-air attaboy from Don Cherry himself.

Team doctors reconnected the filleted parts of MacDonald's face with 75 sutures, then sent him home, where he sat on the couch until dawn, jolted awake by even the slightest puff of air passing over a mouthful of raw, exposed nerves.

The Rainforest Is Teeming with Consciousness

Since 1980, the temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the acidification of oceans. In 2015, 175 million more people were exposed to heat waves compared with the average for 1986 to 2008, and the number of weather-related disasters from 2007 to 2016 was up by 46 percent compared with the average from 1990 to 1999. This is nothing in comparison to the horrors that await us as temperatures continue to rise. According to recent projections, global temperatures are set to increase by 3.2 degrees by the end of century. This will lock in sea level rises that will mean that the cities, towns, and villages currently occupied by 175 million people—including Hong Kong and Miami—will eventually be underwater.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that warming is largely caused by the actions of human beings. Surveys of the scientific literature have consistently found that over 90 percent of scientists believe that climate change is real and manmade, with most surveys asserting a consensus of 97 percent. And yet there is in the public mind a perception that the reality of man-made climate change is uncertain. This is in large part caused by a sustained lobbying effort from the fossil fuel industry aimed at spreading seeds of doubt. But it may also result from a failure to appreciate how uncertain most of human knowledge is. Many believe that science provides “proven facts,” and against this assumption any degree of uncertainty can seem to render a hypothesis “unscientific,” a matter of speculation rather than demonstrable knowledge.

Is Inequality Inevitable?

Wealth inequality is escalating in many countries at an alarming rate, with the U.S. arguably having the highest inequality in the developed world.

A remarkably simple model of wealth distribution developed by physicists and mathematicians can reproduce inequality in a range of countries with unprecedented accuracy.

Surprisingly, several mathematical models of free-market economies display features of complex macroscopic physical systems such as ferromagnets, including phase transitions, symmetry breaking and duality.

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5 cool companies:

My Update:

  • Going to PHX for Thanksgiving!

Think, $$$, Learn

11/4 - What's Next

Hey there, hope you had a great weekend!

I recently re-read an essay I wrote ~ 1 year ago: Dear Freshman Me, lots of good reminders. Time flies!

Enjoy the newsletter.

Articles to Read.

Middle Class Shrinks as High Income Households Multiply

The Washington Post recently ran a piece with the alarming headline, “The middle class is shrinking just about everywhere in America.” Although you wouldn’t know it from the first few paragraphs, a shrinking middle class isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As Advisory Board member Mark Perry has pointed out, America’s middle class is disappearing primarily because people are moving into higher income groups, not falling into poverty.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that after adjusting for inflation, households with an annual income of $100,000 or more rose from a mere 8% of households in 1967 to a quarter of households in 2014. According to the Pew Research Center, 11% fewer Americans were middle class in 2015 than in 1971, because 7% moved into higher income groups and 4% moved into lower income groups. The share of Americans in the upper middle and highest income tiers rose from 14% in 1971 to 21% in 2015.

You Don’t Need Permission

When we first arrive on the earth, nothing is more alien to our minds than the idea of needing permission. We simply try to do whatever we want: when there’s an intriguing plug socket, we push our fingers into it. When we wonder what something might sound like as it hits the floor, we give it a shove.

But soon enough, a lot of contrary messages come our way. Liking something isn’t enough. You must always ask, not just take. What you want is probably owned by someone else, and they need to give you their approval. A lot of what you crave may hurt others. You need to act a bit less and think a bit more. In fact, a great deal of what you want is just a terrible idea. Unfortunately, it seems as though the most exciting new ideas continuously defy the rules of existence: apparently, you can’t just strap a radio to the hamster, you can’t eat only cake for lunch, you can’t bury your brother in sand, you can’t drill a hole in someone’s head to hear their thoughts. And we learn a few sobering things about timing. It has to happen after homework. Next year. When you’re an adult. There’s seemingly no situation that doesn’t require waiting infinitely longer than one would have liked.

And so we grow up with a host of background ideas about what we’re permitted to do, what the status of our longings is and where kindness and goodness might lie. We learn that we need to check in constantly with a parent to make sure that we have their nod to ride our bike to the shops. We need to ask before we switch subjects at school. We have to put our hand up before we say anything in class and have to have a permission slip to go to the doctor. At university, we need to get our thesis topic approved; at work, we need to check with the HR team if it’s OK to work from home on Friday. Even in personal life, prohibitions abound. We can’t just end a relationship like that, especially when there’s a holiday planned. Now we are living in a certain country, it would be very strange and costly to move. Things are not very satisfactory, but who are we to change them, given how silly we probably are?

Bank of the Underworld

The underworld is a realm that thrives on paranoia. On May 24, 2013, criminals across the globe had good reason to panic: they couldn’t access their Liberty Reserve accounts. Rather mysteriously, the company’s Web site had stopped working. There were no explanations, no “We’re experiencing technical difficulties” notices. The home page simply redirected to a blank screen.

Those who bothered to investigate further learned that the domain name for that blank page was controlled by a nonprofit organization called the Shadowserver Foundation. Its own Web site featured a faceless man in a dark hat and declared: “The Shadowserver Foundation gathers intelligence on the darker side of the internet. We are comprised of volunteer security professionals from around the world.” It appeared that the Liberty Reserve Web site had been taken down, at least temporarily, by a team of pro bono crime fighters.

Social Media Has Not Destroyed A Generation

Social Media Has Not Destroyed a Generation  

Anxiety about the effects of social media on young people has risen to such an extreme that giving children smartphones is sometimes equated to handing them a gram of cocaine. The reality is much less alarming.

A close look at social media use shows that most young texters and Instagrammers are fine. Heavy use can lead to problems, but many early studies and news headlines have overstated dangers and omitted context.

Researchers are now examining these diverging viewpoints, looking for nuance and developing better methods for measuring whether social media and related technologies have any meaningful impact on mental health.

Keep Your Identity Small

I finally realized today why politics and religion yield such uniquely useless discussions. As a rule, any mention of religion on an online forum degenerates into a religious argument. Why?

What's different about religion is that people don't feel they need to have any particular expertise to have opinions about it. All they need is strongly held beliefs, and anyone can have those. No thread about Javascript will grow as fast as one about religion, because people feel they have to be over some threshold of expertise to post comments about that. But on religion everyone's an expert.

Then it struck me: this is the problem with politics too. Politics, like religion, is a topic where there's no threshold of expertise for expressing an opinion. All you need is strong convictions.

I think what religion and politics have in common is that they become part of people's identity, and people can never have a fruitful argument about something that's part of their identity.

The most intriguing thing about this theory, if it's right, is that it explains not merely which kinds of discussions to avoid, but how to have better ideas. If people can't think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible. [2]

Clip from 24 years ago. Bill Gates answering David Letterman's questions about what the internet can offer.

Longer, more optimistic, lives: Historic optimism and life expectancy in the US

Optimistic people live longer, based on nearly 50 years of longitudinal data (PSID).

How was optimism related to mortality before the rise in “deaths of despair” that began in the late 1990s? Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we show that as early as 1968 more optimistic people lived longer. The relationship depends on many factors including gender, race, health, and education. We then evaluate these and other variables as correlates of individual optimism over the period 1968–1975. We find women and African Americans were less optimistic at the time than men and whites, although this changed beginning in the late 1970′s. Greater education is associated with greater optimism and so is having wealthy parents. We then predict optimism for the same individuals in subsequent years, thus generating our best guess as to how optimism changed for various demographic groups from 1976–1995. We find people with less than a high school degree had the greatest declines in optimism, a trend with long-run links to premature mortality and deaths of despair. Our findings highlight the importance of better understanding optimism's causes and consequences.

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My Update:

  • …working…

  • If you are looking for a job (or hate your job), reach out! I would love to be helpful.

1000s, Fans

10/28 - What's Next

Hey, hope you have a great week!

Articles to Read.

Higher Incomes, Higher Tax Rates

An article in the New York Times the other day was titled “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You,” and one in Bloomberg was subtitled “The Wealthiest 400 Americans Have the Lowest Rates.”

It is not true.

Economist David Splinter has a new critique of the Saez and Zucman data behind the NYT and Bloomberg stories. He found that the authors made numerous flawed assumptions, which threw their estimates way off.

The NYT got its headline from the Saez-Zucman tax rate estimate for the top 400 taxpayers, who are a subset of the top 0.01 percent. Without the 400, the NYT and Bloomberg would not have their incendiary headlines. Auten and Splinter do not estimate the top 400, but the Saez-Zucman tax rate for that group is still far above Auten and Splinter’s estimate for the bottom group.

In conclusion, reporters and columnists should be much more skeptical of Piketty, Saez, and Zucman data. Economists make many assumptions when preparing estimates, and the trio always seem to choose the assumptions that inflate their figures for income and wealth inequality while underestimating top-end tax rates.

1,000 True Fans

To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.

A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.

Different Ways to be Rich in 2019

It’s estimated only 5% of people in the United States are millionaires. So if we’re using millionaire-status as a way to gauge wealth in this country, a lot of people are never going to get to the point where they’re considered “rich.”

But there are plenty of other ways to live a wealthy life that extend beyond how much money you have in the bank or your portfolio. And even those with a lot of money may not be considered rich when you look at other areas of their life.

Here are some ways to be rich in this day and age that go beyond money.

Fake doctor saved thousands of infants and changed medical history

Martin Couney shows off one of his rescued babies, Beth Allen.

A new book, “The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies,” by Dawn Raffel (Blue Rider Press), tells the story of Martin Couney, a self-appointed “doctor” — his credentials turned out to be nonexistent — who nonetheless saved thousands of infants, and introduced incubators to the modern world.

Why We Need to Dream Bigger Than Bike Lanes

In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

Our current model is to beg for twigs. More often than not, bike infrastructure is created reactively. Typically in response to a collision or near collision with a car, an individual or advocacy group identifies a single route that needs better infrastructure. We gather community support and lobby local officials for the desired change, trying as hard as we can to ask for the cheapest, smallest changes so that our requests will be seen as realistic.

What’s the problem with this model?

It’s like imagining a bridge and asking for twigs—useless, unable to bear any meaningful weight, easily broken. And it’s treating bike infrastructure like a hopeless charity case.

But when roads, highways, and bridges are designed and built, they aren’t done one neighborhood at a time, one city-council approval at a time. We don’t build a few miles of track, or lay down some asphalt wherever there is “local support” and then leave 10-mile gaps in between. And yet this is exactly how we “plan” bike infrastructure.

We never paid for Journalism

The also show ads on their website and they boast about their 1.3 million daily readership, which can amount to a significant income, yet nothing compared to their print ads. In the days of print, whether I paid for the paper or not, the advertiser paid for it. Today, the advertisers see's exactly how many times their ads have been viewed, and pay accordingly. The rise of Ad blockers did not improve the situation.

At the end of the day, the price that you and I pay, whether it is for the print copy or digital, it is only a very small part of the revenue. The price paid for the printed copy was by no means sustaining the newspaper business. It was advertisers all along. And they paid the price for the privilege of having as many eyeballs the newspaper could expose their ads to.

NBA exec: 'It's the dirty little secret that everybody knows about'

It is the afternoon of Feb. 26, during a three-games-in-four-nights stretch, and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is on a roll. Tomorrow night, his Heat will host the Golden State Warriors, then fly to Houston to face the Rockets on Feb. 28. But now he's rattling off what time the Warriors game will end (10 p.m.), when they'll board their flight (11:30 or later), when they'll land in Houston (2 a.m.) and arrive at the hotel -- he figures it'll be 3 -- before playing the Rockets later that day. "And that's just what we've got tomorrow," he says.

Sleep matters, Whiteside says -- it matters a lot. It "could be the difference between you having a career game or playing terrible." But therein lies the conundrum of NBA life. For something so important, it's remarkably elusive. As Whiteside says: "It's just so hard to get the sleep that you need."

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My Update:

  • More working :)

So Good, Matters

10/14 - What's Next

Hey there, have a great week!

Articles to Read.

So Good They Can't Ignore You

The first idea is that ‘follow your passion’ is terrible career advice, and people who say this should be shot don't know what they're talking about. Cal Newport calls this idea of following your passion ‘the passion hypothesis’.

The second idea is that instead of believing in the passion hypothesis, you should adopt what Newport calls the ‘craftsman mindset’. The craftsman mindset is that you should focus on gaining rare and valuable skills, since this is what leads to good career outcomes.

The third idea is that autonomy is the most important component of a ‘dream’ job. Newport argues that when choosing between two jobs, there are compelling reasons to ‘always’ pick the one with higher autonomy over the one with lower autonomy.

The fourth idea is that having a ‘mission’ or a ‘higher purpose’ in your job is probably a good idea, and is really nice if you can find it.

Prosperity, Not Upward Mobility, Is What Matters

The head of the Statue of Liberty on view in Paris in 1878

So, rather than comparing how one’s income ranks relative to others all across the country, it would be wiser to focus on an absolute measure of social mobility, one that describes an individual’s changing level of prosperity over time. After all, average citizens are typically unaware of whether the rate of relative social mobility has gone up or down; they do, however, have a keen appreciation of whether their material standard of living is better than what they experienced as a child under their parents’ roof.

In this regard, America is doing quite well. According to the Brookings Institution, 67 percent of Americans born in 1968 had higher levels of real family income between 1995 and 2002 than their parents had a generation earlier. The overall proportion of children who were better off than their parents increased to 81 percent when incomes were adjusted for family size; most of those who were not better off than their parents were born to families with the highest incomes. When broken down into upper and lower income groups, four out of five children from the bottom fifth of the income distribution had higher family incomes than their parents. The median income for this group was twice as high as that of their parents. Moreover, the U.S. remains one of the only places in the world where the children of immigrants regularly go on to achieve a socioeconomic profile mirroring that of the general population—as adults, they have similar median incomes, college graduation rates, rates of homeownership, and poverty rates as the nation as a whole.

Ayn Rand on Why Philosophy Matters

She suggests we need philosophy to help develop our values, and to defend ourselves against manipulation and control. Rand posits that everyone has a personal philosophy.

[y]our only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation—or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.

How Kirkland Signature powers Costco's success

Costco sells Kirkland Signature in everything from meat to golf balls.

Costco's house brand, Kirkland Signature, is even bigger than you might think.

Last year, it raked in nearly $40 billion, an 11% increase from 2017. That's more than JCPenney and Macy's combined. Kirkland's sales also beat out Campbell Soup, Kellogg, and Hershey put together.

How college admissions offices rank prospects before they apply

Before many schools even look at an application, they comb through prospective students’ personal data, such as web-browsing habits and financial history.

Records and interviews show that colleges are building vast repositories of data on prospective students — scanning test scores, Zip codes, high school transcripts, academic interests, Web browsing histories, ethnic backgrounds and household incomes for clues about which students would make the best candidates for admission. At many schools, this data is used to give students a score from 1 to 100, which determines how much attention colleges pay them in the recruiting process.

Which Way Do You Run?

When you found a company, it tends to get wired into your nervous system. I used to become physically ill whenever there was something wrong in the company — even if I didn’t know what it was. Even if I couldn’t see it, I could feel it. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Most good founder/CEOs that I know have this same, gnarly experience. Unfortunately, feeling it turns out to be the easy part of the job.

The hard part is what do you do when you feel that dread? Do you run towards your fear or do you run away from it?

Which way you run is often the key differentiator between effective and ineffective CEOs. Almost all CEOs know where the problems are, but only the truly elite ones run towards the fear.

Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan

Bezos loves the word relentless—it appears again and again in his closely read annual letters to shareholders—and I had always assumed that his aim was domination for its own sake. In an era that celebrates corporate gigantism, he seemed determined to be the biggest of them all. But to say that Bezos’s ultimate goal is dominion over the planet is to misunderstand him. His ambitions are not bound by the gravitational pull of the Earth.

To climb Amazon’s organizational chart is to aspire to join the inner sanctum at the very peak, called the S-Team (“the senior team”). These are the 17 executives who assemble regularly with Bezos to debate the company’s weightiest decisions. Bezos treats the S-Team with familial affection; its members come closest to being able to read his mind. The group has absorbed the Bezos method and applies it to the corners of the company that he can’t possibly touch. According to James Thomson, a manager who helped build Amazon Marketplace, where anyone can sell new or used goods through the website, “At most companies, executives like to show how much they know. At Amazon, the focus is on asking the right question. Leadership is trained to poke holes in data.”

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My Update.

  • Working…

Wrong, Get more done

10/14 - What's Next

Hello! Hope you have a great Monday.

Articles to Read.

Do the Rich Get All the Gains from Economic Growth?

Adjusted for inflation, the US economy has more than doubled in real terms since 1975. How much of that growth has gone to the average person? According to many economists, the answer is none or close to none.

these depressing conclusions rely on studies and data that are incomplete or flawed. They understate economic growth for the poor and the middle class because they use measures of prices that mis-measure inflation.

But the biggest problem with the pessimistic studies is that they rarely follow the same people to see how they do over time.

When you follow the same people over time, the largest gains over time often go to the poorest workers; the richest workers often make no progress.

What actually happened in the last three decades of the 20th century in the Isaacs study: the children from the poorest families added more to their income than children from the richest families. The pessimistic claims I mentioned at the beginning of this essay deny there is any regression to the mean. They argue that only the richest Americans have benefited from economic growth over the last 30–40 years. Or that only the richest Americans have gotten raises. The pessimistic story based on comparing snapshots of the economy at two different points in time misses the underlying dynamism of the American economy and does not accurately measure how workers at different places in the income distribution are doing over time.

How to Get Things Done When You Don't Feel Like It

Have you ever come into work, sat down at your computer to begin a project, opened your editor, and then just stared at the screen? This happens to me all the time, so I understand your struggle.

My solution was to approach a project by turning it into as many tiny steps as possible. That way I could get a few really easy wins under my belt. For example, each step would be a task such as "Search for ______ on Google" or "Have a conversation with ______." Crossing things off your to-do list gives your brain a happy little dopamine hit, even if the tasks are tiny—it keeps your motivation up and your excuses down.

Try breaking your next project into the smallest increments you possibly can. Each step should be really small (I try for tasks that take 15 minutes or less) and really easy to accomplish, so that you can get a win! You have to overcome inertia. Little wins add up and make it easier to do that.

Why I hate living in my tiny house

When I moved from Brooklyn back to the Bay Area a few years ago, I thought, at first, that the apartment I found was charming. It’s also very small: At the end of a long driveway, inside a former garage, it’s 240 square feet, or roughly the size of one and a half parking spaces.

I still live there—partly because rents in Oakland have surged more than 50% in less than a decade, and in a neighborhood where a typical one-bedroom now goes for more than $2,800, I can’t afford to move. I recognize the value of this type of tiny house, called an accessory dwelling unit or ADU, in theory. In built-up cities with little extra land and residents who fight development, adding tiny cottages in backyards is one way to help address the housing shortage. The small size saves energy and curbs my shopping habits, since there literally isn’t any room for, say, another pair of shoes. But I also question how well tiny homes make sense as a solution for long-term housing—and in some cases, as in the even tinier houses sometimes used as housing for people experiencing homelessness, I wonder if they can sometimes distract from other, more systemic solutions that are necessary.

College Students Just Want Normal Libraries

Many college libraries are reinventing themselves, but perhaps they’re trying to fix an institution that isn’t, in fact, broken. “I mean, yeah, the degree is cool,” one community-college student told the researchers of the aforementioned study when asked what he wanted from his campus services, “but I’m more about the knowledge.”

Why do we still have to pay for printing?

The Problem With Most Financial Advice

Though you have probably never heard of Wally Jay, he is considered one of the greatest judo instructors of all time. Despite never once competing in judo, Jay consistently produced champions in judo and other martial arts.

One of Jay’s key insights was that not everyone learned like he did:

The biggest mistake is for an instructor to teach exactly the way he was taught. Once a teacher said to me, “All of my boys fight like me.” Then when we got on the mat, not one of his students could beat one of mine. Not one. So I told him that he had to individualize his instruction.

This lesson seems to be lost on many financial commentators/bloggers who provide personal finance advice based on their own experiences, which are typically outside the norm. The exceptions become the rule and then personal finance becomes a bit too…personal.

What Japan can teach us about cleanliness?

At Japanese schools, cleaning is part of students’ everyday routine (Credit: Credit: Chris Willson/Alamy)

Most first-time visitors to Japan are struck by how clean the country is. Then they notice the absence of litter bins. And street sweepers. So they’re left with the question: how does Japan stay so clean?

“For 12 years of school life, from elementary school to high school, cleaning time is part of students’ daily schedule.”

On arriving at school, students leave their shoes in lockers and change into trainers. At home, too, people leave their street shoes at the entrance. Even workmen coming to your house will remove their shoes and pad around in their socks. And as the schoolchildren grow, their concept of what constitutes their space extends beyond the classroom to include their neighbourhood, their city and their country.

I really liked this tweet from Clayton Christensen…

I think a lot about advice giving and the dangerous consequences of (often bad) unsolicited advice. I think important to always empathize with the listener (which can be hard).

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My Update.

  • Hope you are having a great October.

  • Went from traveling like crazy to planting in SF. Have been here for 4.5 months now! Wow time flies.

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