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Articles to Read.

What are "secrets" among your profession that the general public is unaware of?

  • I work at a pizza place, the more items you get on your pizza the fewer of each item you will get while still being charged the same price per item.

  • Journalism: the reporter who writes the article rarely writes the headline. The editor typically writes the headline.

  • Sometimes students are given a better grade than they should because we are too tired to really give a shit anymore.

  • Im a Zamboni operator and most people dont know that we use hot water when shaving the ice.

Happy Habits

I made one day a week untouchable. Guess what would happen on that day? Nothing. I would have no internet, no cellphone, no connection to anybody, not even my wife. Nobody could get a hold of me, no one could contact me. Nothing, I was literally untouchable. Guess what happened? Instead of writing 500 words through bits and sparks on a normal day, I wrote 5,000 words, like 10 days worth of writing in one day, a 10X increase in my production. That’s where my next book came from. I launched three books, my podcast from those days. Everything good that I’ve done in the last couple of years has only come from untouchable days.

It’s not work life balance, it’s a flywheel. The more energy you pour into either side of your life, the faster and more energy you can pour into the rest. I found that model so inspiring I was already doing that without knowing that that was a thing. I was always under the mistaken assumption that they were trade offs rather than a pie that constantly grows with maximum energy and no limits with it’s potential.

Life is so relatively easy that we have lost our capacity to handle failure or even, and this is more important, perceived failure. So when you get two likes on your Instagram photo, it feels like I have no friends. The traumatic feeling of loneliness or anxiety or depression. These things are coming to us sharper and harsher because we have lost the internal systems to handle them.

US emissions fell 2.1% in 2019. Here’s why

The US saw a 2.1% fall in greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to a new report titled “Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2019” by independent research company Rhodium Group.

This was due to a decrease in coal plants, which resulted in an emissions drop of 190 million metric tons.

Can You Locate Iran? Few Voters Can.

28% of registered voters could point out Iran on a zoomed-in map of the region.

49% said they heard “a lot” about the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

69% said the strike makes war with Iran more likely, and 50% said it makes the U.S. less safe.

The political history of Thailand’s internationally beloved noodle dish

You’ve likely tried pad Thai, wherever you may be from. The stir-fried noodle dish from Thailand, with shrimp, eggs, vegetables, and peanuts, has become ubiquitous around the world. The late Plaek Phibunsongkhram—Thailand’s third prime minister—would no doubt be pleased with this development.

In 1938, Phibun became Siam’s third prime minister and soon began issuing “cultural mandates.” The state decrees included changing the country’s name to Thailand, commissioning music and lyrics for a new national anthem, and unifying the ethnically diverse nation. Phibun believed a shared identity could be created using cultural tools. Food was among those tools, and he pushed a new national noodle dish on the people of the newly named nation.

But the dish he chose wasn’t widely eaten before the decree, and it didn’t even originate in Thailand. “He simply had this particular version of a Thai noodle that was made by his housekeeper in his kitchen and he really liked it,” retired nutritional anthropologist Penny Van Esterik, who specializes in Southeast Asian cuisines and worked in Thailand, tells the South China Morning Post. “So that dish somehow became standardized… It became a ‘Thai noodle dish’, and [Phibun] was promoting the idea that one should eat it, particularly civil servants, for lunch.”

Iran, Again

Since 1979, no one in the United States has figured out a good way to handle the regime in Tehran. For 40 years, we’ve been having the same arguments, and no matter what we tried, the results were disappointing.

The odd thing is that no matter what happens between the U.S. and Iran, we keep repeating the same patterns and having the same debates. From the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy and the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon; to the “Tanker War” and the mines in the Straits of Hormuz in the late ’80s; to the truck-bomb attack on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996; to Iran’s letting the 9/11 hijackers go through Iranian territory without stamping passports; to IEDs against our soldiers in Iraq . . .

In their eyes, we’ve attacked them in unfair ways: We backed Saddam Hussein during the Iran–Iraq war, imposed sanctions that squeezed the Iranian economy, and in 1988, our Navy blew up two of their oil platforms. That same year, we accidentally shot down one of their civilian airliners. The frustrating reality is that our actions rarely hurt the mullahs and ruling class. Our sanctions made life tougher for the average Iranian, but the mullahs still ate well.

Plastic packaging ban 'could harm environment'

Plastic packaging

Firms are swapping to other packaging materials which are potentially even worse for the environment, the cross-party Parliamentary group warns.

  • Glass bottles, for instance, are much heavier than plastic so are far more polluting to transport.

  • Paper bags tend to have higher carbon emissions than plastic bags – and are more difficult to re-use.

More to Check Out: 
- A Note on Reading Big, Difficult Books...
Health and wealth in the Roman Empire
Majority of Americans favor wealth tax on very rich
- The Most Important Scientific Problems Have Yet to Be Solved
Women Now Make Up the Majority of the U.S. Labor Force


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Books I read:

(finished a lot of books this week, getting addicted to reading again!)

  • The Lessons of History: Really interesting perspective on the history of civilization and how we think about progress.

  • The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building: Great resource for company building.

  • Get Big Fast (2002): Amazing how a book written in 2002 could so well articulate the uniqueness of Amazon.

  • Brave New World Revisited: Strong recommendation. Written in 1958, the novel analyzes society and comes up with some really interesting points of view including: why is everyone addicted to the television? why is the media lying to us? why do we all come up with the same ideas? Remember, 1958!!

My bookshelf

Random thoughts / open questions:

  • More people should send thank you emails. Easy way to differentiate and show gratitude. Amazing how rare they are.

My Update:

  • Working.

If you enjoy the newsletter, you can Venmo me a tip: @jordangonen or on the web here. Really appreciate the support! - Jordan