The Curious Letter — Issue #1

Happy Friday!

Welcome to the very first issue of The Curious Letter – an occasional collection of fascinating finds from my week – books, podcasts, articles, videos, and more.


? Book I’m reading

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture” by Ben Horowitz.

Ben Horowitz’s new book is a great blend of storytelling, anecdotes, and examples on understanding, building, and eventually changing the organization’s culture. It’s an excellent and thoughtfully prepared read that should be on the reading list of any founder/CEO.


? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening

The Most Well-Read Person in the World on The Future of Reading with Robert Cottrell (Venture Stories)


? An Article Worth Reading

Paul Graham published a new essay for the first time in two years, and it’s as good as you’d expect it to be.

“If I had to put the recipe for genius into one sentence, that might be it: to have a disinterested obsession with something that matters.”


? A Video Worth Watching

Bill Gates Talks Philanthropy, Microsoft, and Taxes | DealBook

If you enjoyed the new Bill Gates documentary on Netflix (if you haven’t checked that out – it’s well worth the watch), you’d enjoy this wide-ranging fireside chat between Gates and Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook conference.

A couple of quotes that stuck with me:

– What do you want to be remembered for when all this is over?

– I don’t have a goal to be remembered. I want to work on things that people will forget – polio, malaria, etc.

– Do you have any interest in space?

– No.

– Your neighbor in Seattle likes space.

– He can have it.

– Why’s that?

– Because malnutrition is so much more impactful. HIV is more impactful. Malaria’s more impactful.

– Have you ever talked to Jeff about that?

– Oh sure. Elon likes Mars. Jeff likes artificial planets. I’ve read a lot of science fiction but I guess not as much as they did.


? Gadgets worth checking out

I spent a lot of time marveling at the Best Inventions 2019 by TIME magazine. From aero farms that use 95% less water than the field ones to portable kayaks (I really want one now), check out some of the latest, most innovative products.


? A new article that I published

I struggled with sleep my whole life. I would lie in bed, not able to fall asleep for hours, wake up in the middle of the night and wander around the apartment, and snooze the alarm countless times every morning.

Now, I’m falling asleep in 5 minutes, waking up without the alarm, and my sleep score is almost always above 85.

So I wrote an article with lots of external resources and recommendations about the methods that worked for me to achieve that: “How To Sleep Better: What Worked For Me After Years Of Continuous Experimentation.”


Just one quick favor before I sign off – can you reply to this email and let me know:

  • What would you like to see more and less of?
  • What did you enjoy, and what you didn’t?

Feel free to reply with questions and comments, and share this newsletter with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up and if you stumble upon anything interesting this week, let me know on Twitter!

Stay curious,
Max

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