The Curious Letter — Issue #11

Happy Monday!

Welcome to the eleventh issue of The Curious Letter – a weekly collection of fascinating things worth your time – books, podcasts, articles, videos, and more.

If you missed the previous issue, you can find it here.

Today I have for you a book about falling in love with the process, a rare interview, a profile of one of this era’s most influential thinkers, the Great Explainer video from 1983, and a few curious links.


? Book I’m reading

Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall In Love With the Process of Becoming Great


This is a short and easy read with a lot of valuable life lessons.
The fictional story follows John to Japan on a quest to become a samurai archer. Guided by Akira-sensei, he encounters a series of setbacks that have a strong resemblance to our own day-to-day struggles.

Putting the clumsy and oftentimes cheesy story aside, this book offers quite a few valuable insights about developing mental toughness, setting goals, and overcoming adversity.

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” – Buddha

? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening

The World According to Thiel – Uncommon Knowledge

(Apple PodcastsOvercastYouTube)

Yes, I know that I featured another episode with Thiel only two weeks ago, but these interviews are so rare that I’ll be including them in this newsletter whenever there’s a new one.

This wide-ranging conversation covers globalization, the continuing and ever-growing threat from China and what the United States can and can’t do it about, what the rise of Bernie Sanders means for the future of US capitalism, the “derangement” of Silicon Valley in the last decade, the scourge of political correctness on campuses and in society at large, and why Thiel thinks we should rethink the doctrine of American exceptionalism.

? An Article Worth Reading

Yuval Noah Harari’s History of Everyone, Ever – The New Yorker

This is an incredibly interesting profile of one of this era’s most interesting and influential thinkers, the author of “Sapiens”, “Homo Deus”, and “21 Lessons for the 21st Century”, who now defines himself as both a historian and a philosopher.

“Think about a situation where somebody in Beijing or San Francisco knows what every citizen in Israel is doing at every moment—all the most intimate details about every mayor, member of the Knesset, and officer in the Army, from the age of zero. Those who will control the world in the twenty-first century are those who will control data.”

? Video worth watching

Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine

Back in 1983, the BBC aired Fun to Imagine, a television series hosted by Richard Feynman that used physics to explain how the everyday world works – why rubber bands are stretchy, why tennis balls can’t bounce forever, how atoms move, what you’re really seeing when you look in the mirror, and other things.

In case you’re not familiar with him, Feynman was one of the most remarkable and gifted theoretical physicists of any generation. He was also known as the Great Explainer because of his passion for helping non-scientists to imagine something of the beauty and order of the universe as he saw it.

My favorite part of this video starts at 14:53.

✨ Random Curious Stuff

As always, feel free to reply with your questions and feedback, and if you liked this issue, please share “The Curious Letter” with a friend or two.
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