The Curious Letter — Issue #14

Welcome to the fourteenth issue of The Curious Letter, an occasional 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 captivating memoir, a podcast episode where the tables have turned, an article on growth without goals, a tribute to an incredible person, and a few curious links.

Enjoy!


? A book I’m enjoying

“A Promised Land” by Barack Obama

If you like memoirs and biographies, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this one.

Not only it’s incredibly beautifully written, but it gives that rare insight into the decision-making process that the 44th President of the United States, his team, and his family went through.

I’m reading it using my new favorite reading method: listening to the audiobook while reading the hardcover. It keeps me more focused because both visual and auditory processing systems are engaged. And the bonus point is that Obama himself reads the audio version.

After only 220 pages of this 768-page book, it’s already on my “Top-5 books of 2020” list.

? A podcast episode worth listening

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes — Tim Ferris (Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket Casts)

In this fascinating conversation, Pete and Tim are discussing many interesting topics, but one thing that stood out for me is the importance of letting yourself go once in a while and not beating yourself up over it. How does it not only increase your productivity over time but also helps to keep you sane.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about and experimenting with a lot over the years. It isn’t easy to do if you have a Type A personality, but essential for keeping yourself from burning out.


? An article worth reading

“Growth Without Goals” by Patrick O’Shaughnessy

It’s the middle of December, which means I’ll be blocking the next weekend to reflect on my goals for this year—what went well and what I could’ve done better—zoom out, and set the goals for 2021.

Only this year will be the first in a decade when I’m not going to set any achievement-based goals.

Instead, I’ll focus on continuous, habitual practices — growth without goals.

Read the article to understand why, and maybe it’s something that will resonate with you as well.

? A video worth watching

Tony Hsieh: Building a Formidable Brand

As many of you probably know, Tony Hsieh passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of only 46.

Tony was the CEO, heart, and soul of Zappos. He transformed e-commerce as we know it, and was a huge inspiration for many entrepreneurs, including myself.

His book, “Delivering Happiness,” was one of the first business books I’ve ever read, and it shaped my views on life and business in more ways than one.

In this short talk from 2010 at Stanford, he talks about his approach to building Zappos, its famous culture, and core values.


✨ 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.
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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