Welcome to the second 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.
? Book I’m reading
“The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber.
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business, you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”
Every now and then I’m getting too deep into working in my business (“Technician’s Perspective”) instead of working on it (“Entrepreneur’s Perspective”). This book offers a few techniques and a timely reminder to switch roles and continue building systems and processes while maintaining the right balance between my inner Entrepreneur, Technician, and Manager.
? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening
Thinking About Thinking with Tyler Cowen (The Knowledge Project).
A timeless episode of one of my favorite podcasts.
Tyler Cowen (MarginalRevolution.com, an economics professor, and the author of over a dozen great books) and Shane Parrish (fs.blog) chat about tech advances, the future of labor, the fate of newspapers, Tyler’s “quake books” and his reading process, why giving books as gifts can be dangerous, upgrading your thinking process to accommodate the information age, and much more.
? The Articles Worth Reading
This week I have two articles for you.
1. Yes, Paul Graham published another great essay. This time he talks about learning, the educational system, and the lesson you need to unlearn.
“This is not just a lesson for individuals to unlearn, but one for society to unlearn, and we’ll be amazed at the energy that’s liberated when we do.”
2. A collection of 52 fascinating things Tom Whitwell learned in 2019.
“Worldwide, growth in the fragrance industry is lagging behind cosmetics and skincare products. Why? ‘You can’t smell a selfie’.”
“Spotify pays by the song. Two three minute songs are twice as profitable as one six-minute song. So songs are getting shorter.”
“Placebos are so effective that placebo placebos work: A pain cream with no active ingredients worked even when not used by the patient. Just owning the cream was enough to reduce pain.”
? A Video Worth Watching
A mind-boggling behind the scenes video about the biggest shopping event of the year in one of the leading DTC brands – GymShark.
- They sold 3 million units in 48 hours (18 units per second);
- Their website was getting 17.4 million requests per minute at peak;
- For a week straight they’ve sold 5 units per second on average.
✨Random curious stuff
- 15 min rule: when stuck, you have to try on your own for 15 min; after 15 min, you have to ask for help –
Google Brain AMA
- The coolest website I’ve seen this week – The Deep Sea by Neal Agrawal.
- An incredible collection of the 100 gadgets that made a difference and defined the 2010s by The Verge.
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.