Welcome to the third 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 fiction series, an incredible lecture on Stoicism, a podcast with some good parenting advice, an article about “Lazy leadership,” and a health fact of the week.
Next Friday is the last Friday of the year, and I’m preparing a special newsletter issue with the best things I’ve discovered this year. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to invite some friends to subscribe!
? The Books I’ve Enjoyed
Reading fiction (preferably a physical copy) before bed is one of my all-time favorite sleep rituals. This month I was reading “The Book Of Dust” series by Philip Pullman. The second book has just come out, Patrick Collison (CEO of Stripe) recommended it, HBO released an original series, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
I’ve genuinely enjoyed the first volume (La Belle Sauvage), less so the second one, but it still makes it to my top-10 fiction book series of all time.
? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening
I love Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’ve read most of his books, watched the Cosmos documentary (who hasn’t?), but this episode of Impact Theory goes in a bit of a different direction.
Instead of science, they talk about the lessons Neil’s father has taught him, the quality you should nurture in your kids (and I think it’s one of the essential qualities in life), how to convert micro-aggressions into enthusiasm, and much more.
“You have the power to create meaning in your life, rather than passively looking for it.”
? An Article Worth Reading
Lately, I’ve been thinking and researching how I can work less in my business and more on it. This, essentially, means taking a step back, hiring the best people, leaning on them, and becoming an observer instead of an active participant in the business.
A few days ago, I found this great post on “Lazy Leadership” by Andrew Wilkinson.
This system has allowed him to go from working 12 hour days running a single business to living a retiree life while owning a majority in 20 businesses with over 400 employees, having 80 minority investments, plus a bakery and hotel.
How? By making fewer decisions.
On an average day ten years ago, he made hundreds of decisions per day.
Today, he makes maybe 1-4 important decisions per month.
More ≠ more stress.
? A Video Worth Watching
A lesson about Marcus Aurelius and the history and meaning of Stoicism by professor Michael Sugrue.
Stop scrolling, and just listen. It might be the best 42 minutes you’ll ever spend on YouTube.
Here’s how Sugrue beautifully distills the key idea behind Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’.
“It’s just the human condition for us to have troubles, worries, anxieties, and problems. Don’t torture yourself by worrying about things that aren’t in your control. Leave those in the hands of nature.
Do your best to control the things that you do have control over, i.e., yourself, your behavior, your intentions, and your actions.
If you do that, you will live a blessed, happy, virtuous, and wise life. You’ll be a real human being. If you fail to do that, gradually, the inclination towards debauchery (indulgence in sensual pleasures) and evil will become greater and greater.
You will harm yourself and the people around you. No rational being wishes to harm themselves and the people around them.
If we want to be fully human, we must be fully free.
Free in the sense of no longer being a slave of our passions, being pushed about our feelings, being a toy that gets messed with by arbitrary things that are beneath the human condition, that are merely emotional.
And that means fully rational, and that means fully good.
“Accept no substitutes” is what Marcus Aurelius says.”
? Health fact of the week
A new study claimed that yoga is good for your brain and has lasting effects on brain structure.
It increases the brain region’s volume involved in learning and memory and changes several brain regions involved in emotional regulation, learning, and memory.
It looks like it may even mitigate age-related and neurodegenerative declines, which alone is an excellent reason to step up your yoga game.
✨ Random curious stuff
- WaitWho.is – is a cool project I wish I’d come up with first. It’s a directory of people and all of their best content in one place, featuring Naval Ravikant, Sam Altman, and Peter Thiel, among others.
- I’ve binge-watched my first masterclass with Malcolm Gladwell, and it was so good, I can’t believe I haven’t subscribed much earlier.
- Here’s a very interesting answer to a question that has probably never occurred to you: if the universe is 13.8 billion years old, how can we see 46 billion light-years away?
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!