The Curious Letter — Issue #5

Happy first Friday of the decade!

Welcome to the ninth 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 an intellectual workout book, a podcast about why being a generalist is the way to go, a study about the vegan diet, and why you should have fun working.

I’ve been enjoying the time with my parents in Sri Lanka, so no extra links today 🙂

? Book I’m reading

I kicked off this year’s reading with “Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals” by Tyler Cowen.

It is a challenging book that provides a great intellectual workout to start the New Year. The writing isn’t complex, but the questions he explores make you really think deeply.

Cowen delves into economics, philosophy, philanthropy, sociology, geopolitics, history, and even pop culture, and the book is packed with big ideas and questions, interesting thought experiments, and fascinating theories.

P.S. Here’s a good review of the book by the American Institute for Economic Research.

? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening

The Next Big Idea – RANGE: Why Generalists Succeed in a Specialists’ World.

In this episode, Malcolm Gladwell, who back in 2008 coined the now-famous “10,000-hour rule” with his bestseller “Outliers,” sits down with David Epstein, whose book “Range” made it to my “Best of 2019” list, to talk about why a broad range of experience in life is actually the best way to find success.

Fun fact: Epstein and Gladwell had a debate almost six years ago when Epstein’s “Sports Gene” first came out debunking the “10,000-hour rule.”

? An Article Worth Reading

Going vegan for January? Find out how much difference it really makes.

New Scientist (which is one of my favorite publications) estimated that at least 1 million people will go vegan this month and teamed up with the University of Oxford to run an experiment. They were trying to determine the effects that the vegan diet has on the environment and nutrition.

Even though the findings are quite interesting, keep in mind that the sample size was only 19, which decreases the statistical power of the experiment.

? A Video Worth Watching

Alan Watts on treating work as play

Weirdly and embarrassingly enough, I’ve first heard Alan Watts in one of the chillstep tracks on Spotify (and I still regularly listen to this and this tracks, among others).

But today, I want to share with you one of the very few existing videos of Alan Watts, where he talks about the importance of treating work as play.

I think it’s hugely important to have fun with what you do daily, and I know at least a couple of people who attribute a big part of their success to making their work feel like play.

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,

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