Welcome to the eighth 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 book on choosing your personal philosophy, a podcast episode on the love of learning, an article about why solitude is necessary for true leadership, a video about the future of superintelligence, and a few curious links.
? Book I’m Reading
How to Live a Good Life: A Guide to Choosing Your Personal Philosophy (View on Amazon) by the author of one of my favorite books of 2018 “How to Be a Stoic,” Massimo Pigliucci.
This book is a collection of essays by fifteen philosophers presenting an introductory guide to choosing a philosophy for living an examined and meaningful life.
Each author is explaining their philosophical view on life: from ancient Eastern approaches such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Daoism to Western ones such as Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism; from venerable religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to modern ones such as Ethical Culture, existentialism, effective altruism, pragmatism, and secular humanism.
My current personal philosophy is a mix of Stoicism, Daoism, and Confucianism (most of the times I’m not satisfied with the existing solutions, so I end up mixing and matching the parts that resonate the most), and I believe this book can help you to finds yours.
? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening
Tren Griffin is a Senior Director at Microsoft and author of seven books. He writes about business, investing, technology, and anything in between.
Here are a few thoughts from this episode that caught my attention:
- Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.
- There’s a small number of times in life when you have a big statistical advantage. And in those situations, you need to bet big.
- Horrible experiences make great stories.
- Seeing what’s bad helps you see what’s good.
- Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do.
- If you’re learning more and not becoming more humble, you’re not paying attention.
- You need to live your life probabilistically, understand what’s roulette, what’s poker, and what are the black swans that you can’t control. It makes you realize that you have to have a margin of safety because life is uncertain, it’s easy to make mistakes, and you need to be able to stay in the game.1. Have a margin of safety; 2. Have a sound process of being rational; 3. Go through all the biases and ask yourself how you can make a mistake; 4. And then, when you have a really good situation, when the odds are substantially in your favor, bet big.
- The paradox of skill: as people get more and more skilled at any given domain, luck becomes a much bigger factor.
- You have to be patient. There are times when you need to go all in, and there times when you need to do nothing.
? An Article Worth Reading
Solitude and Leadership by William Deresiewicz
“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.”
This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read.
The author argues that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership.
He starts by explaining what leadership really means, talks about bureaucracies, why there’s a crisis of leadership in America and what to do about that, how to learn to think for yourself, and why multitasking is a terrible thing. He then goes to explain what solitude really means, and why there would be no America without it.
This article clearly resonated a lot with me because I’ve made 32 notes while reading it (there are entire books that I make fewer notes of), so I won’t include them here, and give you a chance to make your own.
? Video Worth Watching
✨ Random Curious Stuff
- ? If you like lo-fi hip-hop, and Naval Ravikant as much as I do, you will definitely love what Akira The Don has done with what I consider to be the best podcast of 2019 “How To Get Rich” (YouTube, Spotify);
- ☕️ For the fellow coffee nerds out there – Maths says you need coarser coffee grounds to make a perfect espresso. “A small coffee shop in Oregon owned by friends of one of the research team tried this method between September 2018 and September 2019. The shop found it saved $0.13 per drink, resulting in $3620 saved that year, and is still using it today. “If everyone did this, it would save the industry billions of dollars,” says Foster.“;
- ? Largely inspired by Andrew Wilkinson’s Lazy Leadership, I’ve been exploring the world of investing and acquisitions, and if you’re also interested in growing your portfolio of assets, I highly recommend the course Micro Acquisitions – Learn to Buy, Grow, and Sell Small Companies by Ryan Kulp.
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.