The Curious Letter — Issue #9

Happy Monday!

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 a book that might change your life, a thought-provoking podcast, an argument in favor of reading, a mentoring session, and a few curious links.


? A Book I’ve Enjoyed

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict (View on Amazon)

“What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause? And what if, as a result, we systematically perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?”

This is arguably one of the best ‘personal development’ books that I’ve read. It’s thought-provoking but doesn’t pressure you into thinking that your life is a mess and the author has a solution. It simply suggests, encourages, and recognizes that we all stumble and fail sometimes.

The authors are presenting the concepts through a captivating storyline instead of traditional teaching. This method allows you to engage, reflect, and relate to the need for the lessons in the book.

If you’re interested in a life free of detrimental self-fulfilling prophecies that harm our happiness and relationships with others, this book is a must-read.

? A Podcast Episode Worth Listening

Uncommon Knowledge – Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment” (Apple PodcastsOvercastYouTube)

I’ve been fascinated by Peter Thiel for a long time. I admire his rigorous and independent thought, and if you listen to this brilliant interview by Peter Robinson, hopefully, you’ll too.

Robinson and Thiel are exploring a few thought-provoking questions:

  • Why people today believe in the power of the will but no longer trust the power of the intellect, the mind, and rationality?
  • Why China didn’t become a democracy?
  • Why the low-interest rates are alarming?
  • What advice he would’ve given to a former self from 30 years ago?
  • Why petroleum engineering is a good career other people aren’t perusing?

? An Article Worth Reading

Read. by Byrne Hobart

Byrne makes a compelling case in favor of reading instead of watching videos or listening to podcasts, and while he makes some very good points, I still disagree on the value of podcasts.

Here are a few excerpts that I liked:

“Text benefits from two economic coincidences: it has a low marginal cost today, but it used to have a very high one. So older writing is more likely to contain information that smart people with cash on hand thought was absolutely essential, while newer writing is cheaper to produce and easier to search than other kinds of content, so if there’s one specific piece of information you need, you’re more likely to find it in text than anywhere else.”

“I’ve found that writing a lot leads to meeting people, and in-person discussions lead to more writing. The way to meet experts is to write something on their area of expertise that gets you past the not-a-moron filter.”

“My exhortation to read is not a warning against fun, just a note that fun-disguised-as-work will eat all of your free time and trick you into wasting your life.”

? Video Worth Watching

Diddy & His Mentor Ray Dalio | Inside a Meeting

This is one of the mentoring sessions between Diddy and Ray Dalio.

It’s also one of the thousands of reasons to love the internet.

Dalio is answering a few great questions, such as:

  • How do you define radical open-mindedness?
  • How to find the best in class for your team? (“You don’t have to be good at everything, you just have to find people who are.”)
  • What steps do you take to reset?
  • Who are the leaders you look up to?

And defines success as a five-step process:

  1. You have to know what are you going after – your goals;
  2. Encounter your problems on your way to your goals;
  3. Diagnose those problems and get at the root cause of them;
  4. Design;
  5. Do it!

✨ Random Curious Stuff

  • Here’s a photo of 84 million stars, shot by a telescope in Chile. This ESO telescope is capable of putting together a 9 billion pixel image. Open on your desktop, zoom in and out, and enjoy the feeling of realizing just how vast the galaxy is.
  • For non-experts, a Reddit user has posted a handy guide explaining the differences between AI, machine learning and data science.
  • Sketchplanations – explaining one thing a week in a sketch. That rare feeling when you spend a ridiculous amount of time on a website and don’t regret it. I loved almost all of the sketches, but being a Japanophile, I couldn’t help but share this one with you (clickable):

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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