COWEN: Based on your own upbringing as a boy, if you were giving advice to someone raising a child through the age of 18, what would be the takeaway you would offer from your own life experience up to that age?
TALEB: Get a degree from school, but become an autodidact. Don’t waste time trying to get an A because you’re not going — we’re gonna talk about it with Bryan — you’re not going to remember all that shit. You always remember what you try to read by yourself.
Read as much as you can, and try to get the lowest possible passing grades you can at school.
I remember the stuff I read by myself, that I was driven. I don’t remember stuff that was given to me at school. It’s an allocation of time.
I discovered that I wanted to be a writer as a kid. I realized to have an edge as a writer, you can’t really know what people know. You’ve got to know a lot of stuff that they don’t know.
I started reading books voraciously, and also read books that, with some instinct, that would be helpful 20 years from now. Therefore, it’s not the latest nonfiction best seller.
So I read a lot of stuff. And I think that I would recommend doing the same. Read as much as you can, and try to get the lowest possible passing grades you can at school. Don’t study stuff like history because it’s going to be revised.
Geography, history, all these. For instance, chemistry or stuff like that. Math is, I think, probably the only thing you can pick up at school that’s useful.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Self-Education and Doing the Math (Ep. 41 — Live at Mercatus)
Noted for when my dauther is in school and I’m getting too much wrapped around grades – provided she still reads a lot.
When most people sit down to write one of those lists, they are actually trying to combine at one time all five of the phases we have defined for mastering workflow: collect, process, organize, review, and do. They are simultaneously attempting to grab things out of their mind, decide what they mean, arrange them in some logical or meaningful fashion, jumping immediately to an evaluation of each against each other and deciding what they need to do “most importantly.” One is usually rewarded with a short-term payoff of the crisis of confusion relieved, but left with still a vague sense of gnawing vulnerability to what’s uncaptured, unprocessed, unorganized, unseen, and underestimated.
Why Getting Organized Usually Hasn’t Worked
One is the false sense of accomplishment that games give you. Zelda does this very well. You have your main quests, but also a lengthy list of side quests you can tackle. It’s very goal oriented and each time you sit down to play, there is a sense of satisfaction at completing a portion of the game when you’re finished.
I want my children to understand that this is a false illusion. You have accomplished nothing beyond entertaining yourself. In a culture where entertaining oneself is a primary form of idolatry, I want to be very careful with the example I set and how we communicate about it to our children. Entertainment is serving yourself. Which is fine and good, but in a proportionate amount compared to how we spend our time overall.
On Gaming & the Breath of the Wild
In our culture, when something is easy, you refer to it as “child’s play,” even though play is the work of children, and it requires enormous focus and effort. (Anybody who thinks a child’s play is always easy and fun should witness the passion and epic fits of frustration my sons manage to throw themselves into.)
Hard at play – Austin Kleon
A truly good man does nothing,
Yet nothing is left undone.
A foolish man is always doing,
Yet much remains to be done
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 38
A lot to ponder there. Time to get of the life’s treadmill.
You don’t need a life plan. You don’t need motivation, self-confidence, peer support or even luck. All you need is the willingness to take the next most obvious step – then repeat the process again and again, regardless of how you feel. Try it. Happiness comes from seeing the results of your efforts. You don’t need it before you start. – Adrian Savage
Ramit Sethi has called this the “Briefcase Technique,”saying that the best job applicants wait for a moment right after the pleasantries have ended and the basic information about the position has been explained. It is here, after they have answered just enough questions to establish comfort and trust, that they reveal how much research they have done prior to showing up, by explaining all the things they’ve learned about the business, how they intend to improve it and exactly why they’re the right person for the job. This move, done politely but confidently, immediately separates them from all the other potential hires.
Here’s The Technique That Ambitious People Use To Get What They Want
The case for everyday practical numeracy has never been more urgent. Statistical claims fill our newspapers and social media feeds, unfiltered by expert judgment and often designed as a political weapon. We do not necessarily trust the experts — or more precisely, we may have our own distinctive view of who counts as an expert and who does not. Nor are we passive consumers of statistical propaganda; we are the medium through which the propaganda spreads. We are arbiters of what others will see: what we retweet, like or share online determines whether a claim goes viral or vanishes. If we fall for lies, we become unwittingly complicit in deceiving others.
Your handy postcard-sized guide to statistics
here are some principles that come from Antifragile:
- Stick to simple rules
- Build in redundancy and layers (no single point of failure)
- Resist the urge to suppress randomness
- Make sure that you have your soul in the game
- Experiment and tinker — take lots of small risks
- Avoid risks that, if lost, would wipe you out completely
- Don’t get consumed by data
- Keep your options open
- Focus more on avoiding things that don’t work than trying to find out what does work
- Respect the old — look for habits and rules that have been around for a long time
Live Like a Hydra – Thinking Is Hard – Medium
Note-taking is not just a method for remembering. It is a way a writer tells himself, or herself, a story – and this becomes a process of life, a mode of being.
‘Messy attics of the mind’: what’s inside a writer’s notebook?
if you don’t fully trust your personal systems, you are likely to be dedicating inappropriate and unnecessary mental attention to details and content, often with a resultant negative emotional component. You’ll feel pulled, overwhelmed, and often like you’re close to losing control
Getting Things Done® Are You Micromanaging Your Mind?
A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in first.
The Self Education of Louis L’Amour
This neatly explains why you need to read in order to write.
Writing for friends and yourself can clear your thoughts, help you plan and invite the discovery of new ideas. Writing with the intention to put your thoughts out there leads to real writing. Writing gets real when it is read. Before that, it is a dream in letters. Writing to get read makes you careful, responsible, and considerate. It forces you to think as simply, clearly and understandably as possible. It forces you to think about how what you say may look and feel from the outside.
Take the Power Back – iA
The above post is one of the best ones I’ve read this year. I made at least a dozen highlights and finished it with a head full of ideas about how to improve my blog.
H/T to Patrick Rhone for sharing it on his feed.
An unwelcome consequence of living in a world where everything is “easy” is that the only skill that matters is the ability to multitask. At the extreme, we don’t actually do anything; we only arrange what will be done, which is a flimsy basis for a life.
We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are.
The Tyranny of Convenience
A good life is not always an easy life.