A Few Things....

May 2 2019

1. A few people have asked me the 'trick' to digest all the books and content that I go through, I think for the most part I am wired for it being a Myers-Briggs - ISTJ.

When they inquire further, here are two things I talk about.

Would love to hear your thoughts on what works for you.

A. Make Time - learning is probably the most important thing we can do as humans, but we are usually too busy to do the most important things. So I think the 1st thing is to make sure you schedule the time in your diary. Do as Charlie Munger used to do - make an appointment with yourself. Who could be more important ? If you can't make the time / find the time, do a little 80/20 analysis on your life to discover what are the 80% of things you are doing leading to only 20% of the outcomes. Get rid of them or outsource them. The last trick on time, is that it is everywhere....on the train, waiting for a meeting, out for a walk, driving a car.....Time is everywhere. 

B. Read the RIGHT things - Once you have made time, you need to know what to focus on. This article from 2015 was a life changer. I'll summarize it for you....Most information is useless, because most information / reading we do is of the Ephemeral kind (its NOISE). Think: newspapers, magazines, blogs, recent best sellers...Most of that knowledge has an expiry date on it. Then there is the other type of reading, the Enduring kind. Think: old classics, history, essays, biographies. Read things where the knowledge isn't just relevant today, but the type of knowledge that will be relevant in ten years time. That is the knowledge that compounds. 

Would love to hear about your learning habits.

2. Two biographies that I read recently - all interesting in their own way that are worth a few hours of your time

- Sam Zell - Am I being too subtle? (invented REITs and sold all of his RE at the top to Blackstone in late 2006)

- Felix Dennis - How to get rich (funny & honest about how to build a business)

What are your favorite biographies ?

3. Three things worth watching or listening to: 

A. Farnam Street on The Anatomy of a Great Decision - most of us are paid to make good decisions. So how exactly do we do that ?

B. HBR on How to Write Email with Military Precision - we all need help here

C. David Brooks on The Moral Peril of Meritocracy - Our individualistic culture inflames the ego and numbs the spirit. Failure teaches us who we are (thank you David G for sharing)

D. Robert Sapolsky has written two interesting books - "Why Zebras don't get ulcers" and "Behave". The first book was about Stress and it's impact on us. 

He was on Peter Attia's podcast last week to discuss the impact of stress on us, and society.

Quote I am thinking about:

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in a bunch of conversations in which the unspoken assumption was that the main goal of life is to maximize happiness. That’s normal. When people plan for the future, they often talk about all the good times and good experiences they hope to have. We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness. But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.”

- David Brooks, 2014