A biweekly bookish newsletter pushing you into extraordinary intellectual rabbit holes that will fuel your curiosity, keep your motivation levels high, and inspire you to commit to continuous growth.
Hello and welcome!
Ever thought about what's needed to create a quality product?
Sure, it should solve a particular problem and probably look good. But what else?
Ever since I've read the classic title The Zen Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I'm consumed by this question.
To understand why thinking about quality is important, it's helpful to think about what big tech companies are doing each and every year.
They don't just create products. They continuously improve their existing products. Pushing the boundaries of what's possible further.
Yes, probably not all of them are guided by some profound principles (or care enough for the end-users). But taking this endless pursuit of refining and upgrading is worth considering. It's worth implementing.
Even if you don't end up agreeing with how I define quality. I think it's useful to think about this concept and create your own definition.
1) Book summaries:
[NEW] Critical Thinking by Tom Chatfield: Not just thinking. But thinking better. Indirectly, this book will help you become more skeptical about the information you read and about the arguments presented by the people around you. By taking into account our natural flaws and biases, the concepts introduced in this title will prevent you from automatically believing everything you read.
Karl Popper by Bryan Magee: Karl Popper is considered the most influential philosopher of science of the 20th century. This volume provides an introduction to the main themes of his scholarship.
Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke: Our current world is basically a high-dopamine stimuli existence. Sadly, the most addictive things are legal and free - social media. This title wants to help us find calmness in a world of compulsive overconsumption.
Interesting words from books and around the web:
Atelophobia (noun): The fear of imperfection or not being good enough; An extreme fear of failure to achieve perfection.
Bogart (verb): To use or consume without sharing.
Soporific (adjective): Tending to induce drowsiness or sleep.
4) Great thinkers:
Born into a German-Jewish family in the late 19th Century, Emmy Noether grew up in a world where women weren't supposed to do math.
That didn't stop her, though. Her work changed history.
Shortly after her death, Einstein wrote the following: "Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began."
The Big Idea: Noether's Theorem
Noether's theorem dictates that a physical system behaves the same regardless of how it is oriented in space.
When you rotate an object that spins, for example, it doesn't change the way it spins. This is called symmetry.
Plainly, symmetry is when something looks and behaves the same when you move it around in different locations. There are a set of rules that aren't changing.
Of course, the theory is way more complicated. And while scientists might find the details more interesting. For a layperson like me, I've concluded the following that can be used in our daily life:
Regardless of where you are, where you go. There must be a set of rules that shouldn't change. Your personal values and ambitions shouldn't change when you meet other people who reject them or don't see the world as you do. You shouldn't abandon your way simply because others don't approve of it. You should keep being symmetrical and internally aligned with your values.
5) Worth checking:
From my desk:
Can One Wrong Decision Ruin Your Life?: "Most decisions in life are not immediately bad. You don’t see the vile consequences right away. There is commonly a gap between what you do and what you get."
From around the web:
The Magic of Non-Doing: "By saying no to the default goals that everyone else expects and accepts I’ve also stumbled upon the fact that I love writing. When I write it feels like something that fits into the flow of life. Something that matters to me. Very much in the spirit of non-doing."
Kurzweil's law explains that change, evolution, is exponential. It's not linear.
The more we progress. The better we become at progressing. Thus, we progress faster.
For example, technological progress 200 years ago took a lot of time. To improve a particular system, people had to work for years. And the improvements were just slightly better. Now, chips and computers are improving at an unimaginable scale.
The way you apply this in your life is the following: The more you refine your processes. Your work. The better you'll become. The results will stop being linear, and become exponential.
For example, you might need one full year to lose weight and to get in shape, but only a couple of months after that to nicely sculpt your body.
Another example I can provide you with is something related to this newsletter. It took 3 years to accumulate 1000 subscribers and less than 6 months to grow this number to currently close to 3000.
7) Worth thinking about:
"Art is not about what it looks like, but how it makes you feel."
― Tayler Carraway
Last week, I politely asked people reading this newsletter (you) to fill out a short questionnaire (the form is still open if you decide to add your thoughts if you still haven't).
Thank you for all the amazing responses!
If you're curious about the results. Here's a very quick overview of the answers:
Question 1: 75% voted with Yes on whether or not I should create a manual for escaping social media. It's ON. I started working on the manual actually. Hopefully, it's going to be ready at the beginning of the new year.
Question 2: A lot of people added their interest. Here are the most requested themes for future guides:
How to keep being motivated while working on a long-term project.
Taking notes while reading and figuring out what notes to take.
How to stay calm and positive in a crazy world.
How to approach writing, find and organize ideas (plus requests to share my writing routine).
How to start a blog.
Probably all of these topics will eventually become detailed manuals with the underlying goal to get things done.
Also, thank you for the nice words about my newsletter (question 3)! I am honored to have received so many cheering responses.
This praise is probably my favorite: "You have a much-needed voice in the dark place that has become the modern internet."
That's indeed what I'm trying to do. Offer a fresh perspective in a cozy and neat online setting. Promote slowing down and thinking before doing, instead of rushing into busyness and bombarding you with hundreds of distractions.
Of course, if you want to share extra feedback, share your thoughts about something else, you can always reply to this email (or any future emails). I read and reply to everyone.