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On a short break

On a short break.  

The newsletter and the blogs are on a hiatus of sorts, for now.

I have been sick awhile, so I am taking time off, to tend to myself.

Will be back, hopefully soon :)

Gaiman on Writing

The truth is, I think, […] for me inspiration comes from a bunch of places.

(Counting on his fingers …) Desperation, deadlines …

A lot of times, ideas will turn up while you are doing something else.

And most of all, I think, ideas come from confluence.

They come from two things flowing together, they come, essentially from day-dreaming. It’s … it’s something I suspect that’s something that every human being does.

Writers tend to train themselves to notice when they’ve had ideas. Not that they get anymore ideas or get inspired more than anyone else. We just notice. We notice when it happens, a little bit more.

You go,well, you know, everybody knows that if you get bitten by a werewolf, when the moon is full, you will turn into a wolf. You know that.

And then there’s that moment when you’re sitting thinking, so what happens if a werewolf bites a goldfish?

Or what if the werewolf sinks its fangs into a chair? And what if you’re sitting in that chair and the moonlight touches it? Slowly it starts feeling more and more wolfish and it growls and what about the … you know? And oh my god! Then you’d have to set it in the winter, cuz you’d need the snow for people to try and figure out why you’ve got chair leg marks in the snow. By the body. That has its throat ripped out.

And suddenly, you have a story!

The whole video is funny, yet so full of wisdom.



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Books I’ve Read, August Edition

August

  • Ultralearning, Scott H Young
    (must read.
    if you are looking to tackle something foundationally important, this book gives you one solid approach.
    it’s mostly common sense.
    but common sense that is laid out in a really logical manner.
    i learnt to plan my project, that hard learning is normal, that failure is normal, and that persistence is a prerequisite.
    all critical things, since learning no longer “comes naturally” to me.)

  • Memories, Lang Leav
    (must read)

  • The Universe of Us, Lang Leav
    (must read. Leav writes beautifully haunting poetry)

  • Dissent on Aadhaar, compilation, Reetika Khera (editor)
    (must read. this insightful, erudite read, tackles the various issues of Aadhaar on multiple levels, with multiple experts from various fields, voicing their concern.
    if you want to know, why Big Brother is Bad Business, why Aadhaar is a bad idea and what its fallout c(w)ould be, this is the book to read)

  • Learning Python, Mark Lutz
    (this was a text book I needed to read to learn programming. loved it.)

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Peter Kaufman on The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking

Peter Kaufman, editor of Poor Charlie’s Almanack, on why is it important to be a multidisciplinary thinker.

Because as the Japanese proverb says, ‘The frog in the well, knows nothing of the mighty ocean.’
You may know everything there is to know about your specialty, your silo, your “well”, but how are you going to make any good decisions in life …
the complex systems of life, the dynamic system of life …
if all you know, is one well?

He then, talks about a sneaky shortcut on how he did it.

So I tried to learn what Munger calls, ‘the big ideas’ from all the different disciplines.
Right up front I want to tell you what my trick was, because if you try to do it the way he did it, you don’t have enough time in your life to do it. It’s impossible. Because the fields are too big and the books are too thick. So my trick to learn the big ideas of science, biology, etc., was I found this science magazine called Discover Magazine. […]
I found that this magazine every month had a really good interview with somebody from some aspect of science. Every month. And it was six or seven pages long. It was all in layperson’s terms. The person who was trying to get their ideas across would do so using good stories, clear language, and they would never fail to get all their big ideas into the interview. […]
So I discovered that on the Internet there were 12 years of Discover Magazine articles available in the archives. So I printed out 12 years times 12 months of these interviews. I had 144 of these interviews. And I put them in these big three ring binders. Filled up three big binders.
And for the next six months I went to the coffee shop for an hour or two every morning and I read these. And I read them index fund style, which means I read them all. I didn’t pick and choose. This is the universe and I’m going to own the whole universe. I read every single one.
Now I will tell you that out of 144 articles, if I’d have been selecting my reading material, I probably would have read about 14 of them. And the other 130? I would never in a million years read six pages on nanoparticles.
Guess what I had at the end of six months? I had inside my head every single big idea from every single domain of science and biology. It only took me 6 months. And it wasn’t that hard because it was written in layperson’s terms.
And really, what did I really get? Just like an index fund, I captured all the parabolic ideas that no one else has. And why doesn’t anybody else have these ideas? Because who in the world would read an interview on nanoparticles? And yet that’s where I got my best ideas. I would read some arcane subject and, oh my god, I saw, ‘That’s exactly how this works over here in biology.’ or ‘That’s exactly how this works over here in human nature.’ You have to know all these big ideas.

And then in an extraordinary step of generous giving, he spends the rest of the talk, summing all he has learnt into the next 40 or so minutes.

You should go read the talk at Latticework Investing.

Even better, you should go listen. Kaufman is a really engaging speaker.

I hope you listen to this, every once in a while like I do.

Shane Parrish also merges Peter’s ideas with the Durants for an amazing post on the lessons of history.

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8


Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum.

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

You’ve stood by me through thick and thin.
We’ve been through houses and hospitals and travails and travels around the world.
We finish each other’s thoughts and sentences, (much to Poo’s chagrin,)
I don’t know what I’d do without you.

To quote a silly old country song,

When my life is through,
And the Angels ask me to recall
The thrill of it all, then I will tell them
I remember you …

I love you,
I do,
more than I can tell you,
more than I ever did, eight years ago.