September 2020 Updates



Peak Experiences List: Spencer Greenberg had a Facebook thread where he asked what, besides sex, was your most pleasurable experience. There were some great responses, and since I’d like to be more deliberate in my hedonism I compiled them into a spreadsheet. Falling in love, drugs, and festivals all made the list. Some of the more surprising ones, to me, were intense exercise, dancing, and galloping on a horse.

Notes: User Interface: A Personal view, Satisfaction and Progress in Open Ended Work


Magic for Humans: A fun show with truly impressive displays of street magic. I really enjoy both the illusions and the ‘master craftsman’ ethos he displays in each episode.

My Octopus Teacher: Touching movie about the friendship between a man and an octopus. If that doesn’t sell you on it idk what will.

The Office: Have you heard of this show? It might become popular one day… Rewatching from Season 1 has been delightful, especially if you watch it after reading the Gervais Principle.

  • 95%-ile isn't that good: In many domains - from videogames, to public speaking, to programming - people spend little to no time trying to improve their performance. Being in the top 1% isn’t actually that hard. This article has stuck with me, both as motivation to git gud and to reflect on what things I currently do that I’ve never practiced.
  • Play to Win: On a similar theme Sirlin, a game designer and one of the top ranked Street Fighter players, wrote a book on the techniques and mindsets of top competitive gamers. Focusing on "hitting the target" isn't a skill that comes naturally, and I enjoyed reading the perspective of a true practicioner.
  • Becoming a Magician: One of the most motivational essays I’ve ever read, it captured a deep truth about self improvement. The people who are in a league of their own, performing ‘magic’ you can’t understand, have a different lens through which they’re viewing the world. The key to growth is to understand and integrate these paradigms, or discover and develop your own.
  • What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers: Masterful treatise on metascience and the flaws of the current scientific system, coming from the authors experience in a forecasting competion. A heuristic that has never failed me is if someone likes prediction markets and forecasting, they have good intellectual instincts.
  • Laura Deming vLog: Short video from Laura Deming about visualization techniques and how creating accurate mental pictures can be useful in understanding complex topics.
  • Tetlock tweet on illusions: So, what's your estimate for how much of life is a con?

Have a good October, and remember I post this update because I desperately crave attention and human connection so you should feel empowered to reach out and tell me how you are.