#65 The Weekly Reading List (w.25)

This is what I've been digesting online this week during my early morning readings:

Why You Should Study Philosophy, by Ryan Holiday (Medium). In this article, Ryan Holiday shows us why we should study philosophy and what we will get out of it. It's not just a form of wisdom but a resource allocation hack. You will see that philosophy is very practical. A wise person knows they don’t control other people’s opinions, they don’t control traffic, they don’t control the weather, they don’t control the fact that we are born mortal, they don’t control the economy or the rude remark that just left someone else’s mouth. They don’t control the past and they don’t control the distant future. But they do control their own choices and their own responses to all those things that are out of their control. Everything else they ignore.

When You Lose Weight, Your Fat Cells Don’t Just Let Go of Fat, by Sara Chodosh (Popular Science). If cells were personified, each fat cell would be an overbearing grandparent who hoards. They’re constantly trying to make you eat another serving of potatoes, and have cabinets stacked with vitamins they never take. That got my attention. According to Chodosh, adipose tissue’s tendency to store things is an unfortunate side-effect. For example, adipose sucks up available fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and doesn't leave enough for our body. So this will be a problem for obese people as they tend to suffer from vitamin D deficiencies because it's all lurking in their adipose tissue. And get this—fat is also a (temporarily) safe space to store pollutants and other organic chemicals that might otherwise pose a threat AND they reemerge when we lose weight. All hell will eventually break lose. So the long story short is don't give our body a spot to stash all the hormones and vitamins it can hoard. I'm oversimplifying the whole thing but you can read this very readable article for yourself. 

15 Useful Activities That Are Worth Your Time, by Darius Foroux (Pocket). Our time on this planet is limited. Most of us realize that sooner or later. And yet, we keep on squandering our time and running around in circles. Why is it that we waste so much of our time? Most people think that we, humans, don’t understand the value of time. However, Foroux thinks it's actually not the problem and he says we know the value of time—that it's a depletable resources—so, the value of time is high. Yet, we don't know what to do with our time. Otherwise, why do you think some people are always lamenting that they're bored? That they don't know what to do? Well, Foroux recommends that we sit down and think about what activities are worth our time AND he shares his list of 15 activities he considers worthwhile. I hit the jackpot for all 15 except two.

100 Books a Year? Bad Idea, by Maarten van Doorn (Medium). Two very important questions in this article (at least they are to me): "What are books for?" and "What's the point of devouring all these pages if they don't change you or your map of reality?" Books are a means to convey knowledge, connect people and to stimulate development. For me, the ROI on reading is super high and books are and will continue to be my main model of learning. van Doorn mentions in his article that somewhat reading has become a status symbol for some people and that's quite annoying. I don't know which is more annoying—people who don't read or people who boast they read x-number of books a year. He also talks about why books are ineffective but let us not misunderstand the message. He's saying you need to reflect on the stuff you read besides thinking a little bit deeper on... do books, as a vehicle of information, facilitate understanding? Consider this: “The author describes an idea in words on the page; the reader reads the words; then the reader understands the idea. When the reader reaches the last page, they’ve finished the book." However, is this often the case? Ponder, ponder.

And finally, The Difference Between Open-Minded and Closed-Minded People, by Farnam Street (FS). Why is it that some people seem to make constant progress in their professional and personal lives, while others appear to be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over? The way we react to what we read (for those who read), what other people are saying, says a lot about us as to whether we are open-minded or closed. FS is telling us the ability to change your mind is a superpower. Rightly so. The rate at which you learn and progress in the world depends on how willing you are to weigh the merit of new ideas, even if you don’t instinctively like them. Perhaps especially if you don’t like them. In this article, you'll get to read Ray Dalio's (in his book Principles) seven powerful ways to tell the difference.