🔥 The Fireside #21: Vegetable Oils, Homeschooling, Laws of Investing and... puppies

Welcome to Issue 21 of 🔥TheFireside!

A couple of weeks ago, Tim Urban, the author of one of my absolute favourite blogs on the planet, tweeted:

A common cliché is that the world is a battle between love and hate. It’s true, but not quite the right point. The world is a battle between clarity and delusion. Where there’s clarity, love is obvious and hate makes no sense.

Before you read this tweet and think, “Totally – if only everyone could have as much clarity as I do!” remember that the clarity/delusion battle is our collective mental illness and no one is immune. Best way to help clarity win in the world is to get better in your own head.

I loved this take. We often think that getting clarity on a specific topic is about learning more facts. But this is simplistic at best and naive at worse. Gaining clarity mostly requires challenging and undoing existing mental models, which is much harder.

I think the message is both deep and uncomfortable. It’s not our ignorance that holds us back from gaining clarity, but delusion (using faulty and biased judgment).

I’m not sure if this actually helps us finding a solution (changing our judgment and challenging our ideas is literally the most difficult thing we can do), but it’s a step in the right direction.

PS: Life in the farm continues.. now on top of the 4 lambs, 5 chickens, 2 dogs, dozens of wild birds, 2000 pheasants and 4 humans we just added 4 super cute labrador puppies :)

New post: “Permanent assumptions“. A couple of weeks ago, the always brilliant Morgan Housel wrote on his blog Collaborative Fund about “things you have unshakable faith in” which prompted me to ask myself: what are my permanent assumptions?

On to the Fireside…


➤ The links

🏭 A Brief History of the Corporation

My favourite articles are those that “put history in perspective“. This is one of them. The history of the last 400 years is largely the history of the corporation and how it came to dominate virtually every aspect of society, culture and politics. Truly eye-opening and, in some ways, shocking read.

🍟 Death by Vegetable Oil: What the Studies Say

Vegetable oils (like soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, grape seed oil) has been known for decades to be EXTREMELY unhealthy, carcinogenic (especially when heathed) and linked to chronic disease and obesity. Yet, they are present in every processed food (from crisps, to Domino’s pizza to mayonnaise) and used by pretty much every restaurant.

How We Make Sense of Time

We might think that time is universal but actually how we perceive time (and how such perception affects our thinking) is hugely influenced by language and culture. For example, for some Aboriginal Australian communities, past and future are determined by cardinal directions, with past times to the east and future times to the west. In Yupno (Papua New Guinea) the future is uphill and the past downhill.

📚 How homeschooling played a key role in building a $100 million business

The more I read and learn about homeschooling, the more I think I will homeschool my (future) children. In this post, Nathan Barry talks about what being homeschooled is really about and why for some people it might be the best education ever.

🤑 The Laws of Investing

When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don’t. What you need is to identify the core principles that govern the field. The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.

👑 Intra-Elite Competition

An interesting framework for how to think about power dynamics and how the increasing competition for fewer and fewer spots as an "elite" create the rise of "counter-elites."


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★ Other things from the internet

(That may or may not make you look smart at dinner parties)

💡 68 bits of unsolicited advice

Many people have already shared Kevin Kelly’s “bits of unsolicited advice“ but it’s too good not to include. I particularly liked how he blends the more profound topics with some good life hacks, like "Don’t be the best. Be the only." being followed shortly by "Don’t trust all-purpose glue."

🧠 Useful Laws of the Land

The most important ideas are those that apply to multiple fields. Here are eight laws from all kinds of fields that should be useful regardless of what field you’re in.


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