Anecdotal knowledge, Being a psychopath and 1,000 people playing Nirvana
|Nov 6, 2018|
A couple of weeks ago I sent you (well… most of you) a quick survey to get to know you better and figure out what you actually want from The Fireside.
If you are one of the people who took 2 minutes of their lives to answer my questions, thank you very much 🙏
(if you are not that’s still cool, thanks for being a loyal subscriber 🙏)
Your answers were super helpful and made me realise a few things:
you like the current format
you like the long articles but prefer the short ones
So starting from this edition, I’m going to change a few small things to improve your experience and make sure you keep liking The Fireside.
Have a great rest of the week!
PS: If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with your friends. Thanks! 🙏
⬌ Short articles (~5 min read)
In this blog post (the most read post on Medium EVER) Zat Rana, argues that as the most interconnected society in the history of humanity we don’t know how to be alone anymore. As he says “Just because we can use the noise of the world to block out the discomfort of dealing with ourselves doesn’t mean that this discomfort goes away.”
As humans, we make decisions emotionally, and justify them rationally. And nothing helps us do both quite like the anecdote. It gives us the push we need to make the decision we want, and enough data to feel good about it. BUT…
The word “psychopath” is often used to describe serial killers and sexual perverts, yet less than 8% actually end up committing any serial offense. In most cases psychopaths are people who completely lack any form of empathy. In this interview Craig Neumann provides context for an interview with an anonymous woman who was diagnosed as a psychopath in her mid-20s. One of my favourite passages: “We don’t process the emotion of fear. It doesn’t occur to us. And we can’t understand it, either. I mean, we get that you feel something, but we don’t get it.”
⬍ Long articles (~15 min read)
The brain is an “inference generating organ.” In this article Lisa Feldman Barrett describes an increasingly well-supported working hypothesis called predictive coding, according to which perceptions are driven by your own brain and corrected by input from the world.
Markets tend to favor unequal distributions of market share and profits, with a few leaders emerging in any industry.Winner-take-all markets are hard to disrupt and suppress the entry of new players by locking in market share for leading players. Great read to understand the hyper concentrated world we live in.
In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari (the author of Sapiens) about his new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. They discuss, among many other things, the primacy of stories, the need to revise our fundamental assumptions about human civilization, the threats to liberal democracy, a world without work and universal basic income. It’s a very long podcast (over 2 hours) but it’s genuinely inspiring. My advice: put it on for a long walk or when you’re cleaning the house.
Other things from the interweb
(That may or may not make you look smart at dinner parties)
Patrick Collison, Stripe’s CEO, is a very well read man. In this short blog post he asks 15 very interesting question about business, life and politics that will make you think. If you’re going to a dinner party and want to look smart, simply pick one of Patrick’s questions and start a conversation (also, make sure you have something interesting to say about it).
Have you ever seen 1,000 people professional musicians playing “Smell like teen spirits” together?
Ever seen a movie where in one single shot the scene changes many times? This video shows you exactly how it’s done. AMAZING.