December 31st, 2017 · 16 comments
Deep (Work) History
Recently, I’ve been reading through the first volume of Simon and Schusters’ magisterial 1954 four-volume essay collection, The World of Mathematics (edited by James Newman). In a chapter on Napier’s discovery of logarithms, written by Herbert Turnbull, I came across a neat story about the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe that I hadn’t hear before.
I thought I would share it.
Read more »
December 21st, 2017 · 33 comments
A Self-Defeating Statement
Last week, Facebook posted an essay on their company blog titled: “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?” The statement confronts this blunt prompt, admitting that social media can be harmful, and then exploring uses that research indicates are more positive.
Here’s the relevant summary of their survey:
“In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward…On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being.”
From a social perspective, Facebook should be applauded for finally admitting that their product can cause harm (even if they were essentially forced into this defensive crouch by multiple recent high level defectors).
From a business perspective, however, I think this strategy may mark the beginning of the end of this social network’s ubiquity.
Read more »
December 15th, 2017 · 42 comments
Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) is a personal productivity system invented by a product designer named Ryder Carroll. You can find a detailed introduction to BuJo on its official web site, but I can provide you the short summary here.
The system lives entirely within an old-fashioned paper notebook. Each day you dedicate a page of the notebook to a daily log in which you create a bulleted list of tasks and events. As the day unfolds, you use shorthand marks to indicate a task is complete or needs to be migrated to a different day.
You can also take brief notes about the day, and, if needed, hijack multiple pages for more extensive musing. The next daily log can live on the next available page. (This idea that you format notebook pages on demand instead of in advance is fundamental to BuJo.)
There are some standard pages most BuJo notebooks include in addition to the daily log entries. An index at the front of the notebook is used to keep track of how the pages are being used. You grow the index as you fill the notebook. Each month also gets its own monthly overview and task list that are used to inform how you schedule individual days. And so on.
A good way to think about BuJo is basically a less-rigid version of the Franklin Planner system.
BuJo for the Overloaded
A lot of readers have asked me about BuJo so I thought I would share some thoughts.
Read more »
December 11th, 2017 · 34 comments
On Doing Less to Get More
Jocko Willink is an intimidating looking man (see above). He’s also intimidatingly impressive. He’s a former Navy Seal who was awarded a Bronze and Silver Star in Iraq while leading Task Force Bruiser: the most decorated special forces unit in that war. He recently wrote a business bestseller called Extreme Ownership and now does leadership consulting.
He has a new book out and its title caught my attention: Discipline Equals Freedom.
I haven’t read the book yet, but I did listen to Jocko’s interview with the always-sharp Ryan Michler. Here’s how Jocko explained his book’s theme early in the discussion:
“If you want freedom, then you need to have discipline…the more discipline you have in your life the more you’ll be able to do what you want. That’s not true initially; initially the discipline might be things you don’t want to do at the time, but the more you do things that you don’t want to do, the more you do the right things, the better off you’ll be and the more freedom you’ll have…”
Read more »