Extending books: Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen on Timeful Texts

Picking up Tuesday’s post about transactional reading and contemplation, here’s something interesting that goes a little further in thinking about how we might immerse ourselves in books or other texts. Today’s gem comes from Andy Matuschak (former leader of the R&D group at Khan Academy and all-round interesting fellow), who’s working on developing more effective tools for thought and learning.…

Max Roser: defining global development

This is a really interesting interview with Max Roser, founder and editor of Our World in Data. Recommend. The idea of development is to make progress against problems. If we go back into our history, humanity has always battled the same problems: kids died early, people remained hungry for much of the year, lived in poor conditions, and lived in…

Misreading the mind: Ezra Klein and Nicholas Carr on transactional reading and contemplation

Ezra Klein: If you can get the argument of a book – through book reviews or book essays or a Wikipedia page or something – that actually isn’t what the book can do for you primarily. Getting the main argument of a book is very easy. It’s the time you spend in in it, where you begin to make connections…

Matt Ridley: invention vs innovation

[Public service announcement for email subscribers: sorry for the unfinished post you may have received out of the weekend – I was having issues with the WordPress app.] Innovation is different from invention. Invention means coming up with a new thing; innovation means making that new thing available, affordable and reliable in such a way that people actually go out…

Resource: 109 mental models from Farnham Street

Mental models are how we understand the world. Not only do they shape what we think and how we understand but they shape the connections and opportunities that we see. Mental models are how we simplify complexity, why we consider some things more relevant than others, and how we reason. A mental model is simply a representation of how something…

Staying fresh

Will require: Clarity of vision (and a worthwhile vision to begin with); Recognition of progress made; Acceptance of limits; Forgiveness for failures; Avoidance of (fatal) injury; Encouragement from others; Banter and ridiculousness; Experimentation and risk; Learning and growth; Goals of all shapes and sizes; Embrace of serendipity; Knowing what not to do – including what to stop; Good nutrition; Chocolate…

Gravity bites

Watching skate videos – try this one, or this one – is great. You can kind of imagine doing those tricks. Watching beginner “how to” skate videos – try this one – is fun too. You can definitely imagine doing those tricks: “So I just put my foot here, then I jump like this…” You can learn a lot from…

Astonishing wealth inequality graphic

Inequality isn’t my favourite hobby horse, mainly because: “Fair” and “equal [being / having the same]” are often (wrongly) assumed to be the same thing; “Equal [being / having the same]” and “[of] equal [worth]” also seem to get conflated; I don’t think that “equality [being / having the same]” for all people is possible or desirable, assuming that we’re…

New challenge, old challenge

I am pretty good at new challenges. Most of the time, I rise to them. I enjoy novelty. I like a challenge. It’s stimulating, creative work, and progress is rapid. I’m not so good at challenges that go on longer than I think they should – long enough that the the return on my effort starts to diminish, or that…