News Bits
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News Bits

🗞 Introducing News Bits 🗞

I spend more than an hour daily reading tech, business, finance, and pop culture news from all around the internet. But just reading and moving on doesn't seem fun anymore.

Time to make it stick and spread the knowledge.

So every other day, I will post

  • one link to a news/tweet/article I read
  • a simple summary, and
  • any insights or questions that come from it

Let's see how long it lasts. I hope to make it a good habit that forces me to condense my thoughts and learnings.

January 2023

@January 11, 2023

Reading books is the most efficient way to absorb wisdom. If you don’t already read, well it’s never too late to do that. Read what you love, until you love what to read. If you are looking for your next book, here is something interesting I found.

This website that collects lists of recommendations by some of the world’s most successful people. And then they made this top 100 list of most recommended books.

The top 3 books are

1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

2. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

3. Principles by Ray Dalio

Each of these has left a profound impact on me, and I would probably reread them multiple times in my life.

I’ve maybe read 20/100, what about you?

@January 13, 2023

Soon AI could help you automate things like filing complaints, cancelling subscriptions and fighting parking tickets…

DoNotPay has just launched a new AI-powered chatbot to negotiate bills and cancel subscriptions without customers having to deal with customer service. The chatbot is powered by OpenAI's GPT-3 API and will be open for testing in the next two weeks.

This marks the first time DoNotPay has used an AI chatbot to interact with a representative in real time, building upon its previous use of rules-based systems and templates.

I am curious to see the legal implication of this though

@January 15, 2023

Murphy’s law: If there is a test, there will be a way to cheat it 😂

  • Many Chinese students have been cheating on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (Toefl) exam since it became available for at-home testing in 2020.
  • These students have been aided by professionals who charge a few thousand US dollars to make sure students obtain scores high enough to get them into top universities.
  • This has turned into a multimillion-dollar industry in China, known as "baofen," or "guaranteed scores."
  • Some test-prep professionals have obtained test materials in advance, while others have sat next to students or remotely controlled their computers to take the exams for them. Some have even appeared on camera dressed as their student clients to pass spoken tests.

Im interested to see how the testing companies will use different types of technologies to tackle these problems.

@January 17, 2023

Some interesting insights from surveys done in 2022

  1. 40% of Americans are typically making cashless purchases throughout the week
  2. 30% of TikTok adult users say thats they primary source of news
  3. 50% of teens now use the internet constantly throughout the day (up from 24% in 2015)

@January 19, 2023

A primer on customer interviews - from the best in the business

Teresa Torres who is the author of Continuous Discovery Habits, recently wrote this post to give very straightforward tips on best practices while doing user interviews.

Some interesting things I read from this

  1. Who should be doing the interviews? - A product trio (PM, designer, SWE), discovery is a team sport, and the interviewer should rotate while others observe and synthesize
  2. How often should we do interviews? - Atleast once a week. I like this cadence and its actionable, and builds a team habit.
  3. How to find interviewees? - Automate this as much as possible
  4. Is an incentive needed? - Not always, and maybe a perceived reward is better than cash, also ask for shorter bits of time, instead of an hour
  5. What if there is beauraucratic wall and you are not able to reach your customers? - Start small, and use your personal network, befriend the business team and work together with them to open this channel

We immediately started following some of these as we build out our user research flows. If you are working on a tech product and not in close contact with your users. Who are you actually building for?

@January 21, 2023

A beautiful thread of 13 images that show very interesting things about our earth and history.

One such image that really struck me was a map of languages.

  1. Chinese (and its dialects) is the most spoken language, however its range across regions is really small
  2. Was surprised to see that Marathi, Telegu and Tamil, Bengali (Indian regional languages) are almost as widely spoken as Korean or German or more
  3. I never knew Arabic was spoken in so many different regions
  4. Spanish is spoken in the most number of countries it seems - It is a very useful language to learn globally.

Did anything in this picture surprise or inspire you?

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@January 23, 2023

Lenny’s Newsletter is hands down the best product newsletter out there. I like it because instead of just using theory or jargon, it gives us real life stories and case studies directly from the people who worked on them. It puts concepts in practicality, and gives highest signal-to-noise value.

I subscribed to Lenny for one year to force myself to be more actively engaged in his community and I have really enjoyed it.

Here is the best of 2022, choose your own adventure 😄

@January 25, 2023

Are you getting an intense amount of junk mail in Japan?

Within days, I could count almost 50+ pieces of mail that were completely useless to me, and what a blatant waste of paper and resources.

Then I saw this sticker on one of my friend’s mailbox and I ordered one for myself immediately. And it works!! My mailbox has been completely junk free since then. In fact its so empty now, I am a bit sad with the realization that I don’t get any meaningful mail at all 😄

Even though there is a big culture of junk mail in Japan, atleast I am happy that those who deliver it still care about our preferences - in typical Japanese omotenashi fashion.

Here is the link - It’s been one of the life hack purchases for me.

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@January 27, 2023

Show me a 10ft paywall, I’ll show you a 12ft ladder.

12ft.io is a site that removes most paywalls, ads and other distractions from online articles by showing the cached version that Google saves for its search engine. I personally think that its not the best user experience to hit a reader with a paywall after a few paragraphs.

While this industry is ripe for innovation and many sites like substack are helping writers monetize their content in more meaningful ways, most major new publications still follow these business models.

I think bypassing one or two paywalls should be completely acceptable, and so I use this shortcut on my iPhone to do so.

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@January 28, 2023

This thread could straight up change your life

@January 30, 2023

2022 in search trends

  1. Interesting to see how NFT surged and then died down
  2. Wordle had been quite relevant all throughout the year
  3. Wow that whole Will Smith incident happened too, I almost forgot
  4. Seems like ChatGPT and Nuclear Fusion both are on the rise

How will 2023 be?

February 2023

@February 1, 2023

Some delightful easter eggs I found while using PayPay Corporation's app.

One of my favourite use cases of PayPay is that I can pay my utility bills directly through them by scanning the bill bar code and paying it off cashless rather than going to the convenience store, where they force you to pay in cash. (Yes that is still how a majority of people pay their bills in Japan!)

But, I actually look forward to paying my bills through PayPay because everytime I do, I add a tree to my forest. 🌲

Along with providing a great use case that solves a pain point, there is messaging and call to action about paying bills online to save paper and rewards me for doing so with further gamification by adding cute trees and animals to my forest on the app.

It was refreshing to see that this kind of delight-giving function made it into the app, when as a PM I know there is always a war of prioritization and urgency of other things to build.

So I would like to show my appreciation to the team that shipped this, its something that keeps me coming back.

Maybe Amit Bhasin can pass on my message 😁

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@February 3, 2023

Some simple tips that can elevate conversations, a skill that everyone could benefit from improving

  1. Don’t Interrupt - interrupting shows that you are uninterested in the other person.
  2. Gauge Interest - Sometimes the other person may not have a keen interest in what you are talking, always be on the lookout for cues to speak more or less based on their reactions
  3. Ask questions - Asking questions signifies interest and as we know everyone loves talking about themselves, so prompt them further
  4. Verbalize when you change your mind - If someone convinced you to change your perspective, tell them
  5. 50% talk time - Try to keep the conversation 50-50. It is your responsibility to keep this ratio.

Inspired by How to win friends and Influence People and this blog post.

@February 5, 2023

Dopamine masterclass by Dr Huberman

This year I decided to fill up my commutes and idle time with podcasts. I wanted something that would be interesting and doesnt involve me looking at a screen.

And the title of this one made me curious so I put it on. And time flew by. Dr Huberman is a professor of neurobiology at Stanford and he explains the ins and outs of dopamine, the chemical responsible for motivation and drive. Most importantly, he does it without assuming his listeners have any scientific knowledge and starts from the basics as he builds it up. He actually makes this subject interesting.

This podcast has really rewired the way I think about my life an behaviour backed by science.

Some of the core takeaways

  1. Dopamine controls all our desires and motivations, and it is what causes happiness on doing something, but the more we stimulate ourselves, the lesser we will scientifically feel happy and motivated - so counterintuitively, its important to sometimes not pursue happiness. Love the process instead.
  2. Addiction is chasing the perceived effect of dopamine, but not being satisfied with the lower levels achieved - Someone addicted to smoking keeps smoking to feel a hit, but it never comes at the level they want, so they keep wanting more.
  3. Depriving yourself of things that give you dopamine is a healthy way to gain back motivation and enjoy those things later on. Example - A detox from social media is considered very healthy to increase motivation. A burger tastes really good when you have it on a cheat day. etc
  4. Cold water therapy - cold showers, cold plunges are scientifically tested ways of constantly releasing dopamine into the body and being present for a long time.

I really recommend taking a peek into this one if you have time to kill but still want to use it in an interesting manner.

@February 7, 2023

Pinterests 2023 predictions

People use Pinterest to plan for the future. That means they may on to what’s next. They also mentioned that, for the last three years, 80% of their report predictions came true.

There is a lot of interesting stuff that people are pinning more than usual, and it seems that these are the trends that may become popular this year.

Some of them are super interesting, for example

  1. Pool parties for puppies
  2. Mushroom and fungi shaped decor
  3. Old school date nights - bookstore, aquariums, picnics
  4. Sustainable travelling via trains
  5. Sea based superfoods like algae, seaweed
  6. Alternative therapies - like writing, art, music, journaling

Any of these interest you? 🐶  🚃. 📚. 🍄

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@February 9, 2023

If only I had access to this information in school and university….

Whether you are interested in being a veterinarian, pilot, product manager, chef, music composer, banker - answers to these simple questions is essential to know before pursuing any of these careers.

  1. What do I do and how much do I make
  2. How I got my job and where I’m going
  3. My budget and planning for the future

Khan Academy has an entire section dedicated to understanding different professions from those who work in them and knowing in detail what it entails to be someone in that field.

Access and exposure to this kind of information is so important, in order to inspire and prepare the next generation to decide how they would like to live their lives and contribute to society.

I am really happy that this kind of educational content exists, and I hope that it is more widespread in schools.

@February 11, 2023 (17)

An epic battle between the growth PM, the revenue PM and legal PM 😆

Growth PM - Pushing the user to download the mobile app, or create an account

Revenue PM - Showing ads on the site

Legal PM - Showing the cookie banner

Maybe the respective PMs also all closed the popups, so they don’t experience the first-time user’s journey anymore. Maybe these issues are not urgent for them. Could be many things.

But to be honest, these kinds of issues happen quite often and I have faced this too, all these elements are justified.

Legal requirements are often mandatory and there is not much you can do from a UX perspective to solve this. Most sites would like you to download the app or create an account, this gives the user more features and smoother UX, and gives the company access to more data as well as real estate in your notifications/inbox. Ads, well you gotta earn money somehow to fund all the other things haha.

These issues can be solved however, if there is a clear vision and end goal of what the experience for the end user should look like. And a north star metric to prioritize what is most important for product success. Additionally someone should be owning the onboarding or home screen experience.

How would you solve this kind of communication/product gap in your team? 👀

ref: https://twitter.com/radoshi/status/1610716959636873216

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@February 13, 2023 (18)

What if you woke up one day and almost 60% of your meetings were gone from the calendar?

Thats what Shopify decided to do, last month. They have removed all recurring meetings with more than 2 people. And limited any big meetings of more than 50 people into a specific time window on Thursdays. Wednesdays are no meetings days by default.

Workers are also encouraged to decline meetings and leave large chat groups.

"The best thing founders can do is subtraction,” Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said explaining this radical decision.

A lot of companies have agreed that large member meetings can be unproductive and have also mandated ‘No Meeting Days’. Most people are hesitant to decline meetings (especially those which could have been an email 😆).

Shopify has already been a trailblazer on trying new things in the company as they were the first company to go fully remote when the pandemic hit, and now they are leading the ‘No meeting’ movement.

Personally I think if a company has a good writing and documentation culture, where people write and read most updates effectively, most meetings could be substituted with that. But sometimes meetings might be important to get people on the same page, especially those who may not be proactive. But with that said, most 1 hour meetings could be 30 minutes long, and most 30 minute meetings could be 15 minutes.

Does your workplace have any such rules? 🤔

@February 15, 2023 (19)

How to use LinkedIn more effectively to attract more recruiters, from a Senior Product Designer at LinkedIn!

I found this really nice article from Katie Jackquez, who gave some interesting insights into how you can optimize your profile.

  1. Make sure you enable the ‘Open to Work’ feature.
  2. Use your Name and Headline to give more contexts about your current role or requirements
  3. Recruiters are using the extensive filters from LinkedIn to filter out exactly the candidates they are looking for, so make sure that you keep it easy to scan and use the correct keywords. Add skills to all your roles.
  4. Max out your skills to increase your chances of being spotted by recruiters, but choose your top 3 carefully.

Additionally LinkedIn can be used to build a good personal brand and internet presence, which can further improve your chances of landing onto their feed.

@February 17, 2023 (20)

Don’t ban ChatGPT in schools. Teach with it.

As we all know, ChatGPT has taken the entire world by storm. There hasnt been this much buzz and amazement about some tech for a long time, and its for a right reason.

But ChatGPT has surpassed everyone expectations, by being able to even pass university tests and creating decent quality content in a matter of seconds.

This has prompted immediate banning in most educational institutions. But is that really the right move? Its appropriate to think of it as a tool to improve research and writing skills, similar to how a calculator would improve the maths class.

Student today are very tech savvy and its almost impossible to keep them away from finding ways to use and misuse ChatGPT, so its better to include it inside the classroom to make it fair for everyone.

There can be classes with and without AI. Similar to how some math concepts require calculators (arithmetic, statistics) and others don’t (calculus, geometry).

Similar to how we have a plagiarism limit, there can also be a limit set on the ratio of ChatGPT material in the essay vs original.

As ChatGPT improves its models, it may be able to be an assistant to student writing papers, and may need interesting and creative prompts to generate better content.

To be honest, even teachers can use ChatGPT to create quizzes, essay prompts, and as a grading assistant.

@February 19, 2023 (21)

A simple slide deck that went viral because it was revolutionary.

Yes I’m talking about the Netflix culture deck that was published in 2009 by Reed Hastings (The CEO). This deck is famous for being tongue in cheek about things that companies and CEOs may usually be too diplomatic to say.

Even though it is almost 14 years old, it is still extremely relevant and a model document to how a culture can be against the tide and still help a company remain successful.

Along with revolutionizing the way we watch TV and also leading the way in the entertainment production industry, Netflix has also built its culture as one of its core product offerings.

Some of the points I really liked were -

  1. They mention the importance of radical transparency and giving feedback to those who you work with - even if it may be harsh.
  2. They are only interested to hire extraordinary people. They back it up by paying top dollar. And they are not shy form firing someone if their managers would not fight hard to keep them if they decided to leave.
  3. They give Freedom and Responsibility to their employees - No expense budgets for travel or entertainment, unlimited vacation time and parental leave, and all documents are shared to all employees, on which discussions are expected.
  4. They don’t wait for committees to make decisions. They trust project leaders to call the shots.

There are many examples of how this culture is practiced in the book No Rules Rules written by Reed himself, which is worth a dive into

@February 21, 2023 (22)

Ways you never knew you could use ChatGPT

The other day, for the first time I felt the true power of a tool like ChatGPT, when it straight up gave me the exact Excel formulas I needed to create a macro at work. One prompt singlehandedly saved hours of trial and error as well as online research.

Now as Microsoft and Google go head to head on infusing AI into their search products, ChatGPT-esque tools are here to stay. Here are some interesting ways people are using it already

  1. Creating a list of Q&A prompts for a guest speaker at an event
  2. Naming anything - A bartender used it to name his new drink
  3. Creating fitness plans for you based on your specific requirements
  4. Building lesson plans for students
  5. Taking a mock interview

Fun Fact: GPT-3 technology and API was already available publicly for almost 3 years, but non one really knew what to do with it. OpenAI themselves built a scrappy chatbot to showcase it, and they ended up creating an inflection point in the world, which is even putting big incumbents like Google under pressure.

@February 23, 2023 (23)

What should we really use our manager 1-on-1s for?

Recently I came across this question in a thread. Many of us might be lucky enough to have managers who have blocked a 30 min meeting on a weekly basis. But many times maybe there is nothing to talk about.

Here is some advice that I found that many people resonated with

  1. Use this time to build a personal and meaningful relationship, get to know them and tell them about yourself
  2. Work related status updates can be given via email or other tools, so focus on more candid things - Start sending a weekly email instead
  3. Tell them what worries you and find out what worries them
  4. Convince them that you can tolerate constructive feedback, and get their true opinions

How do your 1-on-1 meetings usually go?

@February 25, 2023 (24)

If the new generations are getting most of their content online, they should be taught to distinguish between real and fake news.

Teachers have noticed a clear decline in reading comprehension skills, a trend attributed to students spending less time with books and more time with games and watching videos.

With poorer reading skills and shorter attention spans, students are more vulnerable to believing fake news or not having enough knowledge about topics to identify misleading or wrong information.

In Finland, media literacy is part of the national core curriculum, starting in preschool. Teachers are given discretion over how to implement lessons and are tasked with helping students identify false information.

While teachers in Finland are required to teach media literacy, they have significant discretion over how to carry out lessons. Mrs. Martikka, the middle school teacher, said she tasked students with editing their own videos and photos to see how easy it was to manipulate information.

A teacher in Helsinki said she and her students searched words like “vaccination” and discussed how search algorithms worked and why the first results might not always be the most reliable.

Scandinavian countries have some of the most advanced education systems, but I wonder if this kind of curriculum would ever find its way to developing countries where fake news spreads like fire and can cause serious harms in the communities.

@February 27, 2023 (25)

Would you pay 60$ a month for a dating app? What about 500$? 🤯

Firstly did you know that a majority of popular dating apps are owned by one company? - Match Group

Global ones like Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid

Local ones like Pairs (japan), Chispa (latin), Meetic (france)

And even for specific demographics like BLK, The League and Our Time

Well even though they are probably involved in most of the world’s dating experience, they are still not able to stay afloat in the economy with an almost 69% share slump last year.

So they are doing what any other company would do in this situation and jacking up their prices, and target high paying customers.

For 60$ on Hinge, you would get higher exposure, better recommendations and chance to get noticed directly by the person you ‘liked’

There was also news that Tinder would also release a 500$ tier for ‘highly motivated daters’, but hasn’t release any other information yet.

Maybe for 500$ they would find you someone to date and also pay for the date itself 🤣

March 2023

@March 1, 2023 (26)

Sony just released a new walkman! And no, this is not a headline from the early 2000s 😄

Apparently the Sony Walkman is still alive and kicking it! It looks sleek and well designed, of course audio is its first priority, and of course it has a headphone jack 😎

I remember having a walkman was all the rage when I was in school, of course this was before iPods came to mass market. Today, would this be a product worth buying though?

Maybe if you are looking to buy a single-use device only for enjoying music and not being distracted with your phone, this could be useful. Similar to how a kindle works for books.

@March 3, 2023 (27)

Did you know that Apple’s first ever emoji library was created by just one employee and an intern?

Another fact for you, emoji comes from the japanese work 絵文字 which roughly translates to ‘pictorial representation’. It was used first used in pagers and cell phones in the 90s. Softbank already started using them in their phones, but Apple and iPhone brought them into the digital world, and to be popularized globally.

This story by Angela Guzman was such a fun read, going down memory lane and telling us about how much effort she and they put into each emoji they made. Some of them are now globally recognized as official languages and a form of communication.

Each emoji they created has been meticulously crafted with great attention to detail. Angela gave some fun anecdotes like how the ice cream swirl was reused as the poop emoji we see today 🍦 → 💩

It was also interesting to know the 💃🏼 was the toughest one to make because of the ruffles in the dress.

Finally even though this story was about emojis, it was also about mentorship and the bond between colleagues, who created something meaningful in such a short time together and still keep in touch years later.

@March 10, 2023 (28)

Did you know about this Facebook hardware product called the Portal which was almost sold off to Amazon? They are shutting it down.

The Facebook Portal was a highly acclaimed video-chatting device released in 2018. Its main focus was making it easy to video call people through Messenger or Whatsapp without the need to operate the apps.

It sold well and was loved by those who bought it, particularly women and people over 40. Imagine it being the most seamless way for a 70 year old grandmother and 5 year old child to talk to each other without needed to use a smartphone.

Amazon had a competitor in Echo Show, but it was struggling because no one really wanted to use the Alexa app to call someone. Meta was 2 days from licensing out its technology to Amazon, but decided to go against it and pursue it, since the sales were shooting up during the pandemic.

But recently a decision to discontinue the Portal was made due to executives not seeing a path to it becoming a massive business post-pandemic, and of course with shifting priorities at Meta towards VR and the mataverse.

I never even knew about this, I wonder how many other such products exist that came and went right under our nose.

Follow #newsbits for more

@March 6, 2023

Some core wisdom in this post.

As someone in working with software engineers on a daily basis, this post taught me a lot, so I am sure it has some great advice for those working directly in this role.

From a PM perspective, here were some of the things that I found super interesting

  1. The best code is no code, or code you don’t have to maintain - Many people forget that less is more.
  2. Nobody asks “why” enough - Ask your PM, Designer, Managers Why. Get as much context before you spend your time building something.
  3. People don’t really want innovation- People talk about innovation a whole lot, but what they are usually looking for is cheap wins and novelty. This one is a harsh reality.
  4. Software engineers should write regularly - Actually everyone should just write often. Blogs, journals, documentation. It keeps you sharp, effectively communicate, and reflect when needed.

Let me know if you have any other interesting learnings to add to this.

Follow me for more #newsbits

@March 15, 2023

Have you ever wondered what are the most liked tweets of all time?

  • The highest liked tweet was the announcement of the passing of Chadwick Boseman (popular for playing Black Panther)
  • 17/30 of the top liked tweets are from BTS - Usually a selfie or something - Everyone loves BTS, so its no surprise. Jungkook tweets were the most prominent 🤔
  • Elon Musk is up there (of course) - But most of his top tweets came during the Twitter acquisition was happening.
  • Greta Thunberg reached the top of the charts due to her straight up roasting Andrew Tate (🤮)
  • Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Barack Obama round out the rest of the positions - mostly when they got elected.

Interesting to see the pulse of Twitter. Likely skewing liberal and hardcore kpop fans. 😄

@March 17, 2023

Many of us may not even know how most of the popular companies today earn and spend money. Are they even profitable?

Its time to stop investing your money emotionally, and learn how money works.

Newsletters have democratized the writing economy and I am all up for it. I recently started reading some detailed posts from App Economy Insights.

They have easy to understand posts about analyzing all these ‘complicated financial documents’ like an income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement.

Reading and understanding these terms is a must for any retail investor like you and me. It will help you make safer choices with your money, and control your emotions when there are random ups and downs in the market.

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@March 20, 2023

“We never read the same book twice. Because we’ve changed. The perceptions about the book have changed. What we’re going through in this very moment is new and different”

Author Ryan Holiday couldnt have put it any better.

“Books are an investment in yourself — investments that come in many forms: novels, nonfiction, how-to, poetry, classics, biographies. They help you think more clearly, be kinder, see the bigger picture, and improve at the things that matter to you.

Books are a tradition that stretches back thousands of years and stretches forward to today, where people are still publishing distillations of countless hours of hard thinking on hard topics. Why wouldn’t you avail yourself of this wisdom?”

This post is an ode to re-reading books. I have had the pleasure of reading some life-changing books in the past few years. But almost every year, I have a ritual to pick up some of these books again. And everytime I do, I gain an immense amount of new value from it.

  1. Sapiens
  2. Atomic Habits
  3. The Psychology of Money
  4. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
  5. How to Win Friends and Influence People
  6. Cracking the PM Career
  7. Man’s Search for Meaning

Which books do you love to re-read?

If You Only Read A Few Books In 2023, Read These - RyanHoliday.net

It’d be wonderful if a new year magically marked a new beginning. But 2022, like all years, reminded us that the same things keep happening, that world events continue on in their own unpredictable way and that in the end, we control very little but our own actions and opinions. One of my favorite quotes—enough that I have it inscribed on the wall across the back of my bookstore—comes from the novelist Walter Mosley. “I’m not saying that you have to be a reader to save your soul in the modern world,” he said. “I’m saying it helps.” 2023 stands before us promising nothing but the same difficulties and opportunities that last year and every year before it promised. Maybe even new and worse ones. What are you going to do about it? Will you be ready for it? Can you handle it? Books are an investment in yourself—investments that come in many forms: novels, nonfiction, how-to, poetry, classics, biographies. They help you think more clearly, be kinder, see the bigger picture, and improve at the things that matter to you. Books are a tradition that stretches back thousands of years and stretches forward to today, where people are still publishing distillations of countless hours of hard thinking on hard topics. Why wouldn’t you avail yourself of this wisdom? With that in mind, here are 12 books—some new, some old—that will help you meet the goals that matter for 2023, that will help you live better and be better. ​Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be by Steven Pressfield Before I start any book project, I take a few hours and re-read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, maybe the greatest book ever written on the creative process. Well, on this book I just started, I changed it up a little because I got an early copy of Pressfield’s new book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be. I love the title so much because it’s the perfect advice for nearly every difficult thing. If you want to get in shape, put your ass in the gym. If you want to have a great relationship with your kids, get your ass down on the floor where they’re playing. If you want to write a book, put your ass in the chair. Even when you’re tired. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you don’t see the point. That’s what it’s about. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to show up. (In a word, he’s also talking about discipline). I was very glad to have him out to interview about the book too, (which you can listen to here). ​Range by David Epstein David was one of my few author friends who did not discourage me from opening a bookstore. He was consistent in encouraging me to extend my range! I loved this book when it came out, and have often told people I think it’s a parenting book in disguise. It opens with the contrasting careers of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, one a specialist from an early age, the other a generalist (who seemed to have a much more pleasant childhood and life), but both became great. I have always seen myself as a multi-hyphenate and believe my books have benefited from the experiences, interests, and occupations I’ve had. Having range also makes you more resilient in a recession. Those who are relying exclusively on one industry or company or job are the most vulnerable. I recommend pairing this book with Robert Greene’s Mastery… both are classics in my eyes. ​Meditations by Marcus Aurelius For this piece last year, I recommended this new annotated edition by Robin Waterfield. I’m a champion of the Gregory Hays translation but reading a new translation of a book you’ve read (or love) is a great way to see the same ideas from a new angle…or find new ideas you missed on the previous go-arounds. Marcus, like Heraclitus, believed we never step in the same river twice. More recently, I had a similar experience. Since my 16-year-old (nearly) completely marked-up copy was starting to get a little worse for wear, I created a premium edition designed to stand the test of time, just like the content inside. That’s the amazing thing about reading Marcus—whichever translation you go with—year after year, he feels both incredibly timely and incredibly timeless. There’s a reason this book has endured now for almost twenty centuries (here are some lessons from me having read Meditations more than 100 times). If you haven’t read Marcus Aurelius or if you have…you should read this book and then read it again. ​The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger ​I told Dr. Edith Eger I felt guilty about someone I had lost touch with and only recently reconnected with. She cut me off and told me she could give me a gift that would solve that guilt right now. “I give you a sentence,” she said, “One sentence—if I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.” That’s the end of that, she said. “Guilt is in the past, and the one thing you cannot change is the past.” Dr. Eger is a complete hero of mine. At 16-years-old, she’s sent to Auschwitz. And how does this not break a person? How do they survive? How do they endure the unendurable? And how do they emerge from this, not just not broken, but cheerful and happy and of service to other people? The last thing Dr. Eger’s mother said to her before she was sent to the gas chambers was that very Stoic idea: even when we find ourselves in horrendous situations, we can always choose how we respond to them, who we’re going to be inside of them, what we’re going to hold onto inside of them. Dr. Eger quotes Frankl, who she later studied under, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set [...]

If You Only Read A Few Books In 2023, Read These - RyanHoliday.net

@March 22, 2023

A quick one for today, but enough said. 😆

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@March 24, 2023

Hardest languages to learn for english speakers?

A few months ago, I shared a post about the most spoken languages in the world. (It actually became my most popular post 🤭 I also recently found out about which are the hardest languages to learn.

No shock, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic are the hardest - Likely because its an entirely new script and pronunciation structure. Immediately reading and writing are out of the window.

Having learned Japanese for 2 years, I can attest. It is hard, and I am so amazed at so many foreigners around me who have almost mastered the language in a few years.

Its also evident that languages that use english as their base are likely the easiest to pick up. Good, because I always wanted to learn spanish 😉

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@March 27, 2023

I believe governments and law making bodies have the strongest authority and opportunity to solve climate change.

Companies are created on capitalist principles, and its very hard for them to justify spending extra to prevent a problem that was created by them and is left to plague us our future generations. Unless forced to do so 👀

Our civilization has smartly created entities to keep checks and balances on each other - The government, and the law.

That’t what New York has done, following in the footsteps of California. By 2030, all ride share in these cities is mandated to switch to electric.

A great step, however can laws like this function in countries like India and China which produce contribute a significant amount of pollution to our planet?

Taiwan did something similar, by banning all milk tea (boba 😍) to only be sold in paper cups.

I am curious to hear if you have any interesting ways the government has taken large scale action to curb climate change Eg - Banning single use plastics etc.