Reading Notes for 2023-11-27

Small Choices, Big (Brain) Impact. – Charlotte Grysolle 📧

But what if you *knew* that with every single choice, however small, you’re tapping into that aMCC? Slowly but surely, you’re creating physical changes in your brain that will help you stick to your long-term goals and promises. Treat every choice as an opportunity to strengthen your mental resilience.

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The False Binary in Higher Ed – Ben Wildavsky

For this reason, the Harvard University economist David Deming argues against what he described in a *New York Times* column as “the impulse to make college curriculums ever more technical and career focused.” He makes the case that even the early-career earnings advantage of college graduates in STEM majors—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—“fades steadily” after their first post-college jobs, while liberal-arts majors gradually catch up by middle age. Technical skills might garner a short-term salary premium, but they become obsolete over time and require refreshing. Meanwhile, Deming adds, liberal-arts soft skills such as problem-solving and adaptability have long-term career value.

The Imperfectionist: A Cupboard of Tools – Oliver Burkeman 📧

These days, I mainly don’t make this mistake. Instead, I see a technique like this for what it is: another tool in the cupboard. It’s all any technique could ever be! And yet we seem desperate for some system that could save us – for the productivity trick or morning routine or life philosophy that would make everything run smoothly at last, so long as we kept following it. Thus a person encounters, say, a book of practices derived from Stoicism, and rather than thinking “How useful, some Stoic techniques to add to my collection!”, instead concludes: “I’ll become a Stoic, which will fix all the ways I feel problematic, and then life will be plain sailing!”

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Marjorie Kelly on “Wealth Supremacy” & the Blueprint for a New Economy – Christopher Marquis

The paradigm that we’re in may seem invincible. It may seem rational and normal, but it also at one time seemed rational and normal that every single legislator and judge was a man. It used to seem rational and normal even to the founders of America that you would own slaves, right? What seems rational and normal at one point becomes discredited over time.

I think most entrepreneurs know that. It’s when companies are captured by big capital with publicly traded companies or private equity that they turn to maximization. That’s the problem, not profit itself. I make the distinction between profit making and profit maximizing.