This Week I Learned #48

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up”
— Charlie Munger


  • Tim Ferriss didn't write the Four Hour Work Week until he was 28. He was still wrestling with what to do with his life and was travelling around Berlin and Ireland on a budget. It's a continuous journey of trying to figure things out. It just made things so much more relatable to hear him talk about himself when he was 27 by being 27 myself. Even when I read his books at 23/24 it didn't click. Funny how a few years can make such a difference.


  • Learning from Eric Weinstein, MD @ Thiel Capital: 1) Orangutan means "Person of the forest". Orang means person in Indonesian. If you say the word twice it means multiple (i.e. Orang Orang means People). Apparently, Indonesian can be a language you can learn that makes sense and has limited tonal needs unlike other languages. 2) Milgram shock experiment (one that tests people's obedience as they administer fatal electric shocks to people in order to show obedience) and the Ash conformity experiment (people will knowingly select the wrong answer to feel like they conform to the majority that would pick the wrong answer) can be replicated to find individuals who can maintain independence of thought for a job/program. My mental model would be to create something like this as part of job interview process. 3) Most watch commercials place the watch hands at 10:10 because it looks like a smile.


  • "It's better to be in an expanding world in not quite exactly the right field than to be in a contracting field where people's worst behaviour comes out." - Eric Weinstein


  • Refresher on Ocam's Razor. Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumption should be selected. "Competing" being the key function for if the complex explanation is better, it should be selected over the simpler one. A common application in medicine for this method is to test the hypotheses with the least assumptions first. Think: "When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras".


  • Charlie Munger on his architecture projects for re-designing student dorms at Harvard, Michigan, and UC Santa Barbara

    • “Any time you go to a football game or a function there’s a huge line outside the women’s bathroom. Who doesn’t know that they pee in a different way than the men?” Mr. Munger says. “What kind of idiot would make the men’s bathroom and the women’s bathroom the same size? The answer is, a normal architect!” => He made the women's bathroom much larger than the mens

    • In Harvard-Westlake highschool, he designed computer rooms to have removable walls for when the rooms would need to be converted once everyone moved to studying on laptops. This was done back in 2008

    • At UC Santa Barbara, he's been focused on designing dorm rooms with 8 single bedrooms with fake windows that mimic the light outside. The focus being to promote collaboration and interaction amongst the students in the wonderfully designed common areas. 

    • He has also never studied architecture. Just utilizes the various sets of mental models he has accumulated. Though he has studied mathematics, meterology and law.



  • Cognitive processing and the social problem of creating "expectations" for early success. 

    • In a 2015 study published in the journal Psychological Science, neuroscientists Laura Germine and Joshua Hartshorne measured the abilities of nearly 50,000 adult subjects of various ages on online cognitive tests: In their study, the speed of information processing appeared to peak early, around 18 or 19. Short-term memory continued to improve until around 25 and then leveled off for another decade. The ability to evaluate complex patterns, including other people’s emotional states, on the other hand, peaked much later, when participants were in their 40s or 50s.

    • Each of us has two types of intelligence, known as fluid and crystallized. Fluid intelligence is our capacity to reason and solve novel problems, independent of knowledge from the past, and it peaks earlier in life. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge and experience; it shows rising levels of performance well into middle age and beyond.

    • According to Georgia Tech psychology professor Phillip Ackerman, the best way for older adults to compensate for declines in youthful “fluid” intelligence is to select jobs and goals that optimize their “crystallized” knowledge and skills. => aka, double down on the intersection of strengths and passions

    • Inspiring story: "For instance, while the field of software coding favors the young and fluid, managing projects and the business can shift the needed skills to an older profile. Consider the career of Diane Greene, who spent her 20s and early 30s organizing windsurfing races and working for Coleman, the camping equipment company. At 33, she earned a master’s degree in computer science and pronounced herself ready for a “grown-up’s job.” In 1998, at age 43—late by Silicon Valley’s youth-centric standards—Ms. Greene cofounded the software company VMware and then led it for a decade. In 2015, Google acquired another company she started and, at age 60, put her in charge of one of its most important businesses, Google Cloud (a position from which she stepped down in January)."

    • Case studies on "late bloomers": "International star Andrea Bocelli began singing opera when he was 34. Martha Stewart was 35 when she started her catering business in a friend’s basement, and 42 when her first book of recipes was published. Toni Morrison published her first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” at 39 and won the Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved” at 56. J.K. Rowling was a divorced mother on public assistance before she conceived Harry Potter at age 35. Tom Siebel founded his first big tech company, Siebel Systems, at 41, and his second, C3, at 57. Famous movie villain Alan Rickman owned a graphic design studio for years before he got his first taste of fame at 42 for his role as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.”"



  • "Figure out what works and do it." - Lee Kwan Yew.


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