Kunal Shah: Core Human Motivations

Notes on The Knowledge Project podcast episode with Shane Parrish and Kunal Shah. Lessons to be learned from the Indian business cast Kunal: I think the first lesson was, they have much lower shame than the other communities. They have very little self doubt when it comes to being shameless. I mean, they’re very hard to offend. They’re okay even if you mock them. As long as you are giving them business, they’re okay with that....

August 10, 2022 · 14 min

Book Review: Optionality

If you want a successful and fulfilling life, you shouldn’t optimize for happiness. Instead, Richard Meadows argues that you should focus on increasing optionality. We think happiness is a state we can arrive at. However, happiness is always relative, and we have both external and internal reference points that guide our happiness level. Because of the hedonic treadmill, you’ll need newer and stronger “happiness kicks” to get to the same level of happiness than before....

March 11, 2022 · 8 min

Book Review: Why the West Rules – For Now

Will China or India overpower the West in the future and take the lead? Ian Morris sets out to answer this question. By looking into the past, he’s convinced that we can understand how western dominion came about. He’s also convinced that by understanding this, we’re able to predict what comes next. In essence, biology and sociology tell us that humans are mostly the same. All have the same nature and need energy to survive....

February 20, 2022 · 15 min

Don't go for 100%

From the Farnam Street Brain Food newsletter: We live in a society that praises all-out effort. But giving a task 100% of your energy can lead to burnout, over-exhaustion, and injury. Jackman believes in the “85% Rule,” which means that intensity, force, or stress should never override form, technique, and preparation. Jackman elaborates: “A sprint coach realized that [Olympian] Carl Lewis did nothing at the 50-meter mark; his breathing and form was exactly the same....

February 6, 2022 · 1 min

2021 Book Reviews

I read 34 books in 2021 which amounted to about 11’500 pages. I deliberately didn’t set a “reading goal” for the year because I preferred not to focus on quantity, but rather maximize enjoyment and utility. Here are six books, both fiction and non-fiction, that stood out for me. Fiction The Peacemaker’s Code – Deepak Malhotra Deepak Malhotra is a Harvard professor who focuses on negotiation and diplomacy topics. This book is a fun and exciting way to learn about these topics in a fictionalized scenario....

January 7, 2022 · 3 min