Unrequested Update: August

What I started ingesting last month:

Books:

Currently reading:

Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond.
For some reason I feel an urge to get through as many of my unread books as quickly as possible. This one is a toil, I feel like I’ve been reading it for weeks, yet I’m less than 100 pages in. That’s not to say it’s dull, just that there’s little white space and I’m flicking back to certain bits (like making sense of how carbon dating works).

As someone who spends mental time in the physical world, I’m amazed by many aspects in this book I’d never considered before. Like how hunter-gatherers had to spend most of their time, well, hunting and gathering, whereas societies who discovered farming and agriculture could store food, allowing them to feed others who didn’t work the land. Which sounds dull, until you consider these others could instead become soldiers (allowing your group to conquer another), or priests (who could find religious justification for starting a war), or smiths (who could make steel weapons for you to defeat hunter-gatherers with, who didn’t have the time to make their own).

The Natural Navigator, by Tristan Gooley
I’m just a few pages in, but already impressed by how talented a writer Gooley is.

Recently finished:

Hyperloop White Paper
This is the fundamentals to Elon Musk et al’s idea for a high-speed transport system from LA to San Francisco. You may remember those tubes old shops used to transport money? Visually, the idea is the same. Imagine a long tube. Within this tube, you and 27 others sit in a narrow capsule 6-feet high and 4-feet wide. You’re shot forward at speeds reaching 765 mph, and travelling 200 miles in 35 minutes.

The concept feels wonderfully sci-fi. Reading this made me want to be a architect, designing appropriately futuristic stations for this thing to stop at.

The First 20 Hours, by Josh Kauffman.
Read this if you want to learn about learning. Kauffman’s meta-learning book details his principles for rapid skill acquisition, then gives six examples of how he put theory into action. The negative Amazon reviews I’ve read complain about repetition in examples. But to me that’s the point — showing how his research works in the real world. Kauffman’s books have a lot of white space, so you could read this book quickly.

Films

Mad Max
Overrated. Not a patch on Fury Road

Mad Max 2
Better, mostly enjoyable. Still not  a patch on Fury Road

Podcasts

The Tim Ferriss Show, Startup, Unbeatable Mind, In Our Time

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