Your Biggest Fan

May 26, 2021 11:13 pm

Hey there,

Thanks for joining me. I'm currently reading an advanced copy of Wanting by Luke Burgis and taking extensive notes on the book. Luke has written about mimetic desire for a long time, and I think anyone who wants to better understand themselves and society needs to read this book. I'll have book notes for you the next time I send out my newsletter, so stay tuned for that.

An Article I Wrote

Your Biggest Fan: One of the most surprising things I've learnt since writing online is that my biggest fans are people whom I've never met (a stranger like yourself). I'm grateful and humbled by the support, but I think there's also a lesson in there that might be of help to everyone.

Interesting Things I've Found

Fierce Nerds: "The fierce nerds are a small but interesting group. They are as a rule extremely competitive — more competitive, I'd say, than highly competitive non-nerds. Competition is more personal for them. Partly perhaps because they're not emotionally mature enough to distance themselves from it, but also because there's less randomness in the kinds of competition they engage in, and they are thus more justified in taking the results personally."

I spent an entire weekend discussing this essay with one of my friends, who of course, was also a fierce nerd. I've always thought that nerd was perhaps not the best description of me, but I think Paul Graham's latest piece captures a large part of who I am. For a different perspective, see the top comment on this Hacker News discussion thread.

The Optimal Amount of Hassle: "If you recognize that BS is ubiquitous, then the question is not “How can I avoid all of it?” but, “What is the optimal amount to put up with so I can still function in a messy and imperfect world?”

Somewhat related to nerds, because nerds are typically socially awkward and find most of our social rituals ridiculous. But those who blend in well realise that hassle is inevitable, and it's just a matter of dealing with it.

What Smart People Do on Weekends: A short read, but worth thinking about. I ended up asking some of my smartest friends what they did on weekends, and the answers were not as exciting as I hoped. But that's probably how big things begin as well: boring and slow at the beginning, then exciting and sudden. If you have an answer to this question, or have heard interesting answers, reply and let me know.

That's Not Fair: "There’s an enormous amount of unfairness all around us. People who don’t get the benefit of the doubt, advantages that are multiplied, systems that are rigged. But right here, right now, it’s possible that what just happened was fair, though it was also disappointing."

I'll just end off with this from Seth Godin, since it's always helpful to have a little perspective.


As usual, let me know what you think.

Talk soon,


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