Book: Can't Hurt Me
“It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn!”
Developing ideas with notes
Just yesterday, I made all of my working notes publicly available at https://notes.alexkoen.com/. I did so because note-taking underlies all that I learn, and because I believe that by doing so I will be encouraged to continuously refine my ideas.
Write down your thoughts
Memory is not so much a camera as a filter—the particulates it holds on to are nothing compared to what leaks through.
– John Green
Book: The Spy and the Traitor
“But, for all the bluster and fakery, the KGB leadership knew the truth: it had held the most significant spy of the Cold War in its grasp, and then let him slip through its fingers.”
How to Have More Time
Busyness is now seen as a proxy for productivity. The busier we are, the more we signal accomplishment without having to actually put in the work.
Consequently, we take on responsibility after responsability until we become overwhelmed.
Yet even when we’ve had enough: when we declare temporal bankruptcy and give ourselves more time to finish fewer tasks, we are no less busy—Parkinson’s Law dictates that these tasks will continue to consume us.
“This is partly because, despite much seeming and some very real progress, public discourse about racism is still as childish and supine as it ever was. Where we do discuss race in public, we have been trained to see racism – if we see it at all – as an issue of interpersonal morality. Good people are not racist, only bad people are. This neat binary is a great way of avoiding any real discussion at all.
Book: Rocket Men
“Two minutes remained until the spacecraft, now moving at 5,125 miles per hour, went behind the Moon. Since lift-off, Apollo 8 had traveled 240,000 miles, and the Moon had traveled 150,000 miles, to make this rendezvous. “One minute to LOS [loss of signal],” Carr radioed to Apollo 8. “All systems Go.” “We’ll see you on the other side,” Lovell said. Outside Anders’s window, any trace of sunlight had disappeared, and as his eyes adapted to the intense darkness he began to see stars, it seemed like a million of them, so many he couldn’t even pick out constellations. The sight took his breath away. He looked to his right, through the window beside him, hungry for more, but suddenly there were no stars anymore—all of them had gone dark. There was just a giant black hole, as if part of the universe had vanished. The hair on the back of Anders’s neck stood up, and for a moment it felt as if his heart had stopped, until he realized that he wasn’t looking at a missing piece of the universe at all. He was looking at the Moon. A few seconds after that, Apollo 8 disappeared behind it.”
Book: Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
“Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you.” — Dan Harmon
The other side
Every proper adventurer has a line that they do not cross—a boundary of risk that they have established to keep themselves alive. To cross this line is to play chicken with the will of nature, and very few choose to spend time on the other side. Unfortunately, not everything is always under our control…
You don't need eight hours of sleep
I’ve always had difficulty sleeping. For years, I would spend hours lying awake at night, wondering how I could possibly feel so alert when I knew how tired I really was.