Medley 234: Slackers, Pro Wrestling, Cost vs. Value, 5 Minutes, Contributions, Half-Assing, Elections...

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Happy Monday!

First up, I've got a new article out this week on how I delegated my email to only spend 5 minutes on it per day.

I also have three new videos out on how starting a blog will change your life, a "day in the life" video with some beekeeping, and a guide on migrating from Evernote to Roam.

Alright, let's dive into the Medley.

The World of Politics

🤼 This was an interesting read on how "Politics is Pro Wrestling." I like how it frames news media & reporting:

"In Pro Wrestling there are announcers. They pretend to be this objective voice for the fans, to explain the action, but they are obviously not. They are employees of the company who’s number 1 job is to get the product over. They are there to push storylines, add excitement to matches and do whatever the company tells them to do."

We're definitely seeing this new class of politics consumers in full force now:

"The fans in wrestling were traditionally known as marks. People who thought it was real. However, in the 90s and 00s another breed of fan emerged. A type of fan who knew the in-ring action was fake but loved to read about the politics behind the scenes: what were the ratings, how disgruntled were the superstars, salaries and creative pushes."

🤝 And for anyone confused about Biden and Harris being so at each others' throats during the primary, and now suddenly friends, that makes sense too:

"A politician attacks another politician, their fanbase takes it seriously, and then the two politicians make up later. It’s all a work. They are just working the audience. Playing angles. It’s not real. None of it really is. It’s a show."

🇺🇸 But one thing the article doesn't talk about as much is the third class of consumers: the ones who know it's pro wrestling, and who want it not to be. Certain candidates seem to be jumping in the ring going "hey let's have some actual wrestling here" (Yang comes to mind) and I think the number of people who want MMA, not WWE, is growing. I suspect we'll see more MMA style candidates showing up in 2024, the polar opposite of Trump's style.

The World of Life

📜✍️ My friend Julian has preserved this wonderful article "On Disbelieving Atrocities," all about our tendency to prefer comfortable ignorance over accepting reality for what it is.

"“I know” that, the average statistical age being about 65, I may reasonably expect to live no more than another 27 years, but if I knew for certain that I should die on November 30, 1970, at 5 A.M., I would be poisoned by this knowledge, count and recount the remaining days and hours, grudge myself every wasted minute, in other words develop a neurosis... Thus we all live in a state of split consciousness. There is a tragic plane and a trivial plane, which contain two mutually incompatible kinds of experienced knowledge."

💲 And on the topic of valuing life, this is a good parable that helps elucidate the conflict between the "cost" of a life and the "value" of a life.

"In some parts of this world, it costs as little as a few thousand dollars to save a life. If you act like the price on a life is higher than a few thousand dollars, if you actually refuse a million dollars to press the button, or pay a billion dollars to save a single life, then there were other things you could have done to save more lives. If you want to save the most people, you must put a price tag on life according to the actual cost of saving a life."

The World of Investing

💸 Nick Maggiulli put out some really good analysis on why it might not make sense to contribute to your 401k or IRA beyond the amount your company matches. You only get a very small increase in outcomes, at the price of locking up your capital:

"the Roth 401(k) ends up with 14.5% more than the taxable account after 40 years. However, on an annualized basis that 14.5% is only an extra 0.34% (34 basis points) per year. That’s it. You get 34 basis points a year to lock up your capital until you are 59 and 1/2."

📈 I made a related argument in my thread on the problem with retirement funds: essentially, if you're entrepreneurial or want to invest in yourself, keeping a decent amount of cash on hand is important for being able to invest in yourself, and the compound on learning and skill development is much higher than 7%.

The World of Work

👨‍💻👩‍🏫 How hard should you work? Perhaps you should "half-ass it with everything you've got." I love this contrast between the slackers and the triers, and what both philosophies end up missing.

"If you're trying to do achieve some combination of good grades (for signalling purposes), respect (for social reasons), and knowledge (for various effects), then pinpoint the minimum quality target that gets a good grade, impresses the teacher, and allows you to learn the material, and hit that as efficiently as you can. Anything more is wasted motion."

💭 And Paul Graham shares some advice on how we should think about the early work of ourselves and others.

"It will be easier to try out a risky project if you think of it as a way to learn and not just as a way to make something. Then even if the project truly is a failure, you'll still have gained by it."

End Note

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Have a great week,
Nat

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