Medley 242: My Favorite Articles, Ideas, Books, Thoughts, Stories, and Insights of 2020...

This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:

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Happy Monday!

I published one new article last week: Not a Full Time Creator, clarifying some of my thoughts on the pros and cons of being a "creator" full time.

I also published a video version of my "Personal Leverage: How to 10x Your Productivity" article on YouTube.

Since this is the last Medley of 2020, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite reads from the Medley this year in case you missed them. I'll also write this list up into more of an article sometime this week explaining what I liked in each.

My Best Articles

๐Ÿš€ "My Last Day at Growth Machine" Definitely the most important piece I wrote this year, and the most life-changing.

๐Ÿ“ "Personal Leverage: How to Truly 10x Your Productivity" I was really happy with how this piece came together, and how it distilled a process and principle that I've been thinking about in some form for years now.

โŒจ๏ธ "How to Start a Blog that Changes Your Life" This is the article I wish I'd had when starting my blog, so I hope you find it useful.

๐Ÿฅ› "Oatly: The New Coke" One of the more incendiary and popular things I've written. It was fun to see how much play and interest this piece got.

๐Ÿง  "30 Year Thinking" Who are your 30 year friends? What are your 30 year skills? Good questions to ask going into the new year.

The World of COVID

Obviously given everything that happened this year, there were lots of COVID related articles. Here were my favorites.

๐Ÿ’Š "Effects of Calcifediol Treatment and Best Available Therapy..." Fascinating study on the efficacy of administering very high dose Vitamin D to COVID patients.

๐Ÿ˜ท "Analysis of Vitamin D Level Among Asymptomatic and Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients..." More on how common vitamin D deficiency is among COVID patients.

๐Ÿ’‰ "This Overlooked Variable is the Key to the Pandemic" I didn't know about "k" and how it relates to "R0" until reading this piece, and it presents a lot of data I hadn't seen elsewhere on what makes COVID so odd compared to other viruses.

๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ "'I Was too Fat.' Boris Johnson Says Brits Must Lose Weight to Fight COVID-19" Imagine the outrage that would happen if a US politician said this, despite it being 100% true.

๐Ÿ“ˆ "Coronavirus Update: From an Unknown Unknown to a Known Unknown" If you're confused why the market rallied so much during COVID, this gives a pretty good explanation of the importance of fear and psychology in financial markets.

The World of Health

โ˜ฎ๏ธ "Psychedelics as Anti-Inflammatory Agents" Psychedelics may have some novel means of reducing inflammation, which would explain some of their evolutionary value (beyond the psychological benefits).

๐Ÿฅ— "The Salt Scam" For anyone still avoiding having salt in their diet or picking "low sodium" options, this is your article.

The World of Myths

โœ๏ธ "In Praise of the Gods" A phenomenal article on the ancient wisdom we can find in religion as an increasingly secular society.

๐Ÿ’ก "The Tyranny of Ideas" We're all just fleshy idea vessels, replicating the memes thrust upon us.

The World of Work

๐Ÿ™‡โ€โ™‚๏ธ "Half-Assing it with Everything You've Got" A fun and insightful look at how hard you should actually try on things, and why "try hards" and "slackers" both get it wrong.

๐Ÿ’ผ "The Trouble with Optionality" a fantastic article on the importance of committing to things instead of just "collecting options."

๐Ÿคณ "11 Reasons to Not Become Famous" This was a rough and useful perspective on fame and audience building that really made me rethink prioritizing audience building and "being an influencer."

๐Ÿง—โ€โ™‚๏ธ "Climbing the Wrong Hill" Don't commit yourself too early to a "hill" to climb. Take some time exploring so you don't end up stuck on a local maxima.

๐Ÿ“– "Signaling as a Service" A must read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.

๐Ÿ‘€ "Bullshit Jobs." If you're doing one, maybe it's time to look for something new in 2020.

The World of Books

๐Ÿ“น "The Almanack of Naval Ravikant" I liked this book so much I did a YouTube video on it and Neil and I did a podcast episode about it. Highly recommend.

๐Ÿ“• "Never Split the Difference" Also makes the cut as a must-read book from this year, and is the best book I've read on Negotiation.

๐Ÿฅ˜ "Salt Fat Acid Heat" This was a game-changing read this year on how to be a better cook.

The World of Society

๐Ÿ“ฒ "The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millenial" I re-read it this year and it's as great as ever. The line "Premium Mediocre is food that Instagrams better than it tastes" describes so many fake-good things in our lives now.

๐Ÿน "Alcohol As a Social Technology to Check the Trustworthiness of Others" Why do we like getting drunk with people so much? It might be a semi-evolved method of quickly establishing trustworthiness.

๐Ÿ—ฃ "Better Babblers" As computers get more adept at pretending to understand something by "speaking the language," we'll have to get more and more skilled at discerning real understanding from babbling.

๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™‚๏ธ "On Cultures that Build" Why don't we build the way we used to? What went wrong in society that killed our independent building spirit?

๐Ÿš” "Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop" This made the rounds during all the BLM protests, and has an interesting take on the "all cops are bastards" idea.

๐ŸŽฉ "The Use and Abuse of Witchdoctors for Life" Just because we can't explain the magic doesn't mean there isn't some kind of magic.

The World of Business

๐Ÿ—„ "Coinbase is a Mission Focused Company" This was some of the best business writing I've seen this year and was a bold move I suspect many companies will follow, either explicitly or behind the scenes. My favorite line from it that I keep coming back to: "We have people with many different backgrounds and viewpoints at Coinbase, and even if we all agree that something is a problem, we may not agree on how to actually go solve it."

๐Ÿค“ "Geeks, MOPs, and Sociopaths in Subculture Evolution" I loved this description of the different types of people who emerge from new subcultures, and even thinking about where you fall in the triad. Jobs for example would be the sociopath to Woz's Geekiness.

๐ŸŽค "What Matters More than Your Talents" Insights from Jeff Bezos on the important distinction between "gifts" and "choices."

โŒ "Proof of X" I love the idea of finding a way to "Strava-ify" other good habits and activities.

๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ "The Rise of TikTok and Understanding its Parent Company ByteDance" An in-depth look at the history of TikTok if you're as interested in it as I am.

๐Ÿค” "V-Shaped Recovery for Me, L-Shaped Recovery for Thee" Why some companies are so better able to respond to the COVID recession than others. Interested re-reading this now given what we've seen play out since it was published.

The World of Life

๐Ÿ‘ "Life is Short" A sobering take from Paul Graham on just how short life is, and how intentionally we need to prune the bullshit to live the life we want.

๐Ÿ’ญ "Ideas that Changed My Life" An excellent round up of life-changing ideas from Morgan Housel.

๐Ÿ’… "The Greatest Privilege We Hardly Talk About: Beauty" Racism, sexism, and other -isms may impact life outcomes, but wait till you see the stats on beauty.

๐Ÿ‘ฐ "You May Want to Marry My Husband" and "My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me" Ugh. You're gonna cry.

๐Ÿ’ธ "The Modern Trap of Feeling Obligated to Turn Hobbies into Hustles" It's me.

๐Ÿ“ "How Will You Measure Your Life?" An introspection inducing read from Clayton Christensen on how to think about what's really important.

The World of Media

๐Ÿ“บ "Why the Media is So Polarized -- And How it Polarizes Us" A great writeup from Ezra Klein on how the media has gotten more and more polarized and what that's done to our brains.

๐Ÿ–ฅ "The Garden of Forking Memes: How Digital Media Distorts Our Sense of Time" I'd never considered this before but it's absolutely fascinating: the media we consume and what we focus on dramatically shifts our sense of time, along with our interpretation of so many narratives.

๐Ÿ—ž "Bari Weiss NYT Resignation Letter" This year we started to see a number of prominent centrist journalists resign from their newspapers or magazines in response to the growing polarization and decreasing quality of formerly respected institutions. Weiss's resignation letter was one of the most vocal examples.

2๏ธโƒฃ "A Tale of Two Talebs" What a crazy piece about the "two Talebs," worth a read if you're a big fan of Taleb's books like I am.

๐Ÿ‘† "Jump" The pace at which information can spread now can do great good, but also great harm. "The question is not if a real war, in the physical world, can be started in this environment. We all know it can. Without some dramatic course correction, the question is only when."

End Note

As always, if you're enjoying the Medley, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.

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And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through members of this newsletter.

Have a great week,
Nat

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