The concept of ‘My Weekly Learnings’ is to share highlights and/or content pieces that caught my eye this week and provided more value than I could imagine.
1. A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. There is. in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at any moment. But that’s not the same thing.
When wealth is talked about in this context, it is often described as a pie. “You can’t make the pie larger,” say politicians. When you’re talking about the amount of money in one family’s bank account, or the amount available to a government from one year’s tax revenue, this is true. If one person gets more, someone else has to get less.
I can remember believing, as a child, that if a few rich people had all the money, it left less for everyone else. Many people seem to continue to believe something like this well into adulthood. This fallacy is usually there in the background when you hear someone talking about how x percent of the population has y percent of the wealth. If you plan to start a startup, then whether you realize it or not, you’re planning to disprove the Pie Fallacy.
What leads people astray here is the abstraction of money. Money is not wealth. It’s just something we use to move wealth around. So although there may be, in certain specific moments (like your family, this month) a fixed amount of money available to trade with other people for things you want, there is not a fixed amount of wealth in the world. You can make more wealth. Wealth has been getting created and destroyed (but on
balance, created) for all of human history.
Suppose you own a beat-up old car. Instead of sitting on your butt next summer, you could spend the time restoring your car to pristine condition. In doing so you create wealth. The world is– and you specifically arc– one pristine old car the richer. And not just in some metaphorical way. If you sell your car, you’ll get more for it.
In restoring your old car you have made yourself richer. You haven’t made anyone else poorer. So there is obviously not a fixed pie. And in fact, when you look at it this way, you wonder why anyone would think there was. [Paul Graham]
2. This is your brain on sleep deprivation.
On the left is a normal night of sleep.
On the right is what it looks like when it’s deprived of 4 hours of sleep.
The coloured areas are the activity happening in your brain. Notice the lack of activity on the right side.
Researchers at the University of Oslo found that lack of sleep leads to reduced clearance of substances from the brain.
These substances are many of the same waste products that are seen to accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Takeaway #1 – You make worse decisions when sleep deprived
Researchers found there was less activity in the frontal & parietal lobes, which are crucial for decision-making, problem-solving & mood control.
You are just not at your best when you don’t get enough sleep.
Takeaway #2 – Long term brain health
Some recent studies suggest that poor sleep contributes to higher levels of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which lead to the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s brain.
If you want a healthy brain avoid long-term sleep deprivation.
What should you do?
• When deprived of sleep avoid making big decisions & pause before reacting to an emotion.
• Fix your sleeping habits. If you can’t get enough hours, focus on increasing your sleep quality to make up for it. [Dan Go]
3. Do the job before you hire for it. You know nothing about X, so you think you need to hire an expert in X. But you can’t tell which experts are any good until you’ve learned enough to be dangerous yourself. [Emmett Shear]
4. Douglas Adams on the cycle of human reaction to technology:
i. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
ii. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
iii. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
5. Doing a single bout of at least 30 minutes of continuous cardio within 6 hours of eating decreased glucose and insulin levels in the six hours after a meal. (Sports Medicine, 2021)
Here’s another reason to love cardio: it provides both short-term and long-term metabolic health benefits.
In the long-term, regular physical activity helps, in part, because it increases the number of muscle cells, which means more mitochondria to turn glucose into energy.
Regular exercise also prompts the liver to metabolize glucose more efficiently and reduce insulin clearance, which can help improve glycemic variability. In other words, your muscles become primed to absorb more glucose. [Neurohacker]