Jacob's Pondering Quotes

Last sync: 16th of May 2022.

A collection of quotes that made me think or that I still need to think about.

Jacob's Pondering Quotes

“ I like the person I become when I read a lot of books. I dislike the person I become when I spend a lot of time on social media.”

28 Apr 2022 at 10:01 pm
Stolen Focus : Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again (9780593138526)
Hari, Johann

“But we told ourselves we could have a massive expansion in the amount of information we are exposed to, and the speed at which it hits us, with no costs. This is a delusion: “It becomes exhausting.” More importantly, Sune said, “what we are sacrificing is depth in all sorts of dimensions…. Depth takes time. And depth takes reflection. If you have to keep up with everything and send emails all the time, there’s no time to reach depth.”

25 Apr 2022 at 9:59 pm
Stolen Focus : Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again (9780593138526)
Hari, Johann

“It was designed to see what you could do to data to make it rise and fall at faster and faster rates in ways that resembled the decline in collective attention they had been documenting. What they discovered is there is one mechanism that can make this happen every time. You just have to flood the system with more information. The more information you pump in, the less time people can focus on any individual piece of it.”

25 Apr 2022 at 9:57 pm
Stolen Focus : Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again (9780593138526)
Hari, Johann

“Teams with fewer than four individuals are a sufficiently leaky abstraction that they function indistinguishably from individuals. To reason about a small team’s delivery, you’ll have to know about each on-call shift, vacation, and interruption.”

12 Apr 2022 at 9:55 pm
An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management
Will Larson

“a world where seekers satisfy their spiritual desires with a hodgepodge of nonreligious rituals practiced largely online. It’s a world where our closest confidantes can be found on Beyoncé fan forums and private Peloton Facebook groups, and where one’s ethics and identity are wrapped up in the influencers they follow, targeted ads they click through, and memes they repost.”

11 Apr 2022 at 9:14 pm
Cultish
Amanda Montell

“Excessive “garbage language” may signal that upper management is suppressing individuality, putting employees in a headspace where their entire reality is governed by the company’s rules, which likely weren’t created with much compassion or fairness in mind.”

23 Feb 2022 at 9:41 pm
Cultish
Amanda Montell

“a linguistic theory about the relationship between language and thought called the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which says that while language does influence our ability to conceive of ideas, it does not determine it.”

14 Feb 2022 at 10:31 pm
Cultish
Amanda Montell

“Contentious debates aside, thought-terminating clichés also pervade our everyday conversations: Expressions like “It is what it is,” “Boys will be boys,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “It’s all God’s plan,” and certainly “Don’t think about it too hard” are all common examples.”

31 Jan 2022 at 9:56 pm
Cultish
Amanda Montell

“There are layers of limits around every growing plant, child, epidemic, new product, technological advance, company, city, economy, and population. Insight comes not only from recognizing which factor is limiting, but from seeing that growth itself depletes or enhances limits and therefore changes what is limiting.”

3 Jan 2022 at 8:45 pm
Thinking in Systems
Donella H. Meadows

“Equally, “brainwashing” is a term that is tossed around incessantly by the media, but that almost every expert I consulted for this book either avoids or rejects. “We don’t say that soldiers are brainwashed to kill other people; that’s basic training,” offers Moore. “We don’t say that fraternity members are brainwashed to haze* their [pledges]; that’s peer pressure.” Most of us tend to take “brainwashing” literally, imagining that some neurological rewiring occurs during cult indoctrinations. But brainwashing is a metaphor. There is nothing objective about it.”

1 Jan 2022 at 11:17 pm
Cultish
Amanda Montell

“It’s only by doing something that serves no concrete survival function that artists are able to advertise their survival surplus.”

9 Nov 2021 at 10:31 pm
The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
Robin Hanson

“No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless. That is because they are intrinsically systems problems—undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.”

20 Oct 2021 at 9:50 pm
Thinking in Systems
Donella H. Meadows

“Another way to look at it is that self-deception is useful only when you’re playing against an opponent who can take your mental state into account.”

12 Sep 2021 at 8:22 pm
The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
Robin Hanson

“One must feel a sense of strange gratitude, then, that his treatment was never good enough to divert him from his work. The agonies that he must have suffered in those terrible asylum nights have granted us all a benefit, for all time. He was mad, and for that, we have reason to be glad. A truly savage irony, on which it is discomfiting to dwell.”

28 Aug 2021 at 8:39 pm
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Simon Winchester

“Had anyone chosen to ponder further, he or she might have wondered at the strange symmetry of the two men’s settings—pinioned as each was among great stacks of books, single-mindedly devoted to learning of the most recondite kind, each man’s only outlet his correspondence, in great daily storms of paper and floods of ink.
 
Except there was a difference: William Minor remained profoundly and irreversibly mad.”

28 Aug 2021 at 7:40 pm
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Simon Winchester

“He would next leap from his bed and scrabble about underneath it, looking for people who, he insisted, had hidden there and were planning to annoy him.”

15 Aug 2021 at 9:20 pm
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Simon Winchester

“All the creative marketing and annoying advertisements no longer have an effect on you. Celebrities no longer make you feel envious. Fancy window displays, reward cards, spiffy new high-spec products, new high-rise condos under construction—none of it has anything to do with you, and you can stroll around town feeling comfortable and free.”

5 Aug 2021 at 5:15 pm
Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living
Fumio Sasaki

“Today, the drumbeat has become a cacophony. The generation that has experienced more peace, freedom, leisure time, education, medicine, travel, movies, mobile phones and massages than any generation in history is lapping up gloom at every opportunity”

2 Aug 2021 at 10:45 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“The way to keep your customers, if you are Michael Dell, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, is to keep making your own products obsolete.”

1 Aug 2021 at 9:22 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“Though they may start out full of entrepreneurial zeal, once firms or bureaucracies grow large, they become risk-averse to the point of Luddism. The pioneer venture capitalist Georges Doriot said that the most dangerous moment in the life of a company was when it had succeeded, for then it stopped innovating.”

1 Aug 2021 at 9:18 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“Civilisation, like life itself, has always been about capturing energy. That is to say, just as a successful species is one that converts the sun’s energy into offspring more rapidly than another species, so the same is true of a nation. Progressively, as the aeons passed, life as a whole has grown gradually more and more efficient at doing this, at locally cheating the second law of thermodynamics.”

18 Jul 2021 at 9:55 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“Two billion people alive today have never turned on a light switch.”

18 Jul 2021 at 9:20 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“Everybody knows the population of the world is growing. But remarkably few people seem to know that the rate of increase in world population has been falling since the early 1960s and that the raw number of new people added each year has been falling since the late 1980s.”

30 Jun 2021 at 9:59 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“If you can store the labour of others for future use, then you can spare yourself the time and the energy of working for your own immediate needs, which means you can invest in something new that will bring even greater reward.”

15 Jun 2021 at 9:19 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“The remarkable thing about the early days of the internet was not how hard it proved to enable people to trust each other in the anonymous reaches of the ether, but how easy. All it took was for eBay to solicit feedback from customers after each transaction and post the comments of buyers about the sellers.”

7 Jun 2021 at 9:51 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“Self-sufficiency is therefore not the route to prosperity. ‘Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month,’ Henry David Thoreau asked: ‘the boy who had made his own jack-knife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this – or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father?’ Contra Thoreau, it is the latter, by a mile, because he has far more spare time to learn other things. Imagine if you had to be completely self-sufficient (not just pretending, like Thoreau). Every day you must get up in the morning and supply yourself entirely from your own resources. How would you spend your day? The top four priorities would be food, fuel, clothing and shelter.”

9 May 2021 at 8:56 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“If Cornelius Vanderbilt or Henry Ford not only moves you faster to where you want to go, but requires you to work fewer hours to earn the ticket price, then he has enriched you by granting you a dollop of free time. If you choose to spend that spare time consuming somebody else’s production then you can enrich him in turn; if you choose to spend it producing for his consumption then you have also further enriched yourself.”

6 May 2021 at 9:51 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“From six hours to half a second – a 43,200-fold improvement – for an hour of lighting: that is how much better off you are than your ancestor was in 1800, using the currency that counts, your time.”

6 May 2021 at 9:45 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“The availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going rapidly upwards for 200 years and erratically upwards for 10,000 years before that: years of lifespan, mouthfuls of clean water, lungfuls of clean air, hours of privacy, means of travelling faster than you can run, ways of communicating farther than you can shout. Even allowing for the hundreds of millions who still live in abject poverty, disease and want, this generation of human beings has access to more calories, watts, lumen-hours, square feet, gigabytes, megahertz, light-years, nanometres, bushels per acre, miles per gallon, food miles, air miles, and of course dollars than any that went before.”

4 May 2021 at 10:22 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

“I find myself continually surprised by how few people think about the problem of tumultuous cultural change. I find the world is full of people who think that their dependence on others is decreasing, or that they would be better off if they were more self-sufficient, or that technological progress has brought no improvement in the standard of living, or that the world is steadily deteriorating, or that the exchange of things and ideas is a superfluous irrelevance.”

4 May 2021 at 10:11 pm
The Rational Optimist
Ridley, Matt

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