Jacob's Pondering Notes

Last sync: 20th of September 2021.

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

Jacob's Pondering Notes

“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

“Luckily, Peddle preferred recluses on his team. “I had these three loners,” says Peddle. “The nice thing about having loners who are really smart working for you is they bust their ass working 24 hours a day.”

14 Apr 2021 at 9:44 pm
Commodore - A Company On The Edge
Bagnall, Brian

“Regis McKenna, a former Intel advertising executive, was responsible for Apple’s early advertising. “Regis hit on this great idea of making these two guys in the garage and how wonderful they were,” explains Peddle. “Mike Markkula and Regis McKenna created the Apple legend in a very careful, controlled, PR way.”

10 Apr 2021 at 10:37 pm
Commodore - A Company On The Edge
Bagnall, Brian

“High-tech companies need three players in order to succeed: a financier, a technology god, and a juggernaut with a Type A personality.”

20 Mar 2021 at 9:55 pm
Commodore - A Company On The Edge
Bagnall, Brian

“A standard of living is of the nature of habit. It is an habitual scale and method of responding to given stimuli. The difficulty in the way of receding from an accustomed standard is the difficulty of breaking a habit that has once been formed.”

10 Mar 2021 at 9:31 pm
The Theory of the Leisure Class (Oxford World’s Classics)
Thorstein Veblen

“Fake freedom is addictive: no matter how much you have, you always feel as though it’s not enough. Real freedom is repetitive, predictable, and sometimes dull.”

6 Mar 2021 at 8:44 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

“The only true form of freedom, the only ethical form of freedom, is through self-limitation. It is not the privilege of choosing everything you want in your life, but rather, choosing what you will give up in your life.”

6 Mar 2021 at 8:40 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

“People get stuck in the adolescent stage of values for similar reasons that they get stuck with childish values: trauma and/or neglect. Victims of bullying are a particularly notable example. A person who has been bullied in his younger years will move through the world with an assumed understanding that no one will ever like or respect him unconditionally, that all affection must be hard-won through a series of practiced conversation and canned actions. You must dress a certain way. You must speak a certain way. You must act a certain way—or else.
Some people become incredibly good at playing the bargaining game. They tend to be charming and charismatic and are naturally able to sense what other people want of them and to fill that role. This manipulation rarely fails them in any meaningful way, so they come to believe that this is simply how the whole world operates.”

31 Jan 2021 at 9:40 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

“Equalization is present in every experience because the drive to equalize is emotion itself.”

12 Jan 2021 at 10:03 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

“The Feeling Brain drives our Consciousness Car because, ultimately, we are moved to action only by emotion. That’s because action is emotion. Emotion is the biological hydraulic system that pushes our bodies into movement. Fear is not this magical thing your brain invents. No, it happens in our bodies. It’s the tightening of your stomach, the tensing of your muscles, the release of adrenaline, the overwhelming desire for space and emptiness around your body. While the Thinking Brain exists solely within the synaptic arrangements inside your skull, the Feeling Brain is the wisdom and stupidity of the entire body. Anger pushes your body to move. Anxiety pulls it into retreat. Joy lights up the facial muscles, while sadness attempts to shade your existence from view. Emotion inspires action, and action inspires emotion. The two are inseparable.
This leads to the simplest and most obvious answer to the timeless question, why don’t we do things we know we should do?
Because we don’t feel like it.
Every problem of self-control is not a problem of information or discipline or reason but, rather, of emotion.”

7 Jan 2021 at 9:57 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

“When people prattle on about needing to find their “life’s purpose,” what they really mean is that it’s no longer clear to them what matters, what is a worthy use of their limited time here on earth—in short, what to hope for. They are struggling to see what the before/after of their lives should be.”

6 Jan 2021 at 10:10 pm
Everything Is F*cked
Mark Manson

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