Imagine for a second: two brains.

It’s useful to imagine that we have two distinct systems in our brains. One models the world, trying to predict and save us the energy of needing Two. In the process, it feeds errors to our conscious attention.

Why are social media networks so addictive?

Social media, entertainment platforms, and many other things you don’t expect are designed to addict you. To grab your attention for subscription revenue, advertising, or engagement metrics. If you find yourself scrolling mindlessly, this is probably why.

Information Overload Isn’t New

Short Summary: There’s more data around us than ever before; we feel overloaded. The volume might be new, but the feeling and our responses are not. Ann Blair, in Too Much To Know, shows us how people dealt with the deluge of information in 16th and 17th century Europe– and the parallels with today are … Read more

How to break a habit

Three lessons from Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit. Habits involve a cue, routine and reward. They let the brain run through a routine without effort – and that can be simple or complex; healthy or unhealthy. Brushing your teeth or pathological gambling. Once a habit is established the spike in brain activity happens before the … Read more

Re-wire your Brain

Livewired, by David Eagleman, likens the neurons in our brains to countries competing for territory. Every time you learn or feel or move or hear, your brain physically changes. 3 lessons: Our neocortex is pluripotent. Blind people recognize tactile motion in their occipital lobes (where you ‘see’). Put on a blindfold, you start to do … Read more

What I really think about habits

Most self-improvement habits are masks; they let you be productive while hiding (and often reinforcing) a deeper problem. Instead, look for places you can make short term but persistent interventions. Fix the problems, then live your life without a schedule. Each problem you fix will compound on top of the rest and transform your life … Read more

Evolution is costly. Adaptation is complex.

Short summary Natural selection for humans has been driven by a world of threats. Most of which have now been eliminated. In The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman studies the insidious feedback loops that progress has set in place. 1- Our expanding brainpower was an evolutionary adaptation allowing us to think and co-operate … Read more

The promise and peril of social media

Short summary In the Hype Machine, Sinan Aral talks through the promise and peril of social media. Three lessons that will hopefully push you to being more intentional in how you use it: 1- Social media is designed to be habitual, to grab your attention and not let go. 2- It amplifies, scales and hypes … Read more

Think about setting aspirations, not goals

Seeing everyone else setting goals for next year, and confused? Try thinking about aspirations instead. Two suggestions: 1- Know what makes you happy, really. It’s not money or material things or skills. If you think it is, keep asking why. 3 most common answers: purpose, close relationships, living a live aligned with a personal ethic. … Read more