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Vatsap? Insights on Apologies, Democracy & Weight-loss!



December 27 · Issue #14 · View online

I love dissecting how the world works. I share some of that through this newsletter.

Sorry about the two weeks gap in sending my newsletter (did you even notice)? Now that I am saying sorry and stuff, let me share that I wrote a short blog this week, answering a simple question- does apologizing really work? What do you think?
In fact I wrote four new blogs since my last newsletter. Before I get into them, belated Christmas wishes.
So two of the four new blogs are part of my Learnings from Human Experiments (LHE) series. The post on whether apologizing works is one. The second LHE post offers the connection between use of metaphors and their effect on neural regions of the brain.
And now some heavier stuff…
Blog 3: Does democracy make it difficult to introduce hard reforms?
By the way, if you read the post on metaphors, you know what happens to your brain when you read ‘hard’. Anyway, so I looked at some solid data around democracy and reforms and the answer is counter-intuitive to what you may think.
Another question - would I put in any more work for my newsletters if I got paid for them?
In this fourth blog, I explore the connection between productivity and financial incentive. I gained these insights from watching few TED talks and reading few economics books. Contrary to intuition, monetary reward may not always make us perform better (in fact there are scenarios where we perform worse when working for money). Don’t take my word for it - just go through the evidence presented in the blog; no rewards for reading it though! :)
It’s pretty difficult for most people to make money from newsletters by the way, as Vivek Kaul aptly explains in his newsletter.
My hopes are not shattered or anything. I am not in it for money anyway (at least not directly). I do what I like to do and just hope that the money thing gets sorted one way or another, inshallah!
What matters more, money or health?
No Enthu Da did a great job summarizing why calorie control doesn’t help much in weight loss. What matters really is regulating the insulin in the body (via food-type / eating habits). His blog post is based on the book The Obesity Code that was part of my perspective-changing book-list that I had collated some time back (I haven’t read the book myself yet, but very inclined to do so now, after reading the blog).
Talking about book-lists, if you are in the mood to check out more recommendations, below is a useful Twitter thread.
Shane Parrish
What was the best book you read in 2020?
By the way, exercising doesn’t help much in weight-loss either, as the below 2016 Vox video explains (just to be clear, exercising is great for good health).
The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight
One person whose great health and fitness level I noticed was Anil Kapoor in the newly released Netflix film - AK vs. AK. It was clear from the trailer that the core idea was super interesting but man, they wrote and executed the whole thing so well too! If Bollywood is your thing, do watch the film - you will have a good time. I had.
If you are a sucker for great photographs, you may like these sweet winter images from Sweden (not sure you can access the link if you don’t have a NYT subscription). And though Himachal is nothing like Sweden, I got reminded of the photographs that I had made in 2015 from Himachal.
Alright, as I wrap up the last newsletter for this year, let me offer a pat on my back - remember over two months ago I had posted my last forecast for expected Covid deaths in India by 2020 end? I crosschecked today - the forecast holds up almost perfectly.
That’s about it. Wish you a happy new year and see you in 2021.
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