Musty's Newsletter

By Mustafa Sultan

Thoughts on healthcare, human optimisation and productivity. A little taste of what I'm thinking and reading about.

Thoughts on healthcare, human optimisation and productivity. A little taste of what I'm thinking and reading about.

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Algorithms, for life

Learning how to do this stuff in real life is way harder. But I think you can pick up a lot of interesting algorithms by intentionally working with, or reading about smart people in different arenas. With months until I ejector seat out of clinical medicine —…


Healthcare is a 1 star experience

In my NHS career, I can count on my hand the number of times I think a patient has had a good experience. Think I'm being dramatic?Singapore spend 2% of their GDP on healthcare (the UK spend 12% and the US spend 20%).There are five ward classes: A, B1, B2+, B…


Performing vs Being Real

Csikszentmihalyi describes high-performers as often being in flow states—When you’re giving your fullest attention to an activity or task that you are incredibly passionate about, singularly focused on, and totally immersed in, you may find yourself creating …


TikTok Psychopath Test

ExplainThisPaper was incepted and happened because of this newsletter back in May 2020.We've received some $$$ to try and evaluate if short, plain English, emoji-filled summaries of medical papers actually work...You'll basically get access to two bits of med…


Transmissionism, Mastery and Rainman Memory 🧠

I recently shared my favourite article of the year: The Myth of the Well Read Person. In summary, with 25–40 hours of reading — you can reach top-centile knowledge on a topic.A few days later, I grabbed a coffee with a friend and we talked about Factfulness b…


How to Identify Winners

This seems to my first intuition. Find the smartest people possible. They'll be winners.But then you meet smart people who aren't winners. If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? Why Aren't You Rich?Then the biggest mindfuck happens: You meet idiots who are…


Big Picture Vibe-Shift ⚡️

Friends see through you. One friend used to think I was deep and say clever things. Then he listened to the Naval Podcast (which I rate as the most valuable bit of content ever made by a human)."Now I know where you get all your ideas from".Another shot throu…


A Young British Aristocrat

A favour request — please if you haven't already, leave a star rating for Big Picture Medicine on Apple.


The Hero License

Consider the Bohr family—Niels Bohr developed the modern understanding of the atom, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. His father, Christian Bohr, discovered the Bohr effect in hematology. His brother, Harald Bohr, was both a great mathematician in …


Tracking Every Minute I Waste

An interesting approach is to calculate a rough hourly rate for your free time. Then keep this in mind when choosing how to spend it.This is an excerpt from the Naval Podcast — the most valuable bit of content I've consumed.No one is going to value you more t…


The Case for Being a Workaholic

I think a very good entrepreneur, academic, surgeon, lawyer, engineer or writer is just as impressive as any athlete — and similar work ethics should be applauded, not seen as pathologic.This is quite a common Twitter debate—


Scared Straight

I spend a lot of time trying to persuade people to do things. 'People' is usually me. Pick up a good habit, drop a bad one.Behavioural science is super interesting. The government even has its own Nudge Unit — dedicated to using behaviour science in public po…


Living to 150

If we cured all cancers, by how much would we extend the average American's lifespan?Answer: 3 years (Science, 1990).In fact, research into centenarians (individuals who have lived to 100+) shows that they get all the same problems the rest of us get (cancer,…


Why a Truck Driver from Lancashire is More Interesting Than Me

I've become obsessed with this idea of storytelling and narratives. Take the recent 10 Downing Street parties during lockdown scandal.I have no idea what will happen to the PM. But fundamentally, I think, it will depend on if he can continue his narrative.Thi…


Why I'm Leaving Medicine

It's really weird being treated like a child at 25. I was watching White Tiger; a film about a servant who becomes a successful entrepreneur in India's Silicon Valley.The way Balram (the hero) waited for his master hand and foot felt quite familiar to the F1-…


The Neuroscience of Hunger

Just like a house has a thermostat, the body has a lipostat. This is the body's fat-regulating system. Just like a house thermostat adjusts heating/cooling to set the temperature, the lipostat adjusts conscious and unconscious behaviour to regulate fat gain/l…


The Hyperoptimisation Paradox 🤖

On my podcast, not only can I see how many people have listened, but I can go even more granular and see how many people listened to the full episode and where people dropped off.


Deathbed DMT Wisdom

There's this really famous book everyone's heard of (directly or indirectly)—Working in palliative care, Bronnie Ware spoke to people who were dying; asking about their regrets. #2 on this list is:"I wish I hadn’t worked so hard."This is then roughly translat…



We’ve had lots of exciting developments with ExplainThisPaper that I’ll be telling you about soon.I honestly think it’s going to blow up. But there’s a problem–Monetisation.My worst nightmare is becoming a MedEd resource. Medics hate paying for things, but lo…


Pseudonymous AirPods 🎭

In religious texts, there's the whole concept of true names. Basically, that someone knowing your name gives them power over you.In Jewish tradition, when several children have died in a family the next that is born has no name given to it, but is referred to…