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🎁 Valentin's Present - expand comfort, bookstores, unreasonably effective


🎁 Valentin's Present

May 5 · Issue #36 · View online

The best content I've ever found. Mouthwatering concepts, tempting questions, juicy books, delicious songs, exquisite short films, and other surprises.

Hope you’re having a great Sunday.

Provoking Picture
by @visualizevalue on Instagram
by @visualizevalue on Instagram
Mouthwatering Concepts
Free Learning: individualized, hands-on, and free-form learning.
Free learners learn by doing, and use their innate curiosity to ask questions that then drive their learning. Like Free Climbers, Free Divers, Freestylers, but for learning.
A friend made this website this past week which compiled resources, thoughts, and ideas on free-learning, and I thought it was great:
This was her intro post about it:, which includes some cool links and claims like:
“There is an aptitude test that measures creativity by asking people to name use cases for objects such as a paper clip. People who score in the genius category not only come up with many use cases for a paper clip, they also change what it means to be a paper clip: if the paper clip were 9 feet tall, it could hold up a house. 98% of 5 year olds score in the genius category, but by the time those kids are adults, only 2% do.”
I’ve been working on something new that helps spread Free Learning, excited to launch soon.
Excerpt from Vlad Zamfir’s feature on Tim Ferris’ Tribe of Mentors book (a lens for looking at things I found interesting):
Unreasonably Effective Things
Something is unreasonably effective if it seems to be useful outside the scope of its assumptions, outside the scope of the context in/ for which it was developed. Mathematics is unreasonably effective because it applies to lots of fields that have nothing to do with mathematics or the context in which that math is developed. Economics is unreasonably effective because it is useful even though the assumptions made are often obviously false: assumptions like rationality, quadratic utility, efficiency, and prices following Brownian motion. Statistics is unreasonably effective because it seems to be useful even when we make obviously false assumptions, like when we assume that things are normally distributed even when they aren’t. But also because it seems it works well even when we blatantly disrespect best practices (like by changing our methods or hypothesis after observing data, then doing hypothesis tests). Using unreasonably effective theories is very defensible (in my opinion) when we don’t have better strategies. There are lots of ways this can happen, including lack of information, lack of computational power, or lack of compatibility with other ideas, or just out of simple convenience or interest. Absurdism is unreasonably effective because it apparently has very little to do with any setting in particular, but still (I claim) ends up useful in practice in lots of settings.
Tempting Question
What feels like play to you but looks like work to others?
Exquisite Short Film
Last week right after I sent this newsletter, I came across this new video by Max Joseph. It was so good that I shared on my Facebook, and I usually don’t share much there. Been waiting the whole week to send you this video through here:
BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content
It’s an incredible short film about bookstores, how to read more, why to slow down, and how to experience many lives.
Finger-licking Quote
“When you are grateful for what you have, I understand that you understand the magnitude of what I’ve lost.” — Brené Brown
Delicious Music
Great throwback song that doesn’t get old for Sundays: Banana Pancakes.
Share around if you find these gifts valuable or enjoyable.
As always, I’m a reply away.
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