Philip Seymour Hoffman, addiction, and being “all in” 

Even though I’d spent the five years since moving to New York designing costumes for Off-Broadway plays and had just been hired by Saturday Night Live, I was nervous, because I was in awe of his talent. I’d seen him in Boogie Nights and Happiness, and he blew me out of the water with his willingness to make himself so vulnerable and to play fucked-up characters with such honesty and heart.

There is way too much tragedy bound up in genius. My theory about this is that a genius has no off switch. They are always on another level, and this is not sustainable. I suspect drugs approximate an off switch and that is why so many artists struggle with addiction.

Facts about uh and um - Marginal REVOLUTION 

There is more to saying “uh” and “um” than you think. To be fair, most of you probably never think about these conversational mitigations at all, so that’s not saying much.

My favorite bit is that an “uh” causes no excess delay, and the actual delay is only due to “processing problems.”

I find myself having processing problems on a continual basis. Now I know my brain’s pinwheeling has a sound.

When the Revolution Came for Amy Cuddy 

“People were sending me emails like I was dying of cancer,” Cuddy says. “It was like, ‘We send our condolences,’ ‘Holy crap, this is terrible’ and ‘God bless you; we wish we could do something, but obviously we can’t.’ ” She also knew what was coming, a series of events that did, in fact, transpire over time: subsequent scrutiny of other studies she had published, insulting commentary about her work on the field’s Facebook groups, disdainful headlines about the flimsiness of her research.

Very interesting (if long) article that discusses behavioral psychology, the replication crisis, and sexism. There’s a zero percent chance a white male scientist in the same situation with the same background would have been treated the same way as Amy Cuddy was. These themes warrant a longer post, but I’ll have to save further exploration for another day.

The top 25 films of 2017 

Nothing makes me want to quit my job and just watch movies all day than David Ehrlich’s annual video countdowns of the year’s best movies.

I’m with Jason. Erlich’s video is a work of art in its own right. I am super-out of touch with the film world,1 but I am still embarrassed to have only heard of 5½ of the 25. I have seen precisely zero of them.2


  1. I think this means serious movies. Ones involving auteurs, probably. 

  2. I’ve seen six movies this year, I think. All were either superhero or kids’ movies. The former watched while traveling, and the latter (appropriately) with my children.  

Correctives | Dan John 

Safety is part of performance. Over time, putting a weight correctly back on the ground is going to do more for your back health than all of the correctives I can teach you after you haphazardly lower the load and hurt your lower back.1

Charlie Munger famously2 said, “It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

I’m okay just being a little less-dumb today.


  1. Mobility work (or correctives) has taken over much of the online fitness mindspace, but it feels like a fad to me. 

  2. Famously in the circles I read in, at least. You may have a more well-adjusted mental life. 

Good Habits

I’ve been leisurely reading Tribe of Mentors, and I wonder about its applicability. I consider a book worth it1 if I get a single idea from it,2 so its not that value I wonder about. I wonder whether copying a single good habit or thought technology will even increase the likelihood of a reader’s own success.

I am on record as one who attributes a lot of life’s happenings to chance3, so these successful people are really just lucky people. Sure, they have worked hard, made good decisions, and are smart, but many unsuccessful people have worked hard, made good decisions, and are smart.

The common nerd-response to this kind of thin is to yell out selection bias4, but I’ve been wondering about a different aspect of the problem. How many of these successful people developed their good habits and deep introspection after they achieved success. Even if we asked them this very question, we wouldn’t be able to trust the answer completely.

The past sometimes changes.


  1. It being the time and money invested in the reading. 

  2. Everything is an input to my adjacent possible

  3. As a believer in God, chance in my head is bound up with—perhaps equal to—God’s will. The point is stuff happens, and we effectively have no control over what stuff happens to us. 

  4. In this case, the selection bias is that Tim Ferriss hasn’t written a book about middle managers who work at the local dog-food factory somewhere in the Midwest US. Middle managers who may have some of the same habits, favorite books, or billboard ideas. 

Audible Half-off Sale 

Audible is having a half-off sale1 for members. I bought 10 more books.


  1. This points to Amazon, so I could make it an affiliate link. I want your pennies. The sale is site-wide, however, so you can easily navigate right to audible.com if you want to thwart my capitalist machinations. 

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