Mr. Money Mustache, UBER Driver | Mr. Money Mustache 

Maybe people really are that  uninformed about the cost of driving. As my friend Bill said when we talked about this:

“Imagine developing a company specifically to take advantage of people’s ignorance of how expensive it really is to drive their own car. What would this company look like? “

(the answer is of course that it would look like very much like Uber or any other ridesharing company)

To know for sure, Mr. Money Mustache went undercover in September 2016 as a driver for both Uber and Lyft.

This gives me a different reason to dislike these companies (although I dislike one company much more than the other).


I was angry for a long time. The way young men are. Like blood in a film, I knew that the anger was unreal, but it still made queasy. I remained angry. The way slightly older young men are. I couldn’t find a way out of that anger.

My anger was a cage and the cage had no door.

Fortunately, a hidden door was discovered later. Great Thanksgiving post.

The da Vinci Pause 

Cal Newport has a concept of highly focused effort he calls Deep Work. My big takeaway from this book is that the ability to gig in and work is rapidly becoming a superpower in an increasingly distracted workplace and world. There is a modern assumption that distraction is a contemporary problem, but the human mind wanders naturally and surely always has.

Even a creative genius like Leonardo da Vinci had this tendency. Walter Isaacson knows this better than most, after spending several years studying da Vinci’s notebooks, whose 7,000 pages reveal a mind often battling distraction. He clearly produced great work in spite of this, and Isaacson says it was his ability topause, “put things aside, and look at very ordinary things and marvel at them” that made all the difference.

It’s this active decision to focus deeply that produces real work. Newport puts it perfectly in his conclusion:

Technologies like the internet provide everyone the raw material to become a renaissance person, but to take advantage of this reality it helps to cultivate da Vinci’s ability to pause when something catches your attention, and to then give it the intense, deep concentration needed to transform a fleeting spark into something more substantial.

Gentle Reminder | Lost Art Press 

In 2015, I closed my public email address to preserve my sanity, though some would question whether I succeeded in my goal.

Lately, a lot of people have attempted to seek advice, feedback or whatever…

Please don’t waste your breath, your fingers or your 1s and 0s. These messages are all simply deleted.

I know deleting them might seem rude. And some of you have told us how rude you think it is in long rants… which get deleted.

Chris Schwarz is a wonderful woodworking and teacher who has devoted his recent career to the previously-fading skill of working wood with hand tools. He realized (probably belatedly, as these things go) that he was spending more time at the computer than in the shop.


I was importing some feeds when I came across this link from my old gif Tumblr. Quitting Twitter was on my mind longer than I remembered.

Ants Among Elephants 

I like conversations like Tyler Cowen’s with Sujatha Gidla.

Sujatha Gidla was an untouchable in India, but moved to the United States at the age of 26 and is now the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York City Subway. In her memoir Ants Among Elephants, she explores the antiquities of her mother, her uncles, and other members of her family against modern India’s landscape. Through this book she redeemed the value of her family’s memories, understanding her family’s stories were not those of shame, but did reveal to the world the truth of India and its caste system.

It is an empathy input for me, but I also liked it because I kinda disliked Ms. Gidla. This is mostly due to her strident Marxism,1 but too often, we want our social critics to reform while also considering our2 feelings.

This is an oversimplification, but one reason Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is elevated over Malcolm X in the modern mind is how comfortable we are with their methods of protest. Dr. King was a peaceful man of the cloth, and Malcolm X was…more complicated. Malcom X makes us3 uncomfortable, but he has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history for good reason. The simplified view of Dr. King’s movement is too often caricatured in a different way, and I highly recommend this podcast about the Deacons for Defense and Justice for a different perspective.

Returning to Sujatha Gidla, I’ve added her book Ants Among Elephants to my short list. I expect to learn and be uncomfortable while I read it.

  1. She uses the term as a worldview, and unsurprisingly looks at problems and sees them arising out of class differences. As she explains, “Marxism looks at the world in terms of class, like feminists looks at the world as men and women, and religious people look at the world as Christians and non-Christians, and Marxists look at people as workers and capitalists.” 

  2. The “our” here is whatever majority is on the other side of this type of conversation. 

  3. “Us” in the same context of “our” from earlier. 

Personal Style on Trial 

“She seemed nervous. The outfit was interesting,” the staffer noted. According to the fashion editor — who omitted Jones’ admirable literary accomplishments from conversation — the incoming editor wore a navy shiftdress strewn with zippers, a garment deemed as “iffy” at best.

Jones’ choice of hosiery proved most offensive, according to the editor. For the occasion, Jones had chosen a pair of tights — not in a neutral black or gray as is common in the halls of Vogue — but rather a pair covered with illustrated, cartoon foxes.

The animal caricatures may have also been too much for Vogue editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, who is said to have fixed one of her trademark stoic glares upon Jones’ hosiery throughout the duration of the staff meeting.

Unnerved by Jones’ choice of legwear — and Wintour’s reaction — the fashion editor proclaimed to her friends: “I’m not sure if I should include a new pair of tights in her welcome basket.”

This is your periodic reminder how much harder it is for women to be leaders in business. It’s bad enough this happens at all, but it was also reported on as news.

To be clear, Ms. Jones is eminently qualified. She is a graduate of Harvard, with a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia. She was an editor at Time magazine, managing editor of The Paris Review, and most recently was the editorial director of the books department at The New York Times. There’s no way a man this qualified would be called nervous or judged sartorially.

Seth Fix 

And improving your work is a hundred times easier than getting a guarantee that your work will be fine. So, do bad work. Do it often, do it generously, and then work to improve it. That’s how you learned how to walk. It’s how you learned how to talk. It’s how you learn how to do everything that matters to you. But now suddenly you’re waiting for a guarantee. It doesn’t work that way. It’s so easy now to blog every day. So easy now to put up a video. So easy now to put your work into the world. And if you’re willing to do it poorly, then you could probably learn how to do it better.

Seth Godin is very well known, but I bet at least a few of you aren’t very familiar with him. Having a listen to his recent interview on the Simplify podcast1 is a good way to fix that.

  1. If you follow this link, be advised, Blinkist does all the popular internet-business tricks like newsletter popups and javascript clipboard injections. Makes me feel better about my Amazon affiliate links, at least. 


They’re an exclusive group: According to Marco Arment, creator of the Overcast podcast app, only around 1% of Overcast listeners use speeds of 2x or higher.

Y’all need to get with the program, 2.3x is now my default, but ease into it. 1.2x sounds essentially normal. When it sounds completely normal, bump it up to 1.4x. Keep going till you can’t.

Unless you are a very slow reader, 1x audio is slower than you read, so your brain is accustomed to information coming in quicker. When it doesn’t, and interest levels begin to wane, our minds begin to wander. Clarifying my point, this is not akin to skimming a page. My comprehension of the material is better  at increased listening speeds.

Speeding things up helps maintain focus, and I love being able to increase the amount of information I can cram into my head. More inputs please.

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