Trevor McKendrick - What it's like being poor

Good morning! Thank you to everyone who messaged me wondering where I was. I’m back - for now!

Have a fantastic week.


A Remembrance of my Mother (article)

Emily Oster on her mother, who passed away in June. I follow Emily on Twitter but didn’t know anything about her mom. I’m linking to this because I want to raise the status of “doing intimate, important life things publicly” so that others are so inspired to do so, privately.

It was also a genuinely good read - it sounds like most people would be very lucky to have a relationship with their mom like Emily had with hers.

Asian Excellence is not a myth (article)

Hard to excerpt but I’ll tell you the name of the Substack: Critical Rice Theory

On The Experience of Being Poor-ish, For People Who Aren't

What it’s like when you make < $30,000 per year with a family of four.

He notes that he figured out the best question to figure out just how poor someone ready is: “How many times have they turned off your water?”

From that article he started making more money, and then wrote a follow up: On Being Rich-ish: Lessons I learned becoming suddenly middle-class from which my favorite part is why poor people talk about money all the time but middle class people don’t:

“Middle-class-or-better people don’t like to talk about money, something that always confused me when I was broke. Poor people talk about money constantly; since mine was the more embarrassing situation, why should I be the one who was comfortable if they weren’t? I get it now. You realize you are talking to people who have a problem you can’t solve for them.”

Health insurers just published close to a trillion hospital prices (article)

“On July 1, insurance companies started dumping an absurd amount of data onto the internet. No one appreciates the scale of it.”

Scott Alexander’s Book Review Contest winners (article)

So many books, so little time! Instead: try some fantastic book reviews!

What are you piano scale? (article)

Tyler Cowen & Daniel Gross’s new book Talent talks about interview questions to ask, one of which is “musicians practice scales every day to get better, what’s your version of that for your work?”

I think this is a great question but I never felt like I have a great answer for myself.

The linked article is Dave Mabe asking a bunch of people that question, including Tyler. And to be honest it made me feel much better about myself because I thought most of their answers sucked.

They had to think about it in the moment (meaning the idea of practice had never occurred to them before), some didn’t answer the question at all, some said the job itself was the practice, etc.

Never forget: no one has any of the answers, we’re all making it up as we go along.

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