Friday Finds (Kanye, Breath, Dreams, Beethoven, Speed)


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Hi friends,

Greetings from Austin, and happy New Year!

We’re looking to hire a full-time Director of Course Operations for Write of Passage.

It’s been an exciting year for Write of Passage. The course has now been taken by over 1,000 students in more than 50 countries.

As we move into next year, we’re looking to hire a full-time operations director to systematize and improve every aspect of our course operations. This will include data analytics, backend integrations, financial systems, technical systems, and standard operating procedures, among other areas. We’re looking for someone with experience running operations for a high-growth tech or education-related company.

If that sounds like a fit, you can read the full job description and apply here.

Here's what I want to share this week:

  1. Hugging the X-Axis: We live in a world where people are scared of commitment. Among yuppies in particular, people are switching jobs often and are hesitant to get married. And honestly, why should they commit to things? The world is abundant, and we should try everything, right? The challenge is that a life without commitment is a life without meaning. Without commitment, you'll be stuck hugging the X-Axis. Read my essay here.
  2. Against 3x Speed: We live in the age of binge reading. People listen to podcasts, articles, and audiobooks at 3x speed. But this "speed consumption" strategy is based on a flawed model of learning. Turns out, there's a more effective way to learn.

Today's Finds

Zohar Atkins: One of the best up-and-coming writers on the Internet, with one of the most intriguing resumes you'll find. Zohar is a rabbi based in New York City who holds a PhD in theology from Oxford. If you're looking for something short, start with his Twitter threads on Leo Strauss or Martin Heidegger. If you prefer articles, I recommend this critique of people who are "spiritual but not religious" or this one about Peter Thiel's perspective on the Cain and Abel story.

Breath: The average person will take 670 million breaths in their lifetime. And yet, even if they listen to you breathe, doctors rarely check on their patients' respiratory rate or the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in their bodies. Maybe it's time to change that. Among mammals, humans are uniquely bad at breathing, which partially explains why we're the only ones to routinely have overbites and misaligned jaws. One major issue is that humans increasingly breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. Mouth breathing is the number one cause of cavities — not sugar, bad hygiene, or a poor diet. This book instantly inspired me to change my behavior. To encourage nose breathing, I'm now sleeping with tape over my mouth.

Kanye West's Career: Watching this, I couldn't believe how many stages Kanye's been through. His discography has morphed from the audacity of Through the Wire, to the electronic sounds of 808s and Heartbreak, to Christianity-inspired albums like Jesus is King. Away from the music, he's spoken his mind and generated tons of controversy. This video essay explores how his music and personality have evolved and made him one of the most influential artists alive today.

Einstein’s Dreams: A splendid collection of short stories from the philosopher-physicist Alan Lightman. All of them are about time, relativity, and physics as if they were the dreams of Albert Einstein. My favorite one is about body time vs. mechanical time. Body time is the world of hunger, moods, and circadian rhythms, while mechanical time is the world of clocks and alarms. It'd be fun to swing between these tempos at different times of the year. To help myself enter the calm flow of body time, I’ve deliberately chosen not to put any clocks in my home.

Beethoven’s Genius: Piano meets Guitar Hero. Instead of looking at a bunch of tapping fingers, this video illustrates the wondrous complexity of how to master the piano. Watching it, you can see my Practice Analytically, Perform Intuitively theory in action. There's so much happening that the rational mind can't possibly be in charge. With enough expertise, the intuitive self can take the wheel and perform something beautiful.

Have a creative week,

David Perell Logo 2x

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