Monday Musings - Monday Musings (The Wisdom of Taste)


Read in your browser here.

Hi friends,

Greetings from Austin!

Man, life is moving fast right now. We’re wrapping up the 8th Write of Passage cohort on Wednesday, and in the past week, we’ve made two full-time employment offers. I have big news to announce on the company front (we’re launching a new product in a new vertical), but I’m going to wait until the summer to share the specifics.

If you’re interested in joining the next Write of Passage cohort in October, click here and I’ll send you details about it.

Here’s what I want to share this week:

  1. Write of Passage Podcast: Speaking of Write of Passage, this is the best introduction to my writing philosophy. It's a series of 4-8 minute podcast episodes and if you're looking for a place to start, I recommend the episode about the Simpsons or the one about imposter syndrome. (Listen here: Apple | Spotify)
  2. Never-Ending Now: The Internet distorts our view of reality because it has such a recency bias. It make us hyper-obsessed with what's trending and what's happened in the past 48 hours, at the expense of timeless ideas in the realm of history and philosophy. That's why we are trapped in a Never-Ending Now.

Coolest Things I Learned This Week

How Toddlers Eat

Last week, I stumbled upon a relatively unknown Twitter account called The Wisdom of Taste. Its thesis is simple: Your body knows what it needs, so when it comes to diet, you should trust your taste buds and eat more of what tastes good.

I’ll talk more about processed food in a second, but let’s start with a study about toddlers who could eat whatever they wanted. They simply ate what tasted good, and the researchers discovered that they were neither too fat nor too thin, and never deficient in any kind of vitamin or mineral.

You’ll find the list of foods the kids could eat below. There was no processed food. Instead, they ate foods like red meat, bone marrow, carbs, fruits, and eggs. Since there was nobody to govern their choices, they could eat as much as they wanted.

— —

Over-Eating

Reading this study makes me think that even though taste buds are intelligent, processed food causes them to malfunction.

First, let’s talk about overeating because “eat less” is such a common dietary prescription. People don’t over-eat on steak. They over-eat on junk food. Thus, the majority of binge-eating problems begin with the kinds of food people put into their mouths in the first place. This is true even for sweets. You can binge-eat Twinkies, but if you eat too much honey, your body will scream at you to stop.

That brings us to processed food. Warren Buffett was once asked about Coca-Cola, and said: “Cola has no taste memory. You can drink one at 9am, 11am, 5pm. You can't do that with cream soda, root beer, orange, grape. You get sick of them after a while. The average person drinks 64 ounces of liquid per day, and you can have all 64 ounces of that be Coke.”

A lack of taste memory is one reason why Coca-Cola is such a profitable business. The recipe is engineered to not come with a taste memory, which is why the drink is so addicting.

Cheetos are similar. According to the food scientist Steven Witherly, they bring so much pleasure because of the way each puff melts in your mouth. The way the food melts in the mouth is known as “vanishing caloric density,” which makes your brain think there are no calories in the food, which is why you can eat them for so long.

— —

When the Natural Becomes Boring

There’s a scary line in an article called The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, where one food scientist who worked for some of America’s biggest food companies: Campbell Soup, General Foods, Kraft and PepsiCo, said: “I’ve optimized soups. I’ve optimized pizzas. I’ve optimized salad dressings and pickles. In this field, I’m a game changer.”

How are the kinds of natural foods that toddlers ate in the original experiment supposed to compete with that?

Companies who don’t optimize will get crushed. A few years ago, I spent a week with a professional food scientist. I asked her: “When it comes to choosing food, what do consumers care about most?”

Her answer was emphatic: “Taste.”

That’s why foods are engineered so heavily to taste good, often at the expense of nutrition. Consider Prego’s Pasta Tomato Sauce. How bad could it be? It’s just tomato sauce, right? Not so fast. The second biggest ingredient, after tomatoes, is sugar. A half-cup of Prego Traditional has as much sugar as two-plus Oreo Cookies — and more than one-third of the daily recommended sodium count for an adult.

We can’t expect average people to be vigilant about reading every nutrition label. They have too many other things going on in their lives. Instead, they do what’s served humans exceptionally well throughout the centuries: trust biology.

But processed food distorts the signals we rightfully used to trust.

— —

Information is Food

How does all this apply to my work with Write of Passage?

Becoming a better writer begins with becoming a better information consumer. Information is a surprisingly good metaphor for food. Deep down, we already know this. When we talk about information, we say things like:

  • I need to digest that idea.
  • She has a thirst for knowledge.
  • He consumes a lot of news.

But like modern supermarkets, the Internet is riddled with information that’s engineered to invert your intuitions and encourage addictive consumption. There are uncanny similarities between the mindlessness of binge-scrolling Instagram and binge-eating junk food. They’ve both been so scientifically engineered that we engage in both against our better nature.

To become a better information consumer, start by asking: Where’s the processed information in my life, and how can I remove it?

The point isn’t that you only need to eat vegetables. The aforementioned toddlers ate steaks and fruits and bone marrow and so many other delicious foods. But you should wean off the hyper-engineered junk food. Do it right, and you’ll be able to trust the wisdom of taste again.

Photo of the Week

Visiting Red Rocks was my #1 bucket list item for 2022, and over the weekend, I knocked it off the list with a pair of concerts on Friday and Saturday.

If you ever get a chance to visit, you gotta go. First, the open-air setting is fantastic. An outdoor concert is so much more enjoyable than a club or stadium, especially when it's lined by two gargantuan rocks. Second, the wide and ascending rows give you space to dance, while the steepness of the slope ensures that you'll never have an obstructed view.

Have a creative week,

David Perell Logo 2x

Key phrases

Older messages

Friday Finds (Singapore, Philosophy, Horses, Diet, Family)

Friday, April 1, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, Greetings from Denver! We'll be releasing the introductory lecture about René Girard sometime in mid-April, and as a subscriber to this newsletter, you'll

Monday Musings (Maslow, Religion, Nietzche, Blurry Images)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, Greetings from Austin! The draft of the Porter Robinson documentary I've been working on for the past year is finally complete. To put the finishing touches

Friday Finds (Commitment, Christianity, Parliament, Human Rights)

Friday, March 25, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, Greetings from Austin! I hosted a team retreat this week and was so exhausted this morning that I pulled a teenage boy move and slept in until 11 am. The good

Monday Musings (Status, Discipline, Community, Bars, Politics)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, Greetings from Austin! I'm hosting a team retreat in town and have no new updates to share, so let's jump right into it. ​ Here's what I want to share

Friday Finds (Girard, Architecture, Malcolm X, MKBHD, Marriage)

Friday, March 18, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, Greetings from Austin! First, some fun news: I passed 300000 followers on Twitter this morning, which is absolutely bonkers. Second, an announcement: I've

Apple Promised Us a Repair Program, Where the Hell Is It?

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Read in Browser Logo for Review Geek April 9, 2022 Let's address a couple of elephants in the room… or uh, newsletter as it were. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I rarely ever curse (as

🗞 What's New: Top newsletter growth strategies

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Also: Cold emailing tips for B2B companies! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

ET: September 14th 2021

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Exploding Topics Presented By: Exploding Topics Pro Hey, Here's this week's list of rapidly trending topics, insights and analysis. Topic #1 Melatonin Gummies Melatonin gummies are a form of “

❓ How he turned $58k into $250k (per year)...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

​ ​ Hey there crew, One of our Cashflow members Brian, and his biz partner just completed their first acquisition. A pool route in Vegas that he bought for $58k. The cool thing is though...using ideas

Tuesday, day#143

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Continuing our streak! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

❓ Cashflow Call in 2 Hours! Today 3pm CST...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

​ ​ ​ Cashflow crew, It's our favorite time of the week! Cashflow call Tuesday! Today, Codie is joining us to discuss: All the businesses she would NOT invest in The current red flags in the market

Google Tags: SEO Cheat Sheet for 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Get a full control over Googlebot with tags, directives, and attributes Hi Reader, Want to get more control of how Google crawls your pages and presents them in search results? Make sure you're

Now I Know: And He Couldn't Use the Discount Anyway

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The plan was malicious, but the error stupid View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Not sure I like the title for this one, but what can ya do. -- Dan And He Couldn't Use

[TWR] Where'd You Go, Elisa Doucette?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

4 minutes ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Allow The Ideas To Come To You

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Your weekly 5-minute read with timeless ideas on art and creativity intersecting with business and life͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌

Apple Podcasts updates

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Apple makes life easier for creators and listeners, while Cleanvoice tests your show for ums, ers and hesitations 2.5 mins to read · Your daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand, with 22950

Hot for Teaching

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Thinking of launching a virtual course? Here's what you need to know. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

[You’re Invited] How to create your workforce of the future

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Hello Historically, L&D teams have mapped out skills needs on a time horizon of 3-5 years. Today, that just doesn't cut it. Now, the optimal mix of skills and capabilities changes every 6-12