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#27 How Curious! Japan, Top Podcast Episodes & Goodhart's Law

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Happy November and welcome to the 27th issue of ‘How Curious!’ ✌️ I've had a great winter break recen
 

How Curious!

November 1 · Issue #27 · View online
A short monthly newsletter packed with cool new discoveries and personal recommendations! #Books #Podcasts #Tech #Humour #Psychology #BestOfTheWeb

Happy November and welcome to the 27th issue of ‘How Curious!’ ✌️
I’ve had a great winter break recently, which started with 3 weeks supporting Ireland in the rugby world cup in Japan. It’s been amazing whizzing around the country on bullet trains, visiting temples and soaking up the tournament atmosphere. Japan is amazing. Check out my highlights at the bottom of this newsletter 🇯🇵⛩️🏉
The team’s early exit was a good excuse for a spontaneous island hopping trip in the Philippines. I’m now rounding up the last few days in Hong Kong, including my first trip to Disneyland today! 🇵🇭🇭🇰

Top 3 Quotes
Don’t try to trade your health for wealth then buy your health back - Peter Attia
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well. -  Theodore Roosevelt
To a disciple who was forever complaining about others, the Master said, ‘If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.’ -Anthony de Number Mello
Podcasts
I mostly listen to podcasts whilst commuting, so during my current travels I’ve taken a break. Fear not! Here is my best playlist, which lists my all time favourites. I regularly re-listen to these gems.
Best of all time | Peter Duffy
Books
Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense by Rory Sutherland (8/10)
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari (8/10)
'The Golden Rule' vs. 'The I-Want-Golden-Things Rule'
Currently Reading:
View my digital bookshelf here & full reading list here.
Goodhart's Law - Hilarious Incentive Hacking!
These two extracts from Super Thinking highlight ‘Goodhart’s Law’, that when rewards are based on measurable incentives you are likely to cause unintended and undesirable behaviour:
Internet voting at it's finest!
The Cobra Effect - When an attempted solution making the problem worse
Japan - 'Take it' or 'Leave it'!
I was hoping for a real culture shock in Japan, thankfully it didn’t disappoint. Here is a quick rundown of my top observations.
Take it
  • Onsen - Get naked and scrub yourself clean in these public hot springs.
  • Bullet trains - Super fast and reliable transport between major cities.
  • Polite and welcoming people - Incredible hospitality from everyone.
  • High tech toilets - Self raising toilet seats, washlets spouting water from various angles and ‘Privacy mode’ playing music were amongst the top features.
  • No phone conversations on public transport - This policy should be adopted worldwide!
  • Pocari Sweat - Widely available ionised water. Great for rehydration and hangover cures.
  • Street vending machines - Located on most streets, these sell bottled iced coffee, water and soft drinks.
  • No tip culture - The Japanese refuse to take tips, excellent service is simply expected.
  • Efficient queues - Large crowds well managed by clear floor markings and end-of-queue signs.
  • Shoes off inside - Practical for cleanliness reasons. I think it always encourages a more relaxed and homely feeling.
  • Convenience stores - 7/11, Family Mart & Lawson stores are everywhere! Most have toilets, bins (See 'Leave it’) and huge selections of 'Strong Zero’ (Google it!)
  • Restaurant storage baskets - Small containers to neatly house your possessions whilst you eat.
  • Kintsugi - The tradition of repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold to make the item even more beautiful.
Leave it
  • Single use plastic - Individually wrapped bananas, apples and cake slices. Everything comes with copious amounts of plastic.
  • Combustible trash - The 'combustible’ household bin category in all our Airbnbs doesn’t fill me with confidence for Japan’s recycling efforts!
  • Cold wet napkins - Most meals are accompanied by cold wet napkins, wrapped in plastic of course.
  • No bins - It’s almost impossible to find a bin on the street. Thankfully convenience stores are so common!

Best of the web
As featured in the FT!
View all previous newsletters here and all previous newsletter links here.
Feel free to forward this email to a friend or reach out with feedback and suggestions for the next edition! ✌️
- Peter Duffy
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