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#5 How Curious! Brain training, conspiracies and news avoidance


How Curious!

April 1 · Issue #5 · View online

A short monthly newsletter packed with awesome new discoveries and personal recommendations! #Books #Podcasts #Tech #Humour #Psychology #BestOfTheWeb

Happy April and welcome to the 5th issue of ‘How Curious!‘ 🍫🐰
This edition contains my top recommendations from the past two weeks along with a bite-sized explanation of an unconventional approach to reduce my exposure to the negative media which pervades our lives. ✌️

Quotes I'm pondering
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. - Oscar Wilde
Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. 
It’s not how well you play the game, it’s deciding what game you want to play. - Kwame Appiah
Cool Tech
Elevate - Brain training mobile app
Gmail 'Undo Send' - Recall sent emails
99% Invisible - 298 - Fordlândia
Hidden Brain - Think Fast with Daniel Kahneman
Book Recommendations
Ryan Holiday’s Conspiracy (8/10) gives a fantastic insight into billionaire Peter Thiel’s 10-year stealth campaign to bring down Gawker Media. The book outlines Gawker writers treatment of journalism like a game, where scandalous articles and pages views were the ultimate prizes. The ethics of Thiel using his wealth to shutter a business that slighted him are examined in a fair and balanced coverage of the dramatic lawsuit.
Gawker writers learned to switch off their empathy for others.
Gawker writers learned to switch off their empathy for others.
Trust me I’m Lying (9/10) is another superb book from Ryan Holiday which unpicks the media system designed to trick and steal every second of the most precious resource in the world—people’s time. This absolute must-read will transform your view of the media.
View my full 2018 reading list.
News avoidance - The information light diet!
Almost three years ago whilst working in an office which had Sky News rolling 24/7 on large TV screens I came to a simple yet important realisation: 
  1. The vast majority of news coverage is negative 
  2. I never have any influence over the news events unfolding
  3. Being aware of current affairs is rarely beneficial
Since those realisations, I stopped watching and listening to any news and I don’t read any newspapers (with the exception of the odd Sunday paper!). I now focus on what I hope will be lasting knowledge from books and podcasts rather than ephemeral information from TV bulletins, newspapers and news websites which has no bearing on my life.
The media’s focus on negative messages gives us a very distorted view of the world and one that our minds start believing. Media outlets are more in the business of competing for your attention than giving you a balanced picture of the world. They fundamentally care about page views and advertising money. As a result, you likely perceive murder rates, terrorist attacks, and other negative events to occur far more frequently than they actually do!
Do I worry that I’ll miss important information? No. I’ve found that anything truly significant; weather warnings, referendums, and elections etc. are discussed so incessantly that they will cross my radar. Do I feel out of the loop and uninformed? Again the answer is no. It’s actually quite refreshing to ask informed friends to give me a 60 second summary of any notable trending topics.
I highly recommend trying the information light diet for a week and observe the delights of a world free of negative headlines!
The Tail End. < 10% of in-person parent time remains
No matter what your age, you may, without realizing it, be enjoying the very last chapter of the relationships that matter most to you. This striking blog post from Tim Urban discusses how little in-person parent time we may have left and how we can make it count.
Best of Twitter
Some thoughts in this newsletter are a little offbeat so views to the contrary are of course more than welcome!
All previous newsletters can be viewed here. Please feel free to forward this email to a friend. ✌️
- Peter Duffy
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