Workaholism is useless—Weekly Wisdom 13th July, 2021

Also, the tyranny of beauty and the meaninglessness of goals.

Hello Everyone

Welcome to Weekly Wisdom, your weekly dose of highlights, quotes and notes from my notebook. If you would like to receive this in your inbox, subscribe now.

I have been keeping busy this week despite catching a terrible stomach bug. We reached a new milestone with my startup, MakThis. And I finished my essay on monopolistic actions of Apple.

This week I’d like to share:

  • When did Apple become Microsoft?: The Apple of 2021 is not that much different from the Microsoft of 1999. I make this case, along with the proposition that this is bad for Apple as a business in the long term.
  • A Helpful Guide to Being Right all the time!: Probably the best thing I have ever written. A satire on the misguided notion of infallibility of the self. Everybody believes they are right all time, including myself. I think that is hilarious.

This weeks notes:

The Folly of Goals

Hunter S. Thompson, at the age of 22, had more wisdom than I have at 32. When his friend asked him about what to do with his life, he replied with this gem of a letter. This whole letter is beautiful, but this excerpt resonated with me a lot.

The answer— and, in a sense, the tragedy of life— is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

—Hunter S. Thompson, Letter to Hume Logan

A Tragedy of COVID denialism

I recently came across this tweet. It feels callous to point to man’s death. I am not trying to prove a point. I am just pointing to a tragedy. Hope Brent and his loved ones find peace.

—Ashton Pitman, Tweet

The Failures of Workaholism

In their book Rework, the founders of Basecamp wrote about running a remote only, profitable tech company. One of their counter-intuitive insight is on workaholism. A lot of the work places are still stuck in 19th century, and encourage this type of behavior. However, besides being a burden on the employees’ health, it is a terrible for business.

Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.

—Jason Fried & DH Hansson, Rework

Beautiful People

In this essay on the privilege of beauty, entrepreneur Saeid Fard points out how modern culture tries to deny its existence. The effects, however, permeate throughout our culture, our politics and our society. He uses the example of criminal sentencing to illustrate his point.

This bias for beauty can cause real harm. In a meta analysis of the role of attractiveness in criminal sentencing, it was found that unattractive people received 120–305 percent longer sentences than attractive people. As a comparison, another study found that black people received 6–20 percent longer sentences than white people. Yes, in criminal sentencing, looks were over 10x more important than race.

Saeid Fard, The Greatest Privilege We Never Talk About: Beauty

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

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