My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection. Since 2011, I've spent countless hours reading, reflecting, and writing for my blog to craft these emails. They have remained (and will remain!) free and ad-free, with no hooks, nor guest posts. If what I create improves your life in any way, please support my efforts with a donation of $5/month or $50/year …that's less than $1 for each of these emails.

Below each section, the word "~ Original" is linked if you want to share a specific section. A link to this email as a web page can be found on the previous issues page.


To act on whatever our intentions might be to make the world better requires something more than individual action It requires, in almost every case, people who may have little connection with each other, or who may even be on opposite sides of a question, to decide to come together for some common good.

~ Peter Block

~ Original Tagged Peter Block, Quotes

Seek to learn

Embracing a growth mindset means to get pleasure out of changing for the better (inward rewarding) instead of getting pleasure in being praised (outward rewarding.) […] to seek as many opportunities to learn as possible is the most reliable long-term growth strategy.

~ Sönke Ahrens from, How to Take Smart Notes

Ahrens of course discusses, and gives credit where credit is due, to Carol Dweck’s ideas. (See Dweck’s, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.) Her comment about “reliable long-term growth strategy” struck me as insightful. Her use of, “most reliable,” is an understatement. What other strategy would even be reliable?

If I want to grow, I need to learn. If I want to learn, I need to maximize those opportunities.


~ Original Tagged Experience and learning, Hunh, Sönke Ahrens


When you start to see your world as something more in line as a tool and an obstacle to interact with, play with, you’re going to take that lesson and look at other obstacles in your life. Your relationships, your job, your work, your health even. All these things are going to be so strongly ultimately affected by this tiny little change of yourself and your city.

~ Caitlin Pontrella from,

~ Original Tagged Caitlin Pontrella, Parkour, Quotes

Protein allocation

By definition LC is about dietary carbohydrate restriction. If you are reducing carbohydrates, your proportional intake of protein or fat, or both, will go up. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with a high fat diet, it seems to me that the true advantage of LC may be in how protein is allocated, which appears to contribute to a better body composition.

~ Ned Kock from,

Zoinks! This short article is dense. I read each paragraph. Then slowly reread the paragraph, squinting slightly and turning each sentence over in my mind. It feels like there’s at least one actionable-item, (something to start doing, or something to stop doing,) in every paragraph. I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years trying to learn what I can about all the things in this article. It’s a beautiful assembly that backs up the thesis in the first paragraph, (which is quoted entirely above.)


~ Original Tagged Intermittent Fasting, Ketosis, Ned Kock, Nutrition, Training

The number of days

Wherever your life ends, it is all there. The utility of living consists not in the length of days, but in the use of time; a man may have lived long, and yet lived but a little. Make use of time while it is present with you. It depends upon your will, and not upon the number of days, to have a sufficient length of life.

~ Michel de Montaigne

~ Original Tagged Michel de Montaigne, Perspective, Quotes

Spacing effect

This is where the spacing effect comes in. It’s a wildly useful phenomenon: we are better able to recall information and concepts if we learn them in multiple, spread-out sessions. We can leverage this effect by using spaced repetition to slowly learn almost anything.

~ Farnam Street from,

It’s funny how ideas percolate in the brain. This article and another one, (back on the 29th, which is further down in this weekly email,) passed through my radar within a couple of weeks. (I can tell because my general digital reading pile is a FIFO queue.) They were read a few times, but again in relative closeness in time. And they both ended up making the cut to be blog posts.


~ Original Tagged Experience and learning, Farnam Street

The reward

For the important work, the instructions are always insufficient. For the work we’d like to do, the reward comes from the fact that there is no guarantee, that the path isn’t well lit, that we cannot possibly be sure it’s going to work.

~ Seth Godin from, The Practice

~ Original Tagged Quotes, Seth Godin

Suggestions too

It’s harder to see it when we’re the ones who are complaining so often. And in fact, in my experience most of us are in the habit of complaining, either out loud or to ourselves. Myself included.

~ Leo Babauta from,

I am not a complainer. (I’m not pushing back on Babauta’s post. It’s excellent, as usual.) If you spot me complaining, I’d appreciate being called out. Certainly, there was a time when I complained, but it is not now.

Being a “suggester” correlates with being a complainer. People who complain also suggest. “You should do that this way…” “This would be better with more…” “If I was in charge I would…” Ridding oneself of one of these flaws, will make the other intolerable, which begins the work of ridding oneself of the other.


~ Original


The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.

~ Sigmund Freud

~ Original Tagged Community, Quotes, Sigmund Freud, Society

plantar fascia

Although plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of plantar heel pain, it’s not the only diagnosis. In fact, plantar heel pain that does not respond to conservative treatment is usually not plantar fasciitis.

~ Emily Splichal from,

Sometimes I simply want to share something informative and capture the URL for my later re-finding.


~ Original Tagged Emily Splichal, Feet

Footprints in the sand

When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. […] From all this it may be concluded that thoughts put down on paper are noth- ing more than footprints in the sand: one sees the road the man has taken, but in order to know what he saw on the way, one requires his eyes.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

~ Original Tagged Arthur Schopenhauer, Books, Quotes

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition comes up in discussions of optimal learning. Once one learns something, it’s best to review it after a period of time, then a second review, third, etc.. with the time between the reviews increasing. There are class structures and software packages which implement this. (Randomly over the years I’ve even considered dumping everything I ever wanted to learn into such a system.)

Part of the power of the spacing is that you don’t come to expect when a particular bit of information will be reviewed. “Oh! I need that knowledge, I guess it is important.” It all apparently causes the brain to not allow the knowledge to expire and be lost. I’ve discovered that my regular usage of the slipbox is randomly, (in the sense that I have no sense of what or when to expect to bump into an idea again,) reminding me of things.

For example, I had a slip, “4c2se1j” with an idea for a blog post on it. As I was writing the post, which involved Sönke Ahrens, I flipped to her name in the slipbox to add this slip’s address to things related to her. She’s on the slip at “4c1ae(3)”. (Because “4c1ae” overflowed to a second “4c1ae(2)” and then third slip “4c1ae(3)”.) Next to her name I added “4c2se1j”. Your eyes may have glassed over, but that’s just another random moment in my using the slipbox—nothing particularly interesting there.

While doing that, my eyes flashed across two addresses already on Ahren’s line…

First, “2ho1”. Just four characters, but I instantly recognized the “2” as a book reference, and Ahren’s book is “HOw to take smart notes.” Several of the ideas from the book flashed through my mind.

Second, “4c2ko1a”. That looks gnarly, but “4c2” is themes. “4c2ko” then must be a word with first-letter K, and first-vowel O, and it has to be related to Ahrens? …that’s easy. That would be the slip for “KnOwledge systems”. I don’t know for sure (without looking) what’s on “4c2ko1a” but lots of ideas related to knowledge systems popped into my mind.

Don’t be distracted by my insane, paper-slips in physical-boxes system. There are countless ways to take notes. (Ahrens has a lot of great stuff to say about that, and I’d argue she has The stuff to say about it.) My point here is that by taking notes into a system that is designed to help me think—not tell me how to think—it does in fact help me think and helps me learn and remember.


~ Original Tagged Knowledge systems, Slipbox, Slips, Sönke Ahrens

A gift

I felt like I had a choice, and I had to look and choose. Do I go into nothingness, I give up, I quit, I walk off the cliff ahead of me, I just run off it and scream and that’s it, or do I accept that everything’s been taken away from me, but it was never mine to begin with? We come from dust, and we return to dust. We don’t have anything except what we’re given, and it’s a gift. Life is a gift.

~ Andrew Foster from,

~ Original Tagged Andrew Foster, Perspective, Quotes

Conversation as a spectrum

Communication between two people falls on a spectrum, and that spectrum has more than one dimension. In fact, I imagine it has many dimensions.

Information could be flowing predominantly from person A to B, evenly, or in the other direction; this can be imagined as one dimension of the communication. The tension—antagonism, slight repulsion, a neutral first meeting, mild interest, intimate whispers—can be negative or positive; this can be another dimension. Communication can be durable (recorded, written, notes taken, etc.) or ephemeral; that’s another dimension. It can also vary in the dimension from private to public.

It’s interesting to consider how real scenarios could be characterized using those dimensions. Consider: An interrogation involving torture, an interrogation of a subject with their rights observed, a private investigator seeking to solve a case, a journalist interviewing a war criminal, a journalist interviewing a cultural icon, two friends talking while sharing a meal, single-serving sized friends on a plane (hat tip to Chuck Palahniuk), or lovers sharing pillow talk. The scenarios, like life, are endlessly varied.

All of that is a reductionist analysis; How do I simplify the real scenario to find some principles that are durable across scenarios. That’s useful. But I could also turn my analysis around. While having a conversation, I could consider those principles as a way to guide my efforts to create a certain kind of conversation.

Direction of information flow? …should I be talking more or less? Tension? …is there, should there be, more or less? Durability? Privacy? There are certainly more dimensions, and therefore more principles, than those I’ve listed. And the insight gained from understanding every principle could be evaluated in the context—the right-now in each moment’s context—of every conversation.

What would happen if I continuously, (as often as is possible in a conversation, but also by reflecting on each conversation and planning for the next,) made conscious adjustments? What would happen if I did that over 100, 500, or even 1,000 conversations? Now that’s a good question.


~ Original Tagged Chuck Palahniuk, Thoughts on conversation


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