I absolutely love this GIF. (Gif with a hard G. Fight me!) Moriarty is such a fantastic villain, too. Absolute man-crush! Ugh!!
Did I take a break to send this? Maybe? 👀
Today I come to you with some self propaganda. Share that I am still alive and have done some things. After all, I have to flex my marketing muscle from time to time. Otherwise, you forget I exist. We wouldn't want that, would we?
I've switched the schedule slightly and am sending out two emails per week. We'll try that for a month to see if it's both sustainable – as in, can I publish this much, consistently without interruptions – and if it makes for a better product. More emails lead to shorter delays between when a piece of news happens and when I write about it. And shorter emails, too, as I can split them into two.
Subscribe here if you haven't done so already.
On the reading front: This month has been slow, and I have yet to finish a book. My motivation is non-existent, and I can't get myself to read.
Though, March has been better, as you can see from my latest Tsundoku. Here is the list:
Also, a small reminder. I publish my reviews on GoodReads, too!
And finally, I'm on a podcast. Yeah, I don't know either why anyone would want me as a guest, but Greg Morris did. And so we had a chat for his "And You Are". We talk about philosophy, tech, work, and many subjects.
I had an absolute blast talking to Greg and hope to be on his show again. He is such a good host!
P.S.: Invite me to your podcast.
P.P.S.: I need to take a new profile picture. I don't even have long hair anymore!
That's it. I have nothing else to say. Bye-bye, have a great Easter weekend.
Why are you still reading? Go away!
I said that's it. There's nothing else to see.
You're still here?! Wait, you want more?
Ok, ok. Here is another Moriarty gif!
And just for good measure, this is what he looks like in a crown!
Hello, good morning, happy New Year. I am clio, and this is a Letter of Clio, a weekly newsletter about... stuff!
The holiday breaks were refreshing. Both to my mind and my body. That's what soaking in a jacuzzi 24/7 does to you, it seems. (If I have awakened something in you, I'm sorry and... you are welcome? But no, I don't have an OnlyFans. I'll ping you if (when?) I'll create one.)
As promised in last week's letter, I have not touched my phone during my stay abroad (except twice to wish my family Merry Christmas — I am not a monster—and a friend happy birthday).
It has been surprisingly easy to go offline, which I believe came with the place. We were at a wellness hotel, staying at one of a couple of swimming pools for most of the day. That's not a place to bring a smartphone, though I had the Kindle on me all the time. And oh, did I read — five books in four days. I inhaled books. Finished one, breathed in, started the next. My mind was on reading overdrive. And despite how tedious it might sound, it calmed me down. This might be that famous "active rest" everyone talks about. Here is what I read, by the way.
I also had a lot of time to think. When you feed your mind good stuff, it tends to spit out good stuff. I experienced a few epiphanies, some personally, some on a professional level. For example, I have figured out where I want to take this blog. Finally. It only took me a few years:
I much rather want this blog to be some public notepad, where I share what I have learned by reading, observing the world, talking to people, and thinking in silence.
I try to live a more or less good life while I can, and everything I learn follows that goal. This is why I care about philosophy, technology, science, human psychology, neuroscience, behavioural science, etc.
So, to summarize in a sentence what my blog will be about:
„Essays on being human with a pinch of philosophy and a dab of science.“
Don't worry, I can't take myself seriously, so I hope my writing never becomes too — for the lack of a better term — stick up its ass.
And now to the link section:
What passed my radar
I am sorry, but we have to go down the web3 rabbit hole again. Don't hit the unsubscribe button yet!
We can all agree that there are legitimately cool things about “Web3”. And some things will undoubtedly be transformative in some industries, in certain ways. But if I had to guess the way this all plays out — which is what I do here on the internet — I would guess that all of this is not nearly as transformative as the hype might suggest.
I am still trying to understand the web3 discussion fully and feel I slowly know what I have to know. And the gist is: this will introduce a bunch of cool things on top of the cool things we already have. Though, I don't believe it will change "everything" in a meaningful way. Also, and this is a personal belief, it won't be long until centralization takes its reign in this world. Hell, even O'Reilly says so:
I love the idealism of the Web3 vision, but we’ve been there before. During my career, we have gone through several cycles of decentralization and recentralization. The personal computer decentralized computing by providing a commodity PC architecture that anyone could build and that no one controlled. But Microsoft figured out how to recentralize the industry around a proprietary operating system. Open source software, the internet, and the World Wide Web broke the stranglehold of proprietary software with free software and open protocols, but within a few decades, Google, Amazon, and others had built huge new monopolies founded on big data.
Unfortunately, we can't talk about all this without talking about politics. But before you grab your pitchforks and hunt me down (no matter which side you are on, I have pissed on everyone's leg), bear me with for a second: I don't know yet on which side of the crypto-craze I stand. And I don't think I want to take a stance, to begin with. The whole discussion around web3, the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies is so utterly polarized that there is no more grey area, only very deep blacks and very white whites.
But this isn't how life works (well, except on the comment section of the internet). Life takes place in the grey area. When, in the real world, do you see things as being genuinely one-coloured? Whenever I feel life is black/white, it's either my lack of knowledge on a subject or my tainted view of things. I am the one ignoring the grey.
My belief, stolen from Buddhism, is: The middle way is the right way.
And this will probably be what view I will adopt regarding web3. Where there is smoke, there is fire: Refuting all this because of a few morons crypto-bros is an unwise choice. You risk ending up pushing something away that could be revolutionary. But buying (literally, using your money) into the hype without as much as a grain of scepticism is dangerous. That's a tulip mania.
So my (hopefully) final conclusion regarding my foray into the web3, blockchain and crypto:
There are a bunch of cool things being created right now
There are a lot of jerks on either side of the discussion
I have still no clue what most of it means
It's very early days and still needs a lot of work (read energy consumption, absolute shitty UX)
The bubble probably has to burst for the bad stuff to die and the cool stuff to remain
Good morning, welcome from... my old apartment. We haven't moved, and we haven't even gotten the keys yet. The delivery has been postponed to Monday.
This isn't a big issue as we didn't start packing this weekend after all, unlike what I said in the last newsletter. Oops! If you know me personally, this won't surprise you. (Hi, mom!) I could very well just be named Lord Clio, Protector of Procrastination, First of His Name.
Oh, and one more thing before we start: I published the essay of this week's Letters on the blog, but to see the whole content, you have to sign up. If you read this through email, no worries, you are all set.
And thanks to Greg for helping me fix a stupid issue in my theme files. You're a genius.
Now to this week's essay!
I have been dabbling my toes into investing recently. I've mostly been writing my own set of investing rules and game-plan for next year. How much money do I want to invest, the split between long-term and short-term, do I want to touch crypto, etc.
What I've realised while doing this is that most of these things aren't that complicated. All you need is a set of rational rules, maybe some automation and then stop thinking about it.
Unfortunately, humans are neither rational nor very good at simplifying their lives. We seem to like complicated. The more extraordinary the method, the more we believe it's the correct option. While in reality, it's probably the opposite. Occam's Razor exists for a reason.
I see this in more than just investing. Life, in general, doesn't need complicated hacks to be decent.
Take health, for example. We follow all these crazy diets, take all these supplements (yours truly included), invent all these exercise regimens, and generally follow every new trend created by a celebrity.
And yet, as soon as you dig deeper, read up on some science, you realise the basics are all always the same:
Hydrate (with water)
Eat not too much, but primarily vegetables
Exercise regularly, preferably in the sun
Do things you love for the sake of doing them
See friends and family
Unfortunately, to quote Oliver, these things are simple but not easy. And they are boring. We dislike boring. We are not wired that way.
So, we overcomplicate stuff. We try to find exciting methods because they seem to motivate us in the short term. But because this shit's complicated, we mess up, then stop doing it to the surprise of no one but ourselves.
I suffer from this myself: what is the best supplement for longevity, what new tool makes me work smarter, what's the latest news in meditation, is there an app that makes me a better writer?
There is always an answer. There is always one more thing. And so, I catch myself spending more time trying to optimise something than following the basics – more time researching doing the thing.
And yet, that's all it needs. Good, balanced basics, followed regularly.