Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Problem With Stories: A Short Story

Person X, after overcoming a big challenge (getting rich, finding love, fighting depression, you name it), feels compelled to tell everyone how the problem was solved.

Person Y, struggling with named challenge, bumps into Person X’s account of how to go about it, and dives into the story.

Problem: X and Y, though having faced similar challenges, have, in most cases, different backgrounds, live in different contexts, and are subject to different random events.

Discussion: We are hardwired to like stories, and that was arguably a good thing when human tribes had at most a few hundred people. But in the world of big urban centers with millions, personal stories are usually mere single samples in a statistical distribution of very high variance.

The School of Life

I cannot recommend Alain de Botton‘s The School of Life‚Äč enough. I know of no other thinkers who approach and understand the wide range of pains of the modern world as profoundly, yet keeping a sober optimism about the future.

This is a fine example of their work, a short video essay on the dark side of meritocracy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTDGdKaMDhQ

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7IcJI8PUf5Z3zKxnZvTBog

Text essays: http://www.thebookoflife.org

Online Resources

Curation seems to be a thing of the current online zeitgeist. In this spirit, here I list 5 of my favorite online locations, 3 of which are relatively unknown.

News: BBC. Comprehensive, general, and free.

Social network: Twitter. It might not ‘get’ business as Facebook does, but it’s more conductive and nurturing to highbrow content.

How to live: The Book of Life and The School of Life. A great project by philosopher Alain de Botton.

The business of technology: Stratechery. A unique perspective on what makes the technology world move, by Ben Thompson.

History: Hardcore History. An incredibly engaging podcast by self-declared ‘amateur’ historian Dan Carlin.