16 (x4) Books We Read Winter 2018 – Andreessen Horowitz

In case I need to find some interesting titles... I *would* like to read some David Foster Wallace, but for now nothing else that I scanned on the page jumps out at me.

A book note posted on Jan 9th, 2019; link.

Focus on Process rather than Product

The title says it all!

A note posted on Jan 5th, 2019

Note reviews

I power this notes section with an outside service to handle the data, pulling in the feed from that service to build this page.

In the future I would like to store and update the feed in my own place, so to speak; I'm not sure where, or how, yet. The easy answer is a mysql DB on this server, but I'd like to find a harder problem to tackle since I took the easy way WRT the input interface.

Anyways, before all of that I would like to add an interesting feature: having the notes section email me a weekly update of the last week's posts, *and* have it hi-light posts that I have tagged for 'review'. Reviewing my notes is something I don't do consistently, and automating this could help.

(I often tag some notes for reviewing because I want to check back to see if the author was correct, or I want to actually do some research on the note.)

A note posted on Jan 5th, 2019

Thoughts on information

* Facts

* Events

* First principles

* Personal biases and misinformation

* Purposeful misinformation or misdirection, manipulation

The whole Deepfake uptake and social media misdirection has me thinking about what will happen with information in the future. Using mainstream media to manipulate people has been around for ages, using social media to herd the crowd is happening, and with deepfakes individuals can manipulate the messages from other individuals.

What information can we believe to be 'true'? Anyways, wanted to scribble this down here as something in my head can't stop thinking about it.

A note posted on Jan 1st, 2019

The basics

Life is mostly about following the basics.

This was a line from Naval Ravakant in this podcast, and it is something I have seen in many places. Oftentimes just doing the basic work is enough to get great results*.

Take the gym as an example; just working a simple plan like a 5x5 with the compound lifts, and cycling in some downtime to keep yourself fresh is a great way to stay strong and healthy in this regard. But people overcomplicate it like crazy.

I have to admit, in some areas I find it distressing how hard it can be to find the basics amongst all the noise.

* If great is used in a relative sense, that's a bit of a disappointing statement.

(The actual quote is

Life is mostly about applying the basics and only doing the advanced stuff in the things that you truly love and where you understand the basics inside out.
)

A note posted on Dec 26th, 2018

Setting the bar

Denying mediocrity is a deliberate and conscious way of life.

Not to make a correction is to establish a new minimum standard.

Two quotes I picked up tangentially from the CrossFit world. I don't think of this as setting the bar high, instead, simply setting the bar.

A note posted on Dec 23rd, 2018

When Einstein Walked with Gödel

I'm not sure where I came across this book, but I listened to the audiobook this year and have purchased the paper-back to review every once in a while. This is a great dive into parts of math and physics, each chapter a standalone essay. Lots of crossover with other math books I've read, but little details that I didn't know fill in gaps and make the stories all the more interesting. I can see myself keeping this one around to read bits here and there.

A book note posted on Dec 23rd, 2018; link.

I J Good

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an "intelligence explosion", and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.

A note posted on Dec 22nd, 2018

What if we were stateless?

Imagine we were stateless beings; we have no memory of a previous instant. No awareness of our previous states.

We would have no concept of songs, sentences, family. For some reason the idea of music really gets me here. Would songs exist if we couldn't recall the previous note or sequence of notes?

A note posted on Dec 20th, 2018

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

A fascinating dive through the history of everything. I listened to the well narrated audiobook at 1.5x and can see myself hitting up the associated Big History Project website and also listening to this book again.

The big takeaway for me in this book, besides a reminder of the scale of time, was how we are at a point where we have a never before available level of information and understanding available to us. I found it very motivating to learn how to learn, ala spaced learning, using the many tools we have at our disposal: podcasts, books, audiobooks..

A book note posted on Dec 20th, 2018; link.

Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction - Timothy Gowers

I've had this on the shelf for years, and finally getting back into some math this year I felt compelled to read it to jog my memory a bit. It can be read quickly on a nice relaxing weekend and for folks who love math but didn't study it too widely or deeply, it is a fun hop back in.

A book note posted on Dec 20th, 2018; link.

Humans, state, facts and interpretation

Humans are imprecise, biased, state recording beings. We record our state of the world and of ourselves and try and communicate our state and interpretations to others.

Facts are often muddied by imprecision. Interpretations are biased, and suffer from a lack of or poor information.

The illusion of time results from "recording" state and the sequence in which it occurred.

A note posted on Dec 19th, 2018