FTWW #5: The Expert Squeeze, life lessons and benefits of fasting

To all my intellectually curious friends, here are a few things that I’ve come across that I think you will enjoy immensely. A little bit of something for everyone.

I front loaded my thoughts in this one. So for those who wonder, here goes.


[EXPERTS] The Expert Squeeze — As networks harness the wisdom of crowds, the ability of experts to add value in their predictions is steadily declining.

However, when we think about utilizing computers as part of the decision-making process, human nature kicks in. We fear giving away control of our decisions. We fear the potential that the people in white lab coats or pinstripe suits we turn to for “expertise” will be made obsolete by the collectives and computer models.

In evaluating soldiers for officer training in the IDF, Prof. Daniel Kahneman documented the illusion of validity. The selection process was flawed by informal interviews informed by severe cognitive bias. It was challenging to fix, but systematizing the process with the concept of an “Apgar score” improved efficacy, but removed subjective control — scary ramifications.

Can we apply this elsewhere in our lives? How about college admissions? This is on the edge of falling into a discourse on AI, but think about it. Understand how flawed our ability to forecast is.

Michael Mauboussin wrote a wonderful paper called IQ versus RQ: Differentiating Smarts from Decision-Making Skills. Take the test to see how well calibrated your decisions are relative to your confidence in those decisions — measuring rationality.

As we move into the era of Big Data, are hunches still relevant? Perhaps in some cases, but the problem with hunches is not that they are based on preconceived ideas, but that those ideas are little more than bundles of secondhand prejudices, insufficiently reflected on or tested.


[HEALTH] Your Brain Health — In Defense of Fasting & Sleep. I’ve been on a “Quantified Self” kick.

Stress Makes Your Brain Stronger: Try Fasting. Fantastic and extremely comprehensive TED talk by Mark Mattson, who is a scientist at the National Institute of Aging and a professor at Johns Hopkins Medical who is also has been a practitioner of caloric restriction and intermittent fasting.

The Work We Do While We Sleep. For a long time, sleep’s apparent uselessness amused even the scientists who studied it. The Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold has recalled his former collaborator J. Allan Hobson joking that the only known function of sleep was to cure sleepiness. Read more: Can big data help you get a good night’s sleep?

Kind of a “duh,” but still: Exercise Gets the Brain in Shape.

Is drunk sleep less restful than sober sleep? How much so? Why or why not? The data is the more interesting aspect, not the answer.


[LIFE] Byron Wien life lessons: formative experiences shape risk tolerance.

“Never retire. If you work forever, you can live forever.”

Advice for ambitious 19 year olds by Sam Altman — wish I had this at 19.

How to Earn Your Freedom (PODCAST) by Tim Ferris. Sounds cheesy, but well worth the listen. I contest some of the points based on lifestyle/long-term career decisions, but would love to hear your thoughts.

And remember! You are unique — just like everyone else. Perception vs. Reality.


[VIDEO] overWORKED to Suicide in Japan — A peak into the challenging psychology of the Japanese work environment.

My first and most favorite TED talk of all time: Simon Sinek — How great leaders inspire action


[MISC.] Random nerd things

Divide the number 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,998,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 into 1 and express the result as a decimal expansion, and you’ll find the Fibonacci sequence presented in tidy 24-digit strings

Patterns in prime numbers.

Really cool search for startup jobs globally.

Enjoy!