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What happened to our American institutions?

Why do so many people today feel pain and fear around the degradation of our sacred democracy? We can place a considerable amount of blame on our decaying institutions.

We can define an institution as an organization that transcends specific people within the organization and lasts generations. Government institutions, media companies, and Universities comprise some of the most critical American institutions.

We live in a weird time in human history; our institutions have always had flaws, but never before has such an incredible amount of information about the performance and…

A twisted villain who kills half of human life with the snap of his fingers. All in the name of justice and mercy and inevitability.

Most of us know this guy.

You see it all over the news; all over Twitter; all your friends talk about it.

Humanity faces their biggest collective problem yet in the form of climate change. HOWEVER: I reject the idea perpetuated by some politicians (like Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez), media outlets, and others in the green movement (like Bill McKibben) that if we don’t cut off all emissions TODAY, the world will end in 10, 20, 30 years, or that we need to cut off fossil fuels at all costs.

I find this idea a clear logical and scientific fallacy and the outcome of lazy…

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There’s a clear cause of the widespread economic problems facing America today.

But for some reason, nobody in power wants to admit this problem. They all act like wizards at Hogwarts tiptoeing around He-who-must-not-be-named.

What’s the problem?

GDP growth (and thus, median real income growth) in the US has been in decline since the 1970’s. This might be the biggest issue we all face in America today.

This problem is not a secret. People with large platforms like Peter Thiel and Tyler Cowen have sounded the alarm. Cowen even wrote an entire book about this (that I will refer to plenty below)! But for some reason, other economic issues like the minimum wage, government benefits, and globalization have taken center stage over this critical economic trend.

Below, we’ll look at:

  1. The foundation of this slowing growth and what it means, borrowing quite…

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Sam Harris taught me something important: something eye-opening happens when you actually look at the inner workings of you mind.

After (partially) reading Douglas Hofstadter’s wild, masterpiece of a book, Godel, Escher, Bach (GEB for short), I recognized an even stranger phenomenon than Sam had initially shown me:

Strange loops

They exist in everyday consciousness. I have no idea the ramifications of this, but here’s what I noticed.

First, what are strange loops? I’d highly recommend at least reading the introduction of GEB to learn about strange loops in Hofstadter’s own words.

In my own words: strange loops exist as a string…

Why are people allowed to own this beautiful land?

Can you imagine if owning land was outlawed?

What if the only taxes the government collected were taxes on land?

What does a world like this look like?

Both sound pretty un-American, and pretty outlandish.

But these two ideas form the crux of Georgism, an economic ideology named after the late 19th century American political economist Henry George.

Essentially, he argues: value derived from land should be shared by all members of society and rents from land ownership should not flow directly to individuals or corporations.

He arrives at this conclusion from the powerful idea he explores in his book Progress and Poverty, that

The great cause of…


You probably can’t go a day without hearing someone ramble about presence or mindfulness. It’s everywhere now. But, as you could probably guess, there’s a reason for that.

It seems intuitive, doesn’t it? Rather than focus on things causing you pain, or your frustrations, or future fears, if you live in and focus on the present, you actually have the opportunity to “suck the marrow out of life” and feel connected and grateful for things right in front of your face.

If you’re interested in learning more about presence, you can read anything by Alan Watts or Anthony De Mello


It’s weird when you have that moment. You’ve been working on a project or a goal or a task for a while, and you make progress through what you think manifests itself as improvement. You can see the progress.

“This isn’t so hard,” you think to yourself, as you prep plans on becoming a professional at whatever new goal you just decided to set out on.

You then reach a certain point and it starts to get more difficult, and you feel your way around, but slide back down a bit on the scale. You think, no worries, just an…

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Do you know the best way to live your life? Meaning: how do you act in certain situations, how do you handle difficult situations, what do you spend your time on, how do know if you’re on the right path in life?

I’m not sure if any other question matters as much as this one.

I definitely don’t have the answer. I’ve been curious about this question for a while though, and have tried to read different philosophy from different thinkers across time. You might have run into similar challenges that I have: much of the advice or ideas are…

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It’s fascinating how often you have to negotiate in life. From big things like salary or business deals, to smaller day to day tasks like who’s going to do the dishes, I realized that you can’t EVER avoid a negotiation. If you’re doing something every single day, might as well try to get good at it, right?

I recently read “Never Split the Difference” by expert FBI negotiator Chris Voss to learn specific methods when preparing for and in the midst of any negotiation. …

Dan Stern

Always Learning. Founder at 301 Ventures, currently at Palantir. Follow me on Twitter @danstern_. Original posts on

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