Tell me, what is this “Way”?

The Tao of Pooh
The Tao of Pooh

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff argues the children’s book character Pooh is an example of a Taoist. And if you’ve ever read Winnie the Pooh when you were younger, check out the books again, it’s a real nice nostalgia trip.

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy dating back circa 400 BCE with the writing of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. It was developed around the same time as Confucianism and Buddhism. What’s the difference between them?

The best way to think about it from a subject of a popular Chinese allegorical painting called the “Vinegar Tasters”…


The biggest lesson from Naval Ravikant for future me.

Earn with your mind, not your time.
Earn with your mind, not your time.
image by author

Known as the “Tech Buddha” and the “Angel Philosopher” of Silicon Valley, Naval Ravikant is a prolific tech investor, founder of AngelList and a lucid thinker. I first learned about Naval on Shane Parrish’s The Knowledge Project podcast, and have been following him closely since.

His subsequent appearances on Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan are chock-full of wisdom on how to build wealth and happiness. …


A case study on camaraderie and competition.

Published by Penguin Random House

Written by New York Times technology columnist Nick Bilton, Hatching Twitter provides a glimpse into the tumultuous and ego-driven world of one of Silicon Valley’s biggest success stories. It all starts with the creation of Blogger — anyone remember that? This was the late 1990s where there were also these things called LiveJournal and Xanga.

We follow the formation of Twitter’s 4 founders beginning with Evan “Ev” Williams developing Blogger, which was later bought by Google. After a brief stint at Google, Ev left to start a nascent podcasting company called Odeo with his neighbor Noah Glass. …


How do I stay so calm?

Ocean wave
Ocean wave
Photo by Shao Zhou

As I grow older, I realize how valuable it is to exude inner calm and control, especially when the past year's collective energy has been nothing but chaotic. I want to experience more moments for what it is without disruptive thoughts or feelings of pressure on my chest or a pit in my stomach.

I’d like to think I’m rather “chill” most of the time. A “California cool.” When I picture my best self, that’s what I see.

There’s no secret recipe for inner peace. But inner peace does have everything to do with who you are as a person…


Rethinking My Productivity Model for the New Year

Steps along a pathway
Steps along a pathway
Photo by Shao Zhou

Time management is traditionally the foundation of productivity. Methods like Time Blocking and The Pomodoro Technique layout times for when we should complete certain tasks. It allows me to roadmap dozens of things I want to do each day. And is how I’ve approached productivity. The more items I can check off, the more productive I associate with that day.

If the game is to do the most amount of things per day, then the wake-up-and-grind mentality is certain to become unsustainable. Remember freshman year of college when you had to choose either good grades, a social life, or sleep…


Questions I ask myself when learning borrowed from physicist Richard Feynman.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Shao Zhou

American physicist Richard Feynman (1918–1988) is one of the most brilliant people in history I mythologize. Feynman worked on the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project, assisted in the dissection of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and paved the frontier in the field of quantum mechanics that won him the Nobel Prize in Physics ’65 on quantum electrodynamics.

He became well known for teaching an enormously popular series of physics lectures at Caltech¹, and publishing many funny, best-selling essays and memoirs. His amusing life experiences and quirky humor shines in Surely You’re Joking, Mr. …


“Everything That Remains” by The Minimalists

Everything That Remains cover
Everything That Remains cover
Photo by The Minimalists

Being a minimalist is a state of mind rather than a set of rules. It’s something you can get started on with no time at all. Read Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn if you’re craving more of what feeds your soul, while enjoying everything you have, and worrying less about what you don’t have.

The term minimalism emerged in the 1950s and 60s as an artistic movement characterised by sleek and simple geometric shapes¹. It reduced art to its simplest, non-contextual form. So much so, that the artists believed what remains is truth itself. …


Let the right light in.

Sunshine over San Francisco
Sunshine over San Francisco
Photo by Shao Zhou

There are many facets to optimizing our health. The first place we often turn to examine is our diet, but what if the light we take in has just as much to do with the nutrients we consume?

Our bodies absorb light. Parts of us are even translucent, as exhibited by the curious effect when we lift our hand against the sun or a light source, and the light makes our hand “glow” pinkish. Health experts have advised over the years on screen time’s negative effects on our circadian rhythm and eyesight. Gyms and spas sell us on infrared saunas…


Wisdom from Netflix’s origin story.

Cover of “That Will Never Work” by Marc Randolph
Cover of “That Will Never Work” by Marc Randolph
Published by Little, Brown and Company

My favorite types of books to read are origin stories. As humans, we are curious beings and we crave connection to others. All the real-life heroes we look up to started from somewhere. Plus we love photos like the one below of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin where it all began in a garage.


Stay on track between morning and night.

Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
Photo by Shao Zhou

There is a lot of attention on perfecting the morning and night routine, but what about the mid-day routine? Working from home these days has given me more control to reserve a break and flexibility to choose how to spend it.

The afternoon slump is rooted physiologically by our circadian rhythms, which naturally cues our bodies to be less alert and more relaxed around 2 to 4 pm ¹. Our core temperature decreases and triggers our body to release the sleepy hormone melatonin.

Furthermore, sitting for hours at our desks can make us feel sleepy because our bodies associate stillness…

Shao Zhou

California-grown New Yorker. Product Manager. Learning to live Happier, Healthier & More Productive Lives.

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