I was asked recently what the biggest regret of my adult life was, and the answer was immediate: not learning to meditate sooner.
“No matter where you go, there you are.”
— Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sam Harris’ ‘Waking Up’ app, which kicks off with a 50-day introductory course, is a spectacular introduction to meditation. Ultimately, Sam’s neuroscientific pragmatism, balanced with his rational respect for the different forms meditation can take, sets ‘Waking Up’ apart.
No app on my phone has a more profound impact on my daily life.
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
— Pema Chodron
If you created a bot that spent six hours a day meditating, and six hours a day getting executive coaching, it would tweet like Justin Kan.
Related: For those interested in executive coaching, a great starting point is the blog of Ed Batista, recommended to me by the legend Matthew Dellavedova. You might start with ‘The Work You Must Stop Doing’ or ‘Intent Vs. Impact’.
Anyway, Kan’s ‘Feeling Good’ guide in the tweet below is really good, and I think he’s doing an incredible job of role modelling a different kind of CEO mentality — vulnerable, and self-aware.
“Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself.”
— Miles Davis
One of the things I love about elite athletes is that they develop in public, and more than any other profession, you get live updates on the mental models they use to drive their success.
See Draymond’s here:
Or this masterpiece of a story told about Jason Witten:
And listen to Jeremy Lin’s mindset here:
Sport is really just storytelling. And watching sport is just watching stories playing out in realtime. Some stories are obviously interesting — who will win the Wimbledon final?
But what takes the enjoyment of sport to the next level is understanding not just the meta-narrative, but all the micro-narratives that make up any competition. Will Novak — 16 Slams, 32 years old, ultimately surpass Roger — 20 Slams, 37 years old? How will the final impact the legacy of both players? Who will be the ultimate GOAT?
And the power of micro-narrative is why Netflix’s ‘Drive To Survive’ was so insanely compelling, taking me from an idiot who turned down free tickets to this year’s Melbourne Grand Prix to someone who obsessively watches back catalogue of Jolyon Palmer’s race analyses.
“Enjoyment while performing was rare — enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford.”
— Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
For someone as obsessed with sport as I am, I got to live a lifelong dream this year and sit courtside at an NBA game (Clips vs. Dubs in the playoffs, no less!).
It was everything I’d spent two decades building it up to be. Just excellent.
“One day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second….Birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”
— When Breath Becomes Air
Some more great recent reads:
It Was Just a Kayaking Trip. Until It Upended Our Lives.
A weeklong trip in Alaska was supposed to be an adventure. In an instant, it became the experience that defined us all.
“There was comfort for me in accepting the arbitrariness of what happened, in regarding it as a spasm of random damage in time and space… We were more capable than I had understood. We were also far more helpless.”
Tim Winton: The swimming chair
By Tim Winton Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size I’ve written a lot about swimming over the years…
“We were quiet then. It was just the two of us. She closed her eyes. The warm water lapped at her hair, her face, the loose skin of her outstretched arms. She floated at the surface, held up at first by my upturned hands, then only by my fingertips, until there was only my silent presence beside her to rely on.”
Against Advice | The Point Magazine
This is the fourth in a series of columns on public philosophy by Agnes Callard; read more here. We live in a glorious…
Instructions make you better at doing what you (independently) valued, whereas coaching makes you better at valuing — it cues you in to what’s important, at an intellectual or physical or emotional level.
Sam Altman on Loving Community, Hating Coworking, and the Hunt for Talent (Ep. 61 — Live)
He’s renowned for assessing talent — so would he fund Peter Parker? How about Bruce Wayne?
I think the way you become really great at venture capital is to accept that the only way to figure out the future of the world is to identify incredibly talented, smart, creative, original thinkers and back those people. You have to trust that that will work out over time.
Status as a Service (StaaS)
Editor's Note 1 : I have no editor. Editor's Note 2 : I would like to assure new subscribers to this blog that most my…
Let’s begin with two principles:
- People are status-seeking monkeys
- People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital
We Don’t Sell Saddles Here
The memo below was sent to the team at Tiny Speck, the makers of Slack, on July 31st, 2013. It had been a little under…
When you want something really bad, you will put up with a lot of flaws. But if you do not yet know you want something, your tolerance will be much lower.
The Oral History of Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh’s story is almost legend by now: worked with Kanye, started Off-White, ascended to Louis Vuitton. But to…
Anyone who collaborated with Kanye worked with Virgil — Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Daft Punk. Anybody.
Your Real Biological Clock Is You’re Going to Die
In April, in a small town on a small island in a small string of islands trailing down from the main part of Japan, the…
This world devours every person and moves on. It does not stop moving, even as we pass through the middle of life telling ourselves it is the front end…
This is the illusion of adult timekeeping, and children make it unsustainable. Life moves along at an unexceptional, unexamined pace and suddenly it’s the first day of school, and then it’s the first day of school again. The jeans I remember just buying him are up above the ankles. The younger boy kisses me back when I kiss him good night, but by last year the older boy started to twist away from holding hands a few yards before the school door, to dart off ahead. Now he just walks to school on his own. There’s time still for him to circle back for a hug at day’s end. Someday, though, a hug will be the last one.
My Addicted Son
He glared at me: ‘’What are you talking about? I’m not.’’ His eyes fixed onto the floor. ‘’Then you won’t mind being…
No matter how unrealistic, I retained a sliver of hope that I could get through to him. That’s not quite accurate. I knew I couldn’t, but at least I could put my fingertips on his cheek.
Robert A. Caro on the Secrets of Lyndon Johnson’s Archives
In 1959, when I went to work for Newsday, on Long Island, the paper had a managing editor named Alan Hathway, who was…
There are certain moments in your life when you suddenly understand something about yourself. I loved going through those files, making them yield their secrets to me.
‘The Unthinkable Has Happened’
The brick fell from an eighth-story windowsill on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Greta was sitting on a bench out…
“Susan, please tell me,” I said, firmly and slowly. “Where did the brick hit Greta? Did it hit her in the head?” When I said the word head, I felt something break up my voice, an elemental thing I wasn’t familiar with yet.
“It hit her in the head, yes,” Susan said. I yelled this information over my shoulder to Stacy, who screamed instinctively.
“My baby girl,” she cried, sobbing convulsively. During the eternal drive up the highway, neither Stacy nor I speak in specifics. She reaches over and grabs my palm, her voice trembling. “She has to be okay. She just has to be. There’s no other option.”
I read ‘The Unthinkable Has Happened’ with tears in my eyes.
Maybe it won’t feel the same for people without kids yet, but I was there, sitting on the hospital room floor, a bag of unloved sandwiches on the table, breaking down with the author on this one.
“I remember that time that you told me,
you said “Love is touching souls”
Surely you touched mine ’cause
Part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time.”
— Joni Mitchell, ‘A Case of You’
My album of 2019 is The 1975’s ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ (actually released in 2018).
The beauty of the album is well-described in this Guardian piece: “What they have done, perhaps better than anyone else, is to adapt the swaggering gang manner, art-school aspirations and rebellious conviction of a classic rock combo for the shiny, instant-gratification impulses of our digital pop era.”
Recommended to me via a comment on an old Medium post, I rediscovered this Keith Jarrett masterpiece from the Sun Bear concerts.
I found this explanation of the technical difficulty of playing John Mayer’s ‘Neon’ fascinating.
I saw Underworld at the Sydney Opera House, on a Tuesday night, and it might have been the best of their three live shows I’ve seen.
Andre 3000’s verse on the new James Blake album is ridiculous.
And, I found Sia’s voice in this clip just transcendent, even from the crowd.
“Twelve notes in each octave offer opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust”.
— Igor Stravinsky
Life has not afforded me the time to watch a movie in quite a while, but I did squeeze in ‘The Price of Everything’ recently, and it was fascinating.
This article digs into the art world with simplicity and clarity.
The Easel | Art journalism
Andrew Bailey | May 7, 2019 In November 2017, in a packed auction room in New York, da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for…
It’s all part of the reason I’m so excited for the launch of Mike Karnjanaprakorn’s ‘Otis’, and the chance to become fractionally bought in to Kehinde Wiley’s ‘Saint Jerome Hearing the Trumpet of the Last Judgment’.
People talk about how toxic Instagram is, but one way to make it not that, is to follow a lot of artists you love, use Instagram’s suggested follows to discover more artists you love, and then bookmark the pieces you like most. Instagram as art gallery is a much better mode of use.
“The work of art which I do not make, nobody else will ever make.”
— Simone Weil
Starting with three days at the Australian Open this year, I’ve developed a tennis obsession that’s rivalling the one I had as a nine-year old.
A month ago, I got to play on Kooyong grass for the first time.
Better than that, I got to start playing tennis with my three-year old firstborn.
Getting my father-son-tennis Venn diagram to overlap was emotional.
Peak tennis for me is pre-dawn tennis. Melbourne’s winter cold heightens the experience even further.
Here’s what two sets of tennis looks like via a heart rate chest strap:
- Max heart-rate = 194 bpm 💔
- 30+ minutes at 90%+ of max HR (red lines)
- 30+ minutes at 80%+ (yellow lines)
- 2000+ calories of burn!
I switched recently to the Yonex DR-98 (the old Kyrgios racquet) and it’s just a gem of a thing, although it’s been discontinued so I’ve been buying them up en masse.
Speaking of Kyrgios, he is a subject of fascination, however you feel about him. His honesty on this podcast was ~insane.
Nick Kyrgios: talent to burn | Richard Cooke
1. Most professional athletes are obsessed with winning, or at least with not losing. This fixation almost always…
Nick Kyrgios as religious experience
Last Thursday, Nick Kyrgios lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Wimbledon men's singles. In the grand…
I have a single-handed backhand. Which sadly, does not yet look like this. A religious experience, indeed.
Also, after much experimentation, my regular doubles crew and I have landed on the Robin Soderling’s as the best tennis balls we’ve ever hit with.
Note: I will happily play you if you’re above a 4.5 on the NTRP scale.
“Risk is the tariff paid to leave the shores of predictable misery.”
I think Bill Gurley is the investor I most enjoy following — his longform essay writing is legendary, but he’s been on a podcast tear lately, so it’s been a pleasure to immerse myself in his perspective on the world.
Inspired, I’ve decided to start my own. You should subscribe here now.
20VC: Benchmark's Bill Gurley on 5 Traits Benchmark Look For When Adding To The Partnership, Why…
Bill Gurley is a General Partner @ Benchmark Capital, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a…
Bill Gurley - All Things Business and Investing - [Invest Like the Best, EP.137] - Invest Like the…
My guest this week is Bill Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark Capital and one my favorite investment thinkers. As…
The Gurley line that nailed it for me, and described perfectly why I love so much the work I get to do, was from his 20VC appearance:
“I have a profound affection for the art of helping founders realise their dream. And imagining with them a future that we then … help … come true.”