Taking the time to talk to a professional and become introspective and conscious of my own mental health has provided me with more value than all the books and conferences and talks I've consumed put together.
I highly recommend reading up on Hans Selye's biological model of stress and the HPA axis. Also worth checking out Freudelberger for the seminal article on burnout and Maslach for the formal treatment.
Organisational psychology is great but so contentious an area it's helpful to have a good teacher.
I highly recommend looking into Biopsychology, which is essentially the interplay between our mind and body and even how our mind distributed through the body.
It feels like you’re dancing around your word choice and I’m having trouble understanding exactly what you’re saying, especially as how being aware of power struggles impacts your ability to presumably software engineer well. They seem pretty orthogonal to me.
When you say “social responsibility” putting “less competent managers in power,” are you referring to affirmative action? Or something else here?
BTW I absolutely appreciate your concern for fairness, and encourage you to read up about the history of corporate governance and the financial scandals that arise when lawlessness infiltrates management.
In terms of financial scales and lawlessness infiltrating management — are you talking about things like Enron? How this is connected to “woke politics” I can’t figure out.
What on Earth are you trying to talking about?
It really is. Those who embody it may have "Resist" in their Twitter bio, yet their purported values align with virtually all of the 1%, the corporations, the banks, the media companies, academic institutions, sports teams, celebrities, etc etc.
It would be hard to be any more generic.
Apparently she's been a lot more quiet for the past few years to the point that she's harder to google without second order effort. This backs up that what she did was unprofessional and interfered with her job, but I'm torn over this because it also means she got silenced. Then again, are "dongle" jokes the hill you want to die on? Or TWSS? This was in 2013 before the term "woke" was even popularized.
Not sure what her race has to do with this, though.
This is why this type of call-out culture is bad. You attack first, the damage is done, often excessive damage, without addressing the issue locally. It would have been different if they had done something wrong, she gets ignored by the police, THEN calls them out.
The other issue with these public witch hunts is they are random. Some people get no traction, others hunted down. This lack of consistency is a horrible way to enforce rules which may or may not have even been broken.
By the way, it might also be a misspelling (work politics vs woke politics); but coincidentally this applies there as well but to a lesser degree.
Of course, dismantling order is a poor substitute for refining order, and while the idea of starting over from scratch is seductive, I'm not convinced the "post-dismantling" environment is a good one for building better things (regardless of your definition of "better").
Unfortunately, the thirst for hard resets seems stronger now on all sides than I've ever seen before, which disappoints me to no end. Everything grows out of something else. And if you can't picture how what we have today could become what you want tomorrow without resorting to burning it down, you probably aren't ready to build something better from scratch. The least you can do is let the thing stand while we figure out how to make it work for everyone.
I’m a hiring manager and where I work we have an unwritten “understanding” that if your candidate recommendations don’t include any women you are a sexist.
I just make sure I include a few female candidates even if none in the recruitment pool are capable because it’s not worth the trouble.
However, I imagine that for many “by the book” hiring managers this causes significant anxiety and stress.
Some people can find that to be distracting.
Imagine your workspace was full of aggressive pro-Trump messaging. A bit distracting maybe?
But I don’t understand how a workspace that was full of any kind of aggressive messaging is healthy even if I agree with it? That sounds pretty toxic to begin with.
Any constructive feedback is generally received as "this person must be a closet white supremacist". Better to grit your teeth and remain silent.
And what if they get their suspicions - say, you couldn't bring yourself to praise Trump as much as others - and then your promotion, which one of your Trump-loving managers has a decisive voice on, does not come through, would you wonder why? Would it impact your work? I think it might.
And yet, I've heard things like these (not about Trump, it was even back when Trump was a TV personality) from many people. Did it impact my work quality? I really hope not, as much as I can help it. But I certainly didn't enjoy it.
I've also always regarded myself as introspective enough not to be able to benefit from therapy. And, while I'm open minded to the idea that I am wrong about that, I just have trouble imagining or envisioning what I might be missing.
This was so long ago that you don't even remember learning not to sit in the couch. You don't think about how much room that couch is wasting or how much time you spend walking around the couch to get to the chair. Sometmies you stub your toe on the way around, but everyone trips every now and then. You've been doing this so long that it is completely unconscious. Hell, you can and do navigate the room in the dark.
Friends ask you about your living room furniture and you—completely honestly as far as you know—say it's all fine. You describe your chair in detail. It's not perfect, but it's serviceable. Certainly lots of other people have furniture that's in worse shape. At least you don't have any of those problems.
Then you sit down with a therapist for a few hours and they say, "Hey, what's up with that couch?"
The sting is how you know it's working. :)
Not the OP, but as an introspective person, I've found it was actually my introspection that predisposed me to benefiting from therapy. For me, my issues stemmed from negative self-talk, which is a misfiring of introspection. I would read the world and assign negative interpretations to how I was treated or how I messed up -- all the while subconsciously congratulating myself for being a self-aware person.
Therapy was a way for me to correct this misfiring feedback loop. My perceptions of the world may or may not have been correct, but the central idea is that I was assigning inordinate weight to the negative perceptions rather than the positive, which caused my emotions to spiral. This led to a pattern of catastrophizing.
Breaking out of that entailed a third-party grounding me and giving me more balanced interpretive options, and reminding me that my reading of the world was only one of many possibilities and not even necessarily a correct one (the limitations of introspection are sometimes astounding).
The part that's the most helpful about therapy was moving past interpretation, and employing positive techniques and taking action to deal with the world positively (doesn't matter if the interpretation was true or not). These actions encompass things like setting boundaries, or writing stuff down and interrogating them from multiple interpretive lenses instead of accepting them at face value. The act of taking action also helps dispel a lot of self-fulfilling prophecies. 
For me and likely for most introverts, negative self-talk is our weakness. Distorted introspection, while seemingly honest, is at the root of many negative emotions. It's very hard to fix feedback loops from within (since the thing you're using to fix them is the very thing that's broken) -- so engaging professional help is often very useful.
 An abstract example of this would be (not true of me, but to illustrate the point): Say I was passed over for a promotion and I start building narratives as to why. Maybe it's because I've been wronged in this way or that, or there's discrimination, or I'm not part of the inner circle. All of these things might be true (or not)... but if you think they're true and you respond unproductively by sulking, you're not going to make progress. Instead, you can change the framing and tell yourself maybe it's true, but let's give room to other interpretive options. Maybe it's because I don't really sell my ideas enough, so let's work on that. Maybe I'm really not ready so let's try upskilling. And the end result is that you move the locus of control from things you can't control to things you can control, which improves your overall well-being. And though there's no guarantee, because you've improved yourself in all these ways, your negative self-fulling prophecy might even turn out to be a positive one (but again, there's no guarantee). At any rate, by electing to deal with the world differently, your mental state improves, which causes you to present differently to the world. This in turn has the potential to start positive feedback loops.
Therapist, in one hour: Maybe analyzing even more isn't the solution here.
Here's the 80/20 of getting the most out of a therapist, drawn from watching thousands of people get great results over the last 5 years:
* talk to several therapists on the phone for 5 or 10 minutes first. You're going to be hesitant and uncomfortable, it's their job to put you at ease, they're the professional. You'll learn a lot quickly about them, and about the mental health process. If you have an uncomfortable 5 minute chat, you're going to have an uncomfortable hour, so skip that therapist. Go with your intuition, either say "heck yes" or "no".
* make a plan, work the plan. Write out your goals. The way to do this is "present situation" -> "desired situation". Everyone forgets the "desired situation" because they've got so much negative mental energy tied up in "present situation". Anyway, take your goals to your therapist. Put a circle around the one you need to address first. Insist that it gets addressed, or 6 sessions will go by and you'll realise the only change is to your wallet
* ask for homework, do your homework. You're in therapy an hour a week and out of therapy 167 hours a week. Your therapist can't compete with that. What you do outside therapy matters greatly
* if after 3 sessions you haven't established a good working relationship with your therapist and seen a bit of forward motion on your goals, get a new therapist. It could improve but statistically it's unlikely. This is an evidence-based cut-off.
Mental health is health, stay healthy!
Based on what I've heard from friends and on this thread, it sounds like it's possible to get a lot more out of talk therapy?
What's your range of experiences been like with better or worse therapists, and how do you know when you should look for a better one?
It's basically like in any profession: 80% are mediocre, 10% are so bad you never want to try again and the last 10% are the gold you're searching for. There's also a question of whether you go along with a certain type of person, but there's also clearly excellence at work.
I knew I was onto something very early on. She went directly to work, stabbing into the wounds with massive empathy and brutal honesty. She described herself as her goal being "getting rid of me as soon as possible", which contributed to my trust in myself not just being a money cow for her. But the most starring fact was that I couldn't hide. She broke through all my layers and facades and went directly to the core issue of me not accepting myself as I am.
I think these are signals to watch out for (plus: a waiting list so long you usually don't get a place with the good ones), so good luck and YMMV. In any case, it's a pain finding a good therapist, but it's still worth it.
But before you get or continue a bad therapy experience, be sure to try out Leo Widrich and his blog. He's the only other therapist I didn't see who helped me grow to being a better version of myself.
Interestingly, in talk therapy it seems to be the patient's own talking that helps, rather than how the therapy is done or who's the therapist. Mark Manson sums the research up nicely in this piece:
Turns out that any way to examine and express one's thoughts and emotions that otherwise run unattended is helpful. Therapy, journaling, meditation.
Still, to me this is by it's very nature limited - to what you can consciously dig out and express. If the issues that cause trouble are not conscious, tough luck. Like trying to fix email infrastructure issues by rigorously applying inbox zero.
Perhaps lasting improvements in such cases require forms of therapy that involve consciousness altering techniques? Psychedelics are recently making a comeback in therapy. "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan is on my reading list:
This is a dead give away that you are functioning too close to your emotional limit. The therapist serves the purpose of the guard rail, because it is the most pressing requirement.
> lasting improvements
To make improvements , the first requirement is breathing room.
Once you feel like you have that space, you can leverage your therapist to start putting things into place. The general routines and thought processes needed for healthier lifestyles can be found on page 1 of a google search.
The real value of the therapist is two fold. As a man, it is opening up enough to truly identify the real problems as they exist. The second is helping you prioritize and shape those 'Google page 1' solutions into one that perfectly aligns with your current lifestyle.
You might just have a not-so-good therapist, but, making space for self-improvement is central to actually making any progress.
“Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?
Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice.
God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It's up to you to do the stitching.
Harper: And then up you get. And walk around.
Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.
Harper: That's how people change.”
Meanwhile all my American friends get free therapy. Weird how that breaks the narrative about US healthcare.
It'll surprise no one to hear me say that I agree with locochef about investing in oneself through therapy^, but I also want to say that one of the most fascinating and simultaneously scary aspects of my work is seeing day in, day out the degree to which human beings excel at having stress pile up while ignoring it, denying it, believing themselves to somehow deserve it, "tough it out" to nearly-lethal degrees, or being kind of unaware of it entirely. A corollary of this observation is that the people (or the couples, or the families) who decide to see a therapist "early", when the challenge / problem / dilemma isn't yet at crisis level, are often the ones who benefit most. Like someone said down thread, it's like any other part of health: it costs less to not eat those cheeseburgers now than to have the bypass surgery later. Small investments made somewhat early can forestall a lot of ugly shit down the road. Frankly, if half the shit I help people with every day was taught universally in the fifth to tenth grades, I'd be out of a job (but happily so).
If anyone has general questions about therapy or related topics, I'm happy to answer if I'm able (or give you a nice "I have no idea" if I don't). Email in bio.
^ Sometimes! It's not for everyone, nor even for the same person at different times of their lives, and it can be harmful or end up being something you regret. But I agree in a general sense.
I don't want someone who is impartial or non-judgmental. If I'm going to pay someone I want actionable advice from someone who has been in my shoes. Having friends who know me, who come from different backgrounds, cultures, countries does way more for me. Them saying "schoolornot, knock it off, you're acting immature" does way more for me than laying on a nobody's couch.
I'm not knocking it but it's not for me.
Coaches do that.
It's an entirely reasonable assumption given that the OP said that they've a _budget_.
Read her site, you'll either immediately say "that's for me" or "absolutely not," and either way you'll be right. Does both phone and email coaching ("Interlocutor as a Service"), which is strange but super interesting and (for me at least) surprisingly effective
I guess what I'm saying is, everyone - including construction workers - should take your advice.
I found my therapist through https://www.bacp.co.uk/ — I’m not sure which country you’re in, but there’s bound to be similar directories out there.
I set their filters to find therapists who deal with issues relevant to me, and within a practical distance. After that, I just systematically went through each of their profiles, read their bios, and narrowed it down to a shortlist of 10.
I then picked two based on gut instinct. I had an introductory session with them both, and immediately “clicked” with one of them, who I’ve been seeing ever since.
My therapist works specifically in “Person-centered therapy”: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/therapy-types/person-cent...
I'd recommend searching "psychotherapist" or "psychologist". Psychiatrists seem to be more focused on prescribing medication than helping you work through your issues.
A lot of people here who haven't talked to a therapist are wondering the same in unison.
I'd highly recommend honing this skill as it will also help you as an employee, as even small gains in salary can add up to quite a lot of money over the years. For freelancers and entrepreneurs negotiation is also important of course and will greatly help you.
For instance, my favorite tactic when someone is pushing hard to sell me something or negotiate is the "Appeal to the authority" (i.e. "Let me first talk about it to my wife (or co-founder) about it."
Another popular negotiation tactic is to get asked between option A or option B, where in fact you could simply respond with "option C is more what I'm looking for".
In the UK, some sleazy sellers of things like double glazing won't even start discussing the sale unless both husband and wife are present to prevent this tactic.
Seems you either overpay or have to put up with the silly games and don't know if you're overpaying.
If the system were seeing optional efficiency it would give us all the info about BoM cost and hours worked and C-suite wages, dividends and profit rates, that would enable us to make informed decisions.
Is different than
Appeal to Authority
Wow that's crazy.
You really don’t realize how much negotiating you do in day to day life. Its good to be comfortable with it.
One key component that Voss spends a lot of time on -- if your counterparty comes out a negotiation feeling like they lost, everyone loses.
The outcome of a successful negotiation is that a fair deal is struck, and everyone feels good (or at least not bad) about it.
There are very few situations in the real world that are true one-offs, where you'll never have to interact with that counterparty again. Consequently, scorched-Earth is a poor long-term approach.
However using what I'd read in the book, I got the asking price for all 4 items I sold!
I've repeated this a few times now: dedicate a day to car buying and call 10 of them up telling them I'm buying a car TODAY, with these precise specs. No upsells entertained. And I let them in on the fact that I'm calling all the others and expect to make a decision by a set time. Always remain super polite but stay firm. In a way I suspect many appreciate this because I'm not wasting their time, it's a quick decision on how eager they are to fill their quota. But it's fun to see how much the "final price" evolves over the course of a few hours…
The problem though is the lack of real commitment. If you can guarantee you really are going to buy a car today and really will take the lowest offer, plenty of dealers would reply. Without a guaranteed commitment it’s just a negotiating tactic and they know it.
If I’m a salesman I’m OK making less on a sale if my time investment is practically nothing.
There’s a service you can use that has a $500 service fee that will bid it out for you. Dealers will reply because they know you’re serious (otherwise you’re throwing away $500). I can’t say if you get a good deal, but you definitely get quotes.
I e-mailed three dealerships in town. I said I wanted a BRZ, Limited trim, Black, with a manual transmission, and asked what their lowest price was. MSRP for this configuration I believe was $29K. One dealership didn't answer at all, the second offered $29K, the third offered $26K and included all the dealer-installed options like the cargo mat for the drunk, auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink, and wheel locks.
I definitely went with the third dealer. Didn't even feel the need to haggle any more than that.
Now, the best way to save money on cars is to play the meta-game! Looking for a car which is not as popular or rare will give you much more bargaining power. End of model year, end of platform, etc are other good deals. Also having many dealers to compete works better than manufactures with less dealers (I have 10+ Ford dealers nearby, but only 1-2 VW dealers for example)
go to a smaller dealer and ask them to buy a car from wholesale auction for you and you cover their costs.
that way their margin js transparent and is negotiated upfront.
You will be lucky to get 5-10% discount from retail prices, but wholesale prices at Manheim can be 15-30% less than retail, even more if you are willing to buy less than perfect condition car
One interesting point was letting the buyer successfully negotiate to an absolute rock bottom price, but then making back the margin on financing.
I worked in counterintel for a while, so I have had a lot of fun with car dealers over the years. I won't buy a new car (still drive an 87 Suburban Diesel) but from time to time my wife let's me know it's time for her to get a new car. Anyways knowing that they can and do run surveillance can actually be used to your advantage.
Try it one time, when they go back to the manager, say to the person with you, let's leave, I am not going to get what I want here and restate what you know the car is worth based on research. Leave enough meat on the bone for a decent commision and profit, but cut it close to a good deal. Get up and watch them be on the other side of the cube before you can even fully stand up. Manager will have miraculously come back 10-15% over the amount you stated. If you are not willing to walk from the deal, you are not getting a deal.
The car business is a giant recursive function where cost can be added at every step.
The sales price may have been low but the dealer has lots of ways to add pure profit:
* sub-prime loans with high interest
* gap insurance
* alarm systems
* extended warranties
* window tints, undercoats, towing hitches, etc.
The buyer might also have a trade in which conveniently starts the whole process over again.
The "Forbes list of Billionaires" has several car dealers in it.
Dealerships TOTALLY make money on the financing. In your example, it might be $1000 - it sounds like you have pretty good credit, and the margins are thin there. You should remember that if someone is leaning YOU money, they just want a reliable investment for their portfolio - they'll make their money on the next guy.
If you are getting <1% offers, that is probably financing from the manufacturer (that is, Toyota Financing is lending money for a Toyota, at a Toyota dealership). These deals are HOT because Toyota Financing's #1 job is to sell Toyota's - making money is #2 or #3.
Also, did you buy a warranty or gap coverage? Cause that is profit for the dealer, too.
You probably think you got the "best rate" because you SAW ALL THE OFFERS. Nope. Dealerships see the rate from the bank and can bump it up. Did Wells Fargo offer you 2%, well, let's show him 3% and I keep the difference.
Also, yup, getting a "direct rate" is difficult. The bank doesn't really know the car you are buying, and they might see that you were already approved at the dealership and give you a WORSE rate DELIBERATLY simply to maintain a relationship with the dealership.
Also 1% sounds too low for an independent bank loan, even with the now-cratered loan rates. I am guessing that is probably a subsidized loan through a manufacturer's bank. Manufacturers have long offered artificially low rates through their own banks to help move product.
Then I call each one, telling them I saw the online inventory had the vehicle in stock but since I'm buying today I just want to check if that's still the case. That already reduces some of the options: many dealers will leave attractive but outdated inventory to generate leads, and then try to upsell.
I start from the cheapest option I see online and work my way through the list. As I encounter the higher priced versions, I voice a slight disappointement that another dealer X is selling the same model for $Y. That's when they can choose to match or stay firm. Either way I thank them for their time and tell them I will be calling back within a couple hours to let them know.
During this time, I often get callbacks with counter-offers. I note the value, thank them and let them know I'm finishing my list.
Once I have a winner, I go back and call all the others, starting with the most pricy, to let them know I've made my decision, and that I respect their time so didn't want to let them hang. Things get interesting at that stage, as more counter-offers appear. At that stage, you can also visit in person to thank the salesperson as you're on the way to the lowest offer: sometimes they end up with yet another counter offer.
Having your own financing means you're not stuck with their shell game. Only when you go to doing the paperwork, you can negotiate financing rates and see if they can beat what you got from your bank. But the sale price is already set at that stage so it's safe.
The whole point during this process, it's super important to remain humble and friendly. Even though you control the process, any smugness will kill your options. And to tie this back to the thread, that's a skill you can improve with negotiation training (and it benefits more than just car buying).
You just state what you want at a price and then walk away if you don't get what you want. Some will flat out tell you "i can't beat that price, go for it" or they won't even bother responding to calls or emails.
When you have other options, it changes the power dynamic of the relationship and gives you a ton of leverage. The dealership needs you to purchase the vehicle and that can't happen if you walk away.
How much is a day off work going to cost you? If you can save more than that by negotiating go ahead.
Let's say one day might shave you $1k off, but 2 days of effort might save you $1.5k, consider the diminishing returns. Or just consider it "education" or "entertainment"
It was a really great thing and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Do books sometimes say things that are obvious? Yes. For example, when I first read Martin Fowler's book Refactoring, I had been renaming variables and moving methods from one class to another for years. But he gave a new framework for thinking about something that obvious. I've found the idea of separating out my coding flow between adding functionality and improving code really helpful.
Can you get the material for free? Almost always, yes. But it takes time to find the right material, and our time is valuable. A typical industry book is $40-$50, and a typical text book is $100-$150. The authors of these books have spent time organizing the material in a helpful way that you would otherwise need to spend.
For some topics though, it's not just a matter of time savings. I'm working on a topic now that doesn't really have many useful books, so I'm having to read technical specifications produced by industry groups, which lack context and are pretty opaque. I'm missing having a book that explains these ideas in a coherent fashion.
I have tried a few MOOCs for professional development. I've found they can be helpful for a superficial understanding, but they don't encourage the deep understanding I get from reading through a book.
I know a couple of tech book authors, and this is how they all got started on their first book. :) There was no good book, they did all the work of becoming an expert, and then curated their learnings into a book for others.
If this is out of some people's budgets, check eBay. Also some thrift store chains have certain locations that are book focused.
You can get older edition textbooks for practically free. It's not like Claude Shannon's equations have changed. The old editions are effectively just as good.
I've picked up plenty of classic books, HBR, Drucker, Christensen, Moore, etc ... $2-3 in fine condition. To be honest, half the time it looks unread. Then you can donate them "back into the stream" when you're done for others.
About 15 years ago when I was utterly broke I bought 20 text books (good ones like https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/introduction-algorithms-third... ) for .50p a book (they didn't know what they had so I gave them £20 for the lot instead of £10, would have done more but I really didn't have it).
Just google "library genisis" ;)
Now we actually could do something in that realm (LoC is about ~10tb and there's 1tb microsd cards; we're probably talking "within 5-7 years" without any exaggeration) but there's so many courts and laws stopping it from happening, the great cambrian explosion of knowledge has been held back.
That this isn't happening is a crime.
1. I get about 200 TB based on 40 million books, OCRd at 5 MB per book. A 2 TB SATA 5200 RPM drive runs about $100, and the full collection would fit on 50 such drives. Full optical scans are ~10x larger. The LoC's collection includes another 130 million non-book items. https://www.loc.gov/about/general-information/
I think we're still within the information revolution and to put it into perspective let's look at the textile revolution.
Clothes used to be expensive. Someone maybe owned 1 or 2 sets, often passed down from their parents. You could easily illustrate your wealth by wearing many layers of fine material. Simply owning many clothes was sufficient to signify great power and prestige.
Then the textile revolution came and today durable well fitted clothes are cheap. Unless you're a fashionista or have children, they are almost unmeasurable in ones budget (children used to wear dresses because it was a practical solution for one garment throughout growing childhood)
But this took generations AFTER the mechanical loom and all the technology existed. The society of clothes making also needed to be overhauled and that took arguably a century.
That's where we're at with information. Our industrialism can create the material requirements for the storing and transmission of information readily, sustainably and cheaply. However our cultural and societal overhaul to accommodate it is still maybe only a 1/3 done.
After the printed word became really cheap with the advertisement supported penny presses of the 1830s it still took about 100 years of public education advocacy before you could safely assume every adult knew how to read. These things take decades because it's a function of generational churn. It's at the pace of human lives
I have a partially written book on this interplay I'll eventually finish one day... maybe people will be able to pick up used unread copies for $2 - I look forward to that day.
Fads-as-signalling shows up in many places if you look for it: https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/62uroa/clothin...
Information is ... somewhat trickier. Clothing is manifest and overt. Information ... mostly isn't. (Memes, logos, jingles, musical hooks, and slogans being prime exceptions.) Possession of specific information becomes a credible (expensive to obtain, hard to falsify) indicator of strong group identity --- whether you're talking about membership within a religious sect, programming subspecialty, profession, banking cabal, political party, or neihbourhood gang. Various fandoms seem to be a reasonably benign (for now) expression of this.
Denis Didrot despaired at the overwhelming abundance of information facing him and his fellow Encyclopédists, in 1775.
The total number of titles in Europe at the time was about one million. Today, one millon titles are published per year. (http://www.bowker.com/tools-resources/Bowker-Data.html) On average, that's one book per 330 Americans. Who read fewer than one book per year, on average.
What does it mean to publish if what's recorded is never read? The old WORN drive joke (write once, read never) has fangs.
Or if different cultures (religious, geographic, professional, political,...) share no common literary or informational references?
The mere act of publishing itself is a form of capital and political and social exercise regardless of who reads it.
This is a deep rabbit hole and I don't have time to go into here (there's 2 chapters in this mythical book I speak of on it) but I'll point you in two directions, both centered on xerox
1. As a brief premiere look up the scholarly work 'Xerox Project: Photocopy Machines as a Metaphor for an “Open Society”' - or look into how the open society foundation supposedly helped defeat apartheid south africa and bring down the soviets via copy machines and cottage publications.
2. As a cornerstone of the first step of the modern LGBT rights movement in the 1950s. "ONE magazine", one of the first LGBT magazines using a specific Xerox machine as best I can determine either in Mar Vista or Venice california. Shortly there after, the Mattachine society, a second LGBT rights group, used the same copy machine to do their publication as well. The machine was also used to fight anti-mccarthyist blacklisting publications for the film industry as well. A similar effort happened for civil rights in Jim Crow south (I live in LA so I can do better research on the LGBT stuff since I can drive to the physical archives)
Even if nobody ever read any of these and the publications went into the garbage can, the maturation of thought and the coalition building as a function of the geographic space necessitated by the access to the machines had meaningful political ramifications.
You can also read the book 'Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture' for a decent deep dive on this.
It's all fascinating stuff.
You're familiar with Elizabeth Eisenstein? *The Printing Press as an Agent of Change.
I agree and like the discussion you guy's started from my seemingly innocent comment.
I add one argument why I think scientific papers and nonfiction books (Library Genisis) should be free (and legal) ...
You often hear the complaint that so many people are uneducated and believe in conspiracy theories (or other stupid things). This is (imho) problematic for a democracy.
Giving free access to books and papers could really help.
Also a lot of research is founded by tax money and papers are by far the most expensive literature....
The algorithm’s prime directive is at odds with serving quality books and papers because they are not as engaging relative to fiction passed as non-fiction (lies) and misinformation.
Not as cheap as ebay, but an enormous selection with pretty reliable quality ratings.
I acquired a huge stack from an Amazon UK seller for literally pennies each.
They are mostly a little low quality books in terms of paper quality, photo graph color etc. Every thing else is the same.
I buy a lot of books as I stay in India. US publishers partner with local publishers and get it printed and sold for cheap.
There's a difference between things being obvious when a concept is exposed, and being proactively aware of a concept and having it as a practice/hobby.
Unfortunately the difference between these two things is huge.
Books are the cheapest and yet a high quality way of learning things, getting clarity and in general being exposed to rich quality of concepts. You could sure spend wandering in the wilderness learning things by experience over years. Or you can get them learning a book.
Books aren't even that expensive, given how much they give you on the longer run.
They take time and, for me, it took a while to realise how I best learnt. I don't like reading technical books cover to cover, not on the first read at least. I try to look through the index for concepts that catch my interest, either because I realise I know nothing except the term (so that makes me feel a bit ignorant and curious to check it out) or it's a concept I can visualise being applied more easily.
Usually from there I will read something I don't know what means and go look for that. When I've scanned through a bit to catch my interest then I start reading from the first chapter.
It took me years to realise I didn't have to force myself to sit down and open a book from page 1. It's a bit obvious and stupid but I believe I'm not alone in having to learn myself how do I like to learn.
This is one of the best things about books.
Yes, I can find all the material on the web, sometimes even all at the same site. But web writers usually cannot resist the temptation into putting in a ton of links, turning the material into a directed graph.
There will usually be many ways to reach a given node, some that reach it before you have read all the prerequisites.
There is often no good way to know if you've actually visited all the nodes. You might have taken a fork 10 nodes ago, and the other branch goes to places that nothing in your branch links to. Unless you remember that you need to backtrack 10 nodes and try the other fork, you miss all that.
I want the author to figure out what order I should visit the nodes to get everything there in a good order for learning, and then provide a way for me to effortlessly follow that order.
With a book, that's easy: start at chapter 1 and read to the end. A web site could do that, but for some reason most do not.
(Since then, as with many things in our industry, it seems the book has been turned into a buzzword consulting/training money grab. Sigh.)
Other books I really like are
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, it is a good read and lets you talk to a lot of UX'ers as I have found more than a few that have used this book for their thesis.
Enterprise Integration Patterns by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf, which is old but in world of streaming procesing a lot of the patterns can be reused.
The Site Reliability Engineering books or their free counter parts found on https://landing.google.com/sre/books/
edited to add a couple of newlines.
Which in and of itself isn’t bad I suppose, but part of me feels that these are cynical attempts to unscrupulously monetize ideas who’s time has come by bombarding credulous middle management with buzzwords.
I mean, you can't get a warning that the `` syntax isn't available in your old codebase's flavor of PHP (5.2) in VS Code. I think.
Alternatively: Take time off. If you have enough money to live on for a month, take it. Make a list of things you'd like to dig into, or just spend a month doodling. Or take half days off for a month and participate in something like Advent of Code. You can challenge yourself in various ways, like use an unfamiliar language for the month, or a different language every day. Do some tutorials and make stuff in Pico-8, embrace the limitations and embarrassingly unreadable code, which is amazing at the same time because you wrote it and it all fits in your head. Just throwing it out there.
I pay for Intellij Ultimate out of pocket, work would buy it but frankly it's easier to just have my own license and I use it a lot outside of work.
vscode is fantastic at what it does but one is a wheelbarrow, the other a dump truck.
You can get warnings when syntax isn’t available in your script’s flavor of shell in [neo]vi[m], emacs, or GNU ed with shellcheck, I’d be mildly surprised if there wasn’t a similar editor-agnostic linter for PHP.
Since VSCode is just using LSP under the hood, that means it would also work fine in Emacs, [neo]vi[m], Sublime, Atom, etc.
In the long run, I don't see how IntelliJ will be able to compete with LSP, as it gets polished up.
Secondly, the state of LSP clients is a long way from matching Visual Studio or Intellij. When LSP is competitive with the major IDEs, I'll happily switch, but I don't see that in the next 5 years at least. As an example, try opening UE4 using any of the LSP implementations.
LSP and DAP are open protocols supported by most editors and IDEs. I have a hard time believing that language implementers won't prioritize their implementation over IntelliJ. Which is a good thing, our development stacks should be open and free.
Apologies I didn't mean to imply you didn't, I only meant to point out that LSP isn't the only factor in choosing an editor. For some people,(e.g. me) lack of some of that tooling is important.
>since LSP provides good enough completion, navigation, and static analysis
My experience using lsp with clangd as the server on a large project was that it flat out didn't work. Try opening UE4 for example.
> The rest of your list are non-issues for me,
That's great for you, but others do use those tools regularly. It's also a feature that those tools work out of the box, consistently, meaning that a coworker can (occasionally) drive by commit/run/compile on my computer.
> I have a hard time believing that language implementers won't prioritize their implementation over IntelliJ.
Intellij/VS are going to keep improving in that time. As much as I'd love for all of my tooling to be open, I don't see that as realistic in the near future based on the current state of the tooling. I'd love to be wrong though!
At Automattic, the expectations were so much higher. They'd give me a 3000+ line, 20+ file codebase to review, for example. There was plenty of time to complete the task, but with so much code to deal with I needed to very quickly develop some skills and tools to keep it all straight.
I learned a lot of keyboard shortcuts for PHPStorm for quickly noting filenames and line numbers in my review sheet, and wrote several macros for quickly writing out repetitive text. These things were essential because it was so easy to get lost or distracted even by flipping between my notes and the code. I could end up going through the same file 4 times if I wasn't careful (on a first pass, that is - it was normal to take several passes through a code base).
There's also a great WebStorm Guide , with many tips applicable to other languages as well.
It seems like there are just a lot of those small things you get used to that are really nice
There's nothing I hate more than work software that I have to tinker with to keep working. Maybe it doesn't deserve the reputation it has for being a resource hog, or maybe it does?
Also, templating is incredibly powerful. I avoid copy / paste in favor of typing or generating things out. Copy/Paste is a really bad pattern and the overhead of having to put the code in makes me think about abstracting it much earlier than if I just copied and pasting things.
Make your work feel like pleasure and there is no limit to what you can achieve. So maybe don't only think "what can I be better at ?" but also "how can my life be better while I work ?".
A proper training session with a high level debugger for a language I wasn't used to, debuggers often have esoteric interface and "hidden" features, but learning to use them comfortably will make your life so much easier and pleasant.
Buying a license for a good IDE (in my case, intellij). I use vs code 70% of my time but when I need to work on more complex pieces of code or debugging it just change your life.
Buying a proper "high quality" laptop, notably the screen (real matte screen because screw glares, and 2k/3k/4k resolution because you look at text all day so crystal clear font rendering matters a lot).
A great chair with proper support because my back hurting at the end of every day is not ok.
A switchable sitting / standing desk ( https://www.autonomous.ai/product/standing-desk ).
Quality noise cancelling headphones (Bose QC 35).
Same way e-ink is much much more pleasant to read a book in the sun than even the most expansive amoled screen.
For books, the dollar cost is so low that I can buy it, invest 15 minutes in evaluating it, and not feel bad walking away. At least 25% of books are worth the time and cost, which is plenty.
*exemptions include event tickets and clearly personalized items
Which one do you doubt and what are your questions ? I would be happy to provide more about my experience so you can decide if it matches your need.
Hardware: I bought a gamer laptop (for use with Ubuntu) recently because it had a GPU, but was shocked to discover that I never got used to the keyboard. Again, I thought that I would get better, but it really hasn't. Fortunately, my Kenesis keyboard /was/ something with a continuously rising learning curve (I'm not hopeless, contra the evidence above!) But now I'm doing a lot of work in Looker which tries to do extraordinary things in the browser, but brings my machine to a crawl. My Mac-using coworker says it's less of an issue for him, but I can't quite bear to drop $2k just for that one application. That said, the value-of-my-time-over-1y calculation suggests I should. But does "good computer" just mean a Mac?
Monitor: What would be a good monitor buying guide? I'm happy with mine now but don't know what any of the specs mean for the future
Chair: This is like the definition of "YMMV" but how would you go about evaluating chairs, esp in the covid era?
Standing desk: I've been procrastinating on this one because while I understand how to measure things, I foresee myself visiting a half dozen diffent sites with different ways of representing the size/specs of their desks and getting pretty overwhelmed. And that would be the hardest thing to return.
Quality noise cancelling headphones: OK I guess I have no excuse here.
Thanks again, you've already forced me to think through several mental blocks and realize they are real but entirely surmountable. Any answers (from anyone) to the questions above would also be appreciated!
IDE: Use IntelliJ Community Edition (or whatever Jetbrains IDE matches your project). Print out a keystrokes cheat sheet and tape it on your desk. Try to do stuff as a series of snippets, autocorrects, autocompletes and refactorings rather than pounding out the code (this is especially relevant in Java where it can save you like 90% keystrokes).
Example: don't start a new method by writing the new method. Start it by calling it somewhere with arguments, then alt-enter (auto-correct) to create the method, with the types and arguments already filled in.
Chair: get Herman Miller Aeron or Mirra (cheaper), second hand
Standing desk: I use cardboard boxes on a regular desk. I take sitting breaks when I'm thinking but not actively typing. Pomodoros also work (stand 20, sit 5 or 10). Don't use your phone when you sit.
> IDE: How do you estimate which one is going to be best /after/ you invest in the training?
I had put off using a paid IDE for years. However the recommendation for IDEA tools kept growing stronger among my network. So I just took the plunge with their JetBrains (for Java). And what worked for me was I was full on using their IDE. Including running the app/web-server from within IDE. The great thing is they have 30 day trial period and so I learned most of the right way of using it. i.e., keyboard short cuts, navigation etc., Towards the end of the trial period I could sense a clear increase in my productivity. From then on buying full version was easy decision.
With their DataGrip product it was something similar. Good thing is their trial version allows 30 minute sessions. I kept on using it for a month or so until I was annoyed with repeated restarts so bought their full suite of products (the difference between two tools and full suite is something like ~10$/month).
MacBook's keyboard + Trackpad has been a game changer for me. Especially the trackpad. It's incredibly easy for me to navigate using trackpad. From exclusively Linux for ~12 years I've gone full on Apple ecosystem over last 3 years. Now not just Laptop I can also vouch for their bluetooth keyboard, trackpad and iPhone-11, and AirPods Pro.
This one I probably can't answer you because of how personnal it is. My two best advices are:
- if there is a paying tool where you thought "yes it's cool but I don't really need that I can do without", don't do that and buy it. You will feel a lot better buying a tool that you ultimately don't need much than discovering after 10 years that you were wasting your time that a 100e spend could save you
- try a tool that is diametrically opposed to what you are used to, and force yourself to use it for a while no matter what, see if that different way of thinking works better if or if your original choice works better
Eg if you're a vim guy, don't try emacs or vs code (small steps); but intellij or similar, discover an entirely opposite way of doing things. It may convert you, or you may learn that you were right in your choice. Mostly all such tools have a free trial time. Hard part is to force yourself to use the new tool no matter what for a while.
My eye opener was debugging a hard problem in PHPStorm and noticing that instead of fighting/trying to extract information from its debugger, I was helped and supported by it. Suddenly that tool became my assistant and I couldn't do without, and I have been subscribed to jetbrains ever since (their intellisense is also miles ahead but I don't know if that alone would have converted me)
> I bought a gamer laptop
Ah, I have one too ! Love it ! Used to be Asus ROG serie, now is MSI G-serie. Awesome thing. The keyboard is the worst thing ever made for coding (especially on msi, they're steelseries keyboard, re-arranged for gaming).
I don't know your personnal situation, but if you can afford it and assuming you are a coder, buy a dedicated work laptop. Only thing that matters are screen and keyboard. Lenovo Thinkpad, Dell XPS, that kind of thing. Price in the 1000-2000 range usually. Not having anything but work on it will end up as a bonus and net positive, I promise you that (no distraction).
My current laptop is a thinkpad matte screen with semi mechanical key, if I need to show it to someone it looks terrible (and right out of the 60s), but it's awesome. If you spend more than 5 minutes a week fighting against your keyboard, you need to change it. If you need to "change position" because of the glare, change.
High refresh rate (120/144/240 hz, look for gamers latop they care about that), good color rendering (eg look for srgb screen) and contrast. In this one, opposite the laptop one, gamer's things are actually pretty good because rendering fast and clearly matters a lot there. The contrast is important because you want something that you can see clearly without being at 100% brightness, so the gamers 120hz/hdr compatible screen are a welcomed thing.
Do not think 60hz/75hz is enough, you won't see the difference going up but going down after being used to it makes it clear how better it is. This is a ~300e spend max.
The rules are: it should not be an effort to be sitting in a good posture in it, and it should be your natural posture in it. If you don't sit better on it "unless I force myself to sit that way", forget it you won't do it. I bought a "medical/ergonomical" chair meant for people with back problems, for 240e.
> Standing desk
Absolutely agree, I bought one from autonomous during a sale. One thing I can tell you is it's a lie to thing standing is always better, so I would really suggest a switching that can do both. I'm still not sure it makes my life better per se, but I know at least I'm not sitting all day anymore and I don't feel terrible working standing up which is what I scared of.
> Quality noise cancelling headphones
Of the entire list this is probably the first one you should go for (if you can, eg don't need to answer your colleagues every 5 minutes). You will be very surprised by how much many distraction you didn't notice it removes and how much more centrated you become when it's only you, the screen, your mind and maybe some music.
Is there actually any evidence that over-focusing on tools is a common problem? I understand it could be, and we've all probably wasted an hour here and there, but I don't fear drowning in a glass of water just because I've swallowed wrong a few times
I might say, "A journeyman makes his tools do the job, a master invests in his tools".
But at the end of the day there are always those 10+ people projects, or hard debugging case, where a heavy computing-intensive IDE figguring stuff out for you is worth every cent.
Anyway my general point is make sure your tool suits you, if you spend more than 5 minutes fighting against it every day it doesn't, you either need training on it or to change it.
I'll admit that I haven't any experience with other brands, but the Bose QC35 IIs changed my work life (especially when I as working in the office).
I really should upgrade my chair and desk.
I would have gladly drop a few grand to acquire that skill. In fact, I'm considering hiring a speaking coach to improve.
I've historically been a strong written communicator, but it turns out that speaking is very different from writing. In fact, I had thought of myself as a pretty strong speaker due to my experience giving scholarly presentations ... how wrong I was. Academic talks are a different beast altogether.
If you haven't seen Patrick Winston's How to Speak lecture , drop what you're doing and watch it now. I'll leave you with a (paraphrased) quote from his lecture: your ideas are like your children and you don't want to send them off into the world dressed in rags.
I haven't done this myself but I plan to, as I've heard good things about it, and if you live in a big city or metro area there is probably at least one group you could join. Also in many cities outside the US, for example I think Bangkok has several different ones, I know Budapest has at least two. And it's really cheap, AFAICT, in case that's a factor.
It's got a bit of a self-help sheen to it but I knew a couple guys in SF who were involved and they said it was just about public speaking. At which they were much better than I am.
I found direct pedagogy to be much more useful for me personally. I took an in-person storytelling class and received feedback from an instructor who was also a practitioner. It's much more expensive, but it's still learn-by-doing (had to tell a new story every week for 8 weeks, and classes were 3 hours long each week, and like a workshop, I got real critique (positive and negative) -- so stressful) but I actually learned real technique (stuff like aspects of physical presence, using hooks, different forms of narrative arcs for different genres, etc.) The difference for me was professional feedback, and that difference was appreciable.
It's funny, I had the same reaction as you. I watched it once without taking notes (because it's so damn engaging!) and at the end of it, I suddenly realized that I would need to take notes if I wanted to learn this stuff!
I really don't understand why I wasn't taught this in school. It's borderline criminal.
P.S.: the "fencing in the idea" is something I do all the time now.
2. The Fast AI for coders course and associated book. (Maybe this shouldn't be on this list, because it's free, but it's still the absolute best place to learn machine learning from scratch.) This is a book and a set of videos that go over the same material. I work on a team of data scientists, and using information from the first few chapters of this book I've done things that are far beyond the capabilities of my teammates. Unlike most courses, this starts with practical knowledge you can use to do useful work on day 1. Then later it moves into the theory of how it works. You don't need more than high school math to get going.
3. The Coursera Deep Learning Specialization, a set of 5 AI courses. Has a certification you can use on your resume and LinkedIn.
Is it this course? https://course.fast.ai/