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Tips for a Better Life (ideopunk.com)
1271 points by CapitalistCartr 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 464 comments

I think the compassion section has the most wisdom in it, especially the reasoning behind the recommendation:

82. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.

83. Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out.

84. If somebody is undergoing group criticism, the tribal part in you will want to join in the fun of righteously destroying somebody. Resist this, you’ll only add ugliness to the world. And anyway, they’ve already learned the lesson they’re going to learn and it probably isn’t the lesson you want.

85. Cultivate compassion for those less intelligent than you. Many people, through no fault of their own, can’t handle forms, scammers, or complex situations. Be kind to them because the world is not.

86. Cultivate patience for difficult people. Communication is extremely complicated and involves getting both tone and complex ideas across. Many people can barely do either. Don’t punish them.

87. Don’t punish people for trying. You teach them to not try with you. Punishing includes whining that it took them so long, that they did it badly, or that others have done it better.

88. Remember that many people suffer invisibly, and some of the worst suffering is shame. Not everybody can make their pain legible.

89. Don't punish people for admitting they were wrong, you make it harder for them to improve.

90. In general, you will look for excuses to not be kind to people. Resist these.

91. don't buy XRP

but in seriousness,

I think it is easier to apply these rules to people you know than strangers. Look how often people lose patience with each other online.

>85. Cultivate compassion for those less intelligent than you. Many people, through no fault of their own, can’t handle forms, scammers, or complex situations. Be kind to them because the world is not.

Interestingly, being smart does not protect one from scams. Look at all the smart people who got duped by Madoff. Smart people are just as inclined to believe BS as less intelligent people are , if the BS is dressed up in such a way to appeal to smart people. If anything, being dumb helps, because scams typically require forms and complex schemes, such as investment schemes.

> Look how often people lose patience with each other online.

I think this is largely an issue of scale.

Say you are driving on a single-lane, one-way road, which ends at a T intersection with a stop sign. The other road is also 1-way, 1-lane, and does not have a stop sign. It has a traffic light around 20 car lengths after your road. You are waiting for a chance to turn in; the other road has a fair amount of traffic, but moving slowly since the light was red. A car stops (or moves very slowly) to make room for you to cut in, and waves you on. Very nice for you, and the cars behind you are not inconvenienced much.

In my experience, this kind of thing happens relatively frequently in rural areas, and quite the opposite in cities. For myself, that's largely because in the city there's always a car looking to get in, and if I stopped for them all, I'd never get anywhere.

In person, I am quite patient. Online, still relatively patient I guess, but less so, especially with strangers. There's just so many people who I could be talking to, that if I gave everyone I talked to the same attention that I do irl, I wouldn't have time to do anything else! My impatience translates more into "ghosting" a conversation if the other person isn't getting my point, vs snapping at them, but it's the same cause.

Sometimes I write long (as in time to compose) comments like this one, but that's partially for myself, to verify that my thoughts are logically consistent.

My experience differs with the cars. During my life I have moved from very rural area to always denser places. The denser it gets the more helpful the other drivers are. Dunno why this happens.

IMO New York drivers are the least agreeable and a diverse sprawlscape like LA has all kinds, depending on the neighborhood (looking at you Glendale) so neither stereotype align with reality.

I suspect what the GP thinks of as rural is more exurban or even suburban, though IME they're often just as bad. Rural is when you see a handful of cars on an hour long drive so opinions will vary wildly

I’ve grown up driving in east coast cities and I will say that there is a lot of honking and anger and cutting off of people, but drivers in general are very spatially aware and there are unwritten rules about how to cut in/merge etc. so I’ve never taken any of it personally. It’s all part of the theater. Oddly I feel less comfortable in other regions out west where speeds are higher and people are sticklers for “rules of the road” (IMO feel like “right of way” casts a cloak of invincibility around them). I feel that those drivers don’t see driving for the complex, multi-person game it is and don’t play their part in the game. It’s like their playing in single player mode. I can see though if you’re unfamiliar with either perspective the other seems foreign and wrong. But then again I’m biased (just casting a different perspective on angry NYC/Boston/NE-US drivers)...

Interesting bit about the cars in the city. I've always let 1 or 2 cars in, but cut it off after that for the reason you mention.

Agree on both counts.

> I think it is easier to apply these rules to people you know than strangers. Look how often people lose patience with each other online.

Your reply in particular, though also many of the bullet points themselves to an extent, feels like the Sermon on the Mount — no wonder Charlie Stross keeps comparing [Less Wrong, Rationalist philosophy, the Singularity] to Christian theology.

> Smart people are just as inclined to believe BS as less intelligent people are , if the BS is dressed up in such a way to appeal to smart people.

Indeed. When the Sequences talks of rationality still being rationality even when it’s wearing a clown suit and makeup, it drew my attention to the inverse case of intellectual fraud still being intellectual fraud when it’s dressing itself up like One Of Us.

It's not just about being smart/dumb, it's also about being trusting and agreeable. I think falling prey to the occasional (hopefully not life-destroying) deception is part of the cost of being an easy to work with and trusting person. There are people who will take advantage of you, but most won't. On the balance, this leads to better relationships and a better life. OTOH you can be cynical and questioning of every persons' motives, and that can make many normal interactions exhausting, at work and in social contexts. It can add an edge to you that most people do not like.

The ideal would be to have perfect, instant judgement of character, knowing when to be open or closed with people in various contexts. That's the hardest of all, and comes from having great parents/mentors and making lots of mistakes.

The thing is that you can differentiate between contexts. No?

At work I'm learning to trust more and be kinder. I actually have colleagues today that are smart and seem to be kind too. Not always the case though before. Most people have been rather dumb so far. And I'm not particularly bright if you ask me.

Road: I'll let the guy in. I know how to do zipper style traffic. If the next guy tries to take advantage I'll be sure to try as hard as I can not to let him in. Eff him! The guys that get real close on the highway even though I'm already going 10% over the speed limit? I'll make sure to drop to exactly the speed limit or on the highway Match the speed of the truck right next to me. Back the eff off dude! If he does I'll accelerate and get out of the way. Most don't get it even with gestures. The guy coming on with 30% over the speed limit from behind but I see them or they slow down and stay 3 car lengths behind? I'll make room as soon as I pass the other traffic and might even go 15% over the limit. I'm not unreasonable.

Companies? I'll expect you to be unreasonable. You have to prove to me that you're worth it. Sorry but too many bad apples. You don't deliver in the time you said you would and then you don't answer the phone or call me back? Sorry but I will not assume that you are just having a family situation and it's taking you a while due to that. I will assume that you're out to gouge your customers and try to use the get out of jail free card all the time. If you don't call me back the day you said you would I'll assume you're a scumbag trying to cheat me out of my money or you don't want my business.

I am not sure if that many smart people got duped by Madoff, surely not for significant %, of their net worth. It's just who the public considers smart often isn't that at all.

We had similar scandal in our country with tens of thousands of people being duped into buying some kind of gold secured deposits. We have heard how smart people like doctors, actors, lawyers invested significant % of their net worth on it. I see it differently. They are not smart. If you invest big % of your net worth into one thing, especially if that thing is not a huge publicly traded and regularly audited company/fund then you are not smart. If you're tempted to put a lot of money into some magic fund that trades gold you are just dumb.

Not putting all your eggs in one basket, especially if it sounds like some exclusive great opportunity isn't rocket science. It's just that vast majority of the population is clueless when it comes to thinking about money, probability and motivations of others.

I think the point about the compassion is great. Very small % of people can understand things like financial instruments, expected value or utility of money. We need a framework to protect less fortunate from scams because that's most people and no one wants the world where scammers reside at the top of the food chain.

Just wrt Madoff, a lot of people who were smart enough to make real money in their lives were taken by him. Some may not be too bright, but that would be a long tail and there were surely some at the other end of the curved too. I asked a bigwig at a legit hedge fund once how they never spotted that he was a fraud, and his answer was that they couldn't reproduce his returns, so they figured he was smarter than them.

It might have not been obvious it's a fraud but it was obvious not to put significant % of your net worth in his fund. It's basic risk management. Maybe I am biased coming from a gambling world where it's the very first lesson you get. Betting more than a few % of your net worth on one horse is just a judgement blunder.

A lot of smart people knew he had to be a kind of fraud, but they thought he was their fraud -- it was assumed he was making money through some kind of front running.

I've heard before that the smarter you are, the more naive you are. The way I think about it, the smarter you are the more often you are correct about something that no one else is, which causes you to rationally place your judgement above others, which causes you to believe a bunch of nonsense. When presented with counter-evidence, you are more likely to trust your own reasoning than to trust the evidence.

I was told long ago that con men like to target doctors, because doctors believe they are too smart to be scammed.

Rule number one, always find what people want and play on it.

Also they have lots of money.

money that they scammed from their poor patients

> I think it is easier to apply these rules to people you know than strangers.

This, and they're also easier to apply in person. It's a lot harder to be casually vicious to someone you're face to face with, for most people at least (although some are quite capable of such IRL).

> Look how often people lose patience with each other online.

Many of the most popular platforms implicitly or explicitly reward self-righteous moralizing, dog-piling, mean-spirited snark, glib context-insensitivity, baiting/provocation, appeals to emotion, etc.

People that lose patience online are mostly teenagers or young adults. I think boys even in their 20's have hard time to learn compassion.

Part about strangers is that it is far easier to unload on someone you will never meet again. When you know you will have to face that person the next day you have to have really good reason to lose your tamper. You don't have to understand compassion to understand consequences of talking foul things to your father.

Smart is so easy to bypass. Put anybody in à New place with high emotional incentives and all of their side knowledge will fade when facing the fairy tale.

I’ve heard a magician claim PhDs are much easier to fool than children. The former can apparently rationalize any (wrong) scenario

James Randi said that about scientists. He has demonstrated a matchbox trick that fooled some of them into believing a person had supernatural powers.

Maybe some scientists get frustrated if they don't understand the trick. There are so many things that children don't understand that tricks have less effects.

It's the problem of trust. Even the smartest people on the planet have the need to trust someone. Trust can be abused, of course.

I really like it. Used GPT-3 to expand it (T=0.7, the first trial).



82. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.

83. Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out.

84. If somebody is undergoing group criticism, the tribal part in you will want to join in the fun of righteously destroying somebody. Resist this, you’ll only add ugliness to the world. And anyway, they’ve already learned the lesson they’re going to learn and it probably isn’t the lesson you want.

85. [END OF PROMPT] When you’re arguing with somebody, know that you’re both right. Think about it this way: let’s say you really want to go to the movies, but your friend really wants to see something else. You both really want to see what you want. This means that you can’t really be right and they can’t really be wrong, because if they are right then you would be wrong, and if you’re wrong then they’re right.

86. When you’re arguing with somebody, know that you’re both wrong. Think about it this way: an expert is somebody who knows more and more about less and less. So, if you’re arguing with somebody you’re likely very ignorant about their subject, and they’re likely very ignorant about yours, so you’re likely wrong, and so is they.

87. If somebody is shouting at you, you can choose to be hurt or you can choose to be curious. If your curiosity wins, you’ll be better able to hear what they really mean, which is usually the opposite of what they’re shouting.

88. Think about people as all being like you, just with a different set of experiences and beliefs. This will help you to be more compassionate to their quirks and more forgiving of their mistakes.

89. Think about people as all being like you, just with a different set of experiences and beliefs. This will help you to better understand and appreciate their quirks and better forgive their mistakes.

90. Treat yourself as you would treat somebody you love.

91. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.

92. Treat yourself as you would treat somebody you’re about to have sex with.

In the same vein, one of my first experiments with GPT-3:


The following is short advice given by an omniscient AI acting as a spiritual leader similar to Buddha and Jesus.

[Human] Hello, what's the best piece of original, actionable advice you can give to humans?

[AI] [END OF PROMPT] The big tip is to stop looking at external validation for how good of a person you are. That includes money, fame, love, respect, being well-liked, sex, friends, whatever. None of those are your true rewards and all of them are dependent on your external environment. Even if you get 100% of them, the high is fleeting. Get into a flow of life where you get satisfaction from knowing you did the right thing in the moment and you have decent relationships, and you don't have to worry about "am I successful enough?" all the time.

Other than 89 I’m not impressed with the GPT-3 output here. In fact I would say it’s a good demonstration of the limits of this technology. While syntactically correct sentences that at the surface sound good, if you really think about them they’re not saying anything. They’re much more superficial and meaningless than the thinking that went into the original list.

I'd say that GPT-3 could probably beat a lot of the English-speaking (human) population at producing these though. I've read far worse on social media, that I've attributed to humans authors.

No doubt. Since it’s built out of a corpus of human produced text, it should be capable of producing human level text (but probably not often exceeding it). Yet many people are not capable of writing syntactically correct text.

As well as being syntactically correct, it also reflects the contextual patterns of the tokens used to train it and then prompt it, which is perhaps limited by both intelligence and knowledge in humans.

So GPT-3 could run for office.

It sounds like 95% of the conversations I hear at work.

86 is good advice for overly confident people, but destructive for people who are too agreeable or lack confidence.

In fact, sometimes you are right and it is ok too think you are right. It is also ok to want things, you don't have to step back every single time.

lol 92 could lead to some pretty weird situations

85. Cultivate compassion for those less intelligent than you. Many people, through no fault of their own, can’t handle forms, scammers, or complex situations. Be kind to them because the world is not.

Don't assume someone is not smart because they have trouble with something you find easy. People have different strengths and weaknesses and the same person you are tempted to look down upon as "dumb" may blow you out of the water on some other task.

This is so true. I had a college mate who was truly useless with academics - struggling with pretty much all the courses and math gave him nightmares. (But he did have the determination to retry until he passed).

Yet he could disassemble your computer, your motor-bike, your car, diagnose and fix any problem - all within a couple of hours. It was really fun to watch him work. This was sadly before the youtube era. Today, I would have taken videos of him doing this. It was amazing how he knew precisely where every part was and how smooth he was de-assembling and assembling. A mechanical savant. He always used to nail the practicals - welding, foundry, etc.

There's very good advice in there for people in leading or mentoring positions.

I am in academia and I noticed many professors are a mixed bag when it comes to such communication skills. They don't really compliment students much for their work or results. Basically all feedback is target at existing issues and how to improve things. I feel many people can quickly get discouraged by this.

When I give students feedback I always start with thanking them for the work and pointing out some things I think they did very well.. Most students seem to appreciate it a lot.

#82 is a Pinegrove lyric, great song.

Seeing this made me wonder if the author pulled it from the song _or_ if the song/author pulled it from somewhere else. A quick search seems to indicate it's a Pinegrove original, which makes me happy. One of my favorite bands!

The number is in fact a link to the PineGrove video.

Many of the numbers are green ... try clicking them!

Love that song! Noted it in the list but thought it was off by a word or two... guess not!

I am a Pinegrove fan myself, but that song sounds like Smashmouth sadly. "So what's wrong with taking the backstreets"

Thanks. The list started out so materialistic I quickly lost interest.

I lost interest when it stopped being materialistic.

Honestly, be kind because the universe is cruel enough. Just step back and let entropy do it’s thing if you truly can’t be kind to someone, but there’s no need to hasten “the entropy death of the universe.”

Being mean hastens the heat death of the universe?

Of course! That’s why it’s called “roasting” people.

#84 is especially good advice. Bandwagon criticism and demonisation is very common in the workplace and pretty much every group environment I've been in, although to varying degrees. Definitely a deep-seated psychology/biological phenomenon at work.

The game theory of this kind of enlightenment might not work for the majority of people. The null hypothesis is that default human behavior is near-optimal individually.

I will exercise these tips for an otherwise sophomoric article

Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment

"8. When buying things, time and money trade-off against each other. If you’re low on money, take more time to find deals. If you’re low on time, stop looking for great deals and just buy things quickly online."

I'm finding, as I've gotten older, that almost every time I've chosen money over time I've made a bad decision.

And I see this among my family and friends, too. There's a mentality that emerges when exchanging time for money that somehow makes it so you waste your time and you end up spending almost or more money than you originally would have.

I'm known for saying, "There is a professional person for that... Let's get one," instead of trying to fix the water heater ourselves or get transport 2 tons of gravel. Others in my family would have dragged the old trailer out of the barn. Oh, it has a flat. Fix that. Oh, the trailer hitch doesn't fit the new truck, oh, get a new hitch (we'll use it someday again, surely). Or get the old truck working, or the older truck working (cause they keep buying cheap used trucks that break down and sit on the property for eternity). Then go get whatever, and deal with not knowing what they're doing. Me, just get it delivered. Maybe more money, waaaay less hassle. In the saved time I've polished up my CSS skills...

Time really is the most precious resource you have. Think hard before you trade it for anything else.

Some people value that they can get stuff done for themselves. I've grown up helping with various renovations around our home (floor tiling, wallpapers, building kitchen furniture etc), and they are fond memories and it makes a difference to how you feel living in a place. I know today mobility and renting is everything, but there is quite a distinct feel of living in actually your own place that you've worked on over the years with family or friends helping out. Now, we were poorer than most people around here for sure. Still, it's not the same when you just pay others to do it.

What's life about? What do you buy that time for? To have more time to "consume content"? Or to go on a vacation and sit at the beach being served cocktails? For many people, these quests for finding good deals, fixing stuff, etc. is like a "side project" or a side quest that contributes to their self-image and life satisfaction long-term.

If you eliminate all hassle, you could just as much pay people to live instead of you.

Now if you really loath some ways of spending time, sure try to make others do those. But not every "hassle" is wasted time. You can even learn new interesting things, interact with different types of people, while getting advice for laying your floor tiles or whatever.

I don't think this super productivity focused view is healthy long term, that all time must be spent either on brushing up on new job-related skills to chase more money, or on actual work time to fight for higher job positions, to make your hourly time even more expensive, so you do even less worldly stuff...

I wonder if there will come a new celebrity-backed fad (following mindfulness, minimalism, normcore etc.) where people do these mundane tasks themselves and give it some cute snappy buzzwordy name and there will be scientific studies that it increases one's well being.

"If you eliminate all hassle, you could just as much pay people to live instead of you."

I take your point, but don't worry, I'm living with the saved time. The CSS example was probably not as good as it could have been. Instead I'd probably be visiting my kids or something like that. I don't think "super productivity" is healthy long term as well.

"I wonder if there will come a new celebrity-backed fad (following mindfulness, minimalism, normcore etc.) where people do these mundane tasks themselves and give it some cute snappy buzzwordy name and there will be scientific studies that it increases one's well being."

Would that be the DIY thing?

I think that's just DIY. Does doing the dishes increase happiness? Unlikely. But fixing something or cooking a new dish is going to venture into learning and thinking and hopefully some level of increased awareness of how other parts of the world work.

With that said, there can be real value to walking mindlessly behind a lawn mower for a few hours.

I find doing the dishes somewhat meditative. If I've spent the morning grappling with a difficult work problem then I need something mindless to do for 20 minutes.

There are ripple effects from discovering that you're capable of doing things that professionals get paid to do.

Good ripple effects.

My wife has not only embraced me doing more things around the house (and to me, this is getting to do more things) as she's seen what I can do, but she's also embraced her own capabilities more as she's discovered what she can do.

There's also cases where professionals have different skill levels, or just a bad day, and make mistakes working on your issue. But when you did the initial build or repair yourself, you often learn enough to come in and troubleshoot an issue that arises, without having to schedule a troubleshooting session (or five, as is the case of my brand new roof that still has a new leak after quite a few visits and failure to identify the cause.)

The more capable you find yourself, the more you can readily learn to shape your immediate environment to be the world you want to live in. And arguably, there's more satisfaction in that than paying others to shape the world for you.

Also, paying someone to care about it as much as you do may be out of your wallet (well, perhaps not the case for SV devs reading).

The attention to detail and actual time that you are willing to put into your own home is just different from someone for whom it's just another job.

> If you eliminate all hassle, you could just as much pay people to live instead of you.

There are still a lot of things to do even if you have eliminated all the hassles. Singing, writing, learning a new language, surfing, volunteering as a firefighter, just to name a few.

I get it. Some people likes fixing stuff, building stuff with their hands, and it's perfectly interesting to them. At the same time, it's not that interesting to other people. Just like not everyone cooks, and that doesn't mean they are not enjoying their meal.

Last week, I spent a few hours learning about plumbing, in an attempt to fix my disposal. My quest failed, and I had to call a plumber, who fixed it in under a minute.

Next time, I'll call her directly.

> volunteering as a firefighter

This seems like exactly the case where I would apply the "There's a professional for that" maxim.

This made me laugh my drink through my nose -- and I've had my life saved by volunteer fire fighters in the PNW backcountry. A gifted, timely amateur beats an absent professional any day.

There are not enough professional firefighters in some places.

There are too many in others. They mostly do housecalls, serving as ambulances, since house fires are rare today.

Too many in cities but in rural areas, there are never enough. And they are never close enough. Lots of those places, the volunteers train once a month and carry a pager. They are all spread out over the county. When the page goes off, they leave work or home and go to the scene to be useful.

And the selection and training for volunteers is as rigorous as for the professionals, for the obvious reason that they can't permit life and property to be endangered just because someone's a volunteer.

I had a workshop fire once. Grabbing the fire extinguisher and quickly putting it out was defintely a better idea than outsourcing that task.

"If you eliminate all hassle, you could just as much pay people to live instead of you."

In general (90% of the time) I've found paying someone to do something merely alters the hassle. Now I have to deal through someone to get the desired result. And I'm paying for the privilege (increments hassle). There are very few times I've been able to pay money, state the desired result, and remain hands off.

Yep, it's easy to get screwed over. When we had major renovations, one knowledgeable family member always had to be around to make sure things are going well. The main repairs guy is obviously hostile to this, they are the pros after all, but if you take a hands off approach you can get screwed. And other handymen don't like taking up and finishing/fixing botched jobs. You can also try to run after your money. Sure you can delegate that too, pay a lawyer etc.

If you're really rich you can just have someone who does all this for you and you just sit in your chair and enjoy life and point to things in catalogues and everything else just appears around you.

There is merit to the parent comment advising that some DIY excursions are best left alone, but I appreciate the adventure that comes with grinding my wheels from time to time. Hassle builds character! My buddy is taking years to renovate his house, but it's a great story, like something you see in Architectural Digest.

The thing is that there's a difference between putting up a new wall (been there, enjoyed that) and hiring someone else to fix the toilet flange leak if you ask me :)

That's a tongue in cheek way of saying that I don't mind paying for the stuff that I would not enjoy trying to do myself. It's not limited to smelly stuff. I definitely didn't want to do the re-piping of the house (had Kitex) myself. But I definitely enjoyed the wall building and dry walling. I loved putting in the door and what I learned during that but I wouldn't want to do the window replacement even though it's kinda the same except for the insulation and water proofing part (which is where I want the professionals to do it). But then I will be looking into the shed water leak myself (wet garden tools and possibly some $$ spent on a new 2x4 or OSB roof board, sure). Leaky house with mold issues? Thabjs but no thanks. I got a day job :)

Sounds like you've struck a great balance between being unafraid to tackle some cool, challenging projects and sniffing out the tasks that aren't worth your trouble. Knowing the boundaries of your expertise is key, no matter the domain.

Luckily I got this advice early on, and I agree it’s aged well as I get older. It was given to me as “Time is your most precious resource. You can always make more money. You’ll never get back a second of your time.” Words I live by.

I tried to tile a room in my basement once. Took forever and I only got half done. Hired a professional to finish the job, and it took him less than a day. Then he told me the things I had done wrong.

I completely agree. I've found these are generally challenging tasks that pull you into a flow state, and when doing them with family, contribute to a great sense of accomplishment.

I wanted to say great replies - thoughtful and reasoned and polite. I read them all. Thanks HN folks.

I think GP agrees with you because they said:

> In the saved time I've polished up my CSS skills...

Some people have spent thousands of hours perfecting their craft. To think you can produce the same output with a few hours of YouTube tutorials is laughable.

I’m happy to pay these experts because I know I will get my moneys worth. It’ll also free up my time to explore things I have a higher interest and affinity for

If very high-skilled work is needed and/or specialized tools (replacing a front-door, plumbing a gas-line), I agree, it's hard to match a skilled professional.

In my experience, the vast majority of household diy/repair does not require that level of skill. It can also be hard to find a really skilled person that cares about your home as much as you.

For me, I tend towards fixing/making everything myself unless it requires high-skill or specialized tools.

> It can also be hard to find a really skilled person that cares about your home as much as you.

This is something I've found to be true.

We bought a house that we later found had some significant water damage issues. I hired a professional the first time we noticed it and he did little more than paper over the problem.

I ended up spending the next two years basically tearing the wall apart and redoing all the sheathing and insulation and house wrap.

Sure I could have hired someone and they would have eventually done all that for me, but I'm pretty confident it would have been in the tens of thousands of dollars by that point.

Caring about the end result will get you a long way.

But part of it is probably also that I come from a working class family and was immersed in the basics of that sort of work for my entire growing up time.

How do you know you're hiring an expert? It's easy to find people claiming to be experts who are willing to take your money. It's virtually impossible to evaluate whether they're any good or not when you're not an expert either.

If I do it myself, I might take three times as long, but at least I know what I'm going to get.

Somehow, it feels better if it's screwed up because I screwed it up rather than paying someone else to screw it up.

Word of mouth is a good way. Experts tend to have a portfolio of work so you can use that as your reference point.

Question is what do you spend your newfound time on. People usually like solving problems and proving to themselves and others they are capable. If I go and fix that broken chair myself, rather than toss it and buy a brand new one, you can say I’ve “lost” that time doing something unproductive, but I might consider it time well spent doing something I enjoy.

Also I think diversifying my competencies is also a good investment, as you get to exercise different parts of your brain and body.

And don’t get me started on the social aspect. Sure I’ll feel happy working on that toy recursive descent parser I’ve been thinking about. But I can do that at work too. But helping a friend do a paint job for that old room would help my well being even more.

I’ve largely stopped envying other people’s wealth at this point. I can see them having all the same problems as the rest of us - communication with partners or kids, “issues at work”, car problems, neighbor problems, substance abuse, just the details change, we’re all humans in the end. And thus trying to find joy in whatever I’ve set out to do this hour has helped me a lot with my general wellbeing.

> Time really is the most precious resource you have. Think hard before you trade it for anything else.

Including money!

I personally would much rather spend a sunny afternoon with my nephew transporting 2 tons of gravel and playing outside than sitting inside an office to earn the money to pay someone else to do it.

That's a particular case where you'd get other benefits (spending time with someone you like when the weather is nice), you know that's not always the case. And for the cost of half a day's transit work a software engineer probably only needs to work for an hour (and a professional's half day will probably take a layperson a whole day).

If you enjoy the activity it's a whole different story.

Since starting on my own homeownership journey, I've often found it a gigantic hassle to find professionals who I can trust to do a decent job AND have time in their schedule to do the job... Hiring someone for any kind of plumbing requires both time AND money, so I find it just as well to try using time first, and then adding money if the job is too big/complex to solve with a few youtube videos and a wrench.

I recently spent $2500 having a "recommended" handyman paint the trim of a rental house I own because I was taking too long to get the house done by myself and I figured it'd save money in the long run to accelerate the timetable, but his work wasn't up to my standards and I still had to spend another week touching up his mistakes. Probably would've been three days if I just did the job myself, and I wouldn't have had to spend any time picking paint out of the carpet either...

To be fair, though, the other subs I hired worked out okay.

I've applied this a lot in my life.

For example, holidays: Every day that I'm overseas, I lose about $1,000 because I'm a contractor and I'm not getting paid, plus the base expenses of the flights and hotel rooms. If I'm not getting a thousand dollars worth of value from a day, that money is wasted. Spending $50 at a normal restaurant is not "saving money", it's actually a waste of a day! Once you've sunk days into flying somewhere, and dedicated weeks of not working, you may as well spend $200-$300 on a really fancy dinner.

For a contrast, a friend of mine came with us on a trip and tried to save money by buying the exact same $5 takeaway budget pizza that you can get here. He got food poisoning from it and spent several days of his trip in his room feeling miserable. He spent the same time on the trip and spent the same money on flights and accommodation.

I agree with the end point you made but I think it's really unhealthy to think about any time not spent working as losing money.

I don't think parent means "every hour I'm not working I'm losing money", I think they mean "every day I spend on this vacation is a day I would normally be getting paid" so they need to make the opportunity cost assessment.

I'm not sure how $200-300 is "saving money" unless you're not enjoying your trip at all with a $50 restaurant.

Maybe your friend that spent $5 on pizza was on the trip for something other than food?

Also depending on destination, $200 / night on dinner is usually higher than my total daily incl amortized flights, and I don't really cut corners on anything (ie flights, hotel, activities, meals). Your friend with the $5 pizza could proportionally save a lot of money compared to me.

Of course, food poisoning is a pretty extreme example, doesn't make sense to order from anywhere if it seems undafe.

How do you factor in trips where being thrify - taking, for instance, public transport or staying in strange places or finding cheap back-street bars, are actually the way to have a far more genuine experience than throwing money at stuff? I've always found the trips I've taken when I've been broken to be the ones where I discover the most and immerse myself the most. When I've you're able to throw money at stuff you get lazy and don't get as much from it.

Understand what you are trying to say but maybe food isn't the best example. If i travel somewhere it's to enjoy a warm beach, the ski slope or something else unique i can't find at home. Not to eat. If i thrift on the food it means i can afford another day in slopes. (Assuming of course fancy restaurants is something that can be found at home and not a main unique attraction of the destination).

Often the cheap street food can also be the more unique local attraction when traveling somewhere!

On the other hand, if you enjoy fixing old trucks and hauling gravel then you haven't really lost anything. You've got to spend your time doing something after all.

I just replaced my failed furnace with a used one from craigslist, cost me about $250 and 2-4 hours ¯\_(0.0)_/¯

It's easy to recognize this but there really is something you miss by not having things you maintain yourself. It certainly doesn't have to be everything but if you outsource too much it's a lot easier to get depressed.

Relevant Malcolm in the Middle "Hal Replaces a Lightbulb" video. Sometimes I feel like this is my life.


I see this reacting depending on the interests, hobbies or identity of the person. The same people who decide to get a professional to paint their homes or install a heater can / will also rant about how you can save money by assembling your own server, driving an hour each way to a colo and installing it there, instead of using AWS. We all decide to do things ourselves if we're hobbyists, amateurs or have an vested identity (we think of ourselves as being handy with power tools or being the "man about the house") in the thing that needs to be done.

I disagree. I spent 20 hours installing a remote start on my wife’s minivan for $150 when it would have cost $400 to have professionals do it in 3 hours. My time was well spent.

Different strokes, of course. Find the balance : ) I think it’s healthy to realize that even things/chores you want to do and would enjoy doing you may be able to pay to have done both sooner and more professionally, allowing you to partake in activities you enjoy even more. I just moved and had new locks keyed and deadbolts installed for $200. I could have done it, and have before, but I got to work instead and take off early to go hike with the dogs. I think a lot of capable people feel guilty paying for stuff like that because they like to accomplish everything themselves, which can be exhausting in and of itself. That’s the pitfall to avoid, I think.

Yes, also try. We hired a nanny in the mornings to help care for the kids.

Yeah, it's not like I'm paying people to assemble my Lego sets or play my board games for me. But your example of 20 hours for $400 would definitely be one where I'd take that $20 an hour in a heartbeat and go do something else.

Right, definitely valid. But I could have spent that 20 hrs playing a video game, which has the same sort of feedbacks, but doesn't teach me a useful skill. If I reinterpret the installation as a meditative time of carefully learning and exploring, like playing an open world game like minecraft, it feels rewarding instead of tedious. Ideally I would do something similar for all my tasks so my life is very understandable and maintainable. Despite the normal call to just have a professional do it, many things are not so tricky to do one's self, and if I trick myself into thinking the time is worthwhile spent instead of wasted since I didn't do a preferred activity, I gain a sense of virtue and deeper satisfaction. Sure, I will miss out on financial and experiential opportunities. But, it seems with virtue and a sense of standing on my own feet, these missed opportunities don't bother me, which in turn gives me less anxiety over missing out on life overall, which is what I think I really want.

Yeah, and the point you make about satisfaction is important. If you're doing it for the satisfaction of learning and attaining some competence at it, that's time well spent I think.

I do almost everything myself--a byproduct of being raised poor--and I never know what I'm doing. I watch some youtube videos, buy a fancy new tool, and away I go. I've had a couple epic failures but overall I've found that the more things you learn to do yourself the faster and easier it gets to pick up any new thing.

I'll add that learning some basic skills can save hassle as well. A few weeks ago a hinge broke on my bathroom door. The door dropped and was wedged on the floor so it couldn't be opened or closed.

My wife's answer if I wasn't here, would have been to call someone and wait a week for them to come, while just dealing with a broken bathroom door. Maybe if you are on your own thats no big deal, but what if it was a exterior door or window?

I spend an hour to swap the hinges around (there are three on the door, so swapped the middle for the bottom one which was broken), and voila, good as new until I get a replacement.

I still need to get around to ordering a replacement, but that's another story....

Exactly, having a professional do it not only is more expensive, but can be more time consuming and annoying.

Have you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance? Your attitude reminds me of the protagonist's friend.

When you do things for yourself, not only do you gain the experience when you have the agency and skills to add a layer of self-reliance, and not only do you have the beautiful experience of learning and appreciating the ins and outs of the things that contribute to your existence, but often when you achieve some degree of master of something you'll be building or maintaining things to a higher standard because you have a vested interest in keeping the tools around you that way as opposed to relying on a division of labour.

When it comes to buying things I find my satisfaction is much higher when I spend money to remove an irritant rather than get something completely new.

Our home has a long run from the water heater to basically anywhere it is used (This is in the USA where storage heaters are typical). When it died I had its location moved and got a model with a circulating system that loops around to the downstairs locations (kitchen/bathroom). Now what took 20-30 seconds to get warm water is 2-3 seconds. I spent a lot (for me) and it was worth it.

I replaced the 2 DIN radio in my car with an android head unit. Driving became much better with my personal audio selection rather than over the air radio (What's that?). A few years later I upgraded the unit and reduced the start time from 20-ish seconds to 2 seconds. Both changes removed irritants and noticeably improved my quality of life.

Previously I would wonder if getting a new car, or bigger TV, or going to Hawaii would improve my life. Now I am more inclined to seek out irritants and try to find ways of applying money or effort to reduce them. I'll still make the occasional new/splurge purchase, most recently Ring video cameras - they're fun, but that comes second and I'm happier for it.

> When it comes to buying things I find my satisfaction is much higher when I spend money to remove an irritant rather than get something completely new.

Really true for me as well. I recently bought a new guitar that is fairly similar compared to my old guitar. My old guitar is perfectly fine. The issue is that my old guitar is in a weird tuning since I'm practicing finger style guitar on it. And I hate retuning my guitar to a normal tuning all the time.

I told myself, if I'm still as irritated about this a year from now, I'm buying a new guitar. It's 2 years later and I'm happy I did it.

Both are true, but at different times. Eliminating an irritant or stressor can be an excellent use of money. At the same time, I get tremendous, continued happiness simply having a reproduction of my favourite piece of art in the wall in my office. Some things are just things, others are layered happiness and value. The same is true of irritants.

> 48. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.

This is one I've been trying to emphasize with a few friends for a while. The act of labeling yourself is the act of restricting yourself to what you think fits that label. And unless that makes you happy, it's probably not what you really want, so change your perception of yourself by relabeling or (better) delabeling.

This is good advice, but separate from the labeling, it's also okay to not like things. If you actually don't like dancing, that's okay, and you shouldn't feel guilty about not forcing yourself to like it. And other people shouldn't feel obligated to "Green Eggs and Ham" you over it.

If somebody says they're not interested in something, don't try to force them into it. You're not really doing them a favor. The dancing example is appropriate, because for some reason people who love dancing have a hard time understanding that others might legitimately just not enjoy doing it.

That's fair. But I know a number of men (to go with the example) who think it's unmasculine to dance (or to dance in certain styles and settings). However, as a single guy taking up ballroom and tango dancing was a great idea for meeting women (along with, at that time in my life, getting in better shape and starting to dress better). The notion that "real men don't dance" (like real men don't eat quiche) is harmful to many individuals because it's become internalized as a quality of themselves due to identity and not due to actual preference.

That's the problem with labeling and holding onto an identity too strongly. It can contradict the actual desires of the individual and can often contradict reality.

But I agree, don't force it on people. I've never tried to force anyone into something they don't want to do. When they, on a rare occasion, participate in something they ostensibly hate and express real joy in the experience, it's obvious that it's not the activity that's the problem but something else.

Yeah, I definitely agree with this. My pet peeve is just when people assume you're not doing something because of the label, not because you actually just don't enjoy the thing.

Yeees, but the problem Jtsummers mentions is that often the label gets “internalized as a quality of themselves”, so especially men sometimes thing that it’s their own preference, when they just never had the right space to discover the joy of dance. I think that dance is actually a very universal human thing and that there’s a strange alienation from dance and our bodies going on in western culture, especially for men. This cultural alienation is so deeply embedded in our identity that it’s often a blind spot, where we don’t even notice what we miss.

I myself thought that I didn’t enjoy dancing, would never be able to enjoy it and that I had zero interest in learning dancing until I eventually discovered that I do actually want to learn to dance, which started a journey which ended up with me becoming a professional dancer.

But I agree both that not everyone has to dance and that pressuring people to dance is not the right strategy for showing them the joy of dance.

> I think that dance is actually a very universal human thing and that there’s a strange alienation from dance and our bodies going on in western culture, especially for men.

This is kind of what I mean. Humans are very diverse, and I don't think dance is actually a universal thing. (You could probably argue it overall as a species, but not for every individual.)

Because of this, too often the attitude is "well you WOULD like dancing if you just loosened up and stopped worrying about what people think!". I'm sure that's true for some people, but definitely not all.

I realize, based on your last paragraph, that you're not the type of person to try to force someone into dancing. It's just similar to the line of reasoning I've encountered when other people can't seem to understand that I don't like it. It's like they can't compute the idea that it's just not something I enjoy. So many people seem to assume that the only possible reason is "a label you've internalized as a quality of yourself", and it comes off as condescending.

Mean while I love to dance, but absolutely lack to necessary coordination and motor skills to engage in more structured dancing like ballroom, tango, salsa, ballet, etc.

This isn’t through lack of trying, but rather through the act of trying and suffering excessively before ultimately giving up and just moving to the music in my own way.

> The notion that "real men don't dance" (like real men don't eat quiche) is harmful to many individuals because it's become internalized as a quality of themselves due to identity and not due to actual preference.

Yeah toxic masculinity sucks. Both as a thing and as a term.

The masculine label is not one that’s easy to achieve so fulfilling everything the label demands is actually a huge achievement. Things have specifically been excluded from the label for a reason, whether they resonate with you or not.

The advice would be to not let a label tell you that you don't like it. If you don't like dancing because men don't dance then that's silly, no matter if it's your deepest held conviction or not.

Yep, agreed. I only point it out because there are certain types of activities where others will assume you only dislike it because of the label, and not because you actually don't like it. Dancing seems to be one of those.

Its not attributed in the article but the Paul Graham article is where I first saw it: http://www.paulgraham.com/identity.html

"All things change in a dynamic environment. Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you." - Shirō Masamune. (Ghost in the shell)

I find it interesting, that you can (and should) use this as a hack for good qualities: "I AM the kind of person who doesn't lie". Cultivating such a stance makes it easier to do the better thing in challenging situations.

“I’m not the kind of person who does things like that”

This can also be not misbehaving or betraying your own values. It's not about you though. It should always be about actions. Not about "is" but about do's and don'ts

Self-identification manifests the ego. You want to identify yourself as others do, based on your actions and not an idea you have about yourself. And especially not an idea driven by impulses. These build the worst egos.

And those who generate ideas about others can be the most dangerous. They will embed an ego they can fight with their own, and even choose to fight it just so they can win.

It's annoying to see people signalling social status, but in reality that does have an effect. So keep identity small is good for the individual but not good for society.

I disagree.

I think developing a durable character with strong preferences is what makes you a genuine being. Saying hard NOs to things that don't fit well in your life and not having to come up for excuses for declining.

If you are constantly saying yes to everything and everyone and trying everything then you'll never really be complete.

The key here is to not blatantly reject anything in front of you but rather respond with "Maybe".

95. Some types of sophistication won’t make you enjoy the object more, they’ll make you enjoy it less. For example, wine snobs don’t enjoy wine twice as much as you, they’re more keenly aware of how most wine isn’t good enough. Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment.

I agree with the conclusion of this one, though I think it oversimplifies the problem.

Cultivating taste in something (be it food or drink, music, literature) is absolutely a valuable thing, and one of life's great pleasures. With it comes that awareness that some examples of the thing you have learned to appreciate are much better than others. The challenge is to not let your appreciation for the best dampen your enjoyment of the common.

I may be no cicerone, but I've developed a relatively discerning palate for beer. What I've had to learn, though, is how to still enjoy a mass-market beer when that's all that's available. I've found that reframing, thinking "I'm not drinking this Miller Lite because it's great beer; I'm drinking it because I'm here with people I like spending time with" allows me to let go of the beer-snobbery for the totality of the experience. The best has its place, and so does the common.

I don’t know how I feel about that advice. I’d think a better one is: don’t get too snoby. It was shown that wine experts can’t tell between a very expensive wine and a good wine with a normal price. It’s all a matter of taste. Same for movies: sure that movie has been done a thousand times, but watch it like you were watching this genre for the first time.

I do not mean to either encourage or discourage the taking of any kind of nutritional supplements, but I strongly caution anyone from looking to lists like the one on LessWrong for specific advice on health issues.

> 23. (~This is not medical advice~). Don’t waste money on multivitamins, they don’t work. Vitamin D supplementation does seem to work, which is important because deficiency is common.

From The Physicians’ Health Study II - PHS II (https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/clinical-trials/201...):

"The results of the PHS II trial in middle-aged to elderly male physicians demonstrate that daily intake of a multivitamin results in a small, but statistically significant decrease in all cancers over 11 years of follow-up, especially nonprostate cancer, with numerically lower cancer-related mortality."

It is usually unwise for anyone to take any sort of medical advice from postings on the internet. This includes advice that claims it is not really advice. What you put into your body is your own personal decision, and if you want to better understand the implications, discuss it with a qualified medical professional.

Agree about not taking medical advice from people on the internet.

It's also best not to form life decisions on any one study. This includes studies that show multivitamin benefits as well as those that show slight increase in mortality rate.

For multivitamin studies, it seems to be so hard to show any effect that people think we should stop looking for it:

"The probability of a meaningful effect is so small that it's not worth doing study after study and spending research dollars on these questions"


I didn't take one until my physician casually asked if I were, when I said "No." he told me to start. I did. It aligned with my inclination since it was inexpensive, almost assuredly would do no harm, and might do some good. Now you've given me a concrete reason to continue taking a multivitamin. Thanks.

So your medical advice for us is to not take medical advice from the internet?

These are really great! I imagine one could write a paragraph (or more) on each, and one could setup a whole process of following through with all of them.

In fact, this is inspiring: I'm going to put these in a list and review them regularly and try to take a (small) action on each. Anyone wanna try it with me?

BTW - only two that I disagree with:

> 13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.

No. You'll find recipes whose authors did bare-minimum SEO, not produced better recipes.

> 25. History remembers those who got to market first. Getting your creation out into the world is more important than getting it perfect.

Yes BUT: First-mover advantage is a thing, but it is by no means THE thing. Ship ship ship, but don't sweat being first. Build something better and ship it. Don't perfect it endlessly. But don't worry if you're not the first!

98/100 ain't bad.

I'd say history remembers those who were successful. Being first doesn't matter if you can't sell what you make: Steve Jobs didn't invent the GUI and Henry Ford invented neither the assembly line nor the car. The LG Prada was the first phone with a capacitive touchscreen and nobody gives a crap about that.

100% agree. Better and more succinctly said than what I wrote :)

But you were first! ;)

And by tomorrow I'll have forgotten both of you.

My hot recipe tip: Get a cookbook or three, and don't bother with the SEO cesspool.

- I'm Just Here for the Food (and the sequel)

- Six Seasons

- Cook's Country

- Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

And others, but those are the ones I use most. Especially Six Seasons -- if you are interested in reducing the amount of meat in your diet but find the vege/vegan web sphere too annoying, that's your ticket.

I just checked out six seasons now. My first thought was that this is such a newbie book. It was so...male.

I am not saying this to be disrespectful or rude to you because you did mention that you enjoyed it..but I literally had to skim 10% of the book to hear the authors wax poetic about ..I don’t know what?

Cookbooks should be about recipes ...and recipes should be about methods. Not endless words and sentences about nostalgia. There is a place for that...and that’s not a cookbook. And the nostalgia is not even interesting.

And it treats the reader like they have never seen a vegetable in their lives. And images. There weren’t any that made me want to cook them.

And it comes off a little twee and precious mentioning ‘salt’ as an important ingredient. Seriously? Wtf?

I seriously recommend any French book for cooking. Because they codify methods. None of these are recipes per se ..’torn croutons’ is not a method.

If it’s for vegetarian/vegans learning to cook, I recommend the cuisine that taught the French..the Italians. Anything by Marcella hazan is good. As is silver spoon cookbook.

Www.Food52.com as well as www.thekitchn.com are also good. Altho they are websites and it is what it is.

I also love Donna hay books from Australia. Anything by Mark Bittman. Milk street can be ok. Available on Netflix iirc. America’s test kitchen can be proper lessons for those who are complete newbies.

I was just so mad reading six seasons and I had just finished skimming it because there was literally not one page that made me what to linger. I was just disappointed and seeing it mentioned here literally 3 seconds after I closed it with a huff on kindle is kinda funny.

Second that. My tip: Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. It will teach you the structure of common preparations, and free you from the shackles of recipes. Especially suited for nerds.

Make that 97

> Where is the good knife?” If you’re looking for your good X, you have bad Xs. Throw those out.

No, I keep a bad knife because I don’t want to ruin my good knife by cutting open boxes with it. The bad stuff is useful to prevent wear and tear on the good stuff on low value things that don’t need to precision/durability/whatever.

Sounds like you're in the market for a good box cutter.

Tip 13 should just be tip 1 applied to recipes. Searching reddit for recipes can yield ones that many people have actually tried and feel like opining on. The downside of Reddit opinions is that it heavily weighs the enthusiasts' point of view, not the once-in-a-while dabbler. You might get a solution that's grander, more expensive, or more complex than your needs. Someone might swear by a vacuum cleaner or pot roast recipe with a million bells and whistles when a basic version would have worked for you just fine.

I find reddit to be tue worst of both worlds in many ways. For the handful of areas I'm qualified to judge, it seems to me that you get the enthusiasts' view, but neither the dabbler's nor the professional's view. The typical reddit pot roast recipe has more bells and whistles and yet it isn't nearly as good as mine.

I really agree with this. In areas you are an expert in you quickly learn that reddit is the land of the enthusiast or the expert beginner across all fields. It feels like a lot of people on there internalize the mainstream advice, but not the fundamentals or reasoning behind the advice. What I really want is somewhere where I can find the true expert/professional recommendations and advice. Curious if anyone knows of great places like that online for things like cooking, programming, technology, music production, etc.

When I get bored I really want to put together a review site for recipes and cookbooks. Basically a yelp for recipes.

My big recipe secret from this year:

Take the top N divergent recipe results (with some filter to prevent issues with the next step)... and average them. (More important for ingredient quantities and cook times, assuming similar heating protocol.)

This will approximately never get you something great, but is often a decent way to get a baseline you can improve yourself. Sometimes it's best to use the inputs for inspiration only, and trust your technique. The time this sort of approach doesn't work well is if it involves a technique that is new to you, in my experience.

Also this doesn't work well for baking, sometimes averaging two perfectly good recipes will get you only failure.

My advice is that recipes are best used as inspiration. Rather focus on learning how to build flavour (Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is a good reference on this), and then have a solid reference cookbook and/or website to refer to (e.g. The Joy of Cooking, Serious Eats). Once you get familiar with cooking rather than following a recipe, it becomes really easy to branch out while identifying which recipes you find online will be crap.

My recipe finding tip: google translate the thing you want to cook into the language of the cuisine you want, then search the result in youtube for an authentic recipe.

I learn by reading, but when cooking videos seem to work best.

I'd like to search videos for recipes. It's reassuring when I can see whether the author is capable of cooking, and whether the result looks appetizing (to me subjectively).

For instance, I've found that Jamie Oliver, despite his big names, makes food that doesn't make sense to me. If I only read the recipe, I might not figure that out. But watching him cook and seeing the product, I'm pretty confident that I won't like it.

I just watch Kenji Lopez-Alt's late night gopro videos. The guy has epitomized bachelor meals (though he's married). His tortilla pizza is brilliant.

I like Kenji, too. His analytical approach is very helpful for a home cook.

> 13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.

> No. You'll find recipes whose authors did bare-minimum SEO, not produced better recipes.

This advice is only true because if you do this with many western foods it turns up Kenji Alt-Lopez's recipes that are named this way, and they actually are the best (well, most researched and perfected).

Perhaps a...

  s/best/Kenji Alt-Lopez/
...is warranted in order to improve the tip?

Another internet recipe tip is to read the comments before diving in to the directions. Particularly for brand-new dishes, reading the comments can help you make informed changes to better suit your tastes.

> When dating, de-emphasizing your quirks will lead to 90% of people thinking you’re kind of alright. Emphasizing your quirks will lead to 10% of people thinking you’re fascinating and fun. Those are the people interested in dating you. Aim for them.

I'm all for displaying your blue https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ae/43/79/ae43791d3a1f23e37bdd... , but downplaying quirks on early dates is important. You aren't showing that you don't have quirks, you're showing you are a sensible enough person to know when to air them and when not to.

> 25. History remembers those who got to market first. Getting your creation out into the world is more important than getting it perfect.

This is why everyone remembers the MPMan F10 and no one has heard of the iPod.

Being the first to get it right is more important than being the first to get to market.

I think it's also important to be precise about what "it" is.

Most MP3 players at the time had around an hour's worth of storage. The Creative NOMAD was 64 MB. That means those products were from a user experience perspective in the same category as Walkmen and Minidisc players. It was a writable music player that held about an album. It let you make your own mixtapes, but selecting media while at home was a fundamental part of the user experience.

The first iPod had 5-10 gigs of storage. You didn't have to decide what to listen to before you left the house. You just put everything on there and decided on the fly. This was a completely different experience.

Whether the little box played MP3s is essentially an implementation detail. It was the storage size that made the iPod an entirely different "it" from the devices that came before it, because the way you used it was so different.

For what it's worth: Creative Nomad with 64MB was just the first one. The one with 6GB of storage came out about a year before the iPad. Hence the iconic "No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame." by CmdrTaco. iPod hadn't won on the storage alone.

product market fit is tricky like that

I totally agree that having enough storage space for your full collection was an important differentiator.

But the thing is that the iPod wasn't the first to market for that either.

I remember having the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Jukebox and loving it before the iPod came along.

I don't think it was just the storage size that was the difference. It was the combination of a well designed simple UI together with excellent marketing that seemed to make the difference.

Two other factors that are often overlooked in the early success of the ipod:

400mb/s Firewire let you actually put a lot of files on it in a reasonable amount of time. The theoretical 11mb/s of USB 1.1 was painfully slow in comparison.

The ipod was _tiny_ compared to the other hard drive based mp3 players of the time.

I also remember iTunes (despite it's fall from grace later on) to be miles ahead of any syncing app. The difference in just plugging your iPod in and choosing which music to sync vs. erasing/reformatting/error-handling transfers to your mp3 was lightyears. That was part of what did it for me.

Also, on the iPod you could browse your music in an organized fashion (e.g. by artist), whereas with other mp3 players it was just a long list of tracks.

I remember it was slow to load up at the beginning, but that since it held all my music, I wasn't constantly switching what music was on the device, only occasionally loading a small new set of files, so the slow transfer didn't make much difference to me. Perhaps others had a different case where the transfer speed mattered more.

I can't tell you any other mp3 player commercial from that era. They were all kind of relegated to bestbuy fliers. The iPod was advertising with the colored background and the white headphones. It was good clear advertising and it was playing during the superbowl.

There's always been better mp3 players but normies don't know about them.

"Your blanket truism has a counter-example! I shall provide a counter-truism to fill the void."

One counter example ? I can’t even think of a single example where the first to market eventually won.

Most people use Google, not ALIWEB. How often have you flown on a Burgess plane instead of a Boeing or Airbus ? I bet you’re reading this on a Dell, Mac, HP, or other current brand PC, and not on a Ferranti. There are countless counter examples.

First-to-invent isn't guaranteed to succeed (your criticism) but "first to get it right" (your counter-truism) is also not a truism. After all, what is "right" and what is the "first" "right" in [anything]? Certainly there's no permanent guarantee to being first, but neither is being first-improver.

Chances are more people remember the MPMan F10 than - similar product that was released later by a competitor, the MMan 1.

Even if the mostly remember the MPMan F10 mostly because the play button kept getting stuck.

Indeed, no rule like the "be the first" promulgated here can be universalized across all situations. It does encourage urgency which makes it a useful heuristic and not much else.

I don't remember the ipod being successful until the second generation, with the ipod mini. So i would say you need to get something out that you can improve upon quickly, and make it the thing it needs to be.

Facebook and Google anyone ? :-)

Wht about the Creative NOMAD??

Sorry, but a lot of this advice makes no sense or is pretty bad.

26. Are you on the fence about breaking up or leaving your job? You should probably go ahead and do it. People, on average, end up happier when they take the plunge.

Seems illogical. Presumably the reason that people are happier after leaving their job is because, on average, they wait until they are ready. That doesn't mean anyone with the inclination to quit should do so.

27. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.

This is a meme that seems pretty unhealthy to me. Discipline and motivation are not interchangeable things. They exist in a balance. If you regularly do things that you don't feel any motivation to do, you're on track to have a midlife crisis where you realize that you wasted your entire life trying to impress others without listening to yourself. Ideally, good discipline will nurture motivation, and motivation will help to maintain discipline.

If you find that your motivation to do something disappears, maybe you should question why you're doing it rather than just telling yourself that motivation is fleeting.

I worked at my first job for over ten years, hated the last five... I guess you could say I waited until I was "ready" to quit, but in retrospect I think I was just scared. One day I quit on a whim and it felt great! That was the beginning of my journey of self-actualization.

Me too, and I've watched many of my friends go through this as well.

Basically, some people have jobs that are analogous to abusive relationships. Easy enough to get into one when you depend on your job to get money. And it is rarely a good idea to wait until you're "ready" to get out of an abusive relationship.

Your second point is a good one. Discipline is superior to motivation for getting things done, but not for deciding what to spend your time on (which is probably more important). Too much discipline can lead to putting up with bad situations that you hate.

If you quote instead of giving numbers then people can follow what you're saying.

Done, thanks.

I think 27 makes more sense with 97: Liking and wanting things are different.

I'm guess if those usually line up quite well, this advice seems insane. But if they don't, it is solid advice. I wasted years of my life waiting for motivation to show up, and it never did. It amounted to years of my life I simply regret.

Eventually I saw advice to the effect of 27, and it seems like it has mostly worked to help correct course.

> Discipline and motivation are not interchangeable things. They exist in a balance.

Motivation ignites, discipline inflames.

> “Where is the good knife?” If you’re looking for your good X, you have bad Xs. Throw those out.

Keeping around a couple beater knives is how I have a good knife. I think there's value to the general point, but a lot of the cases where I have variable quality items, it's not for sloppiness.

Yep, I use my bad knife to open cans. Or when I need to cut meat on the grill

> 48. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.

At the same time, identity can be used for positive change. My family values balance and as a result I've grown into a renaissance man.

I'm at the time of my life (college, looking for internships) where balance isn't something I need. I need dedication and focus to make a dent in the world with the field I care about - programming.

Recently I've immersed myself into communities that self identify as nerds. Identifying as a nerd "tricks" my brain into liking all-day grinds, and putting in the necessary work to achieve my version of success.

The advice is still good. An identity, deliberately self-selected, can be a useful thing and bring you some happiness. Going from, "I'm the guy that hates exercise" to "I'm the guy that likes running" probably bought me an extra decade or more of life, and a lot more comfort vs being 240+ lbs. But many identities are not self-selected or are not deliberately selected. And they can create unhappiness and conflict, so people should be careful with how they finish the phrase "I am...".

I'm enjoying this, and I also appreciate how it is a delightful accidental commentary of the lesswrong crowd. I especially appreciated this one:

> You can figure out doing laundry

Same vibe from #43:

> Deficiencies do not make you special. The older you get, the more your inability to cook will be a red flag for people.

...well, it's essentially a primer for mildly autistic and very smart people to deal with modern life outside of their narrow fields, and most of it is the kind of advice the average grandmother would give someone if they asked her.

We're talking about the movement that created "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" though, I'm not expecting life-shattering insights in a list by them anyways.

Well now I'm super curious to know if you read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. What did you think of it?

> If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking.

I don't agree. Use a virtual desktop instead and switch workspaces with a keyboard shortcut.

I'm currently using 9 workspaces, and monitors couldn't ever beat that UX.

I'll disagree with you - the value of 2 or more monitors comes when you want to simply have more stuff on screen at the same time so you can compare / check / whatever.

I.e. you can have a spreadsheet on one monitor, and the results of a bunch of terminal windows on another, and be typing out an email about those two things on another.

You can continue to type the email while reading the spreadsheet and checking the terminal results without having to "switch", or take the draft email off the screen to check that other thing.

I really notice this falls down when I have multiple tabs open in my browser and I want to be mentally dealing with info from one, and inputting it into another. Switch tabs means the one you're entering data into goes away. (Of course, the solution is to have the tabs in different windows, on different monitors, though this example always makes me realize the HUGE time saver of having so much information in view at the same time.)

A simple solution to that is simply copy the stuff you want to process into your clipboard, and pasting it into the document you want to edit, and then edit out all the stuff you don't need or want to change.

I'm personally not in that kind of situation very often. And switching workspaces is faster for me than turning my head to another screen.

An added benefit is that my window manager always knows what workspace I'm looking at. With multiple monitors, your computer doesn't know that, and so keyboard focus becomes a problem, e.g. finding what is currently "in focus" takes more time, finding where your mouse cursor is, etc.

Finally, my setup is the same everywhere I go (at home, at work, on a laptop, etc.) since I only use one physical monitor. I think this is a huge advantage too.

Even if they're not in the same context, it can be easier to switch between contexts by just moving your head, instead of having to press a keyboard shortcut or a button. I use a tiling WM and usually have two contexts side-by-side (half of my 4k 27" display is usually enough for one window to work in) and when I want to switch to something else I can instinctively move to the other one without having to think about it. On the flipside, the lack of friction also means you can get distracted pretty easily, so YMMV.

I agree with the point about being able to compare two windows, but I feel like the second monitor adds much less value now that affordable 32" 4K monitors are a thing. Now the more useful investment is simply learning your OS's window management hotkeys to immediately snap your window to either the left side or right side of the screen.

It's much easier to comprehend the data from multiple windows if I can see both at the same time. Instead of switching back and forth just have them both open. Virtual desktop work very well too, but they're still improved with multiple monitors.

Depends on what you do. My setup is simple and I don't see how it could be improved with an external display - I've tried a couple of times but have always reverted to a single (laptop) display. Instead of switching between desktops I'd have to be moving my head.

Desktop 1: Browser & chat apps (alt+tab switching)

Desktop 2: Code editor

Desktop 3: Terminal (tiled and tabbed)

Desktop 4: Rarely used

There are certainly use cases where multiple screens have their advantage and I've also every now and then drooled over a 4k monitor, but then I'd lose the portability a laptop gives me (and/or suffer when constrained to it).

It really depends on what kind of work you're doing. You can get pretty far by just using a tiling window manager, though.

Information is independent in windows currently opened on my computer, seeing them simultaneously will only distract me with currently irrelevant information. Seeing the second monitor is another big if, I once had two monitors, but the second was too far away I didn't see anything on it and didn't bother to look.

I used to use multiple monitors, but now I’m using a Mac with a single large screen, and I use the Divvy app to easily split open application windows evenly across a single desktop. https://mizage.com/divvy/

Have you tried both?

I do love me some virtual desktops with a bonus non-switching physical one to the side

Shifting your eyeballs to another monitor will always be more efficient than the key combinations to toggle back and forth between workspaces.

How do you figure that?

Shifting my head and eyeballs back and forth is way slower, for me, than an instantaneous Super+1, Super+2, etc. or Super+Tab (for switching to the last used workspace) to see a "second" monitor.

Same. I tried that too and I don't see the efficiency.

Beware that some of these are US-centric (or I simply don’t get them) like “don’t talk to cops”. Why not? Mine would be “talk to cops whenever you have a chance. They’re nice”.

I think you don't get that one, probably because of the framing. I definitely don't think "don't talk to cops" is nuanced enough on it's own, but the perhaps US-centric part of it isn't the statement itself, but the context people will understand around it.

The core idea is that there are institutions in society (police being one of them) whose goals and incentives are contrary to your best interests. It doesn't matter that the people who work for them are "nice" or not, the act of performing their job can be very detrimental to you even if nobody involved actively wishes it. This observation is true.

I think the US part of this is that it's not some theoretical "don't talk to people who have interests that don't align with you", it's that actually talking to the cops in the US can never help you, only hurt you. If you incriminate yourself or lie to them that can and will be used against you, but if you make a good argument or have a good reason that will not be used in your defense.

By design, "anything you say can and will be used against you" which is a one way street.

*Note: have a lawyer in the family

"DO NOT TALK TO COPS" is very much US specific advice.

There are some countries like the UK where not talking to the cops can potentially land you in trouble too. (In England and Wales, juries are permitted to draw adverse inferences from a defendant not raising information with the police that they later rely on at trial.)

If you are arrested, exercise your right to counsel. This is guaranteed in both the US, the UK and most of Europe (under the European Convention of Human Rights), as well as lots of countries elsewhere.

Yes, it might mean you have to wait an hour or so for the lawyer to get there. Yes, the police will try to convince you that only guilty people need lawyers (not true) or that it'll make things worse for you (also not true).

The counterpoint to this is: if the cops are following procedures correctly and have legitimately collected evidence, they have nothing to fear from you exercising your right to free and independent legal advice.

Cooking is also western specific. Because eating out in a western country costs arm and legs.

Back, in my developing country, I ate out every meal every day because it costs like 1 USD a dish.

Food banks are becoming increasingly more popular in the western countries... :P

You can easily implicate yourself at the scene of the crime by speaking to an officer, but in the U.S. you have the "right to remain silent". The article is generally referring to cases where you are guilty of something or could be guilty of something.

It's not about being guilty or not being guilty. For worse, the police in the US have become (or are perceived to be) generally antagonistic towards the communities they police. It's not a universal truth, but it is a common truth.

Just like you wouldn't volunteer everything to a rival in the office, you don't volunteer everything to someone who has the authority to arrest or fine you. Especially when they know all the rules and you know a handful.

Exactly. US centric. If you trust that the policeman is a well trained professional there to serve you and with only your best interest in mind, why would you be scared to talk to them?

To put it another way: if a policeman isn’t the best (safest, most informed, whatever...) person to talk to among hundreds of strangers you could talk to, isn’t that a sign that the police force in question has failed completely?

That is not very US centric at all - my experience in this wealthy European country is that I am clocked as looking "too foreign" immediately, and treated accordingly.

I've been harassed by the police simply for my looks, I've seen them beat up handcuffed people. I have policemen in my extenden circle of friends, whom I like to keep at the fringes of "extended", because they are anything but well trained or professional.

The police here fought a case all the way to the local supreme court that they should be allowed to harass people based on the color of their skin - no weasling around, trying to not say the quiet part out loud either, straight up "black people are more prone to crime".

> isn’t that a sign that the police force in question has failed completely?

I don't know about completely, but if the police aren't there for everyone then it certainly is some sort of failure.

> isn’t that a sign that the police force in question has failed completely?

Yes, yes it is. And that's the current state of policing in the US. With the irony of police committing acts of brutality against people protesting police brutality, and the officers and their enablers being too ignorant or too hateful to recognize the stupidity of the action and how 2020 has set them back decades in getting people to trust them.

Many conservatives (that's how I'm labelled on here, so...) do not support the police as is. I've specifically witnessed more than one instance of absolutely treasonous behavior by police - threatening to hurt people and make up charges. It's counterproductive to think that only 'the left' is against bad police - nobody wants to pay people to ruin the system.

However, those people probably don't think that the police "committed acts of brutality against protestors", they likely see the videos of BLM peacefully protesting and police standing by, and Antifa committing arson and attacking police and police fighting back. (Portland, Chicago, Kenosha) And they think that fighting and arresting rioters is exactly what they pay police for.

> their enablers being too ignorant or too hateful to recognize the stupidity of the action and how 2020 has set them back decades in getting people to trust them.

You were talking about BLM here? Because "Breona" is just as fake as Jussie Smollet's story, and Jacob Blake would have been shot if he was white, etc. Watch the videos of woke white people in Portland shouting racist slurs at black cops to show how much they care about black people in general.

Perhaps meditate on #48 from the linked article about keeping your identity small. You may find that you're less likely to assume that a comment that makes no mention of left/right or BLM is an attack on you personally so that you don't feel a need to defend yourself from an imagined attack.

Right, because the issue of calling people 'enablers' of bad policing is generally so bipartisan that I'm coming from nowhere with my group labels... What's the # of the one about psychological projection?

I didn't dwell on my identity (because those aren't the words I'd choose to use if I had to). It was a way of self-disclosure like saying if you work for the company being discussed. It's to say "while I'm probably one of the people you're talking about ...".

> an attack on you personally so that you don't feel a need to defend yourself from an imagined attack.

Oh, no. You're out to left field. I'm explaining, not defending, everyone who tends to be misunderstood. I'm trying to say that people can support a thing without being 'enablers', and that two people who both see the same problems (police violence) can see different solutions.

I'm sharing my personal views to help explain how, regardless of labels, that most of our group hatreds are based on intentional (by others if not us) misstatements about the others, not their own words or actual views.

My experience, in being in a fair number of non-US non-European countries, is that cops can vary considerably, and many of them are worse than US cops in many ways.

"...isn’t that a sign that the police force in question has failed completely?"

Sad, but true, in a lot of cases. Hence the suggestion not to talk to them.

The most US centric part is you could actually try refusing talking to them. The vast majority of countries out there let police ID anybody at will. And challenging the police in court tends to be tough in most places.

Strangers don't have the authority to potentially detain and arrest you. I don't think anybody should be rude to the police. But obviously most people interact with the police in adversarial situations. Last time I remember talking to them, I was stopped for crossing (on foot) an empty street on a red light in the middle of the night.

"don't talk to cops" doesn't mean you should be afraid to ask a police officer for directions or something like that. if I'm on foot and see that a street is blocked off, I will sometimes ask an officer nearby what is going on. this is fine. what you shouldn't do is volunteer unnecessary information. maybe this is just american myopia, but it's hard to imagine that anything could be gained by giving police more personal information than you are legally obligated to share.

> If you trust that the policeman is a well trained professional there to serve you

They're not. In any country, that is fundamentally not the purpose of police.

I don't think so, there is no context of that in the article. This perpetuates the mantra that cops are an evil force out to get you. In my country, police are quite respected, and the ability to go over to a police officer and ask for help means that a more trusting relationship is built. How can the US ever hope to achieve police reform with this kind of antagonistic attitude!

Maybe the line instead should be, if you believe you are being interrogated by the police, do not speak until you have an attorney present? Different entirely.

Nuance is sort of counterproductive here because most people don't recognize how many things could trigger an interrogation. Any little personality quirk, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the officer is suddenly taking note of every word you say.

Watch the video about this and how the law professor says that your casual honest comment to a cop might be taken to be a lie based on nothing. Not just wrong, or potentially incriminating, but a lie, and because of that they can and will start to try to fit the evidence to you.

> This perpetuates the mantra that cops are an evil force out to get you.

That's not a requirement for this rule to be useful, but I'll act carefully to protect myself rather than to test that theory in either case.

It refers to cases where you aren't guilty of anything and don't do anything wrong. USA has felony laws that make word itself a crime.

Expanding on "could be guilty" meaning not just "I might be guilty" but also "I might be perceived as being guilty"

Was that the section title or something? “Things to remember when committing crimes?”

Yeah, that one was weird. If you follow the link it leads to this [0] lecture about why you should exercise your 5th amendment right to remain silent if being interrogated by authorities. Which seems like more sensible advice than "DON'T TALK TO COPS", though still out of place on a list of general everyday life tips

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

To anyone who hasn't seen this yet, it's worth a watch. Half of it is a lawyer talking about why you invoke the 5th even if you don't think you're a suspect. The other half is a response by a police officer whose opening statement was "Everything [the lawyer said] is true. Ok? And it was right, and it was correct."

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