Tangential Tuesday #16

Favorite books of 2018, Mushrooms, Skin in the game

Hard to believe we’re in the middle of the last working year of 2018. I’ve had so many mistakes and failures of 2018. And also a few successes 😉. So thankful to share a bit of both with all of you. I seriously love the thoughtful responses I get each week from a few readers. If I forgot to reply to you, I sincerely apologize.

I probably won’t be writing this newsletter next week. I don’t think anyone needs to be reading my newsletter on Christmas day 🎄.

Been enjoying practicing/listening to this song on the piano recently.

Favorite books of 2018

Ryan Holiday and Nat Eliason (two people I respect enormously) just published their favorite books of 2018 here and here. I figured I would do the same.

I’ve finished 35 books in 2018. Probably more than any other year of my life. Here’s my favorite ~10% in no particular order.


This is probably my new favorite novel. The writing is beautiful, the stories are wild, and there’s so much wisdom woven into it all. Just writing this makes me want to reread it.

Hillbilly Elegy

We all live in our own bubble. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in liberal, relatively wealthy towns in close proximity to a university. Now I live in San Francisco. None of these places are even close to representative of the United States.

This book transported me out of my bubble (temporarily) to a struggling part of America. More than any economics study or political analysis, this book helped me understand the current state of America.

As the top ~10 cities continue to prosper, a large portion of the U.S is suffering. I’m not exactly sure what to do with this information, but The War on Normal People has some pretty decent idea.


“This is the central illusion in life: that randomness is risky, that it is a bad thing”

“This is the tragedy of modernity: as with neurotically overprotective parents, those trying to help are often hurting us the most.”

If you’ve never read anything by Taleb, this is a good place to start. This book has probably influenced my everyday thinking more than anything else. But be warned, Taleb is extremely aggressive and at times outrageous. I definitely don’t agree with everything he says/thinks/writes.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Conciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

I love this book not just for the personal anecdotes and high-quality research, but for the profound impact I think it has already had on society. If a 60 year-old Michael Pollan can talk about psychedelics, anyone can.

Since the release of this book, I’ve definitely found people to be much more open to conversations around psychedelics (and not just since moving to San Francisco 😂). That’s massive progress in my opinion.

What were your favorite books in 2018?

Quote I’m Pondering

“I am, at the fed level, libertarian;

at the state level, Republican;

at the local level, Democrat;

and at the family and friends level, a socialist.”

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game


I did this mushroom foraging class Saturday and Sunday of this weekend. It was seriously awesome!! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share today (they are on someone else’s camera) but hopefully I’ll remember to toss them in the next newsletter.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was on Sunday, when we were all out in the cold, rain and fog, hunting for edible mushrooms. It was all so ridiculous, but the craziest part was we weren’t out there alone. We ran into multiple groups of other mushroom hunters along the way. Foraging for mushrooms is basically just the adult version of easter egg hunting.

We found chanterelles, bluets, oyster mushrooms, and many more (most of which was not edible). I cooked some golden chanterelles up last night and they were so so good.

Thumbtack made the 2019 wealthfront career-launching companies list this week.

Things have been pretty crazy at work lately. Making so many mistakes, but learning a lot along the way 😃. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I truly believe that joining a high-growth company after the initial startup phase, but before they have gotten huge (< ~500 employees) is one of the best things you can do for your career.

I’m pretty uncertain about the future of Thumbtack right now, but regardless of what happens, I won’t regret my choice to join. The amount of responsibility and opportunity I have to make an impact keeps me excited & learning every day.

More to check out.

Thanks again for taking the time out of your day to 👀 this email.