Tangential Tuesdays #52

Falafel, Book notes, masculinity, gmail, polyamory, 4-day work weeks

Hi 👋 - hope your week has been good. Consider this your monthly reminder that we are closing in on the end of a decade 😮. Let’s get into it.

📖 Book Notes

I found myself going over some of my book notes/kindle highlights this weekend. Here are a few favorites:

“We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of modern science are not in themselves good or bad” - Understanding Media. Published in 1964 but truer today than ever!

“Movies in America have not developed advertising intervals simply because the movie itself is the greatest of all forms of advertisement for consumer goods.” - Understanding Media.

“But wisdom, in one sense, is the opposite of love. Love survives in us precisely because it isn’t wise.” - Shantaram

“In the past, censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the twenty-first century censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information.” - Homo Deus. This quote is wild, and extremely relevant for understanding the current political climate.

“Education isn’t just about learning; it’s largely about getting graded, ranked, and credentialed, stamped for the approval of employers. Religion isn’t just about private belief in God or the afterlife, but about conspicuous public professions of belief that help bind groups together” - The Elephant in the Brain

🤷‍♂️ Man Enough

I found this web series (which also links to a bunch of interesting articles) through The Grand Session.

In the age of #MeToo - I find it hard to know who I should look up to as a man. How should I express my masculinity? I don’t have any answers, but I enjoyed these videos.

Watch here.

✉️ 1% better @ Gmail

There’s no article here - I think you mostly have to experiment on your own - but I’ve invested a bit of time over the past month to better organize my email.

As you can tell - I’m far from inbox 0. At least the way I use email, trying to get anywhere close to inbox 0 feels like a waste of time.

BUT I’ve started heavily using 1. Automatic filters, 2. Lables, and 3. Multiple inboxes. It’s dramatically improved the usefulness of email for me.

Here’s a quick shot of how my email is organized:

Most of us get a lot of emails. We probably spend at least 20 minutes on email (many of us much more) every single day. It’s worth spending an hour researching and organizing to get just a little bit better 😃

💜 Polyamory Is Growing - And We Need To Get Serious About It

I think this article is flawed in a lot of ways. I should also mention that I have 0 interest in “Polyamory” at the moment (trying to manage 1 intimate relationship seems hard enough!).

That said - it makes some interesting arguments. Especially since monogamy is something that we mostly just inherit from societal norms rather than thinking for ourselves.

“I’ve argued that a lot of human behavior is driven (unconsciously) by mating effort—the drive to show off our mental traits and moral virtues to attract sexual partners. These are costly signals, and we only bother to display them when they can yield mating payoffs. Monogamous exclusivity reduces those incentives. As mating effort gives way to parenting effort, traditional married couples often get lazy about their intellectual, social, and political lives. By contrast, open relationships incentivize people to stay healthy, fit, creative, and funny, because they’re always in the mating market.”

Read the article here.

🔨 4-Day Workweek Boosted Workers' Productivity By 40%

This article seemed to be everywhere this week. Probably because everyone wants to work less.

My thoughts:

First, let me say that I have no idea whether a 4-day work week would be a good experiment for more companies in the U.S to try.

There are many ways to skin a cat. China has become famous for the 996 schedule (9am-9pm, 6 days a week). China’s economy has been growing at an absurd rate over the last decade. Does that mean we should copy them?

Almost certainly not. Trying to beat China at their own game seems like a recipe for disaster. I think the same can probably be said for reading this article and assuming a 4-day work week is the way to go.

That said, the 40-hour work week is largely a remnant of the industrial age and should be reconsidered and experimented more than it currently is.

I generally believe that:

  • Almost everyone that started a great company worked insanely hard and well over 40-hours per week at the beginning

  • There is a lot of bull-shit and non-working time at most companies. Some of this is inevitable, but a large portion could be avoided.

More broadly - the real problem is less to do with how many days a week we work, and more to do with the fact that we even rely on an employer to set our work schedule in the 1st place. I hope that we will see a mass decentralization and increase of freelancers in the next decade, freeing people to work when and how they want.

Read the article here.

More to check out

- Asking a Stranger to go on a Date across the World!

- ByteDance / TikTok launch a phone

- Products I’m Enjoying: Gantri, Twice, Weighted Blanket, Block Shop Textiles


I’m headed to NYC next week for work. Won’t have much downtime, but let me know if you are in the city and want to meet up! Recommendations are always appreciated 😊

Falafel, Ethereally smooth hummus, Israeli salad, Banana Bread 😍

Cool x-rays of my spine. The green line is healthy. Red line is me 😬. Time to fix…

Thanks for reading! If you read anything interesting this week please send it my way.

- Tay