Links and Books, May 2022

Posted on 31 May 2022 by Steve Markham


  • The Wrong Kind of Munching (Cortex 129). There’s a bit early on about maximizing optionality early on in your career by living in the biggest city available to your circumstances, and then later after you have picked an option, “taking your reputation with you” and living wherever best maximizes your self actualization. I thought that is a useful idea. Later, in the 53:00-60:00 range (which I linked), they discuss being “serious” about things, and doing a self-check about whether you are actually doing the things you would do if you were serious about doing whatever it is you say you do. People who are serious about writing a novel do things like write the novel, so if you’re taking a class on writing but not actually writing, that’s a sign you aren’t serious about writing. I think there a whole lot of caveat necessary–by this metric you should be “serious” about your top priority, but you often can’t be serious about any lower priority item, even if you’d like to be. I’m still figuring out whether it makes sense to have only a single priority so that everything you do can be your highest priority thing, or whether it’s better to acknowledge that you have many priorities, and accept the constraints that imposes.
  • The Orange Pill. Yeah, it dropped on June 1st, but I’m late with these links so you get it a month early. Quit complaining.


  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Recommended.
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Book 2 in the Stormlight series. Recommended.


  • “Just because I choose not to drink doesn’t automatically make me no fun. That is a separate choice, which I’ve also made.” –u/justkeepsinging
  • “The future appeals more to us than the present moment because it appears to us in a multitude of pleasant forms all at the same time.” –Henri Bergson
  • ““I ain’t grouchy,” Teft snapped. “I just have a low threshold for stupidity.” –Brandon Sanderson