Breakfast Notes #50 (London,Negativity, Federer)
Good morning friends.
Here is what I want to share this week.
- Quote of the Week. In his book, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, Lee Kuan Yew says, "I always tried to be correct, not politically correct."
- Video of The Week. Why Singapore is insanely well-designed. This video is a SparkNotes version of Singapore's history. It reveals a fundamental truth about Singapore - our country was first designed and then engineered.
Here is the 50th serving of the Breakfast Notes.
Reads Of The Week
Here are the reads of the week.
- Geopolitics of London. The word 'geopolitics' is a portmanteau of geography and politics. My go-to writer in recent weeks for clear analysis is George Friedman. He obsessively studies a nation's history and geography and explains how geography determines its trajectory. This essay on London highlights the paradox of all great cities. London is the expression of British culture and heritage. It is where royalty resides, financiers congregate and the brightest minds gather. Yet, for a city that ought to represent the best of Britain, its interest greatly diverges from the rest of the nation.
- Learning from History. What was the worst financial crash in the past 50 years? You might think of the dot-com crash, Asian Financial Crisis, the 08-09 crash. What if it was the 1974 crash? But, what actually happened in 1974? In one year - the invasion of Israel, the end of the Bretton Woods System, President Nixon became the first impeached President in modern history and inflation was consistently in the double digits. What were the odds of such unlikely events happening in succession? Talk about black swans. This essay just goes to show a) how much recency bias affects our mental map of the world and b) the saliency of history's lessons depends on whether you were alive when history was being made.
- The A4 Paper. Do you know why the A4 paper folds into half perfectly? Do you know why its 297mm and not 300mm? Find out the math behind why we got the A4 paper today.
Seeking Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is good.
The problem? Not ALL negative feedback is good.
You should probably ignore the trolls, the haters, and the naysayers.
But here is one way to get premium negative feedback.
I found this out in episode 538 of the Tim Ferriss Show as he explained how he sought feedback during an early stage of a book project.
He asks the readers for bits they find confusing, boring or distracting.
Then, he asks them, "If I had to cut 20 percent, which 20 percent would I cut?"
Finally, he acts on the feedback given.
Roger Federer, The Butcher
In another life, Roger Federer would be a Chinese butcher.
If you are confused or bewildered, it might be wise to visit the story of Butcher Ding by Zhuangzi.
The Butcher says, 'What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond skill. When I first began cutting up oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. After three years I no longer saw the whole ox. And now — now I go at it by spirit and don't look with my eyes. Perception and understanding have stopped, and the spirit moves where it wants. I go along with the natural makeup, strike in the big hollows, guide the knife through the big openings, and following things as they are. So I never touch the smallest ligament or tendon, much less a main joint.'
Watch Federer play and you will come to appreciate this epiphany.
His graceful strides across the court, deft flicks of his wrist and creative parries comes across as natural and intuitive to the spectator.
Yet, this effortlessness requires years of focused and deliberate practice.
Only after endless regimented training can Federer (and the Butcher) move according to the spirit.
This is why the price of mastery is three years or as some people call it, ten thousand hours.
Visualization Of The Week
Federer in action.
Thank you for reading this and truly, may the sun shine upon your face,