Friday Links 08-06-13

From the Web

Worries on the Job, Not a Lack of Time, Prevent Balance – Tim Ferriss interviews Dr. Stewart Friedman. Friedman suggests that a lack of time isn’t the biggest problem to maintain healthy work and off-work lives. Instead, he argues that psychological interference, where your mind isn’t focused on what you should be doing, is a bigger problem. Definitely worth reading through if you have the time.

From the Archives

The Virtue of Failing Fast – I’m a believer that life needs to take a lesson from open source software. Run everything in constant beta, where you bruise a bit more, but learn a lot faster.

From the Shelf

Guns, Germs and Steel – “A short history of the last 13,000 years” according to Jared Diamond, the book’s author. This book answers the question of why some societies (such as Europeans) conquered other societies (such as North Americans). Starting with the initial environmental factors, Diamond goes on to provide an anti-racist thesis. He argues that “progress” was slowed down in many societies, due to the geographical and ecological conditions of those places, not genetic or cultural superiority.

  • Bart

    Also, there is a great National Geographic series about the book. You get to see the author’s love for the people and history of Papua New Guinea. It’s worth a watch if you want to supplement the book or if you like the concept but can’t read the book.

  • Kakalina

    A lot has been disproven since more research and discoveries have been made since the book is published. Not that I’m saying don’t read it–by all means, it’s an excellant book and a good exercise in logical progression. I’m just saying that you might want to do some additional internet research to counteract any misstatements the author has made in the book.

  • Scott Young


    I think the overall idea is more important than the specific details of supporting evidence. However, it’s good to check the discussion.

    Diamond makes everything a process in simple steps in causality, but sometimes I think he overreaches. In his discussion on why Europe is a current superpower and not China, he develops a principle based on the unity of China becoming a handicap at the highest level.

    Although this is an interesting theory (and nearly unprovable) I think it misses a more likely explanation–randomness and multiple variables. China was the superpower until the last 800 years or so (arguably a small time in the several thousand years since agriculture).

    I like Diamond’s explanation, but it is a bit to clean for something as messy as history.