Monthly Learning Journal 15 (3/5/2021)

(Disclosure: links marked with an asterisk * are affiliate links)

Table of Contents

Hi RIP readers, welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Monthly Learning journal (MLJ).

A lot of high quality content has reached my attention recently, mainly because you – my readers – are pointing me toward amazing resources. I guess 40% of this MLJ episode has been recommended by you. It’s becoming a collective “monthly best of the web” magazine. I’m just the flag bearer.

Today MLJ themes are… well, it’s hard to extract a few common themes this month, which means I’m getting distracted too much, following too many threads.

This MLJ is also available in my public Roam Database, but this time the notes are raw, incomplete, and not reviewed. I will spend more time in future episodes also because I will start taking notes in public on my YT Channel 😉

Next Episode on Monday June 7th, 2021.



RIP News

What happened in the RIP World during last month?

Not a great month, we’ve been sick most of the time in RIP family. April has been a crappy month health- and weather- wise.

I’ve also not blogged much, my creative mind has been clogged by sleepless nights (BabyRIP’s laryngitis) and what was left has been spent on my YouTube Channel.

I’m having fun on YouTube, especially while interacting with my audience in live streaming, and with other YouTubers like Angelo and Giovanni.

I’ve been on Swiss TV once (Borotalk), and I’m collaborating with another Swiss TV Show called Patti Chiari, in Italian Language. I will appear in TV again, probably by the end of May.

What else? Nothing special: started “”investing”” in Cryptos and Private Equities, turned 44. Usual stuff.


I see… that thing… well, it was not a news right? I already shared it in my last post 😉


Main Content

The most interesting resources I consumed during last month

Wait But Why is back (10/10)

Another high score completely dictated by my fanboy behavior 🙂

While LivingAFI inspired me to start my blog, WBW influenced my “voice” and my posts length 🙂

His publishing schedule is kind of… messy, and he uses to disappear for years and show up randomly, with a writing tone of someone who published his last post the day before.

Anyway, he’s back with not one but two posts in April: one is a giant Mailbag post where he answered a gazillion questions, and two is essentially a shout-out of his wife’s Startup.

But it’s also a great post about the problems of US healthcare system, interesting even for non-Americans. I think Swiss healthcare system is pretty good but I see the lack of direct connection between Patient and Care.

This (simplified) scheme explains why the healthcare market is not a free market and why it sucks.

His wife startup (Lamby) seems the perfect approach to solve healthcare.

I wish them good luck 🙂

And please, Tim, don’t disappear for another year.

ITA – I Soldi Degli Altri (9.5/10)

An amazing blog – written like a book, in chapters – about a small Fiduciary (Trust) company in Ticino Canton, how they handle evaded taxes from Italians, and how the “machine” behind “investing” other people’s money is well designed to extract as much fees and commissions from those ignorant investors (usually entrepreneurs with a lot of cash bills and zero financial knowledge) instead of being centered around maximizing the returns for their customers.

It’s a romantic painting of all the hypocrisy behind getting new customers, the bullshits behind active management, and the sexism and egocentrism of wealth management in this small corner of the world.

The blogger is anonymous, there’s no reference to real people but fictional names.

Actually, the entire story might just be fiction, but it’s incredibly realistic.


I read the entire blog in 3 days.

Ben Felix on what is Financial Advice (9/10)

Masterpiece by Ben Felix!

This is a manifesto of wealth management, and a rationale for Financial Advisors to still exist and justify their fees (that must be small).

Goals Definition, Wealth Management, Risk Assessment, Asset Allocation, Insurance Coverage, Tax Optimization and then – only then – Security Selection and Investing.

I would also add: expenses tracking, expenses optimization, frugality tips, increase earnings, skill developments, personal values, and philosophy of life 🙂


Paul Graham’s You weren’t meant to have a Boss (9/10)

We all know I love Paul Graham, right?

This essay is from 2008. I read it 3-4 years ago for the first time.

As you know I’m on a “paid sabbatical”, internally fighting between employment and entrepreneurship.

I needed to read this essay again.

It starts with a gentle punch in the face:

Technology tends to separate normal from natural. Our bodies weren’t designed to eat the foods that people in rich countries eat, or to get so little exercise. There may be a similar problem with the way we work: a normal job may be as bad for us intellectually as white flour or sugar is for us physically.

Reading this paragraph after having read What I worked On allowed me to contextualize why Paul defined himself as a horrible employee.

And maybe being a horrible employee is the normal state of being. Yes, I’m rationalizing 🙂

Paul shows his anecdotal evidences after having worked with a lot of startup founders.

I’ve noticed a definite difference between programmers working on their own startups and those working for large organizations. I wouldn’t say founders seem happier, necessarily; starting a startup can be very stressful. Maybe the best way to put it is to say that they’re happier in the sense that your body is happier during a long run than sitting on a sofa eating doughnuts.

Like lions:

I was in Africa last year and saw a lot of animals in the wild that I’d only seen in zoos before. It was remarkable how different they seemed. Particularly lions. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive. They’re like different animals. I suspect that working for oneself feels better to humans in much the same way that living in the wild must feel better to a wide-ranging predator like a lion. Life in a zoo is easier, but it isn’t the life they were designed for.

Holy shit this is a real wake up call!

Next he attacks the size of effective groups:

What’s so unnatural about working for a big company? The root of the problem is that humans weren’t meant to work in such large groups. […] the result is that each person gets freedom of action in inverse proportion to the size of the entire tree.

Hierarchies are fake:

A group of 10 people within a large organization is a kind of fake tribe. The number of people you interact with is about right. But something is missing.

Normal is not Good:

For example, working for a big company is the default thing to do, at least for programmers. How bad could it be? Well, food shows that pretty clearly. If you were dropped at a random point in America today, nearly all the food around you would be bad for you. Humans were not designed to eat white flour, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. And yet if you analyzed the contents of the average grocery store you’d probably find these four ingredients accounted for most of the calories. “Normal” food is terribly bad for you.

If it is Bad why is it Normal?

If people have to choose between something that’s cheap, heavily marketed, and appealing in the short term, and something that’s expensive, obscure, and appealing in the long term, which do you think most will choose?

Working for big Tech companies (speaking to me soooo much):

The average MIT graduate wants to work at Google or Microsoft, because it’s a recognized brand, it’s safe, and they’ll get paid a good salary right away. It’s the job equivalent of the pizza they had for lunch. The drawbacks will only become apparent later, and then only in a vague sense of malaise.

Holy fucked shit! I can’t agree more!

But it doesn’t stop here. Let’s talk about programming and large Tech Corps:

The restrictiveness of big company jobs is particularly hard on programmers, because the essence of programming is to build new things. […] So a programmer working as programmers are meant to is always making new things. And when you’re part of an organization whose structure gives each person freedom in inverse proportion to the size of the tree, you’re going to face resistance when you do something new.

You’re talking about me Paul!

Wait… literally?

I was talking recently to a founder who considered starting a startup right out of college, but went to work for Google instead because he thought he’d learn more there. He didn’t learn as much as he expected. Programmers learn by doing, and most of the things he wanted to do, he couldn’t—sometimes because the company wouldn’t let him, but often because the company’s code wouldn’t let him.

No, it’s not me… but close enough 🙂

An obstacle downstream propagates upstream. If you’re not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what to do. So working for yourself makes your brain more powerful in the same way a low-restriction exhaust system makes an engine more powerful.

Love it!

Check out the entire essay, there’s much more 😉

I need to quit “having jobs”, accept that I’m not “normal”, and that it is normal to not be normal. That’s the true normal! I’m ok with being the weirdo. It’s my genetic that’s asking for it.

Nat Eliason on NFTs (8/10)

You know how in denial I am about NFTs, right? I’m mocking them since 2-3 MLJ episodes at least.

This article by Nat introduces the Utility/Signaling Spectrum, a trait that’s not only related to NFTs but to every good as well:

It’s a nice model of what makes the price of a good. Utility plus Signaling. A Decathlon or Ikea product is close to 100% utility. An Armani suit or a Ferrari are closer to 100% signaling.

NFTs are 100% signaling and ZERO utility.

They’re only useful to show off.

But showing off (and status games in general) is a thing. And since it’s a zero sum game (limited supply of status), playing this game is pretty costly. Items in this field have high price tags. This model justifies the crazy trading prices for those otherwise worthless jpgs. Well, “useless” more than “worthless” – because they’re worth the price people are willing to pay to try to win this status game.

Listen to Naval, avoid status games.

Pieter Levels on becoming Unreachable (8/10)

There’s a time when you want or need to say “yes” to everything, a time when saying “no” to many things cuts your wings.

But at one point this trend reverts.

You can’t say yes to everything, you must be very aggressive with declining incoming requests for your time. We’re so reluctant to hand cash bills over to strangers, but we’re usually ok when they ask for our time, like listening to an unwanted sales pitch, taking a phone call, attending a useless meeting just for courtesy.

If it wasn’t clear enough, I’m talking mostly to myself. I’m at the inflection point where I MUST get a bit more unreachable or – in order to answer to each individual request, mail, message, comment – I’ll have to cut more important things out of my life.

I need to prune down the things I’m doing, and I also need to reconsider the time spent interacting with too many people over the internet.

I’m taking some actions: I’ve booked all my mornings as “protected“. Mornings, from 7.30am to 1pm are Deep Work time. Late afternoons (5.30-8.30pm) are work-out and family time. Evenings are Learning, Podcasting, Friends, Leisure, and Couple time.

There’s not much time left.

I’m available from 1.30pm to 5.30pm when I don’t have anything more urgent (spoiler: almost everyday) I want or need to do.

Don’t get offended if I’m slow to reply to your email. I hope you understand me.

The post above by Pieter Levels has been a cold shower, a rational reminder (no, not yours Ben) that Life is Short, and that one must be intentional with their own time, else someone else will choose what you’re going to do with it.

Bonus(es) by Derek Sivers: “I can’t Answer Questions“, and, of course, “Hell Yeah or No

Ali Abdaal on Productivity and Time Management (8/10)

10 tips

1) We own our Time, at any moment we’re doing what we want to do. The sentence “I don’t have time for it” doesn’t make sense.

Disagree. He doesn’t have kids. I don’t do whatever I decide to be doing at any time. I have priority conflicts, and unless I’m ok with letting my family go I can’t be doing what I want to do all the time.

2) Hell Yeah or No. Don’t say yes to things that don’t excite you. Cut below-awesome time requests brutally.

Totally agree. Should be more selective and unreachable.

3) The Daily Highlight: plan in advance one huge thing you want to work on for that day or you’ll die by thousand cuts.

Kind of agree but I don’t like those rigid methods. Sometimes I do plan to take a day just to fight the “thousand cuts”, and sometimes I take two huge projects for a day.

4) Use a TODO List.

Totally agree. If it’s not in the list it doesn’t exist.

I’d add: make daily, weekly, monthly plans.

5) Time Blocking.

Turbo agree. I use calendar for this. Ali does this as well.

6) Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time you assign to it. Set artificial deadlines.

Agree. I’m not good at it though.

7) Protected Time: book Deep Work time, and unscheduled time as well.

Agree, but it’s a duplicate of time blocking. Anyway, Mornings should be protected, and dedicated to Deep Work and Deliberate Practice.

8) Delegation: set a dollar value to your time and pay someone for doing things that are less valuable than your time.

Disagree to some extent. This income thinking mindset is dangerous. I’d like to point you toward the Income Thinking vs Expense Thinking post on the now dead Brave New Life blog, available on the internet archive.

9) Automated Scheduling: avoid back and forth with email and use tools like Calendly.

Agree. I’m starting doing it more, especially for services 🙂

10) Choose to be satisfied: avoid always feeling behind on things, and let go that feeling that you should do more.

Yeah, I’m in this phase now. At risk of falling into Creator Burnout.

Adam Keesling The News is a waste of time (7.5/10)

Lindy Effect: older ideas have a longer life expectancy than newer ones.

We’re more likely to be riding horses in 200 years than Teslas.

Stick to what existed a long ago. Don’t fall for the news.

Quality of Writing: writing long form content requires becoming a kind of expert in the subject. The longer the work, the more time and thought given to the subject.

Short form news articles are only there for advertising purposes.

Do you want to be filling your mind with content that isn’t of the highest quality? Content that hasn’t been subjected to the highest scrutiny? Following this logic to its conclusion, books should be the preferred medium of reading, followed by longer articles, followed by shorter articles.

What about the risk of missing out on important news? If news matters enough, people talk about it – and it will reach you anyway, eventually.

Ben Felix on Factor Investing with ETFs (7.5/10)

Another great video by our dear Ben Felix, this time about Factor Investing.

Exposure to Factors is, according to research (Fama, French and other nice guys with Nobel prizes) an historical-data-backed way to improve market returns without increasing risk exposure, i.e. better risk adjusted returns than “total market”.

We’re talking about the Five Factor Model (Fama-French). And we’re mostly talking about Size and Relative Price (Value) factors.

In a previous Rational Reminder Podcast episode, Ben also shared his model portfolio using Factor ETFs by Dimensional Funds. Here‘s the link to Sample Portfolios by Ben.

… which essentially says: get exposed to Total Stock Market (ACWI) + Small Cap Value Stocks (World or ACWI) 🙂


Athens, Foam, and Obsidian (7.5/10)

Roam Alternatives… I stopped counting them few months ago!

The three mentioned here are the most promising I’ve found on the net.

I’m sticking with Roam at the moment, but you never know… better to have alternatives ready 😉

Everything looks good on Demo, my questions for all of them are the following:

  • Will it keep working if I throw into the tool 10-15 years worth of notes and journal entries? If you don’t scale, go the fuck away.
  • Will it work 5 years from now? Moving a PKM costs a lot of time. I don’t want to use a tool just to discover few months later that it’s unmaintained.

Anyway, here they are:

  • Athens: funded (2M) by Y Combinator. They’re hiring.
  • Foam: built on VS Code.
  • Obsidian: this seems much more solid than the others.

… maybe it’s time to learn Clojure? 🙂

Sloww review of Early Retirement Extreme (7.5/10)

ERE has been an enlightening book that contributed to my Frugality habit formation and FIRE Epiphany. It’s a philosophical book more than a practical one. A book that will last.

If you want to get a “90 minutes summary” of the book, watch recent Jacob’s presentation titled “A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design“.

Ok, you’re welcome:

Also read Sloww review of the book, linked in the title. Amazing as usual 🙂

What I love most of the book is its focus on Strategy vs Tactics:

It’s important to understand that doing the right thing (good strategy) is much more important than doing things right (good tactics). This is why this book is short on tactics and long on strategies. Strategy is about defining the end-goals. Tactics is about the means to those ends.

Which resonates with what Jacob said several times about humans being big on methods and poor on fundamentals.

That’s a good enough defense against what 99% of Fake Gurus try to sell you: a method (to make money quick, usually).

You’ll be way better off in 5 years if you learned the fundamentals instead.

This is true for everything in life.

Drew DeVault’s Cryptocurrency is an abject disaster (7.5/10)

Assholes stealing CPU cycles to mine crappy currencies are damaging what was left of good public services like Continuous Integration software… this is bad.

Proof of Work should be outlawed.

Cryptocurrency is the multi-level marketing of the tech world.

“Hi! How’ve you been? Long time no see! Oh, I’ve been working on this cool distributed database file store archive thing. We’re doing an ICO next week.”


That’s what cryptocurrency is all about: not novel technology, not empowerment, but making money. It has failed as an actual currency outside of some isolated examples of failed national economies.

I couldn’t have said it better 🙂

Bonus: I discover the concept of Whataboutism.

Kurzgesagt on Black Holes (7.5/10)

There’s been a time where I consumed an unhealthy amount of material about Astrophysics, Space Exploration, Space Geography… I’ve reduced my exposure in the last 5 years (got interested in personal finance and FIRE, you might have noticed).

Kurzgesagt videos about Black Holes, Neutron Stars, String Theory have been touchstones on my Space journeys  early and mid 2010s though.

This recent videos is… well, not the best I’ve seen on the (dark?) matter, but it’s a Kurzgesagt video and I can’t skip it 🙂

Tech Altar on Phone brands making cars (7.5/10)

I was expecting this “revolution” to happen several years ago. Then I’ve read a few articles on how the software development model is crap compared to the security requirements of car manufacturing… but they’re coming back, and this time to take it over.

Will dinosaurs survive? Will they get extinct?

There’s not much time left.

Software is Eating the World

ITA – Alessandro De Concini about William James Sidis (7/10)

William James Sidis is claimed to be the smartest man in human history, with an unverified IQ of 250+.

But it’s a sad story of a family, especially a psychiatrist father, who damaged his child by trying to grow him as smarter as possible since very young age.

Bonus: I already shared another video by another (immense) Italian YouTuber, Roberto Mercadini, about William James Sidis in the WLJ5. Go check it out.

Spencer Cornelia about Bernie Madoff (7/10)

…and about Ponzi schemes.

Listen to the Bobby Bonilla story, how this former baseball player is still getting paid $1.2M per year until year 2035 from the Mets because the 2008 CEO asked to defer the player’s salary to invest it into Madoff’s fund 🙂

The Italian Leather Sofa about Capital Efficiency (7/10)

Interest rates are low, borrowing money is chap: Leverage!

I used to consider leverage something everyone should walk 10km away from, but the more I read about the topic (also thanks to Ben Felix as usual) the more I understand that leverage can be used to get more balanced exposure to markets over your lifetime: else, your overall financial success will be driven by your old age returns.

In this post our friend Nicola explores few leverage solutions: Margin accounts, leveraged ETFs, and solutions like the 90/60 (NTSX ETF, only 0.2% TER? How is that possible for a leveraged ETF?), which seems an amazing product with minimal risk, and good risk-adjusted returns (higher Sharpe Ratio).

Thanks for the hint Nicola!

Ali Abdaal on Passive Income ideas (6.5/10)

This is not a video about Passive Income.

Well, it’s a video about Creator Economy and Passion Economy, which are topics that I love, things I’m going deep down with. But it’s not about passive income.

I wanted to quit the video after the first tip about “investing in stocks and passive index funds” for the amount of naivety expressed (10% returns per year, crappy brokers recommended, and so on) but I decided to keep going.

The other “tips” are pretty good and inspiring. Nothing new, but listening to his numbers is encouraging.

P.S. the 52 seconds starting at 1:03 against get rich quick schemes are amazing:

The only way to make money is by providing value.

This should be on every wall of every school.

Readme Money Budgeting series (6.5/10)

The fourth post contains a list of “budgeting experiments” to help you prototype your expenses trimming adventure before you go all-in.

I like the smell of Designing Your Life in the morning 🙂

Mark Manson review of The Subtle Art (6.5/10)

A bit long, but it’s interesting to see the author reviewing his own book.

A book that I read an loved in 2018 🙂


Tommaso Gagliardoni vs Richard Borcherds on Quantum Supremacy (6.5/10)

Quantum Computing is not my field of expertise, but it’s something I want to keep an eye on.

Like for Crypto, I have a “friend who is an expert in the field” whom I trust a lot. For Quantum Computing, my go-to person is Tommaso.

In his “public journal” (it’s hard to call it a blog), Apr 22nd, 2021 entry, Tommaso addresses most of the issues professor Richard Borcherds – a Fields medalist – expressed on a niche-viral video on YouTube titled “The teapot test for quantum computers” (which seems bullshit even to me, a nonexpert).

Here’s professor Richard Borcherds video:

Then read Tommaso’s journal entry.

It’s a manifesto on “how to argue”, with also an attempt to Steel Man Richard’s argument before attacking and destroying it.

Well done Tommy 😉

ITA – Astutillo Smeriglia Test per capire se sei una Merda (6.5/10)

Are you an asshole? Take this quick test 😉

Note: most of Astutillo Smeriglia material (check out the blog in coma è meglio) could be classified as “fun stuff” in this series, but that would be an understatement.

ITA – Le Iene: the sad story of Stefano Barilli (6/10)

Stefano was a young adult who entered the tunnel of Fake Gurus courses, forex trading, crypto and took off his life few months ago.

A very sad story. This shit must end.

Basecamp political censorship (NO/10)

Political and societal discussions are banned in Basecamp (in Coinbase as well).

Read both Jason Fried, and DHH posts here: Jason, David.

While I might understand the line of reasoning, banning these kind of discussions is evil, and it will create a climate of terror where you don’t know what you can and cannot say at work.

During my last years at Google I felt the heavy weight of a “light censorship”. I would have felt way worse if certain topics were banned instead of just being considered “inappropriate”.

This is bad, seriously.

We (you) spend most of our awake time at work, with coworkers. “Keep your thoughts outside work premises” just makes the unbearable unbearabler.

Finpension affiliate program ($$$/10)

Finpension is my current Pension Pillar 3A provider in Switzerland.

They launched an affiliate program on April 26th 2021, and I’m happy to join it!

Use my code MRIPI6 while registering, and deposit at least 1000 CHF to participate to a one in a thousand chances of winning 6883 CHF! Expected value of your ticket: 6.88 CHF 🙂

Full transparency disclosure: I’ll get a reward of 25 CHF per referral.

I love the tool and I’m uber-satisfied by their product. I was recommending it before they introduced the referral and I’d keep recommending it even if they shut down the offer.

Goodbye Mr. RIP (R.I.P. /10)

Googling your nickname every once in a while is not always fun.

No, it’s not me. But it felt… weird to read this news.

A 59yo beloved teacher, Mr Rippington, died in a school bus crash.

R.I.P. Mr. RIP.

– Mr RIP.


Something Tweet for your Brain

You gonna feed it!

Anne-Laure Le Cunff on self education stipend

Twitter Link

What an amazing idea!

Here’s the mail template (you can copy it from her website Ness Labs) she used:

David Perell thread on how to improve higher education

Twitter Link

My thread highlight:

Colleges were built to give students a place to intellectually explore. But recently, we’ve asked them to pivot into vocational training — which isn’t what they’re designed for.

Now, we’re stuck with a vocational system that takes way longer than it should.

Jonnie Hallman on how to get into woodworking

Twitter Link

Enough said 🙂


FUN Stuff

Try not to laugh!

One line explanation for Bitcoin

Twitter Link

ITA – 4 Chiacchiere con The Andre, by Young Montemagno

This is simply amazing.

The Andre is a musician with the voice of Fabrizio De Andre, while Young Montemagno mocks a young version of Marco Montemagno.


Scott Morton’s petition against The Intelligent Investor

This is amazing!

It’s trolling, of course, but the point is: let’s save young investors from reading a book about how to judge and price a company! Kids are better off trading meme stocks, NFTs, and meme cryptos!

Why are you telling us to study a book that teaches us how to obtain mediocre above average stock market returns?

Genius! 😀

Sing the petition, please 🙂

Tesla FSD (Full Self Driving) Beta 8.2 is not working very well

Hilarious to see in action.

We’re still far from having real self driving cars.

(by the way…)

Please accept this spider as payment

NFTs before it was cool.

Actually, before the Blockchain even existed.


Leisure Corner

We need mental challenges, but we also need Leisure time

Oh no, there’s been not much time for Leisure (Movies, Tv Series, Videogames…) in April!

Try again next month 😉

Ok, a few interesting discoveries:

Magnus Carlsen‘s Mind-Blowing Memory

Magnus recognizes famous chess matches by pieces positions. I don’t know if it’s authentic, or how common and famous those positions are… but this is incredible!

Game of Life video by Rational Animations

I love Game of Life, I’ve also wrote a simulator in the last millennia (lost in floppy disks).

This video takes GoL to a completely different level 🙂

Abacaba ranking of Super Mario Bros Speed Runs

This channel has amazing animated videos about statistics over time.

Check also frequencies of English words, most commented subreddits, and of course Ranking Channel ranks other Ranking Channels!


Weird Wild Web

Let’s be honest, this is the web we love

Mapologies, a blog about maps

Take a look at how European languages use pronouns:


I tried, trust me.

But I can’t really understand why this is a thing.

ASMR stays for Autonomous sensory meridian response. Pseudoscience about how “people whispering” can generate pseudo-orgasmic sensations.

Ok, in simpler terms: 13 million videos have been published on this phenomenon since 2018 on YouTube.

Take a look at this video of this old man eating Mochi Ice Cream. 12 million views…

Or this other guy who seems to be one of the bosses of this niche with almost 1M subscribers performing “Communist ASMR”:

Guys, no matter what you would love to do, no matter how weird it seems to you, there will be an audience.

James Scholz

This is a mini rabbit hole that turned out to be enlightening in several ways.

I discovered the existence of James Scholz roughly a week ago thanks to a Twitter Thread by the great Andy Matuschak.

Twitter Link

Make yourself a favor, and read the entire thread.

Done? Good.

This student committed to study 12 hours a day for a year.

I don’t want to focus on the challenge itself, about which I have mixed feelings (studying is great, but 12 hours a day? For what? To get good grades? To learn a lot?)

And he’s doing this Live, on YouTube, every day. Not in an entertaining way. He doesn’t care if you’re there with him, talk to him, comment… he doesn’t interact with those attending his live much.

The experiment started more than a year ago, and apparently he has no intention to stop now (I bet he won’t anytime soon!).

“Nobody” watched his live streaming study sessions for many, many months. His videos reached 1k views only ~7 months ago. For the first 6 months this guy was streaming for 12 hours while nobody watched. And he kept doing it.

His popularity exploded exponentially in the last 6-7 months. 1k views 7 months ago, 10k views 6 months ago, 30k views (per video, a video a day) 5 months ago, 50k views 3 months ago… most recent videos are watched by 150-300k people! Every day! 12 hours streaming each day!

Two days ago he reached almost half a million views!

Ok, I’ve let my curiosity and creativity wander in this territory without judgement and I’ve a few thoughts on my mind I want to dump here:

1) What if you live stream your life like you’re in the Truman Show?

What if this guy wasn’t even studying but “posing”.

Now he’s much more likely to be able to make a living by having studied in public than by… actually graduating!

Note: I’m not insinuating that he’s not authentic, but what if he wasn’t? consider this a thought experiment… You can become famous and rich (because well, at this daily views – and I assume huge watch hours – he could make a fortune) as a side effect of “walking the path”.

2) What if this guy opened up a giant can of worms that we need more people doing than talking about doing?

(even if “doing” in his case is a “preparation for doing”, i.e. studying)

What if this guy became so popular because of his persistence?

What if we need less people talking about Deep Work, Mindset, Grit, Atomic Habits… but more people actually showing those skills in action?

More Buddhas than people talking about enlightenment.

3) What if I do the same?

Well, not that I plan to document my life 12h per day, but something like “Learn in Public”? I’ve already talked about Learning in Public when I went into the Digital Gardening rabbit hole, but this is a completely new level of “Learning in Public”. A sync one. Live on YouTube (or Twitch).

Andy asks a similar question:

This makes me wonder what it might look like to create a similar stream for curiosity-driven knowledge work.

I’ll keep you posted 🙂

4) Yeah, I will do it!

I’m going to start “Learning in Public” videos, both live and recorded. I will read articles and extract notes in my Public Roam Database, and think out loud, and make connections. Ask myself more questions and go exploring. Show curiosity and creativity instead of talk about curiosity and creativity.

This discovery, this James Scholz guy, might be one of the most important “a-ha moment” of my Content Creator “career”. Time will tell.

Btw, in mid April 2021 he posted this video on why he started this experiment. It’s a good video where I can see things that resonate with me (and things that don’t, probably attributed to our generational difference).

Make yourself another favor and watch it. Enjoy!

And thanks Andy Matuschak for your tweet!


Have you Reddit?

The best of the month on (SFW) Reddit

r/financialindependence thread “why FIRE won’t make you happy“. Very well written, pointing to the fact that FIRE can’t be your life goal, that you should not live only for the future. But at the same time stating that pursuing good financial habits and eventually reaching FI is still something you should aim for. Also mentioning The Science of Well-Being course that I want to take soon 😉

Humans are bad at absolute estimates. So we stick to relative comparisons in almost everything by using reference points.

These reference points can be healthy (for example, comparing my happiness living independently versus me living in a student dormitory with a bunch of roommates) or unhealthy (comparing my abs with Brad Pitt’s abs in Fight Club).

Some of these reference points help me to appreciate my current state more (“I’m so glad, I don’t need to share my room with a bunch of strangers anymore”), and the unhealthy reference points make me feel like a failure (“heck, I’m not Brad Pitt”).

Unfortunately, anticipated FIRE can function as an unhealthy reference point.

Every living minute is being compared with that ephemeral thought of once you are finally FIREd. Waking up early, because of work? “Oh, but when I FIRE…” Feeling tired in the evening? “But one day…” Not being able to slow travel? You get the point.

Unfortunately, this only makes you feel miserable now and does not make the marvellous future any closer.

Very. Well. Written.

Here’s a screenshot:

r/dataisbeautiful map of the Earthquakes above 5.0 magnitude over the last 20 years.

R.I.P. Italy.

r/fire thread on Leverage Investing and Factor Investing.

Two links offered: Leverage, Factor.

First comment is really, really awesome.

Interestingly, both aspects have been addressed by Ben Felix in his videos (Leverage, Factor).

r/financialindependence thread about Firedating, a dating website for FIRE Seekers.

I already shout it out few months ago, but the project is taking off. The owner is not monetizing the project, not even serving ads. This is a great project! look at the nerdiness of the metrics page 🙂

I’m obviously out of the dating market, but I’d have joined for sure if this was available 10 years ago!

r/antiMLM thread about what happened in Albania in late 90s, i.e. a government supported Ponzi Scheme that peaked at 40% of Albanian GDP. More info here.

Albanians sold their houses to invest in the schemes; farmers sold their livestock. The mood is vividly captured by a resident who said that, in the fall of 1996, Tirana smelled and sounded like a slaughterhouse, as farmers drove their animals to market to invest the proceeds in the pyramid schemes.

r/findapath, a subreddit for those who are looking into what to do with their lives.

It’s mostly animated by people asking for advices (and good Samaritans answering them).

ITAr/Italy AMA: a man from the future.

He wrote the answers (cause you know, he comes from the future and he already knows the questions), while commenters had to ask the questions.

I had stomach cramps from laughing 😀

Yeah, ok, not 100% SFW 🙂

r/mappesenzasardegna. An Italian clone of r/MapsWithoutNZ (New Zealand).

Amazing. Enjoy.


Other Content

High quality resources I’ve consumed during last month that didn’t make into the main section

ITA – Marcello Ascani Video about his experience with a Personal Trainer. Link. Amazing video! Maybe this is the way to go…

ITA – Adrian Fartade‘s Creator Burnout. Link. I’m finally realizing what “creator burnout” really is. You don’t sleep much, you’re obsessed with metrics, and if you don’t publish for few days and see engagement going down you thing “this is the end”. Come back stronger, Adrian!

Spencer Cornelia Video admitting losing a lot of money in Real Estate in 2020. Link. A lot of lessons to be learned. I wouldn’t have had the guts of this guy to stomach all the losses. I think he survived thanks to YT revenues (that he shares each month, and that amounts to 5-10k per month).

DHH about Trust. Link. “One of the reasons I’ve never cared for Cryptocurrencies is that the associated utopia of trustless society had zero appeal to me. I don’t think the world is better off by erasing the need to trust in our transactional counterparts, so turning these transactions into pure computing always struck me as a regression“.

ITA – Alfio Bardolla on Fufflix. Link. You must be a Fufflix member to see the thread. Very brave  move from the Orange guy to face the lions’ den. I don’t like his way of communicating and threatening legal actions against everyone, but I must admit he has thickness and argumentative quality. Anyway no, I will never invest a Satoshi in one of his courses, nor in his company stocks.

NoPayMBA. Link. nice! You can get a MBA equivalent at /100th of the cost 🙂 I think we can do something similar in finance, do you agree? A NoPayLS for only 14.97 EUR? 😀


Coming Soon

Resources (that I expect to be awesome) that I added to my read/watch/listen later for which I haven’t found time to consume them yet. I’ll probably expand them in the next MLJ episode

Vsauce video about The Future of Reasoning. Hype over9000

Kevin Simler on Free Will and Selfish Neurons.

Farnam Street‘s The Ultimate Deliberate Practice Guide. I started reading it Live on YT but I haven’t finished it yet.

More To That article The Staircase of the Self. And few more articles (and videos) by Lawrence that I’m behind with.

Li Jin and David Perell podcast on the Creator Economy.

Daniel Kahneman and Yuval Noah Harari on Global Trends Shaping Humankind.

Mr. Money Mustache article The Self Educating Child. The topic is very interesting, I’ll take a look.


Last month “Coming Soon” that I haven’t read/watched/listened to yet:

3Blue1Brown‘s video about How (and why) to raise e to the power of a matrix.

Rational Reminder‘s What’s Financial Advice? And also How to be (Time) Rich.

Naval Ravikant on Happiness.

Kevin Simler on Social Status.


That’s all for this month 🙂



  1. Ciao Giorgio, ottimo lavoro ! Ti seguo da poco ma, con molta sincerità, sto imparando molto dalle tue riflessioni e dagli spunti che ci offri. Siamo più o meno coetanei e anche io penso che la vita è un continuo imparare, apprendere e evolversi ! A presto.

  2. Great content as always. I’m super curious about your crypto investments. I’d also watch a „Mr. RIP World of Thoughts“ stream 😉 Opportunity for courses: beancount for non programmers… (I’m really wondering why you haven’t used it yet).

  3. Ue’,

    Io sono passato da Roam prima a foam e poi obsidian (che si basa su vscode).

    Preferisco avere i miei file in markdown sul mio disco. Esportare da Roam non è il massimo.

    Interessante post come sempre.

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