Timeless Ideas | January 3, 2021

Here’s your weekly dose of timeless ideas to sharpen your mind, make smarter decisions, and live better.

Quotes

I.

If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!

― Michael E. Gerber


II.

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking of it.

― Daniel Kahneman


III.

Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, whereas economics represents how it actually does work.

― Steven D. Levitt

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Ideas

I.

You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don't notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply - though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

Seneca in On the Shortness of Life


II.

Those three things - autonomy, complexity and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether our work fulfills us.

Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success


III.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

Simon Sinek in Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

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Articles Worth Reading

I.

Plato in Sicily

Nick Romeo and Ian Tewksbury | Aeon

Plato’s Seventh Letter serves to remind us that philosophy is a practice, not an instrument. As Plato wrote, philosophy ‘is not something that can be put into words like other sciences’. Instead, ‘after long-continued exchange between teacher and pupil, in joint pursuit of the subject, suddenly like light flashing forth when a fire is kindled, it is born in the soul and straight away nourishes itself.’ Rather than the competitive striving and isolation that define so much contemporary academic life, genuine philosophical practice requires friendships and collaboration devoted to advancing the flourishing of an entire community.


II.

How to read more books

Christian Jarrett | Psyche

If you’re not a voracious book reader, opening a book might have become something to do when you haven’t got anything else going on, which is almost never. It’s as if you decided at some point, likely without conscious thought, that even though you love books, book reading is effectively the least important thing in your life – you’ll squeeze it in, if you can. And if you are clinging to the remnants of a book reading habit, I’ll bet you save it for the end of the day, or perhaps only for when you’re on holiday.


III.

You’re never going to have a legacy, so give up trying

Olivia Goldhill | Quartz

It doesn’t matter what field you are in: If you know that what you’re experiencing now is more important than how you’ll be remembered when you’re gone, then you can adjust your career to pursue the activities you find personally fulfilling. It’s a far better way to live than dreaming of the perfect CV for your gravestone.

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