Five websites that changed the way I think

“Internet is a series of tubes” by eirikso

Ahh, the series of tubes we now refer to as the interwebs. Is there anything else so useful and time-wasting at the same time? The Center for Humane Technology describes the internet as a simultaneous utopia and dystopia. I warn my family of the dangers of the thousands of engineers on the other side of their screens working to capture their attention, yet read my books on a Kindle, get my news pushed to me via email, and follow a handful of blogs. Much of the information I consume comes via the internet, but the increasing volume of misinformation concerns me. What are you to do in such a mixed up world?

Find trusted individuals who curate all the noise into a useful signal. Here are five individuals that are helping to reprogram my brain:

  • Farnam Street: Have you ever thought about how you think? Shane Parrish has. I have no doubt that you are a unique and special butterfly. However, your brain evolved over millions of years with the same congnitive biases as the rest of us. Farnam Street explains the fundmental mental models you can use to not be hacked by those who already understand your weaknesses. Side note: I just got lost in Wikipedia for an hour.
  • The Study Hacks Blog: I’m slowly quickly turning into a Cal Newport superfan. His focus is the intersection of the internet and culture, mainly how it affects our attention and productivity. He applies industrial production control theory to knowledge work, both topics that take up much of my time at work. It was Cal who coined the job title Chief Workflow Officer that finally summed up how I view the knowledge, skills, and abilities I have acquired.
  • The Bullet Journal Method: To be honest, I don’t visit his site much anymore but Ryder Carroll’s system has become central to how I keep myself organized. The beauty is in it’s simplicity and adaptability. Jotting a quick note by hand is quick and imprints on the brain stronger. Monthly migrations help you clean out low priority tasks. I’ve adopted his “Future Log” to Trello and use the accompanying app when not near my notebook, but otherwise keep it bare bones to the reduce friction of capturing my thoughts.
  • Wait But Why: One word: hilarious. Tim Urban’s writing is like the voice in your head that goes down rabbit hole, which though they take longer than you have the time, end up teaching you something fundamental about life. He’s been on a long blogging break while turning his latest series into a book, but just posted his first new thought on how we can’t conceptualize the dimensions of the very large and very small.
  • The Daily Stoic: Ryan Holiday introduced me to philosophy. His focus is stoicism, but he incorporates ethics in general and religion in particular. If Shane Parrish teaches you how to think, Ryan Holiday teaches you why.

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