if / else

In search of a private namespace

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I don’t use many tools. I used to think that the most important thing when choosing which tools to use is to use the one that’s most suited for the task. Not every problem is a nail, so put that hammer away sorta thing.

I’ve since mellowed out my philosophy around tools. The reasons why aren’t very subtle at all, and anyone who’s worked in the industry for long enough has probably reached the same conclusions. It comes down to what goes into making a tool suitable for a task in the first place.

In a vacuum, maybe there’s a kind of Objective Suitability Theorem, where tasks can be broken down into discrete requirements and those requirements can be met with precisely built tools. No one works in a vacuum though. The real world is messy, unpredictable, and built in layers by a magnificent number of individuals and organizations.

Nowadays I stick to just a few tools for my day to day. Un...

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A reading list

Last year I took a deep dive into the world of personal finance. This year the emphasis will be more internal. These are the books I want to read in the new year:

  • Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - Carol S. Dweck
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas R. Hofstadter
  • The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu
  • Programming Pearls - Jon Bentley
  • Anarchy, State, and Utopia - Robert Nozick

The mind is fascinating, there is so much more for me to learn about how it works and what I should be conscious of to make better decisions. Blink and Mindset should add to my understanding of my own mind, or at the very least challenge what I think I know.

Science fiction has a knack for expanding my mind in different ways. I’ve heard enough about The Three-Body Problem to know it’s right up my alley.

I also have a soft spot for moral philosophy, and Nozick’s...

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On the bookshelf

I’ve read more books this year than I’ve read in any other year. I am an abysmally slow reader - I attribute this to my insistence on reading every single word with my inner voice. I would make a terrible book club buddy.

And so, it is with great pride that I can say these books are now on my (digital) bookshelf:

  • All About Asset Allocation - Richard Ferri
  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds - John C. Bogle
  • The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas Stanley
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future - Peter Thiel
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
  • The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics - Keenan Malik
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo
  • Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang
  • Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

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Two weeks

It’s been two weeks since I told my bosses that in two weeks I would be spending my last day at work, which is today.

There’s no stranger feeling than watching slowly as my relationships with people I’ve worked with these last three and a half years change in just two weeks. Some of these changes are external, but I suspect that most of them are internal.

People come to me less often for answers to questions they’ve always asked me because they understand they can’t rely on me for much longer.

My mind takes these external changes and retroactively fits it into a narrative where I was never really that important anyway.

Interacting with them doesn’t come as naturally as it used to. Every word feels deliberate, machined specifically to communicate as little emotional content as possible.

But on the inside it’s because I feel guilty. I feel like I’m letting people down by letting them...

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Writing is hard. I don’t do enough of it. With the new year just around the corner, I figure that’ll give me a good opportunity to set some goals and see if I can meet them.

These are my goals for 2017:

  • Read 6 books
  • Complete 3 online courses
  • Run 24 miles
  • Travel to a foreign country
  • Publish a mobile app

Each of these is perfectly doable, so having these goals is more of an exercise in accountability, which this blog will help with.

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