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Perspective

The proliferation of media has created a daunting sprawling mass of information.  Below is the shortlist of ideas that have changed the way I see the world.

Human

- Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture- Achieving your Childhood Dreams (76m).  A life well led; why bother with anything else?

- William Deresiewicz- Pearls of wisdom from Jane Austin (book).  Highlights such as “The most important things in life are the small, trivial, everyday events, the little moments of feeling, that people like to gab about. That’s what the fabric of our years really consists of. That is what life is truly about.”  And “Growing up means making mistakes. Only it’s not enough to make mistakes: you have to feel them. Those moments of excruciating shame when you really screw up? Cherish them.”  The things that really matter, as told by Jane Austin in Deresiewicz’s voice.

- Charlie Munger- Seeking Wisdom (book).  A lifetime of business acumen honoring Darwin.  Certainly we must learn from our personal failures, AND from observed failures… but what about learning from successes?

Science

- Robert Wright’s Ted Talk-  Optimism and the Impending Apocalypse (19m).  Why cynicism can ultimately lead to optimism.  Concepts such as “the growing lethality of hate” and “death spiral of negativity”.  Intelligent pursuit of self interest + Nonzero sumness = salvation through reaching a higher moral plane.

- Saul Griffith- An Engineer’s Approach to Climate.  Working Backwards From Where We Want to Be (22m).  Make sure to follow the slides as well (particularly 16-24).  Single best systems level thinking about global climate I’ve ever seen: Litany of horrors ensue over 2 celsius- 90% coral reef loss, 30% species loss, resource/water wars.  So, if we want to limit temperature increase to 2 celsius over the next 100 years, we have a 30% chance of hitting that if we target 450ppm CO2 in the atmosphere (for context: we’ve gone from 310 to 380 over the past 50 years).  Which implies a shift in how we generate and consume energy.  A more in depth presentation for the courageous (97m).

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