Alexey Guzey    Blog    Feed    Site Contents

Thought Patterns: Marginal

Problem: you have a certain action you want to be doing but when the moment comes you forget about it or the trigger just never fully comes to your attention.

Example: Instead of postponing small tasks (e.g. taking out the trash) I want to do them immediately, but when they actually come, I forget about this intention and continue with whatever I was doing before i.e. telling myself I’ll do them later.

How to solve? Make these if-else action plans to always be somewhere at the back of the mind, preferably not far from the working memory, always on the edge of awareness.

Solution: Anki deck with the maximum card interval of 1 day and long initial learning curve.

(Assumption I have to make here is that you use Anki at least somewhat daily (I do it while commuting))

Continue reading...

Can We Trust Peter Turchin?

Edit: Peter Turchin wrote a response to this on his blog. My response is at the end of this post.

This is a short-ish critique of his book Ultrasociety. I’ll only cover its one paragraph, which, I hope to show you, is absolutely enough. The paragraph was taken from the 4th chapter titled “Cooperate to Compete”. Here’s what Turchin writes:

Frederick Wiseman and Sangit Chatterjee sorted the Major League Baseball teams into four payroll classes, ranging from those with the biggest disparities to those with the smallest. Between 1992 and 2001, teams in the most equal class won an average of eight more games per season than those in the most unequal class.

Here’s what the paper he refers to says:

Continue reading...

Cargo-Cult Productivity

Abstract: Productivity hacking based on naive introspection will almost certainly fail due to the inability to isolate particular productivity-affecting variables and rife reverse causation. This sounds obvious but it isn’t.

In a conversation with Malcolm several weeks ago, upon hearing about my perceived total lack of control over the productive mood, he suggested to look for the mental processes accompanying occasional bouts of this mood and try to understand what stands behind them. I was quite dumbfounded by the fact that this thought didn’t strike me before, given my apparent commitment to self-development and ruthless introspection.

Well, in retrospect I shouldn’t have been dumbfounded. In fact, after paying even more attention to my brain states since this talk, I realized that I’ve been acting on his suggestion for as long as I can remember, and from my apparent lack of progress it does not seem a particularly useful strategy.

Cargo-cult productivity is what I came to call it:

Continue reading...