North Star Podcast: Shane Parrish: Brain Food


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Podcast Notes Key Takeaways

  • You are who you surround yourself with
  • Read widely and expose yourself to ideas from many different domains (AKA add tools to your mental toolbox)
  • Travel broadens your horizons and shows you that other people in the world live differently
  • Read more of what’s stood the test of time
  • “If you can see the problem from every angle, you’re never going to make a bad decision”Shane Parrish
  • Get in the habit of asking yourself: “What would my heroes do in this situation?”
    • By doing so, you’re taking yourself out of the picture and thinking about things from a different, and often more rational, perspective
  • A quote to ponder:
    • “That’s the fundamental flaw that people make today. They read other people’s abstractions and take it as knowledge. But it’s not knowledge because they don’t understand when it works, when it doesn’t work, how to apply it, and how to think about it. They just assume it works, and because they assume it works, they become overconfident. Because they become overconfident, they’re less open to feedback. When the world tells them they’re wrong, they just think the world is wrong. That prevents us from learning and getting better.”– Shane Parrish

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Shane Parrish is a partner at Syrus Partners and the mind behind one of my favorite blogs, Farnam Street. The blog is devoted to helping you develop an understanding of how the world really works, make better decisions, and live a better life. Shane writes about mental models, decision making, learning, reading, and the art of living. He draws from both the sciences and the humanities, expanding the intellectual horizons of his readers, helping them connect ideas, think in multidisciplinary ways, and cultivate meaning in their lives.

I first discovered the blog in college and credit Shane for so much of my intellectual curiosity. He writes a weekly newsletter called Brain Food that covers all that he’s learned in the week beforehand. To help you cut through the noise, he includes his favorite books and articles with a high signal-to-noise ratio. He also hosts a podcast called The Knowledge Project. I recommend this episode with Rory Sutherland.

In this episode, Shane reveals counterintuitive secrets to learning history through the lens of his recent trip to France. We also dissected one of my favorite mental models — why the map is not the territory. It’s a fascinating one that changed the way I see the world. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.


Connect with Shane:

Connect with David:

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