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Some Thoughts From Sam Snyder

'bout a week ago, I had a great conversation with Sam Snyder. Sam is really, really, really smart. If you haven't been to his site, you should click over there and at least skim until you find something personally fascinating to you (and you will), and then you'll probably be a fan of his for life.

We covered a lot of ground talking. The first thing I made a note of was on reference points for exercise. We were talking why fitness is so enjoyable, such a good thing, but people often don't do it?

Sam said something really insightful - he said people's reference points for fitness are probably thinking about the hard part of starting, when you're getting going it, when you're not into the flow of it. When someone thinks exercise, they don't think about being engaged mind and body, feeling strong, feeling alive. They think about the beginning part where the body and bones and muscles feel creaky and it's hard to do.

I'm paraphrasing - I'm not even capturing the sentiment of it really well, it was a very sharp insight. The takeaway for me was, when thinking about exercise think about the height of enjoyable moments from it. Not the hassle, not the details, not the admin, not the pain. But the most enjoyable moments. Make that your reference point.

"Everything that goes on in the world can be reduced to cause and effect." We talked about tracing ways through cause and effect, and how you could have more predictive power if you did. Economic events, social events, wealth, and so on. We talked about some ways on how you model what was going to happen and make predictions. Fascinating stuff - Sam's playing on a really high mental level.

New on LessWrong: Collecting and hoarding crap, useless information

LessWrong is one of my favorite discussion sites on the internet. It's a discussion site about rationality, and I highly recommend it. Don't be intimidated by how high the level of discussion gets sometimes - there's many good ways to get started. I wrote "You Should Probably Study Rationality" with some intro material. "References and Resources for LessWrong" was just posted today on LW and looks like a good starting point too.

Collecting and Hoarding Crap, Useless Information LessWrong discussion here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/2uu/collecting_and_hoarding_crap_useless_information/

I am realizing something that many, many intelligent people are guilty of - collecting and hoarding and accumulating crap, useless information. This is dangerous, because it feels like you're doing something useful, but you're not.

However, speaking personally - once I decide to start focusing and researching something systematically to get better at it, it gets harder to do. For instance, I taught myself statistics mostly using baseball stats. It was a fun, easy, harmless context to learn statistics.

I read lots of history and historical fiction. I read up lots on business and entrepreneurship. This is easy and fun and enjoyable.

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