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Weekly Review #31: Local Multiplayer, Competitive Edge advice, and Stoic Writers

This Verge article on why games are better in real life hits the nail on the head. When you’re competing face to face, there are infinite ways to interact with each other and the game, rather than the narrow confines of what developers have put in online play. The game becomes a means rather than an end, and you bond with your friends far more memorably. It’s sad to see the comments on this article of lonely people who live miles away from their friends and thus have nobody to play local multiplayer games with – that doesn’t mean you should retreat into online play! Find local playmates! It;s not that hard, with a worthy game like Joust or Space Team.

I heard a few especially good podcast episodes this week, like on The Competitive Edge 019 where Scott shared the criteria he uses to determine whether he wants to listen to someone’s advice. He asks himself:

  • ‘Do I want this person’s life?’ (Everyone gives advice according to their own views, and thus following it would lead to their current lifestyle. If you don’t want their life, don’t follow their advice.)
  • ‘Does this person understand my current position?’ (Your best friend may be a better insight than a successful stranger, because she knows you better. Don’t discount intimacy for expertise.)

In Episode 015, Scott interviewed Chris Taylor, founder of Actionable Books, who shared the following goodies:

  • “People want to be heard, understood, and appreciated. If they aren’t, then they will leave. People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers”
  • “He who has the most conviction is the most persuasive”
  • All the information in business books is about two years old, since it must make its way through publishing. Don’t go there for the cutting edge knowledge.

On Episode 2 of the Tim Ferriss Podcast, Tim talks with Josh Waitzkin, a world class chess master and martial artist:

  • “Most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes train in secret. My mentor (Marcelo Garcia) would film himself training and distribute it freely. People thought he was crazy, but his opponents would study his tapes in order to fight him. He prevailed every time, because as he says “If you study my game, you enter my game. And I’m better than you at my game.”
  • Tim likes to find out the best hacks to learn new methods by looking at a field and asking “Who is good at this and shouldn’t be?” (like Shinji Takeuchi at swimming) Figure out what they’re doing differently, and emulate it.
  • Josh reminds us to ask ourselves daily “Am I being proactive or reactive?” Reactive activities are a reaction to events out of your control, while proactive activities are undertaken through your own will. Reactive activities are useful (like email) but they should not be the primary task of your day, as otherwise you are just treading water (and somebody else’s water, to boot).

In Episode 4, Tim talks Stoicism with Ryan Holiday, who shares a ton of book recommendations.

  • “Professors don’t like teaching stoic philosophy because there isn’t much room for interpretation- its everyman advice you either accept or don’t. A common criticism of Stoicism is that they accept life ‘like a cow standing in a field getting rained on’ but in my mind its more about making the most of the reality you’re faced with.”
  • Writers live interesting lives.” Nobody wants to read about someone living a boring life. The best writers went out and lived the best they could, and then wrote about it. Even in fiction, an adventurer writes better because he knows nonfiction firsthand and can extrapolate it.”
  • Ben Franklin heard someone didn’t like him, so he asked the guy to borrow his most prized book. The guy was surprised, but saw no reason to say no, and after he returned it intact their relationship was stronger. Moral: If you ask people for favors, it’s like they’re investing in you and are thus more involved in your well being.

The Infinite Jukebox is a nifty little piece of code that finds similar parts of a song and jumps between them, effectively remixing your favorite tunes to be endless.

A New York couple used a cornucopia of startup services to bootstrap their wedding, from using Airbnb to rent the place to hiring TaskRabbits to cater. It brought the cost below 10,000$ with a roughly similar outcome to the professionals – impressive!

Noah Kagan studied thousands of articles to figure out what makes things go viral – and shared everything he learned.

Actionable Books summary of Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last:

  • The best leaders inspire, they don’t dictate.
  • Lead the people and the numbers will follow
  • The company goes where the culture leads
  • We are most productive when we trust and cooperate one another