Every Single One of us Has Demons – 7 Takeaways for August 8, 2021

1. “. . . care more than everybody else . . .” Ignorant, but curious – Austin Kleon – (Blog) The full quote: If you care more than everybody else, you pay better attention, and you see things that others don’t see. To ask the questions that need to be asked, you have to care more than others about what happens, but care less about what others might think of you in the moment. I got here via a circle of curiosity: Rob Walker on curiosity (Kleon) -> The Art of Noticing (Rob Walker’s Newsletter) -> Curiouser? (Rob Walker) -> … Read more

Irrationally Compassionate – 7 Takeaways for August 1, 2021

1. “The thing we often forget is that humans value freedom over truth.” When 1 + 1 = 3 – Lawrence Yeo – (More to That, blog) This is another in a series of items I’ve encountered in recent weeks trying to make sense of the incredible divisions in the world today. I think I’ve mentioned before the concept that community trumps the truth. Yeo adds yet another item that resonates, particularly here in the United States: for many freedom is more important than the truth. But keep in mind that the disbelief you may feel about the other tribe’s … Read more

Judgement Owl is Judging You

Fear of Judgment – 7 Takeaways for July 25, 2021

A special welcome to the This is True readers who signed up this week after Randy made mention of my little side project. The 7 Takeaways homepage does a fine job of describing what this is, but if you’re curious about its background, shortly after I started I described what I’m up to over on my personal blog. Again, welcome. I hope you find some value or inspiration or something worth pondering or . . . well, something. 1. “All it needed was just a spark” ‘I am broken’: South African communities are gutted by a wave of looting, arson … Read more

Your Freedom to Swing Your Fist

Your Freedom to Swing Your Fist – 7 Takeaways for July 18, 2021

1. “We treat ideas like possessions” The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable – Nassim Nicholas Taleb – (audio & ebook) The full quote: The problem is that our ideas are sticky: once we produce a theory, we are not likely to change our minds—so those who delay developing their theories are better off. When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate. . . . Remember that we treat ideas like possessions, and … Read more

Words Matter

Words Matter – 7 Takeaways for July 11, 2021

1. “Words matter” How to Think like Shakespeare – Scott Newstok – (ebook) If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything. I love this sequence. I love that it dates back to Confucious*. Do this: Watch your language. Literally. 2. “The truth is … Read more


One of the best secrets of a happy life – 7 Takeaways for July 4, 2021

1. “We are the legacy of our nation’s tainted past” Cousins – Lucian K. Truscott IV – (Facebook post) I found this a stirring essay by one of the descendants of Thomas Jefferson about the relationships between the descendants of Martha Jefferson, his wife, and the descendants of Sally Jennings, his slave. It’s as disturbing as you might imagine. Those who claim others are erasing history seem dead set on . . . erasing history. Do this: read the essay. Reflect. And if you’re in a position to, act. 2. “a compromised cultural immune system” The Cause of America’s Post-Truth … Read more

Fire-devastated trees.

Anecdotes are Not Science – 7 Takeaways for June 27, 2021

1. “You have a moral responsibility to do what you do best.” An Indomitable Will – Mark Manson – (Mindf*ck Monday newsletter) The takeaway is actually a paraphrase of something said by Will Smith: I’m world-class at only a couple of things. And every hour I’m not doing those things, I am doing a disservice to myself and the world. There are people out there who are world-class at other things—cooking, marketing, writing, whatever—and for me to not hire them and support what they do, also does a disservice to the world. It’s a fascinating perspective. With great talent comes … Read more

Your/My Fault

Everything is Your Fault – 7 Takeaways for June 20, 2021

Thanks to everyone who reported the weird characters in the last two 7 Takeaways emails. I honestly don’t know what changed, but put in place a hack solution I’ve used elsewhere that should clear things up. One thing I do know is that I hate character encoding. (If you don’t know what that means, be thankful.) 1. “The world works better when we get to know each other.” 34 Mistakes on the Way to 34 Years Old – Ryan Holiday – (blog) Yes, I’m still learning from the youngsters. Holiday shares a number of mistakes he hopes to learn from. … Read more


The Capacity to be Alone – 7 Takeaways for June 13, 2021

1. “Social media has not corrupted us, it’s merely revealed who we always were. “ Social Media Isn’t the Problem… We Are – Mark Manson – (Mindf*ck Monday newsletter) This is a long read (by today’s standards anyway — calculated as 30 minutes). Worth. Every. Second. Even if you end up not agree with the premise, Manson presents a lot of what I consider to be compelling evidence for the underlying position. Social media has not changed our culture. It’s shifted our awareness of culture to the extremes of all spectrums. And until we all recognize this, it will be … Read more

William Shakespeare

Education Must be About Thinking – 7 Takeaways for June 6, 2021

1. “You can’t help someone you don’t understand” If You Want to Be a Better Writer, Start Listening Twice As Much As You Talk – Sinem Günel – (Medium) This is one of those adages that traces its origins back to Epictitus — “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — and probably even further. Everyone knows it. Everyone can parrot it. Why do so few actually do it? I’m not pointing fingers — I’m as guilty as anyone. If anything this takeaway is as much a reminder for … Read more