Rumination #4

Better Thinking, Happiness, Time Management, Focus, Moore’s Law of Everything, Man’s Searching for Meaning, and Good to Know

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維
4 min readMay 4, 2023

This is a special version of Weekly I/O. In this Rumination, I will pick some inputs that I found worth reviewing from Weekly I/O#31 to #40.

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The below is extracted from the email sent on April 30, 2023

Better Thinking

  1. Wittgenstein’s ruler: Unless you have confidence in the ruler’s reliability, if you use a ruler to measure a table, you may also be using the table to measure the ruler. [Source]
  2. “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” — George Box [Source]
  3. Orangutan Effect: If you explain your ideas to an orangutan, the primate might be confused, but you will think more clearly in the process. [Source]
  4. First Principles Thinking: Break things down to the most fundamental truths and reason up only from there. [Source]
  5. The difficulty of training one’s thoughts lies not so much in developing new ideas but in escaping the old. [Source]
  6. Talmudic Reading: Read the classics while assuming the text is perfectly composed and the writer knew exactly what they were doing. [Source]
  7. We use language to think, and we cannot think through those we cannot express in language. Language is both the tool that helps us think and the limitation that confines our thinking. [Source]

Good to Know

  1. Benford’s Law: The leading digit tends to be small for many real-life numerical data. The number 1 appears 30% of the time as the leading digit. [Source]
  2. Birthday Paradox: How many people do we need to have a 50–50 chance of at least two people sharing the same birthday? Only 23. [Source]
  3. There’s a huge gap between being smart and having important new ideas, but most people who want to be smart might think the two are identical. [Source]
  4. Being in the flow state is both hyper-vigilant and totally unresponsive at the same time. [Source]
  5. Fitts’s Law: The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target in UI/UX. [Source]
  6. Streisand Effect: The attempt to suppress information can increase awareness of that information. [Source]
  7. “Monogamy is like being a vegetarian. You can choose to be healthy, you can be ethical, it can be a wonderful decision but because you’ve chosen to be a vegetarian doesn’t mean bacon stops smelling good.” — Dr. Christopher Ryan [Source]


  1. “He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.” — Seneca [Source]
  2. “It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.” — Rabindranath Tagore [Source]
  3. Another way to think about money’s effect on happiness is money gives an atmosphere of growth. Being able to spend more money is proof of growth. [Source]

Better Person

  1. Ask for advice, not forgiveness, not permission. [Source]
  2. Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. [Source]
  3. How to find a healthy balance between self-acceptance and self-actualization? Enthusiastic Self-improvement. [Source]
  4. Values are only useful if we can legitimately disagree with them since good values should explicitly indicate the tradeoff. [Source]
  5. “Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.” — Gelett Burgess” [Source]

Time Management

  1. Show me your calendar and I will tell you your priorities. Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you where you’re going. [Source]
  2. Make more deliberate habits rather than habits that result from accidents of history. [Source]
  3. The way to lose a fortune is through bad investment, not through excessive expenditure. Similarly, the way to lose time is by doing fake work, not by having fun. [Source]
  4. “The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” — Amos Tversky [Source]


  1. “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” — Herbert Simon [Source]
  2. I will have to remember, ‘I am here today to cross the swamp, not to fight all the alligators.’ — Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. [Source]

Moore’s Law of Everything

  1. Moore’s Law for Everything: Everything will become half as expensive every two years due to exponential technological progress and AI lowering cost that requires labor. [Source]
  2. Capitalism for Everyone: Let everyone benefit from capitalism as an equity owner by taxing companies in shares and distributing ownership and wealth to citizens to align incentives. [Source]

Mimetic Theory

  1. Mimetic Theory: We desire mainly according to the desire of the other because we don’t know what to desire and, therefore, we imitate other’s. [Source]
  2. We shouldn’t follow the people we most admire. Instead, we should follow what they admire. [Source]

Man’s Searching for Meaning

  1. Prisoners who suffered from “provisional existence of unknown limit” experienced a strange time experience: A day lasted longer than a week. [Source]
  2. The connection between the state of mind and the state of immunity explains why the death rate during Christmas and New Year peaked in camp and how a sudden loss of hope could kill people. [Source]
  3. The only really transitory aspects of life are the potentialities; but as soon as they are actualized, they are rendered realities at that very moment. [Source]
  4. We should stop asking about the meaning of life and think of ourselves as those being questioned. We should take the responsibility to answer with action. [Source]
  5. What we need for mental health is not a tensionless state but a certain degree of tension between what one is and what one should become. [Source]
  6. Self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. The more we forget ourselves by giving ourselves to a cause to serve or another person to love, the more we actualize ourselves. [Source]
  7. When one learns to laugh at their neurosis, they are on the way to conquer it since a sense of humor can put them at a distance from their fear. [Source]

That’s it. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it. If you would like to receive the content every Sunday, sign up below 😎



Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

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