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Life Is More Random Than We'd Like to Believe

Hey Everyone,

Hope you're having a great week. Here are a few things I've been reading and pondering lately. Enjoy!

1. How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One

Here's (another) great article from James Clear just in time for all of us to commit to New Year's Resolutions.

Bad habits address certain needs in your life. And for that reason, it's better to replace your bad habits with a healthier behavior that addresses that same need. If you expect yourself to simply cut out bad habits without replacing them, then you'll have certain needs that will be unmet and it's going to be hard to stick to a routine of “just don't do it” for very long.

2. Expert Judgment Or Lack Thereof

This is a great post by Ben Carlson. In it, he summarizes and analyzes a book called "Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?"

The gist: "Life is much more random that many would like to admit." And so-called experts are often just guessing.

  1. Experts can talk themselves into believing they can do things they cannot. There are diminishing returns to knowledge in the prediction game but overconfidence often trumps this fact.
  2. Experts are reluctant to admit when they’re wrong and change their minds. This is our cognitive dissonance on display.
  3. Experts fall prey to the hindsight bias. People convince themselves they “knew it all along” even when completely unpredictable events occur (or they just plain missed it).
  4. Experts fall prey to confirmation bias. Experts have a hard time viewing the other side of an argument.
  5. We’re all patterns seeking creatures. We look for structure or consistency where none often exists in the real world, which is quite random most of the time.

3. 5 Cheap(ish) Things That Make Great Last-Minute Gifts

Just in case you're a little behind on your holiday shopping :)

I'll throw one more idea at you too. I include a lot of links to New York Times articles like this one. A NYT subscription is a really great gift and costs less than $100 for a year.

4. 245 Must-Have Chrome Extensions

I found some great stuff on this list. A few favorites:

  • Liner: Highlight text on any page.
  • Send to Kindle: Send articles to your Kindle to read later.
  • StayFocusd: Limit your time on distracting websites. (I use this to limit myself to 10 minutes a day on Facebook and Reddit.)
  • Former Facebook exec on the social network he helped build: "I feel tremendous guilt."
  • I heard this song on a commercial recently and love it: Kola by Damien Jurado.
  • I upgraded my iPhone recently and instead of restoring from a backup, I started fresh. It's amazing 1) how many apps I had that I didn't need and 2) how different the phone feels with the factory settings. Highly recommended next time you upgrade.
  • Here's a quote I heard and really liked: "If we're so smart, why are they so rich?" You only get credit for doing.
  • And here's a photo of my dog.

Have a great weekend!

Jimmy

PS - I'm looking to partner with a few great businesses to sponsor this newsletter. It reaches a bunch of smart folks from places like Google, Apple, Spotify, New York Times, Marriott and Harvard. Shoot me an email if you're interested in working together.

PPS - I created an email course called 5 Days to Better Content Marketing. More than 300 people have already taken it. You should check it out too.

Life Is More Random Than We'd Like to Believe
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