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Scott H Young


Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2018 22:17:07 +0000


How to Commit to Long-Term Goals

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 22:17:07 +0000

Recently, I wrote a piece about how to commit to the things you start. In it, I argued that most people are spectacularly bad at committing to things which don’t have a culturally or socially-enforced system of accountability. This is unfortunate, because being successful in life inevitably depends on either doing things that weren’t mandatory […]

The Art of Unlearning

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:20:36 +0000

“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain Most people think about learning as adding knowledge and skills. When you learn French, you learn that the word, avoir means “to have.” You now have a new fact in your mind […]

How to Commit to the Things You Start

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 15:08:26 +0000

One of the most important skills you can cultivate is the ability to plan, execute and finish your projects. Unfortunately, most people are spectacularly bad at this skill. I’ve witnessed this firsthand. Over the lifetime of this blog, I’ve ran several small-scale courses where I’ve tried to help people one-on-one. Because I usually have more […]

Book Club: Tao Te Ching (March 2018)

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 15:15:54 +0000

This month we read Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. About the book: the book is comprised of eighty-one short chapters which cover the ways of the “Way” and lay out all the main ideas of one, Taoism (also known as Daoism) of the world’s oldest philosophies. The main attraction to this way of thinking […]

You Probably Have Too Much Motivation

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:02:59 +0000

The classic view of self-improvement is that most people suffer from a motivational deficit. If they could just get that right bit of inspiration, they would summon up the courage to finally take action, start that business, get into a good relationship, run a marathon and give up junk food. I happen to think that […]

How Successful Was the MIT Challenge?

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:52:03 +0000

By far the most popular project I’ve done publicly has been the MIT Challenge. Starting nearly seven years ago, in the fall of 2011, the idea was to learn the curriculum of MIT’s four year computer science undergrad, evaluate myself by trying to pass the final exams, complete the programming projects and finish in one […]

Book Club: The Elephant In The Brain (February 2018)

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:10:15 +0000

This month we read The Elephant In The Brain by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. About the book: Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains, therefore, are designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to help us get ahead socially, often via deception and self-deception. But while we may […]

Lesson One: How much of your career is running to stay in the same spot?

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:34:22 +0000

In Lewis Carol’s novella Through the Looking Glass, there’s a quirky little dialog between Alice and the Red Queen: “‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’ “‘A slow sort of country!’ said […]

Further Notes on “Rethinking Discipline”

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:15:08 +0000

Last week I published an article arguing for a different hypothesis about how self-discipline works. The standard idea, which even had decent scientific backing, was that willpower was a resource that could be depleted like a fuel. Now the evidence behind this view is a bit shakier, so I wanted to suggest an alternative: self-discipline […]

Rethinking Discipline

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:52:45 +0000

What is self-discipline? I think everyone has at least a hazy picture of what it means to be self-disciplined. From the outside, self-discipline looks like suppressing impulses to do things you shouldn’t do. Self-discipline means not eating too much, not succumbing to the temptation to check your phone every two minutes, ignoring what you want […]