My Top Lessons from 2016

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2016 ludvig sunström travels

Current Inspirations:

1) Alexander Hamilton: For his legislative genius, masterful administration, and for his breadth of knowledge.alexander-hamilton

I just finished reading Ron Chernov’s biography about Hamilton and it was great. Hamilton is probably the most important Founding Father. Him or Madison. In either case, he has been overlooked and discredited in history for the past 150 years due to propaganda reasons (Jefferson and his Republican friends are much to blame).

Hamilton’s achievements include: a central bank, a funded debt (via sinking fund), a high credit rating, a tax system, a customs service, a coast guard, and a navy.

All of these were firsts in America.

As is often the case, Hamilton’s greatest strength (his vociferocity) was also his worst weakness. He didn’t know when to keep quiet or ignore idiots, and so, he wasted much time responding to slanderers as well as unnecessarily directing attention at negative rumors about himself. This cost him dearly.

2) Michael Bloomberg: A great role model in terms of business and politics. It is baffling that western politicians are not mimicking many of his policies–like what he did in terms of soda + chemically engineered food.

3) This Castle. My friend Richard sent me this brief for a castle in Florence some time ago. It’s quite affordable for 4-8 knights. It’s important to own a castle because it’s the secret of success. . .

ludvig-sunstrom-secret-of-success

So says Toshio Motoya, Japanese billionaire & founder of APA hotels.

Some Cool Stuff that Happened over 2016:

  • Improved many health metrics: Omega-3/6, testosterone vs estrogen, cortisol, blood pressure, etc… [See tests below]
  • Became better at thinking.
  • Acquired a number of good habits [see below].
  • Created the podcast 25 Minuter med Syding & Sunström, which has gone tremendously well considering that we’re doing it part-time, whereas most of our “competitors” are going at it full-time.
  • Created TUCS and nearly finished BOOH. (More info later)
  • Traveled to a bunch of countries and met many interesting people.
  • I read only 37 books, but 8 of these were extremely good and took a long time to summarize and do follow-up work on. I also stopped reading a bunch of easy one-idea books because (a) they sucked or (b) I already knew the content. I also consumed many book summaries on Blinkist. And listened to many podcasts.
  • Started being semi-active on Twitter.1. I suck at it, but I’m good enough for Wikileaks. . .

ludvig-sunstrom-twitter

Mistakes:

After looking over my monthly overview documents and reflecting for a while, I realized most of my mistakes–at least the once that mattered–during 2016 were mistakes of omission; mainly from sub-optimization and failure to go with the simplest solution (while still fresh in mind).

On Podcasting:

We’re going to do many more interviews with cool and successful people over 2017, as we have more time on our hands.

We had a great start with the podcast and somehow (toward the end of the year) ended up as ranked #1 on iTunes (again) in the business category. I think we secured a niche that was previously untapped in Sweden with our relatively short episodes and concrete ideas/advice. By contrast, most podcasts here are long-winded and gossipy.

We also have a newsletter for the podcast where we summarize the key takeaways and (sometimes) send out bonuses, giveaways, and other funky stuff. It is being received well–our average open rate for it is 58%. If you are Swedish, definitely subscribe to it.

ludvig-sunstrom-25-minuter

Swedish author Peter Bevelin wrote the world’s best book, Seeking Wisdom. He recently wrote another book called “All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There,” which is a carefully hand-picked collation of Mungerism & Buffetism about self-development, happiness, and investing.

Per H. Börjesson, Founder of Spiltan (and one of Sweden’s most experienced value investors) was on our show and was kind enough to bring us gifts; among other things, Peter’s new book.

peter-bevelin-book-per-hakan-borjesson-gift-25-minuter-podcast

And here is another funny picture of me and Mikael doing a speech about cognitive biases related to investment/economic decisions:

ludvig-sunstrom-investerardagarnaMikael: (Says something clever.)

Me: (Grr! I wanted to say that.)

On Travels

I traveled to a number of countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines and Japan being the main ones.

Some key takeaways:

  • I like traveling, but not as much as most people seem to do. Probably because I do weird/new stuff a lot and because my ongoing studies render the contrast of novelty less powerful.
  • Westerners (at least Scandinavians) are significantly less bigoted than Asians.
  • Get in the habit of diversifying risk–in every major area–ASAP in life. Have backups or some type of contingency plan.

Thailand:  

I lived in Bangkok as HQ for about 7 months with Oskar.

I also went to a few different places in Thailand, like Koh Samed.

Bangkok is good for cheap, luxurious living, but extremely superficial and has horrible traffic and pollution from fumes. It’s bothersome–and sometimes dangerous–to go for walks, unless you live near a park.

Thai food is cheap, but tends to be very unhealthy (they put all kinds of chemicals and artificial flavoring in it). You have people there looking like the Michelin Man, and you just can’t tell which gender they are. They need someone like Michael Bloomberg in charge to put an end to it.

Here’s a picture from my Birthday. Opposite is my friend Miha, an experienced expat in Asia, who read SGM and contacted me when I had recently moved to BKK.

A photo posted by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on

And here’s another one, with Oskar and Andreas too.

SGM meet-up at Bangkok, Ekkamai. Miha, Oskar, me, and Andreas. Just after we had lunch.

A post shared by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on

Vietnam:

Vietnam is an extremely cheap country if you live in Saigon/Ho Chi Min City–where I went twice. It is somewhat similar to Thailand. I had a good experience there, but spent a lot of time working, and did not explore as much as I perhaps could/should have.

Singapore: 

I will probably return there in the future. It’s neat and clean, but rather expensive. Both small and has a great public transportation system. A great country for entrepreneurs.

But I gotta tell you: The young people there have a very poor sense of history. They don’t know what LKY and his team had to sacrifice for their well-being.

Fun fact: Many rich, spoiled, silver-spoon-in-mouth Singaporean guys go to BKK to get hot silicone girls, spending a fortune buying booze in the clubs.

I also met up with Jeremy (who reads SGM). We played Badminton and I suffered a frustrating loss, despite the fact that I tried my hardest, while he was going easy on me.

A photo posted by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on

Philippines:

Me and Oskar went to Palawan/El Nido, upon recommendation of Edmund. 2 It is a beautiful country, but ruled by real nutcases. I’m not going back.

travel7

They charge you a HIDDEN extortion/exit fee–no warning whatsoever, and you can’t pay with card–just before entering your gate at airport; so you MUST go outside the airport, find an ATM and go through the whole procedure. . . AGAIN.

Could you possibly annoy or stress out travelers in a worse way? Could you possibly create a worse last impression? Idiots.

They also have horrible Internet connection (it works at random, and only slowly), which made me miss out on a podcast episode, while endangering my safety and wasting an entire day.

I don’t care what anyone says: Philippines is not a good place to live if you work from the Internet.

Japan:

I spent about a month in Japan and I am definitely going back. You can stay for 90 days at a time (without being a citizen) as long as you have a European passport.

It is an awesome country in many aspects. It is extremely scenic and has the best food in the world. But there are two downsides: It’s expensive and the people are surprisingly bad at English. They also don’t take credit cards.

ludvig-sunstrom-japan

I stayed mainly in Kyoto and Tokyo (which is huge). Also traveled through Osaka and some other places. To get a sense of how large Tokyo is, see this view from atop of SkyTree (450 meters above ground):

scenicskytree3

I stayed at two different APA Hotels. Their founder, Toshio Motoya, has written several pamphlets of essays (about his political views and quirky personal aphorisms–like the importance of owning a castle) which are distributed in all the rooms, instead of a Bible.

toshio-motoya-apa-hotel-essay

He has many interesting ideas on Japanese policy. The most important one is that Japan needs to leverage its awesome cultural heritage more in their national advertising/branding. What they did at the Olympics (with the Mario stunt) is exactly the sort of thing they should be doing, only 10x more!

–Sweden should do the same. 3

During my last days in Japan, while on my first and only tour, I met a high-ranking executive of Coca-Cola. He thought he was doing the Lord’s work. I asked him if he had seen the latest Berkshire Hathaway annual conference. He had. I asked him what he thought about Munger’s reply to the Coke question, but he didn’t understand. He just said, “Warren Buffett drinks a lot of Coke.”

On Habits:

My life has changed so much over the last 2 years that I have needed to change my daily routine and habits quite a bit. Since one’s goals, priorities, and responsibilities change, it doesn’t make sense to maintain the same routine, although homeostasis dictates it.

Here are some generally positive habits I’ve picked up lately:

  • Mobility stretching. I can now easily sit down in deep squat position, and sometimes do it in the gym in between sets. When Mikael Syding told me months ago that he did this, I barely believed it. Now I just do it.
  • Moving more: I have a tendency towards concentration and–while I typically maintain decent posture and flex my muscles intermittently–I still need to remind myself to move around more.
  • Minimum viable dosage: I drink one relatively strong cup of coffee almost each day. And when I drink alcohol, I try to keep it to two units.
  • Caffeine timing: The optimal timing is about 2-4 hours after waking up.

All in all, I feel like I am becoming a little bit more consistent in my output. It helps to have systems in place.

Festina lente.

–Augustus

On Systems:

Consistent compounded gains beat spectacular and splendid one-year performances. Investors beat speculators. And patience beats brilliance.

–And systems beat actions.

I feel like I’ve acquired a solid baseline of systems for most of the fundamental things; like health, finances, and learning, informational organization and analysis/decision-making.

Here are three good ones for health:

  1. Blood pressure,
  2. comprehensive blood test,
  3. and fatty acid analysis.


During one period of the year I had rather bad numbers and felt stressed. Now it has gone back to normal.

Most of my health indicators are good, but here are a few ones that need gradual improvement over 2017.

From Wer Labs 4 (Europe):

wer labs blood test

My testosterone levels are average. Not as high as I would like (19 nmol/L = 550 ng/dl). I would like 700. I also want to reduce my estrogen levels slightly (not included in this test, but I know they can be improved with relative ease).

My thyroid is acting up. It has been weird for 2 tests in a row taken 6 months apart. I will have it checked out soon, learn some best practices, and stick to them.

I need more iron and less salt. Otherwise it might be bad for the kidneys over the long-term.

blood-test

Fatty acid analysis from ArcticMed (Europe):

ludvig-sunstrom-omega-3-test

I did not consume high quality Omega-3 supplements for 2 months (but still swallow capsules while traveling). And I ate out a lot. This slightly messed up my previous excellent results, but nothing major. I will go back to a perfect score now that I am consuming ArcticMed natural fish oil again.

Final Thoughts:

 

  • SGM Newsletter: Around this time last year, I significantly purged my SGM email list. I did the same thing again recently, but not as extreme. [if you did not get an email message about this article, you were removed. You can join the newsletter here.]
  • The Ultimate Commonplace System (TUCS): There will be further updates and some added material. If you bought, you will be emailed. I will also put together some case studies.
  • Breaking out of Homeotasis (BOOH). I would like to thank everyone who has asked me how the work with the book is going. It’s going well, but it has been a big project. I have cut down the page count from ~700 pages to (currently) 300. It should be around 250-310 by the time of publication. When will it be published? I can’t say an exact date, but it’s in the final stages. If you’ve joined the waiting list you will be first to know. And you will also receive some sweet freebies. I will be emailing there a bunch soon about the book (but not the regular SGM list).

Carpe Annum,

Ludvig Sunström

* * *

What are some things you learned over 2016?

What will you improve, eliminate or change over 2017?

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  1. I apologize if I have not responded to your email, please try me on Twitter instead.

  2. Most of the country is cheap, I hear, but Palawan is extremely expensive.

  3. One of the things that made me the most angry this year was when I returned to Sweden, and I saw the “wall of shame” they have put up on Arlanda (the main airport outside Stockholm). It’s full of nobodies (like female fashion bloggers). It gives a bad first impression of the country and it shows horrible judgment.

  4. We recently interviewed their founder Rickard Lagerqvist — great guy.

BOOH Coming soon

Join the waiting list for exclusive bonuses. . .
Click for more info:

Comments

  1. Seems like a year packed with varied experiences.
    I patiently await your book, 700+ pages seems like a labor of long-term gratification. And it would be nice if you did another English episode of your podcast. Oh yeah and some questions about that:
    What do you think the chances are of you making it entirely English? And how would you gauge the chances of success in the podcast-sphere today if you were to start over? I am trying with an idea.

    • Hey Mike,
      We don’t have any plans for going English.
      For your question: I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it since I researched it before starting. But I guess it is about the same, perhaps a bit more crowded. The #1 advice I have is to try to find a niche and be different in some way.

    • Mike, Ludvig had several competitive advantages with his podcast. Not to play damp squib but sometimes it’s better to be realistic.

      1. It was billed as the “official” podcast of Tradevenue.se (credibility).

      2. It has a potent product (millionaire hedgefund guy and someone who actually gives a fook about how it all works to pick brains / interject). Picking a niche and “being different” will definitely help if you have a combination like the previous.

      Having met both Ludvig and Mikael, I can attest to their shared wisdom. However, I believe their secret was securing the recommendation on TradeVenue. I tried asking one time but Ludvig wouldn’t tell me how he did it.

    • Thank you both for the answers

  2. That Castle is really cool. Imagine living there and splitting it up so that you have one tower each! 🏰

  3. Definately gonna do some health tests for 2017 thanks for the reminders!
    /Anders

  4. Interesting article Ludvig, chomping at the bit for BOOH.

    My year?Not the best of years but a valuable one in hindsight. I view it as a year I learnt alot all the same.

    WHAT I LEARNED:

    1. COMMONPLACE: gamechanger for me. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly
    lessons have saved me alot of time chasing my tail

    2. DISCIPLINE >> SIMPLICITY >> CONCISTENCY: my processes and systems were too complex. Hard to restart after periods of neglect or unexpected events. Rereading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsson reminded me of this

    3. INFORMATION OVERLOAD: as you said in 2016 most of the info on the internet is crap. I also became aware of the “Self-development” trap most people fall into. They read nothing else but Self-development. Homeostasis at its finest.

    4. KNOW THYSELF: not my best year but now know alot about myself. Personality type(INTJ), work flow, health, socially. Adjusted with all this and taking a realistic, long-term view. Self-reflection aided this. Biggest lesson is I work well with simplicity/routine more than anything

    5. FOUNDATION: had a few ideas, no foundation(Talent stack) to capitalize on then in hindsight. #1 prio in 2017 and beyond

    6. I’M A SYNTHESIZER: I can connect thw dots between ideas somewhat easily. Incorporated this in my learning framework

    7. LEARNING: improved my framework and seeing results. Did not real alot in 2016(27 books). More challenging material however. Linked Ludvig’s 61+ list and Napoleon’s early studies. Using that list as my core + developing a talent stack over the next few years. I only need an hour or two a day of reading. More concistency is the aim here going forward.

    IMPROVE, ELIMINATE, CHANGE

    1. SIMPLICITY: major problem in 2016(Discipline/Info Overload). In all areas of my life I now ask “What 1 thing can I do daily to achieve my desired result?”. Inspired by Scott Adams and Jeff Olsonn. The one daily step is listed under my goals in my Strategic Objective

    2. SKILLS > READING: taking Wall Street Playboys/Scott Adams/Damian Pros’ advice by developing a skillset. Following WSP’s “10 years to $1m framework”. In line with keeping things simple reading 1hr a day max, that would get me about 30-40 books read this year.

    3. INFO OVERLOAD: major issue last year. Quitting Twitter, using apps to block my internet use and focusing my time on reading more books/learning a skill.

    Two books I reccomend:

    1. The Slight Edge – Jeff Olsson
    2. How to Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams

    P.S: have a list of books that you plan on rereading yearly(10 max and preferably physical). Picked this up from a mentor.

  5. Looks like you have subclinical hypothyroidism, TSH count is high because the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones so the pituitary gland starts increasing TSH secretion to stimulate it further. Could be first signs of Hashimoto thyroiditis, just wanted to give you a heads up on the differential diagnosis possibilities.

    • I think so too. We shall see. I don’t suffer many of the normal symptoms though.

      Thanks for looking out. Is this something you have experience with personally?

      • The symptoms do not show in this phase yet because the TSH surge keeps the thyroid hormones normal, that is why it is called subclinical, as in, no symptoms.

        I personally do not have thyroid problems, but a year ago I finished med school so I have this “professional deformation” of instructing people about their health. Glad I could help. :)

      • Don’t wait until you experience symptoms, they could be difficult to reverse.

        I improved my TSH numbers considerably by taking 500 mg L-Tyrosine.

      • Thanks Filip.
        Abgrund, how long did you take L-tyrosine? And are there additional details I should know about?
        I will have it checked out soon.

      • I’m not sure how long I was taking L-tyrosine before testing revealed improved TSH, maybe 6 or 12 months but that doesn’t mean it took that long to have an effect. Subjectively it seemed like it helped pretty quickly but that’s a crapshoot because there are so many other factors (including other supplements I started at about the same time). I don’t get tested more than once a year because everything medical is fabulously expensive – and rationed for most people – in the US, so it was a long time after I started it before I got tested.

        I didn’t do any real research on L-tyrosine. It was cheap and someone had recommended it to me, so I tried it. I do that a lot, because conclusive research on supplements is scarce and the cost is rarely exorbitant. I can tell that collectively the supplements I take do help, but with a few confirmed exceptions like L-tyrosine and vitamin D I can’t be certain which ones are pulling their weight. Trying to narrow it down would be like hunting duck with a rifle.

  6. Japanophile says:

    Japan looks really cool. Have you stayed at a capsule hotel? I dont have the money to go now but it is something I look forward to. Did you go to Tokyo Tower? And do you have any cheap recommendations?

  7. How often do you take health tests?

  8. John the wannabe investor says:

    Can you explain the Buffett/Munger thing with the Coke? I am a new disciple of the Omaha geniuses

    • Haha.
      He’s saying something very stupid (that Coke is good for mankind) in a sophisticated way. It surprised me.

      • It was a good reply. He framed the unhealthy drink as something that makes people happy, and therefore it’s not that bad. Ridiculous theory, but excatly what Coke is telling you in their commercials. Sales of soft drinks are booming in south america, together with diabetes and obesitiy. But at least they are happy.

        Biggest things I learned in past year is commonplace and art of persuasion via Scott Adams. Changed my worldview completely. Also, i made a bet that Trump will win in elections (that too came from Scott’s writing), and lost about 10 kilos of fat while gaining about 5 kg of muscle. Been a good year, gonna make this one even better.

  9. Michael Gren says:

    Interesting takes and thanks for the video recommendations to watch for later this week.

  10. What are some things you learned over 2016?
    Act alone

    • You can’t.

      I thought this for two years and got nowhere. Where does money come from? Where does laughter come from? Where do relationships come from?

      People.

      Unfortunately, people will let you down, just as much as they bring you up. I now think you must act with your own goals in mind—as independently as you can—but choose good people who have admirable qualities.

  11. Brief lessons;

    -Never buy into a system 100%; it leaves you vulnerable
    -Don’t label yourself something; increases confirmation bias susceptibility and emotional/identity involvement in decision making. (Don’t say “I am a stoic,” say “I use specific principles of stoicism to help me with ____”)
    -Don’t “believe” or “attach to” anything. Hold ideas in mind, get the biggest picture possible, and manipulate those ideas to achieve a desired result. Always hold the perspective; “what I know is most likely an infinitesimal speck in what there is to be known” and continually try to poke holes in your own ideas while having a degree of “insurance” or a “backup plan”
    -Don’t let emotions impact your decision making. But, check in with your emotions periodically (stoicism has its limits)
    -Fasting is extremely powerful and can reverse almost any injury (I have 2 such ridiculous stories about this from a year of unfortunate accidents) if done properly / the injury is not too far down the road.
    -Obsession is a powerful tool if used properly, but it can also be a weakness. Learn to use it well, and have friends who can pull you out of it if you go too far…
    -Have a time, once a week, to reflect, check in with yourself, etc. etc. – No matter what. Keeps downward spirals from happening.
    -Don’t rely on motivation; it’s fleeting.
    -How well you take care of yourself is directly correlated to how well you can help others. Most people mistake this as “selfishness,” but it is actually the opposite.

    • Šime Kosor says:

      This is great! Would like to know more about your fasting experience’s. I started with IF this year, benefits have been tremendous.

    • “-Don’t rely on motivation; it’s fleeting.”

      I think this is one of the biggest mistakes most people make in their lives. They get “motivated” or “inspired”, have a brief flurry of (often unsustainable) effort, and then fade out – even if they were making progress. For example they crash diet, buy a gym membership, lose 50 lbs and two years later they’re heavier than they started out and haven’t been to the gym in 18 months.

      Motivation that comes from an emotional state or an outside stimulus is always transient. Real success comes from cultivating appropriate habits.

    • Great insights, L!

      • Thanks for the replies. @Abgrund – You’re dead on, as always.

        I’ll tell the fasting story, just so you know the sort of power it has.

        Earlier last year, I had a brutal concussion from a whiplash accident. I was in extreme, constant pain, and I could not sleep. I was also not allowed to exercise – I was in a neck brace, and my neck muscles were extremely weak. I could not read or write much, and I was barely able to wander through my classes where I struggled to stay in school. My friendships withered. I was told I’d be in constant pain for the rest of my life, though there were some drugs that *might* dull the effects…

        I’d been interested in the fasting process for a while (Thanks Ludvig) and basically devoted all of my *limited* energies into researching nutrition and fasting. Obviously, I wasn’t getting much out of devoting my energies to school anyway…beyond staying in it

        That summer, I was *very* well-prepared, and finally had an opportunity. I knew I had a limited window. I set up a ruse with some of my friends and fled my family to a cabin in the forest. I brought gallon containers of water, and fasted for 6.5 days. On the 3rd day the pain was gone, and I could feel what felt like the sizzling of scar tissue in my neck, and waking up the next morning I was able to turn my head completely (I had had no rotation prior to this). On the 5th day my mind was incredibly clear and powerful, and I felt like Napoleon plotting to get out of prison in Corsica (except my own prison was in my mind). On the 7th day I analyzed the various measurements with the tools I’d brought, and decided to end the fast that afternoon with some watermelon.

        Not only have I never had symptoms again, I’ve been sharper than I’ve ever been in my entire life, which is crazy. I started reading books like a fiend, and blew through about 10 towards the end of that summer (starved for intellectual content). I would literally wake up, run 5 miles, and work for 9 or 10 hours straight learning as much as possible. I’d had an issue with my vision, called esophoria, which I got retested for and it did not show up on the test (!). All my parents and friends were like, “What the f***?” I got all As in the fall and found I was able to do all of my calculus problems in my head – another plus. My “gut instinct” also seemed to get sharper, and I knew exactly when I should eat (much less, much less often apparently). I also got extremely fit, and have been working on putting on more muscle mass.The crazy thing is, I have more energy and clarity than I’ve ever had before.

        I feel like an assassin – patient, training hard, building myself, accomplishing things, with some long-term projects but also waiting for the right time to strike at other opportunities. I am motivated as hell. I am unstoppable.

        So – Yes, fasting is INCREDIBLY powerful. It gave me my life back. And more. If you are ever struggling, remember it as a tool. If done properly, of course.

        Kind regards,

        L

      • Wow L, that’s amazing.

  12. I’ve just got back from live firing (tanks) all exhausted and it is a treat to read this.

  13. Hamilton died for no good reason in a duel. Duels were despicable but I can’t help but wonder how social media and youtube video commentary would look if they still existed.

  14. It’s great to see your improving and getting even more effective.Did it say somewhere in TUCS that you started an internet Marketing company? How is that going? It would be interesting to see how that is coming along and any lessons learned. I’m getting into some online work myself, blog and a little web design/development.

  15. Hello Ludvig, thanks once again for sharing these great insights.

    Regarding the reading part, I totally realte. Too many books end up being awaste of time and unfortunately, it’s hard to know in advance.

    By the way do you have a system decide on the % of books that will be biographies of great men, books that upgrade your mental/physical/emotional habits and insights, how to books to learn a specific skill, and good old litterature ?

    Also, how do you remember anything after listening to a podcast or a blinkist ? If you’re doing something else whilst listening (the whole point of audio IMO), there is no note taking, hence very little remains in my case.

    Thanks

  16. I love how Charlie Munger thinks investing in Coca-Cola is some great thing for humanity but thinks that investing in gold as uncivilised.

    Why do you think he’s saying that?
    Just hiding the fact that he doesn’t care about the health hazard or fooling himself?

    The latter seems unlikely this being Charlie Munger, but then again so does the other.

  17. Things I learned in 2016: I attached too much importance and attention to my book sales. It screwed my sanity.
    I learned how to use Amazon ads and my sales exploded.
    What will I improve in 2017: my family life; I spent too much time on work and business and too little with my kids and wife.

    Thanks for the great post! (as usual)

  18. Hi Ludvig,

    It’s been a while since I got a chance to swing by. I really enjoyed this – especially the part about the Philippines. I lived there for 18 months and I had to leave for my own sanity. NOT a country for the internet entrepreneur at all :) I’ve never appreciated Europe so much!

    I hope 2017 is treating you well.

    G

  19. Hello Ludvig.

    I would have to stop for an hour to think about what happened in 2016 in my life. I still haven’t reflected about it, but I would say that I learned two things.

    First: I had an horrible back pain in February, stopped going to the gym and started yoga. It’s great. The teacher is a genius, he reads a lot, the first 10 minutes of class he explains some ancient technique / theory , and often contrast it with modern knowledge.
    He taught me to listen more to my own body and a lot of tricks about self healing. The body and brain are amazing, they have a lot of evolutionary mechanisms waiting to be discovered. Meditation is good for the mind. Please, if you never tried, take my advice and do yoga at least once, to see if you like it. It is totally opposite of going to the gym, you could do both.

    The second thing I learned is a way of studying. Basically, transcript something into a word document. It makes me do a lot of repetitions. 1) Reading. 2)Understanding and re-reading 3)Typing in easier words / summarizing 4)Reading what you just typed to see if goes right 5) Read it again to make sure 6) Give it format. This method really makes things glue to my brain. I was surprised when I remembered everything in an exam.

  20. I don’t normally put any emphasis on arbitrary calendrical events, for instance I don’t make “New Year’s Resolutions” or celebrate birthdays. I don’t have any lessons “from 2016” or plans “for 2017”. I will say that the past couple of years has seen some changes in my /Weltanschauung/. Influences? The death of my father, another remarkably close brush with my own death, and Pema Chödrön, among others. I’ve also put more effort into my health, which has improved, but my free time is less.

    On Al Hamilton: He supported a powerful, independent executive, unlike many others who saw the U.S.A. strictly as a confederation. Some have claimed that the Constitutional provision requiring American Presidents to be native-born was directed at Hamilton personally (he was born in the West Indies).

    “Westerners (at least Scandinavians) are significantly less bigoted than Asians.”

    I think that’s generally true of all Westerners; it’s certainly true of Americans. We are so hypersensitive about the merest hint of an appearance of any possibility of racism that we will bend over backward to accomodate “diversity” and give all sorts of preference to officially “disadvantaged” groups, sometimes to the point of tolerating violent criminals. Most of the rest of the world is blatantly, minutely, and often viciously racist. Asians are perhaps the most notorious, but they are hardly alone. In America, non-whites by no means return the favor of tolerance to whites or even to other non-white races. Most racial groups retain a strong sense of commonality – and hostility to the white “oppressor”, no matter how many privileges the former are afforded.

    • Can you please elaborate on how Pema Chödrön has affected your life?

      • Chödrön’s philosophy is that most of our sufferings are self-inflicted and that we can stop inflicting them (i.e. it is Buddhism). The method she advocates (without going into too much detail) is detachment. Whereas a more traditional Buddhist teacher might advocate or imply that the practitioner assume /responsibility/ for not suffering, for emotional discipline, for self-denial, etc. Her recommendation is to not evade or suppress our self-experience or our nature, or to be guilty about it, but to be objectively aware of it, and to echo it in a third-person sort of way, like a self-observer. I have found this technique helpful; it helps to maintain a sense of perspective and sometimes leads to valuable insights.

  21. Vincent L Mulvaney says:

    Hey Sir Ludvig! What would be your top 3-5 picks for neuroscience books?

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