🏝 Summer Edition #1

Five highlights from the year so far, two book recommendations and a podcast to binge on.

I'm on holiday this and next week, taking a quick break from my newslettering duties. However, I've prepared two summer editions for you, each with five highlights from the year so far, two book recommendations and a podcast to binge on.

The next regular Weekly Filet will be in your inbox on August 12.

1. How to future-proof your life from pandemics and other threats

Think about a difficult, potentially traumatising period in the future. Now write down a short journal entry as if you’re just living through that experience. Ask yourself questions like: What will I feel in this future? What will I and others need most? How will I use my unique strengths to help others? This is how game designer and forecaster Jane McGonigal is teaching people to «future-proof» themselves. This article is part of a series by Vox.com on «the upgrades we can make to prepare for the next pandemic». I liked this one best because it is useful well beyond the context of a future pandemic. (from Weekly Filet #390, in April 2022)

How to future-proof your life from pandemics and other threats
You can prepare your brain for the next big disaster, biological or otherwise. A futurist explains how.

2. How the Kosovo Air War Foreshadowed the Crisis in Ukraine

I spent a good part of the week looking for good background reads on Russia/Ukraine, knowing that anything news-related could be rendered outdated at any moment. I found this piece particularly insightful. It connects the current situation with the NATO intervention in former Yugoslavia. It concludes: An attack on Ukraine would (obviously) be Putin’s responsibility, but «the world in which such a war is possible has been forged jointly by Russia and the United States». (from Weekly Filet #382, in February 2022)

How the Kosovo Air War Foreshadowed the Crisis in Ukraine
Twenty-three years later, Kremlin propagandists still use the NATO bombing campaign to justify their own actions.

3. ​​103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known

A great list to come back to every now and then. Some favourites:

  • Don’t keep making the same mistakes; try to make new mistakes.
  • When you forgive others, they may not notice, but you will heal. Forgiveness is not something we do for others; it is a gift to ourselves.
  • Three things you need: The ability to not give up something till it works, the ability to give up something that does not work, and the trust in other people to help you distinguish between the two.
  • The optimal balance for exploring new things vs exploiting them once found is: 1/3. Spend 1/3 of your time on exploring and 2/3 time on deepening.
  • When you don’t know how much to pay someone for a particular task, ask them “what would be fair” and their answer usually is. (from Weekly Filet #393, in May 2022)
103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known
Today is my birthday. I turn 70. I’ve learned a few things so far that might be helpful to others. For the past few years, I’ve jotted down bits of unsolicited advice each year and much to my surprise I … Continue reading →

4. Ghosts

This is a truly remarkable piece, on many levels. The author struggled to write about her sister’s death, so she let artificial intelligence help her. In the first attempt, she writes nothing but the first sentence, and lets AI take it from there. With every attempt, she writes more before letting AI take over. (from Weekly Filet #389, in April 2022)

Ghosts - Believer Magazine
7. My sister was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma when I was in my freshman year of high school and she was in her junior year. I didn’t understand then how serious a disease it was. But it was—serious. She died four years later. I thought I would die, too, of grief, but I did not. […]

5. An Afghan in Ukraine

Half a year ago, she fled Kabul for safety in Kyiv. Now 23-year-old Masouma Tajik is facing war again. Such a poignant story — that also serves as a reminder that the war in Ukraine, while drawing all the attention right now, isn’t the only armed conflict that upends millions of lives in the worst possible ways. Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Syria, Myanmar, …(from Weekly Filet #385, in March 2022)

An Afghan in Ukraine
She fled Kabul for safety in Kyiv. Now the 23-year-old is facing war again.

Two books I loved this year

Lost & Found, by Kathryn Schulz. Centered around the death of her father and meeting her future wife, the author explores the universal themes of losing and finding. Profound and beautifully written, making me pause and admire a sentence every few pages. If I had to pick one favourite book this year, it would be this one.

Speed & Scale, by John Doerr. Sorry, planetary product managers, your next OKR cycle is rather packed. An action plan for addressing the climate crisis, using the objectives and key results framework. An excellent read.

📚 More great reads in the 2022 Weekly Filet Book Club: Books that make you feel hopeful)

A bingeworthy podcast: The Trojan Horse Affair

A mysterious letter uncovers an Islamist conspiracy to infiltrate schools in Birmingham, UK. The story becomes a national scandal, with wide-ranging consequences. That was in 2014. A new investigation by Serial Productions (of the famous Serial podcast — now part of The New York Times) takes another look at that letter and everything it set in motion. Something just seems off.

The Trojan Horse Affair
An unlikely duo chases down the origins of a mysterious letter that caused a national scandal.

🎧 More bingeworthy podcasts

Thanks for reading. See you soon!
— David 👋

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