Learn to Express, Not Impress

Leo Tolstoy famously observed it about families, but all happy individuals, too, are alike; each unhappy individual is, also, unhappy in its own way. We live in a time were, using Instagram, Facebook and whatnot, many (young) people curate their lives: we present ourselves to the world as how we want to be seen. And not as how we are. Of course, […]

Why Truth Doesn’t Change People’s Minds (and What Does)

Today, everyone can get more information than ever. Paradoxically, this has made the truth less — not more — accessible. As ‘information’ became ideological, ‘the facts’ can no longer referee disagreements but are themselves contested. It’s easier than ever before for someone to live in a world built of his own ‘facts’. You might say: what happened to us? Why do facts not […]

100 Books a Year? Bad Idea

Conveying and containing knowledge are hard. Picture some serious non-fiction tomes. The Selfish Gene; Thinking, Fast and Slow; Guns, Germs, and Steel; etc. Have you ever had a book like this — one you’d read — come up in conversation, only to discover you’d absorbed what amounts to a few sentences? In a brilliant article, software engineer Andy Matuschak confesses: I’ll be honest: it happens […]

The Complete Guide to Effective Reading

Learning is a heavily misunderstood concept. As a paradigm example of deep work, we understand that, when reading, directing your full attention to the material at hand is essential. Graspingcomplex information is hard. But this is only half the battle. After some string of words hits your retina and has made its way to your brain, you’re not done. In a cruel irony, these hours […]

5 Lessons from Year 26

Today is my 26th birthday. Ever since I was small I imagined grown-up me as a wise university professor with a grey beard. I will remember this year as the year I decided to stop pursuing an academic career. I love being a (non-academic) writer a lot more. I’ve also changed my mind about more important things. For […]

The Empowerment Paradox: Why Mastery Won’t Set Us Free

If I increase my ability to reach my goals, that’s a good thing, right? Not always. There’s a surprising way in which empowerment can come full circle and become powerlessness. How to achieve a goal Let’s see getting what you want as a two-step process: Discover what the cause-effect relationships that govern reality are Figure out how to set theright cause-effect […]

Sleepwalking Through Life

People say we live in bubbles and echo-chambers and wait I thought echoes were about babies. I don’t think that’s true (I’m not sure about the babies part). There’s more confrontation with those characters who have other opinions than ever. If you don’t buy it, just ask your grandmother how many non-Christians, or non-Muslims, or […]

Self-Improvement Doesn’t Have An End, It Is The End

I like Mark Manson. Apart from Wait But Why, at which Tim Urban never posts anything anymore anyway, he’s the only blogger whose new articles I check out immediately. And his paperback Models — which sounds like a dating manual but is so much more than that — is probably the best self-help book I’ve read. I used to agree with him that self-improvement is […]

You Cannot Talk About Self-Improvement Without Talking About Values

There’s a question that has been on my mind a lot lately: What difference does self-improvement make? In what way(s) does engaging in self-improvement make my days and life go different compared to the life of someone who doesn’t bother? To paint a picture, let’s look at Joe. Joe’s routine is rather stable: He goes to […]

Philosophy of Consciousness: Why You Are Not Stronger Than Your Environment

A lot of us overestimate our psychological independence, and I am no exception. Surely, I can flourish anywhere, can’t I? Making friends is not that hard — and really, how different is the daily grind going to be whether me, my laptop and my brain do their thing in The Netherlands, Budapest, or anywhere else? There is […]