Wisereads Vol. 11 — Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, process productivity, and more
Last week, we shared the entirety of The Anthology of Balaji by our good friend Eric Jorgenson. This week, we’re excited to try sharing our first ebook from the classics: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
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Most highlighted Articles of the week
Solving the Productivity Paradox
Modern business software has evolved from making us better at work to making us better at workflows. At least, in theory. In practice, productivity growth has flatlined. Cal Newport explores this paradox in his latest op-ed. "There's more to productivity than simply giving [workers] the latest spreadsheet and messenger software. It’s in rethinking how we organize our work, not just in how fast we can accomplish it, where the real improvements are to be found."
11 Things I Learned About Investing
Investment analyst turned Substack writer Frederik Gieschen gets into the metagame of investing with advice from luminaries such as Stanley Druckenmiller, Adam Smith aka George Goodman, and Warren Buffett. "Every once in a while, things get exciting. Like when you find a great idea or when the market punches you in the face. And in exactly those moments, you have to resist and remain calm. It’s the inverse of how most people go through life: they run from the grind of mundane work and throw themselves into thrills."
How to Make Yourself Into a Learning Machine
In this interview led by Dan Shipper of Every, Simon Eskildsen shares how his unique approach to reading helped him ascend the ranks of Shopify despite starting there as an 18-year old Danish transplant. "Simon realized that in order to level up fast enough to do his work he needed to read—a lot. And not only that, he needed to retain what he read. So he built an elaborate system to read, retain, and apply the lessons in hundreds of books."
Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week
How I Stay Focused Working 14-Hour Days - My Flow System
Cambridge graduate and corporate lawyer Liam Porritt shares his tips for achieving a flow state: prioritize sleep, find the Goldilocks challenge level, trade distraction for focus, and prep with the 'cinema' technique: "When you go to watch Oppenheimer, you don't go in with a full bladder, no food, no drink…you're ready to be focused on the film for 3 hours, so you should treat your work sessions the exact same."
Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week
4 years of marketing lessons as minimalistic visuals
Draw shapes on Twitter, get followers. Growth marketer Yasmine Khosrowshahi stitched together a Twitter thread of inspirational marketing insights including: “Don’t confuse your customers,” and “Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. It spreads like fire.”
Most highlighted PDF of the week
10 Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught
Mathematician, philosopher, and MIT stalwart Gian-Carlo Rota distills his wisdom on academia into insights that apply to life more generally. On aging in your career: "My late friend Stan Ulam used to remark that his life was sharply divided into two halves. In the first half, he was always the youngest person in the group; in the second half, he was always the oldest. There was no transitional period."
Hand-picked book of the week
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Most people know that Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals, swim fins, and the lightning rod. Most are also aware that he founded the first circulating library, volunteer fire department, and American university (Go Quakers). But not many people realize that this founding father also sired the entire self-help genre.
Ben Franklin grew up poor, but thanks to hard work (what he calls "industry"), ingenuity, and a little bit of luck, he became one of the most influential figures in history. His autobiography tells the story of how this happened. Despite being written in the 1700s, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin remains remarkably relevant and readable to this day.
“It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined.”
We're sharing the Autobiography edition made available through Standard Ebooks, a volunteer-driven effort to produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks. All of their ebooks render beautifully in Reader if you're looking for more!
Handpicked RSS feed of the week
Perhaps the only financial analyst in the game capable of making a TikTok video go viral, Kyla Scanlon has grown famous for her down-to-earth explanations of how the economy works. From How Individualism Changed the Economy: "Consumerism (materialism, perhaps)...keeps businesses going. It's what gives people jobs. But we're served over 10,000 ads a day. It’s hard to separate yourself from that. And a lot of times we end up defining ourselves by the things that we're purchasing and that we are consuming."