Wisereads Vol. 26 — Rob Henderson’s Troubled, Andrej Karpathy on learning, and more

Last week, we shared a preview of Theft of Fire, Devon Eriksen’s meteoric science fiction debut. This week, we’re sharing a preview chapter of Rob Henderson’s new memoir, Troubled.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


You Don’t Need More How-To Advice — You Need a Painful Reckoning

Tim Ferriss · tim.blog

Tim Ferriss recounts how his friend Chad Fowler shed more than 70 pounds in only twelve months a result of his painful but eye-opening 'Harajuku moment'. “What is this all-important ‘Harajuku Moment’? It’s an epiphany that turns a nice-to-have into a must-have… No matter how many bullet points and recipes experts provide, most folks will need a Harajuku Moment to fuel the change itself.”


‘Enshittification’ is coming for absolutely everything

Cory Doctorow · Financial Times

In his annual McLuhan lecture, author and journalist Cory Doctorow describes the process of enshittification. “First, platforms are good to their users. Then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers. Finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, there is a fourth stage: they die.”


How To Write Stuff No One Else Can

Ethan Brooks · The Write to Roam

Writer Ethan Brooks, former editor at The Hustle, reveals his strategy for building an advantage through unique information. “When it comes to information, the biggest moat that you can have is access to people. Not famous people. But rather, the people behind the scenes who have just as much insight and far less attention.”

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


How To Change Your Life in 1 Year (Science-Backed Approach)

Sahil Bloom

Sahil Bloom explains how goal-setting, systems, and strategies keep him on course to have a great year. “One degree error in heading will cause an airplane to miss its target by 1 mile for every 60 miles flown. The idea is that small errors in heading are amplified over distance and time… We need a system for tracking and adjusting to make sure our heading is correct during the course of the year.”

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


# on shortification of "learning"

Andrej Karpathy

Founding OpenAI member, Andrej Karpathy, struck out on his own last week to pursue personal projects and share his learnings. “There are a lot of videos on YouTube/TikTok etc. that give the appearance of education… This content is an epsilon away from watching the Bachelorette. It's like snacking on those ‘Garden Veggie Straws’, which feel like you're eating healthy vegetables until you look at the ingredients.”

Most highlighted PDF of the week

The Martian: Lost Sols

Andy Weir

Ten years after The Martian captivated readers, Andy Weir releases lost entries from Mark Watney’s journal, which includes a low gravity Evel Knievel-inspired stunt. “My high school algebra teacher Mr. Pavia would be proud of me for doing the following math problem: Presuming I make a 45-degree ramp, how fast does my rover have to go to get over the 20-meter ravine? Turns out: not as fast as you might think.”

Hand-picked book of the week



Rob Henderson

In his newly released memoir, Troubled, Rob Henderson reflects on his journey from foster care and the U.S. Air Force to Yale and Cambridge, where he came to see the "luxury beliefs" of his affluent peers.

Troubled argues that in an era where luxury goods have become more accessible, signaling status through a particular set of "luxury beliefs" that are not actually practiced ultimately imposes costs on the less fortunate.

“My classmate’s promotion of one ideal (“monogamy is outdated”) while living by another (“I plan to get married”) was echoed by other students in different ways. Some would, for instance, tell me about the admiration they had for the military, or how trade schools were just as respectable as college, or how college was not necessary to be successful. But when I asked them if they would encourage their own children to enlist or become a plumber or an electrician rather than apply to college, they would demur or change the subject.”

Rob is generously sharing chapter eleven, “Luxury Beliefs,” with Wisereads readers. If you’re intrigued, we invite you to support his debut by pre-ordering a full copy of Troubled, out Tuesday. 

Handpicked RSS feed of the week


Daring Fireball

John Gruber, co-creator of Markdown and the raconteur behind Daring Fireball, offers trenchant insights on tech. From Simple Tricks and Nonsense: “George Lucas didn’t conceive of telekinesis, but his portrayal of it made it seem real, and defined how my and subsequent generations imagined they would invoke such an ability if they could. And now, in a sense — as hokey as this sounds — I feel like I can… I can almost feel the telekinetic connection with UI elements in VisionOS.”