Wisereads Vol. 30 — Graceful by Seth Godin, Tolstoy's War and Peace, and more

Last week, we shared Mike, a satirical novel following two school boys by P. G. Wodehouse. This week, we're sharing Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, another must-read on Mortimer Adler's list.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


What Monks Know about Focus

Joel J Miller · Miller's Book Review

Editor and writer Joel J Miller mounts an argument in defense of books, bolstered by the teachings in the new translation of John Cassian's fifth-century monastic guide. "Sustained engagement deepens our understanding of what we read by the changes wrought in ourselves through the very process of reading… the time given to working through those ideas, adopting and adapting, developing or discarding, changes our minds, changes us. It’s not about the wisdom we glean. It’s about what wisdom we grow."


You can now train a 70b language model at home

Answer.AI · Answer.AI

Inspired by early commercial electric research, Answer.AI emerges as a new research and development lab dedicated to practical end-user products. "Answer.AI’s first project: a fully open source system that, for the first time, can efficiently train a 70 [billion parameter] large language model on a regular desktop computer with two or more standard gaming GPUs."


How I Learned to Concentrate

Cal Newport · The New Yorker

Reflecting on his MIT years among eccentric theoretical computer scientists (including three Turing Award winners), Cal Newport makes a distinction between productivity and activity. "Too many of us undervalue concentration, and substitute busyness for real productivity, and are quick to embrace whatever new techno-bauble shines brightest. You don’t have to spend hours staring at whiteboards or facing down monster minds for these realizations to ring true."

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


A Step By Step Guide To Making $10,000 a Month

Ali Abdaal

In conversation with Daniel Priestley, Ali Abdaal explores the "CAOS" framework (concept, audience, offer, sales) for launching a lifestyle business. "'Build it and they will come' is no longer a viable strategy. Maybe 15 years ago you could build something, you could put it out there, and people would just come into it because they just liked it. These days, we're surrounded by so much noise... distribution is absolutely king."

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


Just finished this book - Bad Therapy by @AbigailShrier

Jason Helmes

Abigail Shrier's Bad Therapy investigates the impact of America's mental health industry on children. Fitness coach and dad, Jason Helmes, distills its essence in a viral tweet. "You gain confidence and eliminate anxiety by doing gradually more difficult tasks, excelling at them, and realizing you are a competent, capable person."

Most highlighted PDF of the week


Seth Godin

Marketer and storyteller Seth Godin revisits his ebook from a decade ago, offering thirty timeless ideas on how to become a graceful linchpin. "The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance."

Hand-picked book of the week


War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace intertwines the fates of five aristocratic families with the tumultuous era of the Napoleonic Wars in Russia. Tolstoy's magnum opus, included in Mortimer Adler's The Great Ideas reading list, is generally considered one of history's greatest novels.

"Never had love been so much in the air, and never had the amorous atmosphere made itself so strongly felt in the Rostóvs’ house as at this holiday time. 'Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here,' said the spirit of the place."

This edition of War and Peace is available through Standard Ebooks. You can explore their collection of high quality, carefully formatted, and free public domain ebooks here.

Handpicked RSS feed of the week


Wait But Why

Tim Urban of Wait But Why complements his deep dives on topics like AI and becoming a father with delightful stick figure art. From All My Thoughts After 40 Hours in the Vision Pro: "And the question is: Is there some fatal flaw to the concept of VR that will always prevent it from achieving mass adoption? Or are we some tipping point away from VR exploding into the stratosphere like the computer and smartphone?"