Wisereads Vol. 31 — Sam Altman and Lex Fridman on AI, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and more

Last week, we shared Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, a must-read on Mortimer Adler's list. This week, we're sharing Sun Tzu's The Art of War, a timeless guide to competitive strategy.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


The Terrible Costs of a Phone-Based Childhood

Jonathan Haidt · The Atlantic

The rise in youth anxiety and depression over the last decade prompted Jonathan Haidt, NYU professor and author, to take a deeper look into the modern version of childhood. "The intrusion of smartphones and social media are not the only changes that have deformed childhood. There’s an important backstory, beginning as long ago as the 1980s, when we started systematically depriving children and adolescents of freedom, unsupervised play, responsibility, and opportunities for risk taking, all of which promote competence, maturity, and mental health."


Thoughts on the Future of Software Development

Sheshbabu Chinnakonda · Shesh's Blog

Software developer Sheshbabu Chinnakonda predicts a future where some engineers focus more on overseeing AI coding agents but still play a crucial role in building complex software. "We need people who can effectively manage these complexities and translate the business problems from real world domain to digital models. In other words, if you’re able to build a wooden shed from YouTube tutorials without the help of a Civil Engineer, doesn’t mean you can/should do the same for a 10 story building."


Take Ownership of Your Future Self

Benjamin Hardy · Harvard Business Review

In his recent HBR article, Dr. Benjamin Hardy suggests embracing discomfort and envisioning your future self to support personal growth. "Most people, when asked if they are the same person they were 10 years ago, will say no — but we have a much harder time seeing potential for change in the future… Gilbert puts it simply: 'Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.'"

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


Sam Altman: OpenAI, GPT-5, Sora, Board Saga, Elon Musk, Ilya, Power & AGI | Lex Fridman Podcast #419

Lex Fridman

In conversation with Lex Fridman, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman discusses future iterations of GPT, his temporary ousting, and the evolving AI landscape. "Look, I think compute is gonna be the currency of the future. I think it will be maybe the most precious commodity in the world. And I think we should be investing heavily to make a lot more compute."

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


It doesn't matter if you're 25 or 75, do these 10 exercises

Chris Boettcher

Chris Boettcher, a physical therapist and ten-time Ironman, shares key exercises for adults including prone I's, Y's, T's: "for building and maintaining shoulder strength and stability," glute bridges to "maximize mobility with aging" and dead hangs "for shoulder health and range of motion."

Most highlighted PDF of the week

Conviction and Quality

Josh Tarasoff

Josh Tarasoff, founder of Greenlea Lane, shares how quality and implicit conviction help him evaluate companies for investing. "Explicit conviction essentially wants to predict and control. It is always at least a bit on edge, hungry to be proven right and for its objectives to be met. By contrast, implicit conviction tends to view the world as alive and therefore sees a company as analogous to a person… Implicit conviction essentially wants to relate and partner. It is patient and forbearing."

Hand-picked book of the week


The Art of War

Sun Tzu

Despite debates over Sun Tzu's historicity, his pivotal guide has influenced military, political, and business leaders for millennia. The Art of War offers timeless insights on morale, discipline, and strategic thinking.

"Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing."

This edition of The Art of War 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



Every Sunday, Cool Tools trio Claudia Dawson, Kevin Kelly, and Mark Frauenfelder serve unique recommendations for everything from sound machines and reusable tea bags to podcasts and delightful dictionaries. From issue #397: "Untranslatable is an online dictionary of idioms and expressions contributed by native speakers all over the world. All entries are verified and insights are offered into the usage, context or significance. It’s fascinating to explore the entries and different cultural nuances."