A small collection of food for thought

Quotes that struck me, from three very different books I’ve been consuming recently. Maybe one will catch your attention as well. I haven’t finished them yet, but I am very engaged by all three and would recommend them based on what I’ve read so far.

In the contexts of 

  • fear of missing out, and
  • decision paralysis because committing to one thing requires missing out on others:

“Missing out is what makes our choices meaningful in the first place.”

4000 Weeks  by Oliver Burkeman


On being the navigator:

“…we’ll side with Conrad’s view of fatalism: namely, that it is a species of fear—the fear that your fate is in your own hands, but that your hands are weak.”

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland


From the same book, on being content with the art you’re producing:

“David Bayles…began piano studies with a Master. After a few months’ practice, David lamented to his teacher, ‘But I can hear the music so much better in my head than I can get out of my fingers.’

“To which the Master replied, ‘What makes you think that ever changes?’”


On forcing specialization on kids:

“Parents…increasingly come to him and ‘want their kids doing what the Olympians are doing right now, not what the Olympians were doing when they were twelve or thirteen,” which included a wider variety of activities that developed their general athleticism and allowed them to probe their talents and interests before they focused narrowly on technical skills. The sampling period is not incidental to the development of great performers—something to be excised in the interest of a head start—it is integral.”

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

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