Here are 8 things I read or purchased in 2022 that I liked.
5 good things I read:
- Awake: It’s Your Turn (book). All about non-dual awareness practice. While it could have been better edited and arranged, I think it contains a lot of wisdom about the self, experience etc. It is written in very plain language for a book in this genre, which is really nice. I have a few favourite chapters I refer to often, e.g. on meditation practices, and on understanding / how to approach emotions. Also: check out the awesome cover art!
- How to Measure Anything (book). This book gives a roadmap for making decisions in a more sensible way. Sadly, I still haven’t really tried going through Hubbard’s 5 “Applied Information Economics” steps (see here for the steps) in full in a real life example, but I feel like my mind was expanded by reading this book. “Applied Information Economics” seems like a useful framework to know about.
- The “mind-body vicious cycle” model of RSI & back pain (blog post). Maybe… the (mild) chronic pain I’ve been having is all in my head? And, crucially, maybe I can cure it by just really believing that it’s all in my head? Seems pretty awesome if so. Reading this blog post prompted me to worry much less about having an ergonomic work setup, and to worry less about various aches and pains I get from work and other activities, which seem to have reduced as a result.
- I believed the hype and did mindfulness meditation for dumb reasons– now I’m trying to reverse the damage (blog post). Maybe mindfulness is really dangerous and can be very bad for you? It seems helpful to have read this.
- Staring into the abyss as a core life skill (blog post). In this post, “staring into the abyss” means thinking about things that are difficult or uncomfortable, like considering arguments that you should quit your job or acknowledging hidden desires. I like the attitude here, and it definitely rings true that it’s a hugely powerful skill that most people are bad at.
3 good purchases I made:
- A car. Until 2022 I’d never owned a car. It turns out having a car is pretty nice for getting to places from Oxford, where I live. I also found that I quite like driving, especially when I can drive a car that’s sitting right outside my house and I can skip waiting in queues and filling in forms at car rental places.
- Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack. I can only really think of one concrete thing that recommends this above the £30 backpack I used to own: you can lay it on its back and completely unzip 3 of the 4 sides of the main compartment (like you’d do with a suitcase), which lets you very easily access everything in the main compartment, including the things at the bottom. This is pretty nice, but I don’t think it explains the large amount of positive feeling I feel when I use the bag. Is it the high quality of materials and great zip design, etc? Or is it just that my subconscious assumes the bag is good because I know it’s expensive? Either way, I’m very happy with it.
- Appblock. If you want to avoid getting distracted by your phone, Appblock is great. I use it to block apps that I’d normally reflexively open (e.g. email, Twitter), during periods of the day when I want to focus.