# 100 Tips for a Better Life

(Cross-posted from my blog)

The other day I made an advice thread based on Jacobian’s from last year! If you know a source for one of these, shout and I’ll edit it in.

Possessions

1. If you want to find out about people’s opinions on a product, google <product> reddit. You’ll get real people arguing, as compared to the SEO’d Google results.

2. Some banks charge you $20 a month for an account, others charge you 0. If you’re with one of the former, have a good explanation for what those$20 are buying.

3. Things you use for a significant fraction of your life (bed: 1/​3rd, office-chair: 1/​4th) are worth investing in.

4. “Where is the good knife?” If you’re looking for your good X, you have bad Xs. Throw those out.

5. If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking.

6. Establish clear rules about when to throw out old junk. Once clear rules are established, junk will probably cease to be a problem. This is because any rule would be superior to our implicit rules (“keep this broken stereo for five years in case I learn how to fix it”).

7. Don’t buy CDs for people. They have Spotify. Buy them merch from a band they like instead. It’s more personal and the band gets more money.

8. When buying things, time and money trade-off against each other. If you’re low on money, take more time to find deals. If you’re low on time, stop looking for great deals and just buy things quickly online.

Cooking

9. Steeping minutes: Green at 3, black at 4, herbal at 5. Good tea is that simple!

10. Food actually can be both cheap, healthy, tasty, and relatively quick to prepare. All it requires is a few hours one day to prepare many meals for the week.

11. Cooking pollutes the air. Opening windows for a few minutes after cooking can dramatically improve air quality.

12. Food taste can be made much more exciting through simple seasoning. It’s also an opportunity for expression. Buy a few herbs and spices and experiment away.

13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.

Productivity

14. Advanced search features are a fast way to create tighter search statements. For example:

img html

will return inferior results compared to:

img html -w3

15. You can automate mundane computer tasks with Autohotkey (or AppleScript). If you keep doing a sequence “so simple a computer can do it”, make the computer do it.

16. Learn keyboard shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and you’ll get tasks done faster and easier.

17. Done is better than perfect.

18. Keep your desk and workspace bare. Treat every object as an imposition upon your attention, because it is. A workspace is not a place for storing things. It is a place for accomplishing things.

19. Reward yourself after completing challenges, even badly.

Body

20. The 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes of screenwork, look at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will reduce eye strain and is easy to remember (or program reminders for).

21. Exercise (weightlifting) not only creates muscle mass, it also improves skeletal structure. Lift!

22. Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small.

23. (~This is not medical advice~). Don’t waste money on multivitamins, they don’t work. Vitamin D supplementation does seem to work, which is important because deficiency is common.

24. Phones have gotten heavier in the last decade and they’re actually pretty hard on your wrists! Use a computer when it’s an alternative or try to at least prop up your phone.

Success

25. History remembers those who got to market first. Getting your creation out into the world is more important than getting it perfect.

26. Are you on the fence about breaking up or leaving your job? You should probably go ahead and do it. People, on average, end up happier when they take the plunge.

27. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.

28. You can improve your communication skills with practice much more effectively than you can improve your intelligence with practice. If you’re not that smart but can communicate ideas clearly, you have a great advantage over everybody who can’t communicate clearly.

29. You do not live in a video game. There are no pop-up warnings if you’re about to do something foolish, or if you’ve been going in the wrong direction for too long. You have to create your own warnings.

30. If you listen to successful people talk about their methods, remember that all the people who used the same methods and failed did not make videos about it.

31. The best advice is personal and comes from somebody who knows you well. Take broad-spectrum advice like this as needed, but the best way to get help is to ask honest friends who love you.

32. Make accomplishing things as easy as possible. Find the easiest way to start exercising. Find the easiest way to start writing. People make things harder than they have to be and get frustrated when they can’t succeed. Try not to.

33. Cultivate a reputation for being dependable. Good reputations are valuable because they’re rare (easily destroyed and hard to rebuild). You don’t have to brew the most amazing coffee if your customers know the coffee will always be hot.

34. How you spend every day is how you spend your life.

Rationality

35. Noticing biases in others is easy, noticing biases in yourself is hard. However, it has much higher pay-off.

36. Explaining problems is good. Often in the process of laying out a problem, a solution will present itself.

37. Foolish people are right about most things. Endeavour to not let the opinions of foolish people automatically discredit those opinions.

38. You have a plan. A time-traveller from 2030 appears and tells you your plan failed. Which part of your plan do you think is the one that fails? Fix that part.

39. If something surprises you again and again, stop being surprised.

40. Should you freak out upon seeing your symptoms on the worst diseases on WebMD? Probably not! Look up the base rates for the disease and then apply Bayes’ Theorem

41. Selfish people should listen to advice to be more selfless, selfless people should listen to advice to be more selfish. This applies to many things. Whenever you receive advice, consider its opposite as well. You might be filtering out the advice you need most.

42. Common systems and tools have been designed so everybody can handle them. So don’t worry that you’re the only one who can’t! You can figure out doing laundry, baking, and driving on a highway.

Self

43. Deficiencies do not make you special. The older you get, the more your inability to cook will be a red flag for people.

44. There is no interpersonal situation that can’t be improved by knowing more about your desires, goals, and structure. ‘Know thyself!’

45. If you’re under 90, try things.

47. Defining yourself by your suffering is an effective way to keep suffering forever (ex. incels, trauma).

48. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.

49. Don’t confuse ‘doing a thing because I like it’ with ‘doing a thing because I want to be seen as the sort of person who does such things’

50. Remember that you are dying.

51. Events can hurt us, not just our perceptions of them. It’s good to build resilience, but sometimes it isn’t your fault if something really gets to you.

52. If you want to become funny, try just saying stupid shit (in the right company!) until something sticks.

53. To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “everything in my life is completely fine.” Notice what objections arise.

54. Procrastination comes naturally, so apply it to bad things. “I want to hurt myself right now. I’ll do it in an hour.” “I want a smoke now, so in half an hour I’ll go have a smoke.” Then repeat. Much like our good plans fall apart while we delay them, so can our bad plans.

55. Personal epiphanies feel great, but they fade within weeks. Upon having an epiphany, make a plan and start actually changing behavior.

56. Sometimes unsolvable questions like “what is my purpose?” and “why should I exist?” lose their force upon lifestyle fixes. In other words, seeing friends regularly and getting enough sleep can go a long way to solving existentialism.

Hazards

57. There are two red flags to avoid almost all dangerous people: 1. The perpetually aggrieved ; 2. The angry.

58. Some people create drama out of habit. You can avoid these people.

59. Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters. See: politicians, marketers, new masculinity gurus, etc. Avoid these.

60. (~This is not legal advice!~)
DO NOT TALK TO COPS.

61. It is cheap for people to talk about their values, goals, rules, and lifestyle. When people’s actions contradict their talk, pay attention!

62. “If they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you” and “those who live by the sword die by the sword” mean the same thing. Viciousness you excuse in yourself, friends, or teammates will one day return to you, and then you won’t have an excuse.

Others

63. In choosing between living with 0-1 people vs 2 or more people, remember that ascertaining responsibility will no longer be instantaneous with more than one roommate (“whose dishes are these?”).

64. Understand people have the right to be tasteless.

65. You will prevent yourself from even having thoughts that could lower your status. Avoid blocking yourself off just so people keep thinking you’re cool.

66. Being in groups is important. If you don’t want to join a sports team, consider starting a shitty band. It’s the closest you’ll get to being in an RPG. Train with 2-4 other characters, learn new moves, travel from pub to pub, and get quests from NPCs.

67. It’s possible to get people to do things that make you like them more but respect them less. Avoid this, it destroys relationships.

68. Think a little about why you enjoy what you enjoy. If you can explain what you love about Dune, you can now communicate not only with Dune fans, but with people who love those aspects in other books.

69. When you ask people, “What’s your favorite book /​ movie /​ band?” and they stumble, ask them instead what book /​ movie /​ band they’re currently enjoying most. They’ll almost always have one and be able to talk about it.

70. Bored people are boring.

71. A norm of eating with your family without watching something will lead to better conversations. If this idea fills you with dread, consider getting a new family.

72. If you bus to other cities, consider finding a rideshare on Facebook instead. It’s cheaper, faster, and leads to interesting conversations.

Relationships

73. In relationships look for somebody you can enjoy just hanging out near. Long-term relationships are mostly spent just chilling.

74. Sometimes things last a long time because they’re good (jambalaya). But that doesn’t mean that because something has lasted a long time that it is good (penile subincisions). Apply this to relationships, careers, and beliefs as appropriate.

75. Don’t complain about your partner to coworkers or online. The benefits are negligible and the cost is destroying a bit of your soul.

76. After a breakup, cease all contact as soon as practical. The potential for drama is endless, and the potential for a good friendship is negligible. Wait a year before trying to be friends again.

77. If you haven’t figured things out sexually, remember that there isn’t a deadline. If somebody is making you feel like there is, consider the possibility that they aren’t your pal.

78. If you have trouble talking during dates, try saying whatever comes into your head. At worst you’ll ruin some dates (which weren’t going well anyways), at best you’ll have some great conversations. Alcohol can help.

79. When dating, de-emphasizing your quirks will lead to 90% of people thinking you’re kind of alright. Emphasizing your quirks will lead to 10% of people thinking you’re fascinating and fun. Those are the people interested in dating you. Aim for them.

80. Relationships need novelty. It’s hard to have novelty during Covid—but have you planned your post-Covid adventure yet?

81. People can be the wrong fit for you without being bad. Being a person is complicated and hard.

Compassion

82. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.

83. Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out.

84. If somebody is undergoing group criticism, the tribal part in you will want to join in the fun of righteously destroying somebody. Resist this, you’ll only add ugliness to the world. And anyway, they’ve already learned the lesson they’re going to learn and it probably isn’t the lesson you want.

85. Cultivate compassion for those less intelligent than you. Many people, through no fault of their own, can’t handle forms, scammers, or complex situations. Be kind to them because the world is not.

86. Cultivate patience for difficult people. Communication is extremely complicated and involves getting both tone and complex ideas across. Many people can barely do either. Don’t punish them.

87. Don’t punish people for trying. You teach them to not try with you. Punishing includes whining that it took them so long, that they did it badly, or that others have done it better.

88. Remember that many people suffer invisibly, and some of the worst suffering is shame. Not everybody can make their pain legible.

89. Don’t punish people for admitting they were wrong, you make it harder for them to improve.

90. In general, you will look for excuses to not be kind to people. Resist these.

Joy

91. Human mood and well-being are heavily influenced by simple things: Exercise, good sleep, light, being in nature. It’s cheap to experiment with these.

92. You have vanishingly little political influence and every thought you spend on politics will probably come to nothing. Consider building things instead, or at least going for a walk.

93. Sturgeon’s law states that 90% of everything is crap. If you dislike poetry, or fine art, or anything, it’s possible you’ve only ever seen the crap. Go looking!

94. You don’t have to love your job. Jobs can be many things, but they’re also a way to make money. Many people live fine lives in okay jobs by using the money they make on things they care about.

95. Some types of sophistication won’t make you enjoy the object more, they’ll make you enjoy it less. For example, wine snobs don’t enjoy wine twice as much as you, they’re more keenly aware of how most wine isn’t good enough. Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment.

96. If other people having it worse than you means you can’t be sad, then other people having it better than you would mean you can’t be happy. Feel what you feel.

97. Liking and wanting things are different. There are things like junk food that you want beyond enjoyment. But you can also like things (like reading) without wanting them. If you remember enjoying something but don’t feel a desire for it now, try pushing yourself.

98. People don’t realize how much they hate commuting. A nice house farther from work is not worth the fraction of your life you are giving to boredom and fatigue.

99. There’s some evidence that introverts and extroverts both benefit from being pushed to be more extroverted. Consider this the next time you aren’t sure if you feel like going out.

100. Bad things happen dramatically (a pandemic). Good things happen gradually (malaria deaths dropping annually) and don’t feel like ‘news’. Endeavour to keep track of the good things to avoid an inaccurate and dismal view of the world.

• I liked most of this, and upvoted, but to register one disagreement and one caveat:

76. After a breakup, cease all contact as soon as practical. The potential for drama is endless, and the potential for a good friendship is negligible.

This is completely different from my experience and that of several other people I know. I’m on friendly terms with most of my exes and still consider at least one of them family-in-spirit (and was just asked to be a secular godparent after she had a child a few months ago). My parents also remained in good terms with each other after breaking up, and I’ve seen plenty of other people likewise have no trouble being friends with their exes.

98. People don’t realize how much they hate commuting. A nice house farther from work is not worth the fraction of your life you are giving to boredom and fatigue.

I think the “commuting is bad” advice mostly applies to driving a car, which prevents you from using the time for anything useful. If you have the chance to use public transit with few to no transfers, then your commute can serve as a nice block of time that can be devoted to e.g. reading or meditating.

• Can second the not-driving-a-car commute thing. A long commute by bus I used to have amounted to 5 km of walking going to and from the bus stops, with optional podcast listening, and an hour of focused book-reading time every day. It made a big extra dent in my schedule, but walking and book-reading are both things I’d want to be doing regularly in any case.

• 76 was originally disclaimed with “wait a year before trying to be friends”, which maybe should be added back in. I think friendship with exes is often doable eventually, it’s the immediate aftermath where I think people handle themselves poorly and add trouble to whatever trouble made them break up.

• I think commuting by car is fine if you can do books on tape or podcasts and if your drive is relatively stress free. I actually miss that time.

On the other hand if your commute is a 1-3 hour endless slog of fighting for position on congested streets and dangerous situations, than yeah absolutely avoid it at all costs.

• It occurs to me, I’m not sure whether all the “community sucks” literature has tried to distinguish between commutes of different quality levels.

• Also absolutely agree with this first point. Many of my relationships began as friendships and comfortably reverted to friendships when the romantic relationship was no longer working. In fact, I am often suspicious when someone is unable to get along with exes, or at least have a civil relationship. It makes me question that person’s capacity towards forgiveness and also wonder whether they have a tendency to drama.

• With respect to (25) first to market: I have to disagree strongly. It’s actually very rare for the business that first reaches the market with a product will be the one most successful with it, or associated. Often it’s not even the 2nd or 3rd.

And there’s a simple reason for that: Whoever reaches the market first can not from the mistakes of whoever came before, or get inspiration and/​or ideas and/​or customer reviews to take into account.

A few examples:

• Automobiles: The household names are Ford, Chrysler, BMW. The first to market manufacturers either didn’t survives, or are low/​er volume high end or luxury brands.

• Aerospace: de Havilland Comet was the first commercial jet airliner. However the household names are Boeing with their 7x7 and Airbus.

• Internet Search Engines: AltaVista was first to market. Hardly anybody remembers it. Google came only much, much later.

• Social Networks: Who remembers MySpace? Geocities?

• Computer Peripherals: Adlib vs. SoundBlaster

The list goes on and on. In general it’s often the companies that later arrive to the market that have success, for they can learn from the experiences of their “quicker” competitors, and no longer have to do the legwork of making potential customers want a product hitherto unknown.

• While I also agree the saying “earlier bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese” is quite often very worthy of remembering I think the examples might not be the best and it probably needs how the markets and industries evolved. The question is probably more along the lines of innovation that survived and grew and if the first mover basically lost everything or made a good return and moved on letting others pay up for their work.

I think a number of your examples are perhaps special cases, or at least cases with some unique aspect. Most seem to include very high fixed costs and exhibit rather large network externality effects. In such settings it’s not too surprising to see long-run consolidation into a few key organizations (names) with all the precursors names dropped. But doesn’t mean those earlier builders lost out (and potentially enjoyed greater rates of return on investment).

An example here might be UUNet. Forget search or social networking if UUNet (or someone like it) did not commercialize the technology of science backbone between the universities. They have not been around for over 30 years but was a very successful first (or at least very early, prior to “proven” space) mover.

• This is a great list! However, I was almost immediately turned off because of

2. Some banks charge you $20 a month for an account, others charge you 0. If you’re with one of the former, have a good explanation for what those$20 are buying.

Because this point is nowhere near top of mind for “tips for better personal finance”. $240 per year should never make or break your life (among people who are reading these comments, anyways), so I’d suggest something more along the lines of: • Make sure you have 3 months of expenses in liquid cash • Store 90% of the rest of your money in an index fund • Experiment with the last 10% (stock picks, prediction markets, crypto, who knows) The cash-on-time return for getting these basics right is much much higher than switching banks to save a measly$20/​month (or e.g. worrying about interest rates on your savings accounts)

• $240 per year should never make or break your life (among people who are reading these comments, anyways) Well, that’s a somewhat off-putting aside. I’ve been broke and reading LessWrong, had friends unable to pay bills or living on disability, etc, and there are definitely times your advice is impractial for people who may in fact be reading this site. Not getting into countries with different power-per-dollar or banking situations than the US who may nonetheless access it. When you are scraping the bottom of your bank account, fees can compound by hitting you with an overdraft fee when you don’t have enough money to pay the fee. Bank fees tend to increase with low bank accounts. A$35+$20 fee when you have <$20 is very bad.

Sometimes $20 is your monthly expense budget. Maybe you have a source of food and shelter but need exactly one prepaid phone card for job searching. Maybe you have to spend it on food and are partly starving, but surviving. Your circumstances may not allow you to save over a certain amount in assets at a time without losing benefits, at which point, because those circumstances might be not being able to work due to disability, you can’t earn much at all. You aren’t guaranteed to be able to restore your income and liquid cash after having to spend it. You might need to sell your stocks in a downturn, and you know, stocks might be going down for the same reason you lost your job in the first place. There’s good reasons to favor savings interest rates that reward you for existing rather than penalize you and to avoid fees that are there more to close their jaws on you in case of ill fortune than to buy you something useful. These reasons relate more to being safer in a bad financial situation than they do to earning money. While we all like earning a lot of money, prioritizing not losing money over gaining money at lower income levels is pragmatic. If you think you’ll never be poor, financially strained, or have to worry about a stray$20 with 3 months expenses in the bank, you aren’t most people and may be optimistic about how much emergencies can actually cost relative to monthly expenses for most people. My monthly expenses are, let’s say, $1500, my insurance deductible is more like$8000 and if something happened to the person I split expenses with that could mean I suddenly suffered $11000 of expense in one month and lost my ability to work as a contractor. If the stock market also dropped steeply and cut my savings because, say, this was March and we’d gotten sick then (which we did, incidentally, just not badly),$4500 of emergency savings wouldn’t have saved me from either a really bad loss on stock savings or notable medical debt.

I can see where the calculations might change a bit if I had a lower deductible and more expensive insurance—higher monthly expenses would result in ‘3 months’ being more savings and lower one-time emergency costs—but I’m also not worried about a car, dependents aside from a cat, a house …

(And if you have really low monthly expenses (own your house and do your own repairs, grow your own food) you may want a different number than monthly expenses to consider for your emergency fund.)

• First off, I’d like to apologize; I wasn’t trying to gatekeep LessWrong or anything like that. This is part of what’s hard about giving advice online; my mental model of the audience is shaped by the few I know personally + myself, but it’s by no means comprehensive. Some people need to hear “this is specifically how you can save $20/​month” and not “this is the general way to approach personal finance”! That said—I still want to push back. When it comes to personal finance, it’s easy to focus on cutting costs and personal spending; it feels virtuous, and the benefits are visible. But the huge gains in personal finance come from a getting a handful of things very right, almost all of which are related to making more money rather than cutting your costs. In my head, these things are: • Earning a consistent high return on your cash (stock market’s ~10% rather than saving account’s ~0.5%) • Negotiating your salary • Working on your career capital and connections One intuition for this is the amount of money you can earn is unbounded; no matter who you are, I’d guess you personally know someone making 2x as much, and know of someone who makes 10-100x as much. But the amount of expenses you can cut is hard capped at 100%, and most people would have a pretty difficult time dropping it by even 30%. And again, it’s hard for me to speak to your financial situation, not knowing you personally; it’s possible your financial strategy matches well to your risk appetite and lifestyle, in which case, please ignore my musings! • Hmm, I disagree with the “one intuition” way of looking at finances. Yes, you can’t drop your expenses by more than 100%, and you can increase your income by more than 100%, but what you really care about is increasing the ratio of income to expenses. In this context, halving your expenses is equivalent to doubling your salary, and if you drop your expenses to zero, that’s equivalent to increasing your income to infinity. • That’s a good point, actually; one takeaway from the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retire Early) community is that your retirement date is basically a function of your current expenses; assuming a safe withdrawal rate of 4% you “just” need 25x expenses to retire forever. But dropping your expenses to zero is fairly hard; in fact, dropping your expenses by any meaningful amount is hard since people have fairly sharp intuitions about where their money is going, and probably not wantonly spending it in the first place. And moreover, the goal isn’t to extend your personal runway to infinity, but rather to improve the fuzzy metric of “living a happy, fiscally secure life”. Presumably, most of your expenses are reasonably rational purchases on that axis, and getting rid of them would make you less happy overall. My thesis is that, for the same amount of annoying dealing-with-financial-institutions-effort, setting up an online brokerage account to put the majority of your money in index funds is like 10x to 100x return on effort for many, compared to saving$20 a month switching banks.

• That’s only one angle, though. You could think of it like you’re giving $240 a year to a business that isn’t honestly earning it and helping perpetuate that. That’s how I took the second part of the advice—make sure you can justify the value. Otherwise that value could be going elsewhere, perhaps in a more deserving or useful place. • It seems obviously correct, just too specific; a more general policy like “be extra careful before signing up for anything with a recurring fee” would prevent this mistake, and also many others. • Gym membership anyone? • Thanks! It’s not near the top of my mind either, but it is something I feel confident recommending to almost everybody, whereas I don’t feel confident advising people on their financial investments. This is a small fruit, but it’s low-hanging. • The$20 may be a stand in for consumer—hostile behaviors like bad customer service or high ATM fees.

• 60. (~This is not legal advice!~)
DO NOT TALK TO COPS.

This one stood out as kind of puzzling. Especially as the link is to a 45-minute lecture whose thesis seems to be “one should always exercise one’s 5th amendment rights when being questioned by authorities.” I think summarizing that as an all-caps “DONT TALK TO COPS” is weird and inaccurate.

By far the most common context in which anyone I know has interacted with the cops is when filing police reports for damaged or stolen property (stolen bike, car break-in, stolen phone, etc.) In which case… you kind of need to talk to the cops to get insurance coverage, even if they’re not able to recover the item (but they sometimes are).

Maybe this bullet would be more clear as “Exercise your right to remain silent if being questioned by cops” ?

Though I suspect that that isn’t a terribly common scenario among average lesswrong community members

• I once got into a minor car accident (no one was hurt, thankfully) in which the other driver was clearly at fault. I spoke to the police and a report was filed.

I received no compensation from the other driver’s insurance company (nor did he receive any compensation from mine). However, my insurance company subsequently raised my premium (and, no doubt, the other driver’s insurance company raised his premium as well). Filing the report was worse than useless.

I do not know anyone who has their bicycle insured against theft, or their phone insured against theft. I have never heard of anyone I know who’s had their cars broken into (nor do I know anyone who has their car insured against break-ins).

As far as I can tell, none of these alleged reasons to talk to cops applies to me or to anyone I know, despite me and a number of my friends owning cars, bikes, phones, etc.

• The advice is meant in the context of police investigating a crime. Because police can be very convincing that it will be okay to answer a few innocent questions, it seems useful to have this advice drilled into one’s mind. By the way, the author of the linked lecture now recommends asking for a lawyer instead of directly invoking the right to stay silent, after some recent SCOTUS rulings.

• Potentially dumb question — but wouldn’t refusing to answer questions just make one look more suspicious, which you may especially want to avoid if you haven’t actually done anything wrong?

• Looking suspicious is not a jailable offense.

Lying to the police… or making an innocent mistake that seems like lying on purpose… or even telling the truth when the police misunderstands (or lies about) what you actually said… can get you in jail.

I assume that maybe 5% of people in prisons haven’t done anything wrong… they just were in the wrong place at the wrong time, didn’t have enough money to hire a good lawyer, or made some mistake. This advice is about reducing your chance to become one of them.

• Possibly, it depends on the individual cop. However, I think the idea is that if you haven’t done anything wrong and you don’t answer any questions you’re in a better position than if you have done something wrong and the chance that you say something that sounds incriminating and/​or the cop is not questioning in good faith.

In other words, the consequences of seeming suspicious with no evidence against you are much better for you than the consequences of saying the wrong thing.

• It’s pretty USA-centric, at least. Doing this in other jurisdictions where the balance of rights and the dominant informal relationship between the public and the police are different could be much worse.

• By far the most common context in which anyone I know has interacted with the cops is when filing police reports for damaged or stolen property

USA resident here that lives in a more rural-esque area:

I can’t say I know anyone who has talked to the cops to file a report. Every interactions that I can think of between people I know and the cops has been in situations wherein they could incriminate themselves. Traffic stops and the like.

• When I lived in SF, every single person I knew who owned a car had experienced at least one break-in. Usually several. Sometimes the car itself was stolen, then left on the street in another part of the city.

Car-related crime is unbelievably high in SF for some reason

https://​​projects.sfchronicle.com/​​trackers/​​sf-car-breakins/​​

• It’s not for some reason. It’s because the government of San Francisco and California at large have failed their citizens. They have normalized criminal behavior. Along with crapping in the streets.

• People only want to talk to the cops when they need something. People give out silly advice like “Don’t Talk to Cops” and then wonder why their burglaries aren’t solved, and criminals are breaking into their cars, or murderers go free. That’s such a silly generalization it made me stop at the rest of the advice. Because surely we can find better.

• Surely you don’t imagine that the police recover stolen property if it’s reported? I’ve never had that happen and I don’t know anyone who’s ever had that happen. As far as I can tell, it basically (to a first approximation, anyway) just doesn’t happen.

“Don’t talk to cops” is excellent advice.

• 1 .If you want to find out about people’s opinions on a product, google <product> reddit. You’ll get real people arguing, as compared to the SEO’d Google results.

This used to be my go-to strategy. However, I think brands are increasingly catching on to this. Anecdotally, I have been observing an increased amount of astroturfing in reddit product threads.

A good solution is to be skeptical and check commenters’ post history. If the account is old, they are active in diverse subreddits, and generally seem like a real person, it is likely to be trustworthy. If the account only has a few posts and most of them are about <product>, that’s a bad sign.

Also, I feel like I just read a LW post which mentioned #69. Haven’t been able to find it but I feel like the title may have been something like “The Curse of Optimization” (the point being the exact same one as #69). Maybe this will jog somebody else’s memory?

• Yeah, I think the Reddit solution will lose its value over time. I think the important part is to find an argument (this applies to Hacker News too).

I’d be interested to find another take on #69, I think that’s one I came up with on my own through trial and error.

1. Establish clear rules about when to throw out old junk. Once clear rules are established, junk will probably cease to be a problem. This is because any rule would be superior to our implicit rules (“keep this broken stereo for five years in case I learn how to fix it”).

“Any rule is better than no rules” explains many things about junk I didn’t understand before.

1. Food taste can be made much more exciting through simple seasoning. It’s also an opportunity for expression. Buy a few herbs and spices and experiment away.

Find a store in your city that sells bulk spices. Find another store that sells herbs without packaging. It’ll be a fraction of the price.

1. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.

The best chocolate chip cook recipe I’ve ever followed really does have “best” in its name.

1. You can automate mundane computer tasks with Autohotkey (or AppleScript). If you keep doing a sequence “so simple a computer can do it”, make the computer do it.

You can take this to the extreme with a command line interface.

1. Learn keyboard shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and you’ll get tasks done faster and easier.

You can take this to the extreme, with Vim (or EMACS) and i3.

1. Done is better than perfect.

People who don’t finish things is another red flag. (See #57 and #58.) People who finish some of their projects is fine. People who finish none of their projects is a red flag.

1. Keep your desk and workspace bare. Treat every object as an imposition upon your attention, because it is. A workspace is not a place for storing things. It is a place for accomplishing things.

This is good and goes with #6. I set the desktop wallpaper (background) on my phone and laptop to a black rectangle.

1. Exercise (weightlifting) not only creates muscle mass, it also improves skeletal structure. Lift!

2. Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small.

True.

1. Are you on the fence about breaking up or leaving your job? You should probably go ahead and do it. People, on average, end up happier when they take the plunge.

This has been true 100% of the time for me.

1. Selfish people should listen to advice to be more selfless, selfless people should listen to advice to be more selfish.

I need one of these bits of advice.

1. Defining yourself by your suffering is an effective way to keep suffering forever (ex. incels, trauma).

This is another easy-to-spot red flag.

1. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.

This is another bit of concise, useful, layered advice.

1. If you want to become funny, try just saying stupid shit until something sticks.

Lol.

1. To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “everything in my life is completely fine.” Notice what objections arise.

Wow. That worked.

1. Sometimes unsolvable questions like “what is my purpose?” and “why should I exist?” lose their force upon lifestyle fixes. In other words, seeing friends regularly and getting enough sleep can go a long way to solving existentialism.

Many of my problems go away when I eat good food or go outside to exercise instead of fixing them.

1. There are two red flags to avoid almost all dangerous people: 1. The perpetually aggrieved ; 2. The angry.

2. Some people create drama out of habit. You can avoid these people.

I wish someone had told me these 10 years ago. It clearly and concisely states something that has took me way, way too long to figure out. Better late than never!

1. It is cheap for people to talk about their values, goals, rules, and lifestyle. When people’s actions contradict their talk, pay attention!

If someone says they will do and then does not do then ignore the stated reason for not doing . What matters is the person did not do .

1. Being in groups is important. If you don’t want to join a sports team, consider starting a shitty band. It’s the closest you’ll get to being in an RPG. Train with 2-4 other characters, learn new moves, travel from pub to pub, and get quests from NPCs.

2. Think a little about why you enjoy what you enjoy. If you can explain what you love about Dune, you can now communicate not only with Dune fans, but with people who love those aspects in other books.

These are interesting.

1. In relationships look for somebody you can enjoy just hanging out near. Long-term relationships are mostly spent just chilling.

2. When dating, de-emphasizing your quirks will lead to 90% of people thinking you’re kind of alright. Emphasizing your quirks will lead to 10% of people thinking you’re fascinating and fun. Those are the people interested in dating you. Aim for them.

These apply to making friends too.

1. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.

2. Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out.

Good reminders.

1. Sturgeon’s law states that 90% of everything is crap. If you dislike poetry, or fine art, or anything, it’s possible you’ve only ever seen the crap. Go looking!

<fnord>This is another idea I’ve been dancing around but have failed to state concisely. Even though I’ve seen “Sturgeon’s law” before, it never really registered.</​fnord>

• [Epistemic status: experience-based synthesis, likely biased]

Most of these seem reasonably sane, of course with varying levels of cultural and situational slant and specificity (as one would expect from any list like this). One of them, however, strikes me as actively dangerous in a way worth mentioning:

1. If you want to become funny, try just saying stupid shit until something sticks.

Doing this visibly in more sensitive or conformist social groups can be a disaster. Gaining a reputation for saying erratic things can make you the person that no one can take anywhere because you might ruin the environment at any time, and then you’re in the hole. Depending on your interpersonal goals, it may be that exiting a group like that would be a net benefit for you, but even if that’s true for you, you may want to examine those options first before playing roulette with your status.

Bouncing things off yourself doesn’t have the same problem, but seems like a much weaker way of developing a quality which is fundamentally social; it can work if you have an internal sense of what’s funny but haven’t “found” it for conscious access, but it doesn’t work if you were miscalibrated to start with. Bouncing things off trusted friends can work, but at that point you’re more likely to have already had that option saliently in mind. (Well, if you didn’t and you’re reading this, now you do.)

More specifically, I think people who are socially oblivious and think that humor will improve their standing may be likely to jump at 52, and if they are in the above situation, get hurt, with the hazard having been invisible due to the obliviousness. One might then ask why they would get marginally hurt if they were already likely to make social errors—but I think it’s possible to get by in such cases with (perhaps not consciously noticed) conditioned broad inhibitions instead… until you read something like this as “permission”.

• These are useful criticisms! I’ll caveat it later towards trusted friends, which I think cuts off much of the risks.

• Always lovely such practical advice.

By the way, if you can live so close to work that you can cycle or walk to it, you can combine a lot of great things: more excercise, less commuting, more money. If you can then commute together with coworkers, even better.

• To the author of this post: I continue to plead for help. If not from you, there must be someone that you know.

• 5. If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking.

Agree. I’m stacking two of these bad boys: https://​​www.amazon.com/​​gp/​​product/​​B07L9HCJ2V

For most professionals, spending $2k is cheap for even a 5% more productive computing experience • Are you a gamer? If not, why on earth do you pay such a premium for a 120Hz ultrawide? Also, in case you haven’t make sure you do the following: 1. Open Settings. 2. Click on System. 3. Click on Display. 4. Click the Advanced display settings link. 5. Click the Display adapter properties for Display 1 link. … 6. Click the Monitor tab. 7. Under “Monitor Settings,” use the drop-down menu to select the refresh rate you wish. SO many people buy high Hz monitors and never update their settings in Windows. • I’m not a gamer. Having a ton of screen real estate makes me more productive by letting me keep a bunch of windows visible in the same fixed locations. Re paying a premium, I don’t think I am; the Samsung monitor is one of the cheapest well-reviewed curved monitors I found at that resolution. • You’re right, it looks like 120Hz has become the new standard. • I’d recommend AutoIT instead of AHK. Not that AutoIT is a great language, but it’s a better language than AHK, using more standard language constructs. • 59. Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters. See: politicians, marketers, new masculinity gurus, etc. Avoid these. Although grifters do this, there are real problems and real solutions out there. Someone telling you the truth is not necessarily a grifter. They could be an honest, sincere “friendly”. Easy examples: public health officials during COVID. Climate scientists. Sometimes, people who tell you not to be anxious are the grifters. • It seems to me that you could hardly have picked more controversial examples! I have no opinion to express at this time on either topic, but it cannot be denied that in the case of both “public health officials during COVID” and “climate scientists”, there are many (not obviously irrational) people who would respond to your claim with “one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens”. In other words, there are quite a few people who would say that these two examples are the exceptions that (in the classic sense of the phrase) prove the rule: seeming to be exceptions, they test the rule, and find it valid—by turning out not to be exceptions, after all. What would you say to such an interlocutor? (“That’s obviously wrong” will clearly not suffice—the matter’s such that ‘obvious’ to you, and ‘obvious’ to me, may differ!) As you formulate your response, consider also this: there is another category of allegedly “honest, sincere ‘friendlies’” you might have added to your short list of examples: the politicians, pundits, and public intellectuals who, in the course of this new century’s first decade, advocated for Western powers (the U.S. its allies, that’s to say) to engage in military action in the Middle East, thereby to eliminate a source of dire peril to the citizens of their respective nations. They, too, had as their modus operandi the arousal of anxiety in their audiences and constituencies; they, too, offered up all sorts of ‘truths’ (WMDs! The Axis of Evil! The War on… and so forth); they, too, had “real solutions” to the “real problems” we (or so we were told!) then faced. Yet it now seems to most of us, in retrospect, that they were grifters one and all, extracting our attention, votes, and dollars. By no means does this prove that your examples are false. But if I wish to have a principled way to distinguish the true examples from the false ones—is there one? Can you provide it? (It would help, I note, to have case studies upon which we may bring to bear the already-rendered judgment of history—a test your examples fail, unfortunately.) • I think that the burden of proof is rather on you to prove that all statements that are anxiety-inducing and have solutions, are false. Or that all people who make such statements are grifters (have ulterior motives that do not include your wellbeing). I don’t think it follows necessarily, and that is simply my point. As you formulate your response, consider also this: there is another category of allegedly “honest, sincere ‘friendlies’” That’s why I said “sometimes” and “although grifters do this...”. So I don’t think that this is a valid point, and I’ll skip it. I could select other examples, such as measles (“those who tell you to get vaccinated are grifters”), cigarettes (“those oncologists are grifters”), climbing rope vendors (“those people are afraid of gravity and are grifters”), heart attacks (“Big pharma are selling you Warfarin! Grifters!”), car accidents (“who needs to maintain their brakes? People who sell brake pads are grifters!”), etc. The examples can get ridiculous, but the point is that there are real hazards out there and that there are people who are thoughtful and provide a solution. Often, they make money out of it. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good product/​service. But if I wish to have a principled way to distinguish the true examples from the false ones—is there one? Can you provide it? The examples depend on the claims being made. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to provide a perfect solution to distinguishing truth from falsehood in all situations in the answer to a blog post ;) [Edited typos] • I think that the burden of proof is rather on you to prove that all statements that are anxiety-inducing and have solutions, are false. Or that all people who make such statements are grifters (have ulterior motives that do not include your wellbeing). But I never claimed this, so why would I need to prove it…? My problem was with your examples (and, more speculatively, with what your choice of examples—and their problematic nature—tells us about the larger point). I am not the OP, however, and will not attempt to defend statements I never made! The other examples you have now given are both better and worse than your original two. Better, because less controversial… but worse, because less representative (most of them lack the quality of their claimants attempting to induce anxiety in the supposed beneficiaries). (Take the “Big Pharma” example, which is particularly interesting. The pharmaceutical substances which are most unquestionably beneficial also tend to be the least profitable, and tend to be least associated with anxiety-inducing advertising and messaging. The correlation is imperfect, yet quite evident. Is this not another example that proves the rule? …or would not, at least, many people say so, who are, again, not obviously irrational?) Perhaps one general point to extract from this is that it’s misleading to equivocate between “someone tells you the truth” and “someone generates anxiety in you”. Truth may be anxiety-inducing, yet these two activities aren’t the same. • Just for the record, climate change is not really controversial or doubtful in any meaningful, scientific way. I am sincerely puzzled by you viewing it as such. Maybe it is because of my scientific training and having looked at the data from the perspective of a scientist. Taking appropriate measures against COVID to avoid a public health crisis in the form of overburdened hospitals (even if I myself would probably be ok if I contracted it) also does not seem all that controversial to me. So I think those examples are fine, but I really don’t want to start a debate about that. I would just refer you to the relevant literature. My initial claim is your conclusion: it’s misleading to equivocate between “someone tells you the truth” and “someone generates anxiety in you” So I think that we agree now. • A tangential comment—you say: Maybe it is because of my scientific training and having looked at the data from the perspective of a scientist. Indeed, this is one of the answers to the fundamental question of epistemic rationality, i.e. “what do you think you know, and how do you think you know it?”. Oftentimes the answer to the latter clause is “because someone told me”, but that just pushes back the problem: whom can you trust to provide you with truth? Of course we have to get some (indeed, most!) of our information about the world from others, but it’s a thorny problem, to be sure… but as you imply, one way to sidestep it is “nullius in verba”—to personally gain the relevant expertise, and to apply it to the problem at hand. But we cannot do this for every problem! There are only so many hours in the day (not to speak of more fundamental difficulties, like the possibility that we might find some given problem to be beyond our capacity for understanding, try as we might to unravel it). And it obviously does no good for you (or anyone else) to say “fear not, I have investigated the problem on your behalf, and here is the answer”, because in that case we’re right back to “whom to trust”… All of this is to say that if you investigate some question (e.g., climate change), and find an answer to your own satisfaction, then you have solved the epistemic problem—for yourself only. Absolutely no one else is helped by this unless you can convince them that your judgment is reliably correct (or, of course, induce them to undertake the same journey of discovery as you did). This is surely frustrating (I know from personal experience), and indeed you may decide not to bother trying to convince others (and few would blame you for it)… but the fact remains that there’s no royal road to truth, and in particular “just take the word of someone who has figured it out” isn’t it. • Just for the record, climate change is not really controversial or doubtful in any meaningful, scientific way. I am sincerely puzzled by you viewing it as such. Just for the record, I most certainly did not say that I view climate change as “controversial or doubtful” in any “meaningful, scientific way”. (Indeed I went out of my way to note that I am not expressing any opinion on the topic!) However, as I said, many people hold the view that you are puzzled by—people who are, I repeat, not obviously irrational. In that sense, it’s clear that the matter is controversial, in the most straightforward and ordinary sense of the word! I make no claims to scientific expertise, either on my own behalf or on behalf of the aforementioned (and unspecified) others. But you must recognize, I think, that there is such a thing as public controversy; and also, that experience shows us that it’s foolish to surrender the burden of judgment to some group of credentialed experts, merely on the strength of their being labeled, formally or by convention, as “scientists” of one sort or another. (The replication crisis alone is proof enough of that; and the history of science is rife with more examples.) As to the matter of COVID, others have addressed this in sibling threads, so I will comment no more on it here. • Gotta agree with Said, your examples seem pretty bad to me. Especially the first one. Public health officials have lied repeatedly throughout the crisis – there was the stuff about masks (which we didn’t fall for on LW – 1, 2, 3), and there was the time when one of the major public advisors literally admitted to lying. I could name lots more, but in sum no, do not defer to public health officials, they lied multiple times, instead think critically when incorporating their judgments into your own. I have followed the climate stuff less well. I can tell that lots of government officials and news media types are exaggerating and fitting narratives everywhere, and don’t trust them. I’ve less of an opinion on the scientists. • Those public health official examples seem unrelated to tip #59 (“Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters.”). I took hermanc1 to be pointing to how, in Feb-Mar 2020, the people who were saying scary sounding stuff (like using the word “pandemic”) and proposing things to do about it were the ones who had insights and were telling it straight. Meanwhile many other people were calling those people out for “fearmongering” or spinning things to downplay the risk in order to prevent panic. There are grifters who try to generate anxiety so they can sell you something. And also the world contains problems, and noticing problems can induce anxiety, and searching for & sharing (partial) solutions to problems is good. Maybe a sophisticated way of following tip #59 can distinguish between those, but the naive way of doing it can run into trouble and fail to see the smoke. • I of course agree (with original parent comment) that there are real problems and real solutions. I think three things are needed to qualify as a grifter, as compared to an honest informer. 1) The sell. A grifter doesn’t just tell you there’s a problem, they will share the solution for a price. If you give them money (or control), they’ll relieve your worry. 2) The exclusivity. Alternative solutions are specifically highlighted as being insufficient or counterproductive. Somebody engaging in good-faith can acknowledge the costs and benefits of different approaches (while still believing their solution is best). 3) The promise. Grifts promise a solution, not just a tool. An honest informer will have ideas about what can help, but won’t guarantee their success. I think somebody can fit two of these three and still be in good-faith. • Those public health official examples seem unrelated to tip #59 (“Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters.”). To the contrary, I think they are directly related, for the same reason that my anti-example of pro-“war on terrorism” public figures is related. Grifters aren’t always out for your money. • Yeah, I was also looking at the Far Eastern public health officials rather than the Western ones (and definitely not the US). So I forgot about the mask fiasco. I was wearing a mask on a flight back in Feb. Although some people do exaggerate the claims regarding climate science (Extinction Rebellion), I have not seen government officials do so. If you could point me to a source, that would be interesting. Generally the threat of climate change has been de-emphasised, to the alarm of scientists. • 69. When you ask people, “What’s your favorite book /​ movie /​ band?” and they stumble, ask them instead what book /​ movie /​ band they’re currently enjoying most. They’ll almost always have one and be able to talk about it. I can’t imagine narrowing the dimensions of my preferences in such a way that one single piece of media can become my “favorite” so I’m never sure what to think when someone else seems to have done so. • “Remember that you are dying.” • Ditto on Autohotkey. It’s amazingly easy to learn and very useful. (eg. for making Yoda Timer windows anywhere with even the most basic of programming experience). I’ve taught it to quite a few people and would be happy to teach anyone if they want to schedule a call: calendly.com/​​meetsquid • Booked! • I’ve been reading the compassion section once a week for the past few months. Just wanted to thank you! • Really enjoyed the read—thank you! I’m currently trying to improve my communication skills and way of communicating ideas in a more structured way. Any recommendations for good content (books, podcasts, workshops etc) on that? “28. You can improve your communication skills with practice much more effectively than you can improve your intelligence with practice. If you’re not that smart but can communicate ideas clearly, you have a great advantage over everybody who can’t communicate clearly.” • I enjoyed the unexpected Pinegrove reference! (82. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.) • If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking. I agree with the premise that efficiently moving around application give you more time for thinking, but I disagree with the proposed solution. For context: I work as software engineer and I spend at least ten hours a day working on my computer. Few years ago I reached the point of having three monitors but I found that they were a constant source of distraction. There was always something taking away my attention on other monitors that would occupy my field of vision. Inherently it will push me to try to multitask or just “pollute” my working memory and fragment my attention. I receded back to have a single monitor and I find way better than before. I make and heavy use of multiple spaces (in macOS parlance) for different tasks, I aggressively hide away all but the apps but the one I’m using (⌘+⌥+H) for a focused task, and always rely on an app launcher to move around (⌘+tab is too slow and will inevitably show some app with notifications and catch my attention). • I’m missing “Don’t lie” • The downside of getting used to multiple monitors this is that I now find it impossible to get anything done on a laptop. There’s a constant low level background irritation when I find myself confined to one tiny screen. There’s diminishing returns of course, but I’ve found 3 monitors to be the best for me. One portrait and two landscape. • I love #38 A time-traveller from 2030 appears and tells you your plan failed. Which part of your plan do you think is the one …? And I try to use it on arguments and explanations. • Thank you!!!! I enjoyed every minute of reading this and sharing it with friends • 13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes. Cooking tip from Twitter to complement this: “Use Google image search for recipe searching! Quality of the photography seems to be a good indicator of the quality of a recipe, maybe because it speaks to attention to detail?” • 2. Some banks charge you$20 a month for an account, others charge you 0. If you’re with one of the former, have a good explanation for what those $20 are buying. I think an alternative that captures the intent might be: Know how you are paying for a service—watch for hidden/​ambiguous fees, subscription changes, short-term discounts, sale of personal information—and what you’re paying for. Everything costs something, and unless you’re a contract lawyer who also barters professionally, you are not getting the better end of any offered deal. Read every contract and all terms and conditions. While you probably won’t understand it all, with practice it will become clearer which are being up-front and which are planning your demise. • Great list. Thanks for posting. 20. The 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes of screenwork, look at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will reduce eye strain and is easy to remember (or program reminders for). I noticed my eyes were horribly bloodshot yesterday, so I just downloaded a Chrome extension that will remind me to do this every 20 minutes. (File under: Automate literally everything) 23. (~This is not medical advice~). Don’t waste money on multivitamins, they don’t work. Vitamin D supplementation does seem to work, which is important because deficiency is common. I would really really love for someone (Scott) to write “Vitamins: Much More Than You Wanted to Know”, because I’m not sure I agree with this one. In particular, it seems like one of those areas where the science is all exceptionally poorly done. I take four vitamins (with a meal Soylent) daily, a multivitamin, a B complex, 5000 IU of Vitamin D, and a Algae Oil pill. I’m pretty confident in the research around Vitamin D and DHA/​EPA (I am a vegetarian), but the Vitamin B and multivitamin I’m much less sure of, and I’ve heard this specific advice many times. But that being said, I can buy a year’s supply at Costco for$20. If they’re doing anything that’s worth it. Health is irreplaceable in a way that money is not.

53. To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “everything in my life is completely fine.” Notice what objections arise.

This one is great. I come at it from a slightly different angle of appreciating what you have though. A couple years ago I formed a habit of, whenever I think about it, I take a deep breath and say to myself “I have a great life”, and I think of all of the many satisfactions that I have that many people don’t.

• Regarding the multivitamins, since you said “more than you wanted to know”, if you have the time it might be worth taking a look at something similar to these Nutrient Reference Values and comparing with the amount of the nutrients in the multivitamin: https://​​www.nhmrc.gov.au/​​about-us/​​publications/​​nutrient-reference-values-australia-and-new-zealand-including-recommended-dietary-intakes

I had heard that multivitamins are mostly useless (but I can’t remember where) because it is impossible/​expensive to physically fit everything into a pill. After looking up the recommended intakes, I noticed that many of the quantities of each of the vitamins in the multivitamins I looked at were basically negligible compared to the recommend intakes. I stopped these multivitamins and started taking a few specific vitamins similar to those you mentioned. As you said, I have no idea if they are achieving anything.

Those recommended intakes are specific to Australia/​New Zealand, but I suppose many countries must publish their own so you could pick one you trust. It does seem to be a theme that government health departments often don’t recommend supplements (e.g. https://​​www.healthdirect.gov.au/​​vitamins-and-minerals).

• Some people think that multivitamins are actually harmful (or at least cause harms that partially cancel out the benefits) because they contain large amounts of certain things like manganese that we may already get too much of from food.

• Where is the tip when #57 and #58 are not avoidable and are #34 ?

Many of those tips remind me of the famous tip “It’s better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick”

Its technically true but miss the point.

• I think it’s sort of inevitable that general-vectors lists like this will have a lot of entries that have the “this is much easier to do when you’re already in a good position” property, but that the underlying effect is much more a divergent-feedback property of the environment and not specific to the list. So I’d say something like:

1. It’s important not to get stuck in the victim mindset where you give up and/​or rebel because you can’t do the same things to obtain wins that are easy for people in better situations. In more collective, adversarial situations, the balance of social emotions may skew toward doing otherwise as a tactic, but communities where that’s a steady state trend unhealthy in the medium to long term, and I don’t think there’s a lot of cases where deciding it on your own is actually a win.

2. If you’re in a worse situation than allows the direct use of an idea, but not so much worse that there’s an uncrossable gap, most of these degrade gracefully to “maybe keep an eye out for this”. I can’t afford a second monitor right now (this is true in reality), but I can remember to revisit the idea if I have more money later. But someone who won’t realistically be in a position to own any computing devices for the next decade should discard that item entirely.

3. Adjacent to (2), if a gap looks uncrossable but you want it not to be, consider that some of that might be an illusion, and that you might be able to improve your imagination and look for possibilities you’ve missed. Extending your range of thought is something that’s encouraged a lot here. If you hold on too strongly to “you shouldn’t even be talking about things like that”, that can set you up to fall into #47 (which I think is one of the more universal ones).

4. All the same, calibration to “what level and type of things people are in a position to care about right now” is one of the big implicit cultural and situational specificity elements I mentioned in passing elsewhere. If you’re way off from the implied target audience for too much of the list, maybe it’s not worth bothering. #31 (which I also think is one of the more universal ones) sort of implies this. (However, I don’t think it’s practical to expect a list of anything more than platitudes to make no such assumptions.)

5. … but to combine (4) with (3), lines of thought go very differently depending on whether you use “you shouldn’t even be talking about that” or “I don’t care about this list right now” as an interpretation. The latter opens up more agency for doing something about it.

6. If what you mean is more like “hey, are you even thinking about the possibility that some of these might be impossible”, then I would agree with you that it’s generally a good idea to notice the context dependence when composing things like this (which is in fact why I mentioned it elsewhere), but stopping at that idea doesn’t lead to much. If you want a different outcome, starting by clarifying in your own mind what that would be like helps more; for instance, “I would like to see similar lists with different implied audiences” is not a bad idea (though there are ways of instantiating it unproductively).

7. All of the above, themselves, of course assume a certain amount of value compatibility…

• Great list and post. Thanks.

• I have a serious problem with the tea section. It is simple, but not that simple. The minutes may apply to western-style of brewing, but definitely not Chinese (Gong Fu) style brewing. In there you use much more leaves of tea and brew for a much smaller period of time (30 seconds might already be too much.)

Continuing on this note, the steeping times should be correlated with not only the type and quantity of tea, but also the water temperature. It is generally advised that for instance green teas be brewed at lower temperatures (75 − 85) degrees Celcius. If you are brewing at 85, steep it for less, if you are brewing at 75 take a bit more time.

One thing to note that if your green tea is scented e.g. Jasmin scented green teas, one should steep at a higher temperature than usual green teas.

Another thing—Japanese Sencha green teas should be steeped for far less time than more traditional Chinese green teas. (Longjing for instance)

There are also other varieties of tea—oolong and white teas among the more common. All teas differ in the level of oxidation. Black teas are most oxidized white teas are least oxidized. Oolongs differ—they more oxidized than green teas less oxidized than black teas. Their brewing time /​ temperature also depends on which end of the spectrum the particular oolong you buy is at.

On the less common end of the tea spectrum are the Pu-Erh teas. These are aged teas. You should treat them as black teas in terms of brewing. Except rinsing most of the Pu-Erhs, especially Pu-Erh cakes is advised.

A more obscure tea (though it’s getting more and more popular) is the matcha green tea. The brewing process of matcha is very different. If anyone is interested here -

• I think a good addition to the rationality section would be to “steel man” instead of “straw man” positions you disagree with.

Rather than find the least plausible or credible piece of someone else’s argument, find the strongest piece of evidence they have, ask them for it, if they don’t know it, often the case in my experience, start researching it for them to see if there really isn’t anything of merit there.

Doing that will not only strengthen your own position by likely cutting away the weakest pieces of evidence you have for your own position, you will likely empathize with the other person. Almost nobody wants to be a villain or think they’re the bad guy so finding what is likely a real grievance at the heart of their position is essential to understanding them. Also if you do this, you build trust with that person, and trust is the foundation on which persuasion and compromise work.

• 101 Those hardest to love are those who need it the most.

• 9 - wrong. Lots of green teas require less than 60 seconds brewing time (with cooler water too)
22 - wrong. diet is the best you can do for your health. In the USA low physical activity comes 10th > figure 2 in doi:10.1001/​jama.2018.0158.
23 - also add B12 - a must for vegetarians but also 70% for the rest of the population

• Great list!

26. Are you on the fence about breaking up or leaving your job? You should probably go ahead and do it. People, on average, end up happier when they take the plunge.

Kind of true for less serious relationships, and especially true for jobs, I have found. But studies have found that married couples who stick it out through a rough patch are happier on average, five years later, than those who don’t. Of course, it depends on the circumstances. We immediately think of abusive relationships. But for most instances of e.g. marriage, it is good for you to keep promises, not run away from your problems, and do the hard emotional work. Running away can be an easy short-term solution that causes more serious long-term problems. YMMV of course, depending on circumstances.

• Why isn’t there a book about becoming funnier? I’d love to read it

• #61. “It is cheap for people to talk about their values, goals, rules, and lifestyle”—spot on. Now we are in new year, we are going to see plethora of such posts in LinkedIn and other social media.

• There is so much wisdom here.

• Just a piece of advice. A lot of people in this world are living with terminal illnesses. Myself included. I don’t need to be told to remember I’m dying.

• so don’t talk to cops if you are the witness to a crime? Ever? Gee, what if the witnesses/​victims at the Boston Marathon bombing had that brilliant life advice. We’d have two terrorist who got away with murder. Great advice.

• Also thinks that “5. If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking as well as procrastination”.

• We probably synthesize a lot more beneficial stuff from the sun, in addition to Vitamin D.

• Great wisdom wrapped up in a bow. Especially avoiding perpetually angry people. Thank you.

• 16. Learn keyboard shortcuts.

The easiest way I’ve done this is with shortcutkiller.com if you click on the little dice it pulls up a flash card game

• Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly easy to remedy: go outside. This is also good advice for everything from boredom to nasal congestion to depression.

How much time you need outside depends on the level of melanin in your skin, the amount of cloud cover, and the time of day, but it is very low.

(I am also not a doctor.)

• Isn’t the suggested solution quicker and easier?

• #60 Makes me think you are not really in a position to be dolling out advice if you can be that biased (see #35). Police are not evil and do tremendous amounts of good. It should read, never incriminate yourself.

• I’ve tried working with 2 monitors (instead of my laptop’s display) for a few months, and it doesn’t do anything for me. I didn’t feel more productive, I barely noticed any improvement. The downside was greater—I was tethered to my table and my chair instead of being free to sit or lay in all the different places in my apartment. This is very bad for me, because my back and a leg ache ache very annoyingly if I sit in one place without moving for a long time. Thus, I ditched the monitors and now I happily work on my laptop’s display.

• I was with you until the relationships category. For 78. you encourage the consumption of alcohol, this can lead to issues down the line if you come to rely on alcohol. For 76. I personally disagree that a good friendship is negligible. If you’re both willing to work at it and keep firm boundaries, you can have a great friendship in time. I’ve seen it happen, but it won’t happen every time.

• 65. You will prevent yourself from even having thoughts that could lower your status. Avoid blocking yourself off just so people keep thinking you’re cool.

What does that mean?

• It’s a statement about the dangers of self-censorship.

If, for instance, your friend group has a common disdain for pop music, you might find that even in your private thoughts you are unwilling to consider whether or not you might like the latest Taylor Swift album.

This type of thought avoidance can be very subtle and insidious, and difficult to notice if you’re not actively looking for it.

• I wanted to say that I tend to disagree with 56, but I like the way you put the problem and you’re definitely right.

“Their force upon lifestyle fixes.” Just that. Those questions are important, you don’t want to get rid of them entirely or to forget about their essence - you just want them to stop having a negative impact on your life.

58. Some people create drama out of habit. You can avoid these people.

Sometimes the people that are creating drama out of habit might be your family. And it’s kinda hard to avoid relatives for a while. “If this idea fills you with dread, consider getting a new family. ”—Not that easy, it’s hard to think about other people as you’d think about your own family. And this might be wrong, as I wait and think about our ancestors and relatives, we’re all an enormous family that was lost throughout over time.

• 15. You can automate mundane computer tasks with Autohotkey (or AppleScript). If you keep doing a sequence “so simple a computer can do it”, make the computer do it.

It’s not exactly the same, but IMO Keysmith and Keyboard Maestro are closer Mac alternatives to AutoHotkey than AppleScript is.

(Disclaimer: I built Keysmith.)

• I don’t get #65, why it is in the future tense? And what does it even mean?

• Response to #5

If you can’t acquire a 2nd monitor for what ever reason you can make better use of a single monitor using a tiling windows manager.

For Windows : https://​​github.com/​​microsoft/​​PowerToys (i use this every day)

For Mac : https://​​github.com/​​ianyh/​​Amethyst (first google result, might be better)

For Linux : hehehe, good luck

These are also quite useful if you’ve got multiple monitors

• I don’t know the best way to phrase this but some of this advice is really foundational (eg exercise, sleep, etc). There should be an item here about rapidly and persistently getting professional medical and mental health when you have trouble with the basics.

• Don’t get me wrong, there are some really useful tips here that illustrate why this list is much better than ones with equivalent ‘click-baitey’ titles.

But this list shouldn’t have been 100 tips long. There are so many times I read a tip and thought either

1. What does that even mean?

2. Hm, I just can’t convince myself this applies to a clear majority of individuals.

Few examples...

1. “Bored people are boring” --> nope; there are several other tips in this list that essentially contradict this message. I.e. those of the ilk, “if you’re bored, do x”

2. “DO NOT TALK TO COPS” --> I think I know what this is getting at but also...not really

3. “Cooking pollutes the air” ---> what does this even mean? Just enjoy cooking… (this was an eye roll one...)

4. “remember that ascertaining responsibility will no longer be instantaneous with more than one roommate (“whose dishes are these?”)” ---> a good example of why this list didn’t need to be 100 tips long...”no shit, Sherlock” springs to mind

5. “Should you freak out upon seeing your symptoms on the worst diseases on WebMD? Probably not! Look up the base rates for the disease and then apply Bayes’ Theorem” ---> as a doctor, I’m fully aware “Dr Google” is a problem, but PLEASE, if you have symptoms of “the worst disease”, speak to your doctor (by all means apply Bayes’ Theorem in the meantime, but this tip should have explicitly dealt with the issue of doing this alone...Yes, if you feel a lump on your testicle, it’s much more likely to be benign. But get it checked out.

• This is awesome! Thank you so muchὄDἿFὄAἿF✨

• 101 - Don’t make lists

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