„Artur, your opinions always seem a bit extreme” – my friend, when we were discussing the public education last week. Education is one of my hot topics, and you can expect a related essay from me soon.
I enjoy people having strong opinions, people experimenting with their way of thinking, and trying out something new. That appreciation of experimentation extends to culture. I consider all four Avengers movies to be quite average, but Thor Ragnarok (trailer) is one of the best ones out there. Rise of Skywalker is disappointing, but The Mandalorian is excellent. Popular franchises suffer from the curse of their own popularity. They have to appeal to everyone and thus cater to the lowest common denominator.
Less-popular offshoots, like Mandalorian, Guardians of the Galaxy, or The Umbrella Academy, are not scrutinized as strongly by studio executives. Not every plotline has to be sanitized, and not every single thing has to be optimized to death.
That leaves room for creativity, exploration, and pure fun. Education could be the same way if we stopped trying to extract production value out of the kids.
3 Interesting effects of the Internet
In „Ladders of Wealth Creation”, Nathan Barry (creator of ConvertKit ) lays out differences between selling your time, productizing your services, and selling a product. He also shared an insight that would have saved me 5 years of failed entrepreneurship: „You can skip ahead, but you still have to learn the lessons from each step”
Everything was going fine in my life, and I was miserable.
Five years ago, I had a ‘fine’ job, but I craved a challenge – something I could be proud of. Slacking off at the office, I was browsing Hacker News (a technology-oriented version of Reddit), marveling at the fantastic things everybody ELSE was doing. I could see my future as a cog in the corporate machine, and it was not inspiring.
Ramit’s advice helped me truly level up. During one of those Hacker-News-Fueled ‘breaks’, I stumbled upon this financial blogger with marketing, business, and job-search advice. Despite the scammy-sounding title of his blog – “I will teach you to be Rich”, I found it very helpful and ended up taking the “Dream Job” course.
Fast forward five years, I work remotely for the best company I could ever dream of, making past me very proud. I travel the world with my wife, who also works remotely – thanks to Ramit’s advice. Our company even flew us to India to present at a conference. We never dreamt of going to India, let alone on the company’s dime. We went to a city known for one of the most luxurious hotels in India – in fact, Ramit went there on his honeymoon!
After taking Dream Job, I have attended Success Triggers, Delegate&Done, Mental Mastery and How to talk to anybody. I recommend each one of these courses. They deliver consistent, exceptional quality and are great lenses to organize your existing knowledge.
To answer the title question: Yes, he is legit. Any course you will choose will be the best one in the category.
“Ramit Sethi is very, very legit”
The biggest value I get from these curriculums is what not to focus on at this moment. Ramit claims that he and the team spend the majority of the time on nailing the lesson plan and it really shows. In the world where information is abundant, this curation is the ultimate value.
Ramit is about the “Rich Life”
Yes, he is in the personal finance sphere. But instead of focusing on curbing spending, budgeting, power of compounding in investments – and all the other components of successful financial future, he focuses of the end goal – the Rich Life, whatever that means for you:
Getting rid of credit card debt ( in the “I will teach you to be rich” book )
Getting a better job ( in Dreamjob )
Starting a business (in Earn1K and Zero to launch Courses)
Negotiating a raise (in Dreamjob )
Reclaiming your time (in “Delegate & Done” course about virtual assistants)
5 principles of Ramit
After reading Ramit’s content for years, I have teased out these underlying messages in all of his teachings:
By investing 10% more than others into preparation, research and figuring out the strategy, you can get 10x – 100x better results. This approach is applicable in job search (make connections first), building a business (nail down your target niche first), fitness, dating and other areas of Rich Life.
Strategies, not tactics
The Internet loves gimmicks and listicles like “10 apps to polish your resume, 20 online marketplaces for creators.”. But these are tactics. The important things to internalize are the strategies that help us understand “game being played around us”. Not frantic tactics that will be useless after a year.
You can focus on saving a few hundred bucks a year by cutting back on lattes, or you can get a 30 000 dollar raise. Nuff said. Click here if you want to read one of Ramit’s classic rants on ‘cut back on lattes’.
Psychology is key
The best advice is the one you take and follow-through. Ramit understands that and optimizes his courses, emails, and tips to make help you follow-through. They are not stuffed with every conceivable piece of information on the topic, but meticulously designed to make you succeed. That being said, his courses include “Vaults” that have 10x the amount of tips and tactics as the main material. But as I mentioned, the tactics are never the focus.
Do stuff that works. Take a hard look at what doesn’t. Don’t try to make yourself feel better by confusing the two.
Get his advice for free
Ramit frequently claims that 95% of his advice is free. I don’t think this is accurate. I found that he shared 305% of his advice for free. But you still should take his courses, because they put everything in place.
I would recommend the following path to take advantage of this plethora of resources:
Step 1:Check his Instagram.
It’s hilarious. It’s also a good test if Ramit ‘resonates’ with you.
Step 2: Tim Ferriss interview.
Tim is a world-class interviewer and they are friends.
Step 3: Briefcase technique
The technique illustrates all the principles I laid out above and helped me get my job.
Bonus round: Ultimate guides
Following that, I recommend his free “ultimate guides”:
Sign up to his email list. You don’t have to pay him a dime, but you will get tremendous value out of the emails. They are packed with knowledge.
And I do recommend the courses.
Ramit’s vision of Rich Life has rubbed on me a little bit. Even though he does not sell anything in the space, he convinced me to get a personal trainer, cleaning help for our apartment and I even have a personal VA.
Past me would marvel at a life I built.
And if you want to hear in detail what I learned, and how I adapted Ramit’s advice to suit the Remote work environment – sign up for MY email list. ?
When I pictured my dream house, it always had a lot of books. Maybe even a dedicated „library” room, with walls invisible under shelves of volumes, all neatly stacked.
Of course, one of the bookstands would hide a secret passageway. There has to be a secret passageway in a dream house, duh!
Now I do have a house and I am sorry to report that there is no library room and its fine. I did not give up on my childhood dream nor gave up reading. In fact, I do read significantly more.
But I did quit physical books.
There are no bookshelves, stacks of first editions nor walls covered by volumes.
Almost all my reading happens on a Kindle, precisely because it does not have to happen in a library. And replacing the whole room for this device has several benefits.
I bought my first Kindle when I started traveling a lot. The books I read tend to be on the thick side, and they were taking too much damn space inside the carry-on. Kindle Paperwhite weighs 205 grams. Hardcover version of „Song of Ice and Fire” volume 1 is 970. That means that the first part weights as much as five kindle readers.
You don’t have to decide
Or take books „Just in case.” What if you finish that first part? Seven volumes of George R.R. Martin’s finest work weigh as much as 14 kindles.
Any book in the world at your fingertips
Let’s imagine you are traveling through Africa and you just heard about a fantastic book that would complement your understanding of the culture. Chances, that you can stumble upon that title in a country that uses a different language are very slim.
But Kindle can instantly turn into ( almost ) any book in Amazon’s offering. You can buy a book on a whim and start reading it 2. MINUTES. LATER.
In fact, in our house books are the biggest „impulse spend.” We had to delete a Credit Card from the Amazon account since we used to buy any book recommended to us.
Some of the books on my reading list I have not bought yet
Books are not like cars (in many aspects). It mostly does not matter what you drive. It will still get you there. On the other hand, the difference between the best book on the topic and the 5th best is sometimes immense.
The friction of paper books means that sometimes you read what is available – and not what is the best reading choice.
Of course, chance encounters of hidden literary gems that serendipity put in our laps should be cherished. But being stuck with a terrible book and the responsibility of finishing it is a waste of time life What you read matters. Much more than How Much.
Amazon has the best selection and arguably the best electronic reading device. That is why I don’t bother with any other brands. They may be technically better or cheaper, but removing the hassle from procuring a book works out to my advantage.
The highlights, OH MY GOD – the highlights
I believe that concrete takeaways are more important than reading more books. Recollection or even reflection upon the concepts, thoughts or mental models can further my understanding of the world. My reading list contains a lot of non-fiction, sometimes called „self – help.” This is a dubious term because they usually are about the workings of the world. Topics like psychology, randomness, organizational design, business or innovation are sometimes dense, but biographies or history books are an excellent example of non-fiction that can teach you a lot about reality.
This is a topic for a whole another blog post, but in essence – taking lessons from books is the single most valuable activity I can imagine.
Inspired by the amazing Derek Sivers, I started a practice of summarising every book that I read. While I’m reading, I do highlight a lot, sometimes even make notes on the kindle touch keyboard (clumsy but doable). After finishing the book, I will fashion some posts about the book.
Having it in public forces me to be more verbose and explicit in my notes. All the posts are written only for the audience of 1 – future me. The external accountability motivates me to put a little more effort into my writing. And future me is grateful for that.
Before Kindle, I was very reluctant to highlight stuff in the book itself. I grew up in a family that was not rich by any means and we cherished books. Highlighting anything feels to me like destroying something valuable. Even if I hesitate only a bit before marking a passage – that has an impact on the lessons I can remember.
But on the Kindle, I can highlight very generously. What’s more, I can also find these highlights with minimal effort. These two aspects of Kindle highlights fundamentally changed how I read.
Here is what I do after finishing a non-fiction book:
Copy my-clippings.txt file from my Kindle to my laptop
Run a simple script to generate bullet points with highlights from a particular book
Use that as a stub to write a book summary post
Publish that, enjoy a wild success on the Internets, be famous, profit from my fame, start attracting the wrong crowd and have paparazzi publish my shameful deeds.
In the meantime, review my posts periodically to refresh the takeaways.
Currently, I am experimenting with Twitter threads (like 1, 2, 3 ) WHILE I am reading a book. Join me!
My fiancee uses the service called Readwise that will send her emails with the highlights.
While automation is particularly appealing to me, I like the responsibility of having to summarise the takeaways myself. It makes me more focused during the reading.
Kindle Paperwhite backlight.
The paperwhite model features an ambient backlight. There are diodes on the sides that make the entire screen reflect a bit of light. It works differently from your smartphone – the light is reflected and does not interfere with your sleep.
But it means that you don’t need a reading light, which is a GAMECHANGER.
It opens an entire world of bedroom entertainment with your partner.
Particularly a sleeping partner you don’t want to wake up.
Yes, smell, feel… All that is nice. It’s nice to have something to put on your shelf as well. I know. The passageway…
In the world that turns everything into digital ephemera, having a hard copy of a book is lovely, grounding and tactile.
But in the end, it’s about reading. And if I did not have my Kindle, I would do significantly less of that.
And I will never give up on that secret passageway. Just watch me.
Oh my, how I do love Hans Rosling! His “magic washing machine” TED talk may be my favorite of all time.
„Factfulness” is a culmination of his life work. He literally wrote the book on his deathbed. It provides a framework for thinking about wealth distribution around the world, thinking about help and differentiating fact from fiction.
His big beef was with the supposed gap between „developed” and „developing” world, which existed 50 years ago, but not any more. They key message of the book is that most people live in the middle and everywhere around the world, life is getting better.
Over the past twenty years, the proportion of the global population living in extreme poverty has halved.
One billion people live on level 1. This is what we think of as extreme poverty. If you’re on level 1, you survive on less than $2 a day and get around by walking barefoot. Your food is cooked over an open fire, and you spend most of your day traveling to fetch water. At night, you and your children sleep on a dirt floor.
Three billion people live on level 2, between $2 and $8 a day. Level 2 means that you can buy shoes and maybe a bike, so it doesn’t take so long to get water. Your kids go to school instead of working all day. Dinner is made over a gas stove, and your family sleeps on mattresses instead of the floor.
Two billion people live on level 3, between $8 and $32 a day. You have running water and a fridge in your home. You can also afford a motorbike to make getting around easier. Some of your kids start (and even finish) high school.
One billion people live on level 4. If you spend more than $32 a day, you’re on level 4. You have at least a high school education and can probably afford to buy a car and take a vacation once in a while.
And – last but not least – the magical washing machine 🙂
My most important takeaways:
There is no developing vs developed any more. Most people live in the middle
Population growth is slowing down and is expected to level at about 11 billion or so. We know, because we that birthrates have dropped around the world thanks to birth control, education and less poverty. Malthusian crisis will not come.
Nothing is as dramatic as it sounds
My Kindle Highlights
Over the past twenty years, the proportion of the global population living in extreme poverty has halved.
Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless—in short, more dramatic—than it really is.
Only actively wrong “knowledge” can make us score so badly.
I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading.
But we need to learn to control our drama intake.
the world is not as dramatic as it seems.
The world has completely changed. Today, families are small and child deaths are rare in the vast majority of countries, including the largest: China and India.
A: Low-income countries
Afterward, people ask me, “So what should we call them instead?” But listen carefully. It’s the same misconception: we and them. What should “we” call “them” instead? What we should do is stop dividing countries into two groups. It doesn’t make sense anymore.
Only, it’s a very strange computer game, because Level 1 is the hardest. Let’s play.
People on Level 4 must struggle hard not to misunderstand the reality of the other 6 billion people in the world. (Roughly 1 billion people live like this today.)
Just 200 years ago, 85 percent of the world population was still on Level 1, in extreme poverty. Today the vast majority of people are spread out in the middle, across Levels 2 and 3, with the same range of standards of living as people had in Western Europe and North America in the 1950s. And this has been the case for many years. The Gap Instinct The gap instinct is very strong. The first time I lectured to the staff of the World Bank was in 1999. I told
Just 200 years ago, 85 percent of the world population was still on Level 1, in extreme poverty.
Today the vast majority of people are spread out in the middle, across Levels 2 and 3, with the same range of standards of living as people had in Western Europe and North America in the 1950s.
It took the World Bank 17 years and 14 more of my lectures before it finally announced publicly that it was dropping the terms “developing” and “developed” and would from now on divide the world into four income groups.
In reality, even in one of the world’s most unequal countries, there is no gap. Most people are in the middle.
To control the gap instinct, look for the majority.
Beware comparisons of averages. If you could check the spreads you would probably find they overlap. There is probably no gap at all.
Instead, we are gloomy. On our Level 4
gloomy. On our Level 4 TVs, we still see people in extreme poverty and it seems that nothing has changed.
I’m a very serious “possibilist.” That’s something I made up. It means someone who neither hopes without reason, nor fears without reason, someone who constantly resists the overdramatic worldview.
There was a balance. It wasn’t because humans lived in balance with nature. Humans died in balance with nature. It was utterly brutal and tragic.
Once parents see children survive, once the children are no longer needed for child labor, and once the women are educated and have information about and access to contraceptives, across cultures and religions both the men and the women instead start dreaming of having fewer, well-educated children.
We should do everything we can to reduce child mortality, not only as an act of humanity for living suffering children but to benefit the whole world now and in the future.
Just as we will buy ourselves a fridge and a cell phone as soon as we can afford them, countries will invest in primary education and vaccination as soon as they can afford them.
When the journalist says with a sad face, “in times like these,” will you smile and think that she is referring to the first time in history when disaster victims get immediate global attention and foreigners send their best helicopters? Will you feel fact-based hope that humanity will be able to prevent even more horrific deaths in the future? I don’t think so. Not if you function like me. Because when that camera pans to bodies of dead children being pulled out of the debris, my intellectual capacity is blocked by fear and sorrow. At that moment, no line chart in the world can influence my feelings, no facts can comfort me. Claiming in that moment that things are getting better would be to trivialize the immense suffering of those victims and their families. It would
When the journalist says with a sad face, “in times like these,” will you smile and think that she is referring to the first time in history when disaster victims get immediate global attention and foreigners send their best helicopters?
In 1944 they all met in Chicago to agree on common rules and signed a contract with a very important Annex 13: a common form for incident reports, which they agreed to share, so they could all learn from each other’s mistakes.
DDT’s creator won a Nobel Prize.
Second, ask yourself, “What kind of evidence would convince me to change my mind?” If the answer is “no evidence could ever change my mind about vaccination,” then you are putting yourself outside evidence-based rationality,
Chemophobia also means that every six months there is a “new scientific finding” about a synthetic chemical found in regular food in very low quantities that, if you ate a cargo ship or two of it every day for three years, could kill you.
In fact, it is hard to think of a cause of death that kills fewer people in countries on Level 4 than terrorism.
Fear can be useful, but only if it is directed at the right things.
I would like my fear to be focused on the mega dangers of today, and not the dangers from our evolutionary past.
Risk = danger × exposure. The risk something poses to you depends not on how scared it makes you feel, but on a combination of two things. How dangerous is it? And how much are you exposed to it?
“In the deepest poverty you should never do anything perfectly. If you do you are stealing resources from where they can be better used.”
Never, ever leave a number all by itself. Never believe that one number on its own can be meaningful. If you are offered one number, always ask for at least one more. Something to compare it with.
People in North America and Europe need to understand that most of the world population lives in Asia.
had for some time been appalled by the systematic blaming of climate change on China and India based on total emissions per nation.
It’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Such terrifying things rarely happen “here,” in this safe place where we live. But out there, they seem to happen every day.
Strategic business planners need a fact-based worldview to find their future customers.
Flaking walls keep away the richer patients and their time-consuming demands for costly treatments,
“Hmmm. So your country has become so safe that when you go abroad the world is dangerous for you.”
If you are happy to conclude that all chemicals are unsafe on the basis of one unsafe chemical, would you be prepared to conclude that all chemicals are safe on the basis of one safe chemical?
Many of my fellow Europeans have a snobbish self-regard built on an illusion of a European culture that is superior, not only to African and Asian cultures, but also to American consumer culture.
Today, Muslim women have on average 3.1 children. Christian women have 2.7. There is no major difference between the birth rates of the great world religions.
student in the 1960s. Abortion in Sweden was still, except on very limited grounds, illegal. At the university, we ran a secret fund to pay for women to travel abroad to get safe abortions. Jaws drop even further when I tell the students where these young pregnant students traveled to: Poland. Catholic Poland. Five years later, Poland banned abortion and Sweden legalized it. The flow of young women started to go the other way.
wrong about the world so many times. Sometimes, coming up against reality is what helps me see my mistakes, but often it is talking to, and trying to understand, someone with different ideas. If this means you don’t have time to form so many opinions, so what? Wouldn’t you rather have few opinions that are right than many that are wrong?
Great knowledge can interfere with an expert’s ability to see what actually works.
The world cannot be understood without numbers. But the world cannot be understood with numbers alone.
Neither the public sector nor the private sector is always the answer. No single measure of a good society can drive every other aspect of its development. It’s not either/or. It’s both and it’s case-by-case.
We like to believe that things happen because someone wanted them to, that individuals have power and agency: otherwise, the world feels unpredictable, confusing, and frightening
You should not expect the media to provide you with a fact-based worldview any more than you would think it reasonable to use a set of holiday snaps of Berlin as your GPS system to help you navigate around the city.
Two billion people today have enough money to use a washing machine and enough time for mothers to read books—because it is almost always the mothers who do the laundry
Why did I have to say to the mayor, “You must do something”?
When we are afraid and under time pressure and thinking of worst-case scenarios, we tend to make really stupid decisions. Our ability to think analytically can be overwhelmed by an urge to make quick decisions and take immediate action.
Learn to Control the Urgency Instinct. Special Offer! Today Only!
We had hundreds of health-care workers from across the world flying in to take action, and software developers constantly coming up with new, pointless Ebola apps (apps were their hammers and they were desperate for Ebola to be a nail).
When a problem seems urgent the first thing to do is not to cry wolf, but to organize the data.
The urgent “now or never” feelings it creates lead to stress or apathy: “We must do something drastic. Let’s not analyze. Let’s do something.” Or, “It’s all hopeless. There’s nothing we can do. Time to give up.”
It’s a huge diplomatic challenge to prevent the proud and nostalgic nations with a violent track record from attacking others now that they are losing their grip on the world market.
The richest countries emit by far the most CO2 and must start improving first before wasting time pressuring others.
The other thought was something that a wise governor of Tanzania had told me: “When someone threatens you with a machete, never turn your back. Stand still. Look him straight in the eye and ask him what the problem is.”
Those people are not stupid, so why are they using that solution?”
But the world will keep changing, and the problem of ignorant grown-ups will not be solved by teaching the next generation.
If you are a teacher, send your class “traveling” on dollarstreet.org
When I present to European corporations, I always tell them to tune down their European branding (“remove the Alps from your logo”)
We concluded with Frank Sinatra’s anthem “My Way.”
„Moonshots in Education” is a handbook for improving education situation in United States. It gives lots of examples from around the world how to make education less stagnant and more practical.
My takeaways are:
Everything should be a project, learning by doing is the best way to go
Enough with the grades!
Empower kids, you’ll be amazed
I immediately wanted to give this book to my mom (the teacher) but there is no Polish translation and most of the examples are tightly coupled with US reality so they could be easily refuted in the basis of not applying to Polish day-to-day.
My view on current education system.
I treat the topic of education very seriously. My mom is a teacher, I spent total of 7 years in colleges, earning 2 master degrees. I really, really wanted it to be all that was promised to be.I now consider it harmful for the vast majority of people to attend college.
I strongly believe, that the current educational system is useless because:
It focuses on theoretical instead of practical. Who in the workplace makes you take a test?
The whole environment is NOT designed to make learning better, it is designed to make TEACHING easier. Knowledge is standarized to make materials easier, tests are administered to makes sure teachers are following along
If it were more personalized, you could cut time for knowledge transfer by 70% for each kid
Kids loosing interest at early stages reinforce their opinion thet learning is not for them and become effectively disabled for life, since lifelong learning is extremely needed now
Kids WANT to learn, but school destroys that motivation
Higher education is preparing people for a different world. After university, the will think:
„If I do bare minimum, I’ll get an A”
„There is always a handbook for everything”
„I can take as much time as I want and learn everything on a topic”
„Having theoretical knowledge is enough for anything”
I will not even start on how school is missing on practical life skills.
After school we leave children asking themselves questions, full of useless knowledge and dread for learning.
„But we’re doing the best we can, it’s better then nothing!”
NO IT ISN’T.
There is abundance of free material that is lightyears better than what we are offering at so called „educational institutions” . Youtube, Khan Academy and others are free and ripe with knowledge that is interesting, of superior quality and in the medium kids are used to.
Plus, they can consume it at their own curriculum.
Let’s take advantage!
There have been countless studies on learning and memory, and one prominent takeaway message is this: It’s not just the content, or what you’re learning, but also the details of when and how things are presented
grit, tenacity, and perseverance
It’s not all about you
“Why spend hours ‘talking’ science to students when they can experiment themselves?
Joyce’s students played paleontologist as they used the technology to turn a 2D sketch of bones to 3D printed models.
“At present, there are very few examples of the preparation of teachers for the online environment.”
In South Korea, according to a UNESCO report, pre-service teacher training in information communication technology (ICT) began in the mid-1990s at elementary and secondary teacher-training institutions
Five-Year Strategy plan “were mostly skewed towards the training of generic IT skills.”
It was preparing kids for the factory model; today we are preparing kids for a world we cannot even conceptualize. They need to think, not follow directions. We need to move forward, take a risk; we have the tools and the skills to change the classroom and make learning exciting and relevant for all students