Boost Your Productivity While Working From Home (And Support COVID-19 Relief)

As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people all over the world, I’ve been looking for ways to make a difference (aside from simply staying home and avoiding social contact, which is our duty during this unprecedented time).

With so many people suddenly working from home, often for the first time, staying productive can be a challenge.

As luck would have it, I teach a course on this very subject—and I want to use it to help those in need.

For the next five days, you can enroll in my Modern Productivity course on Udemy for just $10.99 (or your local equivalent), and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

This fund helps the WHO do things like:

  • Send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers
  • Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment.
  • Ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need.
  • Accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics and treatments

Here’s a blurb about the course itself, via The Next Web:

The Modern Productivity: Supercharge Your Focus in a Distracted World course may prove to be the most impactful for many with sound strategies for shoring up your mental game. These proven methods will help you develop a productive attitude, stay motivated, focus on what’s important and keep moving toward meeting your long term goals.

The $10.99 discount lasts until March 28 at 11am PDT, after which Udemy will begin adjusting the price based on their current promotions. However, all proceeds through this link (or the coupon code COVID-RELIEF) will still be donated to the WHO fund indefinitely.

Here’s a link to the fund if you’d like to donate directly.

Books Of Mentors

I’ve recently discovered a book genre that I love: collections of advice from a large number of mentors, experts, or people otherwise considered to be the best at what they do.

My first exposure to this format was Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal, which features essays from Warren Buffett, Anderson Cooper, Jillian Michaels, Michael Bloomberg, and dozens of other luminaries, each sharing their challenges, obstacles, and lessons learned along the way.

After that, I had to check out Tim Ferriss’s famed bestseller Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World, which, so far, does not disappoint. Ferriss takes a question-based approach to the concept, and it’s interesting to see so many varying perspectives on the same set of thoughtfully chosen questions.

Not all advice is good advice for all people—but the right advice at the right time for the right person can be life-altering.

Brief Candle In The Dark

As a long-time admirer of biologist Richard Dawkins, I thoroughly enjoyed his autobiography, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science. The book is structured as a series of stories and anecdotes, ordered by subject matter rather than chronology. It was fascinating to take a peak behind the curtain and get to know the man behind the science.

After reading several of Dawkins’s previous books, Brief Candle in the Dark offers context about how they fit into the bigger picture of his life and career. It also provides a rather candid look at his experiences, inspirations, and personal philosophies surrounding science, religion, education, the public debate format, and many other topics.

Dawkins is clearly one of the great minds of his generation, but what I think truly sets him apart is his ability to communicate scientific ideas to the general public with excitement and eloquence, instilling in millions a sense of intellectual curiosity.

If you’re a fan as well, you don’t want to miss this book.

I Don’t Want To Upload My Brain To A Computer

Great documentary by Germany’s DW, though I don’t find myself all that interested in uploading my consciousness to a computer.

Don’t get me wrong: mapping the brain and reconstructing its functions are indeed worthy pursuits with grand implications. But I suspect what makes the idea compelling to most people is a hope for self-preservation, i.e. you upload your consciousness to a machine and then you get to live forever!—but that wouldn’t exactly be the case.

Mapping or “uploading” your brain to a computer is fundamentally just a data transfer. In any data transfer, the source data and destination data are momentarily identical—but they persist as two distinct entities, with neither having any particular influence on the other. When you copy a file from one location to another, the original file doesn’t change just because it was copied. It doesn’t become the copy. And of course, the original file can still be destroyed.

Likewise, if and when the technology arrives to map your brain and recreate your consciousness using a computer, it will essentially be like cloning the person you were in that moment—in other words, making a copy. And like any other original file, you, too, can still be destroyed.

Using machines to emulate our consciousness does little to prevent our biological demise. This sort of technology is fascinating and valuable for plenty of reasons, but immortality is not among them.

Better Students Don’t Earn More Money As Adults

A new study suggests that defiant kids who break the rules tend to earn higher incomes as adults than their more studious peers. Inc.com reports:

In 1968, researchers began studying 12-year-old students who were in the sixth grade. They examined the influence of their intelligence, characteristics, behaviors and their parents’ socioeconomic status.

Then, 40 years later, they followed up with those students. Not surprisingly, the students who were described by teachers as “studious” were more likely to have prestigious jobs. But, the studious kids didn’t make the most money in adulthood.

The highest income earners were the “naughty kids.” The kids who broke the rules and defied parental authority became the highest income earners as adults.

Similarly, the Illinois Valedictorian Project found that valedictorians are less likely to become millionaires than their peers.

Of course, life isn’t all about money. But the implication here is something I have long suspected: those inclined to break rules and question authority are more likely to be successful.