personal development

Book review: Show your work

Learn in the public; share your progress

How I read history books

I divide history reading into two categories: micro and macro. The best example of macro history books is Homo Sapiens which is full of mental models applicable to different historical contexts and therefore our times. Microhistory include books that focus on individual experiences (like fictions), and they are used as wisdom-training tools. When reading these books, I pause and reflect: given the existing data, what would my next action be if I were the protagonist.

Theories about learning

Facts, models, wisdom, insights, and practice

What does being "interesting" mean

This is an important mental model that I have been building over the past few years. Interesting means attention-capturing. Attention is the currency that we are trading in the information age. Thus, the value of almost everything can be assessed on whether they are interesting. Being interesting has two components: relevance and uniqueness. To me, a film star’s divorce is unique but not relevant; medical school applications from a student with straight-A grades but nothing else is relevant but not unique.

The problem-solving approach to CV building

I am in a mid-medical school crisis. I often find myself anxious about what is the right thing to do. With a bit of both medical and technical skills, I find myself to be the Buridan’s donkey. When I learn medicine, I lament that I am not solving problems at scale; when I improve my software programming skills, I wonder what is the point of writing beautiful code if all I want is prototyping; when I delve into statistical algorithms, I worry that I am not doing things that are immediately applicable to my medical career.

Book review: Mindset

Rating: 8/10 Growth mindset used to be a quite trendy topic about 5 years ago and I remember myself being determined to develop the growth mindset. This book is sort of a revisit to the concepts that I was exposed to earlier. What I learned from the book: if fixed mindset people want to validate themselves, why don’t they stop after validating themselves once? there will always be challenges in life and fixed mindset people treat each of the challenges as a potential pitfall that can depreciate their worth, instead of an opportunity to grow.

The myth of rest

While I initially intended to write about rest being a myth, but after contemplating and discussing with friends, it will perhaps be more reasonable to write about our often mythical thinking about rest. Rest here is defined as the time outside our standard working hours and time required to meet our physiological needs (e.g. sleep). We all can roughly divide our 24 hour day into three parts. We spend 8 hours on sleep, 8 hours on contracted jobs, and it is how we spend the last 8 hours that defines our life.