Really liked the framing for this! The one piece of timeful advice that didn’t land as well was being in no rush to find a partner in your 20s. Anecdotally, friends who prioritized learning about themselves over finding a partner in their early 20s seem to have fared well because of that decision - they understood much better their values, how they wanted to live their life / spend their time, and who would be a good counterpart given those things.

Always enjoy your writing ! :)

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Great read!

I disagree on the idea that passive investing isn't the right way for ~everybody. The bubble argument is wrong/overblown, most people learn as much from trading individual stocks as they do from a trip to the casino and diversification is the only way to almost surely reap the benefits of compounding.

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to comment on "travel" (and why I think you're getting push back)

There are two different things we call 'travel'. The problem with your argument is that your pro is relating to one of them ('discovering oneself through cultural exposure'), but the against is relating to the other meaning ('escaping your life to relax').

I'll use the anecdote of myself to exemplify:

In my 20s travel was about self-discovery. I would usually go on city trips on my own, utilizing online communities like CouchSurfing (e.g.) to 'live like a local'. A motto of the time was that you eat local food, and drink local drinks, and talk with the locals to understand their lives. I couldn't understand why would anyone want to go to a resort or sleep in a hotel. And for a few weeks a year, I didn't do those but instead tested new identities and ideas. This travel was about discovering myself and then coming back to my life changed.

In my 30s a vast majority of travel is about other stuff: There's work travel, and there's travel for extended periods (as of today I've been living from a carry on for the past 8 weeks). I know the world, I know most cultures I travel to, I have friends in most places I go. For those few weeks that I go on 'vacation', I don't have even to be going anywhere. But I sure want to have access to a gym and a real bad (that wasn't a thing in Couchsurfing days!), and as I usually don't vacation alone anymore, it's important to have food for non-adventurous eaters. This travel is about taking a break from a much more intense life then I had in my 20s.

So sure, both things are called 'travelling', both things can even be called 'vacationing', but they are not the same activity for not the same purpose.

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I also heard about your Substack from the Acquired podcast, am glad to have done so, and will try to read more, though I've got a lot of unread books here and like you prioritize the long form. That said, I think there's a straw man component here in that much of what you have set up as "timeless" is in fact itself very time and place bound to the American present. Which doesn't invalidate your reflections on them.

One thing I might challenge is that the overall tilt of your mindset is towards doing the things that make people better and more successful entrepreneurs. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but should that be everyone's goal? We do need lots more empowered schoolteachers, police-folk, etc. (though admittedly a dollop of entrepreneurialism hurts people in few endeavors). Moreover, though there has been some challenge to Deaton and Kahneman's study showing that returns to wealth above $75k AGI per annum tend to flatten out, it rings true. The stability of a salary and mortgage gestalt allows for a quiet type of flourishing, shared purpose and social formation that has benefits, though downsides too.

One place where you are spot on is in the benefits of talking to strangers. The intrinsic payouts to learning to talk to different people are high.

Anyhoo, back to my book, and thanks.

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Some basic ideas to consider:

There are way too many conflicting and understructured advice that can even be considered "Lindy", on the grounds of intermediary causes and relevance on the iteration-irreversibility continuum (rust-fire continuum for entropy) https://rogersbacon.substack.com/p/eponymous-laws-part-i-laws-of-the?s=r https://rogersbacon.substack.com/p/eponymous-laws-part-1-laws-of-the/comments?s=r

There are also counterfactuals and heresies that should be considered. A major clue is that certain taboo "stereotypes" are consistent, valid, and also useful. https://rogersbacon.substack.com/p/20-modern-heresies https://rogersbacon.substack.com/p/20-modern-heresies/comments https://desystemize.substack.com/p/desystemize-8?s=r

The last one is this: It is possible that influencers (even the justly successful ones) can make random irrelevant pseudo-Lindy advice, and they can make others miserable through forced replication. https://hardfork.substack.com/p/why-most-founders-dont-take-good https://swellandcut.com/2016/07/02/adam-grant-brene-brown-and-the-world-we-live-in-right-now/ https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/why-not-take-weightlifting-advice

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I discovered your Substack after it was called out on the Acquired podcast and I've been reading through all your posts; I really like how you offer a differentiated perspective and look at the World in a unique way. I found this post, in particular, insightful.

One thought I had after reading this post was how timeless advice varies across cultures. For example, "Enjoy your 20s and don’t worry about finding love too soon" might be timeless advice in Western or dare I say American culture but I don't think it is timeless advice in Eastern cultures. It certainly isn't in the cultures I grew up in (Arab and Indian). In fact, in these cultures, the timeless advice in this domain is what you described in the "Alternative ideas" section. The emphasis is very much on starting a family early so that you are instilled with a sense of purpose.

Perhaps one way to discover pieces of timeless advice is to look for advice that remains constant across cultures. This might be a way of uncovering a deeper truth about the human condition. For example, the advice of spending one's time helping other people in order to live a fulfilling life seems fairly universal across cultures in both religious and secular contexts. Eschewing the accumulation of material possessions is probably another one that comes to mind.

Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share your thoughts.

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This was a fascinating read. Thank you!

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John I really enjoyed the perspective. I am Canadian and would mirror the words of my compatriot Marshall McLuhan, 'the medium is the message.' I find the value of sources of news varies widely across mediums and your article focuses primarily on digital sources of news. I would include curated analog news (a newspaper) in my sources of valuable insight.

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Owning versus buying a house...I think buying a house can be good for a lot of people because it's a "forced saving" and after 40 years they'll have something to show for it, versus renting and blowing the balance on stuff they don't need. Sure, if you're a good saver then a rental model can work. The other benefit of owning is that you're effectively pegging your cost of housing versus a renal that increases with inflation each year ( I live in a high-inflation country). Thought-provoking post..thanks

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Great examples. Wrt traveling, I can see why you dislike trend-based traveling, but its hard to replicate the open-mindedness you gain from being in a new location.

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