To Be And To Last #42

This week we dive into equity in hiring, laziness as a tool for effectiveness, and why your high school anatomy textbook was wrong.

🩺 How well do you know your own body?

“We have only thermal sensors to guide us, which is why when you sit down on a wet spot, you can’t generally tell whether it really is wet or just cold.”

- Bill Bryson, The Body: A Guide for Occupants

Humorously titled, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants. Essentially medical literature review combined with excellent storytelling, the book has dispelled myths (the tongue taste map many of us learned in high school? disproven) and given me an increased respect for how well the human body generally survives despite its occupant.

Even today, it’s incredible how little we actually understand about our bodies. As one example, we know nearly nothing about phantom limb pain (pain in amputated or lost limbs), but we have found that numbing the limb for days leading up to amputation can substantially decrease the odds of phantom limb pain (though not eliminate it completely).

🙅 “The hiring process is … a filter for class”

“The hiring process is not just a filter for skills, it's also a filter for class. And people don't talk about or acknowledge that.”

- Austen Allred in The Pull Request

An insightful interview with Austen Allred (whose Lambda School pioneered the “income-sharing agreement” model where coding students only pay once they are employed).

The core idea: learning programming is only half the journey, as students must also learn the cultural encoding used in the tech industry (from vocabulary like “ping me” to assumptions like having a personal bank account).

This is, of course, a problem with hiring practices, so teaching students that cultural encoding is only a partial solution.

💫 Reminder: the right less really is more

“Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”
- Henk Kraaijenhof (h/t Tim Ferriss)


To Be And To Last: Thinker Nate Desmond’s weekly roundup of long reads, contrarian thoughts, and hidden jewels that aren’t getting enough attention.

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