letters

The Letters of Clio #7 — Welcome to 2022, time to take a stance

Hello, good morning, happy New Year. I am clio, and this is a Letter of Clio, a weekly newsletter about... stuff!


The holiday breaks were refreshing. Both to my mind and my body. That's what soaking in a jacuzzi 24/7 does to you, it seems. (If I have awakened something in you, I'm sorry and... you are welcome? But no, I don't have an OnlyFans. I'll ping you if (when?) I'll create one.)

As promised in last week's letter, I have not touched my phone during my stay abroad (except twice to wish my family Merry Christmas — I am not a monster—and a friend happy birthday).

It has been surprisingly easy to go offline, which I believe came with the place. We were at a wellness hotel, staying at one of a couple of swimming pools for most of the day. That's not a place to bring a smartphone, though I had the Kindle on me all the time. And oh, did I read — five books in four days. I inhaled books. Finished one, breathed in, started the next. My mind was on reading overdrive. And despite how tedious it might sound, it calmed me down. This might be that famous "active rest" everyone talks about. Here is what I read, by the way.


I also had a lot of time to think. When you feed your mind good stuff, it tends to spit out good stuff. I experienced a few epiphanies, some personally, some on a professional level. For example, I have figured out where I want to take this blog. Finally. It only took me a few years:

I much rather want this blog to be some public notepad, where I share what I have learned by reading, observing the world, talking to people, and thinking in silence.

And:

I try to live a more or less good life while I can, and everything I learn follows that goal. This is why I care about philosophy, technology, science, human psychology, neuroscience, behavioural science, etc.

Finally:

So, to summarize in a sentence what my blog will be about:
„Essays on being human with a pinch of philosophy and a dab of science.“

Don't worry, I can't take myself seriously, so I hope my writing never becomes too — for the lack of a better term — stick up its ass.

And now to the link section:

The Letters of Clio #4 — Complicated is The New Black and a Deep Dive into Web3

Good morning, welcome from... my old apartment. We haven't moved, and we haven't even gotten the keys yet. The delivery has been postponed to Monday.

This isn't a big issue as we didn't start packing this weekend after all, unlike what I said in the last newsletter. Oops! If you know me personally, this won't surprise you. (Hi, mom!) I could very well just be named Lord Clio, Protector of Procrastination, First of His Name.

Oh, and one more thing before we start: I published the essay of this week's Letters on the blog, but to see the whole content, you have to sign up. If you read this through email, no worries, you are all set.

And thanks to Greg for helping me fix a stupid issue in my theme files. You're a genius.

Now to this week's essay!


I have been dabbling my toes into investing recently. I've mostly been writing my own set of investing rules and game-plan for next year. How much money do I want to invest, the split between long-term and short-term, do I want to touch crypto, etc.

What I've realised while doing this is that most of these things aren't that complicated. All you need is a set of rational rules, maybe some automation and then stop thinking about it.

Unfortunately, humans are neither rational nor very good at simplifying their lives. We seem to like complicated. The more extraordinary the method, the more we believe it's the correct option. While in reality, it's probably the opposite. Occam's Razor exists for a reason.

I see this in more than just investing. Life, in general, doesn't need complicated hacks to be decent.

Take health, for example. We follow all these crazy diets, take all these supplements (yours truly included), invent all these exercise regimens, and generally follow every new trend created by a celebrity.

And yet, as soon as you dig deeper, read up on some science, you realise the basics are all always the same:

  1. Sleep enough
  2. Hydrate (with water)
  3. Eat not too much, but primarily vegetables
  4. Exercise regularly, preferably in the sun
  5. Do things you love for the sake of doing them
  6. See friends and family

Unfortunately, to quote Oliver, these things are simple but not easy. And they are boring. We dislike boring. We are not wired that way.

So, we overcomplicate stuff. We try to find exciting methods because they seem to motivate us in the short term. But because this shit's complicated, we mess up, then stop doing it to the surprise of no one but ourselves.

I suffer from this myself: what is the best supplement for longevity, what new tool makes me work smarter, what's the latest news in meditation, is there an app that makes me a better writer?

There is always an answer. There is always one more thing. And so, I catch myself spending more time trying to optimise something than following the basics – more time researching doing the thing.

And yet, that's all it needs. Good, balanced basics, followed regularly.