What I learned last week (#138): mannerism

Learned last week: 10 things rule, remembering books, art history, and more!

A weekly selection of what I was reading, drawing, writing, and doing.


Quote I was thinking about:

We can never be certain of making people happy, whereas we can almost always be certain of making them unhappy.

T.H. Huxley

Book excerpt I enjoyed:

“Value intuitions and desires can be easily confused. Both could be described as preferences of an affective nature, but they are different in meaningful ways. When you reflect on your values, you don’t feel a sense of craving, a motivational force pulling you toward them. They are always there, but unlike desires, they allow you to neglect them if you choose. Desires are the screams you can’t ignore, but values are the whispers it is often hard to notice.” (Designing the Mind, Designing the Mind.The Principles of Psychitecture)


How to remember what you read:

This paragraph made me think about how many times I’ve actually re-read my favorite books (as opposed to re-watched my favorite moves or re-played my favorite games). I could count my re-reads on one hand.

Skim a lot of books. Read a few. Immediately re-read the best ones twice. While rereading can seem like a waste of time because there are so many other books to read, this is a misunderstanding of the learning process. The best time to start rereading a great book is right after finishing. The goal is not to read as many books as possible. The goal is to gain as much wisdom as you can.

Another way to reinforce the learning is to apply the Feynman technique, named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. You can think of it as an algorithm for guaranteed learning. There are four simple steps: choose a concept, teach it to someone unfamiliar with the subject, identify gaps in your understanding and go back to the source material, and review and simplify.

How to Remember What You Read: https://fs.blog/2021/08/remember-books


A new rule for cleaning up:

I’m as guilty as anyone for leaving stuff out and then getting annoyed when there is clutter around. I love the simplicity of this rule.

Believe it or not, my home actually stays more organized with the “10 things” rule than it did when we had no children. The rule is simple: anytime my family transitions between events or locations every single person — even (and especially) the kids — grabs 10 things to clean up.

The 10 things rule: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/10-things-clutter-rule-36945730


Accessible art history:

An analysis of the Mannerism art style, through the painting Madonna of the Long Neck by Parmigianino, that you should check out.

I don’t love a lot of classical art, but when you learn more about the context in which they were created, things get a lot more interesting.

I love how this piece flows around the painting and others to give you a visual tour.

His “Madonna of the Long Neck,” as it’s now known, pictures the mother of Christ stretched out like bubblegum. Her dainty head seems to be plopped on an oversized curving body.

You, too, may find this painting weird and contrived. If so, you are not wrong! But let me try to show you another way to look at contrivance. To show you the value, and even the beauty, that can come from going overboard.

A Madonna Who Shows the Beauty in Going Overboard: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/13/arts/design/parmigianino-madonna-of-the-long-neck.html


What I wrote and drew about this week:


What I did, was reminded of, or was thankful for last week:

  • We made a big step forward on our house renovation project and now have a confirmed start date at the beginning of 2022. Feels good to have made it this far, and we have come far. By far I mean that we have traversed the admin hellscape of paperwork and trying to get real-life people to respond to inquiries for work. I also mean that we have traveled far in terms of our mindset on the project and ultimately making the decision to commit to it.
  • I shifted my training to do a higher intensity/shorter run this week to see how much ground I could cover in 30 mins versus trying to go for a set 6 miles. My aim was to stick as close to a 7min mile as I could (and I did pretty good). I’m going to try to do this on a weekly basis for the next several months to see if it helps my longer runs as well. 💪

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!