💠 Sunday Scaries (11/29/20)

Objectivism, ten lessons, World Values Survey

Hi everyone,

Writing to you from Playa Vista, CA. To minimize travel, I spent the holidays in Los Angeles this year. We were rewarded with a beautiful weekend — the conditions were just right for visibility, and a breezy wind carried summer’s last gasp.

The beauty of Southern California still catches me by surprise. I snapped this photo shortly after lunch, just as the wind was beginning to pick up. This image feels alive: I can hear the clanging from the halyards slapping against the mast; a sure sign of a good day on the water.

In This Week’s Edition:

The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

I first discovered Ayn’s work through her book, The Fountainhead. She is best known as the inventor of objectivism; a moral philosophy focused on individual achievement and progress.

Whenever I want to dig deep into a particular philosophical view, I use the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This website organizes writings from the world’s best philosophers into a single place. Most recently, I’ve been trying to understand more about the theory that weaves itself through Ayn’s writings.

She was a vocal supporter of multi-disciplinary training, which I’ve expressed interest in through my lifetime curriculum. If you're looking for your next fiction book with meaning and depth, I highly recommend her works. Here is one of my favorites quotes, taken from The Fountainhead:

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.

Lindy score: 2100

Ten Things I Have Learned

Milton Glaser was an American graphic designer most well-known as the I Love New York logo's creator.

This five-page transcript is taken from a talk he gave in London shortly before his death. It outlines ten rules that he learned through his career as a creative and businessman.

It’s short and wonderfully blunt. I’ve copied the topics of his talk below, but I’ll leave the rest for you to enjoy:

  1. You Can Only Work For People That You Like.

  2. If You Have A Choice Never Have A Job.

  3. Some People Are Toxic Avoid Them.

  4. Professionalism Is Not Enough Or The Good Is The Enemy Of The Great.

  5. Less Is Not Necessarily More.

  6. Style Is Not To Be Trusted.

  7. How You Live Changes Your Brain.

  8. Doubt Is Better Than Certainty.

  9. On Aging.

  10. Tell The Truth.

Lindy score: 2025

World Values Survey

Every five years, a multi-national effort is launched to survey people from all over the planet. The result is the World Values Survey: a completely free resource that categorizes how people are motivated.

This amazing project is a blend of scientific and social observations that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Whenever I want to understand a country I’ve never been to, this is where I start. Here are some of the best findings:

Much of the variation in human values between societies boils down to two broad dimensions: a first dimension of “traditional vs. secular-rational values” and a second dimension of “survival vs. self-expression values.”

Traditional values emphasize the importance of religion, parent-child ties, deference to authority and traditional family values. People who embrace these values also reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride and a nationalistic outlook.

Secular-rational values have the opposite preferences to the traditional values. These societies place less emphasis on religion, traditional family values and authority. Divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide are seen as relatively acceptable. (Suicide is not necessarily more common.)

Survival values place emphasis on economic and physical security. It is linked with a relatively ethnocentric outlook and low levels of trust and tolerance.

Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality, and rising demands for participation in decision-making in economic and political life.

As countries gain wealth and education, they tend to move up and to the right. There are plenty of interesting takeaways like this, so I suggest checking out the survey for yourself.

Lindy score: 2060

Thanks for reading,


Sunday Scaries is a newsletter that focuses on content that has stood the test of time. Because of The Lindy Effect, the topics covered will still be relevant in the future. You can subscribe by clicking the link below. 👇