Foolscap Weekends – A new experiment to tame the firehose of information

I heard Tyler Cowen say – more on where below – that he’s well suited for the “firehose of information” that is dominant today. His comment struck me because lately I’ve been suffering from a feeling of discombobulation. What news should I follow? Where should I get it? How should I act on it?

My chief concern among this is how to assimilate the new things I learn with the things I already understand. When I read a book like When Genius Failed or Filters Against Folly, how do I match those things with news about the stock market or gun violence?

The answer might be in what Steven Pressfield calls “the foolscap method.” For Pressfield this means to take a book, project, or business and outline it on a single sheet of paper. This, he says, gets you over the hump of resistance and starts the work for the project.

What I want to do, is do something similar, but only for a weekly review of the firehose. If the firehose of information (books, articles, tweets, videos, etc) fills up a pool, then I wants the foolscap method to act like a filter to get only the good stuff out. Find what’s drinkable.


My goal is for weekends to be more summarizing of what I learned, read, and saw and less writing, editing, and watching.

Weekly Review #40 – What I’ve been reading and writing.

This week I started reading The Hour Between Dog and Wolf. It’s the story of how biology plays a role in our decision making. The big idea – I think, I only just started – is that testosterone plays a roll in bull markets by enhancing the invincibility some traders feel. On the other hand cortisol plays a role in the in bear markets by making people more risk adverse. This sort of biologic analysis is new to me – I prefer psychology – but interesting none the less. It pairs well with, Rainbows End (the story of the 1929 crash) which I’m picking through much more slowly and When Genius Failed (the story of a 1998 hedge fund crash).

I finished Thaler’s Misbehaving, it was very good. Not so much for the behavioral economics and biases, most of which I was familiar with, but the why. To see the evolution of an idea from someone who lived through – and propagated many – was very good.


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