Every book is an insight into someone’s soul, a lifetime of discovery condensed into an easily digestible format. Yet not all books are created equal. Most books touch you but very few can be termed as profound. One such profound book that I read recently was Quiet: The power of introverts by Susan Cain. It touched something inside me and turned a life knob or something. I see the world very differently after having read this book.
Take a moment and imagine some of the things we do every day: speak up, speak out, push back, write about achievements, advertise our work, evangelize things we believe one. There is a common thread that binds all these behaviors: they are all extrovert behaviors to a certain degree.
Lately, everything I look at is going up. I look at stocks of tech companies in US and they are going up. I look at various stock market exchange indexes and they are going up, both in India and in US at least. Crypto-currencies are going up for the last year or so. And not just up, some of these assets are going up in a crazy fashion, doubling 10x in a year. It was becoming hard for me to even understand what I was doing and made investing even more risky.
For a long period of time, until recently, I used to believe that net result of every transaction is 0. If you are spending money, someone is earning money. So if you make money in the stock market, someone should be losing money. That is what the conventional wisdom in my head said. Continue reading
I happened to be looking at my blog’s history and I suddenly realized that I actually first posted on this blog site on 14-Mar-2009. It was of course, a stupid Hello World blog. If you do not know what that means, Hello world is the first thing you do with any software essentially. It’s a technical person’s way of starting a project much like how religious people start something with a prayer. However my journey into writing started much earlier. Before I had this blog I had another one on blogspot.com. I started that in 2007 and even before that I started writing journal entries. My first recorded entry (that I still have for reference) is from Nov-2003.
I am reading this book right now called The world without us by Alan Weisman. It talks about the world that will be if humans were to somehow miraculously be removed from Earth. And it got me thinking of a poem I wrote about 8-9 years ago that I had titled It will too turn to dust. Sitting here looking at rain and the water around me, I can’t help but think about the world we are making for ourselves.
And one day this too shall turn to dust
Weather down and slowly mix with earth
But long before that day comes
This world will shake and crumble
By our own bombs.
We talk of nothing but war
We crave nothing but fight
We see nothing but me
And we following nothing but rage Continue reading
This exact line has been the response of me telling people I am leaving Amazon and moving to Tokyo. It has been a very interesting question because no one asked me why Seattle when I left Bangalore. In fact I have been pondering over this quite a bit and I don’t think I have a great answer.
I wonder if part of the question is implicitly asking: Why leave US? And why leave Amazon? If I have to answer the question of why Tokyo, I probably need to answer these questions.
About a month ago I got a chance to read a very interesting book called Sapiens. It was written by a historian and it was one of the most thought provoking books I have had a chance to read. I rarely read non-fiction but history interests me somewhat. This book was more of a mashup between human history and psychology. It’s goal in a way was to write an unbiased history of the Homo genus, more specifically the Homo sapiens species. That, btw, is modern human beings
What really caught my attention was a very obscure fact. The brain matter of another human species, Neanderthals, was bigger than homo sapiens. Yet that specie died out and never developed civilization and sophisticated tools etc. For all of my life, I had assumed that humans are special because we have more brain matter. However I was clearly wrong.
As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.
Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.
I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.
At first I felt this title might be catchy like a clickbait. But then on pondering about it for a few minutes I realized that it is more truthful than catchy. The idea of leaving amazon is almost like the idea of embracing change. It makes me think about the transitions we make which are almost unbelievable before we do them and simplistic once we do. For example using Facebook in times of Orkut seemed pointless and my first year or so with FB account had no real activity but now I can’t imagine using Orkut 😛
The short story is that I decided to leave my current role without really knowing what I am going to do next. The long story follows below.
The last time I took a lesson in physics was probably way back in 2006 or 2007. It’s been almost a decade yet I consider myself an astrophysics enthusiast. There are various facets of physics that I really love. Every time I think about them I feel like I understand people and the world a little better. There are two ideas that I like to wonder about: Making sense of chaos and quantum entanglement.
It’s hard to imagine how physics can help us understand people. Physics usually describes properties of inanimate things and conscious decisions can seem inherently chaotic. Imagine for a moment that the gas inside a balloon is made up of millions of particles, which it is. Imagine now the movement of these particles. Their motion is inherently random and chaotic and it is unlikely to be predicted.