My Mental Library

Principles, behaviors, and the science of teabags.

Hey friends,

In last Monday's newsletter, I shared my thoughts on the importance of keeping the big picture of my life in my mind: mental models, principles, concepts, biases, inspirations, anything that helps me go through life more efficiently.

This felt really important, so I spent some more time last week building out the concept of my Mental Library. The idea was to create a single source of truth for the most important concepts my brain relies on to operate on a daily basis.

I enjoy naming things, so Mental Library sounds fancier than it actually is. To keep it simple, I created a single Notion page with a few main sections:

  • Principles
  • Role models
  • Behavioral patterns (Traits / Quirks / Biases)
  • Mindset management techniques (Coping mechanisms / Helpful thoughts)
  • Habits

The idea behind each section is simple:

  • Principles are my core fundamental traits, beliefs, or traits I want to embody. When I'm at a crossroads, these help me choose the right path.
  • Role models are people I look up to or get inspired by. They're often tied to one or more of my principles.
  • Behavioral patterns are some of my internal mechanics – behaviors and responses my brain exhibits that I need to keep in mind.
  • Mindset management techniques are things that can help me deal with the unwanted behavioral patterns of my mind.
  • Habits are specific activities or routines that make me feel better and more productive as long as I stick to them.

In the future, I plan to expand my Mental Library with other sections, such as Mental Models, Decision-making Frameworks, Cognitive Strategies, Psychological Constructs, Philosophical Concepts, Learning Techniques, and others. These will contain more general concepts that I've found helpful and want to keep in mind.

So far I've invested a couple hours into building out my Mental Library and the few times I had to use it last week it proved incredibly helpful. As long as I can keep it a living, breathing document (that's the challenge!), I'm 100% convinced it will be one of my most valuable time investments recently.

Do you use anything similar to guide your mind? Let me know!

Have an optimal week,


A few thoughts

Enshittification. This is the idea that platforms get worse and more revenue-oriented with time. Yesterday I lost a day's worth of work due to Evernote's sync issues and simultaneously realized they're increasing their pricing by almost 100%, and thought that Evernote's last 5 years are a prime example of enshittification.

Outlook vs Gmail. I've been a Gmail user for ~15 years but had to use Outlook last week. The way Outlook treats replies as separate emails (unless you use conversation view which can group together unrelated emails with the same subject for literally no reason) felt like such an alien concept to me compared to Gmail's conversations that I still can't wrap my head around it. Yet the internet is full of people complaining about Gmail being unintuitive, so I guess these are just two pretty different mindsets.

The science of teabags. A few days ago I got together with a few friends to taste 11 different bagged teas, mostly cheap ones. Just a fun experiment to see if there's anything better than my favorite Lipton. Most of them were pretty trash, but in different ways, and so now I'm curious what's the science behind it.

Loved this

Ginni Rometty: IBM CEO on Leadership, Power, and Adversity. Lex Fridman's conversation (yes I'm on a Lex binge) with Ginni Rometty on what it takes to get to the top of one of the world's biggest and most important (and well-known) companies, and what it's like to lead such a company in today's dynamic world.

The fun part

Here's the famous tea-tasting party and me trying VR sim racing for the first time in my life. Turns out it's not only exciting, but I'm kinda alright at it, to the point that I'm considering giving real-life racing lessons a try.

I'm not yet sure about the format of this section. I feel like you'd enjoy some visuals, but I'm worried about breaking the minimalism too much. So let me know!