Links

Here are my best links and resources about a variety of topics that I explore in my writing and projects.

Meditation

  • Divide and Conquer: How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science: Towards the end of this talk at Google, meditation teacher Shinzen Young shares a compelling thought experiment. As someone who has been meditating for decades, his consciousness has been dramatically altered by such deep and consistent practice. He poses the question: what would he do if given a choice between one day with that refined consciousness, or the rest of his natural life without it? He says that hands down, he would choose one day with the consciousness of an experienced meditator. He says that everyone can reach this degree of mastery with a combination of daily practice, annual meditation retreats, and regular interactions with a qualified teacher. This thought experiment is what caused me to start my meditation practice back in 2010!
  • Brightmind: Brightmind is the best-in-class meditation app that I’ve found. It has a beautiful design, a thoughtful approach to meditation instruction, and uses Shinzen’s system at its heart. Shinzen’s instruction will help you build a daily practice that integrates smoothly with the rest of your life.
  • Meditation Handout: I share this handout with my meditation students when we start working together. It contains the most basic concepts that I’ve found helpful in my own meditation practice, drawing on teachings from Soryu Forall, Shinzen Young, and Upasaka Culadasa.
  • Maple Seeds: I worked on this book describing my teacher Soryu Forall’s teachings. You can read a large excerpt for free online.
  • U Pandita on The Value of Metta for Westerners (notes): It took me years to start practicing loving-kindness, but I’ve found it so helpful. In this talk from Christopher Titmuss, he shares a story about the Theravadan meditation master U Pandita, who explains why loving-kindness practice is especially valuable for Westerners.

Monasteries

  • Here to Serve: a semi-autobiographical, hand-drawn book that describes why I started meditating and eventually joined a monastery. Takes about 45 minutes to read.
  • Monasteries of the Future (notes): Miles Bukiet, a former resident of the Monastic Academy, wrote this dissertation for his Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at UPenn. It conveys, better than almost anything I’ve seen, what a monastery is, why one might train in one, and what possibilities monasteries hold for us in our present and future. You might also enjoy Daniel Thorson’s podcast interview with Miles.
  • Rolling Your Own Culture and (Not) Finding Community: My friend Timothy Roy observes that economically advanced democracies like ours are missing important cultural dimensions, but individuals can compensate for this by looking to “gurus” for wisdom about specific topics. I see monasteries providing an important collective complement to the strategy Timothy advocates for.
  • Visit the Monastic Academy: There’s no better way to understand a monastery than to see one in person. We accept visitors for short visits, meditation retreats, co-working stays (live in a monastery, do your own remote work), and more.

Productivity

  • Tiago Forte’s Top 10 Articles: I like to describe Tiago Forte as the David Allen of our generation. This article shares Tiago’s best materials and starting points. If you want to dive deeper, I’d recommend taking his course on task management first and then his signature BASB course on digital note-taking.
  • James Stuber’s productivity stack: James’ productivity “stack” is pretty much the same as the best tools and practices I’ve found or would recommend to others – I’m grateful he wrote this post, so I don’t have to!
  • 7 Key Takeaways From the 12 Week Year: The 12 Week Year is a great method for goal-setting, planning, and executing on an individual or organizational level. If you need to go from zero to sixty with making things happen, this method might be a good start.
  • The 120-Hour Workweek: A coder-entrepreneur decided to stop answering emails for a week and see how many hours of programming work he could do instead. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend following suit, this article reminded me that, hey, work can be… fun!

Strategy

  • Intro to Wardley Mapping: Wardley Mapping is one of the default tools in my strategy toolbox. Ben Mosior’s introductory post is hands-down the easiest way to start learning Wardley Mapping. I wish I’d had it when I started mapping.
  • Learn Wardley Mapping: This resource will help you do a deep dive into the strategic mindset behind Wardley Mapping. Browse through each page and hover over the boxes in the tables for in-context descriptions.
  • Notes on Deciphering Sun Tzu: According to scholar Derek M. Yuen, Westerners have never really understood Sun Tzu. This post from Callum Flack summarizes some of Yuen’s ideas and dives in on the conditions/consequences mindset, one of the most powerful strategic ideas I’ve found in my studies of strategy.