Alberto's weekly email: The Control Of Nature,  end of the 2010s and more! 🚀

Hi All,

What I am reading 📚

I really missed reading books. After a 2-week break, I recently started reading The Control of Nature by John McPhee. The book is divided into three essays in which McPhee describes three different battles between humans and Nature. The first one, which I am currently reading, is about all the efforts we have gone through to control the waters of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers since the 1600s.

“Mother Nature is patient” he said. “Mother Nature” has more time than we do“.”She has nothing but time."

I didn’t know much about John McPhee before starting this book. But I got curious about him because his writing is very creative and captivating —something hard to find in nonfiction books. It turns out he is considered one of the fathers of creative nonfiction.

After the Corps dammed Old River, in 1963, the engineers could not just walk away, like roofers who had fixed a leak. In the early planning stages, they had considered doing that, but there were certain effects they could not overlook. The Atchafalaya, after all, was a distributary of the Mississippi —the major one, and, as it happened, the only one worth mentioning that the Corps had not already plugged.In time of thundering flood, the Atchafalaya was useful as a safety valve, to relieve a good deal of pressure and help keep New Orleans from ending up in Yucatán.

Nerd Corner 🤓

The end of the year is around the corner. This is always an exciting and also daunting time for me as I review the year and prepare for what lies ahead.

There is one framework that has helped a lot in recent years, The Regret Minimization Framework: picture yourself as an 80-year-old and think about what would you regret not having done. Come back to the present, and plan so to minimize your future regrets. Simple and powerful.

This year also marks the end of the 2010 decade!
I hadn’t realized this until a few weeks ago. While the date is not particularly important, I found it humbling to perform a full review of the decade.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” - Bill Gates

For example, ten years ago I was still in high-school and had no clue than I would end up working and living in San Francisco! In the process, I've lost some weight and a lot of hair 😅.

I am deeply thankful for the opportunities that brought me here and I look forward to what’s next!

Also interesting 🤯

  • Recently I stumbled on this guide for mental models. I can’t recommend it enough!

    I believe your intellectual life is divided into two parts: before you embrace mental models and after.

  • I have been researching strategies to improve my memory and what I retain from books and other material I study. This 2018 article by Michael Nielsen provides a comprehensive view of useful strategies.

  • I found on Medium this annual review guide. It is very detailed and methodical and provides a nice framework to review your year!

Before you go 😎

Just in case this is the last email of the year you read, I wish you a Happy Christmas!

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