KAIZEN CH.86 - How to Use Inversion to Read More Books

Thoughts on reading more books, NFTs, the Self and Practice

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 86th edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

(if you got referred to this page by a friend or are simply visiting you can subscribe here👇)


So update on my end. I just finished my latest YouTube video today (check below to watch it) and it took me way longer to do than I thought (although it's definitely my best video yet). I want to dedicate as much time to YouTube and such, I decided to reduce the essays that I write to once per month instead of every edition like I used to.

I've been fairly consistent in my writing for the past year and thought it would be a good time to go for quality instead of quantity. This means that my writing will be (hopefully) better than what they were.

If you also enjoy writing, then I'd encourage you to check out the writing community I'm a part of called Compound Writing. Stew, the co-founder, told me that they're looking for writers to join the March cohort. He also said that Compound "just launched a program to offer flexible pricing for writers and writing-inclined people capable of giving constructive edits."

Feel free to reply or DM me for more details if you're interested. Would be awesome to see a few of you inside!

P.S. I'm legit not making any $$$ out of this. I just really love this community and have seen first-hand how my writing has improved thanks to it and want to offer the opportunity to others to improve their writing as well.

Apply Here

Now, on to the newsletter.


🤔 Thoughts

📚 Thoughts on Reading More Books

Have you ever said or thought of any of these sentences when it comes to books?

"I don't have time to read"

"I don't want to read this book right now."

"I'm too tired to read."

Well, these three sentences have plagued me for the past few years, and I was finally able to get rid of them using a mental model called inversion.

Normally, you would think of trying to think of ways to increase your reading, but with inversion, you want to think of ways to prevent yourself from not reading.

  • To remove the excuse of “I’m too tired to read”, I would tell myself to only read 3 pages before going to bed instead of finishing a whole chapter.

  • To remove the excuse of “I don’t have time to read”, I stop treating reading time is precious and try to read whenever I can (yes, even when I’m pooping!)

  • To remove the excuse of “I don’t want to read this book right now”, I started reading multiple books at a time and of different genres.

In the video, I cover each technique more in-depth and give examples for each and doing so led me to read 9 books in 2020 compared to only 1 book in 2019.

P.S. I mentioned it above, but I am super happy about the quality of my edits for this video. There are obviously some flaws, but it's a huge improvement compared to my previous videos!

Watch Video

🧠 Thoughts on NFTs

NFTs have been all over Twitter in the past 2 weeks. I have no idea why it suddenly exploded, but everybody decided to write about it this week.

For those who haven't been on Twitter, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) allow users to have ownership in a digital media asset.

In practical terms, this allows creators such as Chris Torres, the creator of Nyan Cat, to sell a gif of Nyan Cat for close to 600K. And I'm not lying, this actually happened.

And why would anybody want to buy this?

How I think about NFTs is a bit like art or collectibles such as sports cards or Pokemon cards (which are all the rage now as well), but in digital form.

The reason this works is that these digital media assets, unlike normal ones, have a unique token and each unique token is associated with its owner(s). Even if others can download or even copy the gif, you can always verify who "truly owns" the piece.

People will want to invest in these digital media assets because they're often unique and they can "own it", like if you bought a painting and showed it proudly to everyone that visited your home. Similarly, you'll be able to flaunt your NFTs to people who come visit your digital home page.

My final thoughts on NFTs is that this gives more power to the creator. If you’re an artist, you’ll be able to mint your own songs or albums. If you’re a YouTuber, then you can even mint your YouTube videos. Justin Kan, one of the Twitch co-founders just minted his first video. It gives the creator more opportunity to monetize and continue doing what they truly love and can be directly supported by their fans and audience in return.

Learn more on NFTs

🎨 Thoughts on the Self

One of my new favourite bloggers is Lawrence Kao who writes More To That. The best way I can describe the blog is a more philosophical WaitButWhy. This past week I finished one of his mega-posts titled "The Staircase of the Self".

In the essay, he brings us through the different paths of self-actualization.

Although it would be almost impossible for me to try and summarize the post, I will leave this passage from the book:

Have you ever noticed how you can be so patient with your friends, but have a short fuse with your family? Or how you can be so intellectually rigorous with your work, but will vote for whichever candidate your political party endorses?

Lawrence argues that not only are there multiple steps on the staircase, but there are also multiple "selves". This means that your "work" self might be more self-actualized than your "relationship self" or "friend self" for example.

Your goal should be to get all selves to one place on the staircase and not let them spread.

Learn about the Self

✍️ Thoughts on Practice

This blog post is one of the few that I revisit from time to time.

Although the concept is simple, I tend to forget it, so it's always a good reminder whenever I read through this post. And I believe that I also internalize more each time.

The principle is in the title: "Practice as the bar for truth."

I've wasted so many hours on debating small details and would get caught up in "what is the best way to implement this" instead of actually choosing one and trying it out.

Cedric says it best:

But practice is a shortcut. You apply something to your life and if it works, it’s true. You get to skip over some of the up-front analysis you might otherwise need to do. You don’t allow yourself the luxury of debate.

As a creator, one of the best mindsets to have is to take action first and think later. The worst thing that can happen is that you learn something out of it, which you can then use to make a better action next time.

Read More on Practice

🐦 Tweets

This x100. People want to know that they’re not alone.

Really impressive thread. Enjoyed learning about this communications technique.

When you try to impress girls with your NFTs.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to Cedric, Jamie and Ryan for the amazing convos last week.


👋 End Note

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends.

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See ya next Tuesday,

Alexander ✌️