Study Hacks Blog Decoding Patterns of Success Posts from 2017 March

Yuval Harari Works Less Than You

March 13th, 2017 · 39 comments

The Charmed Career of Yuval Harari

The 41-year old Israeli historian Yuval Harari has enjoyed a career rise that any academic would envy. He earned his doctorate at Oxford, specializing in medieval military history. He went on to publish a prodigious number of well-respected books and articles on the topic, winning, along the way, several important awards in his field, a place in the Young Israeli Academy of Sciences, and a tenured professorship at Hebrew University.

In 2011, he published (in Hebrew) his first work of “macro-history.” It was called, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (which I read and recommend), and it offers a sweeping history of our species organized, in large part, around our unique ability to make things up.

The book was a bestseller in Israel and was soon translated into 30 different languages, becoming an international phenomenon. In America, both Barack Obama and Bill Gates publicly recommended the title. Mark Zuckerberg choose it for his online book club. Last month Harari published his follow-up, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which became an instant New York Times bestseller.

Given the magnitude of these accomplishments and the diminutive status of Harari’s age, you might assume that the young historian must be phenomenally busy.

But as he revealed in a recent interview on Ezra Klein’s podcast, he’s working less than you might expect…

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The Focused Rise of Wesley So

March 3rd, 2017 · 22 comments

So Good They Can’t Ignore Him

Yesterday, Tyler Cowen published a blog post about the 23-year old chess grandmaster Wesley So. It begins: “[So] should be starring in a Malcolm Gladwell column”

As Cowen notes, just a few years ago So was seen as an up-and-coming player who lacked the strategic polish needed for elite play. Cowen was surprised to learn recently that So had risen to number nine in the world rankings. Since then, So won four top tournaments in a row including a win over world champion Magnus Carlsen.

“Arguably he is the second best player in the world,” Cowen writes, “and the one most likely to dethrone Carlsen.”

There are many explanations for So’s rise. But there’s one contributing factor, in particular, I want to emphasize. Here’s So in a recent interview:

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