🤯Unknown Unknowns #31 - Paradoxical Pleasures
3 min read

🤯Unknown Unknowns #31 - Paradoxical Pleasures

We decided to make Christmas presents for my relatives this year.

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Two types of treats, Coconut Crackle Chocolate Coffee Toffee Bark and Peppermint White Chocolate Toffee Bark.  It was pretty fun, and I always have a hard time picking out gifts for other people.

I also have a favor to ask of you.  My friend Louie Bacaj and I got accepted into the final stage of the Maven Course Accelerator to do a Cohort Based Course on Newsletters.

We're huge believer in newsletters; they're a fantastic catalyst to get started creating on the internet.  The reasons to start one are numerous, and we want to help others start one too.

We're not newsletter big shots but Louie has published 33 editions so far, and this is my 31st.  This course will be about creating a consistent habit of issuing newsletters.

I would love to gauge your interest to learn from Louie and I.  If you are interested in taking our Cohort Based Course on Newsletters

Fill out this quick form.

We don't know what we will charge for it yet;  but we do know that anyone who fills it out that form in the next week to support us will get a very deep discount.

We will give a 50%+ discount, from the final price, for those that fill out the survey this week.

This Week:


I wrote an essay comparing the Chinese Diaspora from 1850 to 1950 to the present move from the traditional workplace toward self-employment.  It's taken a long time for me to get it out, and I'm still not that happy with it, but here it is.


There are two themes to this week's discoveries.  The concepts of game selection and paradoxical pleasure.

Game selection is the idea that you choose what you want to be rewarded by.  For example, in investing, you choose what market to invest in.  More generally, you are the one who chooses what you care about, so your satisfaction in life is determined by that choice.

Paradoxical pleasure is the idea that we gain pleasure out of things that can cause us pain, for example spicy food.  One theory that I have is that pleasure is actually the buildup and release of tension.  What that means is that there cannot be pleasure without some amount of pain.

Graham Duncan explains Game selection in the context of investing and broadens it into life.  By limiting what you invest in to areas where you both have expertise and where you can take action, is the only way you can have success.

=> Article Here

Sean DeLaney spoke to Yen Liow on both game selection and paradoxical pleasure. To apply game selection to life, ask yourself, "What do you spend your time on?"  and "What do you seek recognition in?"

Yen Liow speaks about the difference between struggle and suffering.  I see parallels to paradoxical pleasure in his description.  He calls struggle pain with meaning and suffering pain without meaning.  When you accomplish something, it's the reward you feel because you pushed through the pain.

=> Article Here

Russ Roberts talks to Paul Bloom about his book, The Sweet Spot.  Paradoxical pleasures mean you have to suffer to get pleasure.  There's obviously a trade-off between them, and the key is to find the sweet spot – "embracing the cyclical nature of joy and suffering helps utilize worry and anxiety for positive reinforcement"

=> Article Here

Questions, suggestions, complaints?  Email me me at [email protected].  Feedback welcome.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two.  And feel free to send anything you find interesting to me!

Have a great week,