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Book, blog & podcast recommendations

Roger Reaves on Lex Fridman

Likeable guy and great storyteller telling us about his time as a drug smuggler flying cocaine in small planes from South America to the US. Good one to listen to while driving—but good enough just to listen to.

Link: Roger Reaves: Smuggling Drugs for Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel | Lex Fridman Podcast #199.

Jewel on Joe Rogan

Wild stories about growing up on a homestead in Alaska, being homeless, a cat stealing some cheese (CW skip this one if you’re squeamish), becoming a famous singer-songwriter, and having a narcissistic mother.

Link: Jewel.

How Emotions are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Explains how emotions are made. Implications for better reasoning about them and ultimately regulating them. Overthrows the dominant paradigm based on the assumption that each emotion has a distinct biological fingerprint. We actually have two main axes, affect and arousal, and the rest – the creation of high-level emotional states and the assignment of psychological significance to the feelings of different combinations of these – is largely driven by interpretation and best-guessing, similarly to how we interpret ambiguous sense data from other modalities (think Rorschach tests or the blue/white/gold/black dress paradox).

Affiliate link: How Emotions Are Made.

The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio

Clear explanations of how different parts of the brain work in relation to consciousness and homeostasis. Particular focus on the concept of images – in-brain representations of things like external stimuli and internal bodily states – and how they relate to the feeling of consciousness. Hard work but worth reading if you’re interested in consciousness. Interesting examples from medical case histories, e.g. strokes affecting certain parts of the brain while leaving others intact, which can give rise to remarkable conditions and help answer questions about consciousness.

Affiliate link: The Feeling of What Happens.

Jordan Peterson’s UToronto lectures, interviews, and podcast

Uses vast knowledge and experience as a clinical psychologist to explore deep psychological questions and put forth coherent and compelling psychological perspectives on current issues.

Link: jordanbpeterson.com.

Frozen Alive by Peter Stark

Short story about getting lost on the way to a mountain cabin.

Link: Frozen Alive | Outside Online.

Sasha Chapin (Substack)

Especially: If You Have Writer’s Block, Maybe You Should Stop Lying.