2021 Year in Review

Previous Year: [[2020 In Review]]

N.B: This is my annual retrospective post. It contains no special insights and is 100% skippable.


A good year overall. My economic situation continues to improve. My social situation is somewhat improved. Intellectually, I did not write anywhere near as much as I wanted and I didn’t read much. Still, my good habits (RSS feed aggregation, podcasts, pocket as a reading backlog) mean that I suspect my overall quantity of high quality reading has increased.


Total posts this year: 15 (+2 vs 2020)

Decent Posts

  • [[Why does tech debt exist]]
  • [[Avoiding problems is easier than fixing them]]
  • [[How far is technological progress deterministic]]
  • [[Fears and Thoughts on humanity moving towards a singleton]]
  • [[Against honouring allied bomber crews]]
  • [[80k podcast with Mushtaq Khan]]
  • [[Startup Idea – Children as a Service]]
  • [[Inefficient writing systems]]
  • [[Stupidity is a problem we should care about more]]
  • [[Ideas flow easily into empty vessels]]
  • [[Unrefined thoughts on some things rationalism is missing vs religions]]
  • [[Strength, not courage, is the second component of goodness]]
  • [[Inspired]]
  • [[Exploiting Crypto Prediction Markets for Fun and Profit]]
  • [[How my school gamed the stats]]

I’ve kept writing at a rate of at least one post a month. This is good but still I feel that both the quantity and quality of what I write is far below what I can achieve. I have dozens of decent ideas each quarter I never write up. In fact, I often write up ideas I think are less good while the "good" ideas languish on the backburner out of misguided perfectionism.

Main aim for this year re writing

write more often but also write a bit more carelessly. It’s better to write a post expressing a good idea poorly than to not write the post at all.


Total Books Read This Year: 9 (+4 vs 2020)

I continue to read three serials: A Practical Guide To Evil, Pale and Delve.


In terms of other content, I have 67 sources in the smart category of my RSS feed collections (? vs 2021) and 21 high quality podcasts.

I’ve finished my con study group and worked my way through principles of economics by Cowen and Tabarock.

main aim for this year re consuming info

I should do another study group. Mathematics sounds like a good next topic.

There are a few high quality sources that are paywalled. I have more money than I need. I should subscribe to

  • The diff
  • Razib Khan’s whatever
  • The private eye
  • Astral Codex 10
  • Dominic Cummings blog

$50 or so a month makes no difference to me financially and is a small price to pay for more knowledge. My avoidance of spending money is not rational, it’s a product of habits learned from when I was much poorer which are maladaptations in my present circumstances.


My economic situation continue’s to improve. I’ve gone from an annual income of 65k to one of roughly 110k. My net worth has gone from 54k or so to just north of 100k, largely due to saving but also due to strong investment performance. My savings rate continues to stay above 50% despite large one time costs for buying a house/healthcare. Money has strong compounding. Good decisions and bad decisions both have disproportionately large effects if made early in life. I’m thankful for my wealth and for having had the right sources of information and morals to make the correct decisions regarding it.

In the longer term, I don’t think I want software engineering to be what I do with my life. I miss philosophy and think I can make more of an impact there. I also look at a lot of arguments in the field and find them fairly weak, plus I love discussing it more than anything else. It’s worth trying out at some point. Along with other things like politics, a podcast etc… Still, that transition is years in the future.


My social life has improved a bit. At the beginning of the year I reached out to various people and scheduled one hour long monthly talks. These are going well and helping me keep alive/rekindle many old relationships. I have not met any new high-quality people, and that’s something I aim to work on a bit this year, especially once covid is over.

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