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Book Summary: The Anthology of Balaji by Eric Jorgenson

My Personal Summary

This book is a compilation of ideas from Balaji Srinivasan, an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, and author.

Book Notes

  • This book focuses on three main sections: technology, truth, and building the future.
  • “100 years ago, the richest man in the world couldn’t buy an iPhone. That’s the type of progress I care about.”
  • “True technologists should aspire to change physical metrics. We can change life expectancy from 70 years old to 150. We need to focus on brain-machine interfaces, limb regeneration, curing deafness with RNA injections, and curing blindness with bionic eyes.”
  • “If you’re doing information work, relative to your ancestors who worked with papyrus, paper, or typewriters, you are a golden god surfing on a sea of electrons. You can make things happen in seconds that would have taken them weeks, if they could do them at all.”
  • The year 1950 was peak centralization. There was one telephone company (AT&T), two superpowers (US and USSR), and three TV stations (ABC, CBS, NBC). But now many things are decentralized thanks to the internet, social media, blogs, streaming systems, cryptocurrency, etc.
  • Scientific truth is based on mathematical truth, regardless if people believe it or not. Maxwell’s Equations are true even if you don’t want them to be. Political truth, on the other hand, is about having the most popular idea, regardless if it’s true or not.
  • On why politicians suck at handling financial/economic decisions: “We select people who win popularity contests, then wonder why they’re bad at allocating scarce resources.”
  • “If you are what you eat, then you think what you see.” Be careful what media you consume – it influences what you think.
  • Media has an incentive to create conflict. “If it enrages, it engages.”
  • As an example, media companies make more money during war time because there’s plenty of conflict to report on.
  • Much of wealth creation comes from knowing how to order things together. “Often the value of raw materials is not anywhere near the value of the assembly process: the know-how, the machines, and the effort required to put the raw materials together.”
  • The wild thing about wealth creation on the internet is that the materials have no cost. The new creation is just an electron configuration.
  • Here is Balaji’s ranking of types of leaders: socialist < nationalist < capitalist < technologist.
  • A socialist leader is someone who blames all problems on the wealthy class.
  • A nationalist leader is someone who unites a nation but still declares other nations to be the enemies.
  • A capitalist leader is one who encourages people to compete in an open marketplace, which can generate more wealth for all.
  • A technologist leader is one who encourages innovation, which leads to new technologies and higher quality of life. This is what produces cars, trains, planes, medicine, iPhones, etc.
  • “The point of doing a startup is to build something you can’t buy. Today money can’t but you a trip to Mars or a neural implant. In the not-too-distant past, money could not buy you a web browser, a search engine, or a smartphone.”
  • “With the internet, your life can begin much earlier than it could twenty years ago. You can fast forward through the demo and tutorial levels to start playing the real game.”
  • “You are what you read.”

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