Never Normal Newsletter

From Belarus to Finding Meaning, Pro Wrestling, and Web3

I’m experimenting with a different format this week and sharing a few of the things I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, and learning.


Normally I like to read before bed, but for the past few months I find myself reaching for my phone more often than my Kindle at bedtime.

I suppose part of the problem is that few of the books I’ve started recently have hooked me enough to overcome the temptation of the phone.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up The Burning Edge: Travels Through Irradiated Belarus.

A travelogue, set in the former Soviet Union, written by a guy who goes by the handle Bald and Bankrupt on YouTube. Not exactly profound, but if you know me, you already know that this is right up my alley.

Finally, a book that hooked.

‘There is an anecdote,’ he began. ‘The three Slavic presidents are having a meeting and Putin says, for every hundred dollars Russians make I take twenty in tax. Poroshenko then says for every hundred dollars Ukrainians make I take seventy-five in tax. Lukashenko then says, for every hundred dollars Belarusians make I take one hundred and twenty in tax. The other two turn to him and ask how is it possible that the Belarusian people manage to pay more than they make? I have no idea, replied Lukashenko, but somehow they always find a way. Well, that’s how we live in Belarus,’ the boatman said, ‘Somehow we always find a way.’

More Reading

A bit more ‘on topic’ – I recently came across Paul Millerd’s “Accidental Meaning Hypothesis“. Paul makes some interesting points about the relationship between work and meaning, and how it’s changing.For more than 50 years people have gone into adulthood with the idea that they should achieve more than their parents while still following the same general path.People have stopped believing that if they “work hard” and do what their parents did that they will earn the same rewards.

Paul’s ideas overlap with my own, and they pair nicely with the following videos.


Eric Weinstein has a compelling theory that “politics has become pro wrestling”. It goes deeper than you might think…

Like Paul’s essay above, a lot of it comes down to the fact that economic growth has slowed, but Eric also introduces a concept called “Kayfabe”.

I would try to explain it here, but there’s no way I could do a better job than Jake Orthwein has done in these two videos:

Highly recommended. Even if you don’t agree with the theory, watch the videos to see what one commenter called the “Cleanest YouTube video essay I’ve ever seen”.


A couple of recent podcast episode recommendations:

The “Lifestyle Ladder” episode of the Tropical MBA podcast – Dan and guest Jesse Schoberg discuss the various strategies and associated challenges with being a permanent traveler (aka digital nomad), entrepreneurship, geo arbitrage, and FIRE.

Jason Hitchcock: DeFi, NFTs, And The Metaverse – The latest episode of Eric Jorgenson’s Soundbox is a great, high level overview of what’s going on (and what’s coming soon) in the world of crypto and Web3.

This is an area that I’m super interested in at the moment. I’ve been learning about Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and playing around with things like decentralized exchanges and staking with the cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Solana. Which reminds me…


I recently took Nat Eliason’s DeFi Course. Nat’s course is a great resource for diving into this world. You could probably find all of the same information elsewhere for free, but it’s nice to have it all in one place and in a coherent order.

That’s all for this week. More soon…

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I write occasional emails to share what I’m thinking, learning, and doing. It’s all related to the idea of breaking free from the “default plan” in life.

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