What i learnt in 2016

In 2016, the most important things i pursued included love, my post-graduate studies and my future career(intersection of data science and behavioral economics).

Interesting things/people that have influenced this year include :

Marginal revolution: (This allows me claim an interest in economics) Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok post on economics and a bunch of other things. I really enjoy it because the noise to signal ratio is pretty low compared to a lot of other blogs

Rory Sutherland: Behavioral psychology evangelist. I probably have a few too many videos of him saying the same things, but he’s grown my interest in a non-statistical way of examining things. This video is a pretty good introduction to his alternative perspective of looking at things

Farnam Street blog: A blog that attempts to educate its readers on building a much better and wiser them in the spirit of Charlie Munger(Berkshire Hathaway is headquartered on Farnam street). I took their how to read a book course and it has totally changed the way i read. I still think i don’t read them enough

Seun Odukoya: Childhood egbon. He writes books, scripts, poetry  and comics and his book “Saving Dapo” was the only novel i read this year. We see at least thrice a month at Cafe Neo and have the most animated conversations about life, relationships, his work, mine and a ton of other things in-between.

The importance of regularly tracking the things i think/know to be important:(screenshot of my checklist i am supposed to use daily to keep track of what’s important is below). It’s a living document so it’s constantly changing :D. This was first inspired by BJ Fogg and i’m currently working my way through Marshall Goldsmith’s Triggers.

daily checklist.jpg

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: contravener extraordinaire, he attempts to explain the world through his lenses as a statistician and attempts to debunk the wisdom in a lot of modern fads including Behavioral economics, Game theory etc. His last post this year has me contemplating whether I’m IYI.

BJ Fogg: He’s probably one of the pioneers in the application of behavioral psychology in computing. His courses at Stanford have inspired many startups founded by his students. I’d love a chance to study under him(i’d love to apply behavioral psychology/economics in an analytical role to solve problems in either healthcare or education).

Relationships

Earlier in the year, i started to experiment with the idea of loving people and expressing it. I probably said i love you monthly more times than i cumulatively did in my past years, and it’s opened me up to some really wonderful experiences. I’ve shared this with my family and my small circle of friends and it has fostered our closeness and eased self-expression(especially for me) as i know they have my back.

My 2 closest female friends(Folashade and Adeola) left the country this year at very close intervals. Was tough at first for me because i always discount communication where both parties aren’t physically present, but we’re still good friends.

I fell in love earlier in the year with someone really interesting(ES) but that didn’t work out for many reasons(mostly me) and my opinion that i was the one with that much emotions vested and she wasn’t in the same place emotionally as i was. However, i learnt a ton of things from her including

  1. The dangers of falling in love with the idea of a person before you really know the person as you’ll probably miss a lot of stuff that’s pretty important.
  2. Friends(the TV sitcom) which she loved actually offers a comedic discourse on several of the messy stuff that’s part of everyday life(and some outlandish ones that not a lot of normal people face as well).
  3. The reality of answering the question “Would you rather be happy or correct?” with happy involves a lot more than just saying “happy”. It literally translates into how i make decisions on a regular basis about what to prioritize vs let go of, and how I’ll react to new information as things happen. I’ll still have to go through this with anyone I’m going to date but i think the happiness route is the way to go for me.

I volunteered with ykprojects and worked on a fundraiser for the project #WeAlmostForgot. Qudus is a brilliant fund-raiser and working with him reminds me that the problem sometimes isn’t a paucity of ideas, but a scarcity of executors(this reminds me of the saying “The problem with good ideas is that they quickly degenerate into hard work”). A lot of the funds raised were through his brilliance raising funds and working his contacts to get things done.

I had the best of times with my flat mate Chuka Eze. He’s the simplest example of a friend i can find, involved when you need him to be and on the sidelines if you don’t call for his opinion. We’ve maintained the same cordial relationship we’ve always had and i hope we remain friends for a very long time.

Career

A good part of my year was spent preparing and doing my GRE and TOEFL, both of which i did reasonably well at. I’ve applied to a couple of schools for postgrad admissions and I’m hoping for an admission decision soon. I’ll be hoping for partscholarship

Family

2 of my siblings graduated this year. Seun finished OAU with a second class upper in Mechanical engineering and her project got her into the GE’s garages program(i hope this transitions into something really good for her) and Excellent/Papa finished his Secondary schooling and got admitted into UNILAG to study Electrical Electronics Engineering.

Oyinkan is on track to get a Red certificate (you need less than 10 non A scores to get this) from her Russian university for her undergraduate schooling. She’ll be applying to schools in the US to commence her postgraduate studies soon and we’ve got fingers crossed for that.

Ireti Akinsola was valedictorian at Crawford University where she studied geology. I finally went to her school after promising to go there since the day she started :(… She’ll be applying to schools in the US to commence her postgraduate studies soon and we’ve got fingers crossed for that as well.

My cousin Adeola got married this year. She’s the first of my generation to get married. She also had a child this year, another first. Best wishes to mother and child.

I aimed to practice filial piety as described by Confucius but fell well short of the standard he set. I however still aim for a life as he described and hope to live a life pursuing such an excellent standard of conduct.

Media

I learnt to go through a producer’s/ director’s filmography. This year, i’ve gotten a relevant part of the filmographies of the following producers/directors.. Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Antoine Fuqua, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Guy Ritchie, Jean-Marc Vallee, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Werner Herzog, Wes Anderson and Woody Allen.

I stayed well away from social media in its many forms. The only social media accounts i have are Facebook and Twitter both of which i believe are easily dealt away with as i do not use them. My perspective of their being mostly a circle-jerk and a distraction from experiencing the real world with friends rather than a carefully curated journal chronicling the lives of people i can’t be bothered to keep in touch with still stands.

I attended the 6th Lights, Camera, Africa  film festival and i’ll be going to as many of those as i can go to in the coming years. I got to see a documentary on Tunde Jegede and fell in love with the Kora and musicians that play it including Toumani, Sona Jorbateh and Tunde Jegede. I’ll probably be going to see Tunde Jegede in concert as often as i can afford to.

The Grand tour came to continue the trail of automotive comedy/ entertainment that Clarkson, Hammond and May paused when they left Top Gear. As usual, they’ve done an excellent job at it.

Some of the movies i enjoyed the most this year included

Demolition: A man’s attempt to come to terms with the death of his wife and the self-discovery that ensued as he went about doing this. I’ve seen this movie at least thrice this year

Seven Samurai: I believe i read a popular Director’s recommendation of this movie and after watching it got Akira Kurosawa’s filmography. It contained elements of comedy, courage, chivalry, determination and the Japanese tradition. I see why it’s cited as influencing a lot of people in the movie industry.

The Squid and the whale: This is probably one of my favorite  movies and I’ve seen it thrice(I immediately watched it again after my first screening). It shows the insular nature of the human perspective and how our self-evaluations or opinions do not have any bearing on the experiences of others that are in our lives. Everyone will judge us independently and with no consideration for our perspective of ourselves and a virtuous man will find a mid-point between this two perspectives.

Clint Eastwood movies: Space cowboys, Pale Rider, Unforgiven, The outlaw Josey Wales and a couple others. The recurring theme of individual courage and the change such an individual can yield make them extra appealing to me.

The Young Victoria(2009): This movie seems to inspire the stock of chivalry that was forgotten in me. In the end, i draw similarities between me and Prince Albert and the choice everyone I’m courting is at liberty of making. I particularly loved it.

The age of innocence: Martin Scorsese’s interpretation of the reality of love “Sometimes you have to let it go  no matter how much you want to hold on”.

Wes Anderson movies: Moonrise Kingdom( A weird coming of age movie), The royal Tenenbaums(A family of weirdos with an estranged father “Who’s also weird” come to grips with their mother taking  on a new lover).

Vicky Christina Barcelona: 2 ladies explore various forms of relationships ;). I just discovered Woody Allen and his movies are hit or miss for me. His hits are usually really strong though.

The best books/courses i read all year include

Statistics(Freedman, Pisani and Purves): This book simplified statistics for me. Anyone that has some statistics in his future would find it a lot easier studying with this.

Finite and Infinite games
Switch

Guns Germs and Steel: A different explanation for the distribution of progress in the world. If the explanations you have about the different levels of progress as experienced in different countries are insufficient, you should probably give this book a read

Farnam Street’s: The Art of Reading course: The founders of Farnam street attempt to explain their technique for book discovery, reading and knowledge retention as inspired by Mortimer Adler’s book “How to read a book”

Some of the music i discovered and spent a lot of time listening to this year include

Eric Clapton: I can run the Sahara listening to him on the guitars with the right pair of headphones on.

Tracy Chapman: Her lyrics have remained relevant over 20 years after she sang them reflecting the constancy of social issues that counters the perspective of rapid change we’re sometimes caught up in.

Nina Simone

Sade Adu

Jon Bellion

George Ezra

Sting: I bought his album “The last ship” after seeing the Ted talk about how he overcame a period of artistic drought and came about the album reflecting on his life  growing up and the difficulty that surrounded it.

Old Nigerian Musicians including Onyeka Onwenu, Prince Nico Mbarga, Bobby Benson, Rex Lawson, Seyi Sodimu, Alex Zitto, Evi-Edna Ogholi and Victor Uwaifo

Philosophy

I’m trying to understand what happiness really entails.

I made a decision to prioritize choices that lead to my long-term happiness over those that lead to short term happiness. Seeing as this is pretty ambiguous, I’m defining long-term happiness as a state of mind where I’ll be satisfied with my life for as long as possible with minimal additional achievements in that area of my life that the action pertains to.

I’ll sometimes pursue short-term happiness because it’s probably the glue that prevents me from going crazy sometimes and helps pull me from my frequent melancholy(Video of me doing Karaoke).