Salt, Stretching, and Silly Mistakes
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More Shocked by the Cost of College
This bit of math from Scott Galloway gave me an entirely new perspective on just how insane university pricing is:
"I’ll have 170 kids in my brand-strategy class [at New York University] in the fall. We charge them $7,000 per student. That’s $1.2 million that we get for 12 nights of me in a classroom. $100,000 a night. The gross margins on that offering are somewhere between 92 and 96 points.
There is no other product in the world that’s been able to sustain 90-plus points of margin for this long at this high of a price point. Ferrari can’t do it. Hermès can’t do it. Apple can’t do it. Apple’s gross margins are 38 points. Hermès and luxury goods are somewhere between 50 and 60 points. There has never been a luxury item that’s been able to garner the type of gross margins as university education."
More Trivial Mistakes
Here's the secret to getting your ideas approved: purposefully make a noticeable but small mistake in your next presentation.
This insight follows from the Law of Triviality (a.k.a Bikeshedding). This law suggests that people giving feedback tend to give disproportionate weight to trivial issues that are easy to engage with while ignoring more substantive issues and decisions.
There's a number of reasons for this, but the simplest is that people feel a need to give feedback when asked, but generally don't like thinking too hard about the core concept. So instead they find something trivial to critique. If your presentation doesn't have something obvious for them to identify, they will spend more time trying to find other small details to "fix".
In practice, this might mean misspelling a word in your next memo or purposefully using an unclear chart in your next presentation. The benefit is that you know what kind of feedback you'll get, and your idea will be more likely to get approved as soon as you make the small change.
"Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself" - Bob Dylan
Salt, the enemy of nutritionists everywhere, is not actually as bad for you as popularly thought. And, it turns out, very low salt levels can be lethal.
In theory, the US government recommends eating 2,300 mg of salt per day, which is about 1 teaspoon. In reality, virtually every healthy population in the world eats salt at far above this level. So what gives?
One answer: the recommendation is based on an influential study with poor methodology. One 2014 meta-analysis, which examined all the best research on sodium intake, concluded, "There was weak evidence of benefit for cardiovascular events, but these findings were inconclusive and were driven by a single trial among retirement home residents." Not exactly confidence-inspiring results!
Here's the macabre twist: very low salt levels are actually associated with higher risk of death. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) are large scale surveys of American dietary habits that are carried out periodically. The first two surveys found that those with very low salt levels died at a rate 15-18% higher than those with very high salt levels. In other words, having very low salt levels is more deadly than having very high salt levels.
Of course, no one is suggesting that you should drink soy sauce with every meal. But you probably shouldn't be as concerned with salt in your diet unless you've specifically been told to worry about it by an actual doctor.
As Dr. Jason Fung says, "Salt is vital, not villian."
More Flexible in the Mornings
If you, like me, have a New Year Resolution to stretch more in 2021, the below graphic might be of interest. It's a stretching routine that takes only 30 seconds, doesn't require any yoga blocks or additional equipment, and consists only of simple poses.
I'd recommend taking a screenshot of this image so you can quickly reference it tomorrow morning.
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