The Voluntary Life: May 2014

29 May 2014

157 How To Go Paperless Part 2

This episode is the second part of a series on how to go paperless. It explains how to digitise your paper books using destructive book scanning.

Show Notes:


Listen to Episode 157

23 May 2014

156 How To Unleash Your Creative Thinking

This podcast episode presents a range of techniques to support your creative thinking.  Some of the techniques covered are outlined below:

  • The focussed journalling technique called extraordinary time is great for thinking creatively about challenges in life. 
  • Another productive method of focussed journalling is the use of regular creative review questions for supporting ongoing creative thinking. 
  • The practice of noting and reviewing someday/maybe projects nurtures your dreams and helps you turn them into plans.
  • Affirmations help you to be the best version of yourself by reminding yourself of what you have committed to do and who you are committed to be.
  • Various other techniques are presented in the podcast, many of which come from the creative review part of the weekly review in GTD (Getting Things Done). 

Show Notes

Listen to Episode 156 

14 May 2014

155 Review of A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel

This week's podcast episode is a discussion of Burton Malkiel's famous investment book "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". Malkiel's key point is that stock market prices are inherently unpredictable. He further argues that investment advisor techniques such as technical analysis and fundamental analysis cannot be used to reliably beat market averages. In light of this, he recommends the alternative approach of passive investment.
In the podcast, I summarise the contents of the book, discuss the main arguments, outline some criticisms, and suggest other books and ideas that may be of interest.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 155

8 May 2014

154 How To Stay On Top With A Weekly Review

This episode is about a technique for staying on top of all your commitments known as the weekly review. It helps you get a handle on all your commitments, decide what you want and don't want to do with your time and maintain all aspects of your life in working order. The idea for this technique comes from the Getting Things Done approach to personal productivity, but you can adapt it to your own purposes even if you don't practice GTD. Topics covered in the episode include:
  • The three parts to a weekly review: a clear review (discussed in the episode mental decluttering), a current review (this episode) and a creative review (future episode).
  • The value of identifying areas of responsibility in your life and reviewing them each week
  • How to get an overview of all live projects, including urgency and importance
  • The review of each live project and the importance of identifying next actions.
  • The use of agendas and waiting lists for all the people in your life
  • The Calendar review and weekly plan of tasks and decisions
Show Notes:



4 May 2014

153 Your Own Moral Compass Part 3

Part three in a series on developing your own independent moral compass. Here is a summary of the ideas covered:
  • Moral behaviour evolved as an evolutionary adaptation to gain the advantages of the division of labour that come from peaceful cooperation.
  • The act of peaceful communication logically contains and implies the criteria for moral rules.
  • There are four rules for avoiding conflict over scarce resources that are valid according to the criteria of universality, logical coherence and non-contradiction by behaviour.
  • The rules are inherent in the nature of peaceful communication and can't be argued against without self-contradiction.
  • Rule 1: Each individual has exclusive control of his or her own physical body.
  • Rule 2:  The exclusive control of a previously unowned scarce resource belongs to the first person to "homestead" the resource.
  • Rule 3:  The exclusive control of a newly produced scarce object belongs to the person to created the object (as long as they owned the component resources that they made it from).
  • Rule 4:  Justly acquired control over scarce resources can be given away or traded by voluntary agreement.
  • These four rules together comprise the non-aggression principle.
Protecting yourself from straightforward aggression is a practical matter. Protecting yourself from aggression that is disguised with bogus moral justifications is more complex: you need your own moral compass to avoid confusion. The purpose of this series has been to outline the principles necessary to reconstruct valid moral rules for yourself, so that you are not duped by bogus moral justifications.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 153