Key takeaways


  • We love content that offers advice, products that offer solutions, quick fixes, magic bullets and antidotes. We certainly don’t like problems, especially if they linger for too long. We try to avoid them as much as possible, and, if we’re unlucky enough that a problem falls into our lap, we strive to crack them swiftly or to delegate them to another poor soul. (View Highlight)
    • Note: We resist actually sitting with problems, it’s uncomfortable.
  • One of Feynman’s most enduring characteristics was that he loved problems. Instead of avoiding them or trying to solve them as fast as possible, he would seek interesting problems, keep them in mind, let them simmer, and constantly try to connect his everyday experiences to these big questions. (View Highlight)
  • You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. (View Highlight)
  • Like Feynman, you can generate a list of a dozen problems to constantly keep present in your mind, not because you want to solve them as soon as possible, but because they feed your curiosity and turn the world into a big mystery game. (View Highlight)
    • Note: Open problems and questions as sources of curiosity.
  • Your favorite problems form a prism that separates incoming information into a spectrum of ideas — a frame that allows you to deliberately filter distractions, direct your attention, and nurture your curiosity. In short, your favorite problems become a curiosity engine. (View Highlight)