The Reis Release #15

The Reis Release aims to share thought provoking articles, podcasts, questions, and quotes related (sometimes loosely) to business and tech. I do this because I enjoy sharing content with friends, it helps me gather my thoughts, and motivates me to seek more. Each day I search for that article, podcast, interview, etc that provides that inspirational feeling, like the first time I heard Mr. Tambourine Man live.

While on the subway…

After listening to a Mitch Albom interview, I decided to read Tuesdays with Morrie. I’ve been wanting to read this book since my mom chose a powerful excerpt  for a reading at my bar-mitzvah. I can’t believe I waited this long! There’s so much to say about it.

This is how I felt about Tuesday’s With Morrie. It’s a thing that is so good you want to savor it. You want to slow play time as you are falling in love with it and hope to return to that moment many times over. It’s like while enjoying a vacation or a Levain (I mean vegan) cookie, you try to savor it and never want it to end.

I also realized short good books (after this week and On the Shortness of Life from Seneca from last week) go well with my attention span. They don’t drag on and thus I don’t get stuck in them.

Onto the book. Morrie often repeats that by learning how to die, he learned how to live and philosophizes while on his death bed to his former favorite student (Mitch) who he had lost touch with. Interestingly, Mitch is afraid to face Morrie because he is the anti-thesis of many of his points on life, having been focused only on work, materialism, and power for the 16 years.

Morrie is a modern day Seneca and here are some quotes that resonated with me.

“Everyone knows they are going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”

“Do as the Buddists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'”

“I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life. On the people who are coming to see me. On the stories I’m going to hear.”

“In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.”

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

While in bed…

One Strange Rock (on National Geographic. The first episode is free)

Okay, with a line up like this, there are high expectations. National Geographic + NASA’s best astronauts + Will Smith narrating. The first episode did deliver and I’m told by a friend he re-watched the series 2x already. A mix of nature, science, and technology. This hit a lot of my sweet spots. If you haven’t guessed it yet, the strange rock is Earth. The first episode takes you all over the world (an universe) from a flying river in the Amazon (if it were on the ground, it would biggest river in the world), to collapsing glaciers in Norway, and explains how the oceans, rainforests and deserts have a symbiosis via diatoms (single-celled algae). I found it fascinating that astronauts upon returning to Earth all seemingly no longer have a sense of nationalism but a deep sense that the Earth is one shared place with humans, the environment, and other living beings being crew-mates. Similar to what Morrie says, “We all have the same beginning–birth–and we all have the same end–death. So how different can we be? Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those that you love and love.” Separately, I feel the internet and cryptocurrencies are also making the world feel like one shared place.


The Amazon (not the company) produces 20x the oxygen needed for all the people in the world, yet all of that oxygen is consumed by the plethora of animal and plant life in the Amazon consumes it (i.e. it does not nourish any humans)!

Why do you see different colors on the surface of the earth/ocean from space? It’s because of the color of trillions of microscopic diatoms which are the secret source of Earth’s oxygen supply!

Dead diatoms that fell to the bottom of the ocean long ago ultimately became salt flats in Africa and this dust reaches and nourishes the Amazon!

It’s still a mystery that Earth’s balance of oxygen has remained constant at 20.9% for thousands of years despite population growth and industrialization.

While on a walk…

Right now I spend roughly an hour a week at Whole Foods. A hundred and fifty years ago a person may have spent an entire day traveling to town to go the the market.

In the next decade, people will think I can’t believe you did that, the old way. You actually drove your own car? You actually went food shopping?

Soon our pantry, fridge, and freezer may feature Amazon’s “dash button” and automatically deliver the items which are running low. This will save countless hours spent shopping for food over a lifetime. Maybe even a chef robot can prepare a meal?

While there’s definitely a benefit of going to the store such as running into a neighbor or getting to choose the exact strawberries that I want (e.g. the ones that still have a fresh smell lingering), I think I’d rather spend that hour playing soccer. Anyway, at this point, I’m not sure an algorithm can support the way I buy food which is detailed below.

My food hierarchy:
* Avoid meat, dairy, processed food, and added sugar (i.e. a plant based diet).
* Cook my own food.
* Buy organic whole foods.
* Buy local/sustainable products.
* Eat seasonally.
* Seek diversity in diet over specialization (i.e. a smoothie with 20 ingredients may not taste as good as one with just 4).
* Buy products without packaging. If not possible, buy in bulk to avoid plastic/packaging waste.
* Save food scraps for composting.
* Freeze food to avoid potential food waste.
* When items are on sale, purchase additional to save for future use.
* If you must eat pork, it has to be the best kind.
* When on vacation, it’s okay to digress in order to experience the culture.

While drinking tea…

How would you feel if you were retiring abruptly from the job you love and your life was going to be cut short?

Well here’s what Lou Gehrig at Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium in 1939 stated as he was heading into retirement after finding out he had ALS.

“For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.” (Here is the complete speech).

I found this ironic because Gehrig held the consecutive games played streak at 2,130 and was known as the “iron man” of baseball. He was healthy yet misfortune got the best of him. What I love about his mentality and this playing streak is that it indicates he did what he loved everyday and reflecting back he had no regrets on how he lived each day over his 17-year career. Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day was a culmination of a fulfilled career (and life) despite only being 37 years old. 62,000 fans came out to cheer him on.

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