Maker Mind

Make the most of your mind

#059 | September 17th, 2020
Hi there! I'm Anne-Laure Le Cunff, the founder of Ness Labs. You are receiving this email because you signed up to Maker Mind, a weekly newsletter about mindful productivity. Thank you for being here. If this email was forwarded to you, get your own ✨
Current mood: connecting the dots. Artist: Evan M. Cohen.

Better thinking.


Hi friends!

I always wondered why a skill as important as good thinking is not a key focus in traditional schools.

Sure, we acquire adjacent skills that require critical reasoning, but we don't directly study decision-making frameworks, mental models, and cognitive biases.

So, this week, I want to explore how we can learn to think better. And because thinking better is the result of deliberate practice, we will also discuss how we can shift the way we learn away from mindless repetition, and focus on practice that actually makes perfect.

Finally, I got lots of emails from people asking how I built my digital garden (nicer on desktop), so I decided to share a selection of approaches, with simple options whether you know how to code or not.

Enjoy the read, and hit reply if you have any questions, feedback, or want to say hello!

p.s. thanks to everyone who filled the feedback formThese are some of my favourite comments :)

Mental gym session tomorrow. We spend lots of time and money caring for our physical health. What about our mental health? Come join this intimate jam session to explore ways to design your very own mental gym, inspired by principles from physical gyms. Join »

Brain food

How to think better (9 min)
As Einstein wrote in 1936: “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.” A common misconception is that brilliant thinkers are born that way, but thinking is a skill which can be improved. 

The science of deliberate practice (6 min)
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “practice makes perfect” is “said to encourage someone to continue to do something many times, so that they will learn to do it very well.” But does practice really make perfect?

How to set up your own digital garden (technically 4 min but lots of links)
A digital garden is an online space at the intersection of a notebook and a blog, where digital gardeners share seeds of thoughts to be cultivated in public. Read this one if you're looking for a cool weekend project!

The science of curiosity. Is curiosity innate or developed? How can curiosity be cultivated in children and adults? Are there habits, routines, and rituals that make us more curious? Join our next virtual meetup to discuss with fellow curious minds. :) Register »

Brain candy

An ocean of books (Twitter)
“Each island represents an author, each city is a book. The distance between them is based on their relationship on the web.”

Truly boring fairy tales (YouTube)
“Nod off to the whimsical wonders of your favorite fairy tales with an unbelievably snooze-worthy twist.” (my verdict: too hilarious to help me sleep)

What are the most important attributes of good spaced repetition memory prompts? (Andyʼs working notes)
“How to encode knowledge into spaced repetition memory system prompts, both to support memory of facts but also to foster richer understanding.”


Brain trust

A sneak peek into the members area. Becoming a member is a great way to support the newsletter and to expand your mind!

  • Mental gym sessions. Two hands-on sessions tomorrow to accommodate for all timezones, led by Achim and Christo. Join to learn how you can design your very own mental gym to increase your productivity and your creativity.
  • Book club. The very first monthly book club launched yesterday! Yufa picked the first book on the list: Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Very excited about this one. Join here.
  • Writing Cycle. Come join a writing session twice a week to make progress on your creative work and stick to your content goals.
  • Curiosity. Our next meetup will be all about understanding the origins of curiosity, and how it can be cultivated in children and adults alike.
  • Community. Currently discussing the paradox of being hard on yourself, the best ways to take notes on PDF articles, switching from Evernote to Roam, and DIY systems to build a second brain. Join the conversation.
  • Mind Match. Fill this form to get matched with a fellow member for a virtual coffee chat.

Brain waves

Share with friends, get a reward!

Who do you know who should also be part of the Ness Labs community? Refer them using your unique link (below) and you'll get the Mindful Productivity Bundle (normally $7.99) when just 2 people sign up!

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Until next week, take care!
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