The Brandon Zhang Show
#027 "Juvoni Beckford - Lifelong Learning through Reading, Writing and Meditation"
Nov 12, 2020
On today’s episode, I am talking with Juvoni Beckford, a Senior Software Engineer at Google. Juvoni is also the epitome of a lifelong learner as a voracious reader, a passionate community builder with a keen interest in systems, habits, and productivity methods. In today’s episode, we talk about building anti-libraries for reading, how Roam Research promotes bottom-up writing, and finding your archetype through reflection.
1. Juvoni's Twitter
2. Juvoni's Website
3. Brandon's Twitter
4. Brandon's Website
Reading Tweet Thread (Over 6500 likes)
5 Key Takeaways:
- It may take eight years to write a book and it may only take eight hours to read that book. That's a significant asymmetric tradeoff that you as a reader would take. And so when I saw these cartoons, where people had were able to acquire multiple abilities, or even like avatar, The Last Airbender, we had these four elemental traits, I realized reading, I can start acquiring multiple abilities and start skill stacking myself. So for example, I'm based in New York, and rent negotiations were coming up. So I got the book, never split the difference. And that had some very concrete tactics that helped me get thousands of dollars off my rent.
- I think one of the biggest things that a number of people, especially in the personal development spaces, it tends to be much more masculine energy. And even in the productivity space, a lot of masculine energy, masculine energy tends to focus on the outer world. And building things and hacking this, or shortcuts to this. And a lot of feminine energy is more so about the inner world. And I find that fiction really does a good job of sort of capturing the inner world. So fiction, I use to develop emotional models about how to feel deeper within myself and how to relate to others better.
- Your most valuable books are actually not the books that you've read, it's the books that you will read. So an anti-library is a way to, you can purchase or borrow or collect books that you want to read ahead of time. And this is also very vital in maintaining reading momentum. Because if you always have another book that you can pick up, it's much easier to get into that routine of reading more consistently over time. And now you can also be a little bit more strategic with your reading, and the books that you purchase. I tend to do a lot of problem-driven reading. So I tend to read books that are very relevant to some obstacle that I'm trying to overcome or a friend is trying to overcome.
- When it comes to meditation, I find that mindfulness is an important practice of fundamental practice, especially if you're someone who is a lifelong learner. Because what ends up happening is that you have all these ideas that build up in your head, and it becomes like this mad circus.
- I'm a very big believer in the Craftsman mindset over the passion mindset. Because the passion mindset, you're led to believe that you're just born into the world with this innate passion, and you just have to discover it. But I think it's more so of cultivating something that you can be good at. And then you become passionate about it, by discovering how useful this skill or ability is, and how much people appreciate you and evaluate what you're able to do. So for me, introspection was a necessary exercise to be able to fly my plane, which is me, and navigate the turbulence of life.