Stop Being Who You Aren’t, How I Got My Brain Back, and more!
Everything we published this week.
Hello and happy Sunday!
New! This week we are starting off an AI powered Reverse Caption Contest. We give you the caption and then you use Midjourney or Dall-E to create the image. Winners get:
- $100 to donate to the charity of your choice
- A shoutout in the Sunday Digest
- A link to your socials/personal project/whatever you like
- Unending bragging rights
This week's caption is:
“At least AI left that for us to do.”
Use your creative powers to make a corresponding image and submit it by replying to this email and attaching it.
We can’t wait to see what you all create!
Are you trapped in a cycle of inauthenticity, surrounded by people who don't truly understand you? Michael Ashcroft's essay delves into the importance of being your true self and finding your tribe.
He invites you to pay attention to your inner feelings, embrace vulnerability, and approach self-discovery like an archaeologist. By following these principles, you can unlock the potential for deeper connections and embrace the authentic life you've been yearning for.
Brie Wolfson shares her brave and honest journey through pandemic-era depression and how she regained control of her life. She delves into her personal experience, the tools, and systems that helped her cope, and the insights she gained from tracking her moods and activities. As she navigates the challenges of mental health, Brie's story offers inspiration, hope, and insight into the process of self-discovery and healing.
Evan Armstrong / Napkin Math
Say goodbye to traditional finance interns and hello to GPT-4, the AI that could reshape the finance industry. Evan Armstrong explores the potential of AI tools like GPT-4 to increase the efficiency and output of finance professionals, transforming workflows and reducing the need for entry-level or outsourced staff.
Despite its potential, GPT-4 isn't perfect and requires guidance from experienced professionals to avoid errors. But as AI becomes more integrated into financial workflows, the future of the industry looks vastly different from today's landscape. Are you ready for the change?
1-1 tutoring has the power to supercharge your learning, but most people don't realize how accessible it can be. Dan Shipper reveals the secrets behind the incredible effectiveness of personalized tutoring and shares his experience of using it to improve his fiction writing.
With the rise of AI, personalized tutoring is becoming even more accessible and affordable. Discover how to find the right tutor, what you need to bring to the table, and how to structure your tutoring relationship for maximum success.
In a world drowning in digital content, Eliot Peper presents the humble note as the perfect form for our online age. Reminiscent of those passed between middle school classmates, notes are short, specific, and written for a particular person rather than a faceless audience. Crucially, notes are meant to be shared—passed from hand to hand, mind to mind, heart to heart.
In this piece, Peper explores how the internet, like a giant note router, has made this form more relevant than ever and why understanding this phenomenon can help your writing stand out in an overcrowded sea.
Succession Episode 8 Review
Hey there! As a fun addition to the Sunday Digest, Evan will be writing a mini-review for the final season of Succession. Each review will discuss the themes, writing, and dynamics of the show.
You know that squirmy, uncomfortable moment where fiction is just a liiiittle too close to reality? This latest episode, in which a TV network seemingly holds the power of deciding the president, ignores prudence to create a “night of good TV.” My Twitter feed was remarkably quiet about the episode—it felt like folks were reckoning with how close this episode mirrored 2020. In the pursuit of power and ratings and revenge, the Roy boys called the election prematurely to ensure they could hold on to their inherited empire.
I know this feels unrealistic, but the training to behave this way appears to be a part of being human. In a 2018 Facebook note, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that, “Our research suggests that no matter where we draw the lines for what is allowed, as a piece of content gets close to that line, people will engage with it more on average—even when they tell us afterward they don't like the content.”
All content creators, from niche individuals to major publishing organizations, are subject to this rule. It means that the more willing you are to embrace outrage, the higher your ratings. However, there are consequences. The more you cater to crazy, the harder it is to get “media pros” on your team and attract advertiser dollars. In September 2021, I proposed a theory called “the content moderation double-bind” to describe this phenomenon. The double-bind forces platforms to adopt more laissez-faire moderation policies, so publishers must sacrifice either growth or respectability. You can visualize it something like this:
You may say that “Evan, you can’t bring up this old article again in a Succession review.” Well, no one read me back then, so I’m seizing this opportunity to try to make my theory popular again (just like Roman seized his opportunity to swing the presidential election). But more importantly, this exact theory predicts ATN’s actions. It’s unbelievably tempting for the network to elevate the presidential candidate who spews racist garbage precisely because of all the revenue it would generate for the company.
Want to see the double-bind play out in real life? Take a look at how Newsmax, an election-denier-friendly publisher, is smashing CNN, which is attempting to be more moderate:
For the 3rd straight night, CNN's Anderson Cooper was beat by Newsmax's Eric Bolling in total viewers during the 8 pm hour -- finishing 4th in cable news in the pivotal time slot.
The current primetime ratings woes for CNN have briefly taken the pressure off of Fox post-Tucker.
Now, because this is Succession, much of the drive behind these calls is also rooted in generational trauma and grief over Logan’s death. Roman is in the grips of a nihilistic spiral, Kendall is flailing for confidence, and Shiv is, as always, unable to keep a game face. The ultimate call is motivated by Shiv’s betrayal finally coming to light but keep in mind all these motivations exist for every publisher.
The double-bind isn’t going away in Succession or in real life. When playing the game of clicks, it is easy to forget that words have power. When it all goes down Roman drawls, “That’s all. Nothing happens.” to which Shiv, with fire in her eyes, responds, “Things do happen, Rome.”
That's all for this week!