Bales Goes Deep: Idea Sex and The Un-Contrarian Contrarian
I’m reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel right now. It’s a pretty dope book, so I’d definitely suggest checking it out.
The way I read books is probably a little bit different than other people because 1) I’m a bizarre individual and 2) I try to relate everything I read to daily fantasy sports (or whatever else I’m interested in at the time). I read a lot of philosophy, theoretical physics, books on investing—whatever, it doesn’t matter—and I always try to apply anything I’ve learned to a different field.
That’s how I (kind of) brought antifragility to daily fantasy sports. In reality, lots of players were using this approach before me. I just sort of stole someone else’s term and applied it to DFS (and really, Shawn Siegele was the first person I know to bring it to fantasy sports).
A lot of the world’s best ideas haven’t really been unique at all; they’ve just combined concepts from seemingly unrelated areas. One of my favorite writers—James Altucher—talks about this quite a bit, and he calls it “idea sex.”
I once did an experiment with a group of people. Write down 10 titles of books you would like to write. Now turn to your partner. Make a list of 10 books combining the titles.
I asked for some examples. I loved all the results. For instance, a “How to Make Toast in Space” or “A History of Music as Told by the Instruments of the greatest performers”. And so on.
The fastest way to generate themes and ideas is to take two different areas and combine them.
The fastest way to master any area of life, is to become good at two or more areas, intersect them in a unique way, and now you are the best in the world at the intersection.
If you look at every great achievement in history, idea sex was the impregnation of that achievement.
I really like this idea. When you take a concept from one field and apply it to another, you’re forced to think in a creative, outside-the-box sort of way. Maybe I’m just trying to justify why I start articles with Lao Tzu quotes, I don’t know. Or maybe I’m a genius. You tell me.
Anyway, back to Zero to One. I was reading it on Saturday and I came across this quote from Thiel that I thought was really applicable to DFS:
How much of what you know about business is shaped by mistaken reactions to past mistakes? The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd, but to think for yourself.
This really hit home with me, so now I’m going to write about it. Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife, because there’s about to be some idea sex up in herr.
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