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|Stumbling with words| Recommendation N.10

I finished my application process this December. The journey packed with self doubts and self discovery. I found my past crumbles into anecdotes. I saw my future somehow more vivid. Everything in the past started to make sense. I am incredibly grateful for my teacher, my dear cousin (aka. my bff), old friends, and new friends for their emotional supports. I'm the lucky one. If you are reading my post now. I love you. Yes, you! I'm finally back with my reading, writing, and watching movie. Here is my list for December.


I watched Great Expectation (1998) for aesthetic pleasure. I've been curious with Gwyneth Paltrow's green knit outfit. It looks amazing on set. Confirmed!

The bridges of Madison County (1995) is another beautiful movie. It was a huge inspiration source in term of interior decor. The 1960s-era farm house with lace curtain, open cupboard, and floral wall papers is full of romance. Talking of lace curtain, this below video is feast to interior enthusiast in me.


In defense of a liberal education:

It was a nice quick read as I've been wondering the role of liberal education. The goals of liberal education are: to train the mind to think and to fill the mind with specific content.

"The two great points to be gained in intellectual culture, are the discipline and the furniture of the mind; expanding its powers, and storing it with knowledge. The former of these is, perhaps, the more important of the two. A commanding object, therefore, in a collegiate course, should be, to call into daily and vigorous exercise the faculties of the student.

Liberal education “teaches you how to think” through the writing process:

“Being forced to write clearly means, first, you have to think clearly. I began to recognize that the two processes are inextricably intertwined. In what is probably an apocryphal story, when the columnist Walter Lippmann was once asked his views on a particular topic, he is said to have replied, “I don’t know what I think on that one. I haven’t written about it yet.”

I also agree with the book that you will be grateful for liberal education not one but six years after graduation. As a person with diverse interest, I am on my way to connect the dots. Everything started to make sense. To learn independently and appreciate other disciplines (beside economics) takes time but worthwhile. Each time you allow yourself to learn something new, the more you know thy self.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

My friend Minh Dương from One Percent a Month sent me this book for long time. I took me two years to picking it up. The book collects advices and tweets of Naval Rivikant. If you are my students, you might listen to his interview with Farnam Street and aware of Naval's advocation for Microeconomics.

Some interesting takeaways from the book are:

On wealth

  • Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.

  • Escape competition through authenticity

  • The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner. You have to know how to learn anything you want to learn

  • Your reputation will literally end up being thousands or tens of thousands of times more valuable than somebody else who was very talented but is not keeping the compound interest in reputation going

  • My definition of wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions. Wisdom applied to external problems is judgment. They’re highly linked; knowing the long-term consequences of your actions and then making the right decision to capitalize on that.

  • I also encourage taking at least one day a week (preferably two, because if you budget two, you’ll end up with one) where you just have time to think.

  • Reading science, math, and philosophy one hour per day will likely put you at the upper echelon of human success within seven year

On happiness

  • A happy person isn’t someone who’s happy all the time. It’s someone who effortlessly interprets events in such a way that they don’t lose their innate peace.

Saving yourself

• Brain works better

• Exercise & sunlight

• Shorter, less pleasantries

• More dialogue, less monologue

• No slides

• End easily by walking back

On earth we briefly gorgeous

I found Ocean Vuong as running through an Instagram story of one of my favorite fashion influencer (Glam with Trish). My friend circle has raved about him a long time ago. Yet, I completely fall for him after listening to his interview with Seth Meyers.

I spent two days listening to Ocean Vuong interviews and his book (On earth we briefly gorgeous). I am not necessary a fan of his works but I admire his approach to life. I found myself in his story: the love for rhetoric and the struggle with family relationships. He reminded me how power can deliver through tenderness.

And I think I embrace that in everything I do — writing, sitting with you now — how do I do it with care. And even in the temples — in many Asian-American households, when you enter the house, you take off your shoes. Now, we’re not obsessed with cleanliness any more than anyone else. But the act is an act of respect: I’m going to take off my shoes to enter something important; I’m going to give you my best self. And I think, even consciously, when I read or give lectures or when I teach, I lower my voice; I want to make my words deliberate; I want to enter — I want to take off the shoes of my voice so that I can enter a place with care so that I can do the work that I need to do.
“The future’s in your hands.” But I think the future is actually in your mouth. You have to articulate the world you want to live in, first. We pride ourselves, as a country that’s very technologically advanced — we have strong, good sciences; good schools; very advanced weaponry, for sure — but I think we’re still very primitive in the way we use language and speak, particularly in how we celebrate ourselves. “You’re killing it.”

I also admire Ocean for his work ethics. His perfectly constructed sentences amaze me every single time.

“Because the sunset, like survival, exists only on the verge of its own disappearing. To be gorgeous, you must first be seen, but to be seen allows you to be hunted.”
“They say nothing lasts forever but they’re just scared it will last longer than they can love it.”


I came across this podcast after being so impressed by Prof. But Tran Phuong on Vietcetera's Edustation Podcast. This episode helped me understand how the East meets West on feminism. Highly recommended for anyone interested in feminism.

I also enjoyed another episode from Future Impact Academy about Cai Luong (a form of Vietnam traditional performance) with Bach Tuyet.

Last year, I appeared in my friends' episodes on teaching during the COVID-19 and life-long learning. Listening back, there is a long (and winding) road to be an effective public speaker. I need to better off my use of word and voice control. So 2022 will be the year of speech improvement.

Teaching technique

A little update after my post on my online teaching techniques with Facebook. I found Mural can be equally interesting way for students to raise their voices.


I intended to post this on Xmas. With a slight delay, here is one of my favourite holiday tune.

Happy New Year and hope to see you in this virtual world again!

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