Ilya Sterin's Newsletter #2

20 Jan 2023    2 mins read.

School Performance


In his book, Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari postulates that the one ability that allowed humans to surpass other mammals and make so much progress is our collective imagination and storytelling abilities. Storytelling is crucial to almost everything we do in our society. Researchers use it to convince others to back their research. Entrepreneurs use it to convince investors to back their ideas and employees to join their cause. Parents use storytelling to negotiate with their kids. Significant others use storytelling, however implicit, to persuade the other to fall in love, join them on this life’s journey.

Stories help us turn something as mundane as a piece of gum, into an unforgettable, tearful, joyous experience. Look at this Extra Gum commercial:

Stories are the common thread that brings people and their resources together to achieve a common goal. If you interact with humans, you should learn storytelling.

We rarely teach this vital skill in schools. My goal this year is to become a better storyteller, and I’m starting by reading two books. Lincoln’s biography and Stories that Stick. Lincoln by all accounts was one of the most gifted storytellers.

Article I’m reading

This article in the New Yorker is a fantastic exposition of the world and risk of Venture Capital. I’m about half way through it this morning, and really enjoying it so far.

Supplements I’m taking

Lots of studies these days show the benefits of curcumin, a molecule contained in Turmeric. The problem with most curcumin supplements is their bioavailability. Adding black pepper to the curcumin compound increases its bioavailability, and therefore, many supplements include it. But, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, there is a proprietary compound developed in Japan called Theracurmin. Numerous curcumin studies conducted these days use this compound due to its high bioavailability. It’s distributed for consumers by various companies. I use the supplement by Integrated Therapeutics.

I also take a daily dose of Slow Mag and PS100 which so far have improved my sleep quality.

I track my sleep stages using my Oura Ring.

Products I’m loving

I’m a sucker for bags. I won’t tell you how many I have, but it’s on par with the number of purses my wife has collected over 30 years. I have a bag for each occasion. Daily work bags, coffee shop bag (where I only want to grab a few things), travel (carry-on) backpack, sling bag. You name it. I love the design and craftsmanship that goes into a good bag. My two current favorites are the Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 and Waterfield Slim Laptop backpack.

Peak’s organizational design and the amount of thought they put into every feature is hard to beat.

Waterfield always gets me with its materials and craftsmanship. I’m a sucker for a mix of waxed canvas and great leather that develops a beautiful patina. Waterfield never disappoints. Just be careful looking at their site, you might want to buy them all.