Agustín Fuentes is a primatologist and biological anthropologist focusing largely on human and non-human primate interaction, pathogen transfer, communication, cooperation, and human social evolution. His most recent book is “The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional.”
How did Agustín begin studying anthropology? From an early age he loved trying to figure out what made people tick. By studying other primates and what human ancestors did, he came to find that we are creative and imaginative in ways people didn’t think we had the capacity for.
Agustín found that through innovation, collaboration and creativity learning happens. What are some examples of innovation from our ancestors? Fire is one of the most basic, yet amazing discoveries of our ancestors. No species on the planet, besides humans, use fire. Use of fire gave humans the opportunity to change the composition of materials to mold utility items, change food composition, and provide the opportunity to break the day and night cycle.
Collaboration can be seen in instances of warfare. Are we inherently violent? Yes. Humans have the capacity for intense violence. However, when studying warfare, it is all about collaboration and putting your life on the line for the greater good of the army – not about who has the most violent army. Collaboration is the bottom line in when it comes to winning a war.
Once people were able to convey information with language, huge advancements were able to happen in creativity. In the last 100,000 years or so art happened, and humans were able to convey imagination. Speech and hearing coincided with art and showcased our capacity for creativity. Michael and Agustín finish the podcast talking diversity. Throughout the ages, diversity has been the norm for humans. When you get outside of your bubble, and explore the world a little, you see first hand the immense differences in advancements and innovation throughout cultures.
The podcast is great and I follow many recommendations from it including reading the Fountainhead.
I picked up the book about a month ago after hearing your rant and listening to an audible excerpt you played. As an English Lit Major, you struck another cord with me.
I am halfway through and am enamored by Rand’s literary skill and was glad to hear you mention it again in Ep. 650.
But also I think your recommendation is not based solely to broaden my literary horizon, of which, I am no danger of doing but had to read it per your recommendation.
I have to say my bookseller was impressed I am reading Rand and I was very intrigued by his response.
So, I just wanted to say, I am looking forward to experiencing a similar epiphany of sorts as I move towards completion. I am still not sure what you are seeing but the representation of the characters is not lost on me.
The sleep podcast was amazing. You should find a way to recirculate it to get some additional attention. Call Tim Ferriss? The flu vaccine portion was startling. I will be sharing this show with a lot of my friends!
Shane Snow is author of “Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart” and the bestseller, “Smartcuts.” Shane is also an award-winning journalist, celebrated entrepreneur, and co-founder of Contently.
When thinking about great teams we often think of just the best players. Shane uses the success of the Soviet Union’s 1980’s hockey team as an example and sheds light on what made them so uniquely successful. It was not the individuals that defined the success of the team, it was the collective team as a whole. Their team wasn’t about having a guy that could score a lot of points. Each player was dedicated to doing whatever they needed to do to get the hockey puck in the goal.
That 1980’s Soviet hockey team also fostered a diverse set of minds. Historically we reduce classifications to what we can see. Having a diverse team doesn’t just mean having people of a different race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If you want a group to be smarter than its smartest member, you need a team of people who all think differently. This is where cognitive diversity is important – the best ideas often come from a round-table of minds debating. However, it can be easy to go too far when building a diverse team and end up with a group of people trying to destroy each other rather than cultivating innovative ideas.
What is the leading cause of failure in business and relationships? Communication. Combining various perspectives from people are what often adds up to one great new innovation. Looking at new angles is the only way to break new ground. Unfortunately, a lot of what we think is crazy gets shut out. Those crazy ideas are what need to be heard the most.
Your podcast has really interested me. I found it about 2 weeks ago, and I just cant stop listening.
I`m studying economics in Norway, and have started to look more into Finance. Trend following sounds really interesting and I would really like to learn more about this. Would you be so kind to send me some more information on this?
The markets really interest me, and I want to work With something like this. I`m wondering if i should try to take the CFA-exam, what do you think about this title, is it worth taking this?
With kind regards,
What’s your objective?
There is a never-ending supply of degrees and credentials you can obtain, but why?
Matthew Walker is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. His new book is “Why We Sleep.” Matthew’s mission is to reunite humanity with sleep.
How did Matthew begin studying sleep? He learned insufficient sleep is linked to ALL of the top killers in civilized countries. The average adult only sleeps 6 hours and 31 minutes. The disease and suffering that is present because of lack of sleep has become his motivator to instill change. So how much sleep do we need? If you are not getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day, you are not acting at optimal performance. Most who think they can operate at full capacity with 6 hours of sleep have become numb to the state they live in. They have forgotten, or perhaps have never known, what their optimal performance looks and feels like.
Insufficient sleep is shown to lead to disease, cancer, mutating your DNA, and Alzheimer’s. Not only does lack of sleep hurt you in the long-term, it also has many short-term effects as well. When you are sleep deprived your brain is 40% less able to retain information. Some have legitimate sleep disorders, however 90-95% of people can change their sleep habits.
How can we help change our quality of sleep? Turn off the technology at night. Lights from the T.V., iPad, phone, etc. sends all the wrong signals to your brain. Melatonin does not get released at the time it should get released. Any kind of light is problematic within the last hour or so of when you should be getting ready for bed. Light, sleep procrastination and anticipatory anxiety are the three biggest problems related to too much technology before bed.
Aiding sleep with drugs or alcohol is a common misnomer. When you sleep with the aid of alcohol or sleeping pills they inhibit your ability to hit your REM cycle. The same is true for marijuana. These are methods of sedation, not actual sleep. Studies show that sleeping pills are associated with death and cancer. More specifically, you are 3-4 times more likely to die across a 2 ½ year period when taking sleeping pills, than those who do not taking sleeping pills. Michael and Matthew end the conversation breaking apart start times of schools and how crucial starting an hour or two later is to a student and their quality of learning.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Alcohol and sleep
Marijuana and sleep
School start times
Daylight savings time
Reproductive health and the relationship with sleep
“Dream sleep is a form of information alchemy.” – Matthew Walker
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