3 Minute Monday – Charlatans, TikTok & Stupid People

3 Minute Monday

Hi friend,

I’ve just got back from a week in Colombia getting shot full of stem cells.

Nearly 200m stem cells in total across the week, IVs, site injections plus hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy and physical therapy for recovery.

I also got to see Medellin’s famous Comuna13 district – which used to be the most violent and heavily drug lord ridden area.

Now it’s one of the coolest and most vibey towns I’ve ever been to.

Crazy few days, I’ll tell all on an episode soon.

I also went for dinner with a friend in Colombia and he asked how I gauge the honesty of other creators.

How can I be sure that they’re trustworthy, not audience-captured and creating their work for the right reasons?

I ended up describing a series of questions that I go through in my mind when assessing the legitimacy of other creators’ opinions and their work in general.

I think it’s pretty robust and might be of use to you too. So here we go.

1. When was the last time you heard them change their mind?

If no amount of evidence would change someone’s stance, then they don’t hold a rational opinion, they hold an ideological belief.

All of the thinkers I respect the least never change their minds.

They see adjusting their opinions as tantamount to destruction of their sense of self.

When your ego and your stances have fused so tightly that you can no longer separate them, you will become less and less objective.

If someone doesn’t regularly alter their opinions, they’re either an unserious thinker, or a deity.

2. Do they primarily identify out-groups as a mode of bonding their in-group together?

Straight out of The Charlatan Playbook.

Leaning into tribal biases is a fast-track to getting people on your side.

Humans are naturally super-tribal, so manifesting an enemy group to galvanise everyone to battle against will be superbly effective at encouraging affiliation.

However bonding together over the mutual distaste of an out-group is inherently fragile because everyone is only bonded because the enemy of their enemy is a friend.

And a Purity Spiral will begin where in order to continue to bond the group together, heretics who don’t conform to the in-group ideology will be identified and shamed.

Check whether you love the work of the people you look up to, or if you just hate the people who they say hate them.

3. How often do they admit mistakes? Genuinely not performatively.

Openness and vulnerability is a costly signal.

It means that the person you’re following cares more about being accurate than seeming perfect.

They’re prepared to identify their own blindspots in service of being honest.

Performative mistake-porn is a tool that smart charlatans can use to pretend that they’re owning up to a mistake but it’s all a smoke screen so people can’t accuse them of being too hubristic.

4. Do they want to hear alternative points of view for reasons other than mocking them?

Related to all of the above.

If their entire body of work is an echo chamber where the only divergent voices are ones that they speak to in order to make them feel silly, galvanise out-group hatred or simply for clickbait, they’re not concerned with the truth.

Not only is it important for your, and their learning, to be exposed to different opinions, but it’s also important to show that you can talk to people who you disagree with without turning it into the sort of slanging match that everyone hates about the internet.

I’m sure there’s other common trends I’ve missed but this seems to be a good start for judging thinkers’ work.


I do a podcast which has had 120 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This week’s upcoming episodes:

5th Year Anniversary – on February 12th 2018 I released episode #001 of Modern Wisdom. I thought I’d celebrate by reflecting on some of the biggest lessons from running the show. Enjoy!

Mark Manson – one of the best self-development authors on the planet on relationship advice, the manosphere, the perils of fame, why he got depressed after releasing a best-selling book and more.

Not decided yet, maybe a 700k Q&A.


TikTok is ruining the West.

“In a survey asking American and Chinese children what job they most wanted, the top answer among Chinese kids was “astronaut,” and the top answer among American kids was “influencer.

Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok is only available for 45 minutes a day to users and is completely shut off 10pm-6am.

It also shows science projects and pro-Chinese content.

The Western version has people licking toilets, snorting suntan lotion, eating chicken cooked in NyQuil, and stealing cars. While the “blackout challenge,” in which kids purposefully choke themselves with household items, has even led to several deaths, including a little girl a few weeks ago.” — Gurwinder Bhogal

Take your uncertainty as a compliment.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” — Charles Bukowski

Choose and limit your desires, then go after them.

“You just need to have the courage to eliminate everything that doesn’t directly feed what you really want.” — James Clear


Apple’s Weather-Responsive Background.

If you change your wallpaper setup on iPhone you can select a weather background which actually changing based on the time of day and the weather outside.

It’s the only truly dynamic wallpaper Apple does I think, and it’s nicely reassuring to remind you where you’re at in the day as you go along.

Big love,
Chris x

Never miss an episode by pressing Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

It’s my birthday next week!


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