A Veritable Feast of Brainfood

An invitation to a virtual dinner table and an all-you-can-click-on buffet

👋  – Oh hi there >> welcome to the inaugural edition of Curious Humans! Below you'll find a short personal update followed by an an all-you-can-click-on buffet. If anything catches your attention please don’t keep it to yourself and hit reply. 

🤔 – Right now I'm thinking about – what a miraculous age we inhabit. Consider that, in this very instant I am sitting aboard a ferry tapping upon an aluminium set of ‘keys’ which wirelessly transpose my stream of consciousness into electric 'bits' which are then read and magically teleported to a handful of self-selected humans located in various corners of our planet and displayed as thousands of pixels... PHEW! Imagine trying to explain that to your Great-Great-Grandad.

🐋 – What I've been up to >> I've been fortunate to work with the non-profit Sea Legacy, helping out with their bold mission to preserve our oceans for future generations, as well as learning more about the brilliant B-corp movement and training to be one of their B-Leaders.  

📝 – This I learned >> according to Myers-Briggs I'm an ENFJ-A who tend to be "enthusiastic, imaginative, open-minded and curious... but tend to avoid conflict' – this sounds about right (you can take the test yourself here). Also, next week I'll turn 29 years young and I'm thinking about updating some beliefs and planting more flags in the ground.

🏍 + 🏄 – Current Adventures >> a few months back, I had the questionable idea of mounting a surfboard to my Triumph motorbike and with the help of a talented metal-worker friend the plan is coming to life. I'm writing this from aboard a ferry due into Santander this evening – where I'll hopefully be riding south to the Algarve – checking the surf at Supertubos and Nazarre along the way. As a well-known Baggins once quipped'I'm going on an adventure!' and I couldn't be more excited about the road ahead.

 Stay curious! 

– J 

p.s. If you know of a fellow human who might appreciate this irregular compendium of brain-fodder, kindly consider forwarding them "this subscribe link”. Alternatively, if you loath receiving these inbox-intruding updates you might wish to forward it on to a despicable arch nemesis.

What's on the menu?

As much as I'd love to invite you lovely people round for a home-cooked roast dinner, there are geographical and space-related constraints, so instead consider this an invite to a virtual dinner table. Please take a seat and prepare yourself for an experimental brain-food buffet— ranging from appetite-whetting insights & nutritious longreads to delicious book-recommendations & nifty tools—all in all it should be a veritable feast of clickable curiosities. Bon-appetit!


DEPT. of Pragmatic Optimism >> Looking for a source of optimism in a sea of doom and gloom news? Check out David Katz's bold vision for creating a social plastic economy, watch Fergal Smith inspire the next generation of surfing farmers, support OLIO's Food Waste Heroes, or read George Monbiot's promising thoughts on 'How do We Get Out of this mess?"

DEPT of Smartipants >> check out Wikipedia’s list of common misconceptions or learn why making better predictions might help us save the world.

You Work Too Hard >> complement this compelling rebuttal of the antiquated 8 hour work day with Thoreau's thoughts on why those who work much do not work hard.

Word Appreciation >> “Petrichor: means the earthy scent of rain having just fallen on soil after a dry spell.” 



180 Seconds of 😲 >> Photographer Chris Burkard leads one hell of a life.

The Rhythm of Food >> there there is remarkable beauty in our culinary search habits... but how will future generations judge us for the way we currently eat? Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the Moy Hill crew of surfing-farmers.

Wisdom Nuggets >> enjoy timeless and eloquent advice from Maya Angelou, the underrated art of walking across a parking lot and how to stay in the stream.

The Future is Here >> Bot or Not? AI generated poetry is getting scary good and in case you missed it Space X provide a masterclass on how not to land an orbital booster.

Tool Up >> Refind is an impressive attempt to cut through the noise of the internet and they're giving away 1 billion coins to kickstart the community. I've also been appreciating the new Readwise project, which sends a daily digest of your Kindle highlights and testing the beta of Thinkhow, a tool to discover how other smart humans think.


​It feels like a crime to re-read a book when there are so many thousands of unread books out there in the world (and dozens unopened on my Kindle). Nonetheless, here are a few which I've read twice or more and might even re-read again.

Some have shaped my worldview (Becoming Wise, by Krista Tippet) or challenged moral preconceptions (Doing Good Better by William MacAskill), acted as a gateway drug to meditation (Waking Up by Sam Harris), given perspective on my challenges and privilege (Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl), made me cry in a public place (Consolations by David Whyte), taught me the power of storytelling (The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell), convinced me that courage is impossible without vulnerability (Rising Strong, Brene Brown), opened me up to the world of cognitive biases (You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney), illustrated how to be sincere but not serious (You’re It by Alan Watts) and served as a reminder of the miracles in the mundane (On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz). 

🗨 – Conversation Prompt >> 'What are some non-fiction books that you've re-read? What did you learn from them?' Reply here on Facebook.


Casting Pods >> dive into the OnBeing discovery engine to create a playlist of soul-filling conversations or listen to William MacAskill discuss moral uncertainty on Julia Galif's Rationally Speaking podcast. Finally, Victoria Staynova’s podcast ‘The Work We Do’ is an absolute joy to listen to. Crypto-curiosity >> tempted to jump on the cryptocurrency rollercoaster but keen to learn more first? Start here. I'm no expert but am very intrigued by the long-run potential applications of Ethereum in particular (WTF is Ethereum?). My approach to 'investing' was to buy a handful of ETH as a 2021 birthday gift to my future self (and avoid looking at the price in the meantime). RSVP >> Get your do-gooder mits on a Brighton Meaning Conference ticket, hosted by the Futurist-comedian Mark Stevenson (or come to my workshop on Random Ads of Kindness).

Ministry of Wonderment >> watch David Attenborough's enchanting exploration of luminous beings or create your own firefly chaos online, learning about the magic of self-synchrony in the process.

Final Food for Thought >> "Knowledge is only a rumour until it lives in the muscle" – The Asaro tribe of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (via Brene Brown)

p.p.s. there are 81 days left of 2017, use them wisely!