Weekly I/O - Learn something cool to understand the world better.

Aloha, I’m Cheng-Wei! I love learning all kinds of cool stuff to understand the world better. Every week, I share the things I learn across psychology, science, philosophy, productivity, writing, creativity, startup, actionable life hacks, and all other cool and weird stuff.

The Best of Weekly I/O:

Psychology and Science

  1. Why people look better when they are in groups? Cheerleaders Effect

  2. How to bargain? Try the Ackerman Bargaining Model: 65%, 85%, 95%, and 100%

  3. Zeigarnik Effect: People remember uncompleted tasks better than completed tasks

  4. Decoy Effect: When we are choosing between two options, introducing a third option can cause shifts in our preference between the first two items

  5. Fitts’s Law: The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target in UI/UX

  6. Benford's Law: The leading digit tends to be small for many real-life numerical data. The number 1 appears 30% of the time as the leading digit

  7. Region-beta Paradox: People can be better off when things are much worse. While moderate situations prompt endurance, crisis triggers action

  8. Baumol's cost disease: Why prices of labor-intensive services keep going up regardless of low productivity growth?

  9. Why do we forget bad feelings about memories faster? Fading affect bias (FAB).

  10. Three Levels of mint-giving: How to increase tips by 23 percent

  11. Why did they do that? Three Attribution Traps: Fundamental Attribution Error, Actor-Observer Bias, and Self-Serving Bias

  12. Goal Gradient Effect: The tendency to approach a goal increases with proximity to the goal


  1. Wittgenstein’s ruler: Unless you have confidence in the ruler’s reliability, if you use a ruler to measure a table, you may also be using the table to measure the ruler.

  2. Hanlon's razor: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  3. We need to hang out with people who fit our future, not our history

  4. "He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary." - Seneca

  5. How to find a healthy balance between self-acceptance and self-actualization? Enthusiastic Self-improvement.

  6. Self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. The more we forget ourselves by giving ourselves to a cause to serve or another person to love, the more we actualize ourselves.

  7. Sub specie aeternitatis: To inspect things under the aspect of eternity and participate in eternal totality

  8. The world makes progress by lurching from one extreme to another while overcompensating for previous mistakes.

  9. All progress, both theoretical and practical, has resulted from a single human activity: the quest for good explanations.

Productivity and Life Hacks

  1. Orangutan Effect: If you explain your ideas to an orangutan, the primate might be confused, but you will think more clearly in the process

  2. How to say no? Prioritize and communicate

  3. Goodhart's Law: when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure

  4. Ask for advice, not permission.

  5. When to make a quick decision? Happiness Test, Only-Option Test, Two-Way Door Test

  6. You don’t get burnt out from working hundred hours a week. You get burnt out from things that don’t work out.

  7. The reason we say "don't be upset" is often because we don't want to have our emotions synchronized and be upset.

  8. When we want to be helpful in response to other's feeling bad, first figure out what they want is empathy or a solution.

  9. Consider how your product makes customers "feel" instead of what it functionally does for them.

  10. Extrinsic motivation undermines intrinsic motivation. Focus on Game Design, not Gamification.

  11. When looking for honest feedback, ask for a 0-10 score and then ask how to get closer to a 10

  12. "People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

  13. The desire to be right and the desire to have been right are two desires. The sooner we separate them, the better off we are


  1. When it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.

  2. Writing is thinking. You can write first then derive clear perspectives from your own writing.

  3. When drafting, write FBR: Fast, Bad, Wrong

  4. The But and Therefore Rule for Storytelling

  5. Set out time to write regardless of how you feel that day. It doesn't matter if it's good or not. Sit down and type. Refuse to bargain with your subconscious that says "I'm dry. Let's try tomorrow."

  6. Stop every day right after we feel like we can write more. Save the excitement and carry it over to the next day to let momentum kick off tomorrow's work smoothly.

  7. To get over perfectionism to write and publish more, try writing without capitalization and using the 10-Point Scale.

  8. "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." - Herbert Simon

  9. Derek Sivers' writing advice: Try writing one sentence per line.

Share cool things with me!

Also, feel free to send me any interesting ideas you came across recently!

Looking forward to learning from you!

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Learn 5 bite-sized cool things weekly to understand the world better, with psychology, philosophy, science, productivity, creativity, and actionable life hack.


A voracious learner on the journey of building things to enhance human fulfillment. I write to think, make friends, and (occasionally) inspire people, including topics on startups, science, psychology, philosophy, and productivity. chengweihu.com