Blas Moros

#212 Founder of The Latticework on Lifelong Learning, Mental Models; A Multidisciplinary Approach to Life | Blas Moros on What Got You There with Sean DeLaney

Check out the What Got You There Podcast Page & Episode Notes

Key Takeaways

  • What Blas Moros learned from playing tennis
    • It’s hard and destructive to compare yourself to other people
      • “There’s always gonna be someone more talented, somebody better than you. But are you a little bit better than who you were yesterday?” – Blas Moros
    • The process of pushing yourself to the highest levels makes you truly understand yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, etc..
      • “Self-knowledge is self-mastery” – Blas Moros
  • While reading, Blas continuously asks himself how he can apply the ideas he learns in his life
    • “So how can I take these ideas that are really exciting to me on paper and apply them in my day-to-day life so that they’re not just beautiful ideas that, again, sound good on paper, they’re concrete, they’re actionable” Blas Moros
    • “The definition of a good book is how much it impacts your life, how much it changes your life, and if it doesn’t, I would argue that the value of reading that book wasn’t that great” – Blas Moros
  • “That’s the beautiful thing about the internet, that you can find a community, you can find a niche no matter how nerdy or esoteric you are” – Blas Moros
  • Becoming a good writer makes you a clear thinker
  • You need to fill your cup before you can possibly fill other cups
  • The Latticework is an online multidisciplinary learning resource to help people connect ideas and take advantage of the compounding effect of learning

Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Blas Moros (@BlasMoros) is a writer, thinker, and entrepreneur. He’s currently working on a new project, The Latticework
  • Host: Sean DeLaney (@SeanDeLaney23)
  • In this chat, Blas discusses the most important lessons he learned from playing elite tennis, studying the world’s best thinkers, and reading 600+ books

Blas’ Tennis Story and Key Lessons Learned

  • Blas got a tennis racquet from his uncle when he was three, which he would take everywhere
    • At 13, he decided to go all-in on tennis
    • He became captain of Notre Dame’s tennis team but realized that going pro “was not in the cards” for him
  • Blas chose tennis partly because he loved that he had full control over the outcome of his games
  • Key Lessons from Tennis
    • It’s hard and destructive to compare yourself to other people
      • “There’s always gonna be someone more talented, somebody better than you. But are you a little bit better than who you were yesterday?” – Blas Moros
    • The process of pushing yourself to the highest levels makes you truly understand yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, etc..
      • “Self-knowledge is self-mastery” – Blas Moros
      • Quick feedback loops in tennis allowed Blas to adjust and improve after every match

The Infinite Game

  • Inspired by James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games, Blas wrote an essay called The Infinite Game, which he wishes he had when he graduated 
    • Tennis and other sports are finite games
      • There’s a winner, a loser, and the objective is to win and end the game
    • Infinite games are bigger than that
      • Infinite Games are played for their own sake, for the pure joy of it
  • Blas was able to apply the self-mastery that he developed playing tennis to the bigger “Infinite Games” of his life
    • In sports “you get to learn a lot about yourself, and that’s helpful no matter what you end up doing after sport or after music or whatever it is that is your passion, and it’s no longer a finite game” – Blas Moros

Re-structuring Your Life and Regret Minimization

  • Once you stop playing a sport, you lose a lot of structure and direction in your life
    • In these situations, it is crucial to re-structure your life around positive habits
  • After college, Blas decided to structure his life around activities that he knew he’d never regret doing
    • Reading, travelling, meeting interesting people
    • Instead of playing tennis for three to four hours a day, he would go to the library and read
  • There’s no fixed recipe to decide your life direction
    • You need to go through the process and make mistakes
    • Ask yourself “what do you enjoy? What do you get something out of? “

Blas’ Reading Journey and Process

  • In school, Blas wasn’t that interested in learning, so he’d do the minimum to get by
  • After he stopped playing tennis and freed up a lot of time and energy he started reading a few books every month
    • As he realized that he couldn’t remember all he read, he started highlighting, taking notes, and sharing them with friends
      • It takes longer to read a book like that, but it’s worth it
        • Instead of having to re-read a book, he can quickly check his notes to see his key takeaways
        • Note-taking allows you to see patterns and create connections between books that you can apply in different aspects of your life
  • While reading, Blas continuously asks himself how he can apply the ideas he learns in his day-to-day life
    • “So how can I take these ideas that are really exciting to me on paper and apply them in my day-to-day life so that they’re not just beautiful ideas that, again, sound good on paper, they’re a concrete, they’re actionable” Blas Moros
    • “The definition of a good book is how much it impacts your life, how much it changes your life, and if it doesn’t, I would argue that the value of reading that book wasn’t that great” – Blas Moros
  • The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard Hamming had a very strong influence on Blas’s learning process
  • Finding time to read in today’s hyper-connected environment
    • It takes a lot of effort to disconnect and take some time and space to focus, but it’s not “rocket science”
    • It’s about setting aside a couple of hours for yourself as often as you can
      • It’s a habit, a muscle that you develop over time
      • Blas has made it a priority to take two hours in the morning for reading, writing, or note-taking
        • He doesn’t see it as taking time from his family, because the benefits from reading transfer to his family life

The Rabbit Hole

  • Blas started The Rabbit Hole, to share the insights and lessons he learned from the books he read
    • He had no intention of building an audience
      • He used to email his notes to his friends and family
      • As more people got interested in receiving the notes, he decided to start the site to make his life easier
      • Today, there are over 600 books summaries on philosophy, business, history, architecture, psychology…
    • “That’s the beautiful thing about the internet, that you can find a community, you can find a niche no matter how nerdy or esoteric you are” – Blas Moros
  • Blas’ process of selecting new books
    • He likes to have some structure while allowing randomness and serendipity to guide his future books
    • It could be a footnote, a friend’s recommendation of a number of other random sources
    • If a book he chose doesn’t excite him, he has no issues putting it down
  • The Rabbit Hole is also where Blas shares his thoughts through essays
  • Blas also creates “teacher’s reference guides
    • Deep dives on a particular topic, subject, or person
      • From Complexity Theory to Bruce Lee and Walt Disney

Blas’s Favorite Books and Thinkers

  • One of the first books that resonated with Blas is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
    • It’s a short book with simple, but not necessarily easy to implement teachings
      • Be impeccable with your word
      • Don’t take anything personally
      • Try your best
      • Don’t make assumptions
  • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger
  • Blas likes business books from the early to mid-1900s because of their simplicity
  • Some of Blas’ favorite thinkers are:
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Ben Franklin
    • Charlie Munger
    • Richard Hamming
    • Naval Ravikant
    • Paul Graham
  • If Blas could have a conversation with anyone, he’d have it with Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore’s Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990)
    • Blas sees him as a great thinker and the greatest nation builder of the last couple of centuries

Writing Process

  • Blas creates a Word Doc when he has a particular idea or when he notices a common pattern across different books
  • It’s a long process which does not come naturally to him
    • First, he starts accumulating notes, quotes, and questions that he wants to tie together
    • When he feels the energy and mental space he’ll sit down to write the first draft
    • As he learned from Paul Graham, he then tries to simplify the essay as much as possible
  • He separates the writing work in several different sittings
    • This allows him to re-visit his work with a different mindset and perspective

The Latticework

  • It’s an online multidisciplinary learning resource and community
    • It aims to interconnect and explain valuable ideas by guiding people through a learning roadmap
    • Not meant to be static, it continuously evolves based on the involvement of the community
  • The name Latticework comes from Charlie Munger
    • Charlie says that you need a Latticework of mental models in your head to make them useful
    • “Latticework is just a structure to hang ideas. So it’s really hard to understand and recall anything if ideas are just floating around aimlessly in our heads, so what we need to do with this Latticework for this mental structure framework” – Blas Moros
    • “So previous knowledge allows us to learn new things, and that’s where this idea of compound learning really starts to take off, where the more we learn, the more we can learn. It’s not magic, it’s just that we have more hooks to hang ideas” – Blas Moros
  • Latticework’s Curriculum
    • The building block is called Worldly Wisdom
      • It explains the idea of Latticework, Mental Models, and more and it is available for free
    • In other areas, while discussing a topic they emphasize an idea can be helpful in other areas
      • How does velocity tie into business and relationships? 
  • The Value of Community
    • Interacting with other people enriches the learning experience further
      • You engage more with the material
      • It provides you with even more perspectives

Mindset

  • Blas’ self-assessed top strengths
    • He’s not afraid of hard work
      • Whether in tennis, reading, or learning
      • He grew up with this saying from his dad “the lazy man works twice as hard”
        • It made him understand that being lazy can sometimes be more painful than working hard
    • He doesn’t consider himself smart enough to make things complicated
      • Allows him to simplify things and explain them to others in easier to understand terms
  • You need to fill your cup before you can possibly fill other cups
    • A lesson Blas learned from his mother
    • At first, he thought this idea to be selfish
      • With time he realized that as he takes time to work on himself, he’s better able to serve other people

Additional Notes

  • Talking about Blas’ essay, The Inverted Hierarchy
    • Hierarchies are a fundamental structure of nature but they evolved over time
    • Concept of servant leadership
      • What used to be the top of the hierarchy is now the bottom
      • The leader has the responsibility of taking care of everybody
  • Blas got interested in complexity after reading Complexity by Mitchell Waldrop
  • Lollapalooza Effect, an idea from Charlie Munger
    • It says that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Galileian Relativity
    •  You can never really truly grasp a system that you’re a part of
      • When you’re sitting on a plane, moving at incredible speed, you don’t feel like you’re moving at all
      • The same is true in our lives and the decision we make
    • That’s why getting a multi-disciplinary view which expands our horizons can be so useful
What Got You There with Sean DeLaney : , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks