Who Are You?

Hi there, I’m Abhishek. I’m a designer and an entrepreneur based out of Mumbai.

My passion grew out of my own frustration at the lack of resources available to learn about decision making and clear thinking, which I was desperately seeking. When formal education and a series of failures left me clueless, I set out to find wisdom wherever I could find it in the “real world.”

My personal goal is to master the best of what other people have already figured out and deliver it in a consolidated and useful way.

What Do You Write About?

I primarily address the psychology of human misbehaviour i.e., mental errors. The central question I’m trying to answer through my work is: How can we live smarter in a world we do not fully understand?

Through my writings, I help people develop an understanding of how the world really works, avoid mistakes, make better decisions, and live a better life.

Can You Elaborate More?

Glad you asked! You think you are a rational being who sees the world as it really is. But in reality, you are deluded. But the good thing is that all of us are equally deluded.

You may think you know how the world works, but you really don’t. You move through life forming opinions and cobbling together a story about who you are and why you did the things you did.

The truth is that you have no clue why you act the way you do, choose the things you choose, or think the thoughts you think. Instead, you create narratives, little stories to explain away why you do what you do. You don’t even think clearly most of the time.

The failure to think clearly is called a cognitive error. It is a systematic deviation from logic-from optimal, rational, reasonable thought and behaviour. These are not just occasional errors in judgment. These are rather routine mistakes—barriers to logic you stumble over time and again.

It is much more common that you overestimate your knowledge than you underestimate it. Similarly, the danger of losing something stimulates you much more than the prospect of making a similar gain. In the presence of other people you tend to adjust your behaviour to theirs, not the opposite. And you are simply the best at interpreting all kinds of new information so that your prior conclusions remain intact.

In my blog, I address these topics, and discuss how we can both dodge and exploit these traits to live smarter.

Do You Eat Your Own Dog Food?

If I’ve written about something, it’s because I’ve tried it out, and wanted to learn more about it. An organising philosophy of the blog is that we learn by doing.

I don’t merely write about things. Along the way, I like to try out the concepts for myself as I experiment with finding ways to make better decisions as an entrepreneur, designer, and investor.

In the end, my work ends up being one-part storytelling, one-part academic research, one-part personal experiment. It’s a colourful blend of case studies, academic science, hard-earned wisdom.

The primary place that I share this information is through my weekly newsletter. Thousands of people receive my articles via email. You can sign up here.

How Did You Get Started?

After a series of bad decisions when I finally had to shut down two of my companies, I took a retreat and began studying human nature—with a strong focus on biases that affect our cognition and sway us away from making good decisions.

I started putting together notes, and with time and effort, I began to recognise my own errors sooner, and was able to change course before any lasting damage was done. And, for the first time in my life, I was able to recognise when others were in the thrall of these very same systematic errors.

However I didn’t stop there. I also delved into studying philosophy and mental models to form a better understating of the how things work, and how we can leverage them to make better decisions, and ultimately live a better life. My main sources of knowledge and inspiration come from Daniel Kahneman, Charlie Munger, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

After a friend’s suggestion, I started sharing them on the internet. That’s how I got started.

Are You One of Those Get-Smart-Quick Bloggers I Detest?

This is not at all in any form a how-to blog. There won’t be any “12 steps to error-free decisions” or other similar fake-promises. I consciously try to avoid click-bait titles. So, if you really want to upgrade your brain, you gotta be willing to put some effort as well.

My notes may not hold the key to happiness, but at the very least they act as insurance against too much self-induced unhappiness.

What Happens to The Money I Pledge?

Oh I’m so glad that you wish to pledge. The easiest way is to head to my Patreon page.

Your pledge would be mostly used to support me. I’m a human and have some basic needs, such as food, clothes, and coffee. I also need to buy books and journals for research, equipments and software for recording, etc. So any kind of help is highly appreciated.

My dream is to help a million people through my work—to help them get better jobs, build better relationships, make better decisions, build better habits, achieve both wealth and success, and in turn live a good life. Any amount you pledge helps the cause.

Any Disclaimer You Wish to Share?

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that I am not an academic or a researcher. I don’t have my own lab where I can conduct experiments, nor do I have a staff of researchers I can dispatch to scout for behavioural errors.

I’m a practitioner, and my concern is what works in the real life. I read a lot of books, articles, journals, and take detailed notes. I work with startups, and invest in the stock market. I draw most of my experiences from that.

I think of myself as a translator whose job is to interpret and synthesise what I’ve read, learnt, and experienced—and put them in terms that can be easily understood.

Why is Your Blog Called CoffeeAndJunk.com?

Well, there are always two sides to everything. The good and the bad. The seen and the unseen. The upside and the downside. In other words, the coffee and the junk.

I talk about both—how to both avoid and exploit cognitive biases to get things done. How to both avoid and exploit logical fallacies to win arguments. And also how to see both the positive and the negative aspects of a strategy.

Where Do I Subscribe?

Thanks for your interest. To receive your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom, subscribe here.