Even decades before I started CrossFit NYC, I was deeply fascinated by fitness. I’d read textbooks, medical journals, any fitness websites I could find. From the anaerobic pathway to Zatsiorsky’s power output formulae, I consumed it all.
Nutrition, though: not so much. I read up enough to become a very early Paleo Diet convert, have kept up sufficiently to field the odd question from gym members or from family and friends. But after even fairly cursory amounts of nutrition reading, I inevitably find my eyes glazing, resort to a fast skim of the balance of the text. I’d like to know more about nutrition; I just don’t want to put in the work.
About six months ago, I discovered Paul Jaminet’s excellent book, The Perfect Health Diet. It is, by far, the best diet and nutrition book I’ve found. (It’s also perhaps the best researched; each page is about half text and half footnote.) And I discovered his equally smart and thoughtful blog, which synthesizes cutting-edge information through a lens of deep domain expertise and common sense.
And, in short, I realized that I could save a lot of time and angst by just making Paul my outboard nutrition brain. Here was a generally brilliant guy, who already knew much more about the field than I did, and who was following new developments far more closely than I could make myself. So why not just piggyback on his erudition, and simply agree with whatever he concluded?
More recently, I’ve been thinking that I might similarly be able to offload some of my political and economics brain. Reading and watching more of Fareed Zakaria, I’ve found myself being impressed by, and agreeing with, virtually everything he says. Sure, I continue to consume political and economic books, articles and podcasts. But the world is a big and complicated place. And I simply can’t keep up, in depth, on all fronts, with somebody who spends more time and energy – and has for decades – on a given subject than I do.
I’ve been kicking the idea around in general: if I want to be a well-versed generalist, but also believe that I accomplish more when I focus on less, can I square the circle by outsourcing more and more of my less-critical thinking to an array of outboard brains?