In my tech review videos, I sometimes talk about The Value of Delight. It’s the idea that spending extra money to get an more delightful experience can be ‘worth it’ if it encourages us to do more of the thing we want to do.
I’ve noticed the concept in more areas of life too. For instance, I wrote the first draft of this on my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with a Pilot V-ball pen. Writing on this notebook is a delightful experience, which encourages me to write more which is a Good Thing. I’m editing the draft on Notion, an organisation / project management app - Notion is such a delight to use that it encourages me to use it more, which encourages my own productivity and creativity which is also a Good Thing.
For the past few months, I’ve also been using Superhuman, an incredible email app that costs a completely absurd £30/month to use. It’s such a delight to use that I’ve replied to twice as many emails as I was doing when using free or cheaper alternatives - again, overall a Good Thing.
I’m more than happy to pay for all these services because of the value of delight. If an app costing $40/year is such a delight to use that it encourages me to use it even 10% more than the free equivalent, that extra 10% will compound massively over the long term. I’d end up getting far more than that $40 of value out of it.
I know plenty of students who get triggered at the thought of spending £24 on Anki, a flashcard app that they’ll be using for their exams for years. They’d blow that same £24 on a ‘night out’ that (a) they’ll forget, and (b) that’ll cause them to be so hungover that they’d skip lectures the following day, in their university degree that costs £9,000/year.
A few years ago, I would think twice before buying apps and books that cost £3-10. I would think ‘ahhh do I really need this’ and ‘I’m sure I can find a free pirated version if I look hard enough’. Later that day I’d blow the same amount of money on a Starbucks or a random takeaway that I really could’ve done without. My stance has now changed completely - I view (useful) apps and books as investments with a potentially huge return, and I think my life has improved as a result.
Basically, if an app is helping me do something productive / useful / fun, and paying for it gives me a more delightful experience that encourages me to use it more, it's totally worth it.
Have a great week!
PS: I’m not advocating spending money on apps/books if you can’t afford it. I’m advocating for prioritising buying useful apps and books over coffee and takeaway :)
This week on Not Overthinking
Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.
In this episode, we try to formulate an algorithm for buying new tech. We try to figure out when it's worth upgrading our iPhones, and how to think about new purchases in terms of their contribution to our overall happiness. We come up with several new mental models for thinking about consumerism, and reference the concepts of measure, diminishing returns and hedonic adaptation.
Stuff I enjoyed this week
1 - New Podcast - My friend Paul has recently started a podcast called The Alternative CV, where he interviews people with non-traditional careers / side projects. The first two episodes are interviews with me! I re-listened to them earlier today and thought ‘damn this guy Ali gives some really good advice’. You should definitely subscribe to the podcast on whichever podcast app you use, and if you want to hear about my views about consistency, motivation, time management (the usual stuff), check out episodes 1 and 2 😁
2 - Blog Post - I recently came across the blog ‘Fitness for Students’ which seems to offer some pretty legit life advice aimed at students, but equally applicable to a recent grad like myself. One of their blog posts (The Complete Guide to College) even features some of my study tips!
3 - App - On the note of productivity apps, I’ve started playing around with ToDoist to manage my to-do lists. I’ve been using Things for a few months, but I thought I’d give ToDoist a try as it’s more cross-platform. So far I’m liking it, and it’s much more reasonably priced than Things (with a very good free version) so if you’ve yet to incorporate a task manager into your productivity system, you might like to try it out.
Kindle Highlight of the Week
Crushing it is about living on your own terms, equally satisfied with your income and your life. You will get no judgment from me if your goals are modest. I have obnoxious ambition, but I don’t think everyone else should, and I don’t want anyone to think I’ve got a mold and expect everyone who reads this to force themselves to fit into it. But please, if you’re not willing to do the grind, for God’s sake do not complain when your business doesn’t grow as fast or as big as you want it to.
This week’s video
Ali Abdaal Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.