This is the most interesting article I've read in a long time. It's very long but I've summarised the most interesting points:
+“The networks of human connections in your life create a force that guides you down a path not always fully of your intention, through the mechanism of 100s of small interactions”
+“This “network force” compounds over time. The longer your relationships, cliques, and communities persist, the more they shape your destiny”
+“90% of those network forces are established in just 7 crossroads or pivotal life events.”
+“Given the power of network forces on your life, they should be the primary consideration when making decisions at these crossroads”
+“This mathematical pattern is a power law known as Zipf’s Law. It was first noticed as a principle of language. About 100 years ago, physicists and linguists discovered that the second most commonly used word in English is used one half as much as the most used word. The third most used word is used one third as much as the most used word, so forth down through all the words in a given language”
+“This law turns out to hold not just in languages, but in many other cases”
+“Systems that survive and operate at steady state optimize for efficiency. When they do, things tend to look like Zipf distributions.”
+“A mammal that is 200% the size of another will only consume 150% of the energy”
+“If you want to have one conversation at a dinner table, 6 people is about the right number. Maybe 8, max. While that seems like a social decision you made yourself, the reasons behind it are mathematical. That number is similar for all of us because it’s based on how many possible two-way conversations (links) can exist between people (nodes) in a group. The formula (derived from Scale, pg. 317), it turns out, is:
N * (N-1) / 2”
+“Relationships don’t form at random. 5 conditions contribute to the depth and speed at which they form:
1. A context for frequent, repeated interaction with a new group of people (e.g. a new school, job, church, club, dorm, living situation, etc.).
2. A high degree of overlap between relationships in the new group.
3. A transition period where people are open to changing or evolving their identity.
4. A high density of people in geographic and network proximity.
5. Go through something hard and perhaps fear-inducing together.”
+“Your network is the result of the network decisions you made during the few crossroads moments in your life.”
+“The little decisions you make daily, the ones you fret over, are orders of magnitude less important than the crossroads decisions you make. This is true because those decisions have been placed in front of you by your network and are mostly a function of your network, and they don’t typically bridge you into who new networks and new ideas and options.”
+“Your family is a low-friction, high-impact network. Because of that underlying math, when making life decisions most people will choose the options that most align with their core family network. Be aware of this if you want to be more conscious in directing where your life path will lead”
+“According to one 2011 Harvard study, all kinds of traits, from body weight to happiness, are heavily influenced by network clusters”
+“Likelihood of forming a relationship = Mutual affinity * frequency of interaction * duration of interaction * geographical proximity * network proximity * number of shared connections”
+“People at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum who were forced to undertake a “major move” out of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina to growing cities like Houston. Interestingly, their standard of living ended up rising significantly just as a consequence of the move — even though they were forced to do it by disastrous circumstances. It turned out to be a positive move, but they would never have undertaken it if they hadn’t been forced to by a natural disaster”
+“The networks you build when living somewhere atrophy when you move somewhere else. Your networks are a form of wealth, and every time you move, you’re resetting your bank account.”
+“The smartest use of energy for those of us looking to make a change can often be to carefully reassess the networks we’re a part of, and find ways to join new ones that are better suited to the life path we want to be on.”
+“If life is going well and you’re happy, understand how important networks are. Double down on your relationships. Cherish the people in your life and be aware of the value of their relationships and the networks you’re a part of.”