Peter Zhang

Welcome to my site! Check out my projects, recent reads, and writings.

Jun 19, 2021

Tracking Time: Summer 2021

Introduction It’s been almost half a year since my last post about tracking time. A lot has happened since then. First and foremost, I moved to campus! Living with roommate...

Jun 17, 2021

EC 119 MT

Introduction These notes are for the first half of Economics 119: Psychology and Economics, based on a collection of readings and lectures slides (on topics 0, 1, 2, and 3)....

Jun 16, 2021

Why We Sleep

Review Matthew Walker is a UC Berkeley professor, a sleep researcher, and the author of Why We Sleep. The book catalogs the best research to date on the mechanisms and...

Jun 14, 2021

Universality

Review Todd McGowan’s Universality and Identity Politics has advice for the Left. Today’s theorists are afraid of politics based on universality - it’s seen as homogenizing and emblematic of Nazism...

Jun 7, 2021

10% Happier

Review For years, Dan Harris was a cranky, cutthroat, coke-loving anchor on ABC News. Through a series of fortunate encounters with pop spiritual figures and “Jew-Bu”’s, he discovered and developed...

Jun 4, 2021

On Grand Strategy

Review On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis is a sweeping account of the history of war, a rollercoaster that takes the reader from ancient Persia to World War 2....

May 15, 2021

Halo Effect

Review The Halo Effect is Phil Rosenzweig’s response to decades of vague, ideological management books. He systemically sifts through case studies and past books, showing how they fall pray to...

May 12, 2021

CS 170 Final

Good luck on finals! Also check out the notes for topics from midterm 1 and midterm 2. Notes based on chapters 7 of Algorithms by Papadimitriou et al. Linear Programming...

May 11, 2021

EC 101A Final

Introduction Notes are from the 12th edition of Microeconomic Theory by Nicholson and Snyder, which you can find here. Check out the notes on Midterm 1 and Midterm 2. Good...

May 10, 2021

EC 101B Final

Introduction These notes are for Economics 101B: Macroeconomics, based on Sanjay K Chugh’s Modern Macroeconomics, which is here. Notes on the midterm are here. Notes Chapter 26: Neoclassical Growth While...

Apr 14, 2021

EC 101A MT2

Introduction Notes are from the 12th edition of Microeconomic Theory by Nicholson and Snyder, which you can find here. For notes on Midterm 1, go here. Notes Altruism Utility maximization...

Apr 12, 2021

Checklist Manifesto

Review Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto reviews the surprising utility of a simple checklist. While his personal background is in medicine, Gawande explores the triumphs of checklists in contexts ranging from...

Apr 9, 2021

Happiness Advantage

Review The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor is a practical guide to positive psychology. He draws on case studies from various settings around the globe to prove a simple point:...

Apr 7, 2021

Budgeting

Intro I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday (a friend introduced me to chocolate oat milk1, which is dangerously good). Walking back to my dorm, I got a call from mom....

Apr 3, 2021

Sapiens

Review Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari tells the story of the human race. It’s a case study in deep history, drawing on evolutionary biology, psychology, and the social sciences to...

Apr 1, 2021

Reads for VCs

I’m doing a venture fellowship at Republic! Here are pre-reads and my notes. To anyone at Republic—I’ll take this down if it ends up violating the NDA. What is VC?...

Mar 25, 2021

Misbehaving

Review Richard Thaler’s legendary Misbehaving is personal biography, academic journey, and field survey wrapped into one. He recounts his struggles as a fledging researcher, his partnerships with other great minds,...

Mar 22, 2021

Deep Survival

Review Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez explores “Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why” with science and storytelling. While most of the book is in the context of the wilderness, its...

Mar 16, 2021

Perfectly Confident

Review Dan Moore’s Perfectly Confident is a decision-making book that dives into the literature behind confidence. As the title suggests, Moore takes the stance that some confidence is good, but...

Mar 15, 2021

Rabbit Holes: Podcasts

Introduction Welcome to Part 3 of rabbit holes, where I lay out random, niche interests of mine. This time: podcasts. They’re an essential part of my morning routine and my...

Mar 13, 2021

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Review Samir Patel’s site is awesome and happens to be exactly what I was going for when I began my book reviews. I am sad that I have been outdone...

Mar 11, 2021

CS 170 MT2

Notes are for Computer Science 170: Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems, based on Algorithms by Dasgupta et al. If you’re studying for the midterm on Tuesday, good luck! If you’re...

Mar 7, 2021

DS 100 MT1

Notes are taken from the Data 100 textbook. SQL and Pandas syntax is omitted because a guide is provided. Good luck! Data Sampling Convenience sampling is biased sampling method where...

Mar 6, 2021

EC 101B MT1

These notes are for Economics 101B: Macroeconomics, based on Sanjay K Chugh’s Modern Macroeconomics. Here is a copy of the textbook. If you’re taking it on Monday, good luck! Chapter...

Feb 27, 2021

Influence

Review Robert Cialdini’s Influence is a classic book about marketing and psychology. Cialdini outlines six non-obvious “weapons of influence.” For each, he outlines when it’s used, why it works, and...

Feb 26, 2021

Debate Thoughts, Vol. 3

At last, the regular debate season is winding down. As I was giving audience to lay debaters at Lakelands, ten further debate thoughts graced my mind. Once again, there’s free...

Feb 22, 2021

EC 101A MT1

Introduction I’m taking these notes for the 101A midterm on Thursday. I did not go to lecture, so these may not reflect the content on the test. The notes are...

Feb 19, 2021

Age of Turbulence

Review Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence is a three part book. First, he recounts his intellectual journey as a consultant, advisor, and chairman of the Fed. Then, Greenspan lays...

Feb 17, 2021

CS 170 MT1

Introduction New concept: taking notes for midterms and uploading them to the site. A natural way to hold myself accountable for producing good notes. Visiting my blog is also a...

Feb 15, 2021

Rabbit Holes: Musicians

Introduction Yes. Episode two of Rabbit Holes is out. Last week was rough. I was in debt for half a month of homework, faced a ramp-up of extracurriculars, and spent...

Feb 13, 2021

Debate Thoughts, Vol. 2

I’m back. I have ten further thoughts on debate. Sludge through for some free cards and food for thought. Philosophy should be rigorous. It needs more cards, better arguments, and...

Feb 9, 2021

Behave

Review I’m utterly floored. Robert Sapolsky’s Behave has achieved two firsts among biology textbooks: 1) providing a sweeping, meticulously researched account of human nature, and 2) keeping me thoroughly entertained...

Jan 26, 2021

Rabbit Holes: Ear Candy

Inspiration My YouTube feed usually proliferates leeches, but sometimes it’ll spit out a gem. These gems are ideas, people, and art that inspire. Not like, weekly aphorisms from the Green...

Jan 23, 2021

Disclosure Quantified

This article is also published on Briefly as “Disclosure in Numbers.” Introduction I fondly recall my first outround: it started 20 minutes after pairings were posted, and Millburn AW did...

Jan 22, 2021

Procrastination

Anecdote My college essay journey was a hilarious, spectacular disaster. Most of my friends started in the summer; earlybird-Erics began in the spring; the feet-draggers started in September. On the...

Jan 21, 2021

#BreakIntoVC

Review I just finished Bradley Miles’ #BreakIntoVC. It’s a short, clearly-written book that boils down the essentials of venture capital. The book is sometimes a little disorganized and often moves...

Jan 18, 2021

Why We Dream

Review Alice Robb’s Why We Dream is a well-researched introduction to sleep, dreams, and lucidity. A great mix of personal stories, anecdotes, and research, the book is both entertaining and...

Jan 16, 2021

Debate Thoughts, Vol. 1

Today, I spent 10 hours greying my hair at an online debate tournament. Here are some thoughts drifting through my head: Stop the dogshit. I just listened to a round...

Jan 15, 2021

Cost-Benefit Revolution

Review Don’t let the dry reviews on the back cover deter you (Forbes says: “Clear, well-argued”). Cass Sunstein’s The Cost-Benefit Revolution is an awesome read for anyone interested in public...

Jan 12, 2021

Politics & COVID

An abbreviated version of this article is published on the Berkeley Economic Review as Partisanship and COVID-19 Response. Introduction In November of last year, I was assigned a cool final...

Jan 11, 2021

E-Debate Update

Introduction On an article posted two weeks ago about e-debate trends, Jim Menick made the great observation that considering only the Varsity LD division could overlook the introduction of new...

Jan 10, 2021

Long Runs

Reflection I just finished a long run. No, I didn’t do track and field, so my “long run” is probably not impressive to you—I don’t care. Friend me on Nike...

Jan 8, 2021

Tracking Time

Introduction Hey chump. You feeling inefficient? Overwhelmed? A little bit of both? It’s hard to be productive. Like a tennis machine, technology-powered society constantly pelts us with distractions and temptations....

Jan 6, 2021

The Subtle Art

Review Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a decent casual read packed with anecdotes about living a happier life. As you probably guessed from the...

Jan 3, 2021

Decision-Making

Introduction Recently, I noticed a common theme running through my reading list: I have an interest in decision-making. The attraction makes sense to me; my first semester of college has...

Jan 1, 2021

2021 Resolutions

I have a poor record with New Year’s resolutions. I trust that nailing them to this site will keep me accountable (or, at very least, punish my failure with shame)....

Dec 31, 2020

E-Debate Trends

This article is also published on Briefly as “Five Trends Among E-Debate Competitors.” Introduction Tournaments this season have, so far, been held exclusively online. While judging debate rounds certainly feels...

Dec 31, 2020

Habit-Building

2020 in Review This year’s theme is habit-building. I spent the first few months of 2020 holed up in my room. I lost motivation to work, I put on (20...

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