Hi, I’m Gary Isaac Wolf

I’m an independent writer and researcher focused on helping people make empirical discoveries in everyday life.

I mix journalistic, technical, and academic methods. My aim is to feed a cycle of work that goes like this: Documentation of self research generates discussion among a community of peers, leading to new abstractions and tools that support the next round of self research discoveries. After 13 years this process still feels fragile and evanescent, and yet it keeps going, a small miracle of joyful empirical reasoning in a damaged scientific ecosystem.

In 2007 I co-founded the Quantified Self, a users group of self-trackers and toolmakers. Previously I was a contributing editor at Wired magazine, the founding Executive Editor of Wired Online and Wired News, and a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

Right now I’m writing a book called Personal Science: Learning to Observe. My book has five co-authors! They are my long time colleagues and collaborators Steven Jonas, Martijn de Groot, Sara Riggare, Thomas Blomseth Christiansen, and Jakob Eg Larsen.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m gary@antephase.com and @agaricus on Twitter. 

Empirical Methods, Personal Questions

The use of empirical methods for personal learning and discovery is a valuable human capacity. (w/Martijn deGroot) 

The Open Stack For Self-Tracking

Rethinking our Self-Tracking Tools: An hour long community discussion at QS18.

Quantified Self Show&Tell

Documentation of self-research projects (458 talks with transcriptions as of 9/2021).

Get Help With Self-Research

I moderate the QS Forum actively, but the main value comes from the regular cast of characters.

Spaced Repetition

An essay about meeting memory researcher Piotr Wozniak, inventor of Supermemo.

Two fascinating QS talks by Steven Jonas about his use of Supermemo.

Experience Sampling

Experience Sampling: A Comedy: A book review of Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic by Russell T. Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel

This QS Show&Tell argues that daily recall is just as good as experience sampling, and a lot less work: Ulrich Atz Compares Experience Sampling with Daily Recall In Measuring Stress

Another QS Show&Tell using experience sampling, this time for an art project: Danielle Roberts pings herself every two hours.

Measuring Mood and Emotion

This is a lightly updated of a post prompted by talks at QS Meetups about “happiness tracking” apps: Measuring Mood and Emotion.