The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough
learn the macro from the micro
“If you have a 10-year plan of how to get [somewhere], you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?”
My suggestion is that you spend real time with the questions you find most ridiculous
Almost every guest has been able to take obvious “weaknesses” and turn them into huge competitive advantages
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
3 MOVEMENTS EVERYONE SHOULD PRACTICE J-Curl (page 15) Shoulder Extension
You’re not responsible for the hand of cards you were dealt. You’re responsible for maxing out what you were given.
If you rush, the reward is injuries
Jefferson Curl (J-Curl)
Honey + ACV: My go-to tranquilizer beverage is simple: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg brand) and 1 tablespoon honey, stirred into 1 cup of hot water
Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea
Visual overwriting” is what I do right before bed to crowd out anything replaying or looping in my mind that will inhibit sleep
The 5MJ is simplicity itself and hits a lot of birds with one stone: 5 minutes in the morning of answering a few prompts, and then 5 minutes in the evening doing the same. Each prompt has three lines for three answers.
Realistically, if I hit three out of five, I consider myself having won the morning
I’ve deliberately set a low bar for “win.”
If you work from home, this serves double duty, especially if you work in or near your bedroom. If you see an external distraction (speaking personally), you end up creating an internally distracted state
At least 80% of all guests profiled in this book have a daily mindfulness practice of some type
The 5 to 10 reps here are not a workout. They are intended to “state prime” and wake me up
Getting into my body, even for 30 seconds, has a dramatic effect on my mood and quiets mental chatter
Pu-erh aged black tea Dragon well green tea (or other green tea) Turmeric and ginger shavings (often also Rishi brand)
to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
An old relationship that really helped you, or that you valued highly. An opportunity you have today. Perhaps that’s just an opportunity to call one of your parents, or an opportunity to go to work. It doesn’t have to be something large. Something great that happened yesterday, whether you experienced or witnessed it. Something simple near you or within sight.
We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”
You’re starting your day by practicing focus when it doesn’t matter
It is a “meta-skill” that improves everything else
If I could only choose one physical exercise for the body, it would probably be the hex-bar deadlift or two-handed kettlebell swing. If I could only choose one exercise for the mind, it would be 10 to 20 minutes of meditation at least once daily.
meditation simply helps you channel drive toward the few things that matter
Commit to at least one 7-day cycle
Complete 7 sessions before you get ambitious with length. 10 minutes is plenty
The benefits are derived from the last few reps, but you need all the preceding reps to get there.
As Tara Brach pointed out to me, the muscle you’re working is bringing your attention back to something. My sessions are 99% monkey mind, but it’s the other 1% that matters
If you spend even a second noticing this wandering and bringing your attention back to your mantra (or whatever), that is a “successful” session
rig the game so you can win
Done consistently, my reward for meditating is getting 30% to 50% more done in a day with 50% less stress
Because I have already done a warmup in recovering from distraction: my morning sit. If I later get distracted or interrupted during work hours, I can return to my primary task far more quickly and completely
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe
Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home
A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise. And accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama
Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence
If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it
this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals
Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process
more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end
if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough
It will take what it takes.
If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to.
FIFTY SHADES OF CHICKEN That’s the title of Shaun’s “most-gifted” book. Totally serious. I assumed it would be a complete joke, but it has nearly 700 reviews on Amazon and a 4.8-star average.
If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.”
I wanted to go on offense. I wanted to have the time to focus, to learn the things I wanted to learn, to build what I wanted to build, and to really invest in relationships that I wanted to grow, rather than just doing a day of coffee after coffee after coffee
I borrow the cash for a 3-bedroom house and get a lifetime’s worth of pals and a hugely successful business in return? Best trade ever.”
Your inbox is a to-do list to which anyone in the world can add an action item
Go to all the meetings you can, even if you’re not invited to them, and figure out how to be helpful
Read all the other notes you can find on the company, and gain a general knowledge that your very limited job function may not offer you
Even if attendees looked at each other puzzled, Chris would sit down and let them know he’d be taking notes for them. It worked
smart about asking the “dumb” questions hiding in plain sight.
We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We don’t act because of equations
be your unapologetically weird self
Weirdness is why we adore our friends. . . . Weirdness is what bonds us to our colleagues. Weirdness is what sets us apart, gets us hired
The number-one theme that companies have when they really struggle is they are not charging enough for their product
Is your product any good if people won’t pay more for it?”
The question is: What’s the hobby? What’s the thing at night or on the weekend? Then things get really interesting.”
Most people go through life and never develop strong views on things, or specifically go along and buy into the consensus. One of the things I think you want to look for as both a founder and as an investor is things that are out of consensus, something very much opposed to the conventional wisdom. . . . Then, if you’re going to start a company around that, if you’re going to invest in that, you better have strong conviction because you’re making a very big bet of time or money or both. [But] what happens when the world changes? What happens when something else happens
you need to be able to adapt in light of new information
Be so good they can’t ignore you.’”
Smart people should make things.” He says: “If you just have those two principles—that’s a pretty good way to orient
DON’T OVERESTIMATE THE PEOPLE ON PEDESTALS
everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again
My goal is not to fail fast. My goal is to succeed over the long run. They are not the same thing
To do original work: It’s not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people believe.”
Every billionaire suffers from the same problem. Nobody around them ever says, ‘Hey, that stupid idea you just had is really stupid
if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier
they were all very vulnerable because they didn’t have any money
In negotiation, he who cares the least wins.
NEVER AUDITION—OWN OR CREATE A UNIQUE NICHE
the very things that the agents and the managers and the studio executives said would be a total obstacle became an asset, and my career started taking off
When deal-making, ask yourself: Can I trade a short-term, incremental gain for a potential longer-term, game-changing upside
If you can cap the downside (time, capital, etc.) and have the confidence, take uncrowded bets on yourself. You only need one winning lottery ticket
THE BEST PLAN IS THE ONE THAT LETS YOU CHANGE YOUR PLANS.”
The solution is to think long-term. To realize that you can do one of these things for a few years, and then do another one for a few years, and then another
ONCE YOU HAVE SOME SUCCESS—IF IT’S NOT A “HELL, YES!” IT’S A “NO”
Because most of us say yes to too much stuff, and then, we let these little, mediocre things fill our lives. . . . The problem is, when that occasional, ‘Oh my God, hell yeah!’ thing comes along, you don’t have enough time to give it the attention that you should
No, I’m not.’ Because I’m in control of my time. I’m on top of it. ‘Busy,’ to me, seems to imply ‘out of control
I do things, but I stop before anything gets stressful.
You notice this internal ‘Argh.’ That’s my cue. I treat that like physical pain
I believe you shouldn’t start a business unless people are asking you to
I believe I’m below average. It’s a deliberate, cultivated belief to compensate for our tendency to think we’re above average
My recommendation is to do little tests. Try a few months of living the life you think you want, but leave yourself an exit plan
talk to a few people who are currently where you think you want to be and ask them for the pros and cons.
When you make a business, you’re making a little world where you control the laws. It doesn’t matter how things are done everywhere else. In your little world, you can make it like it should be
it’s often the tiny details that really thrill someone enough to make them tell all their friends about you
it gave them a moment of levity while they were doing something that they expected to be pretty boring
the bar is set so low because most companies stopped giving a fuck so long ago
Invest that little bit of time to make it a little bit more human or—depending on your brand—a little funnier, a little more different, or a little more whatever
really think a lot can be conveyed with a raised eyebrow
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right
Congratulations! That’s it. This is the only way I can create big outcomes despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate
Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. And you are not alone
Added roughly 20 pounds of muscle after learning the pain and joy of high-rep front squats
Realized—once again—that manic-depressive symptoms are just part of entrepreneurship
Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk
Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. Email is the mind-killer
Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper
Write down the 3 to 5 things—and no more—that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable
For each item, ask yourself: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day
Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions
Block out at 2 to 3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
ONE BLOCK OF TIME
No phone calls or social media allowed.
If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward-spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.
It doesn’t take much to seem superhuman and appear “successful” to nearly everyone around you. In fact, you just need one rule: What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important.
Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
When I’m in the pit of despair, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth
“When you can write well, you can think well.” “Everyone is interesting. If you’re ever bored in a conversation, the problem’s with you, not the other person
The people who download your book as a bad PDF aren’t your customers. They would never buy it in the first place. Look at it as free advertising.
getting upset won’t help things
What does the dog do if he catches the car? He doesn’t have a plan for it
He committed to one push-up before bed. Yes, just one push-up
I often find I just need to get over that initial hump with something that’s almost embarrassingly small as a goal, and then that can become a habit
The interview process is as much like the actual work as possible. It’s all [email or] text chat, because that’s how we primarily communicate. It also prevents you from any subconscious bias
I look for a passion, attention to detail, drive beyond the things that they need to do. I’m totally down with quirky.
I think clarity of writing indicates clarity of thinking
Words That Work, written by Republican political strategist Frank Luntz
Slow down. I think a lot of the mistakes of my youth were mistakes of ambition
Mastery doesn’t come from an infographic. What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently
Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life. . . . There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it, because if you develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity, that’s what’s going to really provide economic freedom. . . . It’s those skill sets that really make that happen
If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy
The quality of your life is the quality of your questions
The reason you’re suffering is you’re focused on yourself
Suffering comes from three thought patterns: loss, less, never
prime” your state first. The biochemistry will help you proactively tell yourself an enabling story. Only then do you think on strategy, as you’ll see the options instead of dead ends.
Tony believes that, in a lowered emotional state, we only see the problems, not solutions
Priming” my state is often as simple as doing 5 to 10 push-ups or getting 20 minutes of sun exposure
I’ve wasted a lot of time journaling on “problems” when I just needed to eat breakfast sooner, do 10 push-ups, or get an extra hour of sleep
Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life’s purpose, but you really just need some macadamia nuts and a cold fucking shower.
Cold-water plunge (I use a quick cold shower, which could be just 30 to 60 seconds)
breath of fire
Simply walk for a few minutes, using a breathing cycle of 4 short inhales through the nose, then 4 short exhales through the mouth
Feeling totally grateful for three things. I make sure that one of them is very, very simple
It’s impossible to be angry and grateful simultaneously
The second 3 minutes: “Total focus on feeling the presence of God, if you will, however you want to language that for yourself
The last 3 minutes: “Focusing on three things that I’m going to make happen, my ‘three to thrive.’ . . . See it as though it’s already been done, feel the emotions, etc
If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.”
Every single one of those [people] is obsessed with not losing money
What’s the downside? And how do I protect against it?
cap the downside” also applies to thinking long-term about fees and middlemen
Say, ‘How do I get no risk and get huge rewards?’ and because you ask a question continuously and you believe [there’s an] answer, you get it.”
Every single one of them is obsessed with asymmetrical risk and reward
looking to use the least amount of risk to get the max amount of upside
They absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, know they’re going to be wrong . . . so they set up an asset allocation system that will make them successful
Whatever asset class you invest in, I promise you, in your lifetime, it will drop no less than 50% and more likely 70% at some point. That is why you absolutely must diversify
almost all of them were real givers, not just givers on the surface . . . but really passionate about giving
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
I always say I got all my understanding of how business and life works from studying the Second World War
The Second World War by John Keegan
When in doubt about your next creative project, follow your anger
How can you make your bucket-list dreams pay for themselves by sharing them
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing
Casey’s subscriber count and success on YouTube hockey-sticked when he decided on his 34th birthday to vlog (video blog) daily
You can always work harder than the next guy
He wakes up at 4:30 a.m., 7 days a week, and he immediately finishes his vlog edit from the night before
What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate
Is there a common saying, or some public pronouncement, that you can disprove by making art about it? By doing a test? What makes you angry?
Advice to aspiring filmmakers: “You can sacrifice quality for a great story. . . . I’ll watch shaky camera footage now . . . so long as it’s a great story and I’m engaged
HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY. LUCK IS NOT A FACTOR. FEAR IS NOT AN OPTION
You can’t be afraid to show your scars.’ That’s who you are, and he said you have to continue to stay true to that
The Fog of War
Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room and Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
what on earth did they write about
seeing the mess can be encouraging
Most people you see on magazine covers have plenty of mornings when they’d rather hide under the covers all day long.
spiritual windshield wipers” will help you get there with fewer accidents and less headache
I often use reading to procrastinate. What I needed was a daily and meditative practice of production
I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me
Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts
on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”
Even if you consider yourself a terrible writer, writing can be viewed as a tool
There are huge benefits to writing, even if no one—yourself included—ever reads what you write. In other words, the process matters more than the product
I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day
Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull
I think the most fundamental was, as a child, I played a lot of Avalon Hill board games, and each board game is actually a complex set of rules and circumstances.” Reid also read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking.
You can build an entire career on 80/20 analysis and asking this question.
He has a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar
Reid, along with Matt Mullenweg (page 202), is one of the calmest people I’ve ever met
One of the bedrocks of modern analytic philosophy is to think of [language]
What are the ways that language can work, and what are the ways that language doesn’t work
I have come to learn that part of the business strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest, and most valuable problem
part of doing strategy is to solve the easiest problem
In doing an 80/20 analysis of your activities (simply put: determining which 20% of activities/tasks produce 80% of the results you want), you typically end up with a short list. Make “easy” your next criterion. Which of these highest-value activities is the easiest for me to do
GIVE THE MIND AN OVERNIGHT TASK
On a daily basis, Reid jots down problems in a notebook that he wants his mind to work on overnight
What are the kinds of key things that might be constraints on a solution, or might be the attributes of a solution, and what are tools or assets I might have
I actually think most of our thinking, of course, is subconscious
He might write down “a key thing that I want to think about: a product design, a strategy, a solution to a problem that one of my portfolio companies is looking at,” or something else he wants to solve creatively before an upcoming meeting
pre-sleep gestation period of a few hours is important, as he doesn’t want to be consciously thinking about the problem when he gets under the sheets
The very first thing I do when I get up, almost always, is to sit down and work on that problem [I’ve set the day before] because that’s when I’m freshest
I use that to maximize my creativity on a particular project. I’ll usually do it before I shower, because frequently, if I go into the shower, I’ll continue to think about it
Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious
In order to move fast, I expect you’ll make some foot faults. I’m okay with an error rate of 10 to 20%—times when I would have made a different decision in a given situation—if it means you can move fast
How do you know if you have A-players on your project team? You know it if they don’t just accept the strategy you hand them
There needs to be one decisive reason, and then the worthiness of the trip needs to be measured against that one reason
“I think failure is massively overrated. Most businesses fail for more than one reason. So when a business fails, you often don’t learn anything at all because the failure was overdetermined
What one thing would you most like to change about yourself or improve on? “It’s always hard to answer this, since it sort of begs the question of why I haven’t already improved on it
Notice how often he reframes the question (examines whether the question is the right question) before answering
The “tools” in this profile are Peter’s thinking, and his macro-level beliefs that guide thousands of smaller decisions
there was no need to wait
you don’t have to wait to start something
if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months
I think people actually do not learn very much from failure
I don’t like talking in terms of tech ‘trends’ because I think, once you have a trend, you have many people doing it
And once you have many people doing something, you have lots of competition and little differentiation. You, generally, never want to be part of a popular trend
What I prefer over trends is a sense of mission. That you are working on a unique problem that people are not solving elsewhere.
The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network
If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them
I think they’re likely to complain in any event
There is something very odd about a society where the most talented people all get tracked toward the same elite colleges, where they end up studying the same small number of subjects and going into the same small number of careers
my retrospective on my early 20s is that I was way too focused on the wrong answers at the time.”
I don’t like the word ‘education’ because it is such an extraordinary abstraction
I’m very much in favor of learning. I’m much more skeptical of credentialing or the abstraction called ‘education
when you’re very competitive, you get good at the thing you’re competing with people on. But it comes at the expense of losing out on many other things
How do I become less competitive in order that I can become more successful?’ ”
What problem do you face every day that nobody has solved yet
What do you believe that other people think is insane?
Are you starting with a big share of a small market
Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see
Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
It’s always the hard part that creates value.” “You are more powerful than you think you are. Act accordingly
Breakfast “Breakfast is one more decision I don’t make, so it’s a frozen banana, hemp powder, almond milk, a dried plum, and some walnuts in the blender
Trust and attention—these are the scarce items in a post-scarcity world
We can’t out-obedience the competition
BE A MEANINGFUL SPECIFIC INSTEAD OF A WANDERING GENERALITY
Once you have enough for beans and rice and taking care of your family and a few other things, money is a story
IF YOU GENERATE ENOUGH BAD IDEAS, A FEW GOOD ONES TEND TO SHOW UP
the goal isn’t to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas
we find ourselves caught in this cycle of keeping track of the wrong things
It took me a bunch of cycles to figure out that the narrative was up to me.
tell ten people, show ten people, share it with ten people; ten people who already trust you and already like you. If they don’t tell anybody else, it’s not that good and you should start over
START EXTREMELY SMALL
What’s the smallest possible footprint I can get away with? What is the smallest possible project that is worth my time
smallest is achievable. Smallest feels risky. Because if you pick smallest and you fail, now you’ve really screwed up
have one sort of interaction with one tribe, with one group where you don’t have a lot of lifeboats
I QUANTIFY ALMOST NOTHING IN MY LIFE
I like to study what Seth doesn’t do as much as what he does. Seth has no comments on his blog, he doesn’t pay attention to analytics, and he doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook (except to rebroadcast his daily blog posts, which is automated).
He simply focuses on putting out good and short daily posts, he ignores the rest, and he continues to thrive
salt and olive oil actually are cheating and they’re secret weapons and they always work.”
You should taste the food as you go
If you spend 2 hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them and solving interesting problems, you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that
That’s one of the reasons why I cook dinner every night
they’re either getting home-schooled and watching The Flintstones, or they’re getting homeschooled and learning something useful.
Parents get to decide . . . [and] from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., those kids are getting homeschooled
there are people who are willing to be obedient and work harder for less money than us. So we cannot out-obedience the competition
I think we need to teach kids two things: 1) how to lead, and 2) how to solve interesting problems
The way you teach your kids to solve interesting problems is to give them interesting problems to solve. And then, don’t criticize them when they fail
‘I really don’t care how you did on your vocabulary test. I care about whether you have something to say
Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule, How to Stay Motivated, and Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
Works of Pema Chödrön
The Art of Possibility
The War of Art
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Debt by David Graeber
“I had so many bumps starting when I was 30 years old. They lasted for 9 years, and I wouldn’t tell my 30-year-old self anything. Because if I hadn’t had those bumps, I wouldn’t be me, and I’m glad I’m me.”
Roasting your own beans is more important than any other thing you can do, if you want to make coffee
We all have, let’s say, two or three dozen massive pain points in our lives that everyone can relate to.
He has founded or co-founded more than 20 companies, including Reset and Stockpickr. 17 failed, and 3 of them made him tens of millions
James made his specialty exploring his own pain and fear, and he shows the light at the end of the tunnel without ignoring the darkness in the middle
What am I embarrassed to be struggling with? And what am I doing about it
IF YOU CAN’T GENERATE 10 IDEAS, GENERATE 20
writing down 10 ideas each morning in a waiter’s pad or tiny notebook
creativity on demand, so regular practice is more important than the topics:
Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle . . . it’s your brain trying to protect you from harm, from coming up with an idea that is embarrassing and stupid and could cause you to suffer pain. The way you shut [this] off is by forcing [the brain] to come up with bad ideas.
So let’s say you’ve written down 5 ideas for books and they are all pretty good. And now you are stuck. . . . Well, let’s come up with some bad ideas
I [then] divide my paper into two columns. On one column is the list of ideas. On the other column is the list of FIRST STEPS. Remember, only the first step
If the first step seems too hard, make it simpler. And don’t worry again if the idea is bad. This is all practice
So, in true James fashion, I decided to drop my standards and go nuts
Not all of James’s idea lists are business-related. In fact, few are
It’s hard to come up with more than 3,000 business ideas a year. I’m lucky if I come up with a few business ideas. The key is to have fun with it, or else you don’t do it.
10 old ideas I can make new 10 ridiculous things I would invent (e.g., the smart toilet) 10 books I can write (The Choose Yourself Guide to an Alternative Education, etc). 10 business ideas for Google/Amazon/Twitter/etc. 10 people I can send ideas to 10 podcast ideas or videos I can shoot (e.g., Lunch with James, a video podcast where I just have lunch with people over Skype and we chat) 10 industries where I can remove the middleman 10 things I disagree with that everyone else assumes is religion (college, home ownership, voting, doctors, etc.) 10 ways to take old posts of mine and make books out of them 10 people I want to be friends with (then figure out the first step to contact them) 10 things I learned yesterday 10 things I can do differently today
10 ways I can save time 10 things I learned from X, where X is someone I’ve recently spoken with or read a book by or about. I’ve written posts on this about the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs, Charles Bukowski, the Dalai Lama, Superman, Freakonomics, etc. 10 things I’m interested in getting better at (and then 10 ways I can get better at each one) 10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now (Like, maybe I can write that “Son of Dr. Strange” comic I’ve always been planning. And now I need 10 plot ideas.) 10 ways I might try to solve a problem I have This has saved me with the IRS countless times. Unfortunately, the Department of Motor Vehicles is impervious to my superpowers.
I avoid newspapers.” TF: Many productive people do the same, including Nassim Taleb.
I don’t give explanations anymore, and I’ll catch myself when I start giving explanations like ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I have a doctor’s appointment that day. I’m really sick. I broke my leg over the weekend’ or something. I just say, ‘I can’t do it. I hope everything is well.’”
Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives
90% in conservative asset classes like cash-like equivalents and the remaining 10% in speculative investments that can capitalize on positive “black swans.”
Startup investments can be illiquid and locked up for 7 to 10 years. This is why the “fund life” of most venture capital funds is 10 years
Master of Arts in Creative Writing—$12K/year
Masters in Political Science—$12K/year Use the same approach to dedicate one day per week to volunteering or working on a political campaign
angel investing involves putting relatively small amounts of money—often from $10K to $50K—into early-stage startups
The angels usually have relevant business experience and are considered “smart money
The goal of this “business school” would be to learn as much as possible about startup finance, deal structuring, rapid product design, acquisition conversations, etc., as possible.
Business school = curriculum + network.
The most important characteristic of my personal MBA: I planned on “losing” $120K.
The 2-year plan was to methodically spend $120K for the learning experience, not for the ROI.
You have a clear informational advantage (insider access) that gives you a competitive edge. I live in the nexus of Silicon Valley and know many top CEOs and investors, so I have better sources of information than the vast majority of the world. I rarely invest in public companies precisely because I know that professionals have more tools and leverage than I do. You are 100% comfortable losing your “MBA” funds
You have started and/or managed successful businesses in the past. You limit angel investment funds to 10 to 15% or less of your liquid assets
You should only gamble with what you’re very comfortable losing
When do most actually panic and start selling low?” His answer: “When they’re down 5% in one quarter
The absolute number can matter as much as the percentage
Go to a casino or racetrack and don’t leave until you’ve spent 20% of a typical investment and watched it disappear
It’s important that you slowly bleed losses as you attempt to learn the game, to exert some control over something you can’t control.
If you want to make a small fortune, start with a large fortune and angel invest.”
Lesson #1: If you’ve formulated intelligent rules, follow your own f*cking rules
If it has a single founder, the founder must be technical. Two technical co-founders are ideal.
I must be eager to use the product myself
companies whose valuations I can directly impact through my platform
Whenever possible, I want to pour gasoline on the fire, not start the fire
Have the founders ever had crappy service jobs, like waiting tables or bussing at restaurants? If so, they tend to stay grounded for longer
Breaking your rules to co-invest with well-known investors is usually a bad idea, but following your rules when others reject a startup can work out extremely well.
Even if you have no interest in the startup game, you should have an interest in formally deciding on rules that make damaging, bad decisions hard. Here are a few that helped me
Most of your startups will fail, so the successes need to make up for losses
If a startup exits at 3 times its current valuation, it should allow you to walk away
I can’t take another part-time job for 7 to 10 years for a $50K payoff.
Move from Investor → Investor/Advisor → Advisor
It’s therefore nearly impossible for you to get a good statistical spread with $60K per year. The math just doesn’t work
First, I invested very small amounts in a few select startups, ideally those in close-knit “seed accelerator
Then, I did my best to deliver above and beyond the value of my investment
Why the hell is this guy helping us so much for a ridiculously small amount of equity?”
This was critical for establishing a reputation as a major value-add, someone who helped a lot for very little
Advising” equity is equity that I get over time (say, ¹⁄₂₄ of the total each month for 2 years) but don’t have to pay for.
Moving gradually from pure investing to pure advising allowed me to reduce the total amount of capital invested, increase equity percentages, and make the $120K work
The irony is that I’ve now stopped angel investing completely, even though it will ultimately make me 10 times what I’ve made in publishing and everything else
Commit to spending $2,500 per month on testing different “muses” intended to be sources of automated income
Commit, within financial reason, to action instead of theory
Losers have goals. Winners have systems
short blog post “The Day You Became a Better Writer” for improving his writing
Scott believes there are six elements of humor: naughty, clever, cute, bizarre, mean, and recognizable. You have to have at least two dimensions to succeed
you choose options that allow you to inevitably “succeed” over time, as you build assets that carry over to subsequent projects.
What persistent skills or relationships can I develop
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
blogging was a system, not a goal
Writing is a skill that requires practice. So the first part of my system involves practicing on a regular basis. I didn’t know what I was practicing for, exactly, and that’s what makes it a system and not a goal
The second part of my blogging system is a sort of R&D for writing. I write on a variety of topics and see which ones get the best response. I also write in different ‘voices.’ I have my humorously self-deprecating voice, my angry voice, my thoughtful voice, my analytical voice, my half-crazy voice, my offensive voice, and so on. Readers do a good job of telling me what works and what doesn’t
My writing for the Wall Street Journal, along with my public practice on the blog, attracted the attention of book publishers, and that attention turned into a book deal
the book deal generated speaking requests that are embarrassingly lucrative
My blogging has kicked up dozens of business opportunities over the past years, so it could have taken any direction.”
All you do is you pick a goal and you write it down 15 times a day in some specific sentence form, like ‘I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut,’ for example. And you do that every day
Then it will seem as if the universe just starts spitting up opportunities
She convinced me, partly because she was a member of Mensa, that she wasn’t dumb
The two affirmations that are notable were: First, I said I would become a number-one best-selling author. This was before I’d ever written a book, and I’d never taken a class in writing, except a 2-day course in business writing, and that was it. The Dilbert Principle became the number-one best-selling book.
the exact method doesn’t matter. I think what matters is the degree of focus and the commitment you have to that focus
how did I hear that one thing in this whole bunch of crowd noise
So the best it can do is set up these little filters
And the way it sets its filters is by what you pay attention to
you can use these affirmations, presumably—this is just a hypothesis—to focus your mind and your memory on a very specific thing. And that would allow you to notice things in your environment that might have already been there
He took an anchor that everybody could visualize, and his core audience already had a negative impression
he beat her hand, and he did it without even trying, and he did it with a method which is well understood. It’s a negotiating technique
You throw down an anchor, you divert everybody
Check your facts’ is what I call the ‘high ground maneuver
To minimize decisions, Scott wakes up, pushes a button for coffee, and has the same breakfast every morning: a chocolate–peanut butter flavor Clif Builder’s 20-gram protein bar
But then you’ve got to find out where in that flood is the little piece that’s worth working with. That’s where I use the body model.
There’s a process where once you clear your mind, you have to flood it
Your brain can’t find good contact, not directly in an intellectual sense. Obviously
I’m thinking of these ideas and they’re flowing through my head, I’m monitoring my body; I’m not monitoring my mind. And when my body changes, I have something that other people are going to care about, too
This bodily reaction—an involuntary half-chuckle, a rush of adrenaline, a surge of endorphins, a sharp change of emotions, etc.—can act as a metal detector for good material. It takes practice, but it works.
learn how to not have stress
One of the ways to not worry about stress is to eliminate it
Diversification works in almost every area of your life to reduce your stress
Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort
It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare
I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice
using your combined knowledge
Capitalism rewards things that are both rare and valuable
At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal
BEHIND THE SCENES Shaun was born with a heart defect called the Tetralogy of Fallot. Several of the valves in his heart leaked, which required multiple open-heart surgeries to fix. In his childhood, he would pass out from overexertion on the soccer field. My podcast episode with Shaun was recorded live to a sold-out crowd at The Troubadour in L.A., where Guns N’ Roses played the gig that first got them signed to Geffen. ✸ What’s your self-talk just before dropping into an Olympic run? “I say, ‘At the end of the day, who cares? What’s the big deal? I’m here, I’m going to try my best, and I’m going to go home, and my family’s there. . . . Even though my whole world’s wrapped up in this, who cares
Every single season I set a goal . . . it’s usually two goals. It’s something very serious and something funny, something stupid.”
Winning the Olympics is a very big goal, it’s a very stressful goal to have. So it’s nice to have something else to offset it
Sometimes, being outside of the known hotspots is a huge advantage
I’m packing in months of training in these small windows, compared to someone else
TAKE THE GIG AND LOOK FOR OTHER DOORS TO OPEN
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in
If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.
When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this new product better than the competition?” but “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first in
This is counter to classic marketing thinking, which is brand oriented: How do I get people to prefer my brand? Forget the brand. Think categories
Prospects are on the defensive when it comes to brands. Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories
Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better
When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category
The side effect was that—at least for the first year—whenever “lifestyle design” was used or defined by someone, my name or The 4-Hour Workweek were mentioned as well
Lifestyle design” represented a new and concise label for something that previously required a few sentences
Note: Waar kan ik de eerste in zijn en hoe label ik het?
This was because I owned the mindshare, the mental “category,” not the trademark
CREATIVITY IS AN INFINITE RESOURCE. THE MORE YOU SPEND,THE MORE YOU HAVE.”
The way that I hacked the system was setting my first hired, day-rate gig at several thousand dollars a day. I pushed myself to a point that was incredibly uncomfortable and required myself to deliver at the highest level
I was eating, breathing, sleeping photography, [and then] when I was able to start to monetize my craft, I did so at a very high price point
I knew I wanted to be a top price point. I wanted to do less work, and do high-end stuff
If someone ever says ‘yes’ that quickly, you didn’t ask for enough.”
I didn’t accept advertisers for the podcast until I had 100K+ downloads per episode
In the first 3 to 9 months, you should be honing your craft and putting out increasingly better work
Good content is the best SEO
You can play the long game, wait 6 to 12 months until you have a critical mass, then get to 300K downloads per episode and make more than 10 times per episode with much larger brands who can afford to scale with you as you grow. Haste makes waste. In this case, it can easily make the difference between $50K per year and more than $1 million per year.
Everything is a remix, but what is your version of the remix?
What is the unique mojo that I bring, and how can I try and amplify that
If I look across and everyone else is doing X, how do you zig when everyone else is zagging
I ‘specialized’ in pursuing the things that interested me.
I historically would have been called a dilettante, but to be able to touch all of these things [is to] find out that they ultimately inform one another.”
Specialization is for insects
don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do
Dan preemptively disarms potential criticism of his credentials by saying in nearly every episode, “Keep in mind that I’m no historian, but . . .”
Dan builds shows around his answer(s) to “What’s weird about this story?” when reading various and often conflicting historical accounts
I going to like this? When am I going to really be happy with the work that I’m churning out?’ I look back on that all the time . . . if I could go back and just tell myself, ‘Don’t stress about it, it’s all going to work out in the end
Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca and William Novak.
My emails look like I am writing to you because I want to be your friend
Tactics are great, but tactics become commoditized
If you understand principles, you can create tactics. If you are dependent on perishable tactics, you are always at a disadvantage
Age of Propaganda
The Robert Collier Letter Book
If your material is good, if it is engaging, there is almost no maximum you can write. . . . My point is not ‘write longer.’ It is ‘do not worry about space.’
Second, I cannot recommend guest posting enough
In general, I split my content in a very binary fashion: free or ultra-premium
Of course, then you have to overdeliver
An openness to indirect paths means I don’t obsess over selling my “content,”
My network, partially built through writing, is my net worth. If you want to increase your income 10x instead of 10%, the best opportunities are often seemingly out of left field (e.g., books → startups
The Checklist Manifesto
Success” need not be complicated. Just start with making 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy.
A true fan is defined as “a fan who will buy anything you produce
If you have roughly 1,000 fans like this (also known as superfans), you can make a living—if you are content to make a living, but not a fortune.
You need to meet two criteria: First, you have to create enough each year that you can earn, on average, $100 profit from each true fan
it is always easier and better to give your existing customers more, than it is to find new fans.
Second, you must have a direct relationship with your fans. That is, they must pay you directly
000 customers is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than a million fans
You might even be able to remember 1,000 names. If you added one new true fan per day, it’d only take a few years to gain 1,000
True fanship is doable. Pleasing a true fan is pleasurable and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that true fans appreciate.
Another way to calculate the support of a true fan is to aim to get one day of their wages per year. Can
you want to focus on the superfans because the enthusiasm of true fans can increase the patronage of regular fans. True fans are not only the direct source of your income, but also your chief marketing force for the ordinary fans
the most obscure node is only one click away from the most popular node
the total sales of all the lowest-selling obscure items would equal, or in some cases exceed, the sales of the few best-selling items
the aggregators had great incentive to encourage audiences to click on the obscure items
Even web search companies like Google, Bing, and Baidu found it in their interests to reward searchers with the obscure because they could sell ads in the long tail as well
As far as I can tell there is nothing—no product, no idea, no desire—without a fan base on the Internet
The trick is to practically find those fans, or, more accurately, to have them find you.
One of the many new innovations serving the true fan creator is crowdfunding. Having your fans finance your next product is genius. Win-win all around.
The truth is that cultivating 1,000 true fans is time-consuming, sometimes nerve-wracking, and not for everyone
At best, it will be a consuming and challenging part-time task that requires ongoing skills
a helper will skew your formula, increasing the number of fans you need, but that might be the best mix
Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with 1,000 true fans
I’ve seen this with all of my fastest-growing and most successful startups. They start laser-focused on 100 to 1,000 people, niche-ing down as necessary with their messaging and targeting (demographically, geographically, etc.) to get to a manageable and cost-effectively reachable number.
Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
000 true fans who act as your most powerful unpaid marketing force
If you don’t build that initial army, you’re likely to fail
the number of your true fans can actually be far fewer than 1,000. This is particularly true if you A) produce content that attracts a niche but well-heeled group, and then B) invite and look for indirect revenue opportunities not based on onsite transactions (e.g., paid speaking, investment opportunities, consulting). These can be far more lucrative than most advertising, tip jars, and the like.
free or ultra-premium” approach on page 290, which has provided me with complete creative and financial freedom.
If you have true fans, it’s your responsibility to consider (and test) higher-priced, higher-value options outside of the $10 paradigm
You do not have to sacrifice the integrity of your art for a respectable income. You just need to create a great experience and charge enough
Target Monthly Income
I’ve worked with PR firms that charge $20K a month and spend 3 months planning a launch. Follow our advice—based on what we learned—and there’s a good chance you’ll get better results without spending anything
If you add a + to the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see stats related to that link. For example: Here are stats for the shortlink Kickstarter generated for our campaign: http://kck.st/VjAFva+
We knew that if we did this, we would be listed in Kickstarter’s Popular Projects sections, which is how you get people who are browsing Kickstarter to check out and back your project
TF: For perhaps 10 additional tips, as well as a half dozen email templates that Soma used for their PR outreach and launch (this alone could save you more than 100 hours), visit
Prompts to Elicit Stories (Most Interviewers Are Weak at This) “Tell me about a time when . . .” “Tell me about the day [or moment or time] when . . .” “Tell me the story of . . . [how you came to major in X, how you met so-and-so, etc.]” “Tell me about the day you realized ___ . . . ” “What were the steps that got you to ___ ?” “Describe the conversation when
Occasionally, a good idea comes to you first, if you’re lucky. Usually, it only comes after a lot of bad ideas
Questions are your pickaxes. Good questions are what open people up, open new doors, and create opportunities
IN GENERAL—ASK THE DUMB QUESTION EVERYONE ELSE IS AFRAID TO ASK
Often, there’s a very basic, very dumb question at the center of a story that no one’s asking
Asking the right dumb question is often the smartest thing you can do
Alex generally tries to cover three bases: setting (e.g., where, when, who, what), emotions, and details
ALWAYS put in new batteries for every important interview. I use simple earbuds for sound checks
I prefer to have guests hold them, as they’re less likely to lean away. Sound levels (volume) are therefore more consistent, requiring less fussing in post-production.
Bluecell 5-pack of microphone windscreen foam covers: These minimize the clicks, pops, and other noises picked up from vocals, as well as background noises and actual wind
I often mail guests this mic via Amazon Prime if they need one, as it has the best bang-for-the-buck value I’ve found
Whatever: I edited perhaps 20 of my first 30 episodes using GarageBand
Most would-be podcasters quit because they get overwhelmed with gear and editing
Much like Joe Rogan, I decided to record and publish entire conversations (minimizing post-production), not solely highlights
Auphonic: I often use Auphonic.com to finalize and polish my podcasts after editing on the above. It’s a web-based audio post-production mastering tool, designed to help you improve the overall audio quality of your podcast
This is the big misconception that people have, that [in the beginning] a new film is the baby version of the final film, when in fact the final film bears no relationship to what you started off with
the first version always sucks
IF YOU CAN’T READ IT, TRY LISTENING TO IT
For several years, Ed listened to Teaching Company lectures every day during his commute
Because they think of art as learning to draw or learning a certain kind of self-expression. But in fact, what artists do is they learn to see.”
When you complain, nobody wants to help you
If you spend your time focusing on the things that are wrong, and that’s what you express and project to people you know, you don’t become a source of growth for people, you become a source of destruction for people
Not only am I not going to say anything negative about the situation I’m in, but I’m not going to let myself think anything negative about
PICK THE RIGHT AUDIENCE TO SUCK IN FRONT OF
If anybody is going to go out and pitch investors, my advice is to make your first 10 meetings with investors that you don’t really want funding from
Even Jerry Seinfeld bombs with early material (see the Comedian documentary), so he develops it at small venues.
Once we get off of the planet, the last thing we want to do is go to another gravity
every single thing in your company breaks every time you roughly triple in size
when you’re just one person, everything kind of works. You sort of figure it out. And then, at some point, you have three people, and now, things are kind of different
His hypothesis is that everything breaks at roughly these points of 3 and 10 [multiples of 3 and powers of 10]. And by ‘everything,’ it means everything: how you handle payroll, how you schedule meetings, what kind of communications you use, how you do budgeting, who actually makes decisions. Every implicit and explicit part of the company just changes significantly when it triples.
a lot of companies get into trouble because of this
Well, your next big point isn’t until 30,000. But you’re probably not going to get the 30,000 ever, or certainly not within a few years. It might take a decade or more for a company to go from 10,000 to 30,000. But no one feels like waiting around for a decade or more to reinvent themselves, and so big companies are constantly pushing all of these bullshit innovation initiatives because they feel like they have to do something. But they’re not actually connected to any fundamental change in the company
How are you complicit in creating the conditions you say you don’t want?”
Prior to becoming a chef, he completed degrees in theoretical mathematics and biochemistry
The Diamond Age (Seth Godin
THE INTERESTING JOBS ARE THE ONES THAT YOU MAKE UP
Do things that you’re interested in, and if you do them really well, you’re going to find a way to temper them with some good business opportunity.
WHAT INTERESTING THING ARE YOU WORKING ON? WHY IS THAT INTERESTING TO YOU? WHAT’S SURPRISING ABOUT THAT? IS ANYBODY ELSE THINKING ABOUT THIS?
IF YOU HAD $100 MILLION, WHAT WOULD YOU BUILD THAT WOULD HAVE NO VALUE TO OTHERS IN COPYING?”
For each $1 of revenue you generate, can you cost an incumbent $5 to $10? If so, he’ll invest
Valve: Handbook for New Employees
because William had an enormous ego and he was just not going to be capable of bringing himself to say anybody else in town was any good at all
If it’s not ready, we’re not going to send it out, and just hope they don’t notice that it’s not that good. We’ll fix it. We’ll do something else, but don’t try to slip by something that you know is below the standard
What context does this person even have, and have I provided appropriate context
If you go out there and start making noise and making sales, people will find you. Sales cure all
Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family, business, etc., with expiration dates, and I update them every 6 months
My parents always taught me that my day job would never make me rich. It’d be my homework
it completely opened up my eyes to opportunity
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
in business and in life—you don’t have to be on the extreme, but you have to ask for things, and you have to put yourself out there.”
What is the worst advice you see or hear given in your trade or area of expertise? “That you should prioritize growing your social following
THE CLASSICS FOR COPYWRITING Noah is known for his copywriting skills, and he recommends two resources: The Gary Halbert Letter (also The Boron Letters) and Ogilvy on Advertising.
IMPROVE TOOLS AT THE “TOP OF THE FUNNEL
FollowUp.cc: For automating email follow-ups and reminders. I use a close cousin called Nudgemail, in combination with Boomerang. You’ll never have to remember to follow up with anyone ever again
DON’T TRY AND FIND TIME. SCHEDULE TIME
It’s only real if it’s on the calendar
Grow things that you can fully control that directly affect sales, like your email list. ‘Likes’ don’t pay the bills. Sales do
This 53-year-old makes me cringe for complaining about my age. He started training at age 48
When I can, I travel with my family
how can I fill the bucket with the things that are really important to me
the minutiae fit around the big things, but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae.
Remember who you are
Frustration is a matter of expectation
He was just drilling deeper and deeper and deeper until I realized, every time, that there was actually something I didn’t have clear in my mind
He really taught me to think deeply about things, and I think that’s something I have not forgotten.”
Can you explain that to me
Think you’re doomed because you’re outside of the epicenter of your industry? See if you can find benefits, as there might be some non-obvious advantages
Ryan dropped out of college at 19 to apprentice under Robert Greene
The angry, unappreciated genius is forced to do stuff she doesn’t like, for people she doesn’t respect, as she makes her way in the world
if you’re going to be the big deal you think you are going to be, isn’t this a rather trivial, temporary imposition?
Make other people look good and you will do well
It’s about providing the support so that others can be good
Find canvases for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo
You’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are
you have an attitude that needs to be readjusted
most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong
Attach yourself to people and organizations who are already successful
it’s about seeing what goes on from the inside, and looking for opportunities for someone other than yourself
Franklin was playing the long game, though—learning how public opinion worked, generating awareness of what he believed in, crafting his style and tone and wit. It was a strategy he used time and again over his career
Franklin saw the constant benefit in making other people look good and letting them take credit for your ideas
He thrived on what was considered grunt work, asked for it, and strove to become the best at precisely what others thought they were too good for
He was like a sponge, taking it all in, listening to everything
If he wanted to give his coach feedback or question a decision, he needed to do it in private and self-effacingly so as not to offend his superior
Greatness comes from humble beginnings
you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results.
Be lesser, do more
Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you
You can forget it so hard that you’re glad when others get it instead of you—that was your aim, after all
trade your short-term gratification for a longer-term payoff. Whereas everyone else wants to get credit and be “respected,” you can forget credit
Maybe it’s coming up with ideas to hand over to your boss
Find people, thinkers, up-and-comers to introduce to each other. Cross wires to create new sparks
Find what nobody else wants to do and do it.
Find inefficiencies and waste and redundancies. Identify leaks and patches to free up resources for new areas.
Produce more than everyone else and give your ideas away
discover opportunities to promote their creativity, find outlets and people for collaboration
eliminate distractions that hinder their progress and focus
You may even find that there’s no reason to ever stop doing it, even once you’ve graduated to heading your own projects
if you pick up this mantle once, you’ll see what most people’s egos prevent them from appreciating
The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.
Do people you respect or care about leave hateful comments on the Internet?” (No.) “Do you really want to engage with people who have infinite time on their hands?” (No.)
The Random Show,
Do you understand it?” “Do you think they’ll be dominant and growing 3 years from now?” “Do you think this technology will be more or less a part of our lives in 3 years?”
added dimension: emotional response
“I trust my gut.” He seemed unsatisfied and told me, “You’ve got to come up with something better than that.”
the decision to invest in a startup comes after following a process that is heavily weighted towards EQ
When evaluating a new product, I take the novel features (not every feature) and exhaustively play out how they might impact the emotions of the consumers who use them
In allowing myself to feel these features through the eyes of the users, I can get a sense of the excitement around them
I’ve actually used this framework more to help me steer clear of bad investments than to find good ones. In evaluating my meetings over the last calendar year, I met with an average of 18 companies before I found one worthwhile of investment. That’s a lot of saying “no.”
It’s important to note: I’m also a believer in objective data and using it to inform decisions, especially in later rounds of financing
in the early stage, at the seed of an idea, the bet is largely based on the quality of the team and the emotional connection you feel with the product
The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.’ Not accepting norms is where you innovate
Life Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera;
if you’re writing and you want to research something, you research something, and then you get stuck in the clickbait rabbit hole
save all of the things you want to research, and just research them when that time expires. You’ll find it so much more efficient
Neil and I, and many other writers, use “TK” as a placeholder for things we need to research later (e.g., “He was TK years old at the time.”). This is common practice, as almost no English words have TK in them (except that pesky Atkins), making it easy to use Control-F when it’s time to batch-research or fact-check.
First, I edit for me. (What do I like?) Second, I edit for my fans. (What would be most enjoyable and helpful to my fans?) Third, I edit for my haters. (What would my detractors try and pick apart, discredit, or make fun of?)
There’s nothing that people have said about him that [isn’t] already answered or accomplished in some self-aware way
Hater-proofing” can take many forms, whether making fun of yourself (“I know this is laughably contradictory, but . . .”) or bringing up a likely criticism and addressing it head on (e.g., “Some people might understandably say .
Whether it’s ideas (see James Altucher, page 246) or writing, the key is temporarily dropping your standards
Two crappy pages per day
IBM made the quotas really low. They wanted the salespeople to not be intimidated to pick up the phone. They wanted the salespeople to build momentum and then overshoot their quotas and goals
If you hit two crappy pages, even if you never use them, you can feel “successful” for the day
Draft ugly and edit pretty.
BE VULNERABLE TO GET VULNERABILITY
Open up and be vulnerable with the person you’re going to interview before you start
the guest has “final cut
We can always cut stuff out, but I can’t add interesting stuff in later.”
I only do email responses to print interviews Because these people love to put a twist to your words
I don’t feel like the people are necessarily being deceitful. It’s just realizing that everybody’s got their own agenda
The moral of the story is, whenever possible, do print/text interviews via email
Easy, you record it on your side
What are their incentives and the timelines of their incentives
Be the silence that listens.”—Tara Brach
✸ If you could take one album, one book, and one luxury item to a desert island, what would they be
Boards of Canada
Don’t force it
What is the worst advice you see or hear given in your trade or area of expertise
things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea
Every morning, Justin does 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation followed by outdoor kettlebell swings with 24 kg (53 lbs). I do exactly the same thing 2 to 3 times per week, aiming for 50 to 75 repetitions of two-handed swings per The 4-Hour Body.
Sometimes you need to stop doing things you love in order to nurture the one thing that matters most.”
your environment matters.”
It is essential to get lost and jam up your plans every now and then. It’s a source of creativity and perspective. The danger of maps, capable assistants, and planning is that you may end up living your life as planned
If you do, your potential cannot possibly exceed your expectations
The hardest decisions to make in business are those that disappoint people you care about
One of the biggest mistakes I made in the early days of Behance was doing too many things
I try to learn from the past without being inspired by it
My big question is always, ‘What did they try, and why did it work?
What conventional wisdom was shunned
every success was almost a failure.
“In the wrong environment, your creativity is compromised
young creative minds don’t need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they’ve already got.”
It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen
Oftentimes, finances aren’t the primary constraint holding us back
we quarantine our travels to short, frenzied bursts. In this way, as we throw our wealth at an abstract notion called “lifestyle,” travel becomes just another accessory
purchasing a package vacation to find a simpler life is kind of like using a mirror to see what you look like when you aren’t looking into the mirror
The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think that money is what we need to live
long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics—age, ideology, income—and everything to do with personal outlook
Long-term travel doesn’t require a massive “bundle of cash”; it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way.
Vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions
vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it
people who were so obsessed with tending their material wealth and social standing that they couldn’t spare the time to truly experience the splendor of California’s Sierra wilderness
Most of us, of course, have never taken such vows—but we choose to live like monks anyway, rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present
the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it
Settling into our lives, we get so obsessed with holding on to our domestic certainties that we forget why we desired them in the first place
Vagabonding starts now
Earning your freedom, of course, involves work—and work is intrinsic to vagabonding for psychic reasons as much as financial ones
freedom is tied to labor
fund months of travel on a few weeks of work
Some of the most prolific vagabonders I’ve met are seasonal workers
Other folks—teachers, doctors, bartenders, journalists—have opted to take their very careers on the road, alternating work and travel as they see fit
I don’t like work,” says Marlow in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, “but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself
creates desire: It’s the vagabonding gestation period, wherein you earn your integrity, start making plans, and get your proverbial act together
Work is a time to dream about travel and write notes to yourself, but it’s also the time tie up your loose ends. Work is when you confront the problems you might otherwise be tempted to run away from
Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts—so that your travels are not an escape from your real life, but a discovery of your real life.
don’t worry that your extended travels might leave you with a “gap” on your résumé. Rather, you should enthusiastically and unapologetically include your vagabonding experience on your résumé when you return
the act of quitting “means not giving up, but moving on; changing direction not because something doesn’t agree with you, but because you don’t agree with something
Quitting—whether a job or a habit—means taking a turn so as to be sure you’re still moving in the direction of your dreams
the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea
What’s your moonshot?
A PROBLEM IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.”
I think of problems as gold mines. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.”
THE BEST WAY TO BECOME A BILLIONAIRE IS TO HELP A BILLION PEOPLE
cultivating dealmaking ability is actually a children’s book and a 10-minute read: Stone Soup.
Before bed, Peter always reviews his three “wins of the day
Why do I believe this is important?’ It’s, ‘Look how far I’ve taken it so far
What did you want to do when you were a child, before anybody told you what you were supposed to do? What was it you wanted to become? What did you want to do more than anything else
Where can you put yourself into an environment that gives maximum exposure to new ideas, problems, and people? Exposure to things that capture your ‘shower time’ [those things you can’t stop thinking about in the shower]
When you go after a moonshot—something that’s 10 times bigger, not 10% bigger—a number of things happen. . . .’
when you’re going 10% bigger, you’re competing against everybody
The second thing is, when you are trying to go 10 times bigger, you have to start with a clean sheet of paper, and you approach the problem completely differently
not having a legacy
when you try to go 10 times bigger versus 10% bigger, it’s typically not 100 times harder, but the reward is 100 times more.
Is there a grand challenge or a billion-person problem that you can focus on?’
How would you disrupt yourself
Find the smartest 20-somethings in your company. I don’t care if they’re in the mail room or where they are. Give them permission to figure out how they would take down your company.”
2: When given a choice . . . take both. Law 3: Multiple projects lead to multiple successes. Law 6: When forced to compromise, ask for more. Law 7: If you can’t win, change the rules. Law 8: If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them. Law 11: “No” simply means begin again at one level higher. Law 13: When in doubt: THINK. Law 16: The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live. Law 17: The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself. (adopted from Alan Kay) Law 19: You get what you incentivize. Law 22: The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. Law 26: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
I like to make promises that I’m not sure I can keep and then figure out how to keep them
“A day that ends well is one that started with exercise
don’t be so impressed
GET THE LONG-TERM GOAL ON THE CALENDAR BEFORE THE SHORT-TERM PAIN HITS
everything is idea and execution and, if you separate idea and execution, you don’t put too much pressure on either of them.”
Money can always be regenerated. Time and reputation cannot
When possible, always give the money to charity, as it allows you to interact with people well above your pay grade
B.J. advises first-time comics to book their first week of shows (open mic commitments) in advance, so they can’t quit after the first performance
you can’t make each night a referendum on whether to continue or not.
Make commitments in a high-energy state so that you can’t back out when you’re in a low-energy state.
TO GO BIG, AIM SMALL
huge national success. They were just trying to achieve “cult status” with a small and loyal following
I was deliberately aiming for tech early adopters
uncrowded but gaining influence quickly
B.J. once brought a bunch of jokes to Steve Carell, who said, “These just feel like jokes to me.” For Steve, comedy was a by-product of authenticity. This is the difference between a kid who knows he’s cute and one who doesn’t (the one who knows he’s cute isn’t cute)
For 2 to 4 weeks, the writers’ room banter was each person asking, “What if . . . ?” over and over again. Crazy scenarios were encouraged, not penalized. Every idea, no matter what, was valid during this period
first few hours of his day “powering up” and getting in a good mood
It can take B.J. hours of walking, reading newspapers over coffee, listening to music, etc., before he hits his stride and feels he can write, his zone generally occurring between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Says B.J., “I find that being in a good mood for creative work is worth the hours it takes to get in a good mood.”
when you get started each day seems to matter less than learning how to get started consistently, however your crazy ass can manage it.
you really learn something when you attempt to parody it
It is so reassuring to see that everyone has their own system, and how dysfunctional a lot of them are
take as long as you want if you’re talented. You’ll get their attention again if you have a reason to.
Are You Fooling Yourself with a Plan for Moderation? “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” —Richard P. Feynman
Common domino foods include: Chickpeas Peanut butter Salted cashews Alcohol
I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” —Mark Twain “He who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary.”
Every time I’ve tried to get “sophisticated,” the universe has kicked me in the nuts
Are You Doing What You’re Uniquely Capable of, What You Feel Placed Here on Earth to Do? Can You Be Replaced?
if I stop writing, perhaps I’m squandering the biggest opportunity I have, created through much luck, to have a lasting impact on the greatest number of people
I was tired of being interchangeable, no matter how lucrative the game
were in? “Sure, that sounds kinda cool,” I’d say, dropping it in the calendar. Later, I’d pay the price of massive distraction and overwhelm. My agenda became a list of everyone else’s agendas
Saying yes to too much “cool” will bury you alive and render you a B-player, even if you have A-player skills
Once you reach a decent level of professional success, lack of opportunity won’t kill you. It’s drowning in “kinda cool” commitments that will sink the ship
I need to stop sowing the seeds of my own destruction
great creative work isn’t possible if you’re trying to piece together 30 minutes here and 45 minutes there
There has to be enough slack in the system for multi-day, CPU-intensive synthesis. For me, this means at least 3 to 4 mornings per week where I am in “maker” mode until at least 1 p
Demonstrated traction and consistent growth (not doctored with paid acquisition)
No “party rounds”—crowded financing rounds with no clear lead investor. Party rounds often lead to poor due diligence and few people with enough skin in the game to really care.
Checking these boxes allowed me to add a lot of value quickly, even as relatively cheap labor (i.e., I took a tiny stake in the company).
allocate resources (e.g., money, time, energy) to improve quality of life
Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish
An investment that produces a massive financial ROI but makes me a complete nervous mess, or causes insomnia and temper tantrums for a long period of time, is NOT a good investment
All of my biggest wins have come from leveraging strengths instead of fixing weaknesses
Though high-risk, I do well with binary decisions. In other words, I do a ton of homework and commit to an investment that I cannot reverse
Largely due to communication overload, I’ve lost my love for the game
the marginal minute now matters more to me than the marginal dollar
Where in your life are you good at moderation? Where are you an all-or-nothing type
weekly “cheat days
slow carbers keep “domino foods” out of their homes
If I sleep poorly and have an early morning meeting, I’ll cancel the meeting last-minute if needed and catch up on sleep. If I’ve missed a workout and have a conference call coming up in 30 minutes
strictly making health #1 has real social and business ramifications
If it’s #1 50% of the time, you’ll compromise precisely when it’s most important not to.
The artificial urgency common to startups makes mental and physical health a rarity
It’s a culture of cortisol.
Are You Over-Correlated?
Correlated” means that investments tend to move up or down in value at the same time.
So, how to de-risk your portfolio?
Since I can’t take chips off the table, the simplest first step for lowering stress was to stop investing in illiquid assets.
Beware of anchoring to former high prices (e.g., “I’ll sell when it gets back to X price per share . . .”). I only have 1 to 2 stock holdings remaining
If you’re spending your own money, or otherwise not banking on management fees, you can wait for the perfect pitches, even if it takes years.
maintaining stringent criteria; ensuring you have an informational, analytical, or behavioral advantage; and TIMING.
In lean times, when startups no longer grace magazine covers, founders are those who cannot help but build companies
Think of the “margin of safety” as wiggle room
Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of the 20th century and a self-described “value investor.” He aims to buy stocks at a discount (below intrinsic value), so that even with a worst-case scenario, he can do well
It doesn’t guarantee a good investment, but it allows room for error
I want each of my investments, if successful, to have the ability to return my “entire fund
I must A) know basic algebra to ensure my investment amounts (check sizes) permit it, and B) avoid companies that seem overpriced, where the 10x price is something the world has never seen before.
If you throw low-due-diligence Hail Marys everywhere and justify it with “they could be the next Uber!”, you will almost certainly be killed by 1,000 slow-bleeding $25K paper cuts
As I’ve signed the investment docs for every big success I’ve had, I’ve always thought, “I will never lose money on this deal.”
It might be morbid, but it’s practical. If you’re investing for life, don’t rush.Timing often overrides technique
Make your peace with the fact that saying ‘no’ often requires trading popularity for respect.”
In the midst of overwhelm, is life not showing me exactly what I should subtract?
Am I having a breakdown or a breakthrough?
The obstacle is the way
using pain to find clarity
step one is always the same: Write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions
fear-setting” exercise on paper (page 463), in which I ask and answer, “What is really the worst that could happen if I stopped doing what I’m considering? And so what? How could I undo any damage?”
I made lists of the guaranteed upsides versus speculative downsides
All I needed to do was put it on paper.
The anxiety is mostly related to email and startups: new pitches, new intros
Less indecision, less deliberation, far more bandwidth for CREATING, for READING, for PHYSICAL [TRAINING], for EXPERIMENTS
What do you need a vacation from?
If not now, when
I hope you find the strength to say “no” when it matters most
So start by writing them down. Dig into your fears, and you’ll often find that the mental monsters are harmless scarecrows
He has written all of his books and articles by hunting and pecking with one hand. Incredible.
An analogy I use is, if you’re going out for dinner, it’s going to take you a couple of hours. You spend 5 minutes working out where to go for dinner. It seems reasonable to spend 5% of your time on how to spend the remaining 95%. If you did that with your career, that would be 4,000 hours, or 2 working years. And actually, I think that’s a pretty legitimate thing to do—spending that length of time trying to work out how should you be spending the rest of your life.”
“Being an entrepreneur is being willing to do a job that nobody else wants to do, [in order] to be able to live the rest of your life doing whatever you want to do
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU THINK.” This
He thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients.
When you are struggling with just about anything, look up. Just ponder the night sky for a minute and realize that we’re all on the same planet at the same time
star therapy” every night that I can. The effects are disproportionate to the effort
delighting in something that goes away.
we as human beings, as long as we’re in this body, are feeling machines
If we’re cut off, if our senses are choked off, we are choked off
I think I’ve gotten in trouble when I’ve tried to come in with some predetermined idea of advice-giving. Oftentimes, that’s not really what’s needed
But I think most of the power of the visit is just visiting, just being together and sharing this awkward body
For hospice patients at death’s door, big existential conversations aren’t always the needed medicine. One oddly powerful alternative is baking cookies together.
Let it go. I do mean to take life very seriously, but I need to take things like playfulness and purposelessness very seriously
not pretend to know where this is all going
SOMETIMES, THE BEST “NO” IS NO REPLY “Why put in the effort to explain why it isn’t a fit, if they haven’t done the homework to determine if it is a fit?
Don’t succumb to replying to everyone out of guilt. From Maria: “Guilt [is] interesting because guilt is the flip side of prestige, and they’re both horrible reasons to do things.”
Oliver Sacks (RIP) used to put a “piece of paper on the wall by his desk that simply said, in all caps, ‘NO!’ with an exclamation point. It was to remind himself to decline invitations that took away from his writing time.”
WHEN IN DOUBT, SCRATCH YOUR OWN ITCH
She often reads a book a day, distilling the most timeless and meaningful wisdom worth remembering and sharing. Her quality and output are staggering
Those who are sloppy during the honeymoon (at the beginning) only get worse later
Maybe appearing on CNN for two minutes will make your grandmother proud, but if the travel and the preparation and the logistics eat up 20 hours of your time so that your writing suffers [and] you will ultimately not be proud of the result, then maybe it’s not worth it. Often I think the paradox is that accepting the requests you receive is at the expense of the quality of the very work—the reason for those requests in the first place
diaries of Henry David Thoreau
Doing great work simply because you love it, sounds, in our culture, somehow flimsy, and that’s a failing of our culture, not of the choice of work that artists make
He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk
Those who work much, do not work hard
Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honor that symbolizes work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue—but really, it’s a total profound failure of priorities and of self-respect
Maria does most of her long-form reading at the gym on the iPad
Don’t try to please anyone but yourself. . . . The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it. . .
It always, always shows in the work when you resent it
What is the worst advice you see or hear given in your trade or area of expertise?
Follow your dreams.’ It’s impossible to do without self-knowledge, which takes years. You discover your ‘dream’ (or sense of purpose) in the very act of walking the path, which is guided by equal parts choice and chance
WHAT MAKES A GOOD COMMANDER? “The immediate answer that comes to mind is ‘humility.’ Because you’ve got to be humble, and you’ve got to be coachable
The arrogant guys, who lacked humility, they couldn’t take criticism from others—and couldn’t even do an honest self-assessment because they thought they already knew everything. Stay humble or get humbled.”
Freeform days might seem idyllic, but they are paralyzing due to continual paradox of choice (e.g., “What should I do now?”) and decision fatigue (e.g., “What should I have for breakfast?”). In contrast, something as simple as pre-scheduled workouts acts as scaffolding around which you can more effectively plan and execute your day. This gives you a greater sense of agency and feeling of freedom. Jocko adds, “It also means that if you want freedom in life—be that financial freedom, more free time, or even freedom from sickness and poor health—you can only achieve these things through discipline
Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have
have a backup plan to handle likely contingencies
If you’re open to reading a “dark” book to help put things in perspective, If This Is a Man and The Truce (often combined into one volume) by Primo Levi are two of my favorites
If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.
It’s possible to immediately “be tougher,” starting with your next decision
The Commodore would say: ‘Jocko, what do you need?’ and I would say, ‘We’re good, sir.’ The implication is obvious: If I have problems, I’m going to handle them. I’m going to take care of them, and I’m not going to complain. I took extreme ownership of my world. The way that worked was twofold. When I did need something, it was something significant, it was something real. And when I told the Commodore, ‘Hey, boss, we need this right here,’ I would get it almost instantaneously because he knew that I really, truly needed it.
“I’m up and getting after it by 4:45. I like to have that psychological win over the enemy. For me, when I wake up in the morning—and I don’t know why—I’m thinking about the enemy and what they’re doing
I think it’s hilarious when some [special operations] guys get grumpy if they don’t have protein powder every 2 hours. I have a huge advantage if I can turn anything into fuel, including garbage, or go without food
It was almost always a question of their ability to listen, open their mind, and see that, maybe, there’s a better way to do things. That is from a lack of humility
Either they’d make those criticisms about themselves, or they’d ask, ‘What did I do wrong?’ And when you told them, they’d nod their head, pull out their notebook, and take notes. That right there, that’s a guy who’s going to make it, who’s going to get it right
It sounds horrible, but it’s almost like, sometimes, I’m not a participant in my own life. I’m an observer of that guy who’s doing it
I can’t really see what you’re thinking if I’m emotional
THE POINT OF JOURNALISM IS THE TRUTH “The point of journalism is the truth. The point of journalism is not to improve society
ON MOST “WRITER’S BLOCK” IN NONFICTION “It’s not that I’m blocked. It’s that I don’t have enough research to write with power and knowledge about that topic
As you work through that process of failure and learning, you will really deepen into the human being you’re capable of being.”
HOW DO YOU BECOME A MAN IN A WORLD THAT DOESN’T REQUIRE COURAGE?”
If you don’t give young men a good and useful group to belong to, they will create a bad group to belong to
THE CALMING EFFECT OF ACTING INSTEAD OF WAITING
it was stressful for them to wait for the unknown, but as soon as they knew they were going to be attacked, they had a plan of action
What’s very fortunate, beautiful, wonderful, and also, in a weird way, tragic about modern society, is that crisis has been removed
The earthquake gave us what the law promises but does not, in fact, deliver, which is the equality of all men.’”
It’s to give people accurate information about how things are.”
not that I can’t find the right words, [but rather] that I don’t have the ammunition
you never want to solve a research problem with language
Say it in an original way or don’t say it
The hardest thing you’re ever going to do in your life is fail at something, and if you don’t start failing at things, you will not live a full life
The public is not a threat
we all need each other, and that we can all learn from each other, your stage fright goes away
having the courage to enter into things that are unfamiliar, but also having the wisdom to stop exploring when you’ve found something worth sticking around for
the courage of exploring and the commitment to staying
Be careful that you don’t err on one side or the other, because you have an ill-conceived idea of who you are
Who would you die for? What ideas would you die for? The answer to those questions, for most of human history, would have come very readily to any person’s mouth
when you lose the ready answer to those ancient human questions, you lose a part of yourself
what do you owe your community
PREFACE Being wise includes knowing how to defend yourself or disappear when needed. Step one is becoming aware of the threats.
If you’re a potential high-profile target, you need to think defensively
Encrypt your hard drive using “full disk encryption
You’ll Never Take Me Alive
increasing your PIN from 4 to 8 characters
A long password, even if mostly English words, is typically stronger than a short password with random characters
If you wish to charge something, it’s safer to use a USB charger/adapter [for a wall outlet] rather than your computer
If a website is delivering images, video, or audio to your computer, that means in most cases you can download it directly, even if the site attempts to stop you. In Chrome (similar tools exist in Firefox and Safari), you can go to View → Developer → Developer Tools, click on the Network tab, refresh the page, and see all content going across. You can then right-click any file, such as an image that the site wouldn’t otherwise let you download, and click Copy Link Address to get the direct URL. The Elements tab is also particularly useful
The only way to understand the security and insecurity of your own network is to test the same tools attackers would use
ONE PRIMARY MEAL PER DAY Stan rewards himself with a large dinner at night and doesn’t do well with smaller meals throughout the day
Show me that, if you identify it, you’re working on it. I don’t care what you think about it. I just want to know that you’re aware of how other people view you.”
The concept of ‘red team’ is designed to test a plan. What happens is, as you develop a plan—you’ve got a problem and you develop a way to solve that problem—you fall in love with it. You start to dismiss the shortcomings of it
sometimes a plan can end up being a string of miracles, and that’s not a real solid plan
How would you disrupt this plan or how would you defeat this plan?’ If you have a very thoughtful red team, you’ll produce stunning results.”
you should have a running list of three people that you’re always watching: someone senior to you that you want to emulate, a peer who you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect, and someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did—one, two, or three years ago—better than you did it
Set of push-ups to max reps
Then I’ll leave my house and go to the gym, because my gym opens at 5:30. It’s three blocks from my house.
It also puts discipline in the day. I find that if the day is terrible, but I worked out, at the end of the day I’ll go
Clear my head, stretch myself
push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of
Around age 35 to 40, as you get up to battalion level, which is about 600 people, suddenly, you’re going to have to lead it a different way, and what you’re really going to have to do is develop people. The advice I’d give to anyone young is it’s really about developing people who are going to do the work
every minute you spend on that is leveraged, is exponential return
I did seven or eight books on George Washington and other founding fathers, and because they’re all mutually overlapping, suddenly you know more about the era, and the new one is more interesting because it’s filling in holes. So I’ll binge on one subject for a while, and then on another subject
Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield. Really highly read. . . .”
What are you willing to do that is hard? I remember my Grandpa saying, ‘Work will work when nothing else will work.’”
He thinks of his day as 3 acts and films it in thirds: morning, afternoon, evening. He captures 10 to 15 minutes total, and he never shoots for more than 2 minutes at a time.
You can tell the true character of a man by how his dog and his kids react to him
got his first computer at age 27
THE SECRETS TO LIFE ARE HIDDEN BEHIND THE WORD ‘CLICHÉ.’”
any time you hear something that you think is a cliché, my tip to you is to perk your ears up and listen more carefully
ignored them for years, as it all seemed too simplistic
I also got a lot of actionable, specific advice by going through the exercise
Think about how old you are right now and think about being a 10-year-older version of yourself. Then think, ‘What would I probably tell myself as an older version of myself?’ That is the wisdom that I think you found in that exercise.
It’s about the relationship you build, not the production quality.
break down this wall of being so pretentious about not being able to be silly. I think there’s a great power in not taking things so seriously
the definition of success is being cool with your parents, your grandparents [if still alive], and your kids
Shay constantly reminds himself of the shortness of life and inevitability of death. I also build memento mori
If you earn $68K per year, then globally speaking, you are the 1%.
He has pledged to donate everything he earns over ~$36K per year to whatever charities he believes will be most effective.
give at least 10% of their income to the most effective charities
low admin and overhead costs as a flawed proxy for “efficient
It’s all about real-world results.
surprisingly readable Practical Ethics and Animal Liberation
Reasons and Persons
It’s the nature of the job itself. It’s not got that much to do with you
provides a lot of variety, gives you good feedback, allows you to exercise autonomy, contributes to the wider world—Is it actually meaningful? Is it making the world better?—and also, whether it allows you to exercise a skill that you’ve developed.”
Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
The Power of Persuasion by Robert Levine
emphasizing that you have 80,000 working hours in the course of your life
you’re forced to examine limiting beliefs—say, your top two or three handicapping beliefs—across each tense
What is each costing you and people you care about in the present? See it, hear it, feel it. What will each cost you and people you care about 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now? See it, hear it, feel it.
What has each belief cost you in the past, and what has it cost people you’ve loved in the past? What have you lost because of this belief? See it, hear it, feel it.
They find the exception to the rule because no one knows what the future is. We can make it up, we can convince ourselves it’s going to be okay. Or we can remember a past time in which it was okay. That’s how people get out of it.
When we feel pain in one time zone—meaning past, present, or future—we just switch to another time zone rather than change, because change brings so much uncertainty and so much instability and so much fear to people.”
There is nothing like a group dynamic of total immersion, when there is nothing around to distract you. Your entire focus is on breaking through and going to the next level, and that’s what makes the Dickens Process work
After you feel the acute pain of your current handicapping beliefs, you formulate 2 to 3 replacement beliefs to use moving forward
limiting beliefs was “I’m not hardwired for happiness,” which I replaced with “Happiness is my natural state
It’s incredible what can happen when you stop driving with the emergency brake on.
I usually know when I’m on to something when I’m a little bit afraid of it. I go: ‘Wow, I could mess this up.’ ”
Because I had someplace I wanted to be. I had a place [where] something was going to happen . . . and, of course, nothing did. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have enough skill. I didn’t really know about Rumpelstiltskin. . . . But my imagination started to burn with the possibilities
I started to fall in love with something. Didn’t know if I was going to be able to make a living at it, but I finally got rid of the whispers in my head [from my parents], which were ‘What are you going to be
except me, all the weight of the world came off my shoulders, and everything became possible
It shifted to everybody else [being] worried. Now they’re worried. But everything for me, it shifted to a place where I felt free
What you should have in your mind is a picture of controlled chaos. These are not the smoothly oiled gears of a well-calibrated machine. This is somebody staggering out of his bedroom in search of caffeine, and he may or may not have checked his email before the whistle on the kettle blew. But I do meditate frequently and certainly try to make that every day [for 10 to 30 minutes].”
On one level, wisdom is nothing more than the ability to take your own advice
if people don’t have children, their concern about the future isn’t sufficiently well-calibrated so as to get just how terrifying the prospect of building superintelligent machines is in the absence of having figured out the control problem
To worry about the fate of civilization in the abstract is harder than worrying about what sorts of experiences your children are going to have in the future.”
we need to explore it in terms that don’t require that we lie to ourselves or to our children about the nature of reality, and that we don’t indulge this divisive language of picking teams in the contest among religions
Mindfulness’ is just that quality of mind which allows you to pay attention to sights and sounds and sensations, and even thoughts themselves, without being lost in thought and without grasping at what is pleasant and pushing what is unpleasant away
We are essentially in a dream state, and it’s through this veil of thought that we go about our day and perceive our environment
A silent retreat is a crucible where you can develop enough energy and attention to break through to another level. . . .”
If she [my daughter] does not try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in her adult life, I will worry that she may have missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience . .
If I give you 5 grams of mushrooms or 300 micrograms of LSD and tell you to sit on that couch for an hour, you are guaranteed to have a radical transformation of your experience
Look at the sky while meditating
Even though he might not realize it, that is keeping a distance. You need to tell him.’
You’re going to be fine as long as you keep your mental state intact
really want to do this.’ I put it where it belongs. It’s like brick laying or making a stone wall. You fit the pieces together.”
it’s a little separate block and then put it in a line. Once you assess your own skill and the situation, often things change. As long as you stop and really look, I think people’s lives will change kind of radically
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage
Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared?”: “. . . By cautioning girls away from these experiences, we are not protecting them. We are woefully under-preparing them for life.”
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
Most people will vote no, whether they consider themselves brave or not. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows
Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty
“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?
I was risking an unlikely and temporary 3 or 4 for a probable and permanent 9 or 10, and I could easily recover my baseline workaholic prison with a bit of extra work if I wanted to
Write and do not edit—aim for volume
Define your nightmare, the absolute worst
What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily
What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios
If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have
What are you putting off out of fear
do one thing every day that you fear
attempting to contact celebrities and famous businesspeople for advice
What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action
equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction
What are you waiting for?
“Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative, and experiences
when I’m with a person, that’s total priority. Anything else is multitasking. No, no, no, no. The people-to-people, person-to-person trumps anything else
In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
nothing concentrates your time like knowing how many days you have left
organized his remaining days around 5-year increments. He says any great idea that’s significant, that’s worth doing, for him, will last about 5 years, from the time he thinks of it, to the time he stops thinking about it
WRITE TO GET IDEAS, NOT TO EXPRESS THEM
What I discovered, which is what many writers discover, is that I write in order to think. I’d say, ‘I think I have an idea,’ but when I begin to write it, I realize, ‘I have no idea,’ and I don’t actually know what I think until I try and write it. . . . That was the revelation.”
One of his tools for coming up with unbelievable (yet ultimately accurate) predictions is making a list of what everyone thinks is true or will be true, and asking “What if that weren’t true?” for each, brainstorming the ramifications.
I really recommend slack. ‘Productive’ is for your middle ages. When you’re young, you want to be prolific and make and do things, but you don’t want to measure them in terms of productivity. You want to measure them in terms of extreme performance, you want to measure them in extreme satisfaction
“I became a proponent of trying to give things away first. Tell everybody what you’re doing . . . you try to give these ideas away, and people are happy, because they love great ideas
I’d try to give everything away first, and then I’d try to kill everything [else]
It’s the ones that keep coming back that I can’t kill and I can’t give away, that make me think, ‘Hmmm, maybe that’s the one I’m supposed to do
The great temptation that people have is they want to be someone else, they want to be in someone else’s movie
success is you make your own slot.
One of the many life skills that you want to learn at a fairly young age is the skill of being an ultra-thrifty, minimal kind of little wisp that’s traveling through time
learning how little you actually need to live, not just in a survival mode, but in a contented mode
the worst that can happen is that I’d have a backpack and a sleeping bag, and I’d be eating oatmeal. And I’d be fine.’”
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”
fear-rehearsing—regularly microdosing myself with the worst-case scenario as inoculation
Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?”
In days of peace the soldier performs maneuvers, throws up earthworks with no enemy in sight, and wearies himself by gratuitous toil, in order that he may be equal to unavoidable toil
If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes
Sleeping in a sleeping bag, whether on my living room floor or outside
Wearing cheap white shirts and a single pair of jeans for the entire 3 to 14 days
Eating only A) instant oatmeal and/or B) rice and beans
Drinking only water and cheap instant coffee or tea
Fasting, consuming nothing but water and perhaps coconut oil or powdered MCT oil (see page 24 for more on fasting)
Accessing the Internet only at libraries
Oddly, you might observe that you are happier after this experiment in bare-bones simplicity. I often find this to be the case
Once you’ve realized—and it requires a monthly or quarterly reminder—how independent your well-being is from having an excess of money, it becomes easier to take “risks” and say “no” to things that seem too lucrative to pass up
There is more freedom to be gained from practicing poverty than chasing wealth. Suffer a little regularly and you often cease to suffer
If something offends you, look inward
The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller.
Perfectionism leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis
As a writer, you have to be vulnerable. Before, I was so overworked, I was such a chronic workaholic that I didn’t have a life. And in order for art to imitate life, you have to have a life
“[Doing the work and therapy] has given me so much more mental energy, physical energy. I have much more balance in my life now, and I’m much more productive and much more vulnerable
PEOPLE-PLEASING IS A FORM OF ASSHOLERY”
People-pleasing is a form of assholery,’ which I just loved, because you’re not pleasing anybody. You’re just making them resentful because you’re being disingenuous, and you’re also not giving them the dignity of their own experience and [assuming] they can’t handle the truth. It’s patronizing
It was just a way to not focus on myself. And I think ultimately, sometimes when we judge other people, it’s just a way to not look at ourselves
every time you meet someone, just in your head say, ‘I love you’ before you have a conversation with them, and that conversation is going to go a lot better.
I grew up in an alcoholic home. . . . How we survived as children [was by exerting control whenever possible], as though ‘if I could just organize my drinks in the right row, I’m going to be fine
I’m in this place where when something bad happens, I think: ‘Oh, good, I can use that.’”
When you tell the truth about your embarrassing moments and show your shadow, a catharsis happens, which is what laughter is. I promise, if you just tell the truth and get your heart broken as a comedian, you will have a house.”
Being comfortable on stage is all of it. So I would say, just get on stage. The first year and a half, two years of standup is just getting comfortable on stage. Your material doesn’t matter. . . .
If you think about something more than three times a week, you have to write about it.
love’ is being willing to die for someone who you yourself want to kill
Essentially, you have to use your intention.
the way that we relate to horses says so much about the how we try to run businesses, marriages, relationships
The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right
The difference between the people you admire and everybody else [is that the former are] the people who read
I think you should try to slay dragons. I don’t care how big the opponent is. We read about and admire the people who did things that were basically considered to be impossible. That’s what makes the world a better place to live.”
DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND YOU “To blame someone for not understanding you fully is deeply unfair because, first of all, we don’t understand ourselves, and even if we do understand ourselves, we have such a hard time communicating ourselves to other people
When people seem like they are mean, they’re almost never mean. They’re anxious
The more you know what you really want, and where you’re really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish
Nowadays, philosophers tend to only be employed by universities
When no one will pay directly for your subject matter, that’s often a sign that something’s gone wrong
Appreciate what’s good about this moment. Don’t always think that you’re on a permanent journey. Stop and enjoy the view.
we do have to appreciate every day that goes by without a major disaster.”
This frantic, self-congratulatory busyness is a distinctly upscale affliction
It’s most often said by people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in
They schedule in time with their friends the way 4.0 students make sure to sign up for some extracurricular activities because they look good on college applications
This busyness is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen
She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain
it’s something we collectively force one another to do
I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter
form of institutional self-delusion
More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible
This busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness
in demand every hour of the day
what we’re all so afraid of is being left alone with ourselves
I’ll say it: I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know
On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and see friends, read, or watch a movie in the evening
I could see why people enjoy this complaint: It makes you feel important, sought-after, and put-upon
Every morning my inbox was full of emails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I had to solve
It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what that might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again
Time and quiet should not be luxury items.
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence, or a vice: It is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done
history is full of stories of inspirations that came in idle moments and dreams
but there’s really no reason we shouldn’t regard drudgery as an evil to rid the world of if possible
It was the Puritans who perverted work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment
It’s like being the designated driver at a bar: When you’re not drinking, you can see drunkenness more clearly than those actually experiencing it.
My role in life is to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once to make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play
choose time over money, since you can always make more money
the best investment of my limited time on earth is to spend it with people I love
The stakes are high because I know that at the end of that ride, wherever it was going, that person had to invite me to their home. Because I had no money to spend night after night in a hotel
Lesson number one, when people ask me what [interviewing] tips would I give, is aim for the heart, not the head
Go to the heart with the first question.
he’s expecting my first question to be about nuclear arms, world politics, perestroika, Ronald Reagan. He’s just ready. So I looked at him and I said: ‘What’s the best lesson your father ever taught you?’
LET THE SILENCE DO THE WORK.”
Listening is about being present, not just being quiet.
We all know the feeling of wanting to do something so well and so badly that we try too hard and can’t do it at all.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Let’s just completely empty our cup here and really think about what is valuable to me now
Chris largely credits his sports longevity, and general lack of illness, to daily sauna use
Rick wears a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops everywhere
Often, exercise will make me feel better, meditating will make me feel better, but the ice bath is the greatest of all
people want things that are really passionate, and often, the best version they could be is not for everybody
The best art divides the audience
People are willing to hear what you are interested in, what you’re interested in learning about, and what you want to share
submerge yourself in the greatest works of all time
ambitones like The Zen Effect in the key of C for 30 minutes
Jason Silva, TV and YouTube philosopher: “Time” from the Inception soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
On a book deadline, I pick 1 or 2 albums and 1 or 2 movies for late-night writing sessions, as I do my best work between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m
Polling the most prolific authors I know, more than 90% do their best work when others are sleeping, whether they start after 10 p.m. or wake up well before 6 a
I’ll play a movie on mute in the background to avoid feeling isolated, and listen to 1 or 2 albums per session, repeating both the movie and the music over and over
What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Taking the time to walk to work every day (5 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes)
We’re born with everything we’ll ever need.
I strongly encourage writers not to think about writing every time they do something. Forget notebooks. Forget taking notes. Let what is important remain. What’s not important goes away. When you sit down to write, there is this process of purging, this process of cleansing, where only the important things remain. It’s much easier than taking notes and overloading yourself with information.”
The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.
I sit down, of course. I have the book inside of me, and I start procrastinating. In the morning, I check my emails, I check news, I check everything that I could check just to postpone, for the moment, sitting and facing myself. For 3 hours, I’m trying to tell myself, ‘No, no, no. Later, later, later,’ and then, one moment, I say—just not to lose face in front of myself—‘I’m going to sit, and I’m going to write for half an hour
Of course, this half an hour becomes 10 hours in a row
There is this notepad by my side, and I take notes, but I take notes only to take them out from my head. They will be useless the next day
A successful writing day is a day that I suffer in the morning, and I have fun in the evening
Keep it simple. Trust your reader. He or she has a lot of imagination. Don’t try to describe things. Give a hint, and they will fulfill this hint with their own imagination
Note: Heel belangrijk
Understand that he or she can fill the empty spaces. Don’t over-explain
There is only one thing. When I feel stagnated, I promise myself that [even] if I don’t feel inspired, I need to move forward. I need to have discipline
if you don’t have enough discipline, you don’t move forward
Bird by Bird
Books are not here to show how intelligent and cultivated you are. Books are out there to show your heart, to show your soul, and to tell your fans, readers: You are not alone
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer (I never did), putting thoughts on paper is the best way to A) develop ideas, and B) review and improve your thinking
Write about a time when you realized you were mistaken. Write about a lesson you learned the hard way. Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back. Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing. Write about something you don’t remember. Write about your darkest teacher. Write about a memory of a physical injury. Write about when you knew it was over. Write about being loved. Write about what you were really thinking. Write about how you found your way back. Write about the kindness of strangers. Write about why you could not do it. Write about why you did.
In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays by Bertrand Russell The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts Maxims and Reflections by Goethe
It’s this wonderful story of a young man who falls in love, and it doesn’t really work out so well
Goethe wrote this book by locking himself in a hotel room for 3 months, imagining his five best friends on different chairs, and then discussing with his imaginary friends different possibilities of plot and so on and so forth.
iterating an idea—or novel, in this case—through perspectives
try to imagine the world from the stars. Then you sort of zoom in and you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s this tiny little character there for a fragment of time worrying about X
rain is the best thing for blind people, because you can hear the world in three dimensions
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
JUST TAKE ON THE PAIN, AND WEAR IT AS A SHIRT
you disarmed the insult by adopting it completely
By preemptively using the language of a critic, I remove some of their potential weapons.
Say less.’ That’s it. Just say less
I treated every single patron like a ten-second love affair.”
Basic vipassana meditation, nothing fancy, no crazy mantras, no gods or deities, just basically sitting on the earth as a human being and paying attention to your breath and your body and letting thoughts come and go, but really trying not to be attached to the drama that comes visiting
Dropping Ashes on the Buddha
AIM NARROW, OWN YOUR OWN CATEGORY
Honor those who seek the truth, beware of those who’ve found it
absolutely nobody has this shit figured out
GOOD QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN TACKLING INCUMBENT COMPANIES (OR IDEAS) “How is their bread buttered?” “What is it that they can’t afford to say or think
General fame is overrated. You want to be famous to 2,000 to 3,000 people you handpick
you’re known and respected by 2–3K high-caliber people (e.g., the live TED audience), you can do anything and everything you want in life. It provides maximal upside and minimal downside.
consensus is a huge problem
people don’t naturally come to high levels of agreement unless something is either absolutely clear, in which case consensus isn’t present, or there’s an implied threat of violence to livelihood or self
Out-of-control political correctness and online lynch mobs are the end of free speech. Fight it
When you’re told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something
These forms really don’t have an inventor so much as a discoverer
The Emperor of Scent
Heraclitean Fire by Erwin Chargaff
These are books that I think are incredibly powerful because they talk about what it’s like to be one against the many.”
These ideas” = having a “secret” as described in Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: knowing or believing something that the rest of the world thinks is nonsense
Ridiculed, then mimicked, and eventually made standard
Very often, it’s a question of being the first person to connect things that have never been connected before
when we use words that are prohibited to us, it tells our brain that we are inhabiting unsafe space
When I’m going to do deep work, very often, it has a very powerful, aggressive energy to it
the act of creation is itself a violent action
write down a precise sequence of curse words that takes 7 to 10 seconds to read. Then, before a creative work session of some type, read it quickly and loudly like you’re casting a spell or about to go postal. Eric also finds late nights, around 3 a.m., to be ideal for deep creative work
A lot of these people were using these agents either for creativity or to gain access to the things that are so difficult to get access to through therapy and other conventional means.”
we don’t talk about teaching disabilities
Drop into something. Start creating, building. Join a lab. Skip college
it’s better to be in an expanding world and not quite in exactly the right field, than to be in a contracting world where peoples’ worst behavior comes out
Life is too short to be petty and defensive and cruel to other people who are seeking to innovate alongside you
seek out unconventional ways of proving that wrong. Believe not only in yourselves, but that there are [ways, tools, methods] powerful enough to make things that look very difficult much easier than you ever imagined.”
Doesn’t it take a lot of time to polish the script?” to which Evan responded with a smile: “You can always de-fuck the script later
wrote about exactly what they were experiencing at the time
It pays to write what you know.
Don’t keep stuff to yourself.’ You’re surrounded by smart people. Bring them in
every character has to have a wound of some kind.
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
In the end, Superbad was a success, but make no mistake, for 10 years it was a failure
People told us over and over again, ‘I don’t think anyone’s going to make this movie,’ and it didn’t even occur to us to listen to them
To picture Stephen King writing his first book and then being like: ‘Man, I’m stumped. I’m gonna go be something else.’ You just keep going
It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.
Life is a full-contact sport, especially on the Internet. If you’re going to step into the arena, bloody noses and a lot of scrapes are par for the course
10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it and treat it as math
Oh, I have 1,000 readers now. That means that 100 are going to respond like assholes
I assume that 1% of my fans are completely batshit crazy, just like the general population, which helps me handle the far scarier stuff
Anticipate, don’t react
It’s very, very hard to stay silent, and it’s very, very important to have that self-control
not all critics are “haters
doing this 8% to 10% of the time accomplishes two things: It shows that I’m open to criticism, and it shows that I don’t take myself too seriously
If you respond, don’t over-apologize
Just present the facts or wish them luck, and let them come to their own conclusions
Thanks for the feedback. I’m always trying to improve. In the meantime, I hope you find what you’re looking for
You can’t reason someone out of something they didn’t reason themselves into
Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid
Living well is the best revenge.”—George Herbert
Robustness is when you care more about the few who like your work than the multitude who hates it (artists); fragility is when you care more about the few who hate your work than the multitude who loves it (politicians
why this person has chosen to disrupt a performance that everybody has paid for, and that everybody is there for and agreed to sit for? Why did somebody want to rebel against that? I’m curious about it
lot of time. There’s the potential to create a whole show around them
Sometimes, the best way to defuse or defeat attackers is to ask short questions and keep them talking
Salt [can act as] an acid and citrus is an acid [TF: Hence, some chefs say, “I use citrus like others use salt
I go with the one that even describes to a quarter of an inch the size of the pan. Because if someone is describing that level of detail, you know they have gone through it
working for free for a local radio station, magazine, and TV station in an effort to create my own media syllabus. I wanted to create a product with a massive platform, and try to make a difference in the world
You have to believe in your capacity.’ You have to believe that your capacity is greater than you could probably imagine
God has given us talents and faculties, and it’s up to us to discover them, expand them to their maximum, and use them for maximum service in the world
I’ve learned in my life that there are certain things I have to do to just be out of my head and get to normal. I’m not talking about being really supereffective. Just to get to normal, I have to do meditation, I have to do some exercise
I’m never doing that again. . . . I can’t. Life is too short. I’m too miserable, and I’ve got to be me
I have to bring who I really am as a human to my acting
Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts,’ which means that enlightenment isn’t this thing you achieve after 30 years sitting in a corner on a mountaintop. It’s something you can achieve moment to moment, and you can be a certain percentage enlightened every single day.”
We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.” “The guns aren’t new. The violence isn’t new. The connected cameras are new, and that changes everything
If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who are more successful than you are, but if you want to be happy, surround yourself with people who are less successful than you are
The first rule of handling conflict is don’t hang around people who are constantly engaging in conflict
People who regularly fight with others will eventually fight with you
You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. What
and I told everybody around me—my boss, my coworkers, my friends—‘In Silicon Valley, all of these other people are starting companies. It looks like they can do it. I’m going to go start a company. I’m just here temporarily. I’m an entrepreneur.’ I told everybody, and I wasn’t meaning to actually trick myself into it. It wasn’t a deliberate, calculated thing
But I actually didn’t [start a company]
Sure enough, everyone started coming up to me and saying, ‘What are you still doing here? I thought you were leaving to start a company?’ ‘Wow, you’re still here. That was a while ago that you said that.’
Tell your friends that you’re a happy person. Then you’ll be forced to conform to it. You’ll have a consistency bias. You have to live up to it. Your friends will expect you to be a happy person.”
What I learned is that for food, the freshness and quality of the food going straight from the grill to your mouth is way more important than what you do with it
Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want
I try not to have more than one big desire in my life at any given time, and I also recognize that as the axis of my suffering
If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day. Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill and can be traded for anything else. All the real benefits in life come from compound interest
It’s almost always possible to be honest and positive. Praise specifically, criticize generally
Truth is that which has predictive power. Watch every thought. (Always ask, “Why am I having this thought?”) All greatness comes from suffering.
Anger is a hot coal that you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at someone else
Earn with your mind, not your time
Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts
Every moment has to be complete in and of itself
What you choose to work on, and who you choose to work with, are far more important than how hard you work
It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce
You get paid for being right first, and to be first, you can’t wait for consensus
“My one repeated learning in life: ‘There are no adults.’ Everyone’s making it up as they go along. Figure it out yourself, and do it
So your existence, my existence, is just infinitesimal
There is no excuse for spending most of your life in misery
I had grown up in a world where everything was manufactured, everything was written, timed, produced perfectly. What I realized that day was people are starving for something authentic
Be willing to fail or succeed on who you really are. Don’t ever try to be anything else
the righteous didn’t suddenly become righteous. They just refused to go over the cliff with everybody else
You’re smart enough. You can do it.’ . . . That changed my world
Because there’s something stupid in us that just makes us feel like we’re not good enough, we’re not smart enough
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
What am I unwilling to feel
actively recognizing anger and other types of what we consider “negative” emotions
we say to the emotion/ourselves, “I see you.”
Sometimes, the most proactive “defense” is a mental nod and wink
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond
By accepting these experiences with the warmth of compassion, we can offer Mara tea rather than fearfully drive him away
Our habit of being a fair-weather friend to ourselves—of pushing away or ignoring whatever darkness we can—is deeply entrenched
through spiritual practice, “We are learning to make friends with ourselves, our life, at the most profound level possible
75% of success is staying calm
not losing your nerve. The rest you figure out
Never serve anything you wouldn’t want to eat
You can have a high standard on everything
Step back and come up with a plan
When you think it’s ready, add another lemon. Pros bump up the acidity level
Passion’ is an overstated word. I think passion develops
it wasn’t a life passion until I combined food and nourishment with health, sustainability, politics, policy, and
what we’re doing to really help make sure that all people can live healthy, productive, awesome lives through the food that they’re eating
passion comes from a combination of being open and curious, and of really going all-in when you find something that you’re interested in.”
One of Edward’s recommended essays “The Catastrophe of Success” by
YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY? THEN TAKE THINGS SERIOUSLY
The Century of the Self
Jacques Audiard. I think, in the last few years, he put up a hat trick of films”: The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, and Rust and Bone
Hey, man, I want to work with you. This is why I’m in Arizona
if you work for the awards, you don’t do good work. But if you do good work, the awards will come.
WRITE IN A TRANCE AND ACT IN A TRANCE “I try to write before my inhibitions take hold of me. I try to do 7 a.m
Art is socialism but life is capitalism
Mike cork-boards his walls and pins 3x5 cards to them
Only emotion endures
You don’t want to think consciously about what you’re putting on the page
more often than not, the things that I put in my secret journal are the things that I publish.”
You have a meeting at Café Pedlar [where I was writing] at 7 a.m. with your mind
Talk to people about a thing they didn’t think they were going to talk about
And he paused and he thought about it and he goes, ‘That’s actually some pretty good advice.’ He complimented his own advice. I’m telling you, the best thing to do is give people questions they’re not expecting.”
Write everything down because it’s all very fleeting
Don’t bow to the gatekeepers because I think, in essence, there are no gatekeepers. You are the gatekeeper. . . .
Don’t waste your time on marketing, just try to get better.
it’s not about being good; it’s about being great
not a lot of people give you their soul when they perform.”
If you’re serious all the time, you’ll wear out before the truly serious stuff gets done
if you don’t regularly appreciate the small wins, you will never appreciate the big wins
Cultivate the habit of putting something in every day. Can’t think of anything? “I didn’t die today!” is a reliable winner
I think one should eat the absolute minimum in the morning
Lapsang souchong has a very smoky, peaty flavor. It reminds one of my friends so much of whisky that he used it to cut back on drinking alcohol.
I don’t start at the beginning. Once you don’t start at the beginning, your life just gets so much simpler
beginning a story (chapter, novel, movie, video game, whatever) in the middle or at the end of the narrative. I’ve done this with all of my previous books.
if he doesn’t understand something, he just asks you
He will ask the most obvious question without any sort of concern about it.
‘I don’t understand. Explain that to me.’
Am I so inspired by what I learned during the day that I want to be talking about it at 1:00 in the morning? And do I have someone who will have that conversation with me and who will challenge me? That’s it. Everything else is nonsense.”
Levels of the Game by John McPhee, an entire book about a single tennis match between Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner in 1968
if you try to approach every problem with your moral compass, first and foremost, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes
You’re going to exclude a lot of possible good solutions. You’re going to assume you know a lot of things, when in fact you don’t, and you’re not going to be a good partner in reaching a solution with other people who don’t happen to see the world the way you do.”
Let’s come up with as many ideas as possible, and then put them under scrutiny, and basically try to kill them off, and if they were unkillable, then we’d keep going with them.”
Don’t be scared.’ There are a lot of things I did not do, a lot of experiences I never tried, a lot of people I never met or hung out with because I was, in some form, intimidated or scared. . . . It also plays into what psychologists call the ‘spotlight effect,’ [as if] everybody must be caring about what I do. And the fact is: Nobody gives a crap what I do.”
IF YOU’RE STUDYING MY GAME, YOU’RE ENTERING MY GAME
The Art of Learning
Josh has no social media, does no interviews (except my podcast, for which he often says to me, “You fuck!”), and avoids nearly all meetings and phone calls. He minimizes input to maximize output
I cultivate empty space as a way of life for the creative process.”
depth over breadth
The board was empty, except for three pieces in an endgame scenario: king and pawn against king
If you’re studying my game, you’re entering my game, and I’ll be better at it than you.’”
If it is competitive, I’m simply offering people the details of my game. My attention to detail will scare off half of the people who would have tried; 40% will try it and be worse than me; 10% will try it and be better than me, but . . . see Belief #1. That 10% will often reach out to teach me what they’ve learned, as they’re grateful for my own transparency
the more I help people with details, the more detailed help I receive
The problem is that on the lift ride up, unconsciously, you’re internalizing bad body mechanics
if your last three turns are precise, then what you’re internalizing on the lift ride up is precision.
ending the work day with very high quality, which for one thing means you’re internalizing quality overnight.”
if I hit a fantastic “PR” (personal record) at 45 minutes, or do something new well, I pack it in
Hemingway, had a practice of ending his writing sessions mid-flow and mid-sentence. This way, he knew exactly where to start the next day, and he could reliably both end and start his sessions with confidence
His ability to turn it off is directly aligned with how intensely he can turn it on,
Interval training [often at midday or lunch break] and meditation together are beautiful habits to develop to cultivate the art of turning it on and turning it off.”
how you do anything is how you do everything.”
when you’re not cultivating quality, you’re essentially cultivating sloppiness.”
Lateral thinking or thematic thinking, the ability to take a lesson from one thing and transfer it to another, is one of the most important disciplines that any of us can cultivate
taking away a principle from one thing and applying it to something else—and we’ve had a lot of fun with that.”
entanglement is a precursor to working with anybody who’s trying to be world-class at something, because the entanglement is fundamental to their being
They have to, ultimately, embrace their funk, embrace their eccentricity, embrace what makes them different, and then build on it.”
The great “deloading” phase. This is what I’m experiencing this afternoon, and it makes a Tuesday feel like a lazy Sunday morning. This is when the muse is most likely to visit.
My daily journaling isn’t limited to mornings. I use it as a tool to clarify my thinking and goals
The purpose of this unloading week is to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period,” and to mitigate the risk of overtraining.
strategically taking my foot off of the gas
I alternate intense periods of batching similar tasks (recording podcasts, clearing the inbox, writing blog posts, handling accounting, etc.) with extended periods of—for lack of poetic description—unplugging and fucking around.
only possible with a lack of obligation, or at least, no compulsive reactivity.
I feel that the big ideas come from these periods. It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music.
The aha moments rarely come from the incremental inbox-clearing mentality of, “Oh, fuck . . . I forgot to . . . Please remind me to . . . Shouldn’t I? . . . I must remember to . .
large, uninterrupted blocks of time, during which your mind can wander, ponder, and find the signal amidst the noise. If you’re lucky, it might even create a signal, or connect two signals (core ideas) that have never shaken hands before
Deloading blocks must be scheduled and defended more strongly than your business commitments
Create slack, as no one will give it to you. This is the only way to swim forward instead of treading water
It’s the same thing—fear—but it’s what you do with it that matters.”
Lean into discomfort
are not going to be solved in a comfortable way
he or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest, but rises the fastest
there is no effort without error and shortcoming
Did I dare greatly today
When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort
If I’m not a little bit nauseous when I’m done, I probably didn’t show up like I should have shown up
I require that the house lights are on, so I can see people’s faces
If they’re taping you, you have to be super ‘hot’ [bright] under the lights, and the audience has to be dark. Then it’s performance, not connection, for me
you can’t really earn trust over time with people without being somewhat vulnerable [first]
Be clear that your ladder is leaning against the right building
The 30s are so exhausting. It’s the age of perfecting, proving, pretending
I got out of my own way
philosophical espresso shots
love to study the early versions of current successes
want to build my life around flow states [the sense of being ‘in the zone
Be a skeptic, don’t be a cynic
a lot of energy was wasted, being worried.”
Go for the truth, and you’ll hit funny along the way.”
Although [Swingers] wasn’t really autobiographical, there were enough things that I could draw from
Always tell the truth. It’s the easiest thing to remember
If you’re going to talk about a neighborhood, talk about the neighborhood you grew up in. Talk about the neighborhood you know. Even if it’s not you, you’re going to have a more consistent world that you’re developing than if you’re putting them on Mars, and you don’t understand Mars
There’s so little overlap with most people that I meet, [which makes cooking great] because it creates this context where everybody is on equal footing, and everybody has a different skill set
The Writer’s Journey
The Power of Myth
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect
If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.
I began doing more experiments with “What if I did the opposite?”: What if I only asked questions instead of pitching
What if I ended my emails with “I totally understand if you’re too busy to reply, and thank you for reading this far
What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch
What’s my real target monthly income (TMI)?” For the latter, in other words: How much does my dream life—the stuff I’m deferring for “retirement”—really cost if I pay on a monthly basis
Perhaps I needed more time and mobility, not more income
If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do
To get huge, good things done, you need to be okay with letting the small, bad things happen. 2) People’s IQs seem to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them
What’s the least crowded channel?
What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly
They care about stories, not announcements, so I asked myself, “What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly? What if I had to sell around the product
most media rightly don’t give a rat’s ass about book launches
People don’t like being sold products, but we all like being told stories. Work on the latter
Humans are very vulnerable to a cognitive bias called “anchoring
Once my attention and mind space was freed up, I quickly made it back elsewhere.
What if I could only subtract to solve problems
What should we simplify
Adding new elements would’ve been time-consuming, but removing them wasn’t
What might I put in place to allow me to go off the grid for 4 to 8 weeks, with no phone or email
Two weeks isn’t enough, as you can let fires erupt and then attempt to repair things when you return
Four to 8 weeks (or more) doesn’t allow you to be a firefighter
ditch ad-hoc email-based triage
The systems far outlive the vacation, and when you come home, you’ll realize that you’ve taken your business (and life) to the next level
Am I hunting antelope or field mice?
the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope.
Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant
Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?
tripled down on cultivating more daily appreciation and present-state awareness
achievement is no more than a passing grade in life
What would this look like if it were easy?
If I feel stressed, stretched thin, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m overcomplicating something or failing to take the simple/easy path because I feel I should be trying “harder” (old
If you’ve got enough money to solve the problem, you don’t have the problem
you don’t need to go through life huffing and puffing, straining and red-faced
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
Luxury, to me, is feeling unrushed. No hurry, no pause
WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR? NOTHING
it’s in your head
There are few or no negative consequences, or they’re temporary
It’s never been easier to be a “creator,” and it’s never been harder to stand out. Good isn’t good enough
What can you do that will be remembered in 200 to 400 years?”
entrepreneurs have the ability to author their lives with companies
I broke all their sales records following this really simple formula of just selling honesty and transparency in a broken industry.”
If it is just an itch, it is not sufficient. It gets to this point of how badly you really want it. For me, I burned the boats
Bryan, you probably should not do that again,’ and I said, ‘All right, that is fair.’ That is typical of my mom
Challenge all assumptions
Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns.
What past limitations—real or perceived—are you carrying as baggage? Where in your life are you pacing in a 10-by-10-foot patch of grass?
Oftentimes, everything you want is a mere inch outside of your comfort zone. Test it.
If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t real.
One of my favorite episodes is with John Hamburg
made a plan to be able to continue to work but to write this script in the mornings
we didn’t miss a morning. We worked for 2 hours
We’d sit in that room and write, and then at night, we’d go to these poker clubs and try to collect data. Lines that people said, stories that they told us, character traits . . . with no thought [of whether it] was realistic or unrealistic
A movie that people—at the time, I was probably thinking about guys in their 20s—would want to quote to each other
Khaled Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner in the early mornings before working as a full-time doctor. Paul Levesque (page 128) often works out at midnight
three longhand pages where you just keep the pen moving for three pages, no matter what. No censoring, no rereading
If you really do it every day in a real disciplined practice, something happens to your subconscious that allows you to get to your most creative place
The Scriptnotes podcast
You are not flawed. You are human. You have gifts to share with the world
People listen to you. Have you ever thought about talking about these things? About suicide or depression? You might be able to save someone
I’d failed his brother by being such a coward in my writing
They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds
There are some secrets we don’t share because they’re embarrassing
My coping mechanism is to cover myself in sheets, minimize time awake, and hope for a miracle
Oops (and thank fucking God
It wasn’t the best thesis he’d ever read, nor the best thing I’d ever written, but I had moved on.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage . . .”
Sometimes, it just takes one conversation with a rational person to stop a horrible, irrational decision
I personally believe that consciousness persists after physical death
In our desperation, we often just don’t think it through
Use what works first, and you can fix the rest later
If you don’t care about yourself, make it about other people.
mood swings are part of your genetic hardwiring. It’s a blessing and a curse
the last thing I need is alone time with my head.
Each morning, express heartfelt gratitude to one person you care about,
do little things to make other people happy
Buy coffee for the person behind you in line
The key is building fires where you can warm yourself as you wait for the tempest to pass
The gems I’ve found were forged in the struggle
I always start with a why. I go to them [and say], ‘I love what you do. I’ve always been a big fan. I’ve got a part that you would never get. I believe in creative freedom. I don’t work with the studios. I work independently. I’m the boss there. It’s just me and my crew. It’s very creative. Ask any of your actor friends. They’ll say: Go have that experience. “‘You’re just going to feel so invigorated. I shoot very quickly. Robert De Niro did Machete in 4 days. I’m going to shoot you out in 4 days. You’ll be on your next movie for 6 months. You’re on my movie for 4 days, and it’s going to be the most fun you’ve ever had, and you’ll probably get great reviews.
The Director’s Chair
“Rodriguez list” has come to mean writing down all of your assets and building a film around the list
I just took stock of what I had. My friend Carlos, he’s got a ranch in Mexico. Okay, that’ll be where the bad guy is
I wrote everything around what we had, so you never had to go search, and you never had to spend anything on the movie
“I didn’t overthink it at all
I would have treated it completely differently, had I thought I would ever even show it to anybody
everything was one take, even if it didn’t work, because the film’s so expensive
It created this really snappy editing style, but it was really just to get it back in sync because I couldn’t stand it
It’s almost more freeing to know I’ve got to use only these items
lack of resources is often one of the critical ingredients for greatness
nothing worked and it was a disappointment.’ They don’t realize yet that that’s the job
You use those gifts, because nothing ever goes according to plan
How can I turn it into a positive and get something much better than if I had all the time and money in the world
Some of the really cool staccato editing was to cover up the fact that they didn’t have effects, and I didn’t know that
I want all of them to not have enough money, not enough time, so that we’re forced to be more creative
It’s good not to follow the herd. Go the other way. If everyone’s going that way, you go this other way. You’re gonna stumble, but you’re also gonna stumble upon an idea no one came up with. . . .
If everyone’s trying to get through that one little door, you’re in the wrong place
Try to look bigger
Failure is not necessarily durable. Remember that the things that they fire you for when you are young are the same things that they give lifetime achievement awards for when you’re old
You’ve got to be able to look at your failures and know that there’s a key to success in every failure
BE A “PROBLEM” EARLY
The key is to do it early
They’ll try to make their own, over and over, and they can’t get that first thing they saw out of their heads, ‘It’s still not as good as the one we saw.
Robert takes copious notes
even when I just wrote some items down, I could go back and fill them in later because I would remember
You go back and you see the journals, it’s even better the second time. You live through it again and you realize the importance of it.”
YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW. TRUST COMES FIRST
He routinely plays guitar on set and invites master painters to set to teach the actors during breaks. He believes that if you develop creativity, trust and getting started often take care of the rest:
The technical part of any job is 10%. 90% is creativity
You don’t need to know what note specifically you’re going to play when you get on stage and do your solo
You don’t need to know
You get it in your own way—thinking that you needed to know something, a trick or a process, before it would flow
The best you can do is just to get out of the way so it comes through
the only way to do it was by drawing
You had to actually move.
Even if I didn’t know what to do, I just had to begin
You have to act first before inspiration will hit
The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research.”
EVEN THE PROS DON’T KNOW
Let’s just preview it
know. It shows that you don’t know. I want people to hear those stories because when you feel like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m doing it right. These other guys seem to know.’ No, they don’t know
You just have to keep moving forward.”
I only do one thing. I live a creative life
When you put creativity in everything, everything becomes available to you.’ . . .
If] I’m going to get into this character’s head, maybe I’ll paint him first and see what he looks like visually, or musically [figure out] what he sounds like. You can work completely nonlinear that way
How you journal things, how you cross reference, how you present things, how you inspire your crew, how you inspire other people around you, how you inspire yourself—it’s all creative. And if you say you’re not creative, look at how much you’re missing out on just because you’ve told yourself that
They actually look forward to how I’m going to bend the rules
I realized better what I was doing when I read that book, and I gave it to people to show them how to clarify what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.
Your performance is going to be really free, because I’m going to give you that freedom. That’s why I do it. How do I do it? Well, I work very independently
We do it with less money, so that we have more freedom
You never have to be upset about anything. Everything is for a purpose
It’s really how you look at it, and the way you look at it is so important
You’re upset because something didn’t go according to plan? It might be for a good reason.”
When something is wrong or going bad, you just look at me and say, ‘Good
when things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that will come from it
That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems. It won’t
Accept reality, but focus on the solution
You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
On autopilot, I was using “good” from Jocko, inviting Mara to tea like Tara Brach, looking at the stars as BJ Miller and Ed Cooke would, and putting fear in line, just as Caroline Paul did atop the Golden Gate Bridge.
I’m a list maker. It’s how I keep my life in order, my world organized. What most surprised me about my calmness was that there was no list involved
the good shit sticks
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (5 mentions) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (4) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (4) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (4) The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (4) The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (4) Dune by Frank Herbert (3) Influence by Robert Cialdini (3) Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (3) Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (3) Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman (3) The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss (3) The Bible (3) The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (3) The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (3) Watchmen by Alan Moore (3) Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters (3)