A Guide to the Good Life
Stoics seek tranquility, a state marked by the absence of negative feelings (e.g., anger, grief, anxiety) and the presence of positive emotions (namely, joy). Use negative visualization periodically to remind you of what you have. Use the trichotomy of control to figure out what to care about and how to internalize goals.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. Identity-based habits > Outcome-based habits. Who do you want to be? Look for evidence that you are that person. Every action is a vote in the direction of the person you want to become. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Cue > Craving > Response > Reward. Make good habits obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. Make bad habits invisible, unattractive, hard, and unsatisfying.
How Not to Die
Whole food, plant-based nutrition is best for longevity.
How to Raise an Adult
Julie Lythcott Haims
Let the kid figure things out. Overparenting may seem like a loving endeavor, but it’s actually harmful in the long run. Give kids agency. Trust them. They are beyond capable.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Say people's names. Smile. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Be a good listener - genuinely curious about the world.
How Will You Measure Your Life
How we choose to spend our most finite resources - our time, energy, money - is the clearest reflection of our priorities.
Dedicating yourself to a cause much larger than yourself, in this case saving countless innocent Black people from death row, can be a source of energy and meaning.
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom; You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgensen
Seek wealth, which gives you freedom. The best way to do this is equity - owning a piece of a business. Take rationally optimistic bets with big upsides. Play long-term games with long-term people. Relationships and reputations compound.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Begin with the end in mind. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Sharpen the saw.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
You are always choosing, whether you realize it or not. Depth is where the gold is buried, in life, work, love. Stay committed.
This is Water
David Foster Wallace
Perspective matters. You are not the center of the world. You can choose how to think, what to focus on, and how to respond.
Chop Wood Carry Water
To become great, you have to put in the hours with the fundamentals. Learn to love the process, not the outcome.
Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.
Four Thousand Weeks
Cosmic insignificance theory: In the long arc of this world and our universe, you won’t matter much. So don’t spend time trying to think otherwise. Instead, do the next and most necessary thing, and free yourself from the anxiety and stress that accompany us when we put undue pressure on ourselves. We are fortunate to live, and these 4,000 weeks are a gift.
Our thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes that we are unaware of and have no control over. We believe we have free will, but according to the author, because we have been shaped by forces outside our control (our birthplace, parents, childhood experiences, genetics) we actually have little to no meaningful ability to decide what we will decide to do.
How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life
Happiness comes from being loved and being lovely. Being loved comes from being rich or famous, or wise and virtuous (preferred). Being lovely comes from acting with propriety (behaving in a manner consistent with others’ expectations), prudence (taking care of yourself), justice (doing no harm), and beneficence (being good to others). Individually our actions may be negligible, but in sum, they are everything.
How to Win At the Sport of Business
It doesn’t matter how many times you strike out. In business, to be a success, you only have to be right once
To lie is to intentionally mislead others when they expect honest communication. To speak truthfully is to accurately represent one's beliefs — which may be different than the capital-T truth. Honesty is a gift we can give to others. Acts of commission (bad things we do) are usually worse than acts of omission (good things we failed to do) White lies - lies we tell others to avoid discomfort - are still lies, and we should avoid them. Lying condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act.
Carol S. Dweck
The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. Fixed mindset: Believing your qualities are carved in stone, so you have to prove yourself over and over. Growth mindset: Believing you can change and grow your qualities through application and experience.
Instead of habitual, automatic reactions, our words can become conscious responses based firmly on awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling, and wanting.
Writing is refined thinking. If you want to be a better writer, do two things: read a lot and write a lot.
Life is full of wicked (not kind) environments, i.e., the rules are unclear or incomplete, patterns may not exist or be obvious, and feedback is often delayed, inaccurate, or both. To prepare for wicked domains, it's better to have broad interests rather than domain-specific expertise alone. Specialization made sense in prior centuries but less so now. Maximize match quality (degree of fit between your work and your personality/skills) by trying new things, reflecting, and adjusting our narratives. Instead of working back from a goal, work forward from promising situations. Most successful people do this!
Yuval Noah Harari
Our most unique ability is to collectively mythologize, which has led to religion, companies, money, laws, nations, and more. Everything today can be explained by decisions made in our history, from agriculture to war to language.
Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh
Three types of tours of duty: Rotational, transformational, foundational. Plan collaboratively with your manager, your company, and keep strong ties.
The Everything Store
When given the choice of obsessing over competitors or obsessing over customers, we always obsess over customers
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
What makes an effective team: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. Good story and the lessons are absolutely true in business.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust.
The Startup of You
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
A/B/Z planning. Know your plan A, have a plan B, and fall back on plan Z if needed. The better the Z, the bigger swing you can take with plan A and plan B.
How to be honest with ourselves by shedding customs for the sake of tradition, and seeing with an unbiased, fresh perspective.
When Breath Becomes Air
Living a life of integrity, courage, and love. And how to leave it all behind.
Beautiful poetry, favorites include The Journey, Invitation, and The Summer Day. Reading these poems always makes me slow down, and soak up this world a bit more.
Good to Great
Get the right people on the bus.
Once More We Saw Stars
Take nothing for granted. Every day on this planet is a gift, and the greatest gift is the opportunity to spend it with people you love.
Deliberate practice is required if you want to be world-class. Put in the hours. Do the work.
Search Inside Yourself
Happiness is the default state of mind. So when the mind becomes calm and clear, it returns to its default, and that default is happiness. That is it. There is no magic; we are simply returning the mind to its natural state.
Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives
There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.
The Architecture of Happiness
Alain De Botton
What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.
The Art of Happiness
The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
Compassion (objective form of empathy) allows us to understand one's suffering and seek to take action to alleviate it.
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
The main thing I believe we should aim for is understanding how the other person feels, even if we feel differently, and feeling for them where they’re at and, hopefully, being felt for in our turn. Everyone benefits from being listened to, understood, and empathized with.
The Culture Map
Culture impacts communication. When interacting with someone from another culture, try to watch more, listen more, and speak less. Listen before your speak and learn before you act.
Eliahyu M. Goldratt
To improve any system, first Identify the constraint, because any improvements to non-constrained elements are futile.
The Mindful Parent
An infant cannot be spoiled by too much attention or affection. Relational parents promote empathy and altruism by helping their children be more aware of other people’s feelings and how their behavior affects others.
The Miracle of Mindfulness
Thich Nhat Hanh
Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work. Without this, the day of mindfulness will be of no value at all. The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.
The Practical Neuroscience of the Buddha’s Brain
Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius
The three pillars of Buddhism (virtue, mindfulness, wisdom) can be developed and strengthened through three fundamental functions of the brain: regulation, learning, and selection. Focus on small positive actions daily. Be mindful of the second darts we throw ourselves, and foster equanimity to create a buffer between the response. Have wholesome intentions (desires) without being attached to their results.
The Second Machine Age
Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
Because the exponential, digital, and recombinant powers of the second machine age have made it possible for humanity to create two of the most important one-time events in our history: the emergence of real, useful artificial intelligence (AI) and the connection of most of the people on the planet via a common digital network.