Influence

If you could take a look inside my brain, this is what you’d find:

Books

Some books I’ve read, in no particular order.

Up next

Reading lists I reference:

Why I read

One of my favorite quotes is, “If I have seen farther than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” by Sir Issac Newton.

Books allow me to stand “on the shoulders of giants.”

How I read

I started to love reading once I found books I couldn’t put down. My goal is not to finish a book, it is to simply read.


Blogs

The following blogs produce the highest quality content consistently. 


Podcasts

The following podcasts produce the highest quality content consistently. I learn best by listening, connecting ideas, then teaching. 

…see the rest on Breaker


People

I don’t believe in ‘mentors’ or ‘looking up to someone.’ 
Everyone is a peer.

Here are some people I learn from:

…see the rest on Twitter


Questions I like to ask myself

I ask myself these questions to recalibrate in times of high or low emotion.

  • “If I love myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?” – From Love Yourself by Kamal Ravikant
  • Will I care about this tomorrow? in 5 years? in 10 years?
  • What am I not seeing? Why can’t I see it?
  • What conversation am I avoiding?
  • Why?

Things I’ve changed my mind about

  • Math

    I failed math in the 4th grade and was afraid of it ever since. As I’ve become an adult, I’ve learned more about the importance of math. What I failed to understand when I was younger is that math is a tool and I mostly struggled with the notation being used. There’s no need to fear it.

    This essay, Kill Math, by Bret Victor helped me recognize my disdain for math when I was young and the need for better interfaces to educate others.

    A friend of mine said, “Using formulas without intuition is almost like walking around in the dark. In fact, it’s better in the dark because you can use your other senses.”

    This made me think, “How does one build an intuition for math outside of school?” If you have an answer, would love to hear it.

Note to self

Guiding principles. Adopted from a multitude of sources.

  • Be present.
  • Be grateful.
  • All conflict is internal conflict.
  • Communication is hard.
  • Life is a single-player game.
  • Happiness is the moment when you feel nothing is missing.
  • Do things with less emotion.
  • Independent thinking starts with independent learning.
  • Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
  • Do things you love with people you enjoy being around.

Career Advice

Most applicable to ambitious young people interested in technology.


Quotes

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

by Howard Thurman

“I would beg of you to listen to what I have to say, freeing yourself for this hour at least from the background in which you have been brought up, with its traditions and prejudices, and think simply and directly about the many human problems. “

“To have this profound revolution, you must become fully conscious of the structure which you have created about yourself and in which you are now caught. That is, we have now certain values, ideals, beliefs, which act as a net to hold the mind, and by questioning and understanding all their significance, we shall realize how they have come into existence. Before you can act fully and truly, you must know the prison in which you are living, how it has been created; and in examining it without any self-defense you will find out for yourself its true significance, which no other can convey to you. Through your own awakening of intelligence, through your own suffering, you will discover the manner of true fulfillment.

by Jiddu Krishnamurthi

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”

by Orson Welles

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his commitment to excellence regardless of what he is doing and leaves it to others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

by Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence.

[…]

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”

by David Whyte

Loneliness is essential to being human. Each of us comes into the world and eventually realizes that we are a separate person, alone. We travel through life alone and ultimately we die alone. Acknowledging and accepting this on a conscious level, and learning how to live our lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition. Thus we all have some degree of existential loneliness. In this respect it is a ‘natural state’.

The Happy Philospher

Videos

These videos impacted me.

On mental models


This is Water by David Foster Wallace

Get out of the rat race.

How bad do you want it?

Learning how to learn

On marketing

On careers

On product design

On enjoying the craft

On design

On ideas

On thinking in systems

Inventing on principle by Bret Victor

On Dr. Dre’s belief in Eminem

On Pharell’s belief in Kanye

“I’m a product guy” — Kanye West

The evolution of teaching art

The relationship between: technology, truth, deception, detection

A short film made by friends