Read How to Live

Read How to Live | Derek Sivers

I didn’t like this at first, till I realized the point is to rile you up with viewpoints taken to extremes to help you realize what you think. In almost all, even the ones I strongly disagreed with, there was a kernel of truth. And it made me look more carefully at the ones I did agree more with, thinking about what was extreme about this viewpoint, and what isn’t helpful about it.

Key Notes

Emphasis mine.

“Never agree with anything the same day you hear it, because some ideas are persuasively hypnotic. Wait a few days to decide what you really think. Don’t let ideas into your head or heart without your permission.

“Indecision keeps you shallow.”

“We treat the future like a garbage dump.”

Never make a story for the things you want to forget. Let those disappear with time.”

“How you feel about anything is based on how you look back at it. Your memory is influenced by how you feel now… Give moments meaning to remember them. Take away meaning to forget.”

“Improvement is transformation.”

“Problems persist until you claim them and solve them.”

“Plans are just predictions about what you might want in the future.”

Ignore all marketing and advertising. Nobody is pushing what really matters. Friendships, nature, family, learning, community. The best things in life aren’t things.” My thoughts.

“Shallow happy serves the present. Deep happy serves the future. Shallow happy is trying to conquer the world. Deep happy is conquering yourself.”

“The world needs more boldness.”

You aren’t supposed to be easy to explain.” Reducible to salable data profiles for advertisers, or archetypes in the story someone wants to tell about you.

“You’re an ongoing event — a daily improvisation — responding to the situation of the moment.”

“Your past is not your future. Whatever happened before has nothing at all to do with what happens next… Never believe a story.” (At least not one that’s holding you back.)

“Creating is a higher form of communicating. You join the elite conversation by contributing. You reference creations from the past to make your own unique addition or combination. The dialog can span centuries.” The Long Now.

“It’s not a revolution if nobody loses… When the bad people are mad, you’re doing it right.”

How you react to situations: “Do you tend to change yourself, change the environment, or change nothing and leave?”

Art and Design Entrepreneurship Marketing

Read Your Music and People

Read Your Music and People by Derek Sivers

A philosophy of getting your work to the world by being creative, considerate, resourceful, and connected.

It’s relatively easy to apply this advice to any creative work.

Really inspirational and thought-provoking! I took my time reading this, a few essays at a time, over two months. I really enjoyed Hell Yeah or No but this book is probably more focused.

Key notes:

Whenever you’re feeling uninspired or unmotivated, use creative restrictions to set you free.

When things aren’t working, be smarter, not louder.

You can’t just normal your way through this.

With one interesting phrase to describe your [creative work], you can make total strangers wonder about you.

Loudly reject 99%. It signals who you are.

Are your fans telling their friends? If not, then don’t waste time promoting it yet.

If it doesn’t excite you, don’t do it. There’s almost nothing that you must do.

Entrepreneurship Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

Read Hell Yeah or No

Read Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers

thoughts around what’s worth doing, fixing faulty thinking, and making things happen

I took my time reading this intentionally and unintentionally. I pre-ordered the ebook when it came out last summer and started reading a bit at a time, but Kindle hardware makes it really hard to access books you didn’t buy through Amazon’s website, so I forgot about it for a while. Then the hardcover came and I started reading it chunk by chunk with a pencil in hand.

Sivers writes these very concise essays that beautifully get to the point in a page, page and a half. That takes skill, to distill lessons and storytelling to such short clips, yet still have valuable things to say, not just aphorisms or repeating the same old thing.

I admire the philosophy behind the book: it is designed for maximum sharing. He sells it for a one-time content charge, then only charges cost on any future paper copies you buy. Each essay in the book includes a short URL so you can share individual essays.

I might have put some of the essays in a different order, myself, to keep similar topics directly adjacent, but many pieces did complement each other well.

Key messages to remember: