I organized and distilled his last 3,000 tweets into a summary of his big ideas, in three parts:
Self-Improvement, Writing, and Life Philosophy
The Complete Collection of Lists — How to be Happy and Healthy
Quotes on Habits and Human Behavior
PART ONE: SELF-IMPROVEMENT, WRITING, AND LIFE PHILOSOPHY
Be thoughtful, but get moving…
(Taking action is more important than finding the best strategy)
(The path to the summit is not fully visible from base camp)
Aim to be great in 10 years…
Raise your ambitions
Think big when making plans
Optimize for tomorrow (as in one day from now)…
Think small when making progress
Do today what will benefit you later
Do the biggest small things you can do
Repeat each day…
Put in reps
Make each rep great
Control the next rep
Hammer away on what matters
(You have to show up before inspiration will)
(People need consistency more than they need intensity)
Make good habits the path of least resistance…
Act fast on things that compound
Apply fundamentals consistently and without distraction
(Habits will form whether you want them or not)
Give it time…
The most useful form of patience is persistence
Time is the most powerful force in the universe
Continue to work when things take longer than you expect
Small daily differences early on result in wide outcomes gaps over time
Small changes can accumulate to an incredible degree over months and years
Choose the right neighborhood…
Changing your habits often requires you to change your tribe
Surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you
Join a group where your desired behavior is the normal behavior
Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself
Optimize for a process that leads to great outcomes…
Find parts of the process to enjoy
Know the process goes on forever
Adopt processes that increase your winning percentage
If your outcomes aren’t improving, the process needs to change
Read, search, and research widely…
But select, refine, and apply carefully (broad funnel, tight filter)
Repeatedly bring your attention back to the same thing
Wild success requires aggressive elimination
Be great at saying no…
Decide what shouldn’t be done
Saying no is practice, not an event
Cut your number of commitments in half
Discover what you want by eliminating want you don’t
Don’t try to be more right…
Try to be less wrong
Upgrade your addictions
Less wrong means more questions
Unforced errors are mistakes that you choose
Less wrong means hard work on the right thing
Take smart drugs…
Sleep 8+ hrs
Lift weights 3x wk
Save 10% of your income
Read a few pages
Drink more water
Leave your phone in another room
Eat more vegetables
Don’t hang with toxic people
Work on projects you care about
Long-term thinking is a superpower
Not taking things personally is a superpower
Recruiting the best people is a superpower
Wealth is creativity
Wealth is free thinking
Wealth is the power to say no
Plan for failure…
Have the safety net to fail
Avoid repeated mistakes
Learn how to fail in public
Treat failure like a scientist (failures guide the next experiment)
Be smarter tomorrow (i.e. read)…
Reading focuses the mind
Reading is food for the mind
Reading teaches you what others already know
Reading gives you a new way to interpret your past experiences
Read a lot, and read old books…
Revisit the same ideas because it’s what you need: to be reminded
Anytime you think your idea is unique, you just haven't read widely enough
Once you’ve read a lot, you can see that even the best arguments have limitations
A sign you haven’t done enough reading is if you find yourself agreeing with whatever book you read last
Edit your thinking (i.e. write)…
Writing is re-writing
Writing leads to stronger ideas
Writing is the antidote to confusion
Writing is trimming away the excess
Write to be useful…
Clarify key points
Double-check for typos
Write the article you wish you could read
Make your writing easy on your readers…
Be impatient on their behalf
Know the mistakes they are likely to make
Respect their time by only including what matters
Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary information and needless words
The best writing is short, but potent…
The best writing resists compression
The best writing makes the illegible, legible
The best writing finds the signal in the noise
The best writing is the most information dense
The shape of genius is simplicity…
The highest level of mastery is simplicity
Simplicity after understanding complexity is genius
Simplicity before understanding complexity is ignorance
Learn a topic (i.e. teach)…
The person who learns the most in any classroom is the teacher
Exceptional teachers know why someone might misunderstand a topic
(Remember, your teaching ability is constrained by your writing ability)
Be the type of person who DOESN’T…
Take it personally
Chase a false summit
Write to sound smart
Care about trivial arguments
Wish for better opportunities
Let a proxy become the target
Spend what you haven’t earned
Optimize for the wrong outcome
Optimize things should be left undone
Be the type of person who WILL…
Compliment others more
Let the chips fall where they may
Do your best (and be at peace with it)
Be there when nobody knows what to say
Be there when the only thing people need to hear is your presence
PART TWO: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION OF LISTS — HOW TO BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY
Habits That Have a High Rate of Return in Life:
(The Ultimate List of Biohacks and Smart Drugs)
Sleep 8+ hours each day
Lift weights 3x week
Go for a walk each day
Save at least 10 percent of your income
Read a few pages every day
Drink more water and less of everything else
Leave your phone in another room while you work
Walk outside in the sun
Eat more vegetables and greens
Don’t hang out with toxic people
Work on projects you care about
How to 80/20 Your Life:
Make a list of the 10 things you spend the most time on.
Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those.
Look at the others. Eliminate ruthlessly. Automate or outsource what you can. Press pause on the rest.
How to Win:
Broad funnel. Research widely, explore unrelated areas for ideas, create a huge dataset of options.
Tight filter. Eliminate nearly everything. Focus only on the best options. Prioritize asymmetric opportunities: limited downside, unlimited upside.
How to Double Your Productivity:
Step 1: Stop reading articles on how to double your productivity.
Step 2: Start sleeping 8 hours a night.
How to prepare for bad luck:
Spend less than you earn
Build an emergency fund
Get fit before you need to
Be the friend you’ll need some day
Ask “How could X go wrong?” and plan for failure
Build confidence by conquering small challenges when life is easy
How to generate great ideas as a team:
Brainstorm privately. Any idea goes. Avoids groupthink.
Compile ideas, but hide the sources. Avoids ""highest paid person"" winning.
Discuss as a group to find the best answer.
Reveal the winner so the right person gets credit.
How to be a better writer:
Write about what fascinates you
Make one point per sentence
Use stories to make your point
Cut extra words like “really” and “very”
Read the whole thing out loud
Post publicly (you’ll try harder when you know others will read it)
How to Handle Rejection:
Learn from the experience
Keep your ego in check
Say thank you
How to Handle Success:
Learn from the experience
Keep your ego in check
Say thank you
How to Be Unhappy:
Stay inside all day
Move as little as possible
Spend more than you earn
Take yourself (and life) too seriously
Look for reasons why things won’t work
Always consume, never contribute
Resent the lucky and successful
Never say hello first
How to See Opportunities Others Miss:
Study a totally different field, then return to the original problem. Apply insights from other domains.
Invert the problem. Try to achieve the opposite.
Find ways to engage with hyper-creative people. Their thinking will rub off.
2 Ways to Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes:
Most people need some combination of both.
3 Primary Drivers of Results:
Your luck (randomness)
Your strategy (choices)
Your actions (habits)
Only 2 of the 3 are under your control.
3 Zones of Learning:
Zone of Automation: Habits you have mastered.
Zone of Adaptation: Actions of just manageable difficulty.
Zone of Aggravation: When the rate of change outpaces your ability to adapt.
3 Things In Life:
Some things are not your fault, but they are your responsibility.
Other things are not your responsibility, but they are your problem.
Many things are neither your responsibility nor your problem, but they make the world better
Take action on all three.
3 Things that Resolve Many Stresses and Anxieties:
A glass of water
A 10-minute walk outside
A good night of sleep
3-Step Cycle of Developing an Extraordinary Mind:
Explore widely. Follow many people, listen to tons of podcasts, read more books.
Clean up your information feed. Subscribe to fewer newsletters, follow fewer people, re-read great books. All signal, no noise.
3 Crucial Questions to Ask When Considering a New Opportunity:
Power: How can I find an advantage relative to others?
Probability: How likely am I to succeed?
Payoff: How large is the payoff if I succeed?
Great opportunities are favorable on all 3 dimensions.
3 Ways to Break a Bad Habit:
Elimination - cut it off entirely.
Reduction - drop to the desired level.
Substitution - replace the bad habit with a good one.
3 Things That Help Habits Stick:
Repetition. Habits form based on frequency, not time.
Stable context. If the context is always changing, so is the behavior. You need a reliable environment.
Positive emotions. If it feels good, you’ll want to repeat it.
Sleep - being well-rested improves performance on all other habits.
Reading - you can learn how to improve any habit by reading.
Questions - asking good questions continually provokes new insights for tweaking your habits.
3 Levels of Employees:
Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do.
Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen.
Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them
3 tips for getting started as a writer:
Publish on a schedule. Consistency develops ability.
Share your writing publicly. Writing is a magnet. It attracts like-minded people.
Write about what fascinates you. You don't need to be an expert. Curiosity leads to expertise.
4 Types of Wealth:
Financial wealth (money)
Social wealth (status)
Time wealth (freedom)
Physical wealth (health)
Be wary of jobs that lure you in with 1 and 2, but rob you of 3 and 4
4 Things for Exceptional Results:
Quantity: You take lots of shots.
Quality: You take thoughtful shots.
Consistency: You keep shooting for a long time.
Luck: You get a few favorable bounces.
4 Abilities that Lead to Intelligence:
The curiosity to experiment and explore.
The honesty to observe the world as it is, not as you wish it to be.
The humility to kill your favorite ideas when you learn something new.
The consistency to repeat this cycle for life.
5 Things to Consider Removing Next Year:
One toxic person
One annoying customer
One topic that robs your attention
One belief that’s holding you back
One commitment that isn’t worth the effort
The 10-10-10 Rule for making better decisions:
Consider each option
Ask, “What will the consequences be in 10 minutes?”
Ask, “What will the consequences be in 10 months?”
Ask, “What will the consequences be in 10 years?”
Where not learning the fundamentals will put you at a severe disadvantage:
Real wealth is:
Not having to go to meetings
Not having to spend time with jerks
Not being locked into status games
Not feeling like you have to say “yes”
Not worrying about others claiming your time and energy
Real wealth is about freedom
Your 1st blog post will be bad, but your 1000th will be great.
Your 1st workout will be weak, but your 1000th will be strong.
Your 1st meditation will be scattered, but your 1000th will be focused.
The Paradox of Freedom:
The way to expand your freedom is to narrow your focus.
Stay focused on saving to achieve financial freedom.
Stay focused on training to achieve physical freedom.
Stay focused on learning to achieve intellectual freedom.
The disciplined become the free.
Invert for Happiness:
Get outside each day
Move: walk, exercise, dance
Spend less than you earn
View life as play
Be the one who looks for solutions
Develop a bias to contribute and create
Learn from the lucky and successful
Be the first to say hello
Effective networking strategy:
1) Do interesting things.
2) Share them publicly.
Like-minded people will come to you.
You want leverage.
The person who creates more value has leverage.
The person who can walk away has leverage.
The person who is irreplaceable has leverage.
The person who has a second option has leverage.
The person who knows the numbers has leverage.
The Morning Routine of Successful People:
They get up
They show up
At some point, they do work that matters
The Cycle of Improvement:
Awareness - identify what you need to improve.
Deliberate practice - focus your conscious effort on the specific area you want to improve.
Habit - with practice, the effortful becomes automatic.
Repeat - begin the cycle anew.
Major drivers of human behavior:
Self-interest: How does it serve the person?
Status: How does it improve their standing?
Convenience: What is the path of least resistance?
Signaling: What does it signal to others?
Social norms: How does it help them fit in?
Asymmetric Advice: Advice from Someone Who Can’t Use It.
A rich person saying “Money isn’t everything.”
A fit person saying “Beauty is on the inside.”
A powerful person saying “Stop caring what others think of you.”
It’s easy to give advice when you don’t face the downside.
Books that are Quick and Easy to Read, but Contain a Tremendous Amount of Wisdom
The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Manual for Living by Epictetus
A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy
Douglas Adams’ 3 Rules of Tech
Anything in the world when you’re born is normal, ordinary, and natural
Anything invented between when you’re 15 and 35 is new, exciting, and revolutionary
Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things
PART THREE: QUOTES ON HABITS AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR
The effects of compounding even moderate returns over many years are compelling, if not downright mind-boggling.
-Billionaire investor Seth Klarman, on small, but consistent growth
Most people will solve problems that they know how to solve. Roughly speaking, they will solve B+ problems instead of A+ problems. A+ problems are high impact problems for your company but they are difficult... so you procrastinate.
Spend as little time as possible talking about how other people are wrong.
Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.
I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten;
even so, they have made me.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
You should take the approach that you, the entrepreneur, are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.
-Elon Musk, on building a company
An ancient story:
Plato caught a child playing cobnuts. It was a game children played without money, but it was seen as an introduction to gambling.
Plato reprimanded the boy.
The child complained, “You scold me for a small matter.”
Plato replied, “Habit is no small matter.”
The thing that I tell young writers—and a young writer can be any age—is anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page... cause there’s nothing there to fix.
There are three things you cannot buy.
Fitness: You have to keep fit, whether you’re rich or not.
Diet: You cannot pay someone to be on a diet for you.
Then, looking after your soul. No one can possibly treat your soul but you yourself.
Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.
It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.
We acquire virtues by first having put them into action... We become just by the practice of just actions, self-controlled by exercising self-control, and courageous by performing acts of courage.
Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. We’re all biased to our own personal history.
I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1000 things.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
-John C. Maxwell
There are some things you can’t learn from others. You have to pass through the fire.
It's often the small things that no one sees that result in the big things that everyone wants.
Most things are not obtained simply because they are not attempted.
The best people always seem to be building stuff and hanging around smart people.
He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.
Almost everybody can stay excited for 2 or 3 months. A few people can stay excited for 2 or 3 years, but a winner will stay excited for 30 years or however long it takes to win.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
If you have an income without working hard, then someone worked hard without receiving an income.
It almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa... Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits.
The dead outnumber the living fourteen to one, and we ignore the accumulated experience of such a huge majority of mankind at our peril.
Loving someone means helping them to be more themselves, which can be different from being what you'd like them to be, although often they turn out the same.
Surprise and delight your customers. There is nothing like that in business. If you delight your customers, you’re a long way home.
When one teaches, two learn.
Limitations stimulate creativity.
When people speak in a very elaborate and sophisticated way, they either want to tell a lie, or to admire themselves. You should not believe such people. Good speech is always clear, clever, and understood by all.
If you’re going to live a long time, you have to keep learning. What you formerly knew is not enough. If you don’t adapt, you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Less, but better.
The master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will.
-Tao Te Ching
First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.
The heaviest weight at the gym is the front door.
You can waste a year worrying about it, or you can get it over with now.
Havin' money's not everything, not havin' it is.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
If you want to be successful, find out what the price is and then pay it.
If you don't get what you want, it's a sign either that you did not seriously want it, or that you tried to bargain over the price.
I saw that it was the artificial needs of life that made me a slave; the real needs of life were few.
-William James Dawson, The Quest of the Simple Life
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
If you desire many things, many things will seem few.
Wealth, in fact, is what you don’t see. It’s the cars not purchased. The diamonds not bought. The renovations postponed, the clothes forgone and the first-class upgrade declined. It’s assets in the bank that haven’t yet been converted into the stuff you see.
You could beat any grandmaster at chess if you could move twice every time he moved once. Speed gives you the edge.
The safest way to try and get what you want is to try and deserve what you want. It’s such a simple idea. It’s the golden rule so to speak. You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end.
If you want to look good in front of thousands, you have to outwork thousands in front of nobody.
Take a simple idea and take it seriously.
A man who cannot climb a tree will boast of never having fallen out of one.
-Ludwig Klages (1872)
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.
-Charles Dickens, in 1849, on the relationship between money and happiness
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
-Henry David Thoreau
We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.
-Greek poet Archilochus
For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits.
For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you.
This saying was reportedly a favorite of Steve Jobs, who sent it out to friends on invitations to his 30th birthday party.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
-Charlie Munger, on how to avoid falling victim to intense ideology and unclear thinking
Robert Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance
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