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Contents:
  1. Navigation menu
  2. How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)
  3. The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness
  4. 7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do

But if you are serious about writing, you will simply raise your game. You will put in another few thousand hours and complete your apprenticeship. And when you do, you will be very glad that the first novel you wrote was not the first novel you published, because it will now feel embarrassing and amateurish. You can only be a debutante once. First novels are all about making a splash. Traditional publishing is the only way to go for someone who writes literary fiction.

With genre fiction, self-publishing can turn you into a successful author if you can build a platform, if you enjoy marketing and are good at it, if you are lucky. But an author who writes literary fiction is dependent on critical acclaim and literary prizes to build their reputation and following. If genre fiction is chart music, literary fiction is opera: the audience is small, and there are limited ways to reach it.

Self-published books are not eligible for major prizes like the Baileys, the Costa and the Man Booker , and getting shortlisted for major prizes is the only way a literary novel will become a bestseller. The chance of a self-published novelist getting their book reviewed in the mainstream press is the same as the chance of my dog not eating a sausage. The chance of an indie author being booked for a major literature festival? Donald Trump apologising to Mexico.

Good writers need even better editors. They need brilliant cover designers. They need imaginative marketers and well-connected publicists. They pay you! And I mean serious. Providing these services to indie authors is a lucrative business. My final caveat is fiscal. You can put all of that effort in, do all that marketing, and still not make a living. Fiona Veitch Smith made the transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing. I do not earn much as a traditionally published author but I earn more than I did as a self-publisher.

But the reality is, of dozens of self-publishers I knew, I was probably the most successful. Publishers and agents have reach. With access to proper distribution networks, they can get physical books into real bookshops. They can represent you at the major book fairs and sell your books to international markets. It generates a lot of noise on social media. It results in many flashy-looking websites from authorpreneurs keen to sell success secrets to other aspiring authorpreneurs. You have to forget writing for a living If you self-publish your book, you are not going to be writing for a living.

Self-publishing can make you behave like a fool Imagine we have just met. Gatekeepers are saving you from your own ego Imagine you are a cabinet-maker. Good writers become good because they undertake an apprenticeship. Serving your apprenticeship is important My first novel was my fourth novel. You can forget Hay festival and the Booker Traditional publishing is the only way to go for someone who writes literary fiction. Where you need to listen to lead, and don't let over-confidence make you over-commit.

Stinging counter-intuitive insights that hit very close to home for me. Great specific suggestions for how to improve. A masterpiece. An amazing overview of everything you need to know. Covers all the basics, minus buzz-words and fluff. Look at my notes for an example, but read the whole book. One of the most inspiring things I've read in years. Want proof? It's that good. Essential for all managers. Deep surprising study of motivation at work. Extrinsic vs intrinsic. Work vs play. When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity.

Great great great great GREAT psychology book about real ways to make change last - both personal and organizational. So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory. Inspiring counterintuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds. Highly recommended for everyone. Psychology professor's digestible but deep insight into how our minds work, around the topic of happiness. Great metaphor of a rider on the back of an elephant. Rider is reasoning, elephant is emotions. Rider has limited control of what the elephant does.

Surprising insights into ethics and morality. See my notes for great quotes, but read the whole well-written book. Classic book on the psychology of persuasion. I read it 15 years ago, thought about it ever since, and re-read it now. How to sell more by doubling your prices.

How to make people feel they made a choice, when really you made it for them. My favorite type of book: pointing out and understanding all of the counter-intuitive things people do. Not ambiguous. This is perfect for musicians with other responsibilities day jobs that need more free time to actually make music!

An itty-bitty quick-read no-fluff book with the wisest succinct advice to investors: You can't predict the future, and neither can anyone else. Determine your asset allocation, stick with cheap broad indexes, and rebalance occasionally. Mind-blowing examples of how groups of diverse people acting independently are smarter than any one person in the group.

Has huge implications for management, markets, decision-making, and more. Faced with many options or decisions in your life? This will change the way you look at them. We feel worse when we have too many options. Actually analyzing what makes certain ideas or stories more memorable than others! How can the lessons of philosophers change your life? Thoughtful, unique, and funny book cute illustrations with some insightful ideas around that. A hundred various thoughts to digest. Very interesting alternative perspective on life from a historian. Anti-religion, anti-humanism, pro-animal. Seems detached, but is quite opinionated.

Much to think about, regardless. My notes here give a taste. A lot to think about. Why are so many people so mathematically illiterate? I wish I was an expert at this. I love it when someone is able to blow apart a claim in a minute, or know a good versus bad deal, just by running the numbers.

So dense with wisdom that I wanted to highlight almost every paragraph. Instead, I skipped Part 1, about his background, because in the intro he recommends you skip it. Tiny quick read with a punchy point: Anything worth doing has a painfully-hard middle period, which is where most people quit. But knowing this in advance, ask yourself seriously if you really have the dedication to stick it through that hard time.

Quit in advance! Read the whole book if this applies to you. Why did the people of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their people? Fascinating world history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. See the notes. Short, inspiring insights into creativity and the creative life: the day job, the mindset, etc. Thought I was getting a book about math, but ended up being a surprisingly good book about learning in general.

Main points are about diffused thinking vs focused thinking. Inspiring study of how successful people took smart shortcuts and bypassed the long-slogging dues-paying process. Great insights on momentum. Great little manifesto about habits. Very well thought-through practical applications, tips, and philosophies on creating and sustaining the habits you want. A succinct adrenaline-generating call to clear thinking and rational action. Many historical examples. Incredibly inspiring.

Interesting and insightful dive into the subject of how to make big decisions. Specific useful advice. Interesting common thread of making your life a system for increasing your odds at success. But I liked the random tips, too. Short and brilliant book with tips on being a better thinker. Being persistent, thorough, rooted in fundamentals, creative, and a more active learner.

Surprisingly inspiring. VERY interesting. Seth is moving from talking about business to talking about being an artist in the broad sense of anyone who creates and ships! I loved the distiction between the industrialist and the artist, as it helped me give a term for something I'd experienced: not being able to relate at all to those who just want to grow business for business' sake, whereas I always saw my business like a creative art project.

Lessons dissected from their successes, and categorized. The biographies were interesting, but lessons were mostly conventional wisdom. Shockingly smart thoughts about your career. A must-read for anyone who is not loving their work, wanting to quit their job, and follow their passion, or not sure what to do next. I'm recommending this many times a week to people who email me with these kinds of questions. Best book I've ever read on the subject. A description of the path to mastery in any field: to enjoy regular practice for its own sake, to push your capabilities but to accept the plateau, to surrender to the path and exercises your teacher gives you.

Stay focused, not distracted like the dabbler, impatient like the obsessive, or complacent like the hacker. First he wrote The Talent Code, which I also highly recommend, then he distilled all that research about deliberate practice into 52 actionable tips. Amazing and inspiring, you can read the whole thing in 90 minutes, then get to work! He's found great examples of people and companies doing really innovative things, but most of all it's a mindset. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. Most major problems, personal and social, center on failure of self-control.

When people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was at the top of the list. So let's talk about self-control The authors worked with the best athletes and executives for years, and found that the best ones knew how to push themselves, then recuperate, push, recuperate. Take this same approach to your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual life, and it's a powerful metaphor. Think of sprints, not marathons. Be fully in whatever you're in, then give time to recuperate.

But push futher each time, past your comfort zone, like a good exercise plan. For those fascinated with memory. Riveting page-turner about a journalist with no particularly good memory who went to cover a memory championship event. Intrigued and befriending some competitors, he starts practicing, and a year later wins the U. Inspiring dive into the subject of memorization. Great simple philosophy: Life itself is one long practice session.

Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. Practice is not just for artistic or athletic skill, but practicing patience, practicing communication, practicing anything you do in life. A great overview of the lessons of Charlie Munger partner of Warren Buffett - and his approach to checklists of multi-disciplinary models to guide clear thinking.

Main point: if you can just avoid mistakes, you're doing better than most. So it's a catalog of the most common or important mistakes. Focused on investing, but can be applied to life. The fixed mindset is very harmful in every area of life work, art, relationships, business, etc.

We get our initial mindset from our environment. Great how-to guide about being a micropreneur: an entrepreneur running many small but profitable businesses. Great thoughts about writing mostly books from one of the most successful writers ever. Oddly doubles as an autobiography, telling many stories about his life from childhood. So beautifully written with astounding insights into culture and happiness. Been thinking about it for weeks afterwards. Absolutely my favorite author and advisor on the subject of investing. Anyone with any money to invest or already invested please read this book.

Such clear thinking, using only facts, and using numbers not guesses.

Modern portfolio theory: use passive indexes of the entire market, no speculation, no stock picking, and avoid the entire fee-sucking financial industry. Brilliant book with one clear message: our emotional brain is faster and usually smarter than our logical brain.

Our emotions are trained by years of logic and experience, retaining it all for real wisdom. Many decisions are better made by going with the gut feeling. A great book showing that deep practice - struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes - experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them - is what really makes you improve at anything. Brilliant succinct wisdom on creativity from an artist. Seth Godin says, "Hugh harangues and encourages and pushes and won't sit still until you, like him, are unwilling to settle.

Even those that prefer not to read much. Wonderful considerate book about conversational people skills. Gives specific instructions that are really useful for people who are not naturals. Just do what this book says, and people will warm up to you.

MORE IN LIFE

New scientific insights into why our brains work this way, and how to use what we now know to learn or work better. One of my favorite authors, and a massive inspiration for my e-book. Required reading for business-owners and investors. A collection of his short insightful posts from his blog, all thought-provoking and inspiring for anybody marketing anything, even music.

Classic book with near-cult following. How to manage every last itty bitty tiny thing in your life. Keep your inbox empty. Warning: some think this book is pure evil. But power exists, so it can only help to understand it better, even if you choose not to wield it. Au Contraire, about the French, is the other.

I re-read it now 11 years later, and loved her insights and writing. Active anthropology. A quick, entertaining, and informative book focusing on the effects of timing on your life. A unique thinker with strong opinions presented as indisputable fact. Extremely thoughtful, but occasionally abruptly concludes with an unsupported point.

Legendary book about making relationships work, recommended by many. Main point is that we're looking for our partner to heal childhood wounds. A must-read if you're near the start of a serious relationship. Great thoughts on creating a timeless masterpiece whether music, book, or any art - and then promoting it. Very inspiring for any creator. Very serious and scholarly. Advises to read books that are above your current ability. A very specific methodology is given. Read books twice, ask questions while reading, answer those questions, then summarize and criticize afterwards.

The point is to grow up to the level of the author. Profound truths and bold opinions on discipline, life, and love, written by a psychiatrist in It's been a best-seller all these years for a good reason. Grit is her word for persistence, focus, endurance, and constant improvement. Great thoughts on this point. If interested in it, also read the books here about deliberate practice. What are today's technologies inevitably going to lead to? Great predictions. Half of it was super-inspiring, painting a vision of the future that made me want to jump on it. So I didn't get much new out of it, but if you haven't already read those, maybe start here at the horse's mouth.

Crucial subject, dear to me: shutting out distractions for deep productive concentrated work. No huge surprises but great supporting thoughts. I liked the point of considering the downside of the internet, instead of only the positives. Author goes to each to find out, and dives into the subject of creativity in general. He's such a great writer, so insightful, and finds so many great points of view from the people he interviews. Equally brilliant. Short, punchy, incredibly insightful and useful book about learning another language, especially for a first-timer.

I've read a few books on the subject now, but this is the only one that spoke directly to my issues. Especially loved his points on the importance of sounds over words. Hint: a language that is written but not spoken is called a dead language. Powerful, deep, etc. First half describes life inside Auschwitz. Second half has powerful succinctly-said insights into the universal struggle. There's a reason this book has sold a billion copies. Anyone who likes my writing will probably LOVE his writing.

We've got a very similar style and approach. I was smiling most of the way through, reading things I could have and wish I would have written myself. His vulnerability is so endearing.

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Repeated message: Your time is precious. Know its value and don't work for less. Defend it against time-vampires. Be hard to reach. Make every minute count. Do only the valuable tasks. Good conventional wisdom. Great dissection and analysis of what creates habits, and the power of changing just one of three steps in the habit loop. Wonderful book about the art, craft, and passion of being a great computer programmer.

Loved the analogies to being a musician: sight-reading, being the worst member of the band, understanding new styles of music, practicing just for improvement, etc. No predicting the future.

18 Photos You Won't Find in History Books

No worrying about the news. Awesome short manifesto about getting into the habit of starting things. Inspiring as hell. Go go go! Amazing book for anyone wanting to improve their body.

Anything beyond that is wasteful. This documents Tim's years-long pursuit of the minimum effective dose of everything, from weight loss to muscle-building. Related subjects include orgasm, sleep, and medical tourism. I always love Clay Shirky's insights into the internet culture. Perhaps passive watching was a temporary habit that lasted 80 years, and now we're going back to a more participatory culture? A collection of essays from one of the best. Loosely about intelligence, entrepreneurship, programming, and questioning norms. Many brilliant ideas and insights. Best book on public speaking.

A must-read if you do this at all. Great concrete advice and personal tales. An amazing book about consumer finance and a healthy approach to managing your money. If you are age , this is a must-read! My notes are scarce, so get the book. Even if over 35, you might find some good tips on lowering your fees on various services, and a good reminder of good savings practices. My favorite genre of book lately: clear examples of bugs in our brain: where our intuition is wrong. But this one focuses just on money issues. Loss aversion. Sunk cost fallacy. Confirmation bias.

I love this stuff. Great think-piece about lessons learned from Google's approach to things, and how they might approach different industries like airlines, real estate, education, etc. Great look at a different way of getting a project done: not outsourcing it to a person, but developing a system where thousands of people can contribute a little bit.

Chess master becomes Tai Chi master, realizes his real genius is learning, and shares his insights and stories. Lessons learned from Wikipedia can be applied to most other businesses. How can you harness the spare-time or self-interest of thousands to build something better for everyone?

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

Instead of asking how to use the new internet tools to support your existing business, ask how you can change your business to take best advantage of the new tools. A good overview of Artificial Intelligence. Mathematics as an extension of common sense. I'd like to go through this again, doing and thoroughly understanding all the examples. On the first read, I let it pass over me. Motivating thoughts on doing your work. Your work is the expression of your priorities.

An interesting definition of three kinds of work: mapping, making, and meshing. Autobiographical stories. Fun anecdotes. But they give a great glimpse into an approach to life: Doubt, challenge, and most importantly: test everything. See what happens in the real-world, not in-theory. Applied not just to science, but how ants find food, talking to strangers in bars, sketching portraits, and playing a shaker in a Brazilian band. About the culture of Switzerland, written by a Brit.

I love these kinds of country culture books, and have always been curious about Switzerland, so it scratched my itch, and has good insights. The description of how the government works was most interesting. Advanced book about negotiating. Serious hostage type stuff. I loved learning about Pyrrhonian Skepticism. About the technique of writing stories. Good for what it is, but note it's not part of the War of Art series.

Everything she writes is wonderful. All a similar theme. See the other books here for other maybe better examples. If you feel you are too generous, or too greedy, or are wary and insist on reciprocation, consider reading this research-based look at the subject of these different personality types. Counter-intuitive findings. I'm thrilled if I get a few counter-intuitive thought-provoking ideas from any source. This book is filled with his usual cocktail party sprezzatura bravado, but refreshingly succinct, minus his usual blowhard explanations of his superior scholarly approach to life.

Great book on that subject. Essays on history, power, self-discipline, negotiation, and the hustle. If you've read other books on how to write a great story, this probably won't hold much new for you. But this was my first book on this subject, and I loved it. Changed the way I pay attention to movies and novels. Makes me want to write a novel. Classic book for computer programmers. I read it first in before I was taking book notes, so I read it again now to take notes. Great wisdom in here. Amazing to see how much of its advice was adopted as norms by Ruby on Rails. A true classic, filled with stoic wisdom mostly about being your best rational self, doing good for its own sake, and not letting other people upset you.

Great summary of 46 cognitive biases. Much of it covered in other books like Predictably Irrational, but if you haven't read those, this is a great starting book. Otherwise, just a good reminder, and worth reading. The methodology here is the one I recommend the most. The stuff I preach is like a cute casual intro to the real deal: the Lean Startup methodology.

As an aside: this book is the one that pushed my book out of the 1 slot on Amazon's Entrepreneur charts. Quite an honor. About the care of the physical brain - the goo in your skull - from a doctor who scans brains and has linked specific behavior to brain chemistry. A real and specific description of the inner workings of the Virgin companies. Every entrepreneur, investor, and manager should appreciate this detailed account of practices, philosophies and stories from the core.

Talent is not innate - it comes from thousands of hours of deliberate practice: focused improving of your shortcomings. That's it. A good book that's mostly about networking, but also some general business smarts. Definitely read if you need more work being social. Performance coach, with a bent towards sports, surgery, and executive performance, gives his thoughts on being a top performer. The key is the "Trusting Mindset": like a squirrel runs across a telephone wire.

Just doing it, without thought, because you've trained yourself plenty until that point. Since I loved Stumbling on Happiness, I was prepared to love this, but the big difference is that Stumbling on Happiness showed tests and experiments to prove their points, whereas this book only presents conclusions.


  1. Blessed Lands Egypt, 2nd edition?
  2. He Came;
  3. Unterrichtseinheit: Kinder dieser Welt (5. Klasse) (German Edition).
  4. Reminiscences of a Castro Colonist.
  5. 9 Signs You've Found Your Soulmate (If You Believe In That Sort Of Thing)?
  6. The Brother-in-law.
  7. LOOK AT THIS BIG BUTTON WE MADE;

Maybe equally accurate but less convincing. A broad look at all different aspects of self-improvement.

The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness

Some unique insights. Though inbetween those lie some great concrete ideas. Weird look at how different cultures mostly Europe versus U. Example: British luxury is about detachment whereas U. Like Wikinomics and Crowdsourcing, required reading if interested in harnessing the collective power of people online. Unique fascinating dissection of cults and why they work.

Then how to apply those lessons to marketing your business. Current research on brain aging, and how to slow or reverse its effects. Be very social. Intensely learn something new, especially a new language. Take dance lessons. Practice gratitude and mindfulness. Flood your mind with nostalgic memories.

I love this series of books from him, from War of Art to Turning Pro. This is worth reading if you need a nudge on this subject, but if you've read the others, it only offers a little more. Some interesting historical perspectives I hadn't thought of, like how the venue's reverberation changed composition.

Written by someone who has learned many languages, he shares his story and advice. Useful recommendations. Now Russ puts it into modern language and times. Main point is that our morality comes from imagining being judged by our fellow man.

7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do

Collections of the creative routines of famous writers, artists, musicians, and scientists. Some interesting insights, but mostly reinforcing proof that it's important to keep a daily routine to put aside time for your creative work. Just an interesting history and present look at the French language. I had no idea what an influence French was on English, and didn't understand its role in current Africa. Makes me want to learn French. This book totally changed my life at a key moment, when I was It made me quit my job and pursue a life of variety.

Some great ideas inside, especially the ones about family and healthy child-rearing. I just re-read it now, 22 years later, and it didn't hit me as hard as it did back then, maybe because I've internalized its philosophies so completely. I read this in , before Getting Things Done same author , and liked it more, because it's more philosophical than instructional.

It made a big impact on me then. I was just re-reading now for a little refresher. For those who ever considered getting fit, this is the way to do it, and the best book on the subject. Not sure if I should put this in my book list, because it's not something you read, but something you do. For someone who has a job at a company, I would call this essential reading with my highest recommendation. Since I haven't had a job since , I couldn't apply many of his great points to my life.

Still I loved his reminder of the value of the brilliant workers instead of systemized workers. The opposite of E-Myth another book reviewed here. About evolution and the theory of natural selection, proposing the idea that it's not creatures that are looking to replicate, but individual genes.

Introducing the idea of Libertarian Paternalism: influencing people's behavior for their own benefit, without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. World getting too fuzzy and unreasonable? Watching too much TV? A good book on logic is a great antidote. I'd never read one before, so I don't know how to compare it to others, but I really loved the clear thinking and deep insights here.

Pretty cool technique of working in minute chunks. Better to start with a simple article about it, then read the book after if you love it. I do, so far. A great curated collection of facts about how to learn effectively and think clearly. Since it's written by a programmer, it makes many computer analogies that fellow programmers will appreciate. Non-programmers might feel a little left out. Create an irresistable offer. Present it to people who need it. Sell them more afterwards. Lots of examples of this. Deep study of why some people are so much more successful. Often due to circumstances and early opportunities, but really comes down to the fact that it takes about 10, hours of hard work to master something.

Biggest study ever on the effects of diet on health. The multiple health benefits of plant-based foods, and dangers of animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs. Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Set limitations. Become incredibly effective. Written by someone who's been successfully living this way for years. Acquired expertise in big business. A very useful collection of notes from hundreds of hours of Tim's podcast interviews. It's definitely a mix of thoughts and advice from a mix of people. A real collage. The first quarter of the book, full of milligram measurements of things you could be ingesting, almost made me quit, but the 2nd half of the book had some great ideas.

Highly recommended, so maybe you'll love it. I've read many like this, so I only got a few good ideas from it. Written by an American who's lived in Germany for 20 years. Published in , and so probably written a couple years before , it's a little dated. The Berlin Wall was a fresh memory. So I'm assuming the current for then observations have changed a bit. But the historical perspective helped explain some core aspects to the culture. I'm biased. I'm in it. This is a subject I live. I know. Got it. Living it. Funny and informative book by the always-brilliant A. Jacobs - about trying every health remedy and suggestion.

Some surprising ones are effective. Examples of the fact that much success or creativity comes from trying many things, failing fast, getting feedback, trying more things, and deliberate practice. Nice short reminder of the importance of solitude and focus. Only doing your most important things, and let the rest go. He also catharticly details his own painful injuries in every chapter.

Start with that one. Only read this if that one fascinated you. Required reading for anyone doing business in India, with detailed analysis of cultural and communication differences. Teaches Westerners to adapt to this. Autobiography of his life from childhood through Interesting how he was always over-leveraged and how that drove him forward.

This would be great as a daily email, and I think that's how it was intended. But as a book, with tiny chapters, each point feels too shallow. Like reading nothing but blog posts for days. Still, great thoughts inside, so go to dailystoic. Great beginning.