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2020 Personal Bible – updates and excerpts (The Onion, startup pivots, Price of Tomorrow, Octalysis, and Kevin Kelly)

My personal bible is a pdf doc where I save my favorite article excerpts, book highlights, and wisdom notes. I try to read a little bit of it every day.

Peru 2020. Vehicles market starts growing again (+20.3%), meanwhile Mitsubishi plummets by 64.1%
Wednesday November 18, 2020

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Here’s an explanation of why I do this. And here’s the latest copy you can download.

Jonathan Blow shares some powerful, practical, personal advice on mental health
Thursday October 15, 2020

Since I know Jonathan as an indie game developer (an amazingly successful one), I didn’t have an expectation from this online talk he gave on self-motivation, mental health, and elements of stoicism. It was very good. 10/10 would recommend. Some of my notes are below: — Key takeaway: There are 3 aspects – Thoughts, Bodily […]

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Below are all of my recent additions to the bible since the last major update.

The Onion founding editor’s writing rules [source]

How You Can Save Money Buying A New Car
Friday December 18, 2020

One of the most important financial decisions you’re going to make in your life is purchasing a new car. Next to your home, it’s, perhaps, the second most expensive asset you’ll ever own. So, it’s just fitting for you to feel like as if you’re under so much pressure to get it right. If you […]

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1. Concept is king

“Your concept — and I would equate that with your headline or title — is the flag you’re raising, it’s the shingle on your door. And if it’s not a good concept or the right concept, then you’re sunk before you’ve even written a word.”

2. The key to quality is quantity

“This is how professionals work,” said Dikkers, “because they understand that most of what they write is dreck.”


4. Ruffle some feathers

“Thing is, Horatian satire isn’t really remembered because it’s toothless,” said Dikkers. “It might get a lot of laughs today but it’s not going to live in our cultural memory. Only satire that angers or offends people will be remembered.”

from Roger Dickey’s blog [source]

Unsurprisingly, many great consumer products were experiments, side projects, or pivots:

Twitch spun out of Justin TV

Slack was an internal tool for a game called Glitch

Twitter was a podcasting network called Odeo

Zynga originally wanted to be a toolbar company

Instagram was a Foursquare competitor called Burbn

Youtube started as a video dating site

Pokemon Go was originally Field Trip, a startup within Google to test location based functionality

Facebook evolved from FaceMash, a “Hot or Not” for Harvard college students

The Price of Tomorrow by Jeff Booth [highlights]

As my friend Thuan Pham, the chief technology officer of Uber, recently said to me over breakfast, “I am a firm believer that talent is distributed evenly around the world, but opportunities are not.”>

The only thing driving growth in the world today is easy credit, which is being created at a pace that is hard to comprehend.

Deflation, put simply, is when you get more for your money—just as inflation is when you get less for your money.

As the theorist Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes in Antifragile, “we notice what varies and changes more than what plays a larger role but doesn’t change. We rely more on water than on cell phones, but because water does not change and cell phones do, we are prone to thinking that cell phones play a larger role than they do.”

Deflation is being caused by technology and, because of that, it will ride the same exponential wave that technology does. That means that the rate of deflation (without printing more money) will only accelerate from here.

The government doesn’t actually have more assets; it’s just representing its assets with more units of currency, which means each unit of currency is worth less—like cutting a pizza into twelve slices instead of eight, or dividing an estate between ten heirs rather than nine.

Octalysis gamification framework by Yu-kai Chou [source]

1. Epic Meaning & Calling – the feeling of being chosen to do something greater than yourself 

2. Development & Accomplishment – when you’re challenged to develop skills and make progress

3. Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback – the infinite creativity and possibilities of Legos

4. Ownership & Possession – the drive to collect, accumulate, customize 

5. Social Influence & Relatedness – the need to meet and impress people 

6. Scarcity & Impatience – when you want something because you can’t have it

7. Unpredictability & Curiosity – surprise & delight, variable rewards 

8. Loss & Avoidance – fomo, fear of something gained being taken away

8 bits of Kevin Kelly’s 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice [source]

Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.

A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.

Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at.

Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.

Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you’ll get. Understanding this is the beginning of wisdom.

Anything real begins with the fiction of what could be. Imagination is therefore the most potent force in the universe, and a skill you can get better at. It’s the one skill in life that benefits from ignoring what everyone else knows.

You really don’t want to be famous. Read the biography of any famous person. 

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.