1. It is hard to be wildly successful at anything you aren’t obsessed with.
  2. Before getting swept up in the competitions that define so much of life, ask yourself whether you even want the prize on offer.
  3. Thinking long-term is the biggest overlooked advantage hidden in plain sight.
  4. Statistically speaking, a “normal person” is physically unhealthy, emotionally anxious/depressed, socially lonely, and financially in debt. Don’t be normal.
  5. Yes is easy, but carries a burden. No is hard, but enables you to focus on the more important things.
  6. Expend energy so that you can eventually find the few things you do exceptionally well. But the experimentation phase has to end eventually.
  7. The more focused you are, the easier it is to become world-class at whatever you commit to.
  8. Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Risk multiply the opportunities seized.
  9. The best people are the least likely to jump through hoops to earn trust. And they’re the first to vote with their feet and avoid people they don’t think are trustworthy.
  10. We feel like we need more time, but what we’re craving is more focus. What we need is a smaller surface area.
  11. Most of my close friends only have 4-5 close friends. Most of the productive people I know at work are focused on one or two things, not 5. The way to maximize your enjoyment in life is to keep your surface area small. It’s a lot of work but if the happiest people I know are any indication, it’s a lot less work to keep it small than to maintain it when it’s large.
  12. Stress comes from ignoring things that you shouldn’t be ignoring.
  13. No one knows how it will turn out. You really do need to fuck around to find out.
  14. It’s depressing how lossy all our attempts at communication are, written or otherwise.
  15. If you’re overconfident, you’ll try things that fail, and people will laugh at you. If you’re under confident, you’ll avoid making risky bets, and miss out on the potential upside, but nobody will know for sure what you missed. That means it’s always tempting to do what the low-info heuristic tells you and be less ambitious—but ultimately, that ends up being worse for the world.
  16. Everyone enjoys winning. What matters is do you enjoy the preparation?
  17. Mentors and peers shouldn’t only be within your field. Make a list of your top mentors, and aggressively pursue them, both in and out of your field.
  18. There is a world of difference between something that’s impossible and something that’s almost impossible.
  19. If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.
  20. The measure of a man is what he does when he has power.
  21. The common trait of people who supposedly have vision is that they spend a lot of time reading and gathering information, and then they synthesize it until they come up with an idea.
  22. In the short term, you are as good as your intensity. In the long term, you are only as good as your consistency. Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a system.
  23. Take as much risk as you can afford. If you’re not failing, you’re being too conservative. When in doubt, then, follow your curiosity, and fail there. That’ll bring you to the frontiers of knowledge, where there are many gaps for you to explore.
  24. I very frequently get the question: “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?” And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time… we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, “Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,” or “I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.” Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.
  25. What we consider defining moments matter less to life satisfaction than the accumulation of tiny moments that didn’t seem to matter at the time. In the end, everyday moments matter more than big prizes. Tiny delights over big bright lights.
  26. Potential isn’t about where you start but how far you’ll travel.
  27. People who struggle early build the skills to excel later.
  28. Don’t work for anyone you don’t respect or admire, and only work with people you enjoy. Limit exposure to toxic negative people.
  29. Intrinsic motivation: Autonomy + mastery + sense of purpose.
  30. Improving personal inputs improves output. Treat your daily habits as non-negotiable priorities.
  31. If I’m building a health-care company, I don’t want a health-care CEO. If I’m building a manufacturing company, I don’t want a manufacturing CEO. I want somebody really smart to rethink the assumptions from the ground up. After all, retail innovation did not come from Walmart; it came from Amazon. Media innovation did not come from Time magazine or CBS; it came from YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. Space innovation did not come from Boeing and Lockheed; it came from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Next-generation cars did not come from GM and Volkswagen; they came from another Musk company, Tesla. I can’t think of a single, major innovation coming from experts in the last thirty, forty years.
  32. Driving is the last time most adults learn a new skill. Never stop learning.
  33. We spend 99% of our lives working towards moments that will encompass a mere 1% of our lives, then we feel nostalgic about the 99%.
  34. I’m so glad you’re talking to me about this.
  35. Outsized returns often come from betting against conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is usually right. Given a ten percent chance of a one hundred times payoff, you should take that bet every time.
  36. Where do I think the next amazing revolution is going to come? There’s no question that digital biology is going to be it. For the very first time in our history, in human history, biology has the opportunity to be engineering, not science.
  37. The days are long but the decades are short.
  38. Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Opportunities parade past all of us all the time. The key is that you must be paying attention to see them, you must be willing to take risks, you must expose yourself to the possibility of massive failure and you must believe in what you are doing so much that you do it anyway.
  39. If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’
  40. The most powerful productivity tool ever invented is simply the word no.
  41. The person who carefully designs their daily routine goes further than the person who negotiates with themselves every day.
  42. It’s easier to build a hard company than an easy one. If you’re building a photo-sharing app, nobody bothers. But if you’re building flying cars, supersonic aeroplanes or nuclear power startups people proactively want to help you for free because they want to be a part of this interesting thing.
  43. The opposite of a good idea is a good idea.


  1. People that are self reflective, think in a detailed way - the more nuanced your thinking is, the less people are going to be like you, which makes you feel alone.
  2. Comfort is the killer of dreams.
  3. True power is sitting back and observing with restraint.
  4. People buy products to show others what they believe in: their cause, their why. Sell the why. The goal is to have customers who believe what you believe in.
  5. Focus on what you control.
  6. This too shall pass.
  7. The best returns in life come from compound interest.
  8. Successful people say no to almost everything. Focus.
  9. Stay away from negative people.
  10. Consensus is regression to the mean.
  11. Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.
  12. IDK = No. If you’re uncertain, the answer is no.
  13. Use simple language. Few syllables. Short sentences. Short paragraphs.
  14. Our brains are built to enjoy stories.
  15. We’re all driven by the fundamental desire to be appreciated.
  16. Difficulty reveals character.
  17. Trust saves time. Invest in trust by being authentic and honest. Focus on building compounding relationships with long-term potential. But be real to yourself.
  18. Trust can’t be bought. It has to be earned. It’s hard-won and easily lost. It’s a brand’s most valuable asset. It must be protected at all costs.
  19. Marketing is earning trust at scale.
  20. How to build confidence? Do things just outside your comfort zone. And repeat as it expands. Experiment. Courage is a muscle that you need to train.
  21. Don’t make them think. Make it obvious.
  22. Don’t try to sell what you wouldn’t buy. Then, deliver value and build trust before you try to sell.
  23. Ask for what you want. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
  24. Don’t look back at the past that self-deprecates yourself. Look back at the past to learn to fix the mistakes in the present. This provides value.
  25. Do not be afraid of outgrowing your friend. Friends are to help your own journey, not to hinder it.
  26. Take the blame and responsibility for everything and learn from it. Don’t be afraid of failure and independence.
  27. If life is comfortable, there is no growth. Seek uncomfortable scenarios.
  28. Goals are clearly defined actions to take with set dates.
  29. Define core values, and never stray.
  30. Evaluate yourself often, and constantly adjust your workflow.
  31. Automate everything.
  32. People don’t want to learn from experts. They prefer to learn from those just a few steps ahead of them on the same path.
  33. There’s no such thing as “I don’t have enough time”. You always have time - everyone has the same amount of time. You don’t have the right priorities.
  34. Self-interest is the lever that moves people.
  35. Networking is about what you can provide not take.
  36. Charisma = Power + Presence + Warmth
  37. The love from success is always temporary. You have to find satisfaction with yourself on your average day.
  38. There is no justice. There is only power.
  39. A support system is like a garden and you always need to be on the lookout for weeds to pull.
  40. Winners focus on Winning. Losers focus on Winners.
  41. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  42. Build a reputation as the person who knows how to ‘gets stuff done’.
  43. The year is made in the first six months.
  44. The risk of failing is inherent in achieving a goal.
  45. Times of crisis are desirable. They mean growth.
  46. Listen first, speak last.
  47. Better to make a mistake and learn from it than to rob yourself of the lesson.
  48. But innovation–in the arts, in science, in business–is all about being willing to be wrong, because innovation requires missteps. They’re not a bug, they’re a feature.
  49. Real wealth, he understood, was autonomy.
  50. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something.
  51. Performance is correlated with trust. Trust is correlated with networking.
  52. When we raise our expectations for a student, a friend or a co-worker, we open the door to possibility. We offer them dignity and a chance to grow. We are offering them trust. But if we become attached to those expectations, if the expectation unmet leads us to distress or unhappiness, then that attachment undermines the very reason we created the expectation in the first place.
  53. Rather than asking people for their opinion, ask them for their advice.
  54. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.
  55. Consistently boring days make for extraordinary decades.
  56. Show me a person who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a person you can beat every time.
  57. 90% of success can be boiled down to consistently doing the obvious thing for an uncommonly long period of time without convincing yourself that you’re smarter than you are.
  58. People describe it as, ‘Oh, you learn so much from failure.’ I don’t think that’s true. I think the only thing I learned was how much failure sucks and how soul destroying it is.’ The biggest takeaway for me was that I never ever wanted to fail again.
  59. Be interested. Everyone wants to be interesting but the vitalizing thing is to be interested. Keep a sense of curiosity. Discover new things. Care. Risk failure. Reach out.
  60. The best leaders don’t wait for perfect information. They aren’t paralyzed if there are too many unknowns and are comfortable making decisions with what’s available right now.
  61. Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
  62. If stuck with 2 equal options, pick the one that feels like it will produce the most luck later down the line.
  63. You can buy people’s skills but not their hearts. You can buy people’s time but not their loyalty. The most valuable things must be earned.
  64. The best time to network is when you don’t need a network.
  65. Your fear occurs in proportion to the importance of the task. The more something scares you, the more necessary it is to your growth.
  66. If you do mediocre work, no one thinks about you. On the rare occasions when you do great work, people do.
  67. Don’t let mastering your craft make you boring. Use it as a platform off of which you can get even weirder.
  68. If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you believe what you believe, bad markets can be great opportunities.
  69. Most people don’t succeed because they’re either unwilling to fail or they get tired of failing before those failures pay off. What do you have fun failing at? How has that paid off for you?
  70. It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
  71. Find something for which you have so much passion that you are willing to endure the pain.


  1. There were so many wasted opportunities this year that I would never be able to get back.
  2. Low-effort, low friction, non-compounding systems.
  3. Dream big, but say no along the journey. Find a way to make better decisions. Don’t go for the safe option. Go for the bigger option. Dream big.
  4. The world is moving toward specialists.
  5. You can’t learn by researching. You learn by doing.
  6. I need to prioritize my goals, or at least build friends around my goals, not have my friends define my goals. How am I an individualist and trailblazer if I just follow others?