Book: How to Live: 27 conflicting answers and one weird conclusion by Derek Sivers. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐⭐️.

Another great book. I really like the content Derek produces on his blog and books. It’s usually dense and full of meaning, there are almost no fillers.

The proposal here is cool: there are many ways to live, you don’t have to choose one, you can pick many! All of them are valid ways to live a meaningful life. I can already see many people quoting small pieces of this book and saying things on the internet because they disagree. 😅

I’m wondering if Derek agrees with everything he wrote here, I believe he doesn’t, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it is how to live.

Recommended as usual!

Here are my raw notes about the book (mostly my own words, and thoughts after 💭):

  • Be independent

    • Do not rely on a single person, a single place, a single source of income.
    • Do not put a label on yourself, you don’t have so identify with any class (social class, religion, politics view, etc).
    • When you’re fully independent, you can take a side with a smirk
      • 💭 that’s something I’ve been doing for years, and it’s great
    • When you’re independent of your country, you can see it differently, not having it as something crucial for you. You will see it from the outside, with a neutral perspective.
    • Be as most independent as you can, water, food, passports, people, feelings.
    • Being independent is how to live.
  • Commit

    • When the decision is irreversible, you feel better about it.
      • 💭 — Do I? 😬. I think I get the argument here, since there’s not much to change, we shouldn’t be thinking about it too much and just move on. I certainly struggle with it, but I’m improving. I certainly need to apply more stoicism to it.
    • Commit to a place, so people know they can rely on you. People will not rely on people passing, but the situation is much more different when they know they will see you every week.
    • Commit to a person who likes you as you are. Being in love is easy, being with committed to the same person for a long time is hard.
    • Commit to just a few things, so you can get better of them. If it’s a profession, find your niche and get better on it. When you don’t have a lot of things to make you diverge your focus, you tend to do much better.
      • 💭 Certainly agree, it’s just not that easy to me. :)
  • Feel your senses

    • Do things only once, always doing new things. New places, change clothes in every place, always eat new food, don’t take a path you already know.
    • Have the feeling of something new and the last time, every day.
    • What would you do today if you know you’re going to be blind tomorrow?
  • Do nothing

    • Don’t speak too much. When you speak, people will know it’s important.
    • Silence is one thing that all religions have in common
      • 💭 weirdly enough, I never thought about it 🤯
    • You don’t want places or things, you want the emotions they “bring”. You don’t need the things to have the emotion, focus on your inner being.
    • Don’t follow news or gossip.
    • Yoou may think the world needs you to do something. That way of thinking may be upsetting to think of death.
    • Be selfless and be free.
  • Think super long term

    • Never spend, only invest (e.g. spend money on education)
    • When doing something, imagine doing this continuously for years. What is the result? (obesity for eating? broke for spending?)
    • The surviving fittest are the ones who plan ahead
    • Move to a place with good values that is heading in the right direction
      • 💭 — Yeah, this is something I’ve been thinking a lot in the past years. I really don’t think Brazil is the right country for that.
    • Plan your death, write your wills now.
      • ✅ it’s done.
    • Climate change may make everything between 40 and -40 degrees latitude inhabitable. Consider this.
      • The subtropics of this image.
  • Intertwine with the world

    • Travel and meet different people.
    • There’s no them, there’s us.
    • Travel the world to meet people who lived in very different cultures, but have the same tastes, and humor that you do.
    • Visit places until the whole world feels like home.
  • Make memories

    • If you don’t remember a month or year, it’s something to think about. Did you do new things?
      • 💭 As someone who is a fan of routines, that one sentence was quite strong to me. Routines are the exact opposite of this as they make most days the same.
    • Journal every day, it helps you remember and reevaluate things.
      • 💭 That’s certainly something that changed my perspective!
    • Make a story for things you want to remember.
    • Even if it’s bad, keep memories to not repeat is
  • Master something

    • Don’t be among “normal people” be among your fellow freaks.
      • 💭 ✅
    • Stay around the best in your area. If it’s acting, go to Hollywood, if it’s development, Silicon Valley.
      • 💭 thought about that more than once, but do I really want to stay in Silicon Valley!? Internet made things much easier for that tho.
  • Randomness

    • Embrace randomness and let it rule your life. You’re much less random than you think.
    • When choosing randomly, you will not define yourself by your choices.
    • Everything is already random, you’re just using it deliberately. What matters is your response.
      • 💭 I don’t know. I decided to give some decisions of my life to chance, and deeply regret it.
  • Pursue pain

    • The crisis defines the hero
      • 💭 The hero journey
    • People don’t do the work because it’s hard, but it’s hard because they are not doing the work.
    • How you face pain determines who you are.
    • When you choose pain, it becomes easier.
    • Food that tastes good is bad for you, and vice-versa. Don’t trust your feelings.
      • 💭 That’s something I’ve been using for many years. If we always go for what feels good, the results are usually not the best.
    • Necessity is the best teacher, but it hurts.
    • Don’t lie. always say the truth, even if it hurts.
      • 💭 +1, but it’s certainly not easy.
    • Since you can’t avoid problems, find good ones to solve.
    • Don’t be a masochist, be a scholar of pain and understand why it hurts.
  • Do whatever you want NOW

    • Forget about the future and the past, do whatever fascinates you now.
    • Your future self shouldn’t be bonded to what your past self predicted. Don’t make plans.
      • 💭 Following this will certainly make this situation easier for my current self. It’s sad that I really liked the way my past self did things.
    • Memories and imaginative futures are not real, present is.
      • 💭 💯
  • Be a famous pioneer

    • Marco polo was not the first European to go to China, but was the first to write a book about it. 💡
    • Do not just act, but tell a fascinating story about it to inspire others to do great things.
    • If this is what you want for your life, do it until it kills you. If you find you don’t want it anymore, just “kill your personna by writing a conclusion”.
    • Your final act of generosity is disappearing, as it leaves a gap for other people to fill.
      • 💭 this reminds me of why the lucky stiff. That was exactly the case.
  • Chase the future

    • Live in the cutting edge of technology.
    • When a country declares independence, go there immediately. They would only be discussing the future.
    • Avoid Europe and any country living in the past
    • Avoid religion because faith is not meant to be questioned
      • 💭 That’s so true. It’s one of the reasons I just abandoned it.
    • Oppose convention because that’s how things were
  • Value only what has endured.

    • The longer something endured, the longer is it’s tendency to endure.
    • Marketing shows the good parts of new things and hides the bad ones. Only time will tell.
    • When people ask you about the current news, proudly have no opinion.
    • Current news are mostly not important, but they have to create the sense of urgency to get your attention and profit.
    • Look back and watch/read the classics, things that are so good they survived time.
    • Learn things that survived time. Skills that were valuable in your grandparents' time and are still valuable today.
  • Learn

    • Never consider yourself an expert. It’s the strong swimmers who drown.
    • Whatever you hate, get to know it , and you will not hate it anymore.
    • Don’t quote, write it with your own words. If you can’t explain something, you didn’t learn it.
      • 💭 This is something I’m seeing a lot in the Note-taking community.
    • Great public speaking come from great private thinking.
      • 💭 after 72 talks, I can certainly confirm that.
  • Follow the great book.

    • It may be any book: bible, 7 habits of highly effective people, etc. Just follow it.
    • When you go to the doctor, you expect it to give you an answer, not multiple choices. He is the expert. Your great book will be your expert.
    • Rules give you freedom from your desires.
      • 💭 🤔
    • When you stop following emotions and just do what is right™️, then you finally get what you wanted.
    • If you have to decide if it’s OK to break the rules or not, you missed the whole point of rules.
    • Choose the pain of discipline, not the pain of regret.
      • 💭 that’s something I’ve been doing for years
    • People beg you to bend your rules to meet their agenda. Blame your book for refusing when that happens.
    • People may overcome you by breaking the rules, but there are consequences of this.
  • Laugh at life.

    • To laugh at something is so be superior to it.
    • Whatever you want to achieve, there’s a playful way to do it.
    • To play is to be free of constraints.
    • It makes you more appealing, everyone wants to be with someone who have fun in life.
  • Prepare for the worst.

    • 💭 This is mostly what estoicism says.
    • Tragedy hurts the most when it’s unexpected.
    • Expecting life to be wonderful is disappointing. Expecting life to be disappointing is wonderful.
    • Never accept luxury or you will not be able to live without it after.
    • Practice being um uncomfortable so you will not fear it.
    • Own as little as possible.
    • If you like something too much, get rid of it to prove you don’t need it.
    • Shallow happy is what you want now. Deep happy is what you want most.
      • 💭✨
  • Live for others

    • Nobody helps the unhelpful.
    • Giving is usually mor fulfilling than receiving.
      • 💭 that’s certainly true for me 🤔
    • If you find something nice about someone, tell them! People don’t receive nice compliments regularly.
    • Be genuinely curious about what people have to say.
    • Be consistent. Meet people regularly to maintain friendship be assure you’re always there.
    • Relationships can be ruined with just one unintentional word. Sometimes, it’s better to hold the feeling and think about is for a while.
      • 💭 happened more than once with me.
  • Get rich.

    • It’s unsustainable to create value without asking for anything in return. Remember that many people like to pay.
    • Aiming to be rich makes you think bigger, which is more exciting.
    • Create a brand for yourself. A recognized brand can ask for more money than an unrecognizable one.
    • Ideas worth nothing. execution worth everything.
    • Don’t keep looking for new things, everyone is doing that. Find an old problem that is not solved in a good way and solve it.
    • Speculating is not investing.
    • Nobody knows the future. Ignore everyone saying they do.
    • Stay frugal.
    • Your home is not an asset, it’s an expense.
    • As of sex, the fascination fades when you have plenty.
    • Money won’t change you, but it will amplify who you are (in terms of personality)
  • Reinvent yourself regularly

    • There are no connection between moments in time. It’s not because you (or your parents) did something in the past that you’re doing something now.
    • Putting a label on a person is like putting a label in a water on a river. it’s ignoring the flow.
      • 💭 that’s a great description. I’ve been talking about labeling people for years. I will definitely use that.
    • Should you try to be consistent with your past self? Should the newspaper try to be consistent with past news? You’re an ongoing event!
    • Your past self is so different from you now than you are from other people.
  • Love

    • You can apply love to everything every time.
    • You can dash to a place or stop to appreciate.
    • Work is love in action.
      • 💭 I totally agree with that. It can be done with love.
    • The more you learn, the more you love. Learn about people, places, culture, etc.
    • We think walls protect us from enemies, but having walls is what makes enemies in the first place.
      • 💭 well, this only works in this analogy, not when speaking about history.
    • Manners are shallow, honestly is deep.
    • Always be honest
    • You say “I love you” but you really mean “I love this”. Don’t project your happiness on someone.
    • Don’t try to be impressive, be your ideal self. If that’s not impressive, nothing will be.
    • 1+1 is not equal to 1. Both have to be free to live without each other. Be together by choice, not necessity.
    • Your children’s priorities will be different than yours, don’t try to change them. Give them space to make mistakes and improve.
  • Create

    • Make finish your top priority.
    • When people see modern art, they think: I could do that. but they didn’t. That’s the difference between consumer and creator.
      • 💭 sure, but I still don’t get modern art, and even doing one, I wouldn’t get much further. What is the point here? 🤔
    • Suspend all judgment when creating the first draft. It’s better to create something bad than create nothing.
      • 💭 💯
    • Embrace what’s weird about you, and use it to create.
    • Originally just mean hiding your sources.
      • That’s feels very true! haha.
    • Live in the city. You’re creating for people and must connect to them, not trees.
    • Put yourself in situations where you can show your work.
    • Charge money for your creations to be sure they are going to people who really want them. People don’t value free stuff. Charge not only for your own sake, but also for theirs. Charge if you don’t need the money.
    • Keep a job you can do a few hours a day and then forget about it. It gives you discipline, money, and deadlines.
    • Put all your thoughts out and die empty, so death will only take a corpse.
      • 💭 💯
  • Don’t die.

    • Reduce risks.
    • Avoid failure.
    • One bad thing is stronger than a bunch of good ones.
    • Death brings value to life, as fe have something to lose.
    • Time is the only thing we can’t get back, don’t waste it.
    • Death reminds us that time is limited and precious. Without death, there will be no motivation.
      • 💭 I really like this discussion. As a fan of Tolkien, it’s not the first time I see such problem being raised. It’s the same thing with elves, they just don’t do anything because they can do it later, in a 100 years maybe, it doesn’t matter.
  • Make a million mistakes.

    • Deliberate mistakes are inspiring.
    • Bring bad drafts out of your head, so they can be improved.
      • 💭 I do not regret doing that.
    • Once you made all mistakes in a field, you’re considered an expert
      • 💭💡
    • The only people devasted by failure are the ones who didn’t expect it.
    • Keep making mistakes so you can learn and grow.
  • Make change

    • The world doesn’t need more audience, it needs changing. Be that change.
    • People complain the world needs changing, but nothing changes without action.
    • Only dead fish goes with the flow.
    • Don’t complain, just make the change.
    • Genghis Khan killed 11% of the worlds population but could have a net positive effect in the end.
      • 💭 😬
    • Stop judging and start changing.
    • Don’t worship your heroes, surpass them.
    • To make a difference you have to make change.
  • Balance everything

    • Everything on the extremes are bad. Be balanced.
    • Virtue is in tne balance between the extremes.
    • When you’re balanced, you’re less stressed. You have a stronger foundation.
    • Balance time with others and time alone.