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On The Art of Being Timeless

I’ve kept this line in my mind for a long time:

“Things of quality have no fear of time.” ~Unknown


Yesterday, I had a late dinner with one of my best friends, Matt. Matt is an architect and Munich is full of history, so when we met at Königsplatz at 9:30 PM, as usual, he had plenty stories to tell.

“King’s Square,” as you would translate it, is a huge, open space, housing several museums, one of which is the Glyptothek.

Timeless Glyptothek

Commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Roman and Greek sculptures, this building is a piece of art in and of itself. Like so many others in Munich, it casually rests in its place, timeless. For 200 years, many have stood awestruck before it, long before Matt and me and long after we’re gone, many a soul will.

Matt and my conversations are always very philosophical in nature and as the evening continued, so did its theme: what makes something timeless?

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The Future of Work: Hard Work, Working Hard & Being Creative

On June 1st, Jason Fried shook up the entire Medium community:

“Hard work is picking lettuce 8 hours a day in 90 degree heat. […] Rule of thumb: If it’s hard you’ll have trouble finding people who want to do it. There’s no shortage of people who want to be programmers, designers, strategists, social media consultants, entrepreneurs, investors, etc… But try finding people to work the farm. Hard work is doing the work other people don’t want to do.”

My first thought: “Do I claim to be doing hard work?” (more…)

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How To Learn Faster In 4 Simple, But Not Easy Steps

I’m 100% done with my economics class for this semester, even though only 1o out of 24 lecture recordings have been uploaded so far. Each month, over a million people view my answers on Quora, though I started writing daily on there only on January 1st, 2017. I’m building an app with two friends on the side, yet I don’t know how to write code in Swift.

The list goes on. I’m always dabbling in at least 3–5 projects, all with varying degrees of experience and success. The one thing I refuse to let myself be guilty of is not learning fast enough so each of them won’t at least have a shot at working out.

This week, I thought about my learning process and asked myself what I could share with you about how to learn faster. I found four steps. (more…)

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Growth Hacker Marketing: How To Build Something People Want In 2017

968 days ago the first post on this blog went live. When I started almost three years ago, the plan was clear:

  1. Read all about marketing.
  2. Growth hack the shit out of writing.
  3. Make millions of dollars.

How do you think that worked out? Well, you’re right. If you want to start something online too, today’s book review and summary will save you a lot of time. A LOT.

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The Perfect Schedule: A Simple Exercise In Life Design

Once every blue moon I come up with a good quote. Most of the time it’s less a result of me being smart than me finding a way to spin someone else’s words just enough so that it sounds like something new. The last time it happened, a quote from The Obstacle is the Way became:

Design a life that lets you come closer to your perfect day, every day.

Since today is a day that’s somewhat antithetical to this idea, it’s a good opportunity to expand on it with a very short exercise in life design: Let’s craft the perfect schedule of your perfect day.

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Return On Time: Why No Income Is Passive

You know how sometimes, within a few seconds, an idea you had taken as true for decades is shattered to pieces? For example, when I was little, my dad told me the glass windows in churches were thicker at the bottom, because glass was actually a liquid. Just last week I told this to a friend. Well, two minutes ago, this false belief burst.

Some of these urban myths are more pervasive than others. Occasionally, even more people will fall for the lie than stumble into the truth. I think passive income might be one of those extreme cases.

Today, we’ll debunk this concept, and replace it with a better one.

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Counterintuitive Confirmation: How To Eliminate Your Doubts

This Wednesday, I realized all my current blog post ideas would take more than a day to complete. Between The 4 Minute Folio launch, AniQuote suddenly materializing from the massive mist of ideas in my head and a new side gig I’ve taken up two weeks ago, it’s a week as busy as ever.

Hence, I decided to give myself the following constraints for this post:

  • Less than 1,000 words.
  • No more than 4 Pomodoros total.

Artificially limiting yourself is liberating. Busy weeks come with a lot of learnings, so these rules forced me to go narrow and think really hard:

What’s the biggest lesson from the past 7 days?

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How To Start A Passion Project One Day At A Time

When people sign up for my newsletter, they instantly receive an automated email that asks them: “What’s one thing you struggle with?” Some consider this a marketing trick, but for me, it’s a once in a lifetime chance to talk to readers, say hi and try to help them however I can.

Nevertheless, it does have a research benefit to it: I see which problems keep coming up and what bothers my audience the most. I’ve written so much by now, that most of the time, I can recommend a particular resource for any given issue.

No time to read? Take my free course. Issues with productivity? Gotcha. Can’t google stuff? Wrote a book for you.

Recently, one question kept coming up, which I found myself unable to send people a resource for. It’s a question about projects. A question about starting. Here are three reader responses, all from this week, aimed at it:

“I want to start a business, but hardly have the money or the idea for it!” –Vishal

“I started learning magic tricks long ago, but I never take the time to share my tricks online. There are a few on youtube and I really wanted to share more.” –Flavien

Being disorganized and lacking focus. I’m a certified NLP trainer and looking to start my own business as a Learning Coach for children. Yet I spend my days on chores, cooking and computer based admin stuff.” –Megan

Can you spot the question? Here’s the one I see: “How do I start a passion project?

Today, I’ll do my best to answer it. But first…why is it that question?

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14 Warnings From Trust Me, I’m Lying

I’m a writer. As such, I’ve always written to the best of my ability and with the purest of intentions. You might think that’s the most natural thing in the world, but just recently I learned that many writers don’t consider these two items – which are really just the right thing to do – part of their job description.

As part of my quest to learn more about writers, who inspire me, I decided this year I would get all books from one author I like, read them in chronological order, and look at how they and their style have evolved. I started with Ryan Holiday.

Trust Me, I'm Lying Summary Books by Ryan Holiday

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I Wrote 500,000 Words In 2016, But No Book. Here’s Why.

500,000. That’s how many words I wrote in 2016. 1,370 per day. 450,000 of those went into summaries and content on Four Minute Books.

Add to that 12,000 words on this blog, another 15,000 words for Time 2 Read, Medium articles, a few long guest posts, work for clients, copy for landing pages, etc. and the half a million mark falls faster than you can say writer’s block.

Up to a million books are published each year in the US alone, half or more self-published by independent authors. When I first saw how much I’d written last year, I wanted to punch myself.

“Why didn’t you write a book, you idiot? Or 2? Or 5?”

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