Below, I share some of the essays, videos and speeches that have had an impact on me over the years. The oldest dates back to 2007.
I have tried to break them down by category, so that you can skip to the area of your interest, but some span more than one topic.
Salary Negotiation by Patrick McKenzie - This is an excellent post on why salary negotiation is both important and hard, with practical tips on how to improve your approach. The context is for software developers working in tech, but some of the lessons can be generalized.
How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) by Tim Urban - A long and thoughtful essays on the difficulties of choosing a career. If you’re someone who has wondered if your career is right for you, this may be helpful (or simply soothing).
Runnin’ Down a Dream by Bill Gurley - A talk on how to excel, primarily by finding talented people and learning from them. Lot’s of good anecdotes.
Understanding the Power of Your Human Networks by Mark Suster - Mark makes a really persuasive argument of how people can impact your career over time. I read this early on in my career and revisit it every so often.
The Ladders of Wealth Creation by Nathan Barry - A metaphor for thinking about creating wealth. This essay is particularly impactful if you aspire to be self-employed or start your own business. It led me to write Wealth Ladder Lens where I extend the metaphor as a mental model for evaluating career paths.
Regret Minimization Framework by Jeff Bezos - This classic video shows Jeff Bezos describing his decision to leave a good job to start Amazon. I first heard regret minimization described to me by my favourite teacher in secondary school, but I don’t have a video of that. Again, provides a useful model to think about career decisions.
The Cook and the Chef by Tim Urban - Using the example of Elon Musk, Tim provides an in-depth look at how one can make decisions from first principles. At one point, it made me question if I was rational. Thought-provoking.
6 Dimensions of Humour by Scott Adams - It helps to be funny. This post shows 6 ways to be comical in writing. It’s not something I’ve ever really implemented, as I don’t typically write for laughs, but it’s interesting to see a framework but to something which is typically seen as a you have it or not skill.
Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years by Peter Norvig - One of my favourite essays on this list. Norvig questions why everyone is in such a rush to learn things. It’s an important message. Important things can take time to learn.
Explicit learning by Reid Hoffman - In the new age of work, it pays to learn things quickly and effectively. Reid explains how the most talented people he has seen do this in a deliberate and intentional way. A good compliment alongside David Perrell’s Learn Like an Athlete.
Do Schools Kill Creativity? by Sir Ken Robinson - My favourite TED talk. Smart, insightful, funny. This talk helped me to collect some of my thoughts on my experience in school and University and question our education system.
Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships by Joanne Davila - An excellent TEDx talk, which describes 3 key skills for romantic relationships. Really useful to share with your partner, so you have a shared understanding of some of these topics.
Why Software Is Eating the World by Marc Andreessen - The classic essay. I read this shortly after leaving University and it helped confirm that tech was the area I wanted to work in.
Mobile Is Eating The World by Ben Evans - A compliment and extension to Marc’s essay. Ben does a great job breaking down the impact of mobile. Useful as an example of how technologies and platforms can come in industry-shifting waves.
How to Build the Future by Sam Altman - A wide-ranging talk discussing a number of interesting topics such as how to be successful, what to work on and how to avoid burnout. I first listened to this in 2016 and believe its aging well.
How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably by Steph Smith - Love this essay. It speaks toward hard work, consistency and being reliable. A practical mantra to carry with you as you build a career.
Writing, Briefly by Paul Graham - Known for his essays, this post succinctly explains Paul’s writing process. I’ve always preferred short, simple sentences that allow ideas to shine rather than words. I think Paul’s writing style follows this well. Reads well with another of Paul’s tips, Write as You Speak.
This Sentence has Five Words by Gary Provost - A simple and excellent example of writing style.
The Idea person by Julie Zhuo - Another of my favourites. Julie has a wonderful way of explaining ideas. In this essay, she praises the follow-through person - people who get stuff done.
Consistency is About Character by Jose Mourinho - From a man whose job it is to help athletes reach peak performance, this video on consistency stuck with me.
Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling by Emilie Wapnick - I’ve always felt like a generalist and I’ve always enjoyed many different things. This video helped to explain some of that and I revisit it every so often.