Life Advice: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

There’s already a lot here and you probably stopped reading, but I couldn’t resist writing a note to my 23 year old self:

  • If you do anything, do this first one: learn how to work hard and stick with something. Learn how to turn off Facebook and control your addiction to social media. You’ll instantly be ahead of 90% of your generation.
  • Video games are a time sink. If you can play for an hour and say “That was fun, let’s do something else” then you’re ok. Otherwise, just get rid of them.
  • Pick up an athletic hobby that you can do through the years, or your sedentary academic lifestyle will do horrible things to your posture, back, and gut.
  • Learn how to deal with interpersonal conflicts. Read Crucial Conversations and practice – it’s a lifechanger (shameless plug: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition)
  • Learn as much programming as you can. It’s never a bad idea to learn a programming language (unless that language is COBOL-just kidding, you can even make money coding in COBOL).
  • Learn how to display data in R.
  • Learn how to talk on the phone with people you don’t know. It still terrifies most people. Get a phone sales job and quit after a few weeks.
  • Start some kind of little side venture to learn entrepreneurial principles. Start a window washing business, buy and sell stuff on Craigslist, do anything. You might need them if you’re in between jobs.
  • Take a course on statistics and how they’re misused, specifically how faulty causal arguments are made. It will change the way you approach almost any discussion, quantitative or not. (Read How to Lie with Statistics: Darrell Huff)
  • Always have a private place where you can talk out loud to God every day. Even if you’re not religious or don’t believe in God. Talk out loud to the universe. Sort out your thoughts, verbalize them, and then write down what comes to mind. Something wiser than you is listening and responding, even if it’s just another side of you.
  • Use to track your expenses. Make a budget and learn how to stick to it. Learn to live lean now while you can, so you won’t be forced to later on.
  • Learn a foreign language, but only if you anticipate using it. Sure, there are side benefits, but you’ll forget it.
  • Learn how to network. Read “Never Eat Alone.” (plug: Hint: it’s about doing things for other people.
  • Learn how to cook tasty, cheap food. Especially this bread. Make this bread. No really.…
  • Find music that inspires you and makes you feel alive.Listen to it every morning and if it’s something embarrassing just don’t tell your friends about it.
  • Save up a few thousand dollars and go somewhere crazy with a few friends. Live in a hostel for a few weeks. Get malaria if you have to. It will change your life and you will think about it forever (not the malaria part – you’ll get over that.)
  • When someone promises you easy money, run the other way. Yes, it IS a scam.
  • Read a book a week. When you get ridiculously wealthy, read a book a day. Read fiction too.

I am no proud of this project: Philip Yeo on Suzhou Industrial Park

This project will fail,” said Goh Keng Swee.

The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) project in the 1990s between the two countries was fraught with problems from the get-go. But few have spoken openly about them until now.

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War and Peace quotes

Everyone will have defects, like God bitten apple, some people defect is relatively large, it is because God particularly like his (or her) fragrance.



The higher a man stands on the social ladder, the more people he is connected with and the more power he has over others, the more evident is the predestination and inevitablitlity of his action.

A king is history’s slave.

“Never, never marry, my dear fellow! That’s my advice: never marry till you can say to yourself that you have done all you are capable of, and until you have ceased to love the woman of your choice and have seen her plainly as she is, or else you will make a cruel and irrevocable mistake. Marry when you are old and good for nothing- or all that is good and noble in you will be lost. It will all be wasted on trifles. Yes! Yes! Yes! Don’t look at me with such surprise. If you marry expecting anything from yourself in the future, you will feel at every step that for you all is ended, all is closed except the drawing room, where you will be ranged side by side with a court lackey and an idiot!… But what’s the good?…” and he waved his arm.






现在这个时代比较特别的是,世界从未像今天这样密切的相互关联、互为依存。我们清晰地感觉到彼此的存在,我们其实像是邻居。透过电视的实况转播,你可 以在瞬秒间就立即看到戈尔巴乔夫主席和里根总统、布什副总统会面的情况。你听得到他们的声音。你也可以天天看到像亚美尼亚的地震或汉城街头暴动的镜头。


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Immanuel Kant on Freedom

today we turn to Immanuel Kant who offers a different account of why we have a categorical duty to respect the dignity of persons and not to be use people as means merely even for good ends.

is well, it’s about what the supreme principle of morality this number one, and it’s also it gives us an account one of the most powerful accounts we have of what freedom really is so let me start today.

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The Golden Gift excerpt

The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests. – The Rothschild banking family, to associates in New York, 1863.


This is exactly why Buddha stated the following:

“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances…Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion…Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good.”


Chapter 3. Baptized in Civilization

The pressure to conform was profound. A doctor who was terrorized during the Cultural Revolution-exiled to the western desert, where his wife committed suicide-later said, “To survive in China you must reveal nothing to others. Or it could be used against you … That’s why I’ve come to think the deepest part of the self is best left unclear. Like mist and clouds in a Chinese landscape painting, hide the private part behind your social persona. Let your public self be like rice in a dinner: bland and inconspicuous, taking on the flavors of its surroundings while giving off no flavor of its own.”

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Quotes from <>

Chapter 2 The ties that bind

The victimization of the transmigrants in Aceh was an extreme case of local dissatisfaction. But even where transmigrants rubbed along well enough with their neighbours, they carried on speaking their monether tongue, they cultivated the crops they grew back home, they set up the gamelan gong orchestras that mirrored those of Java or Bali. It was more transplantation than transmigration, hardly a homogenizing force.

Suharto grew up as poor as the next villager, dropping out of junior high school and giving up a job in a bank because he fell off his bicycle and ripped his only set of presentable clothes.
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