The first Derek Sivers book I've ever read left a big impression on me. Normally, each one of us has their own way to live. It's extraordinary how he's been able to come up with 27 different ones.

According to his website, Derek Sivers, has been a musician, circus performer, entrepreneur, and speaker. He's a slow thinker, explorer, xenophile, and loves a different point of view. California native, he now lives in New Zealand.

It's not just a book on 27 different lessons on how to live. Rather, it's also a collection of lessons ordered into chapters. I found myself in every chapter, just as I found new ideas on how to live in every single one of them.

There are so many different outlooks on life that it's hard to pick and choose which one is the best. But you can find bits of information you like and want to implement in your own life.

Nevertheless, my favourite ways to live according to Sivers are:

  • "Be independent" - because it gives you freedom to think and live for yourself.
  • "Think super-long-term" - because it's our patience and discipline that gives us the best opportunity to succeed.
  • "Balance everything" - because I want a little bit of everything.

But it's so hard to completely ignore the rest. I imagine I'll look at its timeless wisdom differently over time. This makes the book worth reading and re-reading in the future.

This is my conclusion. Sivers has a different (weirder?) one that I'm still thinking about.


  • People think we live in a world of politics, society, norms, and news. But none of it is real. They’re just interpersonal drama. They’re the noisy waste product of unhealthy minds.
  • Don’t believe anything anyone says. Listen if you want, but always decide for yourself. Never agree with anything the same day you hear it, because some ideas are persuasively hypnotic. Wait a few days to decide what you really think. Don’t let ideas into your head or heart without your permission.
  • You can’t be free without self-mastery. Your past indulgences and habits might be addictions. Quit a harmless habit for a month, just to prove you can.
  • Own your own business with many small customers to avoid depending on any big client. Offer products, not a personal service, so your business can run without you. Create many sources of income like this.
  • Focus your attention on the few things you’re committed to, and nothing else.
  • Commit to your habits to make them rituals. If it’s not important, never do it. If it’s important, do it every day.
  • Rockets use most of their fuel in the first minute of flight, to escape the pull of gravity. Once they get outside that pull, it’s effortless. Same with your habits. Starting is hard. The rest is easy.
  • Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is harder. Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.
  • Actions often have the opposite of the intended result. People who try too hard to be liked are annoying. People who try too hard to be attractive are repulsive. People who try too hard to be enlightened are self-centered. People who try too hard to be happy are miserable.
  • People will appreciate your silence, and know that when you speak, it must be important. Shallow rivers are noisy. Deep lakes are silent.
  • When a problem is bothering you, it feels like you need to do something about it. Instead, identify what belief is really the source of your trouble. Replace that belief with one that doesn’t bother you. Then the problem is solved. Most problems are really just situations.
  • If you need money, be an investor. It’s the only career where you profit the most by doing the least. It should take no more than an hour per month. The stock market takes money from the active traders and gives it to the patient.
  • Actions amplify through time to have a massive impact on the future. Let this fact guide your life. Use a time machine in your mind, constantly picturing your future self and your great-grandchildren’s world. Act now to influence that time. The actions are obvious. Put money in an investment account and never withdraw. Eat mostly vegetables. Exercise always. Get preventative health checkups. Make time for your relationships. Do these, yes, but let’s look at less-obvious ones.
  • Only spend money on things that do long-term good, like education. In other words, never spend, only invest. The earlier you start, the better, since time is the multiplier.
  • Be extra-careful of habits that seem harmless. Imagine each choice continuing forever. Eat a cookie, and eventually you’re obese. Shop for fun, and eventually you’re deep in debt. When you choose a behavior, you choose its future consequences.
  • Go make memories. Do memorable things. Experience the unusual. Pursue novelty. Replace your routines. Live in different places. Change your career every few years. These unique events will become anchors for your memories.
  • Mastery is the best goal because the rich can’t buy it, the impatient can’t rush it, the privileged can’t inherit it, and nobody can steal it. You can only earn it through hard work. Mastery is the ultimate status.
  • Pioneers have a massive impact on the world because their stories help people do things they wouldn’t have dreamed of otherwise.
  • The biggest obstacle to learning is assuming you already know. Confidence is usually ignorance.
  • If you’re not embarrassed by what you thought last year, you need to learn more and faster. When you’re really learning, you’ll feel stupid and vulnerable — like a hermit crab between shells.
  • The best way to be safe is to help others be safe. The best way to be connected is to help others be connected. People look out for each other. But nobody helps the unhelpful. You can’t actually pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Ultimately you are lifted by those around you.
  • Find an old industry and solve an old problem in a new way.
  • Speculating is not investing. Never speculate. Never predict. Be humble, not arrogant. Never think for one second that you know the future. Remind yourself over and over again that nobody knows the future. Ignore anyone that says they do.
  • Money is your servant, not your master. Don’t act rich. Don’t lose touch with regular people. Stay frugal. Reducing your expenses is so much easier than increasing your income.
  • If you have feelings for someone, and you don’t let that person know, you’re lying with your silence. Be direct. It saves so much trouble and regret.
  • When we lack balance, we’re upset. Over-worked, under-loved, over-eating, under-sleeping. Focused on wealth, but ignoring health. Focused on the present, but ignoring the future.
  • Even positive traits, when taken too far, become negative. Like when someone is generous to a fault, or amusing to a fault. Too much of a specific strength is a weakness. If you rise to great heights in only one area, you’re a one-legged giant: easily toppled.

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