14 Essential Blog Posts from August 2009

Just a reminder: These are blog posts that I enjoyed reading, for whatever reason. Perhaps they were valuable for me, merely entertaining, thought provoking, were about something I’m interested in or potentially something I thought you all would enjoy. As always, I would love feedback. Did you catch these posts during August? Did any of these resonate with you? What are some of your most recent favorite reads? Even better, what’s your favorite thing YOU wrote during August? Share it with me in the comments section. Seriously, I’ll read it. I promise.

15 Truths About Life You’ll Need to Memorize – Jamie Varon
“When you’re happy, people want you to be unhappy. When you’re unhappy, people want to cheer you up (but are probably secretly happy they are happier than you). The only way to actually be happy is to stop using anything external to determine your well-being.”

Arguing Against Your Limitations – Chris Penn
“If you believe there’s a glass ceiling, there is. If you believe there’s someone holding you down, you will act as though there is. If you believe that life is unfair and that you’ll never succeed, you won’t. I guarantee it, because whatever success you have you’ll subconsciously sabotage anyway.”

David Meerman Scott – World Wide Rave – Valeria Maltoni/David Meerman Scott
“You can BUY attention. (This is called advertising). You can BEG for attention. (This is called Public Relations). You can BUG people one at a time to get attention. (This is called sales). You can EARN attention online. The idea is creating something interesting and publishing it online for free: A YouTube video, blog, research report, series of photos, twitter stream, ebook, Facebook fan page and the like.”

How to Get More People to Join Your Community – Richard Millington
“Encourage members to grow their own following. Every member is a gateway to dozens of new members. Ask members to invite their friends. Develop ego-centric tasks (e.g. vote for my idea in the community) which encourage every member to spread the word.” And tons of other ideas!

NetFlix Culture Slide Deck – Reed Hastings
Slide deck from Netflix outlines their employee strategy, how they do compensation, why they only aim for top performers, how their “vision statement” is different than Enron’s, etc. Probably my favorite thing I read/digested the entire month.

Video: Alain de Botton: A Kindler, Gentler Philosophy of Success – TED Videos
Examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. “Most people make a strict correlation between how much time and love and respect they’re willing to accord us based on our position in the social hierarchy. That’s why we care so much about our careers.”

MySpace is to Facebook as Twitter is to _______ – Cody Brown
“MySpace and Twitter are hugely popular for uses neither company anticipated. The mission of each company is so vague that their products are stretched and molded into a variety of different uses. Instead of targeting and building their business around one of these users they take their sudden popularity as a sign they have a killer product. They don’t.”

Yosemite – Bob Lefsetz
Note: Originally published in July. Discovered in Aug.
“The question is, are you working with your head or heart? At some point you’ve got to stop being who your parents want you to be and start being who you are. … Would you rap if there was no Biggie, no Jay-Z? Would you play the guitar if there was no Eddie Van Halen? Would you be in the music business if David Geffen hadn’t made all that money? If not, give up. Please. You’re hurting yourself. And you’ll leave no lasting mark. But if you need to play, don’t lament that you’re not a millionaire. The music should be enough. If you’ve got a roof over your head, if you can pay the bills, you’re on the map. Affecting a coterie deeply is more important than being a momentary comet, burning brightly and then flaming out.”

Does Living a Remarkable Life Require Courage or Effort? – Cal Newport
“If you’re itching to make your life something amazing, consider spending less time daydreaming about defying the status quo and answering the critics of your decision, and spending more time gearing yourself up for the challenge of becoming so good that they can’t ignore you. Ultimately, it will probably be the latter that generates the remarkable results.”

Unconventional, Entrepreneurial Lives and the Challenge of Loneliness – Ben Casnocha
“One way to stave off the kind of envy that can consume high achievers — is to create a life so unique to you that it destroys reasonable comparisons. Conventional life paths are crowded with others, and there will always be someone of equal age or background walking ahead of you. Walk alone on your own path, and direct comparisons become harder. Envy goes down, genuine happiness for others’ achievements goes up, and success and progress becomes more about achieving individually defined goals and less about keeping up with the Joneses.”

Happiness: A buyer’s guide – Drake Bennett
“The problem isn’t money, it’s us. For deep-seated psychological reasons, when it comes to spending money, we tend to value goods over experiences, ourselves over others, things over people. When it comes to happiness, none of these decisions are right: The spending that make us happy, it turns out, is often spending where the money vanishes and leaves something ineffable in its place.”

Interview with Frank Kern and John Reese – Kern, Reese & Tony Robbins
Conditioning yourself to succeed, visualization. How Frank Kern, John Reese and Tony Robbins acquired their fortunes.

Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation – Ted Videos
Incentives for tasks/jobs involving cognitive skill = poorer performance. People motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Examples: Wikipedia, Google’s 20% time, and ROWE business environments.

Future Colin’s Servant – Colin Marshall (h/t to Aidan Nulman for sharing)
“As long I can remember, I’ve worked as a personal assistant. While I don’t know my boss, Future Colin, perfectly well, I’ve a reasonable idea of his habits, his ways, his likes and dislikes. It helps that we’re pretty similar guys, though differences between us do arise, often unpredictably. The fact that we’ve never met, let alone that we never will — I guess he’s something of a recluse — both simplifies and complicates matters. And while I can affect him, he can’t do anything to me: by the time he feels the effects of what I’ve done, I’m invariably long gone”


Tweet This: (Copy & Paste into Twitter)
14 Essential Blog Posts from August ’09 — http://bit.ly/errHS

If you enjoyed theses posts, filtered for your convenience please consider subscribing to receive future updates or checking out what I’m reading at Delicious where I bookmark my favorite for your convenience.

  • You pull the most interesting lists of posts, Ryan. Thank you so much for reading, linking, and for providing this service to us. Mike Sansone also shared the Dan Pink TED video the other evening. I’ve known Dan for several years and have found him very inspiring. He’s also a top notch writer and someone I aspire to learn from. Keep up the good work!
    .-= Valeria Maltoni´s last blog ..Slow and Fast in Digital Media =-.


    admin Reply:


    It means a lot to me that someone of your stature takes the time out to contribute to the discussion on a little ol blog like mine. Seriously, I don’t tell you enough. Thank You.

    And I’m glad you find value in the lists. A year ago when I started these lists I always featured a bunch of the same old “known” names, and while I still feature those people I’ve tried to expand what I read and share, and hope that everyone is finding new people to read and connect with.

    Mike’s a guy who’s been on this list a few times. As for Dan Pink, I’m write in the middle of a couple of books, but can’t wait to sink my teeth into “A Whole New Mind.”


  • Wow! I’m flattered that my name was included in such company — even if it *is* only a hat-tip.

    Great collection, Ryan. I love seeing your lists of blog posts I may have missed, but definitely should read!
    .-= Aidan Nulman´s last blog ..Next writing project announced! =-.


    admin Reply:

    Aidan – I LOVE the stuff you share via Google reader and always check it out. Some people share entirely too much and it’s pretty overwhelming, but you respect my time by sharing short, digestible nuggets or brilliant and innovative stuff like Colin’s post included above.

    Thanks for helping make this list possible.