10 of My Favorite Blog Posts, News Articles and Videos from Septemeber 2014

With all the noise overwhelming our lives and our social streams it’s easy to miss the good stuff. Content like tweets, in particular, are especially perishable. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of highlighting some of my favorite posts at the end of each month.

This is my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting posts (of the 100’s I read) during the month of September 2014. I recommend identifying and diving into 2-3 that resonate with you. Focus less on the dopamine rush you get from hopping from article to article and more on how you apply the wisdom in these posts to your own life.

Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from September.

The commentary below the link is typically the author’s own words that I’ve extracted as a key takeaway; however, sometimes I add my own commentary and make connections as well.

[Blog Posts/News Articles]:

The Global Talent Crunch – Michal Lev-Ram

Setton’s career trajectory is a perfect example of several new phenomena in today’s workforce. Her flexibility to switch between jobs and industries might make some employers see her as disloyal (a common complaint about millennials), but that chameleon-like ability to change every few years also means she can adopt new skills as her employers adapt to a rapidly changing, increasingly technology-driven and global corporate world. 

At LinkedIn, one of Setton’s former employers, the acknowledgment that employees won’t stay with the company forever starts before they even join and isn’t perceived as a negative. Kevin Scott, senior vice president of engineering at the company, based in Mountain View, asks an important question of every candidate he interviews: “What job do you want after you work at LinkedIn?”

“Part of the reason Silicon Valley companies are so successful is that they’re a recombination of people who have worked in multiple companies,” says Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of a new book called The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.

“Historically, most companies don’t want to ask that question,” says Ben Casnocha, an entrepreneur who co-authored the book with Hoffman. “But today your best people are not going to be lifers.”

10 Rules for Students Teachers and Life – Maria Popova

  • RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
  • RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
  • RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

 

The Heartbreaking Cruelty of Comparing Yourself to Others – Leo Babauta

Stop comparing your life to other people’s Instagram photos. It’s not a fair comparison, of course. They’re not posting photos of themselves when they’re doing the more mundane things, including sitting around looking at their phones. They’re not posting about their anxieties or boredom, their arguments and procrastination, their insecurities.

Happiness comes from appreciating what’s in front of you, not wishing you were doing something else. You find out what life is about by paying closer attention to it, not wishing you were living a fantasy. We don’t need to be better than anyone else: we just need to love where we are and what we’re doing and who we are. That’s what matters.

The Secrets of Personal Finance – James Altucher

James, like Ramit, focuses on the big wins correctly noting that:

  • Buying a cheap beer versus buying an expensive beer will not help you get rich. (Seriously. Craft beer. So Good. Here’s some of my favorites.)
  • People save 10 cents on a coffee and then….overpay $100,000 for a house and then do reconstruction on it.
  • Or they save 10 cents on a book and then…buy a college degree that they never use for $200,000.

Focus on earning more money, not pinching pennies — especially on things that make you happy. Be *very* careful with the big expenses in life. Run the numbers and make buying a house or going into debt for a degree are worth it. Invest in yourself. No matter what your profession, learn how to sell, negotiate and network. I highly recommend you read James’ post, particularly every single bullet in Step F.

Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress – Jeanne Whalen

Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress

 

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[Interesting]:

The Motley Rules Employee Handbook: The Fool Rules

Check out this amazing and interactive web-based employee handbook. What a fantastic way to leverage storytelling to scale a company’s culture. This is especially true when the company is Glassdoor’s #1 Medium-Sized Company to Work For. It’s no surprise that this handbook is so good it’s become a successful recruiting tool as well.

This Entrepreneur Raised $2M With A Five-Slide Presentation About Nothing – Ilya Pozin

  • Itay Adam hired a professional screenwriter for his self-described 40-minute stand-up comedy act to pitch to the private equity firm.
  • A few days later, they signed a $2 million round with no product.
  • Adam wants his small team to all be over 35. “Most startups hire 20-year-old kids who are willing to work day and night at the office,” Adam says. “I don’t believe in that.”
  • Here’s his pitch deck.

 

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[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:

The fact that this is a broken model: “If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier.” (See the first video below).

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[Quotes]:

“Hiring managers rely on data points like pedigree and years of irrelevance exactly because that’s all they can do. No subject matter skill.” – David Heinemeir Hansson

“For paranoia about ‘what other people think’ : remember that only some hate, a very few love – and almost all just don’t care.” – Alain de Botton

“A good mentor teaches you how to think, not what to think.” – Vala Alfshar

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[Videos]:

And the problem is it’s scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. First, every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better school, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change your sales target.

And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. What we’ve done is we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society. And that’s because we think we have to be successful, then we’ll be happier. But the real problem is our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.

Via Wikipedia: The film focuses on the topic of robots’ rapidly increasing usefulness through human society, discussing how automation will lead a future where “humans need not apply,” in regards to their occupations.

Early on, Grey makes an analogy describing how humans once ousted horses out of their jobs, by creating mechanical muscles, such as automobiles. Grey finishes the analogy by connecting the creation of mechanical minds, or “brain labour,” will lead to robots ousting humans out of their occupations. Grey also discusses the role of how economics is the force behind a future based upon automation.

Grey concludes by stating that 45% of the workforce could be replaced by bots, a number which is both inclusive of professional, white-collar, and low-skill occupations, and higher than the 25% unemployment figure of the Great Depression. Grey mentions that even creative occupations are not secure, as he mentions the included bot-composed music in the background of his video.

Additionally, Grey reminds the viewer that he is not discussing or portraying a future based upon science fiction, as he uses examples such as Baxter, self-driving cars (referred to as autos in the film), as well as IBM’s Watson, to deliver its subject.

Two straight weeks of 6 hours of sleep or less? You might as well be legally drunk. Individuals who consistently sleep less than 7 hours a night have an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

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If you made it this far and found this post valuable in any way, please let me know in the comments which of these reads caught your attention. Better yet, why don’t you share something you’ve read recently that you think I’d find interesting.

If you like this post, you might also like this year’s previous installments:

 

  • saumitra

    Thanks Ryan for posting this with your thoughts. Having your monthly summary post is like having a museum curator give you a tour. You let the audience know what to look for and appreciate. This is valuable. When I go to a museum and there is no tour I get lost, but your monthly summary allows me to gain insights that I would normally miss. You clearly put lots of time and effort into curating, and this is much appreciated. -saumitra

    [Reply]