How to Live


Sivers, in his witty and concise style, shares 27 wise and contradictory answers on how to live a fulfilling life.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Here’s how to live: Be independent. All misery comes from dependency. If you weren’t dependent on income, people, or technology, you would be truly free. The only way to be deeply happy is to break all dependencies.
  2. 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.
  3. Offer products, not a personal service, so your business can run without you. Create many sources of income like this.
  4. Here’s how to live: Commit.
  5. You think you want more choice and more options. But when you have unlimited choice, you feel worse. When you keep all options open, you’re conflicted and miserable. Your thoughts are divided. Your power is diluted. Your time is thinly spread. Indecision keeps you shallow. Get the deeper pleasure of diving into one choice.
  6. Focus your attention on the few things you’re committed to, and nothing else.
  7. Here’s how to live: Fill your senses.
  8. Here’s how to live: Do nothing.
  9. 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.
  10. Here’s how to live: Think super-long-term.
  11. The biggest challenge is to think long-term when life is pulling you around. You need a constant vivid reminder. So use an age progression filter — the software that takes a photo of a face and realistically makes it look thirty years older. Run it on some photos of yourself. See your elderly face, and take care of that person. Run it on photos of the people you care for. Save the results and put them where you’ll see them every day. These future people are your responsibility now.
  12. Here’s how to live: Intertwine with the world.
  13. Here’s how to live: Make memories.
  14. Here’s how to live: Master something.
  15. 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.
  16. Here’s how to live: Let randomness rule.
  17. Here’s how to live: Pursue pain.
  18. The sooner you pay a price, the less it costs.
  19. The easy road leads to a hard future. The hard road leads to an easy future. Steering towards the pain is how to live.
  20. Here’s how to live: Do whatever you want now.
  21. Here’s how to live: Be a famous pioneer.
  22. Here’s how to live: Chase the future.
  23. Here’s how to live: Value only what has endured.
  24. The best way to live is to value only what has endured.
  25. Here’s how to live: Learn.
  26. Whatever scares you, go do it. Then it won’t scare you anymore. Whatever you hate, get to know it. Then you won’t hate it anymore.
  27. Here’s how to live: Follow the great book.
  28. Here’s how to live: Laugh at life.
  29. Here’s how to live: Prepare for the worst.
  30. Here’s how to live: for others.
  31. Success in business comes from helping people — bringing the most happiness to the most people. The best marketing is being considerate. The best sales approach is listening. Serve your clients’ needs, not your own. Business, when done right, is generous and focused on others. It draws you out of yourself, and puts you in service of humanity.
  32. Here’s how to live: Get rich.
  33. Here’s how to live: Reinvent yourself regularly.
  34. Summer ad no brain mush
  35. Here’s how to live: Love.
  36. Not love, the feeling, but love the active verb. It’s not something that happens to you. It’s something you do.
  37. You must both be free and able to live without each other. Be together by choice, not necessity or dependence. Love your partner, but don’t need your partner. Need is insatiable. Need destroys love.
  38. Here’s how to live: Create.
  39. Picasso was asked if he knew what a painting was going to look like when he started it. He said, “No, of course not. If I knew, I wouldn’t bother doing it.” Don’t just express yourself. Discover yourself. Create questions, not answers. Explore whatever excites you most. If you’re not excited by it, your audience won’t be either.
  40. Here’s how to live: Don’t die.
  41. There’s only one law of nature: if you survive, you win. Be paranoid. Avoid failure to survive.
  42. Here’s how to live: Make a million mistakes.
  43. Here’s how to live: Make change.
  44. Here’s how to live: Balance everything.

What I got out of it

  1. Life is paradoxical and Sivers’ book matches that. He isn’t trying to give us a formula for success, but some general principles that have to be balanced and expressed uniquely for each individual. Loved this book!

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