Videos

What Makes a Good Life? – In the longest study of happiness ever, good relationships have been determined to be the single greatest factor in life satisfaction. People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, physically healthier, and live longer. Relationships are hard, they are messy, and sometimes they hurt, but investing in them is the best way to the good life. Do it.

Egoistic Altruism – The modern world is not a zero sum game- a selfish argument for making the world a better place.

Why go to Mars – The greatest argument I’ve ever seen for why attempting challenging things is pivotal to advancement of our species. In 1492 England and France signed a peace treaty, the Borgias took over the papacy, and Lorenzo de’ Medici, the richest man in the world, died. Yet we remember an Italian weaver’s son setting foot in the Americas. A mission to Mars is what will be remembered, that is why.

Peter Zeihan on the Future – The post WWII stability of the last 70 years that we have all taken for granted is ending. The world will have to come to terms with a more disinterested United States which Zeihan argues will cause global instability over the coming decades. History is not over, in fact, it’s back in session. I also highly recommend reading Zeihan’s Accidental Superpower and his newsletter.

Publications

The Economist – The 24 hour news cycle is exhausting and superficial. Published once a week, The Economist takes a step back covering events and trends shaping our world. It’s coverage of the United States is particularly impartial given it is based overseas.

Foreign Affairs – Released every two months, Foreign Affairs mainly focuses on trends over specific events. Given this, it can often feel needlessly academic. Even so, it’s focus on trends gives you a lens through which you can view the world.

Benedict Evans Newsletter – There is a lot of noise in tech related news. Benedict Evan cuts through it, giving you a solid weekly newsletter of interesting articles and stats published the previous week.

Zeihan on Geopolitics – A newsletter that’s like reading a history book about the present. Zeihan takes a step back and puts the geopolitical landscape in perspective, with a penchant for describing what this means for the future of our world. He is the author of Accidental Superpower, which I recommend reading.

Warren Buffet Shareholder Letters – A lesson in taking the long view from the most legendary investor in history. The detached and calm way Warren Buffet speaks about problems in his annual letter, event at the height of The Great Recession, is a beautiful example of how even crises pass. Don’t think in years, think in decades.

Memos from Howard Marks – Released about once a quarter, Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital does an excellent job of putting the state of the financial system in perspective.

Stratechery – Similar to Benedict Evans, Ben Thompson steps back and gives you the big picture of the tech business landscape with a focus on how it affects large societal institutions like media and politics. The way he tells it, we’ve only scratched the surface of how the internet is going to absolutely change everything over the next several decades.

Mr. Money Mustache – MMM has had a huge impact on the way I view money, how I spend it, and how I invest it. He absolutely shatters conventional wisdom that we all must work for 40 years and hope that by some miracle we’ve saved enough to survive in retirement. With simple lifestyle changes around avoiding unnecessary consumption, we all, no matter your salary, have the ability to grow substantial wealth, live a meaningful life, and retire / reach financial independence earlier than you ever thought possible. His philosophy on investing aligns with that of John Bogle, whose book I recommend below. I recommend starting here and then reading my all time favorite post by him here. The Mad Fientist is also someone who gives excellent advice towards reaching financial independence, check out his getting started post here. I also recommend the following communities for asking questions and seeking help: Financial IndependencePersonal Finance, and Personal Finance & Money. The people in these communities are extremely knowledgeable and willing to help those of all experience levels.

Human Progress – A counter to the constant borage of negativity by the media. “The world is much better than in the past and it is still awful.” – Bill Gates

Books

The Alchemist – One of the simplest and most beautiful stories I have ever read. Sometimes you must let go of what’s comfortable.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – This book will blow your mind. Conventional wisdom tells us that the best way to grow wealth is to have the “best” people manage your money and actively invest it. John Bogle, pioneer of the index fund, clearly articulates the simple fact that low cost passive investing is the surest way to build wealth, it’s simply no contest. This investing strategy aligns with that of Mr. Money Mustache, which I also recommend.

Accidental Superpower – No book has had a bigger impact on the way I view the world than this one. Dare I say this book made me proud to be an American. Peter Zeihan describes the new world order created by the United States at the end of World War II which unleashed a global economic revolution. Though it’s in vogue to say the United States is over the hill as the EU or China take it’s place- Zeihan argues that from an economic and defensive standpoint, the United States has nothing to worry about. The rest of the world, however, will have to come to terms with a more disinterested United States which Zeihan argues will cause global instability over the coming decades. History is not over, in fact, it’s back in session.

The Obstacle is the Way – This book has had the biggest impact on me, really ingraining in me the truth that obstacles and hardships are actually a GOOD. I think we can all superficially agree that obstacles make us stronger, but this book actually makes you believe it. When you are done, you are going to wish your life was harder.

Sapiens – An amazing high level, detached, and objective view of how humans have evolved over time and come to organize in the world we live in today. The first history book I’ve read that allowed me to view modern society in a detached and unemotional way. Crucial for putting modern humanity in perspective.

The Lessons of History – Like Sapiens, this offers a detached and objective view of human history, with a focus on big historical events and political systems. Will and Ariel Durant are most famous for their huge 11 volume set, The Story of Civilization. They’ve taken those ideas and put them in a short, easy to understand read.

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl gives an objective and philosphical account of his experience surviving in several Nazi concentration camps. Given he was a psychologist, this adds a layer to his narrative and gives us many lessons applicable to everyday life.

Zero to One – Peter Thiel is a provocateur, and that certainly shows in this book. But he does an excellent job of forcing you to rethink conventional wisdom.

Elon Musk – Similar to Zero to One, Ashlee Vances’ narrative on Elon’s life gives an account of someone who consistently challenges conventional wisdom through enterprise. In the 21st century no one has taken bigger or more risky bets than Elon Musk, and it is absolutely fascinating to learn about.

Rework – The way most people and businesses work is a glorious waste of time and resources. This will challenge your understanding of what it means to get things done, both inside and outside of work.

Podcasts

Naval Ravikant on Everything – Naval Ravikant has so many amazing perspectives on life and here shares them all in this interview. It’s long, but worth it, given the huge impact it can have on how you view your life and your time.

The World this Week – The 24 hour news cycle is exhausting and superficial. The World this Week takes a step back covering events and trends shaping our world. It’s coverage of the United States is particularly impartial given it is based overseas.

Tim Ferriss Podcast  – Through his interviews of high performers, Tim Ferriss encourages you to think about how you can apply their strategies to your own life.

Exponent – The best podcast on tech there is. Ben Thompson and James Allworth put the never ending iteration of tech progress into context. It’s why I also recommend Ben’s Stratechery blog.

Waking Up – Sam Harris has excellent and rational conversations with experts covering politics, science, and the nature of being.

a16z – The most efficient podcast I know of that covers emerging trends in business with a slant towards tech. Short episodes packed with excellent insights.

Exchanges at Goldman Sachs – I know right, from the people who brought you the 2008 financial crisis. Even so, excellent content that covers major global trends through a financial lens. Like it or not, finance is a major driver of our modern world, learning the basics is a worthy endeavor.

99% Invisible – Short episodes covering things in our physical world that you normally wouldn’t think twice about.

Hardcore History – Long-form podcast covering major historical events. Dan Carlin is decidedly not a historian, allowing him to take more liberties, leading to amazing storytelling.

Freakonomics – Stephen Dubner covers interesting topics both related to and outside the scope of economics. His guests are very interesting and many of the episodes center around challenging conventional wisdom.

Nonprofits

Wikipedia – Providing a repository of knowledge in dozens of languages for the entire world. A contribution to Wikipedia is an investment in humanity.

EFF – Digital rights are more important with every passing day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation time and time again has proven itself not only as a watchdog to power, but also as a repository of practical advice for protecting yourself.

ACLU – Freedom of speech is a pillar of modern civilization. The American Civil Liberties Union has shown itself to defend that pillar no matter what.

International Rescue Committee – Not only aiding those on our planet who need it the most, but also helping them rebuild their lives. The more humans who have access to opportunity, the better off we all are.

Environmental Defense Fund – A practical and bipartisan approach to protecting the environment, often partnering directly with businesses.

Sierra Club – Less practical and more partisan than the EDF, but still a vital pillar to the protection of the environment for over a century.

Mozilla – Big Tech is Eating the World and Mozilla is boots on the ground, working to keep the internet open to all.

Internet Archive – The Library of Alexandria of the 21st century. They are famous for their Wayback Machine which allows you to view snapshots of websites going back several years, even no gradient. Pivotal for future generations to understand what happened here.