20 must read blog posts on originality, work ethic and self-awareness

1. The cult of originality by Nina Paley

“Nothing is original. For a work to have meaning, it must use language – it must “make sense.” It needs to work with memes already living in the host mind: language, images, melodies, patterns. It can’t be wholly original. It can hardly be original at all.”

 

2. How to be creative by Hugh Mcleod

Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

Your plan for getting your work out there has to be as original as the actual work, perhaps even more so. The work has to create a totally new market. There’s no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.

 

3. The 10,000 hour rule by Steven Pressfield

I understand why Zen masters give their students koans, i.e. unsolvable, logic-defying riddles. They are trying to crack open the young aspirants’ minds by making them hurl themselves over and over into a brick wall of futility until they finally and inevitably give up … and inexplicably succeed.

4. Of course it’s been done before by Seth Godin

Just about every successful initiative and project starts from a place of replication. The chances of being fundamentally out of the box over the top omg original are close to being zero.

 

5. 1,000 true fans by Kevin Kelly

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

 

6. Better than free by Kevin Kelly

The internet is a copy machine. At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. IT companies make a lot of money selling equipment that facilitates this ceaseless copying. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.

 

7. Ideas for Startups by Paul Graham

Actually, startup ideas are not million dollar ideas, and here’s an experiment you can try to prove it: just try to sell one. Nothing evolves faster than markets. The fact that there’s no market for startup ideas suggests there’s no demand. Which means, in the narrow sense of the word, that startup ideas are worthless.

 

8. Do Things That Don’t Scale (version française) by Paul Graham

Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.

 

9. How to be successful by Scott Adams

My boss, who had been a commercial lender for over 30 years, said that the best loan customer is someone who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry-cleaning store or invest in a fast-food franchise—boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.

 

10. The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness by Oliver Emberton

Rule #2. You’re judged by what you do, not what you think

 

11. The Economics of Selling Out by Priceonomics

So artists (and politicians and so on) need to differentiate when they start their careers to attract members of the energized, disaffected niches — the thrash metal devotees, the Tea Partiers — who can propel them to major music venues or a high office. It’s only once these niches have fueled an artist’s or politician’s rise that the logic of going mainstream applies.

 

12. If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing anything important by Oliver Emberton

This is not to say that being an asshole will make you successful. But an unwillingness to occasionally be one is an almost certain road to failure.

 

13. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Dealing With Excuses by James Altucher

We choose our excuses. They don’t choose us. But love comes when we kiss our excuses and, magically, they kiss back and feed the next stage of our lives.

 

14. The Man in The Arena by Michael Arrington

If you are an entrepreneur (or think you may be), forget the critics (even us) and the naysayers and just do what your heart tells you to do. You may be wasting your time, but at least you got into the arena. And if you fail, make sure you fail while “daring greatly.” Then, get into the arena again, having learned from your mistakes.

 

15. Are You a Pirate? by Michael Arrington

Entrepreneurs, though, are all screwed up. They don’t need to be rewarded for risk, because they actually get utility out of risk itself. In other words, they like adventure.

 

16. You can do anything, if you stop trying to do everything by Oliver Emberton

DO NOT FOR A SECOND believe it is enough to ‘work hard’. Hard work is not inherently a good thing. Hard work is a disgusting waste of your life when it’s thrown at the wrong things.

 

17. The Pivot by Scott Adams

Every entrepreneur is now a psychologist by trade. The ONLY thing that matters to success in our anything-is-buildable Internet world is psychology. How does the customer perceive this product? What causes someone to share? What makes virality happen? What makes something sticky?

 

18. The Ultimate Guide to Reinventing Yourself by James Altucher

Everyone feels like a fraud at some point. The highest form of creativity is born out of skepticism.

 

19. Ideas are just a multiplier of execution by Derek Sivers

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

 

20. After you’ve done your best work by Seth Godin

You really have no choice but to do it again. To do your best work again, as impossible and unfair as that seems.