Sivers Directives


How To Be Useful To Others


  1. Get famous. Do everything in public and for the public. The more people you reach, the more useful you are. The opposite is hiding, which is of no use to anyone.

  2. Get rich. Money is neutral proof you’re adding value to people’s lives. So, by getting rich, you’re being useful as a side-effect. Once rich, spend the money in ways that are even more useful to others. Then getting rich is double-useful.

  3. Share strong opinions. Strong opinions are very useful to others. Those who were undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance. But those who disagree can solidify their stance by arguing against yours. Even if you invent an opinion for the sole sake of argument, boldly sharing a strong opinion is very useful to others.

  4. Be expensive. People given a placebo pill were twice as likely to have their pain disappear when told the pill was expensive. People who paid more for tickets were more likely to attend the performance. People who spend more for a product or service value it more, and get more use out of it.


How To Get Rich


  1. Live where luck strikes. Live where everything is happening, where the money is flowing, where careers are being made, where your role models live. Once there, be as in the game as anyone can be. Be right in the middle of everything.

  2. Say yes to everything. Meet everyone. Pursue every opportunity. Nothing is too small. Do it all. Like lottery tickets, you never know which one will win. So the more, the better. Follow-up and keep in touch with everyone.

  3. Learn the multiplying skills. Speaking, writing, psychology, design, conversation, 2nd language, persuasion, programming, meditation/focus. Not pursued on their own, they’re skills that multiply the success of your main pursuit. (A pilot who’s also a great writer and public speaker.) (A chef with a mastery of psychology, persuasion, and design.) These skills multiply the results of your efforts, and give you an edge over others in your field.

  4. Pursue market value not personal value. Do what pays well. Do not be the starving artist, working on things that have great personal value to you, but little market value. Follow the money. It tells you where you’re most valuable. Don’t try to make a career out of everything you love. For example, sex.

  5. Shamelessly imitate success. Imitate the best strategies of your competitors. The market doesn’t care about your personal need to be unique. It’s selfless and humble to use the best ideas regardless of source, to create the best service or product for your clients. Get great at executing other people’s ideas as well as your own.

  6. Be the owner, not just inventor. It’s tempting to try to be the ideas person, having someone else do the dirty work of making those ideas happen. Ideas don’t make you rich. Great execution of ideas does. A rule of capitalism: whoever takes the most financial risk gets the rewards. The biggest rewards will always go to those that fund it and own it. To get rich, be the owner. Own as close to 100% as possible.

  7. Benefit from human nature. Instead of complaining about the downside of human nature, find ways to benefit from it. Instead of complaining about the rules, just learn the game, then play it.


Scott Adams- How to fail at almost everything and still win big. Book Notes by Derek Sivers


See the world as math and not magic.

To increase your odds of success, systematically become good, but not amazing, at the types of skills that work well together and are highly useful for just about any job.

  • Public speaking
  • Psychology
  • Business writing
  • Accounting
  • Design (the basics)
  • Conversation
  • Overcoming shyness
  • Second language
  • Golf
  • Proper grammar
  • Persuasion
  • Technology (hobby level)
  • Proper voice technique

Adults are starved for a kind word.

Knowledge is power. But knowledge of psychology is the purest form of that power.

If your view of the world is that people use reason for their important decisions, you are setting yourself up for a life of frustration and confusion.

In any kind of negotiation, the worst thing you can do is act reasonable. Reasonable people generally cave in to irrational people because it seems like the path of least resistance.

Emotions don’t bend to reason.

If your gut feeling (intuition) disagrees with the experts, take that seriously. You might be experiencing some pattern recognition that you can’t yet verbalize.

Find the people who most represent what you would like to become and spend as much time with them as you can.

The primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet, and exercise.

Most important, understand that goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them.


Keeping in Touch


So you need to make a habit, a simple automatic system, to keep in touch without relying on your memory. Use a “contact manager” app to label everyone in a category like this:

A: very important people. Contact every three weeks. B: important people. Contact every five weeks. C: most people. Contact every few months. D: everyone else. Contact once a year, to make sure you still have their correct info.


Show Your Work - by Austin Kleon


Consistently post bits and pieces of your work, your ideas, and what you’re learning online. Instead of wasting your time “networking”, take advantage of the network.

Stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.

The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.

If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist

“Do what you do best and link to the rest.” - Jeff Jarvis

If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. (You can apply it to jobs, hobbies, places, etc.)

Compulsive avoidance of embarrassment is a form of suicide.

“The minute you stop wanting something you get it.” - Andy Warhol

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” - Alain de Botton


How to like people


  1. Assume it’s their last day. Everyone talks about living like it’s your last day on earth. Instead, to appreciate someone, live like it’s their last day on earth. Treat them accordingly. Try to fulfill their dreams for the day. Really listen to them. Learn from them.

  2. Be who you’d be when alone. You could live in a crowd, pleasing only others. You could live in solitude, pleasing only yourself. But ideally, when in a crowd, be the same person you’d be when alone.

  3. Assume men and women are the same. Men think women are so different from them. Women think men are so different from them. But the differences among men and differences among women are far greater than the differences between men and women. So counteract your tendency to exaggerate the differences. Assume men and women are the same.

  4. Always make new friends. As you grow and change, old friends and family will be unintentionally invested in maintaining you as you were before. Let go of people that don’t welcome and encourage your change.

  5. Avoid harming the relationship. For long-term relationship success, it’s more effective than seeking the positive. A friendship that may take years to develop can be ruined by a single action.

  6. Act calm and kind. Regardless of how you feel.

  7. Don’t try to change them. ... unless they asked you to. Don’t teach a lesson. Stop trying to change people who don’t think they have a problem.

  8. Find wisdom in your opponents. Really engage those who think opposite of you. You already know the ideas common on your own side.

  9. Purge the vampires. Get rid of people that drain you, that don’t make you feel good about yourself. They make you hate all people.


How To Thrive In An Unknowable Future


  1. Prepare for the worst. Since you have no idea what the future may bring, be open to the best and the worst. But the best case scenario doesn’t need your preparation or your attention. So mentally and financially prepare for the worst case, instead. Like insurance, don’t obsess on it. Just prepare, then carry on appreciating the good times.

  2. Expect disaster. Every biography of a successful person has that line, “And then, things took a turn for the worse.” Fully expect that disaster to come to you at any time. Completely assume it’s going to happen, and make your plans accordingly. Not just money, but health, family, freedom. Expect it all to disappear. Besides, you appreciate things more when you know this may be your last time seeing them.

  3. Own as little as possible. Depend on even less. The less you own, the less you’re affected by disaster.

  4. Choose opportunity, not loyalty. Have no loyalty to location, corporation, or your past public statements. Be an absolute opportunist, doing whatever is best for the future in the current situation, unbound by the past. Have loyalty for only your most important human relationships.

  5. Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is the one that lets you change your plans. (Example: renting a house is buying the option to move at any time without losing money in a changing market.)

  6. Avoid planning. For maximum options, don’t plan at all. Since you have no idea how the situation or your mood may change in the future, wait until the last moment to make each decision.




How do you innovate? First, try to get in trouble. Innovation sparks from initial situations of necessity, in ways that go far beyond the satisfaction of such necessity. The excess energy released from overreaction to setbacks is what innovates!

Most humans squander their free time, as free time makes them dysfunctional, lazy, and unmotivated.

To detect the independence and robustness of someone’s reputation: those who dress outrageously are robust or even antifragile in reputation; those clean-shaven types who dress in suits and ties are fragile to information about them.

It is only when you don’t care about your reputation that you tend to have a good one.

My characterization of a loser is someone who, after making a mistake, doesn’t introspect, doesn’t exploit it, feels embarrassed and defensive rather than enriched with a new piece of information, and tries to explain why he made the mistake rather than moving on. These types often consider themselves the “victims”.

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