The Technium

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice


Several years ago on my 68th birthday I wrote up 68 bits of advice for my adult children, and posted them here. Here are the first five bits:

  • Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.
  • Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.
  • Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.
  • Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them “Is there more?”, until there is no more.

The 68 bits were extremely popular, and they were widely shared by others. I was encouraged to write up more bits of wisdom on my following two birthdays, which were also widely shared. They were such a hit that Viking Penguin books thought they should be in a book, and I thought so too. So I gathered the three lists, weeded out the weak ones, polished up the best, and then I wrote an additional 150 more bits of advice, until I had 450 of them. I put them all into a small book you can slip into your pocket. This book, Excellent Advice for Living, is designed to be the perfect gift.  I already know it makes a fantastic graduation gift. You can order it on Amazon here

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