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72 Comments

What's the best piece of content you've ever encountered (book, article, podcast episode, etc.)?

Big question, I know.

Here are my picks from different categories:

  1. 52

    I think it would be this single paragraph about writing with rhythm:

    “This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

    Gary Provost

    1. 2

      That's incredibly elegant. I'd not come across it before - thanks for sharing.

    2. 1

      this is a work of art

  2. 8

    For me it was "Unscripted" by MJ DeMarco. Really resonated with me and changed my behaviour in a way no book (or anything) had done before.

    1. 7

      I read Millionaire Fastlane and then Unscripted when it was released. Fastlane pretty much had the same effect on me. It seems like he became a bit more cynical/jaded in between, as Unscripted seemed a lot more intense especially at the beginning. However his frameworks and examples were also much more thorough and well thought out in Unscripted. My suggestion would be to read Fastlane and then the skip the first third of Unscripted but read the rest. Overall though, MJ changed my life and I am not exaggerating. Fastlane basically shifted my focus to entrepreneurship.

      1. 3

        I read them in the opposite order but I agree with your take.

        Only thing is I wouldn't skip the first third of "Unscripted".

        Yes, it reads a little intense but it really really hit home with me.

        1. 2

          Yeah honestly you're right. With the amount of time people spend on social media or on other bs, spending a bit more time absorbing MJ's ideas is a good investment. I would definitely suggest reading both. Better than the vast majority of books.

      2. 1

        Same! Ultimately made me quit my job and start working for myself! Been doing that since 2013.

    2. 4

      just ordered it. curious: did it solve some problem you were experiencing at the time you bought it?

      1. 8

        It didn't so much solve a specific problem so much as just changed my outlook on life; made me more self aware to the consumerist, materialistic life I had come to lead.

        The main thrusts of how it impacted me were as follows

        1. He points out in an extremely powerful way how we are trained from age 3 to give away 5 days and we get 2 to ourselves. He calls this "The Script" and it's something that I think will resonate with Indie Hackers because it centers around how TIME is the most precious thing we have.

        2. He points out the consumerist machine that makes us all slaves to debt from our late teens, and how most of us never escape from it. And crucially, steps to take to break that cycle.

        3. He talks about "loading the gumball machine" - this is essentially working hard and creating your own luck, but it's a good analogy. Most people walk up to the gumball machine and there is only one gold gumball in there, and thus the odds of winning that one are slim. He talks about loading the gumball machine with many gold gumballs (aka working hard, creating opportunities, diversified income etc).

        I realise that some of that may SOUND a bit mad but, for me, it really really hit home.

        Some examples

        1. I used to get the latest flagship phone, EVERY YEAR. I wouldn't even be out of contract. I would pay to get out early and then pay to get the new phone. Since reading that book I still have an iPhone 8+. That's going on 4 years now. Same with cars, gadgets etc.

        2. I load the gumball machine. Songbox is my main thing and that is going well, but I also do software development freelance, I build side projects and sell them, I keep the day job going.

        3. and this is the biggest for me, I think about everything in terms of my time now. And my goal isn't to be "rich", it's to be able to own my own schedule. Now there are some semantics at play there because "owning your own schedule" always... and I mean ALWAYS boils back to a cold hard monetary amount, but weaved in with the other lessons about minimising debt etc then it all... works. For me, anyway.

        1. 4

          I loved the gumball machine example and still quote it to this day. He compares two brothers who are both blue collar workers - one learning to code, spending time in the library and the other drinking and partying. There's no guarantee of one being successful but it's all a game of probabilities and exposure. If you don't play the game, you will never escape the script.

          1. 4

            And just to clarify here and give context, the brother who is spending his time learning and educating himself is in effect "loading the gumball machine"; that is, giving himself the best chance to seize and maximise any opportunity.

            1. 1

              Time to get some gold gumballs

        2. 1

          He has another book (his first) - the horribly titled 'The Millionaire Fastlane". I think the second book is better, but both are good.

          MJ DeMarco isn't for everyone, but I think he really nails his books. He's a little bit rambly and angry sounding at times in 'Unscripted' (similar to Nassim Taleb), but he pulls no punches about what's involved in starting good businesses.

          I feel like the books are a more comprehensive and less 'salesy' version of The Four Hour Work Week. Principles are similar (as @Primer has pointed out), but much more realistic / less idealistic I think. Where's FHWW's stuff was a bit out there back in the day, Unscripted's stuff will be timeless I think.

          In Unscripted he also presents a bit of a framework to use, which I felt was nice (as opposed to just talking in generalities). If you're someone that responds well to a kick up the ass, then his books are for you.

      2. 2

        I mentioned this in another comment but it applies to his first book Millionaire Fastlane or Unscripted. It just puts you in the mindset of entrepreneurship and gives you several frameworks for it. And it feels like a book written by a regular person for regular people. I used to binge all of these pop-business/airport books but all of them are just full of studies that you won't remember in 2 months. Whereas MJ's felt much more relatable.

        And I loved how he tore up the compound interest get-rich-slowly idea. It's posted all over Facebook/Linkedin. You invest X amount when you're 18 and will be a multimillionaire when you're 65. He says how everyone he knows was broke at least until 25 and how there are all these times you need money. Basically you need to start a business to get rich. Though he's not against the stock market for preserving and growing wealth it's not really a way to get really rich initially.

        1. 2

          Yeah 100% this part really excited me too. He shoots down "gurus" and shoots down the traditional "get rich slow" idea that's drilled into us from birth.

          Another thing he mentions which I always talk to people about is how he sold his business for $20mm and how that is MORE than enough money for anyone to have a great life with. He lambasts these people who turn down offers because they want hundreds of millions and not just tens of millions.

          He says at one point "Look, here's the reality. If someone offers you $5m dollars for your business - RIP THEIR ARM OFF FOR IT" - paraphrased slightly there but the point is valid: make bank.

          Make bank as early as possible. Get secure and then you can be free to have fun and chase the "hundreds of millions" that you might want.

    3. 3

      This book changed my life too. :)

    4. 3

      I came here to say the same thing. It completely changed my outlook on business.

  3. 5

    Book: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
    Article: Augmenting cognition by Michael Nielsen (http://augmentingcognition.com/ltm.html)

    1. 2

      +1 for Meditations too. This book is an endless source of wisdom. 😌 I keep it next to my bed and read an extract almost every night.

    2. 2

      +1 for Meditations

  4. 5

    https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

    1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly - it's about how you only need 1000 paying fans to become financially independent.

    Few articles have impacted me like this one!

  5. 5

    It will have to be Atomic Habits by James Clear.

    Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel comes close.

    And Naval Ravikant's Tweetstorm "how to get rich without getting lucky"

  6. 5

    Ever?

    Ooph, that's tough.

    Book: at least, with recency bias, I really like The Mom test by @robfitz with respect to building a business.

    Non-indie hacker, I really like Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents which I think is a must read for everyone. Whether you had great parents or not, it'll help you understand and deal with and have empathy for adults who act out/have had trauma/etc (plus your own, of course).

    1. 2

      Seconding 'The Mom Test'. It's one of those books I think I'm going to keep going back to and rereading and getting more from.

    2. 1

      Seconding both of these books! Understanding how to communicate and understand other people is essential.

    3. 1

      this has always been a good one, especially for founders. +1 to rob.

  7. 4

    Podcast: Naval Ravikant Episode on the Joe Rogan Podcast
    https://youtu.be/3qHkcs3kG44

  8. 3

    Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemann. It totally changed the way I think and perceive people, events and situations around me. It's made me more aware of my own biases.

    1. 1

      +1 to Thinking Fast and Slow. The way I perceived the world saw a total paradigm change after reading this book. It's pretty meaty and takes time to digest, but it's a game changer.

  9. 3

    Every article on gaps.com is amazing. 10k words. deep stuff.

    1. 1

      nice, i'll check it out. are they written by separate contributors?

      1. 2

        If you haven't already do some research on Glen Allsop aka ViperChill.

      2. 1

        As far as I know it's Glen, and team. Not necessarily "contributors" but a team effort now a days. See @alexhillman's comment... if you haven't already virtually met him: [@ViperChill on Twitter](http://twitter.com/viperchill) is Gaps.com

  10. 2

    http://latticeworkinvesting.com/2018/04/06/peter-kaufman-on-the-multidisciplinary-approach-to-thinking/

    There are so many nuggets of great value in here that I revisit my notes on this daily with my app.

    A few of my favorite:

    " Everyone wants to be paid attention to, listened to, respected, involved in meaningful fulfillment that makes them feel like they matter, loved. A dog makes an owner feel all of those things by simply being excited for the first 15 seconds they come home."

    "Basic axiom of clinical psychology: "If you could see the world the way I see it, you’d understand why I behave the way I do.” If you want to understand why someone is behaving the way they do, you need to understand how they see the world. If you want to change their behavior, you need to change the way they see the world."

    "'The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.' - Albert Einstein He also said it’s the greatest mathematical discovery of all time. It’s the eighth wonder of the world. Those who understand it get paid by it and those who don’t pay for it.

    Compound interest is dogged incremental constant progress over a very linage time frame. When you break the cycle and interfere with the progress of compound interest you lose momentum or, worse, trend back to the norm. You have to be constant."

  11. 2

    Book(s):

    ◆"The Win Without Pitching Manifesto" by Blair Enns,
    and
    ◆"The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth" by David C. Baker

    Both are excellent reads you should consider.

    Together, they also have a great podcast called "2bobs"
    https://2bobs.com/

    Podcasts:

    ◆Means of Creation: #28 with Sam Lessin
    ◆The Bootstrapped Founder: 67: The Two Goals of Audience-Building
    ‎◆2Bobs - Communication Components in your sales toolkit
    ◆Fundraising Radio | Startups | Venture Capital | Angel Investing: What do you do after you raise your Pre-Seed round vs Seed round?

    Article:

    ◆ A community vision is better than a community idea - Rosieland

    https://rosieland.substack.com/p/a-community-vision-is-better-than

    1. 2

      Ah, thanks for the mention 😇

      1. 1

        Thanks for writing it Rosie.
        Few articles in recent times have resonated me as much as this one has.

  12. 2

    I just realized there's no way to save this thread inside IH...

  13. 2

    I would say mine are mostly books. Principles by Ray Dalio or How to Win Friends and Influence people by Dale Carnegie are two of my favorites.

  14. 2

    This one from Wait but Why has been really important to me at some point: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

  15. 1

    A guide on running giveaways on Instagram, which is a cheap channel for consumer products/services since it's just the cost of what you give away and it's pretty quick once you get your process down. The 13,000 work guide on it is epic: https://www.popsmash.com/instagram-giveaway-guide

  16. 1

    nice! that article from Naval Ravikant,

    thank you for sharing!

  17. 1

    7 Habits of Highly Effective People is also on my list :) I even did a sketchnote on it: https://eisabainyo.net/weblog/2020/09/03/sketchnotes-and-summaries-of-five-timeless-books-for-leaders/

    I have recently read The Culture Map by Erin Meyer, also a good read and opened my eyes to different cultural backgrounds and preferences.

    An all-time best piece of content, in my opinion, is this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It's timeless and relatable. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/to-laugh-often-and-much/

  18. 1

    I love this 100 Ways To Live Better article on lesswrong.

    Also, Eric Jorgenson's book Career Advice for Uniquely Ambitious People is great.

  19. 1

    David Heinemeier Hansson - Unlearn Your MBA talk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlhAkNWC1qo

  20. 1

    I've been really enjoying "Everything is Figureoutable" by Marie Forleo. Definitely helping me move closer to my goals and conquer fear.

  21. 1

    idk about the best but here is a recent good one: (Jailbreaking the Simulation with George Hotz)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESXOAJRdcwQ

  22. 1

    Currently reading "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries and I would say this is one of the best books I ever read. It answered to many questions I had and Im sure Ill use it in practice soon. Also would recommend the "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, which has many stories inside on why some fail and others succeed. My favorite part is the football or basketball players, which success according to statistics was already "predefined" by their birthday.

  23. 1

    Hi, everybody. Great information. Here are mine.

    1. Book: "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Cheap and Dan Heath
      I think every creator and maker has to learn a bit about how to spread his/her message.

    2. Podcast episode: "Isabel" by Heavyweight
      It´s a masterpiece on how to tell a good story. There is a suitcase found years later, two lovers and many love letters involved.
      https://gimletmedia.com/shows/heavyweight/llhen3/14-isabel

    3. Article: "The ultimate guide to online writing" by David Perell
      Good points to start writing in your own blog
      https://perell.com/essay/the-ultimate-guide-to-writing-online/

    Thanks for sharing such good resources.

  24. 1

    @channingallen - that Naval link goes to a Nathan Barry article, which is also good

  25. 1

    For book, I'd like to propose The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz. I read it almost yearly and consult it for some decision making.

  26. 1

    @channingallen hands down The History Of Ideas podcast, Season 1 and 2. Season 2 is arguably more accessible, but both incredible.

  27. 1

    Here are my picks:

  28. 1

    The best software documentation I ever read is the manual of COHERENT, a 1980s Unix System 7 implementation for x86 PCs independently developed by the Mark Williams Company.

    1. 1

      lol. you go way back. love it.

      1. 2

        It was highly influential for me. Which I guess is the point.

  29. 1

    "../ You might think of serendipity as passive luck that just happens to you, when actually it’s an active process of spotting and connecting the dots. It is about seeing bridges where others see gaps, and then taking initiative and action(s) to create smart luck. Serendipity is a guiding force in great scientific discoveries but it’s also present in our everyday lives, in the smallest of moments as well as the greatest life-changing events. It’s how we often ‘unexpectedly’ find love, a co-founder, a new job, or a business partner – and it’s how inventions such as Post-it Notes, X-rays, penicillin, microwaves and many other innovations came about."

    one of the best recent articles I read that comes to my mind right away.

    https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-open-up-to-serendipity-and-create-your-own-luck

    also, I really get excited, full of ideas, do something when I watch Halt and Catch Fire, the TV series.

    "Follows some players in the 80s technological revolution that lead to information society."

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543312/

  30. 1

    I'm going to live dangerously and pick broadly, instead of entrepreneur-focused.

    Book - Catch 22. Even though it's fiction, I think it captured a generation trying to struggle with the insanity and horror of a war they just collectively experienced. And it's really entertaining.

    Podcast episode: The 5 episode arc of Planet Money where they "Make a t-shirt" by traveling around the world (US - Indonesia - Bangladesh - Colombia - US) to trace the lifecycle from cotton to constructed garment.

    Article: The NYTimes' "Snow Fall" article completely blew me away when I first read it.

  31. 1

    It's hard to say for sure right away, but I certainly prefer books in this regard. It always help me write my essay

  32. 1

    This case study about Canva. It's amazing what they have accomplished and it feels like a blueprint for us. https://www.growthmanifesto.com/canva-growth-study

    1. 1

      They did a great article on Koala's marketing strategy too

  33. 1

    For me, It's all about Gary V; I love his content. He changed my whole perspective from lifestyle to managing my time. His words reached out to me in a way other mediums of communication had never done before.

  34. 1

    This comment was deleted a month ago.

  35. 1

    This comment was deleted 10 days ago.

    1. 1

      seth godin is legend.

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