Updated on Sun 10 January 2016

book of life

How to lead a great life, live forever and change the world.

This is a collection of advice on a wide range of topics, updated whenever I think of something new. All of it is from how I live my own life, if you disagree with anything please don't hesitate to drop me an email or contact me otherwise! (I'm working on a plugin to enable inline comments).

attitude

It's important to realize that while you might not be able to change a situation, you fully control how you feel and think about it. If you are upset or annoyed at something or someone, that's purely your own choice. Yes, they might have done something annoying, but you choose whether to get annoyed in turn or to simply take notice and then move on.

You should be happy and content with your situation by default, being sad or angry should be a rare exception.

Definitely read books about Stoicism if you need help with this, I've recommended some. Gratitude meditation (basically just thinking about the things you are grateful for every day / week) or a gratitude journalcache is also helpful.

reading

Reading is the fastest way of absorbing information, and a great way to learn from other people's experience / mistakes. Aim to read at least a dozen books a year (preferably a lot more), but don't restrict yourself to just books - there are great articles on the web, and in some fields (e.g. Computer Science) it's the best way to get information.

For my personal recommendations, see books

rationality

Improving your reasoning ability is probably the best investment you can make. Read [Rationality: From AI to Zombies] and/or the Less Wrong Sequencescache (the former is an extended collection of the latter). Check whether you are aware of all these cognitive conceptscache.

money

credit cards

Get a cashback card with no fees and use it to pay whenever you can, always fully pay off your cards to avoid interest charges. Never buy anything that you can't afford or don't actually need. Real cashback is better than air miles or other point systems.

investing

Keep a reserve of several months' to a year's living expenses in cash and invest any surplus in index funds. Only do this with money you don't need for the next decade, as the market could well be down for that period. Never buy individual stocks, these are too risky, always go for index funds and invest the same amount every month.

Generally Vanguard and BlackRock are the best providers of index funds, the easiest option is just buying Vanguard LifeStrategy with a broker that charges you very low fixed platform and trading fees. For comparison, at the moment I pay ~0.3% for platform, trading and fund costs combined. I've also made a presentation about this.

friends

Choose your friends wisely, for they will affect who you are and who you'll become. Friends should push you to go further, have qualities that you are still trying to build. Stay away from negative or lazy people if you intend to achieve much with your life.

As harsh as it seems, free yourself from people that have stopped fulfilling the criteria above. It's fine for them if they are happy with where they are, but that doesn't mean you need to hang out with them.

security

Store all your important data and passwords in an encrypted file, e.g. using KeePass. Ideally you want this available on all your devices, e.g. synced using Dropbox. Make sure that you can access this file even if you lose all your devices and while away in a different country (I learned this the hard way!), e.g. a link to it on your blog.

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