Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Get rich.


Suspend judgment.
Making money isn’t evil, greedy, shallow, or vain.
Money isn’t your worth as a human being, or a substitute for love.
But don’t pretend it doesn’t matter.

Money can represent freedom, safety, experience, generosity, attractiveness, power, or whatever you want.
But really, money is as neutral as math.
Because it’s neutral, people have projected all kinds of meaning onto it.
Your biggest obstacle to getting rich is the harmful meaning you’ve attached to it.
Your biggest advantage can be projecting a helpful meaning onto it.
Make it mean you’re on the right path.
Make it a game.
Make it mean you’re free.

Or consider this:
Money is nothing more than a neutral exchange of value.
Making money is proof you’re adding value to people’s lives.
Aiming to get rich is aiming to be useful to the world.
It’s striving to do more for others.
Serving more.
Sharing more.
Contributing more.
The world rewards you for creating value.
Pursue wealth because it’s moral, good, and unlimited.

Money is social.
It was invented to transfer value between people.
One job pays way more than another because it has more social value.
To get rich, don’t think about what’s valuable to you.
Think about what’s valuable to others.
To do the opposite is the cliché of the starving artist: creating something that’s valuable to you, but not to others.

Money doesn’t care about your race, gender, education, physique, family, or nationality.
Anyone can be rich.
Someone always will, so it might as well be you.
Making money is a skill like any other.
Learn it and practice it as you would anything else.

Money is a great motivator.
It works better than force, rules, punishment, or appealing to generosity.
Great art has been created in pursuit of profit.

Numbers reveal truth and opportunity.
With every business idea you have or hear, do the math to run the projections and implications.
Study profitable companies the way an artist studies great art.
Apply their best techniques to your own pursuit.
Doing the math helps you think critically, be realistic, and make better decisions.

The world is full of money.
There’s no shortage.
So capture the value you create.
Charge for what you do.
It’s unsustainable to create value without asking anything in return.
Remember that many people like to pay.

The more something costs, the more people value it.
By charging more, you’re actually helping them use it and appreciate it.
Charge more than is comfortable to your current self-image.
Value yourself higher, then rise to fit this valuation.

Be fully committed to getting rich, or it won’t happen.
Adjust your self-image so that you congruently feel that you should and will be rich.
If you subconsciously don’t feel you deserve it, you’ll sabotage your pursuit.
But if you truly feel you deserve it, you’ll do whatever it takes.
So adjust your self-image first.

Don’t aim to just be comfortable.
You don’t make the world a better place by just getting by.
If you aim to be comfortable, you won’t get rich.
But if you aim to be rich, you’ll also be comfortable.
Aiming to be rich makes you think bigger, which is more exciting, more fun, and less conventional since most people don’t think big.

The world needs more boldness.
Refuse the comfortable addiction of a steady paycheck.
Boldly jump on opportunities.
Take risky action.

Create your own business.
Come up with a brand name that can be attached to any business.
(Perhaps it’s your name.)
Use it for the rest of your life on everything of quality.
A recognized brand can charge a premium price, earning more than unrecognized names.
Instead of thinking of customers as leading to a sale, think of each sale as leading to a life-long relationship with a customer.

Use other people’s ideas.
Ideas are worth almost nothing.
Execution is everything.
The world is filled with ideas, yet so few take action and make them happen.
Better to be filled with action than ideas.
Best of all to be the owner.
Own and control 100% of whatever you create.

Boring industries have little competition, since most people are seeking status in glamorous new fields.
Find an old industry and solve an old problem in a new way.
Your innovation might be behind the scenes, like owning the entire supply chain.

Avoid difficult business problems.
Your time is more profitably spent doing what comes easily to you.

Avoid competition.
Never be another contender in the crowd, fighting for scraps.
It doesn’t pay to do something anyone can do.
Be separate — in a category of your own.
Invent something completely new.
Instead of fighting to split an existing dollar, inventing creates a dollar out of thin air.
Invent for a very small niche of people who need something that doesn’t exist.
Instead of making a key, then looking for a lock, find something locked, then make its key.

Follow the rising tides of where profits are going.
Get in early on an industry that’s developing quickly.
More risk, more opportunity, more investors, more rewards.

Once your business is successful, stay paranoid.
Technology is improving faster, so a successful business model doesn’t last as long as it used to.
You’ll be disrupted by others if you don’t keep improving or disrupting yourself.

Sell your business before you have to.
Sell before it peaks.
The fun is in creating a business, not maintaining it.

As soon as you have extra money, invest it.

Investing is counter-intuitive.
You need to ignore your gut and heart.
Follow dispassionate reason.
Be disciplined, not clever.
It’s a matter of math, not mood.
Emotions are the enemy of investing.

Investing is easy unless you try to beat the market.
Settle for average.
Be happy with a good-enough return from passive index funds that represent the entire world economy.
Just take a few minutes per year to rebalance.
Don’t over-think it.
It’s better to do nothing than something.
Keep it simple and manage it yourself.
Avoid exciting investments.

Speculating is not investing.
Never speculate.
Never predict.
Be humble, not arrogant.
Never think for one second that you know the future.
Remind yourself over and over again that nobody knows the future.
Ignore anyone that says they do.

Money is your servant, not your master.
Don’t act rich.
Don’t lose touch with regular people.
Stay frugal.
Reducing your expenses is so much easier than increasing your income.

You don’t need to tell anyone you have money.
You don’t even need to spend it.
Don’t buy too many things, too big of a house, or hire too many people.
Rich people who do this feel trapped and miserable.
The less you buy, the more you’re in control.
Forget lifestyle.
Forget yourself.
Stay 100% focused on creating value.
Everything else is a corrupting distraction.

Nothing destroys money faster than seeking status.
Don’t show off.
Don’t invest in a business you don’t control.
Don’t loan money to a friend, or you’ll lose your money and your friend.
You’d be better off just giving them the money.
The return is the same ($0), but you’d skip the bad feelings.

Don’t convince yourself your home is an asset.
Your home is an expense, not an investment, because it doesn’t put money in your pocket each month.

When you’re rich, everything feels free.
A $5000 expense feels like it costs a dollar.
It doesn’t dent your bank account.
Money will be like tap water.
It’s always there.
You don’t need to think about it.

One downside is you don’t get excited about money anymore.
It used to feel so exciting to make $5000.
Now you don’t even notice it.
Someone could give you another million dollars, and it wouldn’t change a thing.
You don’t need it, since there’s nothing you want to buy.
The extra millions won’t make you extra happy.
You’ll work harder to keep your money than you will to make more.
As with sex, the fascination fades when you have plenty.

Say no to more stuff.
Say yes to more choices.

Then you’ll get philosophical, since you’ll have all the options in the world.
You’ll find your riches are worthless, and maybe even an obstacle, when it comes to friendship and love.
Money makes problems go away, but amplifies personality traits.
Money won’t change you, but it will amplify who you are.

You only need to get rich once.
When you win a game, you stop playing.
Don’t be the dragon in the mountain, just sitting on your gold.
Don’t lose momentum in life.
Once you’ve done it, take it with you and do something else.