What makes it so good is that it was written in 2005 and yet feels 100% applicable to the world right now.
Excerpts from Paul Graham’s High School talk he never gave.
"The best protection is always to be working on hard problems. Writing novels is hard. Reading novels isn’t. Hard means worry: if you’re not worrying that something you’re making will come out badly, or that you won’t be able to understand something you’re studying, then it isn’t hard enough. There has to be suspense."
- I love the idea of suspense
"If you want to do good work, what you need is a great curiosity about a promising question. The critical moment for Einstein was when he looked at Maxwell’s equations and said, what the hell is going on here?
It can take years to zero in on a productive question, because it can take years to figure out what a subject is really about. To take an extreme example, consider math. Most people think they hate math, but the boring stuff you do in school under the name “mathematics” is not at all like what mathematicians do.”
- even at my first agency I was always asking why things were done in a certain way. Many things just seemed wrong, but what did I know I didn’t have my name above the door.
"The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for big ideas, but to put in a lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roost. Einstein, Ford, and Beckenbauer all used this recipe. They all knew their work like a piano player knows the keys. So when something seemed amiss to them, they had the confidence to notice it."
- these things take time. Time and Curiosity is a pretty heady mix.
Full text is here. Go read it.