Derek Sivers

Latest articles

$250K books sold. $250K to save lives.

Six weeks ago I emailed my private email list with a secret link to buy my new books. They’re not even officially released yet, but they’ve already sold over $250,000. I made 5000 limited edition hardcover copies of each, but those have sold out now. I’ll admit, it made me ridiculously happy to make $250,000. I was expecting way less than...

Time is personal. Your year changes when your life changes.

A new day begins when I wake up, not at midnight. Midnight means nothing to me. It’s not a turning point. Nothing changes at that moment. A new year begins when there’s a memorable change in my life. Not January 1st. Nothing changes on January 1st. I can understand using moments like midnight and January 1st as coordinators, so cultures and...

Experiments in music and life

One approach to music is to do whatever you want. Absolutely anything goes. But to me, that’s too free. It’s anti-inspiring because having infinite options is overwhelming. Another approach to music is to follow tradition. You stay within the guidelines of a genre or style. But to me, that’s too strict and sad. It was someone else’s innovation....

Writing daily, but posting when ready

I just finished an experiment. Last month, I published a new article to my blog every day. I’m glad I tried it, but ultimately I didn’t like it. Here’s why: It made my writing worse, not better. I was trying to force a conclusion quicker. I was skipping steps 2-5 of my writing process. I didn’t have the time to look at more angles or doubt...

How I got rich on the other hand

I don’t usually talk about money, but a friend asked me what it was like to get rich, and he wanted to know specifics, so I told him my story. I had a day job in midtown Manhattan paying $20K per year — about minimum wage. On weekends I would earn $150 per day performing circus shows for kids, though I’d spend about $50 in bus fare to get to the...

Podcast published today

Starting today you can follow my podcast at sivers.org/podcast.rss or listen on the web at sivers.org/podcast. Each episode is around two minutes long. They are my posts since September 22nd. 33 episodes so far. I generated the RSS XML feed myself using this Ruby script. The MP3s are just hosted on my own server. I skipped all the podcast...

When in doubt, try the difference

If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself. Try it examples: Pursuing a new interest? Moving somewhere very different? Quitting your job to go freelance? Err on the side of yes. Try it. If it was...

Monthly self-expansion project

Here’s an idea: Every month, pick something you hate or know nothing about, and get to know it well. Spend a few hours per week, for an entire month, just learning about that subject. Why? The idea is inspired by a very successful friend of mine who is regrettably closed-minded. She hates everything that isn’t European, sophisticated, and...

Mastery school

Here’s an idea: Create a little school somewhere remote. School of what? School of mastery. A place for anyone who wants go focus on a skill of their choice, surrounded by other people doing the same, and a few coaches — experts on the craft of mastery — to offer help and guidance. This uses Salman Khan’s proposal to “flip the classroom” so...

Why experts are annoying

When someone becomes an expert at something, you know what else they become? Annoying. At a restaurant, your designer friend complains about the font on the menu, your musician friend complains about the background music, and your manager friend complains about the service. Why? The problem is that their expertise makes them annoyed. They’re...

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