, ,

The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

I knew nothing about biology before reading this book. It totally blew my mind.

This is the most important thing I learned from The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins:

  • Humanity is a brief flash. Before reading The Selfish Gene, nothing else had quite brought home to me the insane expanse of time that we are part of. Humans tend to think that they’re special, many of us want to believe that our existence is meaningful. The reality is quite harsh. Countless species have existed, been extinguished and replaced by another species, which is then extinguished and replaced by another species…and so on and so forth for billions of years. We are part of a genetic line of billions of generations. It follows, one day humanity will cease to exist. Our only real hope is to become an interstellar species. Can we save ourselves?

Get it here:

Product Details

, ,

Our Mathematical Universe – Max Tegmark

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Scientists and mathematicians make the best philosphers; they are always trying to ask and answer the biggest questions.

This is what I learnt from Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark:

  • The moment we live in is given value by the memories we have. As we go through life, we build up a model of the world around us and this model is stored in our memories and these memories are what give richness to our experiences. If I’m alone and I feel lonely, it’s only in the context of my memories that I feel lonely. If I’m alone and contented, it’s only in the context of my memories that I feel contented. The fact that I’m alone isn’t what makes me feel lonely or contented, it’s the memories I have. A long life may feel less valuable than a short life if the memories of the long life are dull while the memories of the short life are vibrant. I want to do more things and add more memories to my life.
  • The universe is big and if a multiverse exists, it’s unfathomably huge. Statistically, if the universe continues far enough, there is probably an exact copy of you within 10^10^118 metres (a super super long way, but still cool to think about). And of course, if the universe is infinite, then there are infinitely many copies of you!
  • Maybe there is something special about us. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our observable universe. There should be trillions of planets capable of supporting life, yet when we look into the cosmon, we seem to be eerily alone. Perhaps we really are alone. Perhaps intelligent life is rarer than some people think. Perhaps we really are the only species that tries to unravel the secrets of the universe.
  • What is the meaning of life? Max Tegmark observes that people can find meaning in life through two different views of the world. Some get meaning from a top-down view, where they feel part of something bigger than themselves. Others get meaning from a bottom-up view where the small things in life are enough. And some people find meaning in both.


I loved this book sooo much! You can find it here:


Product Details


Alibaba’s World – Porter Erisman

Alibaba's World by Perter Erisman

The cover of Alibaba’s World by Perter Erisman

“I wanted to get some real life experience. Whether I succeeded or failed was not important. Because I knew I could always take that experience back to share with my students.” – Jack Ma, an English teacher in China, when he decided to start a business.

Jack Ma is now the Chairman of Alibaba.com,the world’s largest business-to-business e-commerce site. The Alibaba Group had the largest IPO in history when they floated on the New York Stock Exchange for $220 Billion in September 2014.

Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman is the story of how an English Teacher in China built Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company.

This is what I learned from Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman:

  • Have a clear and simple vision because setting a long term goal changes people’s mindsets.
  • From day one Alibaba had three main goals:

    • To be one of the top 10 websites in the world.
    • To be a partner to all business people
    • To build a company that lasts 80 years

    Jack Ma gave a speech at a conference in Europe and only 3 people turned up: “Don’t worry. When we come back here this place will be totally full.”

  • Business is a fun game. When he received his first email from Jack, Porter Erisman’s knew he was in for a great adventure. It read: “I’ll see you in Shanghai. Let’s go have some fun!!!” And years later when Alibaba were competing with eBay in China Jack goes, “Our war is just a fun competition with eBay. We are lucky to have a big competitor like eBay. This is a game! It’s a sport!”
  • “Today is tough, tomorrow is tougher, and the day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most die tomorrow evening and can’t see the sunshine on the day after tomorrow.” 


I loved this book. It’s here if you like:

Product Details

, ,

Why I Want To Be The Best (and why I want to work for Toptal)

There are many reasons to be the best. Here are my top 5.

1. Work on Interesting Problems

I love thinking about and working on cool problems. And the best way for me to be selected to look at these problems is to be excellent at what I do.

2. Meet the Most Interesting People

People who are awesome at their work tend to be awesome people in general. Being the best means I’ll work with these people and make fantastic friends!

3. Design My Lifestyle

The more valuable I am to my employer, the more flexible my work and lifestyle arrangements will be. Being the best means I can live and work from anywhere.

4. Receive Remuneration

People are paid in proportion to the difficulty of the problems they solve. Being the best means I get paid the most.

5. Improve My Happiness

Doing my best makes me feel happy!


This is why I want to join The Toptal Software Freelancers Group. Toptal only hire the top 3% of freelance developers. Working for Toptal means I’ll be working with the best people on the most interesting problems.

, ,

Made in America – Sam Walton

Made in America - Sam Walton

Sam Walton (The founder of Wal-Mart) opened a department store in a small town in Arkansas in 1962. Now Wal-Mart is worth more than $230 billion (and his family is worth more than $140 billion). His story and his strategy are laid out in this book.

This is what I learnt from Made in America by Sam Walton:

  • Get involved in everything. I really think this seems to be a common trait among successful people.
  • Be humble enough to learn from everybody. When Sam Walton was running his first store in Arkansas, he spent lots of time in his competitor’s store across the street. And as Wal-Mart was growing larger and larger, Sam and his team would always be trying to learn from employees in the stores to find new ideas for the company.
  • The value of missed opportunities. Sam Walton says, “A computer can tell you to the dime what you’ve sold. But it can never tell you how much you could have sold.”

So many people have never heard of this book, which I find bizarre. Who wouldn’t want to learn from a man who has built a company worth $230 billion?!?
It’s here if you want:


Spartan Up! – Joe De Sena

Spartan Up! - Joe De SenaJoe De Sena became addicted to adventure racing. These races can be hundreds of miles long and last 10+ days.  When he started competing in Iron Man Competitions he couldn’t believe how easy they were because “they’re only 12 hours long”. He is also the founder of Spartan Race.

This is is what I learned from Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena:


  • Focus on what you can do right now
  • Pushing yourself to new limits resets what is “normal” for you
  • Enduring mental suffering increases mental strength for all the other parts of your life

I had heard it said over and over, to the point of frustration, that “the secret to success is hard work”. And my reaction would always be That’s not even a secret! But how do I rewire my brain to become the sort of person who will do that hard work?!?” The first chapter of this book answered that question for me: put yourself through mental suffering. When I think of successful people that I have met or read about they all have incredible mental strength. I can begin today by working my body until I’m Nick Novak Jersey physically ruined and then pushing on with the strength of my mind.

, , ,

Devil At My Heels – Louis Zamperini

Devil At My Heels - Louis Zamperini


Louis Zamperini lived an insane life, fighting and vandalising as a delinquent teenager, meeting Adolf Hitler while competing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, bombing Japanese-occupied islands during WW2, spending 47 days floating on a raft at sea, fighting off sharks while being shot at by a Japanese bomber, taking daily beatings as a POW for 2 years and finally, trying to return to normal life. This thing is totally crazy from start to finish.

This is what I learned from Devil At My Heels by Louis Zamperini:

  • Learn to be more Resilient. Just after his bomber crash lands in the ocean, he and 2 other guys survive on a the plane’s wholesale football jerseys China inflatable rubber lifeboats and within minutes one of the guys is Miguel Castro jersey womens screaming “We’re gonna die! We’re all gonna die!!” So he punches him out Wholesale Jerseys and then in his book he says this: “Everybody in the service gets the same combat training. We go to the front line with the same equipment. When the chips are down, some will panic and get court-martialed. Why? Because we’re not all brought up the same. I was raised to face any challenge. If a guy’s raised with short pants and pampering, sure, he goes through the same training, but in combat, he can’t face it. He hasn’t been hardened to life. It’s important to be hardened to life” …I don’t ever want to be the guy who’s screaming after less than 5 minutes on a life cheap jerseys raft
  • If your having problems, be honest and and examine yourself. It can be a painful, but it will probably be worth it. When Louis returns home after the war, he’s obviously not the same as Cheap Jerseys when he left and he spirals downward. cheap jerseys China He starts drinking and lashing out at his family, he can’t sleep, his injuries sustained as a POW prevent him from returning to athletics and he becomes depressed. He says: I had to go through a period of doubt, despondency and painful self-examination. Often I’d sit in the apartment for hours, without speaking to anyone. This was my trial period, during which I descended from the elation and satisfaction into the valley of despair. And unlike the war, when I faced obstacles and overcame them, this time I did not have the self-confidence. Then, I’d taken survival-training courses, knew I was in great physical shape. Now I was simply a baby.” He makes it through the darkness, where others might not. He starts a charity for helping young offenders, travels to Japan to meet and offer forgiveness to the guards who beat him…and then proceeds to live a long, happy life.


it’s here if you like:

, ,

Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure – Cédric Villani

If you want to know what a successful life looks like, Cédric Villani seems to have it nailed. His autobiographical account of his journey to win the Field’s Medal (the most coveted prize in the world of Mathematics) is cool stuff. This is what I learned from Birth of a Theorem: A wholesale jerseys Mathematical […]