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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:


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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:

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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.