Work very hard—a surprising number of people will be offended that you choose to work hard—but not so hard that the rest of your life passes you by.  Aim to be the best in the world at whatever you do professionally.  Even if you miss, you’ll probably end up in a pretty good place.  Figure out your own productivity system—don’t waste time being unorganized, working at suboptimal times, etc.

The days are long but the decades are short – Sam Altman. – via Matt

Exit & Return. The first half of a two-part podcast episode about Shulem Deen, who, as a 22-year old Hasidic Jew in 1996, discovered the web through America Online. Much of the available content conflicted with Hasidic standards and ultimately led to him being expelled from the community. The second part is also available. – via Peter

Interview with Brunello Cucinelli. Om’s interview with the “king of cashmere.” There are really interesting perspectives on life, business, and seeking balance throughout the interview. And, if you’re not already following Pico I highly recommend it.

My co-workers reminded me that yesterday marked 5 years of working at Automattic. It’s a neat milestone as it means I’ve now been at Automattic longer than any school I attended or any previous job I held. Looking forward to the next 5 years.

There’s no way to make a web page with a full-screen content-obscuring ad anything other than a shitty experience.

John Gruber’s comment on a linked list item about improving the mobile web. Related.

My list of books to read is immense, and only keeps growing at a rate which outpaces my reading speed. That means there are many canonical books that I’ve never read. In the last week and a half I picked two of them off the list, and loved both.

The first, A Canticle for Leibowitz, is a wonderful science fiction book written in the late-1950s. The focus is a plausible future where humans have annihilated the vast majority of the world’s population through nuclear weapon strikes. Written knowledge, seen as the foundation for that nuclear arms race, becomes both rare and hated.

The second, Fahrenheit 451, is Ray Bradbury’s classic about book burning and the role knowledge and conversation have (or rather, don’t have) in a dystopian future society. Short read, finished in a day, but really fantastic.