Best of Ben Blog Posts — Sorted by Category
ENTREPRENEURSHIP / BUSINESS
- Farmers Didn’t Invent Tractors. They Were Busy Farming. How innovation can come from outsiders.
- What separates a talker and doer? – I outline what doers do that talkers don’t.
- Is killer instinct necessary in business? – And if so, how much is too much?
- My personal finance infrastructure – How I manage my money
- The Expected Value of Being a Hedgehog vs. Fox – Some of us do one big thing really well, some of us do many things well.
- The Myth of One Giant Eureka Moment – We don’t need to have a groundbreaking idea on day 1.
- Essay on Entrepreneurial Capitalism – And a review of the book “Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism”
- Networking: It’s Too Late to Get to Know a Fortune 500 CEO – Don’t reach out to famous people. Find hidden gems.
- Can You Be Shy and Still Succed in Business? – It depends.
- Best Reference Check Strategy Ever. – Call references at lunchtime and ask them to only call back “if the candidate was outstanding.”
- Unconventional, Entrepreneurial Lives and the Challenge of Loneliness – It’s great to trek on your own path, but be prepared to face lonely moments.
- When Personal Brands Become More Important than Media Brands – Will star journalists become agnostic to journalism institutions?
- Culture Matters to Entrepreneurship. The best reason to be bullish on America.
- Is original thinking orthogonal to cognitive speed? – Would you rather be swift/derivative or slow/original?
- Real World Reality: No One Cares What You Think – You have to make people give a shit.
- Easier to Deny or Rationalize Behavior than Evolve Your Own Identity – “Speak the truth, even if your voice trembles”
- To Be At Once Serious and Self-Mocking – Some ambitious types are unbearable because they can’t laugh at themselves
- I’m Scared to Death. But Supremely Confident. – Mike Tyson on confidence and the positivity of fear.
- The “Do You Blog?” Litmus Test – And other microtests to figure out whether you’ll have rapport with someone.
- It’s a Transparent Society, So Get Naked – Privacy is an antiquated concept. My commentary for NPR.
- RSSted Development – My 4,000 word essay on information culture and the web and review of Tyler Cowen’s book.
- RIP Privacy and Identity Synthesis on the Web – Identity synthesis will drive people to maintain different profiles
- Slowing Rate of Change and Tech Innovation – Why has tech change the past 50 yrs been so dissapointing?
- The Age of Early Self-Conception – The consequences of hundreds of millions of young teens writing their bios on Facebook.
- How Blogging Increases Helpful Empathy – Dealing with criticism.
- All posts under Web/Tech category.
- Someday I’ll Pursue Higher Things. First, I Make Money. – Liberal arts grads who say they will first make a lot of money, and then pursue their real passion of writing poetry (or painting, or whatever).
- In-Person Conversation Skills – Everything you need to know to be an engaging conversationalist.
- Scalable vs. Non-Scalable Careers – Scalable professions (like writing) tend to be winner-take-all markets, whereas non-scalable professions (like being a dentist) offer more distributed outcomes.
- The Quarter Life Crisis – Today’s flavor of youthful existential angst, and a round-up of all my posts on 20’s career/life strategy.
- Do You Want a Calling or a Family? – The truly devoted don’t have work life balance
- Career Lessons from Elena Kagan vs. Richard Posner – One pursued a safe careerist path; the other a riskier more exciting path.
- 30 Steps to Mastery. Keep. Fucking. Going.
- How to Draw an Owl. Understanding progress at learning a skill.
- Three Things to Unlearn From School – The importance of opinion, the importance of solving given problems, the importance of earning the approval of others.
- Thinking Like an Entrepreneur in College – My commentary on NPR.
- One Difference Btwn College and Real World – College is an information-rich environment that makes it easy to track progress.
- The Children of Overbearing High Stress Parents Hit Singles – Singles and doubles, but not homeruns (and not a strike out).
- Three Observations about Western European Higher Ed – Key differences from European education philosophy and U.S.
- Organizing the Rhetoric Around Why to Go to College – The reasons for college are always scattered. They fit in three main categories: knowledge, connections, and credential.
- Disrespecting Credentialism – If the importance of your credential does not decrease with age, you are not achieving very much in the real world.
- Why So Many Struggle to Find a Job or Calling – School dulls your natural interest radar.
- Comparing Modern Education to a Placebo – What if we just told students that they were learning?
- Colleges Work to Maintain an Information Deficit About Their Effectiveness — Shouldn’t that ring alarm bells?
- Who Should and Should Not Be Going to College? – Depends on which of three groups of students you fall into.
- What 17 Million Americans Got from a College Degree – 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
- What Does Society Overcomplicate? – Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s complicated.
- The stability/stimulation tradeoff – The most stimulating jobs are also the least stable
- Getting the lowest A possible – Settle for “good enough”
- When can you generalize from a specific experience? – This is a BIG philosophical question.
- Do Only Negative Emotions Count for Depth? – Does saddness stretch you more than happiness?
- Explain Your Opponent’s Perspective – One of the easiest way to probe the depth of a person’s understanding on an issue is to ask him to explain the opposing view
- Do People Change? – Or do people stay the same all throughout their lives?
- Regret Aversion – When in doubt, say ‘Yes.’ Regret is painful.
- The Deadly Earnest Hunt for Identity – The young-person “identity crisis” and tedious reflective period.
- Shedding the “Spiritual but Not Religious” Label – Why it’s too ambiguous for me.
- The Most Natural “You” Emerges When Masks Collapse – Technology is making it harder to project different versions of yourself to different audiences.
- The Ethos of Casualness – Why I like casualness and how it plays out in my life.
- The Wisdom of Your Former Self – More terrifying than being embarrassed by youthful writings, is finding youthful writings similar in quality to adult expressions.
- 2005 Book Roundup – My 2005 reading
- 2006 Book Roundup – My 2006 reading
- 2007 Book Roundup – My 2007 reading.
- 2008 Book Roundup – My 2008 favorite books.
- How I Think About Books – How I pick what books to read and how I read them
- Optimize Activity for Location – Where to read (planes, at home, trains, etc).
- Remembering David Foster Wallace – My personal reflection on DFW’s death. Here are my favorite parts of Infinite Jest.
- Email Dialogue with Josh Kaufman on Business Books, Mental Models, and Self-Education
- The Paradox of Attitudinal Self-Help Books – The folks who really need an attitude adjustment are not reading popular biz books
- Are you smartest guy in the room? – Probably not, so how do you add value?
- How to build resilience – A transferable quotient. If you’re resilient on the treadmill, it can transfer to the board room.
- In Praise of No Names – Sometimes the best mentors/teachers are folks you’ve never heard of.
- Collective Generational Consciousness is Overrated – Gen Y bullshit
- Being the Doer vs. Analyzer – Some professions are about doing, some about observing/analyzing. Which are you?
- So You Want to Get On the Speaking Circuit? – Tips for those looking to do paid public speaking
- Failing Forward: Dealing with and Learning from Failure – Notes from the Junto
- 14 Thoughts on Advice Giving and Receiving – Assorted wisdom.
- The “I’m Proud of You” Litmus Test. – When someone tells you they’re proud of you, it means they know you well and are higher status.
- All posts under category “Random”
- Would You Trust Less a Biz Partner Who Cheats on Spouse? – Or do you firmly separate personal and professional?
- Six Habits of Highly Effective Mentees – How to be a good mentee (protege).
- How Friendships Evolve Over Time and the Quest for Platonic Intimacy – What you’re looking for in a friend changes as you get older
- Retiring Old Friends to Make Ones For New Ones — Should you ever? How?
- The Capacity for Surprise – What to look for in a friend: the person’s capacity to…surprise you.
- Intellectual Stimulation in Life and Romance – Should your partner stimulate you intellectually? How?
- Regrets of the Dying. What do people on their deathbed regret not doing?
- Is Being in a Relationship a Time Sink? – No! At least compared to being single and looking.
CURRENT AFFAIRS / PUBLIC POLICY
- Who’s Benefiting from National Service? – NPR commentary against national service.
- The Role of Speechwriters on Public Policy – They do more than just communicate policy. They create it.
- Notes from Speakers at Claremont Spring ’08 – Notes from many think tankers.
- Why I Oppose Prop 8 (and Support Gay Marriage)
- John Stuart Mill on Elitism, Eccentricity, and Sarah Palin – A long essay.
- A Rising Tide Lifts All (Nation-State) Boats – Why we should be supporting China’s economic growth.
- Inequality and Perceived Social Mobility – Inequality becomes a political issue if people don’t think there’s upward mobility. American myth is that there’s tremendous social mobility so no one is concerned with inquality.
- Elitism vs. Populism in Politics — One of the richest themes right now in politics.
- One of the Best Anti-Poverty Programs: Immigration
- Reflections on 3 months of international travel – A roundup of my international travel
- What I learned in China – Lessons and reflections from 2.5 weeks in the country
- The psychological beating of the third world – A reflection after day 1 in India
- What I learned from 1.5 weeks in Colombia – Including notes from meeting President Uribe
- What I learned at St. Gallen 2009 – Notes and impressions from the Swiss conference.
- Urban Nomadicism: Sources of Unhappiness for Serial Travelers – Rootlessness, shallow relationships, identity confusion.
- Experiencing the 8.8 Earthquake in Chile – First hand impressions from a disaster zone.
- Guilt-free, Pain-free Solitude When Abroad – One of the benefits of international travel: low expectations to socialize.
- Lessons and impressions from Indonesia. – Two weeks of traveling there.
- Lessons and impressions from Brazil.
See my travel blog for lots of on-the-ground travel posts
- 18th birthday responses – Dozens of friends tell me what they regret not doing when they were 18
- A Morning of Self-Consciousness – Trying to shut off that internal monologue
- 2008 Personal Executive Summary – A brief recap of the year 2008
- Damn It Feels Good to be a Lefty – Oh, to be left-handed.
- Chinese Masseuse Plays Shuffleboard on My Ass – A story from a massage parlor in Beijing
- Why Have I Not Done Drugs? – And Should I?
THINK DIFFERENT TV VIDEO INTERVIEWS
LONG FORM FREELANCE WRITING
- Start-Up Town: How Boulder, CO Developed Its Entrepreneurial Culture (American Enterprise Institute)
- Success on the Side: Side Projects in Innovation (American Enterprise Institute)
- RSSted Development: Information Culture on the Internet (American Enterprise Institute)
- You can’t generalize about Gen Y (Marketplace public radio / NPR)
- What’s the benefit of national service? The case against (Marketplace public radio / NPR)
- It’s a transparent society, so get naked (Marketplace public radio / NPR)
- An entrepreneurial approach to college (Marketplace public radio / NPR)
- Starting a High Technology Start-Up (U.S. State Department)