Hello old friends,
Machina is free for 72 hours at Amazon.com
I do most of my writing these days at The Strategic Review, where a free long-form essay with actionable insights from history comes out every Thursday.
I get asked frequently why I don't post them online -- and the answer is, I'm interested in reaching people who very much want to read them, but not interested in reaching the general blogosphere.
As a result, I'm able to tackle controversial topics easier. The very slight barrier to subscribing to TSR means I'm writing to people who want to read it, and if I cover a topic like how the Protestant faith-based worldview conflicts with the Catholic works-based worldview, or the diplomatic failures and overreaches that led to Oda Nobunaga burning the ancient holy Buddhist sanctuary of Mount Hiei to the ground, it can be done cutting-as-close-to-truth as possible.
TSR gets rave reviews, and grows almost every single week through word of mouth. (I think out of the 52 weeks of 2016, there were only 3-4 weeks where TSR didn't grow. I don't promote it all that often; it's all word of mouth.)
Machina covers three series:
Vantages, which looks at the worldviews and operations of the chief warlords of the Sengoku Civil Wars in the 1600's in Japan;
Temporal Control, which looks at how leaders across history have worked to rationalize and understand the modern world -- opening with how World War I started, flashing back to the inventions of metallic coinage in lydia, modern empire under Cyrus the Great, and working its way through history towards modern armies, rational accounting in the Renaissance, how Mustafa Kemal created modern Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and ending on the high stakes at the beginning of the Cold War;
And, finally, Dubious Battle which looks at the long-running conflicts through all of history. It contains the aforementioned Faith vs Works with a look at Martin Luther and the British Empire, looks at the rise and decline of rank and aristocracy, how some people aim for cardinal success (more of anything good) while unfortunately most people are obsessed with ordinal success (how they're doing in relation to others), before finally ending with looking at the different paths of mastery, looking at the master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi and the American founding father Benjamin Franklin.
A few small points since I anticipate these questions:
1. You don't need an Amazon Kindle to get it for free and read it. You do need an Amazon account, but it's free to get one. If you don't have a Kindle, just go to read.amazon.com to read it in your browser. It's a nice experience.
2. After the 72 hour free period ends, the price will be $7.77 -- which I think is rather a good deal, too.
3. I can't send you a non-Amazon PDF copy because I don't have one! I built on the Kindle format which has its little eccentricities, but is a nice format for reading. You should be able to get a copy for free via Amazon and read on any digital device or in your browser, though.
If you have any smart friends who like history, productivity, and deep thinking, please definitely point them at Machina and The Strategic Review. A new TSR series starts in 10 days about productivity, Limit Breaks, so it's a particularly good time to join.
Beyond that, I always appreciate reviews -- they're very important for an author -- so if you have a moment, I'd appreciate that a lot. And if you want to take your productivity to the next level, perhaps you'd be interested in the third Ultraworking Pentathlon?
But again, Machina is free today, go get your copy. Thanks for reading, best wishes wherever you are in the world.
Hello old friends,
It's my favorite month: March. I like the name of the month, the concept of the month, and I love that spring is here.
We've got a few big things at Ultraworking coming.
The first is that Pentathlon III is up --
Boom! It's 2017. Oh my goodness, 2016 was the best year of my life by far. Knock on wood, everything is working. It's working marvelously, even.
One of my very few regrets is that I'm doing less ad hoc writing. I published 52 essays at The Strategic Review in 2016, the first half of which got edited into the book Progression; the second half will be in the upcoming Machina (rough guess on ETA: February).
TSR roughly doubled in size, all through word of mouth. (Thank you.) But I didn't blog as much as I used to, and I used to have a lot of fun doing this.
I've also learned a lot about making things happen in the last year, that I think might be useful to you. I'm going to be blogging a little more in 2017.
So without further ado, here's two things that have been huge for me.
Trying to figure out the best gift for that top performer in your life that doesn't need anything?
How about a one-way ticket to peak productivity in January?
You can now buy an entry into the Ultraworking Pentathlon for a friend or loved one:
One of the most important things for your entire life is choosing what projects you work on.
If you choose your projects right, life will be very satisfying, full of achievements, every year will be a little easier and better than the last one.
If you choose your projects wrong, you'll get stagnation, be forced to re-start from scratch when things fail or get abandoned, and otherwise have a rather frustrating life.
And yet, it's rather hard for most people to choose what to work on. There's potentially... well, infinite things.
I'd like to recommend a guideline to you: only do 10-year projects or short projects, and almost nothing in between. Since switching to this view of the world, life's gotten immensely easier and better for me, I've been able to have a lot more successes, and deliver a lot more value to the world.
We're doing the Ultraworking Pentathlon again, from 7 January to 22 January.
The first Pentathlon was a really big success. We've incorporated feedback and the next one is going to even better.
The Big Idea
The big idea is very simple: there's hundreds of "known best practices" and 1% edges in the world that most people aren't doing them. There's also dozens to hundreds of little techniques, tricks, and advantages you can stack up to make your life run better.
Super jazzed the GiveGetWin Tour IV videos are up.
Tons of love and huge respect to Angela Cheung, the master videographer who traveled with us for the first 80% of the Tour. She did amazing work at lightning speed. It was really such an honor and privilege to work with her.
Here was the trailer from NYU --
TSR is approaching the one-year mark.
As most of you probably already know, I write one long-form actionable historical essay every Thursday the The Strategic Review. I'm closing in on the one-year date of restarting TSR (last December), and there's been a really marvelous reception to TSR.
In fact, I've done almost no promotion, and TSR has net-gained in subscribers (more new people joining than unsubscribing) in 46 out of the 49 weeks TSR has been out there. That's nearly 100% word of mouth. I'm very, very grateful that everyone recommends TSR.
Some reader feedback to Dubious Battle #1: Faith vs Works
It's really a privilege to get unsolicited reader feedback like this --
Hello old friends!
I'm updating Facebook and my newsletter more than my blog these days, but figured I ought to update you here too; a few cool things are going on.
1. GiveGetWin Tour IV is happening now.
As always, tickets are entirely free.
I'm posting stuff like this on Facebook these days, but I think this came out really well so I'm putting it here too. Follow me on Facebook (or follow on Twitter) if you want to read more stuff like this.
"How do you decide what conferences are worth going to?"
Lawrence He just asked. Great question.
1) What's your objectives?