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Postcard 12: Mastery

Louie Bacaj
Louie Bacaj
3 min read
Postcard 12: Mastery

Hello from sunny Boca Raton, Florida!

I recently got early access to Derek Sivers new book How To Live, and the book is magnificent and thought-provoking. It is 150 pages but meant to be read slowly. This book is like a zip file; it is compressed information that unzips in the brain as we read it.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts on Mastery from his book:

"Mastery is the best goal because the rich can’t buy it, the impatient can’t rush it, the privileged can’t inherit it, and nobody can steal it."


"You can only earn it through hard work. Mastery is the ultimate status."


"Striving makes you happy. Pursuit is the opposite of depression. People at the end of their life, who said they were the happiest with their life, were the ones who had spent the most time in the flow of fascinating work."


"The more you learn about something, the more there is to learn. You see what normal people don’t see."


"The pursuit of mastery helps you think long-term. It keeps your eyes on the horizon. You resist the temptation of what you want now. You remember the importance of what you want most"

Sivers is an entrepreneur who started CD Baby many years ago, in 1997, before iTunes or streaming was a thing. It was an online CD store for independent musicians. He is also a professional musician since 1987, a software engineer, among many other things. CD Baby went on to become the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients before Sivers sold it.

I highly recommend his old book as well, titled Hell Yeah or Hell No; it’s a very short book about how to make the toughest decisions of your life. I fell in love with it and read it twice.

A few tweets from this week:

One of the best ideas from David Perell is to copy others whose work you admire. We will never be able to do it perfectly and those imperfections are our own style, our voice coming out. He expands on this idea in this video.

A fascinating idea that has got me thinking of what sorts of expectations to place on my own children. Simon expands on in this thread as well.

A thread that sparked a lot of controversy in the realestate world as Pension funds, Hedge funds, large capital allocators deploys capital scooping up entire neighborhoods of single family homes to rent them, sending prices sky rocketing.

We need constraints in our lives, even if they are artificial, they will force us to accomplish so much more. I took the Ship30 challenge to fully internalize this, having only a day to ship an essay sounds like a terrible constraint. It's not, it forces great work. When I had more time, I wasted it.

An Article I've read from others this week:

Disasters I've seen in a microservices world - by João Alves

Microservices are no free lunch, João put's into words what I have observed myself in the wild building distributed systems. Still, for many sufficiently large organizations the tradeoffs are necessary. To scale, to move fast, to provide domain ownership and true de-coupling. Still, I love being reminded of what of the bad things that can happen so I never get too carried away with the good parts and think they are free.

I finished the ship 30 essays in 30 days challenge. My last essay from this is a reflection of the challenge but I absolutely loved the learnings from it. Here are my last 7 essays:

My inbox is open; feel free to reply. I love hearing from my friends that subscribed and I am happy to help in any way that I can.

Have a great week,