Derek Sivers

Writes in Derek Sivers

I always write for my audience, not for myself, so this feels indulgent. When I think of expressing this kind of “about me” stuff in an article, I stop myself because it’s not directly useful to you.

I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and restless. I didn’t want to meet new people, because I felt I was giving the wrong impression. Something wasn’t right. It took me months to figure out the real problem: My clothes don’t fit anymore!
My friend has a huge crush on someone.
I used to like the internet. I thought it was cool, creative, wild, untamed, expressive, decentralized, and educational. I guess it was, back then, but now? I kinda hate most of what’s out there.
I’ve started writing my autobiography. I’ll keep writing it for the rest of my life. It’s private now, but will be released the week I die.
When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, “That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!”
I don’t usually talk about money, but a friend asked me what it was like to get rich, and he wanted to know specifics, so I told him my story.
A new day begins when I wake up, not at midnight. Midnight means nothing to me. It’s not a turning point. Nothing changes at that moment.
A musician had manufactured 10,000 copies of his CD in anticipation of 10,000 orders that were sure to come through that week.
In 1990, at the age of 20, I moved to New York City and got a job as the tape room guy for Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.
Someone asked me today why I don’t charge money for the things I do.
You couldn’t just roll down the street leaving huge piles of garbage everywhere you go, making life slower for everyone as they climb over your mountains of junk, just to get on with their life. You’d feel bad about it, right?
This is my advice to anyone writing something for the public — especially a talk on stage.
Like everyone, I live in a little house with many doors and windows.
Here’s an idea: Every month, pick something you hate or know nothing about, and get to know it well. Spend a few hours per week, for an entire month, just learning about that subject. Why?
Somewhere in our past, we were told it’s bad to daydream, because it meant doing nothing — staring out the window — instead of doing what we’re supposed to be doing. To admit we’re daydreaming felt like it needed an apology.
The most relaxed feeling I know is after going back and forth between a super-hot pool and super cold pool.
What do you call it when you skip school or work for a day, to do whatever you want instead? In America, we call it playing hooky. In England, we call it skiving. (Got another word for it?)
Since I’m living in Europe now, I thought it would be good to tour everywhere in Europe, and get to know it better.
In 1991 I was 22 years old, and had moved to New York City to be a professional musician. I had a little home studio, and was doing some random gigs around town.
I’ve always used freedom as the compass to guide my decisions.
Watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s great TED talk called “Your elusive creative genius”.
If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself.
One approach to music is to do whatever you want. Absolutely anything goes. But to me, that’s too free. It’s anti-inspiring because having infinite options is overwhelming.
People with many interests often ask my advice on which industry or career path they should follow.
A few years ago, I thought it would be fun to get into camping.
I met a couple who were thinking of quitting their jobs and travelling the world for a year. They asked my thoughts.
Imagine you host a dinner party with two doctors and two accountants. You introduce the doctors to each other and the accountants to each other, assuming they’d have the most in common.
David grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with five brothers and sisters.
When someone becomes an expert at something, you know what else they become? Annoying.
I wanted to learn about the world, so I went travelling.
First, see my previous article about PostgreSQL functions at sivers.org/pg. That article gave tiny examples, but no finished working code.
Here’s an idea: Create a little school somewhere remote. School of what? School of mastery.
You would think this would be a basic life skill, but it seems almost nobody knows it, so please spread the word.
I took my 7-year-old to London today. I made two plans: if it rains, we go to a museum, if not, we go to the zoo.
I spend a lot time thinking of alternate ways to approach life.
I don’t know why I have this rebellious nature. I tend to want to be the opposite of my surroundings.
I used to use Gmail. But one day, as I typed my mother’s email address into the “To:” field, Google popped up a prompt asking if I also wanted to CC my uncle. That was so invasive and creepy that I deleted the account immediately and never used it again. I don’t want automated intelligence in my private email.
My “daily” blog was silent the last four days, because I took my kid on a spontaneous trip to another country. No phone. No computer. I gave him my full attention every day from when he woke me in the morning to when we fell asleep together at night. It was great.
You know those people whose lives are transformed by meditation or yoga or something like that?
People often ask me how they can get over their fears. For example, they are scared to quit their job and start a business.