A huge list of the year’s best blog posts

WE got to do the judging in our pyjamas, so... HA!
WE got to do the judging in our pyjamas, so… HA!

If you’re fed up with turkey, soppy movies, and explaining your unusual employment/travel situation to the millionth relative, have we got some light (and sometimes dark) relief for you!

We’ve compiled a list of our absolute favourite blog posts from the past year. Some are insightful, some are practical, some are inspirational, some are downright depressing, and some are just silly.

Your new life skills

Confessions of a hotel insider

Get the best room and service at a hotel – and never pay for the minibar or pay-per-view movies again. Oh, and find out what really riles hotel staff enough to put you in room 1212.

I deleted a 2,000 word mega-post to write this instead

Ramit Sethi is a man with a potent combination of a mission and very little patience. So when readers seem uncommitted and, well, a bit pathetic, he responds with posts like this. (It’s all about improving your social skills.)

Phil Dubost, web project manager

If you think you’ve got a strong CV because you mention that you “work well in teams and independently” and “enjoy films, exercising and socialising with friends”, (a) you’re wrong and (b) this guy will always get any job ahead of you.

50 life hacks to simplify your world

You’ll feel simultaneously amazed and really, really stupid for not thinking of most of them yourself.

How to master your time

This is why we love Quora.

How to answer the question “What do you do?”

If you have the world’s dullest job description, we suggest you take a leaf out of Penelope Trunk’s book and find a different approach to answering the one question you’ll be asked within five minutes of meeting anyone.

Ask Reddit: What are some useful secrets from your job that will benefit customers?

Ever get panicked into buying plane tickets because the price seemed to creep up every time you checked? Airlines can tell you’re interested because you keep checking back, so they raise the price just for you. Seriously, this link could save you a lot of money.

McDonald’s Theory

We’ve written a lot about creativity and how to come up with new ideas, but here’s a slightly different one and it’s got to be one of the funnest. We tried it, and it would have worked if we hadn’t spent all our creative time analysing the hell out of it.

Why feeling like an imposter is good for you

Ever feel like you don’t really know what you’re doing, and any day now you’ll get found out? Like you’re just a tall child nodding along to adult conversations? Good! Peter Shallard says that means you’re a high-performer, and it’s way better than the alternative…

Invest in yourself at the low end and the high end

According to Ben Casnocha, there’s a value in knowing a little bit about something rather than nothing, and there’s a value in being truly great at something. But going from “OK” to “good”? Not worth the effort. His explanation of why is fascinating.

12 stupid things people care way too much about

It doesn’t matter who broke the vase, what Kim Kardashian named her baby, or whether your partner is cheating on you. Well, it matters less than you think.

A chef and doctor talk about butter

Do you shudder at the fat content of a mackerel fillet? Are you jealous of people who slather butter on their baked potatoes? Do you see a packet of peanuts and think “A day’s worth of calories”? You probably have weight problems, and we bet you’re knackered too.

22 tips to better care for introverts and extroverts

A few people find it surprising when we say we’re introverts, because we’re not exactly shy. But introversion isn’t about shyness – and extroversion isn’t to do with being a party animal either. If you want to know what it’s all about, and how to take care of your fellow introverts, extroverts and ambiverts (they’re the boring ones who sit happily in the middle), read this article from our favourite self-improvement peeps at Buffer.

Why you should give more than you get

When you ask someone a question or a favour, and they respond helpfully, SAY THANK YOU! We’ve talked about this before, but now we have backup from the highest authority in the land: Mr Ramit Sethi. In this post, he explains why showing gratitude is SO important.

Boundaries

There’s a line in this Mark Manson piece that had us nodding our heads in agreement (as he said we would). And although we were confused in parts, that’s just because we’re easily confused. You should definitely read it though, because somehow you’ll take something big away from it.

Inspiration to quit your job/travel/be done with “stuff”

Living with less. A lot less.

Graham Hill (not the racing driver) sold his startup, made a metric crapload of money, hired a personal shopper called Seven (!) to furnish his two houses, and was unhappier than ever. What happened next makes us a bit teary.

10 reasons why you have to quit your job this year

This is just wonderful. And we promise it’s not just ranty reasons that go on about The Man. You’ll read it, nod a lot, and occasionally punch the air.

The business benefits of living in SE Asia

Nailed it.

People simply empty out

Do you have a job? Then you’re ugly, have untidy hair and bad shoes – according to Charles Bukowski, at least. We’ve been railing against employment fairly consistently for 18 months now, but wow does he put it more eloquently than us.

An interview with The Man

You know how people say “The Man” is forcing them to work crappy jobs for too little money with no independence? Well, David Cain has pinned down The elusive Man for an interview, and it’s one of the best things we’ve read all year.

What’s the point of travelling?

Posts about the benefits of travel are ten a penny, but this one from Tynan is typically incisive. Key quote: “The great thing about traveling is that if you’re diligent about it, you can get all of [the] benefits while still being just about as productive as you were before. The gains come in the background as everyday routines are replaced with novel experiences. A trip to the supermarket takes the same amount of time, but reveals things about the country you’re in, and isn’t done on autopilot like back home.”

Business

Reflecting on 3 years as a startup founder: strength, persistence and fear

Want to know what it takes to leave your well-paying job, found a startup and get it moving? Here’s the terrifying and inspirational reality from one person who’s done it.

What startups have the best copywriting?

We bang on plenty about the importance of combining great design with personalityful copy, and plenty of startups seem to agree with us.

Break the business buzzword addiction

Want to know how to piss us off? Have something like this on your website: “We work with our clients to find innovative solutions to the issues facing them. We provide expert advice, robust analysis and compelling strategies to help clients find sustainable solutions in the education market.” After you’ve screamed “What the massive f**k does that mean?”, read this very short explanation of why bizspeak is bad for business. As for the quote above, it’s not made up.

Want better support? Then make that part of your buying criteria

Basically, stop expecting fantastic service for free.

The Ultimate Sales Machine

If you haven’t read The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, you should: everyone needs to sell (ideas, products, themselves…), not just salespeople. And the book is a classic. But if you’re stuck for time because you’re spending so much darn time on this list of links, read Derek Silvers’ excellent notes on the book instead.

Hacking Elance – the step-by-step guide to how I made $23,700 in 4 weeks

When we left our jobs back in 2012, we used platforms like Elance to learn the ropes and make money before moving onto our own platform. But, as this post proves, it’s perfectly possible to stay put on Elance and consistently win jobs – even when you’re more expensive than everyone else.

In 30 days my startup will be dead

If you’re in awe of the startup lifestyle, this blog will remove your blinkers pretty darn fast.

The ultimate cheat sheet to starting and running your own business

By James Altucher. Enough said.

Validating product ideas before building them

How do you avoid building a product that no one wants to buy? Obviously, by asking if anyone wants it before you build it. The advice is nothing new, but Patrick McKenzie (as usual) puts it best.

Is startup validation bullshit?

So this whole “lean startup” thing? According to Dan Norris, it’s all great in theory but validating your idea is a lot less clear-cut than it makes out. In this post, he shares the exact process he went through in his own failed startup.

Twitter’s female “problem” – this is why mobs don’t appoint public company boards

Sarah Lacy’s assessment of Twitter’s female “problem” is certainly controversial – but no one can disagree that it’s a great read.

Fun and geekery

Top 500 AMAs on Reddit (published January 2013)

Goodbye, productive afternoon…

I want my cheese

You know how shops, and governments, and hotels, and lots of other things seem to make everything so insanely difficult to do? Like buy some cheese from the supermarket without it making you feel “frustrated, angry, guilty, stupid, incompetent, weak, humiliated, ripped off and inconvenienced”? Scott Adams feels your pain – and what’s more, he understands why it happens and what to do about it.

How I wrote the most upvoted answer on Quora (and you can too)

Using the phrase “Hold still while I bitchslap your face” is failsafe. But here are some other strategies and insights in case the context isn’t quite appropriate.

Groupon founder Andrew Mason’s farewell letter to employees

“After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today.” The rest of the letter is just as brilliant.

27 middle-class problems

We don’t know about you, but nothing casts a shadow over our day like getting Camembert on our HTC screen or putting too much water in with our quinoa. These 27 middle-class problem tweets CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE, but we SO hope they are.

Famous television show home floor plans

Ever wished you could see ludicrously detailed floor plans of the homes in FriendsFrasierThe Simpsons, and more? Here you go.

24 people who are really nailing this parenting thing

We don’t have kids, but if we did we’d absolutely make the wifi password conditional on getting the chores done…

The awful truth about jogging

Why did no one tell this poor woman that jogging causes you to crap your pants?

The British at table

When people reminisce about “the days when we’d all sit round the table for a lovely meal”, they’ve got their nostalgia goggles on. And when they drone on about how no one can cook anymore, well, they’re wrong about that too. Also, they should probably stop moaning because it’s boring. Anyway, here are some surprising facts about table habits past and present.

Eleven untranslatable words from other cultures

We’d love to give you a simple explanation of what “Komorebi” means, but we can’t, because English doesn’t have a word for it.

When baby hits the bottle, so does daddy

Never say never, but after reading this we really don’t want children.

Ask Reddit: What should I absolutely not do when visiting your country?

For starters, never compliment a Belgian, don’t confuse a Welshman for an Englishman, and avoid looking at anyone on the Paris metro.

Quora: What’s the most bizarre small social experiment you’ve conducted?

You know how some people always wish you a happy birthday on Facebook, even if you haven’t talked to them in a decade? How long do you reckon it’d take them to notice if you changed your settings to claim it was your birthday every day? This guy found out, and wrote up the results on Quora.

35 amazingly English things to do before you die

This list had us almost literally roaring – because it’s SO spot on. If you’re English or you’ve been to England, tell us which ones made you go “YES!”/”Oh f**k I really do that… how embarrassing.”

Why Japanese web design is so… different

Turns out that web design in Japan majorly sucks. That’s kind of interesting in itself. But what’s really interesting is why. This exploration of the many (surprising) reasons why Japanese web design hasn’t moved on much since Geocities is the most fascinating thing we’ve read in a long time.

  • Will

    Amazing stuff!

    Some things in this list make us think about life/work/travel/everything and really motivated me!

    Thank you <3

    • Mish @ Making It Anywhere

      Thanks so much Will – so glad you enjoyed going through the list!

  • http://wpcurve.com Dan Norris

    Wow thanks for the inclusion Mish, great list! All the best for 2014.

    • Mish @ Making It Anywhere

      Pleasure – it’s a great post!

      All the best to you too for 2014.

  • http://www.contentedtraveller.com Contented Traveller

    What a brilliant list that I will need to get through thoroughly. What I have read has been humorous and informative. Great post you two.

    • Mish @ Making It Anywhere

      Yay – thank you! So glad you enjoyed it.

  • Floris

    best list around. thanks
    loved the reddit link about jobs secrets.

    in general all the best for 2014 to you both.
    You are one of the few digital nomad blogs which is not relying only on selling the digital nomad dream

    keep up the good work

    • Mish @ Making It Anywhere

      Oh wow – thanks so much Floris! That really means a lot.

      I LOVED that Reddit link too – although I did feel kind of “eavesdroppy” at times!

      Happy 2014!