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
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.
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.)
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.
You’ll feel simultaneously amazed and really, really stupid for not thinking of most of them yourself.
This is why we love Quora.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
We bang on plenty about the importance of combining great design with personalityful copy, and plenty of startups seem to agree with us.
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.
Basically, stop expecting fantastic service for free.
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.
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.
If you’re in awe of the startup lifestyle, this blog will remove your blinkers pretty darn fast.
By James Altucher. Enough said.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Ever wished you could see ludicrously detailed floor plans of the homes in Friends, Frasier, The Simpsons, and more? Here you go.
We don’t have kids, but if we did we’d absolutely make the wifi password conditional on getting the chores done…
Why did no one tell this poor woman that jogging causes you to crap your pants?
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.
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.
Never say never, but after reading this we really don’t want children.
For starters, never compliment a Belgian, don’t confuse a Welshman for an Englishman, and avoid looking at anyone on the Paris metro.
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.
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.”
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.