A week after my sophomore year of college wrapped up, I packed my bags for summer internship 500 miles away. It was the terrible trifecta: the work was tedious, it was in a small town, and I didn’t know anybody.
Nevertheless, I used my free time (and some work time) to browse the internet, ultimately stumbling upon some very influential bloggers who would turn into best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, and more in the coming years. Here are a few things I learned from them.
Ramit Sethi: Set it and forget it
I stumbled across Ramit’s NYT best selling book in the only Barnes and Noble in town. I distinctly remember sitting at the pool flipping through his book, realizing how little I knew about personal finance.
I flew through his book that week and opened up a Vanguard account and a Capital One 360 savings account. By the end of my internship a few short weeks later, I’d fully implemented his financial system outlined in his book. Conservatively, the output from that decision at 20 years old will net me hundreds of thousands of dollars in my lifetime.
James Clear: Win the Day
I remember looking forward to every Monday and Thursday, which is when James would post his twice weekly articles. His writing, years before his smash hit book, was formative in my college and post-college years. He taught me how to think differently about elite performance, habit building and sleep. Ultimately, the biggest thing I took away from him was the importance of daily habits and routines. Unheroic days make for heroic decades.
He even used to live in the same city as me and I had the pleasure of grabbing a coffee with him. Great guy.
Cal Newport: Focus without distraction
When I first read Cal’s work, he hadn’t yet even coined his now-famous phrase: “Deep Work.” At the time, he was still calling it “hard focus”. I wish I had implemented his advice to focus on something for a long period of time without switching contexts. I don’t think it really kicked in until a year or two ago.
However, reading it early on in my life was transformative because the rare occasions when I did buckle down, I knew how to do it, thanks to Cal’s work.
Nate Green: Reinvent yourself
Nate was the first blogger I ever read, back when I had just graduated high school. He was, in a word, cool. He had an enviable life: in great shape, traveling to cool places, eating great food. One of the original lifestyle bloggers.
I enjoyed watching him shift from lifestyle blogger to working for Precision to now working for Sam Harris. As his writing has evolved over the years, I’d like to think I have too. I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know Nate a bit as well and he’s better than he seems on the Internet.