How To Do Great Work

Paul Graham wrote about how to do great work, and he distilled the recipe below in his recent article "superlinear":

  • Choose work you have a natural aptitude for and a deep interest in.
  • Develop a habit of building your own projects; it doesn't matter what they are so long as you find them excitingly ambitious.
  • Work as hard as you can without burning out, and this will eventually bring you to one of the frontiers of knowledge.
  • These look smooth from a distance, but up close they're full of gaps. Notice and explore such gaps, and if you're lucky one will expand into a whole new field.
  • Take as much risk as you can afford; if you're not failing occasionally you're probably being too conservative.
  • Seek out the best colleagues.
  • Develop good taste and learn from the best examples.
  • Be honest, especially with yourself.
  • Exercise and eat and sleep well and avoid the more dangerous drugs.
  • When in doubt, follow your curiosity. It never lies, and it knows more than you do about what's worth paying attention to.