It’s been quite a year. In January, I became a father. In March, the entire world went into lockdown. I also wrote some essays.

Here’s some of the best writing I did in the last twelve months:

  1. Do the Real Thing. Success largely boils down to a simple distinction. It’s glaringly obvious once you see it, but also easy to find ingenious ways of ignoring it: do the real thing and stop doing fake alternatives.
  2. An Interesting Book You Probably Shouldn’t Read. My deep dive into one of the most unusual philosophers of all time.
  3. Two Types of Excellence. Is being the best more like winning a footrace or being a butterfly?
  4. The 10 Foundational Practices for a Good Life. Where should you start in improving your life? I tried a lot of stuff when I first got started, but knowing what I know now, I’d recommend different practices.
  5. The Surprisingly Narrow Path to Success. What does authoring a book, starting a company and becoming an academic have in common?
  6. What’s Beyond Self-Improvement? Why does success often feel empty? What do you do after you’ve fixed the problems in your life?
  7. Success is Stamina: To Win Means to Keep Playing. Life isn’t dominated by races with winners and losers, but by long stretches of road where some people keep on running.
  8. How Fast Should You Be When Learning? Quick sketches, or extended studies? Slow down your process, or speed it up to get more feedback? Here’s how to think about an important consideration in your learning strategy.
  9. How to Rebuild Your Confidence. Why rebuilding can be harder than doing something new, and what to do about it.
  10. The Complete Guide to Motivation. My biggest piece in 2020, this is my review of scientific research on motivation. If you wanted to get an up-to-date understanding of what science thinks moves you to action, this is a good place to start.

My book Ultralearning crossed 1000 reviews on Amazon this year. It’s been gratifying to hear from all the people who enjoyed reading it. (Although it certainly makes the prospect of writing book #2 more daunting!)

Ultralearning: Master hard skills, outsmart the competition and accelerate your career
Ultralearning: Master hard skills, outsmart the competition and accelerate your career

For those looking to dive deeper, I also released a new course with Cal Newport this year, Life of Focus. We had an amazing first session. It was great to work with people over a full three months as they refocused work, lives and minds. If you’re interested, we’ll likely have a session in early 2021 (be sure to add your name on the waiting list to find out).

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