Highly Rated Articles

Best Articles on farnam street

Knowing where to start can be a little difficult.

To help, I've compiled a list of the best articles based on popularity, feedback that I've received, requests I get to republish, and length.

If you want to browse categorically, start with decision making and mental models.

Most Shared: Articles with more than 1,000 shares

Mental Models — The best place to start to understand mental models.

Habits vs Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life — The power of habits comes from their automaticity. This is why they are more powerful than goals. Read this article to harness the power of habits.

The Buffett Formula: How To Get Smarter — The simple (but not easy) way to acquire wisdom.

Mistakes — Just because we’ve lost our way doesn’t mean that we are lost forever. In the end, it’s not the failures that define us so much as how we respond.

Warren Buffett: The three things I look for in a person — “Inevitably, the most useful qualities have nothing to do with IQ, grades, or family connections.”

Seneca on The Shortness of Time — Time is invisible so it's easy to spend without proper consideration to its value. Seneca offers a warning on how we squander our time only to regret it.

How To Read A Book — Seriously.

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day: Arnold Bennett on Living a Meaningful Life Within the Constraints of Time — Arnold Bennett’s How to Live on 24 Hours a Day explores a meaningful life by addressing the age-old question: how can we make the best use of our time?

The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything — The Feynman Technique is a mental model that helps you learn faster and increases retention. Read this article to supercharge your learning.

Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform — Second-order thinking is a mental model that smart people like Warren Buffett & Howard Marks use to avoid problems. Read this article to learn how it works.

The happiest people choose the most respectful interpretation when things don't go their way. Read this to increase your happiness.

Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems for Decision Making, Habits, Honesty and More — In this wide-ranging interview, AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant and Shane Parrish, talk about Reading, Happiness, Decision Making, Habits, and Mental Models.

Charlie Munger on Getting Rich, Wisdom, Focus, Fake Knowledge and More — Charlie Munger offers timeless and pithy wisdom on getting rich, focus, fake knowledge, understanding our circle of competence, and so much more.

The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works — Charlie Munger gave the 2007 USC Law School Commencement Address, and within it, outlined a very wise operating system for leading a good life.

The Best Way to Find More Time to Read — Finding more time to read is easy. I'll show you how busy people find time to read and continuously learn without sacrificing what matters in life.

Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport With Anyone — Warning: the content in this post is so effective that I encourage you to think carefully how it is used. I do not endorse or condone the use of these skills in malicious or deceptive ways.

16 Leadership Lessons from a Four Star General — “We like to equate leaders with values we admire, but the two can be separate and distinct.”

Hunter S. Thompson on Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life — You won't find better advice. Anywhere.

Twenty-Five Pages a Day – How to get the Big Books read.

How to Think — Thinking about how we think.

The Work Required To Have An Opinion — “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”

Avoiding Stupidity is Easier than Seeking Brilliance — If you’re an amateur your focus should be on avoiding stupidity.

How Using a Decision Journal can Help you Make Better Decisions — “Odds are you’re going to discover two things. First, you’re right a lot of the time. Second, it’s often for the wrong reasons.”

Richard Feynman: The Difference Between Knowing the Name of Something and Knowing Something — Just because you know what something is called does not mean you understand it.

Eight Things I Learned from Peter Thiel’s Zero To One — There is no formula to innovation.

10 Life Lessons From a Navy SEAL — “If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.”

The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading — This is how I take notes.

Popular Quick Reads: Five Minutes or Fewer

Arthur Schopenhauer on the Dangers of Clickbait — Arthur Schopenhauer Schopenhauer reminds us that the existence of words is no indication of their truth and offers timeless insights on clickbait.

Eudora Welty to The New Yorker: The best job application ever — “I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald offers a list of things to worry about and things not to worry about — Offering a hint of his parenting, the letter from August 1933 concludes with a list of things to worry about and things not to worry about.

Richard Feynman’s Letter on What Problems to Solve — “With you I made a mistake, I gave you the problem instead of letting you find your own.”

Adding Mental Models to Your Mind’s Toolbox — How mental models are useful and how we can prioritize them.

A Two-Step Process For Making Effective Decisions — “One approach is rationality-the way you’d work out a bridge problem: by evaluating the real interests, the real probabilities and so forth. And the other is to evaluate the psychological factors that cause subconscious conclusions-many of which are wrong.”

Charlie Munger's Five Simple Notions to Help Solve Big Problems — The five big, but simple notions Charlie Munger finds useful to begin solving a complex problem.

What You Can Learn About Making Better Decisions From One of Baseball’s Greatest Hitters — “the single most important thing for a hitter was to get a good ball to hit.”

Steve Jobs on Creativity — “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Richard Feynman’s Love Letter to His Wife Sixteen Months After Her Death — This will touch your soul.

Articles that Prompt a Response

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big — Goals are for losers, passion is bullshit, and mediocre skills can make you valuable.

A Technique for Producing Ideas — “the habit of mind which leads to a search for relationships between facts becomes of the highest importance in the production of ideas.”

Einstein on The Essential Feature of Productive Thought — “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”

Creativity and the Necessity of Giving up Your Best Loved Ideas and Starting Over Again — “All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past.”

Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage — What if tomorrow does not resemble today?

The Unwritten Rules of Management — “#1. Learn to say, ‘I don’t know.' If used when appropriate, it will be often.”

Carol Dweck: The Two Mindsets And The Power of Believing That You Can Improve — Dweck’s work shows the power of our most basic beliefs. Whether conscious or subconscious, they strongly “affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it.” Much of what we think we understand of our personality comes from our “mindset.” This both propels us and prevents us from fulfilling our potential.

Albert Einstein on Sifting the Essential from the Non-Essential — “I soon learned to scent out what was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from everything else, from the multitude of things that clutter up the mind.”

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son — “College doesn’t make fools; it develops them. It doesn’t make bright men; it develops them. A fool will turn out a fool, whether he goes to college or not, though he’ll probably turn out a different sort of a fool.”

Tiny Beautiful Things — “Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career.”

All Models Are Wrong … But Some Are Useful — Even the most useful models are imperfect. When we understand their limitations, we can use them to make better decisions, reduce anxiety, and free up time.

Popular Long Articles: 10 Minutes or More

How did Charles Darwin Become an Effective Thinker? Follow the Golden Rule — Darwin's habit of forced objectivity helped him see reality clearly, even though he wasn't nearly the smartest person of his time.

Culture Eats Strategy: Nucor's Ken Inverson on Building a Different Kind of Company — “Steel is about as bad a business as you could invent. Yet in Ken Iverson’s 30+ year reign, Nucor compounded its per-share earnings at a rate of about 17% per annum. There must have been something going on here.”

Active Listening — Some of the most successful people in the world use active listening to avoid problems and develop meaningful relationships. Read this to learn more.

Proximate vs Root Causes: Why You Should Keep Digging to Find the Answer — Distinguishing between proximate and root causes is an important part of continuously improving. Read this to learn more about this mental model.