Kevin Kelly's Unsolicited Advice

On the occasions of his 68th and 69th birthdays, technologist Kevin Kelly posted compendia of his favorite “pithy bits of unsolicited advice,” and I thought I’d call out my favorites from the two lists. Click through above to find your own favorites.

  • “… learn from those you disagree with…”
  • “… A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.”
  • “While listening to someone you love keep asking them `Is there more?', until there is no more.”
  • “Rule of 3 in conversation. To get to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper than what they just said. Then again, and once more. The third time’s answer is close to the truth.”
  • “The more you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested.”
  • “… If you mess up, fess up. It’s astounding how powerful this ownership is.”
  • “99% of success is just showing up.”
  • “When you die you take absolutely nothing with you except your reputation.”
  • “Acquiring things will rarely bring you deep satisfaction. But acquiring experiences will.”
  • “How to apologize: Quickly, specifically, sincerely.”
  • “It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse. It’s not a compliment if it comes with a request.”
  • “In all things – except love – start with the exit strategy. Prepare for the ending. Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.”
  • “Train employees well enough they could get another job, but treat them well enough so they never want to.”
  • “Being wise means having more questions than answers.”
  • “Sustained outrage makes you stupid.”
  • “Your best response to an insult is `You’re probably right.' Often they are.”
  • “If you borow something, try to return it in better shape than you received it. Clean it, sharpen it, fill it up.”
  • “Ignore what others may be thinking of you, because they aren’t.”
  • “Always say less than necessary.”
  • “Don’t treat people as bad as they are. Treat them as good as you are.”
  • “You can reduce the annoyance of someone’s stupid belief by increasing your understanding of why they believe it.”
  • “If your goal does not have a schedule, it is a dream.”
  • “The greatest teacher is called `doing.'”
  • “… `I have a rule for X' is the only excuse you need for your own personal policies. …”
  • “Don’t let your email inbox become your to do list.”
  • “Advice like these are not laws. They are like hats. If one doesn’t fit, try”
David Failing
David Failing
Educator and Aspiring Data Scientist