Kevin Kelly had a party earlier this month. It featured a large bubble-maker, a magic present, an ice cream truck, a toy prepare demonstration, and a man who made balloon hats. Kelly, who turned not 6 however 71, invited friends similar to Matt Mullenweg, Hugh Howey, Stewart Brand, and Jaron Lanier. The second-grade vibe was unintentional, Kelly says—“I used to be simply attempting to do issues I assumed had been enjoyable, and a stripper doesn’t curiosity me”—however it was very Kelly, who’s made a profession and a lifetime of making use of a childlike openness to difficult problems with science, know-how, and tradition. In an age the place pervasive AI looms, it’s an angle that would profit us all.
His new ebook, Excellent Advice for Living, tries to boil down what he’s discovered over a lifetime right into a sequence of a number of hundred aphorisms. Right here’s one: “Don’t be the most effective. Be the one.” He started compiling these a couple of years in the past to share along with his children, now younger adults. It’s like Helpful Family Hints from Heloise meets the Dalai Lama. The ebook contains exhortations to advantage, sensible survival ideas, and rephrasings of well-worn chestnuts, similar to “That is true: It’s laborious to cheat an trustworthy individual.” (W.C. Fields, your pocket has been picked!)
As I raced by means of his ebook, the buildup of mind-grenade bonbons, nevertheless pithy and profound, received a bit overbearing. I instructed Kelly it jogged my memory of pompous Polonius’ “Neither a borrower or lender be” speech in Hamlet. “I don’t know who that’s,” Kelly says after I deliver this up. He does admit that binging on his aphorisms in a single session may very well be overkill. “I feel that their native habitat is a bit tweet on-line,” he says. Nonetheless, consuming his almanac in a single gulp reveals a set of themes to Kelly’s thought course of. Favor high quality of life over cash. Be sort. Be sensible. Don’t let anybody cease you from being your self. And all the time reduce away from your self when utilizing a knife.
In any case, the ebook is pure Kelly, who lifehacking guru Tim Ferris as soon as mentioned may be “the most interesting man in the world.” Kelly’s a podcast star (showing on 120 pods this 12 months alone), an AI oracle, and a digital artist who posted an image a day for a 12 months. He’s the last word early adopter—pc conferencing within the early Eighties, donning a VR headset in 1989, extolling AI for many years. After dropping out of faculty in his first 12 months, he and his digital camera started a decades-long on-and-off tour of unseen Asia, which he self-published final 12 months in a three-volume, 30-pound photo book with 9,000 pictures. (It offered out on Kickstarter.) His This American Life episode—about discovering Jesus in Jerusalem and anticipating to die in six months—is a traditional. He’s a cult determine in China. Till the pandemic, he made the majority of his revenue from paid appearances there, accompanied by bodyguards to police the hour-long selfie strains that shaped after his talks.
He’s additionally—brace your self for the Godzilla of disclosures—a buddy, who’s edited me, given me a few of my greatest story concepts, and got here up with the thought of a Hackers Conference to rejoice my first ebook. Oh, and he’s the founding govt editor of WIRED and continues to contribute as its official Senior Maverick. Thanks, Kevin!
Gratitude will unlock all different virtues and is one thing you may get higher at.