Martin Rue

Martin Rue


Software developer. Language geek.
Manchester & Berlin.


My Bookshelf

Here’s my bookshelf, containing the non-programming books I’ve read. Each book links to my notes and an “impact” score, which marks (out of 5) how much each book impacted me personally.


Steve Jobs

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 1451648537

Notes:

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

The goal was never to beat the competition, or to make a lot of money. It was to do the greatest thing possible, or even a little greater.

It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.

Simplicity isn't just a visual style. It's not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.

As Dylan says, if you're not busy being born, you're busy dying.

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That's true for companies, and it's true for products.

I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it's inside the box. A great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody's going to see it.

He takes contrary positions to create more discussion, because it may lead to a better result. So if you don't feel comfortable disagreeing, then you'll never survive.

Even when he was barely conscious, his strong personality came through. At one point the pulmonologist tried to put a mask over his face when he was sedated. Jobs ripped it off and mumbled that he hated the design and refused to wear it. He ordered them to bring five different options and he would pick the one he liked.

The thing that struck me was his intensity. Whatever he was interested in he would generally carry to an irrational extreme.

In the annals of innovation, new ideas are only part of the equation. Execution is just as important.

Hertzfeld recalled that Gates just sat there coolly, looking at Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. "Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it, I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it."

You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.

More…

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 1591841666

Notes:

Quit more by quitting the right things.

If you’re in a cul-de-sac, quit immediately. Keeping on going won’t result in improvement.

The dip is a natural part of the process of becoming the best in the world. Winners find a way through the dip.

Many people quit in the dip when continuing is what they need to do instead.

Muscles don’t grow because we use them. They grow because those who know how to make them grow know that you must pay your dues, push through the dip, and arrive on the other side where those final seconds cause the damage you seek to cause growth. Most people quit in the dip.

Work toward being the best in the world. In today’s world the best is 10x the second best in terms of opportunity. If you don’t have the resources to be the best in the world at X, be the best in the world at a smaller version of X.

The big benefits accrue to those who don’t quit during the dip.

Quitting the things you don’t care about, the things you’re mediocre at, the cul-de-sacs, frees up your resources to tackle the dips for the things you do care about.

If you’re going to quit, quit before you start. Reject the system. Don’t play the game if you realise you can’t be the best in the world.

When faced with the dip, most people try to average their way to success, create mediocre work, which is precisely why so few people end up as the best in the world.

To be a superstar you can’t just survive the dip. You must use the dip to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and yes, choose it.

When you feel yourself realising that you’re being average, realise that you have two choices: quit, or be exceptional.

Isn’t your time too valuable to be squandered on average. Average feels safe but it’s not, it’s invisible. The choice to remain average is just another form of quitting.

While starting is thrilling, it’s not until you get through the dip that your efforts pay off.

If you’re not able to get through the dip, and get through it in an exceptional way, you must quit, now.

The opposite of quitting isn’t waiting around, no the opposite of quitting is rededication. The opposite of quitting is an invigorated new strategy, designed to break the problem apart.

Short term pain has more impact on most people than long term benefits do, which is it’s so important for you to amplify the long term benefits of not quitting.

No one quits the Boston marathon at mile 25.

Quit the tactics that aren’t working. Getting out of a cul-de-sac is not a moral failing, it’s just smart.

Failure happens when you give up. When there are no other options. When you quit so often that you’ve used up all your time and resources. Quitting smart is how you avoid failure.

Never quit something with long term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.

Realising that quitting is worth your focus and consideration is the first step to becoming the best in the world.

If you enter a market too big or too loud for the kind of resources you have, your message is going to get lost.

If it’s not going to put a dent in the world, quit, right now. Quit and use that void to find the energy to assault the dip that matters.

More…

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 0195374614

Notes:

Coming soon.

Fluent Forever

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 0385348118

Notes:

Coming soon.

La Teorio Nakamura

Impact: ★★☆☆☆
ISBN: 9788089366897

Notes:

Coming soon.

How to Learn a Foreign Language

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 9781442369023

Notes:

Coming soon.

Rakonto de Ovoj

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 9874930785565

Notes:

Coming soon.

The Internet of Money: Volume 1

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 1537000454

Notes:

Coming soon.

The Internet of Money: Volume 2

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 194791006X

Notes:

Coming soon.

Esperanto: Learning and Using the International Language

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 154300654X

Notes:

Coming soon.

Being Colloquial in Esperanto

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 0939785048

Notes:

Coming soon.

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 9780691156668

Notes:

Coming soon.

Fluent in 3 Months

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 0007543921

Notes:

Coming soon.

Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 0961454733

Notes:

Coming soon.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 1591847745

Notes:

Coming soon.

Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 9780500517246

Notes:

Coming soon.

Do the Work

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 1936891379

Notes:

Coming soon.

Steal Like An Artist 

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 9780761169253

Notes:

Coming soon.

Show Your Work!

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 9780761178972

Notes:

Coming soon.

And Then There Were None

Impact: ★☆☆☆☆
ISBN: 9780008123208

Notes:

Coming soon.

How Children Succeed

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 1847947115

Notes:

Coming soon.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 9780091906818

Notes:

Coming soon.

Reminisces of a Stock Operator

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 1946963062

Notes:

Coming soon.

Delivering Happiness

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 9781455508907

Notes:

Coming soon.

The Thank You Economy

Impact: ★★★★☆
ISBN: 9780061914188

Notes:

Coming soon.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Impact: ★★★★★
ISBN: 0007256531

Notes:

Coming soon.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Impact: ★★★☆☆
ISBN: 149036188X

Notes:

Coming soon.