Talking with friends and subscribers, I often find myself referencing books that I read and how that's influenced my thinking. In an attempt to consolidate and drive more value specifically for startup investors, I'll be test driving a new format called "Cheat Sheets" (working title.) This type of content is very popular, as you'll see at the bottom, and I will outsource much of my work to those sites. The specific value add here is to deliver a recommendation as well as specific takeaways for the startup investor. I will only write these posts for books I've actually read/listened to completion. As always, feedback welcome, feel free to comment on this post or write me at—thanks!



Scott Young is a remarkable auto-didact. He is famous for the MIT Challenge, where he self-studied the entirety of a four-year MIT computer science undergraduate degree in one year. An excellent book for investors, especially those who want to invest in industries and startups they may have relatively little professional experience in. I skimmed the book the first time, took notes, read it in its entirety on a long train ride, then listened to it again as an audiobook. I also used this as a companion guide to self-learning as I was banging my head deploying this new CMS system, Ghost.


  • If stuck on doing something, choose someone (blogger, software engineer, investor, etc.) whose 1-2 steps ahead and expert interview.
  • Only spend 10% of target learning time on preparation. Any more and is procrastinating, any less is like "buying everything you need on a trip" on the road.
  • Nine principles: MF DDR FRIE
  • Metalearning: draw a map, expert interview, concepts, facts, procedures (genesis of this post format)
  • Focus: identify if you have problems starting (procrastination,) problems maintaining (distraction,) or have a bad fit (workouts need pump up music, writing might need classical music)
  • Directness: when possible, try to do the thing in the context you need e.g. speak with natives if you want to improve speaking, if preparing for Jeopardy, practice

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