Simple Rules for Life

I try to live my life by some simple rules, presented here in no particular order. These are for work, fun, and everything else in between.


Pareto Principle or 80–20 Rule. 80% of your output comes from 20% of your work. And 20% of your output comes from 80% of your work. Figure out which part is which.

Hard Work. There are 168 hours in a week. You would be amazed how close people can get to that maximum in terms of work hours (I used to work in investment banking). If you work 80 productive hours a week and other people work 40 hours, you can do nearly twice as much.

Serve the Community. You tend to appreciate things more when you work for it (e.g. Ikea bed). The same applies to the organizations and community you are a part of. Offer to participate in public service (community governance, volunteering, donating), and you will get just as much out of it as you put in.

Serve Those Who Need Your Help: In hierarchical organizations, people spend a lot of time trying to impress those who outrank them. Refocus on serving those below and around you. If a student asks for your advice, take the meeting. You used to be that student too. Be someone you would look up to and respect. Create opportunities for those around you.

Sales. For better or for worse, a huge amount of business (and even academia) is sales. Phone calls, presentations, emails, and every formal and informal channel possible. Learn how to present yourself and your work well. Especially if you desire to be an entrepreneur: you have to sell to your customers obviously, but also to your investors (so they invest), your employees (so they join your firm even though it pays less and probably will fail), your family (so they know you aren’t doing something stupid), and yourself (so you can step up and go for it).

Tables at the Club. If you are going to a nightclub, you must buy a table with bottle service. No exceptions. No freeloading either. Otherwise, you should not go.