If You Need Something Interesting to Read

Rummage through Paul Graham’s collected essays. I wrote about his piece on startups a week ago. Since then I’ve realized his writing covers a broad range that goes far beyond the tech industry.

Graham writes with an informal, meandering style that questions accepted beliefs and leads to surprising conclusions. When reading him, I don’t feel like I’m being preached to or instructed. It’s more like sharing a conversation with an old friend. Ideas are shared without egotism. The conclusion doesn’t matter, only finding the truth.

This style differentiates Graham from other writers. He isn’t trying to sell himself or an idea. He isn’t trying to build authority in a niche. This is a guy who’s already made it and just wants to discuss what’s on his mind.

Graham doesn’t try to think for you, he thinks with you. The essays are rather long, so set aside some time. Don’t try to skim. He goes on so many tangents that you’ll get lost.

My favorites so far:

  • Hiring is Obsolete – Graham takes a look at the way the business world is changing. Evidently people don’t do their best work in drab, uniform office buildings.
  • Is It Worth Being Wise? – An attempt at differentiating wisdom and intelligence and an investigation into how human evolution has changed the perception of both.
  • The Age of the Essay – An examination of how we’re taught to write in school and a prediction for the next era of individual expression.

If anyone takes the time to read any of the essays, please take a minute to leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to discuss.