you and your work

i was quite impressed by this talk transcript by richard hamming. his observations over 40 years as to why so few with the potential for greatness deliver ring very true. some of the takeaways:

  • pick your battles. don’t fight ‘the system’ when you should be pursuing your goals instead: The appearance of conforming gets you a long way
  • knowledge and productivity are like compound interest. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity.
  • Plant the acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow, which could be redefined as don’t get trapped by your success
  • Pick an important problem where you have a reasonable attack
  • Communicate the relevance of your work to a wide audience outside your field

thanks, lambda