A modern list of things to do before you are 30

From the desk of Eva Vivalt, who is not yet 30, here is part of the list:

1. Code

2. Be unemployed (unless you do 1)

3. Have a meme go viral

4. Try an app relating to “the quantified self”. (Whether to track spending, sleep, etc.)

5. Make a mistake publicly on the internet where it will live on forever

Travel is prominent as well.  These two items remind me of Ben Casnocha:

8. Learn about behavioural economics and the mistakes you might make, such as how you may be affected by projection bias. You can easily waste a lot of time being upset about things that won’t matter in time or going the wrong direction because of mistaken beliefs

9. Remember that xkcd comic strip about the value of becoming more efficient at a task? When you’re young, you stand to benefit for a lot longer from any positive improvements you can make. So figure out how to eat well, what kind of things make you happy, etc. Invest a lot of time in learning, not necessarily formally

She sums it up like this:

 I feel that with increasing inequality, using your youth well is all the more important, something I bet Tyler Cowen would agree with.

What would you add to the list?


10. Move out of your parents' house.

Aha, this old joke about kids' dependency is still not funny even after 30 years...

1 Go to space
2 Communicate with the "TC"
3 Eat a dog
4 Own your own business
5 Talk to lots of 10s
6 Have sex on marijuana

I would remove "Code". The idea that everyone needs to code is ludicrous

It's something you should do, not something you do for your whole life.

Of course, I'm biased, since I think it's fun to do, while I don't like travel, so I think that's a dumb idea.

At least in the NYC which is where the author appears to be located, reference to international travel is a signal for a) mid to high wealth and b) cultural sophistication. It's practically required for success in the dating market.

I disagree. I think being able to code in at least one language, perhaps not well, but to the extent of understanding what coding is or how to algorithmize a problem, is an essential skill today. As essential a skill as arithmetic used to be.

It's a great asset to guard against fuzzy thinking I think.


The vast majority of people are not intelligent enough to code.

As a professional programmer, I really have to disagree with this.

It's truly not a hard task; the barrier to entry comes from the mind numbing, discouraging amount of historical details one needs to know to be proficient at it. Give me six weeks and I can make almost anyone in a web developer.

Web development is to coding what changing a tire is to auto mechanics.


Get someone to write a device driver or kernel module in 6 weeks from scratch and I'll be impressed.

To the average tech marketing person or recruiter, C++ and Flex are just two different programming languages. And VMWare and Tumblr are two different high-tech companies.

You are confusing intelligence and knowledge. Most people don't even care.

Does Matlab count?

Does pseudocode count? Is she really saying that coming up with a formalized logical sequence is what's important, or writing executable code in a currently supported programming language?

Without something to test against it may be hard for a beginner to know if he wrote pseudo-code or bullshit. So I'd prefer a real language whatever kind.

In my book Matlab counts.

No. Pseudocode does not count.

Pseudocode works just as well if your formalization is buggy.

Why on Earth wouldn't it?

"Hello World" ?

Does the Logo turtle count?

Regarding "I would remove 'Code'," I'm of two minds. Having coded for 30 plus years, I think it has shaped my brain. It has made me pedantic on issues of logic (because pedantic code works). It has made me question complexity (because complexity leads to error, and is a general pain). I think naming is arbitrary, and (carrying over to economics) so is price. Names and values change. They will be different tomorrow.

It would be boring if everyone picked up the same world view, but an exposure might be useful. (And it is frustrating to me that in systems like politics bad logic can live forever, with repetition, rather than die like a program on its first test run.)

I don't code for a living. I did however make myself an expert in automating small tasks in Perl and then Python in my late 20s and early 30s and helped peers along the way. That preparation was the difference-maker in getting a key job down the road and probably added $1M to my career earnings.

I'd put "Code" above the rest.

That's exactly what I am doing, writing a bunch of scripts in bash & perl & sed & awk, ancillary to my primary job, but sadly I haven't found a way to monetize that bit. Sigh. I'm still hoping. How did you pull it off?

Hi Brian,
I want to learn HW to automate takes using scripting languages just like you but I don't know where to start. Do you have an informal curriculum advice for self-study? I would greatly appreciate any advice.

I think - as a professional programmer - that every time I hear "code" as a verb I wonder if they mean "medical coding".

Code is best as a noun.

I disagree, coding skill is important. I wouldn't hire an accountant or admin without them, something that might have been ridiculous to say 20 years ago. While one can certainly have a good career without ever coding, the inability to understand what's driving most businesses these days is will act more and more as a drag on lifetime earnings.

Most careers involving money are going to bump up against spreadsheet formulas and probably a bit of VBA. Those that don't -- and they are few -- are going to require tracking names, dates or some other currency of business, or putting together documents and web pages, and people who can't work comfortably with the programs that munge these will have a harder and harder time. Importing lists, cleaning them up and exporting them is a lot easier if you understand some basic coding principles.

Middle level managers, small business owners and execs (presidents!) are going to run into software projects at some point that they'll need to reason about and make sound decisions regarding. While I'd contend that knowing how to put together short scripts and small programs could actually make you overconfident in making decisions for these projects, survey courses in software project management and software development methodologies which included hands-on with a semester-long real-world project would at least help you know what questions you should be asking of whom, even if it's just to get a feel for whether or not your IT department or consultants are blowing smoke.

In science, engineering and a lot of Wall Street, you're pretty much lost these days without coding skills, or you're dependant on someone else. Even ignoring the code you need to write to clean up and analyze your data, most of the lab and test equipment requires automation and bigger environments are usually simulated first. On the low end these coding skills are somewhat orthogonal to those of professional developers who have to concern themselves with things like teamwork, usability, robustness, scalability and maintainability, but as teams get larger and the projects longer, the distinctions blur. In really big projects, CS experts get tapped.

31. Properly manage your website load so it doesn't go down when Tyler Cowen links to it

I guess she didn't get to #1 yet. That, or like some of my less ambitious colleagues, defines "code" only as "write software that mostly works" and not "design, write, test, deploy, manage and support software."

Does anyone else get the feeling that bloggers are beginning to add one-line references to TC because he follows (and links to) whoever refers to him on the web? Good way to get traffic.

+1 I got that feeling too. Especially was annoyed by one recent ( overrated ) blogger that Tyler seems to link a lot to.

Learn to cook--I mean really learn classic technique. You will gain and give joy your whole life

While I like cooking and have developed a few specialties, and appreciate that your suggestion might be fun, the advice doesn't fit the list.

It's like telling people to learn to fight with swords. There might be enjoyment there, but it's hardly essential.

To understand the modern world, you have to understand software at a pretty deep level. You don't need to know anything about cooking other than that heat kills germs.

If you assume the goal should be "understanding the modern world", you're going to get some pretty different results from normal people.

That was just my interpretation of the list. Coding or being unemployed are presumably not on there to maximize your enjoyment.

On the philosophic side, Descartes considered 'Doubt' the foundation of any understanding:

' If you would be a real seeker of truth -- at least once in your life you should doubt all things, including your own existence '

Descartes - that's another guy I'm not taking life advice from.
(Seriously, though, it's the "if you would be a real seeker of truth" part I take issue with, not the things that follow.)

Pick three jobs you absolutely think you'd hate to do and try them out for a month. Pick three books you think you'd hate to read and conscientiously work through to finish reading them. Decide on a country or people which you absolutely hate for whatever reasons and go live there for a while.

The ability to do things you think you hate might be increasingly relevant to success.

Sounds like advice from Calvin's dad.

Or Red Forman.

"Spend at least three months as a manual laborer" is really good advice for the East Coast Ivy set that this is presumably geared towards.

But "do some computer stuff" and "take fun vacations" is more what they want to hear.

I did manual labor for a slightly shorter stretch once. I didn't really see the benefit. I don't like manual labor. But I knew that when before I started. So I disagree.

If you'd only finished the whole quarter of manual labor, just imagine the enlightenment you might have achieved!

Yeah, manual labor sharpens your focus a bit. Grew up on a farm, but also spent a summer digging ditches on a crew laying fiber optic cable. Helped clarify why I needed to do well in school.

Smart, upwardly mobile, healthy people should save at least $5,000 a year for 8 years in their Roth retirement account. Put it in a low fee 100% equities index fund or ETF. You and your partner could have $600k in real retirement assets even if you never save again for retirement. Even graduate students should at least consider using loans (especially low interest deferred government ones) to finance this savings because your tax bracket is likely going way up.

Sounds square, but lots of people have trouble saving once they have kids in their early 30's when they enter the rug rat race. Then they don't start up much until their kids graduate college.

Learn to live on less than you make. [insert famous Dickens quote here]

Don't despair. Many of the things you didn't get to do when you were under 30, you may be able to do again once you retire. [Example: most bicyclists going across the U.S. are either under 30 or over 60.]

I don't think graduate students can fund Roth IRAs with loans, unless they have part-time jobs or some other source of earned income.

You are correct. However, the vast majority of PhD students make more than $5k a year. Masters students often do not but are missing many fewer years of work. Even lawyers only miss three. So make your $14k as a TA, live on it, and borrow $5 in Stafford loans and invest that cash. Your earned income will entitle you to contribute to the Roth IRA and they don't care that you borrowed the cash to fund it.

This is terrible advice. Not only are the returns in the retirement account not at all guaranteed to exceed the interest rate on student loans (even after interest forbearance during school years), the student loans are non-dischargeable obligations you're stuck with even if you don't make money in the future. Even if one does borrow the money, it's better used for current spending than saved. Which is likelier to have higher utility, $5k today when it represents a 35% increase purchasing power, or $20-75k in 40 years, when it will represent maybe 10% of assets? This is basic consumption smoothing. You have to be at once exceedingly pessimistic about future earning potential and optimistic about longevity for that to make sense - maybe it's a good strategy for a monk?

I wish I had gone into debt more when I was in my twenties. I scrimped and saved to keep my debt levels very low, a few years later, in my thirties, I was earning more in one month than I earned in a year in my early twenties. So I denied myself lots of pleasures for no reason. But I recognize I was pretty lucky and would hesitate to give this advice to others.

This does not require labor market pessimism. In graduate school your tax rates are basically zero (maybe even negative). If you expect to be in a much higher tax bracket later, this massively increases the benefits of the strategy I outline. All it requires is relatively low marginal utility of consumption in graduate school. People know their own situation, and if their MU is high in graduate school and low later, they should go ahead and borrow if they understand the risks. However, they may lack imagination of the MU of consumption when they are the parents of small children, work long hours during daylight hours and therefore can't take a 90 minute break to cook their own dinner and clean up afterwards, or simply ill.

But there is little inconsistent with being worried about the steepness in the growth rate of their personal income and optimistic about broader trends in health and economic growth.

You realize this is bullshit right? You are assuming, I guess, an 8% return. And you'll defend that by saying, well, 'stock history'. And fine, that's the history. But that same history gives you a 3-4% real rate of return. And 4% is optimistic. So if inflation moves back up to its post war trend rate of 4%, you might get an 8% return (though we're looking at <2% for the forseeable future). And then you'll have $600K when you retire. But in 35 years, $600K won't be what it is today. Best to quote these things in real returns. And at 4% $40K will become $160K over 35 years. Sounds a lot less impressive that way. Maybe worth it, maybe not. If you expect to see a big increase in income from your 20s to your 30s and 40s, don't worry about saving much in your 20s. Just go have fun. But either way, realize that you need to save a fuckload more money than you think if you don't want to be living mostly on SS.

This is the best advice I've seen so far. +1

I don't have a great example of something to do, but I wonder if spending a lot of time trying to counter our biases is worth the effort. Kahneman demonstrated that many cognitive biases affect us regardless of whether we are aware of them or not. Sometimes you just have to say, this will be good enough, and move on.

At the risk of sounding like some loser at Loser's Anonymous, I code, am independently wealthy, am handsome (6 foot, BMI of an athlete), am a "nice guy", am funny (I've done standup), own my own business (online, which allows me to live anywhere in the world), travel (in the Philippines now, my fifth country where I've lived more than a year), can cook well, and, here's the punchline: in all my first 35 years in the USA, I had exactly one girlfriend. And she was foreign, fresh-off-the-boat, and I am firmly convinced she did not know what I was saying half the time she was laughing. She left me for another guy. We did have fun, yes.

What's wrong with the USA when a guy like me can't get laid? Personally, that's more important to me than the Great Stagnation. But don't feel too sorry just yet: I found the Philippines, which is awesome for guys like me. I have a blind date Wednesday with a friend of a friend...wish me luck!

"BMI of an athlete" is not the compliment you may believe it is.

I don't know, not to defend Ray, but hasn't this been studied? I thought male attractiveness peaked at a BMI around 30, irrespective of body composition, while female attractiveness peaked around 19. This sort of makes sense, as a guy weighing 155 pounds with 8% bodyfat, like a distance runner might, looks like a boy and not a man. While a 200 pound guy at 18% bodyfat at least looks mature even if he doesn't exercise at all. I'm becoming convinced girls are mostly just choosing guys on the basis of who would win in a fight...

I took Ray to mean he was six foot, 210, but Ray might not have known all this and been trying to say he was skinny; it's hard to tell.

Ah, finally a Marginal Revolution topic I can speak confidently on...
I am 5 ft 10 and 189 pounds, 9% body fat (27 BMI), and have been as big as 240. I am not natural. A BMI of 30, with low body fat, will look absolutely massive, much larger than anyone you see regularly, unless you hang out at Muscle Beach.

A 5 ft 10 guy who weighs 155 lbs and is legitimately 8% body fat will actually look quite robust. People under-estimate their body fat all time -- once you get above 15%, you look soft and flabby, and there are plenty of guys who lift, walk around convinced they are healthy and strong are really just borderline obese, squeezing in 34 waists and justifying it by saying they're large-boned or bulking.

I don't know, 155 pounds and 5 ft 10 is really skinny. You have 30 pounds of lean mass on that guy. You're talking about a guy who makes crossfitters look big - I tried to pick an extreme example there. Certainly you would never guess such a person was athletic if they were clothed. In any event, this has also been studied, and if I recall correctly up to some high limit girth is as important in attractiveness for males as height. At the high end I more or less agree. Powerlifters, despite carrying tons of muscle, usually just look fat to lay people.

I weigh 175 lbs and have a 33 waist, can run a 10k (which I train for constantly, they have a nice 400m track near where I live) under 47 minutes. Net worth exceeds $5M, if you count my intestate share (that means grandma's money I am due to inherit). Not bragging, just saying. No I'm not better than you, please. Well, maybe I am. But really I'm a nice guy! Girls here btw don't know or care about how rich or smart I am (and they would not even understand what this money means, nor appreciate a university education, seriously, these girls are so happy if you just buy them a new mobile phone), all they care about is body type. And being tall and fit I get "Hi Joe" and "Where you going?" all day long! You SE Asia sex tourists know what I'm saying. No I don't do too much of that anymore either. Roosh V Forum--I get invites to this sort of stuff from a friend of mine here in person, a sort of lifestyle coach. He seems happy but I think its just marketing. I will find Mrs. Lopez, like TC did, and like Eva V, just a matter of time that's all. Thanks all Ray Lopez supporters! Come to the PH it's really great here for single guys. You do get a lot of losers from the States but also quality guys like me. Lots of military and retirees too. No inbetweens though, lol, it's either super rich or dirt poor. There's no middle class in developing countries, as TC says will happen in the USA. He's right you know.

So you're skinny. Stop the running, eat more and learn basic heavy barbell exercises. That will help a lot.

Assuming you are not trolling (big if), you are being trolled by the pinoy girls if you believe they don't know.

"I’m becoming convinced girls are mostly just choosing guys on the basis of who would win in a fight…"

No. The secret to female mate selection is best understood by the hidden gem of the internet, known as Chateau Heartiste; it can be summed up in the pithy rhyme "Alpha fux and Beta bux." It isn't much more complicated than that.

I'm not unaware of that and did not mean to suggest that gaining 40 pounds would solve all Ray's problems.

But looking like you're really skilled at running away doesn't help.

I suppose I should have said the physical attributes women are selecting for are those that determine whether the man could win in a fight. There's some correlation with attitude as well. Meekness, for example, is both unattractive and a disadvantage in a fight.

"What’s wrong with the USA when a guy like me can’t get laid?"

Rereading your first paragraph carefully may provide some insight.

Ray is a smart and informative contributor to this blog. But couching his desire for contact with the fairer sex in terms of language like "getting laid" is probably not the best way to proceed to meet smart, desirable, attractive, educated, mature, accomplished etc etc women...

Thor, you forgot Strong and Independent.

Ray needs to Man Up, abandon his life in the Philippines, and marry an accomplished western woman his own age.

Lawlz, speaking of the topic; being a rollover mangy sure isn't going to work. You don't "stoke femininity" by being a complete sycophant, despite the common myth to the contrary.

@Kabal--that's what my sister says...nooo! I will not go quietly into the night, marrying some old middle aged person like me. Youth. Like Joe Conrad said.
@Finch--It's true I need more barbell arms. But finding a decent weight lifting club is actually a problem here, at least in this small town I'm in (I'm not in Manila).

He writes like a 15 year old virgin poser.

I don't know how a guy as old as he claims to be here (significantly older than 35) can't see how it comes off.

Ray - serious answer: Wait until the first of the month and signup to join the Roosh V Forum. You can start lurking on there today.

It took me until this post to realize that Ray Lopez is a parody of the typical MR commentator. I guess this means I am not part of the High IQ audience he writes for!

Wow. Thanks. It took me until your post to realize that, but now it makes perfect sense. I feel somehow better, I had started to have pity for the guy.

I can't decide if Ray is being too honest or too fake here but I feel certain it's one or the other.

Being rich can get you laid. But $5M is not rich enough. And looks are about a lot more than being athletic. But it's hardly difficult to get laid in the US if you know what you're doing. Clearly you don't. Sorry.

This all strikes me as implausible. I suspect there is something material that is being withheld here. I'm not saying getting a girl is always the easiest thing in the world, but it can be done with near certainty if you wait out there long enough.

Are you very shy?

@Floccina? Shy? No. I've done standup comedy, won a prize for it, and when in the USA was an officer who gave speeches. I think one of the astronauts --was it Neil Armstrong?-- said giving a speech was harder than piloting a spaceship for him. For me it's nothing.

@mpowell--you are correct, $5M net worth is no big deal in the USA, I kid you not. I know people who make that much in a year. But outside the USA it is a big deal, considering a house here in the Philippines costs $20k USD and the average family makes about $4k USD a year. BTW as a westerner you cannot own a house or land Fee Simple Absolute, just like in Mexico.

> mpowell–you are correct, $5M net worth is no big deal in the USA

Depends what you mean by a "big deal", but the statistics I can find suggest this is somewhat near, maybe a bit above, the 1%
level for a household. Presumably this is a yet more rarified level for a single younger man.

No definition of big deal is going to make this an (actual) big deal in silicon valley or nyc, I get that. But still, I'd love to be there,
and would be looking in other directions for the source of my romantic woes.

The question to ask is, how does $5M impact your lifestyle? Conservatively, it yields $100-$200K/year, retaining enough value to preserve the yield against inflation. And that puts you in the top 10%, not 1%. But more importantly for this discussion, how are you going to use this wealth to pick up women? In order to make it really clear that you have more wealth than 90% or 99% of the other guys out there you have to spend it ostentatiously. Because plenty of those other guys are willing to dedicate significant resources to impressing women. So $5M is not enough to really standout unless you are going to blow through it well before retirement. You can certainly use extra wealth as leverage to make the whole process of meeting women much easier, but it won't help if you're hopeless otherwise.

Well I am very shy but I can give a speech, no one talks back at you when you give a speech not that I doubt you when you say that you are not shy. I am very awkward talking to strangers one on one back and forth but I can give a speech to a large group and occasionally do. I am very shy to confront anyone.

This seems like it's exclusively for smart, healthy, high openness-to-experience people with disposable income and without family obligations or geographical ties.

Anyway, I'd second "learn to cook" and add "get married." Particularly if you're female, particularly if you want kids.

I agree that you'd want a very different list if you were trying to maximize your happiness. It would include save, get married (choose a spouse well and invest considerable effort in that process), spend money on experiences rather than things, and be moderately (and not extremely) successful in a profession.

Sure. Or what if we were trying to get "being a good [Christian, Muslim, Jew]" etc. (for whatever definitions)? Or "situating yourself in a position where you can responsibly have/care for children and take care of your parents"? I think most of the variance in lists is going to be because people have different goals and audiences in mind - that's where the work is. So if you have a non-standard goal (and weird audience), that's something to at least be aware of and acknowledge, and ideally defend your choice of.

Do a lot of volunteer work


Find a career that cannot be outsourced or automated

Fund an IRA or 401K (compound interest!)

Marry rich!

Learn something new each day

#3 I'm pretty sure I invented a fast food product. I pitched it to my friend while standing in line, as "what they should do." Turned around to see two suits looking at each other like "we should." It appeared a month later.

This could be simultaneous invention. Very common, as I work with inventions all the time. I've had that happen too (invent a software product only to see others are doing the same thing at the same time). Sometimes an idea is just "in the air", to paraphrase Keynes, "castles in the air" theory (http://finance.wikia.com/wiki/Castle-in-the-Air_Theory). To get rich you simply build the castle before it becomes mainstream, then sell it, like the dot-com millionaires...well like you jp. Or, maybe the suits just stole it, that's possible too.

They actually used a small variation for the name I proposed in line too. So, it would have to be a pretty big coincidence. (I also know that this was the home-base store for the fast food chain, with corporate out back.)

Out of curiosity, what was the device?

Years ago, Del Taco, had a single level of (mild) hot sauce. I told the story in line of (then east coast) chicken wings and "scorchers". I said they should do that, have levels of hot sauce. "Del Scorcho" appeared shortly. (I am very pleased that they've upped it three levels, now with habenero.)

Learn how to use basic tools. Coding falls into this category since code is really just a tool to solve problems and coding is just learning how to use it to some degree of proficiency. However, being competent with hammer, saw, etc. is also important as using tools is power.

Other ideas? Yelp restaurants. Filter best/cheapest. Go eat. (Either an adventure, or a way of life.)

Some of this is good. I am 27 now and have found the following useful:
- rather than travel without purpose, use your time in or just after college to do some >6 month (paid) internships, freelance research, masters courses etc, preferably in other countries where people speak other languages
- always write (reports, letters - anything of sufficient length). You learn to collect thoughts
- try out a few jobs, at least one of which is consulting. You will work until at least 70 and the rate of creative destruction is high. You also don't want to end up being bored. Learn to be flexible.

10. Learn a marketable skill, for when increasing inequality ends with the proles burning parasitic organizations like the World Bank to the ground. Alternatively, use your 5 remaining years of relatively high SMV to find a husband with a marketable skill.

I would replace the whole list with:

1) Don't live your life by a checklist.

That was the preamble. :)

"I disagree with the idea of these lists at all (who wants to be told what to do in a cookie-cutter way?), but I felt it would still be a fun exercise to think about what a modern update might look like."

Then I can add
2) But if you do, at least have a sense of humor about it :-)

Sorry for the site issues. Wasn't expecting the traffic, but fortunately now I know about the issue.

In the meantime, here is the full list:

1. Code
2. Be unemployed (unless you do 1)
3. Have a meme go viral
4. Try an app relating to "the quantified self". (Whether to track spending, sleep, etc.)
5. Make a mistake publicly on the internet where it will live on forever
6. Realize everyone else does, too, or if they don't they aren't doing anything worthwhile
7. Go somewhere. Could be a different country, even just a different part of the country. My friend Casey puts it: "TRAVEL YOUR ASS OFF. You don't have your entire life to have an utter lack of responsibility if you're planning to have kids."
8. Learn about behavioural economics and the mistakes you might make, such as how you may be affected by projection bias. You can easily waste a lot of time being upset about things that won't matter in time or going the wrong direction because of mistaken beliefs
9. You remember that xkcd comic strip about the value of becoming more efficient at a task? When you're young, you stand to benefit for a lot longer from any positive improvements you can make. So figure out how to eat well, what kind of things make you happy, etc. Invest a lot of time in learning, not necessarily formally
10. Crowdsource something (or crowdfund - did you know there are even sites now where you can crowdfund your personal travel? Don't know how well they work...)
11. Outsource something. Learn what you can or can't accomplish this way
12. Speak with people. It can sometimes help you more than anything else. Relatedly, hang out with amazing people who are better than you
13. Give back. You are what you repeatedly do. If you don't exercise your other-regarding preferences they will wither
14. One last related point, courtesy of my friend Adam: "Spend time doing what you want to do later: everything you do now determines what you are good (or better) at later. If you spend all your time doing nothing, you will only be good at nothing when you want to be able to do something."

Thanks for the suggestions!

Thanks for posting the full list, and GOOD LUCK!

As someone who turned thirty this year, I can safely say I did all but two -
being unemployed (I prefer to take long stretches of unpaid vacation) and starting a meme (the giving back part is perhaps a bit of a stretch).

As for 14, that taught me I dont want to code for my living :). I also do not particularly care to travel or to live abroad (did both, less than many of my peers but enough to realize it's not for me). I finally largely can't be bothered to talk to most people.

Site's back up! (Knock on wood.)

Better formatting and a bit of a preamble there. Thanks for all the kind thoughts.

Thanks for the list, Eva! I found it very interesting. It is always nice to hear the thoughts of someone in a similar situation. Keep up the good work! You've certainly gained some well-deserved new followers...

Commit suicide.

This should be at the top if you are actually considering the quantified self gimmick.

Interesting. I think goals or lists like these say more about who you aspire to be than who you are. Write down 10 things you accomplished before 30 and that's who you are (or at least who you think you are). Both are healthy activities and it's also fun to see how your lists differ from those that others would make for you. I can claim 7 or 8 of these (despite the fact that some didn't really exist then) but honestly I would not have written down a few even ex post as noteworthy and there are huge ones missing. Lastly, no one should need AIO to tell them youth is a precious time ... path dependence, compound interest and depreciation have long made that point, along with pop culture.

The trouble with lists for women and especially young women is that it puts too much pressure to perform, and that causes neurosis. Think of all the anxiety that will result because you did no get married by 27 or whatever other goal you have. And, with the Great Stagnation, the chances of becoming wealthy for a 20-something, without inheriting their money, is about zero. Invent a great product? Don't get me started. I've personally seen young women get rich inventing (can't get too specific, but you've probably seen and heard of both of them) but they are the exceptions. There's really no way out of our current dilemma until we crash and restart IMO, we are at the tail end of a great era about to end, not unlike the fin de siècle theme of Thomas Mann's novel The Magic Mountain (ironically where Davos economic summits are held). No I've not read Mann but know enough about it from Wikipedia, thanks.

our neuroses are part and parcel of our life experience, that which sets up apart from the machines and others with their different neuroses ... I would not blame this lists for the anxiety and a system reboot does not sound a winner either. I enjoyed Magic Mountain (that was a pre-30 read) but would recommend something more pragmatic like Give and Take (a via Miles rec) for now.

You spend too much time in the manosphere - while a lot of the stuff is true, it's not the healthiest place for your mind to spend too much time.

why learn to code (if you're not going to use it professionally that is) as opposed to learning to write euclidean geometry proofs?

This list is ok, but I think I can do better.

1. Develop skills. When you are young your brain is more plastic so its easier. And you'll have more time to use them so its a better return on investment (this combines 1, 9 and 14)

2. Have a lot of sex.

3. Set yourself up for an interesting day-to-day life. Having a career you like helps with that. Having children helps a lot. Disposable income helps. Friends and hobbies help. The point is that having interesting experiences or accomplishments in the past is ok, but its nothing compared to having something interesting to do today.

If you're a meat eater, kill and butcher at least one animal yourself.

If someone wants to start a hate group for those who hate people who make or like lists like this, let me know.

would you like to re-post your daily negations for everyone? I liked that list a lot, grumpy.

It was a poem not a list.

well it's a wonderful (grumpy) *poem* ... and when I saw Eva's *list* it was the first thing I thought of. a study in contrasts.

I feel that with increasing inequality, using your youth well is all the more important

... I have no idea what that's supposed to mean.

Would using youth well be less important if everyone was worse off but more "equal"?

Seriously, what does "inequality" have to do with what you do with your life, on way or another?

(I also don't get "Have a meme go viral".

I mean, sure, it'd be amusing if you did it as a side effect of just coming up with a thing that caught on.

But as a goal?


It's more important now because society doesn't give you reboots like it used to. In the 60's many Drop Out, Tune In, Turn On types eventually got stable careers. In the 90's many Slackers who dropped out of college eventually got jobs as programmers by the late 90's. But now -- fogetaboutit. You pretty much have to start out an annoying, narrow- minded ambitious type. Checklists now substitute for soul.

I find it hard to believe this has much to do with inequality or the Average Is Over trends. Marginal workers (of whatever variety) always have tough go of it in recessions and slow recoveries. And maybe after a period of relative wealth (or so we thought) it is even harder to adjust to a lower starting point. One thing from the book I do worry about: people who can't easily get the life they think they deserve so they settle into a far less productive one instead. So I will agree that the lists show a certain type of ambition or at least self assessment, but how much soul does one have sitting on the couch?

I would expand on #1 with some great advice I once read: learn as many languages as possible. That doesn't necessarily mean programming languages (although it can), and it doesn't necessarily mean spoken language (although it can)... it means learn the languages of various facets of life. Learn the language of law, learn the language of science, of statistics, of accounting, of sub-disciplines. Learn as many as possible, and especially how to translate concepts from one language into another. Most innovation isn't necessarily materialized in a vacuum so much as it is translated from one domain into another.

Get married and have children.

"I suppose I should have said the physical attributes women are selecting for are those that determine whether the man could win in a fight. There’s some correlation with attitude as well. Meekness, for example, is both unattractive and a disadvantage in a fight."

Concurred, and attitude, as the theory is put forth in PUA land (I tend to agree with their assessment), is actually much more essential than any actual capabilities. In other words, fake it until you make it. Marketing > craftsmanship.

Don't go to law school.

Pick up a hard drug habit.

Survive and quit that drug habit.

Slightly off-topic, but I wonder if we could organize a thread for female MR readers to provide some genuine advice to the "manosphere" misfits who seem to wash up here? When I come across this stuff here repeatedly in threads that have no relationship to the imaginary crisis of good guys not being able to find appropriate mates I just wish there were a place for these guys to go other than their self-delusion reinforcing PUA sites.

I would not participate in that ever ever in a million years.

Agree, to each his own. I prefer reading the life "advice" in lists like Eva's or the poem's like dirk's ... but Roissy has lists too (or as he calls them 'commandments'). Who we listen to and what we do with those pieces of advice is our own responsibility. I see no misfits, just people. All that said, a Trudie on Roissy post would be fun.

Almost by definition, they won't listen to women - think of the manosphere however you want, but women are indeed pretty clueless when it comes to giving advice how to get them (moreso than even most men)...

The most influential experience on my early 20s was living in a small town for nearly a year. Not attending college in a small town, which I did for four, but really living in rural America, the farther from a big city the better.

I would add to the list 'Try To Do Any Kind of Volunteering Work' even if its 10 minutes to 2 weeks or a year I think this could be satisfying for anyone

Take some econometrics & Applied-micro classes. Everyone needs to have some sense of where the numbers, that politicians (and ideologues and advocacy groups and others) bandy about, come from. Where the bodies are buried and how a different theoretical framework and a different model might make your favorite numbers go away. How hard it is to make any sense out of weak real life data and how difficult it is to test any theory or the implications of any pet ideology that you may hold.

Date with lots of girls and then select one from all of them.

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