The Best of Paul Graham
10+ most popular Paul Graham articles, as voted by our community.
These are currently making the rounds on Refind.
How to Get New Ideas
January 2023(Someone fed my essays into GPT to make something that could answer questions based on them, then asked it where good ideas come from. The answer was ok, but not what I would have said.…
Paul Graham on Functional Programming
Beating the Averages
Want to start a startup? Get funded by Y Combinator. April 2001, rev. April 2003(This article is derived from a talk given at the 2001 Franz Developer Symposium.) In the summer of 1995, my friend…
Paul Graham on Paul Graham
Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
Want to start a startup? Get funded by Y Combinator. July 2009One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them…
Startup = Growth
Want to start a startup? Get funded by Y Combinator. September 2012A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary…
Paul Graham on Procrastination
Good and Bad Procrastination
December 2005The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn't always bad?Most people who write about procrastination write about how to…
Paul Graham on Reading
The Need to Read
November 2022In the science fiction books I read as a kid, reading had often been replaced by some more efficient way of acquiring knowledge. Mysterious "tapes" would load it into one's brain like a…
Paul Graham on Religion
April 2022One of the most surprising things I've witnessed in my lifetime is the rebirth of the concept of heresy.In his excellent life of Newton, Richard Westfall writes about the moment when he was…
Paul Graham on Startups
Do Things that Don't Scale
July 2013One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don't scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don't. You build…
The Lesson to Unlearn
December 2019 The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn't something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.When I was in college, a particularly earnest…
Paul Graham on Writing
How to Write Usefully
February 2020What should an essay be? Many people would say persuasive. That's what a lot of us were taught essays should be. But I think we can aim for something more ambitious: that an essay should…
«Useful writing tells people something true and important that they didn't already know, and tells them as unequivocally as possible.»
These are some all-time favorites with Refind users.
A Project of One's Own
June 2021A few days ago, on the way home from school, my nine year old son told me he couldn't wait to get home to write more of the story he was working on. This made me as happy as anything I've…
How People Get Rich Now
April 2021Every year since 1982, Forbes magazine has published a list of the richest Americans. If we compare the 100 richest people in 1982 to the 100 richest in 2020, we notice some big…
How to Be an Expert in a Changing World
December 2014If the world were static, we could have monotonically increasing confidence in our beliefs. The more (and more varied) experience a belief survived, the less likely it would be false.…
Crazy New Ideas
May 2021There's one kind of opinion I'd be very afraid to express publicly. If someone I knew to be both a domain expert and a reasonable person proposed an idea that sounded preposterous, I'd be very…
«When the average person proposes an implausible-sounding idea, its implausibility is evidence of their incompetence. But when a reasonable domain expert does it, the situation is reversed.»
The Word "Hacker"
April 2004To the popular press, "hacker" means someone who breaks into computers. Among programmers it means a good programmer. But the two meanings are connected. To programmers, "hacker" connotes…
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