My 2021 Favourites

Newsletter

Table of contents

Hey friends,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas.

We had a huge 78,224 new subscribers this year, up from 53,338 to 131,562 - if you’re new, welcome to the party. 🥳

If you don’t write a newsletter yourself, I highly recommend it. Mine is more of a public journal that helps me process my thoughts. Even if only a few people read your newsletter, you can still treat it like a diary, and see how you grow over time.

For this newsletter I’ve raided the Sunday Snippets archive and made a list of my favourite issues from 2021. I’ve also included my absolute favourite books, podcasts etc.

Hope you enjoy 🎁

xx Ali

🎇 My 12 Favourite Newsletters of 2021

  1. 🧱 Oops I did it again - Don’t be a perfectionist and think you have to move mountains: doing something is always better than doing nothing.
  2. 🤐 My Fear of Being too Personal - Don’t self-censor too much. We become closer to other people when we’re vulnerable.
  3. 🤝 The End of an Era - Accountability is ridiculously important, especially as a solo creator.
  4. 🪨 Making problems magically disappear - Avoid treating a task as a Heavy Lift when it doesn’t need to be. Take Tim Ferriss’ advice and ask “what would this look like if it was easy?”
  5. 🤯 The curse of knowledge - Stuff that blew your mind two years ago - but seems obvious now - can still blow other people’s minds.
  6. 📆 Why I’ve Been Failing Recently - To stick to a habit make it mandatory part of your day, just like brushing your teeth.
  7. 💪 How to beat imposter syndrome - Instead of thinking “I don’t belong here”, think “I am uncomfortable right now and that’s how it should be, this is how I grow as a person, this is exciting.”
  8. 🧮 The 37% Rule - If you’re struggling to decide from a lot of options, ‘explore’ the first 1/3 (ish) of your options, and then choose the best one beyond that point.
  9. 🌱 A Life-Changing Conversation - When deciding whether to do a project, don’t just think about the money: what opportunities might it unlock for you further down the line?
  10. 🧑‍🔧 My Fear of Irrelevancy - Value (and invest in) your skills - then you can always get another job.
  11. 💸 Dying with $0 - Spend your money on new experiences, helping others, and stuff that matters to you - it shouldn’t be sitting in your bank account when you die.
  12. ❤️‍🩹 My Identity Crisis - Learn to be OK with yourself now, not as you imagine yourself in a year’s time.

♥️ Favourite things from 2021

📚 Books

🎧 Parenting - As per my brother Taimur’s recommendation, I’ve been listening to Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I’ve been having my ears and mind completely blown away and am rethinking my whole childhood. 10/10 would recommend this read. (Btw, if you didn’t know, Taim and I have a weekly podcast called Not Overthinking).

🎧 Leadership - I’ve been listening to 9 lies about work this week, and it’s been an incredible “read”. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who’s leading a team in any capacity and it’s really been helping me on this journey.

🎧 Wealth - On my daily cycle to WeWork I’ve been listening to The Millionnaire Fast Lane. Despite the click-baity title, it’s a solid guide to wealth creation. There’s nothing particularly new to me, but there are some great models that I’ve started to incorporate into my thinking about money.

📕 Love - I recently devoured the audiobook of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s apparently one of Bill Gates’ favourite books. It’s about a man with Asperger’s Syndrome trying to find a wife. I’ll just leave it at that.

📕 Obsession - I’ve also been losing a large amount of sleep recently thanks to being engrossed in Open, the autobiography of tennis legend Andre Agassi. I’m not one to follow tennis (especially pre-2006 tennis) but I’d heard so many good things about the book that I had to give it a read, and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I’m typing this in a haze because I was up until 4am last night finishing it. It’s really good.

🎙️Podcasts

😴 Sleep - Master Your Sleep & Be More Alert When Awake by Huberman Lab - Really interesting, sold me on why you should get light exposure first thing in the morning. I’ve now started having coffee on my balcony every morning, and I think it’s already making a difference to how I’m sleeping.

🪙 Crypto - The Acquired episode on Ethereum. About how Vitalik Buterin created Ethereum, all the drama along the way, and why it’s such a big deal.

👨‍💻 Writing Online - I Iistened to a great episode of Tribe of Mentors, where Tim Ferriss chats to Tim Urban (Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator) about writing online.

🧘‍♂️ Wisdom - Listening to episode #1309 of The Joe Rogan Experience with Naval Ravikant. Can’t believe I’ve never listened to this before…

📝 Articles & Videos

💰 Career - How I got wealthy without working too hard, by Amaca. Big truth bombs like “making money is procrastinating”. 🤯

Work - I was recommended this article called What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless by my friend Paul Millerd. If you’ve ever been tempted to explore meaning in your life, this is a brilliant start. It definitely made me think about the differences between meaning and happiness, how to approach working with my team, and further fuelled my love for reflection (as the main way to access meaning at all). Definitely worth checking out!

💪 Leadership - Greatness, by David Marquet. I’ve recently been giving some extra thought to how I manage my team. This YouTube video is one I’ve been watching on repeat for the last week to take lessons from.

🎵 Songs

🃏 Loving the new Ed Sheeran album “=”, especially First Times and The Joker and the Queen.

🎓 I’ve been revisiting the glory days of university by playing old bangers by One Direction all week. In particular I’d recommend throwing it back to “Fools Gold”, “18” and “Infinity”.

🚗 My friend introduced me to Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo and I’ve been listening to it on repeat. I’m even trying to learn fingerstyle guitar to learn to play it. I’ll probably upload my attempts to Instagram at some point.

🎸 Listened to Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran for the first time. Vibes. Feeling inspired to dabble with songwriting again.

📦 Other Stuff

🖋 Pen - LAMY Swift. Hands-down my favourite pen of all time, and it’s just £26. Good weight, feels nice in my hand, and I feel a bit more like a pro when I’m writing with it.

🎲 Board Game - I recently discovered Monopoly Deal. It’s the new and improved version of Monopoly, with a lot less faff and quicker to play. So I can have more time to get back to being productive. I would recommend it next time you’re picking a board game.

💸 Investing App - Beyond that, I’ve been playing around with individual stock trading on Freetrade. It’s got a lovely interface which makes dabbling easy (sadly it’s UK only). Overall, I still recommend index funds (I explain things in more detail here if you’re in the mood). If you sign up with my link, we both get a free share, which is pretty cool.

✍️ Quote of the Week

Later is where excuses live. Later is where good intentions go to die. Later is a broken back and a bent spirit. Later says “all-nighters are temporary until we’ve got this figured out.” Unlikely. Make the change now.

From It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Resurfaced using Readwise.

🚢 Ship 30 for 30

I’ve enrolled in ship30for30.com to help develop more of a writing habit - it's a cohort-based course that teaches the basics of writing online. It starts up again in January 2022: here's my affiliate link if you're interested.


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