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Ask HN: What are the most inspirational blog posts you've ever read?
140 points by ruswick on May 20, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 51 comments
What are the posts that have inspired you the most?

I know OP is asking for a blog post, but there is no blog post that inspires me more that either of these 2 short videos:

Dick and Rick Hoyt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH943Az_lPQ

Derek Redmond, 1992 Olympics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZlXWp6vFdE

I can not watch Dick/Rick Hoyt's video without choking up. Whenever I am feeling down and feel that there is no way out, I watch their video for inspiration.

I personally think that this video of Team Hoyt has better details about the story behind their struggle.


Thank you so much for a video without christian music... I could actually watch this one.

I'd never see the Hoyt video before and that had me in tears. As a father, I'm humbled.

I send this as part of my "last e-mail" to students every semester:

This is the post that could but probably won't change your life: "There’s no speed limit. (The lessons that changed my life)" http://sivers.org/kimo . I say "could," because most of you probably won't click the link; of those of you who do, most of you won't read the whole thing; of those of you who do, most of you won't get it; of those who do, most won't implement it. On the off chance that one out of 50 of you let this change your life, however, I'm sending it. Derek Sivers, who posted "There's no speed limit," also wrote a book called Anything You Want, [1] and reading it is probably one of the best ways you can spend an hour.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1936719118?ie=UTF8&tag=thstsst-...

Why not send that at the start of the school year instead of the end? Maybe along with a challenge to learn your class material in half the semester. Or assign it as an optional reading assignment worth a small bonus % if they submit a brief plan on how they would apply the advice in that article in your own class.

Is the tone of your email what you really intend? To me it reads like "I'm probably wasting my valuable time casting pearls before you swine. But just in case even ONE of you is worthy, here is some good advice from Derek Sivers". I find it dismissive, bordering on contempt.

I don't think my students have the context necessary to make sense of Sivers' point before they go through the whole class.

I'm just being honest in the e-mail.

Yep, definitely agree!

And a lot of the things pg wrote. Not a single essay, more the overall picture he discribed.

How come no one mentioned Steve Jobs and his commencement speech at Stanford? It is absolutely one of my favorites. I watch it everytime i feel that i could use a dose of motivation.


Richard Hamming: You and Your Research:


That's one of the most insightful and wisdom-packed posts I've ever read, can't believe I missed it - thanks so much.

Mark Cuban on success and motivation: http://blogmaverick.com/2011/04/07/shark-tank-success-motiva...

The whole post is gold, but this is the best part:

  The point of all this is that it doesn’t matter how many
  times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost  
  get it right. No one is going to know or care about your  
  failures, and either should you. All you have to do is
  learn   from them and those around you because…

  All that matters in business is that you get it right once.

Paul Graham's "How To Make Wealth" was truly inspiring to me at the time. http://paulgraham.com/wealth.html

This part really struck a chord with me, and forced me to stretch beyond merely doing slightly better than the average:

"a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about $3 million a year."

This post on Great Hackers is a good read for every programmer lhttp://www.paulgraham.com/gh.html

A lot of the links I've seen people post in this thread are the kind of stuff I used to see a lot more on HN. Sure, I enjoy the HTML5/Rails/Python/(insert buzzword) posts, but it's too bad that a lot of new HN members will miss out on awesome posts with titles like "it's not about the idea" or "just ship it" etc.

I'm Christian, unless you're gay.


The blog post by itself is absolutely amazing, but the followups are what really make it. Link to them after the blog post on the last page.

Iron and the Soul - Henry Rollins http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2009/03/16/iron-and-the-soul...

Technically it is a magazine article but I stumbled upon the repost of it on nerd fitness.

As a side note, I used to think Henry Rollins was kind of a douche until I started reading his writings.

I still am not really interested in listening to him speak, but he is a very compelling writer.

Not exactly a blog post, but still. Clay Christensen's commencement address, "How will you measure your life?": http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/pr

"The Last Lecture" is probably my favorite book, I recommend it to everyone.

This was another amazingly inspirational talk. I highly recommend it to everyone. It's funny, emotional, well thought through and with everything going on in Prof Pausch's life at the time, one could only hope to leave this type of message to their family / children and the world.

The Lefsetz Letter on Mark Cuban: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/08/31/m...

5 Crippling Beliefs That Keep People Stuck, Unsuccessful, and Mediocre For Life: http://www.dumblittleman.com/2011/08/5-crippling-beliefs-tha...

Do It Now: http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/do-it-now.htm

To name a few...

"The Stewart Method: How Not To Suck" -- http://www.shimweasel.com/2011/05/08/the-stewart-method-how-...

Chris Dixon's "Some lessons learned" -- http://cdixon.org/2011/09/28/some-lessons-learned

"Thrust, Drag and the 10x Effect" -- http://www.tempobook.com/2011/10/25/thrust-drag-and-the-10x-...

Don't work. Be hated. Love someone. http://halfhalf.posterous.com/dont-work-be-hated-love-someon...

Terry pratchett speech about alzheimer http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1986843/posts

And of course, steve jobs speech at stanford. These three are speeches instead of posts, but I found them true inspiring.

Steve Yegge's "Math For Programmers" was one of the (too) few posts I've read that actually resulted in action on my part. It made me realize how much I had let my math skills atrophy since college, and I invested a substantial amount of time trying to bring them back up to scratch.


Not a blog post but a great book.

The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307465357/ref=as_li_ss_tl?...

Quite litterally changed my whole perspective on just about everything!

Did you implement some of these techniques into your life? If so, what and how? :)

Derek Sivers: There is no speed limit. Actually, very true I think.


Not a blog post, but a great 3 minute video about beginnings from zeFrank. I put the mp3 on my player so when I need a bit of inspiration to kick off something I get it going.


James Altucher's: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/

He's awesome, insightful, and weird in an interesting way. A cross between "I messed up, so you don't have to", and "there are other ways to do things better than what most people think". Not saying that I agree with everything he says, nevertheless he keeps surprising me.


Men get very strong, when they sight something they can die for.

Not exactly a blog post, but truly better heard than read.

"The Crickets Have Arthritis"


How to Start a Startup

I hope to thank Paul for this essay in person at some point in life. This is singularly most important thing I've read that helped me turn my life around.


find this strangely motivating

What's your background? What's inspirational for me may not be the same for you.

Can people start linking the previous discussions on these?

Building Super Scalable Systems: Blade Runner Meets Autonomic Computing in the Ambient Cloud


That's very kind of you, thanks.

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