The inspirational Aaron Swartz

“What’s the secret? How can I boil down things I do into pithy sentences that make myself sound as good as possible? Here goes…

  1. “Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.
  2. “Say yes to everything. I have a lot of trouble saying no, to an pathological degree – whether to projects or to interviews or to friends. As a result, I attempt a lot and even if most of it fails, I’ve still done something.
  3. “Assume nobody else has any idea what they’re doing either. A lot of people refuse to try something because they feel they don’t know enough about it or they assume other people must have already tried everything they could have thought of. Well, few people really have any idea how to do things right and even fewer are to try new things, so usually if you give your best shot at something you’ll do pretty well.

“I followed these rules. And here I am today, with a dozen projects on my plate and my stress level through the roof once again.

“Every morning I wake up and check my email to see which one of my projects has imploded today, which deadlines I’m behind on, which talks I need to write, and which articles I need to edit. Maybe, one day, you too can be in the same position. If so, I hope I’ve done something to help.”

Aaron Swartz at Boston Wikipedia Meetup, 2009-08-18

 

Aaron, a tirelessly committed defender of freedom of expression died Friday: Glenn Greenwald’s obituary is here.

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