Self / Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs

Why ask my birth, Diomedes? Very like leaves upon this earth are the generations of men old leaves, cast on the ground by wind, young leaves the greening forest bears when spring comes in. So mortals pass; one generation flowers even as another dies away. – Illiad

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  • Before you can acheive to your full potential you need to have the lower levels of Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs met.
  • Some people are lucky in that they get some of these lower tiers taken care of for them, but most of us have to work at it.
  • This book covers the Esteem and Self-actualization goals, but before we can get there we need to cover the other tiers that allow us to fulfill the other aspects that will allow us to get to where we want to go.

Basically this deals with the lower part of the pyramid

    • You need to have some semblance of this before you can move forward since if you don’t have your basic needs met then you will very much not have the energy to find self-actualization.
    • You need exercise
      • I struggle with this.
      • But I’m trying to get better. Even if it is 5 minutes.
    • You need food
    • You need good relationships with people close to you.
      • This doesn’t mean you have to make everyone happy.
      • But your friends should give you joy and help your also advance yourself.


For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands. 
No man can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it, or believes that living through many consulships is a great blessing. -Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca

  • Your brain will not work well if it doesn’t get enough food with good nutrition, sleep and exercise.
  • The world runs according to how your body functions, and unfortunately most of us are pretty bad when it comes to taking care of our bodies.
    • It took me a long time for me to get better as well including getting over copious amounts of drinking, not exercising, thinking sleep is for the weak and other jackassery that I thought was supposed to make me strong.
    • Instead neglecting all of that made me unhappy, depressed, and in general not very effective.
      • Not getting enough food and exercise means you will be working twice as hard on something and it is easier to burnout because your body will stop functioning at a certain point.
  • It is really easy to not treat your body well and get into bad habits and then coast.
    • That is easier to do than deal with then actually taking care of yourself.
    • The best way to get these fundamental things done is to remove the decision making that is involved in doing them.

  • Your body is a machine 
  • Exercise You feel good
    • You have more energy
    • You can see further into the future
    • Yes it is a drag at times. But get through the drag so you can have some fun.
    • It has benefits from reducing anxiety, stress and depression, improving learning rate, and makes you feel much, much better.
  • Eat Breakfast
    • Eat greens when you start the day.
  • Life is too short to be angry all the time. Get over it, use your anger for good or a positive change.
  • Exercise is 80-90% about breathing. Learn to control your breathing and use it to calm yourself. A lot of fear is losing control of your breathing instead of being in control of it. So really learn to breathe


  • Eat three meals a day.
    • Start with breakfast in the morning.
      • Eat eggs, no cereal.
      • Eat some greens and fruit
    • Stop for lunch and take a solid 30 minutes off to actually enjoy your food.
    • Eat dinner
  • Eat a lot of vegetables and fruit
    • I am still working on this one but it has affected my mood drastically in terms of how much energy I have during the day.
  • I quit drinking but that is not a requirement.
    • A beer every so often is totally fine, but regular drinking can affect your mood and behavior for days after.
  • Most of all, enjoy your food. Don’t take diets too seriously and eat what you enjoy.
    • I love grilling so I try to do it frequently during the spring.


  • A solid regular time to sleep and 7-8 hours is needed for everyone to function at a peak.
    • I used to be of the mindset that sleep is for the weak.
      • This has likely caused so much wasted time and energy in my life.
        • Getting enough sleep is more valuable than proving how little you get.
      • Sleeping less results in working twice the amount, and no you can’t just push through.
      • Your brain will just stop functioning at all and it becomes completely useless.
  • Furthermore, sleep at a regular time everyday.
    • Like get into bed by 10pm so you can wake up with your body’s wake up time.
    • By getting up a regular time whether weekend or not weekend will give your body regularity.
      • Doing things in a regular time also creates a ritual for your body so that it gets used to knowing what to think about.
  • To make getting up easier have a specific morning ritual that you keep to every morning.
    • Like you get up out of bed and immediately have a coffee or brush your teeth.
    • Having morning rituals like this that you do on a regular basis allows your body to just start auto-piloting in the morning so on days where you don’t want to get out of bed you can.
      • This is really important for people who struggle with depression since it removes the thinking that induces that not wanting to get out of bed feeling.
  • To change your sleep schedule to get up earlier change by moving your sleep time 15 minutes a week.
    • Do not try to change it all at once because that will not stick.
    • Smaller changes to get up earlier done in a weekly interval will give your body time to adjust and it also lets your body know that it needs to sleep earlier, getting you into bed sooner.

  • At a biological level sleep clears toxins from your head and gives it a chance to work on problems that you’ve been struggling with.
    • Ever notice how you work on a problem and don’t get anywhere, you rest and the next day your brain is able to solve it quickly?
    • It also takes the deliberate practice you have done and makes it better.
    • It gives you better ability to think clearly.
  • When you have sleep you are able to have better decision control
Sleeping Fast
Get out of Bed Fast


  • Exercise creates your body which powers your brain, but your brain also creates the body.
    • You are Michelangelo sculpting David when you are exercising.
  • However, as someone who did not grow up with a big push to exercise I had to come up with ways to push myself to exercise regularly.
  • This means mostly find an activity you like to do and make sure you do it regularly.
    • Ideally you should workout for 1-2 hours a day. 
    • You need to disconnect completely from work, no browing the net or watching tv while doing this.
    • Work on strength, mobility and power.
  • The most important aspect of exercise is when you get to exercising you know exactly what you are going to do before you get there.
    • You don’t get there and dilly dally but get to the place you want to exercise and have an exact system that you follow.
    • Again, the more you autopilot the better.
  • I do the following:
    • Starting Strength: Use the novice progression
    • Yoga: stretching and mobility
    • Row Machine: 5,000 meters or 2,000 meters
    • Krav Maga: Power and mobility. Also you are basically making your body into a weapon which is also pretty cool.
  • All exercise is largely about breathing so learn to treat exercise in a meditative way.
    • Learn to breathe and control your intake and outtake as you start doing things harder and harder.
    • This is especially important in heavier weight exercises, when you start adding speed to martial arts, and mobility.
    • Also by focusing on the breath you can also correct for form and you are not distracted by other things.


Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. - Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

There are two modes of stress

Acute stress

Chronic stress

Acute stress is good for you it acts as a way to move you forward.

Chronic stress is bad for you. It create bad outcomes.

  • There are two types of stress.
  • Acute stress and Chronic stress
    • Acute stress is fine it is the fight or flight response and what lets us meet deadlines
  • Chronic Stress is bad as it makes you depressed and affects the way you think through life and what you want to do.
    • It is important to remove as much chronic stress as possible.


  • Learn to breathe well.
  • Your brain needs air but because of our lifestyle in the last 100 years we as humans have largely forgotten how to breathe well.
  • Breathe with your belly your shoulders shouldn’t move.


  • Maintain good posture.
    • Good posture is especially important as we are also as a society experiencing lots of back problems.
    • Do deadlifts or other exercises that develop the back msucles.
  • You need to stand tall
  • You also need to learn how to sit well.
    • By sitting well you can also allow your back some benefit
  • Posture also affects how you see the world and your mood.
    • Good posture allows you to be more commanding whereas weak posture psychologically makes you weaker and makes other people think you weaker as well.
    • So it is important to maintain good upright posture.


Why is nature and the outdoors good?

[ ] Hidden Life of trees

How do trees help the ecosystem?

How are different trees as types of wood for making things?

How do trees help in an urban environment? 

Tree planing in urban lots.



  • This is super important to deal with first.
  • if your finances are not in order you will struggle to get any of the rest of the book.
  • you need to make this your main priority in the world as financial stability or the ability to get a job and have some money any money left over after all your bills are paid will lead you to what you can do.
  • Investments should look at Cause and Effect relationships and Second Order Effects
    • What external changes will result in the current investment to do well? To do poorly?
    • What are some second order effects to be concerned about?
      • How does governmental / geopolitics affect this investment?
    • How can you use leverage on this investment?
Wealth / Money
The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else. - Nicomachean Ethics
He who craves riches feels fear on their account. No man, however, enjoys a blessing that brings anxiety; he is always trying to add a little more.
Every man, when he first sees light, is commanded to be content with milk and rags. Such is our beginning, and yet kingdoms are all too small for us! - Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing. - Skin in the Game
Now I think no riches can compare with being alive, not even those they say this well-built Ilion stored up in peace before the Akhaians came. Neither could all the Archer’s shrine contains at rocky Pytho, in the crypt of stone. A man may come by cattle and sheep in raids; tripods he buys, and tawny-headed horses; but his life’s breath cannot be hunted back or be recaptured once it pass his lips. - Illiad
The fact that people in countries with cold weather tend to be harder working, richer, less relaxed, less amicable, less tolerant of idleness, more (over) organized and more harried than those in hotter climates should make us wonder whether wealth is mere indemnification, and motivation is just overcompensation for not having a real life. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
  • 80% in boring index funds
  • 20% play the game but treat this as money as lost.
  • Use money for hobbies and things that give you joy. I love good food so I will spend a lot of money on food even if I don’t buy the latest car or other gadget. 
  • Buy experiences, they last longer than stuff, unless that stuff helps you have better experiences.
  • automate where money goes so you don’t have to think about how you are moving it around. 
Automating Finances

The Maximum Bank Balance

The Maximum Bank Balance {#a8c7 .graf .graf--h3 .graf-after--h2 name="a8c7" align="center"}

I automated my finances so I know how much I can spend at any given time

and not freak out. I also wanted to start building a nest egg by putting

away money for retirement and the future.

The main reason for money stress is not knowing when you can spend

money. The decision fatigue that you experience when you don't know if

you have money or not actually leads to spending money poorly. You just

constantly think about it and after a certain point you just crack and

spend money badly.

The strategy I came up with is sort of counterintuitive. I try to have a

maximum balance in my bank account at all times.

Before I explain the maximum balance this is where money should go


- [Emergency Fund. I used to keep this money in a separate

- checking account but I realized that this money was losing value.

- Now I keep this money in a

- Betterment{.markup--anchor

- .markup--li-anchor} goal. This is 50% bonds and 50% stocks so I can

- weather some unpredictability of the stock market. The Emergency

- Fund should be 3--4 months of runway for rent, food and any bills

- that you may have. After this has been funded you can just put the

- money into buying more investments.]{#bcbb}

- [401k/IRA. My company provides a 401k so I just contribute to

- the retirement account through that. This allows me to save money

- without ever seeing it come to me in the form of a paycheck. Before

- that I used to setup an automatic withdrawal on my IRA.]{#fb8d}

- [Investments. Automatically withdraw a certain amount of money

- for the future. This is stuff that is 1+ year down the line. This

- should be money used for major expenses in the future. Think buying

- a house or taking a year off work.]{#2fe4}

All the above gets transferred out of my paycheck or my bank account

automatically so I never have to think about doing it manually.

The Maximum Balance {#7712 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--p name="7712"}

The maximum balance is the amount of money to have at all times in your

bank account without ever going significantly over or under that amount.

This balance is about 2--3 months of food, rent, bills and a bit extra

for the unexpected. The goal is to never go above or below this maximum

bank balance. If there is any month where your are below this amount the

first goal after you have finished contributing to your Emergency Fund,

401k/IRA and Investments is to get back to the maximum balance.

What to do with extra money? {#b9e7 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--p name="b9e7"}

What do you do with the money over the maximum balance?

- [Pay extra on student loans to pay them off sooner. I did this. It

- is such a relief when loans are paid off.]{#5d74}

- [Pay extra on credit card debt or pay it off. You should be able to

- pay the entire balance of a credit card every month. I have the

- credit cards automatically payoff the entire balance every month.

- This prevents me from cheating with the maximum balance

- method.]{#f399}

- [Put more money away into investments or finance future goals. I

- really like

- Betterment{.markup--anchor

- .markup--li-anchor} for this since you can split up you account

- based on different goals and timeframes.]{#d884}

- [Buy things that you enjoy. (I love food and I am going to be

- spending a lot of money on this... also books...)]{#4717}

Why does this works? {#e712 .graf .graf--h4 .graf-after--li name="e712"}

I have had success with this approach to managing my money because it

works when there are random bursts of uncertainty. It gives you headroom

during unexpected financial crisis.

Also, always having the same balance gives you a quick check on how you

are doing. The maximum balance will naturally fluctuate near the amount

you have designated but it does give you a good gauge on your finances.

Finally, it allows you to spend money guilt free. If you know that you

have extra money to splurge on you can splurge without feeling bad. By

having one number to look at for day to day finances you can assess your

current financial health. You don't have to overthink things, stop being

a slave to money and enjoy life.


I know I mentioned


.markup--p-anchor} a couple of times but I just really like them and

they are not paying me. The links are affiliates though, sign up so we

can both get free service.

Aug 24, 2015: Since I originally published this there has been a

general concern with having the emergency fund in bonds and stocks. The

point is the maximum balance is going to be half of your emergency fund.

It should be a 3--4 month runway. The second half lives in stocks and

bonds. I've updated the metodology for the latter



By Abhi Yerra{.p-author .h-card} on

August 21, 2015.



Other Half of Your Emergency Fund {#other-half-of-your-emergency-fund .p-name}


Other Half of Your Emergency Fund {#b0d0 .graf .graf--h3 .graf--leading .graf--title name="b0d0"}

The method I use is to have three month runway via the maximum balance.

Putting the other 3--4 months of money into a Betterment or Index funds

allows that money to still grow but will give you a buffer if you need

to sell during an emergency. Also I do a 130% of what I want my

emergnecy fund to be so if the market ever hits a downturn I can still

get about 100% of the money I need. But when the market is doing well

the money is growing and not just sitting there.

By Abhi Yerra{.p-author .h-card} on

August 24, 2015.



Exported from Medium on May 28, 2019.

Engineering Interview Guide: Introduction {#engineering-interview-guide-introduction .p-name}

Investment Principles

How do you create leverage such that something invested today grows at a compounded rate over time. This can be either money, knowledge, friendship, betterment of society.

  • Investing in Self
    • Hobbies
    • Business
    • Books
    • Learning
  • Investing in Others
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Community
Leveraging Money
  • We go through life in what I call War Time and Peace Time.
    • War Time is when you are investing in something big such as learning, business, etc.
    • Peace Time is when you are stable and collecting a steady stream of money i.e a paycheck
  • Both have different modes of operation.

War Time

Peace Time

  • Invest nearly everything your have into your company with the idea of growth
  • Minimal cash. Leverage cash for assets and investment.
  • Get more out of investment and cut expenses by cutting things that don't matter. Don't do something half assly if money can't be used to make it good completely then don't use it for that purpose.
  • If already invested in certain things also consider sunk cost.
  • Can we maximize investment by repurposint existing stuff.
  • Get lines of credit to draw from
  • Build up a financial war chest
  • Move money into stock market and diversify
  • Safety net of cash
  • 401k and IRA
  • When things are going up the economy is inefficient because growth is the primary factor.
    • Build services and products that are made to give leisure and time.
  • When things are going poorly efficiency is the primary factor to optimize for profit.
    • Build services and products that make things more efficient as this is the time when layoffs, etc. happen.
Financial Decision Making
  • Find stock fitting criteria
  • Find information
  • Test cause and effect
  • Sentiment analysis of company
  • Decision yes or no
  • Delayedtask
  • Good bad
  • Modify existing job for success or failure
  • Track Cause and Effect of Companies
  • Figure out ripple effects. If a company is doing badly what other companies are connected to that company?
  • What does the future hold for certain companies?
  • What trends are people doing now
  •  Also track when Stocks have quarterly earnings and how things can be affected.

Belongingness and Love

  • Family and Friends are important and you should make a lot of time for them.
  • Everything in life is fleeting and it makes no sense to not spend it with that which makes you happy.
    • Frankenstein was happy spending time with his family and he was sickly when he was working on the monster.
      • He should have spent more time with his family instead of the monster.
      • In the end all our goals are like that monster that starts taking a life of its own, but it is family and friends and our good relationships with people that make us happy.

Intimate Relationships

  • push your partner as you would yourself.
  • Have success be as much a part of their life as it is yours
    • Have them pursue larger goals and support them even if inconvenient to you if in the long run you are both better.
  • Create OKRs for yourselves about what your relationship should be like and have outcomes that you want to achieve.
    • Do activities together, plan them out together
  • enjoy the little things
  • Make sex a part of your routine
    • Major arguments should end with reconciliation or sex, preferably both and it is also important to resolve whatever caused the fight in the first place.

A Partner You Don’t Want

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3









  • Someone who doesn’t grow and change along with you
    • Doesn’t mean they follow the same things as you but that they have their own set of aspirations that they are pushing toward.
    • They are not changing and evolving, while you are changing and evolving.
  • The problem with someone who doesn’t evolve
    • You get bored with them.
    • You don’t learn from them or you learn what you need from them, and you get into a rut.
    • They may get jealous of your growth.
    • The can’t evolve with changing circumstances and blame others and you for their inability to change.

A Partner You Want

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3









  • They are evolving along side you.
    • You can help and push each other in your evolution and growth
    • They are not the same person you first met, they are better and are continuing to get better.


  • Family always comes first. No buts or ifs. You can bitch about it, but at the end it doesn’t matter you take care of them.
  • It is just as important to push your family in their growth as it is to push your own growth.
    • Some people may be fixed in their ways, but it is also important that you push them.
    • You can’t always


No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call. Who is it going to be? - Hard Thing about Hard Things
  • No friend will be a friend for all stages of your life. Sometimes friends drift apart and you need to let them go. It is just a part of life.
  • Do activites with friends outside of drinking and eating. It makes the bonds more fun and interesting.


Unscheduled WIP slightly smiling face 

  • Telling kids that they are smart makes them less likely to succeed over time. Tell them that they were good but also point out that maybe they should try something more challenging.
  • Raise children to make good decisions on their own and then trust them with their decisions when they start making them. Don’t spy on them, don’t nag at them, you have to let them fly from the nest at some point.
  • Give kids a lot of time to explore, let them disappear, go on adventures, give them time to learn new activities and push them toward new activities.
  • Don’t hide things from kids. Let them know what you are struggling with early on, let them know that you are human and can make mistakes and aren’t always right. Children are resilient even at a young age and can be tasked with big responsibility.
  • Make reading a big part of their life, push them to achieve but having them set goals for themselves. The goals should get progressively more challenging but manageable.

Other People

For so many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

  • Other people are more than their work. They are who they love, who they are as a friend, what they like to do for fun. Don’t equate a person to their job. Many people are finding meaning and a job may be one criteria for their meaning but not the only one. So don’t judge them on it. Find common ground such as their love of things similar to yours.


Our stereotype of men holds that they are providers, decisive, and driven. Our stereotype of women holds that they are caregivers, sensitive, and communal. Because we characterize men and women in opposition to each other, professional achievement and all the traits associated with it get placed in the male column.
All through my life, culturally reinforced signals cautioned me against being branded as too smart or too successful. It starts young. As a girl, you know that being smart is good in lots of ways, but it doesn’t make you particularly popular or attractive to boys. 
So perhaps one positive result of having more women at the top is that our leaders will have been trained to care more about the well-being of others. My hope, of course, is that we won’t have to play by these archaic rules forever and that eventually we can all just be ourselves. - Lean In


Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder. - Steal Like an Artist

Bad People

  • Life needs people like Trump
    • They throw a rock at the system but they also provide fuel and a basis for people fighting against people like him.
    • Most of the time it is bad but in the long run things improve because people see what it can be like if things are bad.