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#239 The Wright Brothers
March 29th, 2022 | E239

What I learned from rereading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.


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[3:40] Relentlessly Resourceful by Paul Graham

[4:11] If I were running a startup, this would be the phrase I'd tape to the mirror. "Make something people want" is the destination, but "Be relentlessly resourceful" is how you get there.

[5:35] Everybody engaged in complicated work needs colleagues. Just the discipline of having to put your thoughts in order with somebody else is a very useful thing. —Charlie Munger

[6:44] No bird soars in a calm.

[10:30] Neither ever chose to be anything other than himself.

[11:36] Wilbur was a little bothered by what others might be thinking or saying.

[11:46] What the two had in common above all was a unity of purpose and unyielding determination.

[15:09] Every mind should be true to itself —should think, investigate and conclude for itself.

[17:53] My Life in Advertising (Founders #170)

[19:33] Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace (Founders #174)

[19:39] Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire (Founders #140)

[23:56] I wish to avail myself of all that is already known.

[30:32] Like the inspiring lectures of a great professor, the book had opened his eyes and started him thinking in ways he never had.

[34:29] In no way did any of this discourage or deter Wilbur and Orville Wright, any more than the fact that they had had no college education, no formal technical training, no experience working with anyone other than themselves, no friends in high places, no financial backers, no government subsidies, and little money of their own. Or the entirely real possibility that at some point, like Otto Lilienthal, they could be killed.

[36:07] When once this idea has invaded the brain it possesses it exclusively.

[38:23] I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help. I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. He answered the phone himself. I told him I wanted to build a frequency counter. I asked if he had any spare parts I could have. He laughed. He gave me the parts. And he gave me a summer job at HP working on the assembly line putting together frequency counters. I have never found anyone who said no, or hung up the phone. I just ask. Most people never pick up the phone and call. And that is what separates the people who do things, versus the people who just dream about them. You have to act. —Steve Jobs

[41:47] You wanted to start a company. You knew that it was going to be hard. What are you complaining for?

[42:17] Jay Z: Decoded (Founders #238)

[42:56] They had their whole heart and soul in what they were doing.

[46:28] You should follow your energy.

[53:49] The Wright brothers have blinders on mentality. They don't care what other people say. They just say I'm working at this. I don't care what other people think.

[54:16] The brothers proceeded entirely on their own and in their own way.

[58:21] This is the blueprint they are using: Test. Iterate. Test. Iterate. Work long hours. Concentrate and ignore the naysayers.

[1:00:31] Wilbur was always ready to jump into an argument with both sleeves rolled up. He believed in a good scrap. He believed it brought out new ways of looking at things and helped round off corners.

[1:00:57] Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (Founders #180)

[1:02:26] Pour gasoline on promising sparks.

[1:04:14] It is very bad policy to ask one flying machine man, about the experiments of another, because every flying machine man thinks that his method is the correct one.

[1:08:46] Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Founders #210)

[1:10:26] They were always thinking of the next thing to do. They didn't waste much time worrying about the past.

[1:11:05] Look around, just about any person or entity achieving at a high level has the same focus. The morning after Tiger Woods rallied to beat Phil Mickelson at the Ford Championship in 2005, he was in the gym by 6:30 to work out. No lights. No cameras. No glitz or glamour. Uncompromised. — Driven From Within (Founders #213)

[1:12:56] They would have to learn to accommodate themselves to the circumstances.

[1:20:42] The best dividends on labor invested have invariably come from seeking more knowledge rather than more power.

[1:27:37] He went his way always in his own way.

[1:31:45] A man who works for the immediate present and its immediate rewards is nothing but a fool.


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