无语的大牙

Paul Graham谈要努力成为最好

美国著名程序员、博客作者和技术作家保罗·格雷厄姆(Paul Graham)在其个人网站上的长文《How to do great work》给仍然雄心勃勃的年轻人提了一些建议,适合每位对自己仍有期望的朋友反复阅读。下面是本文的第八部分摘录:


Consciously cultivate your taste in the work done in your field. Until you know which is the best and what makes it so, you don’t know what you’re aiming for.

And that is what you’re aiming for, because if you don’t try to be the best, you won’t even be good. This observation has been made by so many people in so many different fields that it might be worth thinking about why it’s true. It could be because ambition is a phenomenon where almost all the error is in one direction — where almost all the shells that miss the target miss by falling short. Or it could be because ambition to be the best is a qualitatively different thing from ambition to be good. Or maybe being good is simply too vague a standard. Probably all three are true.

Fortunately there’s a kind of economy of scale here. Though it might seem like you’d be taking on a heavy burden by trying to be the best, in practice you often end up net ahead. It’s exciting, and also strangely liberating. It simplifies things. In some ways it’s easier to try to be the best than to try merely to be good.

One way to aim high is to try to make something that people will care about in a hundred years. Not because their opinions matter more than your contemporaries’, but because something that still seems good in a hundred years is more likely to be genuinely good.

有意识地培养你在自己领域内对所做工作的品味。在你知道哪个是最好的以及为什么它是最好的之前,你不知道你的目标是什么。

而那正是你的目标,因为如果你不努力成为最好的,你甚至不会变得好。这一观察已经被那么多不同领域的人提出,以至于值得思考为什么它是正确的。可能是因为雄心是一个几乎所有错误都朝一个方向发生的现象——大多数未达标准的人,都是眼高手低。或者,成为最好的雄心与成为好的雄心是两种质的不同的东西。或者,好这个标准简单地过于模糊。这三者可能都对。

幸运的是,这里存在一种规模经济。尽管看起来你通过努力成为最好的承担了沉重的负担,但在实践中你往往能净获益。这令人振奋,而且奇怪的是解放感。它简化了事情。在某种意义上,努力成为最好的比仅仅努力变得好要容易。

一个高瞻远瞩的方法是试图创造一些人们在100年内会关心的东西。不是因为他们的观点比你当代的人更重要,而是因为100年后仍然看起来不错的东西更有可能真正好。

#Paul Graham #How to do great work