Derek Sivers
book cover

How to Live

27 conflicting answers and one weird conclusion

Not quite non-fiction, not quite self-help. It’s a work of art about conflicting philosophies.

Many books believe they know how you should live. But each book disagrees with the next. In “How to Live”, each chapter believes it knows how you should live. And each chapter disagrees with the next.

One chapter makes a compelling argument for why you should be completely independent, keeping all options open. The next chapter argues why you should commit to one career, one place, and one person.

One chapter persuades you to be fully present, and experience each moment. The next, to delay gratification and invest for the future.

Which one is right? Which does the author believe? All of them. It's a philosophy of conflicting philosophies.

A very unique and thought-provoking book. Meant for reflection as much as instruction.

113 incredibly succinct pages of profound insights. No philosophers are quoted. No -isms are named. Only actionable directives. The end result feels more like poetry than prose.

$15 : ebook, audiobook, and all digital formats forever
(epub, mobi, pdf, mp3, html, etc. No DRM.)
$19 : paper book includes all digital formats
(really just $4 for the paper, so only $4 for each additional copy)
Print length: 115 pages
Publication date: 2021-05-28
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-99-115230-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-99-115231-2
Audiobook ISBN: 978-1-99-115237-4
Kindle ISBN: 978-1-99-115235-0

Preview the audiobook:


Editorial reviews:

“Always brilliant and succinct, I guarantee you have not read a book like this before. 27 life philosophies on how to live a good life, each feeling profound and incredibly true, yet somehow they all manage to contradict each other… you know, like life. Derek is brilliant. He’s full of pithy wisdom and quirky ideas. I love his brain and love his books. If you want something different, yet still readable, check it out.”
— Mark Manson, author, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

“Derek Sivers is one of my favorite humans, and I call him often for advice. Think of him as a philosopher-king programmer, master teacher, and merry prankster. I might need to do a second volume of my next book 100% dedicated to the knowledge bombs of Derek Sivers. So much good stuff. Hard to cut.”
— Tim Ferriss, author, 4-Hour Workweek

“One thing ‘How To Live’ doesn’t do is tell you how to live. Yet, after reading it, you might be closer to answering that question for yourself. Half self-help and half art, it beautifully transcends its genre. Seriously one of my favorite books.”
— Johannes Wilke

“A thrilling, exhilarating, life-affirming, daring, psychedelic roller-coaster ride in a hall of mirrors through the wisdom of the ages. I initially began to highlight some phrases, but I soon realized my entire ebook was yellow. How To Live is the most unique book I’ve ever read and surely one of the best. And if any of this sounds like hyperbole, the book is better than anything I just said.”
— Michael Colucci, theater founder and director

“Brilliant. Derek’s best book yet, and for me possibly one of the best books ever. Brilliant format, actionable directives, and provides the best possible answer to the loaded question of how to live. Every chapter and every sentence is thought provoking, so much to ruminate on. Pure substance, 0% fluff, which is so rare.”
— Diego Montejo

“‘How to Live’ is an absolute piece of art. I started hoping that it would teach me the secrets of how to live. But no, in the middle the conflicting messages led me to the real message: that there is no right way to live. There are pieces of life that we gather from everyone, to build ours. I’ve been re-reading almost every single day and the message keeps getting clearer, like a good wine. It is a big inspiration.”
— Lucas Vilela, developer

“I absolutely LOVE this book. I’ve read thousands of books and I think it’s my favorite. I was planning to highlight, but every sentence is so well-thought-out and important, it would just end up being a yellow book!”
— Matt Wickstrom

“Magnificently succinct. So elegantly terse that it feels utterly complete. The sheer craftsmanship/sculpting of the language is just breathtaking. I read a LOT, and my mind is bending at the sheer discipline, effort and ruthlessness it must have taken to whittle this down. Rather than lose substance it actually gains body/mass and impact. Un-frickin’-believable. Really outstanding.”
— Zubin Pratap, founder

“It’s deep, really deep. Just like a Buddhist koan, the more you meditate on it the more you uncover within your own mind, the more you understand. If I said any more I would spoil it. What should be a relatively simple premise made me think more, and deeper, than I have in a while. What more could you want from a book?”
— Colin Walker, writer

“In ancient Greece, various schools (Stoics, Epicurians, Hedonists, etc.) each offered their own philosophy for how to live your life. This book is the closest thing I’ve found to a modern version of that. Each of the 27 short chapters makes a different argument for the right way to live. The chapters blatantly contradict each other and while your instinct is to ask, “so which one’s right?” the book’s ending gives you a better way to look at it. (I won’t give it away!) I ended up buying the ebook and reading it slowly over the course of several months, taking dozens of pages of notes along the way. I felt like I was trying on each philosophy like an article of clothing to see how it fits. It was a lovely exercise, and one I’d recommend to anyone.”
— Bryan Braun, developer

“This is the ultimate self-help book. By that, I mean it’s the last one you'll ever need to read. After this, every other equivalent will seem one dimensional by comparison. It destroys an entire genre.”
— Rowan Simpson, investor

“How To Live is probably THE most remarkable book I’ve owned and read and gifted. Never, never, have I been so engaged and challenged by someone’s writing and perspective on the topic of day to day living. This book is, without doubt, the one that has had the most profound effect on me. EVERYONE, but everyone, should read this. But be prepared for the book to sit close by at all times. It’s vital reading to constantly ensure that we genuinely connect with our true intentions in life. This book is a 21st Century Masterpiece.”
— Chris Craker, producer

“Reading it. Reflecting on it. Pausing after reading a few sentences. Arguing with it. Agreeing. Re-thinking. Arguing again. It’s the best thing ever written about living. I love every atom of it. A masterpiece. And a truly useful life handbook. It’s the book I will keep revisiting over and over again — the book I will gift to my loved ones.”
— Jade Panugan, Craftdeology

“The most powerful art piece I read this year. Read it in order, slow and focused. Don’t skip to the conclusion earlier. It will change you. Every time I read it I discover something new.”
— Mihai Hly Hlodec, developer

“WOW I loved ‘How to Live’! I’ve recommended it to a few of my close friends and I tell them honestly that it’s one of the most unique books I’ve read. It’s not really fiction or nonfiction, it’s a meditation.”
— Michael Poyatt, musician

hardcover How to Live paperback How to Live


  1. Be independent.
  2. Commit.
  3. Fill your senses.
  4. Do nothing.
  5. Think super-long-term.
  6. Intertwine with the world.
  7. Make memories.
  8. Master something.
  9. Let randomness rule.
  10. Pursue pain.
  11. Do whatever you want now.
  12. Be a famous pioneer.
  13. Chase the future.
  14. Value only what has endured.
  15. Learn.
  16. Follow the great book.
  17. Laugh at life.
  18. Prepare for the worst.
  19. Live for others.
  20. Get rich.
  21. Reinvent yourself regularly.
  22. Love.
  23. Create.
  24. Don’t die.
  25. Make a million mistakes.
  26. Make change.
  27. Balance everything.
  28. Conclusion
$15 : ebook, audiobook, and all digital formats forever
(epub, mobi, pdf, mp3, html, etc. No DRM.)
$19 : paper book includes all digital formats
(really just $4 for the paper, so only $4 for each additional copy)