Wisereads Vol. 35 — Sequoia Capital on product-market fit, Knut Hamsun's Growth of the Soil, and more

Last week, we shared a chapter of The SaaS Playbook, a founder's guide by Rob Walling. This week, we're sharing Growth of the Soil, a Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novel by Knut Hamsun (because we're in Norway this week).

Heads up — our team is gathering for our bi-annual company offsite (in Norway!) through April 26th. If you're experiencing a roadblock like being locked out of your account or data loss, please email hello+sos@readwise.io. We’re doing our best to monitor that inbox even during this offsite.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


Jung’s Five Pillars of a Good Life

Arthur C. Brooks · The Atlantic

Arthur C. Brooks, coauthor of Build the Life You Want, distills Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung's thoughts on happiness into pillars, including cultivating relationships and minimizing unhappiness. "Manage as best you can the main sources of misery in your life by attending to your physical and mental health, maintaining employment, and ensuring an adequate income."


The Arc Product-Market Fit Framework

Team Sequoia · Sequoia Capital

The investors behind tech giants like Reddit, Linear, and Stripe present three archetypes to help founders find product-market fit: Hair on Fire, Hard Fact, and Future Vision. "The challenge to overcome is force of habit. Customers will have to change their current behaviors, and inertia is powerful. You need an approach that’s novel enough, for a problem that matters enough, to be worth making a change."


Obituary for a Quiet Life

Jeremy B. Jones · The Bitter Southerner

Author and associate English professor Jeremy B. Jones reflects on what his papaw's obituary overlooked: a simple and quiet life in the Cataloochee Valley. "A quiet life isn’t a passive life. Sitting still on the porch doesn’t mean letting the world go by. He and Grandma took their camper across the country. He served as president of the union. Being content doesn’t mean being blind. It means knowing the difference between a good fight and a selfish one."

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


Notion Takes On Google Docs And Microsoft Office By Being Like Lego


Inspired by Douglas Engelbart’s vision of augmenting human intellect, CEO Ivan Zhao designed Notion with a versatile block system. "This Notion software is made from Lego pieces… people can tinker it, modify it, just like all the kids can change their Lego toy once they get used to the initial set. That's the 'aha' for us."

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


Dave Pascoe is 61

Max Hertan

Max Hertan unravels the protocol that biohacker Dave Pascoe uses to achieve an epigenetic age of 37, including "25–45 minutes in a sauna daily," and exercise "multiple times a day to help remove cellular waste buildup and improve glucose and insulin regulation."

Most highlighted PDF of the week

Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2024

Stanford University

In its seventh annual index report, Stanford tracks and visualizes data from the last year of AI development, highlighting the escalating costs of frontier models. "According to AI Index estimates, the training costs of state-of-the-art AI models have reached unprecedented levels. For example, OpenAI’s GPT-4 used an estimated $78 million worth of compute to train, while Google’s Gemini Ultra cost $191 million for compute."

Hand-picked book of the week


Growth of the Soil

Knut Hamsun

Growth of the Soil, a mainstay of Norwegian literature, is known for its revolutionary use of stream of consciousness and its austere depiction of rural life. Knut Hamsun, awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature for this work, meditates on simplicity and contentment in the everyday lives of ordinary people.

"With this hut of theirs, this farm of theirs; why, 'twas good enough for anyone. Ay, they’d as good as all they could wish for already. Oh, that Inger; he loved her and she loved him again; they were frugal folk; they lived in primitive wise, and lacked for nothing. 'Let’s go to sleep!' And they went to sleep. And wakened in the morning to another day, with things to look at, matters to see to, once again; ay, toil and pleasure, ups and downs, the way of life."

This edition of Growth of the Soil is available through Standard Ebooks. You can explore their collection of high quality, carefully formatted, and free public domain ebooks here.

Handpicked RSS feed of the week


Hello, Adversity

On his Substack, Chris Anselmo shares strategies and stories on overcoming tough times, drawing on his own experiences with a rare neuromuscular disease. From Failed, Not a Failure: "We can’t live a failure-free existence, even if we took the safest, most risk-averse path imaginable. Besides, what kind of life would that be? Failing is a feature, not a bug, of life, even if it hurts in the short term."