Skip to content

Recipe for success

1. Toil for years at a career that doesn’t support you, mainly helping others redo their work

2. Produce a few deeply flawed products with occasional flashes of talent

3. Finally produce something that breaks all the rules for what your customers want.

4. Resist all suggestions for changes from your collaborators, who describe it as undoable. 

5. Unveil the work to shocked incomprehension from the hostile audience and critics.

6. You die in misery 3 months later.

Congratulations, you have just produced the most successful opera of all time.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Adam Baker wrote:

    Eh, if you call that success. In literature, at least, there’s a strong stigma associated with being a “one book man.” Not that I’ve even produced my one book…

    Posted December 5, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink
  2. William Easterly wrote:

    If your one thing is something adored by millions of people for over a century, yes I would call that success

    Posted December 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  3. Morgan Price wrote:

    I think The Pearl Fishers (sometimes translated as Divers) is totally underrated.

    Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:41 am | Permalink
  4. Adam Baker wrote:

    Maybe it’s just sour grapes on the part of people who never even get one book. At the same time, do we put Harper Lee on the same level as Hemingway and Dostoyevsky?

    Posted December 6, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

One Trackback

  1. By Tweets that mention Recipe for success -- on December 5, 2010 at 8:59 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ao Li and OpenEye Group, Conduit Journal. Conduit Journal said: Recipe for success […]

  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

  • Archives