Abhi Yerra

Sheepdog: A Framework for Action in Life and Work

Performing all works as an offering unto me, constantly meditate on me as the Supreme. Become free from desire and selfishness, and with your mental grief departed, fight! 
  • - Bhagavad Gita 3:30
The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in
themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within. You fail only
when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power. As
soon as a man loses faith in himself, death comes. Believe first in
yourselves, and then in God. A handful of strong men will move the
world. It is the salvation of others that you must seek; and even if
you have to go to hell in working for others, that is worth more than
to gain heaven by seeking your own salvation.
  • Vivekananda


  • Only problems in life worth solving is how to love and how to love and live. All other questions are external and unimportant. Everything starts with love. Without love you cannot move forward.
  • never think that you are not succeeding because others are holding you back. No one owes you anything. Life is about taking what you need.
  • give more love than you get. Never be the friend zone of life seeking something in return. Love and give love.
  • you can’t love everyone. Not everyone is going to love you. Don’t try.
  • fall in love. All the time. With the little things in life. The little jokes, the smile of your wife in the morning, 


If thou should live three thousand, or as many as ten thousands of
years, yet remember this, that man can part with no life properly,
save with that little part of life, which he now lives: and that which
he lives, is no other, than that which at every instant he parts with.
  • Marcus Aurelius
Remember that you are an actor in a play, and the Playwright chooses
the manner of it: if he wants it short, it is short; if long, it is
long. If he wants you to act a poor man you must act the part with all
your powers; and so if your part be a cripple or a magistrate or a
plain man. For your business is to act the character that is given you
and act it well; the choice of the cast is Another's.
  • The Manual [Enchiridion] Of Epictetus
Like it or not, life is a game. Whoever denies that truth, whoever simply refuses to play, gets left on the sidelines, and I didn’t want that. More than anything, that was the thing I did not want. - Shoe Dog
Soon after, you learn that most of the world doesn’t necessarily care about what you think. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. As the writer Steven Pressfield says, “It’s not that people are mean or cruel, they’re just busy.” - Steal Like an Artist
Romantic literature often presents the individual as somebody caught in a struggle against the state and the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. The state and the market are the mother and father of the individual, and the individual can survive only thanks to them. The market provides us with work, insurance and a pension. If we want to study a profession, the government’s schools are there to teach us. If we want to open a business, the bank loans us money. If we want to build a house, a construction company builds it and the bank gives us a mortgage, in some cases subsidised or insured by the state. If violence flares up, the police protect us. If we are sick for a few days, our health insurance takes care of us. If we are debilitated for months, national social services steps in. If we need around-the-clock assistance, we can go to the market and hire a nurse – usually some stranger from the other side of the world who takes care of us with the kind of devotion that we no longer expect from our own children. If we have the means, we can spend our golden years at a senior citizens’ home. The tax authorities treat us as individuals, and do not expect us to pay the neighbours’ taxes. The courts, too, see us as individuals, and never punish us for the crimes of our cousins. - Sapiens
  • We are all in this fishbowl. Air is like water.
  • at the end of the day you have to take leadership of yourself. No one else will. Don’t bitch about it figure out the way to hack life. How can you get what you want quickly, ethically and get it done. 
  • you can only really be good at 20% of things so spend time on that. The rest have other people do it or figure out how other people can take care of those things. 
  • sometimes good enough is better. If you narrow your focus too much then you won’t be able to generalize. To get to perfect also takes way more time and stress.
  • you only have so much willpower and decision maker power a day. You really need a system by which you focus on the big stuff and relegate the less important stuff.
  • everyone is faking it 80% of the time outside of their field of expertise so why are you an imposter when they just as much don’t know what is going on?
  • being an elite doesn’t make you better. It just means they had opportunities. Bring you set of cards and play a different game. Don’t fall for the game that is given. 
  • A person without struggle is rudderless. They make up struggles or get addicted. Make a struggle if you don’t have one
  • Language affects how we think and view life, different constructs in different languages affect how we look at other people, ourselves, morality, etc.
  • Ex. Preventing people to do stuff in Telugu, “Your Karma”
  • Ex. Korean Air using English as the primary language, but there is too much subservience to elders in the Korean language.


Vi veri universium vivius vici
(I with the power of truth while living will conqueror the universe)
  • V for Vendetta
Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be
that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace.
  • The Manual [Enchiridion] Of Epictetus
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle
  • Pslam 144:1
It is in action alone that you have a claim, never at any time to the fruits of such action. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; never let your attachment be to inaction. -Bhagavad Gita 2:47
Because, to repeat, life is sacrifice and risk taking, and nothing that doesn’t entail some moderate amount of the former, under the constraint of satisfying the latter, is close to what we can call life. If you do not undertake a risk of real harm, reparable or even potentially irreparable, from an adventure, it is not an adventure. - Skin in the Game
Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. - Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
“Why ask my birth, Diomêdês? Very like leaves upon this earth are the generations of men— old leaves, cast on the ground by wind, young leaves the greening forest bears when spring comes in. So mortals pass; one generation flowers even as another dies away. -Illiad
As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be NATURALLY SELECTED. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. -On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life
When you put your life on the line, you want all your weapons to be of use. Your real intent should not be to die with weapons uselessly worn at your waist. - The Book of Five Rings
The classical man’s worst fear was inglorious death; the modern man’s worst fear is just death. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Whenever faced with great difficulty or personal pain, Genghis Khan funneled it into combat. Kill, don’t mourn. - Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
  • We all have a struggle that is our own.
  • Live with it, feed on it to so it makes your better.
  • Every person has that struggle that they want to overcome, something in them that never feels fulfilled and why they keep pushing.
  • This is the Hero’s Journey, the call to action, the failure to heed that call that all of us live through.
  • Use this struggle to fight to win.
  • Winning isn’t always about winning. It may be losing in the short term to succeed in the long term.


Yet simplicity has been difficult to implement in modern life because it is against the spirit of a certain brand of people who seek sophistication so they can justify their profession. - Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Tidy (Cleanliness) / Projects
It’s far more important to adorn your home with the things you love than to keep it so bare it lacks anything that brings you joy. - Tidy by Marie Kondo
Research in social psychology has shown that happy people are not people who have more; rather, they are people who are happy with what they already have. -Organized Mind
  • Everything should be in its place
  • “Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy” - Marie Kondo
  • This is super important as things that stick around either in physical life or in mental life like unfinished projects create stress.
  • This stress comes from the notion that they should be done and prioritized which take mental energy.
  • So if it has fulfilled its purpose and you see no need to keep doing it then give it up.
  • Certain projects are from a period of you life and it is okay if you let them go if you learned everything you needed from it or are over it.
We know very little about self-development. But we do know one thing: People in general, and knowledge workers in particular, grow according to the demands they make on themselves. They grow according to what they consider to be achievement and attainment. If they demand little of themselves, they will remain stunted. If they demand a good deal of themselves, they will grow to giant stature—without any more effort than is expended by the nonachievers. -Effective Executive
One of the best books I read this year was Tidy and it has definitely made me better at keeping and getting rid of things that I don’t need and keeping things in a state of relative organization.
  • But I think the ideas of Tidy can also be used for Picking Projects
  • I tend to write a lot of programs and sometimes I get too ambitious and decide that I want to make a product out of it forgetting all the pain of developing a full blown product.
  • So I’ve come up with a criteria for myself in sort of clearing out projects
  1. Does it give me joy or does it feel like work?
  1. Usually the project has done its function usually as a script and it can just end there. There is no need to make it into something bigger.
  1. Can I do it with 1/10th the work?
  1. Why create a whole product when you can just write a script that is just as useful.
  1. Am I going to be better because of this project, am I going to be that much better than before? Is it fitting with your long terms OKRs? Is it a lateral move rather than a step up? 
  1. Aim higher with the tools and products you write not lower.
  1. This way you are always growing not staying in the same place.
  1. If it is no then there is no need to keep it. You should evolve and if a project has outgrown your needs then it really doesn’t make sense to keep going with it.
  1. Remove things from your life and when you think you have no more to remove remove some more.
  1. These are both mental and physical, habits and actions.
  1. One of the main things in life is getting to the essence of things not adding more and more.
  • Take time on weekends to do something completely different.
  • Spending too much time on work makes you not see the forest for the the trees.
  • Travel, change of scene, visit a new place. Just get out of the routine.

Via Negativa

  • Life isn’t about how much more to add on it is how to live purposefully by taking away.
  • What is your life goal and purpose?
  • How can you remove the nonessential things to make that goal a reality?
  • What things are holding you back? What habits? What people?
  • Reduce these, or remove them altogether.
  • Focus on the most important thing and push as much as possible to do those things.
  • Keep the things that allow you to fulfill your goals
  • Keep things that will give you leverage to achieving your goal

Collect Your Mistakes / Gaps in Knowledge

  • Log every mistake you made
  • Log gaps in your knowledge
  • Log potential future issues that you will face
  • It is better to make mistakes and learn upon those.
  • Mistakes are gaps are one part of advancing, the second part is figuring out the gap in knowledge.

Care of the Self

  • To be more than you are you need to at time detach from the world.
  • This means to be a detached observer of the world and looking at it as if from Mount Olympus.
  • To do this you may need to detach from the flow and activities of life.




There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
What stirred?
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
The life force that was covered with emptiness,
that One arose through the power of heat.
Desire came upon that One in the beginning,
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom
found the bond of existence and non-existence.
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were powers.
There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
  • Rig Veda, Nasadiya (Creation Hymn)
Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long.
But a man cannot stand prepared for the approach of death if he has just begun to live. We must make it our aim already to have lived long enough.
- Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
  • stocism is a good way to understand that you can both try and be disconnected from the realities that can come when one tries
  • understand that life is a battle and you are God’s footsoldier but you must strive for the betterment of the world even when what people seem to want are inquisitors running their lives. 
 - Remain ambitious. Being mindful doesn’t mean being a pushover.
 - Strive harder and take on more.
 - It is okay to be angry but get over it


That which you see as other than righteousness and unrighteousness,
other than all this cause and effect, other than what has been and
what is to be—tell me That. -Upanishads
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in
the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the
sight of your eyes: but know you, that for all these things God will
bring you into judgment. -Ecclesiastes 11:9
Lord give me chastity and continency, only not yet. - St. Augustine
Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. - Mohammod
Atheists are just modern versions of religious fundamentalists: both take religion too literally. - The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
Most religions all talk about the same thing. Love of god, existence, universe. Never judge another religion for their beliefs without also judging your own. The criteria for seeking truth is universal but if we are not willing to discredit and find fault in even science we might as well be machines. Science can’t answer everything nor can religion. They have rely on each other and we have to rely on both.
  • Remember that religion was what gave us science in the first place.
  • People want an ideal like Jesus because they can never live up to such a person, but Jesus never asked them to bow.
  • Thus, people want an inquisitor someone to tell them what to do and feel.
  • Most people are not strong willed and at the end of the day between bread and ideals will choose bread. The instinct to survive is greater than the ideal of a Jesus.


  • It is important to dress and change clothes as a changing of ritual or changing of form.
  • You don’t need to dress well all the time but the way you present yourself is important in how people perceive you.
  • Don’t be the clothes you wear but also don’t be taken lightly because of the type of clothes you wear. 
  • Clear your clothing once in a while and buy new stuff. Ask yourself if something is past its prime. It maybe is.


Never say of anything, 'I lost it', but say, 'I gave it back'. Has
your child died? It was given back. Has your wife died? She was given
back. Has your estate been taken from you? Was not this also given
back? But you say, 'He who took it from me is wicked'. What does it
matter to you through whom the Giver asked it back? As long as He
gives it you, take care of it, but not as your own; treat it as
passers-by treat an inn.
  • The Manual [Enchiridion] Of Epictetus
Renunciation of objects, without the renunciation of
desires, is short-lived, however hard you may try.
  • Gandhi


  • have a plan for your leisure time like you have a plan for work.
  • have hobbies and learn new things.
  • keep it clean and get rid of things only have minimal amount of things. You don’t need a lot of stuff. Simplify


If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be
happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we
think them happier than they are.
  • Montesquieu
  • You are one half of any relationship you have with other people.
  • Never blame other people, how you handle the relationship growth is just as much up to you.
  • Have a growth mindset, put others to achieve to higher standards than they have for themselves. But be sure that they can also adjust to those goals.
  • Also, some people don’t do well with any form of critique and rejection. These are fixed mindset people.
  • You have to show them that rejection is okay by critiquing yourself.
  • It is better to show your weaknesses and show how you know and can grow from them rather than portray yourself as infallible.
  • It is weak ties to other people that get you jobs, etc. It usually not the strong ties such as close friends, etc. but social groups such as similar schools, similar clubs, etc. where you know people, who know people.
  • The Strength of Weak Ties
  • Respect the people who created you even if you don’t always see eye to eye.
  • Even if you are a contrast to someone you are defining yourself against that person.



  • create standard operating procedures even if it is for yourself. You need to figure out a routine that you can adjust but also note that sometimes you get into a routine where you will be building things and it is okay to ignore those life procedures. The procedures are there when you can get back to bursts.
  • experiment and learn as much as possible about your field. Dive deep. Give away knowledge.
  • automate processes with code and have the systems be able to do stuff
  • use freelancers. Hire people to do stuff that you don’t have time for or don’t want to do.
  • To do more you need to create the processes to do more.
  • try to go up a level in what you are working on ever quarter. What I mean by this is that you automate or have other people do the work that needs to be done and you go up a level to see the higher level vision and start fresh to build processes there
  • Simplify. If something starts looking hairy it is and it needs to be simplified to first principle. What are you trying to really achieve. How can you make it happen in a simpler manner?
  • Think 80/20. The more you can focus on the high value stuff the more time you can make a change. Be proactive about outsourcing things even if the initial cost is high. Your goal is to be able to do more quickly and if the opportunity cost of you doing it vs paying someone else to do it is high then you are likely doing it wrong.
  • figure out all the individual roles you have at your company. Demarcate each responsibility and delegate it while moving up in your organizational chart.
  • Work hard, then harder. Then work smart. When you are young you work hard without a direction. As you get older you should figure out your weaknesses and know that you aren’t good at everything. Certain things in life you can be good at or meh at. certain things can traded for money. Understand that you can’t be good at everything as you get older and that to move faster you may just have to hire other people.


  • Government should be responsible for 3 primary things: Defense, Education, Health
  • All of these help people succeed and make society as a whole better.
  • Government provides as the Declaration of Independence states, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”
  • It is not the responsibility of the government to make you happy.
  • The government does have a responsibility to evolve and help its citizens evolve and ensure that as they evolve to fit new needs that there is a safety net.
  • Health, Education and Defense are all things government should own as these are the things that facilitate the safety to do other things such as start businesses, work on art, etc.
  • Education at all levels should be free
  • Healthcare should be run by government.
  • To understand that people understand where each person is coming from after high school everyone should be committed to 2 years of community service and be mixed from people from different places.
  • Government should provide for the growth of new business and restraint the growth of already large companies.
  • Government gives out a lot of grants, each grant should not be a lot of money but like a seed investment.
  • Government should also itself run like an efficient company and be able to fire employees that under perform.
  • As companies get larger they should get taxed more.
  • Smaller companies should get taxed less if they are providing and creating new things.
  • People’s Wealth Should not be unbounded
  • 40% income tax on everyone
  • No long term capital gains. all gains should be at 20%.
  • Basic Income that ensures everyone has enough to survive



Mastering fear is not about becoming physically stronger, or tougher, or more macho, or more aggressive, or more stoic, or more pumped up. It is about learning how to identify and change the conversation in your head.
Think back to that moment of anxiety, that edgy, clammy-palmed feeling about whatever event or issue was swimming your way. Next time that happens, here’s what you tell yourself: “Whatever it is, you’ll deal with it in its time and place. Meanwhile, don’t let it swim around inside your head!”
I’ve noticed this core character trait: the ability to see and flip that mental switch. To me, that ability to self-monitor and change your interior dialogue is one of the most critical faculties that distinguishes a mature, adult human, someone capable of functioning fully in the world. It’s what takes you from victim mentality to being proactive; from blaming others to taking ownership of your situation and taking positive steps to change it. It takes you from being at the mercy of circumstance to being the master of circumstance.
The goal is not to eliminate the fear. You don’t want that fear to go away. You don’t want to step into the ring, onto the stage, or out on the battlefield all loose and laid back.
People say “Familiarity breeds contempt,” but in my experience that’s exactly backward. It’s complete lack of familiarity that breeds contempt, suspicion—and fear. But I’ll tell you what familiarity does breed: competence and confidence. Which is why familiarity is the warrior’s secret sauce, the antidote to fear.
-Mastering Fear
  • Don’t jump into the unknown that is dumb. Our mind prevents that for a reason it doesn’t like the unknown
  • Rather make a little bit of the unknown known a little at a time and over time you get comfortable with your fears.
  • Without fear you wouldn’t be here. But you have to have fear as a method to overcome the struggle.
  • Dealing with fear
  • When fearful, make that excitement.
  • Don’t use energy unnecessarily as that will deplete the resources you need, you need to be able to stay calm, or be able to translate that fear which is moving your energy at 100 miles an hour and accelerate it even more: change that fear to excitement at the challenge.
  • When you fear something take a second to sense why you have that agitation?
  • This is a natural occurrence when you think of something that you fear.


Pascal is for building pyramids imposing, breathtaking, static structures built 
by armies pushing heavy blocks into place. Lisp is for building organisms ­ 
imposing, breathtaking, dynamic structures built by squads fitting fluctuating 
myriads of simpler organisms into place. - Structure and Interpretations of Computer Programs
Programs that Write Programs
  • Let to write programs that write other programs. The abstractions of each layer can make you efficient at the next layer.