Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content


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Become a story teller

Telling stories is an effective way to build connections and relationships with a wide range of people.

become the most positive person I know
Happy to be here

Just try to be happy wherever I am.

I am happy to be alive and happy to experience what I am experiencing now.

Nothing will be perfect, but that should not stop me from being happy.

become a master teacher
Yale Patt's 10 commandments for Good Teaching

Know the material
Want to teach
Genuinely respect your students and show it
Set the bar high; students will measure up
Emphasize understanding; de-emphasize memorization
Take responsibility for what is covered
Don't even try to cover the material
Encourage interruptions; don't be afraid to digress
Don't forget those three little words
Reserved for future use

Become a freelance Yoga and meditation teacher, thinker and writer

My plan is the following.

Now I will keep my day job while spending my spare time on learning and practicing Yoga and meditation.

By the time when the kids go to college (I will be in my early 50’s), hopefully I have learned enough about Yoga and meditation that I can quit my day job and become a full-time Yoga/meditation teacher.

I will also have more time to think and write.

challenge my mind and body everyday (read all 2 entries…)
Buddhist Teaching

Now I am getting more involved in learning Buddha’s teaching. Looking at the two goals in my previous entry, I realize that Buddhist practices will endow me with wisdom and compassion which coincides with achieving that two goals.

Focus on Math and CS
Back to Fundamentals

This is the only way to achieve goal 1 and 2.

Need to cut off lots of distractions from my life, such as watching sports, cheesy flicks, etc.

Also I want to teach Math and CS to my kids. So I had better get good at them first.

1. C++, Python
2. sparse matrix solvers (direct and iterative)
3. Computer Architecture with focus on DLP and TLP
4. Multi-threading
6. Artificial Intelligence

1. Convex optimization
2. Stochastic programming
3. Data Mining
4. Compilers
5. computational biology
6. computer graphics
7. information theory

save the world


In other words: if I remain in a small position, I will do little things to help the planet, by recycling and not consuming much, etc; if I become financially independent or reach an important position, I can do bigger philanthropic things.

Read more (read all 4 entries…)
Booklist for 2009

Getting Things Done

How to Talk to Anyone

Ten-day MBA

Competitive Strategy

Intro to Discrete Event Systems (at work)

Reconfigurable computing (at work)

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas (Hardcover)
by Richard Ogle (Author)

Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga…
by B. K. S. Iyengar (Author), Yehudi Menuhin (Foreword)

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition—with a new Introduction by the Author
by Richard Dawkins (Paperback – May 25, 2006)

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock (A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts) (Hardcover)
by Kirk Varnedoe (Author)

never lose my cool

Barak Obama should be my role model who is ambitious, passionate and yet never loses his cool.

Always believe that “this one too shall pass.”

Never lose my cool in front of my kids. When they are fussy, just look into their eyes calmly.

Never lose my cool when the stock market and my investment plummet.

Never lose my cool when there is personal misunderstanding.

learn to appreciate poetry

Read and appreciate poems as much as possible before I start to compose my own poems.

do something original

Doing something original is much more difficult than doing something difficult.

You never know when this will happen.

You just keep learning new things and exploring other idea spaces.
Hopefully, some epiphany will appear.

Even if you get nothing out of this process, you still have a lot fun while learning.

Life is only a process anyway.

do something difficult
do something difficult

Nothing is difficult if you focus your time and determination on something and do it in a systematic and gradual way.

To do something difficult is to curb the urge of taking the easy way out and getting some instant satisfaction.

In the morning, the easy way out is to stay in the bed around 6am. Instead, you get up and exercise for half an hour or more.

At work, the easy way out is to maintain and fix the existing things. Instead, you think about some new initiatives and projects.

In the evening, the easy way out is to sit on couch, surfing the web or watching the TV. Instead, you read some technical books you always want to read.

A few difficult things that I want to tackle:
1. Computer Science
2. Yoga
3. Understanding Music (theory, ear training, all kinds of music)

be artistic (read all 2 entries…)

Here are the two things I am mostly likely to do:
1. composing music (probably with MIT’s HyperScore);
2. writing poems in English and Chinese.

Read more (read all 4 entries…)
Booklist for 2008

The Dangerous Book for Boys
by Conn Iggulden (Author), Hal Iggulden (Author)

The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2007 (Unofficial Guides)
by Bob Sehlinger (Author), Deke Castleman (Contributor), Muriel Stevens (Contributor), Lynne Bachleda (Contributor), Chris Mohney (Contributor)

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama (Author)

The Peter Principle : Why Things Always Go Wrong
by Laurence J. Peter (Author)

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
by Barack Obama (Author)

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas (Hardcover)
by Richard Ogle (Author)



Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
by Bill Buford (Author)

Gotcha Capitalism: How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day-and What You Can Do About It (Paperback)
by Bob Sullivan (Author)

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Hardcover)
by Jennifer 8 Lee (Author)


Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School (Hardcover)
by Philip Delves Broughton (Author)

Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga…
by B. K. S. Iyengar (Author), Yehudi Menuhin (Foreword)

Inside Steve’s Brain
by Leander Kahney (Author)

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition—with a new Introduction by the Author
by Richard Dawkins (Paperback – May 25, 2006)

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days
by Jessica Livingston (Hardcover – Jan 22, 2007)

Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Paperback)
by Daniel Goleman (Author)

DNA: The Secret of Life (Hardcover)
by James D. Watson

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock (A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts) (Hardcover)
by Kirk Varnedoe (Author)

Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win (Hardcover)
by William C. Taylor (Author), Polly G. Labarre (Author)

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships (Hardcover)
by Daniel Goleman (Author)

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management (Paperback)
by Roger Lowenstein

Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution (Hardcover)
by Geoffrey A. Moore

The selfish gene

The God Delusion

The world is flat

get and STAY in shape
Why I started exercising

I should not be just content with weight control and proper diet.
I need to push my fitness to another level with more muscle and flexibility.

There are so many benefits if I keep this fit:
0. I feel more energized because workouts reduce fatigue and relieve stress;
1. I can pick up some sports I’ve only dreamed of doing, such as rock climbing;
2. When my kids become more physically active, I can keep up with them;
3. When my kids want to dive into an outdoor adventure, I will happily join them;
4. I will have fewer physical problems when I get older;
5. My clothes will fit better.

build good relationships

The key is to be sensitive to other people’s needs and emotions despite how busy I am.

Some goals below are about building relationships:
1. be good parents
2. become a leader

challenge my mind and body everyday (read all 2 entries…)

In my opinion, there are two important things in one’s life:
1. sharpening one’s mind and body;
2. building good relationships.

This task is about improving myself constantly. (The management term is Kaizen or 改善)

Everyday, I should ask myself:
1. Have I had a good workout?
2. What concepts and lessons have I learned today?

Lots of goals below belong to this category, such as:
1. read more
2. learn AI.

rock climb

I am doing P90X to get myself into the best shape in my life.
I am training for strength and flexibility.

To motivate myself, I dream some day I start doing rock climbing which I have never done before.

I also like the idea of lifting myself and competing with nobody but myself.

Travel in space

Just read the news that Charles Simonyi, a Microsoft billisonaire, went to the space at the age of 59. The trip cost about $25 million.

I hope I can do this once in my life time. For that to happen, the space travel will have to become very cheap (less than $500K?) or I will have to become very rich (net worth more than $100m?).

Read more (read all 4 entries…)
Booklist for 2007

Messages From My Father (Paperback)
by Calvin Trillin

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy (Hardcover)
by Thomas J. Stanley (Author), William D. Danko (Author)

The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need
by Andrew Tobias

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More
by Chris Anderson

All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan
by Elizabeth Warren (Author), Amelia Warren Tyagi (Author)

The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke
by Elizabeth Warren (Author), Amelia Warren Tyagi (Author)

Stumbling on Happiness
by Daniel Gilbert

What to Eat
by Marion Nestle

The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness
by Steven Levy

A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track (Hardcover)
by Andy Stern (Author)



The Number : A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life
by Lee Eisenberg (Author)

Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe (Hardcover – April 10, 2007)

by Douglas Coupland (Author)

The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us by Robyn Meredith (Hardcover – Jul 16, 2007)

Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock (A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts) (Hardcover)
by Kirk Varnedoe (Author)


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