Principles of Adult Behavior

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Last week, John Perry Barlow died at the age of 70. I got a chance to meet him once and I was mesmerized by his extraordinary life. He was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead when he was young, an early advocate for digital rights and free expression when he was older, and a cowboy and Republican politician in between. 

But one of his most lasting contributions is a short document that he wrote in 1977 and titled “Principles of Adult Behavior.” It’s simple — a one-page list. But its wisdom-to-word-count ratio is as high as I’ve encountered. Among the gems:

Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.

Praise at least as often as you disparage. 

Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that. 

Take some time to read the entire list: Principles of Adult Behavior. 


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