Patri Friedman's Advice Experience Hierarchy

As someone who likes to give and is receptive to advice, I really like Patri Friedman's advice experience hierarchy:

  1. I heard about this cool idea.
  2. I read for a few minutes about this cool idea...
  3. I actually considered trying this cool idea!
  4. I actually briefly tried this new thing!!
  5. I did this new thing for weeks or months and it so worked!!!
  6. I did this thing for years or decades and it's deeply woven into my life.
  7. I've spoken with / taught a few others how to do the thing.
  8. I've studied most extant research about this thing & can summarize
  9. I've spoken to / worked with / interviewed hundreds of people working on this thing (generally as a professional, or through net communities).

Spots 4-5 are the biggest traps. It's very easy to be excited (and tell people about) an app, productivity technique, lifestyle change etc that you've been doing for a few weeks or months. It's much harder to consistently and long term weave it into your life.

I agree with Friedman that usefulness follows a power law up the hierarchy:

"Advice that has worked for someone long-term is easily 10x or 100x more valuable than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And advice based on a large cross-section of people is easily 10x or 100x more valuable than one person's experience."

Since hearing about this, I've tried to move away from handing out advice and recommendations that are less than 6, or at least adding a caveat if I do (speaking of, these tweets are only about a year old, so the advice in this post — stop giving/taking short term advice — isn't more than a 5 for me).

Personal Level 6+ Habits

Here are a few of the things I've been doing/using for several years, i.e. they'd be at least a 6 on the advice experience hierarchy.

  • Vim (probably a 7).
  • Reading every night before I fall asleep.
  • On weekends, chopping up big container of vegetables for each day of the week.
  • Lifting weights, playing pickup basketball for cardiovascular exercise in lieu of jogging.

Examples of Level 9 Advice

Because advice gets scarcer as you move up the hierarchy, I'd also be interested in collecting examples of type 9 advice.

For example:

Stay tuned for more.