Tag Archives: knowledge

How to become a chef and become a writer

After reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, I realized that becoming a chef is not at all what I imagined. It takes a ton of time and involves getting dirty. You have to start from the ground up. I saw some similarities to the process of becoming a writer, or really, any creative job. Anthony Bourdain gives 14 tips on how to become a chef.

Let’s find out how many of those tips are helpful to become a writer, or any other creative job.

1. Be fully committed.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. It’ll be beneficial to make up your mind that writing is what you want to do. If you really don’t want to be a writer, then how will you find time/ energy to read and write all day long, or right after your day job? You probably won’t make the time, or find the energy. You need to really want it.

“Don’t be a fence-sitter or a waffler. If you’re going to be a chef someday, be sure about it, single-minded in your determination to achieve victory at all costs.” -Anthony Bourdain

2. Learn Spanish!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Probably not. Unless, you want to be a Spanish writer or appeal to a Spanish speaking audience.

3. Don’t Steal.

Is this helpful to become a writer? If you interpret this as don’t plagiarize, then yes. It’s not exactly what Anthony Bourdain meant, but if you want to become a writer plagiarizing is a major offense that you want to stay far away from. With all the reading a writer is doing, it’s almost as tempting to plagiarize as it is for a chef to steal from their restaurant.

“In fact, don’t do anything that you couldn’t take a polygraph test over…If you’re a sneak and a liar, however, it will follow you forever. This is a small business; everybody knows everybody else. You will do yourself immeasurable harm.” -Anthony Bourdain

4. Always be on time.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If you have a writing job, then of course yes. If you have scheduled writing hours set aside daily, do yourself a favor and never skip them. How else do you expect to get better? This tip translates to almost any career.

5. Never make excuses or blame others.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes, of course. Writers have deadlines. If you don’t reach the deadline, then it’s your fault. Admit it and do better next time.

6. Never call in sick.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. Unless, you’re so sick that you can’t move. It is best to try and get your work done. Especially, if you are falling behind on a deadline.

“Except in cases of dismemberment, arterial bleeding, sucking chest wounds or the death of an immediate family member. Granny died? Bury her on your day off.” -Anthony Bourdain

7. Lazy, sloppy and slow are bad.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yeah! Turn in great work. Turn it in ready to be shipped. I’ve edited other writing before, and it sucks when it’s obvious they didn’t even try to correct some of their grammar errors and misspellings. Don’t be a lazy writer. You’ll quickly get labeled as the lazy writer/ person.

“Enterprising, crafty and hyperactive are good.” -Anthony Bourdain

8. Be prepared to witness every variety of human folly and injustice.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. If a writer is making more money than you, and you think you’re better, don’t worry about it. You got to focus on your own target and goals. Don’t get distracted by comparing yourself to others. It’s not healthy nor is it helpful.

“Without it screwing up your head or poisoning your attitude. You will simply have to endure the contradictions and inequalities of this life. ‘Why does that brain-damaged, lazy-assed busboy take home more money than me, the goddamn sous-chef?’ should not be a question that drives you to tears of rage and frustration. It will just be like that sometimes. Accept it.” -Anthony Bourdain

9. Assume the worst. 

Is this helpful to become a writer? I don’t know. This one might be more chef specific since they have to interact with the same people everyday whether they like them or not. Usually, writers have a bit more flexibility throughout the day. This tip is meant for chefs who might not like one of their coworkers. Bourdain is advising to find their company entertaining, and amusing, regardless of how you feel about the person.

10. Try not to lie.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. This is good practice for any line of work. You don’t want people questioning what you say.

“Remember, this is the restaurant business. No matter how bad it is, everybody probably has heard worse. Forgot to place the produce order? Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever.” -Anthony Bourdain

11. Avoid restaurants where the owner’s name is over the door.

Is this helpful to become a writer? No. Unless, you’re writing for a restaurant?

“Avoid restaurants that smell bad. Avoid restaurants with names that will look funny or pathetic on your resume.” -Anthony Bourdain

12. Think about that resume!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. You should always keep your resume in mind, no matter what line of work you’re in. Your resume will get you your next job.

“How will it look to a chef weeding through a stack of faxes if you’ve never worked in one place longer than six months?” -Anthony Bourdain

13. Read!

Is this helpful to become a writer? Hell yes! You have to read. 24/ 7. Bourdain recommends cookbooks and trade magazines to keep up with the industry trends. While, you don’t have to keep up with trends, you should always be reading the writing of great writers. It will help your writing. Have you ever heard of a musician who doesn’t listen to music?

14. Have a sense of humor about things.

Is this helpful to become a writer? Yes. In writing and life, a sense of humor is required 🙂 .

“You’ll need it.” -Anthony Bourdain

What will artificial intelligence bring?

I have noticed a lot of talk about artificial intelligence recently.

First, I’m reading The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. This book has an entire chapter dedicated to artificial intelligence. It doesn’t view AI as a threat, to humans, as other sources are predicting it to be.

Second, the last two conferences I’ve been to this year have heavily gotten behind the idea of machine learning.

Third, one of my favorite bloggers (David from Raptitude dot com) wrote a post about it this week. David’s post, definitely, took the view of seeing AI as a potential threat to humans.

Four, it was announced today that Elon Musk launched a company called NeuraLink. Its goal is to merge the human brain with AI. Elon has stated that the purpose of this venture is to protect the human race against the likely threat of AI destroying us. The venture is aimed at keeping us ahead of the curve.

A lot of smart people are worried about the future AI, including Stephen Hawking. They seem to believe that once machines get smart enough to grow and think on their own, the only logical step will be to wipe out the human race. Or, since they will grow, very rapidly, and be much smarter than humans, we will eventually cease to exist. Our incredibly slow biological growth rate won’t be a match for AI’s rate of growth.

I agree with Kevin Kelly on this one. Since our human brains developed consciousness, and the ability to be social and empathetic, who is to say that artificial intelligence won’t do the same. It could be the nature progression of higher intelligence.

The predictions of AI, assume that it will be cold blooded and completely rational. If the human brain developed empathy, social skills, and emotions to survive, why won’t AI do the same? Honestly, no one knows. I suppose it’s a safe bet to assume the worst, and begin preparing just in case AI is cold blooded.

In the short run, I think that AI will indeed remove a lot of jobs that we have had for years, but it will add new jobs that we can’t yet imagine nor predict. I don’t think that AI taking over our jobs is a real threat, because it will simply create new jobs for us.

At one point, being a farmer was a common job. At another point, doing the same task in a factory was a common job. Right now, accounting and other office jobs are very common (truck driving is incredibly common), but those will soon be replaced with something new for us to do. We have to wait and see what those new jobs will look like. What if we all have to become programmers?

*After writing this post I stumbled upon Tim Urban’s articles on artificial intelligence. Wow. They’re really good and really long reads. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here. They painted a vivid picture as to why AI will be a big deal for humanity’s future. You’ll definitely like them.

You should not talk if you are young

If you are young, you should not talk. You should focus of shutting up and listening. I’ve often heard this advice before but never really witnessed it in person, until recently.

I was at a conference and while in a group of 5 guys talking, in their late thirties, a young guy (nineteen I believe) jumps in and introduces himself. I thought nothing of it at first. As the minutes passed by, I began to notice that this young guy couldn’t stop talking. Every time someone else started to say something, he would quickly jump in and start talking about a useless, somewhat, related story of his.

Eventually, I began to think that this guy seriously needs to shut up, because I’d rather here the stories of the guys much older than me. I came to learn something, not to hear pointless stories. After hearing one of the young guy’s pointless stories for 10 minutes, I excused myself and went to join another group. I ran into a few other identical young guys that night and every time I would notice them, I would see them dominating their group conversations with the other members (much older) intently listening.

I felt bad for those few young guys, because I knew no one was going to tell them to shut up if they didn’t have anything good to say. I knew I wasn’t going to tell them, even though I wanted to do them the favor.

I later realized that those young guys walked into that business conference wanting to learn more about entrepreneurship, business and marketing, but ultimately walked out learning nothing new. They didn’t learn anything, because they didn’t let anyone else talk!

Imagine, if they would have instead kept quiet and asked key questions when the conversations were about to die. They would have surely left the conference knowing a lot more than they did when they walked in.

I’m not really one to dominate conversations, but ever since that day I’ve been telling myself to listen more than I naturally want to. Especially, when I meet someone new. You never really know who you are talking to unless you let them talk.

Here is a way you can use psychology

I found this great letter in Influence by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini. It’s entertaining and a very practical use of psychology. For those who want to check it out in the actual book it starts on page 15. I hope you get a laugh out of it like I did.

Dear Mother and Dad :

Since I left for college I have been remiss in writing and I am sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down, okay?

Well, then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out the window of my dormitory when it caught on fire shortly after my arrival here is pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get those sick headaches once a day. Fortunately, the fire in dormitory, and my jump, was witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me in the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burntout dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It’s really a basement room, but it’s kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven’t got the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.

Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has a minor infection which prevents us from passing our pre-marital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him.

Now that I have brought you up to date , I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged, I am not infected, and there is no boyfriend. However, I am getting a “D” in American History, and an “F” in Chemistry and I want you to see those marks in their proper perspective.

Your loving daughter,

Sharon