Homepage The people that inspired me - Timon Bestebreur

The people that inspired me

My parents raised me and my teachers taught me. But beyond that, there were some other people that wrote books or articles which inspired me, gave me a new perspective and taught me to look at things differently. This is a list of these people, and the things that they taught me. I will not go into detail about everything they learned me, but highlight the lessons that had the most impact on my life.

Work & Study

Cal Newport showed me that not all studying is equal and some methods are more efficient than others in his book How to become a Straight A Student, he showed me that being able to focus on a cognitively demanding task without distractions is a worthwile pursuit in his book Deep Work, that being good at what you do gives more satisfaction than following your passion (since you will enjoy doing what you are good at) in his book So good they can't ignore you and last, bur not least, Cal showed me that free time is best spent pursuing hobbies and connecting with friends rather than mindlessly consuming internet content in his book Digital Minimalism.

Greg McKeown taught me that we achieve the best results if we focus our efforts on very few projects, instead of trying to advance al lot of small projects at once in his book Essentialism.

Mr. Swaroop taught me how to use the VIM editor in his book A Byte of Vim, which I now try to use as much as I can since it is way more efficient than using a traditional text editor.

William Shotts showed me how versatile and powerful the linux command line is in his book The Linux Command Line.

Julius Loewenstein taught me that it is important to be clear about what your goal is when preparing a presentation in his book Public Speaking.


These people provided things that I enjoyed, or helped me to spend my leasure time in a more meaningful way.

Thomas Frank showed me that there exist a lot of interesting non-fiction books in this video, which opened the way for some of the next few people to come into my life.

George Raymond Richard Martin showed me that I really love medieval war stories in his book series A song of Ice and Fire.

Annie Grace showed me that life without alcohol leads to more fun at parties, better conversations and major health improvements in her book This Naked Mind. This motivated me to stop drinking alcohol for 1.5 years during ages 19 and 20.

Dale Carnegie showed me that you can make more friends by being interested in other people than you can by trying to get other people to be interested in you in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Ashlee Vance showed me that Elon Musk is a visionary with plans that are so big that sometimes he puts his plans above the people he works with, which sometimes resulted in him treating the people around him in an unfriendly way in her biography of Elon Musk.

Jason Schreier showed me that the development of video games is a bumpy road, but one which can be very rewarding in his book Blood, Sweat and Pixels.

Kenn Folett taught me how life in the middle ages was, not only for the nobility and the knights high on their horses, but he also beautifully described how life was for normal, poor people in his book The Pillars of the Earth.


Ramit Sethi showed me that saving money can become an automated habit by automatically sending away your intended savings to a savings account at the beginning of the month instead of going out and about and saving whatever money is left at the end of the month (spoiler alert: Not Much) in his book I Will Teach you to be rich.

Jesse Mecham showed me that I need a budget in his book You Need a Budget. A budget gives me the overview of where my money is, what it's doing and it helps me to break down bigger payments in smaller monthly ones by saving for it over a period of multiple months.

Jacob Lund Fisker taught me that it's totally possible to live on 25% of your income by learning to do lots of things yourself, so you don't have to pay someone else to do it for you and by making sure you only own what you actually use in his book Early Retirement Extreme.


These people changed the way I look at certain things.

Timothy Keller showed me that building your identity on the way God sees you is a good idea in his book The reason for God, since earthly things which people base their identity on like being rich or having a good career may vanish, since you can lose money or get fired. God, however, will be with us whatever happens.

Charles Duhigg showed me that habits exist and we can alter them in such a way that we can make our default behaviour the behaviour we want it to be in his book The Power of Habit.

David Allen taught me that a mind is for having ideas, not storing them, and that I should get these ideas out of my head and into a system as quick as possible in his book Getting Things Done.

Barry Schwarz taught me that reducing the options makes it easier to choose and be happier afterwards, since you don't think about all the other options that you didn't pick but that could have been a better option and instead you are happy with whatever you chose in his book The Paradox of Choice.

Clive Staples Lewis showed me another way to look at heaven and hell in his book The Great Divorce. Instead of heaven being the place where "good" christians go and hell being the place where bad people are punished for their wrong behaviour during their time on earth, Lewis depicts heaven as the place where people who want to be with God go to, and hell is just a place where God is not. The choice of where you want to go is up to the people themselves.

Dave Eggers showed me that not every technological advancement is one we should embrace wholeheartedly without being aware of the full consequences in his book The Circle.

Nicholas Carr showed me that the internet can shorten one's capability to concentrate, rewiring the brain in such a way that it becomes addicted to bits of information in his book The Shallows. This motivated me to spend 2 years during ages 20 and 21 without a smartphone. Nowadays I do carry a smartphone, but I have no apps that offer infinite scrolling.

Jordan Ellenberg showed me that impossible things never happen, but improbable things happen a lot in his book How to not be Wrong.

Stephen Richards Covey taught me to focus on my energy on the things I have influence on rather than worry about the things I don't have influence on in his book 7 habits of highly effective people.