AI generated productivity blog reaches top of hacker news

Hilarious. And sad. And a little scary.

he picked a popular blog category that doesn’t require rigorous logic: productivity and self-help.

A college kid’s fake, AI-generated blog fooled tens of thousands. This is how he made it.


So all of the expensive books, subscription sites, seminars, etc., focused on “productivity” might well be the output of a bot’s musings.

1 Like

Or appropriating and repackaging David Allen and Sönke Ahrens, which seems to be what a lot of people are doing.


Fascinating topic. I wonder how many people clicked upvote based on the subject or the content. Maybe it shows how important the headline is

1 Like

I was going to share this, too! Here’s the actual AI generated post, to save others from spelunking the article above:

An excerpt:

So how do you get into the habit of creative thinking?

Well, the best way is to just do it!

The more you practice, the better you’ll get. It’s really that simple.

(Great, now machine learning is judging me.)

It really is telling, though. I have been frustrated by a lack of critique in the productivity space for years. This kind of gibberish is not that different from the latest, hypest YouTuber or whatever.

I’ve been thinking we need a (better?) review system for productivity and power user “research” (as that’s what this is, really: management science). We need good, solid definitions, constructs of what exactly we’re measuring and how concepts relate to one another, and methodology for assessing objective benefits of the latest trick.

Now, if only I could do some Creative Thinking and stop Over Thinking…


I wholeheartedly agree (case in point: I honestly believe Tiago Forte’s work, despite all the hype he enjoys at the moment, really does not stand well under such scrutiny). Getting Things Done truly was a groundbreaking work in the sense that it was both extremely refined and made you feel almost ashamed it was so simple. That book is 20 years old and we still live in the ripples of it.
I think, though, that with the rediscovery of Zettelkasten and all the incredibly creative apps in the knowledge space (Roam, Obsidian…) we might be on the verge of a kind of renaissance. It will sure be interesting to see what comes out of that trend in 1-3 years.



First, get rid of the vocabulary. I started work life in manufacturing, where “productivity”, “workflow”, etc., have meaning. Nothing to do with taking notes or deciding what emails to read or keeping a calendar or keeping a to-do list or figuring out how often to take a break. We are not machines, so why do we keep reading advice on “being productive” to improve output?

I continue to believe the “productivity” scene has more to do with loneliness, anxiety and confusion than work.


@anon41602260 Aye! We should be pointing to people and achievements over lifetimes, not workflows. Knowledge work doesn’t add up like an assembly line.

I think there are some benefits of some features, but they’re all caught up in a variety of confounds, not the least of which is marketing hype.

I bet most of the benefits of any new trick or app are the influence of novelty, the same way you can have a burst of clearer thinking if you go to a coffee shop.

I feel the same, perhaps because these new tools point to truly novel mechanisms for organizing information.

There’s an old heuristic for evaluating the value of a contribution: is it new, is it true, and is it useful? A new shiny thing needs to satisfy all three of these to pass the test. (Edit: Read more at

I really like how this is expanded upon in design science, which aims to validate both designed tools and the design theory that drives them. Here’s a neat table and figure expanding on that from a paper titled “Positioning and presenting design science research for maximum impact”:

I think, in the productivity (and productivity apps) space, we have lots of instantiations of the same ideas. They provide some novelty, and sometimes that’s useful, but it is rarely demonstrated to be true. Ergo we see a lot of work in routine design, but not a lot happening in invention or even improvement—especially at deeper levels of “productivity” (or whatever we want to call this).


This. For a mere $1200, I’ll tell you about the books I read.
Same with Shawn Blanc, and many others.


Update: make that $1500 for the Essentials course, up to $6000 if you want personal coaching.


I’ve read some books. Maybe I’m not charging enough?

1 Like

There are so many great bloggers whose output became 1000x less compelling and useful when they decided to become professional productivity resellers. Michael Hyatt was at the vanguardI guess they have found a way to make a living, and maybe it’s just not for me, but wow do I constantly second guess everything they write about now that it’s all potentially an ad for some upcoming product. I can’t remember the last time I visited Michael Hyatt’s website.


Gosh. I’m going to steal these charts and I want access to everything else you have. All of it. When I said I wanted bacon, I meant ALL of the bacon.

You can usually tell by the size of the ‘thumb’ in the scroll bar. If it’s small, (meaning a really long page), it’s a pitch that goes on and on and on, and is designed to lull you into submission.


I :100: second this and I see this in other areas too like podcasts etc.

For a non-AI and hobbyist blog - my humble blog:
shameless plug lol

1 Like

For you, a discount! Sign up now for only $800. You have 24 hours.

For real, though, it’s just Information Systems as a discipline. It is the worst in terms of public accessibility/impact but it contains so much useful/interesting information. I will continue to try to share on this forum as appropriate!