This book chronicles my six years of working towards a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University from 2006 to 2012. A diverse variety of people can benefit from reading it, including: undergraduates who might be interested in pursuing a Ph.D., current Ph.D. students who are seeking guidance or inspiration, professors who want to better understand Ph.D. students, employers who hire and manage people with Ph.D. degrees, professionals working in any creative or competitive field where self-driven initiative is crucial, and educated adults (or precocious kids) who are curious about how academic research is produced.