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Selling Service and Shoes: Interview with Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com

As a new feature on The Art of Nonc-Conformity site, I’ll be posting profiles of individuals, companies, and non-profit organizations that have chosen alternative paths in pursuit of their goals. We’ll have at least one of these interview features a month, and the first profile is with Tony Hsieh, CEO of online retailer Zappos.com. I…

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How To Fall Down and Get Back Up Again

This is a lesson on how to look absolutely ridiculous in front of a crowd of strangers, and how to recover as gracefully as possible. Well, let’s clarify that a bit: the first part is easy, since I am constantly making stupid mistakes all over the world and trying to minimize the embarrassment. I have…

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On Being Homeless for 35 Minutes in Central London

A couple of years ago, I was in London on a three-day layover after flying in from Africa. I had been in Sierra Leone for several months and was looking forward to walking the streets, hanging out in coffee shops, and seeing friends before heading on. On my first night in the city, I had…

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So, about that social networking thing…

I finally broke down and joined part of the social networking revolution. I’m officially no longer behind the rest of the world, at least in one aspect: I’ve been using Twitter on a trial basis for a while now, and I’ve decided I really like it. See, I’ve never used Myspace… or Facebook… and hardware-wise,…

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Nothing Beside Remains…

One of my favorite poems deals with the subject of accomplishing much in life and then not having anything to show for it afterwards. It’s called Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the text is below: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in…

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Next Stop, Easter Island

I’m headed out on my next adventure early Monday morning. This is the continuation of the OneWorld Round-the-World trip that I began in Japan last month. I use Round-the-World tickets to travel to far away places that are otherwise difficult to get to. On this trip, my first stop is… Photo: Sonia Carolina This is…

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How and Why I Travel (Part II of II)

Part I Is Here People often ask me how I am able to travel so often and to so many places. For a long time I didn’t know how to answer the question, because for me travel is as natural as any other part of life. Over time I’ve gradually learned that someone asking me…

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Follow Your Passion? The Blogger Roundup

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the financial payoff of following your passion. If you deliberately take steps to do the work you love instead of the work you don’t enjoy, most of us would agree that you’ll feel a lot better about yourself. But will you also make more money? This is a controversial…

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The Plan of Attack

After you make a decision to be remarkable and recruit a small army, you need a plan of attack. How will you accomplish your world takeover goals? There are lots of ways to formulate a plan of attack. My own planning is usually constructed through mind-maps and process-oriented thinking. I work backwards from the goal,…

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A Short Update for My Amazing Readers

Hello everyone. This isn’t an essay—it’s a short note to each of you who have been faithfully reading so far. Judging from the RSS feed, the newsletter list, and the daily site statistics, there are about 400-500 of you reading along every day so far. That’s great! I truly appreciate each one of you… please…

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Observations from the World’s Ultimate Airport Lounge

Why are most airport departure lounges so terrible? In short, it’s because the airlines want to ensure that premium flyers receive better treatment than the regular people. If everyone were allowed “amenities” like friendly staff and clean restrooms, then no one would want to pay more money to upgrade to a higher class of service.…

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The Flip Side of Self-Employment and Freedom

Entrepreneurs are a diverse bunch of people, but when you ask them to tell you the greatest benefit of being self-employed, you’ll usually hear the same answer over and over. That answer is FREEDOM, and rightly so. When you work for yourself, no one tells you what to do—at least not in the same way…

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How to Respond to Critics

As part of your independent-minded journey, many people will oppose you along the way. Some will oppose you by saying that you “can’t” do the things you’ve planned. Others will try to impose their own arbitrary rules on you. Others will be jealous of your success and try to bring you down to the level…

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How and Why I Travel (Part I of II)

In 2007 I visited 26 countries, including 15 that were new to me. This year I hope to be on track for at least that many, although as the years go by it will become more and more difficult to get to the “new” places. For the past two years, almost all of my overseas…

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Will Financial Success Follow You if You Do What You Love?

I read a lot of personal development books—probably at least two a month. Like most books of any kind, each one usually has some things worth learning and some things that aren’t valuable to me. If there is one common theme to most of these books, it is that “following your passion” – or doing…

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