How to Go Everywhere

“I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list.” - Susan Sontag

Over the past seven years, I've been traveling to everywhere: all 193 countries, and plenty of other places along the way. The journey has been even more amazing than I expected. Over the next couple of months I'll be on book tour in the U.S. and Canada, and I'm actually glad to be taking a break from seeing the world ... because I'm not ready for it to end.

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Thelonious Monk and the Search for Value

A long time ago, I was a jazz musician. I listened to Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. I loved what they had done for the jazz world, and for the joy of music in general. If only I practiced or memorized enough, I thought, I might not be an original, but I could at least reproduce what they had done. (At least in this case, I decided, individuality is overrated. If I could be like one of them, I'd be happy.) But no matter how much I practiced, I could never be Monk. There was something about the technique, the choice of notes, phrases, and syncopation that couldn't be imitated. I got the feeling that even if the imitation was perfect—mine certainly wasn't—something would be missing ...

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Gratitude, 4 Years, and 2 Birthdays

Four years ago I started the AONC site, and my biggest fear was that I'd get bored with it. I was worried because that's what I had done any number of times before. I'd build a business to a certain level, then I'd feel myself moving away from it. The work I did in West Africa was the same—I loved it and gave it all I had for a while, but then drifted toward something else. Graduate school, for all I make light of it, was fun and interesting for a time. But after a few quarters where I applied myself, I shifted into focusing merely on completing the degree requirements as quickly as possible. Thankfully, four years into this project and I feel more motivated than ever. Lesson: Craft your project around what you are excited by, but keep it flexible.

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22 Tour Dates + 100 Free Books: Early Copies of The $100 Startup Are In!

The UPS guy dropped off a big box the other day, and for once it wasn't an Amazon Prime shipment of cat food and paper towels. This time it was the early shipment of my first advance copies of The $100 Startup!

Short Version:

1. You can now sign up for your choice of 22 initial cities on the tour. Tickets are free! Come on out and say hi.

2. I'm giving away 100 free books to people who will help with the book launch in May. Want one? Just leave a comment.

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The Reward for Conformity

"The reward for conformity," Rita Mae Brown said, "is that everyone likes you but yourself."

Thankfully, it's not always quite that bad.

Things are super busy here at World Domination HQ. I'm getting ready to roll out a book tour schedule, a book trailer, a giveaway for 100 free books, and several other fun things ...

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Some Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Life

Happy with your life? Everything's perfect? That's great. This post is not for you.

Everyone else, keep reading.

There are two popular theories of change-making:

#1. Make small and incremental (but regular) changes. Mix it up.

#2. Do it all at once. Quit smoking immediately. Take cold showers. Enter boot camp for the soul—whatever you need to do, don't wait.

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Where Is Your Security?

The Olympics are in London this year, but in the U.S. we're gearing up for our own non-stop spectator sport. It's a lot like a reality show, complete with advertising and corporate sponsorship. Many candidates enter, but only one remains when it's over. At the end, one competitor will win by a slim margin. The next four years will be spent fighting about what happened, all the while building up to the next installment in 2016. The competitors belong to different clubs with marginally different beliefs, but they all share the same commitment to “restoring the American dream.”

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Getting to Ashgabat

I often think in airport codes, and I know at least a couple hundred of them by memory. Name an airport, even a fairly obscure one, and there's a good chance I know its shorthand.

But even I was stumped when it came to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Until a few years ago when I had racked up my first hundred countries, I wasn't even sure where Turkmenistan was.

Answers: Turkmenistan is in Central Asia, bordered by Iran, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and the Caspian Sea. The airport code is ASB, for the two people out there who are curious.

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On the Road Again: Austin to Turkmenistan

Greetings from Austin, Texas. Later today I'll be presenting the first public debut of The $100 Startup here at the SXSW Interactive Festival. If you're around, drop by Convention Center Ballroom G at 5pm local time. Afterwards, I'll be signing my first book and giving away a few galleys of the new one. First thing tomorrow, I'm heading back to Dallas and beyond for my last overseas trip of the spring. I'll be going to Turkmenistan (definitely) and Sudan (hopefully).

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