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The One-Year, Alternative Graduate School Program

What if learning wasn’t confined to a rigid program in a university? What if you could begin learning now, without going back to school?

The One-Year, Alternative Graduate School Program was one of the more popular parts of the original AONC book, in the same chapter where I compared the value of my graduate school degree to my career as an independent writer. I’ve since heard from a number of “students” of all ages who implemented this practice in a variety of forms.

The point isn’t to disparage traditional education, but to provide an alternative for different kinds of learning. You never have to put off learning, and higher education isn’t the only option.

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When to Buy and When to Sit it Out

Whenever I release a new product, I always get questions from people wanting to know if they should buy it. For years I never knew how to answer this question—I just said, “Sorry, I’m not good at providing personal recommendations on products. If you’re uncertain, skip this one and read the blog for free.”

I said that for a couple of different reasons. First, I never want anyone to feel any kind of pressure to sign up for something if it’s not an amazing fit for them. I like product launches, but I also like to sleep at night.

Second, what I said was true—I’m honestly not good at determining whether a particular product is good for someone or not! Everyone’s situation is different.

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Stuck in San Francisco (Also: A Product Launch! Yeah!)

I was going down to SF to see Ramit Sethi, an expert on negotiation and psychology. Ramit and I have known each other for a while, and he asked me to film a segment in his studio for an upcoming course.

I should explain now that Ramit and I, along with Jonathan Fields, have the habit of calling everyone dude, regardless of their age or gender.

I texted Ramit:

Dude, flight delay up here. What should I do?

He wrote back:

Dude, hold on. I’m busy counting stacks of money!

Just kidding—Ramit didn’t actually say that. He was busy filming someone else, but I heard from his assistant and we quickly looked at the schedule together.

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Adventure Capital Returns: Grow Your Small Business Through Deliberate Action

This morning we reopened Adventure Capital for general admission! It's been nearly six weeks since our initial beta launch, and we're now ready to welcome a wider group of members.

-->Check out the site over here, or read more below.

Adventure Capital is an intensive, 12-month series of modules. Each month you'll receive a new module focusing on specific strategies and tactics you can apply in your business.

I want to help a special group of people over the past year with this project. It's definitely not for everyone, so check it out and see if it's for you.

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Memorial Day Roundup

It's a holiday in the U.S. today. If you're not working, this is a great day to catch up.

The chance to build something for yourself is greater than any holiday you could ever have.

Are you building something? Are you making regular progress?

A few things happening over here:

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Win an $1,800 Scholarship to Adventure Capital

Four weeks ago, we launched Adventure Capital to a small group of beta members.

We're now gearing up to launch it more widely... next week! Wednesday, May 29 is the day when our initial group will be available to refer new members, and a few special partners will be writing about it as well.

But first! In the spirit of adventure, we're giving away two full scholarships to the entire year-long program.

Win a Full Scholarship (Short Version)

It's very basic. Adventure Capital is all about helping new business owners increase income by taking deliberate action over the course of a year. To enter, simply comment in this post about what kind of business you'd like to start, improve, or grow.

We'll choose two winners on Sunday night at 6pm PST.

-->Enter the contest here

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A Short Note on Bridge Jumping

When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn’t like, you may have heard the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

The idea is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else does it. The logic is think for yourself instead of following the crowd.

It’s not bad advice, even if it’s sometimes used to exert control more than to support independent thinking.

Then, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave exactly as they do. If you don’t conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or even irritated.

It’s almost as if they are asking: “Hey, everyone else is jumping off the bridge. Why aren’t you?”

The irony of this is lost on everyone who is busy lining up to take the leap. The logic shifts from independent thinking to groupthink. If everyone else is doing it, it must be right.

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The Essence of the Process Is Revision

I've said before that writing a book isn't difficult when you break it down into 1,000 words a day. In fact, if you write 1,000 words a day fairly consistently, you can write more than one book a year.

A few smart readers have pointed out that the writing is the easiest part. Truly crafting something worthwhile requires much more work in the editing or revision phase. It's one thing to get 50,000 words on the page, and it's another to turn them into something that other people want to read.

I still maintain that it's more important for most of us to focus on forward motion, on making choices that allow for consistent, daily effort. Most people remain stuck at the beginning, unable to envision a reality of themselves actually writing a book or creating another big project.

Nevertheless, the comments that revision is more difficult and more important are true. First you create, then you revise. The essence of the process is revision.

49,000 Words and Miles to Go

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Changing the Default

Most productivity advice doesn't help me. I work on a lot of projects at once. I read and reply to email throughout the day. I say yes more than I say no.

But I've found a new habit that is helping a lot. The habit is changing my default behavior.

Those of us who do knowledge work for much of the day have no shortage of choices. As I've written before, for me the ultimate superpower is to always know what to do next.

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What To Do When the Unconventional Opinion Is Wrong

When I'm not roaming the world, I live in Portland, Oregon, land of strong coffee and tall bikes.

Portland is a fun little place, and it also happens to be one of the most progressive cities in America. You can buy marijuana at a food cart beginning at approximately age twelve.

When George Bush (the first one) visited Portland, so many people turned out to protest that he dubbed the city “Little Beirut.”

Walking down the street on any given day, you'll be accosted by people who want you to save the rain forest or support homeless anarchists.

For the most part, it feels like home.

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Lessons Learned from 11 Years of Travel

Last weekend I had the honor of speaking to 600 people at Frequent Traveler University, a conference devoted to the world of points and miles.

A longtime friend, Gary Leff, asked me to share a few lessons from the 11-year journey to every country that just wrapped up a few weeks ago in Norway. What have I learned?

Good question. I thought about it for a while and here are some of the highlights I came up with.

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Just Another Night in Abu Dhabi

I came into Abu Dhabi on the 13 hour flight from Washington, DC. It's a new service and they're advertising it everywhere around town. In the airport they have a real lounge, not just the contracted one they use in JFK. I touched down at 8pm and caught up quickly at baggage claim, sitting down and hammering out email replies and seeing what changed in the world overnight while I was eating Indian food and sleeping on my lie-flat Etihad bed.

Outside I took a car to the Aloft hotel, which I had booked for the night—or technically, the next 9 hours. In the early morning I'd be back out again, having failed at my attempt to change the ticket to allow for a day's stopover before hitting up Istanbul.

No matter. There's always time to sleep, but not always time to live.

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Product Launch Lessons from Adventure Capital

After producing a new project, I try to circle back and share a few of the lessons learned. Last week we had a small beta launch for Adventure Capital, a new business course, so it's time for another breakdown.

It's been a long time since I've released a paid product of any kind, and there's nothing for sale in this post. If you're creating offers of your own, or if you're just curious how things went with the beta launch last week, I hope the lessons are helpful.

Let's kick off the debrief!

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Introducing The World Float: Your Chance To Set a WORLD RECORD!

Have you ever wanted to set a world record? Go down in history with a gold star next to your name? Do something crazy and fun that you'll remember forever... or at least until your next world record?

This summer, you have a chance to do exactly that.

We have 3,000 people coming to town in July for the third-annual World Domination Summit. It's our biggest group ever, and WDS is all about doing big things.

Last year we learned of an attempt to set a world record of the longest floating human chain. This record is currently held by a group of Italians, who achieved the record with more than 500 people in 2008.

Last year's attempt to break the record was valiant (see the photos!), but alas—it fell short of the required numbers. That's where we come in.

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