Like a lot of people outside of Scandinavia, I discovered Karl Ove Knausgaard's epic, extended memoir series a few years after it was a huge bestseller in his native Norway.So far in my reading, the six-volume, 3,600 page (!) series has covered the extremely intimate and granular experiences of childhood, burying his alcoholic father, leaving a marriage and entering a new relationship with a woman who suffers from bi-polar disorder, all in a kaleidoscope of words and paragraphs about what could be termed the joy and trauma of ordinary life. Yep, I'm a fan. Read More
The time came for the interview and I logged into Skype with my headset. After a few minutes of small talk, the host pressed the record button and began with the usual question: “Tell our listeners a little about you… how did you get started?”
It’s a fair question. The only problem is that I’ve answered it over and over—and over and over. Whenever I have a book out, I do at least 50 podcast interviews and usually another 50 radio interviews. At least 30% of the time, this is the first question that’s asked.
When you tell the same story over and over, two things happen. First, you get really good at telling it. You know what to say and how to say it. Second, because you hear the same question and give more-or-less the same answer each time, you rarely deviate from the course.Read More
The new host of Prairie Home Companion steps in after forty years of someone else running the show.
Toward the end of the meeting, Thile suggested a new idea. He wanted to perform a live request every week with his new house band. The rules: A minimum of two of the players should have heard the song, but none could have previously played it.
Rowles liked it. Hudson looked wary. Someone else said, “It could fall flat.”
Thile pointed out that its flopping could be entertaining as well: “It’s Evel Knievel.”Read More
Imagine that you’re filling your bathtub for a nice relaxing soak. You’ve got the water on full blast at just the right temperature, and the soap suds are perfectly proportioned. Yet there’s a problem: the water rises to a decent level, but never quite tops out to where you’d like it. Despite leaving the water on and stepping away for a while, nothing changes.
Then you realize the source of the problem: there’s a hole in the drain. It may just be a small one, but it’s a hole—water disappears down it in one direction only, never to return.
What do you do? You could leave the water on full blast for the entire soak, which might not be that relaxing. Or you could try to fix the problem by plugging the hole.Read More
From Mike Birbiglia’s “6 Tips for Making it Small in Hollywood”:
"I once heard an interview where Ron Howard said that he tests the rough cuts of his movies with a ton of audiences. He doesn’t do it to be told what the movie’s vision should be, but to understand whether his vision is coming across. If not, he makes changes. Your vision is not being conveyed a majority of the time."
This relates to some other things I’ve been thinking recently.Read More
When Paul McCartney goes on tour, he plays a lot of songs. A recent set list included 27 songs and stretched for more than three hours. People get their money’s worth, which is why they keep coming back.
You can think of yourself as an artist that seeks to challenge yourself by trying new things, and there’s nothing wrong that perspective. But there’s also nothing wrong with asking, “What do the people want?” and then thinking about how to give it to them.Read More
File under: entrepreneurship is everywhere.
And so are Pokémon hunters. No matter where you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen them—and maybe you are one of them, staring at your phone while walking through the streets in search of winged creatures.Or maybe you think the Pokémon craze is silly. Personally, I think it’s interesting to see how quickly it caught on, with millions of players all over the world, as well as how it encourages people to get out and walk more, since Pokémon are clustered around parks and other walkable areas.
I enjoyed this article about how some enterprising players have set up digital shop in helping new players “level up” or catch rare Pokémon.Read More
Even if you’re perfectly happy where you are, anything you can do to add security and increase your options will help you.
What if you had a different source of income than your paycheck? Then, even if you have a great job and no desire to quit, you’re also earning money on the side. Put it in savings, pay off debt, or put it toward meaningful experiences.
What if you had the ability to travel anywhere? That’s why you should accumulate miles & points, so that you can have a ready-made bank account to get you on a plane and into the immigration line.
Here are three simple actions you can take right now to increase your available options.Read More
Habit. If you want to be a writer, you first have to write. You can sit down and free write. You can write first and edit later (or "write drunk, edit sober" as the saying goes). You can use a timer and write for 50 minutes every morning or you can plan to write 500 words before going to bed. Whatever works for you is what matters.Focus. This doesn’t mean “only write about one specific topic” as some people say. If you want to be the world’s leading expert on marsupials in Macedonia, go right ahead. You’ll be a hero to all five people interested in that. Persistence. You’ve just got to do it! And you’ve got to keep doing it. Over and over. When you find yourself not writing, you have to find your way back. Continuing to work on something for a long period of time is often a strong predictor of success (except when it's not). Read More
Dan finished his education degree without ever stepping into a classroom.After he graduated, he realized he didn’t like teaching and wasn’t good at it. The very first day of student teaching, where the goal was to serve as an intern before accepting a full-time position, he knew that this was not the career for him. You’re probably thinking: hey, that’s life! He just had to stick it out, and then he’d be fine. And it’s true, sometimes there’s a learning curve on the road of purpose. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and it takes time to gain real-world skills. This was different, though. Dan really didn’t like teaching. It felt uncomfortable and unnatural. He knew he could probably soldier on through the internship, but he didn’t want to go any further. Read More
The other day I met with a small business owner. Her business is going well, she recently had a successful product launch that brought in a lot of funds and new customers. Awesome!But what interested me the most is what she said about it: “The success that I’m having now is what I planned for three years ago.” Three years ago, she set out to build the kind of business she has now. She settled on an area of focus and said no to other opportunities. Then, she took the actions she’d determined were most likely to lead to successes like her recent launch. Read More
Lesson: “Never give up” is bad advice. Real winners don’t hesitate to walk away from an unsuccessful venture.Contrary to popular belief, if you want to win, you shouldn’t always just keep going. You should regroup and try something totally different. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a lie. To win, sometimes you need to find a new game to play. You may be familiar with this old adage, often attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Einstein was right in that the real danger of going in- sane, or just failing over and over, doesn’t usually come from doing something new. Rather, the worst failures come from something that we’ve been doing for a while. Read More
Lesson: Improving “soft skills” can increase your value no matter what kind of career you have.Hard skills are things you learned through technical or academic training: how to make architectural drawings with certain software, how to properly administer medication as a nurse, and so on. Soft skills are just as important—if not more—but aren’t usually taught in school. To be more effective (and to become more valuable), spend time improving your soft skills in writing, negotiation, conflict management, and follow-up. Read More