Meet Jack: a 93-year-old man who lives in a cabin in the wilderness. He built the cabin 36 years ago and has lived in it full-time since his wife passed away. “This house is five miles from the nearest road. That’s why I bought it.” “It’s not that I don’t like people. I do. But…Read More
Many times a day, I hear from someone who asks for help promoting a cause. They have something they're working on and want to share it with me—totally fine. I generally like to help as many people as possible. Being helpful relates to feeling happy, at least for me, and it's also a nice thing to do. Some of these requests, however, come in the form of “vote for me and spread the word” pitches—and these I feel less comfortable with.Read More
“When I wake up in the morning, I feel like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you get up and walk the walk today.’” ―Lady Gaga One time I failed at something I’d worked at for a long time. I felt terrible and spent a week moping around, complaining about it. My…Read More
A while back I was emailing with Julien, and one of his questions reminded me of a story I like to tell… “A lot of people probably relate to the idea of leaving behind their responsibilities and heading out to a new life, but they’re not in the situation where they just say “screw it”…Read More
Being between things is tough. There’s a bright future ahead! You can picture it, just out of reach in the near distance. But there’s a muddied present in front of you. Things are messy and take longer than you think. You experience setbacks as you proceed toward the goal. What can you do? You could…Read More
“The past always seems better when you look back on it than it did at the time. And the present never looks as good as it will in the future.” -Peter Benchley Back in the days when I still had hobbies, a few friends used to come over to the house for weekly gaming sessions.…Read More
The sun came out over Portland on Saturday morning in what felt like the first time in weeks. It was a beautiful fall day, and I decided to ride my bike to lunch. Except for one problem: when I walked into the garage, my bike wasn’t there. Dolt! Where had I last left it? I…Read More
From time to time, it’s good to sit back and ask yourself a few questions. Here’s a starting point. *** Are you happy? Are you doing something you enjoy? A good way to look at is: how much time do you spend on the good things? Who are the good people in your life? Do…Read More
I’m flying to Tokyo for the weekend, which I’d say is a long story but it’s actually a short one. I have a meeting with my local publisher and I need miles to requalify for American Airlines elite status—so I’m heading out for a super-quick Japan adventure. On my connecting flight to LAX this afternoon…Read More
From Robert Genn’s recent letter to artists: Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit, describes her morning routine of rising early and going through the same morning rituals; same coffee, same bun. She puts on the same leotards, goes down the same elevator to the same street corner, puts her arm up in the air and gets…Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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.Read More