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Delete yo’ self: Aziz Ansari’s unconnected life

This recent GQ interview with Aziz Ansari highlight’s the comedian’s unconventional approach to the Information Age. The interviewer seems incredulous as he comprehends just how much of an outlier Ansari is: I heard you deleted the Internet from your phone. And that you deleted Twitter and Instagram and e-mail. No way that’s true, right? It […]

Make something wonderful

I’m a sucker for an Apple product announcement. Yesterday’s event inaugurated the Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple campus. The theater looks stunningly gorgeous, as you would expect from the world’s most prominent design-centric company. The products announced were almost overshadowed by the venue and by the touching tribute that opened the keynote. The […]

Darwin’s plodding path to brilliance

I filed away this Farnam Street article and just now read it. It’s a great take on what made Charles Darwin such a transformational thinker. In short, Darwin wasn’t gifted with an off-the-charts IQ. He was no Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. But he could focus intently on minute details and stick with an idea for a very […]

Do something amazing

I just discovered this message above the exit of my daughter’s middle school. As you exit this week today, do something amazing before you go.  Make a connection that you’ve been meaning to make. Be that person that lights up the room, that summons smiles even from strangers.  Solve a problem. Get started on that […]

Cal Newport: Quit social media

Cal Newport has a knack for counterintuitive insight. His book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, was a compelling challenge to quit trying to find your elusive vocational passion and instead focus on obtaining the kind of mastery that leads to genuine career fulfillment. (Pick a career path you wouldn’t mind getting really good at […]

Mike Birbiglia’s excellent advice

The comedian and filmmaker offers his unsolicited advice, ostensibly to those who want a career as a performer. But these tips apply to anyone who wants to make something meaningful on their own terms. Here’s his final tip: 6. CLEVERNESS IS OVERRATED, AND HEART IS UNDERRATED Plus, there are fewer people competing for heart, so […]

Career goal: Spark more smiles

There was a person in my meeting that everyone was looking forward to seeing because they make everyone smile. That is my career goal. — insooutso (@InsoOutso) August 3, 2016 I laughed with delight when I first saw this tweet.  It made me think fondly of people I know who light up a room with […]

Relax already: David Letterman on ego and perspective

David Letterman reflects on no longer having his television show: “We did this television show—my friends and I—for a very long time. It’s probably like anyone else’s professional pursuit. When you are doing it for so long, and for each day—I have always likened it to running a restaurant—because you get response to the day’s […]

Lin-Manuel Miranda on leaving college with “stuff” already created

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the man of the moment with Hamilton’s incredible success. This Rolling Stone feature sheds some light on his drive. He has written his way to the top. Like the character he portrays on stage, Alexander Hamilton, Miranda is a prolific writer. Here’s Miranda in the Rolling Stone interview talking about his creative […]

Showing my work: The Good Life, San Diego

I’m giving the opening talk at my professional association’s annual conference in San Diego next Tuesday. I’m not ready. Yet. I’ve had a theme in my mind for a few months now, but the ideas are just now coming together. When I’ve been asked to do these kinds of conference talks, I’ve been fortunate to […]

Showing my work: The Five C’s of Leadership

I was asked recently to guest lecture in a leadership class at my university. My original plan was to do a very informal talk without slides. I was going to base it on my Five C’s of Leadership post. The morning of the class, though, one of the students who works for me and is […]

Louis CK, the Carlin strategy, and inviting the awful

Plateaus happen. Regularly. Years ago, in the midst of what was at that point an unremarkable career in stand-up comedy, Louis CK was frustrated with the creative rut he found himself in. And then he learned the Carlin strategy, and everything changed. It turns out that George Carlin would record a comedy special every year and […]

Alexander Hamilton: Too good to be ignored

We are at peak Hamilton. The broadway musical is all the rage. Tickets are impossible for the foreseeable future. The cast just graced the White House for a mini performance. And the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a compelling story of his own along with charisma galore. I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat on my Mac […]

Focus on what you can give, not what you want to get

It’s easy simply to go through the motions and do your work without giving much thought to the difference you can make. But what’s the point? Why do something that won’t make an impact, that won’t change anything? Even a commonplace task you do regularly can be filled with meaning, though, if you fill it […]

Show your work: The Force Awakens edition

I love seeing how creators create. I appreciate a master pulling the curtain back and letting us see at least a bit of the behind-the-scenes process. The chaos and messes and wayward first drafts that lie behind the art are just as instructive as, if not more than, the inspiration and perspiration. I preordered on iTunes the […]

The thrill of fresh work from Dan Carlin

I scanned through my podcast queue in Overcast yesterday and got a little thrill to see a new Hardcore History episode. If ever there were an artisanal, hand-crafted podcast it’s Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Who knows how much time he puts into crafting the multi-hour series that covers expansive topics such as all of World […]

Why Seinfeld keeps touring

My wife and I are going to see Jerry Seinfeld perform here in our hometown tonight. He’s set for life financially, and his reputation as one of the comedy greats is already a lock. But he keeps touring because he loves the work. I wrote about this previously, but I love his craftsman approach. From […]

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