Menu Close

Category / work

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 […]

Take more time to do better work

The author of Deep Work, Cal Newport, has upped his activity on his blog in the wake of his new book. Today he shared this quote from a book published by an academic in 1912: “To save time, take time in large pieces. Do not cut time up into bits…The mind is like a locomotive. […]

Flow states and peak moments

Cal Newport’s new book, Deep Work, is doing some deep work on me. His challenge to focus more intently and work with more depth is hitting a nerve. We are living in a shallow, distraction-filled age, and those who can defy the pull of the shallow and the frivolously urgent will be able to stand […]

What can you give?

It’s typical to start a new year with grand plans for your life, with goals and dreams and visions of a better you just around the corner of the next month or four or ten. Well, yes, aim to get better and to fill your life with more meaningful pursuits. But such goal planning can […]

Cal Newport on the power of “deep work”

I read this Cal Newport post today and was inspired to lock in for a session of what he calls “deep work”. He suggests that when most of us think we are truly focused at work, we actually are far from it. We tend to work in tiny bursts that are regularly interrupted by distractions—checking […]

Make something you like

Today was my first day back at work after a week off for the holidays.  I had a long meeting in the middle of the day and, of course, spent some time catching up with colleagues. I wasn’t very productive.  But I did make this one slide for a keynote I’m giving on Friday night.  […]

Why are we punting?

My friend Alec knows I’m intrigued by the Arkansas high school football coach whose team doesn’t punt and always kicks an onside kick for every kickoff. He tweeted me a link to this new ESPN video about Coach Kevin Kelley and his remakable success going against the grain of conventional football wisdom. This short, 11-minute […]

Paul Graham on good procrastination

“Unless you’re working on the biggest thing you could be working on, you’re procrastinating.” –Paul Graham via Mikael Cho Damn. But, right on. That quote is from a Paul Graham essay from ten years ago—Good and Bad Procrastination. Graham makes a solid and sobering case that most people occupy their time with “small stuff” at the […]

Consume good stuff to make good stuff

Austin Kleon on what he does if he’s feeling blocked creatively: “When I stall out, it’s time to start taking things in again: read more, re-read, watch movies, listen to music, go to art museums, travel, take people to lunch, etc. Just being open and alert and on the lookout for That Thing that will […]

Flipping your mindset

I took a seminar style freshman English course in college. There were just twelve students, and we sat around a conference table with Professor Patterson, a distinguished teacher who was in his final year before retirement.  We had an eight page paper due every week. I don’t think I had a paper that long due […]

Don’t wait

True. The best way to know something is to try to express it. I’ve heard people say they don’t want to pursue a relationship until they figure themselves out first. There’s nothing like being in a relationship, though, to reveal yourself to yourself. And don’t wait till you feel inspired to start creating. It’s the […]

“Incredibly different incredible people”

“The best way to increase the odds that your team will see things you don’t is to assemble incredibly different incredible people.” –Scott Belsky This is a great post by Scott Belsky.  The team members that have pushed me further and helped transform our work are usually the ones that ask the most questions and […]

Newer Posts
Older Posts