I’m an award-winning author, PBS documentarian, and cell-free futurist who’s been published in Esquire, The Guardian, Smithsonian, USA Today, HuffPost, TIME Magazine, and many others. I run one of the happiest publications on Medium, and perhaps the most troubling. My goal is to be the most legitimately helpful writer on the Internet. Thanks for reading and subscribing. (Newsletter subscribers get a free ebook and ALL my paywalled articles for free.)
My Top 10 Most-Viewed Medium Stories (updated regularly)
“A change of pace + a change of place = a change of perspective.” — Mark Batterson
I had a Zoom call with a friend a few months back. He and his wife and kids usually live in a cramped New York City apartment but had relocated to his parents’ basement to ride out the pandemic.
He’d never been happier.
“My kids have a giant backyard to roam and my wife and I aren’t rubbing elbows at all times. We’re closer to family and we’re saving unbelievable amounts of money. I don’t think we’re ever going back.”
My friend’s not…
I hate advertising. It’s lazy and intrusive and generally ineffective. I use a strategy that’s blocked nearly three million ads in the past three years, and I’ve helped thousands of readers do the same. I believe ad-based platforms like Facebook and Instagram are dead, they just don’t know it yet.
And then there’s Ryan Reynolds.
The dude is a marketing genius:
I’m one of the 2.5+ million subscribers…
It’s five hours ahead of New York.
It’s eight hours ahead of Los Angeles.
Living in GMT is like starting work at 4 AM in a 9–5 world.
“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” — W. H. Auden
If you’re like me, you have this idea in your head of the perfect schedule, the ideal writing day, the exact time structure that will magically help you produce huge amounts of highly creative, wildly popular, and critically-acclaimed world-class work.
Talk about a fantasy.
Here’s my ideal dream-scenario writing day:
Now here’s my actual writing day:
You disabled your neocortex.
You came up with a brilliant article idea.
You crushed out a super-ugly, hyper-creative, typo-laden 1.0 draft.
Now it’s time to polish that ugly duckling into an elegant and readable swan that will improve the lives of thousands of people. Most people just do a quick re-read before putting their work out into the world.
And they can’t figure out why they’re failing to connect with readers.
As a full-time book author and filmmaker, I’m used to New York and LA’s brutally-high editorial standards. My first book underwent thirteen edits. One of my screenplays has…
“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” — Cicero
I first kissed my future wife in the summer of the seventh grade. We got married at 22, and have been happily hitched for nearly 13 years now.
Not once have we celebrated Valentine’s Day.
My wife is a pure-bred blue-blooded Finn. I’ve literally seen her name in the giant blue-and-white Finnish directory. I had to ask her father for permission to marry her… butt-naked in the sauna!
The good folks in Finland don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. …
Here’s a wild thought: Whiskey, pasta, bread, beer, and cereal all require just two ingredients — wheat and water — but the outcome is completely different.
How is this possible?
How can two simple ingredients create such a wide range of delicious products?
The answer in a word: process.
Identity precedes action. To get what you want in life, choose what you wish to be, then determine the process that will get you there every single time.
As a full-time author, filmmaker, and blogger, I write over one million words per year. My workspace, tools, habits, and schedule are by…
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s debut novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an immediate and smashing success. It sold out its 5,000-copy print run in just four days in 1852, with one newspaper declaring that “everybody has read it, is reading, or is about to read it.”
Soon, seventeen printing presses were running around the clock to keep up with demand. By the end of its first year in print, the book had sold more than 300,000 copies in the US alone, and another million in Great Britain. It went on to become the bestselling novel of the 19th Century.
The backlash against…