why I read

“It is in books, poems, paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge.”

Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

the folly of familiarity

Based on the first performance of “Stairway to Heaven,” one would never know it would become such a huge hit. The band introduced audiences to the song before the fourth album was released. Bassist John Paul Jones said of one audience who heard it live, “They were all bored to tears waiting to hear something they knew.”

Michael A. Schuman

H/T: Seth

what have you got to show for it?

In Toni Morrison’s novel Sula, in a conversation between embittered former friends, the protagonist Sula declares, “I sure did live in this world.”

“Really? What have you got to show for it?”

“Show? To who?”

– Tim Harford

and if possible

Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.

Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

How I Help Others

I create presentations that are human, useful, and memorable (“HUM”).

I create and lead workshops on presentations and storytelling. I make my workshops short and fun. What happens after the workshop is even more important than what happens during it so I give clear takeaways, practical advice and internet resources to enable continual learning.

I make people laugh. Because life is fragile and people are difficult.

People ask me for book recommendations. I tell them about the ones that are the axes for the frozen seas within us. Here are three: The Courage To Be Disliked, Awareness, and The Untethered Soul. If I think they have the capacity for a little madness and a lot of shaking, I tell them to read Think On These Things.

People sometimes ask me for advice. The best way to help people is not to give advice. The best way to help people is to listen and ask questions to help clarify their own thoughts. Unfortunately, I often don’t take this advice.

I share wisdom on my blog for many years now. There are quotations from great books and beautiful sentences from wise people. This is my commonplace book. If you are one of the few people who read me regularly, I hope this blog has helped you.

I feed Ginger the cat.

I try not to be an asshole.

Quotations from Awareness by Anthony de Mello

We always want someone else to change so that we will feel good. But has it ever struck you that even if your wife changes or your husband changes, what does that do to you? You’re just as vulnerable as before; you’re just as idiotic as before; you’re just as asleep as before. You are the one who needs to change, who needs to take medicine. You keep insisting, “I feel good because the world is right.” Wrong! The world is right because I feel good. That’s what all the mystics are saying.

Quotations from Awareness by Anthony de Mello