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.


Image – Singapore, May 2021

If you want to be smarter…

Don’t Be Boring Twitter Feed
A person who reads and think is never boring. I chose these Twitter accounts because I believe they will help anyone. This is helpful especially if you don’t like to read books. You don’t need a Twitter account. Just bookmark the feed on your mobile and read regularly.

Collaborative Fund Blog
This is the first feed I click on when I see new updates on the blogs I follow. Morgan’s writing is sensational. It’s clear, informative and the ideas flow beautifully. Here’s one’s example – Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World.

The Profile Newsletter
Do you want to learn and be entertained at the same time? Then this newsletter is for you – free and paid options are both available. The many profiles can be overwhelming. Most of the time I just click on the “Highly Recommend” profile. Polina has great taste.

Derek Sivers Book Notes
Do you want to know what books to read next? I agree with many of Derek’s book ratings. And the bonus is that Derek shares his notes from over 200 books. Here’s a great one.

If you want to relax on YouTube…

Loutre – Family of Otters
Everyday I watch the baby otters grow. Each video averages 5 minutes and it’s just a beautiful way to start the day.

슛뚜 sueddu – Korean woman who lives with her dog
I find it very relaxing to see them doing ordinary things and living their lives.

Japan 4K – Walks in Tokyo
I miss Tokyo and walking in Tokyo. This helps.

About Me

Image – Harajuku, Tokyo, Dec 19

We spend our lives trying to figure out what kind of person we are, but others can understand us, in our entirety, at a glance. Our identity “is implicit in everything we say and do,” writes Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition, but we cannot see it ourselves.

Meghan O’Gieblyn, The Paris Review

My Instagram
My Flickr
My Twitter

What I say and do

I spend most of the time alone.
I spend a lot of time on the computer.
I spend a lot of time at home.
I spend a lot of time reading.
I spend a lot time thinking.
I spend a lot time collecting notes on what I read.
I spend a lot of time preparing workshops.
I spend a lot of time admiring my own work.

When I travel, I almost always choose Tokyo.
When I travel, I take lots of photographs.
I laugh a lot.

I avoid exercise.
I avoid small talk.
I avoid giving advice because I don’t take my own advice.
I fail at avoiding giving advice.
I fail at starting 2 businesses because I was too lazy.
I fail at turning many ideas into reality.
I lost 2 good male friends for reasons unknown to me.
I order from the same few shops in Deliveroo.
I almost never donate to charities.
I have to remind myself not to think superior thoughts.
I meet people and sometimes regret it.
I take care of my mom’s financial needs but not emotional ones.

that means I haven’t added anything unnecessary

Japan Times:

When a Chiba Prefectural Agriculture Experiment Station conducted a test of his soil, the report came back showing it was nutrient poor. “I could not have been more pleased,” says Asano surprisingly. “That means I haven’t added anything unnecessary.” Herein lies at least one secret to his craft.

While most farmers worry about feeding their soil with nutrients (which often means chemical fertilizers), Asano focuses on achieving a “mineral balance,” as he explains it. To do this, he uses crushed oyster shells and a sprinkling of deep-sea water from off the coast of Mie Prefecture, which he keeps at a constant 3 degrees Celsius (the same temperature of the water when it was collected). The shells and the seawater are both rich in minerals, especially sodium, magnesium and calcium, giving the soil what he sees as a “primal quality.”

“Life came from the sea,” he tells me, “so what better place to get the basic ingredients for my soil.” He also does his best to leave the vegetables alone, in what he likes to call “untended farming.”

human nature

Rika Kayama:

We have different models of the human precondition. Ms. Katsuma trusts human beings and believes everybody can achieve something if given opportunity and education. I think it is difficult to give everyone equal opportunity. And even if everyone is given equal opportunity, their personality can affect how hard they work. There might be freedom in not working hard. Some people, despite working hard, may have accidents befall them and fail as a result. Life holds uncertainty. I think it’s better to think that unexpected things will happen in life — extra bits, rather like the tabs used to glue together a cardboard box. Not everyone will be able to work hard and improve themselves. In that sense, I may not trust human beings. Ms. Katsuma doesn’t believe there are people who don’t want to make an effort. But I think it is human nature to be bad, lazy or dishonest.

take comfort in your friends


Mr. Shige says his approach to stopping suicides is quite simple: when he finds a likely person, he walks up and gently begins a conversation. The person, usually a man, quickly breaks down in tears, happy to find someone to listen to his problems.

should be there for one another

“A third of young people do not know the names of their neighbours, according to a survey.”

of course i know the names of my neighbors. on my right is Mrs. Yap who cooks delicious nasi lemak and on my left is Psycho Woman whose sons will grow up to become serial killers.