Books that have tortured me.

I am tortured by my books. This is not an uncommon feeling to have. Many people buy books they wish they were reading and then do not read them. Other people are tortured by the obsessive need to repurpose books. Like David Bouley turning books into bricks.

I do not have those particular forms of book torture. I have others.

My first book torture was that I was a latchkey kid in the extreme sense. Like, my parents came home at 8pm and my brother and I used taxi cabs and store credit largely unsupervised. It was hard to get their attention for anything that did not involve physical or mental abuse, but one thing they were always up for was a book recommendation. So I read what they told me to read.


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Announcing my new company: Quistic

I am so relieved to be writing this post because I’ve been scared for a really long time. It is complete BS when people jump up and cheer about their new company’s launch, telling you how great they feel. Because what’s really happening, to any sane entrepreneur, is that they are terrified.

Quistic is an online learning site where people can build skills to create stable, fulfilling careers. It’s the natural result of all the conversations and events we’ve had together on this blog.

Here’s what I want to happen: Every one of you should try a course, because I really think you’ll like it.

At first I panicked that I was not doing online courses the way everyone else does. But I received effusive feedback about how much people love my video seminars, and then I realized I know how to make online learning feel like a party instead of a lecture. That’s when I decided to make a company out of it.
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Do you have the guts to live a life that sings?

I spend hours and hours in cello lessons. Not that I pay attention – I answer emails a lot of the time. But there’s no way to not learn if you sit in enough lessons, and the big thing I’ve learned is being a great performer takes guts.

I knew that was true about gymnastics. My editor has a daughter who maybe was on track for the Olympics, but at some point he realized she wasn’t willing to try the crazy, daredevil moves required to compete at that level.
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3 Things you need to know about people with Asperger’s

I’m going to ignore the fact that the DSM no longer includes Asperger’s as a diagnosis. Asperger’s remains a useful way to categorize people with very low social skills and very high IQ — and a high rate of manic-depression and suicide. It’s useful to separate out these people in order to help them. It’s like separating out people who have a gene for breast cancer. There are things you can do to make their lives better.
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The pursuit of happiness makes life shallow

I told Matthew it’s time to take the kids apple picking. “Do you want to come with us?” I said. “We’re going to a place in Illinois.”

“What? What’s wrong with the apple trees here?”

“We have apple trees?”

So the kids and I got in the back of the truck, and Matthew drove over hills and through gates to a pasture full of  apple trees.
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6 Things to do in your 20s to make your 30s good

Why do people spend so much time telling you a list of books to read in your twenties or a list of places to go in your twenties?  Those are actually ways only to escape your twenties. Escaping by doing that stuff just sets you up for a disaster in your thirties.

Here are things to do in your twenties to make your thirties fun.

1.  Build a career that enables you to work from home.
The best way to get control of your life is working from home, because once you’re home, then things start to shift in favor of you instead of your company.
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Is your marriage ruining your career?

I’ve been a huge fan of Huma Abedin ever since she married Anthony Weiner, the smart, liberal politician who made C-SPAN an entertainment channel.

Huma’s first job was as Hilary Clinton’s assistant when she was First Lady. Huma has been with Hilary ever since, and she has risen to the top of Hilary’s circle. You seldom see a photo of Hilary in a room where Huma is not close by.
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Get an internship now, at age 20, 30, or 40

It used to be that internships were just for college kids. But today, the internship is for anyone who wants to do work they have no track record for doing. The internship is learning ground and proving ground for any age. It’s true that kids in college absolutely must get work experience to be employable after college, and an internship is a good way to do that, at any age.

My favorite internship story is when my eight-year-old son got an internship as a stylist and found himself dressing a model.

People in their 30s get internships to make up for lost time in their 20s. And also to land hipster jobs that are impossibly hard to get—this internship at Versace, for example, went for $3200. That’s right. Some internships are so cool that you have to pay for them.


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Test yourself: Are you an Information-Age star or a cog in the wheel?

I must be a cog in the wheel, because I asked Melissa to get me some links to read that answer the question, “What information is important?” and she came back to me with, “I think that’s a bad question, but here are five links.”

Which made me decide to write this test to find out how good an Information-Age worker you are.

1. Can you frame a question? Plus one point.
The first link Melissa sent is about how you are information illiterate if you can’t ask good questions:

The ability to critically evaluate and ethically apply that information to solve a problem are some of the hallmarks of an information literate individual. Other characteristics of an information literate individual include the spirit of inquiry and perseverance to find out what is necessary to get the job done.
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The big secret to a more simple life

I’ve been an amazingly consistent blogger lately. My secret is that I’ve been calling Carmen a lot and dictating my posts to her.

In the middle of my blogging flurry, I read this book to my son, Flat Broke by Gary Paulsen. Its about this kid who can see businesses everywhere in all kinds of talents that other people have, and he ends up making money from all his friends.

Throughout the book I was thinking, “Oh my God, I have to do this with Carmen. I have to start selling her services because everyone can be a great blogger if they could dictate posts while they’re driving. Now all the people who are driving to and from work can now be big bloggers and love their commute too! Stay‑at‑home moms can do a blog post every time they drive to ballet lessons!”

So I pitched the idea to Carmen, except I didn’t tell Carmen about how the boy in the book pissed everyone off because he was making money from all the things they do, and he ended up with no friends and no money. Instead, I just told her that I thought I could sell her services as a court reporter.
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