Neil is the New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Equation and The Books of Awesome. He is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after ten years heading Leadership Development at Walmart he now serves as Director of The Institute for Global Happiness.
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- Reco – Neil’s small business resource
- The Black Swan – Neil’s Top Business Book
- The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome – Neil’s Books
- Institute for Global Happiness – Neil’s website
- Neil’s Twitter
- The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days!
- Free Goals Course – A FREE 8-day course on how to set and accomplish your biggest goals!
3 Key Points:
- Evaluate your options before making that big decision.
- Action leads to motivation.
- Don’t take anything for granted.
- StayRoasted: Get 100% specialty-grade coffee beans hand-selected to your tastes and delivered fresh. Visit StayRoasted.com/fire to get your first bag of coffee for FREE!
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:00] – My wife left me in 2008, and my best friend took his own life
- 01:11 – Neil started a blog – 1000 Awesome Things
- [01:31] – Everyone thought Neil was happy but he was miserable
- [01:51] – Neil started dating again and met Leslie
- [02:10] – They moved in together and got married
- [02:16] – On their flight home from their honeymoon, Leslie tells Neil she’s pregnant
- [02:44] – Neil asked how they can make their kid happy and that kick-started a new passion for Neil
- 03:05 – He wrote a 300-page letter to his unborn son on how to live a happy life and this has been published as a book – The Happiness Equation
- [03:24] – How do we shift the world to a positive mindset?
- [05:10] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: “Success triangle – one is sales, one is social, third is self. How do you feel [about] what you’re doing?”
- [07:10] – Some people just do things for themselves
- [07:22] – It’s a triangle – pick which one you want and aim for it. Work for the other two later
- [08:18] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: “I thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I walked to my boss’ office and said, “I quit.” A few months later, it’s 11 o’clock on a Friday and it’s been another money-losing month. It was a nightmare!”
- [09:42] – The lesson was to think before leaping
- [10:25] – It was just too much, too soon
- [11:54] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: “For most of my life, I could not swim. I realized why swimming wasn’t going to happen –it’s because I don’t have a ‘can do’ that leads to the ‘want to do’ that leads to ‘do.’ One night over dinner, Leslie asked about swimming, so I signed up for adult swim classes.”
- [14:51] – Neil learned that it’s not motivation that leads to action, action leads to motivation
- [17:14] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “The Lottery—what lottery did you win to be here right now?”
- [19:30] – If you have Internet access and a job, that’s a 1 in 4 lottery
- [21:38] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “The fear and the idea of taking a leap”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Don’t take advice, search within yourself and know it’s already there”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I’m always the last person to bring up business”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Reco
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Black Swan – “It is so good at demystifying everything in life.”
- 26:05 – Connect with Neil on his email and on Twitter
- [26:32] – Get a library card and use it
John: Neil, are you prepared to ignite?
Neil: JLD, I just doused myself in gasoline, baby.
John: Yes! Neil is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Equation and The Books of Awesome. He is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after ten years of heading leadership development at Walmart he now serves as the director of the Institute for Global Happiness. Neil, take a minute brother, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Neil: Yeah, sure, JLD. Well, listen, for me it all came crashing down in about 2008. My wife left me and my best friend took his own life. And it was actually in that spirit of loss and heartache and everything falling apart that I started a little blog called 1000awesomethings.com. The blog took off, it hit 50 million hits, won the Webby for best blog in the world two years in a row, and it seemed to sort of spike me into the mainstream with The Book of Awesome coming out and my TED talk on The 3 A’s of Awesome coming out.
And it all sounds fine and dandy, the book sold a million copies, New York Times bestseller’s list; everyone’s saying this guy’s the pied piper of happiness. Only problem was, I was totally miserable. I’d lost 50 pounds due to stress, I was having trouble selling the house and finding a place to live as a newfound bachelor. And it wasn’t until I actually kind of took inventory of my life, took a step back and put myself out there again, you know, started dating again, started saying yes instead of saying no, started hanging out on Fridays and Saturdays instead of just writing, that I eventually met someone new.
And her name is Leslie; she is a teacher in an elementary school, inner city school. We fell in love. We moved in together, we get engaged, we get married, and here’s the story I wanted to tell you, JLD, is that on the flight home from our honeymoon she wasn’t feeling well so she – in the layover, which was in Malaysia by the way, she goes to the pharmacy, gets back on the plane and 50,000 feet above sea level tells me she’s pregnant. Yeah, it’s like a good way to score a free muffin on an airplane by the way if you ever want a little in.
John: Good to know, good to know.
Neil: Yeah, they don’t ask for proof or anything. So it’s great. So then I’m like above the clouds and she’s like, “We’re gonna be parents.” And I’m like, “But how do you help your kid be happy?” And she’s like, “Well, you just love them.” And I’m like, “It’s not as easy as that. I was loved. I have great parents, you know? But I have been really having trouble finding happiness for some time.”
And so that kick started a real new passion project for me, JLD, where I went deep into positive psychology, the work I was doing at Walmart in leadership development, and I eventually wrote a 300 page letter to my unborn son on how to live a happy life. And so that’s everything I’m talking about now. The letter was just published as a book called The Happiness Equation and as you mentioned I’m now directing the Institute for Global Happiness, which is globalhappiness.org. And this is what I’m thinking about. It’s like, you know what? How do we shift the world into a more positive mindset? How do we appreciate everything we have and use that positive mindset to sort of increase every other positive outcome in our lives?
So now I live in downtown Toronto with Leslie, we have two little boys a 2-year-old and a 0-year-old and we are thinking about that thought every day. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect, it doesn’t mean we don’t have bad days, but it means happiness is a real big passion of mine.
John: Fire Nation, you knew that I wasn’t just gonna have any guest for episode 1500 of EOFire and that’s why I kind of saved this spot for Neil because, listen, this is a person who’s been there, who’s done that. New York Times bestselling author, he’s been – spent ten years heading leadership development at Walmart and now he’s the director of the Institute for Global Happiness. There’s just so many great things on this guy’s resume, but I think the key thing is this word happiness.
Because I talk to you Fire Nation, I hear from you. We converse, we go back and forth and when it really comes down and we dig under like the four or five levels of what you want in life, what it really is is happiness. We really are striving for happiness. That’s innate within humans, that’s why we get up in the morning, that’s why we work hard, that’s why we put ourselves out there because we’re looking for happiness. And it’s this search, and it can be a great search. And it’s not necessarily a search that we ever wanna end because it’s part of the journey of life because things are always changing, those goalposts are always moving. But happiness is key.
So of course for episode 1500 I really wanted to just bring in somebody who is such a specialist in this area. And speaking of that Neil, we like to kind of start off with what I call one big and huge unique value bomb. So you have your area of expertise, give us one thing that we probably don’t know within this area that we probably should.
Neil: Here’s a big one. You know, I think that when I was writing my blog and I was scratching out these books and The Book of Awesome and stuff, I thought hey, this is gonna lead me to happiness, right? I thought it’s about commercial success, right? You sell a lot, you make money. There you go, that’s the path. In fact, when I take a step back and I look at all the research it turns out it’s a triangle, okay? I call it the success triangle. So picture a triangle, three sides, and label the three sides with three different words. One is called sales, making a lot of money, shipping a lot, selling a lot.
John: Yeah, love that side.
Neil: That’s a great side. Another one’s called social. That’s critical reviews, you know, nominated for best picture at the Oscar’s, reviewed in the New York Times book review if you’re writing a book.
John: Ooh, I like that side, too.
Neil: Yeah, I like that side. Everyone likes that side. And the third one is self, okay? So we talked about sales, we talked about social, the third side is self. How do you feel about what you’re doing? And I’m often asked, “Neil, how do I be successful? Because I know that’s gonna lead to happiness.” And here’s what I want, JLD, I want you to think of that triangle as a wobbly board at an old school gym. If you push down your foot in any one of those sides or any two of those sides, you’re gonna pop another one in the air. You can’t really have all three so it’s more important to pick which one you want.
What I mean is, like here, we’ll use the movies as I mentioned, Academy Awards. Last year Spotlight won best picture. Okay, you can’t – there’s no higher social honor in the movie industry than best picture at the Academy Awards. Domestic box office, $19 million. What was Hotel Transylvania 2’s box office? That was $300 million. They killed it on the sales side, but I wasn’t seeing too many Academy Award nominations for that movie, right? So it’s like they kind of oppose – and you often see this. Critical darlings are not commercial hits.
And similarly, The Book of Awesome, which I told you sold a million copies, I never got any fancy reviews. In fact, if the fancy book reviews said anything they said it sucks, don’t read it, it’s tripe, you know? So those things contradict each other. And meanwhile, some people just do things for themselves. Like I wanna write my grandma’s memoirs or build a great birthday cake for my kid or build a deck with my bare hands. Fine, don’t expect any social or sales success from it. But the point is it’s a triangle. And if you think you can have all three you’re setting yourself up for failure. Pick which one you want and aim for it and work on the other two later.
John: Wow. I love that. And I love that wobbly scenario visual too, that really kind of hammered it home for me. So Fire Nation, sit back, think about that, and just realize that hey, this is the kind of visual that I can have going forward so maybe you have a little more understanding about my feelings about the direction that I’m moving forward in my life.
Now, Neil, you told us during the little intro of a devastating time in your life when your best friend passed away, when you lost your wife or you separated from your wife, etc. That was a difficult time in your life, but what I wanna hear from a story perspective from you is what you consider your worse entrepreneurial moment to date. So on the business side, what was that moment? Tell us that story.
Neil: Okay, lots of flops, but here I am. I’m gonna go back to when I was 23 years old. I had graduated from an undergraduate business program college, taking the classic high-paying, marketing job at Procter & Gamble. I’m now responsible for marketing CoverGirl and Max Factor makeup, working in a high rise, making the big bucks and getting fancy benefits plans and covers every massage I want and so on.
And I think to myself, I wanna be an entrepreneur, right? Like forget this, get me out of here. I walk into my boss’s office and I say, “I quit.” She’s like, “You gotta be crazy. You’re kidding me. You’ve got everything lined up for you here.” I said, “No, I’m gonna open a restaurant.” Hey, who doesn’t dream about opening a restaurant? I mean, everyone’s like…
Neil: Yeah, you’re smart. But me, I’m like 23, I’m like yeah, I’m gonna open up a restaurant. So I quit my job, I go open up a restaurant. I’m gonna flash forward a few months in this story and it’s 11:00 on a Friday, we’ve had another money-losing month, I’m cleaning the grease trap at the back of the store late on a Friday when my friends are texting me like go out but I’m too exhausted to do anything other than maybe go home and have a shower before sleeping. And coming in the next morning, that would be a Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m., to start the whole thing again, getting phone calls on my evening and weekends like someone had some bad chocolate milk and I gotta rush in.
And so it is just a nightmare and it was too much too soon, a money losing proposition, a business losing proposition, a career losing proposition. And the lesson for me was think before leaping and think of income streams like legs on a table, you know? You think about a table with one leg like a cocktail table, the high top, you can kick that thing over.
These days my life – and I’m not saying every table is sort of running water, but the legs on my table are like – it’s like a four or five-sided table now, right, with speaking and books and things I’m doing online and so on. So it’s like I jumped from a one-legged table into another one-legged table. And when that table fell over I was – the whole thing crumbled. So I lost the business, I lost my career, and I lost a lot of money and it was just too much too soon for me.
John: Think before leaping, that’s Neil’s big takeaway. I wanna add something to that as well. Talk before leaping. And what I mean by that is go to somebody who is currently where you think you wanna be. So for Neil that would have been somebody that he admired that was running a restaurant. Go to that person and say, “Hey, I’m 23 years old. I have no experience. I have this job and it’s going well, but I wanna start a restaurant.” Talk to a mentor in that industry. Find somebody that will just give you 15 minutes and say, “This is what I wanna do.” Tell them your hopes, your ideas, your aspirations and ask them for the truth. Beg them for the truth.
That person hopefully would have been like, “Neil, this is what happened for the first five years of my life when I was owning this restaurant.” And hopefully Neil would have been like, “Wow. Okay, I am learning now from somebody that was there and did that and I’m not just assuming certain things and projecting my hopes and aspirations into this ‘restaurant’ and running that restaurant.” And that can be a huge time-saver, a huge life-saver, Fire Nation. Find people who are where you want to be, or where you think you wanna be, and have conversations.
Neil: Where were you 20 years ago in my life?
John: I was actually about 13 years old so, sorry.
Neil: Now I’m embarrassed in two ways.
John: Neil, let’s talk about an aha moment this time. Let’s talk about a story where you had this lightbulb that went off and you just had this great idea, one of your greatest ideas to date. So tell us that story and how you turned that idea into success.
Neil: Sure, absolutely. Listen, Fire Nation, I am embarrassed to tell you that for most of my life I could not swim, okay? So my mom’s from Kenya, my dad’s from India, I grew up here in Canada. And I’m like, you know, my sister is a great swimmer but I was always having ear infections as a kid, I had tubes in my ears. I actually turned swimming into something that I just cut out of my life. I didn’t even own swimming trunks, I hung out at the barbecue, at the pool party, it just wasn’t gonna happen for me.
And I realized why it wasn’t gonna happen. It’s because I didn’t have the can do, the capability, that leads to the want to do, which is the motivation, which leads to the do, which is the action. So again I didn’t have can do, so I didn’t have want to do, so I didn’t have do. No problem. I didn’t have to cross any rivers the rest of my life, I’m good. I don’t need to know how to swim.
But then on my second date with Leslie, who I already hinted earlier became my wife, she says to me over dinner that night, she’s like, “So, do you like swimming?” This was a heart palpitating moment because I liked this woman and I didn’t want to admit to her that I couldn’t swim. I was embarrassed. So I took a sip of water, I’m like, “Not really.” And she’s like – this is what she says. I can remember, JLD, exactly.
She’s like, “No, swimming is my favorite thing to do in the world. You see my entire family, my 80-year-old cousins – sorry, my 80-year-old grandparents, my 5-year-old cousins, we spend the summer at this generational cottage on an island and every single morning we jump into the lake and we swim around the island.” So she says, “I guess you just can’t come.” Well, yeah, it’s funny to you.
John: Yeah, it’s hysterical.
Neil: Well that for me – exactly. That night I get home, I get home from the date and before I even think about whether I can do it or whether I wanna do it, I just do it. I sign up for adult learn to swim classes at the downtown City of Toronto pool, which for any of your listeners who have seen the pool you know it’s risky for a couple reasons. But that Tuesday night at 7:30 I walk onto the pool deck, I’m wearing my life jacket, my goggles, I’m walking out there, and guess what I find, JLD? Ten people who suck at swimming, right? They’re from landlocked countries.
You know, trust forms quickly. So they get us into the pool and they say, “Just walk around the shallow end, hold the flutter board and you’re done.” And I’m like, “What do you mean I’m done?” They’re like, “Well, that was half an hour you just walked around the shallow end,” it was up to my waist. And they’re like, “You’re done, see you next week.” And I was like well, I can do that. That’s easy.
So I go back the next week, guess what? “Jump into the shallow end, here’s a flutter board, keep your life jacket on, maybe inch away to the deep end a bit.” They blow the whistle, they’re like, “You’re done.” I’m like, no way, I’ve done two lessons. I can do this. The next week I wanted to do it. By the end of eight weeks, which is only four hours of swimming lessons, I could do the front crawl. And that summer I swam around the island.
So here’s what I learned. I learned that it’s not that motivation leads to action like we all think it does. Instead action leads to motivation. If you just do it, then you think you can do it, and then you wanted to do it. You can’t stop. I learned to swim in four hours after being afraid of it for 30+ years. And I thought more about this, JLD. I thought, you know what? When I was back in grade ten science I remember Newton’s first law, okay? The man who discovered gravity and invented calculus and the first working telescope. Kind of a big deal. His first law, an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an equal or greater force.
Up until that point in history we thought that force led to action. He said no, no, no, no, no, action continues unless something else stops it. So you know what I did after my swimming lessons? I just signed up again. And for every single challenge I face as an entrepreneur or as a business person I think yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t have, whatever it is, an Instagram account or a new website or a speaking career or whatever, but if I just do a little bit of it, then I might realize I can do it and then I’ll wanna do it.
And so for anyone listening, personal or business, I say you don’t need – if you wanna run a marathon you don’t need the perfect shoes and the right play list, you need to run to the stop sign in your dress shoes. If you wanna write that novel, forget the perfect Moleskine and the coffee shop with the bright idea. No, you need a pen. Like literally that’s all you need because if you write a sentence or two then you’ll be motivated to continue. So action leads to motivation not the other way around.
John: Yeah, I love how Ernest Hemingway would say – he would finish writing every night just halfway done a sentence. He knew how that sentence was gonna end, but he would not finish it purposely because he knew the hardest part for an author is to start writing in the morning. So he could just sit down, finish that sentence, and then off he was onto the next one because that motivation had started because he took that action.
So Fire Nation, summing it up, action leads to motivation. Just remember those words, they’re four simple words. Action leads to motivation. So stop saying, “I’m not motivated,” or “Why aren’t I motivated?” Take action that will lead to motivation. Now Neil, you rightfully so are fired up about a lot of things, but what’s the No. 1 thing that you are most fired up about today?
Neil: A lot. You’re right. I get excited. I look at The Happiness Equation just came out this year, it’s coming out in paperback, it’s been fun to write this letter to my son and watch it kind of blossom into a conversation about happiness. But if I zoom out a bit, that’s a book. I’m living one life. We’ve got a lot of struggles in the world right now. It’s easy to get caught up in that sort of everyday news, the news cycle, the election cycle, all these stressful things.
And so the thing I’m excited about most is these three words, they’re called remember the lottery. Here’s how I say it. I say that there are 115 billion people who have ever lived, okay? I had to do a lot of research to find that out, but basically if you think about every human that’s ever been alive there are 115 billion people. You, if you’re listening to this podcast, are one of the 7 billion alive today. Right, so you do the math, 7 billion alive today, 115 billion who have ever been alive, you’re like hey, that’s a 1 in 15 lottery that I already won. 14 out of every 15 people will never see another sunset, have a bowl of chocolate ice cream, or kiss their kids goodnight ever again.
Now, take that 7 billion, I don’t know where you are, you might be driving a truck in Sweden right now or blasting your delts in the basement of a gym somewhere on the Gold Coast in Australia, I don’t know. But I’m saying take the population of your country, okay? Divide it into that 7 billion. I’m in Canada so that’s 35 million, okay? So that’s a 1 in 200 lottery, if you’re in the States, okay, 1 in 20 lottery, if you’re in Sweden like 1 in 300 lottery. What lottery did you win to be where you are right now?
I’m guessing if you’re listening to this, you have clean water, okay? You feel safe coming out your front door. You can probably be who you want and marry who you please, okay? These collective set of freedoms are exceedingly rare in the modern world and if you have them it’s worth being thankful for. And I don’t just say that to be trite, I’m saying no on the United Nations World Happiness Report, these are the actual variables determining what countries are happiest.
So U.S., Canada I’m just – in North America right now, you know, top ten and these are some of the reasons why. You keep going down that opportunity [inaudible] [00:18:48], JLD. I’m gonna make it real easy. If you have internet access and a job, that’s a 1 in 4 lottery. I know you’re thinking, what do you mean? No, I’m saying 1 in 2 people in the world have internet access and 1 in 2 people have a job. It’s that rare. So you got both? Hey, you won another lottery. And if you have post-secondary education that is a 7 percent chance, 93 percent of people in the world don’t have that lottery chance.
So you keep doing the math, you keep going down, down, down, I say remember the lottery. On days that I get stressed out, and there are many, on days that I feel anxious, and there are many, on days where I think how do I turn this thing around because it’s just like one bad thing after one bad thing. There’s so much going for us we just have to pull back and whatever highs and lows you have in your day to day and remember how much you already have going for you.
John: Remember the lottery, Fire Nation. I just love that. Remember the lottery. It’s really just comes down and boils down to those three points. And I actually got some shivers when I was hearing what you were speaking about, Neil, because we don’t always keep that perspective and it’s so important. I mean, I can remember so clearly when I was back in Iraq, when I was an officer in the U.S. Army and there was mortar rounds dropping and there were bullets firing, I remember just thinking to myself, if I ever get safe, I’ll never take anything for granted again. But you know, that was 12 years ago and I find myself taking these for granted all the time now.
Neil: Exactly. I mean, a meeting gets canceled, an email comes in, suddenly your brain flips into fight or flight mode. And this is part of the problem with happiness is that we think you have to work hard in order to be successful, in order to be happy. Study hard, get good grades, be happy. But all the research shows the model’s backwards. If you can remember the lottery first, choose to be happy, maybe get some exercise in, some meditation, a bit of journaling, sure. Then you’re happier and then you do great work and you have the big success. Productivity, creativity, sales, everything skyrockets later if you can just remember the lottery at the beginning.
John: Fire Nation, we could drop the mic right there, but we’re not going to because we have the lightning round coming up. We’re gonna take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors. Neil, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Neil: The sky is getting dark and I see it moving in, I’m ready.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Neil: You know, it was fear, it’s that table leg analogy I mentioned before and it was the idea that if I took this leap and I moved into the idea of writing and speaking full time that somehow the bottom would drop out, I mean, like in the restaurant example and I would once again be scrounging. So pure, honest fear. Just genuine fear.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Neil: Don’t take advice. Those three words sound trite, but here’s the thing. The most concrete advice of all actually just agrees with what you’re already thinking. We’re just looking for an alibi. And if you look at clichés, is it action speaks louder than words? Or is it the pen is mightier than the sword? Is it good things come to those who wait? Or is it the early bird gets the worm? Even on the most classic advice of all you can always find an equal or exact opposite.
For anyone listening who has ever asked for parental advice on what they should name their child or aunt and uncle advice on where you should go to school do you notice it all conflicts with each other? It represents their opinion, not yours. So the best advice of all is don’t take advice. Search within yourself and know that the answers are already there.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Neil: Whenever I meet someone for the first time at like a lunch or a dinner meeting, like a business meeting, I’m always the last person to bring up business. I know there’s a law of arguments going on about make every meeting like a 15 minute meeting, go quick, kind of move on. I take the opposite approach. How much stuff can I connect with this person first? Do we have a similar author we love? Have we seen a similar movie? Do we both have young kids? And then by the time business is brought up, and I let them always be the first to bring it up, we’ve got so much connective tissue developed in our relationship that everything else is easier.
I can think of some of the most important business relationships I have today and I still start every conversation with, “Hey, have you read the new David Mitchell book?” Or whatever it was that we first started talking about. “Hey, how’s your kids doing in school? We’re really struggling with this one.” And that personal connection can make everything easier in business. Be the last person to bring up business when you’re meeting someone for the first time.
John: Can you share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation?
Neil: Yeah, absolutely. I’m really hooked on this new app. It’s called Reco, R-E-C-O. And for anyone who likes good reads, and I put my hand up for that one, Reco is like the staff picks wall at an independent bookstore. So if you are an independent bookstore fan like I am, I always go for the staff picks because it’s like these are personal, curated, interesting books that you find from the millions of books out there. Well, Reco, you can follow me, I’m @NeilPasricha, is my personal book picks. And I can follow your personal book picks.
So it creates a really nice staff pick wall feel of everyone’s book recommendations. I find I get interesting books that I haven’t heard of in a better way than sort of through the traditional online recommendation engine, which doesn’t seem tailored enough to me, you know?
John: Based on that I’m pretty excited for the next question. And I will say if you could recommend just one book to join The Happiness Equation and The Books of Awesome on our bookshelves, Neil, what would it be and why?
Neil: I’m gonna have to go with The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. And the reason I recommend this – this was on my bookshelf for years before I read it. But it is so, so good at demystifying everything in life, chaos, order, risk, into really, really simple advice. Like for example, go to parties. Why does he say go to parties? Because the odds of meeting interesting people and having interesting conversations are huge. He paints a portrait of the world showing how random it all is and then says at the end of the book, you should simply increase your chances of random positive events occurring to you, of black swan events occurring to you in order to live a great life.
It’s a little bit more of a complex read, but for those that love business reads or philosophy reads, I would highly recommend The Black Swan.
John: Neil, I wanna end today on fire, brother. Give us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Neil: My name is Neil Pasricha. I am easily reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, I totally just gave my email address because I love giving away email addresses. I think it’s the best way to connect with people still in this day and age. And of course if you want me on Twitter, I’m @NeilPasricha.
John: And that parting piece of guidance.
Neil: Okay, my last piece of guidance is get a library card and use it.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with NP and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type in Neil, that’s N-E-I-L, in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time stamps, links galore. And Neil, just one more time, you gave your email address which was incredibly kind. What was that again?
Neil: It’s Neil, N-E-I-L, at globalhappiness.org. I read and respond to every single email in a specific email window. It’s one of my greatest joys. I really would never trade it away. So if you’re listening to this and you’re wondering should I drop him a line? Please do. I’d love to hear from you. Let’s talk.
John: Love that. Fire Nation, take him up on that. If you were inspired at all by this interview and I really hope you were, shoot him an email even if it’s just a thank you for having him spend the time to come on and chat with us today. If you have a question for him just take advantage of these opportunities. I love this. And I just wanna say Neil, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Neil: Thank you so much JLD and thanks everyone with Fire Nation. It was a great time.
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