Five Minutes on Friday, Six Minutes on Saturday: Listen to Music, Save Japan; Email a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks


It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or sacrifice to do an incredible amount of good. Hence the name of this post (and potential series): Five Minutes on Friday. Even if it’s not Friday, this post might interest you…

Can you — and can I — take just five minutes each Friday (or Saturday, Sunday, etc.) to fix big problems and feel awesome in the process? Sure. It need not suck or feel like work. In fact, it can be like getting a Christmas present. Or perhaps like slaying bad guys as The Punisher.

Pretty sweet on both sides. Here are two quick options for your five minutes this week…

Listen to Music, Save Japan

Make a $10 or greater donation to Music for Relief for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan and receive a kick-ass exclusive compilation of music from incredible musicians. To get people to take action, the offer is only good for a few days. Listen to the music (listed below) and make a donation here:

Current Tracklisting:
Hoobastank — Running Away (acoustic)
Shinedown – Shed Some Light (acoustic live)
Sara Bareilles — Song For A Soldier
Flyleaf — How He Loves (live)
Staind —Right Here (live)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — 21 and Up
Angels & Airwaves — Hallucinations
Taking Back Sunday – Best Places To Be A Mom
Placebo – Bright Lights (live)
Black Cards – Dr. Jekkyl & Mr. Fame
B’z — Home
Surfer Blood – Take it Easy (Live)
Ben Folds – Sleazy
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Starlight (live)
Counting Crows – Colorblind (live)
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon (live from Tokyo)
Talib Kweli – GMB
Plain White T’s — Rhythm Of Love (live)
Elliott Yamin — Self Control
Pendulum – Witchcraft
Patrick Stump – Saturday Night Again
Linkin Park — Ishho Ni

Pretty sweet, right? Click here to download the tracks.

Email/Call a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

More than 100 million sharks are now slaughtered annually to fuel the shark fin soup trade. The soup is non-nutritive, expensive, and doesn’t even taste particularly good (yes, I tried it in China in the 90’s). It is served mostly as a status symbol at Asian weddings, formal functions, and high-end restaurants.

How is this fine soup made?

Shark fins are cut-off the sharks in a process called “finning.” The practice is wasteful, unsustainable and ecologically unsound. Here’s how it works: sharks are caught on long-lines (miles of line floating in the oceans, affixed with hooks and bait), brought to the boat, and have their fins are hacked off. Next, since shark meat isn’t worth as much as shark fins, the mutilated but normally live animals are thrown back in to the water to sink and die.

Sharks cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with mass-production shark finning. In the Atlantic ocean alone, shark populations in many species have decreased more than 90% percent in the last 15 years alone. It’s fucking disgusting.

I wanted to be a marine biologist for nearly 15 years, and if there is two things to remember about sharks, here they are:
– Most sharks don’t attack humans and have no interest in us whatsoever. I’ve dived with hundreds of sharks without incident.
– If you destroy apex predators (predators at the top of the food chain), the rest of the food chain topples soon thereafter.

If the oceans go to hell, so do we. To stick it to the bad guys and help the good guys, here are two five-minute options:

1. Boycott and Publicly Shame Restaurants That Serve Shark Fin Soup

Below is a list of Canadian and US restaurants that still serve shark fin soup. Boycott them, write to them, and — corporations hate bad PR — publicly shame them for inhumanely slaughtering sharks, using blogs, tweets, Facebook, e-mail, or whatever you have:

United States List of restaurant perpetrators
Canada’s list of restaurant perpetrators

2. Join Future Shark Adventures

The University of Miami offers year-round shark expeditions, including weekly tagging trips in the Florida Keys, Great White Shark expeditions in South Africa, and Diving and Tagging tiger shark adventures in the Bahamas. Click here for more information.

If you have other creative ideas on how to promote ocean conservation, please contact Dr. Neil Hammerschalg at To learn more about shark protection, visit these sites:

Yes, I really love sharks. Here, I tag my first shark off of Miami as part of Summit Series: a beautiful female tiger shark. Truly gorgeous.

Have a fantastic weekend, all. Take the five minutes if you can. It will make you feel incredible, and it will have an impact.

Posted on: April 29, 2011.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

107 comments on “Five Minutes on Friday, Six Minutes on Saturday: Listen to Music, Save Japan; Email a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

  1. Thanks for bringing up the shark issue. I must admit, when I started diving, I was terrified of them, but knowledge reduces fear, and they truly are magnificent (though still slightly scary!) animals. It is disgusting what is happening in the oceans, from the mutilation of the sharks, to the farming of shrimp and salmon, which is contaminating the wild populations.


  2. I’ve had shark fin soup too and it’s not all that great.

    Now I will boycott restaurants that do.

    I watched “The Cove” last year. Wow that was so sickening.


  3. Thanks for sharing Tim and please do make this a regular thing! I would love to see Five Minute Fridays stay around for a very long time!

    Thanks for shedding light on two major topics that needed some help – and I look forward to your continued support with your readership in bringing small changes to the world!



  4. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for bringing these things to light. The playlist on Tsunami Relief is really great. And I feel great too now.

    Have a very nice day,



  5. Saw Tim on Dr. Oz and loved the bits of info, bought the book (like many others I assume) and have taken off 20.4 lbs and 15 inches in 7 weeks – wonderful. I think the day off each week is so important mentally as well as physically. Since I love to cook I did not do the rotation of the same four or so meals but developed receipes using the ok ingredients and in fact found many that could fit in with only minor modifications. Thanks Tim, I am a firm believer that this is the way we should be nourishing our body. I am also exercising 6 to 8 times per week (have a bit of an addictive nature), feel better and think I look better then I did at 40. I just turned 60. Thanks.


  6. Man, I didn’t know that’s how they harvest for shark’s fin. I can’t imagine a shark without its fin although I don’t want to see it in real life for myself.. hmmm


  7. I donated more than the minimum, but got an empty zip file. No problem for me, I would have given without the bribe, but if it is offered, they should deliver without a hassle. I know I could do this or that to make it right, that isn’t the point. Tell them they have a problem. It make YOU look bad.


    • Hmmm… I don’t know what happened there. I didn’t have an issue, but I’ll certainly let them know! I’ll pass them your email, Bruce.

      Thanks for the feedback,



  8. I’m slightly disturbed that nobody’s doing any math here.

    One hundred million shark deaths a year means that three sharks are killed every second of the year. That’s a little improbable. While it’s nice to want to do right for the world and nature, etc, let’s all also keep our heads on about it, too.

    Just because somebody says it’s true don’t make it so.


  9. Has anyone actually researched this topic with a mind of their own? Tim says shark fin soup doesn’t taste good so I guess nO one else in the world likes it.

    The shark that gets killed the most are mako sharks. Did you guys know that mako is eaten all over the world by many countries? It is wasteful to just cut the fin off and leave the shark to die. But if you truly want to help the shark population you’ll rally against ALL shark being used as cuisine instead of just the fins. Don’t you think that would be mOre useful since everyone is killing mako? The difference is that they use most of the shark and not the fin. The Chinese use the fin and that’s it but the point is the shark dies either way.

    There’s an interesting thing about Jewish kosher cuisine. They believe in killing the animal humanely so it doesn’t suffer but this hospitality doesn’t go for fish. Why? Because fish are cannibalistic so they don’t count in Kosher cuisine.

    The sharks that get thrown back in get eaten by other fish and help them to live longer and be healthier. That’s why fisherman throw unused fish waste back into the ocean. Lobsters love this which is why the price of lObster is going down. More dead fish in the water equals more lobster food which equals more lobsters.


  10. I’m Asian and I totally agree that it’s cruel to farm for sharks fin but I don’t think we should publicly shame and destroy the reputation of restaurants that worked hard to build it. Perhaps these restaurants too have taken measures to reduce the sales of sharks fin and only reserved it for special requests. It would be unfair to these restaurants.


  11. Tim,

    I love your articles but I hate reading stuff at my computer since I work at a computer all day. Can you please allow Amazon to publish your blog on the Kindle? Even though it costs $0.99 a month I’d be willing to pay that to read your blog while in bed. I bet others might be willing to do so as well.


  12. > Make a $10 or greater donation …
    There’s something awfully powerful about blending feeling good with making impact and empowering social goodness in a friction-free way.

    Five minutes is a good chunk of time. Edward de Bono regularly used Five Minute Thinks to rapidly tackle and solve many problems (in a structured way.)


  13. you might want to look at this tim, its outside this topic but i m sure its something you would like to read about, its about someones quest to prove /disprove the 10,000hrs required to be an expert at something


  14. Tim, great post.

    I knew this was bad, and not sure if you caught the Gordon Ramsay special about shark fin gathering. He was at the places that dry them, got on boats that hunted them, and went to restaurants and stores that sold them.

    dont want to overload this with links, but more can be found google-ing

    So thanks for spreading to your readers as well!


  15. Stella here in New Orleans, which is prob the most expensive restaurant in town, briefly served shark fin soup but got shamed into dropping it off their menu, so speaking up against this practice does work.


  16. Hey Tim,

    I wanted to thank you, figured this was the most appropriate post to do so in. After reading your book in early March, the Japan quakes/tsunami’s hit. I’m a leather smith, and Japan was my inspiration for starting my company- I’ve been working for myself since I was in college 2 years ago. I wanted to help, and I thought back to the yoga rock climbing study in your book. I did some simple math to crunch numbers. I used the thought processes of 4HWW to figure out what I could sell, to a large enough demographic, simply and easily. I wanted to make everything by myself, this was important to me.

    I designed and made the bracelet in 20 minutes after rolling out of bed, and I sent out 1 tweet advertising it. I used your email templates to generate blog buzz, and never paid a dime for a ton of advertising for it (because of what I learned in your book!)

    Long story short, I raised and donated $20,000 out of my bedroom in the first week, and $32,000 total in 27 days with almost $45,000 in total sales of my products and the bracelets. I made every single one of the 1,950 bracelets I sold to raise this much, happily. Without your book, it wouldn’t have been possible for me.

    I didn’t want to email you because I know you’re busy, but I hope you read this- it’s just as much your victory as mine and every person that bought a bracelet. If you want to read more about it my blog is here: and has the whole story/news interviews/donations I did!

    Thanks Tim!


    • Thanks so much for this wonderful comment… and for your amazing contribution to humanity! This not only makes my day, it makes my week :)

      All the best — I see big things ahead for you,



      • Hey Tim,

        I just realized I never responded to you, so sorry! My business has quadrupled since that sale, it’s been super busy. I’m still a one man operation and plan to be one for a while, and I’m already planning next year’s charity sale. I continue using the thought processes of 4HWW every day and refer to the hard copy often. Thank you so much for the tweet and facebook mention, it brought a lot of interest to my site and business, and my story was able to reach others that wrote about it in circles I’ve never traveled before. I had a lot of emails asking for advice, which I tried to help and respond to as best as I could, and hopefully we inspired people to jump in and help others.

        Personally I don’t get super gushy, but you wrote a book that’s changed my life beyond my wildest dreams. As bigger opportunities come along I don’t necessarily use the book’s formulas as they’re written, but the concepts behind them to make my business decisions. It was a college degree I paid $25 for. If you’re ever in Boston or New England and have some extra time, I’d love to buy you a beer or two – that’s how we makers usually say thanks.


  17. Hey Tim, I just bought both of your books and I think they’re great! I have an experiment I thought you’d be interested in.

    I’ve taught private music lessons for a number of years. I honestly feel that a majority of perceived “talent” is muscle memory. Why else would you practice “Sweet Home Alabama” ten thousand times? Most people who believe they don’t have musical talent haven’t devoted the minimum time commitment to simply have this type of muscle memory.

    What do you think? Four Hour Guitar Hero?


  18. I am a hunter and fisherman.

    I only go after animal that make sense to eat. Those animals are capture and kill humanely. I only hunt and fish the animal that will not mess up the ecosystem. As matter of fact, my course is a contribution to preserve of conservation. In this circle is called a conservation paradox.

    Finning is bad!

    I am going to write the letters to restaurant to end this senseless practice.


      • If any of you find personal emails of some of the resteraunt owners post them on here forsure!!!! I want to mob them with angry emails!


  19. Just my opinion on the Shark Fin soup …

    I understand the the thought behind the shark fin and obviously the method of killing is not very humane. I haven’t read much on the current situation but from what I gather the rate of killing should also place sharks in endangerment. Shark fin soup has been with Asians and in particular the Chinese for a very long time and is also a strong part of its culture and values. The serving of shark fin soup at weddings is a traditional Chinese custom.

    Boycotting the restaurants may seem sensible but it won’t change the problem. Sometimes it may also be taken as a racist attack. Coming from an Asian heritage and from experience in order make changes to the problem you need to educate the people that are consuming it. If restaurants stop serving the soup do you think we will stop drinking the soup… it would only place the demand for it on the higher scale..


  20. This is a reminder that the true happiness found in a 4 hour workweek is not just in doing things for yourself but having the time to do things for others. Small things that can make a big difference. They are around us every minute of every day, and it is amazing how sometimes the “smallest” contributions can make the biggest difference. Thanks for this post Tim, you are spot on!


  21. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I definitely think what happened in Japan is horrible and they need our support, but I was honestly more affected knowing about what’s going on with shark finning.

    I’m going to shoot an email to some of those companies about this, as well as submit some free press releases to help raise awareness.


  22. I don’t want the sharks to be thrown back in to drown and I agree that finning us atrocious. I don’t condone this in any way shape or form. All I’m saying is that the 100 million sharks a year is an exaggerated number used to rile people up like when it was said that polar bears were drowning in large numbers due to global warming melting glaciers. Look past the propaganda and make your own informed opinion. Protest if you like. It’s a free country.


  23. Hi, Tim, thanks for doing this and especially for highlighting a way to help Japan. The international spotlight has moved away, but as you realize, there are still over 100,000 people in shelters and thousands more stuck in ruined homes without jobs, money, cars, power, gas or water. I hope you’ll consider featuring Quakebook as a way to help. It went from an idea on Twitter to a completed book in a week, and was available around the world on Amazon as an ebook one month after the quake and tsunami. It is a collection of essays, photos and illustrations reflecting people’s reactions to the disaster from both the hardest-hit areas and all around the world. In an unprecedented move, Amazon agreed to waive 100% of its fees so that every penny of the $9.99 cover price would go to the Japan Red Cross. Sony set up a unique page where the book can be downloaded for a pay-what-you-wish donation. All the info and links to some of the amazing media coverage this project has gotten are available on the website. Please contact me if I can provide any other info. Again, thank you from Tokyo for what you’re doing.


  24. Tim – I love that you are shining your insightful light on these areas. I bought the music and made sure I don’t eat at those restaurants.
    Speaking of conservation and sharks, you need to read The Devil’s Teeth about the great white sharks at the Farallon Islands and Blue Water Goldrush I think you are awesome. Thanks for making a difference.


  25. Great idea Tim!
    I think the best way to do item #1 (Publicly Shame the Restaurants) is not to call or email the restaurant. Ok, great 2 people call and complain. Don’t even waste time tweeting about a particular restaurant, as the restaurant will probably never even know it.

    MUCH better is to go to the Restaurant’s own Facebook Page… I bet most of them have one, and then POST on their Facebook WALL. That will get their attention very quickly and effectively.

    Better yet Tim, use your connection with the people that put the list together to actually add the Facebook webpage link on to the list to make it much easier for people to hit up 10, 20 or 100 pages in very little time.


  26. Brantford pushes for Canada’s first shark fin ban

    Birthplace of The Great One? Sure.

    Tournament capital of Ontario? Um, fine.

    How about the first jurisdiction in Canada to ban shark fin products?

    Sleepy Brantford will surf to the edge of the sustainability debate next week as its city council debates enacting a bylaw to prohibit the possession, sale and consumption of all shark fin products, the first ban of its kind in the country.

    “We’ve moved on it. Why don’t you do the same?” is the message to other Canadian cities, says former Brantford MPP Phil Gillies, who helped put the issue on council’s agenda.

    Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in China and in expatriate communities worldwide, and demand for the dish is increasing as the Chinese population grows wealthier. But the practice of shark finning has long drawn the outrage of environmental groups for being unsustainable and cruel.

    Overfishing has led to a decline of all shark species in the Northwest Atlantic since the late 1980s, according to a 2003 report in Science, with some species dropping by as much as 75 per cent. Sharks have a low birth rate, leaving them particularly vulnerable to overfishing.–brantford-pushes-for-canada-s-first-shark-fin-ban


  27. Watching those sharks get chopped to pieces — while they were still alive!

    Definitely one of the more disturbing things I’ve seen.

    Thanks for voting with your megaphone Tim.


  28. It is a so great idea Tim… Have a fantastic weekend, all. Take the five minutes if you can. It will make you feel incredible, and it will have an impact. That’s all I’ve got to say. Although, I agree with you — these musics were fantastic. Not only was it fun to have some “say” in who gets the scholarship, it was great to see all of these success stories — adding motivation and fanning the flames of those who may not have quite yet reached the goals. These were so fun to watch! I voted for my favorites. That took a long time to watch… but fun. Whoever gets to go, you better enjoy it, and thank the people who voted! Thank you, Joe. Hunting can absolutely help preserve ecosystems (e.g. deer overpopulation on Long Island), but finning is atrocious. Much appreciate the action!

    Excellent! Thank you! : Thanks for sharing this post so much.

    Now I just need like a 1000 more…!


  29. FYI, the Washington state governor just signed legislation banning shark fin soup in this state.
    Can’t help but think this blog and its readers helped make that happen!


    • Hmmmm… not any more than an attack on gas-guzzling cars would be an attack on American culture, methinks, but that’s just one opinion. Still, good to read the differing viewpoints.



  30. I have been served shark fin soup at a friends wedding and I have to say it really was unappealing. My friends enjoy it and tease me when I lecture them and I was happy when you posted this video so I could send it to them to show them visually the cruelty. Something I am wondering about is lately in the stores I have noticed an increase in products selling shark cartilage from deep sea New Zealand sharks and shark liver oil supplements. Does anyone know how these supplements are derived and if they are made in humane ways? They are all made from well known companies.


  31. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I definitely think what happened in Japan is horrible and they need our support, but I was honestly more affected knowing about what’s going on with shark finning.

    ¡Japan is and will remain a beautiful country!


  32. Tim,

    I’ve read your book over a year ago and you have tied up so much of my life questions to opportunities i have pursed. I was over working myself and now i have the power of a full days work in 2hrs with so much more time for my dreams, ambitions and loved ones.

    I am currently working on a deal that will sell 10000 units of my product.
    (thanks to your techniques)

    After a failed patent, $5000 vending machine robbery, hard work/overtime $24hr j.ob., started a side business, quit my job, self sufficient for 5 years now, my forever evolving business model equals puzzling questions your book answered to perfection.

    I would like to endorse and promote your book as a promotional gift with my product. 10,000 for the start.

    I am 27yrs old and I have never had a role model, it would mean the world if i could have a 5minute phone call to: 1. Meet an impossible celebrity for a question. 2. Ask question, absorb feedback. 3. Set price for volume book order.

    Thanks for the blueprints, time, and everything you have done for us.



  33. It is really amazing how people in different countries with different beliefs help each other and come up idea on solving a common and serious issue. This is a great idea.


  34. I agree that the unnecessary slaughter of sharks is wrong, but so is the slaughter of cows, lamb, and chickens we Americans eat everyday.

    This is definitely an attack on their culture and if the Asian community were to point out our flawed system of raising sick animals in horrid condtions just to slaughter them we would simply brush it off as them ‘not understanding’.

    We need to reevaluate what bandwagon we jump on before becoming hypocrites. I am against the inhumane raising and slaughtering of animals. Study after study has shown that we don’t need meat to exist and we actually thrive without meat when we supplement with vegetarian protein sources.

    Even if we reduced our meat intake to maybe one time a week only, we would be less of the hypocrites that we are compared to the average American that eats meat at least once a day for in one meal a day.

    Please consider your own actions before pointing out the flaws of others.