Feel Good Friday: Readers, You Did This — 21,559 Students Helped So Far…

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Students helped by DonorsChoose.org
Imagine a huge stadium full of kids like this. It’s a lot, and you’ve helped them all.

This post is an experiment. I’m calling it “Feel Good Friday.”

There’s enough bad news in the world, so let’s spread a little optimism…

Since May 13th, you have directly helped 21,559 high-need public school students in the US. In fact, in the last few years, we (the community on this blog + me) have directly funded classroom projects for nearly 200,000 students (!!!).

Below are some of the teacher thank-you’s, which I think you’ll enjoy.

And one more thing:
THERE ARE STILL 3 DAYS LEFT IN OUR COMPETITION!

It’s anyone’s game to win. The prize is roundtrip airfare to a leisurely dinner with me and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. We can discuss anything you want, including business. If you’re interested in winning a seat (four (4) people will win), here are the rules.

If you’d simply like to donate $1 and feel great, click on my giving page here and choose a project you love.

Have a great weekend, all. Letters below… Read More

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How to Finally Play the Guitar: 80/20 Guitar and Minimalist Music

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When will you stop dreaming and start playing? (Photo: Musician “Lights”, Credit: Shandi-lee)

I’ve always wanted to play the guitar.

It started as a kid, listening to my dad play around the fireplace during the holidays. The fantasy continued with Guns N’ Roses and the iconic Slash. From hyperspeed Slayer to classical Segovia, I was mesmerized.

But I never thought I could do it myself.

Despite tackling skills as esoteric as Japanese horseback archery, I somehow put music in a separate “does not apply” category until two years ago. It was simply too frustrating, too overwhelming.

My fascination with guitar wasn’t rekindled until Charlie Hoehn, an employee of mine at the time, showed me the 80/20 approach to learning it.

This post explains how to get the most guitar mileage and versatility in the least time… Read More

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The Magic of Thinking Big – How to Break World Records in Times Square

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Preface from Tim

The following is a guest post by John-Clark Levin, Joe Luchsinger, and Jason Soll.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to publish it, and today is that day. Why? I have big battles coming next week, and they make me want to tackle the world.

By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll learn how they:

• Booked the heart of Times Square for three days for only $20
• Brought together teams of elite competitors from as far away as Nepal and New Zealand
• Organized a record-breaking competition as full-time college students…from 3,000 miles away
• Received a promotion on every page of YouTube.com, ultimately receiving over 800,000 webcast views and tens of thousands of comments during the course of the event
• Landed extensive coverage by the Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, CBS, and AOL News
• More than doubled the previous Guinness World Record for the Longest Continuous Handshake

After telling the crazy story behind this event, called “Shaking History,” they’ll teach:

• How systematically studying both your successes and failures can take you to the next level
• Why taking on charitable projects allows you to make astounding breakthroughs in the size and scale of your endeavors
• How to achieve spectacular results by defining your own “best practices”
• Why you can be the best in the world at something

Now, on to the story… Read More

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The Magic of Apprenticeship — A How-To Guide

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In 1902, Einstein (far right) formed “The Olympia Academy” with two friends, who met to discuss books about science and philosophy. Three years later, Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis papers vaulted him to international fame.

I’m asked “How do I find a mentor?” all the time.

I’ve never had a good answer. The sad fact is this: people you want as mentors don’t want to view themselves as pro-bono life coaches. So what to do?

First, change the question. Perhaps it’s a cliche to say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears, but it’s a prescription in disguise. Here, the better question is “How do I become an ideal apprentice?”

The best treatment of apprenticeship I’ve ever found is in Mastery, the latest book by Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. His writing on apprenticeship, mentor cultivation, and in-depth mastery of skills makes Mastery the perfect companion book to The 4-Hour Chef, in my opinion. It’s one of the few books I made time to read cover-to-cover in the last few months.

The below article explores examples of world-class apprentices and how you can emulate them. Once you do that, growth is a foregone conclusion.

Enter Robert Greene

The path to greatness is simple. It’s the path followed by everyone from Renaissance artists to the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley. In writing my first four books, I immersed myself in the study these types of people–some of most powerful figures in history. Over the course of many hours of thinking, researching and writing on excellence–the last four years of which were dedicated to writing my newest book–I discerned an unmistakable formula for becoming the bestRead More

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Another Unusual $100,000 Birthday Present (Plus: Free Round-Trip Anywhere in the World)

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Soon 35-years young… and still not acting my age. (Photo: Sir Garrett Camp)

35! I’ll turn a glorious 35 this week.

It’s going to be a great natal year–I can already feel it. Perhaps it will be good luck for you, too. In this post, I’m giving away a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world.

But back to that strange birthday gift… Read More

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Neil Gaiman – The Best Commencement Speech You May Ever Hear (20 Minutes)

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This will be a short post as, sometimes, brevity counts. I want to let Neil Gaiman speak in this instance. Neil is one of my favorite authors, and I first became fascinated by his imagination with The Sandman comics in the 90’s. So much so, in fact, that I imported The Sandman from different countries to help me learn languages.


The Sandman from Brazil. Wonderful for studying Portuguese, as I have identical English editions.

My love for his work grew from there. From Anansi Boys to The Graveyard Book (my favorite audiobook of all time) to Neverwhere, the list of favorites is long.

The above commencement speech, mandatory listening for anyone who hopes to be creatively successful, is right up there with Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech, which I’ve embedded below. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments on either, as well as links to any favorite speeches of your own.

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Tim Ferriss: A Day In The Life

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(Trouble viewing? See Tim Ferriss: A Day In The Life on Hulu. If you’re international, try using Hotspot Shield first.)

I’m often asked, “What does your typical day look like?”

In an attempt to answer this difficult question, I met up with Morgan Spurlock’s film crew for an episode of “A Day In The Life.” The full Friday we shot (I reserve Fridays for in-person meetings) reiterates a point I’ve driven home before: The 4-Hour Workweek is, and always has been, about using time optimally, not being idle.

It also shows how much I love my POS VW Golf, which is having its 10th birthday soon.

To clarify the intro, here’s a mostly complete list of start-ups I advise and have invested in [UPDATE 2014: Here is the most complete list of all my startups, which is kept up-to-date.]:

About.me (acquired by AOL)
DailyBurn (acquired by IAC)
Milk (acquired by Google)
Posterous (acquired by Twitter)
Foodzie (acquired by Joyus)
StumbleUpon
Uber (The Escalade in the above video was via Uber, which I use whenever parking will be a hassle.)
Evernote
DonorsChoose.org (educational non-profit)
Shopify
Trippy
BranchOut
CrowdFlower
RescueTime
WellnessFX
Graphicly
TaskRabbit
Schematic Labs (makers of SoundTracking)
Central Kitchen Restaurant (press)
Blue Bottle Coffee
Quarterly.co
DuoLingo (language learning)

Other investments, including late-stage and publicly traded, include:

Facebook (pre-IPO)
Twitter (pre-IPO)
Alibaba Group (pre-IPO)
SimpleGeo (acquired by Urban Airship)
Unsubscribe.com (acquired by TrustedID)
Digg (acquired by Betaworks)
Reputation.com
Basis (acquired by Intel)

Would you like to work together? If so, watch the “Advise This!” video below and tell me about your company in the comments, ideally in 200 words or fewer. Stats are always helpful.

Look forward to checking it out. In the meantime, I have to wrap up The 4-Hour Chef!

It’s shaping up to be a fun one… :)

——-
Odds and Ends:

WellnessFX Competition – Would you like to spend 30 minutes with me? I’d love to learn what you’re up to and see if I can help. WellnessFX, featured in the above episode, is sponsoring a giveaway for six 30-minute slots. Click here to learn more.

SXSW – “Advise This” Panel – So, what do start-up “advisors” do, exactly? How do you recruit A-listers to your cause? Or, better yet, how do you assemble and leverage the *right* team? In the below panel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Conrad, JR Johnson, Chase Charvis, and I discuss the relationships between founders, investors, and advisors in start-ups. You’ll recognize the now familiar “14 minutes into my 15 minutes…,” which I say to keep my head from getting too damn big. It’s a Seneca thing:

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