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34 Mistakes on the Way to 34 Years Old

The great Hyman Rickover used to say that success teaches nothing, only failure is educational. I don’t know if that’s completely true, but I will say that my own short time on this planet has had its share of teachable moments rooted in mistakes, usually of my own making.  For going on ten years now, I have done a piece on my birthday around the idea...

50 (Short) Rules For Life From The Stoics

What is the job of a philosopher? “When the standards have been set,” Epictetus said, “the work of philosophy is just this, to examine and uphold the standards, but the work of a truly good person is in using those standards when they know them.” Pretty straight forward then: Define your rules. Live by them.  But of course, the Stoics were not quite...

Opening a Small-Town Bookstore During the Pandemic Was the Craziest Thing We Ever Did

This is a piece I just wrote for Texas Monthly. Yes, I just opened my own bookstore outside Austin, Texas. If you want to support the store, you can follow us on Instagram, sign up for our email list or pick up a book online! When you tell people you’re thinking about opening a bookstore, they’re quick to respond, I’ve always wanted to do that.  It’s...

Life Is About What We Can Do For Each Other

Why are we here?  It’s an impossible question to answer, I suppose. Of course, on a fundamental evolutionary level, we’re here to pass along our genes. This is why we strive for success. This is why we lust for sex. This is what keeps the species going.  But equally encoded in that evolutionary software and in our culture is another purpose, another...

This Is the Test to Apply to Everything

We can imagine he was a busy man, perhaps the busiest man in the world.  He had 14 children. There was a pandemic.  He had a nagging stomach ailment.  He was taking philosophy classes. Oh, and he was the emperor of Rome. His domain stretched some 2.2 million square miles and included some 120 million people for whom he was both responsible for...

This Is the Secret to Business and Artistic Success

One of the strangest things about business to me has always been how damn far everyone is from the products they create and the customers who use them.  You have a problem with a product you bought and you call customer service, but you’re not actually talking to an employee of the company who made it—you’re talking to a customer service contractor,...

A Practical Philosophy Reading List: A Few Books You Can Actually Use in Real Life

You must know by now: I don’t believe that philosophy is something for the classroom. It’s something that helps you with life. It shouldn’t be complicated. It shouldn’t be confusing. It should be clear, and it should be usable. As Epicurus put it, “Vain is the word of the philosopher which does not heal the suffering of man.” Some of the best philosophers...

100 (Short) Rules for a Better Life

In his essay On the Happy Life, Seneca makes an extended list of rules for living a good life. Because it is everyone’s wish to live better, he says, but we are often in the dark on how to do so. Except, we’re not…since so many people have struggled in the dark before us and their experiences create light. With that in mind, here are 100 rules that...

Fight to Be Who Philosophy Wants You to Be

Like all of us, there was a part of Marcus Aurelius that wanted to be good and a part that inclined towards something worse. He had ideals, he had a temper. He had ambitions—some of which were selfless and some of which were selfish. He made commitments—as a father, a spouse, a leader—and then he also had urges and drives as a human being. There was...

How to Read More: 8 Reasons and 7 Strategies to Read More Books

I probably get asked this question more than any other: How do you read so much? I don’t think the question is really about me. I’m an author. It’s my job to read a lot. I think what people are really asking is how they can read more. Because as wonderful as reading is, in a busy, distracting world, it’s hard to find the time. Or rather, it’s hard...

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