Posted by & filed under Culture, How To, Personal, Philosophy.

Please read Timothy Miller’s amazing book, How to Want What You Have: Discovering the Magic and Grandeur of Ordinary Existence

I’ve been encouraging all my friends and family to read this book. The author is a Cognitive Psychologist (with a PhD and decades of experience with his counseling private practice) who examines the underlying causes of human suffering and unhappiness. He makes a *very* convincing case that practicing Compassion, Attention and Gratitude can and does counteract our instincts to seek limitless amounts of wealth, status and love. Learning to stop wanting More of these things is the “secret” to real happiness. I think he’s exactly right. I will continue to lend out my copies of the book if/when they come back to me, and to keep buying more to circulate among my friends and family. In the meantime, pick one up yourself if you can! The latest (5th, hardcover) edition is the one I read after picking it up at a used bookstore for $2.99 on a whim. Best 3 bucks I ever spent in my life. 🙂

Here’s the book on Amazon:

… and my review of it:

Enjoy! 🙂

P.S. If you’re willing to tell Amazon you want the publisher to release the book on Kindle that’d be cool; so far it’s print-only.

Posted by & filed under Culture, How To, Personal, Philosophy, Quotes, Work.

Last week Sheila (’s founding CEO) invited me to join her for a private “CEO breakfast” event hosted by Northeastern University at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston. It was attended by entrepreneurs and top executives from various industries. She shared her personal story and related it to the topic at hand: how to build a brand from the inside out. The reason she invited me as her guest was that (with my permission) she quoted from an email I’d sent her about what means to me. I’m surely biased, but I do think it was a terrific talk. Anyway, here it is!

Posted by & filed under How To, Personal, Philosophy.

This is an open letter to anyone faced with a recent diagnosis of cancer or any other serious ailment. I’m publishing it because now two close friends of mine (who, like me, are in their 30’s and otherwise healthy) inexplicably have joined me in the cancer club in the last couple months. Here’s hoping it’s an anomaly and not a trend.

To my dear friends:
Welcome to the club nobody wants to join.

Posted by & filed under Culture, Personal, Work.

A couple days ago, I asked my company’s CEO, Sheila, if it might be helpful for me to share a bit of my personal story. She replied saying yes, and would I be willing to write a few words about what means to me. I have a lot to say on the matter, so I’ll do my best to be concise.

I’ve been through an extraordinary set of circumstances in the last few months:

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Personal, Philosophy.

This is a true story about learning to let the little things go.

In late December (less than a month after my surgery), Shawna’s parents generously took us out to the super-fancy Hyannis Yacht Club restaurant to celebrate Shawna’s birthday. I wore the requisite coat and tie, but didn’t have an appropriate hat to wear at the time [I do now]. So, I entered the exclusive club with my shaved head and apparently gruesome scar exposed.

We joined my parents-in-law at their table, which was adjacent to that of an elderly couple whose conversation came to an abrupt halt upon our entering. This happens often when we bring our beautiful young daughters out with us, so at first I took no notice. Then I realized they weren’t admiring the girls. Rather, both of these wealthy club members were openly glaring at me. I ignored it at first, but every time my gaze happened in their direction, there was eye contact because they had not stopped staring at me.

I have always been a relatively defiant person, never overly concerned with social graces. So after about a minute of the most intense, hate-filled, unrelenting and blatant (albeit silent) hostility I’ve ever endured, I calmly and deliberately returned the man’s stare. I did so without hate, but also without a trace of shame or fear or embarassment. There was a bit of curiosity and perplexity in mine, since I genuinely couldn’t understand why anyone woud react so harshly to someone doing them no harm.

I think I surprised them both with my direct response, as it bought me about seven seconds’ reprieve… before they again (whispering in collusion) set to it again, casting this inconceivable hatred at me, four eyes against two. I ignored them similarly to the way they were ignoring their food, and returned my attention to the conversation at my table. But it bothered me, and it didn’t stop.

After our food arrived, and the attempted murder by staring continued unabated, I decided I needed to take action to avoid ruining an otherwise terrific meal. I nearly stood up to walk over to them to ask them what exactly they found so fascinating or awful about me, but decided that would only ruin dinner for my wife and her parents. So, under the pretense of needing to speak privately with my father in law, I switched seats to sit next to him, moving out of the line of fire and using his body as a shield from their stares. We had a nice conversation and everyone enjoyed the rest of their meals. I didn’t even notice the hateful old couple leave.

I write about this now not to dwell on it, but because it reminds me of this terrific Zen short about two monks:

Two Zen monks — an old teacher and his young apprentice — were walking through a village after a heavy rain. They came past a rich woman who was being carried above the deep mud by two unhappy servants, who were burdened by her sedan chair as well as her many shopping bags. She was shouting and abusing them, berating them for being unable to help her down from her perch and across the mud to dry ground. The young monk walked past, minding his own business. But the elderly master walked straight to the woman, and without a word, lifted her onto his back and trudged through the deep mud to dry ground. She ungratefully sniffed the air and haughtily walked away without a word. The master rejoined his student and they continued on their way. Miles later, their shadows lengthening, the student could hold his tongue no longer. “Master“, he finally said, “how could that woman be so rude?? You were so kind and selfless, and she didn’t even thank you!!“. The master chuckled and said, “Boy, you must be very tired! Here you’ve been, walking all day long, carrying her on your back. I put her down hours ago!