August Coffee Talk: Mind, Body, Business & Books (#41)

Pre-order before launch day (9/6) to get the awesome bonus bundle!

Pre-order before launch day (9/6) to get the awesome bonus bundle!

The final countdown is on! PIVOT launches in one month . . . !!!

Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? If not, get on it before the bonus bundle expires on September 6! You'll get two signed bookplates, early access to the Pivot Toolkit, my entire 20+ page behind-the-book toolkit, the Pivot Playlist on Spotify, and access to $500 in courses (including Speak Like a Pro, Book Ninja, and Systems Ninja). And if that's not enough, my undying love and devotion :) 

Ultimate Startup Bundle Sale 

On the book front, check out the Ultimate Start-up Bundle Sale that runs until Monday, August 8. 58 e-books, 12 courses, and 5 bonuses — a $3,000 value for just $97. I wish I could have thrown PIVOT in the mix, but alas! Gotta release it via hardcover first :) Learn more here »


  1. Fear is an unbelievable motivator, but it also makes people freeze in their tracks. Once you start to understand it, fear becomes something you can tap into. Fear comes from the understanding that you can die. It usually makes me make really good decisions and gives me power.
  2. If you aren't able to be scared, you either haven't been hurt or you're completely ignorant.

—Laird Hamilton, Laird's Laws



"It’s an interesting play: Make hands-free and screen-free the future of the Internet. “No one’s saying this is absolutely the way the world is going to evolve, but it feels very natural,” says Sameer Ghandi of the venture capital firm Accel.

—WIRED, The Amazon Echo is Winning the Race to a Screenless Future


“I put lipstick on a pig,” [Tony Schwartz] said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” 

If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”

—New Yorker: Donald Trump's Ghost Writer Tells All

Just for Fun

  • Curious what's on other people's home screens? Feed your inner phone voyeur by browsing
  • I know this is an ad . . . but it's the cutest. From Chipotle, A Love Story:

That's it for now . . . have an amazing end of summer, everyone!

Welcome NYT Workologist Readers! + PIVOT Pre-Order Bonus Bundle

Welcome NYT Workologist Readers! + PIVOT Pre-Order Bonus Bundle

This is a very exciting weekend . . . PIVOT and I are featured in The New York Times' Workologist column!! Climbing Down the Corporate Ladder Without Alarming Your Boss, by Rob Walker. The timing is fitting since this month also marks my five year anniversary of leaving Google to take my own business full-time, a few years after I realized I had no aspirations of continuing to climb the corporate ladder to ascend to the top ranks of management someday.

Post Safari Report: A Little Help for Cosmos?

Post Safari Report: A Little Help for Cosmos?

Hello friends! I’m back from the safari and it did, in fact, exceed every wildest idea of what it might be like and then some. (All links below point to short iPhone videos that will open in a new window)

My mom and I saw lions matinggiraffes runningcheetahs prowlingwildebeests migratingelephants and babies crossingbuffalo noshingbaboons commuting, men from the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribe in Tanzania fire-making, and our final sendoff: a Mount Kilimanjaro fly-by from the plane.

It was a profound ten days that I will be forever grateful for, but I have been a little stumped about what to share upon returning. How can I put the experience into words?

June Coffee Talk: Mind, Body, Business, Books & BBQ (#40)

June Coffee Talk: Mind, Body, Business, Books & BBQ (#40)

Happy Summer, my friends! I’m heading off the grid for a long-time bucket list item next week: a two-week Safari with my mom in Tanzania next week. Summer brings BBQs and you know what that means! Time to brush up on your interesting cawfee tawk tidbits! Thank you me when you sound smart with your friends by saying, “I read recently in the New York Times that {fill in article below}.”

10 Tips (+ 18 Tools) to Make Writing a Book Easier

Book Ninja 101: 5-Day Live Series “Writing a book is hard.”

In the last three years of working on Pivot — from the book proposal that my agent first rejected, to re-submitting one a year later, to the book deal with Penguin Random House in 2014, to turning in the final draft — that was the one phrase I wouldn’t let myself say.

Writing a book is a privilege, and complaining about how hard it was throughout would not make the process any easier.

Writing a book is complex, don’t get me wrong, but I adopted the motto, “Let it be easy, let it be fun” instead. Stress is a systems problem; an opportunity to get even more organized.

The tips and tools I share in today’s post helped keep me sane throughout the book outlining, writing, and editing process. But first . . .

Check out BOOK NINJA 101

Been itching to write a book but not sure where to start? Or in the middle of one but stuck on what’s next? Check out the week-long Book Ninja course with soup-to-nuts tactical tips for generating momentum and getting published.

Get the course for free when you join Momentum, which includes every course and template I have ever created ($700 value), live monthly workshops, and optional private office hours calls with me.

Book Ninja 101: 5-Day Live Series

10 Tips (+ 18 Tools) to Make Book Writing Easier

1. Setup

Create three collection buckets (notes) in Evernote: Articles, stories, and ideas. As you go, even before you have the book outline, you can save relevant notes to each category.

I highly recommend the Evernote web clipper for saving content; you can also forward emails directly to your Evernote email address.

2. Outlining

I started my outline with Post-it Notes on the back of my front door. I first put a bunch of blank Post-its under the following categories: Inspiration books, core skills, process, personal stories, and quotes.

Every time I had an idea I would add it to the wall, or sometimes when I was taking a break from other work I would stand by the door and just stare until ideas came up — and they always did!

The Post-it app allows you to take pictures of Post-Its (or a whole wall), then move them around digitally in the app.

3. Research

Save all citations early as footnotes, including page numbers from the books you reference!

This will save a ton of hassle down the road. Even if you don’t know (or don’t want to take the time to do) proper citations, at least save the book and page numbers — or article name and link — as a footnote as you go.

Otherwise, it’s a huge pain to remember where you found everything. To make the research process easier, check-out Ask Wonder — they’ll do research for you with a quick turnaround and comprehensive list of links for any question you pose.

4. Structure

Thanks to a tip from Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts, I created Google Drive folders for each of the book’s parts, then a Google doc for each chapter within each part.

At one point I had seperate Google docs just for essays that would go in each chapter, but it started to get unwieldy. It was helpful in the beginning, though, for feeling like I could write in manageable chunks.

5. Writing

With all the tools available, one of the most enjoyable apps to write in was OmmWriter: peaceful music, blank background, and those glorious typewriter sounds!

6. Editing

I didn’t do this nearly as much as I could have, but after I wrote an essay in OmmWriter, I would sometimes do a quick grammar check in Hemingway Editor, a super-helpful automatic text editor. You’ll have to try it out to see what I mean!

7. Curating

I sent out a Google form for written story submissions to include as anecdotes throughout the book.

Once those responses were in, I combined all the results into a Google doc. From there, I printed the doc so I could highlight key quotes and mark potential chapters for where to insert them.

You can also use TypeForm for this, which is really beautiful and easy for the respondent to use.

8. Interviewing

I asked for permission up front to record interviews, letting people know I might release them for a podcast near the time of the book launch.

I’m so glad I did this! I record calls with Skype + eCam Call Recorder. For a conference-call service, I love Uber Conference (no dial-in passcodes, and it texts you when a person is waiting on the line).

9. Transcribing

CastingWords provides audio transcription at $1 per minute. For long interviews, I printed these notes and highlighted by hand.

When it was time to check the quotes for the final versions of the book, I copied and pasted their section into a Google doc with permissions set at “suggest edits only.”

10. Clearing space in your schedule

Copy and set-up this editorial calendar template.

This is the format I use to plan posts and newsletters. Tt’s particularly helpful if you have multiple contributors, sites or guest posts. It helps keep things running smoothly while working on a project as complex as a book!

You might also appreciate my systems and strategy for working with a virtual assistant: A detailed look at what to delegate, how to efficiently set up your systems, and what pitfalls to avoid as you clear up space to work on your big book project.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments: What bite-sized chunk of your book project can you commit to this week? 

This was originally posted on The Write Life. Sign-up for Book Ninja by Sunday, May 15; it kicks off on Monday!