Using Writing Steroids


When I was 24 I thought I was on the verge of making a living from being a writer. I wrote a book full of stories that I thought would make people laugh. They did make people laugh, just not as many as I had hoped. Not nearly enough to make a living from one book.

But I think I know what I should have done differently while I was writing it to improve my odds.

I should have used free steroids for writers.

That’s right. The concept isn’t new, it isn’t that unique. But I bet I could have written a lot better book if before each time I sat down to write, I read the work of someone I wish I could write like.

Maybe my sentence where I mock Mormonism could have made a Mormon laugh. Or maybe I would have done a better job at writing dialogue. Maybe my style would have faster evolved into what I would like it to be. Or maybe not, but every time I read something I wish I would have written before writing myself, I feel like I am on steroids. For me, it makes it a lot easier to connect with being in a flow state. It makes the daily practice of writing feel less like a grind and more like a joy ride.

Tap into the wave link of an expert before you do anything. At 24 I didn’t deserve to make a living from being a writer. But if each day I use my free writing steroids, I move a little bit closer to where I need to be.

Early Trick or Treating: A Tale

With Halloween on the horizon I thought I would share the story of when my friends and I trick or treated a few weeks too early… while we were in high school.

For more stories like this one, check out:

My High School Cult

Premature Trick-Or-Treat

I firmly believe that one of the secrets to living a happy life is to never let the kid in you die. In other words, never stop playing. If you enjoyed doing something when you were a kid, there is a good chance you might still enjoy doing it today. In high school I lived this idea without really thinking about it. Only in hindsight do I see why I sometimes miss the old days. Back then I regularly did stuff that grownups think they are too old to do.


Every now and then people are given the opportunity to forget about whom they really are and become whomever or whatever they want. No, I am not referring to Mardi Gras. Nor do I mean the neighbor who talks to himself as a different person every day while he checks his mail. This is also not about every Friday night where you hang out with people by the names of Jim and Jack who enable you to transform into your wild alter-ego, Heisenberg. Here I am referring to the holiday where evil things are celebrated. It is the only day where from society’s perspective it is okay for people to be axe murderers. No one judges you if you are a prostitute, you are not considered a douche if you pretend to be someone who has been 1,000x more successful than you will ever be. Even religious people don’t mind if you decide to take on the persona of the devil, and hell, you can even get away with dressing up as a penis. This is the holiday where fat Timmy gets more exercise than any other time of the year as he attempts to obtain even more candy than he himself can eat. Kids will knock down other kids just to get the highest candy count within their given clique. Halloween is the real deal. The main problem with it though, is that we for some reason we think it should only be an activity for kids. I know when I turn 40 I will be getting drunk and dressing up like a used condom (or something less vulgar). I will someday go head-to-head in the yearly candy competition with my daughter, given I train her to like competition.

Now Halloween is a wonderful tradition and all since it gives kids and parents a reason to exercise, but have you ever wondered what happens if you try to enact the tradition on a random fall night? Have you ever trick-or-treated with a group of eighteen year old kids? While in high school my friends and I learned firsthand that most adults living in the suburbs are boring. They also lack this thing known as a sense of humor. Some have serious anger problems. Most take life too seriously.

Halloween reveals a lot of information about people. You really can learn a lot about someone by the costume that they choose to wear. You learn about their fantasies, their insecurities, you find out who their heroes and role models are, and you can even get a sense as to whether or not they have a creative side. Halloween is also interesting in how it changes for us as we grow up. It takes on a different meaning as we add candles to our birthday cakes. When I was seven years old I was superman. The girls in my class were mostly cute princesses and Disney characters. At eight I was batman, the girls were cute Polly Pockets. When I was twenty-two I was still superman. All of the girls though were just sluts. Princess slut, cheerleader slut, cowgirl slut, nurse slut, CEO slut, hooker slut, devil slut, angel slut, construction worker slut, jungle girl slut, and even fruit slut. It is hard to say what exactly happens in life that causes girls to go from being cute, to self-objectifying sluts, but Halloween causes even the normally non-slutty girls to become sluts. Depending on what age you are, Halloween can be either a quest for candy, or a drunken night of costume wearing NSA sex. It may be the only night where it makes sense for the devil to procreate with an angel. It would be interesting to find out how many STDs are transferred over the course of the average Halloween weekend.

If you ever really want to piss off your neighborhood, my best advice may be to simply go trick-or-treating two or three weeks before the actual holiday. Go trick-or-treating in July. To piss them off even more make sure you go with a group of friends who are well over the usual trick-or-treating age. It was on a random Thursday night well before Halloween when my friends and I became a cast of new people and embarked into the Littleton suburbs. Who says you can only hunt for candy one night per year? That night I was with Dennis Rodman. I was with a referee and a homeless guy and Jason. One of us was a civilian and there was a guy wearing a smorgasbord of stuff who just called himself Percy. My cast of new friends and I decided on a set pose for when people answered the door. One of us threw up a peace sign and someone else had his pelvis thrust forward with his hands on his hips. Someone had their hands pointing to the sky in the same manner as Usain Bolt whenever he wins a gold medal. I had my head tilted to the side while looking straight up at nothing in particular. Before going out that night we already knew that we had perfected the act of looking like clowns. Armed with pillow cases we drove to a neighborhood where none of us lived just to hedge the risk of running into anyone we knew. That night we assumed we would get more candy than anyone else, and it was going to be great practice for the real thing coming up in a few weeks.

After first getting out of our car the homeless guy wearing a cape decided on which house would be our first stop and we all followed. As we stood on the doorstep it took us about thirty seconds to figure out exactly what we were going to do. If any of the neighbors had seen us they probably had their fingers ready to dial 911. We looked like a circus gang preparing to rob a house. We ended up staggering ourselves on each side of the porch and planned to hold ground in our pre-determined poses. It was decided we would try not to move until they gave us our candy. What do you do when a bunch of jackasses show up on your porch yelling trick-or-treat in September? June? In January?

Clown group:   “TRICK-OR-TREAT”

Asshole guy:    “What? It’s not Halloween guys.”

Fred:                “We are just practicing, you know so we can get more candy than everyone else.                                Don’t you want to get practice giving candy to kids?”

Asshole guy:    “You guys should leave, now. This isn’t funny. Don’t you fucks have something better                         to do?”

Fred:                “So you are going to show us a trick I take it?”

Laughter followed as the guy slammed the door in our faces. It could have been that we just interrupted him from his nightly The Apprentice viewing, as he seemed unacceptably pissed off. The guy was likely in his mid-forties and he never once broke a smile. Not even seeing Dennis Rodman bent over with his ass sticking out towards him produced a grin. Perhaps the right thing to have done would have been to ask him to join us, it probably wouldn’t have hurt to have someone dressed up as the devil in our company. Despite starting out 0-1 after the first attempt our spirits were not hindered and we continued on to another house.

The atmosphere outside of the next house had welcoming written all over it. Every room appeared to have a light on. The non-existent energy saver inside of me would have been outraged at such a sight, but luckily even back then I respected people who wasted a little power here and there. We rang the doorbell while standing on the lit-up porch and hopped into our poses like clockwork. Like it was something we did every night. As if we had done it more recently than seven years ago. We pretended that our society accepted it as something high school kids do on the regular.

Clown group: “TRICK-OR-TREAT!!”

Middle Aged Virgin Lady: “Oh! Oh my, is it really Halloween??                                                                                                         It can’t be!”

Fred:          “Well, you see, we are just trying to get ahead of the game, get some practice you                                know?”

MAVL:      “Wow, I don’t think I have ever had anything like this happen to us before. Hold on and let                    me see if we have anything I can give you.”

We waited for about five minutes (we never found out who she meant by “we” but I would guess she meant her cat. It also could have been her TV, it could have been an imaginary friend, we will never know for sure).

MAVL:     “Okay guys, I am sorry we don’t have any candy, but here. I have these animal crackers,                     and these marshmallows, and here is an apple too.”

Fred:         “Oh wow, you are too kind, are you sure you want to give us these things?”

MAVL:     “Yes, we won’t eat this stuff. I feel bad we don’t have candy for you though.”

Fred:         “I feel like we are eating you out of house and home, are you sure you can get by without                   this stuff?”

MAVL:     “Haha don’t you boys worry. You made my night so thank you for that. I hope you have more luck with other people and that they are ready with their candy! Who is the guy with the green hair supposed to be?”

The lady was without a doubt a virgin. The innocence and curiosity she exuded just doesn’t exist among women who have experienced trauma within their uterine walls. If she had been a slayer of countless wieners as many women her age have been, she would have reacted much differently when a group of young males showed up on her porch. She otherwise would have likely been a bitch. If she wasn’t a bitch then she was probably divorced. If she was divorced then there was potential for her being a cougar, and who knows, one of us could have been invited inside. This lady represented everything that a cougar does not.

The icing on the cake was the fact that the marshmallows were rock hard. You could have broken a window with them and I doubt the lady had made a s’more since the eighties. The expiration date on the animal crackers was in 2002. Up until then I didn’t know they could expire, they seemed far too magical for such a generic time stamp. Regardless as to how long the apple had been in her house, it ended up being smashed in her street a few minutes after we left. She was onto the right idea by handing out fruit however, since in America the growing number of fat kids is starting to compete with the number of fat adults. If anything we did the lady a favor by helping her rid her pantry of some old food. The score for the night moved to 1-1. It is very interesting how different people react so uniquely to the exact same situation. Maybe the world could use a few more virgins. We were confident with our success rate of 50% as we rang the doorbell on the next house.

Clown group: “TRICK-OR-TREAT”

Drunk guy with beer in hand: “Hey guys! It’s not Halloween?”

Fred:          “Yes sir, do you have any candy or beer you would like to give us?”

DGBH:      “Haha you guys look too young for that, but hold on let me ask my wife.”

(Approximately two minute wait)

DGBH:      “Alright you guys are in luck. Box of pop tarts and this bag of Hershey kisses. When you                     guys are 21 come back and I will hook you up with some bud light.”

Fred:       “You are awesome, it’s not even Halloween man haha, if you ever want to party just call                       me, my name is Percy.”

DGBH:   “Percy is really your name? Thanks guys enjoy that pop tart, it’s the good ones.”

Fred:       “Happy Halloween bud.”

DGBH:   “Who are you guys anyways?”

Fred:       “Just call us 8orade.”

Have you ever considered the possibility of the world being a better place if all of us were drunk, all of the time? Some people just transform into wildly friendly and generous people once they get a handful of beers into their system. I can only imagine how much sugar the guy would have given us if he had his candy prepared.

Fred:    “This time we should try saying Happy Hanukah.”

Sean:    “Haha, let’s do it.”

Eli:       “Why would you do that? If you say that I am not going to this house with you.”

Fred:    “Suit yourself, why is ‘happy Halloween’ okay? It isn’t Halloween either.”

On that note we officially headed to the final house without our referee. It was news to me that Eli was afraid to come off as a Jew. It may have been true though that Stanford would have frowned upon a potential student taking part in mocking Judaism. It wasn’t like we were going to do a Mazel tov dance on the doormat though. The house we targeted appeared to have all of the lights off and we more or less expected that no one was home. Our gut instinct was not entirely correct, as we quickly learned Mel Gibson (see also: short tempered man) was lurking in the dark.

Clown group: “HAPPY HANUKAH!!”

Mel Gibson:   “Are you kids fucking serious? Do you not realize some people are trying to sleep?”

Fred:               “From the looks of your house it seemed like you were definitely awake!”

Mel Gibson:   “Okay smart-ass, if you don’t get off my property I am going to beat the shit out of all of                        you.”

The guy seemed disturbingly serious. I wouldn’t have put it past him for a second to attempt to throw down with a group of high school kids. It wasn’t the first time that a guy going through a midlife crisis verbally threatened to smash his fist into our faces. Luckily for Eli he was waiting at his car while we were being verbally assaulted. Eli may have shit his pants if he was standing up on the doorstep with us.

Fred:               “Okay guys, this man hates Jews, we shall leave the premises and light the menorah.”

Mel Gibson:   “And if I ever see any of you fucks in my neighborhood I am calling the cops.”

Fred:               “Dennis Rodman hangs around here quite a bit so expect to see him soon.”

It is unfortunate that Colorado has a make-my-day law. Technically the guy could have mowed us all down with an AK-47 and got off free by claiming it was self-defense. We listened to the asshole and got off of his property. Take this as a warning for people thinking about shouting Happy Hanukah rather than Halloween, we received a 0% positive reaction using that greeting. It was great that Fred was with us, as I don’t think I would have been able to respond to Mel Gibson without wanting to cry. Fred was an expert at being a smartass to people whom we were supposed to respect. Mel Gibson was a sorry excuse for an elder, especially given all we wanted were a few pieces of candy and a good laugh. We wanted a good story to tell other people. Personally I would take a group of costume wearing high school kids pretending to be Jews at my doorstep over two Mormons wearing bike helmets any day of the year. When we got back to the car Eli could tell we had been discouraged by the final house of the night.

Eli:                   “What happened?”

Johnson:          “The guy was anti-Semitic, I think he wanted to kill all of us.”

Eli:                   “Maybe we should just call it a night. It is probably kind of late to be doing this, people                         might be sleeping.”

Fred:                “You know. I bet if someone was dressed up as Jesus and we had a few                                              cheerleaders with us we would have much more positive results.”

Sean:                “Imagine if we were doing this in a shitty neighborhood though, we all probably                                     would have gotten mowed down by a Tommy gun or something.”

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we were all dressed in bicycle helmets and white shirts. What would have happened if we were all females dressed up like slutty anything’s? What would it have been like if we were all midgets? Or if we were all celebrities. The point is that anyone can go trick-or-treating whenever they feel like it. In fact, if you have no plans tonight I recommend gathering some buddies and throwing on some different personas. You could end up having one of the most entertaining nights you have had in a long while.

Obviously all of the houses we visited that night were not written about and it was just a select few that stood out from the rest. We did each end up with at least something in our pillowcases, which is proof that some people really are good sports. Overall though I must admit it really is a shame that we only formally celebrate the devil once per year. Just with how popular obesity is in America, you would think Halloween would be at least a once-a-month event.

Book Review: Screw It, Let’s Do It – Richard Branson

Overview: This book is Richard Branson’s take on life and some of the lessons he has picked up along the way. Branson has achieved a great deal of success during his life and he comes off and is known as a great person. While he might not be the best writer, as you will discover, he has lived a fascinating life and pulled off things that most people don’t even dream of doing. It is a quick and easy read and Branson delivers his message straight and simple: Screw It, Let’s Do It. To me the mindset he has about life and getting things done is amazing. When he talks about moving from one giant thing to the next he makes it sound like it was all no big deal.

Lesson: Establishing a healthy and persistent attitude before attempting anything is vital to success. Branson seems to care about living life to the fullest and having a great deal of fun along the way above anything else. The having fun part, that is something I think is often sacrificed when people achieve his level of success. For him though, the fun seems to exist in the core of his being.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

The best lesson I learned was to just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how hard it might seem, as the ancient Greek, Plato, said, ‘The beginning is the most important part of any work.’

The lesson I learned from that and that I live by is to keep trying and to never give up.

Whatever your goal is you will never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly.

If something stops being fun, I ask why? If I can’t fix it, I stop doing it.

As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy. Waking up stressed and miserable is not a good way to live.

Never just try to make money. Long-term success will never come if profit is the only aim.

‘If you had gone for the coin toss, I would have lost all respect for you,’ I said.

It’s easy to give up when things are hard but I believe we have to keep chasing our dreams and our goals, as these exciting people did. And once we decide to do something, we should never look back, never regret it.

One thing I always try to do is to keep my word. I set my goals and stick to them. Success is more than luck. You have to believe in yourself and make it happen. That way others also believe in you.

Always beware if the risks are too random or too hard to predict, but remember, if you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.

‘Challenge is the core and mainspring of all human action. If there’s an ocean, we cross it. If there’s a disease, we cure it. If there’s a wrong, we right it. If there’s a record, we break it. And if there’s a mountain, we climb it.’ I totally agree and believe we should all continue to challenge ourselves.

I believe in myself. I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love.

I am so aware of how precious time with them is, I ration myself to only fifteen minutes of business a day when we’re together. I don’t use modern gadgets like email or mobile phones, but in Africa I did learn to use a satellite phone to keep in touch with the office. Many bosses, who spend all day in their office, are baffled. They ask, ‘How can you do it all in just fifteen minutes?’ I say, ‘It’s easy. Make every second count.’ That is true in both my business and personal life.

I believe the one thing that helps you capture the moment is to have no regrets. Regrets weigh you down. They hold you back in the past when you should move on.

Money is important. But the bottom line is money is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. And what is going on now is just as important as what you’re planning for the future.

Respect is about how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.

My motto is, ‘Never do anything if it means you can’t sleep at night.’

In fact, people in business and the very wealthy are in a unique position. They can connect with everyone, whether high or low, in any country, through a network of good will.

Every lesson I have learned has been as a direct result of these tests. They include: Just do it Think yes, not no Challenge yourself Have goals Have fun Make a difference Stand on your own feet Be loyal Live life to the full

My favourite books are Stalingrad by Antony Beevor and Wild Swans by Jung Chang.

Book Review: The Rich Employee – James Altucher

Overview: I have been a big fan of James Altucher for several years now. I have listened to almost every podcast he has put out and I read his book, Choose Yourself, a while back. I think the man has a ton of great ideas and practices to find more success and fulfillment in life. While his book, Choose Yourself, was heavily focused on escaping the confines of a normal job and doing something on your own, this book is more about how to succeed in an environment where you are an employee. And let’s face it, right now that is where the majority resides. I have heard statistics that eighty percent or so of people do not like their jobs. While this book is not a cure all for all of those people, I think after reading this everyone will have more tools to cultivate a mindset and lifestyle that enables you to make the most out of whatever situation you are in. James includes several lists comparing practices of rich vs. poor employees, but most of those lists apply to life in general, not just in the workplace.

I would say this book should be recommended reading for everyone before they ever take their first job, and then everyone in every company at every rank. CEO’s should want to cultivate an environment where every employee is striving to have the mindset of a rich employee. I think a lot of successful companies right now have leadership that realizes this, and those are the companies attracting the best talent and growing that talent to reach their potential.

Lesson: Set a list of criteria and parameters to operate under to develop a rich employee mindset. Always be looking to improve at something each day, mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally. The future is going to be drastically different than it is today. To scale into that future we need to become ‘idea machines’ and have mindsets that align with the things presented in the book.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

It can be summed up one way: everything that can be outsourced will be outsourced. Anything that can be replaced with technology will be replaced with technology.

Every day focus on 1% improvement of what I call “The Daily Practice”.

But one thing that can’t be outsourced is Ideas. We are now transforming for the first time into a pure “Idea Economy” .

Nothing can replace your ability to innovate, have a vision, and then execute on that vision in the most efficient way possible.

But the average multi-millionaire has 14 different sources of income.

Nothing ever works out when you are at the whims of others. It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur or an employee. Once someone is bribing you to do something (a salary is a form of bribery if you are only doing the work for the money and not for the meaning) then you become a prisoner.

Your entire job in life is to make your boss look good. You don’t care about yourself. You only want your boss to get promotions, raises, bonuses , etc.

Being an entrepreneur is NOT about taking risk, it’s about ELIMINATING all risk. Being an entrepreneur, or having multiple sources of income is ultimately safer than having a job, but only if you use the job to get rid of all the risks. Just being an entrepreneur, without having multiple sources of income, without first taking care of the risks, is suicide.

I have two challenges: not letting people control me, and not trying to control anyone else. When I succeed at these two things, life is pretty good.

Nobody will ever remember how you helped them. And you cannot save anyone . This was my first lesson.

If someone in my life tries to control me because of their own fears and angers, then they are out. I also try not to control anyone else. If someone does something I don’t like, I can’t control what they may think or do. It’s useless and it’s a waste of my time. I try to change my circumstances so I don’t have to deal with those people.

All forms of health are a function of how much you control your own life divided by how many people control you.

The key: always assume you are the least intelligent person in the room. Always. Do this in every room, at every dinner, in every situation.

People will not remember what you said, they will remember how you made them feel.

I want to hire the people who teach me , who when I ask for X, will deliver X + Y, where Y is above and beyond anything I could have thought of on my own.

According to Dan Ariely, the human brain is at its peak productivity about 2-5 hours after you wake up. So if you wake up at 5am then from 7-9 or 7-10am your brain is about 100x more productive than it is in the evening. If you wait until late afternoon or evening to get done with your critical work items, it will be much more difficult and will create worse results.

A free economy is not about giving all of your value in exchange for a paycheck. That’s just another form of bribery.

The smartest people alive, who never executed, are never heard of again. Only action makes a hero.

All stories : religions , nationalism , politics, issues, etc. are more or less designed to figure out how to unify the greatest number of people with the strongest ties possible. Because we are not so good at it, often this degrades into wars, or poor leadership, or things just disappear into the furnace of time.

Leadership is not about achieving your dream. It’s about helping everyone else achieve their dreams.

You have to step outside yourself and do due diligence on your own organization as if you were an outsider. Come up in advance, all of the metrics of success. Decide if those are the correct metrics .

The entire workforce can be divided into the people who have an evil plan and the people who don’t and that division, I suspect, is very similar to the rich employee mindset, versus the poor employee mindset.

Google has said they will no longer look at degrees as a filter for determine if someone gets a job. Everything you learn in school can be outsourced to someone who learned it more cheaply or learned it more recently.

We’re all given this chance at some point in our lives. We’re all given the tools to turn misfortune into gold.

This morning I’m going to get ready to die. And this morning that’s how I’m going to live.

Learning to find happiness with less is true wealth.

The best way to be mentally strong is to be honest so all of the fuel in your body can be used efficiently at propelling your brain from strength to strength instead of fighting off the attacks on your weaknesses.

We all have one life to live. But when you read, you get to absorb the curated life of another person in just a few days. So if you read a lot, your one brain can hold onto the critical points of potentially thousands of other incredible people. You can bathe in their lives and come out a stronger you.

If you don’t give yourself permission to create a new world, chances are nobody else will.

You can time travel all your life and then suddenly you are dead without ever having lived in the present moment, the only moment that exists.

For every ten people you help, one person will hate you. And you will want to defend, explain, argue, or respond back. You can’t change their mind. They are going to hate you no matter what. They are going to try and get in your head so you wake up thinking about them. Delete them. Delete their comments, their emails, their connections to you, any contact you have with them. You can’t change them. You can change YOU to not care.

The more grateful you are, the more you attract things to be grateful for. And by doing so, all the mistakes I made in my youth started to change.

Don’t read self-help business books. They are nothing. You are about to enter a great field, the field of innovation that has created modern society. Don’t read the average books that came out last year. Step up your game and read about the people and inventions that changed the world into what it is today.

Only this moment matters. Health-wise: physically, emotionally , mentally, and spiritually. Can you move forward today in each? Then you will attract the mastery and the mystery.

We live in a culture where it’s almost a damnation to be considered mediocre. But society has no clue about what real mastery is.

If you want someone to spend one hour of their life helping you, then you need to spend 10 hours of your life, at least, helping them IN ADVANCE and with NO PRESSURE .

Book Review: Isaac’s Storm – Erik Larson

Overview: I haven’t spent too much time delving into significant weather events but it has been on my to-do list for quite some time. With this book I finally got into it. It is the story and the history around a hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900. At the time meteorology was just starting to takeoff, and competition was fierce both locally and globally in learning to provide the most accurate weather forecasts. The story of the book revolves around the life of Isaac Cline, a Galveston meteorologist of the Weather Bureau who missed the significance of the hurricane as it approached the coast.

Erik Larson tells the story of Isaac Cline by using telegrams, reports, and testimony of survivors. Galveston ended up getting totally destroyed and submerged by water, and the death toll reached over six thousand. The Galveston hurricane was the greatest natural disaster in American history to date.

Lesson: To me the main lesson was finding out just how powerful a storm from the sea can be, and how much havoc it can wreck once it reaches land. Not to mention how quickly they can move in.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

Its highest point, on Broadway, was 8.7 feet above sea level; its average altitude was half that, so low that with each one-foot increase in tide, the city lost a thousand feet of beach.

Galveston was too pretty, too progressive, too prosperous— entirely too hopeful —to be true.

“I knew,” Moore wrote, “that many armadas in olden days had been defeated, not by the enemy , but by the weather and that probably as many ships had been sent to the bottom of the sea by storms as had been destroyed by the fire of enemy fleets.”

A raindrop four-hundredths of an inch in diameter falls at nine miles an hour; a droplet six times as large falls at twenty.

In 1979 a tropical storm named Claudette blew off the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston and deluged the town of Alvin , Texas, with forty-two inches of rain in twenty-four hours, still the U.S. record for sheer intensity.

On September 1, 1923, a severe typhoon struck Japan, coming ashore first at Yokohama, then moving to Tokyo . As the storm raged , an intense earthquake occurred.

The storm and earthquake together killed 99,330 people. Another 43,500 simply disappeared.

They sprinkled news throughout each day’s edition with what late-twentieth-century readers would consider mindless abandon. Late-breaking stories got shoe-horned into whatever space happened to be available, because composers had neither the time nor the will to break apart existing plates of type.

Where once there had been streets neatly lined with houses there was open sea, punctured here and there by telegraph poles, second stories, and rooftops. He saw no waves, however.

“I was standing at my front door, which was partly open, watching the water, which was flowing with great rapidity from east to west,” he said. Suddenly the level of the water rose four feet in just four seconds. This was not a wave, but the sea itself. “The sudden rise of 4 feet brought it above my waist before I could change my position.”

A single cubic yard of water weighs about fifteen hundred pounds. A wave fifty feet long and ten feet high has a static weight of over eighty thousand pounds. Moving at thirty miles an hour, it generates forward momentum of over two million pounds, so much force , in fact, that at this point during the storm the incoming swells had begun destroying the brand-new artillery emplacements at Fort Crockett, which had been designed to withstand Spanish bombardment.

“The dreams of young children are pure wish-fulfillments and are for that reason quite uninteresting compared with the dreams of adults. They raise no problems for solution.”

“Time lost can never be recovered,” he said, “and this should be written in flaming letters everywhere.”

The more they studied hurricanes, the more they realized how little they knew of their origins and the forces that governed their travels.

Book Review: When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead – Jerry Weintraub

Overview: When I started reading this book I didn’t realize that Jerry Weintraub passed away in July of 2015. I found out shortly after I got into it, but for whatever reason it made it seem a little more important to be reading it. This book is basically the autobiography of Weintraub’s life, and holy shit, what a life it seems to have been. He worked with some of the biggest Hollywood celebrities, in both the music and film industries. Early on he worked with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Neil Diamond. Later he produced his own films, the Ocean’s series and The Karate Kid being the most notable. Reading about the journey Weintraub took through his career was extremely inspiring. He was a creative man who went to great lengths to make his ideas a reality. To me he seems to be a prime example of someone who had the skills and confidence to see his ideas through to fruition.

I recommend this to anyone. Jerry had a story worth telling, and his story provided an almost nonstop feeling of motivation as I read it.

Lessons: You can have control over your life and your career. There are things that may make it more difficult and obstacles will get in the way, but really with the right mindset and determination, we can take a hold of things and make even our wildest dreams come true.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

Now, at seventy-two, I realize every minute doing one thing is a minute not doing something else, every choice is another choice not made, another path grown over and lost. If asked my philosophy, it would be simply this: Savor life, don’t press too hard, don’t worry too much. Or as the old-timers say, “Enjoy.”

You might have the greatest talent in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t sell it.

People will pay you to make their lives easier; always take the time to make the pitch; personal service is the name of the game; never get paid once for doing something twice.

There are all kinds of ways to deal with an adversary: fists, words, taunts, compromise, submission, complaint, and courts-martial.

This much I knew: As soon as you feel comfortable, that’s when it’s time to start over.

If you knew how time works, you would never do anything.

At the end of the day, write down exactly what you have. Put that number in your left pocket . Then write down exactly what you owe. Put that number in your right pocket. As long as the number in your left pocket is bigger than the number in your right pocket, you will have a good life.

It taught me about the rise and fall of empires, the fickle nature of fame. The point is, do not get attached to the world as it is, because the world is changing, something new is coming, every ten years a big hand comes down and sweeps the dishes off the table.

When the game changes, you have to change with it. The more you change, the more you risk in order to survive— and it gets harder and scarier as you get older.

It was exhilarating —not quitting Lew, because I loved Lew, but taking control of my life and my career, choosing, saying, “I want to do this, not that.” That’s freedom— that’s all it really is.

I don’t call it a mistake, because our son Michael, who is wonderful, my best friend in the world, came out of that marriage.

As I’ve said, my life has been a succession of mentors, but first among these, the person most responsible for making my career, was Jane Morgan.

A lot depends on who you know, who you can get to. If you have people who will open the door for you, literally and figuratively, you can make a pitch. It’s in your hands from there.

And, as I explained, nothing is more important than a relationship . It trumps politics, party, club. People are what matter.

Life is strange— you travel so far, do so much, but the people you look for at the end are often the same people you looked for at the beginning.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people, to kids trying to break out of Brooklyn and Kankakee, it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him.

I would never sell an idea like this on the phone. It’s still that way. I need to sit with a person, to watch him, read his eyes and hands, see if he is just as excited as I am, if I’m coming across.

There’s something to be learned from this story. It shows how, even if you have the greatest script in the world, it won’t work if the actors don’t play their parts.

There is a lesson in this: Let the other guy save face with his people, but keep score.

This is another part of the job: being able to cross frontiers, move from culture to culture, making everyone believe you are a fully committed citizen of each.

He began to acquire things, which is how an ordinary man becomes a titan.

I’m not saying you should fake a heart attack every time, only in a pinch.

It was as if the president had died. The streets were lined with people, black people and white people and children and babies. In a crazy way, it was very much the ideal of America, what our country should be about.

The experience taught an important lesson: Work with the best people. If you have the best writers, the best actors, and the best director and fail, okay , fine, there is even something noble in it; but if you fail with garbage, then you are left with nothing to hang your spirits on. Besides, life is too short to be spent in the company of morons.

In the end, though, I think your outlook has less to do with money than with the values your parents exhibit and your own nature. In this, I’ve been neither perfect nor blameless. I love my children and I think I have been a good father, but there were times when I chose my career over the life of the house. Was I there for every recital, or play, or concert? No, I was working. It’s nearly impossible to succeed in the world and also succeed in the house , which means, at some level, even if you do not realize it, you make a choice. This is a regret . I wish I had been there more, had done better, had given my children as much as my parents gave me. I did not. I was always divided, being pulled away, on the phone, and so forth. But maybe you do best by being true to your nature. Whatever my children have lost to my work habits, they have made back in the privileges afforded them by my success . I could not give them what my parents gave me, so I gave them the world instead.

You have to be willing to walk away from the most comfortable perch, precisely because it is the most comfortable.

As long as you’re here, you might as well smile.

I don’t care if you get flattened a thousand times. As long as you get up that thousand-and-first time, you win.

Nowadays, with the medicine and the longevity we have, when you marry somebody , you are in it for a very, very long time. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not for me, anyway.

We are all walking on a wire. The key is to behave as if you will live forever.

Most important, I was never afraid to fail, which meant I was never afraid to try. I was never afraid to look silly, which meant I was never threatened by a new idea. I see the road ahead, too, a stretch that bends into the undergrowth. I do not know what will happen there, but I do know, whatever it is, I will rush to meet it with joy. This is, after all, a Jerry Weintraub Production.

Book Review: Pirate Hunters – Robert Kurson

Overview: I think I found out about his book because I heard the author on James Altucher’s podcast. This book delves into the quest of two men, John Chatterton and John Mattera, as they scavenge the waters around the Dominican Republic in search for a pirate ship that sunk in 1686. The ship was commanded by a legendary pirate named Joseph Bannister, and the ship was known as The Golden Fleece. Bannister was best known for going down fighting the Royal Navy. The author, Robert Kurson, gives a detailed account of the two men’s journey as they struggle to put the pieces together to find the spot where the ship sank. It is a beautiful journey through history revolving around one of the craziest walks of life in recorded history.

The men ultimately do find the wreck under increasing pressure and political turmoil. I found that Kurson did a great job revealing a piece of history that is definitely not known by many.

Lesson: Sometimes to recover the greatest artifacts of our times we must study the history as deeply and as thoroughly possible. If you can put yourself in the shoes of people of past you might just start to think like they once did. In turn, you might discover things that no one else ever has.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

So I knew about the Golden Age, which lasted from about 1650 to 1720.

If nothing else, Bowden told great stories, and in treasure hunting, stories were the next best thing to gold.

The only way to see what really mattered in life was to go to the places that were hardest to reach.

“Bannister was a born leader,” Garcia-Alecont said. “He had an instinct to lead men to greatness. If you have that quality you must act on it. But you can’t do it carrying sugar and animal hides across the Atlantic. And if you’re thirty-five or forty years old, as I’m guessing Bannister was, it’s too late to go do it in the navy. But you can do it on a pirate ship. And you can keep doing it as long as men believe in you. If men believe in you, you can even defeat the Royal Navy.”

Even at age eight the ordinary bored him, and so much of what he saw in Garden City seemed ordinary to him.

—If an undertaking was easy, someone else already would have done it.

—Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average. —Every so often, life presents a great moment of decision, an intersection at which a man must decide to stop or go; a person lives with these decisions forever.

—It is easiest to live with a decision if it is based on an earnest sense of right and wrong.

—Do it now. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

But as he reached over the breakfast table to shake hands with Mattera, he had only one idea in his mind: Do it now. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

He didn’t cry at the funeral. He just looked out at the world, knowing it was finally too late for his father to have an adventure, and nothing seemed in color anymore.

Treasure shows who you really are. It strips away every façade you’ve constructed, every story you believe about yourself, and reveals the real you. If you are a miserable, lying, greedy, worthless fuck, treasure will tell you that.

In 1670, England and Spain signed the Treaty of Madrid. Among other things, it called for England to condemn piracy— no more privateer licenses, no more safe havens, no more markets for stolen Spanish goods. In return, Spain made concessions to English trade and shipping.

“When a ship has been captured, the men decide whether the captain should keep it or not.”

BEFORE EVERY VOYAGE, PIRATES gathered together to commit an unthinkable act: They made every crewman an equal. From the greenest of lookouts to the captain himself, no one would own rights over any other or possess privileges unavailable to all.

The captain would exercise absolute authority only in battle; at other times, he would guide the ship according to the pleasure of the crew.

To Mattera, the lesson was clear: A person had to go when his heart told him to go. Even if he didn’t know how the journey would end.