Book Review: Galveston – Nic Pizzolatto


Overview: My fiction over the past few years has been limited and narrowed to just a few authors, but with that said, this was one of the best fiction books I have read in a while. It was one of those I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to see what happens next (that’s probably the case with most people who love fiction though).

The book starts with Roy Cady being diagnosed with a terminal illness and a feeling that his boss wants him dead. During a job things go awry and he finds himself luckily alive, albeit with company he wouldn’t normally keep. His new young female acquaintance ends up changing his usual judgement and things end up taking an unexpected turn.His expectations of what his life would become also get derailed and he finds himself with a stagnant illness.

It is a story of violence and hope and despair. As I said, as a more non-fiction heavy reader, I still found this book to be very enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone. I have a feeling people from Texas would have an even greater appreciation for it.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

Some places open themselves for you, but there was nothing gatelike about New Orleans. The city was a sunken anvil that sustained its own atmosphere.

The door was closed, so I sat on a stool and ordered a beer. Then I remembered that I was dying and changed the order to a Johnnie Walker Blue.

You looked at her and just knew—this one’s up for anything. It’s sexy, but you can’t really stand it.

I hadn’t thought about my cancer in a while. More than that, I felt good. Like I was some kind of hero. Like I had saved her.

Probably she was the sort of country tail that went nuts if there wasn’t a man around.

Certain experiences you can’t survive, and afterward you don’t fully exist, even if you failed to die.

We come here to tell stories so that we can manage the past without being swallowed by it.

Loraine once told me marriage was a social construct that turned pleasure into a business arrangement, and I tried to be cool about that.

Malls make me edgy, people trying so hard to buy things, and it seemed like I noticed more and more fat people every day.

I’ve found that all weak people share a basic obsession—they fixate on the idea of satisfaction. Anywhere you go men and women are like crows drawn by shiny objects. For some folks, the shiny objects are other people, and you’d be better off developing a drug habit. Something becomes too enjoyable, too consistent, and before you know it, you’re compromised.

But as long as I could remember, it seemed like my real face went unrepresented, that there was within me another face, with sleeker, purer features, a sharp jaw and Roman nose, the bust of some centurion who conquered the ancient world. Forty years now with the same face, and still a part of me expected to see the other guy in the mirror.

“You got to think of it this way. The dumbest sons of bitches on earth can get jobs. You just got to get out there and do it.”

Do you remember the fights at all? You were jealous of everything, Roy. You were resentful. You resented other people being happy. I remember thinking, This is the most frightened man I ever met.

You’re born and forty years later you hobble out a bar, startled by your own aches. Nobody knows you. You steer down lightless highways, and you invent a destination because movement is key. So you head toward the last thing you have left to lose, with no real idea what you’re going to do with it.

These tan, slim bodies drew some resentment from me at the way they took it for granted, time and opportunity, their entitlement.

“I can’t really say. You know how it is. Some people. Something happens to them. Usually when they’re young. And they never get any better.”

I thought about things you can’t survive, even if they don’t kill you.

Each night I went to bed waiting for the cancer to thrive, but it just sat there, dormant, biding its time. I did nearly twelve years like that. Just like that.

If I give her the truth, then maybe I am released of its obligations. I can pass the truth to its rightful owner, and the frozen stars in my chest might finally ignite.

Book Review – So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson


Overview: The internet is an amazing thing. It has completely changed the world and how we interact with one another. But with that, there are also downsides. In this world where we can share anything we want with one Tweet, in this world that is also becoming increasingly overly sensitive, people can wreck their lives accidentally. Jon Ronson dives into the world of public shaming, using case studies of people who managed to be shamed out of their jobs and their life stability, generally innocent and good people who did something that the wrong people saw and took offense to.

If you aren’t a professional comedian, saying something via Twitter that you think is funny might cost you a job and all future prospects of a job. It’s kind of sad, and I think the people who Jon mentions in his book were for the most part undeserving of the crap that they had to deal with because of their mistakes.

Lesson: Be wary with your social media. Double check any work that you produce that includes factual information, or information that you are claiming to be factual. And, if you are publicly shamed, use this book as a guide to help navigate through it and come out alive.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

I was giddy with joy. I was Braveheart, striding through a field, at first alone, and then it becomes clear that hundreds are marching behind me.

“What we do, when we fuck up, we don’t lose our job. We lose our vocation.”

For the first hundred years, as far as I could tell, all that happened in America was that various people named Nathaniel had purchased land near rivers.

They didn’t fizzle out because they were ineffective. They were stopped because they were far too brutal.

You combine insecurity and ambition, and you get an inability to say no to things.

Everyday people, some with young children, were getting annihilated for tweeting some badly worded joke to their hundred or so followers.

I think our natural disposition as humans is to plod along until we get old and stop. But with social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people.

His idea was that humans totally lose control of their behavior in a crowd. Our free will evaporates. A contagious madness takes over, a complete lack of restraint. We can’t stop ourselves.

How come people can come together, often spontaneously, often without leadership, and act together in ideologically intelligible ways?

Much research has shown that participants in psychological experiments are highly motivated to do what they believe the researchers want them to do.

Book Review: Finding Ultra – Rich Roll


Overview: Rich Roll, a true man. This book is his story. Once a teenage athlete with aspirations to make a name for himself, he succumbs to the evil of alcohol. He becomes a full-fledged alcoholic, throwing away his dreams of swimming, going in and out of sobriety while attempting to balance a legal career.

After a long and hard won fight, he replaces the booze with a family and successful career. On the eve of a flight of stairs that makes him feel like he is on the verge of a heart attack, he questions his sedentary lifestyle and default unhealthy meals.

So, he finds ultra. He enters the world of the ironmen and drastically alters his diet. In doing so, he reignites the burning flame that he had as a teenager in the pool. He finds his passion and he chases it to the extreme, accomplishing things that at the time had never been done before.

It is a remarkable story about a man who battled with things that we all battle with in life and managed to come out on top. Rich Roll successfully reinvented himself throughout his life in remarkable ways. This is a story of inspiration.

Lesson: In life there is always an opportunity for reinvention. There is always that opportunity to rediscover that passion burning deep inside of you and reinvent yourself so that your life revolves around that thing that drives you.

Important Passages: (Per Sean):

I do what I have to do. I turn off that voice in my head urging me to quit. And I get back on the bike. My race, it seems, is only just beginning.

Tears began to trickle down my face as I was overcome by a confusing mix of emotions – love, certainly, but also guilt, shame, and a sudden and acute fear. In my mind, a crystal-clear image flashed of Mathis on her wedding day, smiling, flanked by her proud groomsmen brothers and beaming mother. But in this waking dream, I knew something was profoundly amiss. I wasn’t there. I was dead.

From my adventures in the subculture of addiction recovery, I’d learned that the trajectory of one’s life often boils down to a few identifiable moments – decisions that change everything.

You can stand in the light. And you can set a positive example. But you simply cannot make someone change.

It started with a flush to my head. Then a deep warmth began to course through my veins, as if the softest blanket ever had suddenly enveloped my entire body. Within a heartbeat, all those feelings of fear, resentment, insecurity, and isolation just vanished, replaced with the rush and comfort of belonging.

The hours were long. Forget about making evening or weekend plans. Most of my waking existence was spent at the firm, where I traded my life for an annual salary of $22,000 and the privilege of being exploited by overstressed and sleep-deprived attorneys taking their many personal frustrations out on the underlings. On countless occasions I witnessed grown men reduced to tears or throwing tantrums in fits of exasperation.

For the brief moment, I felt entirely comfortable in the world. Because out there everything made sense. I knew who I was.

I soon came to realize, though, that as long as the work got done, properly and on time, nobody cared where I was or what I was doing.

Pursue what’s in your heart, and the universe will conspire to support you.

Because she understood what I was only then coming to realize – that safety isn’t just an illusion, it’s cop out. I know it sounds trite, but there’s simply nothing like a near-death experience to remind one of the impermanence of everything. And living imprisoned by fear only to die with regret over dreams postponed was a life neither of us was interested in.

I recalled a David Goggins quote I’d read years back – the idea that when you believe you’ve reached your absolute limit, you’ve only tapped into about 40 percent of what you’re truly capable of. The barrier isn’t the body. It’s the mind.

Life is a long, complicated walk. Over the years, I’ve found myself on many paths, some winding, some clear and straight, and many dark and troubling. My story is about a guy who woke up one morning and found himself on the same worn trail he’d been on for too many years. We’ve all been there. And far too many of us just can’t seem to find the exit ramp, let alone a new and more fulfilling trajectory. But I did. By opening my heart, trusting that it wouldn’t lead me astray, and having the resolve to follow its direction, I saw my life change in every conceivable way. The difference, in fact, is epic.

Do what you love; love those you care about; give service to others and know that you’re on the right path.

Book Review: The Score Takes Care of Itself – Bill Walsh


Authors – Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison, Craig Walsh

Overview: This book is about Bill Walsh and his coaching career, which is mostly focused on his stint while he was with the 49ers. Walsh was the creator of the famous west coast offense and took over a team that was one of the worst in the league, and won a super bowl with them just two years later. He credits his success to the philosophy that he worked to instill within every layer of the 49ers organization, which is called the Standard of Performance.

His Standard of Performance has ideas and principles that can be applied to life as well as business, and throughout the book the 49ers team is compared to a corporation.

It is a great read about one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, how he achieved his success, and what was sacrificed on his rise to the top. Top levels of the NFL and business can be brutal, and no matter what level of success you attain, you are still subject to that brutality.

Lesson: When a set of healthy guidelines are well established within an organization, the organization can together reach heights that no one could have foreseen. For Bill Walsh, it was his Standard of Performance that propelled the 49ers to be one of the best teams in the NFL during his coaching career.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

You might think that trying to meet his extremely high expectations would tighten you up, but Bill didn’t jump on you for a mistake; he came right in with the correction: “Here’s what was wrong; this is how to do it right.” Over and over, without getting all upset, he taught the smallest details of perfecting performance.

Perfection was his acceptable norm, and he got us thinking we could achieve it by teaching us what perfection was and how to reach it—not just how to locate a receiver, but every other aspect of doing your job at the top level, whatever that job was in the organization.

We are not maintaining.” He told me this addressed his concern that most people simply go through the motions at their jobs, just putting in time—existing—with a “business as usual” attitude. Not if you’re on his team.

He was unpretentious, forthright, no BS; his composure and presence were so unique and appealing. As Joe Montana told me, “You knew immediately there was something special about him.”

However, a resolute and resourceful leader understands that there are a multitude of means to increase the probability of success. And that’s what it all comes down to, namely, intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chance of prevailing in a competitive environment. When you do that, the score will take care of itself.

My comportment would directly affect the attitudes and performance of everyone who looked to me for answers and direction. I had to do what I was being paid to do: be a leader.

When the inevitable setback, loss, failure, or defeat comes crashing down on you—losing a big sale, being passed over for a career-making promotion, even getting fired—allow yourself the “grieving time,” but then recognize that the road to recovery and victory lies in having the strength to get up off the mat and start planning your next move.

Failure is part of success, an integral part. Everybody gets knocked down. Knowing it will happen and what you must do when it does is the first step back.

MY FIVE DON’TS: 1. Don’t ask, “Why me?” 2. Don’t expect sympathy. 3. Don’t bellyache. 4. Don’t keep accepting condolences. 5. Don’t blame others.

Instead, I arrived with an urgent timetable for installing an agenda of specific behavioral norms—actions and attitudes—that applied to every single person on our payroll.

Regardless of your specific job, it is vital to our team that you do that job at the highest possible level in all its various aspects, both mental and physical (i.e., good talent with bad attitude equals bad talent)

Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement; demonstrate respect for each person in the organization and the work he or she does; be deeply committed to learning and teaching, which means increasing my own expertise; be fair; demonstrate character; honor the direct connection between details and improvement, and relentlessly seek the latter; show self-control, especially where it counts most—under pressure; demonstrate and prize loyalty; use positive language and have a positive attitude; take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort; be willing to go the extra distance for the organization; deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation (don’t get crazy with victory nor dysfunctional with loss);

I would tolerate no caste systems, no assumption of superiority by any coaches, players, or other personnel. Regardless of the size of an employee’s check or the requirements of his or her job, I made it clear that he or she was 100 percent a member of our team, whether he or she was a superstar or secretary, black or white, manager or maintenance man.

From the start, my prime directive, the fundamental goal, was the full and total implementation throughout the organization of the actions and attitudes of the Standard of Performance I described earlier. This was radical in the sense that winning is the usual prime directive in professional football and most businesses.

During this early period I began hiring personnel with four characteristics I value most highly: talent, character, functional intelligence (beyond basic intelligence, the ability to think on your feet, quickly and spontaneously), and an eagerness to adopt my way of doing things, my philosophy.

The key to performing under pressure at the highest possible level, regardless of circumstance, is preparation in the context of your Standard of Performance and a thorough assimilation by your organization of the actions and attitudes contained within your philosophy of leadership.

Is it right there in front of you, unseen because your thinking is rigid and resistant to originality and change? How effective are you at turning nothing into something, something into something that changes everything?

The traditionalists—rigid and resistant in their thinking—who sneered at the new passing system I was creating were soon trying to figure out why it was beating them and how to copy it.

Unfortunately, too often we find comfort in what worked before—even when it stops working. We get stuck there and resist the new, the unfamiliar, the unconventional.

I defy you to think as well—as clearly—under great stress as you do in normal circumstances. I don’t care how smart or quick-witted you are, what your training or intellect is; under extreme stress you’re not as good. Unless, that is, you’ve planned and thought through the steps you’re going to take in all situations—your contingency plans.

My observation is that two leaders—coaches—looking at the same information will not see the same thing. The one who’s a more skilled analyst, who digs deeper and wider, will benefit more. It is an endeavor to which I allocated as much energy as my preparation for every game and opponent.

Others follow you based on the quality of your actions rather than the magnitude of your declarations.

Declaring, “I am the leader!” has no value unless you also have the command skills necessary to be the leader.

The leader who will not be denied, who has expertise coupled with strength of will, is going to prevail.

In my years as a head coach, I wanted a democratic-style organization with input and communication and freedom of expression, even opinions that were at great variance with my ideas. But only up to a point. When it was time for a decision, that decision would be made by me according to dictates having to do with one thing only, namely, making the team better.

The difference between offering an opinion and making a decision is the difference between working for the leader and being the leader.

A leader must be keen and alert to what drives a decision, a plan of action. If it was based on good logic, sound principles, and strong belief, I felt comfortable in being unswerving in moving toward my goal. Any other reason (or reasons) for persisting were examined carefully. Among the most common faulty reasons are (1) trying to prove you are right and (2) trying to prove someone else is wrong. Of course, they amount to about the same thing and often lead to the same place: defeat.

“There’ll be plenty of time for pencils, parties, and socializing when I lose my job, because that’s what’s going to happen if I continue to avoid the hard and harsh realities of doing my job.”

The knowledge that there is this hardness inside you can have a very sobering effect on those who might otherwise be sloppy—those who occasionally need to be reminded of your policies and practices.

Joe Montana is one of the best examples I have ever seen that proved you don’t need to shout, stomp, or strut to be a great leader—just do the job and treat people right.

The real damage occurs when you start to believe that future success will come your way automatically because of the great ability of this caricature you have suddenly become, that the hard work and applied intelligence you utilized initially are not as crucial as they once were. That’s when you get lazy; that’s when you let your guard down. When that happens, you’re not a genius—you’re a genuine fool.

Constructive criticism is a powerful instrument essential for improving performance. Positive support can be equally productive. Used together by a skilled leader they become the key to maximum results. Most of us seem to be more inclined to offer the negative. I don’t know why, but it’s easier to criticize than to compliment.

In my experience, this is what it takes to be a good teacher: passion, expertise, communication, and persistence.

Both were so fulfilling for the same reason—teaching, helping people achieve higher and higher levels of performance in the context of competing (and often prevailing) in my profession. I suppose you could conclude that for me the process of getting to the top was much more gratifying in many ways than the process of trying to stay on top.

If you don’t love it, don’t do it. I loved it—teaching people how to reach in deep to fulfill their potential, how to become great. And when you do that with a group, you, as the leader, enjoy the thrill of creating a great team. For me it was like creating a work of art. Only instead of painting on a canvas, I had the great joy of creating in collaboration with others.

The most important attribute of any organization is the way it treats its people, its commitment to the individuals on the team.

The highest-paid, most talented people that you can go out and hire will not perform to their potential unless they feel as if they are part of something special—a family that treats them right.

Commitment and sacrifice are among the personal characteristics I value most highly in people.

Be conscientious in evaluating the effectiveness of the steps you take in connecting the role players on your team to the team itself. Helping them understand that they make a difference can be the difference in making it to the top.

Frankly, I care a lot more about how we lose than if we lose. Gentlemen, in the second half you’re going to find out something important; you’re about to find out who you are. And you may not like what you find.”

As a leader you must have the strength to let talented members of your organization know you believe in them—nurture their belief in themselves, teach them what they need to know, and then watch what happens. It’s amazing and one of the things I love most about leadership—teaching a person how to reach higher and higher, to achieve great things with his or her talent.

Some are lucky and find themselves blessed with a mentor who truly makes a difference throughout their life. But you can make the biggest difference of all by yourself.

You never stop learning, perfecting, refining—molding your skills. You never stop depending on the fundamentals—sustaining, maintaining, and improving.

Achieving success in a competitive environment requires solving a very complicated puzzle. This is true in all big-time competition. The winners know how to get more pieces of the puzzle in place than the losers.

Everyone must have an attitude of helping one another. Are you teaching that to those you lead? Do you teach that being on your team includes sharing their knowledge? That an employee strengthens himself or herself when he or she strengthens another member of the organization?

I believe that character-based leaders tend to seek and attract character-based employees in sports, in business, or anywhere else.

It’s important to understand a person’s response in the context of his or her state of mind, where he or she might be emotionally; this often connects directly to his or her answers and actions.

You’re gone if good is the best you can do. Good just buys you time; great buys you a little more time. And then you’re gone.

Ghost in the Supermarket

Feminine Hygiene.



I scanned the signs above the aisles. As I passed the pharmacy, out of my peripheral, I noticed a body collapse to the floor. The hard tile floor of the supermarket.

I looked down and saw that it was a woman. Probably in her fifties, lying on the ground on her back, eyes closed, body limp.

I take two steps towards her, then remember that there is a pharmacy right behind me. I look over to them. A man on the phone in a white lab coat. Two women next to him, also in white lab coats. They have to have some sort of medical training, I think to myself. I walk up to the counter and to get their attention I snap my fingers in the air. The man on the phone looks at me, annoyed.

“Hey! There is a woman on the floor here, right here in this aisle, can you help!?!”

The man, he hears what I say buy doesn’t acknowledge me. After a few seconds he hangs up the phone and then picks up a different one on the wall. I hear his voice come over the speakers.

“Manager to aisle 8. Manager to aisle 8.”

I rapidly look back and forth between the women beside the man. Each one of them seems to be doing everything they can to ignore me entirely.

I glance back at the woman. It looks like her face is twitching, maybe her eyes too. I think she is having convulsions.

I turn back to the pharmacy.

“I think she is having convulsions, you might want to call 911,” I say.

Again, the man acts like I don’t exist. He walks out from behind the counter and approaches the woman. As she lie there, limp on the ground, still convulsing, he says, “Kathy, are you alright?”

My adrenaline was cranked. And then, I was disgusted. Never once did the guy in the lab coat, or the women by his side, acknowledge my presence. They didn’t seem to think it mattered whether I wanted to help the woman. I walked away.

It took me longer than it should have to find the body wash. My adrenaline, it was as high as I could ever remember.

I walked by and glanced at the aisle as I went to the cash register. They had the woman sitting in a chair. A man wearing a tie was talking to her, along with the asshole pharmacist. She seemed to be okay.

I just hope that if I am ever the one on the floor, the person urgently trying to flag down help doesn’t get treated like a ghost.

Book Review: The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson


Overview: Sometimes history can surprise the hell out of you. In this book, Erik Larson tells the story of the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. The fair itself started because of a fair hosted by Paris in which the main attraction was the Eifel tower. In Chicago they wanted to outdo Paris through a grand display of architecture and culture. The fair ended up being a huge financial expenditure aimed at drawing crowds from anywhere there was a railroad established. Larson did a great job researching to make an interesting and historically accurate account of one of the most unique events in man’s rise to the modern age.

The story involves a charismatic serial killer, the origination of the Ferris wheel, and how human nature drove people to go to great lengths to outdo an accomplishment of a foreign country. Oftentimes while reading the book I found it hard to believe that it wasn’t fiction. A worthwhile read to get a glimpse into the strange world that was the nineteenth century.

Lesson: The intense collaboration of people working towards the same goal can bring about remarkable and timely results.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

Beneath the fore and smoke and loam, this book is about the evanescence of life, and why some men choose to fill their brief allotment of time engaging the impossible, others in the manufacture of sorrow. In the end it is a story of the ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the White City and the Black.

“Chicago is like the man who marries a woman with a ready-made family of twelve,” he side. “The trouble is just begun.”

Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing.

At one point half the city’s detective force was involved in investigating disappearances, prompting the chief of the city’s central detective unit to announce he was considering the formation of a separate bureau, “a mysterious disappearances department.”

The fair was so perfect, its grace and beauty like an assurance that for as long as it lasted nothing truly bad could happen to anyone, anywhere.

It is one of the defining characteristics of psychopaths that as children they lied at will, exhibited unusual cruelty to animals and other children, and often engaged in acts of vandalism, with arson an especially favored act.

“He is a prodigy of wickedness, a human demon, a being so unthinkable that no novelist would dare to invent such a character. The story, too, tends to illustrate the end of the century.”

“It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so very easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history.”

Book Review: Burnt Tongues – Chuck Palahniuk


Overview: This is a compilation of short stories from Chuck Palahniuk’s writing workshop known as The Cult. Due to Palahniuk choosing the stories himself, they are to no surprise similar to the type of writing that he himself has in his own books. Sometimes you will find yourself laughing, cringing, and being impressed at which direction the author is able to twist a story.

If you are a fan of Palahniuk’s stuff then this is a quick read you will likely enjoy. For those who aren’t and are easily offended, you might want to stay away.

Lesson: The only limitation to the stories we tell is our own imagination.

Important Passages (Per Sean):

Young people want mirrors. Older people want art. If I couldn’t see myself, my world, in Cheever or Gatsby, I rejected them.

I’m the one who still needs rewriting. Don’t we all?

Over time, readers will remember strong writing; time passes, and the reader changes. What’s considered tasteful and readily acceptable to one era is easily dismissed by the next, and while the audience for bold storytelling might start small, as time passes it will continue to grow.

The impulse of young people is to complete ourselves as quickly as possible—with the objects we can easily acquire, with fast food, and to fill our heads with printed/downloaded/secondhand information as if we’ll never need to buy, eat, or learn another thing until we die. Reaching that goal is, in itself, a kind of death. By middle age our lives are burdened with cheap, easy everything. Like Nick, the narrator in Gatsby, most of us are trapped within our hastily built selves by the age of thirty.

Nothing drives a person to the secret, internal world of writing fiction as effectively as a miserable childhood, and after those early years of coping with erratic parents or violence or poverty, the smart kid has no tolerance whatsoever for further conflict. Such a kid develops a skill for smoothing out upsets and avoiding confrontations.

For the rest of my life a different me will pick up this book again and again, read every page, and never feel as if I’ve finished it—because I, myself, am never finished. Eventually, you and I, we’ll both love it—all of it. These stories can show us new worlds like a dozen pairs of eyeglasses. The future is always a headache at first.

Japan is way chill about suicide. You lose your job, all your money, can’t feed your kids, and everybody’s cool if you want to sit in your car while it’s running in a closed garage. If you want to shoot yourself in the mouth or jump off, like, a really tall building. Or if you want to mix up a couple chemicals that shouldn’t be mixed and lock yourself in a room with it. They’re way fine with that. It’s honorable and stuff.

Maybe there’s some number of state championships you can win to make everyone forget about the time you shot chunks of your undercooked kid all over them but probably not.

Everybody wants to play savior, but no one wants to own the animals that truly need saving.

This is the opposite of Darwin. Extinction of the nicest. Suicidal altruism.

People who imagine being somebody else are not real people at all. But good people believe in all people.

It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never had the experience—the unmistakable, life-altering moment when you read a book and realize that someone out in the world has read your mind and put into words all the thoughts and ideas crashing around inside your own head.

Worst of all, I had no energy to write, and whenever I tried it was simply an exercise in futility. A painful reminder of how ordinary I really was.

When your life is reduced to nothing more than a series of small defeats, you begin to look forward to any break in the monotonous routine of dragging your weary carcass to and from whatever dead-end job you find yourself trapped in.

The only conclusion one can reach is that society is unfit to be lived in; therefore, the physical body must either be banished or exterminated.

Yes, Icarus fell to earth after flying too close to the sun, but what a glorious fall it must have been.

At the end of the day, your life is just a story. If you don’t like the direction it’s going, change it. Rewrite it. When you rewrite a sentence, you erase it and start over until you get it right. Yes, it’s a little more complicated with a life, but the principle is the same. And remember, don’t let anyone ever tell you that your revisions are not the truth.

Just take the most tragic moments of your life, and make them as grim as you possibly can. Eventually the tragedy goes past the point of bleakness and morphs into comedy.

Whether it’s fantasizing about a promotion or losing that extra weight, everyone finds a way to cope with the reality that we’re never rich enough, never slim enough, never quite happy or content. But we could be if we just had this one thing.

Some people simply shouldn’t breed. They don’t have the dedication it takes to train a child, and their kids always end up doing as they do instead of as they say.

So consider this story a favor and a warning. But I don’t recommend spreading this around too generously. And whatever you do, don’t mention you heard it from me. There’s still a chance we’ll be on-again. I forgive easy. I’m loyal like that.

Pharmacists can kill anyone at any time, just by handing them a bottle of pills. The only admirable thing to do now is take one final dose of my own medicine.

The doctor repeats his question. “You ever fuck a zombie before?” Lesson learned from eight years of marriage—when you don’t know how to answer, it’s better to grin and shrug.