It’s been a long, long time

Hello Blog World,

I realized I haven’t posted in about a year. It’s been a busy one. I’ve been in Oxford, working on my MBA at the University of Oxford and that is now nearly finished. It has been an exhilarating and amazing experience every single day to live in this beautiful city. One reason that I haven’t written much here is that I have been blogging about my experiences on a regular basis at the Financial Times.

On a professional front, I’m proud to report that Skillbridge was sold to TopTal in April. It was a great experience to grow a company from almost nothing into something much bigger. And I was able to work with super talented people along the way. I’m gonna miss that.

My other big announcement is that a film that I have worked on for over 5 years has now come to fruition. Catch AMANDA KNOX on Netflix as a Netflix Original starting September 30. And if you’re in Toronto earlier in September, come check it out at the Toronto Film Festival where it will be premiering. It is so gratifying when hard work pays off.

I’m also happy to report that my passion for healthy living is still in order. I was lucky enough to have the Green Templeton College gym in my backyard this year, eliminating my need for ClassPass. I feel as good as I ever have.

As much as this is a time of endings for me (Oxford, Skillbridge, Amanda Knox), I am excited about many new beginnings. I don’t know where the world will take me next, but I’ll be sure to update you as soon as I find out.

Talk soon,

Stephen

 

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Celebrating 30 years old: 1 year on Classpass, 30 pounds lighter, and way stronger

One year ago yesterday, I joined Classpass. It has truly changed my life. I originally joined as a gift to myself. I had just turned 29 years old and felt like I should be in better shape. I swore I’d look better at 30 than I did at 29.

In the past year, I have become a fitness addict, and now feel younger at 30 than I did when I was 21. I realized that physical limitations I thought I had because I was an uncoordinated kid from the suburbs are meaningless. Today, I rock fitness classes and feel like I can compete with anyone, regardless of age.

I wish I’d known when I was 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years old that I had it in me to be an excellent athlete. That said, watching people around me age, I recognize that the combination of eating well and participating in physical activity on a regular basis are the keys to healthy living. When I look at my 85-year-old grandfather, who has always been a fitness buff, and watch as he does his daily routine of situps and walks, I know that I’ve got at least 55 amazing years ahead of me.

Classpass, built for the ADHD-millennial lifestyle, allowed me to try tons of new fitness classes. I’m not sure why it worked, but it did, perhaps because I’m cheap and wanted to get the most out of the unlimited plan, just like I like to get the most out of all-you-can-eat sushi binges.

Now, as I head to England for a new adventure, I know that it is my own responsibility to stay fit. I plan to teach spin classes at Oxford, row on the River Thames, and continue to kickbox. I’m sure I’ll play some soccer, tennis, and run too.I know my most fit years are ahead of me, and fitness is as much about the mind as it is the body. I believe that I have now sent many of the ills I did my body during my first 29 years into reverse.

And of course, I must thank all of the amazing fitness instructors who made my mind and body transformations happen — losing 30 pounds while building tons of muscle. From cross-training to Aqua cycle to spin to kickboxing, thank you Melissa, Anne, Halston, Tarek, Kevin, Moses… the list can go on and on… for both correcting my form and pushing me to work harder every single day.

My sister and I, after we became Schwinn certified spin instructors.
My sister and I, after we became Schwinn certified spin instructors.

Your body is stronger than you think: Notes after two months on ClassPass.

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I am not a “gym guy.” Other than a very brief stint on an elliptical machine as a sophomore in college, and a second brief stint on a stairclimber at Crunch Fitness in LA in 2008 (conveniently located across the street from my place of residence), I haven’t been to a gym in years. I have always preferred outdoor sports – cycling, flag football, hiking, and tennis. Part of this is because I’m an unabashed germaphobe, and I feared what microorganisms were waiting for me in various locker-rooms and workout machines.

I have never been able to motivate myself to work out regularly: I had a small belly that for years I couldn’t get rid of. Eating and drinking right is — or was — easier for me than partaking in fitness regimens.

During the summer of 2014 I heard about ClassPass from my friend Anastasia Leng. I was intrigued by ClassPass’s value proposition, but I didn’t immediately join: I figured that with so many weekends away in the summer, it wouldn’t be worth it.

However, at the start of Labor Day Weekend, on my 29th birthday, I had a mild existential crisis and thought it would probably be better if I lived to 100 instead of 75. So I joined ClassPass. I decided to plunk down $99 per month to go to dozens of gyms (3x maximum each per month). Yes, this sounds expensive at first, but for me, it was a lifesaver.

What do I love ClassPass? It is perfect for Millennials — especially Millennials with ADHD. There is no commitment to one gym, and every day is different. Sure, some classes I love more than others, but all have value in improving the body.

And I’ve realized: The locker-rooms and machines at 90% of the gyms I have attended are sufficiently well-cleaned so my germaphobia was misguided!

Here are some of my favorite ClassPass classes:

1. BCL Fitness (Prospect Park and Central Park) – Melissa Carter is a lovely person and inspirational teacher. This is a simple boot camp held in Prospect Park or Central Park. You are drenched with sweat after it is over, and it feels so good.

2. Swerve Fitness (at 18th and 5th in Manhattan): I love that this is a cycling class with built-in sprints and competitions. I have become (psychotically?) competitive  – I scored an 809 here recently and was #1 in class. Halston is my favorite instructor here, but the others are equally inspiring. I also love that Swerve emails you your scores 15 minutes after class ends, making great use of data.

3. BFX (at 17th and 6th in Manhattan) – From boxing classes to cycling, this (new!) gym is great. Helpful instructors all around.

4. AQUA Studio NY (78 Franklin St – Tribeca) – This is cycling (spinning) in a pool. Yes, the concept is a bit crazy, but it is an intense workout, but it works wonders after a stressful day/week at work.  Anne K. is my favorite instructor as she doesn’t stop pushing you to your limits.

5. FlyWheel (Multiple locations) – Ah, FlyWheel, the redheaded stepchild of SoulCycle. The teachers here (I have had many) are all special and do such an amazing job of motivating you. One small problem: Waiting in line for the showers after class. Oy!

After two months, I have noticed significant changes in my body: My stomach is flat, my legs feel lighter, my hair looks thicker, my disposition is cheerier,  and either I now have delusions of grandeur or I really feel like I can conquer the world. Despite the unending stress of startup life, I am dealing with it far better than I did previously.

There have been a couple of classes that I haven’t enjoyed as much as the ones mentioned above, but it has probably been a mixture of my personal preferences (e.g. lack of showers or difficult to get to) that have led my to these conclusions. I was excited to learn that ClassPass raised $12 million a few weeks ago and will therefore be around for a while. Give it a shot. I promise you, it will be worth it.

The One Thing That Makes a Country Work — and That the U.S. Will Never Have

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read the statistics in Jeffrey Gettleman’s piece in The New York Times Magazine last weekend: Malaria-related deaths in Rwanda plummeted 85% between 2005 and 2011. And average life expectancy has increased from 36 to 56 years since 1994. While Rwanda’s leader, Paul Kagame, may deserve praise for implementing the changes that created these astounding figures, I attribute them to something a bit less remarkable: Rwanda’s small size.

Rwanda has a population of approximately 11.5 million people, which is a small enough number that small changes in policy have led to long-term changes that positively effect people’s lives.

While Rwanda certainly doesn’t have the high quality of life that Denmark (which was once again recently ranked the “happiest country on earth“) has, its improvements should be lauded and policy advisers should take note.

When one looks at the list of countries with the highest per capita GDP, small countries come out on top:

1. Luxembourg (population 540,000)

2. Macau (population 590,000)

3.Qatar (population 1.9 million)

Plus, there are some serious advantages to being a small country, specifically when it comes to life expectancy: Among the top 10 countries in this category are San Marino (population 32,000), Singapore (population 5.3 million), Andorra (population 78,000), and Iceland (population 320,000).

When one compares these countries to those with the lowest in life expectancy, it is interesting to note that there are small countries on the very bottom of the life-expectancy list (Swaziland, situated within South Africa, has an extremely high mortality rate based upon the proportion of its population infected with HIV/AIDS), but as a general rule, the smaller a country is, the easier it gets for it to solve its problems head-on.

As USA Today reported, “The world’s corrupt nations differ in many ways. Four are located in Africa, three in Latin America, and two in Asia. These nations also vary considerably in size and population. Mongolia has just 3.2 million residents, while Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia are three of the largest countries on the globe, each with more than 100 million people. Based on the percentage of surveyed residents that reported corruption in the public sector is a very serious problem, these are the world’s most corrupt nations.” One can argue that larger countries have greater bureaucracies, and therefore corruption may be more likely to occur since there are multiple levels of governance.

While the Nigerian film industry, dubbed Nollywood, makes more than $800 million per year and is the third largest in the world, it is the Danish film industry that interests me more, as it sells 13 million tickets per year, meaning that each of Denmark’s 5.5 million inhabitants attends 2.36 films annually. Film and television are industries that can thrive and prosper in small countries. For example, state subsidies have caused the growth of the globally acclaimed Danish film and television industry. Denmark puts out more than its fair share of amazing films and television shows, fueling further growth of the industry.

But let’s get back to Rwanda: Yes, having a government that thwarts corruption is certainly important. It is also excellent to have a government that is data-driven in its approach to management. But if Rwanda were bigger, neither of these things would be feasible because of an increased likelihood of corruption, an impossibility of containing problems, and a greater risk of violence.

Will Rwanda continue on its path to become the crown jewel of Africa? I don’t know. But its smaller population is certainly something that gives it a fighting chance.

Guy Fieri Times Square Restaurant Review: Here Is The Grade I Give It After I Tried It Myself

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After reading Pete Wells’ marvelously entertaining New York Times review of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant, the eponymously named Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, I wanted to experience the place myself, simply to judge whether Wells was too harsh, or whether this dining experience was truly as poor as Wells claimed.

So I launched a campaign early this week to convince my five-person team at work to join me at Guy’s for a Friday lunch to remember. Much like my pre-Sandy obliviousness to the practice of folks who traffic in disaster porn, I was ignorant that ironic dining was already a hipster pastime. But an ironic dining outing, much like wearing tight pants when cycling long distances, is a hipster concession that we all must make for the good of mankind.

Our motley, open-minded crew (all dudes, as it happens) made the three-block trip to Manhattan’s armpit, better known as Times Square. Mind you, when I worked for MTV in Times Square, I had daily panic attacks that I’d die by terror or tourist trampling on my route between the subway and the office, yet neither situation came to fruition, and this was just my neurotic self at work. Typically, I painstakingly try to avoid going from my Bryant Park office those couple of northwestern blocks, unless there’s a Tony Award-winning Broadway show being performed, or if there is no other possible way for me to get to some Hell’s Kitchen destination. Also of note: Other than a trip to the Olive Garden 10 years ago when I was in high school, I have proudly avoided all Times Square restaurants. (Restaurant Row on 46th is as close as I’ll get to the area, or Shake Shack on 8th Avenue when some lowbrow accomplishment must be celebrated.)

Unfortunately, as in wine tasting, the nose goes a long way when delivering initial impressions. And the foyer to Guy’s smelled pungently like some type of food-based staleness. This wasn’t a false sense for those looking to criticize. It was very real. As real as the pigeon shit that nailed me last week. All of us prayed that it wouldn’t be our individual choice of food that would give off this odor. With that, we ignored the kitschy gift shop (trying to use the word kitsch only once in this article is an accomplishment!), and 30 seconds after our 11:45 a.m. arrival, we were promptly seated.

Choosing iced tea to drink put me in a bit of a quandary. This was because it was served neat (without ice), though there was a lemon. That said, the drink, which would more appropriately be recognized as “room temperature tea,” was served unsweetened, which was a pleasant surprise from a restaurateur whose sole purpose in life appears to be to make me die younger. (Tasting note: Interestingly, the tap water did come with ice.)

For starters, I tried the $14.50 sashimi tacos with raw ahi tuna, mango jicama salsa, wasabi, and sweet soy. What the four mini tacos lacked in size, they made up for in crispiness. That said, their insides were heavy on the salsa, ultra-light on the tuna, and heavy on sweet soy (which might as well be known as teriyaki or hoisin!).

Faring better were the nachos that Wells skewered (no pun intended) by writing, “How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil?” In fact, our group shared and universally loved these nachos. My only criticism was that the meat on them tasted a little funky, perhaps like the “cold gray clots of ground turkey” that Wells recalled. However, as a most-of-the-time pescetarian, I’m not in the best position to judge.

Regarding the calamari, Wells wrote, “How, for example, did Rhode Island’s supremely unhealthy and awesomely good fried calamari — dressed with garlic butter and pickled hot peppers — end up in your restaurant as a plate of pale, unsalted squid rings next to a dish of sweet mayonnaise with a distant rumor of spice?”

My colleagues described the squid, in Zagatarian terms, as “OK,” and “it’s hard to mess up fried food” but it “didn’t really have any flavor.” So perhaps, again, Wells’ critique was warranted.

Onward to the entrees! While there isn’t much diet-friendly fare on the menu, I ordered the shrimp, with caramelized red onions, bell peppers, green apples, and crispy noodles topped with “Guy’s signature sangria glaze.” Yes, the shrimp were sweet. Yes, the jumbo shrimp were set atop a mound of rice (which was, oddly enough never mentioned in the food’s description). But perhaps these shrimp were too sweet. And it’s not worth $24.95, when a similar dish could be purchased at a run-of-the-mill Mexican or Chinese restaurant for half the price. But again, this seems to be the de facto Times Square tourist tax at work.

Our group’s vegetarian-in-chief went for the whole grain penne with fresh mozzerella, cremini mushrooms, onions, and a garlic cream sauce. Though he’s too polite to grumble publicly, he told me upon return to the office that he “feels sick,” citing that the entree, awash in its cream sauce, was horrid.

The pulled pork trio (three sliders, with bacon and coleslaw on top), paired with fries and fried onions didn’t fair much better. Our tester, a notable Bushwickian with a sophisticated palate, found them unmemorably mediocre. The same went for the “Big Dipper,” a steak sandwich, that is meant to be dipped in a watery “beef jus” gravy.

Now, when my hungriest colleague ordered the $31.50 steak diane, I knew he would have high expectations, as this is the most expensive menu item. Though it was served medium-rare as promised, the steak was smothered in the “brandy pan sauce” intended to accompany it. The sauce to steak ratio was approximately 3:1, making for a calorie-laden experience that was quite off-putting to my somewhat-health-conscious colleague.

We didn’t stick around for dessert.

While Wells discusses some ignorance, for us, the staff was nothing other than incredibly kind and helpful throughout. (A close friend of mine is the GM of another Times Square restaurant, and he always complains about how difficult it is to attract and retain decent staff … most of whom are actor types who are running off to auditions before, after, and occasionally during shifts.)

Regardless of how Fieri tries to position it, Guy’s is certainly a member of the TGI Fridays-Chili’s-Applebees-Ruby Tuesday casual dining family, and one shouldn’t be expecting Le Bernadin when walking into a place that has plastic American flags of the Betsy Ross variety, cans of cheap beer, and cast-iron moose heads lining the walls. But was Wells’ review over the top? In some ways he was fair, yet in other ways he was brutal. But it appears that Guy’s is already making changes: A well-dressed restaurant-consultant type did ask us some questions about our meal after we finished (and then took it upon himself to refill our untended-to empty beverages).

At the end of the meal, perhaps because of the five pounds I put on, I forgot my bag under the table. But I scarcely made it to the door before a kind busboy returned it to me, avoiding a potential disaster. That kind of attention to detail is appreciated, and once the chefs get their acts together, Guy’s will become the middle-grade American restaurant it is destined to be.

32 Mantras to Live by Post College

I originally published this post on PolicyMic.com:

I recently read a fascinating and controversial blog post by a millennial who defended her (our!) generation from verbal attacks that Baby Boomers and other older folks use to discredit us. The irony is that these people, who are currently in positions of power … and, by many accounts, have screwed up pretty much everything (the economy, the environment, education, etc.) for future generations, are the cause of many millennial problems. This post inspired me to create a list of what I’ve learned since I graduated college in 2007, because when I look back at my own worldview at that time, I realize that I knew nothing about the way the “real world” operates. The point here is that there is still so much time to do amazing things, yet there’s got to be a focus in so many aspects of life:

1. This is just the beginning

You needn’t have changed the world yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying. Think of all the people who made their best accomplishments when they were 40, 50, 60, etc. (Betty White!!!!!!)

2. You’re not in college anymore, so don’t live like it

Do you really need to go to bed at 4 a.m. and then wake up still hung-over at 4 p.m.? Nope. You just missed a beautiful Sunday. Do you really need 19 drinks when splitting a bottle of wine will do? Nope! Do you really need to play beer pong in lieu of having interesting conversations? Nope!

3. Don’t eat garbage

Pay the extra couple of bucks to eat good food. Cut the fries for salad, but be totally wary of any dressing other than olive oil and vinegar! I’ve eliminated 99% of my meat consumption after reading “Eating Animals.” And I’ve noticed that my former bald spot has disappeared, which I attribute to the lack of antibiotics in my body. Stock your fridge with fresh vegetables and your cabinet with healthy snacks (Caveat: my mom recently gave me some sort of health bar that was made of corn and sugar, so read the labels or use the Fooducate app when shopping). Have it delivered if you don’t live near a grocery store.

4. Throw enough rolls of toilet paper at the wall, eventually one will stick


Don’t apply to one graduate school and think you’ll get in because you’re totally awesome. Maybe you are totally awesome, but chances are 50 other people are too. Don’t apply to one job because it’s like totally perfect for you. Believe me, there’s someone else out there who’s taking a pay cut and a lower position to get that job too.

5. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail


Why do things half ass? Don’t think you’ll get a job if you don’t know every little detail about the company where you’re interviewing. Don’t think your startup will be a success if you don’t know all about the technical aspects, marketing, advertising, branding, competition, and even the day-to-day secretarial work!

6. Your dream job at 21 might not be your dream job at 26

At 21, all I wanted to do was be a screenwriter and write movies. And now, having written quite a bit, now I think I’d dread sitting alone in an office all day, not having human interaction, and having my work changed 496 times before it appears on screen in a form that is totally different from what I created. I’m still writing, but I’ve had way more fun creating journalism, advertisements, blogs, and comedy than I’d likely have in a traditional screenwriter position.

7. Your major kind of matters … if you want to go to school at all

I went to college before the recession, and I was frequently told, “You’re a smart kid, you can major in whatever you want.” So I studied English and history. And while the former is pretty useful for me, in today’s economy, I would suggest that you study something you are passionate about that will also lead to potential opportunities. If you can’t decide on a major, you probably shouldn’t be in school at all. If you can’t afford school, why get into debt? Get a job while you figure out what you’re passionate about. Take a gap year to work or intern in fields that potentially interest you. Having lived in Europe, where people typically work before embarking on their studies, I believe there is a greater sense of contentment that people are making the right choices rather than choosing majors based on having the fewest additional requirements, as I likely did.

8. Not everyone lives like they do in America


In Denmark, cycling to work is the norm. In India, many people prefer to drink water warm rather than ice water. In Spain, most people still take a daily siesta. It’s important to realize that the sheltered life you lived in America is not the norm: Not everyone owns a house, not everyone has a car, not everyone goes to summer camp, and not everyone has access to extra-curricular activities. Take the time to learn about other cultures, because there may be significant ways that you can improve your own quality of life.

9. Leave America … for a while


I am appalled that so few Americans have passports. (Only about one-third of the population, a historical record high, but still shockingly low!) Use the internet to plan a cheap trip. Do you really need another beach vacation? No, have an active vacation exploring a new place. And use Couchsurfing.org so you can actually meet locals! I recently ran into a guy from my high school who never left America but on a whim bought tickets to India for himself and his girlfriend when he saw a great deal. A three week trip totally changed his life. Jet Blue flies to Colombia for the same price as it costs to go to California. And tons of airlines fly to Panama for cheap … but if you go to any of these places, promise me you won’t stay at some isolated resort!

10. Stop being insular

I don’t care if you were in the Long Island Jewish sorority or the Indian-computer scientist a cappella group in college. Meet other people. Hang out with them. Learn from them. They will be better and more interesting than the people you already know. And as a result, your whole world-view will change.

11. You get jobs by knowing people 


It’s true. Sending out hundreds of résumés is usually a waste. Pound the pavement in creative ways. Informational interviews? Sure. Telling everyone you know that you need a job? Yes, don’t be ashamed. Contacting someone you met only once who work at an interesting company? Of course you should! Because if you don’t do all of the above, believe me, someone else most certainly is!

12. Take care of your body

I moisturize my face. And it makes me look younger. I use very few products, but I invest in the ones that make a difference.

13. You don’t need a lot to be happy

Cook a freaking meal yourself. It’s therapeutic. Walk in nature. It’s free. Explore an ethnic neighborhood. You will most certainly discover something.

14. Stop looking at what other people are doing

You are not Mark Zuckerberg. So what? Your dad is not a senator? So what? Yes, it sucks that you did not think of Facebook in 2003, or that you were not born into a gilded family with all of the connections of modern royalty. Wake up in the morning and be happy that you’re alive and plan something interesting to do that day, rather than rotting in front of your television or on the internet.

15. Do unpaid things but don’t be someone’s lackey

Write an awesome article for your personal blog, or become a blogger for a site that produces content that interests you. It will get you more attention than picking up a Starbucks latte for Mr. Middle Manager. (One day, I swear, I’d like to see some American kids grow a pair and start an Interns Union that spreads virally!)

16. Make it better for the next generation


We were most certainly screwed by the greedy, narrow-minded dingbats in Congress and at every other level of government. Now is the time to elect the next generation of leaders and use technology to our advantage! (Let’s make sure our next crop of leaders come from our generation!)

17. Have sex


Or if there’s nobody around, masturbate. You never have an excuse not to have pleasure. If you’re reading this, you ostensibly have internet access. That means you’re three-fourths of the way there for the latter. As for the former, the internet makes that part really easy too. Just use protection so you don’t get HIV or HPV.

18. Turn off sometimes

I’ve been actively shutting off all of my electronics after work and on weekends. And it feels great. Don’t worry. If there’s an emergency, you probably can’t do much about it anyway. This gives me time to think about doing productive things like thinking up this list and thinking of new awesome ideas, projects, and businesses.

19. Don’t buy crap

Why do you need clutter? Why do you need nine pairs of jeans? Why do you need 14 pairs of shoes? Live simply. It’s easier. That said, spend good money on products that will last rather than spending multiple times on junk. <—A uniquely American problem.

20. See doctors sparingly

Preventative medicine and staying healthy goes a long way. Look for natural treatments before you fill your body with pharmaceuticals. Eat lots of raw garlic if you ever feel sick. Works for me every time.

21. Work on a project you care about 

For me, journalism, in all of its forms, is my way to try to make a difference, even if I’m not getting paid. Maybe it’s volunteering at a hospital. Maybe it’s creating a non-profit. The world needs more good ideas.

22. Learn that you’re not always in charge 

While independence is awesome, existing organizations sometime have it right. Be humble by helping others with their ideas rather than working on your own! It will teach you quite a bit about getting more done with a team than you would on your own.

23. Don’t get stepped on by authority

Just because someone wears a uniform doesn’t mean they’re right. (And I’m not just talking about rent-a-cops and meter maids!) Stopped and frisked? Issued a citation for an offense you didn’t commit? Fight it in the courts and you’ll learn way more than you would by paying even the most trivial fine! (Yes, I have been wrongly cited for parking legally in front of my own apartment and I have another interesting story that I will discuss in a future post, but for now, listen to these examples of injustice!)

24. Find mentors

Good mentors don’t come along every day, so when you do find a person willing to share their knowledge and wisdom with you, thank them, cook them dinner, and provide them with a never-ending flow of red wine so they continue talking. Cultivate mentors so it’s not even a question that they’ll be there for you when you need them.

25. Find mentees

If you’re smart, don’t just tell me, show someone else why you’re so awesome. It may be your mentee who’s working with you/for you that makes an idea a reality, or even crazier, a mentee could one day be the person you’re working for, on the next big thing.

26. Back up your data (regularly!)

Jesus! I never want to meet another person who has their hard drive wiped out without backing it up. (Hello cloud storage!)And one more addendum: Do not keep liquids on the same surface as any of your technology. You should know by now that this stuff isn’t covered by warranties.

27. It takes hard work to do anything 

Sure, there were those few employees at Instagram who worked there for about four days before the company was bought for $1 billion by Facebook, and that 18-year-old kid from Brooklyn who won the $1,000 a week for life lottery game, but these people are the rare exceptions. It feels a lot better to be working for a goal, rather than waiting for something that to fall into your lap that will likely never even happen. That said, don’t be that person who is in the office working on nothing until 10 p.m. just to look like you’re busy. You oftentimes get your best ideas from talking with others or being outside of the office.

28. Save money

Do you really need to take a taxi 20 blocks? Walk! (Or take public transportation). Invest in a bicycle! Do you really need that second $40 bottle of wine with dinner? Leave the restaurant and buy the same bottle for $10 at the store! Do you really need a third winter jacket?,,,Don’t get into debt. Do you want to wake up every morning thinking, “50% of what I earn today goes to some douchey bank?” Nope, you don’t. Nothing is free, especially not money. So wake up and smell the real world!

29. Love people … or pets … or both

Take the time to love people. It’s much more important than watching a TV show, or a sporting event. Do good things for those you care about, and you will find immediate rewards. Be passionate. (And if you do love pets, remember, loving people is also really important…and most people don’t care how cute your dog is.)

30. Get lots of sleep


Yes, Ariana Huffington has said this before me, but I agree wholeheartedly. Not only should you sleep well, but sleep in appropriate conditions, such as in a very, very, dark place or with an eye mask.

31. Take risks now

When you’ve got a wife or husband, and kids who will go hungry if you don’t feed them, and a mortgage to pay, you will be much more risk averse. Since you probably don’t have these things now, start that company, take that trip, try that new sport, take that language class, and indulge in that passion project!

32. Paraphrasing George Orwell, break any of these rules sooner than doing anything outright barbarous.

PS -I am not a self-help guru, but now I’m starting to think it wouldn’t be so bad if I was!