Creative oscillations (on discipline vs. play)

Irina Dumitrescu recently wrote a fascinating piece making the case against discipline, in favor of play. She asks, “What if, what if, what if it’s not just some vague nameless Resistance that keeps us from doing what feels right, but the very fact that we’ve attached discipline to those activities?”  Her question definitely resonates, and […]

Hastening gratification

One of the questions executive coach and author Marshall Goldsmith asks himself every day is, “Did I do my best to be happy?”  In his book The Earned Life, he elaborates on impermanence, and in contrast, on delayed gratification: “This is the Great Western Disease of ‘I’ll be happy when…’ It is the pervasive mindset […]

Insights from the idiot

A few days ago, I wrote about the four inner beings of a writer. Susan Sontag called these the nut (i.e., the obsédé), the moron, the stylist, and the critic. Professor Betty Flowers called these the madman, the architect, the carpenter, and the judge.  I started this blog with the intention that it served as […]

Creative Doing, at Sharpen Your Edge

I recently joined my friend Dr. Greg Wells at his podcast, Sharpen Your Edge. It usually airs at LinkedIn on Thursdays at noon et, you can catch this one at YouTube: One of the themes we talk about is how creativity is innate and every person is creative; indeed, many of us draw in school, […]


Annie Duke writes in Thinking in Bets, “The quality of our lives is the sum of decision quality plus luck.” Indeed, everything is about choices. Often, these choices may appear as A, or B? Should I dedicate my life to what makes me money, or what I feel passionate about? Should I be active at […]

The four inner beings of a writer

Susan Sontag writes in her journal: The writer must be four people: 1) The nut, the obsédé 2) The moron 3) The stylist 4) The critic 1 supplies the material; 2 lets it come out; 3 is taste; 4 is intelligence. A great writer has all 4 but you can still be a good writer […]

Dan Crowe, on starting Port Magazine

I’m in the middle of developing a speech for Creative Doing right now, and the research process led me to revisit an interview I did with Dan Crowe (who most recently launched INQUE magazine) a few years ago.  A few excerpts from Dan that I really loved: “My friends and I that launched [Port], we […]

​​The myth of “with zero marketing”

Marketing constantly, and practically inevitably, suffers from attribution problems at all scales. Occasionally, someone I’m considering doing business would tell me more about their business’s momentum, and snarkily add, “Oh, and we did all of this without marketing!” The savvier ones pretend that they’re embarrassed about it.  (They’re not. It’s a brag.) The main problem […]

Make a map

I recently came across Dishoom’s cookery book, a “highly subjective guide to Bombay with map.” The description very clearly explained a path to becoming a leading thinker or authority on something: make a map. The most obvious place is to start with an area you’re familiar with; where you live, where you work, your favorite […]