Hey Amazon Author Bio Readers,
I know you... because I am you! I always read the Amazon Author's Bios. I know authors get to write them and I find it hilarious when they say things like "He is very humble and has three PhDs" or "Check out my new book ... coming out in 2015!"
Well, my name's Neil. I tell people that I think, write, and speak about intentional living, but that's only because I'm always asked what I do and that answer seemed snappy enough to sum things up. In truth, I looked back at the past ten ridiculous years in my life and that was my attempt to draw a line around everything.
Want the whole story? Well, since you're four paragraphs deep into a random author's bio on Amazon I'm guessing that maybe ... you do? I guess we'll find out if you make it to paragraph 5.
You do. Okay, here it is. Over ten years ago my wife left me and my best friend took his own life within days of each other. I found myself spinning and wrestling with anxious and depressive thoughts. I started a daily blog called 1000 Awesome Things (1000awesomethings.com) to cheer myself up. Nobody read it except for my mom. Somehow a post on that blog called '#980 Old, dangerous playground equipment' went viral and suddenly I was writing for tens of thousands of people a day. The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences awarded my blog 'Best Blog' in the world ... two years in a row. And then ten literary agents approached me to turn my blog into a book.
THE BOOK OF AWESOME was published in 2010. I'll save you ten bucks on Amazon! The book is literally just my blog printed out and stapled together. Yet somehow it hit the New York Times bestseller list, was on bestseller lists globally for over 100 weeks, and sold a million copies.
Two years later I met someone new. Her name is Leslie. And, over the next few years, we fell in love, moved in together, and got married. She told me she was pregnant on the flight home from our honeymoon. And, using the nine month burst of energy that some guys get after finding out they're going to be a dad but before they actually are a dad, I wrote a letter to my unborn child. A 300 page letter on how to live a happy life. It was published in 2016 as a book called THE HAPPINESS EQUATION.
And how about now? Well, as I write this Leslie and I have four boys aged 6, 4, 2, and 0. I am writing this Amazon Bio while bouncing our 2 month old to sleep in a baby carrier on my chest with my laptop balanced a giant cabinet in the kitchen. Leslie is napping with our two year old. And I've planted the 4 and 6 year old in front of the TV. Our lives have gotten very busy. We often feel completely overwhelmed. And I have learned that despite some 'success' my regular old demons of anxious and depressive thoughts are likely going to be with me my whole life.
So for these reasons -- basically, to help myself keep thinking positively -- I am doing a number of things today. I've written a new book all about dealing with anxiety and developing resilience. It is called YOU ARE AWESOME and, while there was a lot of internal debate about using the word 'awesome' again (I still don't know about it), I feel the sub-title really tells you what it's about: How To Navigate Change, Wrestle With Failure, And Live an Intentional Life.
One of the exercises I made up and shared in that book is called TWO MINUTE MORNINGS and I've spun that out into its own little journal. That journal took about a millionth of the time to write as YOU ARE AWESOME and sold a lot more copies. That should probably tell me something.
I've started a podcast called 3 BOOKS (www.3books.co) where I'm searching for the 1000 most formative books in the world. I interview people like Brené Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and Judy Blume and ask them which 3 books most changed their lives. I also interview a lot of people I find personally intriguing like the world's top-rated Uber driver, two teenage Mormon missionaries, and a sex-worker who wrote the world's first children's book featuring a sex-working parent. The show is published on the lunar calendar for nearly 15 straight years and is 100% non-profit with no ads, sponsors, commercials, and interruptions.
I give keynote speeches at places like SXSW, Shopify, and Harvard and I share my current writing for free in newsletters that go out to over 100,000 folks at neil.blog. If you want my monthly book recommendations, favorite inspiring speeches, or daily awesome things, head over to neil.blog/newsletters
Thank you so much for reading this ridiculously long Amazon Bio. I hear the brass band starting up but feel like I have forgotten to thank so many people! More than anything, I know how ridiculously lucky I am to even be able to do this. I couldn't do a single thing I'm doing without your love and support. If you read all this way, the least I can do is say thank you so much.
Thank you so much.
Drop me a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org