Deadline in Less Than 7 Hours – An Important Bribe (Plus: Happiness Research for Economic Crashes)

Take 10 seconds today to fill up your karmic bank account. (photo: woodleywonderworks)

Part 1 – The Favor and Bribe

This two-part post is interrelated, so I recommend you read both sections. If you take 10 seconds to do the first part, it should — based on the research — make you a happier person.

The first part is simple. I want to give ten of you $150. More on this a little later…

There are less than 7 hours left to help 100,000 public school students get $1.5 million dollars in much-needed funding for their educations. A single click here is all I ask of you, and I sweeten the pot with a bribe below…

First, from the woman who convinced me to put up this post:

Where you grow up shouldn’t determine the quality of the education you receive. To help level the playing field, I propose giving 100,000 children in low-income communities the books, technology, and other materials that they need for a proper education.

The non-profit Donorschoose (who appear on the dedication page of 4HWW) only need 3,000-4,000 more votes to reach first place and receive $1.5 million dollars from American Express. As few as 500 more votes could lock them in for $500,000 (that means each vote is worth $1,000).

Earn some serious good karma and use this as your moment of Zen today.

You can make a difference in 100,000 lives with the click of a button. Please take these three simple steps to move from spectator to player in creating the world you want:

1. Vote here. If you don’t have an American Express Card, please forward this post to a friend and ask them to vote on your behalf.

2. Update your Facebook status, blog, twitter, e-mail or IM your friends either of these URLs: (Same URL shortened)

A short message like this should do the trick:

“One click here today can give 100,000 students $1.5 million for education. No joke and no exaggeration. Take a second and earn some karma!”

The Bribe

Just do the following no later than midnight EST tonight:

1) Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you spread the word on the Donorschoose voting.

For bonus points:

2) Describe in the same comment which teacher, class, or school project had the biggest impact on your life and why.

Prize 1: Next Monday, I and several judges will pick the the 10 best comment give each person a $150 gift certificate to Donorschoose. The staff at Donorschoose can pick projects for you, if you’d like, and you’ll receive handwritten thank-you notes and photographs from every classroom you help. How cool is that?!

Prize 2: I will also invite the 10 winners to a private 30-60-minute call where you can ask me anything in the world that you like.

If you need some more solid reasons…

So why DonorsChoose?

Many non-profits sound great on paper and then fail in execution.

I’ve seen inside DonorsChoose, read their financials, and known the CEO for 15 years. They are streamlined like a Silicon Valley start-up, have helped more than 600,000 students with almost no resources, and they have superstars guiding them, including the Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, the founder of NetFlix, the co-founder of Yahoo, and Bill Bradley, among many others. Their corporate partners include Crate and Barrel and Yahoo. The Omidyar Foundation helped finance them. It goes on and on.

Why education?

Education is, after much research, what I believe has the greatest long-term potential to solve all of our problems: potable water, AIDS, malaria, racial discrimination, unfair trade agreements for developing countries, and all of the rest. DonorsChoose isn’t just about colored pencils — they’ve already directly helped in preventing teen pregnancies and getting future leaders out of low-income housing and on the path to college.

Adding people without adding the tools — education and confidence — can create more problems than it solves. Increased disease, famine, and war are just three examples. The US, for example, has no problem multiplying its population; it’s training those people to get along and build a better future that’s the challenge.

With $1.5 million, DonorsChoose can change the future of US education. I’ve seen them execute.

I don’t expect them to get everyone’s vote, but they get mine. Get involved and vote, whichever direction you go!

To reiterate:

Earn some serious good karma and use this as your moment of Zen today.

You can make a difference in tens of thousands of lives with the click of a button. Please take these three simple steps to move from spectator to player in creating the world you want:

1. Vote here. If you don’t have an American Express Card, please forward this post to a friend and ask them to vote on your behalf.

2. Update your Facebook status, blog, twitter, e-mail or IM your friends either of these URL: (Same URL shortened)

A short message like this should do the trick:

“One click here today can give 100,000 students $1.5 million for education. No joke and no exaggeration. Take a second and earn some karma!”

Let us bring power to the people, but let us also recognize that power begins with one simple tool: education.

Arm the masses. Click here.

Part 2 – The Latest Happiness Research – How to Smile During an Economic Crash

Psychologist Martin Seligman came at “happiness” (a problematic term that nonetheless fascinates me) from an unusual source: he’d previously studied depression and learned helplessness.

I came across some of his latest findings — all scientifically verified — in the most recent issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

There are three levels to happiness: pleasure, the delight you get from chocolate, fast cards, and sex; engagement, the feeling of “flow” you get when you’re doing something you’re good at; and meaning, the fulfillment you get from being engaged in an effort greater than yourself. Pleasure is ephemeral and contributes very little to real happiness… but meaningful engagement brings lasting contentment.

For classmates who are headed towards retirement, Seligman offers the following tip: “Material objects have almost no role in positive emotion. As you organize your retirement, spend it on meaningful engagement. Don’t squander your savings on boats and houses.”

It’s pretty simple, actually. Figure out what you’re good at. And then apply your strengths to a greater purpose. And don’t forget to cultivate optimism along the way.

More coming on investment soon…

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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167 Replies to “Deadline in Less Than 7 Hours – An Important Bribe (Plus: Happiness Research for Economic Crashes)”

  1. Great post Tim.

    I put the link in my Facebook status, as well as sent messages to everyone in the 10 largest groups I belong to on Facebook, with a “call to action” and almost the exact “One click here…” message you recommended, asking those that read it to spread the word as well. Those 10 largest groups have a total of about 5 million people, so if even 0.01% of those I messaged have an AmEx card and vote, DonorsChoose will get the 500 votes necessary to lock in the $500,000. For an extra margin of safety, I also sent a mass email to everyone on my email list (250+ people) asking them to forward on the message as well.

    The teacher that had the biggest impact on my life was a professor named Tim Kasser. He taught a course titled “Psychology of Dying and Death”. I took this course while enrolled in the Semester at Sea study abroad program during college. The course focused around what is now called “Terror Management Theory”. It provided insight as to why people live life as they do and make the decisions they do, and how all the choices a person makes in one’s life is affected (whether consciously or unconsciously) by the knowledge of their own impending death. This may not exactly be a typical “school project” but taking his class, while visiting countries with cultures and religions as various as those of Japan, China, Vietnam, Burma, India, Egypt, Turkey, etc, was a truly life-altering experience.

    Professor Kasser integrated the slices of life we observed in all these various countries with the material of the course, as well as with discussions centering on events from the lives of the students prior to the course. He could have just taught the material in the book, and it would have been fine. But he didn’t. He made it personal. I remember on the first day of class he told us details from his life far more personal and intimate than anything I’d ever heard from a teacher, let alone close friends. He set the tone for the most interesting course I’ve ever taken.

    I’ve thought about the things I learned in his course hundreds of times since I took it several years ago, and I know his teachings have affected countless important decisions I’ve made in my life. They will no doubt continue to do so. I am 100% sure he positively and profoundly affected the lives of every student that took that class. Talk about a mind virus worth spreading.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for using your time to inspire others and seek out great causes. Unfortunately I came home at 11pm to find your post. Luckily I took the time to read it, voted, posted on a homeschooling listserv (which is host to many night owls) and updated my facebook status.

    I would say that the class that had the biggest impact on my life was my German class. This class gave me the opportunity to be an exchange student in Germany my junior year in High School and host an exchange student that same year and the next year. Coming from a very small town, I didn’t really know anyone who had left the state let alone the country. To have the world open up like that truly opened my heart and mind to possiblities. Not to mention the amazing friendships I fostered with several people from the town we went to.

    To think of it now, and imagine not having done that or met those people, my mind I believe would have been as closed as most of the people in my town and my journey in life much less fruitful and I would have lost out on touching so many lives. Gosh, thanks for making me take the time to reflect on that. Have a great one. Tschüss!

    Peace, love and chocolate, Jami

  3. I just voted! Thanks Tim for the lesson on maximizing our ‘sphere of influence’! My cousin is a 5th/6th grade teacher and it’s her birthday today. I posted a birthday greeting to her when I updated my Facebook status and posted the link. The teacher who made the most impact on me was my third grade teacher Mrs. Marrero. She taught us learning didn’t have to be boring. She had this huge poster of her favorite singer/performer (quite unconventional with his purple outfit) on her classroom wall. Her passion inspired us all to be the same way about whatever we were passionate about!

  4. Hello Tim

    Great idea I hope we get the votes we need for this project.

    Very important that they receive the funding they need.

    Once I received your blog to promote this much needed funding initiative

    I came up with an elevator pitch to describe this funding, you know describe this worth while cause in the time it takes to get to the ground floor of the elevator.

    I then went around to each of the employees within our company and explained to them the cause. In a 100 person company this took a couple hours but it was well worth it because I personally witnessed a majority of them sign up and vote for this worth while cause.

    Thanks Tim for bringing this initiative to my attention.

    I have read your book the 4HWW and I have used it as my guide how I now approach my work and my projects outside of work. One day soon I will be self employeed and truely living the life of the NR.

    Thanks for making such a big difference in my life.


    went around to each of the people I worked with

  5. So, with a little time left, and my heart feeling stretchy and odd, I went ahead and I wrote up a weblog post about this project as well as a very recent seemingly nice act, and my mixed feelings about the incident (here, on my weblog: ). And I put up the link to the project in my Facebook status and in Twitter (I’m sorry to say I have relatively few friends in either), and I showed this thread to people I know. And I guess I’ll continue to point this material out to people I know for a little while while my interest sustains. I’m not going to spam the forums I frequent. I’m at odds with myself about doing it for the money’s sake or the conversation’s sake. Too many projects like this one fail everyday without my support. I can’t help feeling a little hypocritical spending time only on the ones that might net me immediate cash.

    I’d say the teacher I’ve always thought of most was Ms. Clearwater at East Hill Elementary of the fifth grade, graying and stern with an off-putting sweet streak; a probably complex and brilliant lady unfortunately filtered through my young incomprehension and the needs of an elementary school curriculum. I passed the fifth grade without flying colors, but I did alright compared to the years ahead, and in that vein I remember a time after a bad streak when I forced myself to finish my homework at home, and bring it in to class, and give it to her with my characteristic obvious and cavalier dismissal of my own pride, and she was so very happy with me that she gave me two gold stars and a real live hug.

    I don’t really know if this teacher had the biggest impact on me. My middle school teachers who passed me when they could have failed me probably made a larger difference. But I remembered this, and it still seems so funny and strange and nice, and perfectly unnecessary of her. I don’t remember if it led me to turn in more homework that year, but I hope so.

    And I can’t say I’ve finished spreading this project around. I’m having real thoughts about it, and because of it, and because you pointed it out to me. I think I know the importance of education, but in this rare case I’ve been made to feel I have a real stake in it.

  6. This was a pleasure! I sent the URL and what I think was a very convincing email to those in my address book. The ones I called were excited to participate and would pass it on as well.

    Event with the Most Impact

    This is my 15th year education and I currently teach 4th grade. The event that had the biggest impact on my life was from a student, who in a beautiful way became my “teacher”. You see, I was a teacher for 5 years, became an assistant principal for 5 years and because of this wonderful little girl, I found my way back to the classroom and inherently back to me.

    Her name is Alicia and she was a second grader on my campus. She was the oldest of 5 children and really the mother or them all. Seeing her hold her 1st grade brother’s hand as they walked to school while using her other hand to pull her rolling backpack, with her Kindergarten brother Robert sitting on top of it touched my heart.

    Alicia’s mother had a severe cognitive disorder and while they lived alone in an apartment nearby the mother had a personal social worker with her regularly to help her raise her children. There were times when Alicia’s mom would have a stroller with the two younger children in it and as she pushed it down the street, she’d stop, leave the stroller as if she forgot she had it and keep walking. She’d remember after several steps, come back and resume pushing it. Once this happened as she crossed the large, busy intersection in front of our school and the stroller was left sitting in the middle of the street. Our secretary was the first to reach her to get the stroller out of harm’s way and Alicia’s mom slowly walked back to claim the stroller.

    People in their apartment complex would take advantage of Alicia’s mother (including Alicia’s father whenever he returned from jail). Her auntie lived close by but offered no help to the family. This is a brief snapshot of the life this little girl lived but there was not a day I saw her come to school without a smile on her face.

    Alicia and I formed a special bond. Talking to her at lunch and recess or just visiting her in class were such small gestures but I soon found out how much that meant to her. Each Christmas our school district participated in the Make a Child Smile program. Needy children got on a school bus bound for Wal Mart and received an official police and fire truck escort (sirens and all) with Santa atop the lead engine. All Wal Mart employees formed a long line as if for a red carpet event and the children with their parents entered the store to enthusiastic clapping and had a personal shopper to help each child spend $150.00 allotted just for them. The event culminated with a lunch at Subway and escort back to the school. I referred Alicia for the program and because I was the District liaison I was able to attend the event with the families. Alicia’s priority was to make sure her siblings received something. Her own wish list was secondary.

    Shortly after this, I found out her mother was pregnant again – the crossing guard at the school was the father of the child and he was moving her and the children to a dangerous side of town, miles away from everything she knew, too far for the social worker she had depended on for years to service her and with no public/social infrastructure (which she needed) nearby.

    As I walked into Alicia’s classroom that day she came to me, took my hand and to speak to me outside. With her head bowed, she quietly told me that she was moving. She explained her mom was having another baby soon but that meant she would get to have her own room in their new place. We talked about it a bit and I told her how much I loved being her friend and she’d stay in my heart no matter where she lived. Then she smiled (showing the wide gaps in her mouth where teeth would soon emerge) and whispered, “You know what else? My mom is having a baby girl and when she gets here, I get to name her. You know what I’m gonna name her?” I said, “No, what?” She said, “I’m gonna name her Mrs. Walker” (my name back then). Tears took over my voice but our last embrace said it all. We would forever be connected.

    In that moment, I realized that while being an assistant principal allowed me to know more students and improve a school site in grander ways than when I taught, I was missing out on the deep connection I had with students when I was their teacher. Alicia had the biggest impact on me because she reminded me of what truly made my heart sing. My vocation called me back through her.

    For the last five years I’ve resumed teaching, and clearly found my niche. Gratefulness fills my heart for the impact this powerful little girl had on my life and I bless her memory every day.

  7. Hi Tim,

    I admire the “think big” aspect that seems to be a growing trend in your writing. I’m also at a place where I feel a nagging urge to do something that is greater than myself.

    Besides voting with my Amex I have updated my facebook status, become a fan of the Member Project, posted on forums I frequent and contacted a few people directly. I suspect direct contact is more likely to get a vote than anything else.

    The most valuable lesson I ever learned in school came in an unexpected way my freshman year of high school. The class was English Literature and the teacher was the stern but compassionate Mrs. Hickman. We had been assigned to read the first five chapters of A Tale of Two Cities, with an essay test the following day. Being slacker that I unfortunately was I wasted away my evening and only managed to read the first 4 chapters, leaving it to chance that none of the test material would be on chapter 5.

    Kharma what it is, the first essay question was on chapter 5 and was clueless to the answer. I began to write some nonsense about “The main character felt sad…” and then I stopped myself. After a few minutes staring at the page I finally crossed out what I had begun writing and wrote the following note instead:

    “Dear Mrs. Hickman,

    I did not read the assigned chapters and will accept a 0 as my grade for this test.


    I sat quietly killing time for a while before turning in the test and waiting out the rest of the period.

    The next day Mrs. Hickman called me to her desk. Of course I would get a 0, she explained, and she would also have to contact my parents. However, she admired my honesty and a new bond of respect had formed between us that remained the rest of my high school career.

    I understood that day that the long lasting quality of being honest with yourself and others far surpassed the quick fix of a pointless lie.


  8. Hi Tim,

    I’m still “old school” and forwarded your e-mail to everyone on my list. Here’s the good news – my list goes to nearly every fire department, rescue service and teaching institution in New Mexico and Colorado. Mrs. Waters was my photography teacher at Stanton Jr. High in Hereford, Texas. Mrs. Waters asked me one day if I was interested in first aid. My dad was a physician, but I had not real idea about what I wanted to do when I “grew up”. Mrs. Waters steered me to “Doc” Walls. “Doc” was the high school athletic trainer. With Mrs. Waters and “Doc”s support and inspiration, I became a student athletic trainer, then an emergency medical technician while still in high school, then a nationally registered paramedic when I was 19. That was around 1985… Thanks to Mrs. Waters intuition and “Doc” Walls inspiration I have been blessed with 23 years of helping the sick and injured. I became a paramedic instructor almost 20 years ago, and have passed on the legacy of Mrs. Waters and “Doc” Walls education. Education is at the very foundation of human development. Someone figured out fire and taught it to someone else. Someone figured out tools and taught it to someone else. Education literally forms the human race. Thank you Mrs. Waters. Thank you “Doc” Walls. Pass it forward!

    Jeff McBrayer, Paramedic Captain – Rio Rancho Fire Department

  9. Tim,

    I love your writing and vision. I made up a flyer for my AMEX customers that come in my retail store. Will urge on Facebook as well.

    My most memorable was my high school English teacher who not only read my teenage angst poetry, but told me I didn’t need rhyme. It was like a ticket out of jail at the time.


  10. I don’t have AMEX, so all I was able to do was post a request on my site. Hope it helps.

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Black, my senior English teacher. When I disagreed with her interpretation of a poem, she didn’t just tell me I was wrong. She discussed, debated, made an honest effort to convince me. She was the first teacher … scratch that, she was the *only* teacher I ever had who treated her students like we might have something worth saying.

    Funny thing is, even though we argued about it for most of that day, I have no memory at all of what the poem was. That’s not what I remember. What I remember is the courage it took for a teacher to admit that there wasn’t a single right answer to everything.


  11. Hola! voted with my amex card and emailed it to my contact list.

    So awesome to see you “bribe” to encourage positive activities!

    Allrighty my favorite teacher is my 1st & 2nd grade teacher —- Mrs. P.W. Why? First off, I have a severe-profound hearing loss (left ear is gone and lost over 1/2 in my right ear) — but there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know that if you had met me….I’m a lipreading maniac with too much speech therapy!

    Since I was deaf/hard of hearing (whatever you call it!) I was actually initially going to a deaf school (this is in the very early 80’s, times were a little different back then — if you were deaf, you BELONGED to a deaf school). She was my ‘deaf’ teacher that simply said I didn’t “belong” in a hearing impaired classroom (because they were slower and demanded more time) — so she basically “threw” me in whatever classes she could into the ‘mainstream’ classes. I did have a few classes with Mrs PW though (actually she had me write a book to compete in the district — I was the only 2nd grader who won in my district, a pretty big deal. It was titled, Lydia the Girl Who Always Kicked”). Basically she really pushed me to do better, aim higher than what I had in mind….and when I didn’t believe in myself, she would continue to encourage me (heck, I remember crying because I couldn’t get the perfect small “a” cursive — and she just sat there smiling telling me just keep trying you will get it — well, I did pass with a C in penmanship). I owe SO much to her…..I would have to say she got me off the right foot to graduate from a “top 10 computer science university” and having a happy and “successful” life. (of course somebody like you comes along and redefines what that can mean! 🙂 )

    In a nutshell, she basically taught me that deafness is a disability in the mind…..not the ears.

  12. Tim

    I was too late to help however I am so pleased that you consider it important to help these organizations. I had to purchase another copy of your book to share with my girlfriend. We are now looking the join the NR with a life in Lisbon.

    Thank you so much for the book and the continued good kharma I get from reading your blogs.


    Garrett K. Sanders

  13. Dear All,

    Just posted on Twitter at

    “U ROCK! DC got 2nd place ($500K) by a thin margin. Your efforts made it jump & will impact 30K+ schoolchildren. Remember this! You did it.”

    Seriously, you did it. We didn’t get first place, but we did get second place by the thinnest of margins, and more than 30,000 students in the US will benefit as a result.

    In a world where we need educated problem-solvers and global citizens, this is a HUGE accomplishment and you should all be very proud.

    Thank you for believing and participating! It worked 🙂

    G’night y pura vida,


  14. Hallo Tim

    Vorab erst einmal ‘Danke’ für Dein inspirierendes Buch – jetzt hoffe ich nur, dass ich das Ganze in die Tat umsetzen kann. Schritt für Schritt, natürlich (c:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I need to say that I am not American but German and therefore would not really have to think so much about sharing your link for this very honorable project. Nevertheless, I do feel responsible to do at least the very least that can be done: spread the word to my US colleagues at work. Every little bit helps, right? So what I did is to put your suggested comment into the subject line of my skype account which all my colleagues usually see every day. I hope it’ll have some result.

    Now to my best teacher: it was not so easy to define this but finally there is only one person who left a real impression on me (as well as on many others back then). It was during university time when one of our ‘star’ professors (he taught economics) died suddenly during his sleep, way before his time. I never really liked that guy too much, he seemed to be taking himself too important. After he passed away I learned that one night there was some heavy fuzz going on between drunk students and foreign students. So one of the students, who obviously had a good connection to this professor, called him up in the middle of the night for help (I think calling up a professor in the middle of the night speaks for how serious the situationmust have been). Indeed, in the middle of the night this professor came from his house and took care that everything ends without problems.

    What did I learn?

    1) Do not judge people as long as you don’t really know them, and

    2) Stand up for what is right and don’t look away.

    That’s kind of why it is indeed in my interest to spread the word about this project. I don’t have AmEx, though, so I hope it’s still ok and my spreading the word will have an impact.

    Keep up the good work.

    Schönen Gruß aus Griechenland,


  15. Thanks again for the awesome response, all. Having trouble sleeping I’m so excited that we just helped more than 30,000 students. Man! No matter what you got done — or didn’t get done — today, if you helped, consider this a most productive day indeed.

    Well done, lads 🙂



  16. Too bad, after I had posted my message above I just saw that the deadline was already over even before I had the chance to spread the word… I received the information about the project too late since I live in Europe…

    well, it was worth a try.

  17. I didn’t read this post until this morning, so I missed the deadline. I think this is a great cause and kudos to Tim for trying his best to get this project the $1.5 m. Good news is that they came in second with a $500,000 award.

    I still wanted to share my story about the teacher that made the most impact in my life. It was a high school social studies teacher named Arthur Stalbow. He was into Napoleon Hill and the whole PMA thing. He made us post papers all over our house and our lockers with the number 92 on it, saying that this was the minimum he wanted anyone to get on any of his tests or assignments. He even allowed us to write it on our desks in his classroom. It worked. He also taught me that it only takes a small amount of effort, just a teeny-tiny amount, to be better than average, and anyone is capable of being better than average if they just put out that small amount of effort. He was my Mr. Keating. He made a difference.

    One day the class played a practical joke on him. We turned all of our desks around and faced the back of the room. When he came into the room, he walked to the back without missing a beat, without comment, and began teaching, pointing to imaginary maps that weren’t there, and writing with chalk on the wall in lieu of a blackboard. It was hilarious. I loved that guy.

  18. Hey Tim-

    This is a great cause! The thing to remember is that all of the top contenders for the Amex prize are. I actually already voted a few weeks ago for a different one. But I think it is great you are driving a lot attention to all of them. The fact that one of them is getting the money is fantastic.

    In times of hardship it really does help to give more. What ever we feel we are lacking (time, money, love, etc) -just giving more of that makes a difference.

    Love your blog! Great stuff.

  19. Tim,

    Thank you so much for helping us all remember how powerful our networks our. We all have the collective cabability to improve our communities. I put the link on my linked in page at I have many foundation staff members in my network and I hope that my link not only encourages them to vote on the project but that it will encourage them to bring Donor’s Choose to the attention of their boards to ensure long term funding for this amazing organization.

    The teacher that influenced me the most was Mrs. Ballard, my high school gym teacher and the advisor for the African American Student Organization. She taught me that true service requires personal preparation. Because of that advice I attended college and graduate school to better prepare myself for a life of community service. I am now one of the youngest foundation Executive Directos in the nation. I could not have done it without her unwavering support and encouragement.

  20. Great project, I got the message too late to vote on amex, but looks like you got it to 2nd place and 500K aint bad.

  21. Hi Tim – Great post, thank you, what an excellent project! . I spread the word on my Facebook page and LinkedIn. I will say that I found the voting process just a little confusing at first, it wasn’t crystal clear that I needed to “do” anything once at the site (I finally did login to my amex acct).

    As far as teacher/class/project had impact on me. That is a tough one. I barely made it out of high school in NY and have no college education. I’d have to say it was a wood shop project, building a deacon’s bench in 10th grade. The radial arm saw I was using malfunctioned and I lost 3 fingers. The good news, I was the first successful finger implant in NY State history (1977). That is, not just sticking them back on but reconnecting nerves as well. 8 hours of microsurgery which was groundbreaking at the time. The bad news is that I had a dado blade on the saw which is about 3/4″ thick. Made quite a mess of my hand but they were able to put my thumb and pointer back on (albeit without knuckles), but no middle so I am unable to flip the bird to other motorists…. Looong story to say that this had a tremendous impact on me, I felt like a disfigured freak with my hand like that. It impacted me as a teenager and shaped my self image especially around women! But after 25 years in IT, I find myself the COO of an amazing small company called TecAccess, this is a for profit IT company hq’d in VA that specializes in addressing the employment needs of people with disabilities and the companies that hire them (employment, training, product testing, marketing…). This is very exciting for me as I’m finally doing something that is really important to the world. I have met some amazing people, inspirational people with serious disabilities that are leaders and movers and shakers. How they grew into these amazing people while saddled with severe disabilities is still a mystery to me. What an inspiration, what drive they must have, how many obstacles they had to overcome, what amazing employees they make! So now I focus on helping companies see the power of this disability community (or, as the amazing John Kemp refers to them “other abled”). 60 million Americans have a disability of some sort, an astounding fact. Can you imagine a major corporation NOT making an effort to reach them through marketing or hiring practices? This is an amazing business opportunity with huge ROI that many companies have not woken up to!

    P.S. I’m 47 now and can say quite confidently, chicks dig guys with scars.

    Thanks for all you do Tim, 4HWW is an amazing thing and a key part of my day.

    Bob English


  22. Note: Tim, I was unable to post this before the deadline. I hope you still count it in the running. If not, I completely understand.


    Hi Tim,

    Your challenge prodded me to take action where otherwise I wouldn’t have. So I thank you for that. I just sent an email to 35 of my biggest spheres of influence asking them to vote. I shared my passion for education and how easy it is to make a world of a difference. I posted the link on Facebook and added it to my Facebook status.

    Father Malo. Yes, he was a priest. As an incoming freshman to my Catholic high school, Father Malo greeted me with a huge smile and an exuberant personality. His class soon became the favorite part of an otherwise painful freshman year. What truly separated this jovial, middle aged celibate priest apart from my other teachers occured during one 10 minute “lesson”. I remember it vividly to this day. He called on a student in the class and had him sit on a stool in the front of the room. Out of nowhere, Father Malo began to call him names, bully him, and physicall abuse him. Me and my classmates sat there while tears beginning to role down the student’s face. No one in the class knew what was going on. My love towards my teacher were being twisted…I didn’t know what to do, feel, or what the heck was happening. I looked around the class to see what others did as Father Malo called him every bad name in the book. And then my teacher spit on this classmates face. I wanted to melt in my seat out of fear…what should I do, I thought? Then Father Malo turned around to witness a group of shocked faces and told the class that this will be a common scene in high school. He explained that we need to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. He said that we cannot let bad things happen in front of us, such as what had just occured. In that 5 minute lesson, he taught me more about honor and justice than I have ever experienced thereafter. Father Malo was an example of bravery, passion, and intensity. I still look back on that moment and admire him for his intense desire to teach us, despite breaking every rule in the book. He was a maverick and a leader. He led by example and through experience. I love him for that and will never forget him.

  23. Let me preface this comment by saying that this is going to come across as very insensitive…

    I think sending kids to government schools is child abuse. If you cannot provide your child with a good education, then you should not have made the decision to create a child. We pour more and more money into failing government school systems instead of allowing parents the choice to send their child somewhere else.

    For those of us that don’t have children, we pay loads of taxes for services we will never use. What ever happened to personal responsibility and taking care of yourself – why are the rest of us forced to pay for it?

  24. Hi Tim,

    What a great project! I teach dance in public schools (Swing, Latin and Ballroom) and it is tough, the only way to get funding is in classroom based assessment funding which greatly manipulates what and how thoroughly I can teach these kids. We work on cultural dances (i.e. Salsa, Tango, Samba, Swing…) so they learn the culture and history behind them, but we would love to get into the rich history of the Waltz. Unfortunately for now the schools financially can only do 5 weeks per school, 2 days a week. I am thrilled to help with a project like this. I mass emailed everyone in my outbox. I posted it on my facebook and my myspace pages (personal and for Washington Ballroom Dance Teachers Academy). I don’t have an American Express Card, but I hope my small contribution helps.

    My teacher who had the most impact on me was not my favorite teacher. It was my english teacher, and being I was into sports and dance I didn’t like homework. I had full reconstructive surgery on my knees from age 15-18 and was, of course, very bummed out. He pushed me hard in writing and debate (which I never did join in willingly). When I was arguing a C grade on a paper with him he told me I had more potential in writing then I put forward, and that being a good writer and communicator would open doors and help me build my life how I wish it to be. He taught me to express my idea’s, to think in ways that were unconventional, and to fail willingly because it was just one more step toward success. I was taught “do whatever it is you want to do in life, and whatever it is DO IT WELL.” He never ever changed that C.

  25. Members Project Winners Announced

    Today at 1:39pm


    Thank you for being part of Members Project(R) ’08. Cardmembers from across the country submitted inspiring ideas for projects that could make a positive impact in the world.

    Your votes have been counted and the results are in. See what a difference you’ve made in the world.


    $1.5 million for 1st place goes to:

    Alzheimer’s Disease: Early Detection Matters and its fulfilling organization, Alzheimer’s Association

    $500,000 for 2nd place goes to:

    Help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom! and its fulfilling organization,

    $300,000 for 3rd place goes to:

    Loans That Change Lives and its fulfilling organization, Kiva Microfunds

    $100,000 for each of the two remaining finalists goes to:

    Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children and its fulfilling organization, International Medical Corps

    Feeding 1 Million Children Daily and its fulfilling organization, Akshaya Patra Foundation

    To see the winning projects, visit:

    Well we got second place!

  26. Members Project Winners Announced

    Today at 1:39pm


    Thank you for being part of Members Project(R) ’08. Cardmembers from across the country submitted inspiring ideas for projects that could make a positive impact in the world.

    Your votes have been counted and the results are in. See what a difference you’ve made in the world.


    $1.5 million for 1st place goes to:

    Alzheimer’s Disease: Early Detection Matters and its fulfilling organization, Alzheimer’s Association

    $500,000 for 2nd place goes to:

    Help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom! and its fulfilling organization,

    $300,000 for 3rd place goes to:

    Loans That Change Lives and its fulfilling organization, Kiva Microfunds

    $100,000 for each of the two remaining finalists goes to:

    Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children and its fulfilling organization, International Medical Corps

    Feeding 1 Million Children Daily and its fulfilling organization, Akshaya Patra Foundation

    To see the winning projects, visit:

  27. Hi Tim,

    I’m posting a comment on donors choose to facebook and my 500 plus network. One thing to consider for a future campaign is to have people donate their birthdays in support of donors choose. They could even link up to particular schools or projects. For example, I donated my birthday to build a well in Ethiopia, and was able to get more than 100 people to donate. I asked for my age in dollars, with 100% of the money going to the life-saving gift of clean water, and the well posted to google earth, so people could see the results of my birthday gift. You can see the example page here:

    Greg Baker was a championship swimmer throughout college and a world class human being. On a road trip to Greece he was paralyzed in a car accident. As an athlete, he said there was a moment in the hospital where he considered for a moment checking out. I believe that was the only moment Greg Baker ever thought about quitting.

    I had the privilege of getting to know Mr. Baker years later as a student in a class on James Joyce. I has a learning disability which made writing a challenge. Mr. Baker, however, was the inspiration for me to accept nothing less than my best. In the dead of Chicago winter, he would plow through the snow in his wheelchair to get to school early and stay late, coaching an championship swim program in the way only he could. Mr. Baker was uncompromising. There was no place for excuses in his classroom, because he lead by example. He was ‘handicapped’, but you would never know it by the way he lead his life.

    Looking at the man, who by the way invited us to his house on the weekends to read Joyce (everyone showed up), and who eventually treated our class to our first taste of Guiness, you could see how everyone was inspired by his passion and dedication. Mr. Baker showed up, day in day out, and gave his best, and demanded from everyone else their best in return.

    Mr. Baker died an untimely death, and at his wake it was standing room only. More than five hundred people came back to Chicago from throughout his thirty-year teaching career and shared stories of how the man had moved them, inspiring their path in life. During the eulogy my father turned to me, fresh from a 15 month trip around the world, and said that if I wanted to become a teacher it was alright by him. I did. As a kid who at one point could barely put a sentence together, I wound up becoming a high-school English teacher.

  28. Tim,

    You and your readers did it. When the finals of the American Express Members Project opened two weeks ago, your tweet edged us from 3rd place to 2nd place. When we hit the homestretch of the finals, however, our margin withered from 3,700 votes to 370 votes. At that rate, we were headed to be overtaken on the last day of the contest. Your blog post—and your readers’ incredible response—was decisive in turning back the tide and securing $500,000 for 100% of those funds will now go to classroom requests on our site, delivering learning materials to tens of thousands of students in low-income communities. Those classroom requests represent the dreams of our most dedicated public school teachers—educators of the caliber and commitment that your readers have profiled in their comments.

    In the span of seven hours, your network achieved massive philanthropic impact. On behalf of all the teachers and schoolchildren who will now benefit, THANK YOU.


  29. Tim! It’s been ages. Hope all is well. Thought this looked fun, so hope some of my efforts (and not very creative strategies) over the last 24 hours helped move Donorchoose closer towards the goal:-

    1. Posted on Bitterwallet where I’m an editor. We are linked to HUKD with over 6 million views a month. Page views since the weekend over 25,000 so I’m sure generated a few clicks in the few hours we had (it’s still a new site though, only luanched last week):

    2. Posted on my personal blog, which gets about 500-1000 views a day, occasionally over 15k when SUed:

    3. Sent an email out to a list of around 300 close friends and family. Direct link to the site, and also to your article to give more incentive. No American Express credit card commisions expected. 🙂

    4. Facebooked another 500 or so, all personal friends for impact.

    5. Told my private mastermind group. It’s a small group (8), but all with some influence online (and offline). But every little helps.

    6. Called and also told a couple of guys I met at the London FOWA Expo over the weekend (NOT Kevin Rose nor Mark Zuckerberg, unfortunately), as they may have some further influence to push up the numbers.

    7. Status changes.. texted a few friends with a bit less online influence… basic stuff that probably didn’t have too much of an impact… but hey, every vote counts right?

    8. Tweeted to my own 900 or so followers on Twitter ( But this may have been too late by the time I did it (should have probably done this first as it was the easiest!)

    9. Voted myself. Every little helps!

    Also want to share biggest impact on my life in school:

    Well, I wasn’t the most popular guy when I started high school. I was 12 when I left home, just some kid from Hong Kong who barely spoke English, had few friends (mostly FOBs), useless with girls (I went to an all boys school) and looked like I fell out of some Japanese TV commerical.

    Hiro, anyone? Ya-taaaaa!

    So when I ran for class rep as a prep and didn’t get it, and some senior told me that they won’t reveal the numbers to me in case I kill myself and that I’d never get elected for anything… reality came crashing down. Literally.

    Then I met Dan Brown (before he got famous).

    He, by chance, became my English teacher (he really tried). We ice skated together a few times. But more than that, there was also something that struck me about Dan. I saw something in him. A certain belief about himself. There he was, in Exeter, just after writing Digital Fortress. No one outside New England has even heard of it. (but I was smart: I got an autograph anyway!)

    I also must admit, I sort of saw him as a ‘mentor’. I looked up to him alot. And here’s something very few people know about Dan. Before he wrote, he actually wanted to be a singer. He gave me a copy of a (very old and secret) cassette of him back when he was just done at Exeter, and thinking it would get me lots of girls… I auditioned for an a cappella singing group.

    History repeating itself, I didn’t get in…

    I remember talking to him about it. About how I seemed to keep failing.

    It’s amazing how a simple phrase or sentence from someone can change your life. And for me, that was when Dan told me to ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘never give up’.

    After lots of practice, practice, and luck, I eventually got in to the a cappella group. After that, everything was easy… booze, girls, you name it. J/k :p But I did graduate high school with honours, an AP scholar, and as co-director of the singing group and a couple of fancy awards for music ‘contribution’ (did I forget to say I only did it for the ladies?).

    I got into med school and got elected as class rep in my first year. Most proud of all, was when I got elected as President of the Medical Society at my med school, and raised plenty of $$$ for charities like MSF and St Margarets, delegated and led a team of 28, and it also gave me some perspective of how far I’ve come since my early teen years as just some Hong Kong geek.

    Since, I started up ventures from nothing, and also got my medical degree at 24. I’ve since managed to transform my life closer towards my goals. I’m now 26, a part time medical doctor, a paid writer, travel the world (but plenty more places to see), have an amazing girlfriend, wonderful friends, awesome mentors, a great support network.. and a pretty happy life, I’d say.

    All because, I truly believe, those words changed my life.

    But I am also never giving up. No matter what. There’s still plenty I want to do in this lifetime.

    And Dan Brown… who would have thought??? If Dan could write a bestseller, anything is possible (just kidding Dan, in case you read this) :p

    So… believe in yourself, and never give up!! 🙂

  30. Filled out the survey & then added the link to my facebook page.

    history & culture project where we spent an entire school year studying a country, preparing a lecture for 1 class to teach the rest of the class about our country, it’s history, culture, and food. this taught me how hard it was to teach, and how hard it is to keep a student’s attention. it also taught me the importance of looking at stuff globally and introduced me to other cultures and understanding that the states isn’t the only important country in the world.

  31. As a veteran public school teacher, I’ve come to realize that the key to closing the achievement gap is not dumping more money into the system. This only exacerbates the problem.

    Kids need meaningful relationships, not more textbooks and computers.

    If you really want to help a kid, become a mentor. Pick one kid and spend one afternoon a week with him/her. Take him out into the real world. Go to a variety of social events. Teach him through example to interact with lots of different people. Find out what he’s interested in and shape meaningful learning experiences around his interests.

    School can’t do this. School is set up to provide a uniform structure and curriculum. It’s a factory system. Kids who don’t fit the model don’t do well. No amount of money can change that.

    “Successful” kids usually come from successful homes. Decades of research have demonstrated that the number one factor affecting a student’s academic achievement is family income. Higher family income = higher academic performance. (Not teacher quality, not textbook availability, not computer access).

    The best thing you can do for a kid in need is to provide him/her with the life experiences and stimuli that middle and upper class families typically provide.

  32. Well, I twittered, voted, sent an email to my grandma asking her to spread it to her email list of friends, and facebooked it. Then I realized it was past the deadline. Doh!

    My wife always likes comments on her blog so I’ll throw in my educational impact story for your reading pleasure. This one has more to do with a school then a specific project, class, or teacher.

    I was born with a hearing impairment caused by structural malformation of the cochlea. My older sister had the same condition as well.

    In San Antonio, where I grew up, there was a school started in the 1950’s called Sunshine Cottage School for the Deaf. Unlike other schools for the deaf they stressed oral communication over sign language — to some people in the deaf world it’s a big no-no.

    There each of the teachers I had worked with each of us every school day on our speech skills I had problems with my R’s, a deaf accent, ch sounds and sh sounds — I still have problems with those sometimes, and even making clear, hard k sounds.

    I left the school after 3 years of attendance. I went to Encino Park Elementary to be mainstreamed in with all the hearing kids. I’m happy to say I got along well and met weekly with a speech pathologist to continue improving.

    While I’ve had more significant intellectual impacts in my life by wonderful teachers, this one allowed me to enjoy a life with music (I love to sing and play drums), to act and do improv where I use accents sometimes, and even to use the phone.

    I’m happy to say I never needed to learn sign language.

    And as it turned out, though we didn’t get back in touch until we were 16 and fully mainstreamed or go out until we were 18, I met my wife there in kindergarten. How’s that for impact?

  33. Tim,

    I’m so excited! What exciting news to log on to. (:

    I’m a little late for the teacher post but I am going to post a story anyway…..

    It’s about the power of bribes.

    When I was in 6th grade, my math teacher used Candy to get us to learn math. I know it’s sounds crazy, but it worked. It worked on me anyway.

    Smart lady, she got us motivated on a subject that is usually very dry for most kids. Math surely was not my favorite subject… but CANDY….that was exciting! We would have a contest once a week where two kids would go up to the chalk board and have to solve an equation. The winner got chocolate and would get to stay at the board until they were beaten by someone else.

    I never considered myself all that good at math until her class. I was always an artistic child. It always seemed a little intimidating, but since I was so motivated by the wonders of chocolate, I managed to win multiple times. I was such a geek and I have to say having a big load of candy can help you to be more popular with the other kids. In fact, I became so exited about math I went on to teach a math game called “Equations” to children all over Michigan when I was in 6th grade and even skipped a grade in Math.

    I’m not sure I would have applied myself in math if my teacher wasn’t so good at making the class so interactive. This boosted my confidence tremendously. My job today requires being creative and being logical about money at the same time, something I don’t know I would have developed the same way if it weren’t for my groovy teacher.

    I think there might be a better way other than candy, but the moral of the story is to make learning fun.

  34. Hello Tim,

    After looking at Donorschoose web-site and trying to figure out how I could contribute I’ve come up with the following suggestion. Donorschoose should allow people to donate via Paypal. Maybe Paypal will get involved. If i win I will donate the proceeds. Good work.

  35. Tim,

    I didn’t get to this post until late.. (close to 11 pm. est.) but I tried my best to make an impact. I twittered and facebooked the post and link. I do not seem to be quite as online popular some of the others, but my posts should still be seen by about 200 people. Hopefully, regardless of the outcome of this contest, some of my friends will contribute to

    I have some great teachers throughout my life, but to be completely honest, the best teacher I ever had was my mother. She is a single mom who taught me how to use my mind to achieve anything I want in this life. She put herself through college while raising 2 kids and working a full time job as a nurse. I have fond memories of spending countless nights in the county library with her while she studied and I read books about the solar system by Isaac Asimov(I can’t believe I still remember his name). I believe this is where I developed my affinity for books that still flourishes today.

    My mother knew that getting a good education was the key to great success in life. Not necessarily just a career, but in the broader sense of a total life experience. She taught me that if I was truly going to get anywhere in life, I was going to have to use my mind to achieve. Perhaps this is why I refuse to commit the greater part of my most productive years to sitting in a cubicle and making someone else rich. She has always encouraged me to go onto great things; all the while reminding me that true happiness comes with patience and dedicated work. Once when completely down on life and my post-collegiate prospects she simply replied, “go set the world on fire.” This is exactly what I plan on doing. Based on her teaching and personal example, I don’t think I can ever give up trying.

    Thanks and keep up the good fight for us little guys.

    ” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Emerson

  36. 1) To spread the word, I will message my friends on facebook as well as writing a short blog entry on this, as I don’t normally send SPAM messages to my friends, I am quite sure that they will take this seriously. I was walking the Ampersand 30km walk and the Oaktree Foundation participated in this walk is also a big contributor in education. I believe that hope lies in education. As I see myself dramatically changed by one teacher and classmates (to be elaborated in (2))

    2) The biggest impact on my life happened during year7~9 in Taipei Taiwan, I was given great responsibility by my form teacher. I was a shy kid back then, I did ok in class, I was mediocre and didn’t like to talk to my peers. She encouraged me in front of the whole class and helped me to discover that I am great at singing, studying, innovative ideas, writing Chinese and public speaking. She believes in me so much that I decided to study hard for myself and turned myself into an extrovert at school. I was transformed by her and became ‘popular’ as a result of this. I was fully supported by Mrs. Wong and I felt that I had nothing to lose in my youth, so I gave my best shot in everything I did. One month before the Highschool entrance exam, my head was hit by a glass bottle by some naughty kid at school. It was an accident but I had a terrible time because I was under tremendous stress that I won’t perform well in the exams. She let me stayed at home and encouraged me in all possible ways. I enjoy being trusted and empowered to do great things at school. I visited her once after school and writes her when I graduated from College. But I found out that she no longer works at the school. I googled my teacher one day and found out that she is volunteering as a tour guide at the botanical garden in Taipei. Please say hello to her and tell her that I miss her when you visit Taipei 🙂

  37. Thanks for the Donors Choose website info Tim! I have been looking for a way to do this *exact* thing for a while–directly supporting local schools/teachers, especially here in the States. While there are a lot of international charities available and that I support, I also would like to support the folks here at home too! This is a great way to do just that.

    Awesome concept (and implementation). Thanks!!


  38. I tried posting this on Monday but kept getting site errors. FWIW …

    I don’t have AMEX, so all I was able to do was post a request on my site.

    Hope it helps.

    My favorite teacher was Mrs. Black, my senior English teacher. When I

    disagreed with her interpretation of a poem, she didn’t just tell me I was

    wrong. She discussed, debated, made an honest effort to convince me. She

    was the first teacher … scratch that, she was the *only* teacher I ever

    had who treated her students like we might have something worth saying.

    Funny thing is, even though we argued about it for most of that day, I

    have no memory at all of what the poem was. That’s not what I remember.

    What I remember is the courage it took for a teacher to admit that there

    wasn’t a single right answer to everything.


  39. Hi Tim,

    I asked my friend Mike to vote on my behalf as I don’t have an AmEx card, and posted the link with suggested comment on my Facebook page. Good luck to the kids!

    The most amazing and unexpected comment came from a teacher in my life very recently, so the impact from it is yet to come, but I think it will!

    This May I finished an art degree in Illustration. I did this degree because I wanted to, not because I had any natural ability for it. And so, although my instructors considered me very hardworking and creative, they also said I was technically weak. In essence, I have oodles of vision but limited ability.

    One instructor in particular, Elyssa, was very hard on me. She was a brilliant artist and teacher with whom I had several informative but excruciating classes- she told me at one point that I was “doomed to fail.” As you can see, our relationship was … strained. I was under no illusions as to what she thought of my work.

    As a senior I was part of a group gallery thesis show, for which we held an opening event. At this event, Elyssa surveyed everyone’s work, and then came up to me and said “you have to get into children’s publishing, do it soon and make it happen. You have what it takes, and you know I don’t say things I don’t mean.”

    I was stunned speechless. I was not praised for my work throughout school and if any instructor was going to, she was the last one I would have thought would do so. That one comment, from the person it came from, let me know that I had what it would take.

    Now I’m working on a children’s picture book about an inchworm and a bee, and if I’m successful with that, the sky’s the limit!

    That’s my story!,


  40. Tim is, sadly, falling into the trap of ignoring the unseen. He sees $1.5M going to a worthy charity. He doesn’t see the charity that has that $1.5M taken away from it, because these extra votes bring Tim’s charity the win.

    This contest is a zero-sum game. Some worthy charity will get $1.5M. The benefit to the world of Tim’s charity winning is the difference in the good it will do with the money vs. what the runner-up would have done. This may well be negative, if his favored charity is not quite as good.

    All the time his readers spend reading the post and following his request is a waste, time spent on allocating wealth rather than creating it. The same goes for all the other charities fighting for the prize.

    Don’t encourage wasting resources in pursuit of fixed prizes – it makes the world poorer.

  41. Hi Tim,

    I know that you’re coming to an event in SF on October 25th but was wondering how long you’d be in SF altogether. Planning on staying for a few days and meeting up with people?

  42. When I think of important teachers in my life, I have to remember Mr. Norm Cote, my fourth grade teacher at Cobbles Elementary School. My English skills had yet to develop as I entered the fourth grade, making school for me a thoroughly awkward and lonely experience. His teaching method would be best described as no-holds-barred, creating an economy of “funny money” to motivate students to excel, splitting the class into four teams to compete against each other for real and substantive prizes, and taking students for rides on his motorcycle. I assume all this is very illegal now, but in retrospect, his teaching style added context to the learning process. He taught, demonstrated and beat into our 9 year-old heads that if you study hard, learn efficiently and compete honestly, you will be successful.

    When I returned to my hometown after university, he had already passed away from lung cancer. I always wonder what he would think of me if he were still around.

    Btw, I don’t have an Amex card, but I’ve spread the link to my network of 300+ friends on Facebook.

  43. Hi Tim! This is beautiful. I am reading it too late to act but I am once again inspired by the actions that you are able to rally. It is right in line with how I feel this economic time is pushing us to respond- in collaborative efforts towards focusing on the positive- the creative. The philosophy you already compiled in The Four Hour Workweek is like a handbook on adaptation & creativity- cornerstones when combined with real community thinking towards a powerful next step in our current economic/social conditions.

    I just posted an article on my site yesterday ( that is called “The Possibilities Within Uncertainty” addressing some more of this.

    The last time I commented was after the MLK quote when I was leaving for a service trip to Brasil- FYI we succeeded in a big way- there were 23 of us from many countries meeting in Fortaleza where in five days we delivered around 20,000 adjustments. We did this even though there was a possibility we would be apprehended or arrested for doing it. We kept going even when there was gun violence near us. It was an incredible act of human love that we were able to give, receive, and exchange.

    Keep up the great stuff!! If you are in the bay area on Friday, October 24th you are invited to come to the slideshow presentation that five of us team members are giving at my studio in Napa. It will seriously blow you away. Love & Light All!!

  44. Thank you for sharing this information! I received it 3 hours before the deadline and sent out emails to my entire address book alerting them to the opportunity. (Something I had not done in a while . . . ) My 4th grade teacher’s reading assignment of The Kon Tiki Expedition had a major impact on me. He had an entire lesson plan around this sea journey by raft and applied it equally to the boys and the girls in the class. It made me feel like anything was possible.

  45. Hi Tim,

    Robert Heinlein, the American novelist, said that “A human being should be able to change a diaper, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

    Thank you for empowering people everywhere with the real life education that shows professionals, entrepreneurs, and students everywhere how to make the most out of their life experience, right now.

    School, teachers, and organizations offer children the opportunity to let their desire, their mind, and their dreams determine where they end up in life, rather than where they start. The teacher who gave me this gift was Professor Ali from Hong Kong University.

    I studied abroad my junior year in college in a business exchange program. Hong Kong was an exciting place that symbolized the convergence of the Old and New, the East and West, and the Past and Future.

    I took keystone business classes with graduating majors, even though I didn’t meet the supposed prerequisites for the courses. I knew I would get further in school and life by skipping steps and going straight to the top. I figured, even if I fail those classes, at least I would have learned something valuable.

    Ali’s classes were like Donald Trump’s Apprentice. To start the class, he would come in and write two words on the board, like innovation and legacy. Then, he would ask us to think about it for ten minutes, and we would have a discussion on the paradoxes of life…those seemingly opposites that are just two sides of the same coin at the highest level.

    Afterward, we would do challenges like go to the local bank and figure out why the line was so long, design the perfect wallet for each classmate, and create a e-commerce prototype that would change the world.

    We would come prepared in class to do our presentations on case studies, then, we would have a surprise negotiation session with another random team. We would close our eyes and listen to Jazz for an hour, and then think about how it relates to business. We would go down to local art galleries and study how painters created their own worlds, and how entrepreneurs expressed theirs.

    Professor Ali taught us much with real life experiential education that changed the core of our perception, and thus, our life. I always believed that the best teachings should be the ones that stay with you all your life, that you know and apply to real situations, that change the way you think, act, and even dream.

    Ali taught me to look at the chaos and order of all life, to appreciate the creation in destruction, to love the truth of paradoxes. He taught us to understand that people do not resist change, but being change. He gave us the chance to go through the entire design process, from concept to reality. I have never met a professor who was so versatile, creative, and interactive as him, using everything from videotaping presentations, designing purses, thinking hats, writing blogs, and moving helicopters to jolt us to a new world.

    It was such a blessing, honor, and gift to have been one of his students.

    I know the fund raising event may be over, yet education is a life-long journey. I will donate some of my student success program to this organization, as well as to many public schools, libraries, crisis schools, and others. I know how one teacher, one comment, and one insight can change a life.

    With greatest warmth and gratitude,

    Andrew B Chang

  46. Tim,

    I’ve been working as a teachers’ aide in the public schools since 2005, I’ve read all of Martin Seligman’s books and the 4-Hour Workweek, and I just became a fan of on Facebook. Thank you for letting us know about it!



  47. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the chance to raise awareness about a great cause, give my favorite teacher a shout out, and thanks for the $25 gift certificate for Donor’s Choose. You are really a great example of harnessing social networking for positive change and not just putting out useless pop culture garbage to keep your page rankings up. Keep up the amazing work!

    Best wishes,


  48. Tim, just wanted to say a huge thank you — first for making me (and thousands of others) aware of DonorsChoose, and then for your generous GivingCard. I just put it to work in a high poverty local school (and will be back to do more going forward).

    Thanks for putting your large audience to good use!


  49. Hey Tim,

    Just a quick note of thanks for gifting to DonorsChoose in my name. I just helped out a K-8 school in metropolitan Detroit (my old digs) since on a whole, Michigan has been struggling for the past decade or so. Thank you so much for the generosity and have a great 2009!



  50. Great idea on retirement.

    Boats, and fancy houses are not what it is about.

    Doing and giving what you do well.

    Defining pleasure.


  51. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.