How to Become an Effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he began at age 26 and built to more than 30 properties in California alone. In 2010, Joie de Vivre was awarded the #1 customer service award in the U.S. by Market Metrix (Upper Upscale hotel category).

Conley has also been named the “Most Innovative CEO” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, and I’m proud to call him a friend.

We’ve shared many glasses of wine together. He doesn’t know what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true (Hi, Chip!). When we first met, and after reading his first book on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I wondered “Is this Chip dude for real? Implementing self-actualization in a company?!?” My curiosity drove me to visit a few of his hotels, including Hotel Vitale, where I eventually concluded: these are the happiest employees I’ve ever met.

He has figured out what makes people tick.

The following post is a guest post by Chip and based on his new book, Emotional Equations. Be sure to read to the end, as there is a chance to win an expense-paid trip to SF to spend an entire day training with him.

Deal-making? Empire building? Self-fulfillment? He’s your guy.


Enter Chip Conley

I graduated from Stanford Business School at age 23 with Seth Godin.

I remember talking with him and others about my aspirations as an entrepreneur and my desire to become a CEO some day. Back then, I thought in order to become a successful CEO, I would need to become superhuman, leaping tall buildings in a single bound. But, after 24 years of being a CEO (I founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality, what’s become the 2nd largest boutique hotelier in the world, and sold a majority interest to a billionaire in 2010), I’ve come to realize that the best business leaders aren’t superhuman, they’re simply super humans as they’ve learned how to become Chief Emotions Officers.

Chief Emotional Officer?

Leaders are the “emotional thermostats” of the groups they lead. If you want to dig into the support for this, read this compelling piece by Daniel Goleman, the man who popularized the idea of “emotional intelligence” in the 90s and proved that 2/3 of the effectiveness of business leaders comes from their EQ rather than their IQ or level of work experience.

There are multiple metaphors I use to describe how emotions work in our lives. One that feels very familiar to me is baggage. Our luggage in life is an apt metaphor for me – a guy who’s been a hotelier for a quarter century. Countless times I’ve seen people show up at our hotel front desks with all kinds of baggage, and only some of it the physical kind. Most of us have emotional baggage that may seem invisible to the untrained eye or invisible to the person carrying the baggage. But the results of lugging that baggage around for years is noticeable in how that person shows up at the metaphorical front desk of life. If you are a Chief Emotions Officer, you are more aware of all the bags you’re carrying and how to open your luggage up and make sense of what’s inside.

Opening up a bag, you may find a truly messy interior with things in complete disarray. But, these emotional equations create a certain logic to how you pack and unpack your bags and, in fact, being a little more conscious of what’s in your bag may allow you to discard a few heavy items that have been weighing you down. Creating your own internal logic regarding your emotional baggage will allow you to carry a lighter bag…one that’s eminently easier to unpack.

4 Emotions to Unpack

We’re going to focus on four emotions that you can start unpacking (i.e. mastering).

Think of emotions as existing on a color wheel. Isaac Newton created the color wheel long ago and helped us understand that red plus blue equals purple, for instance. I learned in my research for Emotional Equations – which allowed me to spend a couple of years with some of the world’s psychology luminaries – that there’s an emotional wheel with primary and secondary emotions: the Plutchik wheel. In my book, I evolve this wheel further so you can imagine that Disappointment + a Sense of Responsibility = Regret. And, once you understand the emotional building blocks of Regret, you can turn it from a downer into a lesson. Regret teaches. Fear protects. Sadness releases. Joy uplifts. Empathy unites. Think of your emotions as messages that give you the freedom, rather than the obligation, to respond. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Now, let’s unpack and master the emotions of Despair, Happiness, Anxiety, and Curiosity.


I am very proud of this equation.

It’s the one that started my exploration of emotions through the lens of equations. I took Viktor Frankl’s book and distilled it down to this useful mantra at a time in my life in 2008, when I had a series of friends commit suicide, had a flatline experience myself while giving a speech in St. Louis (literally: my heart stopped, and I dropped), and the rest of my life felt in disarray. If you consider the words “despair” and “meaning” to be abstract or off-putting, consider “sadness” as a tamer version of despair or “learning” as a more concrete version of meaning.

First off, in order for the math to work, “suffering” has to be a constant. This is the first Noble Truth of Buddhism, but it’s also true, and not just in a recession. You can always find the suffering if you want to look for it. I had no idea when I started writing this book that this decade would come to resemble the 1930s in that our near Depression-like economic conditions would persist as long as they have. But while the Depression was a very difficult time for so many people, interview-based research studies show that it indirectly prepared young women for losing their husbands later in life. These women learned self-reliance, independence, and courage early in life, which served them (and perhaps saved their families) when their husbands passed.

So, consider “meaning” in the following way: many of us go to the gym to exercise our physical muscles to ensure that our physical body doesn’t bloat or atrophy. If you’re going through a difficult time right now, maybe – unwittingly – you’ve signed up for emotional boot camp and you’re being asked to exercise emotional muscles that haven’t had this kind of workout for years. But, this isn’t meant to be just agony. It’s meant to prepare you for later in life. The emotions you may be mastering today – humility, resilience, persistence, a sense of humor – will serve you well at some later point in your life, maybe in the not too distant future.

For me, having my long-term relationship end in the midst of my train wreck of a life in 2009 was the last thing I was looking for. Suffering felt ever-present, like the fog during a San Francisco summer. The foghorn that cut through this opaque time was the question I asked myself on my most sad, self-pitying days, “How is this experience going to serve me in my next relationship? How is this going to make me a better partner when I find my true soul mate?”

These weren’t easy questions to ask when I felt radioactive and couldn’t imagine anyone loving me again. But I kept the exercise metaphor in mind. The fact that I could joke with friends about my emotional boot camp helped me realize that great rewards – or meaning – could arise as a result of this painful experience. So, just know that there are fruits to gather in the valley of Despair.


People often have a love-hate relationship with this equation. The proper definitions of the numerator and denominator are what create the magic. “Wanting what you have” can be translated into “practicing gratitude,” having a reverence for what is working in your life. The more tricky definition is in the bottom of this equation. To “have what you want” is an act of “pursuing gratification.” I want something and it’s my job to go out and pursue it or “have” it in order to satisfy that want.

Don’t get me wrong. The act of pursuing something can bring us a sense of accomplishment and take us into that focused “flow” state. But, the risk is that “chasing something with hostility” (some dictionaries’ definition of “pursuit”) or even with just focused attention can completely distract you from what’s in the numerator, what you already have. Socrates said it best, “He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

As a type-A guy who’s spent more than my share of time on the hedonic treadmill, I can tell you that it’s very difficult to simultaneously practice gratitude while also pursuing gratification. Some mystics are able to take the bottom of this equation down to zero, which may give them infinite happiness. But, for the rest of us mere mortals, the risk is not in lack of pursuit, as this is part of what modern society demands of us. The risk is that we completely diminish the power of gratitude.

So, the true power of this equation is in keeping your attention on the numerator.

Someone once said to me that feeling gratitude without sharing it with someone is like wrapping a present without giving it to the intended recipient. So, what are the ways you can show your gratitude in such a fashion that it becomes a habit or practice for you that’s ingrained in your everyday life? For me, I needed to start by having it on my conscious “to-do” list each day. I had a rule that I had to give two face-to-face expressions of gratitude each day at work, preferably to someone who found the thank you unexpected. In fact, I wrote about this in the Huffington Post after one of my recent trips to Bali. What if you thought of your expressions of gratitude like a devotional daily offering?

Let me give you a suggestion about a Gratitude Journal as well. They’re not for everyone, just like personal journals resonate with some while repelling others. The purpose of a Gratitude Journal is to help you be conscious about “wanting what you have.” An alternative means of accomplishing this purpose is to have a Gratitude Buddy. Make it a point to meet with your Buddy once a month (or more frequently if you wish) in a location where there are no distractions and ask each other, “What gifts do you have in your life that are easy to take for granted?” and “What was a recent gift that may have been wrapped up as a pain or punishment?”

For those of you who’d like to explore this equation a little further, I have two suggestions.

1. Check out a research article by Jeff T. Larsen and Amie R. McKibban where they literally put this equation to the test (with inconclusive results, but really interesting findings).

2. Watch my 2010 TED talk, in which I share my key learning from my trip to Bhutan to study their Gross National Happiness Index.


After reading more than a dozen books and 50 research studies on anxiety, I was struck by the fact that 95% of the causes of anxiety seemed to be distilled down to what we don’t know and what we can’t control. You may have heard of the study that demonstrated most people would prefer receiving an electric shock now that’s twice as painful as receiving some random shock in the next 24 hours. This is why, as leaders, we need to recognize that hiding the truth, especially when it’s going to come out at some point in the near future, is a futile mistake that can often just increase the amount of anxiety your employees are feeling.

If we know that the combustible product of uncertainty and powerlessness creates anxiety, we can create what I call an Anxiety Balance Sheet to turn this around. Take out a piece of paper and create four columns. Then, think of something that is currently making you anxious. Regarding that subject, the first column is “What Do I Know” about this issue. The second column is “What Don’t I Know.” The third column is “What Can I Influence.” The fourth column is “What Can’t I Influence.” Spend enough time doing this so that you have at least one item per column but you may find that you have a half-dozen items in some columns.

After you feel complete, what do you notice with respect to the four columns? About 80% of the people I’ve worked this through with are surprised that they have more items listed in columns one and three (the “good” columns) than they do in columns two and four. The reality is that when something is making us anxious, we tend to fixate on those elements of the problem that feel mysterious (what we don’t know) or uncontrollable (what we can’t influence). So, there’s some liberation in just outlining what’s making you crazy and realizing that there may be many balancing positives to those issues that are vexing you.

Now, spend some time reviewing the items in column two (what you don’t know). Is there someone you can ask – your boss, your boyfriend, your doctor – who can help you with some needed information that will move this item from column two to column one? Maybe it’s just doing a Google search? I know it’s scary to ask your boss whether your job is in jeopardy, but remember the electric shock example I mentioned earlier. Anxiety can be more painful and debilitating than bad news. Now look at column four and truly ask yourself, “Are you completely powerless about the items on this list?” I’ve found that having a smart friend sit with me can sometimes help me uncover ways to move items from column four to column three.

In sum, just the act of unpacking your anxiety bag and knowing what’s inside can have a profound effect on reducing your fear of the future.


We’ve had a subtraction, a division, and a multiplication equation so far. Now, we’ll finish with an addition equation around the experience of curiosity. Recent studies have shown that curiosity is one of the most valuable emotional qualities people can leverage during periods of crisis. Fear and most negative emotions train us to narrow our scope. “Fight or flight” reactions are evolution’s means of helping us avert danger. But, oftentimes, we need to move from narrowing our attention to the “broaden and build” way of thinking that Barbara Fredrickson talks about in her book on Positivity. Getting through your own emotional recession may require bigger thinking rather than narrow execution.

When you’re living in a place of fear, it is hard to be curious. But, I’ve found that so much of it comes back to defusing my natural tendency toward reactivity. In other words, it’s learning to pause. Curiosity is not a reactive emotion. It’s one that takes a certain amount of reflection and a willingness to admit what you don’t know. So, ask yourself, “What habitats allow me to be more curious?” I first had to make a list of which habitats made be less curious: the office, any conference room, investor meetings, and spending time with people who I wanted to impress.

So, I knew that these were not places that were going to help me stoke up bigger thinking. Ironically, when I made my list of curious habitats, I found my list to be longer than I expected: anywhere in nature but especially near a beach with crashing surf; hanging out with kids; museums or other experimental spaces with art; zoos; places with a big night sky and lots of stars; my backyard cottage; and any place where I felt comfortable laughing from my gut (it’s hard to be full of humor and full of fear at the same time).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that seeking the sacred in life opens up my sense of awe and my ability to connect with curiosity.

I’ve recently made a decision to seek out a sacred festival somewhere in the world each quarter as a means of committing to finding habitats for curiosity. As Tim F. knows (he was a fellow citizen of my camp Maslowtopia), I’ve been an aficionado of Burning Man for many years and some of my best business ideas have come out of my time in the desert marveling at transcendent art and having non-linear conversations.

So, if you’re feeling “on empty” creatively, know that curiosity is the fuel you need to seek. In author Liz Gilbert’s 2009 TED talk (TED is another habitat for curiosity), she shares the fact that the genesis of the word “genius” comes from “genie” and that the most creative people in the world are able to become vessels for the genie to inhabit them. My experience is that these genies prefer inhabiting curious places in the world and that’s where they’re most likely to tap you on your shoulder and give you the gift of inspiration that may change your life.

In sum, the more the external world becomes chaotic, the more we rely upon internal logic. This was true in the 1930s when Nazism and political and religious fundamentalism rose. But, that decade also sprouted new thinking from people like Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Viktor Frankl, and Reinhold Niebuhr (who created the Serenity Prayer).

I hope that you find these emotional equations help you to think differently, live better, and truly become the Chief Emotions Officer of your own life. It’s worth the introspection.


Chip is offering an exclusive to readers of this blog: the chance to spend a full day with him in San Francisco.

He’ll cover economy airfare from anywhere in the US (if you’re international, you’ll need to get yourself to the US), and he’ll also cover two nights at Hotel Vitale on the water, or the best alternative if they’re sold out. The usual legal stuff applies: must be older than 18, void where prohibited, no purchase required to enter, etc.

No later than this Friday (1/20/12) at 5pm PST, leave a comment below and answer the following, in order, and in no more than 300 words:

1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

Only the first 100 entrants are eligible, so the earlier the better!


Odds and Ends: The Crunchies, Winners, and More

The Crunchies, something like the tech Oscars, are currently in the finals, and quite a few of my start-ups have made the cut (I’m honored to be involved with all of them). If you like these products or people, please click through to give them a vote! All of the candidates, many of them friends, are outstanding.

CEO of the YearPhil Libin (Evernote) and Dick Costolo (Twitter)

Angel of the Year – these folks are all incredible, but I have to vote for my man, Kevin Rose.

Founder of the YearLeah Busque (TaskRabbit) For the story of how Leah and I met, as well as how she got me to be an advisor, see this article: “How to Turn $750 into $1,000,000”

Best Tablet AppStumbleUpon

Best Mobile AppEvernote and Taskrabbit

Best Location AppUber (check out the San Francisco grid)

For all of the categories and finalists, go here.

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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535 Replies to “How to Become an Effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer”

  1. 1. Diane Court: No one really thinks it’s going to work do they?

    Lloyd Dobler: No. You’ve just described every great success story.

    Say Anything 1989

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT Often I find my self living in the future. Waiting to cross the milestones and attain the next item that will bring a bump in happiness, but invariably the elevated happiness of crossing said milestone is fleeting and only lasts until I come up with my next milestone to chase. I think in the pursuit of bigger, better, more, I could greatly benefit from more often internalizing all the awesomeness that is already in my life.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would go forward with my plans to expand my manufacturing, retail and web based upcycling company. Specifically, I’m interested in how to be an awesome CEO from my employees perspective, as I’m just starting to grow into employees and want this endeavor to be about more than my financial bottom line.

  2. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Beside the river stands the holy tree of life. There doth my father dwell, and my home is in him. The heavenly father and I are one”. -The Essence of Gospel of Peace

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    Hang around with kids, drive home different ways every time, try doing different things, try different sports, go to the opera, theatre, brainstorm, start writing things down at night, keeping up a small notepad always with me, reading bios of creative people, listen to my intuition, hang around with gays, punks, homeless, CEOs, immigrants, just thinking and doing things differently than I normally do while creating that curios space within.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to build my own small hotel chain (in Europe) and give love, gratitude and support to the people who need it in my circle of influence

  3. 1. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

    -Marcus Aurelius

    (Second would have to be; “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln)


    Recently this understanding has freed me from a lot of internal anxiety over what “should” be and the flawed idea that if I have, I will be. This doesn’t change my course only the manner in which I get there. Being happy with what I have alleviates my fear of failure knowing that I will constantly and relentlessly strive for more, and that achievement will undoubtedly be satisfying, but I have much to be happy for and failing in furthering myself or my position will not take away what I have. In essence, I can put my chips on the table and my happiness is not dependent on the outcome.

    3. If I knew what I wanted to change or build after a day with Chip, I would not wait until after a day with Chip. Rather, my hope is to experience a different way of thinking, have a great experience, meet someone who has achieved, and to leave with new thoughts, ideas, and inspirations.

  4. I could not agree more with the importance of Emotional Intelligence and successful leadership.

    Most of the people I have either worked for or worked for me sometimes get too focused on executing tasks and activities in the workplace – as if somehow we all check our emotions (or in the words of Chip Conley) / baggage at the door.

    In my experience, when employees are frustrated it is often because they have not been heard. In addition, I do not (as a manager) have to solve these emotional problems. I simply need to be available to listen carefully to them and express genuine concern.

    Understanding someone’s emotional make-up enables you to understand the best way to work with an individual. I pay keen attention to the words people use when we talk because they are clues to their emotional state of being / how they see the world. It also helps tremendously when you simply (in a 1:1 or over lunch) ask the person some key questions:

    1. What is important to you?

    2. What do you love about your position? Why?

    3. What do you hate about your position? Why?

    Last point to make is a reference to a presentation (just this week) at a professional organization. The slide discuss emotional intelligence and motivation for employees. Reply to my comment if you want a link to the presentation deck.

  5. 1.”‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. “- Steve Jobs


    Even though I know better, it is often easy to spiral into a negative mindset and feelings of helplessness. Training my mind to focus on the positive and opportunities can instantly change my reality. The key is to remember to do it. Take a step back, and focus on the good. In a heartbeat you can go from a victim to a survivor. If I am feeling lonely, rejected, insecure, others must feel it too. It helps me understand and empathize with others.

    3.I am not a very good fortune teller. Perhaps a day with

    Chip will help me channel my own “genie”. You can learn something from anything/anyone. I would ask a lot of questions, that’s for sure. As for what I would change or build? I cannot give you any specifics without an NDA, but 100% guarantee it will be rad. Hopefully something for the greater good of all mankind.

  6. 1) Courage is not the absence of fear…but the ability to overcome it.

    2)Anxiety = Uncertainty x powerlessness

    Anxiety may have been the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. I never understood panic attacks nor did I think they were real. My mother used to get them and I just thought she was being irrational. Just being a woman and being emotional. I lost my father early in life. I lived a selfish life. I drank every night, smoked two packs a day and started smoking weed. Then one day (age 27) I was high and realized one day I will die. Needless to say I had a major panic attack and I thought “I have not done anything significant or worthwhile in life”. I quit smoking and drinking cold turkey and started running. A person like me hates not being in control. In a car I can control where the car goes if I crash, in an airplane I have no control (even though they are suppose to be safer).

    The idea of death scared the hell out of me until one day I accepted it. ? was not easy. Death made life beautiful to me. Death motivated me. Anxiety helped me realize death.

    Once I accept some things (death) are out of my control and that I cannot live in fear of “what ifs” I have been living a happier life. I look at other people who go through such hard times and I use to wonder how they do it. It’s courage. The knight still freaks out about fighting the dragon..but courage pushes him to go for the prize. What makes him happy?

    3) I realize that what makes me happy is seeing others become their best. I would love to help people.

  7. 1. “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee

    2. Curiosity is the driver of mankind. I think it’s impossible to have too much of it. Although I think I understand the curiosity equation internally, to externally apply it would be a force multiplier. Curiosity very often leads to self motivated learning, so if I can invoke curiosity in others, I can essentially help the world to learn. I’m a filmmaker, and this idea keeps me up at night. My goal is to process the world around me and make it fantastically more interesting, wonderful, and enticing to others. If others can see the beauty of something they’ve never tried before, I think they’re much more apt to try it. Then, if I can empower them to invoke curiosity in others, the cycle continues indefinitely and the world becomes a better place.

    3. I would change the idea that learning can only be experienced in an educational institution. So much can (and should) be learned outside of school, but few people realize or act upon this idea. If I could double the rate of learning in the world, the forward progress of mankind could increase exponentially.

  8. “When you learn to die, you learn to live”

    -Bhuddist proverb

    Despair=suffering minus meaning

    -I’m in a very strange place in my life right now. I just turned 32 and have began to feel tinges of this sort of despair that is spoken of. Up until now, I have had very little legitimate financial success in my life. Bills and Rent are barely being paid, if at all, and help from friends and family are what have gotten through these recent tough times. It seems to stem from a lack of focus, or perhaps meaning in what I’m doing. I have done some incredible things in my life: Was an all american golfer in college; Traveled to China and France for extended stays; Played hundreds of music concerts and released a solo CD; Learned hypnosis. It just seems at my age, I’m getting a little behind by not having a solid project that produces income and spirtiual satisfaction. These jobs that I take for quick money, waiting tables, for ex., are so spiritually void that I rarely last more than a month. It is my goal to find something in my life that provides meaning and motivation, that I can work at with zest, build and enjoy, and provide positive change to people in their lives. This is what I envision a day with Chip is San Fransisco doing; crystallizing the meaning and developing the vehicle.

  9. 1. “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” Carl Rogers, On Becoming A Person (1961)


    I am a doctoral student and work for a Native American tribe. In my research, I’m exploring how visual media and technologies can inspire tribal members to share and reflect about their culture together. I believe inspiration is woven with the threads of curiosity, and these people are inspiring me as much as I am them. The wonder and awe when a grandkid asks their elderly grandparent to tell a story from the old day, their roots, and giving them the chance to capture that moment with a Flipcam and share it with others is what makes me curious.

    3. I met a man last fall: retired two-star general, corporate VP, entrepreneur, speaker, professor, philanthropist, executive coach, guest on news programs… all with a remote work arrangement. One night we were at the same party. After everyone left, we stayed, did the dishes, and cleaned the house, because the woman who had us all over lived alone and had been through a tough emotional time. I caught a feeling like he was giving me a cosmic nod. I emailed him a week later and asked him if he would mentor and/or coach me. He agreed. We instantly hit it off and now we talk on the phone and email each every month. I asked him how he managed people remotely, and he said, “I don’t manage, I *lead*.” He is teaching what it means to be leader. If I had a day with Chip, I want to learn how to change myself into an inspirational leader. I want to inspire people to be creative and curious.

  10. 1. “The sign of life is enthusiasm; the sign of succes is smile and joy” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

    Since I’ve come across these, they guide my life. Christian Pankhurst calls it: Finding your juice. In dutch, ‘juice’ translates to ‘sap’, which doesn’t sound cool. So I translate ‘juice’ with ‘enthusiasm’ (in dutch: ‘enthousiasme’) and use this as my primary compass for making decisions and taking action.


    The fact that I was a computer geek while friends were surfing and chasing girls in the sun made me enjoy life more when I became a cool guy. The fact that I started to enjoy life more and just relax a little, is a much deeper experience, because I’ve been living in a blur for years.

    Recently it feels like all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together and the universe provides me with whatever I need at any time. So for me, the meaning of it all became clear when I stopped trying to find it. Still, I can so easily imagine a life where I would just have continued trying and suffering. Scary stuff.

    3. I have been walking around with a business idea since I was 14. So I would fint it extremely inspirational to brainstorm with Chip about this, and walk away with a piece of paper in my back pocket containing the first three practical things that I can take immediate action on when I get back home, in order to start realizing my dream of adding value to thousands or even millions of lives.

  11. 1. “employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for”


    2. Happiness = wanting what you have/ having what you want

    I think this is incredibly important. Like many young adults, I have had a lot of advantages (that i take for granted)many of have not had. Healthy. Good home. Able to attend college and pursue a lucrative career. And my main motivation is earning money instead of pursuing happiness. If you really think about this equation, it makes perfect sense. There needs to be a balance of wanting what you have and having what you want. All the most important things in life are free – family/ friends/ hopes/ dreams/ freedom etc… And all the things money can buy are easily replaceable.

    3. I would like to change the way people motivate and express themselves. To reflect honestly and often. And to encourage people to GIVE gifts of gratitude, not just wrap them.

  12. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “don’t give back, just give”

    Of course acknowledge those who got you to where you are, but you don’t have to label it as giving back. When you learn and understand that it is better for you emotionally to just be kind and give to others, you will find a much clearer and easier path to happiness. When you “give back” you are just reconciling a debt you feel you owe. And giving by no means has to be monetary. It is whatever you have to give that another person needs. Conversation, knowledge, curiosity, technical expertise, etc…

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    To me as a CEO (chief emotional officer) I believe that the equation with most value and opportunity is CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. As a leader, whether CEO, manager, employee, or friend, there is only so much you can do alone. But if you are able to understand this equation and harness the ability to inspire curiosity in others, your effect on the world knows no bounds. There are only 24 hrs in a day and rather than fill it with as much stuff as possible, sit down and have a conversation with your employees (or whoever you are leading) and inspire them, fill them with the curiosity to become the best they can be. Only through curiosity do people create innovations. And innovation is the foundation of change. 

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I will be graduating from Babson College this coming May and I plan on revolutionizing the grocery industry (first). I hope to open a progressive grocery that doesn’t focus on being “green” or “organic” but rather sustainable. I agree that local organic food is the best for someone to eat, but it is an unrealistic solution to the worlds food problem. Even here in the US, 23 million Americans live in what is now coined a “food desert”. ( I am sure that only an hour with Chip would exponentially increase my ability to build curiosity in others. 

  13. 1. “All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power.”

    2. The equation concerning happiness truly resonated with me because it is the subject of an internal struggle being waged within me. The brief version of this story is my friend collapsed and died of a heart condition he possessed (unknowingly) while we were enjoying a morning run. This event left me in a state of bewilderment, questioning the purpose of my life and criticizing my lack of appreciation for all that life has to offer on a daily basis. This is where the happiness equation becomes a key player in this experience. For years, I have struggled with my intense focus on becoming a more successful person. This focus has troubled me because my friend’s death at 26 years old causes me to question my goals, passion, and future. “Should I just be thankful for what I have and settle with the contentment of still being alive?” or is it justifiable to say “Damn it, I know I have it good – but I want to be better!” I know your explanation and equation for happiness has answered both of these questions. In fact, I will use this equation to quell the ongoing internal struggle I spoke of earlier.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would like to build a network of health & fitness boutiques that present our society with a completely different approach to attaining a nice physique, quality nutrition, success, relaxation, and inspiration – all in one place. I dream of creating a facility in which a person can gain access to almost any kind of workout he/she desires, eat a healthy & organic post-meal, listen to the inspirational words of a successful investor, fitness guru, or survivor of an ill-fated misfortune, and then be pampered with an eastern-style massage. All of this in one day!

  14. 1. If you are not growing, you are dying. – Anthony Robbins is where I heard that, but I am sure some version of that has existed for centuries.

    2. Happiness Equation

    Situation: My biggest struggle is the dichotomy between planning for the future and living in the now. With 3 healthy sons and an amazing wife it is easy to want what I have. Being an entrepreneur it is almost mandatory to focus on reaching for something more.


    I am applying the equation by creating a daily Google calendar Gratitude appointment for each morning. In it I will write down one thing that I am grateful about. Each day that I enter in a new gratitude I will be skimming over my earlier gratitudes which will make for a daily quick reminder that I have a lot that I want. After a year I would have found 365 small and large things that are already great about my world.

    3. Change/Build


    I am taking my family on an indefinite ‘around the world’ trip starting in June (at least 1 year, maybe 2, hopefully more). We will be toting 3 boys under 6 for this adventure, so it won’t be like the backpack travel my wife and I did together over the years.

    I own a growing business that is going through a major re-launch in February and I am planning to add one more ‘location idependent’ business into the mix before I leave. Probably an informational/membership type product to show local businesses how to create a local online footprint that makes them money.

    Build Request:

    I would be grateful to have Chip help me design a lifestyle that enables me to have balance with my growing personal life(sons, wife, world travel) and my growing professional entrepreneurial life.

  15. 1. Speak truth to power – 18th Cent. Quaker saying

    2. Happiness = (Wanting what have)/(Having what want)

    I am blessed with family, friends, education, and health. Attitude is critical as I transition out of a long run at academia, so recognizing the conflict between happiness and pursuit will help reduce disappointment (and thus regret). Additionally, the higher my aspirations the more gratitude is called for to keep my positivity.

    3. With Chip, I would like to deepen my understanding of how knowledge can translate to business skills. That he uses the language of psychological equations resonates with me, as a long-time follower of the work of Prof. Piers Steel. The day in SF, from a CEOs viewpoint, will be invaluable in learning how to sell myself to executives as a consultant.

  16. 1) The root of ALL suffering is desire. –Buddha

    2) These equations backed with your motivation (the prize) to actually make sense of it all, has helped me to gain a much deeper meaning and understanding of the practice of Wu Wei (non or goalless action). It has helped me to connect the dots by just having a visual of these equations. I am grateful for doing this exercise because I am better off than I was 30 minutes ago. This is the big picture that I see now. In order to be happy (life’s ultimate goal) the numerator has to be greater than the denominator in the happiness equation. And the greater the difference between the two (with the numerator always being the greater one) the more your happiness increases. This can be accomplished by leaps and bounds though visualization. Visualizing or feeling what you want as if you have it in the moment turns your “pursuing gratification” into “practicing gratitude” which decreases the denominator and increasing the numerator. And when you come out of the visualization/feeling you practice gratitude for what you have now, you have increased your happiness two fold. So instead of “pursuing gratitude” less you dramatically reduce it or eliminate it by transforming it to “practicing gratitude” through visualizing/feeling you have it now. Mixed with beliefs of faith in life/GOD that is it always working in your favor whether it’s a learning experience or exactly what you wanted (to remove UNCERTAINTY) and faith in yourself that you always find a way or are good enough for whatever (to remove POWERLESSNESS) you will be free of ANXIETY/fear to be lead by curiosity and find inspiration to take you full circle to your unattached goal.

    3) I would love to enjoy this amazing life experience, dramatically increase my emotional control and leave the matrix sometime this decade ? !

  17. “The secret to a happy life is to find one thing each day to be happy about – no matter what the circumstances.”

  18. 1. “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” -Proverb

    I believe in consistent daily improvement. When I learn something new or a better way of doing something, I try my best to immediately implement it regardless of how I have done things in the past. Tim is a master of this.


    People seem to ALWAYS be chasing the “next thing” in pursuit of happiness. They seem to always feel they will reach “happiness” WHEN they graduate college, or WHEN they get a great job, or WHEN they get married, or WHEN they buy a house. Being happy is about being fulfilled in life and grateful with where you are and what you have. Happiness now is about having joy in your life journey.

    This post resonated with me and helped me introspectively look deeper into my own life and recognize where I am happy and where I can be happier in my life with where I am at. I am going to apply this post to my life by starting a gratitude journal and begin a lifelong pursuit of being ‘conscious of what I have’.

    3. Chip is so inspirational to me already. Prior to spending a day with Chip I would read his two books: Peak & Emotional Equations.

    After spending the day with Chip, I would set up a conference at (where I work) and teach the 100+ employees what I have learned from the two books and from Chip himself. Eventually I would share all I have learned from him with my future companies I will be involved with.

  19. 1) I have so many favorite quotes I cannot choose, so I’ll post the first one that popped into my head:

    “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”– Dr. Wayne Dyer

    Besides being both inspirational and philosophical, it works! I also like that this quote applies to quantum physics—where matter can by defined as both a solid particle and as an immaterial force field or wave, which is what Einstein’s theory of relativity recognized, concluding E=mc2.(Now that’s an equation!) And, quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg uncertainty principle reveals the impossibility of knowing both “a particle’s position and its speed because, in measuring one parameter, the observer distorts the other.” “Spontaneous Evolution Our Positive Future” by Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman. (p. 157)Hay House, Inc. 2009

    2) Maximum benefit in my life could come from applying the DESPAIR= SUFFERING – MEANING equation. Again, I have grappled with situations involving all the equations in the post, but I think the one I chose here is the most important, because it addresses the idea of giving up on life and the consequences: existence as an empty shell or suicide. Having had several relatives commit suicide, this one is close to my heart and experience. Although I make time daily for gratitude and am relearning that life can be a lot of fun, I understand that despair can overcome me without constant vigilance. This equation invites me to remember the importance of meaning and purpose. I even wrote a blog post about it on my blog, after reading “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

    3) I would like to change or build my relationship with Life in ways that happen when taking focused, conscientious and insightful actions, such as meeting with a mentor named Chip.

    Thanks for post!

  20. I think I’ve missed the first 100 entrants which is too bad since I could definitely benefit from a day with someone inspirational like Chip right about now in my life. Also Chip would be saving on airfare since I live in Napa. But just as chance I’ll try to enter anyways.

    1) “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. ”

    Hannah More (1745-1833)

    2) I could apply the equation Despair = Suffering – Meaning, towards my life right now. I’ve been able to take situations in the past and learn from them and have been able to look back and say that I’m a better person for experiencing a specific situation. Right now I’m coming out of a three year battle with an illness and am trying to start looking forward again instead of focusing on dealing with being sick. I know once I find meaning again in my life I’ll be able to look back at this dark point and also say I’m a stronger person because of it. Just writing that makes me feel like I’m moving forward and gives me hope.

    3) What would I like to change or build after a day with Chip? How about changing my life? Actually I’ve been in limbo with a business project that got put on hold because of my illness. I’m trying to find a way to get excited about it again and start moving forward with it and pull it off the back burner. I’m hoping that spending the day with someone as inspirational as Chip will give me the confidence and motivation to start moving forward again. Sometimes it’s best to learn from example.

  21. 1. My favorite quote is by Mark Devine, ” Find happiness in the short term misery of discipline so that you don’t suffer the long pain of regret.”

    2. Despair = Suffering-meaning This is the best one for me because it gives me hope. As a 66 year old man finding a good job has been very difficult unless I want to work for McDonalds (and I don’t). Maybe all this is to prepare me for something later (of course I haven’t got a whole lot of later).

    3. I would like to learn how to make the most out of the next 40 years.

  22. 1) “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” Theodore Isaac Rubin (via End Malaria, Michael Bungay Stanier, Ed.)

    2) I love to learn new things and to help others do so. These practices are richer when they start from the place described by Chip’s equation Curiosity=Wonder+Awe. A simple, elegant equation. Truth be told, wonder and awe are all but missing from much science, learning or teaching. It’s tragic. I can realize I don’t know something then find another source of info to fill that gap. But where’s the wonder in that? If we just hoard facts and knowledge, they’re of no good at all. For me, it’s about doing something good with what I know. (Hence, the quote shared in #1). More of Chip’s kind of curiosity would lead to the good stuff of discovery, learning and inspiration. I think that’s where the genies come in. A potential knock-on equation: Inspiration=Curiosity+ Genies? Seems fitting so I also want to include the genies, too.

    3) After a day with Chip, I want to build programs that help others cultivate their curiosity and find genies. These would require exploration during journeys to wild places bursting with wonder and awe. The day with Chip would be an amazing chance to work on some Emotional Equations useful for charting that path.

  23. 1. “There is no greater fool than he who spends the greater part of his life earning his living” – Thoreau

    2. Curiosity = wonder + awe ..this equation/thought has been the basis for my forming Influencer Conference and looking to connect with creatives globally. My entire road has been predicated upon asking questions, challenging the status quo, and empowering those around me to live life passionately.

    3. I would like to build a better capacity to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with my friends and those that I build meaningful and sustainable projects with globally.

  24. “Some mystics are able to take the bottom of this equation down to zero, which may give them infinite happiness.”

    Honestly, Chip, with the right meditation technology this isn’t that hard. Enlightenment is far easier than getting a college degree or running a company (I know from experience). Practicing objectifying and then surrendering to experience with the right amount of concentration is the tried-and-true mix. You are unenlightened to the extent that you are embedded in experience.

    Many of the guys on Kenneth Folks’s forum are getting it done in a couple years or less, with the first major milestone of stream entry coming quite quickly.

  25. 1. “Waking up this morning, I smile,

    Twenty four brand new hours are before me.

    I vow to live fully in each moment

    and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

    ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    2. I like the anxiety balance sheet. It is actionable and a wonderful tool to see a challenge with a wide angle lens, realizing that one’s perception does not always equal reality. I am going to use this tool whenever I experience anxiety or overwhelm and will share it in my work.

    3. My vision is to create a process that takes a person through a process of awareness and healing. A process that is based on learning through experience, rather than on knowledge. Together with Chip, I’d love to see how this can be best realized with the tools I already have in place, leaving with a plan of action.

  26. Tim, Chip

    Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information.


    My favorite quote is by Marianne Williamson, and made a big difference in my thinking.

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate

    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure

    It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,talented and fabulous?

    Actually, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

    There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

    We are born to make manifest the glory of God thats within us.

    Its not in some of us, its in everyone.

    As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

    As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

    #2. I apply gratitude to everyone every day. Its amazing how you get so much better service by a simple question. Tell me your name, and then say thank you “john” etc.

    I even thank the cook in a restaurant.


    I am building a Wealth management company with the same concepts as Chip has build his hotels. I’m on a quest for a few good men/women. I would use the time to model Chips behavior for myself.

    I rarely respond to these kinds of requests, but felt that this was the right time.

    Thanks again.

    Chuck Root — Dragon Master

    Wealth Preservation Speciallist

  27. Really cool stuff people!!!

    1. “When I consider myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” Albert Einstein

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT – It is the quickest get rich/get happy scheme in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Life is simple when you realize that control of it resides in the 5 1/2″ between your ears.

    3. Establish an enterprise with the purpose teaching such techniques as Chip’s. Decide what avenues for distribution are in scope but include the private sector only. Depart with a plan for execution for a period of time, then have a review of the results and course adjustments as necessary.


  28. 1. Work Hard, Play Hard.

    2. Many times I find myself looking to keep up with the Jones’s and get sad that I don’t have these nice things “everyone” else possesses. Thankfully, I stop and remind myself that I am doing pretty well. I eat daily; have a roof over my head, a car, an amazing wife, and lots of friends. My garbage disposal eats better than millions of people in this world. Happiness is not a product, person, or service. Happiness starts on the inside. I am blessed. I like the equation because it gives a techie like me an equation to help quantify this concept/feeling. You can’t manage what you do not measure. Now I have a much better tool for measuring this and keeping it in check. I hope to use this throughout my years to keep happiness in check.

    3. I would like to change my relationship with myself, my spouse, and my environment in a way that benefits everyone in a positive manner. I aim to succeed in everything I do and this would be an amazing opportunity to be enlightened by an inspirational and accomplished person.

  29. Thank you TFerris for the Shortness of Life post awhile back.

    1. “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested” – Seneca


    Think this really draws on what I really got the most out of 4HWW in the first chapter in the sense of really defining what people want when they mean to be happy. When we keep life exciting we are constantly curious about the time we are investing and keeping ourselves in WONDER+AWE.

    3. Living in Oslo, from Toronto originally it would just be great to visit SF for the first time since there is so much energy and excitement in tech but being around the attitude of challenge would be a great emotional boost. More importantly from sitting down with Chip would really like to get more out of understanding the components of emotion to 1) regulate my own internally as the last 2 years running my own business has taken a rollercoaster ride of emotion that has been detrimental to some personal relationships. 2) integrate it into the cultures of companies I am evaluating joining to pursue my tech passion (Thank you Ramit for your Dream Job content really made a difference that I am choosing between 2 great jobs, one in SF, the other in Oslo, while the job market is tough).

  30. My favorite quote, from Thoreau’s Walden: “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.”

    The equation that resonates most powerfully with me: ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. I am a teacher and I have students who have endured seemingly unimaginable heartache and deprivation, yet they continue to try to rise above their circumstances, It is often as hard for them to see above their obstacle mountains as it is for me to see how to move that mountain from their paths. The ability ti change my point of view to find a path for them would help us all to be happier and more successful.

    Maybe I could get enough fuel for thought from Mr. Ferriss that I could germinate a more acute insight for developing connections to my students in such a way that they could see a path to their own highest selves. Maybe I could learn how to help them to envision and grasp the idea of their own highest selves in such a way that the attainment seems real and achievable. Thanks. This was a nice exercise.

  31. 1. From a martial art that I trained in:

    Think carefully because what you think becomes what you say.

    Think again before you speak, as what you say will become what you do.

    Think before you act because your actions become habits.

    Think carefully about your habits because habits form your character.

    Examine your character because it becomes your future.

    2. Curiosity — I love to learn, but I rarely give myself the time or space to feel wonder, and awe. I did that a lot when I traveled over the last few years, but back home there’s always some other distraction. Its time to change that.

    3. I’m in a transitional period in my life of discovering “what’s next”. Working with Chip would be mind-blowing for me, to spend time with someone who’s done such an incredible job in building an amazing business. I’d love to see how he thinks, how he talks, how he acts, and, most importantly, how he relates to others so that I might learn from his example.

  32. 1 henry ford. if you belive you can or if you belive you cant your probably right. i read his book and was impressed how like you he helped his workers to live and work less in better conditions.

    2 i always seem to be aiming for higher then finding reasons to stop. like counting. i feel i need to start counting the things that matter. i am happy and content but some times slip and want more. the article reminded me again. some of the best things in life are free.

    3 I would like some inspirational time to learn how to develop myself. i also hope i could talk about my experiences and share with you where i am today

  33. 1. “Every day I wake up torn between a desire to save the world, and an inclination to savor it….”

    2. While I found the equations interesting (and familiar), I found the concept of an ’emotional officer’ to be the key to getting the best from people, including all of us who took the time to answer these questions and share our thoughts – thanks….

    3. My wife and I now live in Berkeley (So, you might say, I’m a cheap date 🙂 after having sold my software/market research company and lived on a boat for 4 years in the islands. I’m building up an interesting network of folks towards the goal of creating a foundation to coordinate world-wide research in the field of Cognitive Assistance Technologies – i.e. memory enhancement, especially for seniors and people with dementia. (We ARE our memories, I think?:) It’d be a pleasure to share some ‘non-linear’ time with Tim.



  34. Can we stop trying to ‘Tim Ferriss’ comments? If you want more ‘orange’ boxes of Ferriss helping us out lets try asking short questions. Maybe with a short comment at the end, and he could potentially answer multiple people with a single post.

    1. Horrible timing to not read an article and then comment. Feel like an idiot and I am. Also apologize for bad sentence structure. haha damn

  35. 1. Life is short. Party naked!

    2. The gratitude equation – amazing. Sometimes the universe throws you a bone. This entry is a nice big rack of ribs served up for me. Hasnt been the best start to the year and without realising it i have completely taken my eye of the main prize – that is to take pause and be thankful for what I have.

    3. With Chip as my coach I would like to build a self actualization academy in my work place, opening conversations with my team about their current emotional bootcamp and creating gratitude walls of photos showing how much we all really have.

  36. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    You must be born again – Jesus (it’s deep)

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    Seeking out lateral thinking experiences is how I found Tim Ferris.

    Need more curiosity adventures on the calendar.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    Leverage this meeting to design a “youth run” out reach to at-risk teens in Brockton MA

  37. 1. “The map is not the territory” – Alfred Korzybski

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. This is a great reminder of the importance of gratitude and one that I will apply immediately by expressing my gratitude for others in my life directly to them. It is also a reminder that striving for something even better doesn’t have to feel guilty, and I will use this to avoid the guilt I sometimes feel over wanting more.

    3. I would love to use insights from our conversation to expand the work that my wife and I do with other married couples and build better relationships.

  38. I know I’m well over number 100, but here’s my two cents:

    1. Favorite words strung together: Do Unto Others…Otherwise known as The Golden Rule. Treat people as I wish to be treated. I am not religious, however I do consider myself spiritual, continually seeking.

    2. Which leads me to the quote which best speaks to me:

    Curiosity = Wonder + Awe.

    Lately, I can’t learn enough. I have a deep-knawing need to discover and figure out that which flips my intrigue button. Starting with Eckart Tolle’s nudge, I like remaining open to what is. Kind of deep, perhaps far too introspective, but advice that clicked for me.

    3. Well, here I go again. Regarding the build or change question, I’d like to listen, learn and gain perspective from Chip. I can tell from his blurb above that he is someone whom I share some philosophy and a good dose of respect. Who wouldn’t benefit from spending time with someone who can teach one a thing or two? As a benefit, I’m a Bay Area gal who can take BART to the city, so no transportation costs will be incurred 🙂

  39. 1. “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.” Lucius Seneca

    2. The equation that I would focus on to achieve maximum benefit is: ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS (see answer to next question for description…)

    3. I would like to build a better way to reach new fathers of daughters to help them overcome the tremendous anxiety that being in that situation entails. As a father of two young girls (age 4 ½ and almost 3) I know first-hand that this is an area that is ripe for improvement – improvements in understanding and in providing guidance for things men may not have thought about in columns 1 and 3 of the Anxiety Balance Sheet (as well as better resources to reduce the items in columns 2 and 4!) I’d love the opportunity to discuss with Chip ways to apply the other emotional equations to address this issue. In my opinion improving (or in some cases changing) the relationships that fathers have with their daughters has enormous potential to benefit the world.

  40. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote? ‘Don’t worry, ’bout a thing….” Marley

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit? HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT – Through showing/acting/being grateful for what little (or lot) I have, I can stop being trapped by materialism and the need for the next high whatever that may be.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF? I’d like to build a blueprint to unite people in my city to come together and share ideas on how to push this small town into the 21st century. A meeting that actually accomplished things, and expands our ideas on what we as a small community can do.

  41. 1. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – ghandi


    I feel like I have been living in my own mental prison for the past year or so after leaving a company I started, only to start five more. And with each day passing in 2011 preparing, inventing, creating, learning and sharing, I have found myself wanting to know the answers to the looming questions… i.e., when Will get funded? When will we get the stamp of approval? What’s going on with my health that the doctors haven’t been able to figure it out for over 5 years?

    I became so frustrated just wanting to know answers, wanting direction, and often times felt helpless/powerless. What I realized was that a lot of my life came down to choices, and that in many cases, I had control of a few factors that are now helping me deal day to day. But I could use SO much more help in this arena.

    My brain is ALWAYS on! I wouldn’t mind a shut off switch every now and then. Granted it allows me to be the creative person that I am, but it also can feel debilitating at times.

    3. I would like to build my dream MUSE/company, and truly take it from concept to creation. It would be an honor of a lifetime to spend time with Chip. Mentors are incredibly powerful, and I know that experience would last my entire lifetime.

  42. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Come to the edge, He said.

    They said: We are afraid.

    Come to the edge, He said.

    They came. He pushed them,

    And they flew…”

    Guillaume Apollinaire

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    Despair = Suffering – Meaning

    2012 started off with a bang as I found out my girlfriend of 4 years was cheating on me. I turn 28 next month and I have realized that I have been living in fear my entire life. I have been afraid to take chances, being rejected, and being afraid to let the awesome person I really am be shown to the world. I am a good guy, but for some reason I self sabotage most things in my life. This year I have to decided to do serious reflection and figure out exactly why I am selling myself short. After being at the lowest point in my life I am not allowing myself to settle for anything but the best – period.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    To take a realistic approach as to understanding what fear is and to take immediate action steps to prover to my inner self that it’s nothing but an illusion that I have to created to protect myself from invisible threats.


    This being human is a guest house.

    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,

    some momentary awareness comes

    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!

    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

    who violently sweep your house

    empty of its furniture,

    still, treat each guest honorably.

    He may be clearing you out

    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whatever comes.

    because each has been sent

    as a guide from beyond.

    2. DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING. As someone who has been actively investigating the causes and meaning behind my own suffering for a couple of years, I realize now that its meaning has been to help me move toward self-acceptance, remove self-delusion, and also so that I may better help others.

    3. I want to find the guts, the means, and the flow to publish guidebooks for kids and teens to teach them ways to manage strong emotions such as anxiety, anger, and despair. As a therapist, I help one child at a time. As an entrepreneur, I could help thousands and more. I think I could use a variation of the Anxiety Balance Sheet in it, if that’s OK with you!

  44. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

    -Ben Franklin

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    I already do. The hair is still standing up on the back of my neck from being made aware of this article. I may have learned all of these things the hard way, but our similarities in thought are incredible! I am in the process of designing and building my own company which………well, let’s just say it’s pretty weird for me to have randomly encountered this article (I’m not in the hotel business either, so no angle or anything). If Mr. Conley cares to hear my story, he can email me, or I’ll pay to fly myself out there (funny thing is: I was just in San Francisco). I love linking up with like minded people. The world needs more of this!

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would love to continue contributing to the true progress of the human race. I think we can all win.

  45. I know I’m too late for the contest, but I wanted to post anyway! Thanks for the great blog Tim and thank you for the great entry Chip.

    1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    There is no elevator to success, you must take the stairs.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    About a year ago I co-founded a video production company. From the beginning, it’s been our goal to only take on projects that stand for something. From time to time however, we steer away from that goal in order to pay the bills. Every time that happens we end up hating our lives until the project is done. This equation puts into perfect words what we’ve been figuring out over our first year: stick with what matters and good things happen.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    After a day with Chip I would build on his emotional intelligence work by spreading it through my every day interactions as well as my film and video skills. Feature length documentary Chip?

  46. 1. “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” ? Rainer Maria Rilke


    As a young Arab woman, being disowned by my family seemed to be the ultimate zenith of my despair and long term suffering. Today it is my working piece to hand off as a tool (in my consulting) to empower young women out of violence (both indirect and direct) and into owning their self-worth and empowering them to gain speed in reaching their goals.

    3. After a day with Chip, I hope to have a better (practicing) understanding of what it means to be a Chief Emotional Officer. I hope to have a close and long-term mentorship with him to better aid me in my own actions as CEO. And perhaps exchange a few metaphor as I have some clever ones of my own:-)

    Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Chip.

  47. 1) Be the change you wish to see in the world. – Gandhi

    2) Anxiety

    My wife is considering a divorce and I’m still having difficulty finding a job that is not a step backwards from where I was prior to obtaining my MBA. I need to figure out how to address the uncertainty and powerlessness in the former situation (she doesn’t want to talk about our issues or find a direction resolution currently – she wants space) and the uncertainty in the latter. I also have been struggling against headhunters and friends who keep telling me it’s the economy and that there’s nothing else I can really do, as that makes me feel powerless when it seems unjustified to me.

    3) I want to develop tools and methods to become more emotionally resilient. I’m great at planning to minimize hardship, but I don’t deal as well with disappointment as I’d like and I’m not sure how to remedy this.

  48. 1. “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” R. Buckminster Fuller

    2. I work in education. Teaching students (children) about all 4 of these aspects is vital to help create change in education. Our system feeds anxiety, but doesn’t teach understanding. Our system kills curiosity in the name of regurgitation. It teaches chasing more, not discovering self and the nature of happiness.

    3. My goal is to build change in education. I want Chip’s help building the path.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  49. 1. “It’s the attitude, not the aptitude, that will drive your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar Many years ago I had this good friend of mine telling me: “I’ve never f**ked a woman, I’ve always f**ked an attitude”. So when I stumbled upon Zig Ziglar’s quote I thought that I found the next step on the staircase.


    I love this one because it’s an addition equation to start with, it keeps one’s doors to the world wide open and not lastly bridges those positive traits from our childhood all the way to seniority. I could apply this equation to my life for maximum benefit as a constant reminder to “stay young, stay foolish”,

    3. After a day with Chip in SF (I haven’t been to SF yet) I would make a plan on how to stay more connected to the feelings of the interlocutor and reduce the ping-pong back to me & forth. I know change doesn’t come about on the spot, it’s a process and my day with Chip will ignite the engine.

    Thank you, I’m grateful for this opportunity!


  50. 1.) QUOTE: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

    2.) EQUATION: CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE; it’s difficult to cut through the every day mundane tasks that keep life going around to do any real deep thinking, to be truly curious, and to find those things in your life that inspire wonder and awe. I would like to use this equation to improve my life by identifying those things, people, times, and locations that can get me back to my childlike curiosity so that I can find wonder and awe again as an adult.

    3.) I would like to change some of my time management practices, build toward a stronger pursuit of making money with my writing on the side. I think spending a day in San Francisco with Chip could be of enormous benefit by hearing and experiencing firsthand someone who has put all of these equations into practice in his own life with great results.

  51. 1) Charlie Parker:

    “Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all of that bullshit and just play.”


    I just spent the past few months clawing myself back from the worst parts of myself, to the best parts of myself. I went through a horrible breakup and health scare as I was unsuccessfully launching a startup, but have since seen other people, took the opportunity to get healthier and refocused our team into something amazing. I plugged myself then, and myself now into the four column equation and was so grateful to see how they aligned.

    3) The foundations for an even better me. I know I need to focus on HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT, now I want to learn it. Then that better me can reflect throughout all the other aspects of my life, happiness, family, relationships, health, work and everything else.

  52. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “If you don’t try, you fail”

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    Curiosity. With how young I am and how much I want to learn, I need to remember the real meaning and emotional calculations behind it.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I am working on my book Infinite Positivity. After reading the post, I know it would be exactly what I need to make my book TIP. (Tipping point reference)

    -Garth E. Beyer

  53. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    This too shall pass

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS- I am known for being “negative” but instead I’m just anxious about the unknown and things I don’t have power over. Applying this template can

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to change the fact that I feel like I can’t strike out on my own and be successful as an entrepreneur. I’m smart, educated, well read, and this should be a layup. I still don’t feel like I can pull it off. I know this is the *hard* part..

  54. 1. “The Wright Brothers never had a pilot’s license.”

    2. Disappointment + a Sense of Responsibility = Regret.

    I woke up today thinking about regret. An acquaintance of mine died this morning from ovarian cancer and I hugged my kids a little tighter. I cried, not for her—I didn’t know her that well—but for me. Selfish, perhaps. Like a fierce slap to the face, I became acutely aware of something I know—that I am given this one, little life. I feel much responsibility for making my corner of the world a bit better. I don’t want to fizzle away without contribution; none of us do, I guess. It’s time to get on with it!

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    The world. I want to live in a world that champions humanism and happiness alongside profit margins, and I believe businesses are the ones that will forge this path. It is my responsibility, and every other business leader’s responsibility, to galvanize corporations, and ultimately societies, to challenge the status quo of what we collectively value. I embrace my role in mobilizing that effort, but I know it can’t happen without thought leaders, like Chip, leading the way. I not only want to learn from Chip and his pragmatic idealism, but I also want to share ideas and create ways to wake people up to a better way.

  55. 1. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi. This quote inspires me by helping me remember a couple things. 1) The world is not perfect, but we can make it better and 2) Change is something that starts with you and you have the power to change the world.

    2. The equation that has the maximum benefit for me is “ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS.” For me, uncertainty comes from not knowing. So, by increasing your knowledge you decrease uncertainty and decrease anxiety. Anxiety can be paralyzing and this equation can help get rid of it by either gaining knowledge or by getting power.

    3. I would like to change myself to get rid of some of my weaknesses if I had a day with Chip. I feel like I am always trying to learn more about myself and self-improvement and knowledge of my feelings will help me lead a happier life.

  56. 1. “Why does no one admit his failings? Because he’s still deep in them. It’s the person who’s awakened who recounts his dream, and acknowledging one’s failings is a sign of health. So let us rouse ourselves, so that we may be able to demonstrate our errors.” -Seneca


    I’ve actually been actively putting this to use. Seeing things for what they are, and accepting both negative and positive aspects in life and opportunities to grow mentally.

    3. I would like a chance to get a perspective on a true entrepreneur or a direction to go in to liberate myself from the 40 hour work week. I’ve read some of tims book but it seems the monkey mind is quite an obstacle!

  57. 1. It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it. -Seneca

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I think exploring this equation will help me reconnect with the child inside of me that always wants to come out and play.

    3. I would like to master and better understand my own anxiety ridden emotions as I teach financial advisors to with their clients (it’s my job). Even after meditation, yoga, healthy eating, exercise, belly and tears laughing and a spiritual awakening I still find myself not always maintaining my “stoic calm.”

  58. 1. “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right”

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS – write down what i have control over to reduce anxiety.

    3. Build my .com

  59. 1. If we did all the things we’re capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves. Thomas Edison

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE – I used this emotion to save my life when I was told by doctors I was supposed to die and to go from a homeless kid to a biz owner. I will use this emotion to continue to learn and to grow foundations that foster positive societal change – to teach people all the things they can do and astonish the world – to be in awe.

    3. I will use the information from Chip to grow an eco-housing foundation, along with other social change agent projects – Chip -with your mentoring, my project is to bring more wonder and awe to the world – thanks in advance!

  60. 1. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind – Emerson

    2. My curiosity would expand my creativity if I got to go to the beautiful city of San Francisco, because I left my heart there.

    3. I would like to open a hypnotherapy cafe for behavioral changes and developmental growth.

  61. Great blog post! I was also impressed with the book and was fortunate to meet Chip briefly once at Esalen. He’s a great, down-to-earth guy and I too noticed how happy his employees are.

  62. Though I’m well past the 100 mark, Chip’s post has inspired me enough to leave a comment nonetheless.

    1. ?”[There’s] no excuse for just taking the week off to go hammer shopping when there are nails to be driven.” -Brett Kelly

    [My back up would be “Woooooo!” by The Nature Boy Ric Flair]


    Identifying/becoming more aware of the spaces that enable my curiosity and putting myself in them more often will be extremely helpful. Too often I pound the square peg into the round hole.

    3. I’d like to build my life around intentional living.

    Thanks to the both of you!


  63. Thank you for this post. It was what I needed to read.

    1. My favorite quote is this one from Martin Luther King Jr.;

    “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

    2. I can implement the equation “Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.” I am too often inspired to be a leader and then become overwhelmed by anxiety. My passion has been to organize a TedX Conference in my town, but the unknowns make me second guess myself. I am overcoming the anxiety by taking the list and tackling one item at a time. The confidence given to me from doing this is an incredible gift. The comparison helps me keep perspective. While bringing up the idea of TedX and talking to people about their passions has moved me. The things people can overcome when they find their passion is incredible, especially so when compared to the things that stall them when they do not.

    3. I would like to organize a TedX Conference in my home town. I have seen incredible people here who given the chance could make a lasting impact on our community, and maybe more as well. I believe that being able to meet with Chip Conley would give me the momentum I need to make this conference successful.

  64. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    Wei Wu Wei – translated “action without action.” Action without action is the core idea from the Tao De Ching, and implies an entire philosophy of setting an intention and working with the universe to allow it to bring you what you need, rather than struggling and reaching for what you don’t have.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING is pretty powerful. I feel like any time I feel like giving up, I’ve forgotten the meaning of what I’m doing, and need to redouble my focus on that in the face of whatever hardship I’m dealing with. The idea that anxiety comes from uncertainty plus powerlessness is also relevant, because often my anxiety blinds me to the ways I can change a situation.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to find the formula behind powerlessness and end that pattern forever. (Or at least plant the seed. After all, we’re only talking a day.)

  65. 1. Favorite Quote – “Absolute Vulnerability is the Ultimate Courage.”

    2. Happiness = Wanting What You Have/Having What You Want.

    I could apply this for maximum benefit by stopping throughout the day and doing what the Stoics called “Negative Visualization.” By visualizing a worse scenario, or what it would be like if my friend died, I would appreciate the situation or my friend that much more. Whenever I start to complain, I could stop, and instead of bitching about my car breaking down, I could say, “Well, at least I have a car!”

    3. I would like to change the way this country deals with Mental Illness. Through my own journey, I am convinced that for the majority of us, pills can only be a temporary solution. I fixed my 12 year depression (with a few manic episodes) with nutrition and natural methods. It is scary to me that we prescribe people pills that doesn’t solve the core problem. Do you know that depression can be caused by a yeast infection? Vitamin deficiency? Food allergies? I have worked with organizations such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), giving speeches, etc. and created a website dedicated to it. My goal is to change the way we help people overcome this epidemic in the United States.

    I would be honored to spend a day with Chip.

  66. 1.) The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Thoreau (In my teens, I committed that I will NOT be one of these men, and committed to daily learning and self improvement). (Now I’m in my mid 30s.) Its working.

    2.) Curiosity = Wonder and Awe. Do my best to only be in environments and around people that aligns to the curiosity equation.

    3.) Build billion dollar venture that impacts the world positively.

  67. 1. “I only have myself to look at in the mirror each morning and night, no one else is gonna do what I can do” – myself

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. I would take this equation and look at possibilites for reframing, studies show the more choice we have as societies the less happy we are, so learning to REALLY enjoy the things we have is the key. Perhaps the equation should be Happiness = being present with what you have and appreciating it all. Ironic because I was unhappy for many years, but actual cuz it works by making you solely responsible for your own happiness.

    3. After a day with Chip in SF, I would like change how I interact with employees, and be the ripples that permeate out from a dropped rock in a pond, sharing what I learn with patients, colleges, mentors, friends and students. I’m too chatty for them to stop me anyhow….

  68. It’s past the 100 comment mark, but I thought I would leave this anyway.

    1) “It isn’t that, by knowing the answers myself, I perplex other people. The truth is rather that I infect them also with the perplexity I feel myself.” – Socrates in Meno. Recently found this quotation from another great thinker to come out of the 1930’s, Hannah Arendt.

    2) I suppose Despair=Suffering-Meaning, but I struggle with that because some suffering is truly meaningless. The grief from losing a parent as a child, for example, doesn’t make one stronger, it makes one weaker.

    3) I would try to answer this question: how do you, like Socrates, convey that inner sense of curiosity (wonder+awe) to inspire other people?

  69. Chip, I’m wondering about despair=suffering-meaning. I agree that if your suffering does have meaning, then there’s maybe zero despair. And at the same time I think despair can be larger than suffering, if there’s no meaning. I think despair can go to infinite. I would write this one as despair=suffering/meaning.

    On the other hand, in your version of the equation, despair can get a negative value, and that’s an interesting notion. What does negative despair mean? Does it mean that if you have enough meaning to your suffering, then not only you get no despair, but something good out of the experience? That’s a powerful one to think of. That you could actually not just relieve your bad feelings, but actually end up feeling good, when bad stuff happens to you. That’s limitless. No matter what happened, you would only get more happy and strong. I think I’ll see if could do this. What a potential! You know, the feeling like your horizon just widened 🙂

    LOL turns out I might after all like your version better than mine 😀

  70. “Stay foolish,stay hungry” in the words of Steve Jobs.

    He never let life get the better of him. Even in trying circumstances, he pushed on and eventually created many wonderful products that changed the way people live and communicate with one another.


    This is a wonderful equation especially in starting a new venture or new phase in life. Curiosity represents the positive side of changes in every circumstance.

    I would like to change my working habits. Cut down hours in the office and spend more time outdoors and with nature.

  71. 1.”For attractive lips speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes seek out the good in people. For poise walk with the knowledge you will never walk alone” -Audrey Hepburn

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. I have recently left an academic career in a well-known university working that was not very emotionally healthy for me. I am currently living in a new country, learning a new language and trying to establish a discipline and career shift while keeping both faith and integrity intact. On the days I accept my feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness, the anxiety clouds shift away and leave me with the glow of meaning, gratitude and a glorious sense of curiosity about my grand brand new adventure. However the winds of change do not blow everyday and I often find myself returning to the substance of this equation in order to keep myself appreciating the flow – very inspirational and useful.

    3. I could definitely use some help training myself to be more emotionally aware. I am very interested in what Chip is doing as I have already seen how powerful an effect emotional intelligence can have, both professionally and personally. I have been part of research groups where it was not used at all (people were unproductive and resentful) and also where it was used to its full extent (people were incredibly creative and happy). I wish to further my understanding and use of my own emotional intelligence in order to both better my own projects and interactions and also to be able to effectively lead and pass on to others the gift of empathic interaction. As humans, our ability to empathise and cooperate is one of our greatest strengths – we are weakened in isolation. I want to learn more. Thank you.

  72. Q ” Opposite of success is boredom” Tim Ferris in 4 Hour Work Week

    ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS the path of seeking success takes risk and therefore is followed by anxiety. Jumping out buying 2 new businesses selling half of one, moving 4000 miles to run the new business, going from 7 employees to 50 overnight, from 40 clients to 450, having lived the 4 hr week for many years, traveled the world for 5 years with wife and 2 toddlers.

    Now to put that lifestyle/goal aside for the moment to be able to build the next enterprise to be the tool/tools to enable us to live the 4 Hour Week or less for the rest of our lives. To learn from Chip about customer service, how to get our employees to STAY happy and motivated even when, or especially when we are not present and to be able to teach/train them just as they are to us the Most Valuable Persons (MVP) and we serve them to be the utmost, in the same way they must show our clients that they, our clients, are the MVPersons and to serve the clients to be satisfied repeat customers- and then afterwards we would like to take all our key staff to experience first hand hospitality and to get the taste of the satisfaction that staff has from doing the right thing of being of service to people. Ultimately that is what life is about, about people.

  73. – My favorite quote is from Goethe and translate something like this: “Whatever you can do or dream of doing, start it now. Daring has genius, power and magical force. Start it now.” Original german: “Was immer Du tun kannst / oder erträumst zu können / Beginne es jetzt. Kühnheit besitzt Genie, Macht und magische Kraft. Beginne es jetzt.”

    – ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. Too often in life I’m hold back by anxiety. This happens in business as well as private life and keeps me from good opportunities to enhance my business and (even worse) to connect with people and enrich my life.

    – I want tt train with Chip on how I can reduce my anxiety level and increase my curiosity. So I can in the short run bring my business to a success. And in the long run to enrich my own life and the lifes of the people around me.

    Thank you for the great post and the valuable insights.

  74. 1. “Imagination is more important than knowledge” by Albert Einstein.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit? I don’t know if it was for “maximum benefit” but actually I applied the idea of being grateful today. I read this article early in the morning but didn’t have time to leave a comment so I put it into my to-do list for later. All day long I kept thinking about the article and so it happened that at work that day we had a a few issues we had to take care of and my boss was extremely helpful with us, you know, more than he had the obligation to. When the day was over and I was about to leave I suddenly recalled this article and went to say a sincere thank you to him for helping us… and you know what? He looked really surprised with it, but in a good way. Felt good, and in the end, it’s better if everyone in the company feels appreciated, and that includes the boss.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    Sadly I don’t qualify anymore, but I would take his email and the chance to ask him a few questions. You know, just throwing that out there….

    Have a great day.

  75. [ 1 ]: Inspirational quotes from philosophy

    “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle (via Will Durant)

    “The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it.” — Epicurus

    [ 2 ]: Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    “Wonder is the desire for knowledge.” — Thomas Aquinas

    If curiosity is triggered in the presence of events, observations or thoughts that don’t fit into our present understanding of the world, then, like a good scientist trying to disprove his own hypothesis, I ought consciously put myself in novel habitats and circumstances, allowing my mind free rein to bend and twist and merge new perceptions, even if it makes my gut sink and my sphincter clinch.

    “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities … because it is the quality that guarantees all others.” — Winston Churchill

    [ 3 ]: A day with Chip Conley

    I’d like to accompany Chip to his curious habitat du jour and work in tandem writing a song; whatever flows. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, outro; or something like that.


  76. 1.

    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

    ? Ralph Waldo Emerson


    I’m clearly past the first 100 entries and picked this up too late. Do you think Tim/Chip would look this up despite this fact? = Anxiety.

    Am I powerless? Maybe by explaining in my answer that I can overcome this I get the call to go to SF from the UK. Maybe if I show that I’m willing to fund an airfare from England they might take notice to how much I’m willing to give for this opportunity. Maybe I’m not so powerless after all and this experience leads me to lead the farming world in a better direction and also give chances to kids who never had a chance. Interested? Pick me.


    I’ve just turned my farming business upside down to do something that no one has done before. I’m on that journey and will need to build a culture and craft a narrative to catch the imagination of my future customers. I’m also involved in building a new charity offering private school education to fostered children at a farm school. Teaching these kids the self discipline necessary to care for the animals properly and directing that new discipline and care towards their learning. It is awesome. I love it.


    Lord, Shiva, Yaweh, Saraswati, [insert your own deities here] pimp my shizzle and deliver me to where it’s best.

    Yess’m, Jesus, life, cosmic intelligence, Milky Way Magi, take the wheel.

    I know you’ve got my back. I know that you know how intensely my heart burns, how sweet is the honey at the center of my center, how much I am capable of.

    And God knows (that’d be you) how game I am to collaborate with you to make good stuff happen.

    I accept my calling: to show up and shine. Unfurled and honest. Determined to be only that which I am.

    I’m here to give…my all.

    I trust that pure intention counts for plentiful support.

    I trust we’ll get where I’m going, together — once I learn to be where I am.

    I’ll go make my art now.

    I have faith that you’ve got the rest covered.

    Amen. Om shanti. Shalom.


    Finding this balance has always been a struggle for me. When you have a super ambitious type A personality, ‘having what you want’ seems counter intuitive. By being at peace with what I have, I know I can focus on creating a business that will allow me to have more of the things that I want to have.

    3. I would like to change my business model so I am operating at a profit- not a loss. I would like to build relationships with like minded people who are going through the same business struggles that I am.

  78. It is not really painful that I am finding this blog this late but I just got stucked to your blog and could not continue or work on mine. I wonder how you get things happen so big. You rock man. I wish I was here earlier to partake in the free hotel nights give-away but it is all good.


  79. 1. Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, humans will discover fire.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe. I have reached a place in my career where I am acknowledged as good at what I do. I do this day in and day out, day after day after soul crushing day. I have found myself not being curious anymore and joy of unexpected discoveries don’t come like they used to. I will apply this equation to ask more “What if?” questions rather than “What now?” questions.

    3. I’d like to see what creative ideas are sparked in our conversations on how to bring more meaning to what I currently do and how I can be more effective in helping others achieve their dreams. (Helping others unselfishly is one of the largest drivers of my happiness I have ever discovered in my life)

  80. “The world is not a problem; the problem is your unawareness” Bagwhan Rashneesh

    The happiness equation has been the most helpful. When I teach and facilitate goal setting groups, I often emphasize the difference between being abundant and having abundance. The first is a state of mind that supports contentment and gratitude, The latter is based on external things that can be lost at anytime and it also implies lack when you don’t have. The happiness equation gives a simple way for showing the importance of gratitude to other people and the effectiveness of being abundant vs. having abundance.

    I am already building what I want, I just think a day with Chip would provide me with more material, realizations, and ideas to connect with other people and make a difference in their lives. My life is defined by the people who I have impacted in some way, and after a day with Chip, I believe I could be more effective helping other people make sense of their lives.

    Thanks Tim.

  81. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    Thoureau —

    “To affect the quality of the day that is the highest of arts. In any weather, at any hour of the day or night. I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it to my stick too; to the meeting of two eternities, the past and future which is especially the present moment; to toe that line.”

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    Our best angel = love + competent leadership

    I could apply this equation as follows —

    Learn to engage people with a sense of spirituality/reverence. Express love in a leaderly way, by not allowing a default in my better self. Unlike the

    conventional wisdom, believe in Goethe’s view that it is best to love people, not for who we are, but rather for whom we could and ought to be.

    Believe in limitless possibilities.

    Express my love through my duty to my primary community and our great & worthy common cause which is to learn to live great lives (imagining what is

    possible and developing the competencies to accomplish what we imagine).

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    After a day with Chip, I would like to build a community (see above) which is emulated worldwide.

  82. 1. All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.- Oscar Wilde

    2. I loved the idea of the gratitude journal. Like a food journal or any other kind of tracking tool, this would create a personal record of all the things that happen in my life to be grateful for (even things that at the time may feel “icky” but that teach a lesson).

    3. Spending the day with Chip in a city I’ve never experienced would surely be a way to inspire creativity in my life. While I also am in the hospitality business and would love to see how his emotional equations in practice help improve customer service, I am also a lifelong learner and adventurer and believe exploring new ideas/places/foods/etc… is a great way to improve all aspects of life.

  83. “The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form – all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.”? Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

    HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT: The balance between gratitude and gratification is an equation that I struggle with. I work counseling graduate students by day and am transitioning to a life where I embody aspects of the body and soul teaching yoga at night. I want to find a way to engage counseling as well as body and soul work together (quickly of course) but find that the more I pursue the more I realize that the process of knowing and loving what I already hold is as- if not more- important to my process than pushing myself to work harder to develop a business that is soulless. Gratitude is knowing that where I am will help grow what I want to do – I can’t force it.

    I wish to walk away with a mentor who can help my business develop in a way that embodies and supports personal and cultural growth. Growth in others, growth in me as well as growth in the world through outreach development. I believe in a business/nonprofit that does good work – embraces seva, is based in a philosophy that honors all people and can these ideals like wildfire. My primary focus in yoga and counseling and I would like to combine these things to create a business but also to create a structure that can help unify others with like minds to work together. There are many nonprofit organizations out there to help the less fortunate via yoga but not a group that provides free or low cost ways to interact, unify and create a global message.

  84. 1. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince by Antoine du Saint Exupery

    2. Happiness = Wanting What You Have/Having What You Want

    I’m really keen to move house. I’ve lived here14 years as my children have gone through their educational years, but the person I was 14 years ago isn’t who I am now. Home and creativity are deeply important to me so I’ve learned via Chip’s equation that instead of being dissatisfied with what our home now lacks, I can value how it’s served us and continue to appreciate all its many qualities.

    3. After meeting Chip Conley, I would use my personal experience of time with him to illustrate there is living proof of authenticity as a Chief Emotions Officer, that Transformational Leadership is very possible. I would develop this experience via my work to show ‘here’s how…..’

  85. Hi Chip,

    “Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant”.


    This equation almost seems like a mathematical expression of the main Buddhist tenet of Nirvana—a place where desire is discarded in favor of a perfect state of contentedness. I’ve been miserable with 50k in my bank account scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and ecstatic working my butt off for free, doing something I love. I’ve never felt closer to attaining this equation than I am at this very moment. It’s really exciting.

    I actually live in SF, and have been talking to Linda, Ann, and Karlene about empowering JDV concierges with super easy, streamlined online rental for guests through Rentcycle. 100% free for JDV, as our commission comes from our rental partners. I’ve talked to concierges across the city, and they LOVE us—now just looking to management to help us scale.

    I’d love to turn the offer of airfare into a ticket to Hotel Heroes. It sounds like an amazing event, and one I’d be thrilled to attend.

    All the best,


  86. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “This too shall pass.” If it requires explanation, I personally feel this to be the same truth that Heraclitus spoke of, when he spoke of a universe constantly in flux. In this way, it speaks to all of my senses and to every depth at which I exist in any given moment.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    The equation, CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE places emphasis on how we make our minds, logically, emotionally, etc. I study creativity with a purpose of replicating it, but sometimes I focus too much on cognitive initiatives, because the metrics are easier to understand.

    In fact, so much depends upon the affective outlook and I think this equation can be applied to ensure that I attend to the Wonder and Awe. I can appreciate that they are required in order for people to make that decision to go “down the rabbit hole”, for a deeper, more rewarding understanding, and thus, a more holistic creativity.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to build an educational model that attends to people creativity and emotions. Having studied educational science, I feel that the current model seems to focus on developing a cold academic perspective. The most effective teachers are the ones that get inside your heart (or limbic system) and make you emotionally invest in what you’re learning. We don’t have many models that cater for that.

  87. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end”

    -Ursula K. LeGuin

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    I believe that part of” having” is the willingness to also give and that one is not able to give what they do not already have. I have just finished a personal project that was an exercise in this very thing. I came into some money and decided to take a chunk of it and give it away $50 at a time to random people in my life. I stuffed a $50 in a tip jar at a coffee shop, gave a $50 to a checker at the grocery store the Friday before Christmas because I wanted to. In sharing 10 $50 bills I gained an appreciation for what I have in my life and what we all share in this world.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to put together a program for management and service training in my home area. It is a big tourist area but there are huge gaps in service and management of so many of the local businesses. There is a tremendous gap between those that “have” and those that “do” in my area and I think I can help both ends of the spectrum to realized what the other end of the spectrum has to offer them.

  88. 1. “To speak to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. To speak to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” ~ Nelson Mandela


    Until last week I was the head of a 75 person sales department at one of my country’s fastest growing tech companies. At 25, many people thought I couldn’t be happier. It wasn’t true. I quit (much to the chagrin of my family) because I was unfulfilled and could not recognize how I was making a difference in people’s lives. That being said I quit to start a new company where I feel I will have an more dramatic impact. But not knowing what I don’t know I have been bouncing between feelings of believing I can conquer the world one minute and sh*tting my pants asking myself, “who the hell do I think I am doing this?”

    Until I read this post, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off fretting about customers, funding, legal, pretty much everything. So I’m making 4 columns now to get clear. I believe everything will work out if I’m clear and follow my gut.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I already own Peak by Chip and knowing that a team is only as good as its leader I want to build the best pyramid from the beginning. I owe it to my future team, investors and customers. Also, I would visit Alcatraz and the Golden Gate as I love architecture 🙂

    The best is yet to come…

  89. My favorite inspirational quote is Marianne Williamson’s ~ Our Deepest Fear

    The equation that resonates the most with me right now is Happiness. I feel it best expresses all of the emotions, because without happiness and a true understanding of how to attain it on a daily basis, the other equations are much, much more difficult to reach. I have learned that through meditation and the act of ‘being present’ as much as possible I can better see the wonder, hope, curiosity and delight in the ‘now’. Because now is all we have. The past is no longer with us and we cannot know the future. Realizing this allows and frees you up for the pleasure of ‘now’. When I realize that I cannot be any other place than where I am right now, I know that each moment is perfect and unique and something for me to learn from. I also practice each day the ability to witness my world and what I can learn from it. Be willing to see the world differently and be open to change. Shift my perception of my world view to allow abundance into my life. To be grateful for all that I have. Forgive. When I practice these principles, I actuate happiness in my life, release the outcome and invite abundance. I then receive everything I need and more. Therefore I am utterly content with what I have as I know it is exactly what I need.

    I would like to build a workshop devoted to plumbing the depths of people’s inner spirit so that they too can understand fully the wealth that resides deep within them and will give them the ability to host all four equations and better serve their world through sharing those gifts.

  90. 1. What is your favorite quote: My favorite inspirational quote is “I was early taught to work as well as play, my life has been one long happy holiday, Full of work and full of play, I dropped the worry on the way, and God was good to me everyday” John D Rockefeller.

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS: I am currently in the process of buying a house and starting a new job both of which i know how the process will go but both have me very anxious for the unknowns. Unfortunately the unknowns are unknowns and I have to stay positive and focused.

    3. After my meeting with Chris I believe that I would be able to conquer not only my anxiety but also take the next step in life, potentially getting advice to work on my own projects and ultimately start a company.


  91. 1) “The fact is that we’re vanishing creatures in time and space, we’re disappearing organisms in history. What does it really mean to be a featherless, two-legged, linguistically conscious creature born between urine and feces? We are not here that long, and the move between womb to tomb has to do with what kind of choices will you make, what kind of human being will you choose to be in that short time.” Cornel West.

  92. Five quotes, actually.

    1. ‘Creativity is the Currency of the Twenty First Century’. Robert Bluestone

    2. ‘Worry is interest paid in advance on a debt that may never come due’. David Mamet

    3. The purpose of being alive is to: ‘Enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, light up the mind’. Tom Robbins

    ‘The purpose of music is to make the soul susceptible to divine influence’. Boethius

    ‘Success is going from failure to failure with no apparent loss of enthusiasm’ Anon

    During the Q & A at a conference I recently attended, I asked Seth Godin to comment on the last quote during his keynote. He said he like it so much that he was going to steal it.

    I am impressed with the cogent and practical application of all the emotional equations that Chip Conley presents. If I had to choose one, it would probably be ‘Curiosity = Wonder + Awe’. I am a touring classical guitarist and do a lot of public speaking about creativity and healthcare as well. Whenever I go to a community I play for and have a conversation with school groups of all ages. I love to play for them, tell them about my journey with the guitar and inspire them to find their own personal muse. The C=W+A is an eloquent way to give them a portal into the road to finding engagement with something that grabs them. For me, it is enormously rewarding personally to be a model for kids in empirically showing them myself, a guy who was found by the guitar and the authentic and fulfilling path it has taken me upon. If you treat kids with respect, it comes right back at you.

    It seems to me that a day with Chip Conley would be enlightening. Lots of things to be learned. His post opened a doorway beyond which I sense a wealth of wisdom.

  93. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “As long as the daily number of positive thoughts you have is greater than that of the negative thoughts, you will be a-okay.”

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    I can apply the “Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness” equation to understand that there are many things outside my sphere of influence, and that I can’t account for all the variables in the world. These understandings would allow me to focus on what I do know and what I can change to minimize second guessing and overall stress.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would love to learn how to build upon what Chip has written in order to fully internalize the wisdom.

  94. 1) My quotes: “As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion. ” ? Pema Chödrön; “Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

    ? Tara Brach

    2) CURIOSITY = Wonder + Awe

    I’m a curious person by nature – it is one of my strengths. But I never considered how my environment impacts my ability to apply that strength. Ironically, this is a key principle I teach my clients. I’ll apply this equation by 1) identifying what habitats nurture and inhibit my curiousity 2) increase exposure to the former and decrease exposure to the latter, and 3) look for ways to enhance my work environment to naturally inspire more wonder and awe.

    3) After a day with Chip, I’d like to build practices to defuse my reactivity – especially to some current challenges and past experiences that allow fear to continue to be a familiar friend of sorts in my life. I think Chip’s emotional equations will help me “unpack” these things whose emotional charge has previously made this difficult. These practices will allow me to be more present and fearless in my life and more effective in helping my clients utilize their potential to impact change in the world. I also hope it will allow me to live with more equanimity through the process of international adoption and be a better parent to the child I hope to bring into my life.

  95. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Marie Curie

    The comments on anxiety are well framed. I see colleagues, dear friends, relatives — basically everyone around me feeding their anxieties and not facing what could be beneathe. It makes certain people hard to be around and sometimes the boundary that I try to keep in place to protect myself gets thinner and thinner. I’m always fascinated by people who disguise anxiety as worry or apprehension or simply because it has never occurred to the person to question why they feel a certain way. A soothing approach, an encouragement for truth and a hug can go a long way.

    Leaders who “get it” emotionally simply fascinate me. I would enjoy a day of emotional beauty with such a forward thinker.

  96. 1)

    “A weak man is just by accident. A strong but non-violent man is not just an accident.” Gandhi

    I believe Strength, as a psychological state, is the extent to which you internally believe you have a right to exist as yourself, and act on that belief. Successful businesses that I have studied seem to project a state of making individuals feel uniquely strong.



    This is such a powerful equation for human behavior. All actions performed by man that limit their own growth or the growth of others seem to flow from this equation.


    My goal in life is to still be an idealist at fifty, sixty, and hopefully beyond. I’m a software designer that has a passion for being part of Education2, or the next wave in formal education. I would enjoy spending part of a day with someone like yourself that has given a great deal of thought into human behavior, but has also created tangible business successes that are powerful metaphors for overcoming old business templates, and creating in people desires they never knew they had.

    Specifically I would like to get your thoughts on:

    The difference between nice and being an emotional thermostat. How a skeptical customer can be turned into a loyal customer, or a customer that sees “wonder + awe”. Why despite the fact that so many tourist to California comment on the bad service of California hotels and restaurants, owners smile and change nothing. You said, “The more the external world becomes chaotic, the more we rely upon internal logic”. I was intrigued by this and curious of your thoughts of how successful businesses are frameworks by which individuals can use flexible structures that allow them to transcend chaos.

    Thank You

    William Sedland

  97. 1. “Concepts without precepts are empty, precepts without concepts are blind” Immanuel Kant

    2. despair = suffering – meaning

    Happiness is when you understand the suffering. I would apply this to my relatioships to get the best out of them. At the end of each day I will spend 10 minutes conteplating on the moments of that day and take them as lessons of life.

    3. Design rest of the time I will spend on this planet to be meaningful and objective.

  98. 1) Favorite Quote; “Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself.

    2.)Happines= Wanting What You Have/ Having What You Want: I would write a children’s book… for children of all ages… This would be an alphabet book where the reader would write 5 things that they were grateful for for each letter of the alphabet… I would give the profits to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

    3)I would like to build a following for the “TGIT” (tig-it) movement. TGIT… Thank God It’s Today… a mantra of appreciation and gratitude for each and every day.

    Chip and Tim… Thank you for this post. It is awesome. I am grateful.

    With respect,


  99. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

    — F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up” (1936)


    The four column exercise is genius. I’m part of a community of Improv comedy performers here in Los Angeles. A big “A-ha!” insight in my development was the moment I realized definition eradicates fear and all of the defensive behavior that fear fosters. When my scene partner and I walk out on stage, it’s empty until one of us does something. But say my partner tosses an imaginary something into the air, then takes a swing at it like he’s gripping a baseball bat, and I react by turning my head and watching the “ball.”

    “Great hit Uncle Charlie! Right over the bleachers!”

    Boom. Now we know what we’re doing, where we are and who we are to each other. In one exchange of action/reaction and one line of dialogue, we’ve got the foundation for a scene. And we’re free to explore in a hundred different directions because we defined taken a moment to establish a few key definitions.

    So in business this is your budget, your schedule, your processes, your vision and mission values. I find these come out in discussion with my stakeholders (partners, investors and clients), but taking the time to record what we discover — like filling out those four columns — dusts away my day-to-day anxiety and frees me up to perform at my peak ability.


    What I want to build after a day with Chuck is a catering company that will revolutionize the hospitality industry through profit-sharing. I’ve banded together with three partners who share this vision. In the same way Ray Anderson embraced green technology at his company Interface to show sustainability was not only beneficial to the environment but better for the balance sheet,


    we want to prove that hospitality companies can not only afford to pay their people a non-exploitative wage, but will reap greater rewards. Our goal is nothing less then a complete culture change in hospitality, one that sees service not as a resource extracted from unfortunates on the lower rungs of society, but as a gift from people who’s passion is Joy in Community.


    1. …and of course I meant Chip, not Chuck… I talk to Chuck about my checking account. Although they know good service over at Schwab too.

  100. 1.) I have many quotes that I truly love. Though, my favorite would have to be: “This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel,” -Horace Walpole


    This really hit me on a deep level. I’m guilty of being too forward focused and completely forgetting to truly appreciate the gifts I currently have. I’ve known to practice gratitude intellectually but from my behavior you would not be able to tell.

    3.) After meeting Chip, I would continue to build on my existing Life Coaching practice. I know to really help of others to make change in their life, I can’t just speak from a place of understanding but knowing.

    Even if I’m not selected, I’m greatly appreciative of this post. I look forward to reading the book.