How Much Does Your Commute Really Cost You? Calculate It… Then Kill It?

What is the true cost of your commute? One example comes from 4HWW reader Troy Gardner, who recently wrote to me:

I’m still work focused (I like creating things!), but since I control my time/location, I’m reaping some of the rewards of being among the New Rich. My girlfriend and I will be spending the entire month of October visiting Chicago and Hawaii. Since I’m project/laptop based I can work during the evenings/free time, while spending the time out and about, finally learning surfing, and maybe kiteboarding etc.

Here is his experience, in his own words, of going from shocked awareness to blissful mobility… Continue reading “How Much Does Your Commute Really Cost You? Calculate It… Then Kill It?”

How to Survive a Physical Attack: Tips from a Top UFC Trainer for Escaping and Attacking

What would you do if you had a 250-lb. football player on top of you?

Most women would be raped, and most men would be beaten unconscious.

In both cases, you end up on the ground and must first try and establish what’s called the “guard” position — your legs locked around your attacker’s mid-section, which allows you to better control distance. Most self-defense courses will only train you enrage your attacker, ensuring a worse ending.

Here are two ring-tested approaches that just plain work for saving your ass:

Want to see some of these moves in real life? Check out UFC 75 tonight for free at 9pm ET/PT on Spike TV. Not for the faint of heart but a good tutorial in what actually works. Be safe!

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How to Survive a Physical Attack: Punches and Chokes

I consider physical training a crucial part of lifestyle design and optimization. This is the first of two posts that will focus on practical strategies for surviving a full-force physical attack.

Parts I and II focus on stand-up defense against punches and chokes, and parts III and IV — taught with UFC grappling coach, David Camarillo — will focus on ground escapes and finishes.

Trained competitive fighters have a wide range of techniques, but I will limit the video tutorials below to simple-to-remember defenses against the most common attacks for men and women in the standing and ground positions. First we’ll look at punch defenses for men (especially against the overhand right) and choke defenses for women… Continue reading “How to Survive a Physical Attack: Punches and Chokes”

Savant School: How to Memorize 10,000 Numbers and More

The spectrum of human memory potential: Daniel “Brainman” Tammet beats blackjack and Japanese schoolchildren become human calculators.

Numbers, or digit strings, are considered by many mnemonists and cognitive scientists to be the most difficult data to memorize. If numbers are both abstract and difficult, how did Hideaki Tomoyori of Japan memorize PI to more than 10,000 places? How did my classmate in Tokyo also multiply four-digit numbers in seconds?

The answer is proper encoding, or translation of the abstract to the concrete. Hideaki used what I’ll teach you here, whereas my classmate used a phantom abacus like in the above video.

The average person can only hold seven or fewer numbers in their working memory at any given time, using vocal repetition as an aid. Using proper encoding, trained subjects can memorize all of the area codes in the United States within a 24-hour period… Continue reading “Savant School: How to Memorize 10,000 Numbers and More”

New Research and a Dirty Truth: Read This Before Chasing the Dollar

“You’re nobody here at $10 million,” said Gary Kremen, the 43-year old founder of, of Silicon Valley.

In the August 5th New York Times article titled, “In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich,” he and others in the nation’s wealthiest 1/2 of 1 percent admitted to feeling compelled to work 60-80-hour work weeks just to keep up. Hal Steger, who’s banked more than $2 million and has a net worth of $3.5 million, echoes the sentiments of these “working-class millionaires” when he says, “…a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore…

C’mon now.

I live in a nice part of Silicon Valley, and I do whatever I want for less than $5,000 per month. There are more metrics to consider. More important, I’m “happy” by all conventional measurements. But I’ll be the first to admit… it hasn’t been this way for long. Only in the last three years have I really come to understand the concepts of time as currency and positional economics. Before I explain how you can use both to exit the rat race and dramatically upgrade your Lifestyle Quotient, let’s look at some numbers… Continue reading “New Research and a Dirty Truth: Read This Before Chasing the Dollar”

5 Pen Tricks from Japan — Uh oh…

If you don’t have OCD already, I apologize. This post will give it to you… and you’ll thank me for it.

When I was 15, I went to Japan for one year as an exchange student. I was the lone American in a school of 5,000 Japanese, and I quickly acquired one habit that has since driven every girlfriend and teacher of mine absolutely nuts: pen tricks.

The Japanese, Taiwanese, and Koreans — none of them can hold pens still for a second. Now you won’t be able to either.

Here are the different moves I’ll show (and name) here. The higher the number, the harder it is:

The Helicopter (2)

The Pincher (4)

The Wheel (1)

The Drummer (3)

The Flip (5)

After you’ve dropped your Bic for the 15,000th time and want to punch through a window, just remember: you can stop anytime you want. Riiiiiiight.


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Odds and Ends:

Please vote for my panel at South-by-Southwest! Check out “The Art of Speed” here and take 20 seconds to vote so I can bring some of the world’s best minds and stories together in Austin, TX. Thanks in advance!

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The Creativity Elixir: Is Genius On-Demand Possible?


1 part stimulant, 1 part loco pro, 1 part…((c) leptonsoup333)

I celebrated when I sold my first book. For about 5 minutes. Then I panicked.

My senior thesis almost killed me, and now I had an entire book to write. I interviewed close to a dozen best-writing authors (Pulitzer Prize winners and New Yorker staff writers vs. best-selling authors) about their writing processes. How did they churn out high quality work day after day?

“Sit in front of the typewriter or computer from 8am to 6pm each day, with a short break for lunch and the gym. Just put in the your time no matter what,” one said. I tried that and almost pulled a Hemingway.

Another suggested that I write from 5-7am, write chapters out of sequence (which ended up being great advice), and asserted that writer’s block was a myth. My brain gremlins disagreed.

And on and on and on.

After much experimentation, I figured out my personal recipe for creativity on-demand: circadian scheduling, altered states, and white noise. Huh? It’s actually simple… Continue reading “The Creativity Elixir: Is Genius On-Demand Possible?”

Simplicity and Start-up Alchemy: An Interview with WordPress Creator, Matt Mullenweg (Plus: 4HWW Party in SF and Stunt Competition)


All your blogs are belong to Matt. ((c) misterbisson)

Shame on me.

I don’t know how to code. I should, but I need to get my Indonesian and Arabic fix before I can tackle Python and Ruby on Rails and Sugar-Coated Sugar Bombs.

That is part of the reason that I love WordPress, the blogging platform this blog runs on. The simple-to-use and open-source WordPress, or WP, is a favorite of diehard bloggers, and its 22-year old lead developer, Matt Mullenweg, is #16 on The 50 Most Important People on the Web list by PC World. Damn. That’s bad-ass.

More proof: I met his girlfriend at SXSW, where she threatened to kick my ass after we both had downed a few drinks. I thought that was the greatest thing ever, we had some laughs, and I decided then and there that I had to track Matt down. In this interview, Matt and I explore the concept of simplicity and some of the key decisions from his WP experience… Continue reading “Simplicity and Start-up Alchemy: An Interview with WordPress Creator, Matt Mullenweg (Plus: 4HWW Party in SF and Stunt Competition)”

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now

“Not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance.

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

Here are nine stressful and common habits that entrepreneurs and office workers should strive to eliminate. The bullets are followed by more detailed descriptions. Focus on one or two at a time, just as you would with high-priority to-do items. I’ve worded them in no-to-do action form:

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

Feel free to surprise others, but don’t be surprised. It just results in unwanted interruption and poor negotiating position. Let it go to voicemail, and consider using a service like GrandCentral (you can listen to people leaving voicemail) or Simulscribe (receive voicemails as e-mail).

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night

The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items…

Continue reading “The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now”

How to Tie the Perfect Tie… Every Time


Neckties can be cool when they’re not lopsided. ((c) fresh pesh)

His name was the “Egyptian magician.”

Well, that was his nickname, anyway. He lived down the hall from me my sophomore year of high school and delighted in laughing at my mangled attempts at wearing neckties.

I didn’t realize he was laughing at my ties until he decided to offer me one of his secrets. “Step inside,” he offered and waved a hand towards the mirror in his closet.

I never had a name for the solid gold me gave me–a method for tying the perfect tie every time–until two days ago. Here I am in humid North Carolina for a once-a-decade family reunion, and the dress code is–as luck would have it–strict southern gentleman: suit and tie after 6pm. “Nice Windsor knot,” my dad remarked two nights ago, and, thrilled to finally have a name for this technique, I now pass on what I learned 15 years ago.

Ladies, I encourage you to pay attention.

If you pass this on to any man who hasn’t found it–whether boyfriend, father, son, or stranger–they will love you forever.

So without further ado, I offer the little-known Windsor knot or, in homage to my friend whose name I cannot remember, “The Egyptian magician knot.” Enjoy…


Other Updates and News:

-The free Google Adwords credit for 4HWW readers expires in two weeks! If you haven’t tried out this $25 credit (for which I receive no commission or compensation), I recommend you take it for a test drive before time runs out. Just log into the reader-only section here and the link is second from the bottom.

-A reminder not to take the 4HWW too literally. “The 4-Daughter Workweek” by John Jantsch.