A thinker and a writer I admire once recalled the questions they'd been asked the fewest but had always stuck out the most in their mind. Here are some of mine:
What do you do when you screw up a live spiel on the radio or TV?
You keep going and cross your fingers and toes that you don't screw up again.
Seriously. Let me explain.
I was walking down the stairs of an outdoor mall once on a rainy day. I slipped like a penguin slips on ice, arms and legs flailing in the air, and my ass breaking my fall. It was just not as cute as a penguin.
A family having their lunch watched the whole episode through the clear glass walls of a McDonald's at the bottom of the stairs. They laughed. I couldn't blame them. I'd laugh at my own ass, too.
Anyway, I got back up on my feet. I brushed myself off. Smiled. And walked away. That's pretty much what it feels like and what you have to do whenever you're spitting a spiel on live radio or TV. The more you notice your mistake and make a big deal out of it, the more noticeable it becomes and the harder it is to recover from it.
So, I play it off. Maybe I even tell myself that I meant to do that. Who knows. It's live anyway. No one will remember tomorrow. We move on 'til the next break.
What are some books you've read more than once?
I've read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged three times. It's about 1,200 pages long, too. It's not a quick read, and it's certainly not an easy read. The first time I read it was for a paper I was writing in college about the "evils of money." If you've read the book then you'll know why I trashed my drafts on that essay. Spoiler alert: Money is NOT evil.
The second time I read it was, well, for money. The Ayn Rand Institute used to hold a yearly essay competition about one of the many themes presented in Atlas Shrugged. The prize money was no joke. I never won.
The third and final time I read Atlas Shrugged was because I just wanted to. You could say I even read it for enjoyment. One doesn't read a 1,200-page book three times unless they're crazy enough to find it worth their while again and then again.
A few other books I've read multiple times are Plato's Republic (my college thesis revolved around the idea of the "Philosopher King" and "mob rule"), Seneca's On The Shortness of Life (its a very quick read that packs a lot of "how to best live your life" punch), and Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie (the story made me teary-eyed the first read-through and it still gets to me).
What are some books you've never even finished?
I've started and never finished anything written by Robert Greene such as The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, and Mastery. My best friend gifted me with Tim Ferriss' Tools of Titans and I'm far from seeing the last page in that book, too. Finally, my most recent book purchase, Benjamin Dreyer's Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, has only been opened up to the table of contents because I haven't had to refer to anything specific from it yet.
Inspired by Paul Graham's "RAQs."
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