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3 Books With Neil Pasricha

Apr 27, 2021

Happy Pink Moon, everybody!

Way back in 2017, I came across a feature article in The New York Times Magazine called “A Whimsical Wordsmith Charts a Course Beyond Twitter.” The article was about MIT PhD student Jonny Sun’s online personality — as a sentimental alien — attracting a huge following online.  

I was like “Okay, this is about the latest viral Instagram influencer and their particular brand of attention seeking behavior.” But as I read the piece, and went deeper into the bio of Jonny Sun, I found myself fascinated. Jonny Sun is a PhD student at MIT looking to understand, in more objective ways, how social media fosters community. His research focuses on how social media content influences the broader world. How meaning is made. How it spreads. How it changes news and culture. As one comedian put it, “He’s like Jane Goodall and we’re the apes.”

I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the Jonny Sun rabbit hole. There’s a lot there! Jonny is an architect, designer, engineer, artist, playwright, and comedy writer who has written for BoJack Horseman. In fact, we recorded this chapter with him in L.A. currently writing another screen play.

Jonny’s work is across multiple disciplines which broadly addresses the narrative of human experience. His plays have been performed at the Yale School of Drama, Hart House Theatre in Toronto, the Toronto Theatre Lab First Sight Festival and the University of Toronto Drama Festival. His art has been exhibited at Yale University and the University of Toronto.

And, he is the author of a brand new and highly anticipated book called Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections & Illustrations. It is a truly wonderful book. Looks simple on the surface but then roller coasters up and down and sideways with obsessive mental insights like Jenny Lawson or David Foster Wallace.

Jonny’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeneys, NPR, The New York Times and Late Night with Seth Myers. He’s also been named by Times as one of the 25 most influential people on the internet, Forbes has named him one of their 30 under 30 and his TED Talk has nearly four million views.

Are you ready to talk about the culture of productivity, about being on all the time, about therapy and anxiety, about the provocative nature of humor, about succulents and aloe plants, about Dadaism, about competition, about algorithms, and of course about the wonderful Jonny Sun’s 3 most formative books? 

Let’s turn the page into Chapter 77 now…

What You'll Learn:

  • What is a toxic culture of productivity?

  • How do you juggle competing pursuits?

  • What are the additional pressures marginalized people face?

  • How do drama and humor interplay in comedy?

  • How do we stand out in today’s mass media dominated world?

  • What are the tensions between professional and personal ambition?

  • How do social media algorithms work?

  • What is instructional art?

  • What is behavioural simulation?

  • How do you convey deep thought and emotion in short form?

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: 

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3 Books is a completely insane and totally epic 15-year-long quest to uncover and discuss the 1000 most formative books in the world. Each chapter discusses the 3 most formative books of one of the world's most inspiring people. Sample guests include: Brené Brown, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, Angie Thomas, Cheryl Strayed, Rich Roll, Soyoung the Variety Store Owner, Derek the Hype Man, Kevin the Bookseller, Vishwas the Uber Driver, Roxane Gay, David Mitchell, Vivek Murthy, Mark Manson, Seth Godin, and Judy Blume. 3 Books is published on the lunar calendar with each of the 333 chapters dropped on the exact minute of every single new moon and every single full moon all the way up to 5:21 am on September 1, 2031. 3 Books is an Apple "Best Of" award-winning show and is 100% non-profit with no ads, no sponsors, no commercials, and no interruptions. 3 Books has 3 clubs including the End of the Podcast Club, the Cover to Cover Club, and the Secret Club, which operates entirely through the mail and is only accessible by calling 1-833-READ-A-LOT. Each chapter is hosted by Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome, The Happiness Equation, Two-Minute Mornings, etc. For more info check out: