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3 Books With Neil Pasricha

Nov 4, 2021



Have a seat on the couch. Plug your headphones in for the dishes. Strap in for the long car ride. Let’s chill for a bit.


I’m so happy to have you as part of the 3 Books community. Welcome 3 Bookers! Welcome, Cover to Cover Club Members! And welcome, Secret Club Members. Thank you for being part of our ridiculous conversation over nearly 15 years. I was in my late 30s when I started 3 Books and I’ll be in my early 50s when I’m done.


What a joy this pilgrimage has been so far! Just think about the amazing conversations we’ve had this year. Quentin Tarantino from his writer’s studio. Shirley the Nurse in the gas station parking parking lot. Did you like Zafar in Chapter 89? Did you fall in love with Zafar the Hamburger Man like I did? How about Brené Brown, Adam Grant, Georges Saunders, Dave Eggers, Douglas Rushkoff, and Jenny Lawson? It’s been a wonderful year. And it’s not over. It’s just getting better and better.


Today I have someone who Tim Ferriss describes as a “philosopher-operator and poet-recluse of the highest order.”


A very apt and astute description.


Because who exactly is Derek Sivers?


Well, he’s a guy who’s given three TED Talks with over nine million views like: How to Start a Movement, Keep Your Goals to Yourself, and Weird, Or Just Different? (I actually used his TED Talks as part of leadership training at Walmart!) His “first follower” principle was a wonderful introduction in Leadership 101. A three-minute TED Talk substituting for a year in a college lecture hall.


And maybe that’s kind of … Derek.


A master distiller boiling things down into their most vital, vital components. His website is like a minimalist website from 1997. Looks like Amazon before they launched graphics. Yet it’s extremely functional and absolutely teeming with wisdom.


It’s also the only place to get his books!


Yes, books. Many books!


He writes and publishes them on his website. He doesn’t care about going through the big publishers and he doesn’t care about being available on Amazon.


I just read and recommended Hell Yeah or No: What’s Worth Doing in my book club and can’t wait to get his new book How To Live.


Sometimes I wish I could write as pithy and wise as Derek. A good example of that is in my most recent book, You Are Awesome, I was looking for a way to open the book and I came across this Taoist fable called The Farmer with One Horse. A couple thousand year old story! I spent so much time looking for the absolute tightest, shortest version of the fable and guess where I ended up?, of course. I asked Derek if I could use his version of the fable as the opening to my book and he said yes.


Kind Derek, generous Derek, singular Derek.


And Giver Derek. Why does he give so much? Why does he post his personal email address and answer every email? Why does he sell his hardcover books … at cost!? What’s behind all this? Well I asked him and I think his answer might surprise you.


Derek Sivers is one of the most innovative thinkers around.


Buckle up, take a seat and let’s listen to him share wisdom on things like: why you should rename the rooms of your house, why you should aspire to read slow, why it is more important to question answers than answer questions, what is the game of catch that is played between readers and writers, what can we learn from the grandfather of self-help, how can we learn to distill big thoughts into small words, how can we thrive in an unknowable future, how do we prepare for death and financial insecurity, why shouldn’t we try to remember people’s names, what is the slightly counterintuitive purpose to any conference that you go to in person, why should we consider changing jobs every couple of years, what would you have talking parrots say in a utopia, and, of course what are the eminent Derek Sivers’ three most formative books…


Are you ready?


Let’s turn the page into Chapter 90 now…


What You'll Learn:

  • Why should you change the names of the rooms in your house?

  • Why should you learn slow?

  • Why is it more important to question answers than to answer questions?

  • Why should we take the time to revisit our reading?

  • What is the game of catch between the reader and the writer?

  • Who was the grandfather of the Self Help Movement?

  • What is Stoicism?

  • How can we thrive in an unknowable future?

  • How do we prepare for death?

  • How do we prepare for financial insecurity?

  • Why should we separate what we love from what makes money?

  • When shouldn’t we learn to remember people’s names?

  • How can we optimize time at conferences?

  • How can we make people listening to us like us?

  • How do we stop worrying and start living?

  • Why should we consider changing jobs every 2 years?

  • Why does risk lead to growth?

  • What is delayed gratification and why is it so important?

  • What are the different time focus types and how do they change one’s view of the world?

  • How should we measure success?

  • What is flow?

  • How can we make time for reading?


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, Judy Blume and Quentin Tarantino. 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: