Blog 2017-11-06T23:25:36+00:00

What Teddy Roosevelt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sofia Vergara have in common​

Teddy Roosevelt was not your typical President. Just for fun, he would memorize obscure poetry and dense state documents and recite them on cue. He would send to Congress book-length messages, complete with graphic illustrations. During his "spare" time, he was a [...]

Still stuck

As I write this article, I’m sipping tea in Dublin, Ireland, thinking about Irish bathroom faucets. Specifically, I'm pondering their striking similarity to the Electoral College, the inch-pound system, space shuttle engines, and car headlights. More on that jumble of thoughts in [...]

How to turn your weaknesses into strengths

As a young law professor, I frequently hit the road to present papers at academic conferences. Many of these presentations were friendly affairs, but some took a hostile turn, particularly during the question-and-answer period. As a mentor once told me, academic arguments [...]

I’m a complete amateur

I was waiting in line for the bathroom at Interurban, one of our favorite Saturday hangouts in Portland. Ignoring my inner disciplined voice that tells me to stay off email on the weekends, I took a "quick glance" at my inbox on [...]

The best productivity apps: pen and paper

The first draft of this blog post, written longhand.   Inspired by the thought-provoking book The Beautiful Constraint, I've been experimenting with deliberately adding more constraints to my life. You read that correctly.  I'm adding, rather than removing, constraints. This goes [...]

Let’s kill all the lawyers

As a law professor, I have a soft spot for lawyer movies. Philadelphia is high on my list of favorites. In a particularly memorable scene, Tom Hanks’s character, Andrew Beckett, is lying on his deathbed. At his side is his lawyer, Joe Miller, [...]

18 Life Lessons from Nike’s Co-Founder Phil Knight

I wasn’t supposed to like this book. I’m married to a loyal adidas employee. When it comes to sportswear, it’s three stripes or nothing for me. I'm also not a runner (unless I'm chasing a soccer ball). So, Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s [...]

Contrarian Spotlight: Jerry Seinfeld

For a comedian, there’s the guaranteed route to laughter. You swear, joke about sex, and score some easy laughs from the audience. It’s a sure-fire way to success, the get-rich-quick scheme for the aspiring comedian. It works. Except when it doesn’t. The field of comedians [...]

How to disarm your enemies

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” ― Abraham Lincoln Political discourse has taken a particularly nasty turn.  We use words normally reserved for mortal enemies to describe our political adversaries.  Some of the choice terms thrown around in [...]

What does it take to be original?

We live in a conformist world. Starting at a young age, we are taught to use #2 pencils and color within the lines. Most of us grow reluctant to speak up and stand out, for fear of being ostracized by the mob. In Originals: How [...]

3-Minute Antidote for Despair

Whenever I need perspective on life, I watch Carl Sagan's iconic speech, The Pale Blue Dot. As it prepared to depart the solar system, the Voyager I space probe turned its cameras towards the Earth to take one last photograph of our blue planet [...]

Why white lies are black

"The moment we consider our dishonesty from the perspective of those we lie to, we recognize that we would feel betrayed if the roles were reversed." -- Sam Harris, Lying We tend to think that white lies are good. They spare others discomfort [...]

How I Read 65 Books in a Year Without Speed Reading

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” — Archimedes, Greek mathematician and astronomer Books are to me what the lever was to Archimedes — they allow me to lift objects beyond the limitations of my natural abilities. For the price [...]