Author Archive: Mak


I stopped writing here. But, it’s for a good reason, I promise.

You can find new posts here:

With peace,



For the recent graduate: Fire Your Boss

“Do what you love and _____________”. I’m sure you can complete that sentence, even  in your sleep. There is so much talk about Passion and Purpose these days that it’s impossible to have never heard the saying “do what you love and the money will follow”. What if someone told you the exact opposite? What if someone said, “work for the money, and the love will follow”?

That’s the tag line for Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine’s Fire Your Boss.


It’s career advice your career counselor probably never gave you. What if instead of encouraging you to find a meaningful career, you were encouraged to choose the job that pays the most based on your skill set, and to find meaning in the other parts of your life? The authors invite you to a paradigm shift: one in which you let go of the idea of a career, and instead  you embrace the idea of a job…or rather a string of jobs.

No, it’s not about just finding any job and getting on with it…or about literally firing your boss. It’s about redefining your skill set outside of the boundaries of industryspeak, outside of the borders of your job description and letting go of the idea that your career should be THE thing that brings you satisfaction and meaning.

There are things you will agree with and things you will disagree with. There are concepts that will challenge you and concepts that will wholeheartedly embrace.

It’s different enough to be interesting. It just might change the way you view the world of Work.

P.S. It will probably win as the answer to the question “what’s one book that you should not read at work?”

Roadtrip Nation Season 9

The trailer for Season 9 of Roadtrip Nation looks great.


This quote

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt


That Is So Unlike Me: Leading a trip to New York City

I’m spatially challenged. That’s why I decided to lead a trip to New York City this summer.

No, but seriously.

It only takes hanging around me for at least 12 hours to realize how bad I am with simple directions, or my inability to tell my left from my right instinctively. I once took driving lessons from an older gentleman who was frequently frustrated with me, after discovering this. One day, slightly ticked off that I had once again made a right turn when he told me to turn left, he took a black ribbon and wrapped it around my left wrist. “THAT is your left. THIS is your right.” Yeah, not one of my proudest moments. Coupled with the fact that I am terrible under pressure, I do myself and others the favor of never playing co-pilot on a road trip.

This time, however, I had no choice but to say yes. My aunt had promised a trip to New York City to my cousins visiting from France. This was a dream trip for them and they were looking forward to like little kids look forward to Christmas. However, about a week before the trip, we learned that my grand-mother had passed away unexpectedly. My aunt’s focus had now shifted to preparing for the trip to say good-bye to her mother. Not wanting, however, to renege on her promise to her nephews, she looked to me for help.

I tried to explain my limitations, but alas, the baton was already handed to me  and I had to run with it. Since we  only had a few hours to spend in the city, we narrowed our visit to one location: Times Square, a place in New York City I had only heard of, but never been to. I believe that people fall into 2 categories when facing something they’ve never done before: there are those who get excited at the chance to prove themselves and learn something new, and there are those who hesitate, nervous at the thought of doing something they might potentially fail at doing. I fit into the latter camp.

It would be accurate to say that the “holycrapiveneverdonethisbeforewhatifsomethinggoeswrong” feeling never left me that whole week as I prepared for the day trip, bought tickets, checked maps, NYC tourist apps and talked to anyone who could give me advice.

Two days before the trip, I text-ed a friend who lived just outside of New York City: “I’m on “Mission: Get the French cousins to New York City”. HELP! Which train should we take?” I text-ed her our bus location and told her about some of the things the boys were interested in doing. She text-ed me back with the necessary information, as well as suggestions for places to visit and restaurants to check out.

We finally arrived in New York City on a very rainy day. I randomly picked a direction for us to start walking. Thankfully, the train station was only about half a block away. I made sure to have plenty of $1 bills because it took a while to get everyone train tickets (what are they called?). When we finally got on the train, I looked up and realized that Times Square was only one stop away. Yes!

Though it was raining, we were determined to have fun. We visited stores of interest to teenage boys, took plenty of pictures in the rain and bought souvenirs for friends and family.

The sun came out as we started to leave the city.

Despite the 10-hour bus ride (to and from), it was a great day and an experience that made me more confident in myself and my ability to take on projects.

It was an experiment in label-peeling: The Spatially Challenged leads a trip to the big city.

What else can I do? What else could you do?

To the Tumblr! – New Cover

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we can all agree that a cover design can either add or take away from your first impression of a book.

Matt Roeser is a graphic designer. He reads books and designs new covers for them. You can find out more about his work on his website or get a more in-depth, almost behind-the-scenes for his work at

The Blog You Could Be Missing: Nerd Fitness

Remember last week when I asked the question “What could Present You do today that Christmastime You would be grateful for”? Hold on to that thought.

I wanted to talk here also about some blogs you might be missing out on. I’m a big fan of looking for inspiration in unlikely places. Steve Kamb is the rebel leader at No, no, it’s not what you’re thinking. It has nothing to do with overthrowing governments or institutions. It has everything to do, though, with overthrowing held beliefs and norms about Fitness, Health and Nutrition. It’s a fitness blog that is educational, inspirational and yes, entertaining. Steve filters everything through a nerd lens that is always fun to read, especially if you self-identify as a nerd, a gamer, a couch potato or a cubicle dweller.

The great thing about NerdFitness, other than the highly detailed and informative posts (so much free content!), is the community that is built around it and the success stories of people who never thought they could do an overhaul of their health situation without going on “The Biggest Loser”. This is one of the first posts I read on the blog.

I’ve been following the blog for about 6 months now and it has greatly impacted the way I view food and fitness. I won’t go into too much details about it here. Instead, I’ll just let you discover it for yourself.

As I was thinking about the question for myself, my mind was brought back to NerdFitness time and time again. I’ve had several health situations through which my body was begging me for more attention. So, for my project, I’m choosing to focus on my health. I want Christmastime Me to be stronger, specifically, to be able to do 100 push ups in a row. I know that may not seem like a lot, but I’m going from ground zero (pun intended) here. This blog won’t turn into a diet and fitness blog, don’t worry. But, as we’re talking about going from stories read to stories lived, this seems like a great way to start.

You are welcome to ask me from time to time how things are going. I could use the accountability. Also, if you have decided to tackle any project as an answer to this question and would like some accountability, leave your name (or nickname) below, with what you plan on doing and some way to reach you (email, twitter handle, etc) and I will check in with you from time to time to see how things are going.



Photo from:

Can Writing Change the World?

Oh, what’s that? You said you needed some inspiration for this week? To the TED!

Hannah Brencher. Founder of the More Love Letters movement where people write love letters to strangers, for encouragement or just to brighten up their day. She wrote a post for Good Women Project that every young person in a cubicle searching for a dream is bound to find encouraging. The takeaway from it is encapsulated in the quote “Your dream job does not exist; you must create it”.

Hannah is a researcher  and the director of the National Poetry Campaign for She’s the first, founder and head honcho of as well as a copywriter and creative consultant. She was also chosen as a finalist for the TED2013 Global Talent Search. She  blogs at

To learn more about how to get involved in the More Love Letters movement, check it out here.

image from  goodwomenproject

iPhone Cases – CaseGarage

I’ve been obsessing over iPhone covers since  we covered them in our first Etsy post. When I saw these, I couldn’t help but share.

Book cover-inspired iPhone cases from CaseGarage. It’s never too early for Christmas shopping, right?

Book #3: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Remember how I said I was going to read a series of books based on characters in their twenties and find lessons that can be drawn from them? I didn’t tell you about it? My bad. I could have sworn…

Anyway, that’s what my focus on books has been lately. I know it’s going to be a stretch since characters in novel are only constructed as diferent parts of a writer’s point of view, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take on anyway. The first book I tackled is The Time Traveler’s Wife. 

Have you ever been hanging out with friends and started playing 20 questions because you ran out of conversation topics and everyone was bored? Prior to this book, my answer to the question, “If you could have any superpower, what would be?”, was always Time Travel or rather, Teleportation. However, after this book, I’m rethinking my desire for a power that would allow me to bend Time at will.

Audrey Niffenegger’s book is a story about a boy and a girl who fall in love. We first meet them in the library, where the boy works and the girl came to check out a book. They meet for the first time. Only it’s not really the first time. At least for Clare (that’s the girl). She’s known Henry since she was a little girl. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a story about childhood friends meeting each other for the first time after many years. You only have to read the title of the book to figure it out.

Henry is a time traveler, or if you want to get technical, a Chrono-Displaced person. He time travels to different stages in his life, which sounds really awesome…only it’s not. He comes and goes against his will and has no control over where he goes…or anything for that matter. He shows up on the other side, naked, often cold, bumping into (sometimes literally) quite uncomfortable situations. That’s how a 30-something Henry meets a 6-year old Clare.

Their love story develops throughout the book, as things get more and more challenging. Certain technical parts were confusing to me, like , the way he could time-travel to meet himself and how sometimes, he could be time-traveling to a place where another version of himself was also time-traveling.

It did prompt a question in my mind that I could use for this little experiment of mine. The book plays a lot with Time, Memory and Knowledge and how they shape a person’s life. Because of Henry’s time-traveling and his relationship with Clare, there were things that Clare knew way before they happened, which greatly affected the way she grew up and how she came to view the world. The 20-something period is so full of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. However, we must continue to take action, preparing for the future even if we don’t know all the details.

Here’s my question: What’s one thing that Christmas You (4 months from now) would be grateful to Present You for having done today? A little wordy, but you get the point.