Category Archives: People

Homeless Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen Prefers the Simple Life

Ran across a refreshing story today about Nicolas Berggruen, a billionaire who sold off his homes, car and many possessions years ago and lives a simpler life than most people with a fraction of his net worth. Granted, it does appear that he isn’t slumming it by any means, preferring to live in 5 star hotels instead of his own homes, but his comments are insightful:

“Everybody is different and I think that we live in a material world. But for  me, possessing things is not that interesting. Living in a grand environment to  show myself and others that I have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is  temporary, since we’re only here for a short period of time. It’s what we do and  produce, it’s our actions, that will last forever. That’s real value.”

On why he doesn’t get that much enjoyment from owning things:

“First, I don’t need it. Secondly, maybe in a bizarre kind of way, I don’t want  to be dependent on it or have the responsibility. I don’t get that much  enjoyment out of saying ‘I own it.’ “

Category: People

Oprah’s Lifeclass

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I have always been a fan of Oprah.

I never really liked her show (the topics didn’t resonate with what I cared about), but I did like how she acted as a person. In a TV world full of fear-mongers and drama-queens she held court during her afternoon talk show hour in a more upbeat manner. Now that her Oprah show is over, she’s been spending more time doing other things, and talking about topics that I do care about.

Her Lifeclass is really great. She’s had Tony on several times, Deepak Chopra and others. Worth tuning in to online. They have posted the full episodes along with notes for each class.

U2 and Sticking with Unconventional Ideas You Believe In

Artwork from U2's "Joshua Tree" album. Source and copyright: U2.

I’m a big U2 fan and enjoyed watching “Classic Albums: U2, The Joshua Tree.” This one hour documentary from 1999 has interviews with the band members as they join their producers in listening to tracks from the album and reliving their creative process. It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch as Bono, The Edge and others re-live classic tracks and tell the stories around how they were created.

I particularly like the part where Bono talks about “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for” and “With or without you” and how unconventional the songs were at the time to perform. They were really new sounds and out of step with everything else that was around. Very unconventional and ecstatic music that was alive in a new kind of way.  Now, of course, we’ve all heard the songs a million times and they sounds like they totally just “fit,” but when they were being created this was not the case.

It struck me how so many new ideas at first seem foreign but later seem familiar. It takes confidence to stick with new ideas that you believe in, even if they at fist don’t seem to fit. I’m glad U2 did.

Category: Creativity, People

Farewell Caballo

In loving memory of Micah True "Caballo Blanco"


It saddens me to hear this evening that Micah True – “Caballo Blanco” – has been found dead after being missing for almost a week in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. Search and rescue along with many ultra-runners participated in the search…..his body was found today.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Caballo on several occasions, and spent over a week with him during my own trip to Mexico to participate in the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon in 2011.

He was a man who truly followed his bliss, and gave everything he had to support the Raramuri “Tarahumara” people and their way of life.

Run free Caballo, we will miss you.

Getting Perspective on Your Problems

Sometimes I hear or read something that makes my jaw drop and puts all the problems and nagging things in my life in complete perspective.Today was one of those days.

Driving home from work today, annoyed at the traffic on my short 5 mile commute – and dreading my impending 5 mile run in the cold pouring rain…… NPR played a story about Shin In Geun.

He is, as far as we know, the only prisoner to escape from the horrid (and rarely talked about) political prison camps in North Korea. He was born into the camp, and lived there for 23 years…under the most extreme conditions.

He has been free for 7 years now, and The Guardian has an amazing story about him. It boggles my mind that these camps have ever existed…but is even more disturbing to think that in this modern-day and age…they STILL EXIST. The US State Department estimates ~200,000 people are in North Korean labor camp prisons right now.

Blaine Harden, an author and journalist, has just published a book about Shin’s ordeal – “Escape from Camp 14“. You can find articles and interviews about it on his website and get it on your Amazon Kindle now.

Tony Robbins Interviews 108 Year Old Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor

If anyone has a reason to be angry at the world it is 108 year old Nazi holocaust survivor Alice Herz Summer.

She lost her family. She suffered incredibly at the hands of her captors. However, what is so remarkable is that she isn’t angry. Not at all. She considers herself as “optimistic and laughing from the beginning of my life.” She lives by herself, plays the piano daily and has an outlook on life that we can all learn from. For her, life is never terrible…it is a gift.

What I took away from this video is:

  • Be grateful for everything – a smile, the sun, “everything is a present”
  • Never hate, we are all sometimes good and sometimes bad
  • Things are not so terrible, no matter what you might think
  • Focus on the good and learn from the bad
  • Learn, learn, never stop learning
  • Music is her food, her religion…and her medicine…”Bach is better than 100 pills!”

For me, the most powerful insight comes 10 minutes into the video…..”living ones life backwards.”

Take 12 minutes out of your day and watch this video. I’ve watched it several times already since this morning. It is guaranteed to shift your perspective in a positive way.


Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

I think this is an incredibly important article to read, especially in light of Job’s passing and his authorized biography illustrating what an impact his diet had on his persona.

According to Dr. McDougall, Job’s plant-based diet was not at fault for his cancer. On the contrary, it surely did enable him to live longer than would have been ever thought possible with such a disease.

Ashtanga, NY

led intermediate class with guruji NYC 2001

Image by gbSk via Flickr

Just watched a nice documentary, Ashtanga, NY on Netflix (streaming) regarding Ashtanga yoga as taught by Sri Pattabhi Jois (“Guruji”).

The documentary takes place during a 1 month intensive in which Guruji and his grandson led several hundred students in daily Ashtanga practice in the heart of Manhattan. What makes it even more powerful is that the teaching occurred in September, 2001.

I have not taken a formal Ashtanga Yoga class despite having practiced yoga asana for almost 10 years. I now want to check it out!

Category: People, Yoga

A Week in the Life of Ravi

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

I had a recent conversation with a friend around the captivating nature of reality TV. How it is so interesting to get a glimpse into how others live their lives, whether the lives are boring or a total train wreck. Given that some of you have been reading this blog for a few years now, I figure it might be interesting for you to get glimpse into my day-to-day life. I’ll warn you up front my routine is fairly straightforward. If you still want to know what I do…read on:

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Create a Movement

Creating a movement is not easy. It requires that you do things that others seem as unnatural and maybe even weird. People will say you should stop doing whatever it is. They may think you are crazy and even laugh a little. Most living things feel safer as a member of a crowd, not out on their own. We are no different.

How are we supposed to create any positive change if we always remain part of a crowd? The answer is simple but definitely not easy to put into practice. This  short video by Derek Sivers breaks it down very well, with a story about a shirt-less dancing guy.

The lessons:

  1. A leader needs the guts to stand-alone and look ridiculous.
  2. A movement must be simple and easy to follow.
  3. A leader embraces followers as an equal, it’s about the movement not the leader.
  4. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership.
  5. New followers emulate followers and not the leader. Movements must be public and transparent.

The best way to create a movement doesn’t require that you create one on your own. If all everyone did was create their own movements, there would be no movements! Instead, be an early follower. Find something you believe in, and have the courage to support a movement that is already underway, no matter how obscure it may seem at first.

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