By Chris Powell
STUCK BEHIND ONE of Toronto’s notoriously slow-moving streetcars, frustration
mounting as the time ticks down to my
10: 45 a.m. interview with Neil Pasricha,
author of The Book of Awesome, I decide to
take a lesson from his playbook and focus
only on the positive.
So, I ignore the fact that I’m currently
creeping along at 25 kilometres per hour, and
take a moment to enjoy the awesome song on
the radio and note the cool window display at
a store I frequent. Best of all, there’s a parking
spot just a few steps away from our designated
meeting place. How awesome is that?
Arriving (on time) for our interview,
Pasricha is delighted to hear of my practical
application of some of the lessons in his new
book, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing
+ Do Anything = Have Everything.
It is the newest addition to a growing
portfolio of awesomeness that began in 2008
with his blog 1000 Awesome Things (1000awe
somethings.com). The blog celebrates the
greatness in the everyday, such as a perfectly
executed Oreo twist (No. 110) or—something
very familiar to readers of The Connection—
eating a free sample of something you have no
intention of buying (No. 257).
The blog won a 2009 Webby Award and
led to a publishing deal that produced the
New York Times best-seller The Book of
Awesome as well as the follow-ups The Book of
(Even More) Awesome and The Book of
(Holiday) Awesome, and an interactive children’s book called Awesome Is Everywhere.
The blog was conceived as Pasricha’s
response to the negativism and cynicism that
seemed so pervasive at a time of global recession and fears over global warming, terrorism, etc. “We all experience a lot of good
things in our day, but we don’t celebrate them
enough,” he says.
The Oshawa, Ontario–born, Harvard-
educated Costco member has the same job in
leadership development and drives the same
Mazda 3 hatchback he had before his blog
and books became so popular, but he admits
to being a little taken aback by how quickly
his approach to life has catapulted him to
fame. “I’ve always been a beer-and-wings
preacher with my buddies, but the mega-
phone just got bigger,” he says.
Now Pasricha is a much sought-after
authority on positivity, with his 2010 TED
talk, “The 3 A’s of Awesome,” garnering 2. 5
million views online.
He was in New York just the day before
our meeting, delivering a talk on successfully
managing workplace stress using tips gleaned
from The Happiness Equation to 500 people at
a major U.S. bank; another 2,000 people
watched via webcast.
He gives as many as 40 similar talks each
year, travelling as far afield as Barcelona and
The book’s publication is timed to coincide with the fifth International Day of
Happiness (introduced by the United Nations
General Assembly in 2012). Odds are good it
will be a happy day for Pasricha. C
Chris Powell is a Toronto-based journalist.
Author Neil Pasricha shares tips
for a happy life in his new book
arts & entertainment
The Costco Connection
The Happiness Equation will be available in
most warehouses on March 8.