You and I would be hard pressed to come up with something we do well today that we didn’t suck at when we’d first begun. Doesn’t matter what it is—riding a bike, playing an instrument or writing a press release–the time between suckitude and expertise can be an awkward interlude. Often there’s pain involved. We […]

Read More


Excerpts from The Skate Whisperer a profile in Deadspin written by Lucy Madison of Olympic figure skating coach, Frank Carroll: “There’s a difference between being a coach and being a teacher,” Carroll told me in December. “Teaching involves being able to on-pass knowledge about how to do a skill; how to teach someone to use […]

Read More


I can’t not comment on yesterday’s well-publicized meltdown at CES by film director Michael Bay. I’m not going to add to the snarky commentary, which the internets provide in abundance. I’m going to empathize. We’ve all had moments when our mind blanks. The script that was in our head (or in Bay’s case on the […]

Read More


 Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days at the Northwestern University library archives, looking through and making notes from the papers of Viola Spolin, whom I call the godmother of improvisation. Viola was not a writer, she was a commenter, and so most of her notes are in fragments and asides. Her writing […]

Read More



No matter how deeply you ponder and pray over its electronic entrails, a machine cannot foretell your future. No matter how much you love it, a machine will not love you back. Its commitment is to keep you in the room, with the meter running. It’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. It […]

Read More


In a May 9 post on HBR Online,  Gretchen Gavett writes about how GE perceives data visualization as “storytelling.” This is not how how improvisers and other story professionals would see it. Not at all. Here’s my comment on Gavett’s post: As the godmother of improvisation, Viola Spolin, once said, information is a poor form […]

Read More


One of the most popular and engaging talks to come out of this year’s TED Global Conference is the one given by Ron Finley, “The Gangster Gardener” from South Central Los Angeles. If you haven’t already seen it, you can view it here. Totally worth seeing. We’ve connected with Ron through LA GreenGrounds, a group […]

Read More


For a book I co-wrote with L.G. Weaver, called Out of Bounds, an anecdotal history of Notre Dame football, we interviewed a priest, Father Cavanaugh, who had been in the hospital room when the famed George Gipp, The Gipper, later played by Ronald Reagan in the Hollywood movie, died. Of course the story did not […]

Read More


I once asked the great Ray Bradbury his secret for living a happy life, because clearly he was living a life that kept him excited about things, and engaged in the world around him. He said, “Name your loves and prove your loves.” It is easy to name your loves. The challenge is proving them. […]

Read More