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The Nerdist Way

early cover concept art by Chris Glass; this will not be the final cover, however

As many of you know because of my blabbings, I’m releasing a book later this year (Fall-ish, I think) called The Nerdist Way. It is a productivity book for Nerds. It was born out of the fact that I have released many fuck-ups into the world throughout my life, and a handful of years ago turned to the Nerdier parts of my brain for help. I sense that there are many other Nerds out there looking for answers, so this is my attempt to reach out to all of them (or YOU) and share methods and tricks I’ve employed to straighten out my life. In my experience, Nerds have a very specific world-view and problem-solving approach coupled with hyper-self-awareness and a very active internal monologue. I believe it is possible to aim some of the traits that normally seem to attempt to cripple us with inactivity into the very engine that drives us forward. The content is a sort of first-person walk-thru of challenges I faced, and how I got around them. Tonally, it’s not unlike the WIRED article I wrote in ’08, Diary of a Self-Help Dropout. Though, if you listen to the podcast or read this site with any regularity, you probably have a pretty good idea how I present stuff.

I am BY NO MEANS perfect, but I pretty much never stop thinking about work, and how to streamline my life. I would tend to think I’d get an “above average” mark were there some kind of report card. I’m usually juggling a bunch of small, fun projects that I enjoy and that make me happy. If you are so inclined, I feel you deserve to be sprayed with some happiness as well doing what you love if you’re not currently experiencing it. Nerds were always shit on when I was growing up, so I feel excited and proud that we’ve now inherited a large chunk of this planet. IT IS OUR TIME TO RULE.

So now the point of this post…earlier today I got the following tweet from a nice chap who goes by @MDBowden:

Hey Chris, do you have any tips to get over writer’s block? I haven’t been able to write jokes for a while.

As I responded in a series of abbreviated DMs (I really do try to answer as many of those as possible) it occurred to me that there were probably more than a few specific points I might miss. Since the Nerdist stuff is really just a community of like-minded folks, I thought I would end each chapter or section by answering a few related queries. What you should know is that the book is that it’s divided into three sections:

MIND – how to manage your brain
BODY – how to manage your physical self
TIME – how to manage Einstein’s favorite dimension better to achieve the productivity you “so sorely need” (as Carl Carlson once said)

So that’s it. If you have any questions relating to any of the above-referenced sectors, please post them here and I will pull a few into the book and answer them to the best of my experience. Make sure to use whatever name suits you for crediting purposes. Also, hashtag your question with mind, body or time for easy sorting. And please don’t be shitty here. My intention with this book is to help other Nerds benefit from the lessons of my anxieties and mistakes, kind of like an older brother. Or an Overlord. Whoops! That last part just slipped out.

Hashtag HUGS.

Comments

  1. Patty Marvel says:

    I’d like to find the “Psychology Today” article mentioned on page 71, but I need more info before I can put in an ILL request at the library. Do you remember the title and/or date?

  2. Lee says:

    I bought your book from Audible with absolutely no idea what to expect. After my first drive (~1hr commute) all I could say was, “Wow! This is not what I expected and exactly what I wanted!” I, age 40, also heard Yoda in my head saying, “Too old, yes, too old to begin the training.” I didn’t really feel that way, so I just channeled my inner Chris and said, “F*** off Yoda!”

    This book is a great new way to look at your life through the familiar electrodes that jazz the nerd brain. Awesome job, Chris. Thanks!

  3. jessica white says:

    though i love listening to the podcasts, i have to say: thank you for providing more than laughs! this book is exactly what i needed in my life right now.

  4. Michelle Wentz says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your book. I enjoyed it so much and found it so profound that I am gifting it to almost everyone on my gift list. Can’t wait for more of your work. PROUD TO BE A NERD!

  5. Steven says:

    Chris,

    I just purchased your book and I really enjoy it. Looking forward to when the website is up and running fully!

    Steven

  6. Lenor says:

    I intend on purchasing your book. I can see my sons (high schoolers now) enjoying the reading. They, as well as myself, can relate and will most likely purchase a copy for each of us!

  7. eric says:

    Can’t wait ’till the book comes out! I’ll definitely put it on my X-mas wish list. Chris–please bring back the comic and D&D shirts!

  8. Mighty Mo says:

    Um- Totally wanting to engage in a bromance here- Love your work, and was thoroughly groovin on your interview w/ Jimmy Fallon- Keep up the great work and doin whacha do!

  9. Alex says:

    So I couldn’t sleep, turned on Jimmy Fallon (our resident Nerdist was a guest), and heard about the book. The only question I have is when can I pre-order?

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I have a real problem with social anxiety. I need tips to counter it. It makes me want to stay inside, avoid the world, play games on the computer, or watch TV. #Mind

    I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I can get interested in something for awhile, but maintaining interest in the longterm seems difficult. Am not sure why I lose interest and want to move on to something else. Can’t seem to stick with something. #Mind

    Maintaining a regular sleep/wake cycle is difficult for me. This doesn’t help when I am on the computer or watching TV … but it is interfering with my life. My overly active, nerdy brain isn’t helping. #Body

    My house has gotten very cluttered. Lots of projects have gotten put on the back burner. I feel overwhelmed. #Time

  11. Nick Lopardo says:

    I cannot wait 6 months for The Nerdist Way. I’m like a kid on Christmas eve. These next 6 months are going to be a long night.

  12. jordan says:

    Just curious about how you handle ‘hecklers’ at performances. Might be an interesting topic for the podcast. I think more people would be willing to attempt stand-up but hostile audiences freak them out.

  13. Heidi says:

    I’m a writer with a day job and typically it’s like pulling teeth to find time to write. I manage to stuff some writing time during my commute, in the evenings & on the weekend.
    Ultimately, I’d love to leave my cube-dwelling IT hell and write for a living, in addition to hosting my own writer oriented podcast.

    My question is, until the Lottery Fairy drops some massive cash in my lap or my novel suddenly catches the fancy of an international audience, what sort of babysteps towards a good foundation should I be taking? There seems to be an overwhelming number of things to coordinate (Getting the book written, buying equipment, scheduling time to interview people, etc..) all the while still going to my day job, indulging in general geekdom & carving out time for the fam.
    (BTW– huge fan of the podcast! Very inspiring!)

  14. summer says:

    how do you find out what your truly passionate about? i’m a very smart person, good at lots of things and interested in lots of things, but i hate my job. i’m a lawyer. i don’t know how to find something i’m interested in to turn into something that brings me joy (and a paycheck).
    also, i have a problem with procrastination. i hate starting projects. maybe because i hate the work.

  15. Jillian says:

    I just moved from L.A. to the DC area and only have a few friends here, none of whom share my favorite activities. I am a huge alternative comedy nerd, avid podcast listener, and keep track of every bit of film/TV trivia and celebrity gossip. Most of these activities are fine to do alone and when I get the urge to quote lines from Arrested Development or Wet Hot American Summer I just go online to find some virtual friends to do so with.
    However, when my favorite comedians come to town I feel it would be a lot more fun to see them with like-humored real life flesh and blood friends, but I have no idea how to meet some who share my interests. As a big girl, I have low self esteem which makes it difficult for me to go out and strike up a conversation with strangers and don’t even know where I should go to meet my fellow nerds.
    Any advice on how and where to meet new friends with similar interests?

  16. porky says:

    I NEED THIS BOOK!

  17. Ryan Taylor says:

    Any recommendations for staying enthusiastic about your job? I know we should all do what we love, but the world needs tax software programmers too! I do love the job when I get to work on a new project or am presented with a unique challenge to handle, but there are “doldrum” periods in any job and I was interested if you had any thoughts on staying in love with the job through those. Thank you for considering this, and keep up the awesome stuff you do.

    P.S. I love your podcast and the insights into the art of comedy, even though I get so little chance to see much of it up here in Montana. Keep it up!

  18. Being somewhat stuck in a 10 year stay at an office supply store that claims to be “taking care of business” I have finally put in my 2 weeks notice…

    That being said I am soon to combat regular panic attacks and self doubt as I dare to have a different life. And though I will not be as bold or cover my nose in brown, I would like to openly thank you and your Nerdist army. For your constant proof that the most nervous of nerds and the worst of times can turn a bag of dicks into a bag of winged vaginas (wait… um.. yeah I’m gonna run with that).

    I look forward to your book’s guidance and the upcoming tour (Seattle?).

    side note: Jonah and Matt… MAKE OUT! MAKE OUT! MAKE OUT!

    Kind regards,

    SWC

  19. Amber says:

    My questions are similar to those of Matthew Burnside & ChaddersD.

    #MIND – How do you move past the initial planning and editing, get out of your own head, and make progress? Once you obsess over details and work hard to finish the project, how do you get over the fears and doubts that stop you from sharing it/publishing it/performing it/etc.?

    I have tons of projects (songs, short stories, ideas for novels, essays …) that I’d love to put out into the world, but I haven’t been able to motivate myself to do it. Fear of rejection is only part of it. I’m also afraid my work will be stolen or misrepresented somehow. Or it could be ignored altogether.

    These must be common obstacles. How would you suggest someone overcome them? At least, where would you begin?

  20. Sherry says:

    When do we get a sneak peek, Chris? I’m way into this book idea. I think I need a tidbit to help me along.

  21. snug fly says:

    how do you force yourself to focus your mind on a task instead of letting your mind wonder to things like youtube playing games and say reading your fav blog ( nerdist.com ) and how do you make time to fit in doing the things you like to do? #mind #time

  22. PHil says:

    Can a person be reproductive AND productive?

    As if it isn’t hard enough to be creatively productive what with a day job and a goddamned video-game habit… Now my gal and I have reached the point where we’re thinking of having kids in the next 1-2 years, but I am terrified it will be the final nail in the coffin of my dreams of creative fulfillment. All my friends with kids laugh knowingly when I ask them earnestly if they think I will still be able to continue my habit of getting up at 5am to write once I have a kid. Apparently I will be too busy building gazebos and landscaping the yard.
    Do babies have to be small evil vampires that feed on your hopes and dreams? Or will all this be forgotten when I look down at its hopefully cute, non-deformed face and see it gurgling and shitting its pants?

  23. Sarah Smith says:

    Oh, I have a question.

    Do you ever consider staying healthy (i.e. things like working out and sleeping regular hours) to be a necessity that unfortunately interferes with productivity? Or do you see it as another thing to fit into your schedule that will keep you busy, somehow giving you the same satisfaction you’d get from working on a project?

  24. Ashhole says:

    A. I <3 your podcast and the blog is such a treat.
    B. I truly appreciate how super positive you are and wish you could bottle that and spray the world fire hyrant style.
    C. #Mind: how do you motivate yourself to do the little tasks once you've taken on the big stuff? This is my biggest challenge.

    Can't wait to pre order this in multiples!