Great Writers

Have dinner with best-selling author Tim Ferriss

tim ferriss best selling author podcast arnold schwarzenegger

Tim Ferriss is an American author, entrepreneur, angel investor, and public speaker. Author of The 4-Hour Workweek, which was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, a No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, and a USA Today bestseller. In 2010, he followed up with The 4-Hour Body, which was another No. 1 New York Timesbestseller. Ferriss is an angel investor or an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Evernote, and Uber, among other companies.

For a chance to have dinner with him, just promote his latest podcast (an incredible interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger) via any means you choose.

In the interview, Arnold tells the story about his poor upbringing in Austria, making money in home construction, his body building and acting, lessons learned, routines, favorite books, meditation, and much more.

Check out the podcast on iTunes here, or his blog here.

Top 9 Books Aspiring Writers Should Read

As I look back over the list I compiled, I can’t help but think, this is an odd list! But these writers inspired me through their books in many different ways to bring me along as a writer.

1. Dune by Frank Herbert

I learned a few lessons about the type of writer I did not want to be by reading Dune. It was much too complicated and verbose for me at that stage of life.


2. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Some readers equally find Faulkner’s Fury complicated in another way: the stream of consciousness of the “idiot” family member. But I found it fascinating, more like a puzzle needing to be solved. Faulkner had me reeled in to figure this out.

The Sound and the Fury

3. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

This is the only book on this list that I have read several times for the pure joy of it. O’Connor had my emotions at her disposal. I laughed, ridiculed, laughed some more, and then was shocked. In the end I identify too much with the words of the Misfit, “She would have been a good woman had someone been there to shoot her every day of her life.” I too lament those moments of clarity that only occur when bad things happen. Oh for those moments of clarity all the time!


4. All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren

Never have I been so drawn in by introspection over identity, but I read Warren’s words as I searched for my own identity and realized how fractured I really am. I especially identified with Jack’s musings about the picnic where he invites all the different versions of himself together at the same time. Would my different identities even recognize each other? he muses. That quote hangs with me to this day.


5. The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

My 12th grade English teacher pulled me aside and told me, “I want you to read these books.” And they consumed me. I could not put them down. I lived and breathed them and wondered how I could have lived 17 years on planet Earth without reading them. They were adventure to me as I lived through Frodo and Bilbo.

The Lord of the Rings

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

If The Hobbit was an inspiration of adventure, Narnia’s tales were pure magic. I used to dream of being taken away to Narnia. I used to remember stepping between floor-to-ceiling supports in our basement and imagined them as a gateway to Narnia. No, imagined is not strong enough. I longed to go to Narnia like Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.


7. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

Heinlein was not just adventure; it was danger. I had a fascination with science fiction and the young hero in Heinlein’s story.

Starship Troopers

8. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Never have I read so much with such anticipation and still wanted to read more when all seven volumes were complete. I longed to write my own imaginative story that created a world not too distant from our own.

jk rowling harry potter

9. The Firm by John Grisham

Never have I read a book so quickly. I still think of it as the page turner that I truly picked up and didn’t put down until I was finished.

john grisham the firm

Edit911 is the world’s finest online proofreading and editing service. Our PhD editors are experts in book editing, dissertation editing, and other document, copy and text editing. Click here to get an instant quote for our editing services, or visit the contact page to discuss your project with us!

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing and editing related advice, humor and news!

Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story:  Lessons From Parker Palmer That Can Transform Your Writing

I was still in graduate school when I attended my first American Academy of Religion (AAR) conference. I was not yet at the point of putting together a syllabus for any course but was still interested in attending sessions related to teaching religion. One course in particular introduced me to Parker Palmer and his philosophy of teaching. I still think of Parker Palmer every semester as I put together a syllabus and have used his teaching philosophy in every course I have taught. Palmer’s influence has several applications to writing as well.

 The teacher (or writer) is the lesson.

If you want students or your readers to fully invest themselves in you, you must be transparent with them. Honesty is the primary factor in this type of openness. No one expects you to be flawless. They want to see your humanity as well. Share your life through your writing, and others will be more likely to connect with you, through both low points and successes.

The teacher (or writer) is on a journey with the student.

The goal is not for the teacher to talk nonstop, communicating information one way, filling the heads of the listener or reader. But how can a writer be on a journey with the readers? It is a matter of perspective! Write to share your vision, story, and passion and invite the reader to join in your journey together. This practice may be more prevalent in religion, where one investigates matters of faith and belief and calls out others to commit to faith. But no matter your subject, you are asking others to join with you in examining topics you care about.

The model for teaching is a conversation.

The same is true for writing. Open conversation with your reader. It is OK to challenge, confront, and even bring discomfort, but it is done in a way where everyone has a voice and seat at the table. Welcome feedback. Welcome questions. Welcome doubt and disbelief. Be open to new ideas and alternative theories. Teachers and writers who do so will build an audience and following much quicker than those who are distant and uninviting.

Provide a safe environment for an equal seat at the table.

The teacher sets the stage in his classroom, laying ground rules for conversation, confidentiality, and respect. A writer does the same thing through even through his word choice. Derogatory references and outdated euphemisms can kill a reader’s trust and willingness to invest in you or your writing.

Personal experiences provide the best entryway to conversation.

I borrowed a model from the professor I heard that day at the AAR. The first assignment I do every semester is to ask all my students to write a spiritual autobiography or about a key experience that shapes their spirituality. This assignment shows how each of us have opinions and thoughts about ultimate questions, even if we don’t have specific beliefs, and provides a current assessment. Teachers and writers should open themselves to sharing this same information in order to have students and readers take risks in sharing themselves. The result should be integral both to winning trust and taking the journey together through the pages of your book.