What I Learned While Writing My Book

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Superpowers for Good is my sixth book, more or less. I’ve contributed to others and published a workbook, but conventional books I’ve written alone include six titles. This one is different in profound ways.

First, more than is the case for my past books, the ideas were not mine. I did choose sixty superpowers from a list of hundreds, meaning that the principles people discussed resonated with me. My goal, however, was to ensure that that the messages resonated with you.

The result of that is finding how much I enjoy reading and rereading each chapter. Editing requires lots of review—especially editing my writing. Each time I read a chapter, I find myself thinking about how to emulate the superpower. It has been humbling. I plan to reread the book annually in the future to milk all I can from the changemakers who fill its pages.

Imagine, for a moment, that you had the opportunity to interview Bill Gates, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern, America’s most decorated Winter Olympian Apolo Ohno, and other changemakers from around the world who may not be familiar to you but who have changed your life. That’s the pinch-myself life I’ve been living. Pausing to really extract the lessons they shared has unalterably changed me.

Second, I learned more from writing this book than any in the past. For every book I’ve written, I’ve had to study and research. Superpowers for Good required a different kind of research. I spent hours with audio, video, and transcripts of interviews with people of great impact for each superpower. I sought to really decipher lessons from each one.

In almost every chapter, I supplemented the lessons from my guests with a combination of my own experiences seen through a fresh lens and expert guidance on how one can strengthen a skill or trait you may want to build. This exercise changed me. I actually learned to be more patient, optimistic, empathetic, loving, adept at problem-solving, communicating, and so much more.

Third, I’ve relaunched my writing and podcasting here on Substack to align more closely with this book than my past books have aligned with my then-current writing. This change is driven by a simple desire to keep learning this stuff. I’m convinced that I have, and I believe the broader impact community has underappreciated the role of individuals and the character traits and skills that enable doing good well.

By continuing the work begun with the book, I hope we can all learn how to change ourselves to become more impactful changemakers. Changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

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