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Would you like to be featured in my book?

“Your stories are worth it. You are worth it.”

Those words say perfectly the message that I presented at my TEDx Talk last year, and I mean them.

That’s why I am opening up the opportunity for you to share your story in my newest book, Brewing the Way.

Why are coffee shops important to you?

That’s the question that many readers of Brewing the Way will be asking as they take a journey with me across the United States and around dozens of coffee shops that I have visited in the last decade. But I cannot answer this question alone – my perspective is limited and my words can only go so far.

I need your stories to help.

If you would like to be a part of the Brewing the Way narrative, and share your story with the world of coffee lovers and fanatics, then I would like to publish it as a part of my book.

All you have to do is fill out the form below. I’ll read your story and see if we can make it fit in one of the micro-chapters between each major chapter in the book.

It need not be long – just one to three paragraphs is all it takes. And even if you aren’t featured in the final publication, as a thanks for submitting your story I’ll share it on this website and across my social media accounts. Plus, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to send you a gift in the mail.

It’s easy and painless and has the chance to really make someone’s day.

Here are some examples of the types of experiences you could write about:

  • I found the love of my life (I really did!)
  • I was stressing about school and the local cafe was a place where I could relax
  • I found out about and became involved with a non-profit organization
  • A stranger bought me a cup of coffee and turned my day around
  • While I struggled with depression, my favorite coffee shop brought me peace
  • I got a great job offer and the people around celebrated with me
  • The barista gave me a bit of life perspective that helped me on my way
  • The shop’s uplifting atmosphere gave me the energy I needed to finish a project

Whatever it is, I want to read it. We all want to read it! Please take a moment to share your story by filling out the form below. Do it as many times as you’d like, and please do share! The more the merrier.

Still need some inspiration? Check out this short story from A.J. Searle:

My job likes to take me to a lot of cool places (okay, mostly all around Michigan). My favorite thing to do while I am out traveling is to visit as many local coffee shops as I can. I’ve learned so many cool things about the cities and gotten some incredible food recommendations along the way as well.

One evening I was in Rochester Hills, MI and I stumbled upon a great shop in the downtown area. I had had a long day of traveling and looked pretty disheveled, but I just told myself all I needed was a cup of coffee and spot to read a good book.

The minute I walked in, an older gentleman looked at me and had this slight smile about him. He walked right up to me and said, “I’m reading that book right now, can I buy a cup of coffee so we can talk about it?” I haven’t had someone speak to me that boldly since a Brown’s fan tried to tell me they had a shot at the Super Bowl this year!

Ed was a 68 year old man that had so much wisdom and love in his heart. We talked, laughed, and learned from each other and I left that evening feeling refreshed about… well… life! Coffee seems to be a common factor among a lot of the incredible people I’ve gotten to know.

Ready to go? Here’s the form. If you need some help developing your story, that’s ok! Just send what you’re thinking and I’ll be happy to assist in finding the right words to fit your tone.



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Introducing My First Book: Brewing The Way

This announcement is kind of a big deal (I’m so excited!!!!!), so here are the contents for convenient navigation:

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The Announcement – Brewing The Way is coming soon!

I am pleased to announce that I am currently in the final phase of self-publishing my first book, Brewing The Way. This collection of true stories weaves a narrative about how coffee has profoundly affected my life and the lives of millions through its relatively short history as one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.

It begins with the story featured in my TEDx Talk, which you can watch below, and continues through the past decade as I have gotten to know an enormous variety of people from different backgrounds, cultures, financial statuses, and religions. This book aims to tell their stories and show how simple acts of kindness, like when a person buys a stranger a cup of coffee, can very literally change people’s lives.

I have been working passionately in the food service industry for half of my adult life, and as a barista for nearly 5 years. I have learned so much along the way, and now I am excited to share some of those things that I’ve learned with all of you. I hope that while reading this book you’ll get to understand why coffee is important to so many of us, why I’m personally so passionate about serving it excellently, and why it will continue to be an integral part of our communities for many years to come (just as it has for many generations before us).

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll become introspective and think about your own perspectives on life and the pursuit of happiness. That’s the goal I have when I hand someone a cup of coffee every day, and that’s the goal I have when I hand you this book later this year.

Oh, and to prove that this book is already nearing completion and will be delivered within the next several months, pre-orders are already live (details below). 🙂


Want a FREE Preview Chapter?

To show you what this book is all about, I’ve written a very short (true) story about my recent adventure in Chicago, IL and a train ride that absolutely blew me away. This story will NOT be included in the final book, and will only be available while pre-orders are live, so make sure you get it now before it goes away!

To get a digital copy (PDF), all you have to do is sign-up for the Brewing The Way email newsletter. I promise you won’t get spammed for signing-up. The newsletter is my way of sending announcements about the availability of the final book, events I’ll be speaking at on the subject of coffee and kindness, and any other major news relating to Brewing The Way.

All pre-order customers will also receive a printed copy of this book, signed by me, in the mail before the final book is even printed and released.

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To sign-up (and get your copy of Chapter 0.1: The Journey Begins), just click the link below.

Sign-Up and Get Your Copy


Your Story Could Be Featured!

Throughout the book you will read dozens of stories submitted by readers like yourself who have come to find coffee as more than just a beverage, but as an opportunity to connect with the world around them.

Here’s one such story from my good personal friend, A.J. Searle.

My job likes to take me to a lot of cool places (okay, mostly all around Michigan). My favorite thing to do while I am out traveling is to visit as many local coffee shops as I can. I’ve learned so many cool things about the cities and gotten some incredible food recommendations along the way as well.

One evening I was in Rochester Hills, MI and I stumbled upon a great shop in the downtown area. I had had a long day of traveling and looked pretty disheveled, but I just told myself all I needed was a cup of coffee and spot to read a good book.

The minute I walked in, an older gentleman looked at me and had this slight smile about him. He walked right up to me and said, “I’m reading that book right now, can I buy a cup of coffee so we can talk about it?” I haven’t had someone speak to me that boldly since a Brown’s fan tried to tell me they had a shot at the Super Bowl this year!

Ed was a 68 year old man that had so much wisdom and love in his heart. We talked, laughed, and learned from each other and I left that evening feeling refreshed about… well… life! Coffee seems to be a common factor among a lot of the incredible people I’ve gotten to know.

This book is not just a series of stories told from my perspective, but from many different perspectives – and yours could be one of them! To submit your own story to be featured in the book, just fill out the form below.




Support This Project – Pre-order Your Copy Now

Ever since I made it known that I was going to be self-publishing this book, people have asked me if they can pre-order their copy to get it before anyone else.

I am so pleased to answer that, yes, finally, pre-orders are live. 🙂

With about 2 months to go before the book’s production cycle is complete, you are now welcome to pre-order your copy (in both paperback and eBook flavors).

Your early financial support of this project will go towards hiring a phenomenal Editor team that can help take it to a whole new level of quality and storytelling, finalizing the artwork and cover design, cover the up-front printing and shipping costs for each physical copy delivered, and make it easier to give my full attention to putting on the finishing touches during the final few weeks before release.

To thank you for supporting this project (and my dream of completing it), I’m including a few bonuses only for pre-order customers:

  • A FREE printed copy of The Journey Begins preview chapter will be signed and delivered to your door in the mail (PDF versions for those who do not want a paper copy)
  • Printed copies of Brewing the Way will be signed by the Author, and delivered straight to your door BEFORE sales go live for anyone else (Estimated Delivery – September 2016)
  • eBook and other digital copies will be delivered BEFORE even the paperback versions are shipped (Estimated Delivery – September 2016)
  • Access to private content only shared with other pre-ordering customers (my personal coffee cocktail recipes, brewing techniques, coupons from partnered coffee roasters, and more!)
  • Special invite to the book’s official launch party
  • Unique Tag on your #btw Profile page to show everyone you are an early supporter
  • “Name Your Own” pricing structure, where you get to choose what you’d like to pay for the book. I know, crazy idea, huh?

Ready to order your copy ahead of time? Click the appropriate link below.

Pre-Order a Paperback Version   –    Pre-Order an eBook Version


Thank You

Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to publish a book. I remember sitting in my kindergarten class with my fellow students circled around me, reading the latest adventurous stories I’d come up with out of my own imagination.

I feel as though my life’s purpose is being fulfilled as I continue moving towards the completion and publication of this first book.

To all of you that have shown me such immense encouragement and support along the way, and especially to those of you who are pre-ordering the book now and voting for this endeavor with your wallets, I thank you so much.

I cannot wait to get this book in your hands. These are exciting times. 🙂

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Albert Einstein: The Genius who was Nothing Special

Albert Einstein was not the man we often think of. He was not some magician, mad scientist, or unnatural superhuman who could use a larger percentage of his brain than the rest of us. Contrary to popular belief, we all use the same percentage of our brain as the man we compare all modern-day geniuses to: 100%.

That’s not the only thing you’ve got in common with this guy, though.

Often times when we think about Albert Einstein, we see the man in his later days with a smoking pipe in his mouth, a wild puff of hair on his head, and a tired look in his eyes, contemplating his greatest achievements and looking to the next great leap for mankind.

I bet he looks something like this in your mind right now:

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This man that we see has already laid the groundwork for the atomic bomb, has already accepted his Nobel Prize for Physics, and most certainly has been teaching his Theories of Relativity to younger students that would succeed him in their genius.

The Einstein we see above is older, wiser, more experienced, and has more than earned the grey hairs that are standing up straight on his head.

That’s the point, though… he earned those grey hairs. Through years of hard work, struggles, and plenty of failure he earned those hairs; and when we start to look at his life we realize he’s not that different from the rest of us at all.

A Lie: Only the “Special” Can Succeed

“Failure is success in progress” – Albert Einstein

How could a man that is often said to have lived with dyslexia, autism, schizophrenia, ADHD, and a dozen other mental illnesses, a man who achieved massive success throughout his life because of those so-called handicaps, have any understanding of what “failure” truly is? How is he qualified to speak on that subject at all? Or be quoted by millions to this day, just as I did a few sentences ago?

The quote from him up above loses nearly all significance if we come with a perception that Einstein was so entirely unlike us that he was bound to succeed from the start. After all, if Einstein was a genius from birth, or if he had a chemical imbalance (or, again, a mental handicap) that forced him to act in ways that geniuses typically act, then success isn’t found through failure at all… it’s reserved for the people that aren’t “normal”. People that aren’t like the rest of us. People like Einstein.

When we look at Einstein’s photo, without even admitting it to ourselves or out loud, we recognize a man that was set apart from birth to change the world. As the fictional Teddy Roosevelt would say in the movie Night at the Museum, Einstein was one of those men that was born to be great. He was autistic, or dyslexic, or otherwise special, after all… and we all know those people always end up being incredibly intelligent.

This statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

Besides the fact that there is no evidence that shows Einstein was ever mentally handicapped in any way (there are only hypotheses based on conjecture), it is also true that Einstein did not fail miserably as a child. He could speak and comprehend German fluently at a young age (many believe incorrectly, as I did, that he couldn’t speak well until he was 12), he was reading books at the age of 10 that would set the foundation for his explorations into vast worlds of scientific study, he could seduce women with ease, he was perfectly capable of scoring in the highest percentile of his classmates at school, and he completely killed it on the violin:

This heavily retouched photograph shows German-Swiss-American mathematical physicist Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) as he plays a violin in the music room of the S.S. Belgenland en route to California, 1931. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

This heavily retouched photograph shows German-Swiss-American mathematical physicist Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) as he plays a violin in the music room of the S.S. Belgenland en route to California, 1931. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

 

Yes, he did fail the entrance exam at Zurich Polytechnic Institute… at the age of 15, a full year and a half before he was even technically allowed to join the program there. And yes, his application was rejected by the University of Bern, but only because he refused to send in a thesis paper with his application, which was an explicit requirement at the time.

He was absolutely incredibly intelligent, albeit stubborn, and in his life he met dreams that many of us could never imagine happening for ourselves.

Stop right there, though, and keep yourself from believing that this means he had a greater imagination than us “normal” folk, giving him the ability to dream bigger and therefore achieve bigger goals. If there is one thing Einstein likely understood better than anyone, it was that everyone had the ability to dream and achieve great things, but only a few of us would sacrifice the time and energy that was necessary to cross the finish line.

He knew that because, like all of us, Einstein put a lot of his life into his passion, the study of physics, before he received the payout that he so desperately sought after.

It took him years…

16 years after Einstein began his great adventure in the world of science, he finally achieved his annus mirabilis (or his “miracle year”). 16 years! Many of us give up on our dreams after just a few months (or at most a few years) of not seeing grandiose applause, or we wallow away in endless negativity every time we are dissatisfied with our work.

But it was for 16 years Einstein dealt with trials, refusals, rebutting, and, I am sure at times, a great lack of hope. He experienced the struggles of normal human life with a full-time day job, a family that was struggling financially, and a turbulent romantic relationship (which his parents were staunchly against).

All of this, for 16 years, while trying to redefine how we all look at the Universe. Meanwhile, we find ourselves trying to redefine how we look at each of ourselves individually, and then quit after we hit a few roadblocks and fall over a few hurdles.

Einstein was similar to us because he experienced the human condition, he was not a deity after all; but he was different from many of us because he continually pushed forward towards his goals. Even after losing a child (born out of wedlock against their parents’ wishes), even after being rejected dozens of times for various jobs and positions in the scientific community that he applied for over the years.

He did not begin to taste success until more than 1/3rd of his life was behind him.

Then there’s this:

After his annus mirabilis, when much of the scientific community began to recognize his name and speak highly of him, Einstein still had to work for another 4 years before he was able to quit his day job as a paper pusher at a patent office, and begin to pursue future scientific discoveries full time as a Dr. of Physics.

Again I wonder how often we believe we stop growing in our careers, how often we believe we’ve “made it”, when people begin to call out our names and applaud our achievements, no matter how small or great those achievements are, and in all actuality we’ve only just begun the journey.

Let this sink in for just a moment: Einstein took 20 years before he could fully envelope himself in the scientific community as a career physicist.

Yet many people believe today that in order to be a success like Einstein, or this distant character in our minds that we call “Einstein”, we must be breaking through milestones and cementing ourselves in careers even before we reach our mid-twenties; that we have to have been born with some superhuman mental capacity or lots of money; or that we must absolutely know the exact day that we reach monumental success.

What is failure?

I often wonder how many times Einstein looked at his life to question his successes and failures. Until the age of 26, he hadn’t really achieved much of anything. He was a genius dreamer with an idea that only a few people believed in. Even in 1921 when he received a Nobel Prize in Physics, it was for his understanding and explanation of the photoelectric effect (the basis for quantum physics) and not his Theory of Relativity (which, even as a major contribution to science, wouldn’t be accepted by his scientific peers until later in his life), or even his papers defining E = mc2.

If that same thing happened today his supporters would be outraged and Einstein would probably get on Twitter to rant about how little respect he had from his peers. Instead, he continued to grow as a scientist and contributed over 300 additional papers to various journals and publications around the world.

According to Einstein, “Failure is success in progress.” Nothing is truly failure until we quit, and we only quit when we believe that the sacrifice of time that is required of us in order to see our dreams become reality is not worth that outcome.

Luckily for us, Einstein never quit following the vain passions of his 10 year old self.

At the age of 76, while he was writing a speech for Israel’s 7th anniversary that he would never have the chance to present, Einstein suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. When he died, Einstein left behind a legacy and a life that spoke about more than just scientific equations and theories of a physical universe; his life also told the story that we must all be prepared for a long journey towards success, a journey that might look and feel like failure for a massive portion of our lives, if we ever want to be written down in history as one of the great contributing members of the human race.

Einstein journeyed for years through a life full of failure; it’s because of those failures that we can now tell his stories that are full of success.

What’s your story gonna be like?

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The Architect

Every so often, usually when things are going pretty great, my life starts to feel a bit out of control. Not necessarily in a bad way – just in a, “I have no clue what’s going to happen next” sort of way.

This is one of those times.

I have too many dreams, ambitions, goals, and projects that I’m working on all at once, and I don’t entirely feel secure in any of them.

It is at these times that most people start to realize they are overcommitted, and work to clean up their act a bit.

Normally my approach to this period in my life would be to continue wandering aimlessly in the same general direction, with the same general goals, until some of the pieces of this character I’m building named “Tim Stiffler-Dean” would start falling off. Thus, lightening the load a bit and giving me the boost to keep moving.

I would take that approach because I believed that these phases were inevitable. “Just keep swimming and wait for the break in the storm.” I would tell myself, “You’ll come out on the other side very different, but you’ll come out nonetheless.”

Often, after the period of insanity ended, I would feel a bit burned out, quit a few of the projects I was working on, and try to make a fresh start of things and get my feet under me again.

I don’t know if I can take that approach any longer.

It seems strange to me, when I look at the many examples of successful individuals in my personal life, that I have so many dreams and ideas that I try to pursue at the same time, only to come up with nil accomplished.

Other people have similar ambitious outlooks on life, and accomplish a lot of what they put their mind too… so what is it that I am doing so differently?

The key must lie in the blueprints

Architect Designs

I was reading an article recently from Michael Hyatt, called, “Why Not Architect Your Own Life?” In it he describes three elements that most architects keep in mind when designing a large structure. They are:

  • The Vision
  • The Priorities
  • The Actions

Architects begin with exploring their dream and drafting a vision of what they want to create.

The famous Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, wished to put on display the “soul of our own civilization” in his architectural designs, and that shows quite clearly in his many beautiful works of art. While Louise Henri Sullivan wished to build bigger and stronger buildings to emphasize the confidence of the US – he is now known as one of the Fathers of the Skyscraper.

From the vision, architects define very clearly what their limitations and priorities with the structure are.

Buildings intended for use as a school will differ drastically from those meant to be hospitals, even if both start with a similar architectural vision. Likewise, a bridge in the wetlands of Florida might not fare too well as an apartment in the mountainous regions of Argentina. Each structure has specific needs, and the architect must know exactly what those are.

Finally, after chasing down their vision and defining their priorities, architects lay out a list of actions to take to finish the construction.

They would not, for example, begin construction of a house by working on the roof. Neither would they pour the cement for a bridge before setting the substructure in place. When proposing the development of a project, they define the steps and timelines for putting all of the materials into place.

Then they act.

It is not enough to create a plan and then walk away as if the project is done. The vision is not realized! The priorities are not met! The actions have not taken place!

The architect must bring a team together, made of exactly the right people, and then ACT on their plan in order to accomplish it.

Becoming Your Own Architect

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I, too, must follow this process to become an architect. Not of a building, however, but of my own life.

While I was reading this, it suddenly dawned on me: I’ve always had a general plan for what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, but I never followed the architect’s steps to designing my own life.

  • I had the long-term vision, but not the short-term priorities to match up with it.
  • I had the long-term priorities, but no day-to-day habitual actions to see those priorities eventually met.
  • I had the daily activities and hard work ethic, but none that specifically matched the grand vision of the type of person I wanted to be.

These three things combined have only contributed to the labyrinthian lifestyle that I cyclically find myself living in.

The cycle must be broken.

This week I am giving myself an ambitious goal. I will continue to work hard on the tasks at hand, including the development of so many projects at Aether CS and the brewing of so much coffee at Kofenya, but I will also develop a full blueprint of what I want to see happen in my lifetime.

I will find out exactly who I want to become and create a vision statement. I will lay out my strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and goals as priorities within that vision. I will create a list of habits I need to build, activities I must add to my daily list, types of people I need on my inner team, and timelines I must press toward in order to achieve those priorities.

And I will act.

Then we shall see what type of life this architect can create.

I’m excited. 🙂

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On Immovable Objects and Unstoppable Forces

I wrote this article 6 years ago today, but it got removed from this website in one of my many rebuilds of anotherguy.us – it’s back now, in all of it’s original splendor. Enjoy.

What happens when an Unstoppable Force collides with an Immovable Object?

Over the course of time, our greatest minds (some not so great) have given this question a lot of thought. There have been dozens of answers provided as a means to put finality on this discussion, and while some are very good (others very funny), they’ve not satisfied my thirst for more knowledge on the subject. I’ve been pondering this question myself for some time, and was recently reminded of the question by Andrew Eddie and his wonderful tweet.

But why am I not satisfied? There are several reasons: Continue reading →

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Don’t Take Fake Risks Just To Look Good

We humans can be fairly bad at taking risks.

That is to say, I find myself quite often taking risks that aren’t really risks at all, and therefore don’t really do anything to progress my life in some further direction.

Or worse, the risks I’m taking are sending me in entirely the wrong direction.

Each of us, as individuals, have very different skillsets, beliefs, backgrounds, and pursuits. We all have experienced the world from different perspectives, and each of those perspectives has contributed to who we are at any given moment. Continue reading →