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The most inspiring books to follow your passions


The most inspiring books to follow your passions

What inspired me to start The Passion Co. has been a mix of tears and sweat as well as ink from the pens of those who wrote about life and its meaning.

For your holidays, I wanted to share with you these books that have been a source of inspiration and new ideas. Whether you plan to be lying on a beach in Mexico, taking the slopes of Tahoe, or at café in Paris, these reads will be sure to get your 2015 started with a new perspective, ideas and maybe an action plan. 

1) The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Why we love it: easy to read, makes you want to get out and do something, and full of memorable quotes. Pressfield’s style is masculine, honest and playful.

Category: Easy read

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2) Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

Why we love it: A classic, and an all time best seller, this book is worth reading once, twice and as many times. Dr. Frankl depicts the essence and core of our lives after having survived concentration camps including Auschwitz. In addition to telling his raw story, Dr. Frankl weaves in his experiments as a doctor in Psychiatry.

Category: Philosophical, story telling

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3) The Prophet, Gebran Khalil Gebran

Why we love it: Besides being from my home country, Lebanon, Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet, is one of the most beloved classics of our time. A collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and inspirational you can refer to at any time you are in doubt.

Category: Poetic, life

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4) The $100 start-up, Chris Guillebeau

Why we love it: Chris’s practical style makes a compelling case that you no longer need significant money or time to start something you love. The book has great examples to get you inspired and pragmatic advice.

Category: Entrepreneurship, practical 

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5) The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Why we love it: A book that I read when I was a teenager, Coelho tells a magical story of a young boy traveling the world, weaving in lessons and wisdom about life, love and work. Coelho’s words will be sure to warm your heart and inspires you to follow it.

Category: Classic, poetic

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6) Losing My Virginity, Sir Richard Branson

Why we love it: Branson’s life adventures will keep you off your seat, and make you wonder why you are not dreaming bigger. One of the most thrilling autobiography of our times.

Category: Entrepreneurship, story telling

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7) The Enneagram, Understanding Yourself and the Others in Your Life

Why we love it: Our favorite personality type framework, based on the ancient system of the Enneagram, will help you to enjoy more satisfying and fulfilling relationships in all areas of your life by introducing you to the nine basic personality types inherent in human nature. Soon you will start referring to people by their Enneagram number.

Category: Manual, personality type

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8) Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously, Osho

Why we love it: Osho inspired us to believe in embracing fear, which is one of the principles in our Find Your Passion Program. This is one of the best manual on fear, perfect if you are going through transitions or challenging times in general.

Category: Life, spirituality

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What you learn in your 20s


What you learn in your 20s

Or the 20 things I wish I knew

On Sunday November 2nd, I turned 30. The panic of turning 30 and not having made babies, under 30 lists and million dollars is replaced by the feeling you get after you’ve cried your heart out for an ex lover: emptiness. Looking back at my second decade, or my #messytwenties, I see a blur of transitions, transformations, revolutions and lots of tequila shots. In a nutshell, in our 20s we are mostly wrong, especially because we think we are so right. Here are the 20 pieces of advice I would give to my 20 self. Not that it matters anymore, but if you happen to be reading this and you are in your 20s, perhaps one will stick. And if you are in your 30s, feel free to laugh with or at me or both.


1- Don’t plan to be rich in your 20s. It will ultimately get you to focus on careers that you probably don’t care about, are not that meaningful and will drain your soul. Focus on working with people that inspire you, doing things that give you energy, solving problems that matter. And if you happen to be passionate about programming or design, then you will make some money too. Your 20s are the time when you have most flexibility and energy, don’t waste them chasing other’s dreams. Besides, the first 10 years of your career will direct the rest of it. Take your time in choosing. 

2- Don’t work at a start-up, unless it’s your own. Working at hot startups means slaving away for free food, and equity you cannot afford. Start your own company or work at Google and do a passion project after 5 PM.

3- Quit your job if you are not happy. Trust me no one ever looked back and said I wish I stayed in this job I hated and caused me self-doubt. You will find another job, I promise. You are probably in this job anyways out of fear. Which brings me to my next advice.

4- They say knowledge is power. I say knowing your fears is a super power. If you know them, they will less likely dictate your most productive decade. By the age of 22, I had not applied to any of my dream jobs. Turns out it was because I dreaded rejection. Just having this awareness, has helped me change my behavior, and despite the fear still go for things that may lead to a no.

5- Stop benchmarking your life to a Facebook feed. No seriously. Comparison is a recipe for disasters and bad decisions. While it is hard to calm down what they call the monkey mind, try to notice when you are comparing. Trust me your life is very likely more interesting than your friend who is over-sharing their trips from Hawaii or Coachella. They would not be if they were actually having fun.

6- It is so easy to take things personal when you are in your 20s. Sadly, it is not always about you millennial. I spent a lot of my twenties getting down on myself, blaming and hating. The truth is the real world is full of bumps, so when you catch yourself over analyzing remember this word: “next.”

7- Soul-mates don't exist. I spent a big part of my twenties looking for my soul-mate only to find out soul-mates are as made up as Santa is. This belief lead to numerous disappointments I could have spared myself. Focusing on meeting people you share interests with and connections, seasoning that with timing is likely to land you a decent relationship. But seriously, don’t force it.

8- Don't take anyone for granted. My friend Noah once told me: any person can change your life. He is right. My mentor Chip Conley, who is as famous as business person can be, responds to any email he gets, especially those from strangers with care and attention. Someone you may find uninteresting and ignore, may be the one interviewing you for a job a month later. A waitress you do not pay attention to, and be short with may well be the wife of your boss. 

9- Be vulnerable. Besides, vulnerability is the birthplace of courage. I spent a big chunk of my 20s, pretending that I knew it all, that I was doing amazing and suffering in silence. As I began opening up in the past couple of years, I have attracted wonderful friends, grown tremendously, and was able to connect really deeply with the people in my life.

10- I hope you go to therapy in your twenties. If you do, you are likely to find out your parents are responsible for all your issues. Turns out you are too. I went through a phase where I attributed my vices to growing up in a broken household, during the war. That got me nowhere really, but feeling sorry for myself. Shifting the thinking that you are now responsible for your misery is so powerful. It gets you to change and improve.

11- It’s not the city that will make you happy, it is your community. I remember when I was 20, I longed to leave Lebanon because I felt miserable. I thought if I go to Dubai life would be better. “Beirut is just not my kind of city.” Fast forward to 22, still miserable I was packing back to Beirut. Every day I meet people complaining about their cities. What I found is it is less about the city and more about the people you spend time during and after work. And that is why I call San Francisco home.

12- Work on your relationship with sex. It is not about the size and the performance. These matters turns out are trivial. Connecting to your sexual desires without censorship and identifying blockers, is not only a great way to know yourself, but also a recipe for amazing sexual relationships to come. Be open with what you want, it is unlikely he will guess you are into voyeurism. And no it’s not too late.

13- Don’t say this is not for me, I would never do it, because you may and you will. I used to say I will never wear free start-up t-shirts, Northface, go to burning Man or camp. Well I changed, and you will a lot in your 20s. Don’t write anything or anyone off.

14- You are not going to be a model. In fact you are going to gain weight. I spent a lot of my twenties looking to lose weight and hoping next year would be the year I will be auditioned for Victoria Secret’s angels. So I waited to buy a pair of jeans. Guess what, I am still waiting to buy them. In summary you look great as you are now, and you are never going to look as good.

15- Happiness is a marketing myth, so don’t subscribe to it. Transitioning from a full-time job to my own venture, which  was all I wanted at 26, came with a lot of challenges. Long-term relationships are a lot of work. Life is both pleasure and suffering, so choose what you want to suffer for and embrace the hardship, it will make you come alive.

16- Dance. Even if you are as bad as this person. Dance in the morning, alone in your house, on weekends, on a houseboat, at a boring wedding. “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

17- When it feels wrong, it is wrong. Oftentimes, I knew something was not right, and I was too afraid, too insecure to trust myself. It always turned out wrong. When you get that feeling in your stomach, that is a sign you want to listen to.

18- Never fight over text or email. As a young 20 something who wants to get to the bottom of things fast, I ended up breaking things. Difficult conversations are better handled in person. Things are easily misconstrued over the webs. Pick up that phone and call. (Please don't leave a voicemail though).

19- Go to Burning Man. Even once. You will never feel as alive, loved and free.

20- Follow your passions... even if it once a week, after work, or for a couple of hours a month. I got back to writing two years ago after I picked up a passion project which was writing what the war had taught me. I had not written since I was 16. The satisfaction and healing I get from it are worth every effort to make time. You want to sing, play the guitar, run, paint, whatever it is make time for it.

However your 20s go, remember you are enough and there is a good reason why you were born. 

Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of earth. The speck of dust represents the odds in favour of your being born; the huge planet would be the odds against it. So stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t be like the ingrate who got a castle as a present and worried about the mildew in the bathroom. Stop looking at the gift horse in the mouth – remember you are a Black Swan
—  Naseem Taleb

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Shine - A Passion Celebration (September Edition)


Shine - A Passion Celebration (September Edition)

What is your legacy? Mozart's was his music, Picasso’s was his art and for our Shine event this September we encouraged our Passion Co. community to shape it and begin living it fully.

Inspired by Burning Man and officiated by Anisha Desai), who launched her ceremony business, the event was truly a huge success and challenged everyone present to identify one thing holding them back from their legacy, what they need to do to move one step closer to it and finally to take a marigold blossom – a symbol of passion, creativity and possibility – and make a commitment to their legacy.


The main focus, of course, was our latest group of 15 inspiring individuals, who took to the stage at non-profit community-based arts organization Galería de La Raza to showcase their Passion Projects after completing our 5 week program.

Divya Silbermann launched ‘Brave Stories,’ a website to share personal stories of overcoming loss.

Devastated by the sudden death of her fiancé from meningitis in 2002 after moving to the US from India, she believes that despite the huge number of social networking sites, it's still very difficult to find genuine stories of hardship and grief.

She said: 

My goal is to inspire someone who might be going through something similar. No one is going to give you magical advice that will make you feel better instantly, but you’re not alone.

Sierra Campbell debuted her non-toxic collection of beautifully designed yoga mats, Ventana Yoga.

After working on the line for 10 months, she decided to sign up for the program as she “needed an extra push.”

She said: 

Launching my own company, I felt really isolated and I needed a community. Most of my friends after month 5 or 6, when I would say I’m launching this and I would want support from them, their response would be, you haven’t launched it yet or they would focus on problems. The Passion Co. focused on excitement, solutions and solving things together.

Asked about the most difficult challenge she faced, she said: 

Keeping enthusiasm and finding a responsible manufacturer.


Attendees tucked into the delicious Hummus bar provided by Yamba Hummus and sipped on honey wine by Bee D'Vine.

Amanda Shareghi read a hilarious excerpt from a feature about her love life that she plans to submit to the New York Times’ Modern Love column, while DJ and yoga enthusiast Elliott Adams unveiled, where he shares unique electronic beats designed to blend tempo with movement.


Noelia Ruiz-Angel grew up playing the violin, but life got in the way until recently.

At the beginning of the program she made a commitment to start practicing again every day and wowed guests with her incredible performance at the event.

Sanjana Reddy and Vaishnavi Bodanapu created illustrations for a family cookbook and Aline Rudenisch showed off her unique hand-made fashion items.

If you want to discover or reconnect with your passion, join our next Find Your Passion Program.

Check out our Facebook page to see more pictures from our most recent event!

Written By: Aoife Anderson

Photo Credit: Nina Menconi