Life In the Tower, Somaliland Edition


Many thanks to everyone who has been reading or supporting the launch of The Tower, my new manifesto. If you missed it on Tuesday, you can pick up your free copy in a range of formats.

I also want to thank my long-time friend and colleague Reese Spykerman, specialist in branding and magic, for her great work on the design. Reese truly raised her game on this one as we worked on telling a story through words and images.

I’m now writing from Dubai, en route to Nairobi and eventually Somaliland if all goes well. Over the next ten days, I’ll be in the region and visiting some hard-to-get-to countries.


The Tower is all about the subjects of urgency and legacy, written through the analogy of an iPad game I played on another trip to Africa several months ago. The goal is to encourage readers to think about crafting a life oriented around creative work that helps others.

Here’s a selection from the last portion:

There is a cemetery in my neighborhood that I often pass through while running. It’s been there for a long time, with gravestones marking the deaths of people who died as early as 1846. The cemetery is multicultural and interfaith, with inscriptions in many languages and numerous forms of honoring the dead.

As I run through this resting place and toward the waterfront that flows through the center of my city, I often think about these people, loved by others but unknown to me except through the epitaphs on their tombstones. Did they live the life they wanted? Their lives mattered regardless of the choices they made, but did they fulfill their potential? Did they die with any unresolved regrets?

Someone who died a hundred or more years ago may have lived a meaningful life, but the choices that were available to them were dramatically different than the ones available to us today. They couldn’t take one million photos, visit every country in the world, or talk to thousands of interlinked people from all walks of life through the online social web.

The same may be said about us in another 150 years, but that is not our concern. Whether the era that we live in is more special than others or not, a single fact remains: this is our time. This is our chance.

I wrote the manifesto, and this section in particular, because I believe it’s important to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities around us. That is the overall message I hope to communicate with AONC in general: life is short, so let’s pick up the pace and make our time count for something.

Next year I’ll be making some changes in how I publish this blog and the overall focus of related work. My goal is to continue getting more specific about how we can live intentionally and pursue a big dream, while serving others and crafting a legacy. (I’ll explain more about this during the forthcoming Annual Review.)

I’m grateful to have a platform with so many amazing people who read and contribute from around the world. You inspire me.

Oh, and if you haven’t read The Tower yet, check it out! It’s best read on an iPad or other tablet, but you can also read via simple PDF, Kindle, or just plain text.

You can also share your own ideas about legacy projects in the original comment thread.

Wishing you well from DXB-NBO,

– Chris


Image: Mavis

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