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Neil Pasricha and The Book of Awesome

August 4, 2010 by  
Filed under lifestyle


Book of AwesomeA marriage on the brink and a best friend battling severe depression gave a Toronto man two good reasons to start reminding himself of the simple things in life. “I was in what I guess you could call a bit of a doom-and- gloom phase,” says 30-year-old Neil Pasricha, who is now a best-selling, award-winning author. While he admits that starting a blog wasn’t the most innovative idea he’s ever had, it turned out to be one of his most rewarding. Over the next year, Pasricha used his site,, as a global platform to list life’s little wonders, adding colourful and often comical commentary to joys that almost everyone can relate to. Finding money in your coat pocket, watching The Price is Right when you’re home sick, popping bubble wrap, fixing electronics by smacking them and the smell of new books all made the page. “It was really fulfilling and really fun but the other parts of my life started getting worse,” says Pasricha, who earned his MBA from Harvard.

A year after creating his website, Pasricha’s marriage ended and his best friend, with whom he chatted about the website every night, suddenly took his own life. “It was a shock and a surprise and it was very, very painful and heartbreaking,” he says. Pasricha entitled blog entry number 829 as “Smiling and Thinking of Good Friends who are Gone.” “I loved how he laughed, frequently, at little things and got so excited about tiny details most people overlooked,” he writes. Life’s tiny and often overlooked details are the basis of The Book of Awesome, which was conceived shortly after Pasricha won two Webby Awards – considered one of the highest international honours in the web world. “I came home [from New York] and there were 10 literary agents in my e-mail asking me if I would consider doing a book deal.” Since its release by Penguin Publishers in April, The Book of Awesome has barely experienced life on a bookshelf. Making it eight straight weeks as Canada’s No. 1 bestseller, Pasricha and his popular book have reached a dizzying altitude of success.

What’s even more awesome? Despite the overwhelming fame that comes with having a bestselling book and a blog that’s had over 17 million hits, this author’s personal life hasn’t altered at all. “I’ve come off of a couple serious blows and the website and the book and the experience have certainly helped me focus on the things that do matter. My life hasn’t changed but maybe that’s because my life was fine to begin with,” says Pasricha, who still works his nine-to-five job in Mississauga and just had a granola bar for dinner. “The truth is that it really is about the cold side of the pillow and the sound of ice cracking in your glass and the last day of school, and those are the things that give us all those smiles and give us all lifts … Why not, through what little time we have, realize how lucky we are to be alive?”


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