Longform Essays and Articles

Longer essays and articles, published on the first Friday of each month.

Sample ad from the New York Times Privacy Project series

How to Build Trust: Investing in The Brand of You

August 14th, 2020 We’ve had the fourth industrial revolution, and the passion economy, and the attention economy. All of them are valid. But something that's perhaps as important as any of those, something that has always been important…
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Seán Boylan and me

This week, on RTE television in Ireland, a new documentary goes out. It’s called, simply, "Seán", and it’s going to tell some of the story of the legendary Meath Gaelic football coach, Seán Boylan.  Perhaps you're into US sports…
how to find your own true north star

True North: How to Find Your Guiding Light

The North Star, or finding one’s “true north”, is a concept that has come up a number of times in my reading and viewing in recent weeks. Two examples that come immediately to mind: 1. The Financial Times' North Star Responding to…

Rafa Nadal Makes Me Want to Be a Better Man

A personal essay about TV sport, the greatest tennis era of them all, Rafa Nadal as role model and what it means to be a man in the 21st century, from writer, podcaster and entrepreneur Shane Breslin.
Seamus Heaney and calling a spade a spade

Seamus Heaney and the wisdom of calling a wooden spoon a wooden spoon

Seamus Heaney, the late great Irish Nobel laureate, gave a beautiful and compelling commencement address to the students of the University of North Carolina on May 12, 1996. Heaney touches something deep in me. It is, perhaps, his great sense…
On the compulsion to spend money

The Money Series, #2: On The Compulsion to Spend Money

It's an endlessly fascinating thing: the compulsion to spend money. Last week, as I sat down and played a repeat of The Tommy Tiernan Show from RTÉ television recently (a friend had recommended I tune in for the Joe Brolly interview), I…
18 Profound Ways Reading Impacts Me Every Single Day

Why I read

I read because it makes me feel more alive. I read because it makes me feel less alone. I read because ever since The Thorn Birds at the age of 11 -- probably wholly unsuitable for me at that age, but it was the only grown-up book I could…
New Years Resolutions: On Letting Go, or How to Calm a Fractured Mind

New Year Resolutions: On Letting Go, or How to Calm A Fractured Mind

Happy New Year.  It’s the first Friday of 2020. A time when many people will be putting their brand new New Year resolutions to the test. It's also the first Friday of a new decade. Do you approach this decade with hope and optimism,…
Season's Greetings: Some Thoughts on the Darker, Slower Days of Winter

Season's Greetings: Some Thoughts on the Darker, Slower Days of Winter

Some thoughts on winter from someone who newly appreciates the radical idea of slowing down. It’s been a couple of months since I published an essay here.This writing hiatus was unplanned and unintentional. It’s been hovering over me…
October is the month when things start

October is the Month When Things Start

This post originally appeared in October 2018 as one of the essays I send to my email subscribers every month. If you'd like to receive one essay a month on the themes of overcoming the challenges in life by exploring, embracing and expressing…
What is Happiness?

What is Happiness? Seven Things I Think to be True

This post was originally sent to my “Happiness Bulletin” email subscribers. Sign up here to receive that short email on life, living and happiness every Saturday morning. Welcome to Saturday, and thank you for opening this week's email. Life…

The Money Series, #1: Reframing the language of too much

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last 2.x years of self-exploration, rebirth and expansion, it’s this. We are, all of us, uniquely, breath-takingly different, and there's a heartstopping wonder in the unparalleled uniqueness…
Real World Wall-E

Fear, technology and politics, and what the hell we might do about it

Fear is, of course, one of the most basic of human instincts, but the way it has been engineered by technology and politics for the powerful and the greedy threatens humanity itself. At a primal level fear is a basic requirement for survival:…

Embracing desire, letting go of expectation: A Stoic philosophy via Tim Ferriss, tennis and inner demons

I took up tennis this year. Joined the local club, showed up to a few social nights. Eventually, became sufficiently comfortable on court to put my name forward for a couple of entry-level leagues.Me and tennis go way back, but it was a distant…
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Sailing through the never-ending storm: Opportunity and overwhelm in a digitally disrupted world

The journey of ideas to the extremes is well under way. It feels like years ago, there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of nuance, a lot of grey, and that everyone was sort of happy with that. These days, though, there appears to be less…

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