Derek Sivers

my next book: “Hell Yeah or No”

“We’re prepared to offer $22 million dollars,” he said over the phone.

I said, “That sounds fair as long as it’s free and clear, and I don’t have to do anything for it.”

And with that, I had a verbal agreement to sell my company, my single focus of the last ten years. The paperwork completed a few months later with a wire transfer.

That $22 million was all mine, with no strings attached, since I had no investors and no debts. I didn't want or need it. I already had $4 million from running the business, so I’d already satisfied any shallow desires years ago.

I was a youthful 37, no kids, no debts, a light-weight life with hardly any possessions, wasn’t tied to any location, and had recently broken up with my girlfriend. And now I had signed a non-compete agreement that said I couldn’t do the one thing I’d been doing since I was 27.

So it got me thinking:

What am I going to do next?
What should I do with $22 million dollars?
How can I be smart about this?
Based on what values? Altruism? Hedonism? Conquest? Legacy? Personal growth?

But what is personal growth, anyway?
Being more of who I already am, or re-defining myself into someone different?
Expanding my horizons, or narrowing my focus?

It made me question everything.

What do you do when you don’t have to do anything?
Where do you go when you don’t have to be anywhere?

The next morning I woke up with a great idea for my next business. I called it Muckwork, got the domain name, incorporated a company, built the database, started programming it, and even announced it. But after a few months of building it, I realized that I had this great opportunity to make a real change in my life, but here I was doing the exact same thing I’d been doing for the last ten years — just a slightly different business. If I launched this, I’d be committing to many more years of the same.

So those questions came back.

What else could I be?
Where else could I be?
How can I make a real change?

For the next ten years, I wrote for hours a day in my private journal, asking myself questions and answering them. Then often taking experimental and radical actions based on these thoughts.

The thoughts and experiences that seemed useful to others, I’d share on my website, which are now collected here in this book for you.

I hope you find it useful.


Finished! Sending to translators now. Taking advance orders once I choose the printer.

In the meantime, get on my private email list if you want advance access.