Neil Pasricha

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Neil Pasricha
Photo by Ken West
Photo by Ken West
BornSeptember 17, 1979 (1979-09-17) (age 44)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
OccupationAuthor, Speaker
EducationBComm from Queen's University, MBA from Harvard Business School
Notable worksThe Book of Awesome (2010)
The Book of (Even More) Awesome (2011)
The Book of (Holiday) Awesome (2011)
The Happiness Equation (2016)

Neil Pasricha (born September 17, 1979) is a Canadian author, entrepreneur, podcaster, and public speaker characterized by his advocacy of positivity and simple pleasures. He is best known for his The Book of Awesome series, and "The Happiness Equation" which are international bestsellers.[1][2][3] He is also an established speaker and his TEDx talk, "The 3 A's of Awesome", is ranked as the ninth most inspiring TEDx talk with over 3 million views to date.[4] In total, he has sold over 1 million books.[5] The book and TED talk are based on Pasricha's blog, 1000 Awesome Things. The blog has won three Webby Awards and ranked in PCMag's list of top blogs and websites in 2009 and 2010.[6][7][8][9]

Pasricha is frequently sought out by media outlets as an expert on the topics of positivity and leadership.[10][11][12]

Pasricha is also a recipient for the 2018 Canada's 40 under 40 award.[13]

Early life[edit]

Pasricha was born in Oshawa, Ontario to a Hindu family.[14] His mother is from Nairobi, Kenya; his father is from Amritsar, India, and he has one sister. Pasricha says much of his wonder for the world comes from his immigrant parents and their perspective on seeing everything for the first time in Canada.[15] In his TED Talk he explains how his father would 'stare in wonder at the little stickers on all the fruits and vegetables.'[16]

Pasricha was educated at Queen's University and Harvard University.[17][18]


Pasricha graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce at Queen's University in 2002. While there, he wrote for the campus humor newspaper "Golden Words", which then took him to New York City to work for a humor syndicate with former Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons writers. He says "It was a cool rush but it became draining very quickly. I realized this could never be my full-time thing."[18] Pasricha also holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws - Faculty of Education from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

Pasricha returned to Toronto and worked in marketing for Procter & Gamble before leaving to run a Quiznos Sub franchise and then selling his franchise to move to Boston to attend Harvard Business School.[18] Upon graduating, Pasricha returned to Toronto to run leadership development at Walmart Canada.[18] Pasricha left Walmart in 2016 to devote more time to the Institute for Global Happiness, an organization he founded in November 2015 to improve happiness in the workplace.[3]



Pasricha began writing a daily blog called 1000 Awesome Things on June 20, 2008. The site was billed as 'a time-ticking countdown of 1000 awesome things.'[19]

He said at the time of starting the site, "If you flipped open the newspaper it was filled with the same stuff every day. Polar ice caps were melting, there were pirates storming the seas, the economy was on the verge of collapse, and there were wars going on all over the world." As a result, he created a website discussing "popping bubble wrap, snow days, and the smell of a bakery."[20] In later interviews, and through a series on his blog, Pasricha shared that his personal divorce and a close friend's suicide are what prompted him to begin looking for positive things in life.[21]

In July, 2008, the popular links site linked to post #980 Old, dangerous playground equipment which gave the blog new readership and got attention from Wired and[22][23]

In 2009, Pasricha was approached by literary agents after his blog received 10 million hits and won the Webby Award for "Best Blog"[24][25] and signed with Erin Malone from WME who also represents Christian Lander,[26] author of Stuff White People Like, and Rainn Wilson, star of The Office and author of SoulPancake.[27]

Pasricha continued publishing one awesome thing a day until #1 Anything you want it to be was posted on April 19, 2012.


The Book of Awesome[edit]

Published in 2010 by Amy Einhorn Books, a division of Penguin Publishing.

The Book of Awesome is a #1 international bestseller, and a New York Times bestseller.[28][1][29]

Pasricha wrote The Book of Awesome while attempting to get over his divorce and close friend's suicide. His frustration with the 'gloom and doom' in the news caused him to expand on simple pleasures of life through new written essays complementing existing material from his blog.[15]

The book received both positive and negative reviews. Publishers Weekly said "Pasricha emerges a committed but inviting optimist, combating life's unending stream of bad news by identifying opportunities to share a universal high five with humanity"[30] while Maclean's wrote that Pasricha was "partly to blame for turning 'awesome' into the exuberant adjective of our time'[31] and the Toronto Star wrote that Neil Pasricha "helped destroy language through linguistic bleaching."[32]

The Book of (Even More) Awesome[edit]

Published in 2011 by Amy Einhorn Books, a division of Penguin Publishing, as the sequel to The Book of Awesome.[33]

The Book of (Holiday) Awesome[edit]

Published in 2013 by Amy Einhorn Books, a division of Penguin Publishing, featuring awesome things about holidays such as Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, Halloween, Mother's Day, etc.[34]

Awesome is Everywhere[edit]

Published in 2015, Awesome is Everywhere is a Children's book that Neil wrote to share "the principles of attitude awareness and authenticity" with his child.[35][36] The beach theme was inspired by a meditation-like experience on the beach while honeymooning.[35] The super-realistic images in the book were created by a professional Visual Effects studio using a process that composites many images into one image.[35]

The Happiness Equation[edit]

Published in 2016 by Putnam Publishing, a division of Penguin Publishing.[37]

The Happiness Equation is a #1 international bestseller, Toronto Star bestseller, and Globe and Mail bestseller.[38][39]

Pasricha was returning from his honeymoon in Asia when his wife took a pregnancy test in the airplane bathroom and told him on the plane that she was pregnant. Upon landing, he began writing a letter to his unborn child on how to live a happy life, which evolved into the book.[40]

How to Get Back Up[edit]

Published in 2018 by Audible Studios, the production arm of Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon.

This audio book is subtitled "A Memoir of Failure & Resilience" and was published as an exclusive title to the Amazon audiobook brand of Audible. Neil performed the recording for the book with a minor cameo by his father. The book is a collection of stories highlighting both the highs and lows in his attempt to find his way in the world. It is a candid look at his early family life and the experiences that helped shaped his view of the world. The running theme is that success comes not from focusing on failures, but from continuing to move forward.

The primary tagline for the book is: "We all fail. We all fall. We all need to know how to get back up."[41]

You Are Awesome[edit]

Published in 2019 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.[42]

In it Pasricha discusses topics of resilience,[43] failure,[44] cell phone addiction,[45] and our inability to predict the future.[46]

The book received both positive and negative reviews. The Toronto Star said it was "inspiring advice on developing resilience and putting a positive spin on life's setbacks and heartbreaks"[47] while Publishers Weekly wrote it was "a slick but ultimately underwhelming production with little to appeal to the thoughtful reader”.[48]


3 Books with Neil Pasricha[edit]

Pasricha hosts a podcast titled 3 Books with Neil Pasricha which focuses on discussing the three most formative books of guests such as Judy Blume, Seth Godin, and the "world's greatest Uber driver."[49] The podcast publishes on the lunar calendar and is stated to be uncovering the 1000 most formative books over 333 consecutive new moons and full moons from March 31, 2018, to September 1, 2031.[50]

The Institute for Global Happiness[edit]

Pasricha is the Director of The Institute for Global Happiness with the mission "to increase happiness in organizations."[51] The organization shares resources such as workshops, videos, and speeches with the goal of making happiness accessible. Pasricha says the organization focuses on happiness at work specifically because "aggregate data from 150,000 people showed the place we're spending most of our time is also the place we're the least happy — which is work."[52]

Other work[edit]

The Awesome Project[edit]

In 2015, to help with literacy among children, Pasricha spearheaded an initiative with book publishers and educators to bring more books and funding to elementary schools.[53]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2009 - Winner - Webby Award - Best Blog[54]
  • 2009 - Winner - Webby People's Voice - Best Blog[54]
  • 2010 - Winner - Webby People's Voice - Best Blog[55]
  • 2012 - Winner - White Pine Award - Best Non-Fiction[56]
  • 2018 - Canada's Top 40 Under 40[57]
  • 2018 - Apple's "Best of 2018" (3 Books Podcast)[58]

Personal life[edit]

Pasricha currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his wife Leslie.[59] He worked at Walmart Canada in the field of leadership.[59]


  1. ^ a b Taylor, Ihsan. "Best Sellers". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Bestsellers: Paperback Non-Fiction, April 9, 2016". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b MEDLEY, MARK (18 March 2016). "Does author Neil Pasricha know the secret to happiness?". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ "The 3 A's of awesome". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Speakers' Spotlight - Neil Pasricha | Happiness Expert and Author of The Book of Awesome". 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Blog - Cultural 2010 | The Webby Awards". 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Blog - Cultural/Personal 2009 | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  8. ^ Heater, Brian (23 November 2009). "Our Favorite Blogs 2009". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  9. ^ Griffith, Eric (11 November 2010). "Our Favorite Blogs: 2010". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  10. ^ "The World's "Awesome" Blogger Neil Pasricha". Psychology Today. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  11. ^ "#HRPA2012 Part 6 – The Search for AWESOME Leadership « Royce & Associates - Human Resources & Training Solutions". 16 February 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Neil Pasricha | 1000 Awesome Things | the Lavin Agency Speaker Profile". Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Canada's Top 40 Under 40 - Honourees 2018". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  14. ^ @NeilPasricha (23 September 2019). "Register" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ a b Sarah Hampson. "A few awesome things about's Neil Pasricha". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Neil Pasricha: The 3 A's of awesome | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Former GW editor celebrates life's Awesome Things | Queen's University News Centre". Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b c d "The 'awesome' blog is a huge hit: 40,000 Internet visits a day | Toronto Star". 14 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  19. ^ "About". 1000 Awesome Things. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Neil Pasricha: Creator of 1000 Awesome Things". Maximum Fun. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  21. ^ Neil Pasricha (17 February 2010). "#567 Getting to the light at the end of the tunnel". 1000 Awesome Things. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  22. ^ "A Tribute to Playground Equipment Past | WIRED". Wired. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  23. ^ "8 feel-good websites to brighten your day". 2 August 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  24. ^ "1000AwesomeThings blogger snags Webby". Archived from the original on 6 July 2009.
  25. ^ "Blog - Cultural/Personal 2009 | The Webby Awards". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Why Blog? Reason No. 92: Book Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Find the Agent Who Will Find You a Publisher". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  28. ^ "The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha: 9780425238905 | Books". Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Maxwell House interviews Neil Pasricha about how he handles dark days". YouTube. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha". 12 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  31. ^ "This story is awesome". 19 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Neil Pasricha's 'awesome' blog helped destroy language | Toronto Star". 24 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  33. ^ "The Book of (Even More) Awesome by Neil Pasricha: 9780425245552 | Books". Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  34. ^ "The Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha: 9780425253724 | Books". Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  35. ^ a b c "Awesome is Everywhere: Neil Pasricha's new book for kids - Today's Parent". 17 September 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  36. ^ "Awesome Is Everywhere by Neil Pasricha: 9780670069330 | Books". Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  37. ^ "The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha: 9780425277980 | Books". Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  38. ^ "Bestsellers The books Canadians bought this week". The Star. 3 June 2016.
  39. ^ "Bestsellers: Canadian Non-Fiction, September 24, 2016". Globe & Mail.
  40. ^ Gulli, Cathy. "The secret to happiness? Stop trying to be happy".
  41. ^ How to Get Back Up. Audible.
  42. ^ You are Awesome-How to navigate change, wrestle with failure, and live an intentional life. Simon and Schuster. 5 November 2019. ISBN 9781797103730.
  43. ^ "Neil Pasricha's new book shows how wrestling with failure can make you 'awesome'". Calgary Herald.
  44. ^ "Are You Failing At Failing? Author Neil Pasricha Says It's Time To Change The Narrative".
  45. ^ "Are we addicted to our screens?".
  46. ^ "Why are we so bad at predicting what will happen to us in the future?". 3 December 2019.
  47. ^ "Learning, becoming, improving: Some self help for your New Year resolutions". Toronto Star. 25 December 2019.
  48. ^ "You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life". Publishers Weekly. 5 November 2019.
  49. ^ "Why I just started a podcast to help you read more books". The Toronto Star. 9 April 2018.
  50. ^ "3 Books Frequently Asked Questions".
  51. ^ "About - The Institute for Global Happiness". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  52. ^ "'Pied Piper of happiness': Neil Pasricha who shares formula for how to be happy". 7 January 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017. {{cite news}}: External link in |newspaper= (help)
  53. ^ "Media Advisory - First Book Canada, Kobo, and Bestselling Author Neil Pasricha Launch "The Awesome... -- TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2015". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  54. ^ a b "1000 Awesome Things". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  55. ^ "1000 Awesome Things". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  56. ^ "2012 Forest of Reading® Winners Announced | Canadian Children's Book Centre". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  57. ^ "Canada's Top 40 Under 40 2018 Honourees Announced".
  58. ^ "Best of 2018". iTunes.
  59. ^ a b "Where are they now? 1000 awesome things author Neil Pasricha talks about life after his popular blog | Toronto Star". 21 December 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2016.

External links[edit]