The One Week Book Timeline: Prelude

by Aaron on December 22, 2011

This is Part One of a series of posts going through the One Week Book Project.



Sebastian wanted to share a book with the world. As far as I can tell, it was about his general strategy for accomplishing things in life and moving up in the world.


He was super psyched when he Simon and Schuster offered to work with him.


Then, they paid late and didn’t take his input on things. Okay?


Then, they continually had fake deadlines which he busted ass to meet, then found out were pretty much unimportant. He’d wake up at 4 AM for a call that the person wasn’t around for. He’d drop everything else to submit while his editor was on vacation. They jerked him around, and nothing happened for him. The book was moving slowly, and took forever to release.


So he decided to take a principled stand. He published his Open Letter to Simon and Schuster, where he talks about his experience in depth. It went viral.


Some people called him crazy and a prima donna. Others called him a literary hero and were glad that someone finally said it. Mostly Sebastian got on with his life.


Meanwhile, I’m travelling around Boston and San Francisco, following his blog and wondering what’s going on in his life that’s been causing his posts to get so confrontational and interesting. I don’t know what Sachit and Kendall were doing.


The Project Starts Forming

A week and a half later, Sebastian posts asking for people to work on “crazy world changing stuff”. I, along with more than 110 other people, respond with examples of projects that they’re proud of having worked on. I talked about my experience as Vice President of my FIRST Robotics Team. It had lots of fun things like resolving engineering arguments with Science! and moving into a mentor’s house to build a robot during a blizzard.


At first I’m really excited to wonder about what Sebastian is planning. Then I start feeling slightly anxious about getting hired. Not totally sure why, probably something to do with the whole high upside based on something I consider close to my identity thing. Or something.


Anyway, Sebastian’s really swamped with emails and he’s trying to read them all and see who to hire. Over a few days he brings on a dozen or so people to work with him on various things.


I get an email asking me to fly out to Beijing. I’m excited. I also feel conflicted as hell because there are some things I want to wrap up in DC.  I send him an email thanking him for the opportunity and asking him on what time scale he was talking about, because there were some things that I wanted to consolidate in DC.


That night, I feel really anxious, again. I was worried that I may have messed up and would miss out on working with him, and my parents were worried about this whole businessman in China offering me a job over email and asking me to fly to Beijing thing. For some reason.


Then, he sent an email about this project. He casually mentions that he thinks that we can have a book in the kindle store in the next week. I suggest “The One Week Book” as a marketing angle. We Skype about it. I was to be the Project Manager and put together a book for him. He sent a few more emails to the potential team.


I start thinking about ways to do this. There wasn’t a team in place yet, so I also considered the possible outcome in the case that there isn’t a team (it involves tapping a few friends and writing some software to help me). I start my archive binge…


To be continued

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: