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My relationship with my father is the most difficult of my life. This memoir is about my lifelong struggle to define my identity.
My relationship with my father is the most difficult of my life. This memoir is about my lifelong struggle to define my identity.
247 backers pledged $19,570 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$19,570

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I'm the bestselling author of five books, including The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of A Public Speaker and The Year Without Pants

I'm taking a big creative risk by writing a personal book about my life and my failed relationship with my father. 

Last year, at the age of 70, my father abandoned the family. He flew halfway around the world to begin a secret affair. Fathers are supposed to protect. They teach. They nurture. They do everything they can to help their next generation. My father made different choices that sent me backwards in time.

When I was 8 years old my father had his first affair and my parents separated for three years. It was terrible for all of us and it shaped the young adult I became. I've worked over my adult life to understand and repair the emotional damage of those years, but with this new crisis, I found myself back in those old memories, forced to explore my childhood and my identity again. I wondered why was I stuck on these particular memories? What lessons was I supposed to learn from them? Why do we remember and forget the things we do?

I discovered my life had been defined more by the absence of my father, the ghost of him, than by his presence. And in the discovery came a story about the machinery of memory and how we define ourselves. About fathers, sons, identity and connection. My father's choices shaped our family: but could I shape my own story for myself?   

You can see the current draft of the book here (as I'm doing a big read):

All my books advocate taking creative risks and I'm compelled to practice what I preach. The Ghost of My Father is the most personal and ambitious book I've ever written.

If you're interested in my story or of writers taking creative risks, I hope you'll support this project. Thanks for following my work either way.

The funds will go directly towards hiring a designer and copyeditor for the book as well as promotion for the book once it's published. If the project is funded and profitable, a portion of any profits will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters, a non-profit that provides safe mentors for children who need positive adult friends in their life, a program I could have benefited from as a kid, and that I've participated in as an adult as a big brother. 

Risks and challenges

I am currently working on the 3rd, and likely final, draft of the book. This is my 6th book and I can't imagine any setbacks that would prevent this project from being completed. I won't be working on another book project until this one is published.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You'll get behind the scenes updates on the book, including making of details, lessons learned about writing memoirs and early access to chapters from the book.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    All of the above plus the EBOOK edition of the book as soon as it's available. Your name will be listed in the acknowledgements with grand thanks and great honor as one of the primary supporters of this project.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You'll get everything above, plus a SIGNED print edition of the book, mailed direct to your door. Add $10 for international shipment.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    You'll get everything above, plus a TICKET to participate in an online chat (you can be anonymous) about dealing with difficult parent/child relationships, hosted by Berkun and with a professional counselor on adult parent/child issues.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    You will get all of the above, plus ALL FIVE OF MY PREVIOUS BOOKS SIGNED. You'll have a rare complete set, sure to be worth millions when I die.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    RENT MY BRAIN. You'll get digital & signed print editions, name in the acknowledgements, ticket to online chat, plus 45 minutes OF MY TIME on Skype for personal coaching/advice on writing, creativity, life or any topic of your choice!

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    (Seattle ONLY)

    You get the core rewards above (digital, signed print, ticket to group chat) plus dinner for you and a friend, with me at an amazing local restaurant (your tab covered), where we'll talk about fathers, parents and children, we'll laugh, eat and drink amazing things, as we explore the meaning of life.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    GOLD SPONSOR. You will get the core rewards (digital, signed print, ticket to group chat) plus I will write a blog post about a (mutually agreed) topic of your choice, including a link to any URL of your choice as my sponsor, and several tweets in your honor.

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    Pledge $2,700 or more About $2,700

    SUPREME SPONSOR. You will get all of the GOLD SPONSOR rewards, plus I will fly to YOUR CITY and give a lecture on any topic to your friends or coworkers (you can pool money with friends or get your company to pay). We will also go out to a glorious dinner and drink many drinks together. (continental U.S. only unless you convince me otherwise)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    (Contact me before purchasing this one)

    You will be the PREMIER ULTIMATE SPONSOR. You will get all the core rewards (digital, signed print edition, ticket to chat), a set of all of my books signed, a 30 minute personal Skype chat, plus I will write and publish a 50 PAGE MANIFESTO on a mutually agreed topic (based primarily on your preferences). The manifesto will be dedicated to you.

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Funding period

- (30 days)