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Legend of Novo and Other Dreams

Everyone has dreams. What you may not realize is how your dreams may be hinged to the dreams of others.

Connection and serendipity are some of the essential modes through which life unfolds. They are also key ingredients in making dreams come true. Put another way, in this life (and in business) we are given the opportunity to weave a web of happiness, if we wish. Part of weaving this web is facilitating the dreams of others and, in doing so, your own. You may not believe me on this point, so first, some data: there is a fascinating twenty-year study known as the Framingham Heart Study (conducted between 1983 and 2003). It shows that “people’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected,” and that the effects of this happiness extend to the third degree—that’s out beyond friends of friends.

So, let me share with you some points of intersection in my current web of dreams.

Kyoto: The Forest Within the Gate

Kyoto The Forest Within the Gate

Yesterday John Einarsen, an old friend and the founding editor of the Kyoto Journal, successfully crowdsource funded production for Kyoto: The Forest Within the Gate, a beautiful and inspiring book of his ethereal black and white photographs, and the works of 97-year-old poet Edith Shiffert. It’s inspiring and heartwarming that their dream will be realized with the help of 127 friends like me, as well as strangers, via Indiegogo.

Dancing Over Kyoto

Another friend of mine, Richard Newton, is in the middle of his own Indiegogo quest to fund the printing of Dancing Over Kyoto, his recent personal memoir of his loving interactions with that city, a place I am quite partial to myself, having lived there for many years (including a year long ago as an undergraduate schoolmate of Richard’s).

Legend of Novo

You may remember Sage Einarsen from his wonderful background illustrations for Dutch New York, Chasing Liberty, and his inventive and charming game interface designs for Sloppy Copy. You can also see his hand in some of the illustrations for this blog. Sage and John Einarsen are related. It turns out that I have known Sage since he was John’s very precocious baby boy.

He’s all grown up now, and in the midst of illustrating his first full-length comic book, Legend of Novo. This book is written by our esteemed and trusted business advisor, Amir Avitzur. It is Amir’s dream to have this tale of history and adventure turned into a real printed comic book.

Legend of Novo

Amir and Sage (and Richard and John) are now connected to you through what is most likely two degrees of separation.

In the Framingham Heart Study report, the authors speculate on the actual mechanism of how happiness spreads (please note the first example): “Our data do not allow us to identify the actual causal mechanisms of the spread of happiness, but various mechanisms are possible. Happy people might share their good fortune (for example, by being pragmatically helpful or financially generous to others), or change their behavior towards others (for example, by being nicer or less hostile), or merely exude an emotion that is genuinely contagious (albeit over a longer time frame than previous psychological work has indicated).”

So here, happy people, you can do your part. Support those who are trying to make the world better with their deeply felt dreams. Help them as they seek to make a dream come true by their hard work, and the kindness of friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, and well-meaning strangers.

Fanart of Ashley from Legend of NovoFrom an original character by Sage EinarsenOur friend Sage Einarsen is now running a Kickstarter campaign to help publish Legend of Novo, a time travel comic book written by Amir Avitzur.If you are curious about Legend of Novo, please follow this link to the Kickstarter page of the project.

This turns out to be a kind of Thanksgiving post. I am saying that I am thankful for the dreams of others because in stepping forth to make them come true we are all brought a bit closer to the achievement of our own. I encourage you this week to help with someone’s dream; if not these dreams, then those of your other friends and friends of friends. Your happiness will thank you for it.

As for the dreams of Sage and Amir, they are—for the next 16 days—waiting on a Kickstarter Legend of Novo launch pad offering you the chance to hitch a ride.



It looks like the Legend of Novo will reach its funding goal today, December 8th, three days before the Kickstarter funding window closes. So Amir and Sage’s dream of this book will be one large step closer to becoming a reality. I’m glad I did my small part and happy they gave me something heartwarming to think and write about on Thanksgiving. I very much look forward to reading my copy of the book.


The animated gif of Ashley riding a book through time is Legend of Novo fan art created by the talented folks at Atelier Sento.

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  1. Fred Harding says:

    Great article, and so true. I think we all know that helping others and spreading joy are both personally rewarding. Somehow, though, we sometimes tend to turn inward, and wait glumly for the sun to shine on us, forgetting that we hold the key.

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