#nurd: Vol I

hashtag nurd

Err…hi. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve already found me elsewhere on the internet so I can skip the awkward THIS IS WHO I AM intro. Let’s do that.

I wanted to start ‘Hashtag Nurd’ for one main reason: to share the awesome stuff I’m constantly learning. Though I’m blown away (seriously) by the number of people who read the books I recommend, there’s still a ton of you who are hungry for even more knowledge. I. LOVE. THAT. People often ask me how I know everything I share. Well, I read, watch or listen to something new every single day. Sometimes it’s many new things in a day. It’s a normal part of my life and it has been for well over a decade. Besides the fact that it makes you a phenomenal conversationalist (I just had to look up the proper spelling of conversationalist because I really thought it was -ilist and not -alist and I’ll never forget how autocorrect tried to play me by changing my incorrect misspelling to ‘conversationist’ which is NOT EVEN A WORD AT ALL), learning new things helps you connect the dots among many different things in your life. As they say, knowledge is power. As smart people know, applied knowledge is even more powerful. Thought is not enough – change happens with action

I want to share a quick story about the power of knowledge before I delve in. I was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to the US at a young age. Of the many things that came with us, my father’s encyclopedia collection was one of them. (For my younger readers, Google didn’t exist in 1992. We had to do things like “look through books” for answers. Crazy, right? Also, I’m starting to sound like my parents “When I was your age…”)

The encyclopedia set from Saudi Arabia fascinated my siblings and I. It was in English and we used it to look stuff up for schoolwork, but there were MANY parts of the books that were censored with black permanent marker. As in, someone manually went through the entire set and used a black permanent marker to conceal information (for example: anatomical depictions of the human body, religions that aren’t Islam, even entire countries were censored. We could have a whole other discussion about how that kind of censorship is the perfect breeding ground for terrorism, but I digress.) And they did this for every single set that was sold. This, I later learned, was the censorship law of Saudi Arabia. My siblings and I would spend hours looking through every one to see what could possibly be so bad that it needed to be censored. What weren’t we supposed to know? What was hiding under the thick black marker? To add to that, my mother told me that if she traveled out of the country and went back into Saudi Arabia with a book, that book would be confiscated by airport security. A BOOK. A B-O-O-K. A BOOOOOOK. WTF.

Think through that with me for a minute. Airport security in any part of the world generally confiscates things that are considered dangerous: weapons, drugs or anything that seems suspicious and could pose a threat. That’s fair. But Saudi Arabia also confiscates books. Why? I know why. Because books are weapons (knowledge is power!) Because books are drugs (hello escapism to Hogwarts!) Because books pose a threat (can’t let people read or they’ll figure out how to overthrow an oppressive government!) You control a country of people, and their minds, by controlling their access to knowledge. THAT’S the power of knowledge, so scary to an entire nation that they censor encyclopedias, confiscate books and execute any citizen who chooses to dissent. This isn’t the case only in Saudi Arabia; there are a number of countries with laws that prohibit the freedom to read, think and say what you want. Books aren’t published, the internet is censored and people are censored. Yeah, in 2016, that shit still happens. Which makes it ironic that people, especially young adults these days, read dystopian novels like Hunger Games or Divergent and think to themselves “Could you imagine a world like that, where the government controls everything?” Many people on this earth don’t have to imagine it – they are in a world like that. Farenheit 451, anyone?

And yet people still have the audacity to say “I don’t like to read.” What ignorant fools. Reading isn’t a choice, it’s a f*cking privilege. To even know how to read, is a f*cking privilege. It’s a privilege denied to millions of people not just today, but throughout history. Go READ about that. Go read about how it was illegal (AGAINST THE LAW, A PUNISHABLE CRIME) for slaves to read. Why? Because knowledge is dangerous. Because knowledge is powerful. Because you can’t control people who know things they’re not supposed to know. A person would risk their LIFE to learn how to read. If you had the slightest inkling of how fortunate you are to be able to read whatever you want, whenever you want, you would read as much as you could every damn day.

You want to speak better? Read. You want to write better? Read. You want to change the world? Read. Read, so instead of just moving your thumbs, you can move mountains. Read for the millions of people who can’t read or aren’t allowed to read what you’re privileged to read. Read because YOU CAN. And don’t you dare send me a message or leave me a comment saying “but i dont like 2 read lol.” I can tell. And I’m not amused.

Just in case I was unclear: READ. LEARN. GROW. REPEAT.

So, there’s that. In addition to reading whatever the hell you want to read, I’d like ‘Hashtag Nurd’ to be another way for you to access new ideas, new knowledge and new perspectives. Similar to the stuff I usually share, it’ll be a few articles, videos, apps or anything else that I believe would make your life better, shared right here every week. Happy, fulfilled people have a ripple effect that makes this world a better place. And we all need to work to make this world a better place.

For today: your partner, your passion and your priorities.

  1. How To Pick Your Life Partner  I’ve shared this one so many times, I’ve lost count. It applies to everyone, whether you’re single or in a relationship. It’s honest, it’s eye-opening and it hits every nail on the head. At the end of the post, there’s a part 2 you should also read.
  2. Find Your Passion  The title says it all. And there’s an exercise involved to help you figure it out. It’s ok to be passionate about many things, but if you want to make a business out of a passion, it has to address a need.
  3. Warren Buffett’s 5-Step Process for Prioritizing True Success  Talked about this in a recent Periscope session. This one hits close to home for me. Every year, new opportunities arise. The better you get at what you do, the more people want you to do more. When my attention is dispersed in too many directions, I make zero to little significant progress in any area. So while I feel like I’m always busy, I’m not actually creating long-term results. I spend a lot of time assessing, then recalibrating, to make sure I’m on track. I’m still working on mastering this!! I encourage you to do the same.

That’s it. These posts won’t be as long in the future, but that whole ‘READ, DAMN IT’ bit came out and I ran with it. You know those quotes people frame on their walls that say shit like “Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, blah, blah, blah” Can someone make one that says “Read like it’s a f*cking privilege. Because it is.” or “Live, laugh, love and read a f*cking book.” Someone put that on a shirt. I’d wear it.

If you made it all the way to the end, you’re my hero. Tweet me at @nurberxo and let me know what articles you enjoyed or what part of any of this resonates with you the most. You can use #nurd. Or not. I’m pretty terrible at imposition, so just do what makes you happy. As always, I hope I enrich your life as much as you enrich mine.  – Nur


  1. Candis - SidnacGlitz says:

    Awesome post as always! I fully remember the moment someone said to me “I don’t read!”, the shock the dismay! Still hoping for Nurberxo Book Club 🙂

  2. #NURD

  3. Pitmsam says:

    But I don’t like to read lol

  4. Loved reading this! Looking forward to more!! xo #nurd

  5. Link and put up more articles you would like us to read!

  6. Packed with passion! Love it!

  7. Natalie says:

    I truly do love your posts and all the information and suggestions you put out. I used to hate reading as a child, because it was a struggle, but now I really do appreciate it. I agree with you that it’s a privilege. However, there’s also something to be said about putting that book down and seeing the world. Experiencing and enjoying life. It’s all about balance.
    Thanks for the post – onto the links!

    • Thanks, Natalie!! I never suggest doing anything to the extreme. So, no, don’t sit in a corner and read to death. But there are certainly enough advocates for “experience and enjoy life” and not enough advocates for “read a book.” 🙂

  8. Loved this post! Talks about something I’m passionate about and as usual learnt something new. I would like to just say that ever since coming across you, my thought process, my book preference and overall outlook on life has changed. Thank you so much and continue to Nurdify us!!

  9. Vinitha says:

    Thank you, Nur! I just got done with article #1. 🙂 Liked the idea of Forgettable Wednesday > V’day!

  10. I have always been fascinated by the way you convey your ideas which makes it obvious that you read a lot. However, I don’t agree with the part regarding Saudi Arabia and books because I travel a lot with books and no one really care or even look at them. So that might be the situation many years ago, but things have changed recently because Saudi Arabia has so much to worry about now more than books. And regarding censored materials it’s still same old same basically everything is censored including females faces lol. I’m a native Arabic speaker living in SA so excuse my English language
    Love you

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