Dec 212017

Thirteen months has passed since my last donation to Red Cross. In this blog post I will briefly summarize what happened since, how many copies of University of Solitude we have sold (and lent in kindle unlimited program) and I will make another donation to the Red Cross. Everything with screenshots. Let’s go!

Website traffic in the monitored period. 2531 unique visitors visited the website of University of Solitude, some of came more than once.

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Nov 302017

At TEDx TN, with other speakers

In October, I have finally finished writing the manuscript of The Outsider–the second book I plan to publish. I headed to, searching a proofreader. I ended up working with a writer from Ireland, Riona, who did a wonderful job with the manuscript, and really took it to a new level.

My original plan was to self-publish the book right after the proofread. But the co-operation with Riona, what she said about the book, as well as the feedback I got from other editors, who tried to co-operate with me, and who proofread a sample from the book in the process of their application, made me rethink the plan.

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Aug 232017

The day was a Thursday, the twenty-third of August, 2012. It was eight o’clock in the evening. I walked out of my room in one of Tehran’s three star hotels, entered the elevator, and went down to reception. I expected to meet my friend and colleague Amir in the lobby;


I didn’t expect to meet officers of Iranian security service in the lobby on that evening 5 years ago. My imprisonment, solitary confinement, espionage for CIA accusations, possibility of death sentence, six months in prison, my business ruined—all those things that came as a huge surprise, and shock for both my body and mind, seem like a dream now.

Did it all really happen? Did I really survive?

Perhaps it is good that we people have selective memory—that we can forget or at least learn to live in the present (a tough ‘skill’ to learn indeed), not letting the demons of the past to steal from us the most precious thing we’ve been granted — the present moment.


Significant? Or insignificant?

Many things have happened during those five years … and though I’d call them the best years of my life, and feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to do all the things I’ve done during the time, in the sphere of business, literature, charity, sport, traveling, spirituality, I want to confess that the last five years were far from easy….

With my new vision of the world and of my own life (and its insignificance), with the marks that the prison cell had left on my heart, those marks only a very sensitive person could recognize, I’d often found myself a complete outsider among people, not really able to fit into the society, the way it functions, thinks and lives.

Though I may seem an easy person to get along, someone who doesn’t struggle to talk to anyone, or go anywhere, you should know that below the surface—on the profound level of my heart and soul, I have quite often felt misunderstood, or even lonely among people.


Free to exist

Nevertheless, in both high and low moments, it’s good to travel in time for a second, at least in mind, reminding myself where I’d been five years ago—and compare it to the place where I am now—in a normal flat, being free to walk, to write, to take shower. Free to choose my food, to meet people, to go outside. Free to enjoy and suffer. Free to exist. Free to feel misunderstood. 🙂

If you are reading this article, you likely find yourself in the same boat. You are free.

Live neither in the past, nor from the past, but never forget that those things I described in previous paragraph should never be taken for granted. Don’t think about what you do not have (and some others do)—enjoy what you do have. Billions of people are not as lucky as you.

Five years. A lot of time for an individual? A grain of sand for the Universe? Who knows…. Happy anniversary to all of you!

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May 242017

Zurich airport

On 5th April, early morning, I flew from Vienna to Seville with a layover in Zurich. I had three hours to spare on the biggest of Swiss airports.

Since I always carry food with me, and do not like duty free shops, I typically spend time in the transfer halls walking, looking for inspiration, or I just walk without thinking.

It’s better for the body, because the journeys from point A to point B utilizing some form of transport are all about sitting and eating – sitting in a bus, in a train, in a plane, in the airport, in the taxi, and so on :).


Bookstores in the airports

There are a few bookstores in Zurich airport, like probably in any other major traffic hub. I bumped into one on my walk around, and decided to make a short marketing experiment.

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Jan 232017

Picture from Nepal, Renjo LaLong time has passed since I updated the blog for the last time. But don’t worry, they didn’t arrest me again, and I didn’t get run out of ideas either. 🙂

Honestly, I’ve done very little for the book marketing between 23rd November and 3rd January. I spent those weeks in Nepal, in the Himalayas. ‘Doing nothing’ and letting go, for a few weeks at least, is vitally important for someone who works intellectually, creatively, and even tries to write something unique and innovative.

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Nov 212016

Donation IRRCSix weeks still left in 2016. For me, however, the working year will end in two days already.

On Wednesday I’ll leave for Nepal, where I’ll spend the rest of the year living a simple life of a backpacker in the Himalaya Mountains.   

The trip should help me restore my mental and physical energy levels. Typically it works, and I really need to restore them. I need to spend extended time in the nature at least twice a year, to maintain my inner equilibrium. Forgetting all world problems and leaving my personal challenges, pleasures and duties behind, these backpacking trips allow me to function normally and work hard for the rest of the year. The rest of the year is when I do not travel. 🙂

Occasionally I may connect the two, writing while traveling, but it won’t be the case in Nepal. . . .


First donation to Red Cross

I wanted to make a first donation before leaving Slovakia. So I counted all money we received for the sales of the University of Solitude, from 2nd May 2016 to 15th November 2016. It included:    Continue reading »

Oct 242016
Some of my books, most of them read from 2013 to now, when I started to read much more than I did before.

Some of my books, most of them read from 2013 to now, when I started to read much more than I did before.

Word of mouth—the oldest marketing, and for a long time the only one. We can probably call it the most honest promotion as well—you spend nothing, and you get nothing for your effort, unless you’re recommending your own product or service (which wouldn’t be a true recommendation anymore).

Don’t worry, books like University of Solitude spread by word of mouth,” a Slovak friend of mine said after a tennis match we played back in July, earlier this year.

He has lived abroad for a past few years, and he really liked my work (he read the original book back in 2014). In July, after we finished the tennis match, I told him that we were not doing great with the English edition of the book, selling just a few copies here and there. He was not worried, however, believing in the power of personal recommendations. He himself recommended the book to a few people, or at least he ensured me about doing that.

We talked for about half an hour and said goodbye to each other afterwards. I haven’t seen him since that rainy afternoon, and I soon forgot what he had said about my book.

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Sep 142016

Unknown website visitorAn unknown person, let’s call them X, reaches our landing page. We know little about them—how old they are, what they do for living, where they come from, how they feel today.

Person X simply reached the website of the University of Solitude—that’s all we know. They may scroll the page, they may read the excerpt, or they may click the menu. They may do all kind of other things as well.

But eventually, doesn’t matter who they are and what they do, and how much attention they pay to our message, they’ll either leave the website, or click “buy now” button and navigate to purchase the book on

Most people will always decide for the first option—leaving the website. And it doesn’t matter how good your landing page is. That’s just how things work in the world of internet marketing. Just a fraction of visitors (always less than 5%, doesn’t matter what niche we talk about) will eventually make a purchase.  

But a small percentage of people will actually purchase the book, or  at least complete some other, desired action (like the website on FaceBook, subscribe to your newsletter).

Now, the question stands: What decides whether they leave the website, or whether they purchase the book?

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Sep 102016

Ten days ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. Knowing most of my activities and plans, he suggested I should proceed with opening a vegetarian restaurant, something I intended to do one day, most likely in a horizon of few years (he himself started the vegetarian diet recently)….

“Eating well and being healthy are the most important things,” he said. You should focus your efforts on this rather than philosophy. Vegetarian restaurant is something realistic, tangible, a place where you can see the results of your work immediately, in people coming and trying something new, potentially changing their eating habits. And that will result in an improved quality of their life. You should go for it now.”

(Note: There aren’t any vegetarian restaurants in my city, or in a bigger city nearby. We combine together for nearly 100,000 inhabitants.)


Philosophy, the queen

I thought about what he said for a second, and gave him my reply:

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