By Nisha Gopalan

Guy Kawasaki has always been a self-made guru. Before he became the author of 14 books and a fiery, in-demand public speaker, the Silicon Valley-based marketing entrepreneur was a brand evangelist for Apple. Twice. He’s as much a part of its legacy as the iconic fruit on every laptop. Case in point: As the company faced some uncertainty in the ’90s, he corralled and nurtured its hardcore following, buoying the company’s prospects. Kawasaki, who turns 65 this year, would go on to turn down lucrative jobs at Apple and Yahoo, while taking on advisor-type roles at Google and the Wikimedia Foundation. Currently, he’s a chief evangelist at Canva and a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador. Not bad for a kid who dropped out of law school after one week. But as we learn in his latest book, Wise Guy, Kawasaki’s lock on work-life balance and his pure joie de vivre are his most stunning accomplishments. We recently chatted with this legend, who’s good-humored, insightful and age-defiant, for his inimitable insight into how to live better.

Wise Guy is the closest thing you have to a memoir. What did you learn about yourself while writing it?

You think of the arc of your life…as linear. It’s not linear at all!

Were there any places you didn’t want to go?

Honestly, no. I didn’t have to confront ghosts in my past. If one’s biggest mistakes in life are quitting Apple twice and leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table, you’ve done all right.

I thought Yahoo was your biggest mistake.

Well, okay. Numerically, yeah…a few billion here, a few billion there. It all kind of melds together. On the other hand, I have a wife and four children. Don’t cry for me, Argentina! I’m not a billionaire, but I’m okay. On the other hand, don’t get me wrong. I ask myself this at least once a day: “Why were you so stupid?” [Laughs.]

Have you considered retirement in your future?

That line of reasoning just doesn’t enter my consciousness. I think you should be living now. I fell in love with Macintosh and personal computing. I fell in love with the Internet. I fell in love with social media. I fell in love with surfing and hockey, too. I can’t tell you there was ever a plan to pivot. I go from passion to passion.

Do you have any wellness hacks?

“[When I’m in my home office,] I work out on a balance board and do pushups, because I am trying to improve my surfing. Also, every New Year I eliminate one bad thing from my diet. I haven’t eaten a French fry in two years! [laughs] This year’s sacrifice, which I’ve not exactly pulled off, is white rice. Telling a Japanese person not to eat white rice, you might as well tell me not to breathe.

Describe your morning routine.

I don’t have a lifestyle where I get up and brew my special cup of coffee, go to the back deck and watch the sun rise and hear the birds sing—prior to going to my yoga class and eating bowls of kale for my lunch. I get up at 6:30 a.m., make my son breakfast, take him to school, go to a coffee shop and just work for hours. I eat again, then I work for more hours. Then I pick him up, come home, and work for more hours. And I enjoy that. That’s in my DNA, to work.

When do you wind down?

Uh, 11:00 p.m. That doesn’t mean I sleep all the way through the night [laughs]. There you can hold me up as a horrible example. I do everything they say not to do. I sleep with a device. I wake up in the middle of the night and check social media. My role in social media now is to be a curator as opposed to a creator, so I’m always looking for stuff to share.

You seem so carefree. Have you ever been stressed?

My wife and I went through a rough period about 26 years ago. That was truly a low period for me. But we’re still married. I’m still on wife 1.0. She’s on husband 1.0. The secret to my life is grit and working it out. There was no magic there.

A big theme in Wise Guy is how learning is an ongoing process, not a singular event. When did that dawn on you?

Believe it or not, with surfing and hockey. I took up hockey at 48 and surfing at 62. I don’t think there are a lot of people taking up what they never did before at 62! So I guess that’s when it hit me: I’m still learning.

Article by Mosaic and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

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