Reporter's Notebook: How you can have Dan Buettner's charmed life

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Think life should be more fun? The subject of this week's cover story, local explorer-turned-health-guru Dan Buettner, has made a living out of having a good time.

"I do have a charmed life," Buettner says. "You know, it's a result of strategic serendipity more than just dumb luck. I think you create your own charm when it comes to life."

Here's a few bits from our interview with Buettner that didn't find their way into the story:

City Pages: How much of your life are you working?

Dan Buettner: I could make the argument that I work all the time and I could make the argument that I play all the time. They're kind of indistinguishable. I pretty much knock off at 5 every day. One time during the night I will open my computer and address 15 minutes of e-mail. Last night I had Robert Stephens, who started the Geek Squad, he and I met for two hours and all we did was talk ideas. We talked about what's the convergence between mobile technology and what we're doing with Blue Zones. We were drinking win. I was at work. I was having fun. For me that was fun. It's like an arc welder; there was an arc between us. All of a sudden two hours had passed.

Do you think it takes a certain personality type, entrepreneurial, a risk-taker?

It's really important that they get the right job. You don't need to invent your own job like I've done. I think it's so important to try a few things. You spend most of your waking hours working. America's a little screwed up in that we tend to pick our jobs based on A. Does it pay me a lot of money?; B. Does it convey status?; and C. Do I really love it? It should be reversed. We're not. That's the most important thing to get right when it comes to purpose and happiness, because that's what we spend most of our waking hours doing.

Yet you're someone who lives in a very fancy home on Lake of the Isles, so obviously money has played a part?

Here's the difference, most people want money to buy stuff. I happen to have money. I didn't go after it, but I have it. So I buy the shit. I'm marginally a little bit happier for it. But I don't plan a shopping trip. When I need a new jacket or shirt I'll go buy it. The secret is to have money and not want it.


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