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The best Black Friday mattress deals on the internet


Allswell queen mattress

If you're looking to save some money on big purchases or holiday gifts, Black Friday is the time to do it.

No retailer is above the fray; we're already tracking the best deals from AmazonWalmart, Target, Best BuyNordstromThe Home Depot, and more.

If you're in need of a new mattress, Black Friday discounts of even 10% can save you a couple hundred dollars. Plus, you can expect plenty of perks like free shipping or free items with purchase.

The best Black Friday mattress deals of 2019:

1. Allswell mattress deals

Take 20% off mattresses with the code "GIVETHANKS" from November 17-25.

Take 20% off sitewide with the code "THANKS20" from November 26-December 2.

2. Amazon mattress deals 

Save up to 30% on select Classic Brands mattresses.

3. Avocado mattress deals 

Avocado hasn't released its Black Friday discount details yet, but check back closer to November 29 for updated details.

4. Bear mattress deals

Bear hasn't released their Black Friday deals yet, so check back closer to Black Friday, but you can find reviews of the Bear Mattress here and the Bear Hybrid Mattress here. We also expect the new Bear Pro to be included. 

5. Brooklyn Bedding mattress deals

Take 25% off sitewide from November 29-December 2. 

6. Casper mattress deals

Casper hasn't released its Black Friday 2019 deals yet, but we expect a similar discount to last year's 10% off.

You can find our review of the Casper Mattress here, the Casper Wave here, and the Casper mattress topper here. We've also tried the company's classic sheets and their linen sheets, and both the classic and down pillow

7. Dreamcloud mattress deals

Get $200 off a mattress now through December 2.  

8. Eight Sleep mattress deals

Eight Sleep hasn't released its Black Friday discount yet, but we expect it to look similar to last year's deal of $100 off a mattress and a $25 Amazon gift card. Check back closer to Black Friday for details. 

9. Helix Sleep mattress deals

If you spend $1,750 or more, take $200 off and get two free Dream Pillows with the code "BF200" now through November 18.

If you spend $1,250 or more, take $150 off and get two free Dream pillows with the code "BF150" now through November 18. 

If you spend $600 or more, take $100 off and get two free Dream Pillows with the code "BF100" now through November 18. 

10. Leesa mattress deals

Save up to 30% on Leesa mattresses on Amazon.

Check back later for more deals, but we expect a similar deal to last year's free Leesa pillow and $150 off the Leesa Original Mattress and $225 off the Hybrid (Sapira) Mattress. Deals this year will likely also include the new Legend Mattress

11. Nectar Sleep mattress deals

Take $100 off a mattress and get two free memory foam pillows now through December 5. 

Get $125 off any mattress with the code "125NAFFHOL19" at checkout from November 18-December 2.

12. Nest Bedding mattress deals

Take $300 off select mattresses with the code "LUXNEST" from November 17-December 8.

13. Purple mattress deals

Purple hasn't released its Black Friday deals yet, but we expect to see a similar offer to last year's $100 discount and additional freebies. Check back here closer to November 29. In the meantime, you can find a review of the Purple mattress here.

Check out our guides to the best mattresses and toppers here: 

SEE ALSO: The absolute best Black Friday deals of 2019

Join the conversation about this story »

Black Friday is on November 29, 2019 — here's everything you need to know leading up to the biggest sales holiday of the year, including early deals


Best Black Friday Deals 4x3

  • Black Friday falls on November 29, 2019.
  • The sales holiday often features some of the biggest online deals of the year on tech, home goods, clothing, and more, like $15 off the rarely discounted Apple AirPods and $45 off the Kindle Paperwhite. Participating retailers include both big brands and small startups. 
  • Bookmark this page to stay updated on all the latest news about Black Friday's 2019 deals. 
  • To potentially save more on Black Friday deals this year, visit Business Insider Coupons to find the most up-to-date coupons and promo codes.

Now that Halloween is over, it's full steam ahead into the holiday season. This month, the big shopping event on everyone's mind is Black Friday. Below, learn everything you need to know about Black Friday, including where to shop, what to buy, and what deals you can already start taking advantage of. 

Best early Black Friday deals of 2019:

These deals are already live. 

What is Black Friday? 

Black Friday is an annual sales event that traditionally happens at the end of November and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It's one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year — sales are so high that the day can push a retailer into "the black," or solvency

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on November 29. 

Stay updated on the start and end times of all the best Black Friday sales here.

Where can you shop Black Friday sales? 

You can find Black Friday sales both in stores and online, in every category you can imagine: tech, home and kitchen, clothing, beauty, pets, appliances, and more. 

The biggest retailers offering Black Friday sales include Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl's, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Macy's

We'll be rounding up the best deals from your favorite retailers here:

What should you buy on Black Friday? 

Since it falls a few weeks before December holidays, Black Friday provides excellent opportunities to buy — and save on all your holiday gifts— before the last-minute rush. 

We recommend focusing on the following categories if you want the best deals: 

  • TVs
  • Smart home devices
  • Gaming consoles
  • Video games
  • Kitchen appliances

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better?

It depends. We learned some rules of thumb in the classic Black Friday versus Cyber Monday debate and learned that it's better to shop on Black Friday in these situations:

  • For expensive products
  • For major stores
  • For this year's products
  • If you plan to shop in stores 

We'll be searching through all the sales across the internet to find you only the best of the best Black Friday 2019 deals.

Our favorite online retailers on Black Friday will include Amazon, Target, and Best Buy. Retail startups such as Leesa and Brooklinen also offer really competitive deals. For some startups, Black Friday will be the only time of the year when their products are discounted, so we recommend shopping at these smaller brands as well. 

You can get an idea about the types of Black Friday sales coverage we'll be writing by browsing our Black Friday page from last year. This year, expect similar deals roundups to these:

Visit our Black Friday 2019 hub for up-to-date information on deals and store openings this year. 

Bookmark this page to stay updated on all the latest news on Black Friday 2019 deals. 

Here's everything else you should know about Black Friday: 

These are the best early and anticipated Black Friday deals we already know about:

1. Unlocked iPhones

Available at Best Buy now through December 28: Buy an unlocked iPhone XRiPhone XSiPhone XS MaxiPhone 11iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max and get three free months of Apple Music (new subscribers only) and one free month of iCloud storage (new subscribers only).

2. Lenovo Smart Display 10" with Google Assistant

Available at Lenovo now: Lenovo Smart Display 10" with Google Assistant, $150 (originally $250) [You save $100]

3. Apple AirPods

Available at Walmart now: Apple AirPods with Charging Case, $144 (originally $159) [You save $15] 

4. Shark Ion Robot Vacuum

Available at Walmart now: Shark Ion Robot Vacuum Cleaning System, $269 (originally $449) [You save $180] 

5. TCL Roku Smart 4K TV

Available at Target through 11/9: TCL 65" Roku Smart 4K UHD HDR TV, $400 (originally $750) [You save $250] 

6. Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1

Available at Target through 11/9: Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker, $65 (originally $100) [You save $35] 

7. 23andMe DNA Test - Health + Ancestry

Available at Amazon now: 23andMe DNA Test - Health + Ancestry, $99 (originally $199) [You save $100] 

8. Quip Electric Toothbrush

Available at Target on 11/10: Free $10 Target Gift Card with purchase of the exclusive Quip Black Metal Electric Toothbrush, $40 (originally $50) [You save $10] 

9. Xbox One NBA 2K19 Bundle

Available at Walmart now: Microsoft Xbox One S 1TB NBA 2K19 Bundle, $200 (originally $299) [You save $99] 

10. Beats By Dr. Dre Beats Studio3 Headphones

Available at Best Buy now: Beats By Dr. Dre Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, $200 (originally $350) [You save $150]

Instagram head Adam Mosseri says the app will test hiding 'likes' for some users in the US starting next week (FB)


Adam Mosseri at F8

Say goodbye to your Instagram likes.

Starting next week, if you live in the US you might discover that the all-important number that tells the world how many likes your Instagram post received has disappeared.

Instagram will experiment with hiding like counts in the US, Adam Mosseri the head of the Facebook-owned business announced at the WIRED25 conference in San Francisco on Friday. 

"We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people's well-being and health," Mosseri said on stage at event, Wired's Adrienne So first reported.

According to So, Instagram will hide like counts only for certain users in the US. It's part of a test that the company has already begun in some other countries as it responds to critics and tries to create a "less pressured environment" on the platform. 

Instagram is testing hidden "like" counts in seven countries — Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.

Instagram influencers impacted by these experiments have told Business Insider that they are starting to feel the effects of this change on their brands because they found their posts getting much less reach than before.

Instagram's parent company Facebook is also reportedly testing this out for users in Australia. Likewise, YouTube plans to stop showing exact subscriber accounts for its channels.

Business Insider has reached out to Instagram for comment. You can watch Mosseri's talk below.


SEE ALSO: An exec at $2.75 billion startup GitLab resigns over claims that the company is 'engaging in discriminatory and retaliatory behavior' after proposing a ban on hiring in China and Russia

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.

Eerie photos of an abandoned airport that hasn't been touched in 25 years



  • I recently visited Abkhazia, a disputed region in Georgia, to photograph abandoned buildings and towns. 
  • The Sukhumi Babushara Airport in Abkhazia was built in the 1960s, but hasn't been used since the early 1990s after it was heavily damaged in a war with Georgia.
  • Eerie photos of the abandoned airport show what it looks like today.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On the coast of western Asia's Black Sea lies an airport that has been abandoned for 25 years.

The Sukhumi Babushara Airport in Abkhazia, a disputed region of Georgia, was built in the 1960s, when Abkhazia was still a part of the Soviet Union.

Thanks to the city of Sukhumi's proximity to the Black Sea, the airport was popular for domestic travelers looking for a beach getaway. At its peak, close to 5,000 people traveled through the airport each summer.

But the airport's fate changed in the early 1990s, when Abkhazia was ravaged by war with Georgia. The airport was heavily damaged, leading to its abandonment.

As a photographer with a focus on abandoned buildings, I took a particular interest in the Abkhazia airport. I recently traveled to the region to document what 25 years of neglect have done to the building.

Here's what the airport looks like today.

SEE ALSO: These eerie photos show what happens to swimming pools after they've been abandoned for years

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Abkhazia's airport has gone virtually untouched since the early 1990s. The airport is closed for international traffic because it's not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

There's a non-functioning plane still sitting in the abandoned runway. The Yak-40 aircraft carried former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze to Abkhazia in March 1993 to take charge of Georgian forces in the region.

The decaying entrance to the airport was a sign of what was to come.

Here's what I found inside the airport, which was heavily damaged and eventually abandoned during the conflict with Georgia.

Concrete staircases leading to an empty upper level were some of the only structures I saw standing.

Here's the view from the top floor.

The airport was riddled with landmines during the war. It wasn't until 2003 that all landmines and other explosive devices were declared to have been removed from the airport by the HALO Trust.

Source: The HALO Trust

The airport is inaccessible to the public, but luckily, a few military personnel were willing to show me around.

Russia is one of the few countries to recognize Abkhazia as a sovereign state, but even Russian planes can't fly to the airport because of sanctions by the International Air Transport Association.

This storage area was visibly damaged and was in the worst shape of the areas I saw.

You can see the old baggage carousels where arriving passengers once picked up their luggage.

The Abkhazian president said in 2006 that he hoped the airport would resume operations soon, but apart from a visit from the Russian foreign minister in 2008, that hasn't materialized.

Source: Sergey Bagapsh, Reuters

And it isn't likely the airport will be used any time soon.

A YouTuber launched a viral campaign to plant 20 million trees by 2020. Here's the list of prominent people who have donated, including Elon Musk, Jeffree Star, and other tech CEOs and YouTube personalities


mrbeast teamtrees

The organizing power of YouTube creators is on full display thanks to one YouTuber's effort to plant 20 million trees by the end of the year.

YouTuber MrBeast launched the #TeamTrees campaign last month after fans bombarded him with memes suggesting he commemorate reaching 20 million YouTube subscribers by planting 20 million trees. At $1 a tree, the cause's goal is to raise $20 million by January 1, 2020 to plant trees in part with the Arbor Day Foundation's reforestation program.

The initial debut of the #TeamTrees campaign gathered the support of more than 600 influencers, who flooded social media and YouTube with videos and posts to raise awareness about the tree-planting effort. It seems that the mass-bombardment has been successful however: #TeamTrees has drawn donations upwards of tens of thousands of dollars from some of the most popular YouTube stars, and more than $1 million from two tech CEOs as well.

Here are all the big names in tech and YouTube that have so far donated to the #TeamTrees campaign:

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk changed his username to 'Treelon' on Twitter after pledging to donate $1 million to a YouTuber's tree-planting cause

MrBeast is known on YouTube for his attention-grabbing stunts and thousands of dollars in donations. To kick off the #TeamTrees campaign, MrBeast (aka Jimmy Donaldson) donated $100,000. A day later, he gave an additional $100,002 to maintain the top-spot on the #TeamTrees' donation leaderboard.


NASA engineer-turned-YouTuber Mark Rober was part of the team behind the planning of the #TeamTrees movement, and contributed $50,000 to the cause.

Source: Mark Rober on Twitter

Makeup artist Jeffree Star has been quite busy launching his newest makeup collection with fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson, but he donated $50,000 to the cause.


Wildlife educator Coyote Peterson, the face of YouTube channel Brave Wilderness, recorded a video announcing the team's $1,000 donation to #TeamTrees.


YouTuber Alan Becker shared an animation blaming one of his well-known stick figures for making him donate $5,100.


Odd 1s Out, aka James Rallison, participated earlier this year in a real-life Battle Royale game held by MrBeast. He gave back the earnings he won to the #TeamTrees campaign.


Another YouTube animator, Jaiden Animations, donated $20,000 to #TeamTrees.


Gamer-turned-memer PewDiePie got help earlier this year from MrBeast during his attempt to keep his spot as the most-subscribed-to YouTuber, so it makes sense PewDiePie would help with #TeamTrees. In true PewDiePie fashion, his choice of donation amount was comedic — at $69,420 — as was the name he used.

Read more:PewDiePie's war with T-Series hit the Super Bowl, as YouTuber Mr Beast turned up to the game with 'Sub 2 PewDiePie' shirts


Many of YouTube's popular sect of gamers have also contributed to #TeamTrees. LazarBeam, who has nearly 12 million subscribers, gave $10,000.


Lachlan, a YouTuber known for his 'Fortnite' videos, donated $15,000.


Professional gamer Ninja, who recently moved his livestreaming over to Mixer, teamed up with his wife Jessica Blevins to contribute $15,000.


Arin Hanson — better known as Egoraptor — took time away from his web series "Game Grumps" to donate $12,345.


Members of the British YouTuber gaming squad Sidemen also pledged money to the cause. Vikkstar123 gave $10,000 and encouraged others to "show how powerful we are" by donating.


Another Sidemen member, Miniminter, contributed $10,010. Notably missing from the list of donations is fellow Sidemen member KSI, who's currently prepping for his upcoming boxing match against Logan Paul.


Some gamers hosted livestreams to encourage fans to watch and raise more money for #TeamTrees. On top of a $20,000 personal contribution, Jacksepticeye streamed to raise an additional $153,000.


Roi Fabito, the name behind poplar YouTube channel Guava Juice, dolled out $10,009, after helping MrBeast to plant a tree earlier.


Canadian YouTuber AzzyLand didn't publicly announce her donation, but a #TeamTrees contribution bearing her name shows the YouTuber contributing $10,000.


Internet celebrity MD Dr. Mike donated $11,111 to "keep the world Happy & Healthy!"


YouTube magician Chris Ramsay also donated $11,111.


Cristine Rotenberg is the bonafide face of viral nail art as the person behind YouTube's Simply Nailogical channel. She donated $12,000 to the #TeamTrees campaign.


Ethan Klein, one-half of comedy duo h3h3 Productions, announced a $1,000 donation from "your favorite boomer," a nod to how much older he is than the usual YouTuber.


But YouTubers weren't the only group to get in on the donations. The #TeamTrees campaign reached the radar of tech executives too, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated twice for a total of $350,000.


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is known for his philanthropy toward environmental efforts, so it's not surprising he gave $900,000 to #TeamTrees.


Patreon is a popular platform among creators and YouTubers to crowdfund money for projects and work. Its CEO, Jack Conte, shared a video on Twitter to announce his contribution of $10,000.


Verizon's division focused on sustainability efforts, called Green Team, donated $100,000 to the environmentally friendly fundraiser.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the top spot on the donation leaderboard after saying the cause seemed "legit," and donated $1 million. He went further by temporarily changing his Twitter display name to "Treelon" and his profile picture to a forest.

Read more: Elon Musk changed his username to 'Treelon' on Twitter after pledging to donate $1 million to a YouTuber's tree-planting cause


But Musk's lead didn't last long. Shortly after, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke donated just one more tree than Musk to take the top spot "on behalf of 1,000,000 Shopify merchants and my own defunct snowboarding store."


Shopify's chief technology officer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, followed in his boss' footsteps with a donation of his own, although he capped his contribution at $100,000.


YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has taken notice of the major fundraiser happening on her platform, and showed up to help the #TeamTrees team, both in person and with a $200,000 donation.


Since then, YouTube has also pledged on Twitter to match up to $1 million of donations that are given through YouTube's fundraising feature. YouTube has yet to say that the $1 million milestone has been reached, and has told Twitter users to "keep giving" and look out for YouTube's contribution.


The world's first hybrid cruise ship is currently on its maiden voyage, an 18-day trip to Antarctica with 450 guests onboard. Here's a look inside.


MS Roald Amundsen

  • Hurtigruten, a Norwegian expedition cruise company, unveiled the world's first hybrid cruise ship earlier this year. It is currently on its maiden voyage to Antarctica with 450 passengers aboard. 
  • The vessel, MS Roald Amundsen, runs on low sulfur diesel fuel that is supported by battery packs, cutting emissions by 20%.
  • But it's not all science and technology on board: The ship is also equipped with an infinity pool, luxury suites, three restaurants, and a glass-encased sauna.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Luxury and sustainability are merging in the world of yachts.

In September, the world's first hydrogen-powered superyacht was unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show. And right now, the world's first hybrid, battery-supported cruise ship is making its maiden voyage to Antarctica with 450 passengers aboard, according to Robb Report.

The MS Roald Amundsen's first expedition to Antarctica is fitting – it was named after the eponymous legendary Norwegian polar explorer. The ship was unveiled by Hurtigruten, a Norwegian expedition cruise company, this summer.

The 459-foot cruise ship is equipped with battery packs that support its low sulfur, diesel-powered, Rolls Royce-built engines.

That's not to say the cruise is devoid of the lavish trappings of a typical cruise ship: There's also an infinity pool, a glass-encased sauna, three restaurants, and luxurious cabins on board. Throughout the ship, there are almost 600 works of art produced by young Norwegian artists, handpicked by the queen of Norway.

Prices for a future cruise featuring the same route start at $14,720 per person. The more lavish cabins raise that baseline to $23,046 per person.

Keep reading for a look inside the cruise ship.

SEE ALSO: The world's first hydrogen-powered superyacht was unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show. Here's a look inside the game-changing 367-foot vessel concept.

NOW READ: 10 packing essentials for cruises that will save time, space, and money — from foldable luggage to a portable safe

The MS Roald Amundsen is the world's first hybrid cruise ship.


It runs on Rolls Royce-built engines powered by low sulfur diesel fuel and batteries, which, according to the ship's developer, lowers the ship's CO2 emissions by 20%.

In addition to its operating systems, the ship is also committed to sustainability in other ways. There are no single-use plastics aboard and the uniforms worn by the crew are made from recycled ocean plastic.


The cruise ship is currently on a full capacity, 18-day maiden voyage to Antarctica.

The maiden voyage started in Valparaíso, Chile before cruising south along the coast of South America toward the Drake Passage. From there, the ship spends three days in Antarctica before returning to Punta Arenas, Chile.

Passengers can disembark in Antarctica and partake in activities that include kayaking, hiking, whale-watching, and penguin-watching.


And it's not just science and sustainability on board: Like other cruise ships that support travels of that length, the ship is flush with luxury amenities. The ship has 264 cabins.


The Scandinavian-inspired interior design features oak, granite, birch, and wool throughout the cabins.


Many of the suites have private lounging areas and balconies with hot tubs.


All passengers have access to the infinity pool and the hot tubs on the observation deck ...


... and the sauna and wellness center, which also offer sweeping views.


The ship has three restaurants and other communal amenities ...


... including a science center where passengers can attend lectures and learn more about Arctic exploration.


The ship will be conducting arctic expedition cruises into 2020.


The MS Roald Amundsen is just one example of the luxury travel industry becoming more eco-friendly in 2019.

Business Insider previously reported that a model for the first hydrogen-powered yacht was unveiled in September by Sinot, a Dutch yacht-design company. The 367-foot vessel will be completely powered by liquid hydrogen and fuel-cell technology. Its only emission will be water.

Beyond boats, luxury African safaris are also embracing the eco-friendly. In August, Business Insider's Katie Warren reported on a Botswana safari company equipped with conservation camps for children, where lessons on the environment, health, and nutrition are taught.

Increased attention to sustainability and conservation in the luxury travel sector play into the larger trend of "transformational travel." Ultimately, the ultra-wealthy want to leave their vacation with a transformative, emotional experience to bring home, and in some cases, want to make a positive impact on the places they visit.

Efficiency-obsessed tech firms are sticking newsletters on toilet stall walls to keep employees productive while they poop (FB, GOOG, YELP)


silicon valley bathroom memos 2x1

  • Silicon Valley firms are putting internal employee newsletters on the walls of bathrooms stalls to reach workers while they poop.
  • Google pioneered the practice, and Facebook, Yelp, Jet.com, Group Nine and others have all also adopted the practice in recent years, Business Insider found.
  • The organizer of one company's toilet-wall newsletter boasted of the efficiency gains it gives the company. 
  • The practice is emblematic of the technology industry's relentless drive for productivity and sometimes unconventional working methods.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Silicon Valley's efficiency-obsessed tech giants are increasingly turning to the final frontier to reach their employees: the toilet.

Companies like Facebook, Google, and Yelp are all sticking up newsletters, memos, workplace training drills and other important messages for their workforce on the walls of toilet stalls, ensuring workers can learn more about the business while they do their business.

It sounds like something from a script of the satirical "Silicon Valley" TV show on HBO, but the bathroom work reading is as unsurprising a sight at many tech companies today as ping-pong tables or a barista. 

The practice is the latest, and perhaps most intrusive, example of how Silicon Valley's quest for relentless productivity and its yen for rulebreaking are reshaping how we think of the boundaries between business and personal duties. In a world where smartphones and instant messages have made working off-hours from a bus or a bed seem normal, business reading in the washroom may be the next tech industry innovation coming soon to an office near you.

Google was a potty publishing pioneer. Since at least as early as 2006, the $905 billion tech behemoth has published "Testing on the Toilet," a one-pager that gives engineering advice to fellow employees. It also has "Learning on the Loo," which helps enlighten enthroned employees about other aspects of the company.

One recent "Learning on the Loo" from October 2019 addressed workforce unrest and employee concerns — an issue that has bedeviled the company over the last few years, with employees protesting the treatment of contract workers and the company's response to sexual harassment allegations. (A Google spokesperson did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.)

But these days, the California-based search giant is far from the only company to capitalize on employees' bathroom downtime as an opportunity for learning. 

google toilet memo

It's "arguably a better use of time when on the loo"

Social networking behemoth Facebook offers a variety memos for employees to digest while they deposit.

These include a weekly "Product and Business Marketing Update" internal newsletter that details product changes, successful advertising customers, and other company news, and the suggestively named "The Weekly Push" — a regularly published memo that provides technical pointers and coding advice for employees and engineers.

San Francisco-headquartered Yelp is another enthusiastic adopter of company-mandated toilet reading material. Following Google's lead, it has its own "Learning on the Loo" newsletters that let engineers share info about different parts of the company and its processes with a captive audience. 

In a statement provided to Business Insider by a spokesperson, Yelp employee Shrayus Gupta, who co-maintains the program, wrote: "In March 2019, Yelp's San Francisco headquarters started the "Learning on the Loo" program where an engineer from any team has the opportunity to write about an engineering or work related topic and see their work published in bathroom stalls across the office. The monthly program initially started as a great way to introduce effective software testing topics, and has since expanded to more general topics such as how to hold more effective meetings. The program has empowered engineers to write about topics they're most passionate about."

He also praised the efficiency gains the program offers indisposed employees: "Yelp's 'Learning on the Loo' program has been an effective communication method to share information across the office and, arguably, a better use of time when on the loo. Yelp employees have had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program — in fact, the team has months of content backlogged!"

Walmart-owned ecommerce site Jet.com also has a weekly newsletter with internal company updates that workers can peruse on the can, a source said — though a company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yelp_Learning on the Loo yelp

The 'ideal worker' doesn't let anything get in the way of work — even bodily functions

Sigrid Luhr, a Ph.D candidate in sociology at UC Berkeley who is researching the Silicon Valley tech industry and inequality, said the practice is inline with the broader trend of work encroaching into the personal realm in the name of maximizing efficiency.

"Most jobs are premised on the existence of what sociologists call the 'ideal worker,' and this is someone who is essentially available to work at all times they may be needed" Luhr wrote in an email.

"In the tech industry, it seems that ideas about the ideal worker are taken to the extreme, and there is pressure to make the most of all available work hours. So it doesn't surprise me that this would extend even to the bathroom or other times when workers are meant to take breaks." 

Other experts questioned whether toilet reading materials would really boost employee productivity — or whether they're more about workers performatively demonstrating their commitment to their employer.

"Professionals in intensive careers are often devoted to their work and live out this devotion in ways that contribute simultaneously to the company and to the worker's professional growth and a sense of accomplishment. In addition, many employers can expect and sometimes coerce what I call a 'dedication display' that is unmoored from workers' actual productivity,"  Mary Blair-Loy, professor of sociology at UC San Diego, said.

"These mandated dedication displays can be invasive of workers' personal time and undermine real creativity. If employers paste work-related reading material on the inside of bathroom stalls, I would see this as a power grab, an assembly-line mentality, a cultural message that values workers' dedication display over their actual contribution. Yet to work at the highest level of creativity, human beings need to take a few steps and a few breaths during the day, to rest their eyeballs in the middle distance, and to be given the respect to defecate in peace."

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

Forward-thinking media companies are getting in on the action

It's not just traditional tech companies that are trying to get employees to study while they strain. Several new media companies are also getting in on the trend.

Refinery29, a millennial women-focused media company, publishes a biweekly memo called the "Tissue Issue." Company spokesperson Chelsea Sanders said that this "highlights standout content across all our platforms, interesting audience feedback and insights (comments, timely research, etc.), recent visual + design campaigns we've done, and of course, birthday shoutouts. It was started about 4 years ago, as an idea from a junior employee." (Vice, the parent company of Refinery29, has occasional signs on toilet doors but hasn't yet adopted the practice more wholeheartedly.)

And Group Nine, a media holding company that owns lifestyle publication Thrillist, politics outlet NowThis, animal news site The Dodo, and other brands, publishes a weekly newsletter "Whole Nine" that is pasted in toilets so employees can touch up on their knowledge of upcoming events, open roles, announcements, and other news while they tinkle.

"At Group Nine ... we like to say that we meet our audiences in the places where they spend their time — our employees are no exception!" a spokesperson said. "We've been posting our newsletters in bathrooms stalls for just shy of one year and it's been very well received. True — some employees at first found it a little funny but it's actually a really great way to reach more people and to encourage conversation around what's happening at the company."

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Meet the typical millennial millionaire in America, who has a real-estate portfolio worth $1.4 million, is married, and is more likely to live in California than any other state


rich millennial

There are 618,000 millennial millionaires in America, and they're sitting on a nice pile of assets.

Think a net worth ranging from $1 to $2.49 million, three properties, and a BMW. That's according to a new report by Coldwell Banker

The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program worked with wealth intelligence data and research firm WealthEngine to analyze the lifestyles of millennial millionaires, from wealth creation and property investments to spending trends. It defined millennial millionaires as those ages 23 to 37 with a net worth of more than $1 million.

The report found that the average millennial millionaire is married, lives in California, and is on the hunt for real estate that is affordable and within walking distance of the center of action.

Meet the typical American millennial millionaire, according to highlights from the report.

SEE ALSO: Meet the average American millennial, who has an $8,000 net worth, is delaying life milestones because of student loan debt, and still relies on their parents for money

DON'T MISS: The top 10 ZIP codes where America's wealthiest millennials live, ranked

The typical millennial millionaire is between the ages of 34 to 37 and has a net worth between $1 and $2.49 million.

Millennial millionaires differ from the millionaires of the early 1980s (the time of America's last millionaire boom) in that they're set to inherit even more wealth from their baby boomer parents, who are considered history's wealthiest generation, according to the report.

It's estimated that $68 trillion will be passed down from boomers within the next few decades during the "Great Wealth Transfer." By 2030, millennials will hold five times as much wealth as they do today.

"While the inheritance component is hard to quantify with the current data available, there are still many millennials who are not considered wealthy today, but will be in the future," the report states.

Millennial millionaires in the US own an average of three properties. Their average real-estate portfolio is worth $1.4 million.

"Given their age and real-estate portfolio value, plus the fact that many of them own businesses and stand to inherit a lot of wealth, millennial millionaires are poised to be one of the richest and most influential generations in history," reads the report.

Additionally, many millennial millionaires see investing in real-estate as the key to wealth building.

According to Dana Bull, a real-estate investor, the financial advantages of investing in real estate are plentiful: positive cash flow, appreciation in terms of housing values, leverage, and tax advantages.


Most American millennial millionaires are homeowners, and most own a single-family home.

Ninety-two percent of millennial millionaires in the US are homeowners, according to the report. And 77% of them said they're interested in home improvement.

Some real-estate agents in luxury markets find that millennial millionaires aren't into fixer-uppers, according to the report. But Jade Mills, a Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Ambassador and Beverly Hills real-estate agent, said they're open to open to buying fixer-uppers in desirable areas if they can't afford new construction properties.

The most popular state for millennial millionaires is California: Eight of the top 10 ZIP codes they live in are concentrated in the Golden State.

According to the report, 44% of millennial millionaires live in the Golden State. Seven of the eight California ZIP codes are in Silicon Valley specifically, which highlights the relationship between tech and wealth.

New York, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas are the states with the next-largest population of millennial millionaires.

When buying luxury real estate, most millennial millionaires focus on the walkability factor.

"They want to live near gathering spaces," Karen Yang of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Los Altos in California said in the report. "They want to live near throwback downtowns, or districts that grew organically — and they are willing to give up square footage and amenities to be able to live in those kinds of locations."

Business Insider previously spoke with several real-estate agents in three states that are popular among rich millennials — New York, California, and Florida. They, too, all told Business Insider that location and walkability are key factors among buyers.

In New York City, many want to be able to walk to work, Ian Slater of Compass told Business Insider. Millennials also want to walk to restaurants, recreational activities, and, in the case of Florida, the water, West Palm Beach real-estate agent Burt Minkoff of Douglas Elliman said. 

Most American millennial millionaires are married. Those who have kids typically have just one.

Millennials have delayed significant life milestones like marriage and children, but wealthier millennials are ahead of the curve when it comes to marriage: 67% are married, compared to only 40% of the general millennial population.

According to the report, all cohorts — millennials, millionaires, and millennial millionaires — who have children typically have just one.

Millennial millionaires have a wide range of interests, but they're overwhelmingly interested in health and fitness, and technology.

The report states that they prefer to live within walking distance of yoga studios, fitness facilities, and organic dining restaurants. They support local farms and farmer's markets and some grow their own produce.

Entire industries are developing or adjusting services to cater to this increased interest in wellness, Business Insider's Lina Batarags reported. Consider wellness, which is increasingly regarded as a modern embodiment of luxury. Accordingly, an array of spas and studios offering treatments like cryofacialsweeklong retreats, and vitamin IV drips are delivering those experiences.

When it comes to real estate, they've expressed interest in trends like eco-conscious building practices and expect a high level of smart-home technology.

Millennial millionaires are practical and reliable when it comes to car ownership. The most frequently-owned car model among millennial millionaires is a BMW 3 series (one of the brand's more affordable models), followed by a Honda Accord and Jeep Cherokee.

The top car brands millennial millionaires drive are Toyota, Honda, and Ford, the report indicates.

A BMW 3-series car has a starting price of $40,750.

But some millennial millionaires indulge in collectible and classic cars. As the report states, at the 2019 Monterey Classic Car event, there was an increase in buyers among this cohort, who preferred vintage cars from the 80s and 90s and sports cars.

The typical millennial millionaire donates to charity, more than any other generation. Political causes are their charity of choice.

Thirty-five percent of millionaires donate to charity, compared to 56% of millennial millionaires, according to the report.

And 70% of these millennials are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about.

"More and more, the wealthy are evaluating a brand in terms of: What mission does this brand represent?" Mike Phillips, Wealth-X's vice president of marketing and communications, told Batarags. "How does it contribute to the greater good ... If I choose to purchase this product, what does that say about me and my values?"

Billionaires in politics: The top 25 Americans who funded politics in 2018


Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson speaks at the National Israeli-American Conference in Washington October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron .

A small group of ultra-wealthy Americans pumps a lot of money into politics.

We took a look at the top 25 donors who funded American politics in 2018 and found that the list consists of, among others, an assortment of financiers, heirs, and entrepreneurs.

The contributions of some of the largest donors — such as Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, George Soros and Tom Steyer— are well known, while other donors, like Jeff Bezos, are better known for their careers.

Interestingly, one well-known political donors — Charles Koch— did not make the list. Koch and his now-deceased brother David donated $1,816,650 to Republicans through their company Koch industries in 2018, according to The Center for Responsive Politics. To make this list, their donations would have needed to top $6.5 million.

Business Insider previously reported that public affairs rank as the eighth-most popular cause that billionaires donate to. Only 12.4% of billionaires reported making donations to politics in 2018, according to Wealth-X's 2019 Billionaire Census.

Collectively, the 25 billionaires and billionaire couples on the list totaled a whopping $ in political donations in 2018, data from The Center for Responsive Politics shows.

Keep reading to learn more about the country's biggest political donors, ranked in order of their donations during the 2018 election cycle by The Center for Responsive Politics. Each donor's net worth, where available, was sourced from Forbes unless otherwise specified. Their party affiliations are listed according to The Center for Responsive Politics.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 18 ultra-wealthy Americans begging for a wealth tax, from a Facebook cofounder to a Disney heiress

DON'T MISS: Less than 1% of the world's billionaires donate to housing and shelter charities. Here are the top 10 causes the world's richest people give their money to.

25. Billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer gave $6.4 million to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Total donations: $6,463,400

Party: Republican

Net worth: $3.5 billion

Singer is the founder of investment firm Elliott Management, according to his biography on the firm's website, but he is better known for his advocacy for conservative causes, Forbes reports. Once a major critic of President Trump, Singer has since met with him at the White House. Singer does break with the President on one important issue, however — Singer is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

24. Former Breitbart News investor Robert Mercer and his wife Diana have given $6,544,024 to conservatives.

Total donations: $6,544,024

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Robert Mercer, 73, is the former co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund valued at $50 million in 2017, according to The New York Times. Mercer left the hedge fund in 2017 after clients, including the retirement fund for Baltimore's police and firefighters, withdrew their investments from Renaissance over concern about Mercer's political donations and involvement with Breitbart, The Times reported.

The $6.5 million that Robert and his wife Diana donated to Republicans in 2018 was the smallest figure they've given in any election cycle since 2012, CNBC reported. The couple, once among President Trump's biggest supporters, have become fatigued by the resulting media attention, sources told CNBC.

23. CEO of Arkansas-based chicken producer Mountaire Corp, Ronald Cameron, and his wife Nina donated nearly $6.6 million to Republicans.

Total donations: $6,574,352

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Ronald Cameron is the CEO of the poultry company founded by his grandfather, according to the North Caroline Poultry Foundation. Mountaire Corp is the seventh-largest producer of chicken in the country, the foundation reports. An alum of the University of Arkansas, Ronald and his wife Nina have four children and nine grandchildren, according to the foundation's website.

The Camerons were responsible for 80% of total donations to Mike Huckabee's 2016 presidential run, ABC News reported.

22. Indiana real-estate developer Paul Skjodt and philanthropist Cynthia Simon-Skjodt gave $6.8 million to Democrats through their foundation.

Total donations: $6,750,150

Party: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Cindy Simon-Skjodt serves as the chair of the couple's non-profit, the Samerian Foundation, according to its website. The foundation provides grants for education, economic development, and youth sports initiatives, according to its website. Paul Skjodt is a former professional hockey player and real estate developer, according to his biography on the foundation's website.

The Skjodts donated $20 million to create a genocide prevention center at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2015, according to The Indianapolis Business Journal.

21. Jeffrey and Janine Yass donated $7.3 million to conservatives.

Total donations: $7,611,083 ($7,295,833 to conservatives, $250 to liberals)

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Jeffrey Yass is a cofounder of trading firm Susquehanna International Group, according to the company's website.

The couple also donated $250 to liberals in addition to their support of conservatives, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

20. Investor Joshua Bekenstein and philanthropist Anita Bekenstein gave $7.7 million to Democrats.

Total Donations: $7,713,540

Party: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Joshua Bekenstein is the co-chairman of Bain Capital, the private equity firm cofounded by Mitt Romney, according to Fortune

Anita, Joshua's wife, is a philanthropist who manages the couple's private fund, which supports health, education, arts, and environmental non-profits, in addition to serving on the board of patient advocacy non-profit Upstream USA, according to her biography on the organization's website.

The couple lives in Boston and has five children, according to Anita's biography on the organization's website.

19. Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, former Wall Street Journal reporter Cari Tuna, donated $7.7 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $7,720,230

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $11.8 billion

After leaving Facebook in 2008, Dustin Moskovitz founded workflow management platform Asana, according to Forbes.

Alongside his wife Cari Tuna, Moskovitz has donated millions to health and LGBTQ+ organizations through their foundation Good Ventures, Forbes reports.

Moskovitz maintains a 3% stake in Facebook, according to Forbes

18. Home Depot cofounder Bernard Marcus and his wife, Billi Wilma, gave nearly $8 million to Republicans.

Total donations: $8,000,018 ($7,980,318 to conservatives, $500 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $6.5 billion

Bernie Marcus cofounded Home Depot in 1978 with Arthur Blank after they were fired from their jobs at another hardware store, according to Forbes. Marcus was the company's first CEO and retired in 2002.

Marcus was a major contributor to President Trump's 2016 presidential bid and will support the President again in 2020, Business Insider previously reported. 

Read more: The billionaire cofounder of Home Depot plans on donating up to 90% of his $5.9 billion fortune, and Trump's 2020 campaign will be one of the beneficiaries

17. Charles Schwab, the founder of the eponymous brokerage firm, and his wife Helen gave $8,531,440 to Republicans.

Total donations: $8,531,440

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $8.2 billion

Charles Schwab, 81, founded his brokerage firm in 1971 and served as its CEO until 2008, according to Forbes. Schwab's fortune comes from his 11% stake in the firm. 

Helen is a philanthropist and serves as the president of the board of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, according to the organization's website.

The couple resides in Woodside, California and has 5 children, according to Forbes.

16. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman donated $9,315,826, mostly to Democrats.

Total donations: $9,315,826 ($433,500 to conservatives, $8,317,326 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $1.9 billion

Reid Hoffman was an early employee of PayPal and one of the first investors in Facebook, according to Forbes. Hoffman founded Linkedin in 2003. Hoffman sold LinkedIn for $26.2 billion to Microsoft in 2016 and now sits on Microsoft's board, according to Forbes.

Hoffman gave $8,317,326 to Democrats and $433,500 to Republicans in 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

15. Investor George Marcus and his wife Judith gave $9,610,125, mostly to Democrats.

Total donations: $9,610,125 ($10,400 to conservatives, $9,579,725 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $1.5 billion

George Marcus is the founder of real-estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap Company, according to the company's website. Marcus is also the chairman of Essex Property Trust, a multi-family real-estate investment trust, and he serves on the board of California-based commercial bank Greater Bay Bancorp.

The Marcuses gave $10,400 to Republicans in 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The rest went to Democrats.

14. Heiress Deborah Simon donated $9.7 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $9,744,070

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Deborah Simon is the daughter of Indiana shopping mall developer Melvin Simon. Simon inherited a portion of her father's fortune after a bitter legal battle over his estate with her stepmother Bren Simon, according to Forbes

Simon's family had a net worth of $6.8 billion in 2014, according to Forbes.

13. Investor Timothy Mellon gave $10 million, mostly to Republicans.

Total donations: $10,061,000 ($10,058,300 to conservatives, $2,700 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $1 billion 

Timothy Mellon, the grandson of twentieth-century business magnate Andrew Mellon, funded the founding of New Hampshire-based railroad company, Guilford Transportation Industries, according to Forbes.

While most of Mellon's donations were to conservatives, Mellon also gave $2,700 to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, according to The Guardian.

12. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos donated $10,186,170 in total to candidates of both parties.

Total donations: $10,186,170

Party Affiliation: Non-partisan, lean conservative

Net worth: $107.4 billion, $33.9 billion

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and novelist MacKenzie Bezos made 60% of their donations to Republicans and 40% of their donations to Democrats, according to The Center for Responsive Politics

The pair finalized their divorce in July 2019, Business Insider previously reported.

Read more: 25 years after Amazon's launch, Jeff Bezos is the richest person alive. Here's how he makes and spends his billions.

11. California-based psychiatrist Karla Jurvetson donated $12 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $12,431,198 ($5,400 to conservatives, $12,415,726 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Karla Jurvetson is the ex-wife of venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, according to The Guardian. Her largest donation, $5.4 million, was to a Super PAC aimed at elected pro-choice female candidates run by Emily's List, The Guardian reported.

10. Chicago-based newspaper publisher Fred Eychaner gave $12,665,400 to Democrats.

Total donations: $12,665,400

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $500 million in 2005

Fred Eychaner is the chairman of Newsweb Corp. Eychaner became wealthy after selling a television station to Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp for $425 million in 2002, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Eychaner is also a major supporter of Hillary Clinton. He financially backed her 2008 and 2016 presidential bids, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

9. Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman and his wife Christine gave $12,882,200 to Republicans.

Total donations: $12,882,200

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $16.7 billion

Stephen Schwarzman, 72, cofounded the private equity firm in 1985, according to Forbes

8. Hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin donated $19,225,125 to Republicans.

Total donations: $19,225,125

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $12.7 billion

Ken Griffin is the founder and CEO of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, according to The Guardian. Citadel manages $32 billion in assets, according to Forbes.

Griffin also owns the most expensive apartment ever sold in New York City, Business Insider previously reported.

Read more: Hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin's $238 million NYC apartment shattered the US real estate record — here's a look at his record-setting properties and penthouses

7. Billionaire financier George Soros donated over $20 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $20,135,586

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $8.3 billion

Soros built his fortune leading Quantum Fund, once the world's largest hedge fund. Since retiring from money managing in 2011, Soros has turned his attention to philanthropy. He started donating to campaigns in 2003 because of his dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq, Business Insider previously reported. 

Soros has also found himself at the center of numerous conspiracy theories about his involvement in governments from the United States to Hungary to Russia, many of which are anti-Semitic and have never been supported by evidence.

Read more: What George Soros' life is really like: How the former hedge-fund manager built his $8.3 billion fortune, purchased a sprawling network of New York homes, and became the topic of international conspiracy theories

6. James and Marilyn Simons gave $22 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $22,165,010

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $21.6 billion

James Simons, the founder of quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, was named the highest-paid hedge fund manager of 2019 by Forbes. James and his wife, economist and philanthropist Marilyn Simons, are also major donors to Stony Brook University, where they met, according to Bloomberg.

5. Hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman donated over $27 million to Democrats in 2018.

Total donations: $27,545,500

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Donald Sussman is the founder of Paloma Partners. The Fort Lauderdale-based hedge fund was the top donor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, giving $21.6 million, according to The Guardian

4. Uline CEO Richard Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth donated almost $40 million to Republicans.

Total donations: $39,854,296

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: Between $700 million and $2 billion in 2014

Richard Uihlein is the founder of the Wisconsin-based shipping materials company Uline, according to Forbes.

"I'm a conservative Republican, and I'm trying to help people who believe as I do in limited government and free markets," Richard Uihlein said in 2013, according to Forbes. "I'm not one to hide from that."

3. Presidential candidate Tom Steyer and his wife Kathryn Taylor gave $73,819,973 to Democrats.

Total donations: $73,819,973

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $1.6 billion 

Tom Steyer, 62, ran hedge fund Farallon Capital before becoming a full-time activist in 2012, according to Forbes

Read more: Billionaire activist Tom Steyer just jumped into the 2020 Democratic field after previously ruling out a presidential run

2. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg donated over $95 million, nearly all of it to Democrats.

Total donations: $95,098,168 ($5,400 to conservative, $94,837,766 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $52.4 billion

Michael Bloomberg, 77, is the founder and CEO of financial media company Bloomberg LP.

Bloomberg will spend $500 million on the 2020 election in hopes of defeating Trump, Politico reported in February. On November 7, The New York Times reported that he was actively preparing to enter the Democratic primary.

1. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $123,244,400 to Republicans.

Total donations: $123,244,400

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $33.6 billion

Sheldon Adelson, 86, is the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino company, according to Forbes. Adelson is also an avid Trump supporter. Adelson was the largest donor to both Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and his inauguration fund, according to The Guardian.

Ryan Holiday says that embracing true 'stillness' is the key to exceptional work performance — and better parenting


Ryan Holiday and Dan Schawbel.

Even though he dropped out of college as a teenager, Ryan Holiday received his education by apprenticing under some of the most successful authors of the past decade, including Tim Ferriss, Tucker Max, and Robert Greene.

After supporting the book marketing campaign for Greene's "The 50th Law," Greene introduced Ryan to the CEO of American Apparel. Ryan served as the director of marketing for the company from 2009 until 2014, where he was responsible for many notable media stunts, which became the inspiration for his first book "Trust Me, I'm Lying." Since then, he's written several other books, including "The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph," "Ego Is the Enemy," and his latest, "Stillness Is the Key."

In the below conversation, Ryan shares his life philosophies, tips on how to disconnect from technology to be more present, achieving stillness, stoicism's affect on his parenting, and his best career advice.

Dan Schawbel: After all of this time, what is most changed for you, and what's remained the same in terms of your philosophy and how you operate in your life?

Dan Schawbel

Ryan Holiday: That's a good question. I don't know how much has changed. I'm the same person, but I feel like what you're doing is solving the obvious problems in your life, and then you're going up that hierarchy of needs so that the problems get seemingly less urgent, but ultimately much more important and consequential. Part of what I'm doing in this book is asking, "When you've gotten through the obstacles, when you've gotten your life or your career or your business on track, what's the next problem?" What this book is solving for is this thing that so many of us are feeling right now and I've always felt, which is that we're overwhelmed. We're not experiencing the stillness that we need to make good decisions, to be happy, and to bring our best work out from wherever it comes from.

DS: This is something I've noticed as well since I'm studying the same topic. People are responding to business email and messages outside of work, on weekends, on vacation, just everywhere. People feel like they need to constantly be connected, but how can they start to disconnect and be more present?

RH: One of the things that I've started doing just as far as devices go is I don't touch my phone for the first 30 minutes or one hour of the day. I wake up, I don't sleep with the phone in the same room, and I don't touch the phone in the morning. I want to get into the work before I get sucked into this stuff. So for me, I tried to build my life around really winning the morning. I front load as much of the big successes earlier in the day. So then, when things get interrupted or stressful or I get distracted or tired — all the things that can happen in the course of the day — it's not pushing anything off for me because I already did the important stuff. So if I have a distraction-free day, that's amazing cause I'm super productive, and I've got extra done. But by 10 or 11 I've done a normal human day's work. That's how I think about it.

DS: How do you define stillness? What is the feeling like when you've achieved stillness, and why should people try to do that?

RH: Stillness is one of these things that I think manifests itself in different ways. There's the stillness of a baseball player staring down a pitcher waiting for the right pitch. There's this stillness of a parent with a child asleep on them. There's the stillness of sitting in front of a journal. There's the stillness of when you get into one of those flow states with whatever the work you're doing is. There's the stillness of being out in nature. So there are lots of different forms, but I think at the core of it, it's defined by presence. It's defined by a lack of swirling negative emotions. It's a sense of possibilities. It's clarity of intention. Even if you are doing something really important, whether it's writing or making music or working on a big idea, you're intense and engaged, but not thinking that much.

So to me, stillness is this place we go to personally that's quite important, but also professionally since it's the key to elite performance. We know that stillness is what unlocks whatever it is we want in life personally and professionally. The problem is as relatable as those moments I just talked about are, we've all had them, and we all know that they're pretty rare. If they're so important, why do we allow them to be so rare and how can we build a life that encourages them or at least doesn't make them impossible? 

Ryan holiday Headshot

DS: You're raising a child right now. How will you raise your kids differently after studying stoicism and other ancient wisdom and philosophies? 

RH: The power of learning how to be by yourself is a big one. One of the things we do when my son wakes up in the morning is to let him be by himself. We obviously watch on the monitors to ensure he's not hurting himself or something. Not using a device in the morning is a thing for me, but it's also for him so he can actually experience a parent who's fully engaged, not half checking email, half babysitting. 

One of the things we do every morning, that's a big part of my routine as far as stillness goes, is we take a long walk. We either go on a two to three mile walk or if he asks for it, we'll go on a bike ride. I put him in this trailer and ride around. The idea is to go out and do something active. Just doing that activity, whether it's walking, watching the sun come up, riding a bike, or out in nature, we're experiencing something together and this is all that we're doing and we're just enjoying it. I think ultimately you teach stillness by example and that's a key thing that parents have to provide for their kids. Kids are naturally present and still, it's the parents who make them anxious and frenetic and overwhelmed by signing them up for cello lessons and everything else. 

DS: What is your best piece of career advice? 

RH: You should do the thing that only you can do. I'll see book proposals and they'll mention my books or they'll mention other really successful books. Those books didn't have other books to point to. You should be carving out new space. One of the great gifts we have is that we're born with a monopoly. We're born with totally unique DNA, totally unique experiences, and a totally unique point of view. Instead of using that to create a distinctive, unique brand, we see what other successful people are doing, and then we make ourselves like them. Then we wonder why we have trouble standing out. If you want to stand out, if you want to have impact, if you want to be special, you've got to remember that the values is in scarcity. 

Don't just be another Groupon clone or another Bitcoin startup or another business book that mentions the same five academic studies. Do something unique and special that you were put on this planet to do.

Watch the full video interview on YouTube.


Listen to the audio podcast.


Subscribe to the "5 Questions with Dan Schawbel" podcast on iTunesSpotifyOvercast, or others.

SEE ALSO: A well-known Hollywood producer shares his simple trick for correcting awkward professional moments

Join the conversation about this story »

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Ashton Kutcher says he's not setting up a trust fund for his kids, and his parenting approach echoes what billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have said


Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher's kids aren't getting his money.

In a recent episode of the Dax Shepard podcast "Armchair Expert," he said he's not creating trust funds for his two children with wife Mila Kunis, reported Mitch Tuchman for MarketWatch. He also said he'll hear out their business ideas, but won't give them special treatment.

"My kids are living a really privileged life, and they don't even know it," Kutcher, who has an estimated net worth of $200 million, said.

Kutcher's parenting approach isn't unlike that of other well-known wealthy individuals. Elton John, Sting, and Simon Cowell have all said they don't plan to leave their kids vast amounts of money and instead prioritize teaching them the value of hard work and a dollar earned.

Even billionaires aren't leaving their kids much. Consider Bill Gates, who is leaving $10 million to each of his three children — only a fraction of his $108 billion net worth

In a Reddit AMA, Gates said: "I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favour to them. Warren Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right."

Buffett plans on pledging 100% of his estimated $87.3 billion fortune to various charities. And rather than giving each of his three children cash, Buffett has instead promised to give approximately $2.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to each of his children's charities.

Dynastic wealth and the "Great Wealth Transfer"

It's estimated that $68 trillion will be passed down from boomers within the next few decades — but it seems that Buffett, Gates, and the rest won't be part of the anticipated "Great Wealth Transfer." By 2030, millennials will hold five times as much wealth as they do today — and it might make them the richest generation ever.

Buffett's decision might stem from his views on dynastic wealth— the pattern of families passing money down from one generation to the next. He's been vocal about his efforts to reduce the vast wealth sitting in the hands of a few influential people.

"Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise," Buffett said in 2007. "Equality of opportunity has been on the decline."

Dynastic wealth could be a factor in the widening gap between the rich and the poor. It's also a cyclic process: Each generation can grow the previous generation's money and leave it to the next generation, which then continues to grow it.

Some of the superrich are thinking twice about how they pass down wealth, Michael Rosen-Prinz, a partner in the Private Client Practice Group at McDermott, Will & Emery who works with ultra high net worth clients, previously told Business Insider. "The previous generation's plan to just transfer as much money tax free down the family tree is being reconsidered in favor of a more nuanced approach based on the personalities and circumstances of the beneficiaries," he said.

Older generations may think about limiting the access their children will have to family wealth thanks to highly visible heirs and "trust fund babies" flaunting their wealth on social media, he added, and might include provisions to ensure that the trust can be modified in the future. 

Looks like Kutcher isn't alone.

SEE ALSO: People assume trust-fund babies are spoiled 20-somethings born with silver spoons — but they're not always who you think

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Traditional Japanese swords can take over 18 months to create — here's what makes them so special

Meet Zhang Yiming, the secretive, 35-year-old Chinese billionaire behind TikTok who made over $12 billion in 2018


tiktok networth 2x1

  • Zhang Yiming built a $16.2 billion fortune after founding ByteDance, the Chinese software developer behind TikTok.
  • Despite being the 13th-wealthiest person in China, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.
  • TikTok's growing influence in the US has raised questions from US regulators.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The widespread popularity of TikTok has not just created a new generation of social media stars, it's also created a social media billionaire.

Zhang Yiming, the 35-year-old software engineer who founded the app's parent company, now has a net worth of $16.2 billion, Forbes estimates. Despite being the 13th-wealthiest person in China as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.

Keep reading to learn everything we know about Zhang Yiming.

SEE ALSO: 200 Hong Kong restaurants have permanently shuttered since the protests started 5 months ago — and the city's richest billionaire just pledged $25 million to help local eateries

DON'T MISS: Take a look inside the gala Marc Benioff hosted for USC, where the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed, James Corden emceed, and billionaires dined with Ashton Kutcher

Zhang, 35, lives in Beijing, China.

Zhang was born in 1983 in China's Fujian province, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zhang's parents worked as civil servants, Bloomberg reported.

His name is based on a Chinese proverb about "surprising everyone with a first attempt," according to the South China Morning Post.

He married his college sweetheart.

Zhang graduated from Nankai University in 2005, where he started off studying microelectronics before switching his major to software engineering, the South China Morning Post reported.

The couple does not have any children, according to the South China Morning Post.

Zhang's first job out of college was at a digital travel booking startup called Kuxun.

"I was one of first employees. And I was an ordinary engineer at the beginning, but in the second year, I was in charge of about 40 to 50 people responsible for back-end technology and other tasks related to products," Zhang told ByteDance employees, according to the South China Morning Post.

Zhang credits that job for teaching him sales skills that he later used to grow ByteDance.

"I remember that at the end of 2007, I went to meet the client with the sales director," Zhang said, according to the Post. "This experience let me know what sales are good sales. When I established Toutiao and recruited staff, these examples helped me a lot."

Zhang also worked at Microsoft before founding ByteDance, the South China Morning Post reported.

Zhang founded TikTok's parent company in 2012.

The company is now worth $75 billion, according to Pitchbook, making it the most valuable privately held company in the world.

The company owns several social networking apps that operate within China, Business Insider previously reported. The company released a WeChat rival called FlipChat, and a video-messaging app called Duoshan in 2019.

Zhang and ByteDance's first product was a news aggregator app called Toutiao.

Zhang wanted to create a news platform whose results were powered by artificial intelligence, separate from China's search engine Baidu, Business Insider's Paige Leskin previously reported.

"We push information, not by queries, by news recommendations," Zhang told Bloomberg in 2017.

Despite its focus on news, Zhang told Bloomberg's Lulu Yilun Chen and Mark Bergen in 2017 that ByteDance does not have any journalists on its staff like many other social networks.

"The most important thing is that we are not a news business," Zhang told Bloomberg. "We are more like a search business or a social media platform. We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a U.S. company, both in product and technology."

Zhang launched ByteDance's most successful app — TikTok — under the name 'Douyin' in September 2016.

TikTok is now the No. 1 non-gaming iOS app in the U.S, Business Insider reported in September. TikTok is one of the most popular social networks among American teens and has been downloaded more than 1 billion times.

TikTok still goes by the name 'Douyin' in China, Business Insider previously reported. 

Zhang makes his own TikToks — and requires his senior employees to as well.

"For a very long time, I was merely watching TikTok videos without making any of them myself, because it's a product mainly for young people," Zhang said, according to the South China Morning Post. "But later on we made it compulsory for all management team members to make their own TikTok videos, and they must win a certain number of 'likes'. Otherwise, they have to do push-ups. It was a big step for me."

Zhang's leadership style is "soft-spoken yet charismatic, logical yet passionate, young yet wise," according to Time Magazine's Kai-Fu Lee.

TikTok's global reach makes Zhang's life "much more interesting."

Zhang wants the app to continue to grow abroad, saying that he hopes his ByteDance will be "as borderless as Google," according to the South China Morning Post.

"We must work harder, we must also be more perfectionist," Zhang said, according to the Post. "Just like there was an international division of labour in the industrial age, in today's information age there's also an international division of labour. Chinese entrepreneurs must also improve their own capabilities as they go global," he said.

However, TikTok's growing influence in the US has raised questions from US regulators.

TikTok agreed in February to pay a $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission over allegations the app illegally collected personal information from children under age 13 without parental consent, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, Business Insider previously reported.

The billionaire attributes his success to his work ethic.

Zhang learned the value of pursuing excellence while still in his first job at Kuxun, he told ByteDance employees, according to the South China Morning Post.

"At that time, I was responsible for the technology, but when the product had problems, and I would actively participate in the discussion of [the] product plan," Zhang said, according to the South China Morning Post. "A lot of people say this is not what I should be doing. But I want to say: your sense of responsibility and your desire to do things well, will drive you to do more things and to gain experience."

Zhang's fortune is growing rapidly: He made over $12 billion in 2018 alone.

The majority of Zhang's fortune comes from his 24% stake in ByteDance, according to Forbes.

Forbes first declared Zhang a billionaire in March 2018, estimating that Zhang was worth $4 billion. The magazine now estimates his net worth at $16.2 billion.

17 restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving


Cracker Barrel 4

Agonizing over the prospect of cooking a Thanksgiving meal? No worries. There are a number of restaurants that'll throw you a Thanksgiving feast in a pinch.

Keep in mind that some of these chains will only be open on a regional basis. Others may be closed depending on the franchisee. So, if you're planning on spending Turkey Day at one of these eateries, it's better to be safe and call ahead.

With that in mind, here are restaurant chains that are going to be open in some capacity on Thanksgiving:

SEE ALSO: Costco workers get a free turkey for the holidays

DON'T MISS: Costco, Lowe's, Sam's Club, and 12 other stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving this year

SEE ALSO: Target will start Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day


An Applebee's spokesperson told Business Insider that some of its restaurants nationwide will be open on Thanksgiving, and that interested diners should contact their local Applebee's for hours.

Bob Evans

All Bob Evans restaurants will remain open until 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will offer a specialized holiday menu, a spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.

Boston Market

A spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that all Boston Market locations will remain open on Thanksgiving, and that online delivery will be available from the chain restaurant's website throughout the day.

Buca Di Deppo

Fans of Buca Di Beppo can order from a prix fixe Turkey Day menu at multiple locations. Diners on the go can also pick up a take-out Thanksgiving feast.

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel has opened its doors on Thanksgiving since its 1969 founding, according to a statement from a chain spokesperson. To celebrate Turkey Day, the restaurant chain will serve an in-store Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to close, and take-out feasts will also be available for pick-up.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

A chain spokesperson told Business Insider that Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse will remain open on Thanksgiving, serving a prix fixe menu and an all-day dinner.


Denny's is open for business on Thanksgiving this year and will offer up a carry-out turkey dinner for diners as well. The take-out meal must be ordered on Denny's website at least 24 hours before pickup, a restaurant spokesperson told Business Insider.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will remain open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and it will be serving up meals from the full menu and a special three-course special.

Fogo de Chão

Craving Brazilian flavor this Thanksgiving? All Fogo de Chão restaurants will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.


A Hooters spokesperson told Business Insider that certain participating locations will be open on Thanksgiving and that interested diners should contact their local Hooters for more information.

Morton's The Steakhouse

A Morton's spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the steakhouse chain will indeed remain open on Thanksgiving, kicking off its steak dinner service at noon.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurants will all remain open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving to serve a full regular menu and a prix fixe Turkey Day feast.

Smith & Wollensky

A spokesperson confirmed that Smith & Wollensky locations throughout the United States will remain open on Thanksgiving to serve guests a prix fixe offering.


STK Steakhouse

STK Steakhouse locations across the United States will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Turkey Day, serving a full menu as well as a Thanksgiving special. The only two exceptions are the STK Steakhouse in Orlando, which will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight, and the chain's Las Vegas location, which will open its doors from noon to 11 p.m.

Sullivan's Steakhouse

Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurants will open their doors from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, allowing guests to partake in a three-course prix fixe menu.


A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that "select store locations" will remain open on Thanksgiving, but that store hours will vary by location.

Waffle House

Barring specific emergencies, Waffle House restaurants have been known to remain open 24 hours a day on every single day of the year since the breakfast chain's 1955 founding. Thanksgiving 2019 will be no exception.

Brooklinen is running a surprise sheets sale right now — save 15% sitewide through November 11


brooklinen sheets

  • Brooklinen is running a surprise, two-day sale to coincide with Veterans Day and Singles' Day, which both fall on Monday, November 11.
  • From November 10 to November 11, save 15% on your orders when you apply the code SURPRISE15 at checkout. Sheets, duvet covers, bathrobes, towels, and more are discounted. 
  • In our buying guides, we've named Brooklinen the maker of the best luxury sheets, the best sateen sheets, and the best duvet cover on the internet.

Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies to cover. From its bed sheets, to its Brooklittles bedding line for babies and toddlers, to its super-plush bathrobes, to its shower curtain sets, there's a lot to love about the direct-to-consumer darling.

But Brooklinen isn't known for running sales. The company typically only has two sales a year: one during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the other to celebrate its anniversary in May.

This November, Brooklinen is running a surprise sale that coincides with Veterans Day and Singles' Day, so everyone has a chance to get ahead of the holidays and get some gifting done early. From Sunday, November 10 through Monday, November 11, you can save 15% on your orders when you apply the code SURPRISE15 at checkout.

Save 15% on your entire order during Brooklinen's surprise sale.

If you're looking for a new set of sheets, or you've been waiting for a discount as an excuse to try out luxury bedding, this is one of the best times of the year to invest. Even though Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals are only a few weeks away, we don't predict the savings to be steeper than 20% as that was the highest discount Brooklinen offered during last year's sale. 

You can check out Brooklinen's full product lineup here, but we're fans of the Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle for every day. It comes with a duvet cover, a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and four pillowcases for $332 in the queen size. Insider Picks' director of content strategy Ellen Hoffman says the sheet bundle is one of the best purchases she's ever made.

In our buying guides, we've also name Brooklinen the maker of the best luxury sheets and the best sateen sheets. The company's Down Comforter (full/queen, $349) is the best we tried from a startup, and the Classic Duvet Cover (full/queen, $119) is another best in its category. It also makes spa-worthy towels (Bath Sheets, two for $89) and super-plush bathrobes ($98), the latter of which Insider Picks reporter Remi Rosmarin says are the little luxury she never thought she needed.

When it comes to Brooklinen, our experience is that it's pretty difficult to go wrong. Below, we put together a list of Brooklinen's bestsellers and our personal favorites to help guide your weekend shopping.

Save 15% on your entire order during Brooklinen's surprise sale.

Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle

The queen-size Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle is $332 before a discount is applied

Available in 9 Essential and 5 Limited Edition colors that can be mixed and matched, the bundle includes:

  • Luxe Core Sheet Set (one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, two pillowcases)
  • Luxe Duvet Cover
  • Luxe Pillowcases (an extra pair)

Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle

The queen-size Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle is $292 before a discount is applied

Available in 9 Essential and 5 Limited Edition that can be mixed and matched, the bundle includes:

  • Classic Core Sheet Set (one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, two pillowcases)
  • Classic Duvet Cover
  • Classic Pillowcases (an extra pair)

Down Comforter

The queen-size All-Season Down Comforter is $349 before a discount is applied

The queen-size Lightweight Down Comforter is $299 before a discount is applied

We named Brooklinen's comforter the best comforter made by a startup in our buying guide.

Super-Plush Complete Towel Set

The Super-Plush Complete Towel Set is $199 before a discount is applied

Available in four colors (white, cream, smoke, or graphite), the set includes:

  • Two bath sheets
  • Two bath towels
  • Two hand towels
  • Two washcloths
  • Bath mat

Shower Curtain Set

The Shower Curtain Set is $68 before a discount is applied

Available in three colors, the set includes:

  • Shower curtain
  • Shower liner
  • 12 hooks

Super-Plush Bathrobe

The Super-Plush Bathrobe is $98 before a discount is applied

Available in three colors (white, smoke, or graphite), you can read a full review of the bathrobe here.

Crib Sheet Set

The Crib Sheet Set is $52 before a discount is applied

Available in seven colors — including an adorable New York City print (pictured) and a Mint Matchstick design — the set comes with two mix-and-match crib sheets.

Find an overview of Brooklinen's baby bedding here.

I opted out of business school and pieced together my own version of an MBA for a fraction of the cost — and now I make 6 figures running my own business


Shanna Goodman

  • Shanna Goodman is the creator of Ampersand Business Solutions, a brand strategy agency that helps businesses identify the unique value they can provide to their unique set of customers.
  • She considered getting her MBA to help launch her career, but decided against it and pursued a free graduate assistantship in mass communications instead.
  • To make up for not attending business school, she pieced together her own "DIY" MBA, which included reading popular business books like "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works" and taking online classes on edX and Udemy.
  • After having spent under $400 for her "education," Goodman went on to help hundreds of small business owners over the last 15 years and make a six-figure salary.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

An elite MBA is an expensive endeavor, and one that may or may not pay off in the long run. 

A recent Wall Street Journal article states that applications to MBA programs at top institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT have declined at a steep rate in 2019. According to the WSJ, all of these schools reported larger year-over-year drops in business school applications, with this trajectory expected to continue as a result of student loan debt and international students hesitant to apply for fear of not being able to obtain work visas in the US after graduation. 

I'm one of the people who, after careful consideration, chose to opt out of an MBA. After working in business development and marketing for years, I now own a successful brand strategy agency, making six figures and helping businesses identify the unique value they can provide to their unique set of customers. Here's why I decided against business school, and how I managed to replace a degree with my own kind of specialized learning.

I opted out of business school for a graduate assistantship instead

I hadn't necessarily been considering an elite MBA, but when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life in my twenties, it seemed like an MBA would help me connect some dots in terms of my personal interests and skill set. 

I'd like to say that from the beginning I knew exactly what I wanted to do and charted a clear, efficient path for myself. But that's not what happened. I studied psychology in college at Kansas State University, took a job as a case manager for a teen pregnancy program, and then was accepted into a graduate program for mass communications at the University of Central Missouri — with a graduate assistantship that waived my tuition. 

Prior to accepting the assistantship for my graduate program, I'd looked into some MBA programs, both online and in the city where I was living (Kansas City). From what I could gather, it seemed that it would be a very costly venture — an investment in the $50,000 to $80,000 range for a two-year program completed locally at a state university. I was on the fence when I became aware of the graduate assistantship opportunity. (In my research for MBAs, I'd also broadened my search into media production and mass communications.) 

After being accepted into the mass communications graduate program, I couldn't justify paying for an MBA, even an online MBA, if I could get an MA for free. So, that's what I did, thinking I could fill in the blanks later. Books, library resources, and online classes helped me acquire the equivalent of an MBA, DIY-style.

I put together my own kind of "DIY" MBA

I estimate my spending was under $400 on resources for my DIY MBA over several years. 

The first book I read in this process was "The 10-Day MBA: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering The Skills Taught In America's Top Business Schools" by Steven Silbiger, which had categories on marketing, ethics, accounting, organizational behavior, quantitative analysis, finance, operations, economics, and strategy. These categories helped me define resources to seek out, specifically books (which I estimate I spent $120 on in all) and online courses. My favorite books include "The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy Into Action" by Dr. Robert Kaplan of Harvard University and Dr. David Norton, "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works" by A.G. Lafley, and "The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It" by Michael Gerber.

Over the years, I audited (for free) online courses from Harvard, Yale, and Cornell on entrepreneurship, behavioral economics, business strategy, and game theory on edX. I listened to a couple of The Great Courses on economics and history, which cost $84, or $14 a month for six months. I also took classes on NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming, which is a psychological approach that involves analyzing strategies of thought, language, and pattern of behavior to get inside the mind of your customer), entrepreneurship, and business coaching from a variety of instructors on Udemy, spending at max $50. 

Two years of Toastmasters, which cost me $130 and included learning manuals, pushed me out of a nervous panic over public speaking, which I felt was necessary to communicate effectively. I forced myself to prepare and deliver at least one speech per month for two years, which was painful, but it got easier. 

And for hands-on accounting training I used Lynda for free with my library card.

My self-taught education helped me grow my business

The specific elements I studied on my own helped me fine tune business development and brand strategy for small businesses. I've helped hundreds of small business owners over the last 15 years, and my unique approach to my "MBA" education helped me identify unconventional ways to apply the various things I'd learned. And I'm always learning. Because it helps me do my job better. 

I heard a business coach years ago ask the question: "What does it take to be successful? Knowledge? Then why aren't all people with PhDs rich?" That made an impact on me. 

So, what's the key to knowledge, from my experience? Action and application. It's the application of knowledge that separates the PhDs from the successful entrepreneurs. 

SEE ALSO: Required reading: These are the books top professors at the best business schools in the country are having their MBA students read

READ MORE: 9 clear signs your small business is headed for disaster, and what you can do to turn things around

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

Patagonia's sale has bestsellers for up to 50% off — here are the best deals on eco-friendly clothing and gear just in time for the holidays


Patagonia / Ken Etzel

  • Now through November 19, you can save up to 50% on past-season clothing and gear at Patagonia.
  • You'll find discounts on pretty much every category, including men's clothing, women's clothing, kid's apparel, backpacks, and outdoor accessories. 
  • Below, we put together a list of our favorite discounted clothing and gear to give you an idea of what's on sale. Visit Business Insider Coupons to potentially save more at Patagonia

With a huge catalog of extremely well-made, eco-friendly clothes and gear, Patagonia has transformed from a cult-favorite among nature lovers into one of the most recognizable outdoor brands in the world. To make way for new styles, Patagonia is having a sale — and you won't want to miss it.

Now through November 19, you can save up to 50% on past-season styles. The sale includes clothing for men, women, and kids, bags and backpacks, and other outdoor gear. You'll find a good variety of summer styles you can pick up and pocket for next year, as well as cold-weather styles like the popular Men's Micro Puff Storm Jacket to wear during fall and winter. 

Shop Patagonia's past-season sale here, or keep scrolling for our top picks.

Men’s Cotton Quilt Snap-T Fleece Pullover

Men's Cotton Quilt Snap-T Fleece Pullover, $74.50 (Originally $149) [You save $74.50]

Men's R2 Jacket

Men's R2 Jacket, $84.50 (Originally $169) [You save $84.50]

Men's Micro Puff Storm Jacket

Men's Micro Puff Storm Jacket, $249.50 (Originally $499) [You save $249.50]

Men's P-6 Logo Responsibili-Tee

Men's P-6 Logo Responsibili-Tee, $17.50 (Originally $35) [You save $17.50]

Men's All Wear 8-inch Shorts

Men's All Wear 8-inch Shorts, $29.50 (Originally $59) [You save $29.50]

Men's Light & Variable Jacket

Men's Light & Variable Jacket, $59.50 (Originally $119) [You save $59.50]

Women's Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover

Women's Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover, $59.50 (Originally $119) [You save $59.50]

Women's Woolyester Fleece Jacket

Women's Woolyester Fleece Jacket $79.50 (Originally $159) [You save $79.50]

Women's Rainshadow Jacket

Women's Rainshadow Jacket, $99.50 (Originally $199) [You save $99.50]

Women's R1 Fleece Full-Zip Hoody

Women's R1 Fleece Full-Zip Hoody, $84.50 (Originally $169) [You save $84.50]

Women's Lost Wildflower Dress

Women's Lost Wildflower Dress, $64.50 (Originally $129) [You save $64.50]

Women's Mainstay Tank Top

Women's Mainstay Tank Top, $17.50 (Originally $35) [You save $17.50]

Women's Fisherfox Ahnya Hoody

Women's Fisherfox Ahnya Hoody, $34.50 (Originally $69) [You save $34.50]

Boys' Light & Variable Hoody

Boys' Light & Variable Hoody, $29.50 (Originally $59) [You save $29.50]

Kids' Trim Brim Hat

Kids' Trim Brim Hat, $19.50 (Originally $39) [You save $19.50]

Boys' Capilene Silkweight Graphic Tee

Boys' Capilene Silkweight Graphic Tee, $14.50 (Originally $29) [You save $14.50]

Girls' Capilene Silkweight Hoody

Girls' Capilene Silkweight Hoody, $24.50 (Originally $49) [You save $24.50]

Arbor Daypack

Arbor Daypack, $44.50 (Originally $89) [You save $44.50]

Cragsmith Pack

Cragsmith Pack, $84.50 (Originally $169) [You save $84.50]

Patagonia Iron Forge 18-Liter Tote

Patagonia Iron Forge 18-Liter Tote, $64.50 (Originally $129) [You save $64.50]

A $20 million 3-deck superyacht made in Dubai won best in show at the world's biggest in-water boat event. Here's a look inside.


Majesty 140 profile

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has established itself as the biggest in-water boat show in the world.

With credentials like that, it's no surprise that the largest and most lavish yachts from shipyards across the world flocked to South Florida in early November for a chance to entice over 100,000 boat showgoers for the event's 60th year.

The yacht that impressed the most of all was Majesty 140.

The over 140-foot superyacht built in Dubai by Gulf Craft, in addition to being named best in show by NBC Sports, sold for around $20 million on closing day, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Keep reading for a closer look at the "best in show" superyacht.

SEE ALSO: The 7 biggest yacht debuts at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

DON'T MISS: The world's first hydrogen-powered superyacht was unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show. Here's a look inside the game-changing 367-foot vessel concept.

Majesty 140, a superyacht built in Dubai by Gulf Craft, was named the best in show at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the beginning of November.

Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel

Although the vessel is less than half the size of Madsummer, the 311-foot megayacht that was the show's largest debut this year, it's certainly not lacking in luxurious amenities.

Source: Business Insider, Majesty Yachts/Gulf Craft

It has its own "beach club" on an upper deck ...

Source: Majesty Yachts/Gulf Craft

... with multiple spots to lounge around a centerpiece Jacuzzi.

Source: Majesty Yachts/Gulf Craft

There is ample space to relax indoors, as well.

Source: Majesty Yachts/Gulf Craft

The interiors were crafted by Cristiano Gatto, an acclaimed Italian design team that has outfitted over 200 show-worthy yachts around the world.

Source: Business Insider, Boat International

The superyacht sold for around $20 million on the last day of the boat show.

Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel

Last year, "best in show" at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show went to the 135-foot Mangusta Oceano Namaste.

Source: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Your ultimate guide to holiday gift ideas for 2019 — from gifts under $100, $50, and $25, to the coolest tech gifts out there


IP Holiday Gift Guides Landing Page 4x3

Despite all the festive cheer and time with loved ones that come with the holiday season, it can also be a stressful time if you plan on buying gifts for everyone in your life.

Every year, Insider Picks creates dozens of gift guides to help you find the perfect gift — for any budget, hobby or interest, and person. You can find all our holiday gift guides on this page, but to make it even easier on you, we've also rounded up and categorized them below. 

Consider this your ultimate cheat sheet to knocking out your gift shopping for the year. Click on a link below to jump directly to all the gift guides in that category. 

Here's a master list of all our holiday gift guides: 

The elements of a good present — thoughtful, useful, or novel — aren't restricted to a big budget.

It's tough to be a tech enthusiast when the market is full of expensive gadgets. Some of the best tech gifts, however, won't cost more than $25. 

Stocking stuffers have a reputation for being cute but useless. These small gifts challenge that perception.

Surprise your friendly neighborhood mailman or the cousin you only ever see at the big family holiday gathering with a thoughtful stocking stuffer. 

Whether you're searching for practical, nostalgic, quirky, or sentimental, there's an under-$50 gift from brands big and small in this guide. 

Not only are all these gifts affordable, but they're also available on a shopping site you know well. 

When it comes to gifting your own mother, the saying "it's the thought that counts" has never been more appropriate. 

Kitchen gifts don't have to be expensive. Even a simple and practical accessory like a ramekin or avocado slicer will make them happy. 

A good manager isn't easy to come by. Show your appreciation with a useful, thoughtful, and work-appropriate gift.

Gift the coworker who you Slack incessantly and is your go-to partner at office happy hours. 

Gift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful.

Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your sister, mom, partner, or otherwise, we've put together a list of over 50 great gifts under $50 that we think she'll love. 

With a $100 budget, you can buy anything from a smart speaker to an educational cooking class

If you're not already one of their favorite students, you surely will be after they receive something from this list. 

Gift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful.

Stocking stuffers have a reputation for being cute but useless. These small gifts challenge that perception.

Surprise your friendly neighborhood mailman or the cousin you only ever see at the big family holiday gathering with a thoughtful stocking stuffer. 

When it comes to gifting your own mother, the saying "it's the thought that counts" has never been more appropriate.

Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your sister, mom, partner, or otherwise, we've put together a list of over 50 great gifts under $50 that we think she'll love. 

Grandma is another important woman in your life who you know always has your back. Show her the love and appreciation she deserves with these gifts. 

We give you more than three dozen gift ideas that make gifting your partner infinitely easier this year. 

You don't need to spend a crazy amount of money or plan an extravagant gesture to show your wife you appreciate her. 

Nordstrom carries some of the best brands in beauty and skin care, like everyday makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills and luxurious creams from La Mer. 

Sephora, of course, features no shortage of cool beauty and skin-care gifts. We look forward to shopping its beauty exclusives every year. 

Beauty sets are pre-curated, gift-ready, and more affordable than if you bought all the products individually. 

Every gift he could ever want, from a fidget toy to luxury sheets, can be found on Amazon. 

Dads always say they never want anything, but we came up with 50 gift ideas for you anyways. 

Some of these gifts for your husband might even benefit the entire family, so it's a cost-efficient, win-win situation. 

If you have a specific budget you're working with, you'll find affordable yet useful gifts in this guide. 

"Alexa..." Listen to music, call a friend, and change the room's temperatures with these smart home products. 

It's tough to be a tech enthusiast when the market is full of expensive gadgets. Some of the best tech gifts, however, won't cost more than $25. 

In an iPhone-driven world, it's actually not as difficult as you think to gift an Android owner. 

The best subscription services help your recipient discover something new or make their everyday life a little easier. 

Etsy is a treasure trove for handmade goods. Even better, these ones ship for free. 

Using the Amazon Gift Finder tool, we found some cool gifts that makes shopping on the site feel less impersonal. 

As its name suggests, UncommonGoods is filled with non-generic and memorable gifts. You're guaranteed to find something truly unique here. 

The TV show "Shark Tank" never ceases to entertain and inspire us with its innovative products and hardworking entrepreneurs. 

In the place known as "the everything store," we show you the most interesting gift finds. 

Shopping sustainably and responsibly doesn't have to stop during the holidays.

A gift isn't truly unique until it has a personalized mark on it — like a monogram, their favorite song, or their specific flavor preferences. 

While the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah isn't rooted in gifting, it's become commonplace to give gifts over the course of the holiday.

Carrying legacies like KitchenAid and Le Creuset to modern classics like Instant Pot, specialty shop Williams Sonoma proves it's serious about cooking. 

Sur La Table has a great selection of gifts for cooks of all levels. Or, if your recipient would rather eat than cook, it has gifts for foodies, too. 

In addition to devising creative and delicious recipes, Food52 sells kitchen products, including ones from its own in-house brand. 

They'll always have a meal, dessert, or drink ready on the table with one of these cookbooks in hand.

Kitchen gifts don't have to be expensive. Even a simple and practical accessory like a ramekin or avocado slicer will make them happy. 

Host gifts are never really necessary, but they are a nice way to show your appreciation that someone invited you over, be it for holidays or casual hangouts. 

The pros tell us what to give someone who loves being in the kitchen.  They personally use these tools and appliances in their professional or home kitchens. 

If they have a sweet tooth, they won't be disappointed by the delectable cookies, truffles, and cake from the New York City-based Milk Bar.

Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific cravings wherever they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. 

There's no such thing as too much tea or teapots, at least according to this guide written by our editor and self-professed tea lady. 

Fuel their passion for songs, bands, instruments, and genres of all types.

Arm them with the gear that they can wear to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or decor that shows off their Gryffindor pride. 

This guide is filled with hands-on gift options, including a lightsaber, huge Lego set, or a slime kit.

Mickey Mouse is 91 years old this year and we have 30 gifts that pay homage to this iconic Disney mascot. 

While Marvel primarily exists in comic book and movie form, there is a thriving market of Marvel-inspired goods and merchandise.

Most golfers love trying out new equipment, which means a golf gift is always appreciated and almost certainly will be used, no matter the outdoor conditions. 

Procrastinators, this is the guide for you. As long as you're a Prime member, you can get any of these cool gifts in two days. 

Using the Amazon Gift Finder tool, we found some cool gifts that makes shopping on the site feel less impersonal. 

Not only are all these gifts affordable, but they're also available on a shopping site you know well. 

In the place known as "the everything store," we show you the most interesting gift finds. 

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to find gifts for, so skip the headache and read this guide. 

Every gift he could ever want, from a fidget toy to luxury sheets, can be found on Amazon. 

Nordstrom carries some of the best brands in beauty and skin care, like everyday makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills and luxurious creams from La Mer. 

Sephora, of course, features no shortage of cool beauty and skin care gifts. We look forward to shopping its beauty exclusives every year. 

Carrying legacies like KitchenAid and Le Creuset to modern classics like Instant Pot, specialty shop Williams Sonoma proves it's serious about cooking. 

Sur La Table has a great selection of gifts for cooks of all levels. Or, if your recipient would rather eat than cook, it has gifts for foodies, too. 

In addition to devising creative and delicious recipes, Food52 sells kitchen products, including ones from its own in-house brand. 

Etsy is a treasure trove for handmade goods. Even better, these ones ship for free.

As its name suggests, UncommonGoods is filled with non-generic and memorable gifts. You're guaranteed to find something truly unique here. 

The TV show "Shark Tank" never ceases to entertain and inspire us with its innovative products and hardworking entrepreneurs. 

Nordstrom carries some of the best brands in beauty and skin care, like everyday makeup from Anastasia Beverly Hills and luxurious creams from La Mer. 

Sephora, of course, features no shortage of cool beauty and skin-care gifts. We look forward to shopping its beauty exclusives every year. 

21 gifts for teen girls — all available on Amazon


Beats Solo3 Wireless On Ear Headphones

  • Buying gifts for teen girls doesn't have to be difficult, and it doesn't even have to send you to multiple sites.
  • Using my own teenage sisters as inspiration, I've picked 21 gifts from Amazon that range in interests and budgets. 

Buying gifts for teen girls can be a daunting task, and that's probably why so many of them end up with seven identical lip balms from different relatives every year. 

But getting a thoughtful, fun, and useful gift can be easy. In fact, it doesn't even require you to leave Amazon. Below, I've rounded up 21 gift ideas for teen girls in your life that you can find there. As someone who was once a teen girl, and who has teen sisters, I feel confident in saying this is a good jumping-off point. 

Shop the best gifts for teen girls:

A cool new Popsocket

Popsockets, beyond making it easier to hold or prop up their phone, are a great way to add personality to the tech they use every day. 

The complete works of Jane Austen

Jane Austen deserves her spot in the Mount Rushmore of authors — and she has a particular talent for speaking to teens about the humor, nuances, and absurdity of navigating life and love. If you're looking to get books that she can enjoy now and again in ten years, Austen is one of the best picks possible. 

A hair towel that cuts down on drying time

This hair towel can cut in half the amount of time it takes for hair to dry. It also helps protect the hair during its weakened state while wet. If they've ever fought frizzy hair, this and a silk pillowcase may be especially thoughtful gifts. 

A personalized zodiac necklace

Zodiac signs have become increasingly popular in recent years, as has the mainstream interest in horoscopes and astrological personality types. If they're into the topic, or you just want to find a small way of personalizing an affordable gift, pick up a gold-dipped zodiac necklace that they can wear with anything. 

An Echo Dot with a clock

The Echo Dot is popular on Amazon for a few reasons, and one is how compact it is. They can stack it on top of a pile of books or on their nightstand, use it as a speaker or an alarm clock, and get access to all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, news, connections to other smart devices). It also has a decent speaker. 

An instant camera and some film

Maybe because it's now possible to document and curate everything just-so online, but the spontaneity and authenticity of instant cameras have experienced a rise in popularity in recent years. If it's a comfortable purchase, they'll probably get a lot of use out of the $70-something camera. It comes in fun colors, and they can hang the pictures up around their room. Pick up some film so they can get started right away. 

The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Whether she saw the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary (which this was featured in), considers RBG amongst her favorite celebrities, or she may appreciate a keepsake that focuses on an empowered woman in history, this is a great gift that combines fun, creativity, and education. 

A powerful portable charger

Anyone with a phone can see the convenience of an external battery, and this one happens to be our pick for the best portable charger iPhone users can buy. Beyond convenience, it's also good for safety when she's out and about with friends or traveling. 

The sequel novel of "To All the Boys I've Loved Before"

Unless you've been living under a rock, the cultural phenomenon of the book-turned-Netflix-movie "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" has probably touched your life. If they've seen the movie and already read the first book, this is the sequel. It's also being turned into a Netflix movie

A bunch of Korean sheet masks

Few things are as fun as lounging around with a decadent sheet mask slapped across your face. It's also an affordable gift that gives outsized fun to the recipient, and a great addition to sleepovers with friends. 

Really nice new bedding

We recommend Brooklinen often, and for good reason. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price, and most of the Insider Picks team sleeps with Brooklinen on their own beds. If she may appreciate a more grown-up gift, this is a good one. 

Hanging glass terrariums for their room

A living green thing is nice in any space, especially in the form of a pretty hanging terrarium like this. The set includes three types: a water drop, diamond, and triangle shape. Plus, you can help her hang them in her room. 

A projector the size of a soda can

Anker's Nebula Capsule is tiny but mighty. It's the size of a soda can, weighs only one pound, and has a quiet and continuous playtime of four hours. It'll take movie nights up a notch, and they can take it with them on trips easily. Find a full review here.

A US Women's National Soccer Team shirt

The United States women's national soccer team is the most successful team in women's soccer in the world. In 2019, they made waves for earning their fourth FIFA Women's World Cup title and for putting pressure on US Soccer to support equal pay. Whether she's into sports, the USWNT, or feels invested in the fight for equal pay, this is a great option. 

Wireless headphones with up to 40 hours of battery life

Beats Solo3 headphones are good for zoning out to music, studying, and blocking out the noise on family road trips. They have good sound, up to 40 hours of battery life, and five minutes of charging equals three hours of playback. 

A facial cleansing device that removes 99.5% of dirt

Foreo's cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touchpoints, and claims to remove 99.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.

A fluffy, eco-friendly comforter

Buffy is an eco-friendly startup that makes fluffy, cruelty-free comforters. The Cloud is made from a cool-to-the-touch eucalyptus fabric that's even softer than cotton, and the comforter is made from 50 recycled bottles. Find a full review of the comforter here

String lights with clips for pictures

Perfect for creating the archetypal teen room that's most often seen in Netflix movies and old Taylor Swift music videos, these photo-clip string lights use warm light to illuminate Polaroids or other memorabilia. 

An audiobook membership

If they love to read, or you're trying to get them to love to read, a gift subscription to Audible is a great idea. They'll get three free titles for each month they're a member (one audiobook and two Audible Originals), and 30% off any additional audiobooks they buy. They can listen and read anywhere and anytime using the free app. 

More than 40 satin scrunchies

Scrunchies are having a moment. If you want to get something particularly on-trend, you may want to look into gifting a few. This set comes with a whopping 46 colors in satin that won't leave kinks in their hair.

A streaming media player

Bringing Alexa skills and the experience of Hulu, Prime Video, HBO, ESPN, Netflix, Youtube, Sling, CBS, and more to their TV is an especially useful gift they'll never tire of.  

51 unique holiday gifts your mom actually wants to get this year — for every budget


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If you aren't sure what to get Mom this holiday season, you've found the right gift guide.

We've put together a list of 51 gifts to impress all moms — even yours. Whether she's into the latest and greatest tech, likes to cook, runs her own business, wants to update her wardrobe, or trains for marathons (and puts your mile time to shame!), there's something for her in this list. After all, there's no one "mom" mold that women with kids must fit into.

As a professional product reviewer and as someone who's given her own mom many of the gifts included in this list over the years, I can safely say your mom will love them all.

DON'T MISS: 32 kitchen gifts from Williams Sonoma for the cook and foodie in your life

Soft, crisp sheets and bedding

Brooklinen Queen Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle, from $292, available at Brooklinen

Brooklinen Queen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, $332, available at Brooklinen

Brooklinen's luxe sheets are the ones I always recommend to friends, family, and Insider Picks readers who email me, for their affordable price, sophisticated look, and unbelievable comfort.

The company's Hardcore Sheet Bundles have everything she needs to completely makeover her bed — and stay nice and cozy all year long. Each bundle includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, duvet cover, and four pillowcases. Brooklinen also sells comforterspillows, candles, and blankets

A fancy candle set

Otherland Candles The Threesome, $89, available at Otherland

Candles make any home smell great, and this fancy candle set from Otherland will look gorgeous in any room in her house. The set includes three coconut and soy wax blend candles in beautiful glass vessels. Each candle burns for 55 hours — that's a lot of time that your mom can spend enjoying this gift.

A loungewear and underwear gift set

Tommy John E-Gift Card, $25-$250, available at Tommy John

The women on the Insider Picks team are positively smitten with Tommy John's loungewear and underwear— so much so, we named the latter the best women's underwear in our buying guide, so you can be sure Mom will love it too.

The Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo, $99.99, available at Amazon

There's an ever-so-slight learning curve in figuring out what Amazon's Alexa can and can't do, but once that's passed, the Echo can forecast the weather, read an audiobook, order a pizza, tell jokes, or any number of things moms should find charming. 

A fresh holiday arrangement

The Bouqs Co. bouquets, available at The Bouqs Co., $39 and up

UrbanStems bouquets, available at UrbanStems, $42 and up

We've ordered bouquets from The Bouqs Co. and UrbanStems and both offer gorgeous flower arrangements, potted plants, and even holiday wreaths made from only the freshest blooms, and they're delivered quickly, too. 

A cute assortment of succulents instead of flowers

Succulent Assortment, $30, available at The Sill

The Sill is a relatively new startup that's making the process of choosing and buying house plants much easier. This six-succulent assortment is just one of many plant and planter options you can choose from — you can even shop based on which ones are pet-safe. 

A beautiful cashmere sweater

Everlane ReCashmere Stroopwafel Turtleneck, $155, available at Everlane

Everlane makes our favorite cashmere sweaters and its latest collection is more sustainable than ever since it's made with recycled yarn. She'll never know by looking or touching alone that this turtleneck is made of recycled materials. Choose from three colors. 

A cashmere beanie

Everlane ReCashmere Carpenter Beanie, $50, available at Everlane

Gift this cashmere beanie along with the sweater on the previous slide to keep her warm all winter. It's made of recycled materials and comes in five beautiful colors. 

Comfortable, breathable slip-on shoes

Allbirds Wool Loungers, $95, available at Allbirds

Cult-favorite footwear startup Allbirds is a great destination for gifts. Its Wool Loungers are ridiculously soft, breathable, and supportive — and even machine washable! We tried them and loved them, so we can safely say your mom will too. They currently come in five colors and are suitable for indoor and outdoor wear. 

A delicious treat from Milk Bar

Check out all the goodies in Milk Bar's Holiday Shop

Milk Bar's holiday treats will definitely satisfy her sweet tooth. Choose from a limited-edition Peppermint Bark Cake, the bestselling B'Day Truffles, and plenty more.

A custom map poster

Grafomap Custom Map Poster, from $49, available at Grafomap

Grafomap is a website that lets you design map posters of any place in the world. You can make one of your mom's hometown, her college town, her favorite travel destination, or the place where she got engaged or married — you're only limited by your imagination. Read the full Insider Picks review here.

A sleek and streamlined carry-on for business trips and beyond

Away Carry-On, $225, available at Away

The Away Carry-On is an indispensable travel companion. It comes with a removable interior 10,000 mAh battery and two USB ports, so she can easily charge up her phone and other devices before a long flight. It also comes in a bunch of colors, so you can get it in her favorite. There's even a fancy aluminum version of the carry-on for $475. 

A relaxing massage she can book to her home

Soothe E-Gift Card or Physical Gift Card, select your amount, available at Soothe

Soothe is a relatively new service that can help Mom book a massage to her home in as little as an hour. The company will match her massage request with a vetted, certified massage therapist available in her area at the specified time. They offer Swedish, deep tissue, sports, prenatal, and couples massages.

Soothe is currently available to book in 66 cities in the US and Canada. If you're not sure what amount to choose for a gift card, Soothe says the average cost for a one-time, 60-minute massage is $115, but the price varies by location. Soothe also offers subscriptions if you really want to pamper her this year. 

A heated massager to melt the day away

InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager with Heat, $38.99, available at Amazon

After a long day, all she wants is some true relaxation to melt away the tension that's built up. While she can't get a real massage every day, you can give her this at-home shiatsu massager, which can give her a quality massage for much less. 


Super comfortable, high-waist leggings

Spanx Active Printed Leggings, $110, available at Spanx

Whether or not she wears yoga pants to work out or to run errands, she'll feel comfortable and stylish in this pair from Spanx. They're breathable, supportive but not suffocating, and surprisingly comfortable, offering more stretch than similar compressive leggings I've tried that makes them much easier to get into and out of. I'm not sure what witchcraft went into the design, but they also manage to create a smooth-all-over look that I love. 

A 'book of the month' membership

Book of the Month 3-Month Membership, $49.99, available at Book of the Month

If she loves to read and isn't ready to go 100% digital, a Book of the Month membership is the perfect gift. This gift membership gets Mom her pick of the best new books for $12.50 to $15 a month depending on the length of subscription you choose to give her (three, six, or 12 months). She can also request extra books if she reads more than one book a month. 

A waterproof Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, $129.99, available at Amazon

On the other hand, if she's tired of lugging around heavy hardcovers, the Kindle Paperwhite is an extremely thoughtful and practical gift. The latest version is waterproof too! Read the full Insider Picks review here.

A marble watch

MVMT Laurel Marble Watch, $112, available at MVMT

She'll love this unique, marble-face watch featuring gold detailing and a caramel leather band. 

An indoor herb garden that requires zero effort

Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit, $99.95, available at Amazon and Click & Grow

Every chef knows that cooking with fresh ingredients like basil can make a big difference. The Click & Grow Smart Garden is a self-watering system that allows even the most amateur gardeners to quickly and effortlessly grow herbs and vegetables. We tried it and were impressed with how well it worked, and how truly effortless the process was.

A wooden gift crate with 2 pounds of cheese inside

Murray's Cheese Greatest Hits Gift Box, $95, available at Murray's Cheese

Cheese lovers will find a lot to like in this wooden gift crate (yes, crate) from Murray's Cheese, which includes 2 pounds of English cheddar, brie, cave-aged Gruyere, and one-year-aged Manchego along with snacks to pair with each cheese: spiced cherry preserves, sea salt and olive oil crackers, and Marcona almonds. My mouth is watering just writing this caption ...  

A weighted blanket with cooling technology

BlanQuil Chill 20-Pound Cooling Weighted Blanket, $169, available at Amazon

Does Mom always need a blanket to fall asleep, but struggles not to overheat under heavy blankets? This weighted blanket's soothing feel is appropriate for the winter, but the cooling technology will prevent him from overheating. 

A box full of team pride

FanChest Gift Box, $59 and up, available at FanChest

She represents her team with pride, so help her out with a FanChest. This box is the ultimate in sports fan gifts, filled with apparel, accessories, and more team swag than she really needs, but will definitely love. 

A really good mug she can take camping or into the office

Yeti Rambler 14 oz. Mug, available at REI and Yeti, $25

With a vacuum-insulated interior and secure top, this mug works for just about any occasion. Whether she wants to tote her hot oatmeal to the office or enjoy some chili while camping, this is what she'll want to use. 

A Le Creuset Dutch oven

Le Creuset 5 1/2-Qt. Signature Round Dutch Oven, from $350, available at Nordstrom and Williams-Sonoma

At $350, this Le Creuset Dutch oven is the most expensive piece of cookware in my kitchen, but it is also my most used. It comes in tons of colors, so you can choose Mom's favorite. 

A cookbook for 'Girl Meets Farm' fans

"Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm" by Molly Yeh, $23.59, available at Amazon

Not only does this cookbook contain more than 120 delicious recipes (make the Asian Scotch Eggs!), you'll also find tons of personal stories and beautiful photos of Food Network star and award-winning blogger Molly Yeh and her family.


A cutting board in the shape of the state she calls home

Totally Bamboo State Cutting & Serving Board, $30, available at Amazon

Available for all 50 states as well British Columbia, Puerto Rico, Long Island, and Ontario, this uniquely shaped cutting and serving board doubles as kitchen decor.

A Daily Harvest gift box

Daily Harvest 9-Cup Gift Box, $75, available at Daily Harvest

If she's always trying to find new ways to prioritize her health, help her out with some Daily Harvest cups. You can prepay for nine cups, which she can redeem and pick out herself. She can choose from smoothies, oat bowls, soups, and other bowls of healthy food that are super easy to take on the go. 

A sous vide for making tender, perfectly cooked meat

Anova Nano Sous Vide Bluetooth Precision Cooker, $99, available at Amazon

For under $100, the Anova sous vide is a reasonably priced investment that just might change Mom's life for the better. Not only will it boil and poach eggs with ease, but it'll also produce tender, perfectly cooked meat every time. I got my mother-in-law one for Christmas a couple of years ago, and she still sends me pictures of how amazing her food comes out every time she uses it.

Her new favorite weekend bag

Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Weekender Bag, from $76.50, available at Lo & Sons

Lo & Sons bags are perfect for travel and not too expensive. The Catalina Deluxe Weekender Bag includes tons of useful interior pockets, a bottom pocket, and a pass-through sleeve for sliding over suitcase handles. It can also be easily folded or rolled for convenient storage.

A roomy work bag with tons of pockets

Dagne Dover Legend Tote, $265, available at Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover's Legend Tote is a sophisticated and spacious work bag with a padded laptop sleeve, water bottle holder, and other thoughtful interior pockets that will keep her organized and always ready to go. You can read the full Insider Picks review of the slightly smaller Classic Tote here, but suffice it to say that the startup's bags are among our favorites for work. It comes in 12 colors. 

A skin-care gift set for glowing skin every day

Fresh Once Upon A Mask Set, $84, available at Nordstrom

This face-mask gift set from Fresh is made up of a flight of travel-sized masks, so she can roll out of bed with dewy, glowing skin every day. Check out even more great skin-care gifts she'll actually use here.

A bottle of lavender bubble bath

L'Occitane Relaxing & Foaming Lavender Bubble Bath, $39, available at Amazon

This lavender-scented bubble bath from L'Occitane is one of the best ways I've found to relax after a long day of work. 

A Rent The Runway Unlimited membership

Rent The Runway RTR Unlimited 1-Month Membership, $99, available at Rent The Runway

Perfect for the woman who "never has anything to wear," a Rent The Runway Unlimited membership lets her constantly rotate her wardrobe with the latest styles from more than 450 fashion brands, like Diane von Furstenberg, Tory, Burch, and Tibi. She's able to rent four pieces at a time and swap them whenever she wants — and Rent The Runway takes care of all her dry cleaning, shipping, and insurance costs. We tried the membership and loved it

An Italian leather wallet that can be monogrammed with her initials

Cuyana Classic Zip Around Wallet, $125, available at Cuyana (+ $15 for monogram)

A sophisticated leather wallet instantly elevates a busy woman's everyday style and keeps her organized when she's on the go. You can get this Italian leather wallet from Cuyana in seven colors. We really love the Stone leather version that has a surprise red lining on the inside for a pop of color (pictured). 

Pearl hoop earrings

Mejuri Pearl Hoops, $60, available at Mejuri

Get your mom a beautiful pair of earrings or a necklace with her zodiac sign that she can wear every day. Mejuri is an Insider Picks favorite jewelry startup, so I'm guessing a lot of moms will love this Canadian company's delicate jewelry too.

A jewelry holder

Catbird Swan Ring Holder, $32, available at Catbird

This ornate swan is a subtle jewelry holder.

A foam pillow from a popular mattress startup

Leesa Pillow, $67, available at Leesa

Give the gift of a good night's sleep with this luxurious and supportive pillow from one of our favorite mattress startups, Leesa. It's so good it's listed in our buying guide to the best pillows.

An alarm clock that uses light to wake her up gently

Philips Light Alarm Clock, $149.95, available at Amazon

Moms work hard and they often have to wake up early. Just because she has to wake up before the sun rises that doesn't mean she has to awaken to the blaring of an obnoxious alarm clock.

Philips makes a lovely alarm clock that gradually lights up to mimic the sunrise and wake her up naturally. The light alarm clock also displays the time and has customizable sounds so she can wake up feeling rested and ready for the day. This clock is the top pick in our buying guide, so you can be sure she'll love it.

A room diffuser

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Scent Surround Room Diffuser, $83.30, available at Nordstrom

A more modern alternative to potpourri, a diffuser is a grown-up way to add a subtle fragrance to her home.

A personalized T-shirt

Known Supply Personalized Women's Fitted Crew, $32, available at Known Supply

You can personalize this comfortable Pima cotton tee with "mom" or "mama" — or any other name up to nine characters — in cute, loopy cursive. 

A gift subscription to a popular coffee club

Atlas Coffee Club 3-Month Gift Subscription, $60, available at Atlas Coffee Club

If her veins run dark roast, a coffee gift won't go unused. We recommend a gift subscription to the Atlas Coffee Club, which curates a global selection of single-origin coffee that gets freshly roasted and shipped to your house from $9 per bag. 

A pendant necklace

Zoe Chicco 14k Gold XO Pendant Necklace, $280, available at Nordstrom

Your mom will want to keep this pendant necklace very close to her heart.

A crossbody bag with a hand-painted monogram

Leatherology Meadow Mini Camera Bag, from $150, available at Leatherology (+ $40 for hand-painted monogram)

This leather crossbody bag comes in tons of colors and is great for travel and daytime outings — for an extra $40, you can customize it with hand-painted monogram. 

A retro-inspired electric kettle

SMEG 50's Retro Style 7-Cup Electric Kettle, $157.95, available at Nordstrom

With this retro-inspired electric kettle in her kitchen, she'll spend much less time making tea and more time enjoying a cup. It comes in seven fun colors, like pastel green, pastel pink, and bright red.

A box set of loose-leaf teas

T2 Tea Five Greatest Greens Assorted Tea Sampler Gift Box, $15, available at Amazon

Let her sit back and relax with this set of fragrant green teas, including China Jasmine, Sencha Peach, and Japanese Sencha. If green tea isn't her thing, T2 also has gift boxes for black, herbal, and fruity teas. Choose the "Subscribe & Save" option and she'll always have a stocked tea supply. 

A heart snapshot

Minted Filter Heart Snapshot Mix Photo Art, from $29, available at Minted

Collect some of her favorite pictures and turn them into unique photo art for as little as $29.

A pair of shades

Warby Parker Harris Sunglasses, from $95, available at Warby Parker

Pair these sunglasses with a surprise tropical getaway for your mom and a plus one and win the holidays. The sunglasses are scratch-resistant, block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, and they're available with prescription lenses.

A DNA test kit

23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA Test, $99, available at Amazon

This genetic test kit from 23andMe is a unique and cool gift idea for any mom who's interested in learning more about her family history.

A perfume subscription

Scentbird 3-Month Gift, $44, available at Scentbird

Scentbird is a monthly subscription-based service that allows you to choose from thousands of designer fragrances and delivers a 30-day supply right to your door. It only costs $15 a month, and gets progressively cheaper when you choose longer subscription periods.

A luxurious bathrobe

SNOWE Honeycomb Bathrobe, $98, available at SNOWE

A bathrobe will make every shower feel like a trip to the spa.

A FabFitFun box

FabFitFun E-Gift Card, $25-$300, available at FabFitFun

Sign her up for FabFitFun, a quarterly beauty subscription box that sends its members full-size products instead of those tiny samples.

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