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This Singapore apartment building has one of the best pools we've ever seen

How 3 guys turned renting an air mattress into a $25 billion company

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Long before Airbnb persuaded strangers to sleep in one another's homes and became a $25 billion company, it was just an idea to make extra bucks and make rent.

After their first guests, Airbnb's founders realized they were on to something bigger than a stopgap for rent. They faced rejection plenty of times — and created their own version of Obama O's cereal — but the three founders of Airbnb have built a big business in the past nine years.

Here's how they turned their idea to rent out an air mattress into a business that has the hotel industry running scared.

SEE ALSO: The 25 hottest San Francisco startups to watch in 2016

It started with an email. Joe Gebbia sent his roommate, Brian Chesky, an idea: What if they made a designer's bed and breakfast, complete with a sleeping mat and breakfast? It was a way to "make a few bucks." Almost nine years later that idea is worth $25 billion.

 



In 2007, the two roommates living in San Francisco couldn't afford to pay rent. The pair decided to turn their loft into an area that could fit three air mattresses. Along with the mattress and a night's sleep came the promise of a breakfast too.



The pair knew a big design conference was coming to San Francisco, and it was making hotels hard to come by. They created a simple site, airbedandbreakfast.com, and bought three air mattresses. The duo had met at college at the Rhode Island School of Design, so they thought acting as tour guides to designers would be a fun way to make money.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This company will build a secret passageway in your house

Why wine bottles are sealed with cork — and why that may not be the best material

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wine

While browsing for wines, your instinct may be to reach for the bottles that require a corkscrew rather than those with a screw cap.

But which is actually better: bottles under cork, or bottles under screw cap?

Business Insider recently spoke with James Harbertson, a Washington State University professor of enology — that's the study of wine — to ask him some of our most embarrassing questions about wine. On the topic of screw-cap wines, his answer was clear: No, they are not inferior to corked wines, and in some ways might actually keep your wine from spoiling.

While many bulk wines use screw caps — which is likely where the stigma originated — a screw cap is by no means and indicator of the quality of your wine.

In fact, any high-end wines also bear a twist-able top. For example, New Zealand has been transitioning to the twist-off style in recent years. Harbertson said that the screw-top is just as effective as cork at keeping air out.

Why wine bottles typically use cork

There are lots of reasons to use cork instead of a screw-cap. Cork is made from bark, which makes it a renewable resource. Plus, it can form to the shape of a wine bottle, making it an incredibly appealing way to seal wine.

But there's a drawback: Occasionally bad cork can get into the wine, something called "cork taint." It's not going to harm you necessarily, but it will make the wine taste or smell a little funky, like moldy cardboard. Some people are fine drinking that wine, but others — like Harbertson — can't stand it. It's why New Zealand decided to switch from cork to screw after getting fed up with bad cork that kept causing this cork taint.

And interestingly enough, a 2013 study that looked into why cork tainted wine smells so bad found that it was because a certain chemical called "2,4,6-trichloroanisole" that's known to induce cork taint actually suppresses smell rather than create the off-putting odor. 

So in the end, going for the screw-cap style wine bottle might be the safest way to go. Unless you'll terribly miss the pop of a cork coming unstopped. 

SEE ALSO: Some people are more likely to get bitten by mosquitoes — here’s why

DON'T MISS: 14 of your most embarrassing questions about wine answered with science

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them

This picture of a floating basketball player is 100% real — here's how it happened

Here's the fascinating way meditation changes the brain

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meditation

Sit down. Close your eyes. Feel your chest rise and fall with each inhaled and exhaled breath.

For decades, researchers have suggested that this simple practice — known as mindfulness meditation — can have health benefits that range from banal to life-changing. Some occasional meditators report being a little less stressed every once in a while, for example, while other more regular practitioners say it helps them succeed in challenging situations.

And we just got a big step closer to finding out how a few moments of peace may contribute to these benefits: First by appearing to strengthen communication between two areas of the brain involved in self-control and internal focus and by reducing levels of a substance in the blood linked to stress.

A new study published this month and reported in the New York Times shows for the first time that when we meditate — independent of whether we're expert meditators or total newbies — the practice appears to produce measurable changes in two key ways:

1. More communication between two brain regions involved in self-control and focus

  • The left prefrontal cortex, which tends to be active when we're exerting self-control, such as picking the Greek yogurt instead of the glazed donut at your local breakfast joint
  • The default-mode network, which tends to be more active when we're focusing on internal thoughts

2. Lower levels of a stress-linked substance called IL-6 that's been linked with inflammation and can sometimes be used as an early indicator of later health problems.

For their study, associate professor of psychology and the director of the Health and Human Performance Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University J. David Creswell and his team studied 35 unemployed people. (Not surprisingly, they all reported feeling stressed-out.) Then, Creswell split the volunteers into two groups. One of the groups got a 3-day formal mindfulness meditation training at a retreat center, while the other got a 3-day "fake" training where they were taught to distract themselves from stressful feelings by stretching and making jokes.

When their three days were up, people in both groups said they felt better.

But scans of their brains and tests of their blood suggested some critical differences between the group that really learned to meditate and the one that was merely distracted.

In the real meditators, the researchers found more activity among portions of their brains involved in focus and self-control. And four months later, the meditators still displayed lower blood levels of the stress-linked substance (even though only a few of them said they'd continued to stick to a meditation practice).

This finding is bolstered by previous research, which suggests that meditation can have the following benefits:

Boosting our ability to relate to others.

friends laughingIn 2008, University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson led a 12-year study on meditation and compassion which included an experiment comparing expert meditators with people who were not experienced in meditation.

When he had both groups listen to the sounds of several stressed-out voices, two brain areas known to be involved in empathy showed more activity in the meditators than in the non-meditators, suggesting that people who meditate regularly have an enhanced ability to respond to the feelings of others and empathize without feeling overwhelmed.

Improving focus and reducing stress.

Davidson also noted that when he exposed meditators to an outside stimulus meant to startle them — like an alarm going off unexpectedly or a stranger accosting you in the street — during their practice, they were far less put-off by the stimulus compared with someone who was not meditating.

woman writing thinkingSeveral small studies of Buddhist monks have also hinted at the idea that meditating helps improve the process by which the brain takes in new information and helps us make decisions.

Dealing with negative feelings.

Multiple studies suggest that meditation can help reduce depression and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation in particular might help people deal with psychological stress, though more research is needed into how meditation might help lead to positive mental health (beyond reducing effects of negative stresses).

NEXT UP: Psychologists discover the simplest way to boost your mood

LEARN MORE: Scientists tested therapy against antidepressants — here's what they found

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The simplest way to get — and stay — happy, according to psychologists

10 things to try before you're 30

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tough mudder

In case you haven't heard, you only live once.

Your young-adult years will slip through your fingers before you know it.

It shouldn't depress you — it should empower you to take charge of your life and pursue your dreams.

To help you get started, we checked out a bunch of Quorathreads and found some potentially life-changing experiences that you can put on your 20s bucket list. 

Read on and start checking things off.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you'll regret doing in your 20s

1. Living in a big city

Quora user Dylin Redling says he moved to Manhattan when he was 24 and then to San Francisco when he was 26. "They were the two best moves I ever made," he says. "I highly recommend living in a city with a lot of diversity where you can meet people from all over the world."

If you've never made a move like that before, we've got you covered with these roundups of everything you need to know before moving to New York City and San Francisco.



2. Challenging yourself physically

"While you're young, train for and complete a marathon, a Tough Mudder, a triathlon, or something similar," Redling says. "It'll help you physically and mentally to push through boundaries and go for goals."

As Bernie Michalik writes on 99U, training for a marathon teaches you some key life lessons, like the importance of tracking your efforts and results as you’re working toward a goal.

These skills will help pave the way for your personal and professional success down the line.



3. Learning to meditate

Redling recommends starting a meditation practice as a way to manage stress. He writes:

"You're going to experience A LOT of stress over your lifetime, so it's best to learn how to effectively deal with it as soon as possible. One of, if not, the best ways is through meditation. Take a class, read a book, or do some research on the basics, and make it part of your life."

You might want to explore mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on the intake and outtake of breath.

If you find that this type of meditation helps you stay calm and focused, it’s a practice you can use whenever and wherever.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 50 most elite boarding schools in America

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2x1_the 50 most elite boarding schools 2016

Attending an elite boarding school sets students up for lifelong success. It can open doors to prominent colleges, place students in a powerful alumni network, provide a top-notch education, and create lifelong friends.

Prestige is derived from more than just strong academics, though, so to determine the most elite boarding schools in America, we looked at the size of a school's endowment, how selective it is based on its acceptance rate, and the average SAT score its students earn. To rank the schools, each metric was weighted equally.

Because of the scope of the list, we relied primarily on data from BoardingSchoolReview.com, a website that collects information on boarding schools directly from the institutions. Gaps in the data were confirmed with individual schools or taken from Niche, another organization that researches and compiles information on schools.

For the second year in a row, Phillips Exeter Academy earned the No. 1 spot on the list. Best known for pioneering the Harkness teaching method — a seminar-style class setting where the teacher and students sit around a table and freely discuss subjects — the school is highly selective with a 19% acceptance rate and touts an endowment of $1.15 billion, which is more than most colleges.

Read on to see the rest of the 50 most elite boarding schools in America.

Additional reporting by Andy Kiersz.

SEE ALSO: The 25 best public high schools in America

DON'T MISS: The 50 best colleges in America

50. St. Anne's-Belfield School

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Endowment: $32 million

Acceptance rate: 35%

Enrollment:886

Though only 17% of ninth- to 12th-grade students live at St. Anne's-Belfield School, boarders are essential to the school's diversity and inclusivity commitment. St. Anne's-Belfield is also deeply interested in reducing the gender gap in computer-science-related disciplines by mandating technology education courses for all K-12 students, with an emphasis on college prep for the upper school.



49. Shattuck-St. Mary's School

Location: Faribault, Minnesota

Endowment: $25 million

Acceptance rate: 36%

Enrollment:472

Shattuck-St. Mary's School takes a unique approach to education with programs that allow students to learn at their own pace. As part of the school's new ScholarShift program, 11th- and 12th-graders take blended classes that officially meet only twice a week, leaving time for students to speak one-on-one with instructors and pursue outside projects. For such projects, students can use the school's weCreate space, which features studios for video editing, music recording, fashion design, and more.



48. Indian Springs School

Location: Indian Springs, Alabama

Endowment: $12 million

Acceptance rate: 52%

Enrollment:299

Inspired by the motto "learning through living," Indian Springs School takes education outside of the classroom. For instance, the student government is set up like a small town with a mayor and six commissioners and weekly town meetings, placing decision-making power in the hands of the students. The Indian Springs campus is 15 miles from Birmingham, Alabama's biggest city, and its surrounding mountains, spring lake, and state park give students the chance to further explore outside a traditional academic setting.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

2 brothers ditched the desk job life to travel to all 50 US states in an 82-square-foot van

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bro'd trip

On January 1, 2016, brothers Justin and Adam Fricke left their home base in Orlando, Florida — and any semblance of the traditional career path — for an 82-square foot sprinter van and a year of adventure.

"We're two Floridian brothers fighting society's natural pull to the post-college desk life," they write on their blog. "Who says you can't do meaningful work that you love and have fun doing it? We say you can."

To prove it, they plan on stepping foot in all 50 US states over the course of their year-long road trip, which they dubbed, "The Bro'd Trip."

After two months on the road — and 11 states checked off the list — Justin, 25, and Adam, 23, spoke to Business Insider about their new lifestyle: what it looks like, the reality of working on the road, and how they can afford it:

SEE ALSO: One couple quit their jobs to build a new life traveling the US in a 98-square-foot tiny home

Before The Bro'd Trip, Justin worked in commercial real estate lending. "I felt like I made it," he writes of his job with a downtown office, consistent pay, and benefits — but he got a bit too comfortable and found himself settling for mediocrity.

"The Bro'd Trip is my way of getting comfortable being uncomfortable and taking a risk," he writes. "I've turned in a pretty cool corporate job for a life of uncertainty, and I'm looking forward to it."

Adam, having graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015, didn't need to experience cubicle life to know it wasn't for him. While he came up with backup career plans in case The Bro'd Trip — which they'd been planning for two years — fell through, ultimately, he didn't apply for any traditional post-college jobs.

"Since I'd been socking away so much money, I was thinking worst case scenario, I could put it toward additional camera gear or studio space and focus more on a freelancing career," he tells Business Insider. "But when things started shaping up in the few months prior to the trip, that idea was scrapped for the time being and there was no turning back."



"We saved for about two years while Justin was employed full-time and freelancing," Adam explains. "And I finished school and worked part-time, freelancing as well."

Their goal was to set aside about $45,000 before hitting the road. Living rent-free at home allowed them to build up savings relatively quickly and, "with the help of sponsors, we met that goal and then some," Adam explains.

Their primary sponsors are outdoor apparel company Merrell and Enerplex, which sells solar integrated consumer electronics. "They see eye to eye with our vision and we align with their branding," the brothers explain. "In return for product and a monthly stipend, we provide them with blog posts, photos, video clips, and social media posts that help them connect with their target audience."



In November 2015, Justin and Adam flew up to Rhode Island to purchase their new home: a 2008 Dodge Sprinter van, which they then drove 22 hours non-stop back home to Florida.

The van cost $21,000 — plus an extra $1,000 for renovations, which they handled themselves over the course of two months.

"We researched other van builds for months, pulling ideas to plan something that would be the perfect fit for us and our specific needs," Adam says. "I did most of the math and measuring. Justin did a majority of the power tool handling. Although there was tons of trial and error, we found that between the two of us there wasn't anything that we couldn't work through."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's why you should never eat right before bed

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dinner party

Here's what a typical weeknight looks like for me:

I get home around 8 p.m., throw together some "dinner" (usually leftovers or something from the freezer), watch a few episodes of a show on Netflix, and go to bed.

For many of us, this nighttime meal is the most substantial thing we eat all day.

That's a big problem, at least according to recent research.

Take a 2013 study of 420 overweight and obese people enrolled in a five-month weight-loss program, for example: It found that "late eaters," people they classified as eating their biggest meal after 3 p.m., lost significantly less weight — and took longer to lose it — than "early eaters," those who ate their main meal before 3 p.m.

And a2005 study of the nighttime noshing habits of 350 people found that eating dinner within three hours of bedtime was positively linked with a risk of developing acid-reflux symptoms, a fairly common condition that causes everything from heartburn and indigestion to coughing, hoarseness, and asthma. (To find out if you have acid reflux, you should see a doctor. In the worst cases, acid reflux can progress into something more serious, including a rare form of cancer.) The results held steady even after controlling for smoking, BMI, and other factors that could affect heartburn.

Last year, physician Jamie A. Koufman echoed these concerns in an op-ed for The New York Times. In it, Koufman described how late-night dining — especially when it consists of a heavy meal followed by little or no activity — can screw up the systems our bodies rely on to process food. Proper digestion is critical for absorbing the nutrients in what we eat and discarding the stuff we don't.

Our bodies aren't designed to eat a big meal and collapse on the couch afterward

eating with handsAs it turns out, sitting upright helps us digest — it lets gravity do the work of keeping the contents of our stomach down. In people with heartburn, laying down can cause the acid in the stomach to leak out into the esophagus, or "food pipe," causing reflux.

Since the stomach takes about three hours to empty itself, waiting at least this amount of time before laying down or sleeping is a good idea.

Plus, waiting hours to eat during the day can leave you ravenous by dinnertime, which can then cause you to eat too fast and too much. Since your brain takes about 20 minutes to register a full stomach, you'll likely overeat before you even know you're full. If this happens more than a couple nights a week, it could lead to weight gain.

For hundreds of years, we ate only one big meal — around noon

If eating a large meal and crashing at the end of the day seems inevitable, it's helpful to remember that for hundreds of years, Westerners ate only one large meal a day — typically right in the middle of the day.

The Romans, for example, dined only once, usually around noontime. In colonial America, one main meal was served in the middle of the day. Europeans, too, noshed almost exclusively at noon, when the most natural light was available for cooking, with the exception of farmers and laborers, who woke up early and typically grabbed a snack of something leftover from the day's previous meal.

Most Westerners owe breakfast to the long and early work hours of the Industrial Revolution. Heavy laborers needed a morning snack to fuel them for the daily grind. Factory workers couldn't go home in the middle of the day, so between that morning meal and their supper at home, workers took snack breaks at the canteens and food carts that began popping up outside factories during this time. Here, lunch may have been born.

As the Industrial Revolution ended, work in heavy labor gave way to office jobs (hello, 9 to 5!), the middle class emerged, and at-home evening meal became an American tradition and a marker of social status.

That evening meal is now our biggest, heaviest tradition.

How to fix the problem: Create better habits

healthy eatingChanging mealtimes can be tricky, especially when it seems we have to erode decades of history in the process.

Here's how to do it: Start small. If you normally don't eat a whole lot during the day, it might help to start snacking (healthily!) so you don't overeat once you get home.

Next time you know you'll be home late, try this: Have a small, high-protein breakfast and don't skip lunch in the afternoon. No time to cook in the morning? Keep hard-boiled eggs handy, or microwave a packet of instant oatmeal and stir in a few nuts. Keep it light at first so your body can adjust to regular mealtimes. Around 1 p.m. (or about four hours after breakfast), grab a light meal like a salad with fish or chicken.

When you get home, you'll be less famished and more conscious about what you're putting into your body. Avoid indigestion after dinner with some light activity: Do the dishes, wash some laundry, or take a walk around the block. Your body will thank you.

READ MORE: The healthiest things you can order at 12 fast-food chains

UP NEXT: Most dietary supplements are useless, but here are the ones you should take

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 6 'healthy' eating habits you are better off giving up

A CEO says this is the single most important and underrated skill in business — and in life

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Networking

Dale Carnegie said it in 1936, in his bestselling business book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People": The trick to making people like you is simply to listen to them.

When you encourage your conversation partner to talk about themselves, Carnegie wrote, they wind up feeling more fondly toward you than they would if you'd dominated the interaction.

Nearly a century later, in an age where seemingly everyone has a digital platform for publicly broadcasting the contents of their breakfast, this idea is as relevant as ever — and people are still having trouble with it.

That's according to Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a social media software company. Kerpen is also the author of "The Art of People," in which he offers tips and strategies for influencing people and forging positive relationships.

A common theme throughout the book is that, if you want to succeed in business and in life, you should focus less on yourself and more on other people. In other words: Be interested instead of interesting; listen actively instead of thinking about what you want to say next; and validate other people's thoughts and emotions after they've spoken.

"Listening is the single most important and underrated skill in business, in social media, and in life," Kerpen told Business Insider. "It's something we can always improve upon."

Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds.

"It's very hard," Kerpen said, "because when we have ideas that we want to communicate, our natural inclination is to talk about those ideas and to share those things."

But the less we talk, the easier it is to persuade other people to like those ideas and to like us.

Kerpen gave an example from his experience at Likeable Local. His chief technology officer, Hugh, is such a great listener that during meetings, "you sometimes don't even realize he's there because he's so quiet and he's always the last to talk."

When the team goes around the room and it's Hugh's turn to speak, he's usually silent for the first few seconds as he formulates an opinion. While everyone else was speaking, he was actively listening, instead of thinking about what he wanted to say in response.

"When he finally does speak, he'll be able to say something that synthesizes everything and makes his point in a powerful way," Kerpen said. "There's a competitive advantage to being the last to speak."

He offers another example in his book. Once, on a cross-country flight, he sat next to a lawyer and spent much of the flight asking the lawyer questions about his life, work, and family.

A year-and-a-half later, the lawyer became an investor in one of Kerpen's companies, thanks to the connection they made — due at least in part to the fact that Kerpen let him talk about himself.

"Remember that people care more about themselves than they care about you," Kerpen writes. "People want to talk about themselves. Listening and letting people talk is key to winning them over in life, in business, and in all human relationships." 

SEE ALSO: This behavior could be the No. 1 secret to likability

Join the conversation about this story »

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The best ways to get a quick mood boost, according to science

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obama hug

Everyone needs a pick-me-up sometimes.

And as it turns out, there are a bunch of healthy things you can do to lift your spirits.

We've scoured the research to find some of the best ways to improve your mood — no pill or special elixir required.

Here are a few:

NEXT UP: A Harvard psychiatrist says 3 things are the secret to real happiness

SEE ALSO: 19 tiny life changes you can make right now for a healthier year

Get out in nature.

If you're feeling down, it might be because you're not spending enough time in nature. Living in cities has been linked to stress and mental illness, but a dose of greenery could go a long way.

In one 2012 study published in the Journal Psychological Science, researchers gave more than 10,000 people questionnaires about their mental health over nearly two decades, and found that people who lived in urban areas with the most green space (such as parks) reported feeling the least mental distress and the highest well-being.

But you don't need to live near a park to get all its benefits —preliminary research suggests that even a 90-minute walk in nature can chase away negative thoughts.



Listen to happy music.

Often all it takes is some upbeat tunes to shrug away those sad feelings.

A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to positive music while attempting to improve their mood reported feeling happier than people who listened to music that wasn't positive, or didn't actively try to boost their mood. So crank up the Pharrell Williams!

 



Do something awe-inspiring!

If you want to stop feeling awful and start feeling awesome, consider this: Several recent studies have found that experiencing a sense of awe— the feeling you get looking up into the night sky, for example — can leave you feeling less stressed and more satisfied.

As part of a two-part study published in 2015, students filled out a questionnaire and submitted samples of their spit for analysis. The students who said they had recently had awe-inspiring experiences had lower levels of a stress-related substance called interleukin-6 in their spit, compared with those who didn't feel awe.

So next time you're feeling blue, why not take a scenic hike or watch the sunrise?

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We talked to the captain who fended off Somali pirates and became the subject of a Tom Hanks movie

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Captain Phillips

Seven years after fending off pirates off the coast of Somalia, Capt. Richard Phillips is still on the speaker circuit inspiring people with his story. 

Very few of us will be tested with the kind of life-or-death situation that Phillips faced.

But Phillips says that we're all still fighting our own kind of battles. It might not be pirates on the high seas, but it's other difficulties in work or life.

"The take away is that we are all stronger, there's more that we can do," he says. "So you don’t have to worry about it. If you can get rid of the emotion and concentrate on the problem, you can solve the problem. Nothing is over until you quit."

Phillips was speaking at the Qualtrics tech conference in Salt Lake City earlier this month where I met with him.

I asked what happened to him after he was rescued, his thoughts about the lawsuit filed by crew members, and his life after the incident, the books and the movies.

Stronger than we know

During his talk, he recounted the events of 2009, when Somali pirates boarded his ship, the Maersk Alabama, and held him hostage. Along with retelling the story (captured in the 2013 movie "Captain Phillips" starring Tom Hanks), he shared the lessons his experience holds for every leader.

And he got a standing ovation from the 2,000 people in attendance at the tech conference, which he never saw, because he was rushing off stage to meet me for the interview.

When I told him about the ovation, he laughed, "I was told to meet out here immediately after the talk, so I did. I guess I'm still trained to follow orders." Phillips, who returned to work 14 months after the incident, retired in 2015.

Qualtrics Captain PhillipsHe's delivered some 300 speeches in the past seven years. It's a polished, funny and moving presentation, all in the Boston accent that Tom Hanks captured perfectly in the movie.

The messages he has for everyone:

"You might not be fighting pirates, but in everyone's work, you have serious decisions with serious consequences. Not just the managers but the people who are getting the work done."

"You are much stronger than you know. You can do more and you can take more."

"Failure is only final when we give up, when we quit."

Determination and controversy

To recap the famous incident: After Somali pirates boarded his ship, Phillips wound up as their hostage. He spent days in the sweltering heat of the Alabama's lifeboat. The pirates gave him just enough water to keep him alive, messed with his mind, and, after a failed attempt to escape, tied him so tight his wrists have some numbness to this day.

He still vividly remembers those days in that lifeboat.

"I saw the commitment in their eyes. I saw the maleficence. They were never going to give up. No way. We had a relationship but it was adversarial. There were times we laughed and times they scorned me but we did talk," he says.

Captain PhillipsThe Navy and Navy Seals rescued him, capturing one pirate and killing the others.

Phillips credits the Navy and Seals, his training drills, the smarts of his crew, and his ability to keep a cool head under pressure as reasons hiw whole crew of 19 American sailors returned home. Most pirate attacks don't end that well, he says.

Shortly after the rescue, some of those sailors told a different tale, blaming Phillips' leadership for the mishap, as part of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the company that owns the ship, that was eventually settled.

Tears of relief

The movie ends with a visibly shaken and crying Phillips (Tom Hanks) being given medical attention aboard the Navy ship. But it didn't happen exactly like that, Phillips told Business Insider.

That first night after his rescue, "I slept like a baby," he said.

"I was on the navy ship for another five days. Initially, I was fine. I slept like a baby, but then I would wake up at 5:00 in the morning, crying and balling like a baby, just like you saw Tom Hanks do in the movie," he said.

Disturbed, he told himself to get over it and stop crying.

Captain Richard Phillips is portrayed by Tom Hanks in new filmThen he got to know a few of the Navy Seals on the ship. "I got to see a very small glimpse into the community. The Seals have a sense of community I’ve never seen anywhere. Not just the guys but the wives, widows, kids of fallen heroes."

One of the guys in that community "kept harassing me, telling me to talk to a psychologist" and reminding Phillips that "not every rescue mission was successful." Sometimes Seals needed to talk, too.

Phillips agreed. The doctor chatted with him for a while, asked questions like was he sleeping (yes, sort of), eating normally (no), and listened to Phillips tell him about the morning crying.

"He explained to me that we’re hard-wired with fight-or-flight instincts, and those chemicals may cause problems, or they may not. They get released via our tears, and also talking about it helps, two things I never believed in. But the next time it happens, he told me to let the tears flow, take natural course."

So the next morning, "I woke up 5 a.m., crying like baby, and I let myself cry. It lasts for about 45 minutes, and then it just stops. It never happened again. I never had nightmares, and I only had one dream about it. Maybe it was PTSD, but by crying and letting it take its course, it released me."

As for the whole incident: "I don't let it define my life." So, when he boarded ship for his next assignment, he didn't worry about bad things happening. "I was happy to get back to work."

In fact, being held captive wasn't the first scary thing that happened at sea. He's got at least another book's worth of stories, he says.

Tom Hanks Barkhad Abdi Captain PhillipsBefore the pirates, the scariest thing that happened was when he was about 30 hours outside of Japan and the ship's engine room caught on fire.

"I thought I had five dead guys in the engine room. We had no help. We're in the middle of the ocean. Thank god my crew did an excellent job fighting the fire. The ship was seriously damaged, we had to get an emergency tow. But for that 30 minutes, I thought I had five dead guys," he says.

It turned out, the guys were all fine. They were hiding in the safe room, unsure if the ship was under pirate attack or what and they didn't know the safety word to come out. It made him realize, "I'm not doing enough training!"

So, he did more training. Training helped him feel confident when he returned to work.

"I was on the right path, I didn't think I was there, but it made a difference," he says of the training.

"It empowered my crew to go above and beyond. I never trained what to do if pirates held me hostage and you guys are hiding in a room. They were able to work on their own. My chief engineer, chief mate, first engineer, usurped command and took control and did the right things. They were instrumental in the positives outcomes for them and me," he says.

Lawsuit from his crew didn't surprise him

As for the accusations his crew leveled against him in their lawsuit, he says he wasn't surprised, nor were his feelings hurt. 

Captain Phillips"A week after I got home, it started. And then it continued in 2010, and in 2013. The crew was suing, mainly the unlicensed," he said, referring to the members of the crew who were not licensed and ranked to do specialized jobs. 

"They said unbelievable things. They said I was doing it to save fuel or that I wanted to be captured by the pirates. They were really demeaning me, questioning my professionalism, " he said.

Today, he shrugs it off.

"We're a litigious society. To me it was just trying to get a fast buck," he says. "I've been sued for a lot different things in the work. One guy for hurting his back."

He pretty much expected some kind of a lawsuit.

"I told the Navy captain three days after I was rescued when he said to me, 'You did an incredible job.' I told him, "Oh no, in a few months, it will be that I completely screwed up,'" he remembers. 

The suits filed in Alabama and Texas didn't name Phillips or formally accuse him of wrongdoing but sought damages from Maersk Line and Waterman Steamship. They were eventually settled under confidential terms. 

A happy ending

After the incident, which made national news at the time, Phillips got so many phone calls from press and publishers that he eventually he agreed to write a book with ghostwriter Stephan Talty. The book turned into a string of demands for speaking engagements and then a movie. Phillips was back at sea while most of the movie was being shot.

Captain Phillips and Julie BortHe says the movie was "close" to the real incident "for a movie" and watching it did not disturb him, although it did make his daughter cry.

And for the record, he says, on most ships, the crew does have guns and are trained how to use them. "This was the first ship I was ever on that didn't have weapons," he says.

While he enjoyed meeting Tom Hanks, he wasn't enamored of Hollywood.

"Tom Hanks came to my house three times and he invited me to see his play," he remembers. "I've seen him a few times since. He's a nice guy, a funny guy, and can he talk! He’s hyper. He reminds me of the class clown in high school."

While shooting the movie, Hanks would track him down at sea to ask about details. Did crew members really play poker? (Yes.) Would he ever tell the crew to stop playing and go to bed. (No.)

"Being in that other world of media, TV, Hollywood, it's not a real world. For me going back to work, it was a pleasure to get the back to the world I knew. That’s the real world. That’s normal for me. In my world, everything is isn’t always 'beautiful!' or 'excellent!' or 'great!'," he says.

"We have other adjectives," he laughs, referring to a sailor's vocabulary.

But the happy ending is that between his retirement pay, the speaking gigs, royalties from the book and movie, he's financially comfortable in retirement.

"Of course, we don’t have credit card bills and are less worried about retirement. The money doesn't change you. It gives you a little freer sense, less worry," he says.  

SEE ALSO: 26 of the most powerful female engineers in 2016

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Here's the extreme diet regular people used to look like underwear models in 30 days

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These people might look like underwear models, but they're not. And 30 days before this photo was taken, they didn't look like this.

VC2In fact, they were just regular people who worked for an advertising agency and, while they worked out a fair amount, they ate pretty much what they pleased.

But in just a few weeks, the women slimmed down to have as little as 12% to 14% body fat and the man had just 5% to 6% body fat.

And that woman on the left? She was pregnant just five months before the photo was taken.

The key to their success: A low-fat, high-protein diet and intense, professionally guided exercise. They also had some good motivation from their employer: They were asked to be models in an upcoming photo shoot for their agency's rebranding, posing buck naked.

Why they chose to pose buck naked 

The three extreme dieters work for Viceroy Creative, an advertising agency that wanted to rebrand itself in a powerful way last March. As part of the rebranding, they asked some of their key executives to be part of a buzzy photo shoot that would present them totally nude.

The participants were the firm's creative director Gabrielle Rein, account manager Raegan Gillette, and president David Moritz — the naked man in the photos. Mortiz tells AdWeek they agreed to the shoot for the good of the company and their clients.

Getting model-thin in a hurry took a great deal of mental and physical endurance, and it's that kind of diligent dedication that Viceroy wanted to communicate in their new campaign, Moritz tells Business Insider.

VC6How they got rock-hard abs in such a short time

Before they started preparing for the shoot, Viceroy's executives were in decent shape. Still, each worked hard those final weeks to get ready for the big nude day. Here's a picture of a topless Moritz two years before the training began:

G1  122Gabrielle Rein, Viceroy's creative director, had a baby just a few months earlier, so the preparation was especially challenging and rewarding.

When they agreed to the nude photo shoot last year, they gave themselves five months to get fit.

For the first four months, they completed a series of trainings designed to strengthen their muscles, bolster their cardiovascular strength, and increase their metabolism. Here's the company's account manager, Raegan Gillette, doing one of the exercises:

nude1But those four months of exercises weren't what ultimately got them the sculpted bodies in the photos.

Diet was the key to their success

"No matter how much exercise you do, that will only get you part of the way. In terms of seeing abs and muscle definition, it's all about diet and reducing your body fat percentage. That's essential," Moritz says.

For the last four weeks, the Viceroy executives committed to a grueling diet. The goal, said Moritz, was to cut body fat so that the muscles they'd been toning for the previous four months would shine through.

VC3Each executive ate six meals a day, catered specifically to their needs by a nutritionist. Although each diet was unique, the meals mostly consisted of the same types of food, Moritz says, and included a lot of protein.

"You need [protein] to continue to build muscle," Moritz explains. "Which is a little bit more than one gram of protein per every pound that you weigh."

For Moritz — who was still able to recite the diet by heart months after the shoot — the meals consisted of:

  • Meal 1: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup blueberries, one scoop carb-free protein shake
  • Meal 2: 3 egg whites, 1/4 cup plain potatoes
  • Meal 3: 3 oz. ground turkey, low-carb wrap with a cup of romaine lettuce
  • Meal 4: 3 oz. grilled chicken and 1/4 of an avocado
  • Meal 5: 6 oz. fish with a 1/4 cup steamed jasmine rice and six pieces of asparagus
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. of 99% lean ground beef with 1/4 avocado and 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • No alcohol was allowed and most condiments were banned (with the exception of hot sauce, since it added a negligible amount of extra sugar or fat)

That's it, each and every day, for an entire month! At first they had the meals prepared for them by a chef but that quickly became too expensive to maintain. They began preparing the meals themselves, which required a scale and measuring cups to make sure they consumed exactly what the nutritionist ordered.

Despite consuming significantly fewer calories than he was used to, Moritz said he didn't feel too many negative effects from the strict plan, aside from boredom from the food.

"You don't feel tired because your body is getting what it needs," said Moritz.

Moritz pointed out that he was at about 5% body fat on the day of the photo shoot, which is close to the lowest a man his age and height should be. Body builders have between 3.5% and 5% body fat on competition day.

The number of calories they burned versus how many they ate

If you add it up, Moritz consumed roughly 1,700 calories per day, far fewer than the 2,400 to 2,500 calories he was burning throughout the day, he tells Business Insider.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a man his age and height should be consuming at least 1,600 calories a day even if they're trying to lose weight. So he was pushing the bare minimum.

VC4The women were eating about 1,300 calories and burning 2,000 calories each day. For them, the Mayo Clinic estimates that women in their age and height ranges should eat at least 1,200 calories a day even if they're trying to lose weight.

"The plan puts you in a relatively significant caloric deficit every day," Moritz says. "And it forces your body to burn stored fat."

In addition to the diet, the executives stuck to a grueling fitness routine. All of them worked out every day for an hour and a half, seven days a week with the help of professional trainers at their local Equinox gym.

The exercises included intense weight lifting and low-impact cardiovascular activities — like walking on a treadmill set with the highest incline — that burned most of the large amount calories they were losing each day. The rest were lost through regular daily activities like walking.

Here's Gillette doing one of the weight-lifting exercises:

nude2The regimen wasn't cheap. The nutritionist Viceroy used charges $700 a person for a month-long program. And an average Equinox Tier 3+ trainer — the most intense trainer you can get at Equinox — costs $135 per session, and each exec was completing a few sessions a week during the entire training process.

Moritz says anyone can get into this kind of shape given the time and motivation, however.

VC1"While we did it with a lot of extensive help, a person can do this on their own given just a little more time," Moritz says. "Follow the same basic principles and find a way to get really motivated. It's just all mental."

For Moritz and the rest of the team, the motivator that kept them dedicated was a pretty strong one:

"Knowing that you're going to send naked pictures of yourself to as many people as you can makes you stay with it," he says.

After the shoot, Moritz, Rein, and Bearce slowly regained some of their body fat to a more reasonable amount, but they continued to stick with a modified version of the diet.

For Moritz, the five-month regimen was only a beginning. Since the photo shoot, he's stuck with it. (He now uses a food-delivery service to stick with his diet.) By the end of the summer, he says, that he suspects he'll even be in better shape than he was in March. Rein also kept her beautiful post-baby physique, getting into increasingly better shape even after the training was over, Moritz said.

Here's what she looks like months later and after feasting on ribs, BBQ, and hamburgers over Memorial Day weekend of this year. She's 31 years old.

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23 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read

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mark zuckerberg books

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a single mission: to connect people around the world.

It's one reason why he decided to launch a Facebook-based book club last year, with a reading list that focused on "different cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies."

Although the birth of his daughter, Max, kept him from hitting his goal of a book every two weeks, he ended the year with 23 selections in his A Year of Books reading group.

We've put together a list of his picks and why he thinks everyone should read them:

SEE ALSO: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares 4 business books he thinks everyone should read

'The Muqaddimah' by Ibn Khaldun

"The Muqaddimah," which translates to "The Introduction," was written in 1377 by the Islamic historian Khaldun. It's an attempt to strip away biases of historical records and find universal elements in the progression of humanity.

Khaldun's revolutionary scientific approach to history established him as one of the fathers of modern sociology and historiography.

"While much of what was believed then is now disproven after 700 more years of progress, it's still very interesting to see what was understood at this time and the overall worldview when it's all considered together," Zuckerberg writes.

Find it here »



'The New Jim Crow' by Michelle Alexander

Alexander is a law professor at Ohio State University and a civil-rights advocate who argues in her book that the "war on drugs" has fostered a culture in which nonviolent black males are overrepresented in prison, and then are treated as second-class citizens once they are freed.

"I've been interested in learning about criminal justice reform for a while, and this book was highly recommended by several people I trust," Zuckerberg writes.

Find it here »



'Why Nations Fail' by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

"Why Nations Fail" is an overview of 15 years of research by MIT economist Daren Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James Robinson, and was first published in 2012.

The authors argue that "extractive governments" use controls to enforce the power of a select few, while "inclusive governments" create open markets that allow citizens to spend and invest money freely, and that economic growth does not always indicate the long-term health of a country.

Zuckerberg's interest in philanthropy has grown alongside his wealth in recent years, and he writes that he chose this book to better understand the origins of global poverty.

Find it here »



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