What’s in a Meng?

THE STORY BEHIND MY NAME! My name at birth is TAN CHADE MENG, with the family name coming first, in the Chinese tradition. My name is in Teochew, my ancestral Southern Chinese dialect. In Mandarin, it would be CHEN YI MING (陈一鸣 (Simplified Chinese), 陳一鳴 Traditional Chinese)). Yi Ming (一鸣) comes from the famous Chinese idiom 一鸣惊人, which means “the call of a bird that shakes the world”. It comes from the story of King Zhuang of the Chu kingdom (楚庄王), who was king from 613 BCE up till his death in 591 BCE. When King Zhuang ascended to the throne,...

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Donald Trump to be co-author of my upcoming book on Authentic Leadership

My friends, We’ll announce this officially soon, but I’m so excited about this I want you to hear it from me first: Donald Trump just asked to be the co-author of my upcoming book on Authentic Leadership, and I said yes! It was a complete surprise.  Donald called me on my cell phone this morning while I was doing my morning yoga in my 42nd floor office in Trump Tower San Francisco.  Imagine getting a phone call from the Donald in the middle of doing downward-facing dog.  Hilarious, right?  Anyway, Donald said he heard from our mutual friend, Senator James...

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Harvard Business Review: Scaling Compassion: The Story of Google Employee #107

When Google famously allowed its engineers to spend 20 per cent of their time pursuing a passion, Chade-Meng Tan decided to spend his time on a cause dear to his heart: creating the conditions for world peace within his lifetime. After much research and consultation with scientists, monks, academics and more, he concluded that the road to peace was paved with compassion-the happiest brain state ever recorded by neurologists. His initiative now had a focus, and soon, his Search Inside Yourself program was being delivered at Google and other forward-thinking organizations. He describes his journey and what he believes...

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Stop Searching for Me at Google

Because I’ve retired from the company. (Please feel free to carry on searching for me ON Google.) A few months ago, after I celebrated my 15th anniversary as a Googler (which is my version of the “Google 15”, since I never gained 15 pounds as a Googler), and as I looked forward to an impending 45th birthday (yes, I am that old, dammit), it occurred to me that I don’t have that many years left and I really need to focus on my two most important priorities: mastering inner peace, and creating the conditions for world peace in my...

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7 Billion Tibetans: An Idea for Preserving Tibetan Culture

I have an idea for the preservation of Tibetan culture, but I’ve kept it mostly to myself because it’s even crazier than my usual ideas.  Last week, I shared it with Bob Thurman, Tsewang Namgyal, and a few other friends, and they were inspired and they encouraged me to blog about it.  So here it is. I call my idea for the preservation of Tibetan culture “Seven Billion Tibetans”.  I sometimes also call it the “Greek Model”.  This idea came from witnessing the preservation of the Greek culture.  The Greek Empire of Alexander the Great has been destroyed for more...

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AMAZING PEOPLE: Rigoberta Menchú Tum

I have had the great fortune of meeting some of the greatest human beings alive in the world, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  I have been moved by every one of them, but none of them had moved me to tears.  This week, someone I met almost did.  Her name is Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Rigoberta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her life’s work in promoting human rights.  When I met her, I found her to be exactly what you’d expect of a stereotypical Nobel Peace Prize winner: she was wise, kind...

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AMAZING PEOPLE: Ajahn Brahm

My dear friend and honored teacher, Ajahn Brahm, spoke at Google a few weeks ago.  He is so funny there is no better day to post this than April Fools’ Day.  For the best shit, literally **, watch the story starting around 31:00. (** He actually said, “I’ve never ever in my whole life seen such a beautiful piece of...

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AMAZING PEOPLE: His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa

On 16 March 2015, I had the great honor of hosting His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa at Google.  It was the first day of the Karmapa’s 2-month official visit to the US, and he chose to spend it visiting Google.  We spent a few hours together, much of it in private conversation. I found His Holiness to be very authentic.  He is the same person in private as he is in public.  He is shy, but very kind and sincere.  He carries a huge burden of responsibility at a very young age, but he carries it with calmness,...

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We’re Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

What better way to start the new year than to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?  🙂 I have exciting news to share with you, my friends.  One Billion Acts of Peace (http://www.1billionacts.org/), a campaign which I have the honor of co-chairing with Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by 6 Nobel Peace Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  One Billion Acts of Peace is a global campaign that works together with 13 Nobel Peace Laureates to try to inspire one billion acts of peace worldwide, in 5 years. I received the...

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CBS 60 Minutes: Anderson Cooper on Mindfulness

In this special report for CBS’s 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper reports on what it’s like to try to achieve “mindfulness,” a self-awareness scientists say is very healthy, but rarely achieved in today’s world of digital distractions. Read the Transcript Here Watch it here on...

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It is time to abandon wisdom

The great Korean Zen Master Subul Sunim recently gave me this advice: “To acquire wisdom is hard, but to abandon it is even harder.  You have accumulated a lot of wisdom, and your wisdom has brought you to this point, but to advance further, you need to abandon that wisdom.” Upon hearing that, I was half unstuck. A few days later, my dear friend, Zen teacher Soryu Forall made it more specific.  He said, “In your meditation, you have been observing yourself from a high ground.  It has gotten you this far.  It is now time to stop observing...

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