What if you could ask President Barack Obama anything - anything at all? Or maybe your favorite celebrity, say, Madonna, Bill Gates or Buzz Aldrin? What would you want to know? This is the opportunity that Reddit offers on the Ask Me Anything community. In Ask Me Anything – Volume 1, the first book of its’ kind, Reddit brings you a collection featuring the most interesting, provocative, humorous and inspirational sessions. Some will make you think, many will make you laugh and a few will expand your horizons in ways you never expected.
Arguably the biggest achievement of the Ask Me Anything feature has been allowing interested parties the opportunity to have unprecedented access to a wide range of people. From Martha Stewart to restaurant fry cooks, from Sir David Attenborough to a child raised in a rainforest, the mundane becomes fascinating and the outrageous suddenly seems normal.
Open this book and you’ll find inspiring AMAs - ask me anything interviews - from the likes of a North Korean defector, the 'John Stewart' of Syria, screen dream Idris Elba, the original girls girl Cyndi Lauper and many more. Sixty of the world's most talked about luminaries at their candid and revealing best. Beautiful, inspiring, provocative, courageous, informative, fascinating, ingenious and humorous - the AMAs run the gamut! Here is a sample...
When was the last time you were inspired? The really deep kind that makes you feel empowered, emboldened, ready to take life by the horns and shake it––that kind of inspired. You will hear from Bassem Youssef, Joseph Kim and Eric Glisson who spoke with the tenacity, grit and power to fight and change their circumstances. Nichelle Nichols, Cyndi Lauper and Kristin Beck who broke down stereotypes of gender and race, each in their own way.
For Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, and Mischka & Badgley, inspiration comes in a different form: they are the kind of inspiring that teaches us what artistry and creativity can do to better our world.
Inspiration can take many forms for these vanguards. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.
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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of Congress?
From the outside we think we can imagine what this and other extreme situations might be like. But, the truth of the matter is, there is no replacing experience. This group of individuals have lived through experiences that very few others have: the photographer who captured the student massacre at Tiananmen Square, a woman who lived through the Nazi occupation in Germany, the man who has the power to control the fate of the world with the push of a button as a nuclear missile operator. In addition to the anonymous Congressional Sr. Staffer, we hear from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ben Eisenkop and The Mortician. These individuals have lived through experiences and amassed a body of knowledge that sets them apart from us mere mortals. Herein, they take us all to school.
To provoke is to force someone to see the disconnect between what exists and what could be. Sometimes that disconnect is full of promise, sometimes terrifying. Sometimes, it is both.
Ann Coulter and Spike Lee have used provocation as a tactic to incite the political change they want to see while David Zetland and David Belk have tackled issues of water scarcity and health care by making knowledge public and available. Visionaries like Jen Briney of Congressional Dish, and Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers believed in radical transparency––that the people should have the power to know what goes on in their government. President Barack Obama changed the perception of what government should look like while MMA fighter Ronda Rousey has proved that a woman’s body can be just as powerful as a man’s.
These rebels have done more than cause a reaction; they are inciting a revolution.
You did what? You grew up where? You have what in your pants? These individuals merit recognition for having truly captivating lives. Can you imagine being Allena Hanson who fought a bear after it mauled her and then drove herself to the emergency room? What about the leap of faith it must have taken Buzz Aldrin to step off of Apollo 11 and onto the surface of the moon? Or the man who survived being kidnapped and held captive? Or My Ex Tried To Kill Me, Raised in the Rainforest, and The Man Who Died Twice. And then there is the man who was born with a little something extra. Actually, a fairly large something extra: two fully-functioning penises.
This is the section to grab that bowl of popcorn for. Put the phone on vibrate. Tell the babysitter he’s staying an extra hour. These stories are utterly engrossing, fantastically engaging, and all so very human.
Beauty is often described as something otherworldly, ethereal, ungraspable. These individuals possess a rare kind of beauty—not just a physical kind—but rather a beauty that is sturdy, implacable, and enduring. Like the one and only Dude. More chill than you thought possible, Jeff Bridges spans the arc of acting, singing, photography and writing. Bridges shares his philosophy, his stories and, as always, abides.
We also profile men and women who have lived through trauma and shown resilience, like Rosario Dawson transcending her upbringing, or Zach Phelps-Roper escaping a hate group. They have gone through heartbreak and become wiser and softer for it, like Ethan Hawke. They have committed to their passions and are living with integrity, like David Attenborough and Nick Pyenson. These alluring individuals are more than beautiful; they are magnetic.
Often, we don’t know the boundaries of what that is until we are pushed against them. British-born Peter Moore took a position working for BearingPoint––the American IT consulting firm––in Iraq. On April 2, Moore arrived in Baghdad. On May 29th, close to one hundred Iraqi police officers stormed the building where Moore worked and abducted him and four British guards. Learn what it was like to be held prisoner by Iraqi forces and live to tell about it.
For Randi Gill, that meant blowing the whistle on police brutality in the Oklahoma prison where she worked. For Charles Ramsey, it was to save the lives of captive women in his neighborhood. Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three stood up to a legal system that had wrongfully condemned him to death––and won. Hubert Buchanan was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War who returned to face his captor twenty years later. Also in this section Carl Estersoh and Mohammad Usafi.
These brave men and women went beyond what they thought they were capable of achieving because they dared to push beyond the boundaries of what they thought they could accomplish.
Hollywood breakout moments don’t frequently include the headlining words “she bangs” as they did for Mr. Channing Tatum in his dancing role for Ricky Martin’s video. Nor do they involve the coming of age story of a stripper. Well, on second thought, maybe they do. Channing answers questions like, Have you done anything recently that made you think, "I can't believe I did that?!" And more importantly, find out what he would do with an army of ninja chimpanzees.
Being funny is a hard gig. As Woody Allen put it, “I think being funny is not anyone’s first choice.” Jon Gnarr, Chris Rock, Andrew W. K., Madonna, Waffle House Grill Master, Martha Stewart and u/chooter have been selected because regardless of their profession, they have brought levity, irony, and playfulness to it. Being funny might not be anyone’s first choice, but it is one we can all be grateful for.
We don’t walk around calling just anyone a genius. It is a term usually reserved for those with an inherent gift for seeing the world differently than it appears to everyone else in the room. We call someone a genius who has impacted the way we live, like Bill Gates or Tim Berners-Lee. Or whose talent supersedes what we previously thought was possible––as is the case with world-class chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, Wu-Tang’s RZA, comic Louis CK, or pop impresario Brian Wilson. Or those who have invented a new way of being in the world, like Matthew Markus and George Bonaci, who have bioengineered rhino horn in an effort to curb poaching, or Elon Musk, who has pioneered the use of electric cars and who firmly believes we will be able to live on other planets.
These visionary vanguards are changing the way we understand the world around us. Genius may be a lofty term, but these individuals have earned it and more.
How did this amazing book come about?
In a word, Reddit. Reddit is a social networking website containing content and submissions that are driven to prominence thanks to votes cast by the user base. The site is broken down into sections, commonly referred to as “subreddits,” with each focusing on a specific subject matter. r/IAmA (as well as more than 10,000 other active Reddit communities) thrive on this voting system: popular and insightful content rises to the top, while less interesting content fades into obscurity. This sets the site apart from other social media platforms since users determine the fate of the content posted to the site. Every user has helped to shape and grow r/IAmA with their posts, votes, and questions.
As of April 2015, there are over 8 million unique visitors and over 20 million page views per month to the r/IAmA subreddit, and it continues to attract new AMAs, subscribers, and visitors everyday.